Hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the five pillars of Islam. Hajj was made obligatory in the 9th year of Hijra. The Holy Prophet sent off 300 Muslims under the leadership of Hazrat Abubakr Siddique (may Allah be pleased with him) to Mecca so that they could perform Hajj. That was the year when it was banned for the Mushrikeen (those who associate partners with Allah) to enter Ka’ba. It was also made unlawful to perform Tawaaf (circling of Ka’ba) with naked body.
The following year, 10th Hijra, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) announced a head of time he himself would perform Hajj that year. He led tens of thousands of Muslims to Hajj that year and demonstrated to Muslims how to perform all the rites and rituals of the Hajj. This Hajj is known in history as Hajjatul Wida’ or Farewell Pilgrimage because this proved to be the last Hajj the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) performed. At the end of this farewell pilgrimage, the divine revelation that had started some 22 years ago came to an end with the following verse of Surah Al-Maidah:
“This day have I completed My commandments for you, and have brought to its fullness the favor that I have bestowed upon you, and have chosen Islam as your religion”.
Hajj is an act of worship just like Salat (five daily prayers) and Suwm (fasting in the month of Ramadan). Muslims from all over the world gather in Mecca in the last month of Muslim calendar and worship Allah. Hajj is a special worship that lasts for several days. This is an occasion that brings Muslims of all countries, colors, and races to one place – the Ka’ba. This is a unique opportunity of worshipping Allah collectively in a large gathering at one place.
2. Significance & Philosophy of hajj
Every nation and society has a center of unity where they get together to worship God. They see prosperity and culture as relics of unity. People of the society get to know each other and understand each other’s difficulties. They form a unified front to remove these difficulties and achieve their goals. Allah says in the Holy Quran: “And to every people We appointed rites of sacrifice, that they might mention the name of Allah…” (22:34)
With this idea, Hajj has been made a pinnacle of worship in order that Muslims who gather to perform Hajj can praise their Lord and Master, be thankful for His blessings, and humbly pray to Him for the removal of their difficulties. Muslims living in various parts of the world get to know each other, lay the foundation of social culture, give advice to each other, and provide opportunity for collective struggle.
3. Upon Whom Is It Obligatory To Perform Hajj
An adult Muslim of a sane mind, an able body and having means to bear the expenses must perform this act of worship once in his/her lifetime. There should be peace on the way to Mecca and there should be no hindrance or restriction in traveling to Mecca. Hajj is not obligatory for children, the sick, and those who are unable to bear the expenses for Hajj.
4. What are the Timings of Hajj (Pilgrimage)
There are specific months for performing the Hajj and are called “Months of Pilgrimage.” These three Islamic months are Shawwal, Ze-Qa’d and Dul-Hajj. During these three “Months of Hajj”, one prepares for the pilgrimage, attains good morals, and completes other physical conditions for the pilgrimage. All the essential duties of the pilgrimage have to be completed between 8th and the 13th day of Dul-Hajj. Additional tawaaf (circling around the Ka’ba), however, may be performed until the end of the month of Dul-Hajj.
5. Pillars of Hajj
There are three basic pillars for performing Hajj:
1.To enter into state of “Ihram” and have the intention to perform the pilgrimage.
2.To stay at the field of “Arafat” on the ninth of Dul-Hajj If someone cannot go to the field of Arafat even for a short time then his/her pilgrimage will not be complete. He/she has to perform the pilgrimage again the following year.
3. Additional circling of the “Ka’ba” that is done after the stay at the field of “Arafat” and performed from the tenth to the end of the month.
. Sequence of Rites and Actions for performing Hajj:
A. Departure from Home
A Muslim must be mindful of his/her duties towards family and fellow human beings. A Muslim who intends to perform Hajj must make sure, before departing for Hajj that his family is provided for during the period he is away for the Hajj. He should pay up his debt and seek forgiveness from fellow human being whom he might have caused harm in the past. He should be diligent in observing Salat (five daily prayers) and Suwm (fasting) in the month of Ramadhan as well as carrying out other religious obligations. He must shun all arrogance and exhibit a character of modesty and humbleness. He must not use unlawfully acquired money or unlawful means to perform Hajj. He should seek sincere repentance from Allah of all his past sins. In short, one should depart for Hajj just like one would wish to depart from this world.
