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HAJJ means literally "to set out for a place". For a Muslim, that place is the Holy City of Makkah.

          Hajj, being the fifth pillar of Islam, needs to be performed by every Muslim once in their lifetime so that they may preserve their religion. But why is Hajj such a big deal for Muslims to perform, and why is it referred to as the Journey of a Lifetime? In this section Hajjplans.com will look deeply into both the virtues and conditions of performing such an important pillar of Islam.

The Virtues

The virtues of Hajj are many and those who have performed Hajj are indeed aware of the spiritual contentment and uplifting experience such an act plants in the hearts of mankind; forever. The Prophet Muhammad (S) has spoken endlessly on the virtues of Hajj throughout his lifetime. We at Hajjplans.com have broken down a few of the mentioned virtues from the Prophet Muhammad (S) below along with the proper references from the Hadeeth.  

  1. The act of Hajj is amongst the best deeds one can perform when pleasing Allah (swt). This is known from the saying of the Prophet (S) when his companions asked him about the absolute best deed in the eyes of Allah. The Prophet replied "Belief in Allah and His Messenger." Then he was asked: "what else?" He said, "striving and struggling for the sake of Allah" Then he was asked: "what else?" He said, "a Hajj, which is free from vice - accepted and complete." [Agreed upon, Bukhari & Muslim]
  2. The ones who perform Hajj, in its proper and complete form, has all their past sins forgiven from Allah and they return to their homes as a newborn comes into this world; sinless. The Prophet Muhammad (S) said "Whoever performs Hajj to this house - Ka'bah- and does not commit any obscenity and wrongdoing, he, or she, will come out as the day he, or she, was born - pure and free from sins." [Agreed upon, Bukhari & Muslim]
  3. 
  4. The reward for completing a Hajj and having it accepted is nothing less than Paradise itself. The Prophet Muhammad (S) said "An 'Umrah is a means of expiation of sins committed between it and the next and a Mabroor Hajj - complete and accepted - has no reward for it but Jannah." [Agreed upon, Bukhari & Muslim]
  5. When performing Hajj, we are known as the guests of Allah (swt) and will be fully taken care of by Him (swt). The Prophet Muhammad (S) said "The people performing Hajj or 'Umrah are the guests of Allah. If they ask Him something He answers them and if they ask him forgiveness He forgives them." [Related by an-Nassaa'i, ibn Maajah, ibn Hibbaan and ibn Khuzaymah]
  6. One who sets forth and leaves for Hajj is in the state of a pilgrim till he/she reaches back home, and therefore remains a guest of Allah (swt) throughout the entire journey until he/she returns home. The Prophet Muhammad (S) said "When you meet anyone who has performed Hajj, greet him, shake hands with him, and beseech him to pray for the forgiveness of your sins before he reaches his home, for he is in the state that decision of forgiveness has been taken for him (and it is confidently expected that his supplication will be accepted)." [Musnad Ahmed]

These are just some of the virtues mentioned about Hajj. Indeed the virtues of Hajj are priceless to any Muslim and it is therefore referred to as the Journey of a Lifetime.

            Since Hajj is known to be such a noble and reward-filling duty on Muslims, it is absolutely critical that one learns the various conditions of Hajj and who is responsible for such an act of hard struggle and sacrifice. In this section Hajjplans.com will explore the conditions of performing Hajj in the blessed land of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

WHEN HAJJ WAS PRESCRIBED: 

 According to the correct view, Hajj was made obligatory in 9AH, the year of the Delegations (al-Wufood), in which Soorat Aal ‘Imraan was revealed, in which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

 “And Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Ka’bah)is a duty that mankind owes to Allaah, those who can afford the expenses (for one’s conveyance, provision and residence).[Aal ‘Imraan 3:97]  

THE RULING OF HAJJ:

           Hajj is a fareedah (obligatory duty), one of the pillars of Islam. The evidence (daleel) for this is the aayah mentioned above, and there is also evidence in the Sunnah which indicates the same thing.

           Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with them both) said: the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu álayhi wa sallam) said: “Islam is built upon five (pillars): testifying that none deserves to be worshipped but Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah, establishing regular prayer, paying zakaah, Hajj and fasting Ramadhaan.” ( Al-Bukhaari, 8; Muslim, 16).

IS HAJJ OBLIGATORY STRAIGHT AWAY?  

Yes, it should be done straight away. The evidence for this is the aayah referred to above. This (doing things straight away) is the guiding principle concerning the commands of sharee’ah. The evidence in the Sunnah which indicates this is as follows:  

Abu Hurayrah said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) gave a sermon (khutbah) and said: “O people, Allaah has enjoined Hajj upon you so do Hajj.” (Narrated by Muslim, 1337).

 Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever wants to go for Hajj, let him hasten to do it, because he may fall ill or some other problems may arise.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood, 1732, without the phrase “because he may…” also narrated by Ibn Maajah, 2883 and Ahmad, 1836).

According to a report narrated by Ahmad “Hasten to do Hajj –i.e., the obligatory Hajj – for none of you knows what may happen to him.”

These two reports strengthen one another. (See Irwaa’ al-Ghaleel by al-Albaani, 4/168).

The Shaafa’is say that Hajj may be delayed, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) delayed his Hajj until 10 AH. But the answer to this is as follows:

a. He only delayed it for one year, but they say it may be delayed indefinitely!
b. He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) wanted to purify the House (the Ka’bah) of the Mushrikeen and those who performed Hajj naked.
c. He was kept busy with the delegations that had started to come to Madeenah, one after another to announce their Islam.

Just as was the case with the virtues of Hajj in the previous section, there are many sayings from the Prophet Muhammad (S) regarding the responsibility of performing Hajj as a compulsory act in order to gain the endless rewards of the journey. The following is a list of conditions of Hajj that we at Hajjplans.com have compiled in order to make the Muslim communities all over the world become aware of such knowledge.  

  1. The act of Hajj is amongst the best deeds one can perform when pleasing Allah (swt). This is known from the saying of the Prophet (S) when his companions asked him about the absolute best deed in the eyes of Allah. The Prophet replied "Belief in Allah and His Messenger." Then he was asked: "what else?" He said, "striving and struggling for the sake of Allah" Then he was asked: "what else?" He said, "a Hajj, which is free from vice - accepted and complete." [Agreed upon, Bukhari & Muslim]
  2. Islam: Faith is the first requirement and without it the prescribed deeds are not valid or accepted as acts of worship. As we have seen previously, there is a strong relation between Hajj and its rituals with the religion of Ibraheem (A), which is the religion of Tawheed.
  3. Sanity: Anyone who is not sane-minded - somebody who is proven to be mentally ill - is not held responsible for his, or her, actions. The Prophet (S) said, "There are three kinds of people who are not held responsible for their actions: The sleeping person until he wakes up, the child until he reaches the age of puberty, and the mentally ill until he becomes sane." [Related by the Five and ad-Daarimi]
  4. 
  5. Puberty: As understood from the above hadith.
  6. Ability: It was explained by the Messenger of Allah (S) as the transportation and the provision during the journey. Today, Hajj is done through special arrangements and requirements. Anyone who can fulfill those requirements and can afford to pay for his journey without begging others or taking loans should go for Hajj.
  7. Women's Hajj: Women are equal to men in terms of their religious duties and rights. They must perform Hajj if they have all the above conditions. However, a woman must go with her husband or another Mahram - the one that a woman can never marry due to close relationship such as a father, a brother, a son, a nephew, an uncle...etc., Ibn 'Abbas (r) related that he heard the Prophet (S) saying, "A man cannot be alone with a woman unless when she is in the company of a Mahram. A woman can travel only when she is accompanied by a Mahram." Hearing this, a man stood up and said, "O Messenger of Allah! My wife has gone for Hajj and I have enrolled myself in such and such expedition." The Prophet (S) said, "Go and perform Hajj with your wife." [Agreed upon].

