Hajj

Posted on 04/03/2012 by marina

HAJJ حج
Lit. “setting out”, “tending towards.” The pilgrimage to Makkah performed in the month of Zu ‘l-Hijjab, or the twelfth month of the Muslim year. It is the fifth pillar of Muslim practical religion, and an incumbent religious duty, founded upon express injunctions in the Qur’an. According to Muhammad it is a divine institution, and has the following authority in the Qur’an for its observance: –
(It is noticeable that all the verses in the Qur’an with regard to the pilgrimage are in the later Surahs, when they are arranged in their chronological order.)
Surah xxii. 28: –
“And proclaim to the peoples a PILGRIMAGE (hajj). Let them come to thee on foot and on every fleet camel, arriving by every deep defile:
That they may bear witness of it benefits to them, and may make mention of God’s anme on the appointed days (i.e. the ten first days of Zu ‘l-Hijjah), over the brute beasts with which He hath supplied them for sustenance. Therefore eat thereof yourselves and feed the needy, the poor:
Then let them bring the neglect of their persons to a close, and let them pay their vows, and circuit the ancient House.
This do. And he that respecteth the sacred ordinances of God, this will be best for him with his Lord.”
Surah ii. 152: –
“Verily, as-Safa and al-Marwah are among the signs of God; whoever then maketh a pilgrimage (hajj) to the temple, or visiteth it, shall not be to blame if he go round about them both. And as for him who of his own accord doth what is good – god is Grateful, Knowing.”
Idem, 192:
“Accomplish the pilgrimage (hajj), and the visitation (‘umrah) for God; and if ye be hemmed in by foes, send whatever sacrifice shall be the easiest, and shave not your heads until the offering reach the place of sacrifice. But whoever among you is sick or has an ailment of the head, must expiate by fasting, alms, or an offering.
And when you are sage from foes, he who contents himself with the visitation (‘umrah) until the pilgrimage (hajj), shall bring whatever offering shall be the easiest. But he who findeth nothing to offer, shall fast three days in the pilgrimage itself, and seven days when ye return; then shall be ten days in all. This is binding on him whose family shall not be present at the sacred Mosque (al-Masjidu ‘l-haram). And fear God, and know that God is terrible in punishing.
Let the pilgrimage be made in the months already known (i.e. Shawwal Zu ‘l-Qa’dah, and Zu ‘l-Hijjah): whoever therefore undertaketh the pilgrimage therein, let him not know a woman, nor transgress, now wrangel in the pilgrimage. The good which ye do, God knoweth it. And provide for your journey; but the best provision is the fear of God; fear me, then O men of understanding!
It shall be no crime in you if ye seek an increase from your Load (i.e. to trade); and when ye pass swiftly on from ‘Arafat, then remember God near the holy temple (al-Masjidu ‘l-haram); and remember Him, because He hath guided you who before this were of those who went astray.
Then pass on quickly where the people quickly pass (i.e. from ‘Arafat), and ask pardon of God, for God is Forgiving, Merciful.
And when ye have finished your holy rites, remember God as ye remember you own fathers, or with a yet more intense remembrance! Some men there are who say ‘O our Lord! Give us our portion in this world; but such shall have no portion in the next life;
And some say, ‘O Lord! Give us good in this world and good in the next, and keep us from the torment of the fire.’
They shall have the lot which they have merited; and God is swift to reckon.
Bear God in mind during the stated days; out if any haste away in two days (i.e. after the hajj), it shall be no fault in him. And if any tarry longer, it shall be no fault in him, if he fear God. Fear God, then, and know that to Him shall ye be gathered.
The first temple was that founded for mankind, was that in Bakkah (i.e. Makkah) – Bless, and a guidance to human beings.
In it are evident signs, even the standing-place of Abraham (Maqamu Ibrahim) ; and he who entereth it is safe. And the pilgrimage to the temple, is a service due to God for those who are able to journey thither.”
Surah v. 2. –
“O Believers! Violate neither the rites of God, nor the sacred months, nor the offering, nor it ornaments, (i.e. on the necks of animals), nor those who press on to the sacred house (al-Baitu ‘l-Haram), seeking favor from their Lord and his good pleasure in them.”
