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HAJJ– A PILLAR OF ISLAM


Hajj means a specific journey to Makkah during the designated month of DhulHijjah, for the performance of Pilgrimage as an act of worship to Allah (Glory be to Him) alone. Islam means Muslims submitting their will to the will of Allah (Glory be to Him). And by Hajj, Muslims are doing the same. A Muslim performing Hajj is in total obedience to Allah (Glory be to Him) through physical and financial involvement.

 

Hajj is a submission to Allah’s commands and laws. Hajj symbolizes Tawheed (Islamic Monotheism). Hajj also symbolizes unity. He/she who performs Hajj his/her sins will be washed out.

 

Table of Contents

 

Linguistically

Hajj means, 'He prepared, or be took himself, to or towards a person… or 'to set out for a place', repairing to a place for the sake of visit.” [E.W. Lane, Arabic-English Lexicon (Cambridge, England: The Islamic Text Society, 1984), Vol: 1].

 

Islamically or in Islamic Sharee'ah

Hajj is an Arabic word which means repairing or fixing to Bait-Allah (the House of Allah, one of the names of al-Kaba) to observe the necessary devotions. However it refers to the annual pilgrimage that Muslims make to Makkah with the intention of performing certain religious rites in accordance with the method prescribed by the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace). Hajj also means a specific journey to Makkah during the designated month of Dhul-Hijjah, for the performance of Pilgrimage as an act of worship to Allah (Glory be to Him).

 

Significance of Hajj

Hajj is a religious obligation for Muslims. The Hajj (pilgrimage) to Makkah, Saudi Arabia, is one of the five pillars (arkan) of Islam. Hajj is not a new institution introduced by Islam in its Sharee'ah, This institution is as old as al-Kaba itself which is called in the Qur’an: ‘the firstHouse of Divine Worship appointed for mankind’ (Qur’an.Surah Ale Imran 3:95). This ayath corroborates the ahadith (Prophetic Saying) which tell us that al-Kaba was first built by Adam (Peace be upon Him), the first man on earth. Series of rituals included in Hajj are wearing a special garment called Ihram, circumambulations of the Kaba, Sa’eeand stoning to Jamrat .And followed by the main event of the pilgrimage is at the station on the plain of Arafah, some ten miles from Makkah. It is the same place where Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace) gave His last Khutbah during his farewell pilgrimage. Hajj also includes Muzdalifah, Sacrificing animal, drinking Zam Zam water and Mina.

 

Types of Pilgrimage

Pilgrimages are divided into two kinds:

  1. 'Umrah (Lesser pilgrimage) is made by the individual at any date he wishes, except at the times of the official pilgrimage.
     
  2. Hajj (official pilgrimage) which must be undertaken at a given date and in company with all the other pilgrims. It takes place in the month DhulHijjah (the last month of the Hijri calendar).

 

Allah (Glory be to Him) commands about Hajj in the Qur’an: “The Hajj (pilgrimage) is in the well-known (lunar year) months (i.e. the 10th month, the 11th month and the first thirteen days of the 12th month of the Islamic calendar, i.e. two months and thirteen days). So whosoever intends to perform Hajj therein by assuming Ihram, then he should not have sexual relations (with his wife), nor commit sins, nor dispute unjustly during the Hajj. And whatever you do, (be sure) Allah knows it.” Qur’an.Surah Baqarah 2: 197

 

Hajj is the Pillar of Islam

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam as mentioned in the saying of Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace): Ibn Umar (R) said: “The Messenger of Allah (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace) said: “Islam is built upon five (pillars): testifying that there is no god worthy of worship but Allah (Glory be to Him) and that Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace) is the Messenger of Allah, establishing regular prayer, paying Zakaat, Hajj and fasting in Ramadan.” Sahih Al Bukhari Vol 1:8 and Sahih Al Muslim Vol 1:1

 

