The Rituals of Hajj and ‘Umrah
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi
It is this
proclamation which was made centuries ago and it is in response to it that
while uttering ‘لَبَّيْك
لَبَّيْك’ we travel to Bayt Al-Haram, the Mosque built
by Abraham (sws) in Makkah. It is this ancient mosque which in the
words of Imam Farahi was the first house of God in this valley of
Batha and about which it had been decided from the very beginning that
it would fend off all those who would deviate from Tawhid.
Consequently, when its inhabitants took to polytheism and left it, they took
away some of its stones in order to worship them. When Abraham (sws) after
migrating from Babylon while trying to find this ancient mosque reached this
location, he could only discover a shining stone from its previous
construction. After he attempted to sacrifice Ishmael (sws), the Almighty
directed him to rebuild this place of worship. So both father and son
started digging the earth beneath this very memorable stone. Once the
ancient foundations became visible after some labour, they raised them and
implanted this stone in one part of the erected structure. Ishmael (sws) was
offered and devoted to this very house and thus regarded as its attendant
and it was proclaimed in the name of the Almighty that people should come
here to ceremonially devote themselves and revive their commitment to the
belief of Tawhid. In religious parlance, these rituals are called
Hajj and ‘Umrah. In the religion of Abraham (sws), these two rituals are the
pinnacle of worship. The Qur’an has declared that Islam is in fact a
contract of sale and purchase with the Almighty: We sell our lives and
wealth for the Paradise the Almighty has prepared for us:
اللّهَ اشْتَرَى مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَنفُسَهُمْ وَأَمْوَالَهُم بِأَنَّ
(God has purchased from the faithful their lives and worldly goods, and in
return has promised them the Garden (9:111)). Consequently, right after it
is said: ‘فَاسْتَبْشِرُواْ
بِبَيْعِكُمُ الَّذِي بَايَعْتُم بِهِ وَذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ’
(Rejoice then in the bargain you have made. That is
the supreme triumph (9:111)).
The next day they reach an open field seeking the forgiveness of the Almighty, praying and beseeching Him to grant them success in this war and listening to the sermon of the imam.
Giving due consideration to the symbolism of waging war against Iblis they shorten and combine their prayers and then after a short stay on the way back reach their camps.
Afterwards they fling stones on Satan and symbolically offer themselves to God by sacrificing animals. They then shave their heads and to offer the rounds of vows come to the real place of worship and sacrifice.
Then they return to their camps again and in the next two or three days fling stones on Satan in the manner they had done earlier.
Viewed thus, the Ihram worn in Hajj and ‘Umrah symbolizes the fact that a believer has withdrawn from the amusement, attractions and involvements of this world and like a monk wearing two unstitched robes, bare-headed and to some extent bare-footed too has resolved to reach the presence of the Almighty.
The ‘Talbiyah’ is the answer to the call made by Abraham (sws) while standing on a rock after he had re-built the House of God. This call has now reached the nooks and corners of this world and the servants of God while acknowledging His favours and affirming belief in His Tawhid respond to it by saying: ‘اَللّهُمَّ لَبَّيْك لَبَّيْك’.
The rounds of ‘Tawaf’ are the rounds of vow. This is an ancient tradition of the Abrahamic religion. According to this tradition, animals which were to be sacrificed or devoted to the place of worship were made to walk to and fro in front of it and in front of the altar. It is these rounds which have been referred at various places by the translators of the Torah as the ‘wave offering’ and ‘presenting someone’:
In the Arabic translations of the Bible, the words used for this are ‘تُرَدِّدُهُمْ لِلْرَبِّ’ and ‘إمَامَ الرَّبِّ’ which point to this underlying reason.
The Istilam of the Hajari Aswad symbolizes the revival of the pledge. In it, a person while symbolizing this stone to be the hand of the Almighty, places his own hand in His and in accordance with the ancient tradition about covenant and pledges by kissing it revives his pledge with the Almighty that after accepting Islam he has surrendered his life and wealth to Him in return for Paradise.
Sa‘i is in fact the Tawaf of the place where Ishmael (sws) was offered for sacrifice. Abraham (sws) while standing on the hill of Safa had observed this place of sacrifice and then to fulfill the command of Allah had briskly walked towards the hill of Marwah. In the Bible, this incident is narrated in the following words:
Consequently, the Tawaf of Safa and Marwah are the rounds of vow which are first made before the Ka‘bah and then on the place of worship. It is evident from the Torah that just as they were made before sacrificing an animal they were also made after sacrificing it while holding a part of the slaughtered animal in the hands:
‘Arafat is a surrogate for the Ka‘bah where the warriors gather to battle against Satan, seeking forgiveness for their sins and praying to God to grant them success in this war.
Muzdalifah is the place where the army stops and spends the night and the warriors once again pray and beseech the Lord when they get up in the morning on their way to the battlefield.
Rami symbolizes cursing Iblis and waging war against him. This ritual is undertaken with the determination that a believer would not be happy with anything less than the defeat of Iblis. It is known that this eternal enemy of man is persistent in implanting evil suggestions in the minds of people. However, if resistance is offered in return, his onslaught decreases gradually. Doing Rami for three days first at the bigger Jamarat and then at the smaller ones symbolizes this very resistance.
