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The Hajj and Umra

1) Time of Hajj and 'Umra

As regards the pilgrimage, the times referred to are those defined by God in His words:
"The pilgrimage is in the well-Known months". These months are Shawwal, Zul Qe'ada, Zul Hijja. 

The 'Ulama added that only the first ten days of Zul Hijja are included. Thus it is not allowed to enter into the state of consecration (lhram) for the pilgrimage before these months, that is to say, before the month of Shawwal.

As for the Lesser Pilgrimage, it is not limited to any definite time of the year. Here is one of the distinctions between the Hajj and 'Umra. It is said that the Prophet himself performed it once in Shawwal and another time in Zul-Qe'da, though he declared that 'Umra in Ramadan (the month of fasting) is equal to the Hajj in gaining God's blessing without meaning, of course, that it would replace it.

2) Stations of Assembly (Mawaqit Makaniya). This refers to the places outside Mecca at which Muslims assemble before entering the Haram. On reaching these assembly points they prepare themselves both physically and spiritually for this sacred duty. These places were defined by religious law, and each is termed a Miqat. The Prophet fixed these places to the South, East and North of Mecca. They are as follows:

a) Dhu'1-Hulayfa: It is a place situated North of Mecca at a distance of 450 kilometers. It is the station allotted to the inhabitants of Madina and those to the North of it.

b) Al-Juhfa: It is a village North-West of Mecca which was a station for the people of the Levant .This village became ruined long ago, and in its place there is the village of Rabigh, which is the Mikat of the people of
the A.R.E. ,Turkey, the Balkan countries, Syria, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco and those coming from the North, or North West.

c) Yalamlam: It is a mountain South of Mecca appointed by the Prophet as a station for the people of Yemen and those coming from countries lying southwards.

d) Qarn al-Manazil: It is a mountain East of Mecca, and considered the station of the people of Najd, and those coming from the East. Any person who reaches his destined station has to enter into a state of
consecration called Ihram.

People whose abodes lie between these stations and Mecca have to assume Ihram at the moment and the places from which they start their sacred journey. As for the Meccans, they assume Ihram from their homes. If the Ihram is meant for the Lesser Pilgrimage, the Meccans have to go beyond the Haram, assume Ihram, and then proceed on their pilgrimage.


Before dealing with the rites of the pilgrimage, there are some terms that need explanation such as Ihram, Ifrad, Qiran, Tamattu'. Ihram implies, literallv, prohibition, and entails the abstention from things that are hitherto allowed. The opposite of Ihram is Ihlal.

Ifrad, Qiran, and Tamattu':

To grasp the significance of these terms, it is best to mention the various observances of the Pilgrimage and the Lesser Pilgrimage. The observances of the Lesser Pilgrimage are: Ihram, circumambulation of the Ka'ba, the running between Safa and Marwa, and having the head shaved, or the hair cut. With this the Ihram for the Lesser Pilgrimage come to an end and all restrictions are lifted.

As for the Pilgrimage, the observances are: Ihram, the circuit of the Ka'ba, the running between Safa and Marwa, the standing (Wuquf) at 'Mount Arafat on the 9th of Zul-Hijja, the throwing of the pebbles on the Day of Sacrifice 10th of Zul Hijja), together with other observances to be mentioned later.

From this we can discern some differences between the Pilgrimage and the Lesser Pilgrimage. The ceremonies of the Pilgrimage exceed these of 'Umra. While the Ihram for the Lesser Pilgrimage ends with the running between Safa and Marwa, and having the head shaved or the hair cut, Ihram for the
Pilgrimage ceases only after the standing at Mount Arafat, and performing all the rites of the 10th of Zul-Hijja. Furthermore, the Pilgrimage is confined to well-known months, whereas the Lesser Pilgrimage is performed at any time, What will happen if 'Umra occurs during the months of the Hajj? Here it is possible for a person to belong to one of three categories: Mufrid,

Qarin and Mutamatti.

a) If the pilgrim intends to perform the Hajj alone, he is called Mufrid, meaning he has not thought of combining the 'Umra with Hajj He who intends from the very start to combine both Umra and Hajj is called Qarin. So the difference here lies only in the primary intention, and not in rites observed, whether he be a Mufrid or a Qarin.

But there is the case of a person who intends the 'Umra first, carries out all its rites, and is freed from Ihram. He thus relieves himself of the limitation, imposed by this state of consecration till the 8th day of
Zul-Hijja, when he reassumes Ihram for the Hajj. Such a person is called Mutamatti.

The Mutamatti' should not under any circumstances have already driven his sacrificial beast to the ka'ba.

