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 Sawm (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.c
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.
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.
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.
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 Nafl (supererogatory) prayer before leaving home for Hajj.
“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)
“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 whoso 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.
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.
In this Hajj, the pilgrim enters into the state of Ihram for both Umra and the Hajj at one time.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”