Hajj - Major Rites

Hajj - Major Rites

June 01, 2017 Abu Muneer Ismail Davids

Ramy (casting of pebbles)

You need to collect seven pebbles for each jamrah for each day (i.e. on the 10th you need 7 only; on the 11th, 12th and 13th you need 21 for each day).

Many pilgrims insist on collecting the pebbles in Muzdalifah and put themselves through a great deal of hardship during the night to do this. The pebbles can be collected in Muzdalifah or Mina. It is reported that the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) collected the pebbles on his way to the jamr'at. There are narrations that specifically say, in Mina (and not in Muzdalifah). So collect it where it is convenient for you.

There is no need to wash the pebbles.

The size of the pebbles

Jabir bin Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: "I saw the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) throwing stones (at jamrah al-Aqaba), like pelting of small pebbles." (Muslim)

The timing

Jabir bin Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: "That the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) flung pebbles at the jamr'at on the day of Nahr after sunrise, and after that (i.e. on the 11th, 12th and 13th of Dhul-Hijja) when the sun had declined." (Muslim)                                

*Zawaal = Midday, when the sun is at its zenith.

The preceding table shows the starting time as per the sunnah. According to the scholars the preferred end time is generally before Maghrib. However, due to the massive crowds, it is acceptable for the women, weak and elderly to cast even until late at night, as the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) did not specify an end time.

Even on the 10th, it is acceptable to stone in the afternoon or evening. Most of the stampedes happen on this day due to the incorrect understanding that the stoning must be done before midday.

Many pilgrims stone in the morning due to the crowds. This is incorrect as the start time is only after zawaal and one cannot perform any act of Ibadah ahead of its prescribed time.

Many pilgrims also insist that on the 13th it is acceptable to stone in the morning. As per the hadith, it is clear that it is after zawaal (the decline of the sun) on all three days. (If you are staying for three days (until the 13th), what is the sudden rush to throw in the morning?)

On the 10th the pilgrims only stone the big jamrah. There is a difference of opinion among the scholars about the stoning for the women and elderly that left Muzdalifah after moonset. Some say they can throw as soon as they reach Mina, whereas some say they have to wait until after sunrise. Nonetheless, it may be better to wait as you will still miss the crowd as they will only leave Muzdalifah at the time you will be throwing.


The actual stoning of the jamr'at    

The stoning order on the 11th, 12th and the 13th is to start from the small jamrah and to finish at the big one.

There is no special niyah

The pilgrim casts seven pebbles, one at a time, saying:

اللهُ أَكبَر

"Allahu Akbar."

“Allah is Greater.”

Move towards the next jamrah and repeat the process.

The pilgrim should ensure that the pebble either hits the target or falls in the encircled area; otherwise it has to be redone. (This is when those extra pebbles become a necessity.)

You should not reuse any pebble that has already been cast into the circled area.



It is sunnah to face Qiblah after throwing at the small and middle jamr'at and to make supplication. Move away from the jamrah itself and stand away from the crowd.

It is reported that the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) stood and supplicated here for a very long time.

There is no supplication after throwing at the big jamrah.     



You may deputise someone to cast the pebbles for you.

This is only valid if you are old, sick, pregnant or very weak.

You cannot ask or pay someone else because you are afraid of the crowds. Able women should perform the ramy themselves. They should choose a less crowded time and avoid going to the jamr'at by themselves (without a mahram). With the new structure, it is very easy for everyone now to do the ramy.

If you are stoning on behalf of someone else, the method is as follows:               

- First cast (stone) your seven pebbles at the jamrah, one at a time;

- Follow this by casting seven pebbles on behalf of the other person, one at a time.

- Move towards the next jamrah and repeat the process.

- There is no special niyah, and you should say "Allahu Akbar" as you throw each stone (pebble).



The best times to stone: Definitely the busiest time is immediately after midday. Just before and immediately after Salatul-Asr seems to be when the crowds are less. Also at night it is less crowded. This applies for the 11th and 12th.  On the 13th anytime after about 1.30pm is okay. On all 3 days, avoid the time immediately after zawaal, if you have women or children with you. On the 10th (first day of stoning), it is better to wait until after Dhuhr.

If one of the days of tashreek is on a Friday, then the best time to throw is after Dhuhr, as many pilgrims tend to go to Makkah for Jumuah. The busiest time on this day is before and after Asr, as the pilgrims return from Makkah.