    Note: Imam Abu Haneefah (r) and other scholars have considered this as one of the elements of ability. However, Imam As-Shafi'i (r) as well as other scholars consider a good group of pious and trustworthy women can be an alternative, but only in the obligatory Hajj and 'Umrah not the supererogatory ones. There are a few hadiths which back this position such as the ones relating the Hajj of the wives of the Prophet (S) after the permission of 'Umar ibn al-Khattab (r).
  8. Not to Delay: Delaying this pillar of Islam to old age even though the physical and financial abilities are okay to perform Hajj is considered a hated act in the eyes of Allah. It is a common misconception among many Muslims to think that Hajj is only for those who retire and have leisure time. Ibn 'Abbas (r), the great commentator of Qur'an, said, "Whoever had money in his life and did not go to Hajj or pay Zakaat on it, he, or she, will ask Allah to return to life when time for death comes." The Prophet (S) said, "Hasten going for Hajj - meaning performing the duty- for none of you knows what will happen in the future." [Ahmad, Abu Dawud, ibn Maajah, and al-Bayhaqi].

If one meets the above conditions then it is critical that he/she performs the journey of a lifetime.

Significance

Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam. It is a visit to the Ka'ba, the house of Allah (SWT). The Ka'ba is a cube-like building that was built by Prophet Adam, the first man and Prophet on earth. During the battles that took place over time, the Ka'ba was damaged. Prophet Ibrahim and his son Ismail then rebuilt the Ka'ba and restored its dignity. The Ka'ba is the oldest House and was built for the purpose of worshipping Allah (SWT). Today it is known as the holiest place for Muslims and represents the direction that Muslims pray five times a day; from all around the world.

It is compulsory for every Muslim to make at least one journey in their lifetime to Makkah for Hajj if they can afford it. The teachings of Hajj are very significant to a Muslim's daily life. During Hajj, we learn to establish our prayers five times a day and stay clean and pure at all times. Prayer is mandatory during the period of Hajj as well as throughout one's life. Praying near the Ka'ba rewards a Muslim more then 100,000 times the reward of praying anywhere else in the world.

Sacrificing a lamb or goat during Hajj teaches us to share and to give to the poor. It teaches us generosity, kindness, and the ability to share with others less fortunate. In Mina, when we throw pebbles at the three pillars representing shaitaan, we learn that we should be truthful and clean and live a life free of sins. We learn to try to reject and avoid the evil whispers of shaitaan and stand against him. Apart from kindness and generosity, Hajj teaches us that Allah (SWT) has blessed us greatly. The water from Zam Zam is a special gift from Allah (SWT) to Muslims till the Day of Judgement. It is that anyone who drinks the water of Zam Zam will be granted a cure from all the illnesses and diseases. Some of the scholars say that Zam Zam is whatever you make it to be, so for instance, if you drink Zam Zam water and supplicate to Allah (SWT) that He make it a source of healing from a sickness, it will indeed play that role, insha'Allah. Supplicating at Arafaat is also a blessing. All duas are answered and all wishes are made true.

This pilgrimage helps us learn the history of Islam and see how it has been held up over the past centuries. We should remember the work of our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (S). We should learn the patience and the sacrifices made by our Prophet at this very time and place many centuries ago. The gathering of Muslims all around the world helps us to remember that we are all Muslims and worshippers of Allah (SWT) and that we are all brothers and sisters in Islam. We learn the different nations and we see that Muslims are not joined together on the basis of color or race. They are joined together on the basis of belief in Allah (SWT) and his messenger (S). The pilgrimage brings Muslims of all countries, colors, and races to one place -- the Ka'ba. This strengthens the spirit of unity, equality and brotherhood. These are the values on which Islam builds the human society and it will continue this way till the Day of Judgment insha'Allah.

