The Pilgrimage (Hajj)


(part 1 of 3) Description:  An easy to follow guide outlining the essentials every new Muslim must know about  Hajj , the greater pilgrimage...

(part 1 of 3)

Description: An easy to follow guide outlining the essentials every new Muslim must know about Hajj, the greater pilgrimage to Mecca. 
·       To learn about the importance of Hajj.
·       To learn the basic conditions associated with it with their proofs.
Arabic Terms
·       Hajj – A pilgrimage to Mecca where the pilgrim performs a set of rituals.  The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, which every adult Muslim must undertake at least once in their life if they can afford it and are physically able.
·       Jihad – a struggle, to exert effort in a certain matter, and may refer to a legitimate war.
·       Kabah – The cube-shaped structure located in the city of Mecca.  It serves as a focal point towards which all Muslims face when praying.
·       Mahram – a person, man or woman related to a particular individual by blood, marriage or breastfeeding. One he or she is not permitted to marry, such as the father, nephew, uncle, etc.
·       Talbiyah – The proclamation  Muslims chant during the pilgrimage.    
·       Umrah – A pilgrimage to the Holy House of Allah in the city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia.    Often referred to as the lesser pilgrimage.   It can be performed at any time of the year.


ThePilgrimageHajj1.jpgYearly millions chant theTalbiyah ‘Lab’baik Al’laahum’ma Lab’baik, Lab’baika laa Shareeka laka Lab’baik, In’nal Hamda wan Ni’mata laka wal Mulk, Laa Shareeka lak’[1]
This ‘Talbiyah’ is a miracle in the making; generation upon generation, year after year, millions have said this and will say it in response to the call of Prophet Ibrahim.  Allah, the Exalted, says:
“And proclaim to the people the Hajj [pilgrimage]; they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every distant pass.” (Quran 22:27)
It is reported in the authentic tradition, that when Prophet Ibrahim finished building theKabah, it was said to him, ‘Call out to the people!’ he then said, ‘My Lord, how far will my voice reach?’ It was said to him, ‘Call out, and we shall relay your call and make it far-reaching!’  Prophet Ibrahim then called out: “O people Indeed Allah has prescribed pilgrimage (Hajj) upon you to the Ancient House (Kabah)!”  People heard his voice and they responded coming from all over saying this Talbiyah![2]
In this series on Hajj, we will talk about some important aspects of Hajj, things that should be in everyone’s mind along with practical advice that will guide a person while performing it. 

Virtues of Hajj

There are many virtues for Hajj, what I will mention here are the virtues that pertain toHajj in general, and then mention the rest of them as we discuss the procedure of Hajj
1.     It is the fifth pillar of Islam.  Allah, the Exalted, says:
“…And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House - for whoever is able to find thereto a way…” (Quran 3:97)
2.     It is a duty a Muslim does with complete pride and submission to God alone.  Due to its difficulty it is described by the Prophet as a form of Jihad (struggle); rightly so, as it requires of a person to sacrifice their money, time and that they must be patient throughout the entire act of worship.  A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her said: “I said O Messenger of Allah! We view Jihad to be among the best of deeds; shall we not then perform Jihad?” He said to her: “The best Jihad (for you) is a Hajj that is accepted.”[3]
3.     This act of worship requires that a person dedicates all of his God-given faculties to perfect it! God has promised those who perfect this act of worship a great reward; the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: The acceptedHajj (Hajj Mabroor) has no reward except Jannah (Heavenly Abode).[4]
4.     The Prophet was asked: “What is the best deed in the sight of God?” He answered:“Belief in Allah!” He was then asked, “What is next?” He answered: “Jihad in the path of Allah.” He was then asked, “What is next?” He said: “An acceptedHajj!”[5]
5.     The Prophet said: “O Amr’ do you not know that Hajj effaces all sins done before it?”[6]
6.     The Prophet said: The one who performs Hajj and does not engage in sexual activities with his wife during Hajj and does not give into evil behavior (during Hajj) will return from that Hajj as the day he was born (i.e.  sin free).[7]
7.     The Prophet said: “As the camel of a person coming for Hajj raises and lowers its feet as it walks towards Mecca for the pilgrimage, the person who has intended theHajj receives a reward for each footstep and a sin would be removed with each footstep and he would be elevated a rank.”[8]
8.     The Prophet also said: “The one performing Hajj is the guest of Allah; He called upon them to perform this duty and they answered that call! They shall ask of Him and He will respond to them.”