History and the call for Hajj

First call for Hajj was made by Prophet Ibrahim (Peace be upon Him) after Allah (Glory be to Him) ordered him to call mankind for Hajj as mentioned in the following ayath of the Qur’an: And proclaim to mankind the Hajj (pilgrimage). They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, they will come from every deep and distant (wide) mountain highway (to perform Hajj). Qur'an.Surah Hajj 22:27. Ibn Katheer (May Allah have mercy on him) said, commenting on this ayath: Meaning, call out to mankind, inviting them to come on pilgrimage to the House which We instructed you to build. It is narrated that Prophet Ibrahim (Peace be upon Him) said: O Lord, how can I convey to the people when my voice will not reach them. Allah said: Call, and it is Ours to convey it.  He said: Call, and it is Ours to convey it. So he stood at his Maqaam, or it was said on the stone, or on al-Safa, or on Abu Qubays (a mountain near the Ka’bah), and he said: O mankind! Your Lord has built a House, so come on pilgrimage to it. It was said that the mountains lowered themselves so that his voice could reach all corners of the earth, and those who were still in (their mothers’) wombs and (fathers’) loins heard, and everything that heard him of rocks, cities and trees responded, and those who Allah decreed would perform Hajj until the Day of Resurrection responded: Labbayk Allahumma Labbayk. This is what is indicated by the reports narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas(R) and Mujaahid, ‘Ikrimah, Sa’eed , Ibn Jubayr and many others (May Allah have mercy on them). This was narrated by Ibn Jareer and Ibn Abi Haatim at length.

 

Hajj and its rites were first ordained by Allah (Glory be to Him) in the time of the Prophet lbrahim (Peace be upon Him) in detail with specifications and he was the one who was entrusted by Allah (Glory be to Him) to build the Ka'ba - the House of Allah (Glory be to Him) - along with his son Ismaa'eel (Peace be upon Him) at Makkah. Allah (Glory be to Him) described the Ka'ba and its building as follows: "And remember when We showed Prophet Ibrahim (Peace be upon Him) the site of the [Sacred] House [saying]: Associate not anything [in worship] with Me and purify My House for those who circumambulate it [i.e. perform tawaaf] and those who stand up for prayer and those who bow down and make prostration [in prayer etc.]." Qur’an.Surah Hajj 22:26

 

After building the Ka'ba, Ibrahim (Peace be upon Him) would come to Makkah to perform Hajj and after his death, this practice was continued by his son. However, gradually with the passage of time, both the form and the goal of the Hajj rites were changed. As idolatry spread throughout Arabia, the Ka'ba lost its purity and idols were placed inside it. Its walls became covered with poems and paintings, including one of Jesus and his mother Maryam (Peace be  upon them) and eventually over 360 idols came to be placed inside the Ka'ba. Even the talbeeyah “Labbaik Allaahumma labbaik” was distorted. The blood of the sacrificed animals was poured on to the walls of the Ka'ba and the flesh was hung from pillars around the Ka'ba. Thus the people had totally abandoned the teachings of their forefather and leader Prophet Ibrahim (Peace be upon Him).

 

This sad state of affairs continued for nearly two and a half thousand years. But then after this long period, the time came for the supplication of  Prophet Ibrahim (Peace be upon Him) to be answered as mentioned in Qur’an.Surah Baqarah 2:129.

 

And thus last and final Prophet was born in the very city that Prophet Ibrahim (Peace be upon Him)) had made this supplication centuries earlier. For twenty-three years, the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace) spread the message of Tawheed [true monotheism] - the same message that Prophet Ibrahim (Peace be upon Him) and all the other Prophets came with - and established the law of Allah (Glory be to Him) upon the land. The Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace) also put a stop to the practice of circling the Ka'ba in a state of nudity and the argument that the pagans put forward to justify this ritual was sharply rebutted by Allah (Glory be to Him) through Qur’an.

 

The whole ceremony of Hajj is memorial of Prophet Ibrahim (Peace be upon Him) and his family's acts of devotion to Allah Almighty. This demonstrates that Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace) did not innovate this institution but purged it of all evil practices and made it an obligatory act of piety by which one can develop God-consciousness; hence it is one of the five pillars of faith incumbent upon each believer to do if he is capable physically and financially. Pilgrimage is rightly said to be the perfection of faith since it combines in itself all the distinctive qualities of other obligatory acts of prayer, patience, privation of amenities of life, devotion, Zakat (alms) and supplication. In fact, physical pilgrimage is a prelude to spiritual pilgrimage to Allah (Glory be to Him) when man would bid good-bye to everything of the world and present himself before Him as His humble slave saying: 'Here I am before You, my Lord...'

 

Conditional Obligation of Hajj once in a lifetime

Hajj is a religious obligation on every Muslim once in their life time for those who can afford it. According to the majority of the scholars Hajj was legislated in the ninth year of Hijrah (Prophet’s migration from Makkah to Medina), meaning the year of the Delegations (al-Wufood), in which the ayah of the Qur’an was revealed, Qur’an.Surah Ale Imran 3: 97: “Hajj to the House is a duty that mankind owes to Allah (Glory be to Him) for those who can afford the journey” was revealed. This Ayah established the obligation of performing Hajj.

 

There are many ahadith that mention it as one of the pillars and fundamentals of Islam, and this is agreed upon by the Muslims. According to texts and the consensus of the scholars, it is only obligatory for the adult Muslim to perform it once during his lifetime.