One should spend some money in charity as well. A woman is not allowed to perform Hajj alone and must be accompanied by an adult Muslim Mahram (father, husband, son or brother etc.)
One should say two Rakat Nafil (supererogatory) prayer before leaving home for Hajj.
B. Ihram at Miqat
When one reaches “Miqat” (any one of the appointed places in Mecca where pilgrims make a vow of pilgrimage) one must perform ablution or take a bath, use perfume, and put on two clean, unstitched, preferably white, pieces of cloth. This pair of clothing is called Ihram. One sheet should be wrapped around the lower part of the body and the other sheet around the upper body; the head should not be covered. Women can perform pilgrimage in the cloths they are wearing. Under normal circumstances a woman’s face should not be covered unless she comes face to face with a stranger and she has to conceal herself. During the five days of Hajj, all Muslims engaged in this worship must remain in this same simple dress. As soon as a pilgrim puts on Ihram and declares his intention to perform Hajj, he/she enters into the state of Ihram and his/her Hajj begins.
After putting on the Ihram, men and women offer two Raka’ts of Nafl (supererogatory) prayer followed by recitation of their “intention” and saying the following words:
“Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik; La Shareeka-laka Labbaik; Innalhamda wan-na’mata-laka wal-mulka Lashreeka-laka"
“Here I am, O Allah! Here I am in Thy August presence; there is no associate with Thee, here am I; surely all praise is Thine and all favors are Thine and the kingdom is Thine, there is no associate with Thee.”
These words are recited in Arabic and called “Talbiyah”. These words are an essential part of the state of Ihram and Ihram will not complete without reciting these words. After saying Talbiyah pilgrim is ready to fulfill his obligation of Hajj and is required to fulfill all the conditions laid down for Hajj. While one is in the state of Ihram it is strictly forbidden to engage in foul talk, sexual conduct, arguments, or enter into a war. Allah says in the Holy Quran: “ …so whoever determines to perform the Pilgrimage in these months, should remember that there is to be no foul talk, nor any transgression, nor any quarreling during Pilgrimage. …” (2:198)
D. Entering Masjid-el-Haram
After reaching Mecca, one should head straight to Ka’aba that is situated in bounds of Masjid-el-Haram and perform Tawaaf. It is said that when one has his/her first glance at Ka’aba, whatever prayers one makes is granted.
E. Istlam (Kissing the Hajr-e-Aswad)
The act of kissing the Hajr-e-Aswad (Black Stone) is called Istlam. While kissing the Hajr-e-Aswad, ones hands should be on the wall of the Ka’ba in the same position as when one performs a Sajdah (prostration) during a prayer. If it is not possible to kiss the Hajr-e-Aswad, it is permissible just touch it with a hand and if that is not possible the just point to the Hajr-e-Aswad and blow a kiss to it.
F. Tawaaf (Circling of ka’ba)
After performing Istlam (kissing the Hajr-e-Aswad) as described above, a pilgrim should perform Tawaaf of Ka’ba. Tawaaf is performed by going around Ka’ba seven times keeping the Ka’ba on left hand side (counter clock-wise). Istlam should be performed during each circle. It is also permitted to perform Istlam of Rukun-e-Yemeni (Pillar of Yemen). The seventh circle ends at the Hajr-e-Aswad.
G. Nawafal at Muqam-e-Ibrahim
After completing the Tawaaf, the pilgrim should move to the Muqam-e-Ibrahim (Place of Ibrahim. At this place one should offer two Rakats of prayer while facing Ka’ba.
H. Sa’ee (Running between Safa’ and Marwah)
Allah the Exalted has said the Holy Quran:
“Surely, Al-Safa and Al-Marwah are among the Signs of Allah. It is, therefore, no sin for him who is on pilgrimage to the House, or performs Umra, to go round the two. And whose does good beyond what is obligatory, surely then, Allah is Appreciating, All-Knowing.” (2:159)
After praying two Rakats of prayer at Muqam-e-Ibrahim, the pilgrim then moves to “Safa”. At this place, he should face towards Ka’ba and recite Durood, Takbir and Talbiyah. The he should walk briskly towards Marwah and recite the same at Marwah. This counts as one circuit. Now one should move to Safa’ and repeat the prayers. One should complete seven circuits between Safa’ and Marwah. These circuits are called Sa’ee.
After performing the circuits between Safa’ and Marwah, one is free to move about and go to a resting place.
I. Arriving at Mina
On 8th day of Dul-Hajj the pilgrims reach at Mina early in the morning after performing Tawaaf-Qudoom. A pilgrim offers Duhr, Asr, Maghrib and Isha’ prayers at Mina and camp there for the night.
J. Arriving at Arafat
On 9th day of Dul-Hajj, after offering Fajr prayer, a pilgrim should move to Arafat. Stay at Arafat is called Waqoof and is the most important part of Hajj. Without this, Hajj cannot be considered complete. If someone misses Waqoof, he should perform Hajj the following year. One listens to the sermon at the plane of Arafat and offers combined Zuhr and Asr prayers. One should stay at Arafat till sunset (Maghrib).
K. Arriving at Muzdalifah
One leaves Arafat after sunset and reaches Muzdalifah in the evening of 9th Dul-Hajj. Combined Maghrib and Isha’ prayers are offered at Muzdalifah. The pilgrims spend the night at Muzdalifah.
L. Departure from Muzdalifah
On the 10th day of Dul-Hajj the pilgrims offer their Fajr prayer as early in the morning as possible. After the Fajr prayer a pilgrim leaves Muzdalifah and arrive at Mina. On the way to Mina one should pick up seventy small stones. As soon as he reaches Mina, he should cast seven stones at Jumrah-tul-Aqba. This act of throwing stones is called Rami. With the throwing of the first stone the requirement to repeatedly recite Talbiyah is lifted. If the pilgrim intends to sacrifice an animal then he should do that after casting stones ad Jumrah-tul-Aqba. After offering the sacrifices a male pilgrim should have his head shaven and female pilgrims are required to cut a small part of her hair. Femle pilgrims are not permitted to have their heads shaven. After the hair cut one can remove the Ihram and may now wear regular cloths.
M. Return to Mecca after sacrifice and hair cut. Perform Taawaf-e-Afaza
After the removal of Ihram the pilgrim is required to return to Mecca to perform another circuit of the Ka’ba. This particular circuit is called Tawaaf-e-Afaza (additional circuit) and is an essential part of the pilgrimage. After this circuit a pilgrim is permitted to return to normal life and all those lawful things that were forbidden are now allowed again.
N. Return to Mina after Tawaf-e-Afaza
After this additional circuit, the pilgrim should return to Mina and stay there for three days. During the stay at Mina on 11th, 12th and 13th day of Dul-Hajj the pilgrim cast seven stones on each of the Jumrah in the following order: Jumrah-tul-Oola, Jamrah-tul-Wusta, and Juramh-tul-Aqba. It is permitted not to cast stones on the third day.
O. Return to Ka’ba and Farewell
On the 12th or the 13th day of Dul-Hajj, the pilgrim returns to the Ka’ba and perform a final circuit. This circuit is called Tawaf-al-Sadr or Tawaf-al-Wida (parting or farewell circuit). After this last circuit, the pilgrim should drink water from Zumzum, kiss the threshold of the door of the Ka’ba, and pray to Allah for forgiveness. He should leave the Ka’ba walking backwards, looking at it the last time, and saying farewell.
