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The Hajj Rituals

When a pilgrim reaches the Miqaat – a place which he should not pass by except in a state of Ihraam

Source : IslamWeb / 22 Sep 2014

Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam and it was enjoined by Allaah on the Muslims to be performed once during one's lifetime. This pillar is observed during the month of Thul-Hijjah.

Building and Purifying the Ka`bah:

Allaah, the Exalted, enjoined His Prophet Ibraaheem, may Allaah exalt his mention, to rebuild the Ka`bah. So the Prophet Ibraaheem and his son Ismaa`eel, may Allaah exalt their mention, rebuilt it in order to be a safe and secure haven for the monotheists. Allaah also enjoined the Prophet Ibraaheem, may Allaah exalt his mention, to clear Allaah's Sacred House from any impurity, destroy all idols, and eliminate all innovations and deviations in religion so that it would be ritually pure and clean for the believers.

Proclamation of Hajj:

After the Ka`bah was completely built and purified, Allaah enjoined the Prophet Ibraaheem, may Allaah exalt his mention, to proclaim Hajj to all mankind and call them to visit the Sacred House. The Prophet Ibraaheem, may Allaah exalt his mention, complied with Allaah's command and called people to perform Hajj. Allaah says (what means):

"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)." [Quran 22:27]

Allaah inspired the believers to respond to the call of Prophet Ibraaheem, may Allaah exalt his mention, saying "Labbayk Allaahuma Labbayk" (In response to Your call, O Allaah here I come)!. The believers went to the Sacred House of Allaah on foot and some were riding their camels which were starved and weakened because of the long journeys. Until today, people still travel to Makkah to perform Hajj using various means of transportation.

Allaah enjoined only the Muslims who are financially and physically able to perform Hajj.

Allaah says (what means):

"And Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Ka'bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allaah, those who can afford the expenses (for one's conveyance, provision, and residence)." [Quran 3:97]

During the time of Hajj, Muslims from all over the world gather at the same time and place to perform Hajj rituals, supplicate Allaah, and ask Him for forgiveness. At the same time they come to know each other and the differences between them, such as economic conditions, gender, color, and language, are all disregarded. Hajj that is properly performed has a great reward. The Prophet, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said: "Properly performed Hajj will receive no reward other than Paradise". (Ahmad)

The Benefits of Hajj:

In Hajj, there are many benefits for Muslims both in this world and the Hereafter.

As for religious benefits, when Muslims perform the Hajj rituals in the best way it is a way of showing obedience and love for Allaah. Hajj also purifies the pilgrims from their sins. As for worldly benefits, Hajj season is an annual gathering for Muslims from all over the world where they meet to consult each other and cooperate in all that is beneficial.

Properly Performed Hajj:

Hajj is one of the greatest acts of worship which a Muslim performs in order to get nearer to Allaah, because Allaah made Hajj a means for forgiving sins.

The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, was asked:

"Which of the deeds is the best?"

He replied: "Belief in Allaah and His Messenger"

He was asked: "What is next?"

He replied: "Fighting Jihaad for the Sake of Allaah"

He, sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, was again asked: "What is next?"

He replied: "Properly performed Hajj" (Al-Bukhaari)

In this narration, Hajj is mentioned as the third act preferred by the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam.

A properly performed Hajj is a sort of Jihaad in which a Muslim bears hardship and exerts great efforts. At the same time, he will be far away from his family, property, and children just for the hope of attaining the Reward and Pleasure of Allaah as well as His Paradise.

A properly performed Hajj is a sincere Hajj in which one does not intend to show off. It is also the one which is free from obscene words or deeds and false disputes. As well as this, a properly performed Hajj is the one in which the rituals of Hajj are performed in accordance with Allaah's and His Prophet's, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, orders.

Hajj Rituals:

Ihraam and intention

When a Muslim intends to perform Hajj, he should allocate legally earned money for this journey, renew repentance from all sins, choose a pious company, and then travel to the Sacred House of Allaah.

A pilgrim should learn the Hajj rituals enjoined by Allaah.

When a pilgrim reaches the Miqaat – a place which he should not pass by except in a state of Ihraam – he should perform ghusl (i.e. a ritual bath), apply perfume, and wear an upper and a lower garment.

Women should wear the usual clothing that is legally prescribed for them.

Then, the pilgrim begins the ritual (i.e. assumes the state of Ihraam) and starts uttering talbiyah by saying "Labbayk Allaahumma Hajjan" (In response to You call O Allaah I perform Hajj). After that, the pilgrim utters the talbiyah which the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, used to say:

"Labbayka Allaahumma labbayk, Labbayka laa shareeka laka labbayk, Innal hamda wan-ni'amata laka wal mulk, laa shareeka laka"

"In response to Your call, O Allaah here I come, In response to Your call, and I am obedient to Your orders, You have no partner, In response to Your call. All the praises and blessings are for You, All the sovereignty is for You, And You have no partners with You."

A pilgrim should frequently utter talbiyah.

Prohibited Acts for Males and Females while in a State of Ihraam:

1- To cut or trim the hair or nails.

2- To kill land game

3- To conduct a marriage contract

4- To apply perfume

5- Women are prohibited from wearing a niqaab (i.e. face covering tied on her head) or wearing gloves, but she is allowed to cover her face if men can see her by drawing down a vial from her head.

