;The Pilgrimage (Al-Hajj) and Lesser Pilgrimage (Al-Umra) in language and Islamic Jurisprudence
1. The literal meaning of Hajj in Arabic is to set out towards a definite objective. In Islamic law it means to set out for the Ka'ba, the Sacred House, and to fulfill the pilgrimage rites.
2. Umra is derived from I'timar meaning a visit. In Islamic law it means visiting the Sacred House, drawing near to God in accordance with the rules which are subsequently referred to.
The distinctions between Hajj and Umra will be pointed out in due course.
Some Ordinances of the Pilgrimage and Lesser Pilgrimage
1. 1) Pilgrimage is an obligation for Muslims, according to the precepts of the Holy Quran and the Sunna (Practice of the Prophet and Companions).
a. In the Quran God says: "Pilgrimage thereto is a duty men owe' to God, those who are able to make the journey" This means that Pilgrimage is a duty imposed on all Muslims and which they cannot avoid so long as they are able to find the means to do so.
b. As for the Sunna, Ibn `Abbas reported that the Prophet said in one of his speeches: "O people, pilgrimage is ordained for you- so fulfill it." Then al-Aqra' Ibn Habis asked : "Is it to be yearly, O Messenger of God?" To this the Prophet replied "If I say so, it will be taken for an obligation which lies beyond your power... Pilgrimage is to be performed once, and whoever performs it more than once does so voluntarily".
2. According to the above-mentioned hadith (saying of the Prophet), pilgrimage is a duty one owes to God once in the course of one's life to do so more than once is voluntary. All the scholars (`Ulama) have agreed upon this.
As for the Lesser Pilgrimage, some scholar state that it is
desirable, but not compulsory, quoting Abu Hurayra, who reported that the
Prophet said "Pilgrimage is a duty, but the Lesser Pilgrimage is optional."
Once a Bedouin came to the Prophet and said : "O Messenger of God tell me
about the Umra, is it a duty ?" The Prophet answered : "No, but it is better
for you that you perform it".
To whom is the Pilgrimage Obligatory?
Stations (Mawaqit) of the Pilgrimage and lesser Pilgrimage
The word "Mawaqit" here widens its sense in such a way as to include both the original sense of time and also place. In other words, it signifies the times and the places from which the actual rites of pilgrimage begin.
The Pilgrimage and lesser Pilgrimage
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, Dhu'l Qa'ada, Dhu'l Hijja. The`Ulama added that only the first ten days of Dhul-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 Dhu'l-Qa'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 (Mawdqit 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.
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 Ihrdm 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.
Terms of Special Significance
Before dealing with the rites of the pilgrimage, there are some terms that need explanation such as Ihram, Ifrad Qiran, Tamattu'.
Ihram implies, literally, prohibition, and entails the abstention from things that are hithefto 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 Dhul-hijja, the throwing of the pebbles on the Day of Sacrifice 10th of Dhul'-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 Dhul-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.
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.
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 `Ai'sha:
Ceremonies of Hajj and Umra
There are observances connected with the Pilgrimage and Lesser Pilgrimage which are followed by all Muslims
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 O Lord ! Here I come."
A pilgrim making the Lesser Pilgrimage(`Umra) performs the Talbiya (i.e. Cries (Labbayka!) from his assuming Ihram 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 ! O 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 he 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 `A'isha, the wife of the Prophet, lamented her 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 throws 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 Ibrahim (maqam) and recites God's words:
"And take ye the station Ibrahim 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 Quran (AI-Fatiha). In the first he recites the verse of the Quran "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 rite 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 hands 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 Safa.
This walking up and down between Safa and Marwa is carried out seven times, and it is said that it commemorates the wandering of Hajar 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 Safa 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 a sheep, to a cow up to a camel.
6) Leaving Mecca on the way of the watering (al-Tarwiya):
The 8th of Dhu'l-Hijja is called al-Tarwiya because on this day the pilgrims provide themselves with water for the days which follow. The Mutamatti! re-enter 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 Mina. 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 Dhul-Hijja, pilgrims set out towards Mount Arafat crying in unison : "Labbayka ! Labbayka! and "Allah Akbar !" 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's 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 Dhul 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 Haram are passed; the evening darkness falls 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 prayers 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 words of the Holy Quran 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 this you went astray" Spending the night at Muzdalifa is regarded as an obligation by some `Ulama, while others 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 Dhul-Hijja and there are certain proceedings to be observed:
a) The throwing of the pebbles:
The Prophet, having celebrated the praises 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 ! 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 Ibrahim 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 Mind 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 Dhu'l-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 barbers' 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 circumambulation 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 Dhul Hijja.