Animal sacrifice symbolizes that one is willing to sacrifice one’s life for the Almighty and shaving the head symbolizes that the sacrifice has been presented and a person with the mark of obedience and eternal servitude to the Almighty can now return to his home. Shaving the head is an ancient tradition of the religion of Abraham (sws). Consequently, this law has been stated in the Torah that a person who has been offered and devoted to God should not shave his head until the days of the vow are complete:
It is evident from the foregoing details, how grand and exceptional the ritual of Hajj is. It has been made incumbent once in the life of a Muslim who has the capacity to undertake it. Consequently, the Almighty has warned the People of the Book that showing disregard to this ritual is tantamount to disbelief and if they insist on this disregard then God will not show any regard to them:
Once, the Prophet (sws) also referred to its exalted status after faith and Jihad. He is also reported to have said that a person who offers Hajj and does not do anything lewd nor shows any disobedience, returns from Hajj as if his mother has given birth to him. Similarly, he has said: ‘An ‘Umrah done after ‘Umrah is atonement for the sins done in between them and the reward of the Hajj offered with full sincerity is Paradise.
History of the Hajj and ‘Umrah
The history of the rituals of Hajj and ‘Umrah begins with the declaration of Abraham (sws) referred to earlier at various places in this article. Never did these rituals cease to be offered thereafter. Before the advent of the Prophet Muhammad (sws) also, the people of Arabia would come to offer them in multitudes and after his advent too, this process has continued. No doubt, the Arabs had introduced certain innovations in these rituals; however, it is evident from historical narratives that certain people among them were fully aware of these innovations and would offer Hajj according to the way prescribed by Abraham (sws). It is narrated about the Prophet (sws) that before he was assigned Prophethood, he was spotted in ‘Arafat by Jubayr Ibn Mut‘im. He was surprised on this because the people of Quraysh would not go beyond Muzdalifah while the Prophet (sws) had come as far as ‘Arafat. He says:
It is evident from the above discussion that when the Qur’an directed its addressees to offer Hajj, it was not an un-introduced directive for them. They were fully aware of its importance in religion and were also aware of its rites and rituals. They would vigilantly offer it each year. Consequently, the Qur’an only corrected these innovations and deviations and revived Hajj in its true Abrahamic form and shape. This revival thus constitutes the last chapter of the history of this ritual – written down by none other than Prophet Muhammad (sws). From then onwards, all these rites and rituals of Hajj are being transmitted generation after generation through the consensus and practical perpetuation of the Muslim Ummah. No addition or alteration has been made in them. The reformations introduced by the Qur’an at that time and which are eternally preserved in it now are outlined below:
1. Being the custodians of the Baytullah, the Quraysh thought that they had the right to allow whoever they wanted to offer Hajj and ‘Umrah and likewise the authority to stop anyone from doing so. The Qur’an has not accepted this right of theirs and has clarified that no tribe or family holds any monopolistic rights in this regard. No one has the right to stop any person who comes to the House of God for His worship and for Hajj and ‘Umrah whether he belongs to the Quraysh or to some other tribe, whether he belong to the east or west and whether he is an Arab or a non-Arab. All have equal right to offer these rituals and no discrimination shall be made between a native and a non-native. The Quraysh should not consider themselves to be the owners and rulers of this House; they should offer their services for it and act as its custodians. It is their obligation that like Ishmael (sws), they too should make it a centre of worship for all the world and invite all people to come to it to reap its blessings:
2. The filth of polytheism had been inducted in this foremost centre of monotheism. The Qur’an has warned that when Abraham (sws) and Ishmael (sws) were blessed with its custodianship and were asked to settle themselves and their progeny in this area, the first directive that the Almighty gave them was to keep it cleansed from such filth. This was an indication that the Quraysh too should follow suit, otherwise this great trust shall be confiscated from them and handed over to the rightful:
3. As per the Qur’an (6:138-150), in relation to their Idols, the Quraysh had forbidden certain animals on themselves and they would not sacrifice them. Similarly, owing to worldly interests, they had to a great extent altered the traditions of Abraham (sws) regarding this House. The Almighty also warned them on this attitude and informed them that only those animals are forbidden which the Qur’an has referred to. Thus they should refrain from ‘إفتراء على الله’ (imputing falsity to God) and revere all which has been declared sacred by the Almighty. Only such an attitude would ensure a safe future for them:
4. Benefiting from the services of animals reserved for sacrifice was generally considered as prohibited. Consequently, animals reserved for sacrifice were neither used for carriage nor was their milk used for drinking. The Qur’an pointed out that holding such animals sacred does not require this attitude. Until the time of sacrifice, these animals can be used in every way beneficial to man:
5. Some Jews also live in Arabia. Because of a weak tradition, they had prohibited the camel upon themselves. The Almighty clarified that this was plain conjecture. Hence the camel could be sacrificed without any reluctance. In fact, if the Arabs sacrifice it, it will earn them great reward because this animal is very dear to them:
6. It was believed that the Almighty is pleased with the flesh and blood of a sacrificed animal. The Qur’an has warned that this is mere foolishness. The Almighty is not pleased with the flesh and blood of these animals; rather, He is pleased with the piety which is engendered in those who offer such sacrifices:
7. The Marwah Hill is the place where Ishmael (sws) was prostrated for sacrifice. Since the Jews were not ready to accept this, they would keep creating various doubts about Tawaf of the Safa and Marwah. The Qur’an has admonished them on concealing this fact and unequivocally stated that these hills are from among the Sha‘air (symbol) of God and circumambulating them is a virtue and no Muslim should feel any hesitation in doing so:
