Hajj in the Qur’an

Marwan Boustany

 

 

 

Table of Contents

Where?. 2

When and For How Long?. 3

Ihraam: Avoiding the Forbidden in Hajj 5

Hunting. 5

Sexual Intercourse, Misconduct and Arguing. 6

War and Fighting. 6

Associating None with Allah. 7

What Are the Practices of Hajj?. 7

Animal Sacrifice. 7

Cutting of hair. 8

Walking Between Safa and Marwa. 9

Arafat. 9

At the Ka’bah. 9

What to do if Forcibly Prevented From Hajj 10

The Water at Hajj 10

The Visit (Umrah). 10

Overall Summary. 11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Where?

Hajj is to be done to the Sacred Mosque at the Ka’bah which is in Mecca.  Evidence for this can be seen in the following ayahs: -

 

The first House established for mankind was that at Bakka, a place of blessing and guidance for all beings.

In it are Clear Signs–the place where Ibrahim stood (to pray). All who enter it are safe. Pilgrimage to the House is a duty owed to Allah by all mankind–those who can find a way to do it. But if anyone disbelieves, Allah is rich beyond need of any being.

(3:96-97)

 

Allah has made the Kaaba, the Sacred House, a special institution for mankind, and also the sacred months and the sacrificial animals and the ritual garlands. That is so you will know that Allah knows what is in the heavens and in the earth and that Allah has knowledge of all things.

(5:97)

 

Those who disbelieve and bar access to the Way of Allah and to the Sacred Mosque (Masjid al-Haram) which We have appointed for all mankind–equally for those who live near it and those who come from far away–those who desire to profane it with wrongdoing, We will let them taste a painful punishment.

And We located the position of the House (Kaaba) for Ibrahim: ‘Do not associate anything with Me and purify My House for those who circle it, and those who stand and bow and prostrate.’

And proclaim among men the Pilgrimage: they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, coming from every remote path,

That they may witness things that are of benefit to them, and mention the name of Allah on appointed days over the beast of cattle that He hath bestowed upon them. Then eat thereof and feed therewith the poor unfortunate.

Then let them end their uncleanliness (shave and clean) and fulfil their vows and go around the ancient House.

(22:25-29)

 

And when We made the House (Kaaba) a place of return, a sanctuary for mankind: They took the place where Ibrahim stood (to pray) as a place of prayer. We contracted with Ibrahim and Isma‘il: ‘Purify My House for those who circle it, and those who stay there, and those who bow and who prostrate.’

(2:125)

 

You who believe! Do not profane the sacred rites of Allah or the sacred months, or the sacrificial animals, or the ritual garlands, or those heading for the Sacred House, desiring profit and good pleasure from their Lord. When your pilgrimage is over, then you may hunt. Do not let hatred for a people who debar you from the Sacred Mosque (Masjid al-Haram) incite you into going beyond the limits. Help each other to goodness and heedfulness. Do not help each other to wrongdoing and enmity. Have fear of Allah. Allah is severe in retribution.

(5:2)

 

 

“How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty!  My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.  Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God.  Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you (selah).  Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.  As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.  They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.  Hear my prayer (selah), Lord God Almighty; listen to me, God of Jacob.”

(Psalm 84:1-8 NIV)

 

From the time of Ibrahim, the Ka’ba has been found in Mecca/Bacca (see 48:24-25 and 3:96) it has been the place of pilgrimage and worship, it is the First house, the Ancient house and it is in the Sacred Mosque (Masjid al Haram).  It is to this direction that we pray (2:144) and to this destination we travel to perform Hajj.  3:96 is directed to the Jews who may have recognised Bacca from (Psalm 84) and/or otherwise.

 

The NIV scholars rendered Salaah as selah in the NIV bible as a footnote.  Clearly here we have mention of people always doing Salaah at the 'house of the Lord'.

 

 

إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيْتٍ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِي بِبَكَّةَ مُبَارَكًا وَهُدًى لِّلْعَالَمِينَ

فِيهِ آيَاتٌ بَيِّنَاتٌ مَّقَامُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ ۖ وَمَن دَخَلَهُ كَانَ آمِنًا ۗ وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلًا ۚ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ عَنِ الْعَالَمِينَ

 

The first house established for mankind is the one at Bacca; blessed, and guidance for all people.

In it are evident signs; the Station of Abraham. Whoever enters it attains security. Pilgrimage to the House is a duty to Allah for all who can make the journey. But as for those who refuse—God is Independent of the worlds.

