Wednesday 31 July 2019

How to Perform Hajj - The Hajj Rituals

The most blessed event of a believer's life has arrived: The Hajj !! Muslims all over the world set aside a portion of their earnings to be able to bear the expenses to go to Makkah, Saudi Arabia and perform the ritual of Hajj, the fifth and last pillar of Islam. There have been instances wherein older people even touching the hundredth year of their lives, or even beyond, to make to Makkah and perform Hajj.

This year, over two million blessed Muslims are presently in Makkah to perform Hajj 2019 / 1440 AH, which is just about ten days from hence. Hajj rituals are spanned over five days from 8th-12th of the Islamic calendar's month of Dhul-Hijjah. Here in under are the preparations and details of rituals performed during the five days of the Hajj:
Hajj Rituals described diagrammatically [Photo: AsceticRose / Wikimedia Commons]

Getting into the state of IhramBefore pilgrims wish to enter the Al Masjid Al Haram (the sacred boundary of Mecca) and move across to perform Hajj, they should wear Ihram in order to make haram and traverse the five different areas of Miqat in the Haram boundary:

(1)  Miqat is an imaginary boundary around Makkah. Before crossing these imaginary lines, one must change over from one's normal clothing to a two piece coarse while cloth called Ihram. Below are the destination options and relevant Miqats for pilgrims travelling to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj:
  • Dhu’l Hulaifah (Abbyar Ali) is for pilgrims coming to Saudi Arabia from or through Madina first to perform Hajj al-Tamatt’u
  • Al-Juhfah (near Rabigh) is for pilgrims coming from or through Syria, Morocco, or Egypt.
  • Qarn-al manazil (As-Sail Al-Kabeer) is for pilgrims coming from or through Najd or Taif.
  • Yalamlam (Sa’adiyah) is for pilgrims coming from or through India, Pakistan or Yemen.
  • Dhat `Irq is for pilgrims coming from or through Iraq.
(2)  Before setting off from their place of stay and making their way to the sacred boundary of Mecca, pilgrims are bound to assume a state of Ihram, which is the combined sacred act of Niyyah and Talbiyah necessary to perform Hajj. 
  • Niyyah is the innate intention to perform an act of worship, 
  • Talbiyah is a special prayer said in supplication to attain Ihram, given herein under:
لَبَّيْكَ اللَّهُمَّ لَبَّيْكَ، لَبَّيْكَ لاَ شَرِيْكَ لَكَ لَبَّيْكَ، إِنَّ الْحَمْدَ وَالنِّعْمَةَ لَكَ وَالْمُلْكَ لاَشَرِيْكَ لَكَ

To be pronounced as:
"Labbayka Allāhumma Labbayk. Labbayk Lā Sharīka Laka Labbayk. Inna l-Ḥamda, Wa n-Niʻmata, Laka wal Mulk, Lā Sharīka Lak."

"Here I am at Thy service O Lord, here I am. Here I am at Thy service and Thou hast no partners. Thine alone is All Praise and All Bounty, and Thine alone is The Sovereignty. Thou hast no partners."

(3)  To become a Muhrim (a pilgrim that has attained the state of Ihram), a pilgrim must prepare himself for Ihram by following the below steps as instructed by the Prophet (PBUH):
  • (a) Performing ablutions – cleansing the body to attain physical purity
  • (b)  Changing into the sacred attire of two-pieced white Ihram sheets (Izar and Rida) for men and ordinary Islamic clothes for women. Both, men and women, should wear the flip-flops or sandals that expose the middle bones of the mid foot.
  • (c)  Performing the two Rakats of Salah al-Ihram while covering the head.
  • (d)  Pronouncing the Niyyah as the Miqat approaches
  • (e) Reciting Talbiyah repeatedly while traversing the Miqat stations in the sacred boundary of the Grand Holy Mosque until the commencement of Tawaf before travelling to Mecca for the next step of Umrah.
Performance of Umra Rituals: Most of the pilgrims undertake undertake Hajj al-Tamatt’u that combines Umrah rituals with that of Hajj. After performing the Umra (that is taking seven rounds around the Kabah and Sa'i - seven rounds between the hillocks of Safa and Marwa, adjacent to the the Kabah) re-assume Ihram and the intention to perform Hajj. After completing Umrah rituals, pilgrims must assume the state of Ihram and declare their intentions to do Hajj.
Tent City at Mina [Photo: Seeley International / Wikimedia Common]

Travel to Mina: On 8th of Dhul-Hijjah, soon after the observing the morning prayers, all pilgrims must head to Mina (a town in Makkah), where they stay an entire day carrying out ritual prayers – Duhr, Asr, Maghrib, Isha, Fajr and Qasr – as stated in the Quran.
Pilgrims atop Jabal al-Rahmah [Photo]

Travel to Plain of Arafat to perform Waquf: On the second day of Hajj, 9th day of Dhu-al-Hijjah, after the dawn prayer, pilgrims travel the 14.4 km journey from Mina to Arafat from Mina reciting Istaghfar and making supplications. They must do so before noon. Upon reaching plain of Arafat, pilgrims observe Duhr and Asr combined with Qasr prayers near the Jabal al-Rahmah from noon to sunset. This act is known as Waquf (standing before Allah). At Masjid al-Namirah, pilgrims offer noon and afternoon prayers together at noon time and listen to the Hajj Khutaba. A pilgrim's Hajj is considered invalid if they do not spend the afternoon on Arafat.