It is only on the 10th that you are in Ihraam when throwing at the big jamrah. After that you are out of Ihraam; therefore it is better to wear shoes (runners, joggers, tennis shoes), as this will give you better balance and grip in the crowds.

After you have cast your pebbles, and you turn around to come out, lower your head to avoid being hit by a pebble in your face.

It is sunnah to make supplication after the stoning of the small and middle jamr'at. Do not stand in the middle of the crowd. Move to a less crowded space, face Qiblah and make supplication.

Number of pebbles: If you are staying until the 13th you need a total of 7+21+21+21=70 pebbles, and if you are staying only until the 12th, you need a total of 7+21+21=49.

You may collect them all at once or on a daily basis. Remember you cannot reuse any pebble that has already been cast. I suggest you collect a few extra pebbles in case you drop some or “miss the target”.

If you do not have a stone bag to keep the pebbles in, you can use a small empty drinking water bottle as a means of storage.

Take your 21 pebbles and keep them in your pocket or in a small packet. When you get near the jamrah, take seven only and keep these in your left hand. Take one at a time with your right hand and throw it at the jamrah. This way you need not keep count as you are throwing. When your left hand is empty, you should have thrown seven. If you missed or dropped some, remove the exact number from your pocket. Alternatively you can keep all your pebbles in your hand and count as you throw. However, if somebody knocks your hand you may lose all your pebbles. It is almost impossible to bend and pick up pebbles while you are near the jamrah.

If you are caught in a crowd and your shoe or slipper comes off, avoid bending down to pick it up as you may fall over and get crushed.

Try to go as close as possible to rim of the jamrah, as it easier to pelt from there. Always keep the women behind you as you “go in”, and move them in front of you when they are ready to pelt.

Do not go in a big group. Smaller groups of 4 people are much easier. If you are 4 (2 males and 2 females), do the following: make a chain; with one male in front; followed by a female holding him from the back; the other female then holding onto her from the back followed by her mahram protecting her from the back. Once you reach the rim, move the females to the front while you stand behind them. Only exit once all of you have pelted. Once completed, form the same chain and exit lowering your head.

Do not try to break or pass through any “human-chains”, instead you give way.

When it is very busy, walk past the crowd and enter from the opposite side. This works for all three jamr'at. At each jamrah you only need to determine which side is best to “pass” from:


The Sacrifice

The sacrifice (Hady) is compulsory for the pilgrims performing Hajj Tamattu and Hajj Qiran.

The pilgrims may eat from the Hady meat.

A sacrifice (Fidyah) is also obligatory on a pilgrim:

  • Who failed to perform a Wajib (obligatory) act of Hajj, such as not stoning the jamr’at, or not adopting Ihraam at the meqaat etc. (see the Wajib acts of Hajj in chapter 9)
  • Who did something prohibited, while in the state of Ihraam, such as using perfume or cutting the hair, etc.
  • Who transgressed the sanctity of the Haram area, such as hunting an animal or cutting a tree within its boundaries.
  • For those with an excuse, such as having to shave his head due to some illness in his scalp.

All the meat of the Fidyah is to be distributed among the poor in the Makkah area.


About the animals    

The sacrificial animals can be: camels; cattle, sheep or goats.

The pilgrim can either sacrifice a sheep or a goat or share with six other pilgrims (total of 7) in a cow or a camel.

The age and health of the animal are important: 

  • a camel should be at least five years old;
  • a cow should be at least two years old;
  • a goat should be at least one-year-old;
  • a sheep should be at least six months old (some say one year);
  • the animal must be free of defects as it is not acceptable if it is one eyed, or lame, or thin.       

The proper time for slaughtering the Hady is on the 10th of Dhul-Hijja and the three days after that which are called Ayaam-at-Tashreek (which means to cut meat into strips for drying).

The proper time for slaughtering the Udhiyah is on the 10th of Dhul-Hijja.

The Fidyah can be done as required (after the 10th) or even before if the transgression was in relation to the Umrah.


Place of slaughtering

The proper place for slaughtering the Hady is in either, Mina, Muzdalifah or Makkah.

The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said:

"I slaughtered here, but the whole of Mina is a place of sacrifice."  (Muslim)

Performing the Hady and Fidyah in your home country is not valid.

