Hajj is the 5th pillar of Islam which is undertaken by Muslims at least once in their lifetime to express their faith in and obedience towards Allah Almighty. Hajj purifies the sins and the pilgrims become like a newborn after performing Hajj with all rituals. Those who perform Hajj are the guests of Allah (SWT). The pilgrim has to be Muslim, adult, free, sound mind and most importantly able to do it both bodily & monetarily. Almighty Allah says: “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)
Let’s understand the Hajj rituals or the step-by-step guide that every pilgrim carries out during their pilgrimage to Makkah.
The 7 Steps of Hajj
The Pilgrims will perform the seven important rituals of Hajj which are obligatory for performing a pilgrimage in the right way.
- The pilgrim enters the state of Ihram at one of the five Miqats (entry points), putting on the Ihram garment and expressing the intention to perform Hajj. The intention of performing the Hajj is very important before start performing the Hajj.
- After observing the Fajar prayers, all pilgrims must head to Mina where they stay an entire day carrying out all the rituals of Hajj and offer prayers of Zuhr, Asr, Maghrib, and Isha just the way stated in the Holy Quran. The Pilgrims may also collect some of the seventy small pebbles that will need for the stoning ceremony or rami.
- On the second day of Hajj, that is 9th day of Dhul Hijjah, pilgrims travel to Arafat from Mina reciting Tasbih of Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik. When Pilgrims reach Mount Arafat, they observe Duhr and Asr prayers combined with Qasar prayers near the Jabal al-Rahmah from noon to sunset. This act is known as Waquf.
- After sunset, pilgrims head to Muzadalifah from Mina to observe the Asr and Maghrib prayers and rest till night until Fajr prayer in preparation for the next day’s ritual of stoning the devil which is also known as rami. Pilgrims pick up 49 pebbles of similar size for Rami (throwing stones on devil). On the 10th Dhul Hijjah, pilgrims leave for Mecca before sunset to do Tawaf al-Ifadah and Sa’iy after this action they get back to Mina to perform Rami, Nahr, and Halq.
- On the 11th and 12th Dhul Hijjah, pilgrims must complete the stoning of the devil or rami. Before Sunrise, pilgrims head back to Mina and participate in a ritual known as ‘Stoning the devil’. Pilgrims use seven pebbles of similar sizes and throw them at a stone structure known as Jamrat al-Aqabah. This is an act carried out at noon each day. All pilgrims are required to leave for Mecca before sunset on the 12th day of Dhul Hijjah.
- After performing the stoning ceremony or rami pilgrims calls for animal sacrifice. For animal scarification, pilgrims can purchase sacrifice voucher or a coupon, which states that a sacrifice has been made in their name. The sacrificial animal is either a lamb or a camel. The animal is butchered and its meat is distributed to the poor.
- Men should get their head completely shaved after sacrificing an animal. While women are forbidden to shave their heads and only allowed to have a lock or strand of their hair clipped. The act of cutting the hair symbolizes one’s detachment from physical appearances and complete subjection to Allah. Now the pilgrims should go to Masjid al-Haram in Makkah to perform Tawaf Al-Ifadah of Kaaba. After that perform usual Sa’ye of Safa and Marwa and then drink plenty of Zam-Zam water.