Pilgrims moving to Mount Arafat for key rite

The Day of Arafat is considered one of the most important days, not just of Hajj, but of the Islamic calendar. "Jabal al-Rahmah" Mount Mercy at Arafat was the scene of the Prophet Muhammad's final sermon. Elsewhere in the world, many Muslims choose to fast on this day.
Night stay at Muzdalifah on 10th of Dhu al Hijjah -  (Photo: Shutterstock/Alarabiya)

Night stay at Muzadalifah: After sunset, the pilgrims move to Muzadalifah (a town between Mina and Mt. Arafat) - 9 kilometres trip, where the first offer combined Maghrib and Isha prayers. And thereafter they spend the night praying and sleeping on the ground with open sky until Fajr prayers in preparation for the next day’s ritual of stoning the devil. Pilgrims collect up 49 pebbles of similar size for Rami (the act of throwing stones at three sites where the Satan had tried to dissuade Prophet Abraham, peace be upon him).

On the 10th day Dhu al-Hijjah, pilgrims leave for Makkah before sunset to do Tawaf al-Ifadah and Sa’iy and get back to Mina to perform Rami, Nahr and Halq. The 10th of Dhul-Hijjah is Eid al-Adha, a day celebrated by Muslims around the world as the greater of the two Muslim holidays.

Perform Rami in Mina

On the 11th and 12th days of Hajj, pilgrims must complete the stoning of the Devil or Rami. Before Sunrise, pilgrims head back to Mina and participate in a ritual known as ‘Stoning the devil’. Seven pebbles (of similar sizes) are thrown at a stone structure known as Jamrat al-Aqabah. This is an act carried out at noon on each day. All pilgrims are required to leave for Makkah before sunset on the 12th day of Dhu al-Hijjah. 

Rami is a symbolic stoning of the devil, based on historical tradition. When Allah told Abraham to sacrifice his son, the devil appeared at three different places in Mina and tried to dissuade Abraham from heeding the command. Abraham responded by throwing stones to ward him off.

Animal Sacrifice – Nahr: The culmination of the stoning ceremony calls for an animal sacrifice to commemorate the story of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) and his son Ismael [Read why Muslims sacrifice animals on Hajj / Eid al Adha]. For this pilgrims can purchase sacrifice voucher or a coupon, which states that a sacrifice has been made in their name. the sacrificial animal is either a lamb or a camel. The animal is butchered and its meat is packed and shipped to other Middle Eastern countries or is fed to the poor. However, those intending to sacrifice the animal themselves, can do so for which elaborate arrangements are made.

Halq (shaving the head) or Taqsir (clipping or shortening of the hair for men and women): Once the animal has been sacrificed, men should get their head completely shaved, or get their hair clipped. While women are forbidden to shave their heads and only allowed to have a lock or strand of their hair clipped. The act of cutting the hair symbolizes one’s detachment from physical appearances and complete subjection to Allah. Thereafter, pilgrims perform Tawaf and Sa’iy.
Stoning of the Devil [Photo: Amellie from Brisbane, Australia / Wikimedia Commons]

Repeat Stoning at Mina: After Sunset On the 11th and 12th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the stoning ritual is repeated by throwing pebbles at two other monuments other than Jamrat al Aqabah, that is Jamrat Oolah (the first Jamrat) and Jamrat Wustah (middle Jamrat). Pilgrims face the Jamarah (main pillar), with the Mecca on their left and Mina on their right, stone it with seven small pebbles while reciting takbeer. 

Pilgrims may leave Mina for Mecca before sunset on the 12th. If unable to leave on the 12th before sunset or opt to stay at free will, they must perform the stoning ritual again on the 13th before returning to Makkah.

Perform the Farewell Tawaf "Tawaf al-Wadaa": On 13th of Dhu al Hijjah, the final step is the farewell Tawaf / Tawaf al-Wadaa. 'Wadaa' means 'to bid farewell', circumambulating the Kaaba anti-clockwise seven times and touching or kissing the Kaaba if possible. Pilgrims reflect on their experience and thank Allah for everything, while circumambulating the Kaaba. On completing the Tawaf, pilgrims can proceed to collect their belongings, leave Kaaba by setting their left foot out first and making supplications while doing so. This final step marks the end of Hajj rituals.

Journey to Medina: Most of the pilgrims after performing the Hajj, head towards Medina to pay homage to the most revered of the prophets, Muhammad (peace be upon him) and spend few to forty days. Though not a part of Hajj, pilgrims still choose to travel to the city of Medina and the Al-Masjid an-Nabawi (Mosque of the Prophet), which contains tomb of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) The Quba Mosque and Masjid al-Qiblatayn are also usually visited.

We pray that all pilgrims present in Makkah at this time of the year may their presence be accepted and come back duly blessed with countless blessings of Allah. Aameen.

Please refer to our page: Dhu al-Hijja (ذُو ٱلْحِجَّة): The month of Pilgrimage - The Hajj to know more about Dhu al-Hijja and Hajj.

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 6 |
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