The Hajj is one of the five most important pillars of Islam and amongst the greatest religious obligations that a Muslim should carry out. The Holy Qur’an mentions that:
‘It is on people for the sake of Allah to perform Hajj of His house, anyone who is able to undertake the journey to him (2:196)’.
And anyone who disbelieves (and renounces Hajj, has impaired himself), Allah is not in need of any of his created ones in the world.”(3:97)
What are the Conditions Required For Hajj?
- The pilgrim needs to be an adult
- Needs to be sane
- Should keep provisions for the journey, food, and accommodation
- Must be fit, and at least partially able to travel
- Should have enough savings to support the cost of living of family members who are back home
If a person lacks funds to perform the Hajj or travel to Makkah and another person supports him financially, then Hajj is obligatory for him; even if he/she has debt, is jobless, and cannot support the family. The pilgrim is obligated to accept such a gift until and unless the person puts him under a serious moral obligation to accept this gift.
It is not permissible to perform Hajj by illegally collecting money from Haraam means. If the money for Ihram clothing and any sacrificial payment is done with Haraam money, then the Hajj is of no use.
[ Read Also: When is Hajj obligatory upon an individual? ]
What is the Proxy Hajj (Hajj e Badal)?
It is permitted to appoint a person to perform Hajj on behalf of a dead person, but this is only allowed in Mustahab Hajj. Nevertheless, those who were able to perform Hajj in the past and could not perform due to any reason, but now they are intending to perform Hajj in their illness or inability, can undertake a proxy also known as Hajj Badal.
A woman could be a proxy of a man and in the same way, a man can be for a woman, and each should observe their own duties during the Hajj. Following details and steps shall help you understand how to perform Hajj.
[ Read Also: What to Do When You Can’t Make Hajj ]
Preparing For The Hajj
First, the Hajj should not be taken lightly. It should be approached with seriousness and dedication. The pilgrims need to study the Hajj rituals before embarking on the journey. They need to have clarity of mind and thoughts, and be repentant for their sins.
One should also decide which type of Hajj one needs to undertake as there are three types of Hajj a pilgrim can perform. (Hajj al-Tamattu, Hajj al-Qiran, and Hajj al-Ifrad.)
The Hajj takes place in the holy city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia. Make sure you have your travel documents (passports, tickets, medical certification) ready much in advance to obtain Hajj visa.
The Hajj occurs from the 8th to the 12th of Dhul-Hijjah, the 12th month of the Islamic calendar and there are certain rules that need to be followed in Saudi Arabia, especially during Hajj. Women should travel with a Mahram – any related man, such as her father, brother, husband, son, or an approved individual according to Islamic law. Women over 45 years of age can perform the Hajj without a Mahram, only if she is part of a large group and has a notarized letter of consent from her husband. As part of Hajj preparations and guidance, there are seminars conducted by Islamic scholars for beginners. Consult your Hajj travel agent to check the availability of such seminars in your Hajj package.
[ Read Also: Women’s Guide to Hajj ]
Performing The Rites of Hajj:
Ihram is the pure state that every Muslim must be adorned with and maintain during this auspicious ziyarat. The pilgrim is required to adhere to certain rules and abstain from acts which are forbidden in the state of Ihram.
Men and women enter into Ihram quite differently:
Men: Trim your beard and moustache, cut your nails, remove unwanted body hair and take bath (or perform wudu) but no perfume or scent must be applied. Clothe yourself with plain, clean Ihram sheets. Wear one on your upper body and wrap the other around your waist. Simple flip-flops or sandals will be perfect, but make sure you do not cover the top of your foot and do not cover your head.
Women: Like men, groom and remove unwanted body hair, bathe and avoid usage of any fragrance or cosmetics. Women do not have any particular dress for Ihram; they must put on ordinary clothes and look modest. It is required that women cover their head with a veil or a scarf.
[Read Also: How to wear Ihram?]
Declaring Your Intention and Reciting Talbiyah
There is a special boundary surrounding the sacred Hajj sites, also called as Miqat. Pilgrims should not pass through it, until and unless they have attained the state of Ihram. After declaring the intention for Hajj, the pilgrim recites the Niyyah and upon approaching the Miqat, he/she recites the Talbiyah:
Labbayk Allaah humma labbayk, labbayka laa shareeka laka labbayk. Innal hamda wan-ni’mata laka wal-mulk, laa shareeka lak.