Conditions of Hajj

Scholars categorize the conditions for the obligation of Hajj into various sub-categories, but in general all are agreed that the relevant conditions that are applicable today include:
1.     Being a Muslim.
2.     Intellectual sanity and rational capacity .
3.     Reaching the age of puberty.
4.     Capability (financial and physical). 
The first condition of ‘faith’ is a pre-requisite in all acts of worship.  Even if one perfects an act of worship and performs it in a pristine manner, it would not be accepted unless that person is a Muslim.  Allah, the Exalted, says:
“And We shall turn to the deeds they have done and scatter them like dust.”  (Quran 25:23)
The second condition of intellectual capacity and rational capability is a pre-requisite for all acts of worship, for without it a person’s deeds would not be accepted.  The Prophet said:
“Three would not be held accountable for their actions” and he mentioned among them: “an insane until he regains his sanity.”[9]
The third condition is an important one.  If a person performs Hajj before they reach the age of puberty, they would be required to perform it once again when they reach the age of puberty.  The evidence for this condition is mentioned in the tradition, where the Prophet mentioned the three who would not be held accountable for their deeds, he said: “a child until they reach the age of puberty.”
The fourth condition of capability can be subcategorized into two parts; capability in terms of financial means and physical strength. 
If a person does not have the financial means, he is not burdened to take a loan to perform the pilgrimage.  Instead he would be exempt from performing the Hajj.  He would receive reward on account of his intention. 
The same would apply for a person who is physically incapable; he is not required to go himself for Hajj, but if he has the financial means, he may send someone on his behalf to perform Hajj
This condition has another dimension in relation to women.  If they don’t have a mahramwho can accompany them on this journey, they too are exempt from performing Hajj
In the next lesson we will discuss how Hajj is performed. 

[1] Meaning: Here I am O Allah in response to Your call, here I am.  Here I am, You have no partner, here I am.  Verily all praise, grace and sovereignty belong to You.  You have no partner.
[2] Fath al-Bari 3/478
[3] Saheeh Al-Bukhari
[4] Al-Jami as-Sagheer #5733. 
[5] Saheeh Al-Bukhari
[6] Saheeh Muslim
[7] Saheeh Al-Bukhari
[8] Baihaqi
[9] Abu Dawood

The Pilgrimage (Hajj) (part 2 of 3)

Description: An easy to follow guide outlining the essentials every new Muslim must know about Hajj, the greater pilgrimage to Mecca.
·       To learn how to perform Hajj.
Arabic Terms
·       Dhul-Hijjah – the name of the 12th month of the Islamic lunar calendar. 
·       Du’a - supplication, prayer, asking Allah for something. 
·       Fajr, Dhuhr, Asr, Maghrib, Isha – the names of five daily prayers in Islam. 
·       Hajj - A pilgrimage to Mecca where the pilgrim performs a set of rituals.    The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, which every adult Muslim must undertake at least once in their life if they can afford it and are physically able.
·       Ihram – A state in which one is prohibited to practice certain deeds that are lawful at other times.  It is necessary when performing the rites of Umrah and Hajj.
·       Kabah – The cube-shaped structure located in the city of Mecca.    It serves as a focal point towards which all Muslims face when praying.
·       Masjid - the Arabic term for mosque.
·       Talbiyah – The proclamation Muslims chant during the pilgrimage.
·       Tarwiyah – The 8th day of the month of Dhul-Hijjah, the first actual day of Hajj
·       Umrah – A pilgrimage to the Holy House of Allah in the city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia.     Often referred to as the lesser pilgrimage.    It can be performed at any time of the year.


