This article presents a summarized version of the steps involved in Hajj. More details are available at the end of the article.
Hajj – One of the Islamic Pillars
Hajj pilgrimage is one of the five pillars of Islam – i.e. one of the five obligatory duties of a Muslim. Allah (SWT) says in the Quran:
- Indeed, the first House [of worship] established for mankind was that at Makkah – blessed and a guidance for the worlds.
- In it are clear signs [such as] the standing place of Abraham. And whoever enters it shall be safe. And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House – for whoever is able to find thereto a way. But whoever disbelieves – then indeed, Allah is free from need of the worlds.
Quran (Surah Aal-e-Imran, 3:96-97)
The rites of Hajj were laid down by Allah (SWT) to mark historic events in the life of Prophet Ibrahim, which show his absolute and total submission to the Will of Allah.
The Building of Kaabah
With the help of his son Ismaeel (Ishmael), Ibrahim (alaihis salam) built the House of Allah on the ground where the Kaaba stands to this day.
The Archangel Jibraeel brought from Paradise a stone, known as the Black Stone (Al-Hajar Al-Aswad), which was set into one corner of the Kaaba.
In the Holy Qur’an, the Kaaba is described as follows:
“The first House (of worship) Appointed for men was that at Bakka (Makkah) Full of blessing And of guidance. For all kinds of beings.” (Aal-e-Imran, 3: 96)
There are three Ways of Performing Hajj:
- Hajj al-Tamattu’
- Hajj al-Ifrad
- Hajj al-Qiran
The stages of Hajj al-Tamattu’ and the rituals that must be performed are described in the following:
Ihram – The Hajj Garment
Things to be avoided in the state of IhramIhram is distinctive garb of the male pilgrim worn during Hajj or Umrah. It consists of two pieces of white un-sewn and plain cloth. One of the pieces is wrapped around the midriff to cover his body from just above his navel to his ankles, and the other is draped around his shoulders to cover the upper body. The pilgrim should wear a pair of stitched or unstitched sandals or shoes which do not cover the ankles. The head should not be covered, and no other clothing should be used. For ladies, their ordinary and unpretentious clothes of everyday wear which fulfill the Islamic conditions of public dress, regardless of the color, constitute their Ihram. Their hands and face should be uncovered in Ihram but heads should be covered.
A Muhrim (someone who is in state of Ihram) must avoid the following acts: Cutting hair, shaving any parts of the body, clipping nails, putting perfumes or colognes, killing or hunting animals, sexual intercourse, making marriage proposals, or marriage contracts. He should be focused solely on the Hajj.
Entering the Masjid Al-Haram
The pilgrim should enter the Holy Sanctuary (al Masjid al Haram), preferably right foot first through the Bab as-Salam gate, reciting the Talbiyah:
‘Labbayk, Allahumma Labbayk.
Labbayk, La Shareeka laka labbayk.
Innal-hamda wan-ni’mata laka wal-mulk
La shareeka lak’
The above means:
‘Here I am O Allah, (in response to Your call), here I am. Here I am, You have no partner, here I am. Verily all praise, grace and sovereignty belong to You. You have no partner.’
He should then say: “In the name of Allah, may peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah. O Allah, forgive me my sins and open to me the doors of Your mercy. I seek refuge in Allah the Almighty and in His Eminent Face and in His Eternal Dominion over the accursed Satan.”
After this, the pilgrim moves forward to prepare for the circumambulation of the Kaaba (Tawaf).
To prepare for the Tawaf, he must ensure ablutions have been performed. He should pass the upper garment of the Ihram (the rida’) under the right arm and over the left shoulder, thus leaving the right shoulder bare. This procedure is called iddtibaa’.
When he reaches the Black Stone (al-Hajar al-Aswad), he has arrived at the starting point for the circumambulation (Tawaf), and he may cease reciting the Talbiyah.
Niyyah (Intention) of Hajj
The pilgrim next stands facing the Kaaba, with the Black Stone to his right and performs the Niyyah (i.e. express his intention to start the performance of Umrah).
Performing the Welcome Tawaf and Sa’ee
Tawaf is the devotional act of circumbulating (i.e. walking around) the Ka’bah while reciting prayers and supplications. One complete circuit around the Ka’bah constitutes a shawt ( pleural: ashwat), and seven ashwat complete one Tawaf.. During Tawaf (circumbulating), the pilgrim cannot enter inside the Kaaba nor stop anywhere around it.
Doing Sa’i between Safa and Marwah
After expressing Niyyah for Sa’I the pilgrim performs the act of running between the hills of Safa and Marwah during the Umrah.
Safa – a small knoll (i.e., hillock) approximately 200 yards from the Ka’bah inside the Masjid Al-Haram.
Marwa – a small knoll located approximately one hundred and fifty yards from the Ka’bah.
Ihram for Hajj al-Tamattu’
If one performs Hajj al-Tamattu’, he completes the Umrah and ends the Ihram. The pilgrim then re-enters the state of Ihram for Hajj from his location in Makkah.
8th of Dhu’l-Hijjah
On 8th of Dhu’l-Hijjah the pilgrim bathes himself (ghusl); puts on the white clothing of Ihram; and after donning Ihram and verbally declaring the intention to perform Hajj, recites the Talbiyah. The same prohibitions of Ihram are applicable once again.
