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Hajj and Umrah (major and minor pilgrimage) of Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him)


The farewell Hajj (pilgrimage)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered the people to perform Hajj and made it one of the great pillars of Islam, stating that its reward is that the person’s sins would be forgiven so that he would return from Hajj in the same state as when he was born (that is, without any sins). The Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

«Whoever performs Hajj and does not do anything obscene or wicked during it, he will return as though his mother had just given birth to him, without any sins at all»

[related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Even though the Prophet (peace be upon him) mentioned the great reward for Hajj, he only performed it once in his life, in 10AH, in order to make matters easy for his nation (so that they would not think they had to perform Hajj more than once in a life-time). The Hajj he performed was called the Farewell Pilgrimage. The Prophet (peace be upon him) made the intention to perform Hajj and then began to utter the talbiyah, saying,

«Here I am at Your service, Oh Allah! You have no partner. Here I am at Your service, Oh Allah. Truly, all praise and all bounties belong to You as well as all sovereignty. You have no partner»

[related by Al-Bukhari].

The greatest characteristic of his Hajj was the belief in only one God, worshipping only Allah (Glorified is He), remembering Him much and being humble before Him (Glorified is He).

The Prophet (peace be upon him) kept saying the talbiyah until he entered Mecca. The Prophet (peace be upon him) then performed circumambulation around the Kaaba seven times, greeted the black stone, prayed two rakats at the station of Ibrahim, drank from the well of zamzam and finally performed the sa’i between Mounts As-Safa and Al-Marwah.

On the eighth day of the month of Dhul-Hijjah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) went towards Mina and stayed overnight there.

On the ninth day, the Prophet (peace be upon him) went towards Arafat, prayed Dhuhr (noon) and Asr (afternoon) prayers there, praying them together and during the time of the Dhuhr (noon) prayer (as travellers are allowed to do). Next, the Prophet (peace be upon him) gave a noble sermon which was later called the Farewell Sermon, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said farewell to the masses during it. The Prophet (peace be upon him) taught them religious matters during the sermon and ordered them to tell the Islamic rulings to those who were not present. After the Maghrib (sunset) prayer, the Prophet (peace be upon him) calmly left Arafat. The Prophet (peace be upon him) continued to utter talbiyah until he reached Muzdalifah, where he prayed Maghrib (sunset) and Isha (night) prayers, praying them together, one straight after each other, and praying only two rakats for Isha prayer (as travellers are allowed to do). The Prophet, may peace and prayers be on him and his family, permitted the weak to leave Muzdalifah at night-time, with only the strong having to stay at Muzdalifah until they prayed the Fajr (dawn) prayer. After that, the Prophet (peace be upon him) faced the direction of the Qibla (the Kaaba), praised Allah, said takbir (Allah is the greatest) and glorified Allah, the perfect Lord, until the morning was bright.

Straight after that the Prophet (peace be upon him) calmly left Muzdalifah before the sun rose, uttering talbiyah and picking up seven pebbles on the way until he reached the Jamrah Al-Aqabah, where he threw the seven pebbles, pausing his talbiyah to say takbir (Allahu Akbar) with each pebble he threw.

Then, the Prophet (peace be upon him) slaughtered his sacrificial animal, shaved his head, performed circumambulation for the Al-Ifadah circumambulation and walked quickly between As-Safa and Al-Marwah mountains to fulfill the sa’i of Hajj.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

«Umrah to Umrah is an expiation for what [wrongdoing] is between them, and the reward for an accepted Hajj is nothing but paradise»

[related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

The Prophet (peace be upon him) slept at Mina on the night of the 11th and 12th of Dhul-Hijjah, throwing pebbles at the three jamarat on the 11th, starting with the small jamarah, then the medium-sized one and finally the large jamarah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) repeated this on the 12th and also the 13th of Dhul-Hijjah, and finally performed the farewell circumambulation.

How does Hajj and Umrah help to keep the Muslims united in thought and deed?

It has been reported about Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both) that,

«He performed Umrah followed by Hajj, only performing one circumambulation for them, and then said, ‘This is what the Prophet did’»

[related by Muslim].

Holy sites where Islamic rites are performed are more dignified and soulstirring than other religious sites

[I have seen many religious symbols in many holy sites throughout the world, but I have never seen anything which is more diginifed and inspiring than what I have seen here (in Mecca)]

[Richard Francis Burton].

