Saturday 2 July 2022

How to perform Hajj: Step by Step Guide

Alhamdolillah, the most sacred Islamic month of  Dhuʻl-Hijjah " ذُو ٱلْحِجَّة " has dawned and many million lucky Muslims are heading towards sacred city of Makkah / Mecca, Saudi Arabia for the realization of life long dream of performing Hajj, the Pilgrimage. The Hajj rituals are spanned over six days between the eighth and 13th days of the month of  Dhuʻl-Hijjah.

Hajj is a unique occasion. Muslims from all over the world, coming from different cultures, speaking different languages come and perform the Hajj rituals together. No one is white or black, or wealthy ir poor, for everyone is clad in same two unstiched clothed, with one aim: To Please Allah and seek His forgiveness. Subhan Allah!!

Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam, is mandatory religious duty for all adult able bodied Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime, provided they are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, and of supporting their family during their absence from home. Those despite financially capable of affording going yo Hajj, yet are incapable of undergoing the rigours of the journey and rather tough rituals of Hajj for almost a week, can ask some family friend or relative to perform Hajj on their behalf (called Hajj e Badal - Hajj on behalf) provided that particular person should have already performed his Hajj. 
Just a little brief about Ka'bah, the cubicle building clad in black cloth situated in the middle of the white marbled floor called Mutaf in Masjid Al Haram, Makkah, It is at the place where the tawaf, the anti-clockwise circumambulation arounds by performers of Hajj and Umra the Ka'bah, takes place. The foundations of Ka'bah were laid by Prophet Abraham (Ibraheem, may peace be upon him) with the help of his son Ismail in biblical times. It been a place of worship of Allah. 

Following two verse from Surah 22. Al Hajj mention God's commandment to Prophet Ibraheem (Abraham, peace be upon him) for building of Ka'bah and calling people to it for pilgrimage:

وَاِذۡ بَوَّاۡنَا لِاِبۡرٰهِيۡمَ مَكَانَ الۡبَيۡتِ اَنۡ لَّا تُشۡرِكۡ بِىۡ شَيۡـئًـا وَّطَهِّرۡ بَيۡتِىَ لِلطَّآئِفِيۡنَ وَالۡقَآئِمِيۡنَ وَ الرُّكَّعِ السُّجُوۡدِ‏ 

Call to mind when We assigned to Abraham the site of the House (Kabah), directing him: "Do not associate aught with Me" and "Keep My House pure for those who walk around it,45 and for those who stand and who bow down and who prostrate themselves (in worship), (Surah 22 Al Hajj :26) 

وَاَذِّنۡ فِى النَّاسِ بِالۡحَجِّ يَاۡتُوۡكَ رِجَالًا وَّعَلٰى كُلِّ ضَامِرٍ يَّاۡتِيۡنَ مِنۡ كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيۡقٍ ۙ‏ 

(22:27) and publicly proclaim Pilgrimage for all mankind so that they come to you on foot and mounted on lean46 camels from every distant point 

But with times, idolaters put idols of their gods both inside and outside the cubicle until it was finally cleansed of all worldly gods by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ when he took over the city of Makkah. Since that day on, Ka'bah is the most sacred place of worship for the Muslims around the world. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ performed his only Hajj in 632 AD before his final departure from the world. 

Hajj is, put simply, complex. There are several different ways of performing it, and numerous schools of Islamic thought, between which lie many scholarly differences. Here is a breakdown of the steps included in performing hajj.  

Before 8th of Dhuʻl-Hijjah, when the Hajj formally commences, millions of pilgrims reach Makkah. However, be fore starting their journey, each pilgrim makes an intention to perform Hajj and assumes the state of Ihram. Ihram for men is two unstitched plain white clothe garments while for women it is any loose garments that are not revealing of woman's adornment, only keeping her face, hands and feet visible. The wearing of Iḥrām is must as all flights over fly the limits of Miqat " مِيْقَات ", a boundary around Makkah before which all pilgrims of either Umra or Hajj must be in sate of Ihram.  

After entering in the sate of Ihram, the intended Hajj pilgrims should continuously recite  Talbiyah " ٱلتَّلبِيَة ." It is a prayer invoked by the pilgrims as a conviction that they intend to perform the Hajj only for the glory of Allah. Talbiyah is repeatedly invoked during the Hajj, or pilgrimage, upon putting on the Ihram, so the pilgrims can purify and rid themselves of worldly concerns.

لَبَّيْكَ ٱللَّٰهُمَّ لَبَّيْكَ، لَبَّيْكَ لَا شَرِيكَ لَكَ لَبَّيْكَ، إِنَّ ٱلْحَمْدَ وَٱلنِّعْمَةَ لَكَ وَٱلْمُلْكَ لَا شَرِيكَ لَكَ

"Transliteration: labbayka -llāhumma labbayka, labbayka lā šarīka laka labbayka, ʾinna -l-ḥamda wa-n-niʿmata laka wa-l-mulka lā šarīka laka"

“Here I am [at your service] O God, here I am. Here I am [at your service]. You have no partners (other gods), here I am. To You alone is all praise and all excellence, and to You is all sovereignty. There is no partner to You.” 

Upon reaching Makkah, all pilgrims must perform Umra and then take of their Iḥrām and continue with their supplications and prayers till 8th of Dhuʻl-Hijjah.