The performance of the pilgrimage is incumbent upon every Muslim, once in his life-time, if he be an adult, free, sane, well in health, and has sufficient money for the expenses of the journey and for the support of his family during his absence.
If a woman perform the pilgrimage she must do it in company with her husband, or a near relative (muhram). If she can obtain the protection of a near relative and has the necessary expenses for the journey, it is not lawful for her husband to prevent her performing the pilgrimage. This mahram is a near relative whom it is not lawful for her to marry.
The Imam ash-Shafi’I denies the necessity of such attendance, stating that the Qur’an makes no such restriction. His objection is, however, met by a Tradition. “A certain man came to the Prophet and said: ‘My wife is about to make the Hajj, but I am called to go on a warlike expedition.’ The Prophet said: ‘Turn away from the war and accompany thy wife in the hajj”.
For a lawful hajj there are three actions which are farz, ands five which are wajib; all the rest are sunnah or musiahabb. The farz are: to wear no other garment except the ihram; to stand in Arafat; to make the tawaf, or circuit round the Ka’bah.
The wajib duties are: to stay in al-Muzdalifah; to run between Mount as-Safa and Mount al-Marwah; to perform the Ramyu ‘r-Rijam, or the casting of pebbles; if the pilgrims are non-Meccans, to make an estra tawaf; to shave the head after the pilgrimage is over.
The hajj must be made at the appointed season. Surah ii. 193: “Let the pilgrimage be made in the months already known.” These months are Swawwal, Zu ‘l-Qa’dah, and the first tem days of Zu ‘l-Hijjah. The actual hajj must be in the month of Zu ‘l-Hijjah, but the preparations for, and the niyah, or intention of the hajj, can be made in the two preceding months. The ‘umrah, or ordinary visitation ['UMRAH], can be done at any time of the year except on the ninth and four succeeding days of Zu ‘l-Hijjah. On each of the various roads leading to Makkah, there are at a distance of about five or six miles from the city stages called Miqat. The following are the names. On the Madinah road, the stage is called Zu ‘l-Halifah; on the ‘Iraq road, Zatu ‘Arq; on the Syrian road, Hujfah; on the Najd road, Qarn; on the Yaman road, Yalamiam.

The following is the orthodox way of performing the pilgrimage, founded upon the example of the Prophet himself. (See Sahihu ‘l Bukhari, Kitabu ‘l-Manasik, p 205.)
Upon the pilgrim’s arrival at the last stage near Makkah, he bathes himself, and performs two rak’ak prayers, and then divesting himself of his clothes, he assumes the pilgrim’s sacred robe, which is called the ihram. This garment consists of two seamless wrappers, one being wrapped around the waist, and the other thrown loosely over the shoulder, the head being left uncovered. Sandals may also be worn, but not shoes or boots. After he has assumed the pilgrim’s garb, he must not anoint his head, shave any part of his body, pare his nails, nor wear any other garment than the ihram. The pilgrim having now entered upon the hajj, faces Makkah, and makes the niyah (intention), and says: – “O God, I purpose to make the hajj; make this service easy to me and accept it from me. He then proceeds on his journey to the sacred city and on his way, as well as at different periods in the pilgrimage, he recites, or sings with a loud voice, the pilgrim’s song, called the Talbiyah ( a word signifying waiting or standing for orders). In Arabic it runs thus (as given in the Sahihu ‘l-Bukhari, p. 210): –
“Labbaika! Allahumma! Labbaika!
Labbaika! La Sharika laka! Labbaika!
Inna ‘l-hamda wa n’ni’mata laka, wa ‘l-
Mulka laka!
La sharika laka!”
Which following the Persian commentator, ‘Abdu ‘l-Haqq, may be translated as follows: –
“I stand up for Thy service, O God! I stand up!
I stand up! There is no partner with Thee! I stand up!
Verily Thine is the Praise, the Blessing and the Kingdom!
There is no partner with Thee!”