[English orientalist, soldier and translator]

Prophet Muhammed’s Umrah

The Prophet (peace be upon him) performed Umrah followed by Hajj, as Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both) reported. He said,

«The Prophet performed Umrah together with Hajj when he performed the Farewell Hajj, bringing a sacrificial animal with him. He brought the animal with him from Dhul-Hulaifah, and then assumed the Ihram (intention and starting the rites) for Umrah and Hajj»

[related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

The reference to tamattu here, that is, combining Umrah and Hajj, refers to one of the types of Hajj, which is called Qiran (Umrah and Hajj performed togather with no break between them). This word is used in the Quran and the Companions, who were present when the Quran and its interpretation was being revealed, understood it to mean this

[Zaad Al-Maad].

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

«Whoever performs circumambulation around this house (the Kaaba) seven times, keeping track of it, it will be like he freed a slave. Moreover, he will not place one foot or raise the other foot but Allah will remove a sin and write a good deed for him»

[related by At-Tirmidhi].

The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to be easy with his followers with regards to the rites of Hajj. Whenever a Companion asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) about some of the actions of Hajj, for example the order of performing the different acts of throwing pebbles, shaving one’s hair, taking off the Hajj garments etc, he used to be easy with them. Abdullah ibn Umar ibn Al-Aas said,

«Whatever he (the Prophet, peace be upon him) was asked that day, he replied with, ‘There is no problem if you do that’»

[related by Muslim].

The Prophet (peace be upon him) performed four Umrahs after immigrating to Medinah, all of them during the month of Dhul-Qadah [except the one with Hajj]. It has been authentically reported that Anas ibn Malik said,

«The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) performed four Umrahs, all of them during Dhul-Qadah except the Umrah he performed with Hajj. He (peace be upon him) performed Umrah when he wrote the Hudaybiyah treaty during Dhul-Qadah. He (peace be upon him) performed Umrah the following year in Dhul-Qadah. He (peace be upon him) performed Umrah from Al-Jiranah, when he divided the booty from the Hunain battle during Dhul-Qadah. And he (peace be upon him) performed Umrah with Hajj»

[related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

None of the Prophet’s Umrahs were performed by leaving Mecca [after performing an Umrah to perform another one], as many people do today. Rather, all his Umrahs were done while entering Mecca [as each Umrah had a separate journey].

In order to make matters easy for his nation, the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not perform Umrah even once during Ramadan, although there is a great reward if one performs Umrah in Ramadan. This was because the Prophet (peace be upon him) feared that it would be difficult for his nation to follow such an example if he (peace be upon him) had performed Umrah during this month.

Ibn Qayyim explained,

[If he had performed Umrah during Ramadan, his nation would want to perform such an Umrah. However, it would be difficult for them to fast and perform Umrah at the same time. Maybe many people would not want to not fast (although they can do as they are travellers) in such a situation, being eager to receive the reward of performing Umrah and fasting at the same time. This would cause difficulties for them. Consequently, the Prophet (peace be upon him) delayed performing Umrah until the months of Hajj (Shawwal, Dhul-Qadah and Dhul-Hijjah). The Prophet (peace be upon him) avoided many good deeds he wanted to perform for fear of it being difficult on his followers]

[Zaad Al-Maad (Provisions for the Hereafter)].

What does the following reply of the Prophet (peace be upon him) indicate, that is, the Prophet’s reply to his Companions questions about some acts during Hajj with the phrase,

«There is no problem if you do that»

[related by Muslim].

How can you have pure monotheistic belief, raise your voice when saying words of remembrance of Allah and be humble in front of Him during Hajj?

What is the proof that the Prophet (peace be upon him) only performed Hajj once in his life-time, which is the Hajj that is known as the Farewll Hajj?

How can you follow the Propet’s example?

1. Perform Umrah together with Hajj. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said,

«Perform Umrah and Hajj together, for this removes poverty and sins just like the bellows remove the impurities from iron, gold and silver»

[related by Ahmed].

2. Be eager to perform Hajj, even if it is just once during your life-time. It is one of the great pillars of Islam.

3. If you have performed your obligatory Hajj and wish to perform another Hajj but notice that one of your brothers or relatives need financial help, it is better to help them than to do a supererogatory Hajj. This is a form of mercy and righteousness which is in line with the Prophet’s example.