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Hajj in form and Spirit (Lecture Notes of the course offered by Shaikh Ahmad Kutty)

I Wish  To Cover the Following:

¨   Overview of hajj

¨  Brief history of hajj

¨   Fiqh of hajj

¨   Spirit of hajj

¨   What changes do we expect?


Overview of hajj

¨  Ihram from  the miqat

¨  Tawaf al-qudoom

¨  Sa’y

¨  Mabit in mina

¨  Proceeding to Arafa

¨  Performing the ritual of standing

¨  Proceeding to Muzdalifa

 ¨ Pelting

¨ Sacrifice

¨ Tawaf al-ifada

¨ Mabit or staying in Mina

¨ Pelting the stone-pillars

¨ Tawaf al-wada (farewell tawaf)

 Brief History of hajj

¨  Hajj began in time immemorial; historical references found in numerous sources

¨  Hadith refers to various prophets performing hajj

¨  Ibrahim is guided to the site, ordered to rebuild

¨  Proper historical records begin with Ibrahim and his son Isma’eel

 ¨   Ibrahim was told to leave his wife Hagar and his son Isma’eel in the barren desert of Makkah

¨   He paid frequent visits to them

¨   He was ordered to rebuild Ka’bah and call people to hajj

¨   Miracle of zamzam attracted other tribes

¨   Allah’s promise to Ibrahim promise to make a great nation out of Isma’eel’s progeny materialized

¨   Prophet Muhammad came in the direct lineage of Kadar; mentioned in the Old Testament

¨   Hajj, sacrifice and the well of zamzam, etc. echoed in the Old testament

 ¨   Isma’eel’s descendents left the path of tawhid; adopted pagan ways;

¨   They set up idols in the haram

¨   Meccan society was also rampant with social injustice

¨   Allah sent Prophet Muhammad  (Pbuh) to restore Hanifiyya, the way of Ibrahim.

 The Prophet’s Hajj

¨  Hajj was the last of the five pillars of Islam to be instituted

¨  Prophet (pbuh) performed hajj only once: on the 10th year of Hijrah; known as Hajjatul wada (Farewell hajj).

¨  It was during this hajj that he taught all of the essential rites of hajj.

¨   Prophet (pbuh) had announced his intention way in advance;

¨   He was accompanied by the largest number of people in his life-time.

¨   He set out from Madina on Thursday (last week of Dhul qa’da) after Zuhr

¨   He stopped at dhul hulayfa, where he assumed ihram, after ghusl

¨   Prophet started the talbiya

¨   The companions followed him; they also added their own words, but he never objected.

¨   The companions had intended only hajj

¨   Upon arriving at the haram, he touched the black stone; began the seven rounds of tawaf

¨   He walked briskly during the first three rounds, then slowly in the final four.

¨   He proceeded towards maqam ibrahim;

¨   He prayed two rak’as making it between him and ka’ba;

¨   He then proceeded to the hill of safa

¨   At Safa he read the verse, “Inna al-safa wa al-marwa….;”;  he climbed it, faced the ka’ba and supplicated

¨   He walked briskly towards marwa

¨   At marwa he did what he had done at safa

¨   After the sa’y, he ordered those who had not brought animals for sacrifice to release from Ihram.

¨   He said, “ I would have done the same, if I had not brought the animals with me!”

¨   Thus Prophet (pbuh) performed hajj qiran, while most of the companions performed tamattu’

¨   On 8th of dhul hijja Prophet proceeded to Mina where he prayed zuhr, asr, maghrib, isha and fajr.

¨   After sun rise he proceeded to Arafa

¨   He halted in his tent in namira

¨   After zawal he went to the valley and delivered his historic sermon known as khutbat al-wada

¨   He combined zuhr and asr; proceeded to the site of wuquf

¨   He stood supplicating until sun set.

¨   He advised people to be calm and tranquil.

¨   Proceeded to muzdalifa

¨   At muzalifa he combined maghrib and isha

¨   Laid down to sleep until fajr

¨   After fajr he went to mash’ar al-haram and supplicated facing the qibla

¨    He then proceeded to mina before sun rise.