The three cases are illustrated by the testimony of 'Aisha:

"We accompanied the Apostle of God (Prayers and God's Peace be upon him), on the Farewell Pilgrimage. Some of us assumed Ihram and cried Labbayka with the intention of performing the 'Umra, others with the explicit desire to combine both the Hajj and 'Umra, and others to perform the Hajj alone."


There are observances connected with the Pilgrimage and Lesser Pilgrimage which are followed by all Muslims:

1) Ihram:

a.) As has already been explained, Ihram is the assumption of a spiritual and physical state of consecration. The practice is that a man should perform ablution shortly before getting to the assembly station (Miqat) or
at the station itself, scent himself and pray two prostrations (Rak'as). Ibn 'Abbas reported that on reaching Zul-Hulayfa, the station of the inhabitants of Madina, the Apostle of God assumed lhram, prayed two Rak'as and mounted his camel.

As for women during post-natal bleeding and menstruation, they are allowed to enter into lhram and to perform all rites with the exception only of circumambulation of the Ka'ba.

In the state of Ihram one is called Muhrim. The pilgrim puts on the Ihram garb which is a simple, white, unsewn garment thrown across the body, leaving the right arm and shoulder bare. It consists of two pieces without seams or decorations and made of any cloth excepting silk. One of these pieces is folded round the loins, the other throve over the need and shoulders, leaving the right arm free. The latter is called the Rida and the former the Izar. The head is uncovered though the aged and infirm are permitted to fold something around their heads in return for alms to be given to the poor. The region of the ankle bones must be bare and sandals are worn for this purpose. An alternative may be s shoe with the upper leather cut away to reveal the ankles, As regards women, they are traditionally clad in a long garment reaching from head to foot and revealing only the face and hands.

When thus attired, the Muhrim begins by calling nut "Labbayka! Labbayka!" (Here I come, 0 Lord!). He thus expresses his intention to perform the act, whether his journey be made for purposes of Hajj or 'Umra, or both combined.

b) Prohibited acts during Ihram:

While in this state of Ihram, the pilgrim neither shaves nor trims his fingers, nor washes, apart from the ceremonial ablutions at the various stations of the journey. Neither is he allowed any licentiousness of
language, sexual intercourse, or any wickedness or vice, quarrels or acts of violence. God has forbidden such acts in the Qur'an:

"The pilgrimage is in the well-known months; whoever is minded to perform the pilgrimage therein (let him remember) there is to be no sexual intercourse, no abuse, nor angry conversation, on the pi1grim-age".

In matters of dress, nothing is allowed apart from the Izar (waist wrapper) the Rida (robe) and the na'l (sandals), Hence, a Muhrim is not permitted to wear shirts, trousers, gloves, turbans, a fez or hat, or any sewn or dyed cloth. Though women are allowed to wear the garments they wish, they are not allowed to put on gloves or a face veil, or to use sweet-scented perfumes, or wear dresses wholly or partially dyed with saffron.

Hunting is also prohibited, either alone or in a group. Nor is the Muhrim allowed to buy the hunted animal or accept it as a present. or even eat it. But the Prophet allowed the Muhrim to kill harmful or dangerous animals and birds such as the crow, the kite, the scorpion, rats, and the rabid dog. The 'Ulama added to the list the lion, the leopard, the wolf, and the serpent.

2) Talbiya:

A Muslim punctuates his devotion, from his first entry into the consecrated state of Ihram to the throwing of the stones at Mina, by this devout cry: "Labbayka! Labbayka! Here I come 0 Lord! Here I come."

A pilgrim making the Lesser. Pilgrimage ('Umra) performs the Talbiya (i.e. Cries (Labbayka!) from his assuming Imam till he enters the Sacred Mosque and touches the Black Stone.

It is desirable that this cry should be uttered in a loud voice. The Talbiya is one of the rites of the Pilgrimage and Lesser Pilgrimage and the form of the Prophet's observance of it was as follows:

"Labbayka ! 0 God, Labbayka ! Labbayka' You have no partner, Labbayka! Praise and grace be yours and authority undivided".

3) Tawaf (Circumambulation of the Ka'ba):

Before entering Mecca the Muhrim must perform ablutions, go to the Sacred Mosque and when his eyes light upon it he says: "O God, you are peace, and peace derives from You. So greet us, O Lord, with peace".

On entering the Mosque he makes for the Black Stone which be kisses, or if prevented by the crowds from doing so, he touches it. If he is unable to touch it, he raises his hand and cries: "God is Great" (Takbir), whenever he faces each corner of it. Starting from the Black Stone and keeping the building on his left hand, he makes the seven circuits, the three first quickly, the remaining four at a normal gait. Certain prayers are repeated, and at the end of every circuit the Black Stone is kissed, or touched.