ThePilgrimageHajj2.jpgHajj is a pillar of Islam and an act of worship that combines, belief, statements and actions; in short it is an act of worship that requires your full attention.  It is wise for you to leave shopping, chasing those extraordinary deals, which you will definitely see, for after the Hajjseason. 
One important gadget that you shouldn’t forget is a cell phone.  It is advisable that you not use an expensive handset during this period, but simply resort to using a cheaper one that can be purchased at the Pilgrims City (upon your arrival in  Saudi).  These cell-phones are usually sold with a pre-paid SIM card.  Save the number of your group’s director and Hajj leader on the phone. 
There are 3 types of Hajj and this series will be explaining the most common type, Hajj Tamattu’.  In this you will perform Umrah upon arrival from your country before the 8th ofDhul-Hijjah (the procedure of performing Umrah has been explained earlier).

8th Day of Dhul-Hijjah

We are now on the 8th of Dhul-Hijjah.  It is known as the ‘day of Tarwiyah’ or 'the day of fetching water and quenching thirst.' It is called by this name, because the pilgrims would get ready for this long day and night by feeding their animals and making sure their camels had enough water for the long journey ahead.  They would also stock up on water in anticipation of the long stand on the day of Arafah, which was usually a hot, long day!
When the day of Tarwiyah comes, one should enter Ihram in the morning from the place where he is in Mecca.  The Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of Allah be upon him, donned the garments of Ihram at the Duha time (the time just after sunrise till just before the sun reaches its zenith).  He should then say the following: Lab’baika Haj’jan (Here I am O Allah performing the Hajj) which indicates one’s intention of performing the Hajj.  After that one should say the Talbiyah continuously: ‘Lab’baik Al’laahum’ma Lab’baik, Lab’baika laa Shareeka laka Lab’baik, In’nal Hamda wan Ni’mata laka wal Mulk, Laa Shareeka lak’.[1]
You would then proceed with your Hajj group to the area of Mina, which literally is a tent city.  Millions of people gather here on this day from all corners of the globe.  It is wise that you carefully note the area that you are in; each is marked with a color and an identification code.  If this fails, then you can simply ask for the general location of the tents of your country.   
It is important for one to try their best to be in Mina before the sun reaches its zenith.  The pilgrim should busy himself with the remembrance of Allah and recite the Quran.  One should avoid idle talk and discussion of worldly matters and argumentation. 
Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him said: “I heard the Prophet say, ‘Whoever performs Hajj and does not commit any rafath (obscenity) or fusooq (transgression), he returns (free from sin) as the day his mother gave birth to him’”.  (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
005.jpgWhile here, the pilgrim should perform each prayer (DhuhrAsr,MaghribIsha and Fajr) in its time.  They shouldn’t combine prayers, but each four unit prayer is shortened to two units.   
There is a very interesting masjid in Mina.  It is known as Masjid Kheef.  The Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:“Seventy Prophets performed prayer in thismasjid.” (Baihaqi)
It is not required of one to visit that masjid or to pray there, some may carry this belief, but there is no basis for it.   
Depending on the bus schedule for your Hajj group, you may move from Mina to the next stop in Hajj shortly after the Fajr prayer or before the Dhuhr prayer of the 9th day ofDhul-Hijjah

The 9th Day of Dhul-Hijjah

The 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah is called Yaum ul-Arafah or the day of Arafah.  It is the most important day of Hajj.  The Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:Hajj is Arafah” (Ahmed)
The pilgrim should stay at Arafah (a pilgrimage site) till just before sunset.  The Prophet said: “The best du'a (supplication) on the day of Arafah; the best thing I have said and the Prophets before me have said is “Laa ilaahah il'la Allah wahdahu laa shareeka lahu, lahul-mulk wa lahul-hamd yuh'yee wa yu'meet wa hu'wa 'alaa kol'lee shay'in qadeer .[2] (Sahih at-Targhib)
In the next lesson we will learn about the remaining actions of Hajj

[1] Meaning: Here I am O Allah in response to Your call, here I am.   Here I am, You have no partner, here I am.   Verily all praise, grace and sovereignty belong to You.   You have no partner
[2] Meaning: None has the right to be worshipped but Allah alone, Who has no partner.  His is the dominion and His is the praise.  He brings life and He causes death, He is Able to do all things.

