annual event on the face of the globe, religious or non-religious,
compares to hajj in terms of the sheer number of participants,
duration of the event and the breadth of agenda. In spite
of this fact, it has always remained equally fascinating
and mysterious to not only non-Muslims, who are barred from
entering the holy city, but also to millions of Muslims,
who had not performed hajj.
then is hajj? In essence, hajj is man's evolution toward
Allah; his return to Him. It is a symbolic demonstration
of the philosophy of creation of Adam , the first man. To further illustrate
this, it may be stated that the performance of hajj is a
simultaneous show or exhibit of many things. It is a show
of creation. It is a show of history. It is a show of unity.
It is a show of Islamic ideology. It is a show of Ummah,
the community of Muslims. That is why, it is said in the
Quran: "And proclaim unto mankind the hajj. ... That they
may witness things that are of benefit to them." (Quran
as in any other good show or movie or theatre-play, the
following conditions prevail in hajj. Allah is the stage
Manager. The theme portrayed is the actions of these main
characters - Adam, Haw'a (Eve), Ibrahim, Hajera, Isma'il , and Shaytan. The main scenes are -
Masjid al-Haram, 'Arafat, Mas'a (space between the mountains
- Safa and Marwa), Mash'ar (area between 'Arafat and Mina)
and Mina. Important symbols are - Kaba, Safa, Marwa, day,
night, sunshine, sunset, idols and rituals of sacrifice.
The dress and make-up are - 'Ihram, halq and taqseer (part
of ceremonies of hajj involving cutting of hair and nails,
afterward). Lastly, the player of the show is - YOU - the
Hajji. You are the main feature of the performance. The
role of Adam, Ibrahim, Isma'il and Hajera in confrontation
between Allah and Satan is all played by you. As a result,
you are the hero of the show!
is a duty unto Allah for mankind, for him or her who can
find a way or means to get there (Quran 3:97). It is not
a tax on your wealth, but a duty. Thus, to qualify, you
must be sane and wise to understand what you are getting
into, and able-bodied to go through this task, and lastly,
have the means or resources to perform hajj.
pillars of hajj are five
Ihram', 2. waiting at 'Arafat, 3. Tawaf of the Ka'ba, 4.
Sa'iy or running between the Safa and the Marwa and 5. Cutting
or trimming of hair.
are not pillars, although some may require kaffara or penalty,
if not done. The person who puts on the 'Ihram or cloth
for either 'Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) or hajj (greater pilgrimage)
is called a Muhrim.
months of hajj are the three.
are the Arabic months of Shawwal, Dhul-Qadah and first ten
days of Dhul Hijjah. Thus, one cannot put on Ihram before
Shawwal. Hajj and 'Umrah are performed in three ways - ifrad,
tamattu and qiran.
involves first performing hajj and then Umrah.
is when one first performs Umrah and then hajj, both in
the same year with some break in between the two.
is when one puts on the 'Ihram with the intention of combining
both hajj and 'Umrah without any break in between the
are ten etiquettes of hajj. These are:
all wrongdoings and satisfy all adversaries.
provision for hajj from one's lawful wealth.
the pillars of hajj and its ceremonies.
kind and forbearing with others, lest the reward be nullified.
the obligations of prayers and its statutes.
open-handed, maintain the poor and spend as much as he/she
is able to.
the station of 'Arafat, remember the Day of Judgment (Yawmil
not miss visitation of the Prophet's grave in Madinah.
return from hajj, one should turn toward Akhirat (Hereafter).
should remember his parents and other close relatives
who have passed away with pious prayers and make-up for
them if they could not fulfill their obligations for hajj.
steps of hajj are the following:
- putting on 'Ihram at designated places with wudhu.
show of hajj begins with Miqat. At this point, the participant
must change his/her clothes. Clothes show individuality,
status, preference and distinction. They create superficial
barriers that separate man from man. The concept of "I"
(and not "We") emerges which gives birth to discrimination.
At Miqat you assume your original shape as a "man", just
one of "children of Adam" who will die one day. The cloth
of 'Ihram is, therefore, the anti-thesis to that "individualism",
it is the kafan (or burial shroud). You wear the kafan,
the two pieces of cloth, just like everyone else. You join
the mass, the multitude and become nothing or just a drop
of water in the ocean that has no special identity of its
own. An atmosphere of genuine unity prevails everywhere.
It is a human show of Islamic unity, it is a show of universal
brotherhood. The bodies were left in Miqat and the souls
are motivated here. This is the beginning of your journey,
your voyage to nothingness. There is no sex, no perfume,
no shoes, no sewn clothes and head covers for men, no face
mask, no cutting of hair or nails, i.e., absolutely no signs
of aristocracy or distinction. In the state of Muhrim, you
don't even look in a mirror to see your own image. You don't
hunt any animal, you don't uproot any plant. So you kill
the tendencies of aggression by being peaceful to nature.
You cease to remain or behave as somebody. Hajj is a movement
to returning to Allah, just as Allah says in the Quran:
Wa ilal-lahil maseer (24:42), meaning, "Unto Allah is the
journeying." All your selfish egos must be buried at Miqat.
You witness your own dead body and visit your own grave.
By sacrificing your individuality, you focus on reality,
the basic purpose for which you were created - that being
a slave unto Allah. Just as when you would be buried in
two pieces of cloth, leaving behind all your wealth and
worldly belongings, here in Miqat you practice a dress rehearsal
for that inevitable event.
is preferable that you enter Makkah during the daytime.
step you take toward Ka'ba, your heart pounds. The weight
of being close to Allah's house seems to get heavier and
heavier. You are endowed with a mixed feeling of love and
fear. Love, because you have waited this long to get here.
Fear, because you don't know whether you can endure the
strain of rituals of hajj, fulfill your duty unto Allah
and be born again as an innocent human being.
du'a (supplication) for Ka'ba upon seeing it.
this is the Baital Haram - the Sacred House - appointed
by Allah (Quran 5:97). This is the first house of worship
on the face of the globe. It is to this house that you face
while praying. It is also the direction in which your face
would be turned when you are buried as dead. It is the center
of existence, faith, love, unity and life. It has its own
history. It is called Baitil Masabatal-lin-nass wa amana,
i.e., the House of resort for mankind and a sanctuary (Quran
2:125). It is also called Baitul Atiq - the Ancient House
- in the Quran (22:29). Ibrahim prayed for its security and blessings.
perform Tawaf (circumambulation) of Ka'ba seven times, unless
it is time for a regular prayer led by an Imam, which you
need to join in.
as planets of our solar system orbit around the sun, you
orbit around the world's sun - the Ka'ba, and become part
of a universal system. You demonstrate your love for Allah
by making Tawaf around His house. Tawaf should be started
from the corner stone - the Black stone, Hajr al-Aswad -
with Ka'ba on the left. This is where you make a contract
to join all the tribes of the earth, and become like a drop
of water entering the ocean. The moment of truth has come
and you must select your path, distinct from those who had
rejected their Creator. Three of the seven Tawafs must be
at a faster pace than normal walking. You should try to
touch the stone with hand, and put your forehead on it and
then kiss it. By touching the stone, you have shown your
allegiance to your Creator, who had sent this very stone
from the heaven, so that He could know your love for Him.
By touching the stone, you have cut off all forms of allegiance
to anything other than Allah, you have become free again
from servitude of men and this world. During Tawaf, you
become part of the cosmos. You forget about yourself. You
are in love with the symbol of unity and servitude to Allah.
You see nothing but His symbols, the Ka'ba and the Black
Stone, Hajr al-Aswad. By denying yourself you have become
a lover of Him just like Hajera who migrated to this land,
barren and rugged, without vegetation, without any forms
of subsistence, but with complete reliance in Her Lord,
Allah Subhana Wa ta'Ala (SWT). And Allah did not neglect
either her or her infant son. He brought out the Jamjam
well and let people settle there, making it the most important
place in the Arabian peninsula. Remember that some rituals
of hajj are, in reality, a memory of Hajera. Hijrah or migration
is what Hajera did. Any migration like hers is a move toward
Tawaf, everyone encircles the Ka'ba collectively. The movement
is of one unit and there is no individual identification
of men or women, black or white, red or yellow. The movement
has transformed one person into the totality of a "people."
All of the "I's" have transformed into "We," establishing
the universality of ummah with the goal of approaching Allah.
Likewise, all your self-centeredness must go and transform
into self-denial or ummah-centered activities. Allah's way
is the way of the people. In other words, to approach Allah,
you must first approach people. That is why, individual
activities in Islam are less meritorious than collective
actions. You step out of the Tawaf cycle at the same place
you started after completion of the seven orbits. This is
just like being resurrected from the same spot where you
would be buried.
Tawaf, perform two rakah of prayer behind Maqam-e Ibrahim
in which you pray Surah al-Kafirun in the first rakat and
Surah al-Ikhlas in the second.
is a very blessed place for praying (Quran 2:125). It is
the nearest point to Allah. As a matter of fact, there is
no place in this entire earth where you get more reward
than this place for praying. The stone has the footprint
of Ibrahim , the rebel against the established despot
of his time, Nimrod. He stood over this stone to lay the
corner stone - Hajr al-Aswad and to re-construct the Ka'ba
and to pray (Quran 2:125). Do you now understand where you
are standing? By standing on the same stone, you vow to
become like Ibrahim Hanifah wa Khalil-Allah, the upright
friend of Allah, who was uncompromising in his conviction
of Tawhid. In Maqam, symbolically, you shake hands with
Ibrahim by pledging the same dedication to Allah
- i.e., to be like Ibrahim and Isma'il , his son.