Women during their menstruation and postnatal bleeding are prevented from making the circumambulation (Tawaf). It was reported that 'Aisha, the wife of the Prophet, lamented he fate when prevented from performing this rite The Prophet reminded her that that was the female lot, and that Tawaf should not be performed before ablution.

The pilgrim in his Tawaf, usually throw the end of his Rida over his left shoulder, keeping its middle under his elbow, so that his right shoulder is bare and the left covered. People who are incapacitated in any way can perform the Tawaf riding or being carried.

On completion of the Tawaf, the pilgrim repairs to the station of Abraham (maqam) and recites God's words: "And take ye the station of Abraham as a place of prayers."

Then he faces the Ka'ba, standing midway between it and the station, and then prays two Rak'as. He recites in every Rak'a the opening chapter of the pure (Al-Fatiha). In the first he recites the verse of the Qur'an: "Say He is God, the one and only", and in the second he recites: "Say O you who are unbelievers, i worship not that which you worship..."

4) The hastening between Safa and Marwa:

The next rate is that of running between the two eminences called Safa and Marwa. On reaching Safa he recites God's words: "Behold! Safa and Marwa are among the symbols of God".

He ascends Safa, faces the Ka'ba, and raises his hand, in thanksgiving. Then he walks down at a normal gait until he reaches the valley between Safa and Marwa, where he quickens his pace. On reaching Marwa he ascends, and follows the same practice as that observed on Sofa.

This walking up and down between Safa and Marwa is carried out seven times, and it is said that it commemorates the wandering of Hajj over the same ground in search of water for her child Ismael.

5) Head shaving or the cutting of the hair:

After the ceremonies at Safe and Marwa the Muhrim intent on the Hajj alone, or 'Umra and Hajj combined, remains in his state of consecration.

But if he is Mutamatti; i.e. intending 'Umra followed by Hajj, he may relinquish his Ihram. now that the 'Umra is ended. He can now have his head shaved, or his hair cut. As for women they need only shorten their hair and not have their heads shaved, as the Prophet recommended The Mutamatti' must only comply with these words of Allah: "If any one wishes to continue the 'Umra into the Hajj, he must make an offering, such as he can afford".

This offering ranges from s sheep, to a cow up to a camel.

6) Leaving Mecca on the way of the watering (al-Tarwiya):

The 8th of Zul Hijja is called el-Turwiya because on this day the pilgrims provide them selves with water for the days which follow. The Mutamatti' re-enters into the state of Ihram, and joins the other pilgrims in leaving Mecca for Mina which they reach at noon. They perform their noon, afternoon, sunset, and evening prayers and spend the night at Mind. The next day they perform their morning prayers, wait for sunrise, and leave for Mount Arafat.

This was the practice observed by the Prophet and it is desirable that Muslims follow his steps.

7) The standing at Mount Arafat:

After sunrise on the 9th of Zul Hijja, pilgrims set out towards Mount Arafat crying in unison: "Labbayka! Labbayka.! and "Allah Ak-bar!" There they wait from noon till sunset and perform the afternoon ('asr) prayers and sunset (Maghrib) prayers. They lift up their hands in prayer and thanksgiving, repeating the Prophet". words: "There is no God but Allah, He has no partner His are authority and praise. Good emanates from Him, and He has power over all things".

The standing at Arafat is an essential part of the pilgrimage. No one who has missed it can call himself a pilgrim

In the case of those who are delayed under pressure of circumstances from halting at Mount Arafat before sunset, they are allowed to do this after sunset; and even till the dawn of the Day of Sacrifice which falls on the 10th of Zul-Hijja. In this connection the Apostle of God said: "He who witnesses this prayer of ours the dawn prayer of the Day of Sacrifice and remains with us till we have made our sacrifices, and has
halted previously at Mount Arafat either by day or night, has completed his Pilgrimage."

The Prophet also said: "There is no Hajj without Arafat. He who comes on the night of al-Jam' i.e. on the night of Muzdalifa, before the dawn of the Day of Sacrifice, has fulfilled the essential rites."

8) Spending the night at Muzdalifa:

After sunset comes the hastening to Muzdalifa. The flags which mark the boundary of the Harm are passed; the evening darkness fall: and torches are lit. In this fashion, Muzdalifa is reached where the Maghrib (the sunset prayer and 'Isha (evening prayer) are performed, and the night is spent. At dawn the morning prayer: are performed.

