HAJJ – THE PILGRIMAGE TO MECCA
Hajj is one of the obligatory rituals (‘Ibadat) of Islam. It is annual obligatory
pilgrimage to Mecca which is performed every year in the month of Zilhajj, the last
month of the Islamic Calendar.
Participation in the annual pilgrimage to Mecca is obligatory on every Muslim once in his life time, as long as he fulfils the following conditions.
- Bulugh (ritual puberty, 15 years in the case of boys and 9 years in the case of girls);
- Istita’a (affordability).
- Wealth: The person should be able to afford the hajj financially. One who cannot
spare enough money from his essential annual expenditure to bear the expenses of
going to, staying in, and coming back from, Mecca, does not have to perform the
When a person has enough money, but this money is required for buying a house or marrying himself or one of his dependents, he should first execute his home duties; the hajj is not obligatory for him unless he has more money.
It is not necessary to borrow for the hajj, but if someone donates money for the expenses of the journey, hajj becomes obligatory. If someone performs hajj with this donated money, he has fulfilled his religious duty and hajj is no more obligatory on him even if he comes to possess the money himself later on. But if someone who had enough money to perform hajj does not perform it at that time and subsequently becomes poor, he will have to fulfill his obligation in anyway. Similarly, a person should possess enough money to meet his own and his family’s annual expenses after the performance to the hajj.
- Health: If a person’s health cannot bear the exertions of the journey, or his health
could be adversely affected, he does not have the obligation to perform the hajj.
A healthy constitution and the physical ability to travel to Mecca are Prerequisites.
If a person has a healthy constitution and also the material means to perform the hajj but does not, and then later on becomes unable to perform it due to illness or old age, he should depute someone else to perform the rituals of the hajj and should bear all his expenses. The person who is hired by someone to perform the hajj should perform the rituals his behalf without the permission of the person who has hired him. He can depute someone else if the permission was general and it was not specified that the person himself had to go.
- Transport: Hajj becomes obligatory only if the way to Mecca is safe and one has the necessary transport at one’s disposal to make the journey. If there are hazards along the way, for instance a hostile enemy, robbers, a dangerous epidemic, or if vehicles are not available, there is no obligation for the hajj. The hajj consists of a number of rituals, which are explained, in detail in the lists of Fatwas given by the Mujtahids concerning the Hajj.
Hajj’ a Definition
Literally, hajj refers to the intention of visiting a place. The Holy Qur’an transfer the meaning to Hajj from its lexical general meaning to a traditionally specific meaning to denote the annual pilgrimage to the holy Ka’aba in Mecca one of the religious duties of Islam.
The great annual gathering called Hajj, is a collection of rites and ceremonies, offered by Muslims, who are bound to carry out religious duties, in specific place and during a specific time set by Islam, similar to the way the Prophet did.
Hajj is so called because the Muslim who performs it goes to Mecca, the sacred house, at the start of Zilqad (The eleventh month of Muslim calendar) and visits other sacred places like Arafat, Mina and Muzdalifah to offer his devotions.
Islam states specific dates, time and place for offering this devotion failing to heed them renders them unacceptable by Allah.
Ihram (donning the Pilgrim’s Robes) begins in a certain place. Tawaf ( the ceremonial circumambulation of the Ka’aba) is done in a specific place. Sa’ee (walking seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwah) is done in a certain place. Wuquf (remaining in certain place during hajj) is performed in specific places. Likewise, Rami Al-Jamarat (casting stone at the symbolic Satans) is done at specific sites and passing some nights is also a rite done in a certain place...etc.
As place has its significance and lawful position in this worship, date and time, also have importance and impact as a prominent factor that render this worship correct. Therefore, the most important of the devotions connected to this great duty are offered at specific times. Staying in Arafat, for example, takes place on the 9th day of Zihajj. Passing the night at Muzdalifa is on the night of 10th (eve of Eid Al-Adh’hah): Yawm An Nahr (the day in which animals are sacrificed) is the 10th day which is also the day of Eid. And spending the night at Mina is on the 11th and the 12th nights, of Zilhajj... all of them are related firmly to specific times.
Kinds of Hajj
There are three kinds of hajj,
1. al-hajj al-Ifrad
2. al-hajj al-Ihram
3. al-hajj al-Tamattu
Al-hajj al-Ifrad consists of only the major pilgrimage without the ‘umra (lesser) pilgrimage, while in the other two, hajj is performed together with the ‘umra.
The difference between al-hajj al-ihram and al-Hajj al-Tamattu’ is that while in the former ‘umra and hajj is performed with the same ihram, in the hajj of Tamattu’ the pilgrm first performs ‘umra after entering the state of pilgrimage (Ihram), then after the ‘umra, breaks the Ihram and enters a second Ihram for the major hajj and performs its rites.
Al-hajj al-Ifrad and al-hajj al-Ihram, are only for those who live within forty-eight miles of Mecca.
The rest of the Muslims have to perform al-hajj al-Tamattu’ in which first ‘umra is performed with one ihram, then the hajj with another one.
Hajj is an “Ibadat for which the Muslims from all over the world travel to Mecca. It consists of two main ceremonies.
(a) “Umra al-Tamattu” (b) “Hajj al- Tamattu.”
|1: Ihram from Miqat||1: Ihram from Mecca.|
|2: Tawaf of Ka’aba||2:Wuquf at ‘Arafat.|
|3: Salat of Tawaf||3: Mabit at Mash’ar al-Haram.|
|4: Sa’ee||4: Rami’ Jamara al-Uqba at Mina.|
|5: Taqsir||5: Sacrificing an animal|
|6: Halaq or Taqsir|
|7: Mabit at Mina.|
|8: Tawaf of Ziyarat.|
|9: Salat of Tawaf.|
|11: Tawaf al- Nisa.|
|12: Salat of Tawaf.|
|13: Rami’ Jamarat on 11th & 12th of Zilhajj.|