 

Abu Hurayrah (R) said: “The Messenger of Allah (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace) gave a sermon (Khutbah) and said: “O people, Allah has enjoined Hajj upon you so perform Hajj.” A man asked: “Is it every year, O Messenger of Allah (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace)?”  

 

He (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace) remained silent until the man had said it three times, then he responded saying: “If I had said yes, (then) it would have become an obligation (once every year) and you would not have been able to do it.” Then he said: “Do not push me to tell you more than what I have left you with, for those who came before you were destroyed because they asked too many questions and argued with their Prophets. If I command you to do a thing, do as much of it as you can, and if I forbid you to do something, then avoid it.”Sahih Al Muslim  1337. 

 

Ibn Abbas (R) said on this ayath, "Whoever denies the necessity of Hajj becomes disbeliever, and Allah (Glory be to Him) is far Richer than to need.

 

Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr Al-Ismaili recorded that Umar bin Al- Khattab (R) said, "Whoever can afford Hajj but did not perform it, there is no difference in his case if he dies while Jew or Christian.''

 

Preconditions of the Hajj becoming an obligation

 

It is an obligation for every free adult Muslim, who is able to find a way to do it, once during his lifetime.

 

  1. Islam
    Islam
    is a precondition for the obligation. That is what Ibn al-Hajib (May Allah Have Mercy on Him) and the author of the Mukhtasar say. It is a precondition for its validity. According to the first, disbelief is a barrier to its obligation, and according to the second, to its validity.
     
  2. Ability
    One who is physically fit and has means of reaching to the House of Allah (Glory be to Him).
     
  3. Freedom
    The third precondition is freedom, it is not compulsory if one is slave.
     
  4. Adulthood
    The fourth is adulthood. The precondition of adulthood is not confined to the hajj.
     
  5. Sanity
    The person should be mentally fit. The hajj is not obliged for someone who is insane.
     
  6. For women
    As for a woman, she must have a Mahramto accompany her, such as a husband, a male sibling of hers, a father, a son, a brother, or an uncle, as a precondition for the incumbency of Hajj upon her. According to Ibn Uthaymeen (May Allah have mercy on him) her Hajjwould by valid, yet she would commit a sin if she goes for Hajj by herself.
     
  7. If doing hajj for others
    A Muslim must first perform Hajj for himself before performing it on behalf of someone else who is dead. And if he is doing for a person who is alive then other person should not be in a state of good health.

 

Statistics

According to Ministry of Hajj, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, every year approximately three million Muslims, from 70 different countries, travel to Makkah with the purpose of undertaking the great obligation of Hajj. 

 

Condition of eligibility of any Ibadah(Worship)

For any form of worship is only acceptable when the following is true:

  1. One devotes it to Allah (Glory be to Him) alone, with a desire for the Hereafter. It cannot be done with the intention of being seen among men or for worldly gain.
     
  2. One follows the Prophet's example, in word and deed. This cannot be accomplished except with knowledge of the Sunnah.

 

The Purpose of Hajj

  • It is a submission to Allah’s commands and laws. This confirms the unity of the ummah and its following one system with no differentiation or exemptions. By following the command of Allah (Glory be to Him) one can Increase in piety and making the heart fit to honour the Symbols of Allah (Glory be to Him). Allah (Glory be to Him) says (interpretation of the meaning): “and whosoever honours the Symbols of Allah, then it is truly, from the piety of the hearts” Qur’an.Surah Hajj 22:32
  • Hajj symbolizes Tawheed (Islamic Monotheism) from its very first moment the pilgrim enters ihraam. It is the realization and affirmation of the Oneness of the Almighty. Allah (Glory be to Him) has no partner One in his Essence, His Attributes and His Acts.
  • Hajj separates Muslims from disbelievers (mushrikoon) Allah says: “O you who believe ( in Allah’s Oneness and in His Messenger Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace))! Verily, the Mushrikoon (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah, and in the Message of Muhammad) are Najasun ( impure). So let them not come near Al Masjid Al-Haraam (at Makkah) after this year; and if you fear poverty, Allah will enrich you if He wills, out of His Bounty. Surely, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise” Qur’an.Surah Tawbah 9:28
  • Hajj is a reminder of the Hereafter when all the people gather in one place in Arafah and elsewhere, without differentiations or exemptions. All of them are equal in this place and no one is better than another.
  • Hajj symbolizes unity. Pilgrims wear the same clothes, perform the same rituals, have got the same Qiblah and they visit the same places. Thus, the sense of superiority does not exist; no king or slave, no rich or poor, we are all equals. Equals in rights and duties.
  • He/she who performs Hajj his/her sins will be washed out, for  Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace) said: “Whoever does Hajj and does not speak any obscene words or commit any sin will go back cleansed of sin as on the day his mother bore him.”

