5th Pillar: The Hajj (The Pilgrimage)
by A. Asim
What is Hajj?
The Arabic word Hajj means ‘to go’, more specifically to Makkah and perform ritual rites determined by Allah (SWT) and his Prophet Muhammad (PBU). Hajj occurs in the Islamic month of Dhu-al-Hajjah to the holy city of Mecca.
The importance of Hajj Pilgrimage
The pilgrimage is to Bait-Allah meaning the ‘house of Allah’. It is the 5th Pillar of Islam. Hajj is not fard (obligatory) on Muslims, rather it is fard only on those who are healthy and who have enough wealth pay for Hajj. They must perform Hajj at least once in their lifetime, to perform this pilgrimage one must go to Makkah. Hajj brings Muslims from all over the word to Makkah and creates a beautiful unity amongst the believing brothers and sisters, they come from different countries, people of all colours and backgrounds. They are all Ummah (Islamic community/gathering) of Muhammad (PBU). During the hajj the pilgrim visits Bait-Allah in Makkah and goes to Muna, Arafat and Muzdalifah. Most hujjaj visits madinah before or after the hajj. A male pilgrim who makes Hajj is called an Al-Hajj and a female is called Al-Hajjah. The purpose of Hajj for the Muslim is to create unity and peace spiritually, to purify ones soul in the journey. Allah (SWT) forgives all previous sins of those who perform the Hajj.
Hajj was historically first predestined by Allah (SWT) in the time of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) AS and he was informed by Allah (SWT) to build the Kaba (house of Mecca) with his son Ismaa’eel (Ishmael) at Mecca. After building the Kaba, Ibrahim (AS) would perform Hajj every year. After his death his practice was continued by his son. During this period the objective and method of hajj rites were transformed as idolatry spread throughout Arabia and the Kaba lost its purity, due to people placing idols inside the Kaba because of their hypocrisy of faith and by imposing their own faith. The walls were covered with paintings and poetry of their Gods and previous prophets such as Prophet Esa (Jesus) AS, also they placed more than 360 idols inside and around the Kaba. Historically, the atmosphere around the Kaba was horrific and un-sacred. Men and women would go around the Kaba completely naked presenting themselves from the day they were born. The purpose of Kaba was to be sincere in remembrance of Allah (SWT) whereas rather than praying to Allah (SWT) they started introducing blowing horns, hand clapping and whistling which defeats the objective of Hajj in the first place. Another ritual introduced as sacrifices of animals, by pouring their blood on the walls of the Kaba and hanging flesh around the pillars believing that God requested this. Other immoral acts began to take place amongst the pilgrims around Hajj and the events such as singing, drinking, adultery, and poetry rivalries etc., this state continued for nearly 2 and half thousand years. The people of Mecca completely abandoned the teachings of their prophet Ibrahim (AS), the main purpose of creating the house of God (Kaba) was for pure worship of Allah alone. For 23 years the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) spread the message of Allah (SWT) of Tawheed (true monotheism) same message as previous prophets. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) cleared Kaba of all its impurities and re-established the innovative rites of Hajj establish by Allah (SWT) consent in the time of Prophet Ibrahim (AS). Pre-historically the practices which were presented were based on ignorance trying to obliterate the very persistence of Hajj which was to bring forward the remembrance of Allah, create Taqwa, purity, with ease and sternness. Now Hajj has maintained its religious rites which our prophets had brought with them, the pilgrims come to remember Allah and follow the procedure of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) in the manner Prophet Muhammad (SAW) informed us Allah said.
