The Five Pillars of Islam

Hajj and its Significance

38 The Review of Religions – January 2004 Once I listened to the ‘Question and Answer’ session with Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) on MTA International Television. A question was asked about Hajj that, if, despite having all the provisions and facilities for offering Hajj, one does not make the journey, is one disobeying God and committing a sin? In reply to this question, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV(ru) confirmed that it is indeed a sin because Hajj is obligatory upon every Muslim who can afford the expenses related to Hajj and has the access to Makkah. Hajj is the fifth act of worship. It is obligatory upon every adult Muslim who can afford to undertake the journey and has safe passage to Makkah. And Pilgrimage to the House is a duty which men – those who can find a way to thither –owe to Allah. (Ch.3: v.98) Hajj is performed only once in a year during the Islamic month of Dhul-Hijjah. It starts on the 8th of Dhul-Hijjah and continues up to the 13th. The Ka’bah is the focal point of Hajj. The Ka’bah is the first place of worship of Allah. It was built by His command some four thousand years ago. Surely the first house founded for mankind is that at Becca (the valley of M a k k a h) abounding in blessing and a guidance for all peoples. (Ch.3: v.97) By Bilquees Cheema – Nairobi, Kenya Hajj and its Significance The annual pilgrimage to the Sacred Mosque is Makkah and the assemblance on the plains of Arafat and associated rites is the greatest spectacle of the physical unity of mankind under the Oneness of God Almighty. Clad in similar garb, the rich and the poor, the black and white, the young and old and male and female gather in one place. 39The Review of Religions – January 2004 Hajj and its Significance In the Holy Qur’an, Allah says: And complete the Hajj and the Umrah for the sake of Allah; but if you are kept back, then make whatever offering is easily available; and do not shave your heads until the offering reaches its destination. And whoever among you is sick or has an ailment of the head should make expiation either by fasting or almsgiving or a sacrifice. But when you are safe, then he who would avail himself of the Umrah together with the Hajj should make whatever offering is easily obtainable. But such of you as cannot find an offering should fast three days during the pilgrimage, and seven when you return home; these are ten complete. This is for him whose family does not reside near the Sacre d Mosque. And fear Allah and know that Allah is severe in punishment. (Ch.2: v.197) There are many benefits in Hajj. For instance it gives the opportunity for Muslims to visit Makkah, the birth place of the Holy Prophet Muhammad( s a ). Makkah has a great significance in the history of Islam. It has the History of Prophet Ibrahim ( a s ), Hajirah(as) and Ismael(as). In fact while performing Hajj many such acts are performed in their remembrance. By performing the Hajj, all Muslims around the world are bound to a relationship of brotherhood and unity. The most benefit is to get the opportunity of offering prayers and get closer to Allah the Almighty. The journey of Hajj starts from home. It is essential to fulfill the requirements of Saudi Arabia and the country you are departing from. If the law forbids someone to enter the country, it is recommended to obey the rules. This is what the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) did when he was not allowed to enter Makkah; he respected the law and postponed it to the next year. During the journey for Hajj, it is preferable, 40 The Review of Religions – January 2004 Hajj and its Significance but not obligatory, to go in a group of at least three people. One of them should be considered as the Amir. However, a male person can also go for Hajj alone. Before departing from home the pilgrim should take a bath and pray two ra’kaat of Nawafil. It is also recommended to pay sadaqa. Pilgrims should pray for the success of their purpose and of the voyage. They should pray in their own language, but the following Arabic prayer is also recommended: Subhaana IIahi walhamdulillahi wa laa ilaha ila llah wallahu akbaru walaa haula wala quwwata illa bi IIahie ‘aliyyi I adhem (Holy are Thou, and all praise belong to Allah. And there is no one worthy of worship except Allah. God is the Greatest and there is no might nor power except with Allah the Most High, Most Great.) The Hajj starts when the pilgrim reaches certain designated places close to Makkah (there are several designated places depending upon the direction from which the pilgrim is approaching Makkah). In those places the pilgrim changes to the state of Ihraam. The Ihraam consists of two seamless sheets wide enough to cover the entire body properly. The Ihraam cloths should be white. For a female pilgrim, she can wear her normal dress, which