¨   He reached jamrat al-aqaba, he pelted it with seven pebbles;

¨   Then he went to Mina where he again addressed the people

¨   He told them, “I may not see you after this year”; warned against dissension; advised them to convey his message to others.

¨   After performing the sacrifice, he proceeded to Makkah for tawaf al-ifada;

¨   He drank from zamzam

¨   He returned to mina

¨   Next day he performed ramy at the three jamras after zawal: He started at the first, then the  middle one, and finally at jamrat al-aqaba

¨   He offered du’a after pelting at each jamra except the last one.

¨   He spent three days of tashriq (11th, 12th and 13th of dhul hijjah) at Mina, and performed the ritual of pelting

¨   Proceeded to Makkah on the last day after Zuhr

¨   On his way he halted and spent the night at muhassab (near Makkah)

¨   Next day he went to Makka and performed tawaf al-wada

¨   He then left for Madina

Hajj Day by Day

 On the 8th of Dhul hijjah

  • Assume ihraam followed by talbiyah from residence
  • Head to Mina
  • Stay in Mina until fajr; pray all prayers (qasr)
  • Make dhikr and talbiyah

 On the 9th of dhul hijjah

  • Proceed to Arafah after sunrise
  • Pray dhuhr and asr (qasr and jam’)
  • Stay in Arafah until sunset
  • Intense supplication and dhikr;
  • Shun all frivolities
  • PPour your heart before Allah in repentance (don’t forget tears of cleansing)
  • Head to Muzdalifah after sunset (maghrib postponed)
  • Pray maghrib and isha at muzdalifah (jam’ and qasr of ‘isha)
  • Those with valid excuses may leave Muzdalifah after midnight and perform pelting before fajr
  •  On the 10th of dhul hijjah
  • Those staying should pray fajr and make dhikr
  • Pick pebbles for the first day’s pelting
  • Pelt at the jamrat al-aqabah seven pebbles
  • it is permissible to do it any time of the day
  • The sick or elderly may delegate
  • Talbiyah stops when we throw the first pebble; henceforward say only the takbeer
  • We assume that sacrifice is done
  • Shave or cut the hair
  • Women remove only few hair locks
  • Change for normal attire (1st release from ihram).
  • Head to Makkah for tawaaf al-ifaadah (can be postponed)
  • Those who did tamattu’ should do sa’ay as well
  • Final release from ihraam
  • Return to Mina for the stay

  11th, 12th and 13th of dhul hijjah

  • Pelt at all of the three pillars
  • Begin at the 1st pillar; turn left and face qiblah and offer du’a
  • Go to the 2nd and pelt, and turn and offer du’a
  • Go to the jamrat al-aqabah and pelt and don’t stop; return to the tent
  • Stay most of the nights in Mina
  • Do the same on the 12th
  • Those leaving on the 12th should leave Mina before sunset
  • Those staying should pelt on the 13th as well
  • Tawaaf al-wadaa’ (farewell tawaaf)
  • After completing the rites of hajj, when we are ready to leave we should perform tawaaf al-wada’ (farewell tawaaf)
  • One should not engage in any other business after the tawaaf al-wada’
  • Absolute necessities are excused.

 Reminder: Let us keep alive the spirit of hajj and practice dhikr


Fiqh of Hajj (in a nutshell)

 Conditions (shuroot) of obligation

Pillars (arkaan) of hajj

Essentials (waajibaat) of hajj

Sunan of hajj

 Conditions of obligation

Hajj is obligatory on those who fulfill the following conditions:

1. Islam and maturity

2. Full possession of senses and mind

3. Financial ability: fare/provision as well as enough to provide for one’s family during his absence

4. Ability to undertake the journey

5. Safety of the way

6. In case of a woman a mahram

Or the safe company of women, etc.?

 Arkaan of haj

Arkaan are integrals without which hajj is deemed  invalid and their omission cannot be compensated for

1. Ihraam: but hanafi school considers it as a condition for validity

2. Wuquf (standing) in Arafah

3. Tawaaf al-ifaadah

4. Sa’y; according to hanafi school, it is only waajib

5. Shaving or cutting; but it is only waajib in hanafi school

 Waajibaat of hajj

Waajibaat are actions whose omission, though sinful, does not invalidate hajj; it can be compensated for by sacrifice, etc.