8. After returning from Hajj and while being in the state of Ihram the Arabs would not enter their houses from the front; they would enter them from the back. The reason for this queer act probably was the superstition that one should not enter from the doors from which one exited with the burden of sins; after being cleansed of these sins, this would be against piety. The Qur’an regarded this to be a foolish act and asserted that this is not a virtuous deed; hence, it must be put to an end:
9. In the days of Jahiliyyah, the ritual of Hajj had assumed the form of a semi-religious entertainment. Consequently, people would take all sorts of assets and provisions to offer it but would give little importance to the fact that the real provision which one needs in this journey is the provision of piety. Little would they care that in this journey they should not indulge in lustful activity and not show disobedience and not engage in any altercation. These acts are against the very spirit of this great ritual. The Almighty has directed their attention to these aspects and emphasized that in this journey one’s greatest provision is piety:
10. Owing to this apathy about Hajj, people instead of remembering Allah and celebrating His glory and exaltedness would indulge in business, trade and similar activities. The Qur’an has clarified that there is no harm if a person engages in business during this ritual but in reality the sites of Hajj are not meant for such activities. These great manifestations of knowledge and comprehension should remain specific to the remembrance of God:
11. It had become the prerogative of the Quraysh to not go beyond Muzdalifah. They reckoned that they were the custodians and keepers of the Baytullah; so it was not appropriate for them to cross the limits of the Haram. The Almighty did not accept this privilege they granted to themselves and directed them to turn up in ‘Arafat the way others do:
12. The days at Mina too were spent in eulogistic recitals, story telling and proving the superiority of one another. Not only this, some people would go as far as to view as great a ritual as Hajj on the basis of their worldly benefits. On this occasion also if they invoked God, they would ask for worldly benefits. The Qur’an has admonished them on such behaviour and asserted that such people will have no share in the Hereafter:
13. Another issue which related to the stay in Mina was whether it was to be extended up to the thirteenth of Dhu’l-Hajj or could one return on the twelfth also. The Qur’an clarified that there is no harm in both cases. The reason is that the time of stay is not as important as the fact that however much a person is able to stay he spends his time in the remembrance of God and remaining fearful to Him:
14. The worst of these innovations was nude circumambulation of the Ka‘bah. There was a plank of wood placed in the Ka‘bah where people would place their clothes after undressing. Then it was only the graciousness of the Quraysh which would cover their bodies: their men would lend clothes to men and their women to women. However, those who were deprived of this generosity would circumambulate in the nude and would consider it to be an act of virtue. The Qur’an prohibited this practice and stressed that all places of worship a person must conceal his private parts and be fully dressed:
The Objective of Hajj and Umrah
The objective of Hajj and Umrah is the same as its essence and reality viz acknowledgement of the blessings of the Almighty, affirmation of His Tawhid and a reminder of the fact that after embracing accepting Islam we have devoted and dedicated ourselves to Him. It is these things whose comprehension and cognizance are called the benefits (Manafi‘) of the places of Hajj. Consequently, the words of the verse quoted at the beginning are ‘لِيَشْهَدُوا مَنَافِعَ لَهُمْ’ (so that they are able to reach places of benefit). This objective is very nicely depicted in the utterances which have been specified for this ritual. It is evident that these expressions have been selected so that this objective is highlighted and fully implanted in the minds. Hence after wearing the Ihram, these words flow from ever person’s mouth:
Days of Hajj and Umrah
No time has been fixed for Umrah. It can be offered through the year whenever people want. However, the days of Hajj have been fixed from 8th to 13th Dhu’l-Hajj and it can be offered in these days only. Since people have to reach the city of Makkah from all over the world, so in order to safeguard this journey the Almighty prohibited war in four months. These months are Rajab, Dhu Al-Qa‘dah, Du Al-Hajjah and Muharram. Among these months, Rajab is fixed for ‘Umrah and the other three are reserved for Hajj. These months have always remained sacred and there was never any doubt about their sanctity. The Almighty says:
The Sites of Hajj and ‘Umrah
The sites of Hajj and ‘Umrah have been called the Sha‘air of Allah. The Qur’anic words are: ‘إِنَّ الصَّفَا وَ الْمَرْوَةَ مِنْ شَعَائِرِ اللهِ’. This word is the plural of Sha‘irah, which means ‘a symbol’. In religious parlance, they connote certain manifestations which have been fixed by Allah and His Prophet (sws) to ingrain the comprehension of certain realities in our minds. The Almighty says (Qur’an 22:32) that if these Sha‘air are revered then this is an act of piety of the hearts.
Following is an introduction to these sites:
Certain places have been appointed before the limits of Haram begin which can only be crossed in a state of Ihram by those who want to offer Hajj and ‘Umrah. In religious terminology, they are called ‘Miqat’ and are five in number. For those coming from Madinah, the ‘Miqat’ is Dhu Al-Hulayfah, for those coming from Yemen, it is Yalamlam, for those coming from Syria and Egypt, it is Juhfah, for those coming from Najd, it is Qaran and for those arriving from the East, it is Dhatu ‘Irq.
This is the same place of worship which the Qur’an (22:25-9) calls ‘البيت’, ‘البيت العتيق’ and ‘المسجد الحرام’. Since its building is in the form of a cube it is also called ‘Khana i Ka‘bah’. It is located in the city of Makkah in Arabia. The Qur’an (3:96) has called it by the name ‘Bakkah’ which means ‘an inhabited place’. It is situated about 277 meters above sea level and is surrounded by mountains from all four sides. Before the arrival of Abraham (sws), Makkah was uninhabited. An ancient tribe of Arabia called Jurham ruled this area and lived in the whereabouts of Makkah. Ishmael (sws) was married to a lady Bint Mudad of this tribe. After the death of his son Nabat, the rule of this city came in the hands of this tribe and they subsequently ruled for several centuries. After that Banu Khuza‘ah and Banu Bakr ruled this city. Almost a century before the advent of Prophet Muhammad (sws) when Halil Ibn Habshiyay, chief of the Khuza‘ah tribe died Qussayi Ibn Kilab annexed it and once again the Ishmaelites became the rulers of this city.
