Introduction to Hajj: The significance of Hajj?
To recall the historical justifications for Hajj, requires us to appreciate the time in which the Prophet Ibrahim (AS) was ordered by Allah (SAW) to leave his wife Hajira (RA) and son Ismail (AS) in the deserts of Makkah. Hajira (RA) ran fiercely between the mountains of Safa and Marwa scavenging for water for her son. Upon searching in the desert, rushing 7 times between the mountains of Safa and Marwa she observed her baby scratching the ground for a fountain of Zamzam water to appear blessing us with this pilgrimage we hold so dearly to our souls. The miracle of this fountain is that it has continued to spring water for over 4000 years. The name of the well came from the phrase ‘zomezome’ meaning stop flowing, a command repeated by Hajira (AS) while trying to contain the water. This is why its recommended to drink Zamzam water and pour it over the head and body after completing Salah at the station of Ibrahim (AS). Prophet Ibrahim (AS) had been commanded by Allah (SWT) to build the Kaabah here and invite people to the pilgrimage. Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) performed Hajj with his companions in 630 CE when he travelled from Medina to Mecca for the annual pilgrimage. Jabir (RA) reported that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “The Zam Zam water serves the purpose for which it is drunk”. Therefore, one should say, “I drink it with the intention that I may not get thirsty on the Day of Reckoning”.
Understandably, Hajj is one of the most significantly life changing experiences every able Muslim hopes to endure. Being one of the 5 pillars of Islam, each year Makkah accepts about millions of pilgrims dating between 8th and 12th Dhul Hijjah. The onerous yet noble acts of worship allow the individual to enhance their love and devotion to Allah (SAW) by fulfilling their obligatory duty. Spiritually speaking it strengthens your bond to Islam and allows you to seek forgiveness from Allah. The purity of this act is to selflessly yet temporarily sacrifice your time, money and society to dedicate your self to Allah (SAW) and his messenger (pbuh).
Rituals of Hajj:
Following the completion of seven circuits around the Kaabah and Istilam, a pilgrim should move towards Maqam-e-Ibrahim to offer two raka’t salah for tawaf. It is advisable to recite Surat-ul-Kafirun after Al-Fatihah in the first Rak’at and Suratul Ikhlas in the second. Following the Salah, you are permissible to request supplications to Allah (SWT).
The foot impressions on the black stone which prophet Ibrahim (AS) had used to build the upper walls of the Kaaba have been commemorated the building of the Kaabah
Ibrahim (AS) constructed the Kaabah using rocks from five mountains: Hira, Thubayr, Labnaan, Toor and Jabalul Khayr. When a person reaches the point marked with green pillars while performing Saa’ee, he should start running with medium pace and then again resume the usual pace. This is called Ramal. Women are not required to do Ramal. They can walk at their usual pace. After Saa’ee, it is recommended to offer two raka’t nafl Salah in Masjid-ul-Haram. Following this, the male pilgrims are required to shave their head while women have to cut a fingertip length of hair.
There are three different types of Hajj, which consist of slightly different methods those being; Hajj-ul-Ifrad, Hajj-ul-Qiran, Hajj-ul-Tamattu. Hajj-ul-Ifrad is the simplest form of Hajj where the pilgrim enters the state of Ihram with the intention of performing Hajj only before passing through the Meeqat. The pilgrim does not combine Hajj and Umrah in that, Umrah cannot be performed in the time of Hajj.
During Hajj-ul-Qiran a pilgrim can combine Hajj and Umrah and assumes Ihram with the intention to accomplish both. The obligations to perform this is the same as the one performing Ifrad, except that the former must slaughter whereas the latter is not obligated to do so. The pilgrim who performs this kind of Hajj is called a Qarin. The pilgrim wears Ihram first for Umrah and then for Hajj making his intentions for Hajj just before performing Tawaf for Hajj.
Prior to beginning Hajj, there are a few conditions you must succumb to, mentioned below. Within these there are also some obligatory rulings of the pillers of Hajj.
Sanity – Hajj is obligatory on every sane and physically-capable adult Muslim once in a lifetime
You must obtain provisions such as food, accommodation and transport through Halal means.
Tawafuz Ziyarah can be performed any time of the morning of 10th Dhul Hijjah till the dawn of 12th Dhul Hijjah following the completion of the Qasr ritual. This must take place after leaving the state of Ihram and just before returning back to Mina to perform Rami al-Jamarat. If Tawafuz Ziyarah is delayed, sacrifice of an animal (Dam) becomes essential.
You must also be free from every financial obligation and not carry any liabilities.
Although it is permissible for minors to perform Hajj, this is not considered their obligatory Hajj.
It is essential to stop at Arafat even for a moment from zawal (declining of sun) of 9th Dhul Hijjah to the dawn of 10th Dhul Hijjah.
You must also hold financial ability to support family members left behind.
Any person who could afford to go for Hajj but dies without performing it, the heirs of that person can perform it on his/her behalf from the inheritance, however this doesn’t apply to any healthy living individuals.
Ramyul Jamar i.e. stone pelting at the Jamarats.
Qurbani or sacrifice of an animal is only due on a Qarin or Mutamatti
You must also perform Hajj with pure intentions and devotion. You must announce Meeqat as being your intention of travel. This comes an hour before reaching Jeddah airport.
Below we have noted the stations to assume Ihram in Meeqat:
For those travelling from…
1. Egypt, Syria or west: Al- Juhfah also known as “Rabegh”
2. Madinah: Dhul-Hulaifah also known as Abyar Ali
3. Iraq: Dhatul-Irq
4. Najd and Taif: Qarn-Al-Manazel
5. India, Pakistan and Yemen by sea: Yalumlum
6. UK: Rabegh. However, Pilgrims traveling by air from UK need to wear Ihram before reaching the locations of Miqat, and make the intention (Niyyah) and call out “Talbiyah” only upon reaching the Meeqat following the announcement.