6- Men are not allowed to wear form fitting garments such as shirts, trousers, and socks. They are also prohibited to wear covers on their heads. (This does not apply to women)

Arrival Circumambulation:

Once a pilgrim arrives to Makkah, he should begin by circumambulating around the Ka`bah starting with the Black Stone with the Ka`bah on his left hand. He should circumambulate the Ka`bah seven times.

It is recommended to kiss the Black Stone but this should only be done if there are no crowds near it. If the pilgrim is not able to kiss it, it is enough for him to touch it with his hand, and if he can not do this, it is enough to utter takbeer (i.e. to say 'Allaahu Akbar') when passing by it while pointing to it with one’s right hand. A pilgrim could say any supplications he wishes during circumambulation.

After the circumambulation is over, a pilgrim should pray two Rak`ahs behind Maqaam Ibraaheem (The Station of Ibraaheem) or wherever he is able to.

It is desirable for a pilgrim to drink some Zamzam water.

Sa`y Between As-Safaa and Al-Marwah:

After circumambulation, a pilgrim ascends Mount As-Safaa a, faces the Ka`bah, utters takbeer, and supplicates Allaah. Then he heads for Al-Marwah, ascends it, utters takbeer, and supplicates Allaah.

After that, he starts the second round from Al-Marwah to As-Safaa, until he finishes the seven rounds ending at Al-Marwah.

Going to Minaa:

On the morning of the eighth day of Thul-Hijjah – known as the Day of Tarwyah – a pilgrim heads for Minaa to spend the night there. In Minaa, he performs Thuhr, 'Asr, Maghrib, and 'Ishaa Prayers (shortening the four Rak’ah prayers to two). The following morning, he performs Fajr Prayer and this day is known as the Day of `Arafah.

Standing at `Arafah:

Standing at `Arafah is one of the pillars of Hajj without which it is invalid. A pilgrim should head for `Arafah after sunrise of the ninth day of Thul-Hijjah. It is desirable to reach `Arafah at midday before the sun reaches its zenith (highest point) so that he can perform Thuhr and 'Asr Prayers combined at noon along with the Muslims (shortened to two Rak’ahs). It is desirable for a pilgrim to earnestly supplicate Allaah during his stay in `Arafah (Standing at `Arafah refers to the pilgrim's stay there whether he is standing up or sitting down).

Additionally, a pilgrim should frequently utter talbiyah, remember Allaah, glorify Him, and invoke Him and exalt the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, as much as he is able.

On the day of `Arafah, Allaah bestows His favors on His slaves who strive to attain His Pleasure, and He makes the Angels bear witness that He has forgiven their sins.

Onrush to Muzdalifah and Spending the Night There

After sunset of the ninth of Thul-Hijjah, a pilgrim heads for Muzdalifah where he performs the Maghrib and 'Ishaa Prayers combined and spends the night there (while shortening ‘Ishaa’ to two Rak’ahs).

Throwing Jamrat Al-`Aqabah:

After Fajr Prayer of the tenth of Thul-Hijjah, it is desirable for a pilgrim to head for Minaa. Once he reaches Minaa, he should go to the Grand `Aqabah Jamrah and throw seven pebbles at it. Upon throwing each pebble, it is desirable to utter takbeer.

Having a Haircut:

After throwing the pebbles, a male pilgrim must either shave his hair or cut it, but it is better for him to shave it. As for female pilgrims, they should only cut a small part of their hair.

Ifaadhah Circumambulation:

The pilgrim returns to Makkah to perform the Ifaadhah circumambulation which is one of the pillars of Hajj, and it is performed in the same way as the first circumambulation. Once done, all the aforementioned prohibited acts for the pilgrim become permissible.

Returning to Minaa:

The pilgrim returns to Minaa to spend the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth of Thul-Hijjah. Each day, a pilgrim throws seven pebbles at each of the three Jamrahs. The pilgrim should start with the Smaller Jamrah which is near Al-Kheef Mosque, then the Middle Jamrah, and finish with the Larger Jamrah which is next to Al-`Aqabah.

If a pilgrim is physically unable to throw the pebbles, it is permissible to delegate another pilgrim to do so on his behalf. It is also permissible for the pilgrim to spend only the eleventh and the twelfth of Thul-Hijjah in Minaa.

Farewell Circumambulation:

Once the pilgrim has finished all the Hajj rituals and has decided to leave Makkah, he should perform the farewell circumambulation which is also seven rounds. Then, he should perform two-Rak`ahs Prayer, drink some Zamzam water, and supplicate Allaah to accept his Hajj. In this way, all the Hajj rituals are finished.


Unlike Hajj, there is no specific time for performing `Umrah, as it can be performed at any time throughout the whole year. If a Muslim intends to perform `Umrah, he should assume the state of Ihraam in the places allocated for this purpose.

There are three pillars of `Umrah:

1- Ihraam

2- Circumambulating the Ka`bah

3- Sa`y (walking) between As-Safaa and Al-Marwah seven rounds

After finishing Sa`y between As-Safaa and Al-Marwah, the person performing `Umrah should have his hair shaved or cut.


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