And proclaim to mankind the Hajj (pilgrimage). They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every deep and distant (wide) mountain highway (to perform Hajj). (Quran: 22/27)
“Our Lord! And make us submissive unto You and of our offspring a nation submissive unto You, and show us our Manasik (all the ceremonies of pilgrimage - Hajj and Umrah, etc.), and accept our repentance. Truly, You are the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.” (Quran: 2/128)
Verily! As-Safa and Al-Marwah (two mountains in Makkah) are of the Symbols of Allah. So it is not a sin on him who performs Hajj or Umrah (pilgrimage) of the House (the Kabah at Makkah) to perform the going (Tawaf) between them (As-Safa and Al-Marwah). And whoever does good voluntarily, then verily, Allah is All-Recognizer, All-Knower. (Quran: 2/158)
And perform properly (i.e. all the ceremonies according to the ways of Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.)), the Hajj and Umrah (i.e. the pilgrimage to Makkah) for Allah. (Quran: 2/196)
The Hajj (pilgrimage) is (in) the well-known (lunar year) months (i.e. the 10th month, the 11th month and the first ten days of the 12th month of the Islamic calendar, i.e. two months and ten days). So, whosoever intends to perform Hajj therein (by assuming Ihram), then he should not have sexual relations (with his wife), nor commit sin, nor dispute unjustly during the Hajj. And whatever good you do, (be sure) Allah knows it. And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best provision is At-Taqwa (piety, righteousness, etc.). So fear Me, O men of understanding! (Quran: 2/197)
And Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Kabah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the expenses (for one’s conveyance, provision and residence); and whoever disbelieves (i.e. denies Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah), then he is a disbeliever of Allah), then Allah stands not in need of any of the Alameen (mankind and Jinn’s). (Quran: 3/97)
O you who believe! Kill not game while you are in a state of Ihram for Hajj or Umrah (pilgrimage), and whosoever of you kills it intentionally, the penalty is an offering, brought to the Kabah, of an eatable animal (i.e. sheep, goat, cow, etc.) equivalent to the one he killed, as adjudged by two just men among you; or, for expiation, he should feed poor persons, or its equivalent in fasting, that he may taste the heaviness (punishment) of his deed. Allah has forgiven what is past, but whosoever commits it again, Allah will take retribution from him. And Allah is All-Mighty, All-Able of Retribution. (Quran: 5/95)
Allah has made the Kabah, the Sacred House, an asylum of security and Hajj and Umrah (pilgrimage) for mankind, and also the Sacred Month and the animals of offerings and the garlanded (people or animals, etc. marked with the garlands on their necks made from the outer part of the stem of the Makkah trees for their security), that you may know that Allah has knowledge of all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth, and that Allah is the All-Knower of each and everything. (Quran: 5/97)
Prophet (PBU) said “whoever visits Bait-Allah and does not do bad deeds. He returns as pure as the new born baby” (Muslim)
Abu Huraira (R.A) said: I heard the Prophet (P.B.U.H) say: “Whoever does Hajj for the sake of Allah and does not have sexual relations (with his wife), commit sin, or dispute unjustly during the Hajj, will come back like the day his mother gave birth to him. (Bukhari, 1449; Muslim, 1350)
Hadrat Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah's Messenger (May the blessings of Allah be with him) said: One Umrah is an expiation for the sins committed between it and another Umrah and an accepted pilgrimage has got no less a reward than paradise. (Bukhari and Muslim)
Narrated mother of faithful believers, Hadrat Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her): I said, "O Allah's Messenger! We consider Jihad as the best deed." The Prophet (May the blessings of Allah be with him) said, "The best Jihad (for women) is Hajj-Mabrur." (An accepted Hajj) (Bukhari)
Hadrat Abdullah Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that a woman of Khashama (tribe) enquired: O Messenger of Allah! The obligatory injunction of Allah (The Glorified and the Exalted) over His servants regarding pilgrimage had come when my father was very old and could not sit firmly over a conveyance. May I make pilgrimage for him? "Yes" said he. And that was at the Farewell Pilgrimage. (Bukhari and Muslim)
Abu Hurayrah said that The Prophet (P.B.U.H) gave a sermon and said: “O people, Allah has enjoined Hajj upon you so do Hajj.”(Muslim, 1337)