The sacrifice MUST be performed in the Mina/Makkah/Muzdalifah area and the claim that there are many poor people in your home country, hence the decision to slaughter there, is not valid according the sunnah. Udhiya can be done in your home country.

When a goat, sheep or cow is slaughtered, the animal should be made to lie on the ground. The camel should be slaughtered while standing with its front leg tied up, as this was the sunnah of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) .(Bukhari & Abu Dawud)

While slaughtering the animal you should say:

بِسْمِ اللهِ وَ اللهُ أَكْبَرُ


In the name of Allah, Allah is Greater


At the time of the Eid sacrifice the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) supplicated:

اللَّهُمَّ تَقَبَّلْ مِنْ مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَ مِنْ أُمَّةِ مُحَمَّدٍ

"Allahuma takabal min Muhammadin wa aali Muhammadin wamin ummati Muhammadin."

“O Allah, accept this sacrifice on behalf of Muhammad, the family of Muhammad and the followers of Muhammad.” (Muslim)

As illustrated by the above method, one should ask Allah to accept the sacrifice, and one should also name the person on whose behalf the sacrifice is made.

There are very good programmes in place for the slaughtering of the animals and the distribution of the meat.

Tons and tons of meat are frozen immediately and flown to the poorer Muslim countries for distribution.

Many pilgrims insist on doing their own sacrifice. The authorities will not allow everybody to enter. However, they do allow a delegate for about every 20 people or so, to do the slaughtering.

A word of caution: this area is not for the timid or sometimes not even the brave can handle the sight. Remember that they are slaughtering close to 1 million animals.

Also if you do it yourself via a private farmer, you are expected to take the animal with you. Picture yourself: nice clean outfit with a blood-stained sheep hanging over your shoulder walking around Mina trying to find your camp or somebody to give the dead animal to.

If you choose to leave the animal at the farm, be aware that the meat may not reach its intended recipients. After the Hajj of 1420, the authorities found hundreds of slaughtered animals dumped, as the farmers could not cope with the sheer numbers.

So, if you are not too fussed and believe in the procedures set up by the authorities in Saudi Arabia then leave it to them. You can enjoy the meal instead.



Substitute for sacrifice

Fasting is only permitted if the pilgrim cannot afford the sacrifice (Hady).

"...But if someone cannot afford a sacrifice, he can fast three days during Hajj and seven days after returning home. That is ten days in all."

Surah Al-Baqarah (2: part of ayah 196)

It is recommended to fast the 3 days before the 8th of Dhul-Hijja if possible, as the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) indicated that the days of tashreek are for eating (celebrating). However if these (tashreek) are the only days you are able to fast then you should do so.

Do not forget to fast the rest of the days (7) upon your return home.

Many pilgrims opt to fast as they claim that they cannot afford it, but the amount of shopping they do before and after Hajj totally contradicts their claim. You are only fooling yourself!



Cutting of your Hair

After slaughtering the sacrificial animals the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) had his head shaved. Then he supplicated to Allah three times to forgive those who had their heads shaved (Halq) and once for those who had their hair cut short (Qasr).

Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) reported that the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said:

"May Allah have mercy upon those who had their heads shaved.’ They said: ‘Messenger of Allah, what about those who had their hair clipped?’ He said: ‘May Allah have mercy upon those who had their heads shaved.’ They said: ‘Messenger of Allah, what about those who had their hair clipped?’ He said: ‘May Allah have mercy upon those who had their heads shaved.’ They said: ‘Messenger of Allah, what about those who had their hair clipped?’ He said:  ‘(Oh Allah, have mercy upon) those who had their hair clipped’." (Muslim)

Shaving is referred to as Halq and cutting as Qasr (or Taqseer).

Women cut only about one inch of hair from one place only.

For those pilgrims who are in Makkah long before the Hajj days and plan to shave their head, keep the following in mind. This also applies at anytime you shave your head (after Umrah or Hajj).

Do not shave only parts of it

"Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) said that the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) has forbidden shaving only a part of the head and leaving unshaved another part." (Bukhari & Muslim)

Start from the right side

"Anas bin Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) came to Mina; he went to the jamrah and threw the pebbles at it, after which he went to his lodging in Mina, and sacrificed the animal. He then called for a barber and, turning his right side to him, let him shave it; after which he turned his left side. He then gave (his hair) to the people." (Muslim)

There are a group of barbers when you exit from the bridge at jamrah Aqaba. These are similar to the ones outside Marwah in Makkah. The prices are also the same, 5 to 10 riyals to shave your head and about 10 to 15 riyals for a haircut.

