Hajj is striving in path of Mighty Lord, relinquishing worldly luxuries, refraining from lucrative desires, accomplishing rituals to reinvigorate the bond with divine creator by venerating the practices of Hazrat Adam (AS) and the apostles till date. Hajj is the fifth most fundamental pillar of Islam, which commemorates several sacramental ceremonies that symbolizes the essential vitalities of Islamic faith. Out of all five significant pillars, Hajj holds entire ingredients for a Muslim to revive one’s faith in order to attain the level of distinction in sight of Allah Almighty. Quran says:
“And perform properly (i.e. all the ceremonies according to the ways of Prophet Muhammad PBUH), the Hajj and ‘Umrah (i.e. the pilgrimage to Makah) for Allah…..” [Quran 2:196]
Pilgrim who undertakes Hajj by travelling all the way to Mecca is exclusive guest of Allah and Allah take cares of His matter keenly. Hajj is the epitome of celestial teachings of Islam and Quran that expiates all sins when perform with pure and devoted intention for sake of mere Rab-ul-Aalameen. Hadith narrates:
“Whoever performs Hajj and does not commit any obscenity or transgression shall return [free from sins] as he was on the day his mother gave birth to him.” [Al-Bukhari]
Prerequisites of Hajj
Allah has declared the practices of Hajj an obligation upon every person who is
- Muslim having strong faith in the oneness of Allah and all the declarations in Quran and Sunnah
- Physically sane and mentally sound enough to perform the rituals of Hajj
- Possess sanity and puberty to undertake pilgrimage
- In no debt and gross responsibilities
- Financially stable enough to surf wealth, health and stealth for Allah to perform this once in a life time obligation
Performing Hajj: Key rituals
Hajj addresses to the ultimate from of worship, which involves the spirit of other rituals demanding great sacrifice from the believer. Hajj has declared the greatest deed in Islamic narrations after Tawheed and Jihad as quoted:
“Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet was asked, “Which deed is the best?” The Prophet said, “Belief in Allah and His Messenger.” He was asked again, “What is next?” The Prophet said, “Jihad [striving] in the cause of Allah.” He was further asked, “And what is next?” He said, “Hajj mabroor [i.e. Hajj accepted by Almighty Allah]” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Approximately thousands and millions of people are gathered to perform Hajj which is deemed obligatory upon every Muslim, the rituals of which starts from Friday.
1. Wearing Ihram
Hajj started when the pilgrim entered in state of ihram. Ihram is seamless two-piece white outfit for men and a loose garment for women in which they are permitted to reveal their hands and face only. Ihram signifies unity and equality in sight of Allah that no one is mighty enough except in piety. People from all over the world having distinct languages, creeds and color declare the oneness of Allah regardless of the differences.
Whilst entering in state of ihram the pilgrim is not permitted to keep intimidated desires, shaving beard, clipping nails, killing animals, putting on cologne, sexual intercourse and combing hair.
2. While entering into Masjid Al-Haram
Once wear ihram and the pilgrim enters into Masjid Haram than he/she should enter with their right foot by reciting:
“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.” [Sunan Ibn E Majah]
Talbiyah encompasses six parts, marking one’s present in front of Allah, declaring the oneness of Lord, imparting glorification and blessings upon Allah, declaring that sovereignty belongs entirely to Allah Almighty along bearing the faith that there is no partner to Allah.
3. Intention (Niyyah) for Hajj
After wearing ihram and entering into Masjid Al Harm, the next thing that a pilgrim must embed in his heart is Niyyah. The intention to be made should base on pure devotion and commitment by standing next to Ka’bah with Holy black stone (Hajra Al Aswad) to right and reciting talbiyah.
4. Performing Tawaf
Tawaf is the devotional ritual of circumambulating Holy Ka’bah while reciting prayers and supplications to beseech Allah’s forgiveness and mercy. One complete circle around Ka’bah is shawt and seven makes it ashwaat that completed one Tawaf for a pilgrim. The pilgrim cannot enter inside Ka’bah nor can stop anywhere around it.
During Tawaf the pilgrim while circulating around Ka’bah can touch and kiss the black Holy stone pertaining to the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). If the place is crowded then the pilgrim ought to avoid kissing and touching of the stone rather should direct towards it and then recite Talbiyah. This stone will testify a pilgrim’s faith at the Day of Resurrection hence one should make supplications and plead for Allah’s mercy to accept one’s Hajj and hardships. Hadith Narrates:
“By Allah! On the Day of Qiyamah, Allah will present the Hajar al-Aswad in such a manner that it will have two eyes and a tongue to testify to the Imaan (faith) of all those who kissed it.” [Tirmidhi]
5. Performing Sa’i and Going to Mina
Aftar Tawaf the pilgrim performs the ninth obligation of Hajj called sa’i. It is the devotional act of walking between mountains of Safa and Marwa to honor the desperate attempts of lurking water by Hajar (wife of Ibrahim (AS) for infant son Ismail. After Her desperate attempt, Allah blessed the Muslims with Zamzam, blessed water. However, this ritual is not an obligatory one but performing sa’i is a voluntary deed as quoted in Quran:
6. Vigil at Arafat and Supplications
“Verily! As-Safa and Al-Marwah (two mountains in Makkah) are of the Symbols of Allah. So it is not a sin on him who perform Hajj or ‘Umrah (pilgrimage) of the House (the Ka’bah at Makkah) to perform the going (Tawaf) between them (As-Safa and Al-Marwah)…” [Quran 2:158]
The pilgrim leaves for mount Arafat on ninth day of Hajj to perform vigil and recite Quran. This was the mountain where Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) delivered his last sermon that proves to be the best-unified lesson until date for his Ummah. The crux of that sermon was to hold onto the Sunnah and Quran so that you might not divide and fall into discrepancies.
Arafat congregation reminds pilgrims of the Resurrection day when all will be presented in front of Lord for accountability of deeds. A pilgrim’s Hajj holds invalid if He does not spend time on mount Arafat.
7. Sacrifice and Stoning the Devil at Jamrat
On tenth of Dhul Hajj, the pilgrim sacrifices animals to emulate the divine ritual of Ibrahim (AS) to distribute the meat in poor. Eleventh day of Hajj, after Eid feast, the pilgrim performs the ritual of stoning the devil that is called Jamrat in Arabic. This ritual is in the honor of Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) when devil appears to him three times in deserted place of Mina and Gabriel asked Him to pelt the Satan. It is part of Eid-ul-Adha after which the pilgrim sacrifices animal and completed Hajj after final Tawaf.
Following the sacrifice, men shave their head and women trim their hair of about finger length, moved back to Ka’bah to perform round of seven ties along sa’i to accomplish their Hajj. They are now officially hajjies after removing their ihram.
In short, Hajj is an obligation which is a must and once in a life time thing for Muslims. It has clearly been stated that if a person is sane and financially enough to perform Hajj still kept him deprived of it then Allah has no concern in whichever state he dies. The status of Haj-e-Mabrook is otherwise equivalent to paradise if perform properly.
“The reward for a Hajj Mabroor is nothing but Paradise” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]