1. Stay in Muzdalifah

2. Pelting the stone pillars (jamraat)

3. Stay in mina (a sunnah in hanafi school)

4. Tawaf al-wadaa ‘ (farewell)


Sunan of hajj

Sunan of hajj are the actions which contribute to the perfection of hajj’; among them are:

1. To bathe for ihraam even in case of menstruating women;

2. To assume ihraam after salah;

3. To kiss or touch black stone and yamani corner if possible; otherwise simply raise hands, kiss them and start tawaaf

4. Saying bismillahi allaahu akbar when beginning each round of tawaaf

5. Saying rabbanaa aatina …hasanatanatan at the yamani corner

6. Raising voice with talbiyah

7. Enhanced dhikr and reading of the Qur’an

8. Charities, and charitable actions

9. Tawaf al-qudoom for those who are not doing tamattu‘

10. Praying two rak ‘ahs at the maqaam Ibraahim

11. Drinking zamzam water to the fill

12. Increased supplications on the day of  Arafah

13. Duas after pelting the two pillars sughra and wusta) on the days of tashriq

  Breaches in hajj

  • Omission of a rukn renders hajj as invalid: if one misses the standing of Arafah he misses hajj
  • If one omits any other rukn such as tawaaf al-ifaadah, it  must be done for the hajj to be valid
  • Omission of an integral (waajib) in hajj entails a sacrifice; if one cannot do so, then they should fast three days in hajj and seven after return
  • A violation of ihraam rules such as cutting or clipping of hair, nail, use of perfume etc.  entails one of three options: sacrifice (a goat/ lamb), or feed 6  poor persons, or fast three days
  • If one engages in intimate sexual relations before the first tahallul (release), hajj is invalidated and he/she must redo hajj next year

If violation involves hunting or killing a forbidden animal:

It must be compensated for by sacrificing an equivalent one from the cattle,  or by feeding the poor; or atone by fasting. (See the verse: 5: 95)

  Tips to Derive Optimal Benefits From Hajj By Sheikh Ahmad Kutty

Hajj, the fifth and last pillar of Islam, often aptly described as a journey of a lifetime, is, above all, intended to be a life-transforming experience. It is an ardent expression of our love for Allah, a chance to redeem our sins and come clean, an opportunity to reconnect with the sources of our faith, and a chance to experience human brotherhood in action, while imbibing vital lessons of faith such as self-surrender, self-sacrifice, and trust in Allah. The Prophet's words on the spiritual rewards of hajj are compelling: Whosoever performs Hajj while having abstained from acts of lewdness, obscenities, and wrangling, shall come home like a newborn (washed clean of sins). (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim). He, again, said, "A virtuous hajj merits no reward other than Paradise" (al-Bukhari and Muslim). It is therefore imperative for us to recall some important tips in order to enable us to benefit optimally from our performance of this fundamental pillar of our faith:

There is nothing more important for a prospective haji (pilgrim) than ensuring the purity of intention while embarking on this journey of a lifetime in order to ensure that it serves as a life-transforming experience. Niyyah means to reexamine one's motive and purify it of all taints of shirk or ostentation that may render the entire act as utterly devoid of any benefit whatsoever. One must therefore keep one's intention focused on Allah and pure before undertaking the journey, while at it, and after returning. The Prophet said, "Allah accepts only works that are done solely for Him" (authenticated by Al-Albani).

It is equally important to ensure that the fare and provisions for the journey are obtained through lawful means. One must never embark on this journey with anything less than purest of incomes one can afford. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) narrated the deplorable case of a person who undertakes a journey while earning his livelihood through unlawful means; he raises his hands in supplication before the Lord crying out, "Lord!" "But how would Allah answer his prayer, when (his entire body) is nurtured through haram?" (At-Tirmidhi).