Pillars of Hajj

Now that we have discussed the virtues, conditions, and significance of Hajj; it is critical to move on to the pillars of the blessed journey. Whatever Hajj group you choose to go with, they will indeed have a leader that will explain the pillars of Hajj, but we at Hajjplans.com have summarized the four main pillars of the journey. We hope that you find this information beneficial and easy to comprehend, inshaAllah.

The Pillars

1. Ihram - The first pillar of Hajj is the state of Ihram. Although, the word Ihram is often referred to as the two pieces of white cloth that men wear while doing Hajj and Umrah, it is more than that. Ihram is actually a state one is in while performing the rituals of Hajj and Umrah. The dress of Ihram just represents the state that one is in; two unstitched cloths for men, and regular loose clothing for women. However, it is important to note that the pilgrim is allowed to bathe and use the washroom as they require so the Ihram may be removed and put back on for such circumstances. The key element to the Ihram is to make the intention of Ihram, after taking a bath and praying two raka'h of prayers. Once the intention is made, and the necessary clothing are put on, one must adhere to the following rules:

Recite the Talbiyyah saying:

"Labbayka-Allahummma labbayk, Labbayka laa shareeka laka labbayk. Innal-Hamda wanni'mata laka wal-Mulk, laa shareeka lak!"
"Here I am O Allah! Here I am! Here I am, there is no partner for you, here I am! Surely, all praise, blessings, and dominion are for You. There is no partner for you!"


It is recommended to keep repeating the Talbiyah occasionally on the way to Makkah especially after prayers or when meeting other pilgrims or when ascending and descending...etc.

  1. The pilgrim should avoid arguing, slandering, acting without humility and decency, and harming others with the hands and the tongue. Allah, the Almighty, says,
    "For Hajj are the months well-known. If any one undertakes that duty therein, let there be no obscenity, nor wickedness, nor wrangling in the Hajj and whatever good you do, (be sure) Allah knows it." (2:198).
  2. The pilgrim is also restricted from showing love and affection to his/her spouse while in Ihram, which could lead to intercourse. The unmarried pilgrim is restricted from getting married or asking for someone's hand in marriage while in Ihram.
  3. It is undesirable to joke around in the state of Ihram, since the pilgrim should be reciting the Talbiyah and submit themselves to Allah (SWT).
  4. Shaving or cutting hair from any part of the body, clipping the nails of the fingers or the toe, and wearing or even touching perfume are all forbidden acts while in Ihram.
  5. Men are not allowed to cover their heads by anything except for an umbrella provided that it does not touch the head or wearing seamed and perfumed clothes, socks and shoes. Women may wear socks. Both, men and women are permitted to wear a watch, or glasses on their face.
  6. It is not permissible to hunt, kill, or harm animals unless they are harmful insects such as lice, fleas, beetles and also ants if they stick to the body. It is better to throw them away, but if they represent a harm and disturbance they can be killed. Harmful and dangerous animals can only be killed if they become a threat to one's life such as snakes, scorpions, rats, desert crows and any dangerous wild animals or birds.
    

2. Tawwaf - The second pillar of Hajj is Tawwaf. Tawwaf is the action of circuiting and circumambulating seven times around the Ka'bah in an anti-clockwise direction. Allah Almighty says, "Then let them complete the rites prescribed for them, perform their vows, and (again) circumambulate the Ancient House." (22:29).