Immediately on his arrival at Makkah he performs legal abulations in the Masjidu ‘l-haram, and then kisses the black stone (al-Hajarn ‘l-aswad). He then encompasses the Ka’bah seven times; three times at a quick step or run, and four times at a low pace. These act are called the tawaf and are performed by commencing on the right and leaving the Ka’bah on the left. Each time as the pilgrim passes round the Ka’bah, he touches the Ruknu ‘l-Yamani, or the Yamani corner, and kisses the sacred black stone. He then proceeds to the Maqamu Ibrahim (the place of Abraham) where he recites the 119th verse of the IInd Surah of the Qur’an, “Take ye the station of Abraham for a place of prayer,” and performs two rak’ah prayers, after with he returns to the black stone and kisses it. He then goes to the gate of the temple leading to Mount as-Safa, and from it ascends the hill, reciting the 153rd verse of the IInd Surah of the Qur’an, “Verily as-Safa and al-Marwah are the signs of God.” Having arrived at the summit of the mount, turning towards the Ka’bah, he recites the following: –
“There is no deity but only God! God is great! There is no deity but God alone! He hath performed His promise, and hath aided His servant and hath put to flight the hosts of infidels by Himself alone!”
These words are recited thrice. He then runs from the top of Mount as-Safa to the summit of Mount al-Marwah seven times, repeating the aforesaid prayers on the top of each hill. This is the sixth day, the evening of which is spent at Makkah, where he again encompasses the Ka’bah.
Upon the seventh day he listens to the khutbah, or oration, in the great mosque, in which are set forth the excellences of the pilgrimage and the necessary duties required of all true Muslims on the following days.
On the eighth day, which is called Tarwiyah, he proceeds with his fellow pilgrims to Mina, where he stays and performs the usual service of the Muslim ritual, and remains the night.
The next day (the ninth), after morning prayer, he proceeds to Mount Arafat, where he recites the usual prayers and listens to another khutbah. He then leaves for al-Muzdalifah, a place midway between Mina and ‘Arafat, where he should arrive for the sunset prayer.
The next day, the tenth. In the Yaumu ‘n-Nahr, or the “Day of Sacrifice,” known all through the Muslim world and celebratd as the Idu ‘l-Azha. Early in the morning, the pilgrims having said their prayers at Muzdalifah, then proceed in a body to three pillars in Mina, the name of which is called the Shaitanu ‘l-Kabir, or “Great Devil.” The pilgrim casts seven stones at each of these pillars, the ceremony being called the Ramyu ‘r-Rijam, or casting of stones. Holding the rajm, or pebble between the thumb and fore-finger of the right hand, the pilgrim throws it at a distance of not less than fifteen feet, and says – “In the name of God, the Almighty, I do this and in hatred of the devil and his shame.” The remaining six stones are thrown in the same way. It is said that this ceremony has been performed ever since the days of Abraham. The pilgrim then returns to Mina and performs the sacrifice of the ‘Idu ‘l-Azha. The victim may be a sheep, or a goat, or a cow, or a camel, according to the means of the pilgrim.
Placing its head towards the Ka’bah, its fore-legs being bandaged together, the pilgrim stands on the right side of his victim and plunges the knife into its throat with great force, and cries with a loud voice, “Allahu Akbar!” “God is great! O God, accept this sacrifice from me!”
The ceremony concludes the pilgrimage, and the haji or pilgrim then gets himself shaved and his nails pared, and the ihram or pilgrim garment is removed. Although the pilgrimage is over, he should still rest at Makkah the three following days, which are known as the Ayyamu ‘t-Tashriq, or the days of drying up of the blood of the sacrifice. Three well-earned days of rest after the peripatetic performance of the last four days.
Before he leaves Makkah he should once more perform the circuits round the Ka’bah and throw stones at the Satanic pillars at Mina, seven times. He should also drink of the water of the zamzam well.
Most Muslims then go to al-Madinah, and make their salutations at the shrine of Muhammad. This is regarded as an incumbent duty by all except the Wahhabis, who hold that to make the visitations of the Prophet’s tomb a religious ceremony is shirk, or associating the creature with God.