Since the group or companions we travel with can help either make or break one's hajj, it is crucial to choose them carefully. Important considerations for choosing a good company should be sound knowledge and piety above everything else. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) taught us that we stand to benefit or lose through the companions we keep, as we tend to imbibe consciously or unconsciously the traits or qualities of our companions.

In order to ensure that we start the journey with a clean slate, it is imperative that we take all the necessary steps for sincere repentance of all our sins, outward and inward, major and minor, before embarking on the journey for Hajj. Sincere repentance involves the threefold steps of feeling remorse, refraining from sins, and resolving never to do them again. And, in the case of sins involving violations of the rights of others, it is also essential to seek forgiveness of them and compensate them for hurts or injuries we may have caused them.

Since one never can tell whether one will return home safe, prior to the journey, one must write a proper will or testament and get it documented in compliance with the laws of the land. Its purpose is twofold: (1) to ensure that we provide for proper discharging of our trusts, outstanding obligations, or liabilities;

(2) to leave such instructions for our heirs that would direct them to right conduct and behavior.

"There is no good in performing acts of worship without knowledge," said `Ali, the eminent Companion and caliph (may Allah be pleased with him). This applies to salah, zakah, and fasting; it is even more applicable to Hajj, as some of the issues relating to it may not be clear even to those who are otherwise knowledgeable. Therefore, one may do well in seeking the guidance of a trained scholar. In addition, in the absence of such guidance, one must take care to take along a comprehensive book on both the rituals and inner meanings of Hajj. For the English speaking, the following are highly recommended:

The Inner Dimensions of Islamic Worship by Imam Ghazzali, and The Four Pillars by Sayyid Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi.

No less important is to have a good prayer book handy as a ready reference to be consulted always. For the English speaking, I would gladly recommend the inspiring work Remembrance and Prayer: Way of the Prophet by Muhammad Al-Ghazali.

It is important to remember that Hajj is incomplete without constancy in celebrating the remembrance of Allah (dhikr). Therefore, one should turn to Allah in supplications both before and during Hajj consistently. Reading of the Qur'an is considered as dhikr par excellence, except of course when and where there are specific prayers prescribed by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

While offering supplications, one must never be slack in saying the prescribed du`aa's. It is equally important to stress that one must never be inhibited in pouring out one's heart before one's Lord in one's own language as fervently and ardently as possible in a true spirit of reverence, hope, and fear. Shedding tears while doing so is a deeply rewarding and spiritually enriching experience.

One need to be armed with an endless reservoir of patience, trusting in the Lord and surrendering to His will. For it is said that journeying is a sort of punishment because it may expose one to unforeseen circumstances and challenges. One must diligently seek to keep one's cool and never allow one's emotions or feelings turn offensive or hurtful to others.

While in the state of consecration of ihram, one must seek diligently to establish peace with oneself, with Allah, and fellow humans and creatures. Therefore, the duties owed towards others in ordinary times assume greater significance during Hajj. As Imam Ibn Al-Mubarak said, "We owe three duties towards others: Preventing harm from them; rendering active acts of kindness to them; and appearing before them with a pleasant face." In Hajj, therefore, one must seize every opportunity to help others and protect them through words and deeds.

Last but not least is constant meditation on the perennial lessons of Hajj, which can be encapsulated in the following key words: rekindling one's love for Allah; reconnecting with the sources of one's faith; imbibing the spirit of utter faith in, surrender to, and trust in Allah as displayed by Prophet Ibrahim and his family; imbibing a deep sense of equality of all people before Allah; constantly meditating on death and one's journey to Allah; and, finally, visualizing resurrection and one's standing before the Lord of all beings for final reckoning.

May Allah grant us all a life-transforming experience through Hajj, and may He make us all worthy of His grace and of beholding His beautiful face in the next world. Ameen.



As-salamu `alaykum. I am planning to perform Hajj this year. I want to know about the proper etiquettes that I should follow in order to derive the maximum amount of spiritual benefits from my Hajj.


Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam. It is the peak and culmination of the acts of worship. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whoever performs the rites of Hajj, while having refrained from acts of lewdness, obscenity and wrangling, will return home like a new born (i.e., free from all sins).” He (peace and blessings be upon him) also said, “A virtuous Hajj entails no other reward than Paradise.”

