Hajj is the fifth Pillar of Isalm. It is pilgrimage to the Holy places in Makkah and its environs, which is an obligation only for adult Muslims who can afford it. Hajj is probably the most physically, emotionally and spiritually demanding journey a Muslim will ever make in a lifetime.
Hajj is a form of worship in which a set period of time is devoted by the pilgrim to the task of freeing minds and hearts from all worldly concerns. Pilgrims seek to pursue a unique form of universal collective worship of Allah and seek closeness to Him in the one and only location and at the only time chosen by Him.
Every step of Hajj is a reminder, a sign of submission to Allah, an instructive tool for self-discipline and piety. It serves to cleanse the soul of the pilgrims so that they return home as pure as the day they were born. Behind every aspect of Hajj is some reflection signifying the Hereafter; when all the people gather in one place in Arafah and elsewhere, without differentiations or exemptions. All of them are equal in this place and no one is better than another.
Pilgrims experience real Muslim brotherhood in the spirit of unity purpose. They also experience real Muslim equality in spite of their racial and social diversity. Thus, the sense of superiority does not exist; no king or slave, no rich or poor; all are equal in rights and duties.
Definitions of Hajj (Pilgrimage)
Literally: "Hajj" means "to go".
Legally: "Hajj" means worshipping Allah by performing the Hajj rituals, which are defined as specific acts performed at a specific time and place in a specific way.
The Ruling on Hajj
The Quran, Sunnah and the consensus of scholars prove that Hajj is obligatory for the one who can afford it once in his lifetime. Allah Almighty says:
(وَلِلّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلاً وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ الله غَنِيٌّ عَنِ الْعَالَمِينَ)
"It is the duty of people towards Allah to make the pilgrimage to the House, if he is able to make his way there. As for the one who disbelieves, God is Independent of all worlds."[3:97]
As for the Sunnah, Hajj was mentioned in many Hadiths. Abu Huraira reported: Allah's Messenger B addressed us and said: O people, Allah has made Hajj obligatory for you; so perform Hajj." [Muslim #2380]. And the famous Hadith which was narrated on the authority of Ibn 'Umar that Allah's Apostle B said:" Islam is based on (the following) five (principles): to testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah's Apostle, to offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly, to pay Zakat (i.e. obligatory charity), to perform Hajj. (i.e. Pilgrimage to Makkah), and to observe fast during the month of Ramadan." [Al-Bukhari # 7]
With regard to Ijmaa' or scholarly consensus, there is consensus among Muslim scholars that Hajj is obligatory only once during the lifetime of a Muslim, unless someone vows to perform extra Hajj, in which case he must fulfil his vow.
Scholars have differed on whether the time for performing Hajj is extendable or whether it becomes obligatory as soon as a person is able to undertake it. The Ibadhi school considers the obligation (wujub) of the Hajj duty to be immediately applicable ('ala l-fawr); i.e. it is not permissible to delay it from the moment of its possibility. It is sinful to delay, though the Hajj performed with delay is correct and fulfils the obligation.
Imam Jabir ibn Zaid (may Allah be pleased with him) said:" Fasting and Prayer do not exhaust money. Charity exhausts money but not body. And I don't know anything that is more exhausting to both money and body than Pilgrimage."
Virtues of Hajj
Here are some of the virtues mentioned about Hajj. Indeed the virtues of Hajj are priceless to any Muslim and it is therefore referred to as the Journey of a Lifetime.