From the time the pilgrim has assumed the ihram until he takes it off, he must abstain from worldly affairs and devote himself entirely to the duties of the Hajj. He is not allowed to hunt, though he may catch fish if he can. “O Believers, kill no game while ye are on pilgrimage.” (Surah v. 96.) The Prophet also said: “He who show the place where game is to be found is equally as bad as the man who kills it.” The haji must not scratch himself, lest vermin be destroyed, or a hair be uprooted. Should he feel uncomfortable, he must rub himself with the open palm of his hand. The face and head must be left uncovered, the hair on the head and beard unwashed and uncut. “Shave not your heads until the offering reach the place of sacrifice.”
(Surah ii. 192). On arriving at an elevated place, on descending a valley, on meeting any one, on entering the city of Makkah or the sacred temple, the haji should continually repeat the word “Labbaika, Labbaika”; and whenever he sees the Ka’bah he should recite the Takbir, “God is great!” and the Ta’lih, “There is no deity but God!”
The pilgrimage known as the hajj, as has been already stated, can only be made on the appointed days of the month of Zu ‘l-Hijjah. ['UMRAH.] If the pilgrim arrives as late as the ninth day, and is in time to spend that day, he can still perform the pilgrimage legally.
The pilgrimage cannot be performed by proxy by Sunni Muslims, but is allowed by the Shi’ahs, and it is by both considered a meritorious act to pay the expenses of one who cannot afford to perform it. But if a Muslim on his death bed bequeath a sum of money to be paid to a certain person to perform the pilgrimage, it is considered to satisfy the claims of the Muslim law. If a Muslim have the means of performing the pilgrimage, and omit to do so, its omission is equal to kabirah, or mortal sin.
According to the saying of the Prophet (Mishkat, book xi. Ch. 1), the merits of a pilgrimage to Makkah are very great : –
“He who makes the pilgrimage for God’s sake, and does not talk loosely, nor act wickedly, shall return as pure from sin as the day on which he was born.” “Verily, they (the hajj and the ‘umrah) put away poverty and sin like the fires of a forge removes dross. The reward of a pilgrimage is paradise.” “When you see a pilgrim. Salute and embrace him, and request him to ask pardon of God for you, for his own sins have been forgiven and his supplications will be accepted.”
For a philological and technical explanation of the following terms which occur in this account of the hajj, refer to the words as they occur in this dictionary: “ARAFAH, AYYAMU ‘T-TASHRIQ, HAJARU ‘L-ASWAD, HAJI, IHRAM, MARWAH, MASJIDU ‘L-HARAM, MAQAMU IBRAHIM, MAHRAM, MIQAT, MUZDALIFAH, TAWAF, ‘UMRAH, RAMYU ‘L-JIMAR, ZAMZAM, TALBIYAH, RUK’NU ‘L-YAMANI, TARWIAH, KHUTBAH, ‘IDU ‘L-AZHA, SAFA.
The Muslim who has performed the pilgrimage is called a hajji, which title he retains e.g. Haji Qasim, the Pilgrim Qasim.
Only five Englishmen are known to have visited Makkah, and to have witnessed the ceremonies of the pilgrimage: – Joseph Pitts, of Exeter, A.D. 1678; John Lewis Burckhardt, A.D. 1814; Lieutenant Richard Burton of the Bombay Army, A.D. 1853; Mr. H. Bicknell, A.D. 1862; Mr. T.F. Keane, 1880. The narratives of each of these “pilgrims” have been published. The first account in English of the visit of a European to Makkah, is that of Lodovico Bartema, a gentleman of Rome, who visited Makkah in 1503. His narrative was published in Willes and Eden’s Decades, A.D. 1555.
Professor Palmer (“Introduction” to the Qur’an, p. liii.) says-: “The ceremonies of the pilgrimage could not be entirely done away with. The universal reverence of the Arab for the Kaabah was too favorable and obvious a means for uniting all the tribes into one confederation with one common purpose in view. The traditions of Abraham the father of their race, and the founder of Muhammad’s own religion, as he always declared it to be, no doubt gave the ancient temple a peculiar sanctity in the Prophet’s eyes, and although he first settled upon Jerusalem as his qiblah, he afterwards reverted to the Kaabah itself. Here, then, Muhammad found a shrine, to which, as well as at which, devotion had been paid from time immemorial; it was one thing which the scattered Arabian nation had in common – the one thing which gave them even the shadow of a national feeling; and to have dreamed of abolishing it, or even of diminishing the honors paid to it, would have been madness and ruin to his enterprise. He therefore did the next best thing, he cleared it of idols and dedicated it to the service of God.”