In order to have the Tawwaf properly completed one must adhere to the following:

  1. Make intention for Tawaaf as an act of obedience dedicated to Allah alone.
  2. Cleanliness with Wudu as for prayer.
  3. Covering 'Awrah - private parts - for both men and women. Anything, which is considered a 'Awrah cannot be displayed otherwise the Tawwaf becomes null.
  4. Tawaaf should be inside al-Masjid al-Haraam.
  5. The number of rounds should be exactly seven beginning from the Black Stone and ending at it. These rounds should be continued without interruption except in the case of an extreme necessity.
  6. The following are some desirable sunnah acts while performing the Tawwaf:
  7. Performing the first three rounds hastily, almost jogging for men who are capable of doing so, and if the circumstances permit it. Do not try this if there are way too many people around.
  8. Uncover the right shoulder for men, and place the cloth underneath the armpit.
  9. Kissing the Black Stone in the beginning of Tawwaf if possible. Otherwise, if it's impossible to touch it or because the pilgrim fears harming others by pushing them, it is better to raise the hands to make Istilaam - salutation - to the Black Stone starting Tawwaf by saying,

    "Bismillahi w-Allahu Akbar! Allahumma Imaanan bika wa-tasdeeqan bikitaabika wa-Wafaa'an bi'ahdika wat-Tibaa'an lisunnati Nabiyyika Muhammadin Salla Allahu 'alayhe was-Sallam"

    "In the Name of Allah, Allah is The Greatest! O Allah I have faith in You, I believe in Your Book, I am fulfilling the promise made to You, and following the Sunnah of Your Prophet (S)".

 

The pilgrim can make a lot of dhikr such as:

"Subhaana Allah wal-Hamdu-lillah wa-Laa ilaaha ill-Allah w-Allahu Akbar walaa Hawla walaa Quwwata illaa billaahi!"

"Glory be to Allah! All Praise is due to Allah! There is no god except Allah! Allah is the Greatest! There is no Power or strength except with Allah!"

There are not specific du'aas for circumambulating. However, the best thing to say is the word of Allah; the pilgrim can recite without disturbing the others some chapters of the Qur'an he, or she, memorizes.

When the pilgrim passes by the Rokn al-Yamaani - the fourth corner of the Ka'abah right before the black stone corner - it is good that he, or she, touches it with the hand if possible in every round, and then recite the following dua until they reach back to the black stone:

 

"Rabbanaa Aatinaa fid-Duniaah Hasanatan wafil-Aakhirati Hasanatan waqinaa 'adhaaban-Naar"

"Our Lord! Give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and protect us from the torment of the Fire!" (2:201).

 

Being in a state of serenity, concentration, and humbleness. The pilgrim should avoid harming others and should also refrain from talking to others unless it is necessary.

 

Making dua after finishing Tawaaf at the Multazam - the spot between the Black Stone and the Ka'bah's door. Praying 2 Rak'aas behind the Maqaam -station- of Ibraaheem (A), then drinking from Zamzam water in three sequences while having the intention to be cured with the blessing of Allah from any disease and facing Qiblah. The pilgrim can make the following du'aa:

Allahumma inni as'aluka 'ilman naafi'an wa-rizqan waasi'an was-shifaa'a min kulli dhaa'in wa saqam!"

"O Allah! I beseech You to bless me with a useful knowledge, a generous subsistence, and a cure from any ailment and disease!"

Finally going back to the Black Stone and salute it before leaving to Safa and Marwaa for Say'ee.



3. Say'ee - The third pillar of Hajj is the Say'ee which is the walking between mount safa and marwa. Although the history of such a noble act is very rich and enlightening to know, Hajjplans.com will only look at the required acts in this section. Further information should be studied under your leader/teacher.

Describing the Hajj performed by the Prophet (S), Jabir (r) narrated,

"Then, he - the Prophet (S) - got out from the door heading for As-Safaa, then, recited the above Qur'anic aayah: "Innas-Safaa wal-Marwata min Sha'aa'iril-Laah. Faman hajjal-Bayta awi'atamara falaa junaaha 'alayhi an yattawwafa bihimaa. Waman tattawwa'a khayran fa'inna Allaha Shaakirun 'Aleem."(2:158)

Then, he (S) said, "We begin with what Allah began." Then, he mounted as--Safaa until he faced the House and there he glorified Allah (i.e. raised his voice) saying "Allahu Akbar!" three times then" Laa ilaaha illa Allah wahdahu laa shareeka lah. Lahul-Mulku walahul- Hamdu wa huwa 'alaa kulli shay'in Qadeer. Laa ilaaha illa Allahu wahdahu, Sadaqa Wa'adahu, wa nasara 'abadahu wa hazamal-Ahzaaba wahdah!."

