Hajj - Hajj Pilgrimage

History of Hajj - Hajj Steps - Hajj Rituals and Their Meaning - Importance of Hajj in Quran and Hadith - Difference between hajj and umrah

What is Hajj - Why is it important - How is it performed?

Hajj is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and is considered a fundamental aspect of the Muslim faith. It is a pilgrimage to Mecca that Muslims are required to make at least once in their lifetime if they are able to do so financially and physically. The Hajj is a time of reflection and devotion and is seen as a way to connect with the wider Muslim community.

The Hajj is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by adult Muslims who are financially and physically capable of undertaking the journey and can support their family during their absence. It is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, alongside Shahada, Salah, Zakat, and Sawm.

The Hajj takes place during the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah and is a series of rituals that are performed over a period of five days. The Hajj begins with the intention, or niyyah, to perform the pilgrimage and ends with the farewell tawaf, or circumambulation of the Kaaba.

The first day of the Hajj is known as the day of tarwiyah, where the pilgrims travel to the tent city of Mina. The second day is known as the day of ‘Arafat, where the pilgrims travel to the plain of ‘Arafat and stand in prayer and reflection. The third day is known as the day of al-Mash’ar al-Haram, where the pilgrims travel to the plain of Muzdalifah and collect pebbles to use in the ritual of stoning the devil. The fourth day is known as the day of Eid al-Adha, where the pilgrims return to Mina and sacrifice an animal in commemoration of the sacrifice made by Ibrahim. The fifth and final day is known as the day of tashriq, where the pilgrims return to Mecca and perform the farewell tawaf.

The Hajj is a time of unity and equality, as all pilgrims wear the same simple white garments, known as ihram, to symbolize their equality before God. It is also a time of forgiveness and purification, as the Hajj is seen as a way to erase past sins and start anew.

The Hajj is not only a religious experience, but it is also a cultural and social one. The Hajj brings together Muslims from all over the world, regardless of race, ethnicity, or social status, to perform the same rituals and connect with one another. It is a time of shared experiences and shared memories, and it helps to strengthen the bonds of the global Muslim community.

The Hajj is also an important economic activity and brings significant income to the Saudi government and local businesses. However, it is also been reported that the large number of pilgrims during the Hajj season can also cause strain on resources and infrastructure.

In conclusion, the Hajj is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims that is considered a fundamental aspect of the Muslim faith. It is a time of reflection and devotion and is seen as a way to connect with the wider Muslim community. The Hajj is a time of unity, equality, forgiveness, and purification. It brings together Muslims from all over the world, regardless of race, ethnicity, or social status, to perform the same rituals and connect with one another. It also has a significant economic impact and cultural significance. The Hajj is a unique and powerful experience that can change the life of a person who performs it.


Importance of Hajj in Quran and Hadith

The Hajj is a pillar of Islam, required of all Muslims once in a lifetime. It is a physically demanding journey that Muslims believe offers a chance to wipe clean past sins and start anew before God. Pilgrims seek to deepen their faith on the Hajj, with some women adopting the head covering known as the “hijab.”

The importance of the Hajj in the Quran and Hadith cannot be emphasized enough. This obligatory prayer has been the title of the most sacred and divine journey towards the house of ALLAH SWT. Every year millions of Muslim pilgrims visit the house of ALLAH because it has great religious significance.

It is considered to be a significant religious practice in the Islamic religion. This is why many Muslims focus on the important practices and protocols of the rituals. ALLAH SWT has made it mandatory for all his believers to perform the pilgrimage.

To help you understand why Muslims from different cultural backgrounds gather at a single location to perform the Hajj. It is important to look at the context of the Quran and Hadith. And that is exactly what we are doing for you below.

The Hajj comprises many different acts of worship in Islam. This includes prayer, offering charity, Zakat, exemplary character, fasting, spending money on the cause of ALLAH, patience, and Jihad. It is known to purify one’s soul, leading them onto a new path of spiritual greatness and well-being. From these facts, we can witness that pilgrimage is not solely restricted to being a pillar of Islam. It is known to influence all forms of social, economic, national as well as moral areas of the life of every Muslim.

“Pilgrims and those performing Umrah are ALLAH’s guests; their prayers are answered and their supplications for forgiveness are granted.”

On hajj the Pilgrims wear plain, white cloths. Men wears drape seamless, un-stitched clothing and women dress in plain white dresses and headscarves. The idea behind dressing simply is to mask any differences in wealth and status. The Hajj makes Muslims feel the real importance of life here on earth, and the afterlife, by stripping away all markers of social status, wealth, and pride. Hajj is a chance to wipe clean the slate of one’s mistakes and shortcomings of the past. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:

“One who comes to this House for Hajj and avoids all lewdness and sins, he returns as he was on the day his mother gave birth to him.” (Bukhari & Muslim).

