by Minhaj

For a Muslim, performing the Hajj (Pilgrimage) is a journey of a lifetime, which must be done at least once by those people who are able to. It is one of the pillars of Islam. A pilgrimage is a special journey a person goes on to visit a holy place. Muslims perform the pilgrimage to Makkah to visit the Ka`bah (the House of Allah) and other holy places around Makkah.

In Islam, there are two types of pilgrimages: the major pilgrimage, which is known as Hajj, and the minor pilgrimage, which is known as `Umrah. The major pilgrimage, Hajj, takes place over five to six days between the 8th and 13th of Dhu al-Hijjah. It can be performed only during these days, and not on any other day of the year. The minor pilgrimage, `Umrah, can be performed throughout the year as many times as a person wants to. During the Hajj and `Umrah, we perform some important actions known as the pilgrimage rites (Manasik). These rites are in remembrance of Prophet Ibrahim(AS), his wife Sayyidah Hajar(AS) and their son Prophet Isma’il(AS). The rites teach us many important lessons such as the value of equality and brotherhood, the value of sacrifice and the value of devotion and dedication to Allah.

All three of these values are shown when we put on the Ihram (the two white unsewn sheets). For example, it shows human equality and brotherhood because everyone who performs the pilgrimage is wearing the same simple style of clothing. It does not matter if someone is rich or poor, strong or weak; everyone wears these two white sheets. Wearing them shows that we all belong to the same human family and that we are all equal before Allah. Putting on the Ihram also shows the value of sacrifice, because the pilgrims show that they are ready to sacrifice their desires by not cutting their hair, trimming their nails or wearing perfume. It is a symbolic act which also shows the value of devotion and dedication to Allah, because when the pilgrims wear the two white sheets, they make a promise to devote and dedicate their life to Allah. By keeping to these values, the pilgrimage becomes a turning point in a Muslim’s life and helps them to become a better person.


Muslims come from all over the world to perform the Hajj. They arrive in Makkah either during the month of Dhu al-Qa`dah or the first week of Dhul-Hijjah. Before reaching the Miqat (the boundary around Makkah which the pilgrim cannot pass except in the state of Ihram), they put on the Ihram. When putting on the Ihram, the pilgrim makes an intention to perform the Hajj, saying:
اللّهُمَّ إِنّي أُرِيْدُ الحَجَّ فَيَسِّرْهُ لِيْ وتتَقَبَّلْهُ مَنِّي
O Allah, I intend to perform the Pilgrimage, so make it easy for me and accept it from me.

Then the Talbiyyah is uttered:
لَبَّيّك اللّهُمَّ لَبَّيَك. لَبَّيّك لَا شَرِيْكَ لَكَ لَبَّيّك. إنَّ الحَمْدَ و النِّعْمَةَ لَكَ وَ الْمُلْكَ. لَا شَرِيْكَ لَكَ
Here I am at Your service, O Lord, here I am. Here I am at Your service and You have no partner; here I am. For You alone is all praise and all bounty, and for You alone is the power. You have no partner.

The pilgrims continue reciting the Talbiyyah as they travel to Makkah. When they reach Makkah, the pilgrims make their way to the Ka`bah and perform the `Umrah. During the `Umrah, they walk around the Kaaba seven times in an act of worship called the ‘Tawaf’. Then they continue to Mount Safa where they perform another act of worship called the ‘Sa`i’ which involves running between the Safa and Marwah seven times, ending at Marwah. When the `Umrah is complete, the pilgrims shave or trim their hair and come out of the state of Ihram. Then they stay in Makkah and wait until the 8th of Dhu al-Hijjah, when they put their Ihram back on again.

On the 8th of Dhu al-Hijjah (the first day of Hajj),the pilgrims wake up before dawn and put their Ihram on. They perform the Fajr prayer in Makkah, and then set off for Mina. They spend their first day and night in Mina and perform five prayers there (i.e. Zuhr, `Asr, Maghrib, `Isha’ and Fajr).
On the 9th of Dhu al-Hijjah (the second day of Hajj), after sunrise, the pilgrims make their way to `Arafat where they stay from noon to sunset. This day is the most important of the five days. If it is missed, then the Hajj is invalid, because being at `Arafat in the state of Ihram on this day is the pillar of the Hajj.In `Arafat, the pilgrims worship Allah, supplicate to Him and ask Him for forgiveness.Worshipping Allah here is known as ‘Wuquf `Arafah’. They combine the Zuhr and the `Asr prayers and perform them together at the time of Zuhr. They offer this prayer behind the Imam of Hajj, who leads it from inside Masjid an-Namirah.After sunset, the pilgrims leave for Muzdalifah. When they reach Muzdalifah, they combine the Maghrib and `Isha’ prayers and perform them together at the time of `Isha’. They spend the night in Muzdalifah, spending a part of the night remembering and worshipping Allah. During this night, the pilgrims collect 70 small stones the size of kidney beans to be used for the Rami, the following day. 
On the next day, the 10th of Dhu al-Hijjah (the third day of Hajj), the pilgrims perform the Fajr prayer and then leave for Mina before sunrise. From Mina, the pilgrims make their way to the Jamrat al-`Aqabah (the third stone pillar) and perform the Rami. The Rami is an act of worship where the pilgrim throws seven stones at the pillar while saying the takbir (Allahu Akbar). On this day, stones are only thrown at the third pillar. After performing the Rami, the pilgrims perform the animal sacrifice (Qurbani). This day is also `Id al-Adha; those Muslims who are not performing the Hajj will be sacrificing an animal as well. Once the Qurbani has been performed, the pilgrim can shave or trim their hair. After this, the Ihram can be removed, and the pilgrim can put on their normal clothes. Once all these steps are complete, the pilgrims need to return to the Ka`bah within three days and perform the Tawaf az-Ziyarah (or Tawaf al-Ifadah).This Tawaf is performed normally with no Idtiba` (baring the right shoulder) or Ramal (walking like a wrestler).After completing the Tawaf, two units of prayer are performed behind the Maqam Ibrahim or anywhere in the mosque if space cannot be found near it. Then the pilgrim makes his or her way to Safa to perform the Sa`i. The pilgrim must return to Mina to stay there in the night. 

On the 11th of Dhu al-Hijjah (the fourth day of Hajj),the pilgrims remain in Mina. After midday, the Rami is performed. Seven stones are thrown at each of the three pillars (21 stones altogether). The pilgrims spend the night at Mina and wait there till the next day.

On the 12th of Dhu al-Hijjah (the fifth day of Hajj), the pilgrims perform the Rami again after midday. They throw seven stones at each of the three pillars. On this day, the pilgrims have a choice to either remain in Mina for another night or to return to Makkah. If they wish to return to Makkah, then they must leave before sunset.

On the 13th of Dhu al-Hijjah (the last day of Hajj), if the pilgrim has not returned to Makkah and stayed in Mina for the night, then they must perform the Rami again after midday. After the Rami, the Hajj is completed, and they can return to Makkah.

The pilgrims remain in Makkah until the time comes for them to leave. Before leaving, the pilgrim must perform a final Tawaf, which is known as the Tawaf al-Wada`. This is a normal Tawaf with no Idtiba` or Ramal. During these final moments, the pilgrims supplicate to Allah and ask to come back again for another visit.

Further Reading :– Hajj and Umrah(Teachings of Islam Series) by Shaykh ul Islam Dr. Tahir ul Qadri

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