7. Prohibitions during the Pilgrimage
It is forbidden to have a hair cut during Hajj or to wear sewn clothes. Pilgrims should offer Fidya (redemption) if he has to wear sewn clothes or have to shave his head due to illness or lice.
Hunting is forbidden during the pilgrimage days. If the pilgrim hunts during these days then he has to offer the sacrifice of one animal. If he has hunted deer then a lamb should be sacrificed and of ostrich is hunted then camel should be sacrificed. If one cannot offer a sacrifice the he should feed six poor people and if that is not possible the he should fast for three days. Allah says in the Holy Quran:
“O ye who believe! Kill not game while you are in a state of pilgrimage. And whoso amongst you kills it intentionally, its compensation is a quadruped like unto that which he has killed, as determined by two just men from among you, the dame to be brought as an offering to the Ka’ba; or as an expiation he shall have to feed a number of poor persons, or fast an equivalent number of days, so that he may taste the penalty of his deed. As for the past, Allah forgives it; but whoso reverts to it, Allah will punish him for his offense. And Allah is Mighty, Lord of retribution.
The game of the sea and the eating thereof have been made lawful for you as a provision for you and the travelers, but forbidden to you is the game of land as long as you are in a state of pilgrimage. And fear Allah to Whom you shall be gathered.
Allah has made the Ka’ba the inviolable House as a mean of support and uplift of mankind, as also the Sacred Month and the offerings and the animals with collars. That is so that you may know that Allah knows what is in the heavens and what is in the earth, and that Allah knows all things well.
Know that Allah is sever in punishment and that Allah is also Most Forgiving, Merciful.” (5:95-98)
If the pilgrim has sexual intercourse with his/her spouse before the first Tawaaf the Hajj will become invalid or unlawful. He/she should continue to perform all the duties of the pilgrimage but he/she has to perform pilgrimage again the next year. Moreover he/she has to sacrifice a camel at Mina to atone the violation.
If some difficulty arises after entering the state of Ihram for the Hajj or Umra (i.e., illness, resistance by enemy to prevent from reaching Mecca) then the sacrifice of an animal should be offered and the Ihram removed. We read in the Holy Quran: “ … but if you are kept back, then make whatever offering is easily available; and do not shave your heads until the offering reaches its destination … “ (2:197).
To simply circuit the Ka’ba and perform the seven circuits between Safa and Marwah is called Umra. There is no fixed time for Umra and it can be performed at any time during the year except between the 9th and the 13th of Dul-Hajj (these days are only reserved for the full pilgrimage or Hajj). Entering into the state of Ihram and removal of Ihram is carried out in the same manner as for the full pilgrimage.
10. Types o f Hajj:
There are three types of Hajj:
a. Hajj Mufrad:
All conditions of the Hajj Mufrad are same as described above. One enters into the state of Ihram for Hajj only and no Umra is performed before Hajj.
b. Hajj Tamattu :
This is Hajj when Umra is performed before the Hajj. The pilgrim removes Ihram for Umra on the 8th of Dul Hajj and re-enters into the state of Ihram again for Hajj.
c. Hajj Qiran:
In this Hajj, the pilgrim enters into the state of Ihram for both Umra and the Hajj at one time.
11. Places of Hajj inside Mecca
The focus of the pilgrimage is Ka’ba which was rebuilt by Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) some 4000 years ago. Today, Ka’ba stands in the middle of a large courtyard of Masjid-el-Haram or the sacred Mosque. The courtyard of Masjid-el-Haram contains, besides Ka’ba, the Muqam-e-Ibrahim (place of Ibrahim) and the fountain of Zumzum.
Ka’ba is the first house ever that was built for the worship of One and Only God, Allah. It is also called “Bait-Ullah” (House of Allah), “Bait-ul-Ateeq” (the Oldest House), and Baitul Ma’amoor (Inhabited House).