1. When performing Hajj, we are known as the guests of Allah (SWT) and will be fully taken care of by Him (SWT). It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah B said: “The pilgrims performing Hajj and ‘Umrah are a delegation to Allah. If they call upon Him, He will answer them; and if they ask for His forgiveness, He will forgive them.” [Ibn Maajah #2883]
2. The reward for completing a Hajj and having it accepted is nothing less than Paradise itself. Allah's Messenger B said, "An 'Umrah is a means of expiation of sins committed between it and the next and a Hajj Mabroor (the one accepted by Allah) has no reward for it but Paradise." [A'Rabee' #443]
3. The ones who perform Hajj, in its proper and complete form, has all their past sins forgiven from Allah and they return to their homes as a newborn comes into this world; sinless. The Prophet B said, "Whoever performs Hajj for Allah's pleasure and does not have sexual relations with his wife, and does not do evil or sins then he will return (after Hajj free from all sins) as if he were born anew." [Al-Bukhari # 1424]
4. The act of Hajj is amongst the best deeds one can perform when pleasing Allah (swt). This is known from the saying of the Prophet B when a man asked him, "Which is the best deed?" He said, "To believe in Allah and His Apostle." He was then asked, "Which is the next (in goodness)?" He said, "To participate in Jihad in Allah's Cause." He was then asked, "Which is the next?" He said, "To perform Hajj-Mabroor. " [Al-Bukhari, #1422]
5. Keep on doing Hajj and ‘Umrah protects one from poverty. The Messenger of Allah B said: "Alternate between Hajj and 'Umrah; for those two remove poverty and sins just as the bellows removes filth from iron, gold, and silver - and there is no reward for Al-Hajj Al-Mabroor except for Paradise." (Al-Tirmidhi #738)
6. Hajj is the best Jihad for women. Narrated 'Aisha (the mother of the faithful believers): I said, "O Allah's Messenger! We consider Jihad as the best deed." The Prophet B said, "The best Jihad (for women) is Hajj Mabroor." [Al-Bukhari # 1423]
Conditions of Hajj
The conditions which make the Hajj obligatory (wajib) for a Muslim are divided into three categories:
A) Condition of acceptance:
That is Taqwa, which is a condition of acceptance of deeds. Allah says:
إِنَّمَا يَتَقَبَّلُ اللّهُ مِنَ الْمُتَّقِينَ))
"Allah accepts only from the God-fearing" [5:27]
Taqwa is an Arabic word which is explained as a shield against wrongdoing and further expounded as to be “conscious of Allah” or to have “fear of Allah” or to be “cautiously aware of Allah”.
B) Conditions of obligation:
A Muslim has to be of sound mind for his or her Hajj to become a duty. Since a child or an insane person lack the ability to distinguish between good and evil, no religious duties are required of them. This is based on the following Hadith in which the Prophet B said: "The pen has been lifted for three: the insane until he regains his sanity, the sleeper until he wakes up, and the child until he reaches puberty." [Sunan Abi Dawood #3823].
The Muslim who wants to perform Hajj has to reach at the stage of puberty. Understanding the difference between good and evil is important. If a person has not yet reached the age of puberty, Hajj is not obligatory for him. If he does Hajj it is valid and counts as a voluntary Hajj, and when he reaches adulthood he must do the obligatory Hajj, because Hajj before puberty does not fulfil the obligation.
Hajj is not obligatory for slaves as they are distracted by their duties towards their masters and are not capable of finding a way thereto, but if they perform it, it will be valid. However, this Hajj has to be performed once more after being emancipated and this is the opinion of the majority of the scholars (Al-Jumhour).
4- Istita'ah (Ability)
(وَلِلّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلاً)
"It is the duty of people towards God to make the pilgrimage to the House, if he is able to make his way there." [3:97]
Istita'ah (according to Ibadhi Madhab) means to be physically, financially and situationally capable of making the way to the holy sites and performing the Hajj. Therefore, it is not only limited to provisions and transportation means that can vary by the difference of conditions, situations and times. What was considered unnecessary in the past can be considered necessary today and vice versa. So Istita'ah can be summarized as:
- Body health: Muslims with physical disabilities, because of old age or extreme sickness, are not obliged to make Hajj. However, it is not a condition that a pilgrim must be able to perform all the rituals of Hajj by himself. There are rituals which he can do with help from others, e.g. the Circumambulation of the House (Tawaf) and Sa’y between A’Safa and Al-Marwah, by being carried or pushed in wheelchair. There are rituals which he can depute others to do for him, e.g. throwing the pebbles and slaughtering the sacrificial animal (hadi). But attending Hajj rituals, like standing in 'Arafah and spending the night in Mina during the days of Tashreeq, these must be attended by the pilgrim himself and he cannot depute others anyhow. So in this case, he is not obliged to perform Hajj personally and he can depute someone to perform Hajj on his behalf.
- Sufficient provision: a Muslim has to be economically able to get there and back. If someone is planning to go for Hajj he has to make sure that his family or those on whom he is obliged to spend are not left in debt or with insufficient funds, until he returns from Hajj.
- Transportation mean: Being able to do Hajj means that one has means of transportation to reach the sacred House of Allah whether by car, plane or riding animal, or by renting such means, according to his situation, or coming on foot if he is living in the vicinity of Makkah.
- Safe route: If a person’s life is under threat due to extreme conditions such as a serious epidemic, highway robbers, or a beast of prey then he is not obliged to do Hajj.
5- The availability of Mahram for a women
The first thing is that who is a Mahram in Islam? A Mahram is a male relative with whom a woman is permanently forbidden to marry because of blood ties, breastfeeding or ties through marriage. This includes several relations other than her husband, father, brother, son, grandfather, grandson, uncle, nephew, father-in-law, son-in-law, stepfather, stepson and any male with whom she has shared a mother’s milk are Mahram for a woman according to Islamic law.