“Here I am O Allah, (in response to Your call), here I am. Here I am, You have no partner, here I am. Verily all praise, grace, and sovereignty belong to You. You have no partner.”
Proceed Towards Mina
During the first day of Hajj, pilgrims should move towards a town in Makkah called Mina. Here, the pilgrims stay in the air-conditioned tents. There is no ritual on the first night, so pilgrims can spend time praying, focusing on the spiritual aspect and interact with other pilgrims.
Heading Towards Arafat and Conducting Waquf
On the second day, pilgrims head towards Mt. Arafat and perform the Waquf ritual. Right from dawn to dusk, pilgrims are on a vigil continuing their prayers sincerely to Allah.
After sunset, pilgrims head towards Muzdalifah, which is between Mina and Arafat. Here, the evening prayers (Maghrib and Isha) are offered together at Isha time and pilgrims sleep on the ground under the open sky. The next morning, pebbles are gathered for stoning at Jamarats.
Ramy At Mina
Right after Fajar prayers, pilgrims leave Muzdalifah and go back to Mina and participate in a ritual of Stoning. Pilgrims throw seven pebbles towards a stone structure known as ‘Jamarat-ul-Kubra’.
The Animal Sacrifice
After the stoning, the animal sacrifice is performed. Unlike in the past where each pilgrim did this individually, it is quite common that pilgrims buy a sacrifice voucher, signifying that a sacrifice has been made under your name and a lamb, a goat, or a camel etc. will be sacrificed. The butchered animal meat is packed and shipped to Muslim communities worldwide, and for feeding the poor.
Your Hair – Trim or Shave
Pilgrims must have hair ritually cut. Men may get hair completely shaved or cut it very short (if a man opted for a short haircut during his Umrah, he may now want to have his hair completely shaved off, though he is not required to). For women, they can have a short lock of a haircut and their heads are not shaved. Now, pilgrims are free to remove their Ihram and wear ordinary clothes.
Tawaf-al-Ifadah or Tawafuz Ziyarah is to be performed after Rami, Qurbani and shaving or clipping of the hair.
Next, come closer to the Black stone (Hajre Aswad). If possible, kiss it. If you are unable to kiss it, touch it with your hand. Still, if you are unable to touch, then point your hands towards the stone and recite ‘Bismillahi Allahu Akbar Wa Lilah Hil-Hamd’.
Sa’ey is usually a ‘ritual walk’ or ‘seeking’. Practically, it means walking back and forth seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwah. As you reach atop Safa, recite another Niyyah, saying:
Allah huma inee ureeduss sa’ ya baynas safaa wal marwata sab ‘ata ashwaatin lilaahi ta’aala fa yasir hoo lee wata qabal hu minee.
(O Allah! I intend to perform seven rounds of Sa’ey between Safa and Marwah to please You. Make it easy for me and accept it from me)
Inn-as-Safa wal-Marwa-ta min Sha’aa’irillah
(Indeed Safa and Marwah are among the Signs of Allah)
Finally, face the Ka’bah and recite “Allahu Akbar” three times. Add any additional prayers you may wish, and then proceed towards Marwah.
As you move towards Marwah, recite:
Subhan-Allah, wal-hamdu-lillah, wa la ilaha ill-Allah, wallahu Akbar, wa la haula wa la quwwata illa-billa,
or, if you can’t remember this, use the shortened form,
Subhanallah, Alhamdu Lillah, Allahu Akbar.
Additionally, you can add any prayers you desire. Atop Marwah, thank Allah and recite a prayer as you face Ka’bah, then descend from the hill. After walking seven times back and forth, you are done.
Repeat Stoning After Sunset on the Fourth and Fifth Days
At Mina, the stoning ritual is repeated by throwing pebbles at two other monuments other than Jamarat al Aqabah which are the Jamarat Oolah (the first Jamarat) and Jamarat Wustah (the middle Jamarat)
Perform The Farewell Tawaf
The farewell Tawaf is the final walking around the Ka’bah seven times. As you move around, reflect on your experience and praise Allah for everything. Now your Hajj ends. Proceed to collect your belongings and depart for home. After all the Hajj rituals, you can complete any unfinished work. You can shop and meet others.
Note: For more information or clarification, it is advised to consult a religious scholar.
[Read Also: Comprehensive Hajj Guide for First Timers]