I was asked about Haj few days back by one of
my friend Lenie, you can know about her from this website. I want to take this
opportunity to thank her for giving me such a wonderful idea to write for this
amazing spiritual trip to Makkah, Saudi Arabia.
The foundation of Islam is based on five acts,
that are performed during our daily life. These acts are considered mandatory
for all the Muslims to fulfill. A life of believer is supposed to be according
to these deeds. These acts also called the pillars of Islam. These five
important deeds on which the building of Islam is standing are:
1.Faith (Shahadah): This is
acceptance and declaration of the fact that there is one God in the universe (Almighty
Allah) and Prophet Muhammad ( Peace and blessings be upon him) is His
messenger. It is submission to the will
ritual prayer (compulsory congregation) that Muslim offers five time a day from
dawn to dusk. According to a specific method on specified time.
3.Alms-giving(Zakat): Zakat (charity)
is obligatory for all rich Muslims who have large sums of wealth by the end of
year, left with them. They are asked to give away 2.5% of their savings to the
poor and needy. This charity goes to needy that can be from the relatives or out of family.
ritual practice is obligatory during
holy month of Ramadan. Every Muslim , male and female is abstain from food from
dawn to dusk. Muslims fast for 30 days in Ramadan.
pilgrimage is a spiritual journey to Makkah, Saudi Arabia which is mandatory for
every Muslim that can bear the cost of the
travel and is strong enough to perform this ritual prayer, once in life time.
In this post I will try to write about to the method
by which we perform Haj.
What is Haj? What are the feelings of Muslims
for this pilgrimage? What are the duties that a Muslim has to fulfill? What
this spiritual trip teach Muslims?
The Pilgrimage (Haj):
journey for which every Muslim, regardless of gender; male or female, young or
old, long for from the time when realize about Islam and its five pillars. This
amazing trip need a lot of time , passion and effort. This spiritual journey
helps to confirm our commitment to the will of God. Many Muslims throughout the
world spend large sum of money and wait for many years to perform this religious
duty. The aim of this effort is to show the importance of command a Muslim is
given from God. A Muslim leaves behind family, friends, joy, luxuries and all
facilities of life and travel in simplest dress to a far of land just to make
it clear that he /she is ready to leave everything behind when it comes to duty
that is mandatory. Muslim is fully prepared about all the hardships he/she has
to face in the way. Keeping in mind each problem; little or big, brings rewards
from God and improves grades.
Hajj is a spiritual ritual that is performed
during the last month of Islamic Calendar Zil-Haj. It is a set of different elements
or deeds, that are performed from 8th Zil-Haj till 12th
or 13th. The present set of elements descend from Prophet Muhammad
but date back to Prophet Abraham who first build Ka’aba, with the help of his
son Prophet Ismail. He then called people to performed Haj as God commanded
The set of rituals(Haj rights) performed at present during five
days on different places in Makkah involves.
Visit to Ka'aba (House of God)
Mina ( The place where people dwell for few days. They stay at night in Mina in big tents excluding one night that they pass overnight in Muzdalifah)
This year 2014, 2 million people are performing Haj. The picture from arabnews facebook page shows the massive gathering and enthusiasm of people during hajj.
It is the duty of every Muslim, who has power and
wealth, to perform hajj at least once in his/her life time.
First four deeds can be performed anywhere.
A Muslim’s journey starts with fifth act, which is Hajj. This act can only be
performed in Makkah and its surroundings. It is commonly believed that hajj is the name
of prayers 27/7 for 5 days. The people who come from Saudi Arabia perform their Hajj in 5-7 days but for rest of the world it takes 40 days. The rituals are performed during 5-7 days but the people from outside Saudi Arabia stay in Saudi Arabia for 40 days on their Hajj trip. A person can offer verbal or oral prayer during Hajj
all the time. But Hajj is not complete without the specified rituals that we have to perform at the specified point around Makkah. It’s not like that
you will be sitting on your praying mat for 5 days and Hajj will be done. It is
told to be hardest of all the Ibadah ( prayers). You have to accomplish all the
elements during 5 days. Each and every person is like running from place to
place trying to complete all events during specific time.