There are mixed opinions about women going to Hajj and Umrah without a Mahram. It is primarily unlawful for a woman to travel without a Mahram according to the hadith of the Prophet B: “"It is not permissible for a woman who believes in Allah and the Last Day to make a journey of one day and night unless she is accompanied by a Mahram of hers.” (A'Rabee' # 730)
Depending on this general text, some scholars are of the opinion that Hajj is not obligatory for a Muslim woman if she does not have a Mahram, even if she can afford the journey. Other scholars stipulate that her travel is permissible in the company of a trustworthy group of men accompanying their wives. Their evidence was that Caliph `Umar ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, allowed the Prophet’s wives, Mothers of the Believers, may Allah be pleased with them, to travel for Hajj with a group of believers and none of the companions disapproved of this.
C) Conditions of validity:
Faith is the first requirement and without it the prescribed deeds are not valid or accepted as acts of worship. It is a condition for the validity of all acts of worship but is not a condition for its obligation. Therefore, Hajj is obligatory on all those who are accountable for their acts (Mukallaf), either Muslims or non-Muslims, but is not valid or accepted unless one is a Muslim.
2- Miqat Zamani (miqat of time)
Miqat is divided into two types namely; Miqat Zamani (time limit) and Miqat Makami (lay of the land boundary).
Miqat Zamani is a time limit to do Hajj, i.e. the months of pilgrimage. Hajj cannot be performed outside the prescribed time for Hajj. It is not valid outside these months. Therefore, Ihram (ritual consecration) before or after the months of the Hajj is invalid if assumed with the purpose of Hajj.
(الْحَجُّ أَشْهُرٌ مَّعْلُومَاتٌ فَمَن فَرَضَ فِيهِنَّ الْحَجَّ فَلاَ رَفَثَ وَلاَ فُسُوقَ وَلاَ جِدَالَ فِي الْحَجِّ)
"The Pilgrimage is in months well-known; whoever undertakes the duty of Pilgrimage during them, then no lewdness, nor wickedness, or disputing in the Pilgrimage." [2:197]
According to the view of the majority of the scholars, the months of Hajj are Shawwal, Dhul-Qi’dah and the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. This means that its time begins on the first of Shawwal.
Miqat makani is the place to start the intention of Hajj and Umrah. It is any one of the five fixed places surrounding the Makkan Holy Sanctuary beyond which a pilgrim may not proceed towards Makkah unless he has assumed Ihram. Abu Said Al-Khudri narrated: "The Prophet B assigned Dhul-Hulayfah as the Miqat for the people of Madinah; Al-Juhfah for the people of Al-Sham; Qarn for the people of Najd; and Yalamlam for the people of Yemen, and Dhat ‘Irq as the Miqat for the people of Iraq.” (A'Rabee' # 396). The Prophet B assigned these Miqats for the people of these very places and for non-natives who pass through these places intending to perform Hajj and ‘Umrah.
Miqat makani is not a condition for the validity of Hajj; although is an obligation.
Types of Hajj
There are three ways in which Hajj can be performed:
1) Tamattu' (Enjoyable Hajj), which means to assume the state of Ihram (ritual consecration) in the months of Hajj for 'Umrah alone before Hajj, and end Ihram upon finishing 'Umrah, and then resume Ihram for Hajj on the day of Tarwiyah, which is the 8th of Dhul-Hijjah (or even before). Ihram is the first ritual of Hajj; and Tamattu' is the best way of performing Hajj.
In Tamattu', both 'Umrah and Hajj must be performed in the same year and on the same journey, Without the pilgrim going back in between to his country or as far as his country.
The pilgrim doing Tamattu' has to make a sacrifice of a grazing animal at the end of his Hajj.
2) Qiran (Combined Hajj), which means to assume Ihram in the months of Hajj for both Hajj and 'Umrah together, and maintain Ihram until both Hajj and 'Umrah are completed together on the Day of Sacrifice (the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah). The pilgrim doing Qiran has also to make a sacrifice of a grazing animal; and for him one tawaf (ritual of circling the Sacred House) and one sa'y (ritual of walking between the two hills A'Safa and Al-Marwah) would suffice for both his Hajj and his 'Umrah owing to the saying of the Prophet B, "Whoever assumes Ihram for both Hajj and 'Umrah, then one tawaf and one sa'y suffice him for both of them until he ends Ihram for both together”.(A'Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah).
Some scholars, however, say that there must be two tawafs and two sa'ys (i.e. one for 'Umrah and one for Hajj).
Furthermore, when the qiran pilgrim enters Makkah, he performs tawaf al-qudoom (arrival tawaf) and he may also do sa'y of his Hajj in the opinion of some scholars, and then when he comes back on the day of Ifadah (10th of Dhul-Hijjah) he only performs tawaf because he has already done sa'y. In another opinion, however, he has to delay the sa'y till the day of Ifadah so that he performs it with tawaf of Ifadah.