When Abraham (sws) arrived at this place almost four thousand years ago at the behest of the Almighty the Bayt Al-Haram because of floods and with the passage of time had been razed to the ground and there was no indication of it. Through divine inspiration he discovered its original foundations and with the help of his son Ishmael (sws) constructed a roofless building. This construction too could not remain intact with time and was destroyed. After that, first the ‘Imaliqah and then the tribe of Jurham constructed it. When because of certain calamities the construction done by the tribe of Jurham was also demolished, the Quryash tried to reconstruct it but because of a lack of financial resources, it could not be constructed on its original Abrahamic foundations. This incident took place five years before Muhammad (sws) was assigned Prophethood. Consequently, he also participated in its construction. In fact, according to the historians the dispute of the re-placement of the Hajari Aswad was resolved by a very clever plan he had presented.
It has been narrated that once the Prophet (sws) expressed his wish before A’ishah (rta) that had it not been for the assurance and comfort of the Quraysh, he would have had the Hatim included in the structure thus instituting the Baytullah on its original Abrahamic foundations. To honour this wish of the Prophet (sws), ‘Abdullah Ibn Zubayr during his rule demolished the structure constructed by the Quraysh and had it re-constructed. The structure was once again destroyed by stones hurled by Hajjaj’s catapults when he attacked ‘Abdullah Ibn Zubayr. After his martyrdom, at the behest of ‘Abdu’l-Malik Ibn Marwan, Hajjaj had the structure razed down and once again rebuilt on the foundations set by the Quraysh. The structure is now intact ever since that event.
The Hajari Aswad is placed at one corner of this building. After it, the northern corner of the building is called the ‘Rukni Iraqi’, the western corner is called the ‘Rukni Shami’ and the southern corner is called the ‘Rukni Yamani’. The door of the Baytullah is about two meters above the ground. The wall between this door and the Hajari Aswad is called the ‘Multazim’. This is like the doorstep of this divine shrine embracing which the devotees invoke and beseech the Almighty. The building is covered by a black cloth which is changed every year. There is a white stone in the verandah of the building. It is said that Abraham (sws) stood on this very stone when he raised its foundations. Near this white stone is a natural fountain which is called ‘Zamzam’. Those who come for the pilgrimage of this house, quench their thirst from it.
The precincts of the Baytullah extend for several kilometers on all four sides and have always been known. All this area is called the ‘Haram’. It is forbidden to harm any human being, animal and even self-springing vegetation in this area. The Qur’anic words ‘حَرَمَا آمِنَا (28: 75 ) ، (29:67)’ and ‘مَثَابَة للنَّاس وَ أمْنَا (2: 125) ’ refer to this very status of this sacred area. The Prophet (sws) is reported to have said:
Safa and Marwah
These are two hills located very near the Baytullah. It is on Marwah that the incident of Ishmael’s sacrifice took place. As such, this is the real place of slaughter which has been extended to Mina for the convenience of the pilgrims. In the Tawaf of this place of slaughter, each round begins with Safa and ends on Marwah. In religious parlance, this is called ‘Sa‘i’.
This is a vast field between two hills and is situated about five kilometers from Makkah. The pilgrims stay here after they return from Makkah on the eighth of Dhu Al-Hajj and from ‘Arafat on the tenth of Dhu Al-Hajj. During their stay here, they complete the remaining rites of Hajj.
This is also a vast field located about ten kilometers from Mina. It is here that the imam of the Muslims delivers a sermon and then till sunset the pilgrims observe the ceremonial stand (Waquf).
On way to Mina, this is a second field where the pilgrims spend the night on their way back from ‘Arafat. This is situated almost half way between Mina and ‘Arafat. The limits of Haram start from here. For this very reason it is also called ‘مَشْعَرِ الحَرَام’ (Al-Mash‘ar Al-Haram). In the Qur’an (2:198) also, it is mentioned by this name.
These are three columns situated in the middle of Mina. The largest of these is called Jamrah ‘Aqabah or Jamrah Al-Ukhrah. The second and third are called Jamrah Al-Ula and Jamrah Al-Wusta respectively. After the pilgrims return from ‘Arafat they hurl stones at these columns.
Methodology of Hajj and ‘Umrah
The methodology which has been fixed for Hajj and ‘Umrah by the Shari‘ah is as follows:
First the Ihram should be put on with the intention of doing ‘Umrah: Those coming from outside Makkah should put on the Ihram from their respective Miqat; locals whether they are Makkans or are temporarily staying in Makkah should put it on from some nearby place located outside the limits of the Haram. And those who live outside the limits of Haram but are located within the Miqat their Miqat is their place of residence. They can put the Ihram from their homes and begin reciting the Talbiyah.
The recital of the Talbiyah should continue till a pilgrim reaches the Baytullah.
Once he arrives there, he should offer the Tawaf of the Baytullah.
Then the Sa‘i should be offered.
If the animals of Hadi accompany a pilgrim, they should then be sacrificed.
After sacrifice, men should shave their heads or have a hair cut and women should cut a small tuft from the end of their hair and then take off their Ihram.
The Ihram is a religious term. It signifies that pilgrims will not indulge in lewd talk; they will not use any adornments and not even use any perfume; they will not cut their nails nor shave or cut any body hair; they will not even remove any dirt or filth from them so much so they will not even kill any lice of their body; they will not hunt preys nor wear stitched cloth; they will expose their heads, faces and the upper part of their feet; they will wear one sheet as loin cloth and enfold another around themselves.
Women, however, can wear stitched clothes and even cover their heads and feet. They are only required to expose their hands and faces.
The Talbiyah implies the constant recital of these words:
It begins right after putting on the Ihram and continues till a pilgrim reaches the Baytullah. This is the only recital which the Almighty has fixed for Hajj and ‘Umrah.