"There is no god but Allah. He is One and has no partner, to Him is the dominion and all praise is due to Him. We are returning, repenting, worshipping, prostrating, and to Allah we are very grateful. Allah is true to His promise, He gave victory to His servant and defeated the confederates all by Himself."

Habibah bint Abi Taghrah (r) heard the Prophet (S) saying to his companions,

"Perform Say'ee for Allah Almighty has ordained it upon you." [Ahmad].

 

In order to have the Say'ee properly completed one must adhere to the following:

  1. Being after Tawwaf not before and make proper intention for beginning the Say'ee
  2. Continue doing the Say'ee without interruption except when it is extremely necessary.
  3. Stand on as-Safaa and al-Marwa by going back and forth seven times- 4 stops at each hill - and make the above-mentioned du'aa facing Qiblah.
  4. The following are some desirable sunnah acts while performing the Tawwaf:
  5. Khabab, which is fast walking that is closer to running, between the two green signs on the sides of the way as Haajar (A) did and as it is recorded about the Prophet (S).
  6. Making dhikr and du'aa or reading Qur'an.
  7. To be clean and have Wudu is recommended but not compulsory as in Tawwaf
  8. To walk unless the pilgrim is weak.
  9. To lower the gaze and abstain from talking to others, harming others, and try to be humble and serene and to remember the Day of Judgement.



4. Arafah - The fourth pillar of Hajj is Arafah, which known as the Big Day of hajj and is on th 9th of dhul hijja. The Prohet (S) said: "Hajj is 'Arafah." [Ahmad and at-Tirmidhi]. The pilgrim must be at 'Arafaat on the ninth of dhil Hijjah after Dhuhr time. Anyone, who misses Arafaat day, his, or her, Hajj is void. All the scholars said in consensus that this pillar is the most important one. The Prophet said, "Hajj is only valid by attending `Arafah." [At-Tirmidhi, an-Nassaa'i, Abu Dawud, Malek and ad-Daarimi]. In order to have the Arafah properly completed one must adhere to the following:

  1. Going to Arafaat on the 9th of dhul-Hijjah: After Sunrise on the 9th, the pilgrim can head for 'Arafaat through the road of Dabb making Talbiyah and dhikr. Once the pilgrim prays at Masjid Namirah Dhuhr and 'Asr combined and shortened with the Imam - if possible - he, or she, goes to the Mawqif where the standing is valid because Namirah mosque is not fully a part of 'Arafaat. Standing means to be present there and it does not mean that the pilgrim is not allowed to sit down and rest.
  2. The presence in Arafaat on the 9th of dhul-Hijjah between Dhuhr and Maghrib is essential.
  3. Sleeping in Muzdalifah after spending the day in 'Arafaat.
  4. Throwing pebbles at Jamrat al-'Aqabah on the 10th day of dhil-Hijjah.
  5. Shaving off the hair of the head or cutting some of it after the stoning at Jamrat al-'Aqabah. After this, the pilgrim ends his state of Ihraam and can wear regular clothes and put perfume and clip the nails…etc, but intimate intercourse is not allowed until the Ifaadah Tawaaf is performed.
  6. Sleeping on the eve of the 11th, the eve of the 12th, and the eve of the 13th. If the pilgrim has to leave, the eves of the 11th and the 12th would be enough.
  7. Throwing pebbles at the three Jamaraats after Dhuhr of every day of Tashreeq: 11-12-13.
  8. Many Hajj groups recommend doing extra acts of worship during the day of Arafah, and the final days of Hajj, since indeed these are the most significant days in the entire journey.

 

 

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