covers her body from head to toe. She should not cover her face in the state of Ihram. Before putting on Ihraam, the pilgrim should have a bath and wear perfume as well. The moment the pilgrim is in the state of Ihraam, all worldly affairs are prohibited including physical relationship with the spouse. The pilgrims are not allowed to wear any seamed garments like coats, shirts, socks or shoes. For ladies, applying of make-up is also prohibited. Cutting nails is also not allowed. The pilgrim has to avoid any arguments, quarrel or fighting. Hunting is totally prohibited; 41The Review of Religions – January 2004 Hajj and its Significance even cutting the trees or plants also stands in this regulation. However after the state of Ihraam, one can have a bath, comb the hair put on perfume or deodorant, and can change into another pair of Ihraam clothes. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an: The months of Hajj are well known; so whoever deter- mines to perform the pilgrimage in these months, should remember that there is to be no foul talk, nor any transgression, nor any quar- relling during the pilgrimage. And whatever good you do, Allah knows it. And furnish yourselves with necessary provisions for your journey, and surely the best provision is righteousness. And fear Me alone, O men of understanding. (Ch.2: v.198) An important aspect of Hajj that relates to ladies is that upon putting on the Ihraam if she reaches the period of men- struation, she can participate in all the ceremonies of the Hajj except the tawaaf (circuits of the Ka’aba). It is clearly indicated by various AHadith, but for the benefit of the readers I would like to mention only two of them. It is related that on the way to Hajj, the wife of Hadhrat Abu B a k r( a s ) gave birth to a child named Muhammad Bin Abu Bakr. She sent a messenger to inform the Holy Prophet(sa) about the birth of the child and asked whether she should continue with the Hajj. The reply was that she should have a bath and complete the Hajj. In another Hadith it is related that when the Holy Prophet(sa) went for Hajj, his wives also accompanied him. On the way to Makkah two of his wives started their menses, so they also consulted the Holy Prophet(sa) for their status; he gave a similar statement and said that you may continue your joumey for Hajj except the Tawaaf, which can be carried out after the menses, and after having bath. After the Ihraam, the Hajj starts 42 The Review of Religions – January 2004 Hajj and its Significance with the Niyaah (intention) and Talbiyyah. Talbiyyah is the declaration of the presence to the Hajj and it should be made in a loud voice and be repeated. For ladies it is prohibited to say it loudly. They should say it in a low voice. It is preferable to say it in Arabic, but if one does not know Arabic, one can say it in their own language. It is as follows: Labbayka Allahumma labbayka, labbayka laa shariika laka labbayka, Inna lhamda wa ni’mata laka walmullka, laa sharika lak ‘Here we come, O God, here we come. No partner have You, here we come. Indeed praise and blessings are Yours, and the kingdom too. No partner have you, here we come. Now the pilgrim has to make the journey towards Makkah. As soon as the pilgrim reaches Makkah, the sacred city, he should engage in prayers and tasbih and ask Allah’s f o rgiveness. During the entire journey, the pilgrim should recite the Talbeeh frequently. As soon as the pilgrim reaches Masjid al Haram and can see the Ka’aba, he should pray to Allah; and it is said that as soon as you have the first sight of the Ka’aba, whatever you ask will be accepted by Allah, the Almighty. The pilgrim has to walk around the Ka’aba seven times anti- clockwise. This is called Tawaaf. During the Tawaaf he can recite any prayer. The following is recited during each circuit: Rabbanaa aatinaa fidunnya hasanatan wa fil aakhira hasanatan waqinaa adhaabannaar ‘O our God give us good in this world and good in the world to come and save us from the punishment of hell.’ After the Tawaaf the pilgrim should try to kiss the ‘hajr aswad’ (Black Stone). While kissing the stone he touches the 43The Review of Religions – January 2004 Hajj and its Significance stone with both hands or at least with his right hand. However, due to the large crowds of people, it is difficult and one would be extraordinarily fortunate to reach the stone. If they do not get that opportunity then they can just wave from far and kiss their hand. After finishing the Tawaaf, he should offer two nawafil near Muqram- e-Ibrahim and if he feels thirsty, he can drink Zum Zum water nearby. After completing the tawa’af the pilgrims perform the Sa’ee. This is the part-walking and part- running between the hills of Safa and Marwa near Ka’aba. These are the two hills between which Hajira(as) ran in search of water for her son Hadhrat Ismael(as). In the Holy Qur’an Allah says: S u re l y, Al Safaa