(3:96-97)

 

When and For How Long?

 They will ask you about the crescent (new) moons. Say, ‘They are measurements of time for mankind and for the pilgrimage (Hajj).’ It is not devoutness for you to enter houses by the back. Rather devoutness is possessed by those who guard against evil. So come to houses by their doors and have fear of Allah, so that hopefully you will be successful.

(2:189)

 

That is, they will use the new moon to know the months and when Zul Hijja (1st month of the Sacred months) begins.

 

There have been twelve months with Allah in the Book of Allah, from the day He first created the heavens and earth. Four of them are forbidden/sacred. That is the True Religion. So do not wrong one another during them. However, fight the idolaters collectively just as they fight you collectively, and know that Allah is with those who guard against evil.

(9:36)

 

There are 4 sacred months.

 

A (declaration) of immunity from Allah and His Messenger, to those of the Pagans with whom ye have contracted mutual alliances:-

Go ye, then, for four months, backwards and forward throughout the land, but know ye that ye cannot frustrate Allah but that Allah will cover with shame those who reject Him.

And an announcement from Allah and His Messenger, to the people on the day of the Greatest Pilgrimage,- that Allah and His Messenger dissolve (treaty) obligations with the Pagans. If then, ye repent, it were best for you; but if ye turn away, know ye that ye cannot frustrate Allah. And proclaim a grievous penalty to those who reject Faith.

(But the treaties are) not dissolved with those Pagans with whom ye have entered into alliance and who have not subsequently failed you in aught, nor aided any one against you. So fulfil your engagements with them to the end of their term: for Allah loves the righteous.

So when the sacred months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

(Qur’an: 9:1-5)

 

The sacred months are four consecutive months.  It would make sense that they would be Zul Hijja (in 9:3 we see that Hajj is announced in a manner overlapping with the commencement of the four CONSECUTIVE months of peace (9:1-2) and all the sacred months (9:5)), Muharram, Safar and Rabi’ 1; these are the 12th, 1st, 2nd and 3rd months.  In these months, the hajj may be done.

 

9:5 says the sacred months, as there is no qualifier like ‘some of’ etc, we must assume that all 4 months are referred to.  A final point is that in 9:5, in reference to the passing of the sacred months, the word used is انسَلَخَ, which has the meaning of peeling or stripping something from something else.  The use of this word implies a continuous process or in this case, a continuous passage of time, much like pealing skin from a snake or from a banana is a continuous process.  In the Qur’an is it also used in the sense of ‘pealing’ the day from the night.

 

The pilgrimage takes place during the known months. …. So have fear of Me, people of intelligence!

(2:197)

 

It is clear from this verse that Hajj can take place ANY TIME during the sacred months.  There is no implicit or explicit condition limiting it to 10 days at the start of Zul Hijja.

 

Perform the pilgrimage (Hajj) and the pious visit (Umra) for Allah. If you are forcibly prevented, make whatever sacrifice is feasible. But do not shave your heads until the sacrificial animal has reached the place of sacrifice. If any of you are ill or have a head injury, the expiation is fasting or charity or sacrifice when you are safe and well again. And if you are secure, then he who takes advantage of a pious visit before the pilgrimage should make whatever sacrifice is feasible. For anyone who cannot, there is three days’ fast (while) on pilgrimage and seven on your return–that is ten in all. That is for anyone whose family does not live near the Sacred Mosque (Masjid al-Haram). Have fear of Allah and know that Allah is fierce in retribution.

(2:196)

 

Remember Allah on the numbered days. Those who hurry on in two days have done no wrong, and those who stay another day have done no wrong–those of them who guard against evil. So have fear of Allah. And know that you will be gathered back to Him.

(2:203)

 

So it is clear from these verses that the time for Hajj is 3 days, we can shorten it to 2 if we are in a hurry or extend it to 4 if we like.

 

Now as we saw from (2:197), Hajj can be done at any point in the 4 sacred months, and so the specified and numbered days (2:196, 203) on which we perform our hajj must fall into these 4 months, which are Zul Hijja, Muharram, Safar and Rabi’ 1.

 

Deferring a sacred month is an increase in disbelief by which those who have disbelieved are led astray. One year they make it profane and another sacred to tally with the number Allah has made sacred. In that way they profane what Allah has made sacred. Their bad actions are made to seem good to them. Allah does not guide disbelieving people.