Hajj also gives a strong message of Brotherhood and Unity that makes the importance of Hajj in Islam stronger. The journey of Hajj is the easiest way to attain the satisfaction of ALLAH as the pilgrims are considered to be guests of ALLAH. Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that one day the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) addressed people saying:

“O people! Allah has prescribed Hajj upon you, so perform it. “

When an individual makes an intention to go on Hajj, he is often reminded that the opportunity is an invitation from Allah. The Kaaba in Makkah is considered the “House of Allah,” and as such, only those who are welcomed by God Himself are allowed to step foot there. Pilgrims are considered the guests of Allah.” May Allah guide us all and give us an opportunity to perform Hajj.” Ameen.


What is Hajj (Pilgrimage) and Umrah ?

Hajj and Umrah are the pilgrimages of Islam. Hajj is usually referred to as the major pilgrimage or the Pilgrimage, and `Umrah as the lesser one. Hajj and `Umrah consist of a journey to Makkah that involves certain rituals such as Ihram, circumambulating the Kabah, walking between the hills of Safa and Marwah, and shaving or cutting the hair. Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, is one of the five pillars of Islam. Hajj was made obligatory in the 9th year of Hijra. The Holy Prophet sent off 300 Muslims under the leadership of Hazrat Abubakr Siddique (may Allah be pleased with him) to Mecca so that they could perform Hajj. That was the year when the Mushrikeen (those who associate partners with Allah) was banned from entering Kaaba. It was also unlawful to perform Tawaaf (circling of Kaaba) with a naked body.

The following year, the 10th Hijra, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him), announced ahead of time he would perform Hajj that year. He led tens of thousands of Muslims to Hajj that year a

What are the differences between Hajj and `Umrah?

The rituals mentioned in the previous answer are the basic rituals of `Umrah while Hajj has these and additional rituals, including spending days and nights in `Arafah, Mina, and Muzdalifah – areas neighboring the city of Makkah.

Another difference between the major and minor pilgrimages is that there is a prescribed time for Hajj whereas `Umrah can be performed at any time in the year. In addition, Hajj and `Umrah differ regarding the ruling of each of them, as discussed below.

Who Should perform Hajj?

Hajj is obligatory on male and female Muslims who meet the following conditions:

a. Muslim

The acts of worship are accepted only from Muslims. If non-Muslims pray, fast, or perform Hajj or `Umrah, their acts will never be accepted since the first and foremost requirement, that of being a Muslim, is absent.

b. Reaching  puberty

Attaining the age of puberty is the second condition. Little boys and girls are not required to do Hajj or `Umrah. It is acceptable and rewardable to let them participate with their families in performing Hajj and `Umrah, but they are still required to do Hajj and `Umrah again when they reach the age of puberty, which can be verified by meeting one of the following criteria:

1. Having a wet dream

2. Ejaculating semen

3. Reaching the age of 15

4. Growing pubic hair

5. Menstruating

c. Sane

Insane people are not required to perform the acts of worship until they regain their sanity.

d. Having the ability

As it is clear from the above verse, Hajj is only required from those able to do it. The ability mentioned here is in terms of three things:

1. Health

People who are ill and are not expected to recover or to be able to perform Hajj in the future, or who are too old to perform Hajj are excused from Hajj. However, if they are financially able, they have to send another person to perform Hajj on their behalf.

2. Financial ability

People should also be able to afford the costs of Hajj and to leave enough money for these they are responsible for. Muslims are not required to take loans to perform Hajj or `Umrah. Actually, Hajj is not obligatory on those who are in debt.

However, if someone has a long-term loan and they are required to pay only a certain amount each month, then their debt is only that which is due each month. If they pay off all the debt and then nothing is left with them to make Hajj, then Hajj is not obligatory on them. But if they only pay their monthly dues and then have enough money to make Hajj, then they should make Hajj because it is obligatory on them.

If someone is in debt and their creditor allows them to go for Hajj, then they can perform Hajj. If someone takes a loan  to perform Hajj and makes Hajj, their Hajj is valid, although they were not required to perform it and Hajj was not obligatory on them.

3. Safety

If traveling to Hajj would risk someone’s life, such as if there were a war or the like, they are not required to perform Hajj because they are unable to do so safely.

Can you describe the performance of Hajj?

