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What is Hajj?

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What is Hajj?

What is Hajj?

The word Hajj, linguistically, means heading to a place for the sake of visiting; in Islamic terminology, it implies heading to Makkah to observe the rituals of pilgrimage.

The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, and all able-bodied Muslims are required to perform it once in their lifetime. The Hajj is seen as a chance to wipe clean past sins and start fresh. Many seek to deepen their faith on the Hajj, with women taking on the Islamic hair covering known as “hijab” upon returning from the pilgrimage.

What is Hajj?

Hajj is obligated by Allah upon every Muslim, male and female, who is physically and financially capable. It is obligatory only once during the lifetime of a Muslim. Allah Almighty Says (what means): {…And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House – for whoever is able to find thereto a way….} [Quran 3:97]

The Prophet  Sallallahu  `Alayhi  Wa  Sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Islam is built upon five (pillars): the testimony that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, the establishment of the prayer, paying Zakat, Hajj to the House (i.e. Ka’bah,) and fasting in Ramadan.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

The Prophet  Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) also said: “Hajj is mandated once, so whoever does it more (than that), then it is supererogatory.” [Abu Daawood and Ahmad]

Hajj was prescribed in the sixth year after Hijrah (migration) upon the revelation of the following verse in which Allah Says (what means): {And complete the Hajj and ‘Umrah for Allah…} [Quran 2:196]

What is Hajj?

Hajj is not a new institution introduced by Prophet  Sallallahu  ` Alayhi Wa Sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) rather it is as old as the Ka’bah itself. Allah Almighty Says (what means): {Indeed, the first House [of worship] established for mankind was that at Bakkah [i.e., Makkah] – blessed and a guidance to the worlds.} [Quran 3:96]

The whole origin of Hajj is rooted to the acts of devotion of Prophet Ibraheem may Allah exalt his mention. This demonstrates that Muhammad  Sallallahu  ` Alayhi Wa Sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) did not innovate this institution, all he  Sallallahu  ` Alayhi wa Sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) did was to clear it of all the evil practices that had crept into it. After a few centuries of the death of Ibraheem may Allah exalt his mention and his, may Allah his exalt his mention, son Isma’eel may Allah exalt his mention people abandoned their teachings and gradually went astray, like all other people around them. Hundreds of idols were installed in the Ka’bah, which was built by Ibraheem and Isma’eel may Allah exalt his mention as a center for the worship of the One True God. Ironically enough, idols were made after the image of Ibraheem and Isma’eel may Allah exalt his mention too, whose whole lives had been spent eradicating idol-worship. The descendants of Ibraheem may Allah exalt his mention who had himself repudiated all idols, began to worship idols. The Ka’bah was turned into a type of temple for idol-worship and superstition. This predicament lasted for about two thousand years until the advent of Prophet Muhammad  Sallallahu  `Alayhi Wa sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ).

 

Hajj is rightly said to be the perfection of faith, since it combines in itself all the distinctive qualities of other obligatory acts of prayer, patience, the privation of amenities of life, devotion, Zakat (alms), slaughtering the sacrifice and supplication. In fact, the physical pilgrimage is a prelude to the spiritual pilgrimage to Allah when a man would bid goodbye to everything of the world and present himself before Him as His humble servant saying: ‘Here I am before You, my Lord, as a slave.’

Three Forms of Hajj :

 

  1. Hajj At-Tamattu’: This is where a pilgrim assumes Ihram for ‘Umrah only, during the months of Hajj, which means that when he reaches Makkah, he makes Tawaf and Sa’i for ‘Umrah. Then he shaves or clips his hair. On the eighth day of Thul-Hijjah, the pilgrim assumes Ihram again for Hajj only and carries out all of its requirements.

 

  1. Hajj Al-Ifrad: This is where a pilgrim assumes Ihram for Hajj only. When he reaches Makkah, he performs Tawaf for his arrival and Sa’i for Hajj. He does not shave or clip his hair as he does not disengage from Ihram. Instead, he remains in Ihram until after he stones the Jamratul–’Aqabah on ‘Eed day. It is permissible for him to postpone his Sa’i for Hajj until after his Tawaf for Hajj (i.e. Tawaf Al-Ifadhah).

 

  1. Hajj Al-Qiran: This is where a pilgrim assumes Ihram for both ‘Umrah and Hajj, or he assumes Ihram first for ‘Umrah, then makes his intention for Hajj before his Tawaf for Hajj. The obligations on one performing Ifrad are the same as those on one performing Qiran, except that the latter must slaughter whereas the former is not obligated to do so.

 

The best of the three forms is Tamattu’. It is the form that the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) encouraged his followers to perform.

 

Ihram, for men, entails wearing a special garment. A male pilgrim is not allowed to wear form-fitting clothes or to cover his head or hands with gloves, or his feet with socks or shoes. This is done in order to foster a sense of humility and a feeling of brotherhood among the Muslims.

 

The male pilgrim’s garment consists of two sheets of white woolen or cotton cloth, of which one is wrapped around the waist and reaches below the knees and above the ankles, while the other is wrapped around the upper part of the body. The head and the right shoulder are left uncovered during Tawaf. This attire is for males, whereas females have to cover all of their body except the face and hands.

 

What is Hajj?

Before donning this dress, the pilgrim is recommended to take a bath (Ghusl). A man in Ihram is consecrated. He cannot hunt, pick plants, shed blood, or have sexual intercourse or partake in whatever leads to it.

 

The excellence of Hajj:

 

It is one of the best deeds:

 

Abu Hurayrah  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him reported that the Prophet  Sallallahu  `Alayhi  Wa  Sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) was once asked: “What is the best deed?” He replied: “To believe in Allah and His Messenger.” The enquirer then asked: “What next?” The Prophet  Sallallahu  `Alayhi  Wa  Sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) replied: “To fight in the cause of Allah.” He again asked: “What is the next best thing?” He  Sallallahu  `Alayhi  Wa  Sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) replied: “Hajj ‘Mabroor’ (i.e., the Hajj that is free of sin and all its pillars and conditions are fulfilled).”[Al-Bukhari]

 

It is a form of Jihad:

 

Al-Hasan Ibn ‘ Ali may Allah be pleased with him and his father said that a man came to the Prophet  Sallallahu  `Alayhi Wa sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) and said: “I am a coward and a weak person. Is there anything I can do?” The Prophet  Sallallahu  `Alayhi  Wa  Sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) replied: “You may go for a Jihad that involves no fighting, that is, Hajj.” [‘Abdur-Razzaq and At-Tabarani]

What is Hajj?

The Prophet  Sallallahu  `Alayhi  Wa  Sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) also said: “Hajj is the Jihad for the old, the weak and the women.” [An-Nasa’i]

 

It wipes away past sins:

 

Abu Hurayrah  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him reported that the Prophet  Sallallahu  `Alayhi  Wa  Sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “He who performs Hajj seeking Allah’s pleasure and avoids all lewdness and sins (therein) will return after Hajj free from all sins, just as he was on the day his mother gave birth to him.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

 

Pilgrims are the Guests of Allah:

 

The Prophet  Sallallahu  `Alayhi  Wa  Sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Pilgrims and those performing ‘Umrah are Allah’s guests; their prayers are answered and their supplications for forgiveness are granted.” [An-Nasaa’i and Ibn Maajah]

What is Hajj?

The Reward of Hajj is Paradise:

 

The Prophet  Sallallahu  `Alayhi  Wa  Sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “All sins committed in between the performance of one ‘Umrah and the next are expiated and erased, and the reward of Hajj ‘Mabroor’ is nothing save Paradise.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

What is Hajj?

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