Muslims, all over the world, face towards Ka’ba to offer their prayers. This house and the places around it have several signs that have been manifested by Allah. Every inch of this land testifies to the fact that Allah never destroys those who offer sacrifices. To commemorate Allah’s signs and to enhance their faith that Allah truly fulfils His promise, Muslims have been ordered to pay homage to the Ka’ba and these other Signs of Allah. Allah the Exalted, says in the Holy Quran:
“Surely, the first House founded for mankind is that at Becca (the valley of Mecca), abounding in blessings and a guidance for all peoples. In it are manifest signs; it is the place of Abraham; and whoso enters it, enters peace” (3:96-97)
Hadrat Ibrahim (peace be upon him) laid a foundation stone for a community in a deserted place by the order of All-Mighty Allah. The he settled his wife, Hajira, and his son, Ishmael, at this place. There was no water at this place and it was not a part of any thoroughfare. The ultimate goal of this unparalleled sacrifice was that his place should serve as a center of universal guidance; that from the progeny of Hadrat Ishmael living in this area would come the greatest prophet whose advent marked the sole cause for the creation of this universe and who would be a mercy for all mankind. The teaching that he brought down would be for the entire world and for all times. In spite of having no sign of any provisions at this place, Hadrat Ibrahim’s (peace be upon him) expectations were superceded. Allah made provisions for water at that place. Slowly the place became populated and was called Becca or Mecca. This was the place where Hadrat Ibrahim (peace be upon him) found lost signs of the first House of Allah that was built for His worship and re-built this house with the help of his son. He fervently prayed to Allah to make this house the “Place for Humanity”.
B. Hajr-e-Aswad (The Black Stone)
There is a black stone in the north-eastern corner of the Ka’ba. This stone is called Hajr-e-Aswad (Black Stone). This stone was probably part of a meteoroid that fell near Mecca on a mountain called Abu Qubais. At the time of construction of Ka’ba, Hadrat Ibrahim brought it down and placed in the corner of the Ka’ba as a great sign and a monument. Anyone who performs pilgrimage is expected to kiss this memorial stone. This stone is part of Allah’s mark and is a sign of Him being the Supreme Being. One loves things that belong to one’s beloved. The same philosophy exists behind kissing the stone. This stone has no power and it provides neither benefit nor harm to anyone.
A short distance away from Ka’ba towards North there is an open space.The place has small walls around it but there is no ceiling.There is a tradition of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) that suggests that this place was left without a roof because not enough wood was available to cover the entire building.A pilgrim should keep this place inside the Tawaaf but it is not right to face towards this place when offering prayers.
The southern part of the wall between the door of the Ka’ba and the black stone is called Multazam. At the completion of the pilgrimage the pilgrims embrace this part of the wall. This is one way of saying good-bye and a way of expression of extreme love for the House of Allah.
The north-western corner of the Ka’ba faces towards Yemen and this is why it is called Rukun-e-Yemeni (Yemen’s Pillar). It is not appropriate to touch or kiss this part during making a circuit of the Holy Ka’ba.
There is a circle of white stone around the Ka’ba. This is the place where the circuit of the Holy Ka’ba is performed during the pilgrimage. The circuit of the Holy Ka’ba is an integral part of the worship offered seven times during Hajj.
G. Muqam-e-Ibrahim (Place of Ibrahim)
There is a small round-shaped building in front of the door of the Ka’ba and the Multazam. This building has a stone that was used by Hadrat Ibrahim to stand on to complete the walls of the Ka’ba. This is called Muqam-Ibrahim (Place of Ibrahim). After completing the seventh circuit during the pilgrimage, two Raka’t of prayer are offered. One gets more blessings if these Raka’ts are offered at the Place of Ibrahim.
A small well is present on the left side of the Place of Ibrahim and to the east of the Ka’ba. This well appeared as a sign when the child Ishmael rubbed his heels on the ground due to his thirst. One drinks water from this well facing the Ka’ba to get blessings.
Around the Ka’ba is a mosque that has a rectangular shape with rounded corners. Pilgrims offer prayers in this mosque by making circular rows and face towards the Ka’ba.
