Allah prescribed Haj once in a lifetime upon the Muslims who have the means and are physically able to perform it. There are three types of Haj: Haj at-Tamatt’u, Haj al-Qiran and Haj al-Ifrad. In this article, we will explain the procedure for Haj at-Tamatt’u as it is the most recommended one. In this type, one is to perform ‘Umrah and Haj in the same year with a sacrifice slaughtered in Mina. These are the steps for Haj at-Tamatt’u:
Ihram: Ihram is the intention of the person willing to perform all rites of ‘Umrah, Haj or both when he arrives at the Meeqat. Each direction coming into Makkah has its own Meeqat. It is recommended that the one who intends to perform Haj makes Ghusl (a complete bath with the intention to purify one’s self), perfumes his body, but not in his garments, and puts on a two-piece garment with no headgear. The garments should be of seamless cloth. One piece to cover the upper part of the body, and the second to cover the lower part. For a woman the Ihram is her normal dress except that she should not use perfumes at all and her dress should cover the whole body decently, leaving the hands and the face uncovered.
The pilgrim should say the intention according to the type of Haj. For Haj at-Tamatt’u one should say:
“Labbayka Allahumma bi ’Umrah” which means “O Allah I answered Your call to perform ‘Umrah”.
It is recommended to repeat the well known supplication of Haj, called the Talbiyah, as frequently as possible from the time of Ihram till the time of the first stoning of Jamrat Al-Aqabah in Mina. Men are recommended to utter the Talbiyah aloud while women are to say it quietly. The Talbiyah is:
“Labbayka Allahumma Labbayk. Labbayka La Shareeka Laka Labbayk. Inna-alhamda Wan-n’imata Laka Wal Mulk. La Shareeka Lak.”
(Here I am at Your service. O my Lord, here I am. Here I am. No partner do You have. Here I am. Truly, the praise and the provisions are Yours, and so is the dominion. No partner do You have.”
Tawaf: When a Muslim arrives in Makkah, he should perform Tawaf around the Ka’abah, as a gesture of greeting Al-Masjid Al-Haram. This is done by circling the Ka’abah seven times in the counterclockwise direction, starting from the Black Stone with Takbeer, keeping the Ka’abah to one’s left. Then the pilgrim goes to Maqam Ibrahim (Ibrahim’s Station), and performs two rak’ah behind it, near to it if possible, but away from the path of the people making Tawaf. In all cases one should be facing the Ka’abah when praying behind Maqam Ibrahim.
Sa’i: The next rite is to make Sa’i between Safa and Marwah. The pilgrim starts Sa’i by ascending the Safa. While facing the Ka’abah he praises Allah, raises his hands and recites the Takbeer “Allah-u Akbar” three times, then makes supplication to Allah. Then the pilgrim descends from the Safa and heads towards the Marwah. One should increase the pace between the clearly marked green signposts, but should walk at normal pace before and after them. When the pilgrim reaches the Marwah, he should ascend it, praise Allah and do as he did at the Safa. This is considered one round and so is the other from the Marwah to the Safa. A total of seven rounds are required to perform the Sa’i. After Sa’i, the Muslim ends his ‘Umrah rites by shaving his head or trimming his hair short all over the head (women should cut a fingertip’s length from their hair). At this stage, the prohibitions pertaining to the state of Ihram are lifted and one can resume his normal life.
Although it is recommended to recite the supplications that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) used to say during the performance of these rites, there are no required formulas or supplications for Tawaf or for Sa’i. It is up to the worshipper to praise Allah or to supplicate Him with any acceptable supplication or to recite portions of the Qur’an. It must be noted that ‘Umrah can be performed by itself as described above at any time of the year.
Going to Mina: A pilgrim performing Haj at-Tamatt’u should make the intention for Ihram, from the place where he is staying, on the 8th day of Dhul-Hijjah, which is the Tarweyah Day, and leave for Mina in the morning. In Mina, the pilgrims pray Dhuhr, Asr, Maghrib and Isha of the 8th day of Dhul-Hijjah and Fajr of the 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah. Dhuhr, Asr and Isha are each shortened to two rak’ah only, but are not combined. The pilgrim remains in Mina until sunrise of the 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah and leaves for ‘Arafat.
Departure to ‘Arafat: On the 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah, the Day of ‘Arafat, the pilgrims stay in ‘Arafat until sunset. The pilgrims pray Dhuhr and Asr at ‘Arafat, shortened and combined during the time of Dhuhr to save the rest of the day for glorifying Allah and supplication asking forgiveness. A pilgrim should make sure that he is within the boundaries of ‘Arafat, not necessarily standing on the mountain of ‘Arafat. The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “I stood here on this rocky hill and all ‘Arafat is a standing place.” (Muslim). One should keep reciting the Talbiyah, glorifying Allah the Greatest and repeating supplication. It is also reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) used to say the following supplication: “There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, the One without a partner. The dominion and praise are His and He is powerful over everything.”