Graphic representation of Hajj  rituals (Photo: Wikipedia/Source: Hajj1.ar.svg/Author AsceticRose

The Hajj Rituals: The Hajj rituals commence from 8th of Dhuʻl-Hijjah till 13th of Dhuʻl-Hijjah, Herein under the step by step guide to perform Hajj:

The Mina tent city (Photo: Wikipedia)

8th Dhuʻl-Hijjah
  • On the eighth of Dhuʻl-Hijjah , pilgrims reenter state of Iḥrām. Now they do not need to go to Miqat to enter into sate of Ihram. 
My family in state of Iḥrām, Alhamdolillah December 2021
  • From wherever they are in Makkah, they get into state of Iḥrām to commence the Hajj rituals.  From now they must adhere to the Hajj etiquettes which includes the following The same rules apply to all pilgrims when they are entering into state of Ihram before departing for Hajj/Umra from their homes or places where they assume state of Ihram)
  • Do not fight or quarrel with others.
  • Do not curse, talk sinfully or use any bad language.
  • Do not use perfume. This includes scented soaps, shampoos, wipes, lotions etc.
  • Do not cut, pluck or remove any hair or nails. (Broken nails can be removed).
  • Do not engage in any sexual activity.
  • Do not kill, hunt or help others hunt any animals.
  • Do not marry, propose or help others to marry.
  • Remember: The Ihram is a state of mind and, just like when you begin praying or fasting, certain things which would ordinarily be halal for you are now haram. 

  • On this day all pilgrims move to the camp city of Medina where elaborate arrangements of boarding and lodging of all pilgrims are extensively made. They may do so by foot (the 8 kilometer journey) or by buses and cars. The pilgrims will spend the day in Mina, only setting out the next morning at dawn. Most of the time in Mina is spent in prayer and remembering Allah.
9th Dhuʻl-Hijjah
  • This is the Hajj Day or the The Day of Arafat, which is considered one of the most important days, not just of Hajj, but of the Islamic calendar. 
  • On this day, the pilgrims will leave their tent city at Mina and move en masse to the Maidan e Arafat (The Arafat grounds). The distance from Mina to Arafat is 14.4 kilometer, which is again footed or reached in buses and cars. 
Jabal e Rehmat (Mount of Mercy) Photo
  • In the Maidan e Arafat, there is Mount Mercy which was the scene of the Prophet Muhammad’s final sermon.  
Masjid e Nimra, Maidan e Arafat (Photo: Mecca.net/source)
  • The pilgrims will stay here throughout the day and will attend to the Hajj Sermon which is made from the Masjid e Namra located in the same venue. Besides the entire day is spent in making reverent prayers, supplications and dua.
  • Elsewhere in the world, many Muslims choose to fast on this day.
  • After sunset, its time to move again, this time to Muzdalifah – a 9 km trip – where pilgrims will offer the Maghrab and Isha prayers combines and spend the rest of the night under the open sky with no tents on the ground. It is a strange experience staying under the stars sharing this beautiful night along with all other millions of pilgrims. 
  • During the stay here, usually men collect pebbles for the rites that follow on the 10th of Dhuʻl-Hijjah.
The pillars at Jamarat (Photo)
10th of Dhuʻl-Hijjah:
  • Just after the pre dawn prayer on the morning of the day, all pilgrims move back to Mina.
  • 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.
  • On this day the pilgrims will perform the first rami, throwing seven pebbles at the largest of three columns known as Jamarat. This act is a symbolic stoning of the devil, based on historical tradition. God told Abraham to sacrifice his son, the story goes, as proof of faith. It is believed that at this spot in Mina, the devil appeared and tried to dissuade Abraham from heeding the command. Abraham responded by throwing stones to scare him off.
  • After casting their stones, pilgrims must perform the sacrifice. Completing the story, when Abraham went to sacrifice his son, he found God had placed a ram there to be slaughtered instead. It is better to do the slaughtering of the animal by oneself. However if due to rush or ill health one cannot so it himself, he can buy an animal for which a ticket is issued and the sacrifice of the animal is done under the government arrangement.
  • After the sacrifice, pilgrims trim or shave (men only) their hair and remove their ihram clothes.
  •  Many will then proceed to Makkah to perform tawaf and sa’ee, first circling the Kaaba seven times, then walking seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwa.
11-13th of Dhuʻl-Hijjah: On each day, they will again symbolically stone the devil – this time throwing seven pebbles at each of the three pillars. With the hardest part behind them, pilgrims will now spend the next two or three days in Mina.

When their time in Mina is finished, the pilgrims return to Makkah to perform the final circulation of the Kaaba, a “farewell” tawaf.
Majid e Nabavi (The Prophet's Mosque) - (Photo)

From here on, many return to their homes via Jeddah airport. However, many prefer to go to the city of Medinah, the final resting place of Prophet Muhammad at Masjid al Nabavi, the second holiest city in Islam. However, is not part of the pilgrimage. But along with the life time opportunity to be in the holy lands, how can someone miss out the second holiest place of Islam. Here many people offer 40 prayers in eight days as a ritual. Even otherwise being in the city of Medina is a great blessing for it has been the city where once our Prophet Muhammad  ﷺ established the first real Islamic state and from here the Islam spread to all nook and corners of the world.
May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) bless us the chance to perform Hajj and Umra, at least once in our life times to be close the holiest of places of Islam and pray for our forgiveness.
May Allah help us understand Qur'ān and help us to act upon the commandments of Allah contained therein. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others life miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so that they are able to discuss issues with non-Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

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 | Source references: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |

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