1- As soon as a pilgrim approaches the boundary line of the Holy Land, i.e., the Miqat, they enter the state of Ihram with all its accomplishments.
2- On reaching Mecca, the pilgrim goes to the Grand Mosque around the Ka’ba and performs an optional tawaf called Tawaf-ul-Qudoom.
3- On the 8th day of Zilhijja, the pilgrim goes to Mina, before the time of Salatuz-Zuhr, a town three miles from Mecca, and spends there the rest of the day and the whole night of the 9th of Zilhijja
4- After the early morning prayer of the 9th Zilhijja, the pilgrim proceeds to Arafat, a place about seven miles from Mecca, and stops anywhere in the Mauqafs (staying places) in the area surrounding the Jabal-i-Rahmat, (i.e., the Hill of Mercy) in the remembrance of Allah.
5- Just after the sunset of the 9th of Zilhijja, the pilgrim leaves the Mauqaf without offering Salatul-Maghrib and proceeds to Muzdalifa, a place between Mina and Arafat, where they offer Maghrib and Isha Prayers.
6- The pilgrim then proceeds from Muzadalifa after the early morning prayers of the 10th of Zilhijja (picking at most minuscule 49 pebbles from there) and comes to Mina.
7- The pilgrim then takes up seven pebbles and, holding each between the index finger and the thumb of the right hand, throws them one by one at the pillar called Jamra-tul-Uqubah on the same day, i.e., the 10th Zilhijja
8- The pilgrim then, if they can afford it, makes a sacrifice of a goat or a sheep or joins six others in the sacrifice of a camel or a bull, and shaves off preferably the whole head or at least a quarter head, or crop the hair equally all over the head, if the pilgrim is male. In the case of a female pilgrim, she should cut off at least an inch of her hair.
9- The pilgrim then leaves off the state of Ihram and proceeds to Mecca on the same day and performs the Tawaf, called Tawaf-ul-Ifada, after which the pilgrim offers two Rak’ats of Sunnat prayers.
10- The pilgrim then accomplishes the Sa’ee.
11- The pilgrim then returns to Mina and spends there the night of the 11th of Zilhijja
12- After the midday of the 11th and the 12th of Zilhijja, the pilgrim approaches in the order mentioned, the pillars called Jamra-tul-Oola, Jamratul-Wusta and Jamratul-Uqubah, and throws seven pebbles against each of them, reciting at each throw: “Bismillahi Allahu Akbar”. If a pilgrim stays on the 13th of Zilhijja, they also throw seven pebbles at the pillars as on the previous days.
13- The pilgrim then returns to Mecca after the Salatuz-Zuhr on the 12th of Zilhijja. Before leaving Mecca for one’s own country, the pilgrim performs a departing tawaf called Tawaf-ul-Wida’.
1-During one’s stay at Mecca, one may perform as many tawafs as one can, for the performance of tawafs is the best form of worship during that period.
2- One can also perform ‘Umra as may times as one likes by going out of Mecca to Tan’eem (a place about three miles form Mecca) and adopting the Ihram there, return to Mecca and perform the Tawaf and sa’ee as is usual for ‘Umra.

What should a pilgrim do after performing Hajj?

It is very commendable for a pilgrim to pay a visit to the Mausoleum of the Holy Prophet at Medina, and standing there in a reverential posture facing the tomb of the Great Prophet, to say:-

Assalamu ‘alaika ayyuhan-Nabiyyu wa rahmatullahi wa baraktahu, Assalamu ‘alaika ya Rasoolallah! Assalamu ‘alaika ya Nabi-Allah! Assalamu ‘alaika ya Habib Allah Assalamu ‘alaika ya khaira-khalqillah! Assalamu ‘alaika ya Shafi-al-muznibeen! Assalmu ‘alaika wa ‘ala alika wa as-habik wa ummatik ajma’een
i.e., ‘Peace be on you, O Prophet (of Allah)! and His mercy and His blessings. Peace be on you, O Apostle of Allah! Peace be on you O Prophet of Allah! Peace be upon you, O Beloved of Allah! Peace be on you, O Best in the (whole) Creation of Allah! Peace be on you, O Pleader for the sinners (before Allah!) Peace be on you and your descendants and your companions and all your followers.

What is the Difference between Hajj and Umrah?

Hajj is performed within the period of time which is called “Hajj months”. According to Hijri calendar, Hajj months are Shawwal, Dhu’l-qada and the first ten days of Dhu’l-hijjah. Hajj can be performed either with or without umrah within these months. Performing Hajj with or without umrah is called “ways of performing hajj.”