Anas ibn Malik was asked once how he and his friends used to spend their time while walking from Mina to ‘Arafat in the company of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). Anas said: “Some of us used to cry out Talbiyah, others used to glorify Allah the Greatest and the rest used to repeat prayers. Each one of us was free to worship Allah in the way he likes without prejudice or renunciation of his right.” (Bukhari)
In the vast square plain of ‘Arafat, tears are shed, sins are washed and faults are redressed for those who ask Allah for forgiveness and offer sincere repentance for their wrongdoings in the past. Happy is the person who receives the Mercy and Pleasure of Allah on this day.
Departure from ‘Arafat: Soon after sunset on the Day of ‘Arafat, the pilgrims leave for Muzdalifah quietly and reverently in compliance with the advice of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) who said when he noticed people walking without calmness: “O people! Be quiet, hastening is not a sign of righteousness.” (Bukhari)
In order to follow the example of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) it is preferable to keep reciting the Talbiyah, glorifying Allah the Greatest and mentioning the names of Allah until the time of stoning Jamrat Al-Aqabah (a stone pillar in Mina). In Muzdalifah, the pilgrim perform Maghrib and Isha prayers combined, shortening the Isha prayer to two Rak’ah. Pilgrims stay overnight in Muzdalifah to perform Fajr prayers and wait until the brightness of the morning is widespread before they leave for Mina passing through the sacred Mash’ar valley.
Women and weak individuals are allowed to proceed to Mina at any time after midnight to avoid the crowd.
Stoning Jamrat Al-Aqabah: When the pilgrims arrive at Mina, they go to Jamrat Al-Aqabah where they stone it with seven pebbles glorifying Allah “Allah-u Akbar” at each throw and calling on Him to accept their Haj. The time of stoning Jamrat Al-Aqabah is after sunrise. The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) threw the pebbles late in the morning and permitted weak people to stone after leaving Muzdalifah after midnight. The size of the pebbles should not be more than that of a bean as described by the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) who warned against exaggeration. The pebbles can be picked up on the way to Mina from Muzdalifah or in Mina.
Slaughter of Sacrifice: After stoning Jamrat Al-Aqabah, the pilgrim goes to slaughter his sacrifice either personally or through the appointment of someone else to do it on his behalf. A pilgrim should slaughter either a sheep, or share a cow or a camel with six others.
Shaving the head or trimming the hair: The final rite on the 10th day after offering his sacrifice is to shave one’s head or to cut short all of the hair. Shaving the head is, however, preferable for it was reported that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) prayed three times for those who shave their heads, when he said: “May Allah’s Mercy be upon those who shaved their heads.” For women, the length of hair to be cut is that of a fingertip. The stoning of Jamrat Al-Aqabah and the shaving of head or trimming of hair symbolises the end of the first phase of the state of Ihram and the lifting of its restrictions except for sexual intercourse with one’s spouse.
Stoning of Jamrat Al-Aqabah, slaughtering the sacrifice and shaving the head or cutting part of the hair are preferred to be in this order, as it is the order that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) did them. However, if they are done in any other order, there is no harm in that.
Tawaf Al-Ifadhah: Tawaf Al-Ifadhah is a fundamental rite of Haj. The pilgrim makes Tawaf Al-Ifadhah by visiting Al-Masjid Al-Haram and circling the Ka’abah seven times and praying two Rak’ah behind Maqam Ibrahim. Then the pilgrim should make Sa’i between the Safa and the Marwah. After Tawaf Al-Ifadhah the state of Ihram is completely ended and all restrictions are lifted including intercourse with one’s spouse. Tawaf al-Ifadhah can be delayed until the days spent at Mina are over.
Return to Mina: The pilgrim should return to Mina and spend there the days of Tashreeq (ie the 11th, 12th and 13th day of Dhul-Hijjah). During each day, and after Dhuhr prayer, the pilgrim stones the three stone pillars called “Jamarat”: the small, the medium and Jamrat Al-Aqabah, saying “Allah-u Akbar” with each throw of the seven pebbles stoned at each pillar. These pebbles are picked up in Mina. A pilgrim may leave Mina for Makkah on the 13th or on the 12th if he wishes, there is no blame on him if he chooses the latter, but he has to leave before sunset.
Farewell Tawaf: Farewell Tawaf is the final rite of Haj. It is to make another Tawaf around the Ka’abah. Ibn Abbas said: “The people were ordered to perform the Tawaf around the Ka’abah as the last thing before leaving Makkah, except the menstruating women who were excused.” (Bukhari)
Those are the rites of Haj. They should be performed in the way prescribed by the Qur’an and Sunnah with no addition or subtraction. But they should also be performed with consciousness and not just as mere mechanical gestures. For “Whoever holds in honour the rites of Allah, then it is truly from the piety of the heart.” (Qur’an, Surat al-Haj, ayah 32)
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