Going to Mina from Makkah
Mina is a desert location approximately three miles from Makkah where several Hajj rites are performed. The Pilgrim goes to Mina on 8th of Dhu’l-Hijjah. He stays in Mina for one day from after dawn prayer (Fajr) on 8th of Dhu’l-Hijjah till after dawn prayer (Fajr) on 9th Dhu’l-Hijjah. He performs five prayers, starting with the noon (Zuhr) prayer and ending with dawn (Fajr) prayer on the day of Arafat. The pilgrim also collects some of the seventy small pebbles that are needed later for the “stoning” ceremony (ramy).
9th of Dhu’l-Hijjah (Going to Arafat from Mina)
This is the Day of Arafat. The pilgrim stays in Arafat from after dawn until after sunset on 9th Dhu’l-Hijjah.
After performing the dawn (Fajr) prayer at Mina, the pilgrim leaves for Arafat on the morning of the 9th of Dhu’l-Hijjah. In Arafat, as much time as possible is devoted to prayers, repentance for sins, and in seeking the forgiveness of Allah.
From noon onwards, Wuquf should be performed at Arafat. This is the most holy of times when the pilgrim stands alone with Allah. Facing the Qibla in the Holy City of Makkah, hands should be raised and prayers offered to Allah with all one’s heart, even in one’s own language, for the forgiveness of sins.
When the sun has set, the pilgrim should leave Arafat for Muzdalifah.
Going to Muzdalifah from Arafat
(9th – 10th of Dhu’l-Hijjah: The pilgrim stays in Muzdalifah from after sunset on 9th of Dhu’l-Hijjah until after the dawn prayer (Fajr) on 10th of Dhu’l-Hijjah.
The stay in Muzdalifah is under the open sky. The evening prayer (Maghrib) is offered followed by an overnight stay.
While at Muzdalifah, the pebbles needed for the “stoning” ceremony (ramy) should be gathered. Some pebbles may have been collected in Mina but one should ensure having enough by picking up as many as required from the foot of the hills at Muzdalifah. 70 pebbles in total are needed.
At dawn, after offering Fajr (the dawn prayer), before the sun has risen, the pilgrim sets off for Mina.
10th of Dhu’l-Hijjah (Proceeding to Mina from Muzdalifah)
The next stage is proceeding to Mina for the stoning (ramy) of Jamarat ul Kubra; the stoning is performed according to pre-determined schedules. The stoning is followed by the sacrifice and the shaving/cutting of hair (Halq/Taqseer).
After the stoning of the devil, a Sacrifice of an animal such as a lamb is required.
The pilgrim then leaves the state of Ihram, by shaving his head (or, if a woman, by clipping her hair). The prohibitions imposed by Ihram are now removed, except for sexual relations. (Husband and wife may not enjoy conjugal relations until after Tawaf al-Ifadha – the Circumambulation of the Kaaba, central to the Hajj rites.)
The next stage is proceeding to the al Masjid al Haram in Makkah to perform Tawaf al-Ifadha.
10th of Dhu’l-Hijjah (Tawaf al-Ifadha in the Holy City of Makkah)
The pilgrim returns to the Holy City of Makkah to perform Tawaf al-Ifadha on 10th of Dhu’l-Hijjah.
Tawaf al-Ifadha is an essential element of Hajj.
The pilgrim circumambulates the Kaaba seven times and then offers prayers (rakaat) behind Maqam Ibrahim; performs Sa’y between Safa and Marwah and drinks water from the Well of Zamzam. The Hajj Tawaf (Tawaf al-Ifadha) having been completed, the state of Ihram is completely ended and all restrictions are lifted including those relating to sexual relations with one’s spouse.
11th – 13th of Dhu’l-Hijjah (Returning to Mina from Makkah)
The pilgrim stays in Mina for up to three days for the stoning of the three pillars representing Satan (ramy of the three Jamarat).
The three pillars will be stoned in a set order, performing ramy al-uula, ramy al-wusta and ramy al- kubra. The pilgrim then may return to al Masjid al Haram to perform the Farewell Tawaf after ramy on 12th of Dhu’l-Hijjah, or he may stay till 13th of Dhu’l-Hijjah, performing ramy for the third time, before returning to al Masjid al Haram for the Farewell Tawaf.
The act of stoning the devil (shaytan) commemorates the three attempts the devil made to tempt the Prophet Ibrahim (alaihis salaam). The Prophet rejected all three of the devil’s attempts, stoning him and driving him away. The three stone pillars mark the places where the failed temptations took place and the act of stoning commemorates the Prophet Ibrahim’s constant obedience to Allah and the vanquishing of the devil.
Farewell Tawaf in the Holy City of Makkah
This, the Farewell Tawaf (Circumambulation), marks the end of one’s Hajj. Sa’y does not form part of the Farewell Tawaf.
Departing for home
The Hajj is now completed and the pilgrim can leave the Holy City of Makkah promptly for his next destination.
(Hajj al-Tamattu’ has an extra stage after performing the Welcome Tawaf and Sa’y i.e. the third step Ihram for Hajj al-Tamattu’ which is not included in Hajj al-Ifrad and Hajj al-Qiran.)
More information regarding the details and specifics (such as duas, etc.) are available here www.hajinformation.com