J. Al-Safa and Al-Marwa
Two small hills in Mecca were located in the north of Masjid-el-Haram. Now these hills have been flattened. Hadrat Hajirah ran seven times between these two hills in search of food and water. Pilgrims are ordained to follow her footsteps and go to these hills seven times.
12. Places Outside of Mecca
There is an open ground three miles to the east of Mecca called Mina. There are three stone pillars in this ground that are called Jumrat representing Satan. These stones are called Jumrah-tul-Oola, Jumrah-tul-Wusta, and Jumrah-tul-Aqbah. During the last day of Hajj, the 10th Dul-Hajj and three Tashriq days, pilgrims are required to cast stones at these Jumrah. This act of casting stones at Jumrah is called Ramy al-jimar (throwing small stones). Thousands of animals are sacrificed on this ground to commemorate the great sacrifice of Hadrat Ibrahim and Hadrat Ishmael.
On the 9th day of Dul Hajj pilgrims gather in a great ground that is located about 9 miles to the southeast Mecca. This ground is called Arafat. Pilgrims stay at this place from the time of Duhr prayer until Maghrib. Jabalu-Rahmat is a small hill that also stands on this ground. A pilgrim is required to stay at this ground for his/her pilgrimage to be acceptable.
This ground is located roughly three miles from Arafat towards Mina. A small hill Mash’ar-al-Haraam is present in this field. Pilgrims spend the night of 9ht Dul Hajj in this field on their way back from Arafat. They offer Maghrib and Isha prayers combined and then Fajr prayer on the morning of the 10th day of Dul Hajj at this place. Pilgrims are commanded to remember Allah after the Fajr prayer near the mountains of Mash’ar-ul-Haraam.
Muwaqiat is the plural of Miqat. This is the place where pilgrims enter into the state of Ihram. It is forbidden to go any further from this place without entering the state of Ihram. Ihram is not only wearing specific clothing but it is also a sincere intention to perform the pilgrimage. There are several placed to enter into the state of Ihram that are marked as Miqat depending upon the route taken towards Mecca. Following are the well-known places where the Pilgrims enter into the state of Ihram.
Pilgrims who live in and around Mecca enter into the state of Ihram in their homes. People can enter into the state of Ihram before leaving their homes. It is not absolutely necessary for “local” pilgrims to enter into the state of Ihram at the Mawaqit, however, it is forbidden to proceed any further from these place without being in the state of Ihram for the people coming from other locations.
Five miles from Madina towards Mecca is a small village. Pilgrims arriving from Madina and from its surrounding areas are required to replace their usual clothes with Ihram at this place
This place located about forty miles to the south of Mecca. Pilgrims arriving from Egypt, Syria and Southern Africa are required to enter into the state of Ihram at this place.
Located about thirty miles from Mecca, the pilgrims coming from Iraq and by land from the eastern side enter into the state of Ihram at this place.
Located about 40 miles to the east of Mecca, the Pilgrims arriving from Yemen and by sea enter into the state of Ihram at this place.
This place is near Mecca and acts as Miqat for people living in Mecca. If someone is living in Mecca and wants to perform Umra then he should go to this place, enter into the state of Ihram and then return to Mecca so that the condition of traveling for the pilgrims is also fulfilled. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) has said: “Part of the worship of Hajj and Umra is to travel in the way of Allah and to go out of the city.”
Mecca and its surrounding areas are called Haram. Haram has different boundaries. These boundaries extend to three miles on one side, seven on the other and nine miles towards Jeddah. Within these boundaries of Haram it is forbidden to hunt, bother any animal, or to cut grass or trees.
The Hajj is the pilgrimage to the Holy City of Makkah during the month of Dhu'l-Hijjah. The performance of the Hajj is the fifth of the five pillars of Islam. For every Muslim able to perform Hajj, it is mandatory to make the journey at least once; for all Muslims it is the journey of a lifetime.