Monday, November 24, 2008

The Fifth Pillar: Part three

There are three types of Hajj: Hajj at-Tamattu', Hajj al-Qiran and Hajj alIf rad.

Hajj Al-Tamatt'u is the most recommended one.
In this type, one is to perform 'Umrah during the Hajj months (i.e. Shawwal, Thul-Qe'dah and the first ten nights of Thul-Hijjah) and to perform the Hajj in the same year with a sacrifice slaughtered in Mina on the day of Eid AlAdh'ha (The 10th day of Thul-Hijjah) or during the days of Tashreeq (i.e. the 11th, 12th and 13th day of Thul-Hijjah). The pilgrim may remove his Ihram garments and resume his normal activities between 'Umrah and Hajj. It is necessary to make the Tawaf and the Sa'i twice, the first time for 'Umrah and the second time for Hajj. We describe in the following the sequence of the Hajj journey.

Entering the state of Ihram...

Ihram is the intention of the person willing to perform all rites of 'Umrah, Hajj or both when he arrives at the Miqat. Each direction coming into Makkah has its own Miqat. It is recommended that the one who intends to perform Hajj makes Ghusl (a shower with the intention to purify one's self), perfumes his body, but not his garments, and puts on a two piece garment with no headgear. The garments should be of seamless cloth. One piece to cover the upper part of the body, and the second to cover the lower part. For a woman the Ihram is the same except that she should not use perfumes at all and her dress should cover the whole body decently, leaving the hands and the face uncovered. The pilgrim should say the intention according to the type of Hajj. For Hajj Al-Tamatt'u one should say: "Labbayka Allahumma 'Umrah" which means "O Allah I answered Your call to perform 'Umrah". It is recommended to repeat the well known supplication of Hajj, called Talbeyah, as frequently as possible from the time of Ihram till the time of the first stoning of Jamrat Al-Aqabah in Mina. Men are recommended to utter the Talbeyah aloud while women are to say it quietly. This Talbeyah is of the form:
"Labbayka Allahumma Labbayk. Labbayka La Shareeka Laka Labbayk. Inna-alhamda Wan-ntimata Laka Walmulk. La Shareek Lak." (Here I am at your service. O my Lord, here I am. Here I am. No partner do You have. Here I am. Truly, the praise and the provisions are Yours, and so is the dominion. No partner do You have.)

Performing Umrah...

Tawaf: When a Muslim arrives to Makkah, he should make Tawaf around the Ka'bah, as a gesture of greeting A1Masjid Al-Haraam. This is done by circling the Ka'bah seven times in the counterclockwise direction, starting from the black stone with Takbeer and ending each circle at the Black Stone with Takbeer, keeping the Ka'bah to one's left. Then the pilgrim goes to Maqam Ibrahim (Ibrahim's Station), and performs two rak'ah behind it, close to it if possible, but away from the path of the people making Tawaf. In all cases one should be facing the Ka'bah when praying behind Maqam Ibrahim.

Sa'i: The next rite is to make Sa'i between Safa and Marwah. The pilgrim starts Sa'i by ascending the Safa. While facing the Ka'bah he praises Allah, raises his hands and says Takbeer "Allah-u Akbar" three times, then makes supplication to Allah. Then the pilgrim descends from the Safa and heads towards the Marwah. One should increase the pace between the clearly marked green posts, but should walk at a normal pace before and after them. When the pilgrim reaches the Marwah, he should ascend it, praise Allah and do as he did at the Safa. This is considered one round and so is the other way from the Marwah to the Safa. A total of seven rounds are required to perform the Sa'i. After Sa'i, the Muslim ends his 'Umrah rites by shaving his head or trimming his hair (women should cut a finger tip's length from their hair). At this stage, the prohibitions pertaining to the state of Ihram are lifted and one can resume his normal life.
There are no required formulas or supplications for Tawaf or for Sa'i. It is up to the worshipper to praise Allah or to supplicate Him with any acceptable supplication or to recite portions of the Qur'an. Although it is recommended to recite the supplications that the Prophet, salla Allah-u alaihe wa salam, used to say during the performance of these rites.
It must be noted that 'Umrah can be performed by itself as described above at any time of the year.