3) Ifrad (Isolated Hajj), which means to assume Ihram for Hajj alone. The pilgrim maintains his Ihram till he finishes throwing pebbles at the largest Jamrah (Al-'Aqabah Jamrah) on the Day of Sacrifice (the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah).
· The pilgrim doing Hajj Ifrad does not have to do 'Umrah. If he wishes to he can but after the days of Tashreeq (11th, 12th and 13th of Dhul-Hijjah).
· It is permissible to do Hajj Ifrad even if the pilgrim has never done 'Umrah.
· The pilgrim doing Hajj Ifrad can perform the arrival tawaf but not sa'y. He may not do sa'y until he performs tawaf of Ifadah.
The Levels of Acts and Rites of Hajj
The levels of acts and rites of Hajj can be divided into three categories:
1- Pillar (rukn): It is essential. If you miss it, Hajj is invalid and must be repeated in another year.
2- Obligation (wajib): It is a requirement for Hajj to be correct. If you miss it, you must sacrifice for Hajj to be complete.
3- Voluntary (sunnah): It is highly recommended for Hajj’s completeness. If you miss it, your Hajj is valid and correct
A. Pillars of Hajj
2- Standing in Arafah
3- Tawaf al-Ifaadah
4- Sa'y between A'Safa and Al-Marwah
B. Obligations of Hajj
1- Ihram from the Miqat
2- Staying overnight in Mina (the night preceding 9th of Dhul-Hijjah); according to an opinion
3- Staying overnight in Muzdalafah (the night preceding 10th of Dhul-Hijjah)
4- Remembering Allah at Al-Mash'ar Al-Haraam (the Sacred Waymark) (on the dawn of the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah)
5- Stoning Al-'Aqabah Jamarah (10th of Dhul-Hijjah)
6- Slaughtering the Hady (sacrificial animal); for those who are obliged to do so
7- Shaving or clipping the hair
8- Staying overnight in Mina during the days of Tashriq (the nights preceding 11th, 12th, and 13th of Dhul-Hijjah) and stoning the three Jamrats (on 11th and 12th, for those who are in a hurry; and on 11th, 12th and 13th, for those who are not in a hurry to leave). And not to depart until he makes as his last act Tawaf of the House.
9- Farewell Tawaf (Tawaf al-Wadaa')
C. Sunan of Hajj
1. Making Ghusl for Ihram.
2. Assuming Ihram after prayer.
3. Raising the voice with Talbiyah.
4. Making Ghusl before Tawaf.
5. Tawaf al‑Qudum (the arrival Circumambulation).
6. Kissing or touching the Black Stone or pointing to it in every round.
7. Touching the Yemeni Corner.
8. Ramal and Idteba' during Tawaf al-Qudum.
9. Saying, (رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ)
“Rabbanaa aatinaa fid-dunyaa hasanatan, wa fil aakhirati hasanatan wa qinaa 'athaab an-naar.”
"'Our Lord, give to us in this world good, and good in the Hereafter, and guard us against the chastisement of the Fire'."[2:201]; between the Yemeni Corner and the Black Stone.
10. The two rak'as of Tawaf.
11. Du'a' (supplication) at the Black Stone after performing the two rak'as of Tawaf.
12. Advancing the Sa'y of Hajj (for the pilgrim performing Qiran Hajj Ifrad Hajj) after Tawaf al-Qudum.
13. Climbing the mountains of A'Safa and Al-Marwah in every lap.
14. Jogging (Ramal) between the two green marks.
15. Praying the five prayers in Mina in their normal times.
16. Leaving Mina after the sunrise of the 9th day of Dhul-Hijja.
17. Hastening through the valley of Muhassir when departing for Arafah after sunrise.
18. Combining Dhuhr and 'Asr prayers in advance (at the time of Dhuhr) while at Arafah.
19. Combining Maghrib and Isha prayers at the time of Isha in Muzdalifa.
20. Facing the Qiblah while reciting Talbiyah, dhikr (remembrance of Allah), and du'a'.
21. Slaughtering, shaving (of the head), and performing Tawaf al-Rukn in the morning of the tenth day of Dhul-Hijjah.
22. Drinking from Zamzam water.
23. Reciting Takbir and remembering Allah with much remembrance during the days of Tashriq.
24. Delaying by leaving Mina on the 13th of Dhul-Hijjah.
2. This is Hajj (Pilgrimage), by Nasser Yusuf Al Azri
3. The Five Pillars of Islam, by Sultan Qaboos Centre for Islamic Culture