 

It is an exemplary demonstration of equality and unity when the pilgrims gather together for Hajj. Muslims who belong to different nations, cultures, social and economical status are all dressed in two pieces of unsown cloth. All perform the same rites. There is no difference of rich and poor, black and white, all stand in front of Allah (Glory be to Him) in submission and humility.

 

Hajj provides a unique opportunity for Muslims to meet each other, understand each other, increase in love, get closer, improve and resolve relationships. It is from the blessings of Allah (Glory be to Him) during Hajj that one is in continuous opportunity to gain good deeds by treating one's Muslim brethren in the best way. And aid the poor and needy, which is also from the means of achieving great rewards from Allah (Glory be to Him).

 

Hajj in Qur’an

There are various ayah of the Qur’an which says that Hajj is a duty and a compulsory act on Muslims. Below are the few ayah from the Qur’an:

 

Indeed, as-Safa and al-Marwah are among the symbols of Allah (Glory be to Him). So whoever makes Hajj to the House or performs 'umrah - there is no blame upon him for walking between them. And whoever volunteers good - then indeed, Allah (Glory be to Him) is appreciative and Knowing. Qur’an.Surah Baqarah 2:158
 

And perform properly (i.e. all the ceremonies according to the ways of Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace)), the Hajj and Umrah (i.e. the pilgrimage to Makkah) for Allah (Glory be to Him). Qur’an.Surah Baqarah 2:196, 197,198
 

And Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Kabah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the expenses (for ones conveyance, provision and residence); and whoever disbelieves (i.e. denies Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah), then he is a disbeliever of Allah), then Allah stands not in need of any of the Alameen (mankind and Jinns). Qur’an.Surah Ale Imran 3:97
 

And proclaim to mankind the Hajj (pilgrimage). They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every deep and distant (wide) mountain highway (to perform Hajj). Qur’an.Surah Hajj 22:27
 

Hajj in Sunnah

There are various ahadith which says that Hajj is compulsory on Muslims and has a reward not less than paradise. Below are the few ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (S):

 

Narrated Ibn Umar (R): Allah's Apostle said: “Islam is based on (the following) five (principles): 1. To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah (Glory be to Him) and Muhammad is Allah's Apostle. 2. To offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly. 3. To pay Zakat (i.e. obligatory charity). 4. To perform Hajj. (i.e. Pilgrimage to Makkah) 5. To observe fast during the month of Ramadan.” Sahih Al Bukhari Vol 1:8

 

Allah's Messenger (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace) said, "He who is not prevented from performing the pilgrimage by an obvious necessity, a tyrannical ruler, or a disease which confines him at home, and dies without having performed the pilgrimage, may die if he wishes as a Jew, or if he wishes as a Christian." (Tirmidhi 2535, Narrated Abu Umamah (R) (Darimi transmitted it)

Abu Hurairah (R) narrates: “I heard the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace) say, ‘Whoever performs Hajj and does not commit any Rafath (obscenity) or Fusooq (transgression), he returns (free from sin) as the day his mother bore him’”. (Sahih Al Bukhari)

 

Aisha (R) asked the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace), “We find that Jihad is the best deed, shouldn’t we (women) do jihad?” The Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace) replied, ‘Rather the best Jihad is a Hajj Mabroor!’ Aisha (R) later said, ‘I’ll never cease performing Hajj after I heard that from Prophet Muhammad’”. (Sahih Al Bukhari and Sahih Al Muslim)

 

Abu Hurayrah (R) said: “I heard the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace) say: ‘Whoever does Hajj for the sake of Allah and does not have sexual relations (with his wife), commit sin, or dispute unjustly (during the Hajj), will come back like the day his mother gave birth to him.’” (Sahih Al Bukhari 1449, Sahih Al  Muslim 1350)

 

Abu Hurayrah (R) reported that the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him peace) said: “Umrah is an expiation for the time between it and the previous Umrah, and an accepted Hajj has no less a reward than Paradise.” (Sahih Al Bukhari 1683, Sahih Al Muslim 1349)

 

References

  • Book of Rites of hajj and umrah by Shaik Naasir uddin Albani
  • Book of How to Perform the Rituals of Hajj and Umrah by Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Saalih al-'Uthaymeen
  • Book of Hajj and Tawheed by Dr. Saleh as Saleh
  • Book of Hajj Guide by Shaik Arshad Basheer Madani

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