Category : Hajj & Umrah
The Hajj / The Pilgrimage
A. The History
The fifth pillar of Islam is the Hajj, or pilgrimage. It occurs in the month of Dhul Hijjah which is the twelfth month of the Islamic lunar calendar.
It is the journey which every sane, adult Muslim must undertake at least once in their lives if they can afford it and are physically able.(Q.S 3 : 97)
Once a year, Muslims of every ethnic group, colour, social status and culture gather together in Mecca and stand before the Ka’bah, praising Allah in one voice, in one harmony.
It is a ritual which goes all the way back to Prophet Ibrahim and is designed to promote the bonds of Islamic brotherhood and sisterhood by showing that all people are equal before their Lord.
The Hajjis, wear simple white clothes called an ihram, simple sandals and spend about a week together performing acts of ‘Ibadah (service) to Allah, affirming their Eeman and renewing their sense of purpose in this world.
At the end of the Hajj, Muslims all over the world celebrate the holiday known as the ‘Eid ul Adha, Festival of the Sacrifice.
We commemorate together the ultimate act of obedience when the Prophet Ibrahim was commended to sacrifice his beloved son, Ismai’il. Ibrahim proved he would give up the one thing he truly loved for Allah’s sake so Allah gave him a ram to sacrifice instead. (Q.S 37 : 99 – 111)
Mecca, the holy city where Ibrahim made the first true gathering place for believers in Allah, is a place for no non-Muslims is allowed to enter. Q.S 5 : 2). It is the centre towards which Muslims pray and the one place where our hearts should long to go.
B. The Procedure
Every year, thousands of eager Muslims from every country anticipate making the Hajj. To do this important act of ‘Ibadah, the first thing a Muslim must do is apply for a passport from their country of residence. Then they must get immunization shots and finally, they will most likely contact a travel agency specializing in the Hajj trip which will make the necessary arrangements with the embassy of Arabia.
It is recommended to few belongings and only the essentials as it is a long journey and you don’t want to be weighed down with a lot of things. Anything you might need you can buy along the way.
From countries to the West of Arabia, airlines usually fly into the port city of Jeddah. From there you travel to Mecca by bus. Once there, you will note there are two different types of rituals which may be performed while in the city. There is the Lesser Pilgrimage, or ‘Umrah, and the main Pilgrimage, or Hajj.
The ‘Umrah does not count as your once-in-a-lifetime Hajj. It is an extra service on your part to Allah. It is a Fard to do. Although some of the rituals of Hajj are preformed in this mini pilgrimage, they are shortened and fewer. ‘Umrah can be done at any time during the year. If it is done in Ramadan, the Blessed Prophet remarked that it will get you as much reward as a full Hajj, but it will still not count for your Hajj duty.
Most pilgrims who are performing the Hajj during the Hajj season arrive a few days before the actual Hajj starts and perform ‘Umrah first. Then when the Hajj begins, they perform that also. This gets you the benefit of two blessed rituals in one visit.
C. The Journey Of The Hajj
Arrive at a fixed point outside Mecca called the Miqat, or entry station to Hajj. You bathe, put on the Ihram, pray two Rak’as then make the intention for ‘Umrah and begin reciting the Talbiyah Du’a.
Arrive at the Masjid al Haram, touch, pint to or kiss the black stone and then walk around the Ka’bah seven times repeating du’as and prayers. This is called the Tawaf. Offer a two Rak’a Salah. Afterwards Zam Zam water should be sipped.
Proceed to the walkway between the hills of Safa and Marwa. Walk back and forth between them seven times (Sa’i). This completes the ‘Umrah portion of the Hajj rituals and a break can be made from some of the Ihram restrictions.
Make your intention for Hajj on the 8th of the month of Hajj and bathe. Then put on the Ihram garments again. After visiting the Ka’bah and performing tawaf, travel to a place called Minna and remain there from Zuhr to Fajr Salah the next morning.
Travel to the valley of Arafat. Remain there in the open terrain praising Allah. Remember the intensity of what Judgement Day will be like. Combine Zuhr and ‘Asr Salah. It is optional to pray at the foot of the Mount of Mercy.
At the end of the day, (after sunset) travel to Muzdalifah. Combine Maghrib and ‘Isha Salah and remain there at night. Gather a set number of small stones for later use. (21 stones is the usual number.) Stand by the Sacred Monument at dawn and glorify Allah.
Travel back to Mina and throw the stones at the pillars called Jamaratil Uqbah that are there which represent the Shaytan. Then a sacrifice should be made called Qurbani. Men’s heads are shaved and women can merely cut a lock of hair. Prepare to celebrate the ‘Eid and remove the Ihram clothes for normal clothes.
- Return to Mecca, on the 10th, then make a tawaf and an optional sa’i. Drink Zam Zam water. Then return to Mina for 3 – 4 days, stoning the various pillars of each day. Finally du’a a farewell tawaf in Masjid al Haram (the Kabah area) after the 12th day of Dhul Hijjah, ask Allah’s forgiveness and make du’a, and then the Hajj is finished.
Many people then go to Medina to visit the Prophet’s Masjid, but it is optional. Some may go to Jerusalem afterwards to see Al Quds. A person who completes Hajj is called a Hajji / Hajjah for females.
NEC – Dhul Hijjah 1439 H