The statement of “The time of Hajj is the months Shawwal, Dhu’l-qada and Dhu’l-hijjah, which are called the months of Hajj” is the explanation of the Quranic verse “For Hajj are the months well known” (al-Baqarah, 2:197).

The duty of Hajj starts with entering the state of Ihram. The beginning of it is the month of Shawwal. Those months are called the months of Hajj because a person who enters the state of Ihram in Shawwal can complete the requirements of Hajj until the evening of the tenth (or thirteenth) day of the month Dhu’l-hijjah.

That is to say; the reason why these months are called the months of Hajj is that one is supposed to enter the state of Ihram, which is the first condition of Hajj, only in these months. It is makrooh (abominable) to enter the state of Ihram before these months according to the sects of Hanafi and Hanbali. The following hadith which Bukhari narrated from Ibn Abbas was influential on scholars’ view on this matter: “It is sunnah not to enter the state of Ihram outside the months of Hajj.” (see Zukhayli, al-Fiqh al-Islami, 3/64-65).

According to the sect of Shafii, entering the state of Ihram outside the months of Hajj is accepted for umrah, not for Hajj; because, the Quranic verse “For Hajj, are the months well-known” (al-Baqarah, 2:197) states that one cannot enter the state of Ihram in months other than the months of Hajj. (see ibid., Mughni muhtaj, 1/471, Muhadhdhab, 1/200).

Umrah is the worship which is performed independent of time by doing tawaf around the Kaa’ba after entering the state of Ihram in accordance with its rules and by fulfilling some other religious duties.

Why is hajj performed?

The aim of each believer is to obtain the consent and pleasure of Allah. One of the ways of obtaining the consent and pleasure of Allah is to fulfill His orders and to avoid His prohibitions conveyed through His prophets. The orders of Allah makes a man direct toward the good, the beautiful and the truth, and His prohibitions keeps man away from the evil. Thus, it makes man have high ethics and be happy.

Besides, we obtain the love of Allah by fulfilling His orders and we thank Him for the bounties He has given us because Allah is the only being that deserves love, respect and worshipping.  

Hajj, which is one of the five pillars of Islam, is a kind of worshipping that is carried out through money and the body. It is fard for wealthy people to go to hajj once in their lives. Allah states the following in the Quran: “pilgrimage thereto is a duty men owe to Allah―those who can afford the journey.” (Aal-i Imran, 3/97) Our Prophet (pbuh) mentioned hajj as one of the five principles of Islam and taught Muslims how to perform it by showing it to them.

For whom is hajj fard?

It is fard for a Muslim who can afford, that is, a wealthy and healthy Muslim, to perform hajj once in his life. The following conditions are necessary for hajj to be fard for a person:

It is fard for a Muslim, whether male or female, who has the necessary conditions, to perform hajj once in his/her life. Such a person has to perform hajj without delay. It is not religiously appropriate to procrastinate hajj to later ages due to some reasons. A person who delays hajj and then cannot do it himself has to send someone to perform hajj for him.    

To be responsible for hajj, a person must be a Muslim, sane, have reached the age of puberty, free, rich enough and have reached the time for hajj. A person who lacks one of those conditions does not have to perform hajj.

What are the conditions of performing hajj?

A person who is obliged to perform hajj must be healthy, must not be in prison, must have the right to travel abroad, and the road to hajj must be safe in order to perform hajj himself. If he is too old, weak or ill to perform hajj, he does not have to perform hajj himself. If he recovers or has the necessary conditions again, he has to perform hajj himself. 

What does ihram mean?

It means to make some acts and deeds that are normal at other times haram for himself until the hajj or umrah ends. Ihram has two parts: talbiyah and niyyah (intention).

Niyyah is the decision to perform hajj or umrah. It is mustahab (recommended) to utter the niyyah.

Talbiyah is to say, “Labbayk, Allahumma labbayk, labbayka la sharika laka labbayk. Inna’l-hamda wa’n-ni’mata laka wa’l-mulk la sharika lak,” (I respond to Your call, O Allah, I respond to Your call. I respond to Your call, You have no partner. I respond to Your call. Indeed, the praise and grace are yours as well as sovereignty. You have no partner.).

The prohibitions of ihram start with the niyyah and talbiyah. It is haram for a person who is in ihram to cut, pluck or shave the hairs on his head and the body, to trim his nails, to wear seamed clothes (for men), to wear perfume, to use oil, paint, and similar make-up to adorn oneself, to cover his head (for men), to cover her face (for women), to wear gloves, socks and shoes that cover the heels, to have sexual intercourse, to hunt and to pick up or cut the plants in the Haram region.