The Tawaf refers to the seven rounds which are made around the Baytullah in a state of cleanliness. Each of these rounds begins with the Hajari Aswad and ends with it and the Istilam of the Hajari Aswad is done at the beginning of each round. It means kissing the Hajari Aswad or touching it with the hands and then kissing the hands. If the place is crowded, a pilgrim can just raise his hands in its direction or even point a stick or something similar towards it.
The Sa‘i refers to the Tawaf of the Safa and Marwah. This also consists of seven rounds which begin with Safa. A complete round extends from Safa to Marwah. The last round ends on Marwah.
Like animal sacrifice, the Sa‘i between the Safa and Marwah is optional. It is not an essential part of the ‘Umrah. The Almighty says:
The Hadi refers to the animals which have been specifically reserved to be sacrificed in the Haram. In order to make them distinct from other animals their bodies are marked and collars are tied around their necks. For this very reason the Qur’an (5:2 / 5:97) uses the word ‘الْقَلَائِد’ for them.
Like the ‘Umrah, the Hajj too begins with the Ihram. Consequently, the first thing that a pilgrim must do is to put on the Ihram with the intention of offering Hajj. Those coming from outside Makkah should put on the Ihram from their respective Miqat; locals whether they are Makkans or are temporarily staying in Makkah or live outside the limits of Haram but are located within the Miqat should put it on at their place of residence. This is their Miqat. They can put the Ihram from their homes and begin reciting the Talbiyah.
Pilgrims should go to Mina on the eighth of Dhu Al-Hajj and reside there.
They should go to ‘Arafat on the ninth of Dhu Al-Hajj. At ‘Arafat the imam will deliver the sermon before the Zuhr prayer and the prayers of Zuhr and ‘Asr shall be offered by combining and shortening them.
After the prayer, pilgrims should celebrate the glory of their Lord and express their gratitude to Him, express His exaltedness and oneness and invoke and beseech Him as much as they can.
They should set off for Muzdalifah after sunset.
After arriving at Muzdalifah, the pilgrims should offer the prayers of Maghrib and ‘Isha by combining and shortening them.
The night must be spent at the field of Muzdalifah.
After the Fajr prayer, the pilgrims for some time should celebrate the glory of their Lord and express their gratitude to Him, express His exaltedness and oneness and invoke and beseech Him – just as they did at ‘Arafat.
Then they should leave for Mina and once they reach the Jamra’ ‘Aqabah they should stop reciting the Talbiyah and pelt this Jamrah with seven stones.
If the pilgrims have brought forth the Hadi or if it has become incumbent upon them to sacrifice animals which have been devoted or which are a means of atonement, then these should be sacrificed.
After sacrifice, men should shave their heads or have a hair cut and women should cut a small tuft from the end of their hair and then take off their Ihram.
After that the pilgrims should set off for the Baytullah and offer the Tawaf.
With this, all restrictions which the Ihram entails shall be lifted. After that, if a pilgrim wants, he can offer the Sa‘i of the Safa and the Marwah – though this is optional.
Then they should go back to Mina and stay there for two or three days and then everyday pelt first the first Jamrah, then the middle one and then the last one with seven stones each.
Ever since the times of Abraham (sws), these are the rites (Manasik) of Hajj and ‘Umrah. The Qur’an has made no change in them; it has only explained certain issues which arose – issues about which there was no clear directive given previously.
These issues are five in number:
The first of them is that showing reverence to whatever has been declared sacred by the Almighty regarding Hajj and ‘Umrah is a requirement of faith. This should be expressed and followed at all costs. If some other group violates this sanctity, Muslims too have the right to retaliate on equal footings. The reason is that keeping intact the sanctities ordained by the Almighty is a two way practice. One member of the pact cannot just maintain it on its own. The Almighty says:
While explaining this verse, Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi, writes:
Secondly, in spite of the permission for war, Muslims cannot take any initiative in violating the sanctities. These are the sanctities ordained by God and taking the initiative in violating them is a grave sin. In no circumstances should this happen. An attack on the Sacred House is an attack on the House of God; harming the animals which are marked for sacrifice to God and the people who have travelled to seek the bounty and pleasure of their Lord is like going after God. Hence, even animosity towards a nation should not lead Muslims to violate the limits in this regard. It should remain clear to them the Almighty is stern in retribution for those who break promises and covenants – promises which He had made with people as a favour and as a means to grant them dominance:
The third issue is that the prohibition of hunting while a pilgrim is wearing the Ihram is only for animals of the land. Hunting sea animals or eating sea animal which have been hunted by others is allowed. This lenience is because if provisions become scarce in land travel they can be obtained by one way or another but in sea travel there is no option but to hunt animals. However, this permission does not mean that people wrongfully benefit from it. The prey hunted on land is prohibited in all circumstances. So if a person deliberately commits such a sin then he must atone for it.
There are three ways for this atonement:
A similar household quadruped animal to that which has been hunted should be sent to the Baytullah for sacrifice.
If this is not possible then the price of such an animal should be calculated and the amount spent to feed the poor.
If even this is not possible then a person should fast; the number of these fasts should be equivalent to the number of poor a person has become liable to feed.