The Pilgrimage (Hajj) (part 3 of 3)

Description: An easy to follow guide outlining the essentials every new Muslim must know about Hajj, the greater pilgrimage to Mecca. 
·       To learn how to perform Hajj.
Arabic Terms
·       FajrDhuhrAsrMaghribIsha – the names of five daily prayers in Islam. 
·       Hajj - A pilgrimage to Mecca where the pilgrim performs a set of rituals.  The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, which every adult Muslim must undertake at least once in their life if they can afford it and are physically able.
·       Kaba - The cube-shaped structure located in the city of Mecca.  It serves as a focal point towards which all Muslims face when praying.
·       Talbiyah - The proclamation Muslims chant during the pilgrimage.
·       Sa'ee - It is the walking and running between the hills of Safa and Marwa.
·       Eid - festival or celebration.  Muslims celebrate two major religious holidays, known as Eid-ul-Fitr (which takes place after Ramadan) and Eid-ul-Adha (which occurs at the time of the Hajj).
·       Tawaf - Circumambulation around the Kabah.  It is done in seven circuits. 

The 9th Day and Beyond

ThePilgrimageHajj3.jpgThe 9th day is indeed a precious day, thus, one is to utilize every moment of it in a productive manner! One of the best things one can do is to supplicate to Allah for all that they desire in this life and in the next.  Some may perceive it to be inappropriate to ask Allah for worldly riches, but there is no sin in doing this.  In fact, the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of Allah be upon him, supplicated for Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, saying:“O Allah increase him in wealth, and give him many children and bless him in that.”[1]  One should make an extra effort to repent and pledge to Allah that they will turn a new page in their lives. 
At sunset, one is to leave the area of Arafah for Muzdalifah[2].  Since one will be with aHajj group, they may leave a bit earlier.  Upon arriving at Muzdalifah one should perform theMaghrib prayer and Isha prayer (combining them and shortening the Isha to two units) thus allowing oneself a good night’s rest thereafter.  A common mistake that is committed by many is that they will spend their night chatting, taking selfies or surfing the net.  This is inappropriate, as the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of Allah be upon him, indicated that one should spend this night resting as much as they can.  One should continue saying the Talbiyah at this stage of the pilgrimage. 

The 10th Day (The Day of Eid)

This is the ‘action-packed’ day for the pilgrim.  The majority of the Hajj rituals are performed herein.  It is best that one follows this day’s rituals in the manner that Prophet Muhammad performed them in. 
Upon getting up for the Fajr prayer and performing it, one is to utilize that time to supplicate to Allah, as well one should gather 7 small ‘chickpea’ sized stones for the ritual of stoning that takes place on this day.  Taking a few extra is recommended
Usually after this, the Hajj group will take the pilgrims back to Mina, where they will stone the biggest pillar, which is closest to Mecca.  This pillar is known as Jamaratul-Aqabah.  It should be noted that these pillars are not the ‘devil’, but simply a pillar.  In relation to the reason behind this ritual, one can find its roots in the story of Prophet Abraham and Ismail, peace be upon them both.  The devil had approached Ismail and tried to convince him to disobey his father in these three locations.  Today stoning is conducted in obedience to the commandment of our Prophet.  With each stone that is thrown one is to say ‘Allahu Akbar’.
After stoning the Jamratul-Aqabah, one is to have their sacrificial animal slaughtered.  Nowadays, this process is more or less automated through one of the large corporations that takes care of this on behalf of the pilgrims.  Once this step is ascertained, one can shave off or trim their hair evenly.  For women, it is sufficient to clip off a small amount of hair. 
Once these actions are completed, one would then head towards the Haram to perform what is known as Tawaf Al-Ifaadah, and the Sa’ee of Hajj.  These are the five actions that one should perform in this day.  Once the Tawaf is about to be performed, one should stop saying the Talbiyah and instead say: “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La ilaahah il-lal-lah.  Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Wa-lil-laahil-hamd”.  [3]
Due to the infinite mercy of Islam, the Prophet gave us permits which make it easy for us this great undertaking.  Imagine, if all the pilgrims had to strictly follow this order, what immense and massive difficulty would there be upon people! In fact, the Prophet, was approached by many companions who had informed him that they did not do the actions of this day in his sequence.  The Prophet said to them: “You may do that, and there is no sin upon you!” One Companion even came to him and said: “O Prophet of Allah, I performedSa’ee before I made the Tawaf!” The Prophet said: “You may do that, and there is no sin upon you!”[4]
If this is the pilgrims first Hajj, they should stay with their groups.  Getting lost during any stage of Hajj will be a memorable experience you don’t want to have!