If the pilgrim is a mufrid or Muqrin - his Hajj ends with Tawaf al-Ifada, and he need not repeat the hastening between Safa and Marwa. If he is a Mutamatti' he should repeat this and he should do well not to rush his Tawaf al-I fada.
After having the head shaved, or the hair cut, 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 Muhrin, the pilgrim assumes a complete state of Ihlal- or secularity.
10) The return to Mina:
A'isha said that the Messenger of God returned to Mina after Tawaf al-Ifada and remained there the remainder of the Days of al Tashriq [ The Days of al-Tashriq are the 11th, 12th and 13th of DhuI- Hijja.].The casting of the pebbles at the three stone is resumed, seven pebbles being thrown at each. All the pilgrims, with few exceptions, have to repair to Minato 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 lhram.
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.
Some Rules Concerning the Hajj
God has made clear in the Quran the status of the pilgrim who continues the Umra into the Hajj.
"If any one wishes to continue the `Umra into the Hajj! He must make an offering, such as he can afford; but if he cannot afford it, he should fast three days during the Hajj and seven days on his return, making ten days in all. This is for those whose household is not in tile precincts of the Sacred House. And fear God and know that God is strict in punishment".
This implies three things:
Firstly, that the Muslim who wishes to continue the Umra into the
Hajj and relieve himself of the restrictions of consecration from the end of
his hastening between Safa and Marwa till he assumes Ihram for the Hajj,
must make an offering of at least a sheep, and at most a camel. He is not to
offer it until he enters into the Jhram for the hajj, and not in the period
in between `Umra and Hajj. In fact, he is not called Mutamatti' until he
actually continues the `Umra into the Hajj, and not before.
b. After his return home he has to fast seven days more, so as to complete ten days fasting in accordance with the directions of Allah in the above verse of the Quran.
c. This offering or fasting as a substitute for the period during which he frees himself from Ihram for the Hajj is to be observed only by those whose household is not in the precincts of Mecca - in other words it does not apply to the inhabitants of Mecca itself.
1. If the Muhrim finds himself faced with any unforeseen difficulty or emergency, he has to comply with God's words:
"But if ye are prevented (from completing it), send an offering for sacrifice, such as you are capable of."
Under such obstacles one may include the blocking of one's way by the enemy. This hap pened to the Prophet when he set out of Madina with some of the companions intending to per form the `Umra. The infidels stood in his way', and he was unable to proceed. He thus slaughtered the camel he meant for sacrifice with his companions to Madina.
In the category of these hindrances one may consider physical disability resulting from illness, accidents, and unexpected difficulties such as loss of one's way, running short of provision for the journey, imprisonment or the failure of the ship to reach port in due time.
2. .In all these cases the Muhrim has to make an offering, abandon his Ihram, return home and put off his Hajj for a future date.
If a Muhrim is forced to shave his head during the state of Ihram
because of scalp illness or severe headache, he can do so provided that he
observes the following directions of Allah "And if any of you is ill or has
an ailment in his scalp (necessitating shaving) he should in compensation,
either fast, or feed the poor, or offer sacrifice."
4. If, through reasons of health, one is obliged to wear sewn or tightly tailored clothing for fear of cold or heat, he has to observe the rules followed by the Muhrim who suffers from scalp disease. Thus he is to fast three days, or offer a sacrifice, or feed six different poor persons.
5. The pilgrim has to drink as much as he can from the blessed waters of Zamzam, a well in the Sacred House.
Visiting the Mosque of the Prophet
The Prophet (God's Prayer and Peace be upon him) highly recommended the visit to three mosques, namely the Sacred House (the Ka'ba) in Mecca, his own in Medina, and the Masjid al-Aqsa in Jerusalem.
On completing the rites of the Hajj, the pilgrim would do well to set out towards the Mosque of the Prophet at Madina, with its five minarets, and the green dome of the Mausoleum of the Apostle of God.
The moment he steps into this Mosque he has to call to mind all that he knows of the glorious deeds of the Prophet and of his spiritual guidance. He is to remember that in it the Prophet taught Muslims about the tenets of their faith and inculcated in them the principles of brotherhood, justice and equality.
On entering the mosque the pilgrim must pray two Rak'as, then proceed to the Mausoleum of the Prophet at which he says these words in greeting:
"Peace be upon you, O Messenger of God. I testify that there is no God but Allah, and that you are his Apostle".
It is desirable that the visitor turn eastwards a little to salute the tomb of the Caliph Abu Bakr, and then the tomb of the Caliph Umar Ibn al-Khattab.
With the visit the pilgrim's sense of devotion is enhanced by recalling the memories of the glory of Islam. In this sense, this Mosque serves as another fount of inspiration to Muslims throughout the world.