As far as the decision is concerned regarding the type of animal to be sacrificed in return, or if this is not possible then the determination of the price of such an animal or the number of poor which should be fed or the number of fasts which should be kept, it shall be made by two trustworthy Muslims so that no chance remains for the sinner to succumb to a wrong judgement:
The fourth issue is that if the pilgrims are not able to reach the Sacred House and are stranded somewhere they can sacrifice a camel, cow or a goat and after shaving their heads they can take off their Ihram. This will complete their Hajj and ‘Umrah. On the occasion of the truce of Hudaybiyyah, this is precisely what the Prophet (sws) did. However, this much should remain clear that whether the sacrifice is offered on such compelling occasions or in Makkah or Mina, shaving the head is not permissible before it. The only exception to this is if a person is sick or he has some ailment in his head and he is forced to shave his head before animal sacrifice. The Qur’an has allowed the pilgrims to do so in such circumstances but they should atone for this in the form of keeping fasts, or spending in the way of God or sacrificing an animal(s). The amounts of these acts of atonement are left to their own discretion. It is narrated that when the Prophet (sws) was asked about these amounts, he replied: ‘it would suffice if either a person fasts for three days, or feeds six poor people or sacrifices a goat’.
The fifth issue is that if those who have come from outside want to combine the Hajj with the ‘Umrah in one journey, they can do so. The way to do this is that they should first take off the Ihram after offering the ‘Umrah. Then they should again put it on the eighth of Dhu Al-Hajj and then offer Hajj. This is a mere lenience which the Almighty has provided the pilgrims to save themselves of the bother of two journeys. Thus they will atone for benefiting from this lenience. There are two ways for this:
They should offer the sacrifice of whatever animal is available to them from a camel, cow or goat.
If this is not possible, then they should fast for ten days: three during their Hajj stay and seven when they return.
It is evident from the above explanation that what is pleasing in the sight of God is that one should make separate journeys for Hajj and ‘Umrah. Thus the Qur’an has clarified that this lenience is not for those whose houses are near the Sacred Mosque:
It should remain clear that those who want to avail this rebate, they are not required to bring the Hadi animals along with them; they can buy them from there on the day of sacrifice. The reason for this is that these animals shall be sacrificed on the 10th of Dhu Al-Hajj and as is evident from the above discussion they cannot shave their heads unless this sacrifice takes place; as a natural consequence of this they would not be able to take off their Ihram. At the occasion of the last Hajj, the Prophet (sws) faced this very situation. Consequently, he is reported to have said:
Guidance provided by the Prophet (sws)
The previous discussion covers the directives of Hajj and ‘Umrah. However, the guidance we receive from the practices of the Prophet (sws) in this regard is as follows:
When putting on the Ihram, the Prophet (sws) would sprinkle some perfume on himself. A’ishah (rta) narrates that she sprinkled the perfume of musk on him before he put on the Ihram and also on the 10th of Dhu Al-Hajj after he took off the Ihram when he departed to Makkah to offer the Tawaf. She is reported to have said: ‘Even today, I see the glow [of the powder] of the fragrance where his hair parts’.
While wearing the Ihram, the Prophet (sws) had scarification done, had his hair set and also washed his head. He also allowed people to tear their socks from below and use them as shoes in case they did not have shoes to wear and also allowed them to wear shalwar or pajamah in case they did not have unstitched cloth.
He did not approve of a person getting married or a person having someone get married or finalizing a marriage while wearing the Ihram.
If a person dies in the state of Ihram, the Prophet (sws) has directed people to bury him in this state and has stopped people from sprinkling perfume on him or covering his head or face while burying him. He informed us that Allah will raise such a person on the Day of Judgement while that person is reciting the Talbiyah.
He similarly explained that no doubt hunting animals is forbidden in the state of Ihram; however, such a person can eat the animal which has been killed by someone who is not wearing the Ihram on the condition that he did not suggest or indicate to him to hunt down the prey. He also explained that this prohibition of hunting animals does not relate to harmful and dangerous animals. Such animals can be killed in the state of Ihram without any hesitation.
Regarding the Talbiyah, the Prophet (sws) is reported to have said: ‘This is a symbol (shi‘ar) of Hajj’ and when a Muslim utters the words: ‘لَبَّيْك لَبَّيْك’, then the trees and stones to the right and left of him till the end of the earth also say these words’. Consequently, he is reported to have said: ‘Gabriel the trustworthy has directed me that these words should be said loudly’.
It is evident from certain narratives that he would add words of similar meanings to the Talbiyah. Ibn ‘Umar (rta) reports that when the Prophet (sws) would go out for Hajj and ‘Umrah he would pray two Rak‘ats at Dhu Al-Hulayfah, then would get on a camel near the mosque; when the camel would stop, he would begin the Talbiyah with the following prayer:
Likewise, on a similar occasion, the words which have been reported are: ‘لَبَّيْكَ اِلَهَ الْحَقَّ لَبَّيْكَ’a.
There is only one Tawaf of Hajj which is called the Tawafi Ifadah; however, the Prophet (sws) has directed the pilgrims to offer another Tawaf after offering Hajj and ‘Umrah before they return to their homes. Ibn ‘Abbas narrates that the Prophet (sws) is reported to have said that before departing the last thing everyone of you should do is this. Women, however, who are passing through their menstrual cycles have been exempted by him from this and have been permitted to depart from Makkah without offering it.
A’ishah (rta) narrates the she was having her menstrual cycle and the Prophet said: ‘In this state you can offer all the rites of Hajj except the Tawaf.
Umm Salamah (rta) says: ‘I was ill; when the Prophet (sws) was told of this, he asked me to offer Tawaf on a conveyance.
Jabir Ibn ‘Abdullah (rta) says that when the Prophet offered the first Tawaf after reaching Makkah, he ran in the first three rounds while shaking his shoulders and the four remaining rounds he walked the way he used to walk. Then he advanced towards the Maqami Ibrahim and offered two Rak‘ats while standing behind it; he then came back towards the Hajari Aswad and did the Istilam and went off towards Safa from the door.
Ibn ‘Abbas (rta) narrates that during this Tawaf, his right shoulder was uncovered and he had covered his left shoulder after inserting the [Ihram] cloth through his right armpit.
