Al-Hajj Questions and Answers part 1

Al-Hajj (pilgrimage) : Questions and Answers (Part One)

With the beginning of Dhul-Hijjah, around three million Muslims from each part of this earth are preparing  to travel to Saudi Arabia in order to perform the fifth pillar of Islam which is Hajj. They are coming to answer the call of Allah “and proclaim to mankind the Hajj. They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, they will come from every deep and distant mountain highway (to perform Hajj)”[ Al-Hajj 22-27]. Throughout a set of questions and answers we will shed light on Hajj from different aspects to get know more about the fifth pillar of Islam.

What is the meaning of Hajj?

Hajj in Islam is to travel to  the holy city Mecca with an intend to perform Al-Hajj not for any other purpose. It is a religious duty that Muslim must carry out at least once in their lifetime if they are capable.

How did the Quran and Sunnah  mention Al-Hajj?

In the Quran , Allah ordered His capable  servants to perform Hajj “and perform properly  the Hajj and Umrah  for Allah” [Al-Baqarah 2:196]. In another position Allah orders the father of the prophets Ibrahim to call people to perform Al-Hajj “and proclaim to mankind the Hajj. They will came to you on foot and on every lean camel, they will come from every deep and distant mountain highway” [ Al-Hajj 22:27].

In the sunnah, the prophet said: “Islam is built on five pillars: testimony that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, establishing Salah, giving Zakah, fasting Ramadan and performing Hajj to the House” [ Jami at-Tirmidhi]

“whoever performs Hajj and does not have sexual relations with his wife, nor commit sin,nor disputes unjustly, then he returns from Hajj as pure and free from his sins as on the day  on which  his mother gave him the birth” [ Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

What is the purpose of the Hajj?

Al-Hajj  is seen as a chance to

1-wipe clean past sins and start fresh.

2-deepen the faith.

3- to feel unity and greatness of our religion .

Do we as Muslims worship the Kaaba itself?

Of course not. Kaabah is the most sacred site for Muslims as it represents the metaphorical house of Allah and the oneness of Allah in Islam.

for this, Muslims around the world face toward the Kaaba during the five daily prayers.

Can a Muslim perform Al-Hajj at any time in the year?

The answer is No.

But why?

It is that Allah has appointed a specific time for Al-Hajj. Allah says “Al-Hajj is in well known months”[ Al-Baqarah 2:197]

Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said  these well known months means: Shawaal ( the 10th month), Dhul-Qidah ( the 11th month) , and the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah( the 12th month of Islamic Calendar or Lunar year).

At just  these times you can intend Hajj and start doing Ihraam in these months (shwaal, Dul-Qidah,and the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. However, the actual  deeds of Hajj must be performed in the days between the 8th to 14th of Dhul-Hijjah  and be in the way that the prophet has shown to his companion  during  the farewell pilgrimage ordering them to follow him and to convey these deeds to the coming generation Muslims frequently.

Is it a must for every Muslim to perform Hajj?

Al-Hajj is the only pillar of Islam that Allah swt has imposed on his servants coupled with physical and financial ability.  Allah says:And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House – for whoever is able to find thereto a way.”  [ Al-Imraan  3:97].

So, Hajj is a must for a Muslim who can undertake the journey and can support his family during his absence.

This answer pays our attention to another question. Are there other qualities for Muslims who  requires to perform Hajj?

Yes, the required muslim should be:

  1. An Adult so it is not a must for children.
  2. A sane: a reasonable person  so it is not a must for the mad man.

But pay attention that  Hajj should be in a specific way

So, what is the specific way of Hajj?

Actually there are three ways of Hajj. Let us take a look at it

  1. Hajj al-Tamatt’u: (Interrupted)This is the easiest way of performing Hajj; People who come to Saudi Arabia from other countries usually perform Hajj al-Tamatt’u. it means that the pilgrim will enter the state of ihram to perform Umrah and then shorten or shave his head to get out of Ihram. He then assumes another Ihram on the 8th of Dhul-Hijjah to perform Hajj.
  2. Hajj al-Qiran: (Combined):This means that the pilgrim assumes Ihram to perform both Umrah and Hajj together.
  3. Hajj Al-IfraadThis means entering the state of  ihram only to perform Hajj only. Keeping in the state of Ihraam till  the Dar of East when the pilgrim stones Jamratul- Aqabah . Then  he shaves his head and performes  Tawaf Al-Ifadah if he has not performed following Arrival Tawaf.

This is the first part of  Hajj questions and answers, in our second part we will  introduce more questions and clarify their answers.

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