(9:37)

 

To mess around with the order of the sacred months is a bad and serious issue, the current traditional order is in fact not sequential at all, which contradicts (9:1-5) which means, the months must have been messed around with, no two ways about it.  They are currently: Rajab (7), Dhu’l-Qa’dah (11), Dhu’l-Hijjah (12) and Muharram (1), which are not consecutive and make no sense.

 

It should be obvious that being allowed to do Hajj at any time within a 4 month period solves many of the problems of current overcrowding and difficulty in even being able to get there (limited visas etc…) by spreading the practice over a much longer period, thus removing much of the stress and barriers to the performance of Hajj currently faced by Muslims the world over.  This is a much more just system, all praise be to Allah.

 

Ihraam: Avoiding the Forbidden in Hajj

 

When you go for Hajj, you enter a state of Ihraam.  What this state means is that you abstain from that which is forbidden while on Hajj, and that is elaborated below.

 

Hunting

 

You who believe! Fulfil your contracts. All livestock animals are lawful for you, except those that are recited to you now; but it is still not lawful to hunt while you are in the state of pilgrimage. Allah makes whatever judgements He wills.

You who believe! Do not profane the sacred rites of Allah or the sacred months, or the sacrificial animals, or the ritual garlands, or those heading for the Sacred House, desiring profit and good pleasure from their Lord. When your pilgrimage is over, then you may hunt. Do not let hatred for a people who debar you from the Sacred Mosque (Masjid al-Haram) incite you into going beyond the limits. Help each other to goodness and heedfulness. Do not help each other to wrongdoing and enmity. Have fear of Allah. Allah is severe in retribution.

(5:1-2)

 

You who believe! Do not kill game while you are in the state of pilgrimage. If one of you kills any deliberately, the reprisal for it is a livestock animal equivalent to what he killed, as judged by two just men among you, a sacrifice to reach the Kaaba, or expiation by feeding the poor, or fasting commensurate with that, so that he may taste the evil consequences of what he did. Allah has pardoned all that took place in the past; but if anyone does it again Allah will take revenge on him. Allah is Almighty, Exactor of Revenge.

Anything you catch in the sea is lawful for you, and all food from it, for your enjoyment and that of travellers, but land game is forbidden for you while you are in the state of pilgrimage. So have fear of Allah, Him to Whom you will be gathered. (5:95-96)

 

So it’s clear that when you want to perform Hajj, you do not hunt (except seafood).  If you do hunt and kill something, then you must follow the regulation of 5:95.

 

Sexual Intercourse, Misconduct and Arguing

 

The pilgrimage takes place during certain well-known months. If anyone undertakes the obligation of pilgrimage in them, there must be no sexual intercourse, no wrongdoing, nor any quarrelling/misconduct during pilgrimage. Whatever good you do, Allah knows it. Take provision; but the best provision is fear of Allah. So have fear of Me, people of intelligence!

(2:197)

 

We must be at peace in mind and body during Hajj.  We ban intercourse from our thoughts so that we may focus properly on the remembrance of Allah.  And we seek to perfect our conduct by avoiding any misconduct or fighting.  And Allah knows best.

War and Fighting

 They will ask you about the Sacred Month and fighting in it. Say, ‘Fighting in it is a serious matter; but barring access to the Way of Allah and rejecting Him and barring access to the Sacred Mosque (Masjid al-Haram) and expelling its people from it are far more serious in the sight of Allah. Discord is worse than killing.’ They will not stop fighting you until they make you revert from your religion, if they are able. As for any of you who revert from their religion and die disbelievers, their actions will come to nothing in this world and the hereafter. They are the Companions of the Fire, remaining in it timelessly, forever.

(2:217)

 

No war and battle in the sacred months, unless the Muslims are attacked first.

Associating None with Allah

And We located the position of the House (Kaaba) for Ibrahim: ‘Do not associate anything with Me and purify My House for those who circle it, and those who stand and bow and prostrate.’

(22:26)

 

So when you have performed your rites, then remember Allah as you remember your fathers, rather a greater remembrance. But there are some people who say, Our Lord! give us in the world, and they shall have no resting place.

(2:200)

 

This is a general rule, we must never associate anything with Allah.  And when performing Hajj we must focus all our devotion to Allah and his remembrance.  This means that anything which takes away from this should not and cannot be a rite of Hajj.

What Are the Practices of Hajj?

Animal Sacrifice

And proclaim among mankind the Pilgrimage: they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, coming from every deep and distant mountain highways,

That they may witness advantages for them and mention the name of Allah during known days over what He has given them of the cattle, then eat of them and feed the distressed one, the needy.