Hajj starts with Niyaah ( intention). First Ihram is worn ( two white long,
unstitch cloth for men-traditional white robe) and women wear
normal dresses with abaya, you can check the details of dress code for Muslim women here. . During hajj millions of people travel from across
the world towards Makkah and it is believed to be the largest congregation or
gathering of people from all parts of the Muslim world in Makkah to perform
religious ritual prayer. When any Muslim enters in Ihram then few acts that are
legal in normal life are forbidden.
Hajj is believed to be a hard prayer , so it is better to fulfill this duty
during young age.Muslims are asked not
to cut hair , not to remove Ihram until hajj is complete(it depends on the type
of Hajj that is being observed)and not
to have sex, not to cut nails until sacrifice is done. Females are asked not to
cover their face , hands and feet during Hajj. Men are also forbidden to cover
heads with any cap etc.
There are three different types of Hajj.
of performing Haj is almost same but these types differ depending on how long a particular person will remain in Ihram. Let us see the different
ways to wear Ihram.
If pilgrim has intention to perform this Haj
then, he should wear separate Ihram for the Haj and the Umrah. Most of the Muslims
perform Haj by this method.
In this particular type , only one Ihram is
worn for both Haj and Umrah.
This is most rewarding way to perform Haj. One
has to wear Ihram just for the Haj.
Different people perform Haj according to way
that suits them. Any Muslim who travel with the intention of Hajj perform different
acts in 5 days. The first step is to wear Ihram on specified place. A man is supposed to remove all stitched clothes and cover himself
with two white long pieces of cloth. One piece is used to cover legs and lower abdomen and other piece covers the upper part of body
while one shoulder is left naked. Females wear normal dress. Then pilgrims travel
to Makkah to perform Umrah. After Umrah pilgrims head towards Mina.
Pilgrims stay in Mina at the night. Mina is situated 5
km to the east of the Makkah. Mina almost covers an area of 20 square kilometer.
This city comes to life during Haj (pilgrimage) when it hosts 100,000 people temporarily in
air-conditioned big tents. These tents have accommodation for large number of
pilgrims under them. In this picture you can see white rows on back side , that is Mina. Those white rows are of tents. In the morning after prayer(Fajar) all the pilgrims
move towards Arafat. Image is taken from Arab news.
This marks second day of Haj on 9th of Zil-Haj
(Islamic calendar). This is the most important act and day in Haj. If any pilgrim
do not join on this day, the Haj does not remain valid. All day the pilgrims stay
in a wide , barren ground. Pilgrims pray
from God and ask for forgiveness of the sins and pray for mercy from God. They
regret their sins and decide not to repeat them. The pilgrims repent and turn to God.
People pray near Jabal-e-Rehmat (the Mount of Mercy). Jabal-e-Rehmat is a granitehill which is
situated in the plain ofArafat. This is the place where the Prophet of Islam,
Muhammad ( may peace be upon him) delivered his last Sermon. It is believed that on this day of last sermon God completed the religion of Islam for Muslims. God completed the revelation of Holy book Quran and offered the
religion of Islam for the people of the world.
This is most important rite of the Hajj. Later there is sermon from
Masjid-e-Nimrah and Muslims offer two prayers of the day together ; the prayer
for noon and after noon, these prayers are offered at noon time. On the day of
Arafah, a pilgrim is considered to be Standing in front of God. It is the most significant day of
Haj. After sunset pilgrims leave Arafat for Muzdalifah without offering their Magrib
Then all the pilgrims leave Arafah and move
towards Muzdalifah. It is situated at the distance of 8-km from Arafah. The pilgrims
are taken from Arafah to Muzdalifah by buses and trains and many walk till Muzdalifah
, where they spend all night under sky and cannot take shelter under cover.
This is a vast ground where all night people stay after offering their prayer
for Magrib(Evening) and Eshaa (Night) together and afterwards the pilgrims take rest and sleep.
After spending night here, the pilgrims leave for Mina to throw stones at devil(Satan) in morning. This stoning of Devil takes
place at Jamrat. It is also named as Ramy al- Jamrat. The pilgrims collect pebbles
from Muzdalifah to throw on shatan. The
stoning of Satan (Jamrat al-'Aqabah ) is done on 10th of Zil-Haj. The
pilgrims have to stone three shatans at Jamrat. Each devil is stoned with seven
pebbles. This stoning of three Jamaraat is done for three consecutive days on
11th and 12th of Zil-Haj, and also on 13th of Zil-Haj, if the pilgrim did not leave Mina then stoning must be finished before noon. Hair can be cut or shaved and nails are clipped after stoning of Jamaraat.