Some narratives also mention that he did the Istilam of the Rukn Yamani during the Tawaf.
Similarly, among the blessings of the Tawaf as recorded in certain narratives is that he who did Tawaf and then also offered two Rak‘ats, it was as if he emancipated a slave in the way of God.
The manner in which the Prophet (sws) offered the Sa‘i was that once he was through with the Tawaf, he went off towards Safa and climbed right to its top; then he faced the Qiblah and declared the oneness and sovereignty of Allah and declared:
He repeated these words three times and in between, he also invoked the Almighty each time. Then he set off for Marwah and when his feet touched the slope, he started to run and as soon as he reached the incline, he reverted to his own gait. At Marwah, he repeated what he did at Safa and in this manner completed seven rounds.
Waquf at ‘Arafat
The Prophet (sws) set off for ‘Arafat from Mina after sunrise on the 9th of Dhu Al-Hajj. There a camp had been erected for him in the valley of Namrah. He resided in this camp till the sun started to decline (Zuhr time). Then he came to the lower part of the valley and delivered a sermon to the people. Following this, he offered the Zuhr and the ‘Asr prayers with one Adhan and two Takbirs. He did not offer the optional prayer either before or after them. Then near the Jabli Rahmat he stood while facing the Qiblah invoking and beseeching the Almighty till sunset. Anas (rta) reports that on that day people kept reciting the Talbiyah and also the Takbirs but no objection was raised against these practices.
A’ishah (rta) narrates from the Prophet (sws): ‘On the day of ‘Arafah, the Almighty is near His people; He expresses His pride about them and does not liberate His servants from Fire anymore than this day’.
Stay at Muzdalifah
At Muzdalifah also, the Prophet (sww) offered the Maghrib and ‘Isha prayers with one Adhan and two Takbirs, the way he had offered the Zuhr and the ‘Asr prayers at ‘Arafat. Then he rested till dawn and did not offer any optional prayers. However, he offered the Fajr prayer a little early. He then stood by the Mash‘ar al-Haram kept invoking and beseeching the Almighty till the day fully dawned. Just before sunrise, he set off from there and reached Mina while briskly crossing the valley of Muhassar.
The Prophet (sws) did Rami at mid morning on the day of sacrifice and on the other days when the sun started to decline. For this he faced the Jamrah with the Sacred Mosque on His left and Mina on his right. Then he hurled seven pebbles and recited the Takbir each time he threw a pebble. He also did Wuquf (the ceremonial stand) near the first two Jamrahs and after Rami expressing his gratitude to Him, declaring His exaltedness and oneness and invoking and beseeching Him for long. However, he did not stand near the last Jamrah.
At this occasion and on the eighth of Dhu Al-Hajj also when he came to Makkah from Mina, he shortened all his prayers as long as he stayed here.
When certain shepherds of the area asked permission to spend the night with their herds instead of spending it at Mina, the Prophet (sws) allowed them to do so and said: ‘After hurling pebbles on the day of sacrifice, you can hurl the pebbles of the two days on one day’.
He offered animal sacrifice in the usual way. However, a question arose that if the animals of Hadi came near death during the way, then what should be done? It is narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas (rta) that when a person who had sent sacrificial camels inquired from the Prophet (sws), he answered: ‘Slaughter them and dip their hooves in blood and place them near the humps and then neither you nor your associates should eat their meat’.
On the occasion of the final Hajj, the Prophet himself had his head shaved (Halq) and some of the Companions (rta) also preferred it. Ibn ‘Umar (rta) narrates that the Prophet (sws) prayed three times for those who had shaved their heads and once for those who had hair cuts.
This practice of the Prophet (sws) is an indication that the reward of shaving the head is more than just having a hair cut.
There are certain other things that have been reported in certain narratives:
1. A lady raised her child towards the Prophet (sws) and said: ‘Can he also offer the Hajj?’ The Prophet (sws) replied: ‘Yes, but the reward of this Hajj shall go to you’.
2. A lady from the tribe of Kath‘am asked: ‘O Messenger of God! The Hajj is obligatory upon my father but he is so old that he cannot even sit on an animal of conveyance; can I offer the Hajj for him’. The Prophet (sws) replied: ‘Yes’.
3. A lady from the tribe of Juhaynah inquired from the Prophet (sws): ‘My mother had vowed to offer the Hajj; now she has died; can I offer it for her’. He replied: ‘You should certainly offer it; would you not have paid back a loan she had borrowed? This is a loan taken from God; so pay it back and the obligation to pay back the loan to God is more [than any other]’.
4. Once a person uttered these words before the Prophet (sws): ‘لَبَّيْك عَنْ شًُبْرُمَه’. The Prophet (sws) inquired: ‘Who is this Shubrumah’. He said: ‘He is my brother’. The Prophet (sws) asked: ‘Have you offered your own Hajj’. He said: ‘No’. The Prophet (sws) then remarked: ‘First do your own Hajj and then do it on behalf of Shubrumah’.
5. On the occasion of the final Hajj while the Prophet (sws) was at Mina, he stood to answer questions raised by the people, someone asked: ‘I did not know [the right sequence] so I have shaved my head before offering the sacrifice?’ The Prophet (sws) replied: ‘Not to worry; offer the sacrifice now’. Another person asked: ‘I did not know [the right sequence] and I have offered the sacrifice before doing the Rami. The Prophet (sws) remarked: ‘Do the Rami now; not to worry’. In generalو whenever he was asked about what should be done if a rite had been offered before or after its appointed time, he said these same words: ‘Not to worry; do it now’.
6. The Prophet (sws) always warned people about the sanctity of Madinah that just as Abraham (sws) had classified Makkah as sacred, he had also classified Madinah. Therefore, no one should shed blood of any person within the two limits of the city nor should he hunt animals nor pick up weapons for war nor shake off the leaves of a tree except if the intention is to feed animals.