and Al- Marwah are among the Signs of Allah. It is therefore no sin for him who is on pilgrimage to the House or performs Umrah to go around the two. And whoso does good beyond what is obligatory, sure l y then, Allah is appreciative of good deeds and All- Knowing. (Ch.2: v.159) After performing the Sa’ee the pilgrims move to Mina, a plain located about four miles east of Makkah and spend a night there. During the journey the pilgrims have to recite the Tabiyyah all the time and engage themselves in prayers. According to a Hadith the Holy Prophet(sa) prayed the whole night at the plain of Mina. After the Fajr prayer, the pilgrim should move to Arafaat. Arafat is a deserted plain situated nine miles away from Makkah and six miles from Mina. The area is around 12 miles square. During the Hajj season the plain is covered with tents. Here most of the pilgrims offer Zuhr and Asr prayers. The Zuhr and Asr prayers are joined in accordance to the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad(sa). The pilgrim may offer the prayers in congregation or alone. 44 The Review of Religions – January 2004 Hajj and its Significance After the prayers the pilgrim has to engage in supplications and prayers. Once the Holy Prophet(sa) said that, the one who does not supplicate at the plain of Arafaat is unlucky. Arafaat is the place where Hadhrat M u h a m m a d( s a ) delivered the farewell sermon. After sunset, the pilgrims have to leave Arafaat and move to Muzdhalifa where they off e r their Maghrib and Isha prayers. In the Holy Qur’an this place is referred to as Mash’ ar al- Haram. It is a sacred place. The night at Muzdhalifa is very important for the pilgrims; it is the night for prayers and supplications. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an: It is no sin for you that you seek the bounty of your Lord. But when you pour forth from Arafaat, remember Allah at Mash’ar al-Haram, and remember Him as He has guided you; although, before this, you were of those gone astray. (Ch.2: v.199) During the entire journey, the pilgrim has to recite the Talbiyyah. The plain of Muzdhalifa is also a significant place for pilgrims. Actually, the pilgrim has to spend the whole night praying and asking repentance from their sins and Hajj Route 45The Review of Religions – January 2004 Hajj and its Significance remembering Allah Almighty. At that place there will be no tent provided so the pilgrim may stay awake all night in prayers. One more important task to be done at Muzdhalifa is to collect stones for Rami (stoning of the devil). The stone should not be too big or too small. The size should be the size of a peanut. Seventy stones should be taken and kept in the pocket. The pilgrim will spend the night at Muzdhalifa and then after fajr prayer would return to Mina. By now it will be the 10th of Dhul Hajj. Here the pilgrim will throw stones at a minaret called Jamra- tul-Aqbah in remembrance, again, of an act of Ibrahim( a s ). It is related that when Ibrahim( a s ) was taking his son to be slaughtered, Satan distracted him and he threw stones at him. While throwing the stones the Talbiyyah and other prayers should be repeated several times. It is prescribed to say Allahu Akbar, Lailah illa ullah, A l h a m d u l i l l a h. On 10th Dhul Hajj, after the initial ceremony of Rami on one Jamra, the pilgrim may perform Kurbani (slaughter an animal). Only such pilgrims off e r sacrifice who perform hajj-e- Tamatto or Hajj-e-Qiran. Hajj-e- Tamatto means, that he pilgrim wears Ihram separately for Umra and Hajj, while Hajj-e- Qiran means, that with one Ihram, the pilgrim performs Umra as well as hajj. Both such pilgrims would offer sacrifice in Mina or would fast for 10 days. This is again to repeat the practice of Ibrahim( a s ). When he was going to undergo the slaughter of his son Ismael( a s ), Allah sent a revelation and said I am pleased with your act, do not slaughter your son, instead slaughter a lamb. A cow or a camel can also be slaughtered, but remember seven persons can share a cow and a camel. If one cannot afford to slaughter an animal, they can keep fast for three days i.e. from the 7th to the 9th Dhul Hajj. After the Qurbani, the male pilgrim has to shave or cut his hair. Female pilgrims trim their hair an inch from the bottom. The shaving of the head is a symbolic gesture of a new birth, like acquiring the innocence of a new born baby. 46 The Review of Religions – January 2004 Hajj and its Significance Allah says in the Holy Qur’ a n : And complete the Hajj and the Umrah for the sake of Allah: but if you are kept back, then make whatever offering is easily available; and do not shave your heads until the offering reaches its destination. And whoever among you is sick or has an ailment of head should make expiation either by fasting or almsgiving or a sacrifice. But when you are safe, then he who would avail himself of the Umrah together with the Hajj, should