 The question, however, remains: What is meant by a virtuous Hajj?

The answer is not hard to find when we closely peruse the teachings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) as well as the wise instructions of the scholars and imams.

First of all, a virtuous Hajj is that which fulfills two important conditions:

One, it must be done in accordance with the prescribed way, and

Two, it must be done with a sincere intention to please Allah, the most Exalted and Glorious.

In order to fulfill the first condition, while performing Hajj, the Muslim must take care to conform to the form and manner of Hajj as taught by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) who reminded us during his farewell Hajj, “Learn your Hajj rites from me.”

It is not difficult to learn the correct form of Hajj: It can be done either by following the teachings of any of the acceptable Schools of Jurisprudence, or by close study of the Qur’an and Sunnah under a qualified teacher. By failing to do so, the person will not fulfill the Hajj rites as prescribed by Almighty Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him), for it is important to remember that in acts of worship, we must never mix our personal opinions with religion.

Once a person has learned the basics of Hajj, it is also important for him—whenever he/she faces issues that are not clear—to seek the opinion of those who have been endowed with knowledge. The Muslim must never act based solely on his/her own personal opinions, without sufficient knowledge.

Coming to the issue of sound intention, it is important to know that while the form of Hajj is important, equally, if not more important is the spirit of Hajj. If a person is not keen to guard the spirit of Hajj, it becomes nothing more than empty rituals devoid of any deep meaning. It is only by diligently preserving the spirit of Hajj that the Muslim can hope to gain the maximum benefits from performing it.

With this purpose in mind, let us list some of the most important points to keep in mind before embarking on the Hajj journey as well as during the course of Hajj.

1) The Muslim who is planning to undertake Hajj should make sure that the fare and expenses of Hajj have been earned through lawful sources of income, free from all taints of haram.A Hajj funded through unlawful means merits no reward.

 2) It is equally important to make sure that he undertakes the journey in as clean a state as possible. In order to achieve this, the Muslim should pay off his debts, seek forgiveness from those whom he may have offended or hurt, and reconcile with those who have strained relations. While it is important to reconcile with everyone, it is even more crucial to reconcile with his own close blood relations such as parents, brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts, from both the paternal and maternal sides of the family. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “One who severs blood relations cannot hope to enter Paradise.” Therefore, by failing to make up with his blood relations prior to performing Hajj, he is depriving himself of the true rewards of Hajj.

3) The Muslim who is leaving behind dependents must ensure that they are provided for and taken care of, during his absence.

4) The Muslim should leave a will stating his obligations and liabilities towards others and how to discharge of them in case of being unable to return.

5) It is a true sign of piety to advise his family members who are left behind to be mindful of Almighty Allah and to observe the path of righteousness.

6) The Muslim should also try as much as possible to travel in the company of those who are knowledgeable and pious. This is because the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said that a Muslim should take care of the company he keeps as they have either a beneficial or harmful influence on him. By keeping the company of the righteous, the Muslim can hope to be inspired and enlightened both spiritually and morally, thus, hoping to reap the full benefits of Hajj.

7) The Muslim should also be diligent in the performance of dhikr  (remembrance of Allah) before, during and after returning from Hajj. There are prescribed du`aa’ to be recited before and during the journey as well as while performing the various rites of Hajj. Moreover, the Muslim should also try to make his tongue and heart always supple with dhikr. He may be inspired to do this by remembering that dhikr of Allah is the true spirit of Hajj.

8) The Muslim can never exaggerate the importance of nurturing patience and tolerance both during the journey as well as while performing the rites of Hajj. Doing everything he can to help others, or at least sparing others of his harm should be the consistent policy to follow.

9) Finally, the Muslim should fill his heart with true love for Almighty Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) and perform all the rites of Hajj while being attentive to their inner meanings, with a sense of awe and reverence. Also, he should always remember the Prophetic saying, “Show mercy to others if you wish to receive Allah’s mercy.”

May Allah accept our acts of worship, and may He grace us with His vision on the Day Resurrection, amen.




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