Can women go to hajj alone, without any mahram men?

To be responsible for hajj, a person must be a Muslim, sane, have reached the age of puberty, free, afford to do it. To afford to means to have enough money and to be safe. Therefore, a Muslim must have enough money for himself to go hajj and come back and enough money for his family’s sustenance until he returns; if he has an illness or disability that prevents him from traveling or if the road is not open and safe (if there is a vital danger), he does not have to perform hajj.  

Besides, a woman must be accompanied by a mahram man (a male relative or her husband). If a woman has all the other conditions but cannot find such a person to accompany her and if she wants to perform hajj, she can perform hajj together with a group of reliable women; there is no need for false marriages to go to hajj.

What are the benefits of hajj?

There are many material and spiritual benefits of hajj. Some of them are as follows:

– A Muslim who goes to hajj is regarded to have thanked Allah for the bounties like health and wealth that Allah has given him.

– Muslims coming from different countries meet one another, exchange ideas and has commercial relations.

– Hajj causes the sins of a person except for the violation of other people’s rights. Therefore, believers pray to Allah for the forgiveness of their sins. They promise Allah not to commit a bad deed again and to be honest and good mannered.

– Hajj helps people from Islamic countries make friends with one another. It is understood better in hajj that Islam is a religion of unity and solidarity. 

– During the hajj season, the Kaaba is like the gathering place (mahshar). A Muslim who fulfils hajj understands how pointless and meaningless the good deeds committed for the interests regarding this world are.

– We know that traveling is useful for man’s health. People are advised to travel in order to get rid of psychological problems. In the Quran, Allah advises us to travel. Those who go to hajj are regarded to have fulfilled the order of travel naturally. 

– The fact that all candidates of hajj wear the same type of white ihram without making any discrimination of color, race and job helps settle the idea of equality.

– Besides, hajj is a kind of worshipping with universal dimensions because it leads to the improvement of the feelings of introducing, getting close, unity, solidarity and fraternity. 

– In short, the belief of the people who go to hajj is renewed. Their enthusiasm to serve humanity increases. Their feeling of assistance develops. They realize that all human beings are equal and are brothers. Thus, friendship, love and peace are achieved.

What is the virtue of hajj?

Hajj, which is a turning point in terms of worldly and otherworldly life, makes a Muslim free of major-minor sins when it is fulfilled sincerely; it also elevates his level in the presence of Allah, becomes a means of achieving Paradise and makes a person mature ethically.

The virtue of this worshipping, which is fard for every Muslim who can afford it once in his/her lifetime, is really great. The prayers and repentance performed in hajj are accepted by Allah. Thus, those who perform this worshipping return to life with a new vitality and consciousness.

During hajj, material and spiritual dirt are continuously cleaned. Both the bodily dirt and the dirt of sins are completely cleaned. Our Prophet (pbuh) informs us through the narration of Abu Hurayra that hajj will eliminate the rust in the heart and will be a means of forgiveness for all sins, whether major or minor: “Whoever performs hajj for Allah’s pleasure and does not have sexual relations with his wife, and does not do evil or sins then he will return after hajj free from all sins as if he were born anew.” (Bukhari, Hajj: 4; Muslim, Hajj: 79; Tirmidhi, Hajj: 2) That statement is related to the fact that hajj is a great purification in all aspects. That hadith is enough to express how virtuous hajj is.

Hajj eliminates all of the major-minor sins committed before it. Amr b. As (may Allah be pleased with him) wanted to lay it as a condition to be forgiven by Allah when he was about to pay homage to the Prophet (pbuh). The Prophet said,

“Know it well that becoming a Muslim eliminates all of the previous sins, whether major or minor. Hijrah (migration for the sake of Allah) eliminates all of the previous sins, whether major or minor. Hajj eliminates all of the previous sins, whether major or minor.” (Muslim; Iman: 121)

What are the types of hajj?

There are three modes of Hajj: ifradtamatu` and qiran:

a. Ifrad involves performing the rituals of Hajj only.

b. Tamatu` involves a complete `Umrah and a complete Hajj, each separated from the other. This means that the `Umrah is performed first in the months of Hajj and after completing it, one goes out of the state of ihram. Afterwards, on Dhul-Hijjah 8, one initiates ihram once again for performing Hajj.

c. Qiran is a combination of `Umrah and Hajj, performed with no break between them. After performing `Umrah, one remains in the state of ihram until starting the rituals of Hajj on Dhul-Hijjah 8.