make whatever offering is easily obtainable. But such of you as cannot find an offering should fast three days during the pilgrimage and seven when you return home; these are ten complete. This is for him whose family does not reside near the S a c red Mosque. And fear Allah and know that Allah is severe in punishing. (Ch.2:v.197) When on the 10th of dhul- Hijjah, after initial Rami with seven stone starts, Talbiyya is no longer required. Muslims around the world who have not gone to the Hajj, will also perforn Qurbani on the same day. Now the pilgrim can take off their Ihraam and wear normal clothes and go to Makkah to Masjid al Haram for Ta w a a f . During the Tawaaf, the pilgrim should engage in silent prayers and Takbeer and Tasbeeh. After completing the Tawaaf they go to Mina and stay there for 3 days from 11th to 13th of Dhul Hajj. It is optional to stay there for 2 days. After that all the pilgrims come back to Masjid Haram for the farewell Tawaaf. It is related that the Holy Prophet (sa) was on a camel, named Qaswa, during this farewell Tawaaf. In each circuit he touched the Hajr al Aswad with his walking stick. After completing the seven circuits, he stopped at Muqame Ibrahim, prayed two rakaats and drank from the well of Zum Zum. Then he made the last tour of Masjid Haram and the Ka’aba. Muqame 47The Review of Religions – January 2004 Hajj and its Significance Ibrahim, the well of Zum Zum and the Ka’aba are all situated within the Masjid Haram compound. The pilgrim should submit to Allah Almighty in prayers and Tasbeeh. This is the time to ask Allah for whatever the pilgrim wants and engage in silent prayers all the time. The ceremony of Hajj is completed. The pilgrim may go to the other sacred city called Madinah to visit the Masjid al-Nabwi (the Holy P r o p h e t ’s Mosque ( s a )), and the tomb of the Holy Prophet( s a ). The Holy Prophet’s( s a ) Mosque in Madinah is a blessed place as according to one tradition, forty prayers observed here are greatly blessed by God Almighty. This therefore means that the pilgrim should allow himself a sstay of at least eight days in Madinah-tul- Munawara. The person who is going for Hajj should have intention of performing his Pilgrimage just for the sake of worship. No other worldly matter should propel them to perform the Hajj. Not even the wish to be called a pious person nor the desire to be called al-Hajj should induce him to perform Hajj. This is very important, because Allah sees into his heart. His deeds and intentions are the only things considered in front of Allah. There are three types of Hajj. Hajj Tamatto, Hajj Ifrad and Hajj Qiran. The one I have described above is Hajj Tamatto. The Hajj of Ifrad starts with the intention of Hajj by reciting this Prayer: Allahuma innee arfidul hajja, F a y a s s i rhu Iee wa taqabbalhu minnee ‘O, Allah I have decided to offer Hajj, make it easy for me and accept it.’ When the pilgrims reaches the designated place near Makkah, they put on the Ihraam and recite the Talbiyyah. After that they proceed to Makkah and perform Tawaaf, go for Saiee and remain in Makkah in the state of Ihraam. On 8th Dhul Hajj the pilgrim goes to Mina, Arafat and Muzdhalifa. Next day on the way back to Makkah, they perform 48 The Review of Religions – January 2004 Hajj and its Significance the ceremony of throwing stones to the devil, sacrificing an animal and shaving of hair. They then travel to Mecca and perform the final Tawaaf. Hajj Qiran is a type of Hajj in which the pilgrim offers Umrah and Hajj in combination. The pilgrim starts with the intention of Umrah and Hajj by reciting this prayer: Allahuma innee arfidul hajja, F a y a s s i rhu Iee wa taqabbalhu minnee ‘O, Allah I have decided to perform Hajj and Umrah, Make them easy for me and accept them’. When the pilgrim reaches the designated place near Makkah, they put on the Ihraam and recite the Talbiyyah. After reaching Makkah, the Pilgrim performs Tawaaf of the Ka’aba, go for Saiee and travel to Mina, Arafat and Muzdhalifa. On the way back to Mecca they perform the ceremony of throwing stones to the devil, sacrificing of an animal and throwing of the stones, and come back to Makkah for the final Tawaaf. The Holy P r o p h e t(sa) performed the Qiran Hajj on the occasion of the Hajjatul Widaa. Umra is the same as Hajj except for two things. First it can be performed at any time of the year and second there is no Qurbani. lt is possible during the Hajj to combine it with the Umrah. According to a Hadith, on the 10th of Al-Hijrah the Holy Prophet(sa) decided to go for Hajj. Many people joined him, among them were rich and poor, most of them were so poor that they travelled to Makkah from Madinah on foot and could not carry animals with them. Thus the Holy Prophet( s a ) passed a statement that from this day he wanted to combine the Hajj with Umrah, for the benefit of those who could not afford to have an animal.