When pilgrims are done with stoning , they move on to the next step of slaughtering of animals to commemorate the sacrifice by Prophet
Abraham and his son Prophet Ismail. Once slaughtering is done on the 10th of Zil-Haj by trained people on
specific places, the meat is then sent to needy or poor people around the world as a charity.
When the sacrifice is being done in Makkah during
Haj, Muslims from all over the world also observe and perform the sacrifice at their
homes. The slaughtering around the world takes places during three days and the
universal event is called Eid-al-Adha. This is a day of festivity for all Muslims
around the world.
After the sacrifice of the animals, pilgrims shave their heads and females trim
their hair, by an inch from the tip.
On same day pilgrims again visit Haram (Grand Mosque
in Makkah) and do Tawaf al-Ifadah (farewell Circumambulation of the Kaaba). This Tawaf has its significance and
indicates that pilgrims respond to will of God. The pilgrims return back to
Mina contented with the fact that they are almost around the corner.
After the stoning for three consective days
pilgrims go for Tawaf al-Wida, before returning to their homes. This Tawaf indicates the
The Haj ends with
these rituals and the state and obligation of Ihram ends here. Pilgrims can use
perfume or perfumed products like; soap , shampoo. tissues, creams etc. But
intimate intercourse is still forbidden until the end of last Tawaf. Pilgrims
sleep in Mina on 11th ,12th and 13th of
Pilgrims emphasize on more worship during Arafat
and cry during prayers and ask for forgiveness , as it marks the most
significant of all days during Haj.
Allah was happy with His prophet Ibrahim and
his son Prophet Ismail and during the hajj Muslims from all over world remember and
revive the sacrifice of the Prophet and his son. The pilgrims then go to
Madinah, the place where our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon
him) lived after migrating from Makkah. The place where he lived,
died and then was buried. Visit to Madinah is not part of Haj but when Muslims travel
till Makkah then they deem it necessary to visit the place of their beloved Prophet.
They walk in the streets he had walked
years ago. People say him their salaam.
The annual event of Hajj teaches us a lot of good
deeds, some of the benefits are as follows;
It teaches the brotherhood to
It stands for equality of
mankind. It teaches that all human beings have no difference on the basis of
the color , race or tribe.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: O people! Verily your Lord is One and your father (Adam) is one. An Arab is not better than a non-Arab, and a non-Arab is not better than an Arab; a white man is not better than a black man and a black man is not better than a white man – except in piety (Reported by Imaam Ahmad, 22391; al-Silsilat al-Saheeh, 2700).
It teaches us human rights.
When there is world’s largest spiritual
congregation to perform ritual prayers, everyone have to be careful about other.
It also indicates the unity of Muslims.
It teaches us that the doors
of mercy of God are never closed.
It helps to strengthen faith.
Muslims also remember Doom’s Day when all human
beings will be standing in front of God , waiting for their turn to know their
If the Haj becomes mabroor ( accepted) then
pilgrim return home without the burden of sins on their shoulders and Allah
grant them forgiveness and make them pure and innocent.
These rituals of Islam have an everlasting
effect on each of its believer and influence their lives in every single possible
way. This is a season to bring good in after life. This is best time to turn to
Allah by submission , obedience of his commands, by performing good deeds,
repentance of our sins and by asking for forgiveness and trying to run away from sins
as far as you can.
It is necessary the recite the Talbiyyah during this trip :
This is very nice video that shows how to perform Hajj ( in 120 Sec.) The video is in Arabic but you can have idea about the rituals.
Hajj is something really amazing and the feelings can not be experienced just by reading a post. You need to have spirit to visit and what you can experience personally is beyond description. The feelings that you have during these few days and before coming for Haj and after when you are leaving are amazing. The feelings totally change your way of life , you way of thinking and your attitude towards life. It is a wonderful experience of life. According to Arab News 2 million Muslims have arrived Makkah,Saudi Arabia to perform Haj this year 2013, there are 1.4 million people who traveled from abroad.
Many are performing Hajj now a days and I pray for them that, May God accept their Ibadah and give a chance to every Muslim to visit this place at least once in life time.
May Allah accept our prayers and forgive our sins.
Any local or international Haj pilgrim, coming for Haj, is asked to take vaccination against meningitis.
I have some very helpful links here that will help you through this journey.