According to the hadith, the Prophet performed the morning prayers at dawn at Muzdalifa, then rode his camel till he reached the Sacred Monument, faced the Qibla and remained standing until the morning light shone brightly in the sky. Just before sunrise he made an offering of a camel. Here reference to the word. of the Holy Qur'an are relevant: "Then when Ye pour down from Mount Arafat, celebrate the praises of God at the Sacred Monument, and celebrate His praises as He has directed you, even though before the you went astray".

Spending the night at Muzdalifa is regarded as an obligation by some 'Ulama, while other. consider it only as a Sunna. As for women and the weak, they are exempted by the Prophet from this night's stay at muzdalifa.

9) The Day of Sacrifice:

It falls on the 10th of Zul Hijja and there are certain proceedings to be observed:

a) The throwing of the pebbles:

The Prophet, having celebrated the praise of God at the Sacred Mountain, came to upright stones called Jamarat aL-Aqaba threw at them seven pebbles one after another, crying out with each pebble; "Labbayka! Labbayka! Allah Akbar!"

After completing the stoning he stopped calling out and said:

"May God bless this pilgrimage and forgive our sins."

The time of throwing these stones usually falls in the forenoon on the Day of Sacrifice, in accordance with the practice of the Prophet, and it is allowed up to the evening. As for stoning before sunrise, it is confined to boys, women, and those who are weak.

The stoning is symbolic for it refers to the stoning of Satan who is said to have been driven away by Abraham in this way.

b) The Sacrifice:

After the throwing of the pebbles, the Prophet repaired to his house at Mina where he made his sacrificial offerings. Thousands of sheep, goats, and camels, are kept ready in Mina for sacrifice. Though there is no place specially prescribed for sacrifice in Mina, a rock at the west end of the valley is preferred for this purpose. On this day, the 10th of Zul Hijja Muslims all over the world offer their sacrifice and celebrate ('Id
al-Adha), or the Great FestivaL

c) Shaving of the head, or hair-cutting :

It is customary to have the head shaved. or the hair cut on the Day of the Sacrifice. For this purpose there are barbs' booths in Mina. Both barbers and pilgrims observe certain rules during this process, such as turning towards the Qibla. For the pilgrim, shaving is preferable to hair-cutting as was stated by the Prophet and the 'Ulama. For the Muslim doing the 'Umra, both practices stand on the same footing

d) Tawaf al-Ifada:

According to a tradition of Jabir, after the Apostle of God had made his sacrificial offerings he mounted and rode to the Ka'ba. There he performed the circumambulation called Tawaf al-Ifada and prayed the noon prayers in Mecca.

This ciroumambulation is an indispensable feature of the Hajj according to the 'Ulama, and they agree that it is best to perform it on the Day of Sacrifice after the morning, the shaving, and the sacrifice. Even so, they believe that doing it later, i.e. in the Days of al-Tashriq, or even later; is still permissible

The sequence. of some of these observances and Tawaf al-Ifada can be changed it is possible to shave before throwing, or to shave before slaughtering.

According to the Apostle of God these ceremonies are only limited as to time in so far as they must be performed on the 10th of Zul Hijja. If the pilgrim is a Mufrid or Muqrin his Hajj ends with Tawaf al-Ifada, and he need not repeat the hastening between Safe and Marwa. If he is a Mutamatti' he should repeat this and he should do well not to rush his Tawaf al-Ifada. After having the head shaved, or the haircut, the pilgrim abandons Ihram with the exception of copulation. After the Tawaf al-Ifada and the hastening between Safa and Marwa, in the case of Mutamatti' and after this Tawaf only in the case of a Mufrid or Mukrin, the pilgrim assumes a complete state of Ihlal or secularity.

10) The return to Mina:

'Aisha said that the Messenger of God returned to Mina after Tawaf al-Ifada and remained there the remainder of the Day of al-Tashriq". The casting of the pebbles at the three stones is resumed, seven pebbles being thrown at each.

All the pilgrims, with few exceptions, have: to repair to Mina to spend these three days, and to complete the ceremony of throwing the pebbles, at the same time crying out "Allah Akbar."'

The stoning, in these days, usually takes place after sunset.

11) The farewell Tawaf:

Finally, the farewell circuit of the Ka'ba is performed, Ibn 'Abbas reported that the Prophet insisted that no pilgrim should leave Mecca without having made his final Tawaf. To do this, the pilgrim goes to al-Tan'im on the border of the sacred territory; and resumes the Ihram. With these ceremonies completed, the pilgrimage proper is at an end. Some days later pilgrims leave Mecca for Medina to visit the Mosque of the Prophet. 

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