The 11th, 12th & 13th Day

These days are known as the Days of Tashreeq.  Prophet Muhammad described these days saying: “These are days of food, drink and remembrance of Allah.”[5]
The primary action one will do within these blessed days is the stoning of the three Jamarat.  The stones for this are to be gathered from Mina itself.  One will find ample pebbles of suitable sizes under the carpets of their own tents! Once the sun moves from its zenith, it is time to start the stoning ritual.  Beginning with the smaller one known as ‘Jamarat as-Sughra’, one is to stone it with seven stones, saying ‘Allah Akbar’ with each one.  Thereafter, one is to move a short distance away and make a long supplication; in fact, this is a time wherein Allah accepts one’s supplication. 
Thereafter, one would head to the second pillar known as ‘Jamratul-Wusta’, which is the pillar in the middle.  What was done at the first pillar would be repeated here.  After the supplication, one would head towards ‘Jamratul-Aqabah’ or the closest pillar to Makkah.  The same is done here, save that one would not supplicate after stoning. 
With this, one would have completed the primary rituals on this day.  Beyond this, one is to perform each prayer in its time, while shortening four unit prayers to two units only.  These steps are repeated on the 12th day and the 13th day, if one chooses to stay the extra day. 

Final Steps

Allah, the Exalted, says:
“And remember Allah during [specific] numbered days.  Then whoever hastens [his departure] in two days - there is no sin upon him; and whoever delays [until the third] - there is no sin upon him - for him who fears Allah.  And fear Allah and know that unto Him you will be gathered.” (2:203)
Based on this, one may complete their Hajj on the 12th or the 13th.  If one chooses to complete their Hajj on the 12th day, they should head towards the Kabah after stoning the Jamarat, and perform the Farewell Tawaf.  The Prophet said:
“Let the last ritual you perform (before you leave Mecca) be Tawaf around this House (i.e.  the Kabah).”[6]
If one is going to leave on the 13th, then they should perform this ritual on the 13th.  If a pilgrim is going to stay in Mecca for an extended time, they should then perform this Tawafbefore they leave Mecca. 

Great Rewards

The Prophet was asked: “What is the reward of one who performs the rituals in Hajj?” He responded saying: “When a person leaves his home for the sake of performing Hajj, with every step he takes, he will receive a reward or Allah will remove a sin from his record.  When one stands on Arafah, Allah will descend to the lowest Heaven and say: ‘look at My slaves, dusty with unkempt hair.  You (i.e.  the angels) are My witnesses that I have forgiven them all their sins, even if they be as numerous as the stars in the sky and as numerous as the grains of sand in the Desert of Aalij and when one throws the stones at the Jamarat, My slaves would not know what reward I have in store for them until the Day of Resurrection!’ With each hair that falls off of the pilgrim’s head (upon it being shaved) the pilgrim will receive a light on the Day of Resurrection! Once he finishes the Farewell Tawaf, he would return to the sin-free state, as the day he was born.”[7]

[1] Saheeh Al-Bukhari
[2] An area between Mina and Arafah.  Pilgrims stay here after leaving from Arafah.
[3] Meaning: Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest, there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest, and all praise belongs to Allah.
[4] Abu Dawood
[5] Abu Dawood
[6] Saheeh Muslim
[7] Targhib



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Jama Masjid: The Pilgrimage (Hajj)
The Pilgrimage (Hajj)
Jama Masjid
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