Says Allah Almighty in the Holy Qu’ran: “Hajj is obligatory, for the sake of Allah, for those who can afford to perform it.” (3:97)
Hajj, or the pilgrimage to Makkah, is obligatory for every Muslim who is sound of mind and has reached the age of puberty. It consists of putting on Ihram, the pilgrim’s sheet of cloth, at the place where the bounds of Makkah begin and during the stay in the plains of mount Arafat and Tawaf-i-Siyarat. The whole ummah is unanimous on this. Although the opinion of the ulama is divided on the question of walking between mount Safa and Marwa. But entering the perimeter of the Haram (shrine) of Makkah without the Ihram for the first time is not permissible. The world ‘haram’ literally means the place of peace. It is called Haram, or sacred area, because it contains the Maqam Ibrahim (station of Abraham). Maqam means spiritual status.Messenger Ibrahim (peace be upon him) had two kinds of states. His physical state is Makkah and his spiritual state is khullat or friendship (with Allah).
Hajj – The fifth pillar of Islam is a religious journey to the House of Allah (Baytullah) in Makkah. This journey during the specific month of the year known in Islam as Dhul Hijja, meaning Possessor of the Pilgrimage, the twelfth month of the lunar calendar. This is in response to the call of Abraham when Allah commanded him to call mankind to perform Hajj.
“And proclaim to mankind the Hajj (pilgrimage). They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, they will come from every deep and distant (wide) mountain highway (to perform Hajj). (22: 27)
Hajj is the biggest gathering of Muslims, as over three million Muslims from all over the world meet to worship their Lord and all barriers including language, color, class and race are broken. It is compulsory to observed it at least once during the lifetime of a Muslim.
Allah Almighty says: “And Hajj pilgrimage to Makkah, to the House of Allah (Ka’aba) is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the expenses for one’s conveyance, provision and residence: and whoever disbelieves [i.e. denies Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah), then he is a disbeliever of Allah], then Allah stands not in need of any of mankind and jinns. (3:97).
The Holy Muhammad (Allah bless and and give him peace) was reported to have said: “Islam is based on five pillars; testifying that there is no god worthy of worship but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, performing the prayers (Salaat), paying the charity (Zakat), fasting in the month of Ramadan and making the pilgrimage to Baytullah if one can afford”. He added to this Hadith:” Take your Hajj from me”.
Hajj is compulsory upon every Muslim under the following conditions:
3.Healthy and physically fit.
6.Possession of enough money to cover the entire journey while leaving enough money for his dependents.
Hajj is important for many reasons:
1.When one performs faultless Hajj, all his previous sins are forgiven.
2.When one performs faultless Hajj, his reward is paradise.
3. Hajj is the best Jihad for women, the old and the weak.
Preparation for Hajj
If one intends to perform Hajj, he must consider the following:
- 1.Intention. Intention is very important in any act of worship, the intention must be for the sake of Allah. Nabi Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) was reported to have said: “Actions must be judged according to intentions”.
2. It is important for anyone who intends to perform Hajj to learn much about it. One should know the type of Hajj he intends to perform and the various Hajj rites.
3. One must pay his debt, as Hajj is not obligatory upon anyone who is in debt. One should not borrow money or use a credit card to charge a ticket to perform Hajj.
4. It is recommended that one settles all disputes between him and anyone he is at loggerheads with.
5. It is also recommended that one writes his will and advises his family to fear Allah before he departs.
The pilgrim has to give up sensual pleasures. He is to wear the Ihram, or pilgrim garment, as if he is wearing the sheet wrapped around a corpse called a Kafan, avoid game shooting, hunting and exercise strict control over his lower desires.
General Procedure for Hajj
Upon reaching Makkah, pilgrims head towards Haram Baytullah at Makkah and make Tawaf (circumambulation) around the Holy Kaa’aba saying: Talbiyah (“In the name of Allah, Allah is the Greatest,O Allah! [I begin this Tawaf] believing in You, affirming the truth of Your Book, fulfilling my covenant with you, and following the example of the Messenger, (Allah bless him and give him peace). In the name of Allah! Allah is the Greatest “Glory to Allah, All praises is due to Allah, there is no god but Allah, and Allah is the Greatest. There is no might nor power except with Allah.”)
Upon reaching Yamani Corner – the corner pilgrims turn before reaching the Black Stone – The Holy Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) was reported to have read the following supplication: “Our Lord! Grant us good of this world and good in the hereafter, and save us from the punishment of fire.”
After the Tawaf, pilgrims perform two rak’ats behind Maqam Ibrahim.
Drinking at the Zamzam well is also recommended after the two rak’ats behind Maqam Ibrahim.
Sa’ayi Between Saf and Marwa
Saa’yi is the seven round of walking and jogging which begins at mount Safa and ends at mount Marwa. The Holy Messenger Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) read the following supplication upon reaching the area of Safa and Marwa: “Verily, Safa and Marwa are among the symbols of Allah” “I begin with what Allah has begun with.” To begin the Saa’ayi, the pilgrim is required to stand on top of the hill at Safa facing the qiblah and read the following supplication: “There is no god worthy of worship but Allah, He has no partners. To Him belongs the kingdom and all praise. He gives life and causes death; He has power over all things. There is no god but He. He has fulfilled His promise, given victory to His Servant, and He alone defeated the confederates.” The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) has said: “The Hajis, persons who fulfill the rites of Hajj, are a Divine deputation; Allah gives them what they desire.”