The Prophet (sws) is similarly reported to have said: ‘Any person who was guilty of any religious innovation in the city of Madinah or offered residence to those who are guilty of this, then the curse of God, his angels and all mankind be on him’.
7. The Prophet (sws) said that praying in his mosque at Madinah earns more reward than a thousand prayers offered in other mosques except the Sacred Mosque at Makkah. Regarding the space between his house and the sermon pulpit he said that this is an orchard from among the orchards of Paradise and also said: ‘My pulpit is right at the place where the fountain will be on the Day of Judgement’.
(Translated by Shehzad Saleem from Ghamidi’s ‘Qanun i ‘Ibadat’)
. Ibn Kathir, Tafsir Al-Qur’an Al-Azim, vol., 3, p. 216
. Bukhari, No: 26 / Muslim, No: 135
. Bukhari, No: 1723 / Muslim, No: 1350
. Bukhari, No: 1683 / Muslim, No: 1349
. This incident is before Muhammad (sws) was assigned Prophethood. However, since it has been narrated by Jubayr Ibn Mut‘im after he had embraced Islam, the word Prophet has been used by him.
. Bukhari, No: 1604 / Muslim, No: 1322
. Deuteronomy, 14:7
. Dr Jawwad ‘Ali, Al-Mufassal fi Tarikhi’l-‘Arab Qabla’l-Islam, 2nd ed., vol. 6, (Beirut: Daru’l-‘Ilm Li’l-Malayin, 1986), p. 371
. Dr Jawwad ‘Ali, Al-Mufassal fi Tarikhi’l-‘Arab Qabla’l-Islam, 2nd ed., vol. 6, (Beirut: Daru’l-‘Ilm Li’l-Malayin, 1986), p. 382
. Ibid., p. 390
. Ibid., p. 359
. Ibn Hisham, Sirah Nabawiyyah, vol., 1, pp. 93-104
. Suhayli, Rawd Al-Anf, vol.,1, p.12
. Azraqi, Akhbar Makkah, vol., 1, pp. 58-66
. Zarqani, Sharh Mawahib Al-Ladunniyah, vol., 1, p. 206
. Ibn Hisham, Sirah Nabawiyyah, vol.,1, p. 160
. The portion left outside the structure of the building is called the ‘Hatim’.
. Bukhari, No: 1506, 1508 / Muslim, No: 1333
. Bukhari, No: 1509 / Muslim, No: 1333
. Azraqi, Akhbar Makkah, vol., 1, p. 59
. Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tadabbur-i-Qur’an, 2nd ed., vol. 1, (Lahore: Faran Foundation, 1986), p. 479
. Bukhari, No: 1807, 1811, 1812
. Bukhari, No: 1814 / Muslim, No: 1201
. Bukhari, No: 1538, 1539 / Muslim, No: 1190, 1191
. Bukhari, No: 1835, 1540, 1840 / Muslim, No: 1202, 1184, 1205
. Bukhari, No: 842, 843 / Muslim, No: 1177, 1178, 1179
. Muslim, No: 1409
. Bukhari, No: 1268 / Muslim, No: 1206
. Bukhari, No: 1824 / Muslim, No: 1196
. Bukhari, No: 1826, 1829 / Muslim, No: 1199
. Ibn Majah, No: 2923
. Ibn Majah, No: 2921
. Abu Da’ud, No: 1814
. Muslim, No: 1184
. Ibn Majah, No: 2920
. Muslim, No: 1137
. Bukhari, No: 328, 329 / Muslim, No: 1211
. Bukhari, No: 1614 / Muslim, No: 1235
. Tirmadhi, No: 960
. Bukhari, No: 294 / Muslim, No: 1211
. Bukhari, No: 464 / Muslim, No: 1276
. Ibn ‘Abbas (rta) interpreted this practice of the Prophet by opining that when Muslims reached Madinah, they were taunted for becoming physically weak. In return, the Prophet (sws) directed the people to offer the Tawaf while running in this manner and he himself offered it in this manner too.
. Muslim, No: 1218
. Abu Da’ud, No: 1884, 1889
. Bukhari, No: 1606, 609 / Muslim, No: 1267, 1268
. Ibn Majah, No: 2956
. Muslim, No: 1218
. Muslim, No: 1218
. Muslim, No: 1218
. Bukhari, No: 970 / Muslim, No: 1285
. Muslim, No: 1348
. Muslim, No: 1218
. Bukhari, No: 1746 / Muslim, No: 1299
. Bukhari, Nos: 1748, 1750, 1751, 1753 / Muslim, Nos: 1218, 1296
. Bukhari, Nos: 1655, 1656
. Abu Da’ud, No: 1976
. This he said in order to clarify to the on comers that this animal has been sacrificed in the proper way and is thus Halal and is not carrion.
. Muslim, No: 1325. It is evident from this directive of the Prophet (sws) that he liked that all the meat of such animals be reserved for the poor.
. Bukhari, No: 1729 / Muslim, No: 1301
. Bukhari, No: 1727 / Muslim, No: 1303
. Muslim, No: 1336
. Bukhari, No: 1513 / Muslim, No: 1334
. Bukhari, No: 1852
. Abu Da’ud, No: 1811
. Bukhari, Nos: 1734, 1735 / Muslim, Nos: 1306, 1307
. Bukhari, No: 1869 / Muslim, Nos: 1326, 1374
. Bukhari, No: 1867 / Muslim, No: 1366
. Bukhari, No: 1190 / Muslim, No: 1394
. Bukhari, No: 1196 / Muslim, No: 1391