Then let them end their uncleanliness (shave and clean) and fulfil their vows and go around the ancient House.

That (shall be so); and whoever respects the sacred ordinances of Allah, it is better for him with his Lord; and the cattle are made lawful for you, except that which is recited to you, therefore avoid the uncleanness of the idols and avoid false words,

Being upright for Allah, not associating aught with Him and whoever associates (others) with Allah, it is as though he had fallen from on high, then the birds snatch him away or the wind carries him off to a far-distant place.

That (shall be so); and whoever respects the signs of Allah, this surely is (the outcome) of the piety of hearts.

You have benefits in them till a fixed time, and then their place of sacrifice is the Ancient House.

And to every nation We appointed acts of devotion that they may mention the name of Allah on what He has given them of the cattle; so your Allah is One Allah, therefore to Him should you submit, and give good news to the humble,

(To) those whose hearts tremble when Allah is mentioned, and those who are patient under that which afflicts them, and those who keep up prayer, and spend (benevolently) out of what We have given them.

And (as for) the camels, We have made them of the symbols/rites of Allah for you; for you therein is much good; therefore mention the name of Allah on them as they stand in a row, then when they fall down eat of them and feed the poor man who is contented and the beggar; thus have We made them subservient to you, that you may be grateful.

There does not reach Allah their flesh nor their blood, but to Him is acceptable the guarding (against evil) on your part; thus has He made them subservient to you, that you may magnify Allah because He has guided you aright; and give good news to those who do good (to others).

(22:27-37)

 

We (whoever does the slaughtering) say the name of Allah over the slaughtered animals as part of the Hajj and feed ourselves, the poor and distressed.  The sacrifice must be done in the area ancient house, the Ka’bah.  I think this is telling us that we must witness such things, as opposed to them being done far away from us so that we have no appreciation of the sacrifice.

 

We must remember that this is not like the sacrifices of ignorance that were done in the past, these sacrifices are for the purpose of feeding (practical) and to be acts of obedience which we perform.  Allah tells us that it is not the meat or blood of the sacrifice that reaches Him, it is only one’s piety that reaches Allah.

 

Also, from 22:28-29 we can understand that among the first acts of the Hajj should be the sacrifice of the animals and the feeding of the poor.  Thereafter, people should cleanse themselves and go about the other rites of Hajj.

 

This further makes sense so as to avoid having to bring your animals around with you or to avoid feeding and housing them for the time you are on Hajj.

 

 

Cutting of hair

Perform the pilgrimage and the pious visit for Allah. If you are prevented, make whatever sacrifice is feasible. But do not shave your heads until the sacrificial animal has reached the place of sacrifice. If any of you are ill or have a head injury, the expiation is fasting or charity or sacrifice when you are safe and well again. And if you are secure, then he who takes advantage of a pious visit before the pilgrimage should make whatever sacrifice is feasible. For any one who cannot, there is three days’ fast on pilgrimage and seven on your return–that is ten in all. That is for anyone whose family does not live near the Sacred Mosque (Masjid al-Haram). Have fear of Allah and know that Allah is fierce in retribution.

(2:196)

 

Allah has fulfilled His messenger's truthful vision: "You will enter the Sacred Masjid, Allah willing, perfectly secure, with your heads shaved and [hair] shortened, not fearing [anyone]. You will not have any fear. Since He knew what you did not know, He has coupled this with an immediate victory.

(48:27)

 

We should not enter the sacred masjid (when on Hajj) unless we have shaved our hair or shortened it.  But if we are prevented from going to the Hajj, then we send a sacrificial animal and we do not cut our hair until the sacrificial animal reaches the sacrifice area near the sacred house.

Walking Between Safa and Marwa

Safa and Marwa are among the Landmarks of Allah, so anyone who goes on pilgrimage (Hajj) to the House or does the pious visit (Umrah) incurs no wrong in going back and forth between them. If anyone spontaneously does good, Allah is All-Thankful, All-Knowing.

(2:158)

 

We can walk between Safa and Marwa.  From the wording it can be understood that to walk between Safa and Marwa is, though allowed, not required.

Arafat

There is nothing wrong in seeking bounty from your Lord. When you depart from Arafat, remember Allah at Al Mash’ar Al Haram. Remember Him because He has guided you, even though before this you were astray.

Then depart from the place from which the people depart* from and ask the forgiveness of Allah; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

When you have completed your rites, remember Allah as you used to remember your forefathers–or even more. There are some people who say, ‘Our Lord, give us good in this world.’ They will have no share in the hereafter.