Mr. Stanley Lane Poole (Introduction to Lane’s Selections, p. lxxxiv.) remarks:-
“This same pilgrimage is often urged as a sign of Mohammad’s tendency to superstition and even idolatry. It is asked how the destroyer of idols could have reconciled his conscience to the circuits of the Ka’bah and the veneration of the black stone covered with adoring kisses. The rites of the pilgrimage cannot certainly be defended against the chard of superstition; but it is east to see why Mohammad enjoined them. They were hallowed to him by the memories of his ancestors, who had been guardians of the sacred temple, and by the traditional reverence of all his people; and besides this tie of association, which in itself was enough to make it impossible for him to do away with the rites, Mohammad perceived that the worship in the Ka’bah would prove of real value to his religion. He swept away the more idolatrous and immoral part of the ceremonies, but he retained the pilgrimage to Mekka and the old veneration of the temple for reasons of which it is impossible to dispute the wisdom. He well knew the consolidating effect of forming a centre to which his followers should gather; and hence he reasserted the sanctity of the black stone that ‘came down from heaven’; he ordained that everywhere throughout the world the Muslim should pray looking towards the K’bah, and he enjoined him to make the pilgrimage thither. Mekka is to the Muslim what Jerusalem is to the Jew. It bears with it all the influence of centuries of associations. It carries the Muslim back to the cradle of his faith, the childhood of his prophet; it reminds him of the struggle between the old faith and the new, of the overthrow of the idols, and the establishment of the worship of the One God. And, most of all, it bids him remember that all his brother Muslims are worshipping towards the same sacred spot, that he is one of a great company of believers, united by one faith, filled with the same hopes, reverencing the same thing, worshipping the same God. Mohammad showed his knowledge of the religious emotions in man when he preserved the sanctity of the temple of Islam.”
The Makkan pilgrimage admits of no other explanation than this, that the Prophet of Arabia found it expedient to compromise with Arabian idolatry. And hence we find the superstition and silly customs of the Hajj grafted on to a religion which professes to be both monotheistic in its principle, and iconoclastic in its practices.
A careful and critical study of Islam will, we think, convince any candid mind that at first Muhammad intended to construct his religion on the lines of the Old Testament. Abraham, the true Muslim, was his prototype, Moses his law giver, and Jerusalem, his Qiblah. But circumstances were ever wont to change not only the Prophet’s revelations, but also his moral standards. Makkah became the Qiblah; and the spectacle of the Muslim world bowing in the direction of a black stone, whilst they worship the one God, marks Islam, with its Makkan pilgrimage, as a religion of compromise.
Apologists of Islam have endeavoured to shield Muhammad from the solemn charge of having “forged the name of God”, but we know of nothing which can justify the act of the pilgrimage all the force and solemnity of a divine enactment.
The Wahhabis, the Puritans of Islam, regard the circumambulation of the Prophet’s tomb as superstition (as shirk, or associating something with God, in fact), but how can they justify the foolish ceremonies of the hajj? If reverence for the Prophet’s tomb is shirk, what are runnings at as-Safa and al-Marwah, the stoning of the pillars, and the kissing of the black stone? No Muslim has ever yet attempted to give a spiritual explanation of the ceremonies of the Makkan pilgrimage, for in attempting to do so he would be charged with the heresy of shirk!
Mr. W.S. Blunt in his Future of Islam, has given some interesting statistics regarding the pilgrimage to Makkah in the year 1880, which he obtained during a residence at Cairo, Damascus, and Jiddah. The figures, he says, are taken principally from an official record kept for some years past at Jiddah, and checked as far as European subjects are concerned, by reference to the consular agents residing there.

Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam