Introduction to Hajj
What is Hajj?
Hajj is a journey different from all others. It is an act of worship, performed at specific places, at specific times, over a few days. It is an obligation on every able Muslim to perform Hajj.
In the Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah, pilgrims performing Hajj will perform specific acts of worship typically from the 8th to 13th Dhul Hijjah. These acts of worship are at several locations within Makkah such as Masjid Al Haram, Mina, Arafah, Muzdalifah and the pillars Jamaraat in Mina.
Why do Hajj?
Hajj is commanded by Allah in the Quran.
ۗ وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلًا ۚ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ عَنِ الْعَالَمِينَ
And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House - for whoever is able to find thereto a way. But whoever disbelieves - then indeed, Allah is free from need of the worlds.
وَأَتِمُّوا الْحَجَّ وَالْعُمْرَةَ لِلَّهِ
And complete the Hajj and Umrah for Allah
وَأَذِّن فِي النَّاسِ بِالْحَجِّ
And proclaim to the people the Hajj
فَمَنْ حَجَّ الْبَيْتَ أَوِ اعْتَمَرَ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِ أَن يَطَّوَّفَ بِهِمَا ۚ
So whoever makes Hajj to the House or performs 'umrah - there is no blame upon him for walking between them (Mount Safa and Marwa)
Also the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
“Islam is built on five (pillars): bearing witness that there is no god except Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establishing prayer, paying zakaah, Hajj and fasting Ramadan.”(Bukhari and Muslim)
What does Hajj entail?
On 8th Dhul Hijjah pilgrims enter the state of Ihram and go to Mina. Then on 9th Dhul Hijjah they go to Arafah until nightfall. Pilgrims then move to Muzdalifah and spend the remainder of the night there. On 10th Dhul Hijjah pilgrims perform 4 actions after which they leave the state of Ihram:
- Stoning the Jamarat in Mina
- Perform Tawaf (circumambulating the Kaaba) and Sa’ee (going between Safa and Marwa) in Masjid Al Haram
- Udhiya (Make a sacrifice)
- Halaq (Cut or shave the head of hair)
The following days on the 11th and 12th of Dhul Hijjah pilgrims stay in Mina and stone the Jamarat. They can leave before nightfall on 12th Dhul Hijjah or leave on 13th Dhul Hijjah to earn more reward.
We will go into the full details of Hajj in the later sections.