(2:198-200)

 

* As in, depart together with others.

 

There appears to be a difference of opinion among Sunnis as to what exactly Al Mash’ar Al Haram is.  Al Mash’ar Al Haram can be translated as the holy and significant landmark/place.

 

I believe that Al Mash’ar Al Haram is a descriptive phrase rather than the name of a place and that it refers to the sacred mosque (Masjid Al Haram).  The only place specified as ‘Haram’ in relation to Hajj and Mecca is the Masjid Al Haram.  So this phrase is likely a generic description for the Ka’bah, the mosque and its immediate surroundings.

 

This phrase is used nowhere else in the Qur’an, and so if it is understood to be a name for a place we are left with a mystery.

At the Ka’bah 

And We located the position of the House (Kaaba) for Ibrahim: ‘Do not associate anything with Me and purify My House for those who circle it, and those who stand and bow and prostrate.’

Then let them end their uncleanliness (shave and clean) and fulfil their vows and go around the ancient House.

 (22:26,29)

 

At the Ka’abh we do tawaf (walk around it) and perform salaah in remembrance of Allah swt.

What to do if Forcibly Prevented From Hajj

Perform the pilgrimage and the pious visit for Allah. If you are forcibly prevented, make whatever sacrifice is easily obtained, and do not shave your heads until the sacrificial animal has reached the place of sacrifice. If any of you are ill or have a head injury (necessitating head shaving before sacrifice or not being able to shave or cut the hair due to the illness), the expiation is fasting or charity or sacrifice. So/ if you are secure (not forcibly prevented), then he who takes advantage of a pious visit (Umrah) before the pilgrimage (Hajj) should make whatever sacrifice is feasible. For any one who cannot (get such a sacrifice), there are three days fast on pilgrimage and seven on your return–that is ten in all. That is for anyone whose family does not live near the Sacred Mosque (Masjid al-Haram). Have fear of Allah and know that Allah is fierce in retribution.

(2:196)

 

If you go to do Hajj and are forcibly prevented then you should send a sacrifice to the sacred house.  The hair should not be shaved (or shortened) until it is known that the sacrifice has reached the place of sacrifice at the sacred house.  If you cannot get a sacrifice, then there is three days of fast on the pilgrimage and seven on return.

 

 

 

 

The Water at Hajj

Do you make the giving of water to the pilgrims and looking after the Sacred Mosque (Masjid al-Haram) the same as believing in Allah and the Last Day and striving in the Way of Allah? They are not equal in the sight of Allah. Allah does not guide wrongdoing people.

(9:19)

 

Those who believe are supposed to care for the masjids of Allah, and at the ka’bah it is those who believe who should give water to the pilgrims.

The Visit (Umrah) 

Safa and Marwa are among the Landmarks of Allah, so anyone who goes on pilgrimage to the House or does the pious visit incurs no wrong in going back and forth between them. If anyone spontaneously does good, Allah is All-Thankful, All-Knowing.

(2:158)

 

Perform the pilgrimage and the pious visit for Allah. If you are forcibly prevented, make whatever sacrifice is feasible. But do not shave your heads until the sacrificial animal has reached the place of sacrifice. If any of you are ill or have a head injury, the expiation is fasting or charity or sacrifice when you are safe and well again. And if you are secure, then he who takes advantage of a pious visit before the pilgrimage should make whatever sacrifice is feasible. For anyone who cannot, there is three days’ fast on pilgrimage and seven on your return–that is ten in all. That is for anyone whose family does not live near the Sacred Mosque (Masjid al-Haram). Have fear of Allah and know that Allah is fierce in retribution.

(2:196)

 

The visit to the sacred mosque is just that, a visit.  An opportunity for the remembrance of Allah and to meet others who are doing the same.  We can also go and visit first then go on to perform the Hajj with its associated rites.

 

Of note is that Umrah does not require Ihraam as it is nowhere stated that it is required, and we can extend it to do the Hajj if we like. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall Summary

 

 

1.      Enter Ihraam with intention.

2.      Sacrifice the animal(s) in the environs of the sacred mosque; ensure that it is distributed as food for those in need of it.

3.      Clean yourself and shave/cut your hair.

4.      Enter the sacred mosque pray and do tawaf.

5.      Optionally walk between Safa and Marwa.

6.      Go to Arafat

7.      Return to the Sacred Mosque for prayer and tawaf.

8.      Leave with the people and/or in the way the people leave.

9.      Remember Allah and seek forgiveness.