There is also a big group of barbers right opposite the slaughtering houses.

Alternatively you may choose one of the makeshift barbers you find on and under the bridge. You will save some money, but you may have a few scars on your head as these guys use blades to scrape (not shave) your head. Some of them do a reasonable job, but we suggest you give it a miss. This is also not very hygienic and open to transmission of infections.

You may also choose to wait until you get to Makkah.

If you have thick hair, another option is to use a beard shaver and set it to number zero, and get a fellow pilgrim to cut your hair (starting on the right side), and then use the blades to do the rest. To fulfill the duty of halq, one must shave. Brush cut only does not suffice!



Tawaaf-al-Ifadah and Sa'ee for Hajj

 Also known as Tawaaf-as-Ziyarah or Tawaaf-al-Hajj:

This tawaaf is a pillar of Hajj (just as Arafat is) and CANNOT be omitted by any pilgrim. Women in their menses can delay this tawaaf but must not omit it as they will remain “illegal” to their husbands until such time as it is performed. Some pilgrims confuse this tawaaf with Tawaaf-al-Wadaa. This is a grave error and must be avoided. Delay your departure for home until the women are out of their menses, even if it means that you will miss your flight. (Hence good planning is essential.)


"Then let them complete the prescribed duties (Manasik of Hajj) for them, and perform their vows, and circumambulate the Ancient House."

Surah Al-Hajj (22:29)

Following the sunnah, Tawaaf-al-Ifadah should be performed on the 10th of Dhul-Hijja. If it cannot be done on this day, it should be performed on any day during Ayaam-at-Tashreek or even later if you have a valid reason.

Ibn 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) observed the circumambulation of Ifadah on the Day of Nahr (10th of Dhul-Hijja), and then came back and observed the noon prayer at Mina.  (Muslim)                        


Tamattu pilgrims MUST perform sa'ee as well. Some Tamattu pilgrims perform nafl tawaaf on the 8th of Dhul-Hijja, followed by sa’ee for Hajj. This is contrary to the sunnah. Also Qiran and Ifrad pilgrims who did not perform the sa'ee with the welcome tawaaf, MUST perform the sa'ee for Hajj.

Some pilgrims mistakenly think that this sa'ee is not required and quote the narration of Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) who said that the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and his companions only performed one sa'ee between Safaa and Marwah (Muslim).

The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) did not perform sa'ee as he was performing the Qiran method and did the sa'ee with the welcome tawaaf.

For this tawaaf, you will find Makkah extremely crowded.

If you plan to perform this Tawaaf on Yaum-ul-Eid (10th), we suggest you try to get to Makkah before 10.00am, after which it gets very crowded. Also, immediately after Salatul-Eshaa (don’t delay or perform sunnah salah), it is less crowded. If you plan to delay this tawaaf until the 13th, then try to perform it before Salatul-Maghrib, as it becomes almost impossible to enter the mosque after this time. On the 12th, there is no good time as the mosque is full from the afternoon until the next morning. Remember there are many pilgrims (mainly locals) that are performing Tawaaf-ul-Wadaa at these times on the 12th and 13th.

When you enter the Haram, you will notice the striking black and gold new cloth (kiswat) over the Ka'bah. It is a beautiful sight!


What to take to Mina and Arafat

If you are going to Mina on the 8th, we suggest you take two bags, one with all your Mina requirements and a smaller one for your Arafat needs. This way you can leave the one bag in Mina when you go to Arafat on the 9th.

However, if you are going directly to Arafat from Makkah on the 9th, then you need only one bag with your Arafat, Mina and Muzdalifah needs.

Depending on what your package offers, you may need to take your favourite pillow and a small fold-up mattress as well. A sleeping bag or an inflatable air mattress is a very useful item for this part of Hajj.

Take all the necessary toiletries, and we suggest the women take sanitary pads also, even though they may not expect their menstruation to start.

Take all the required medicine.

Some pilgrims leave their clothes in Makkah and collect them on the 10th after they have completed Tawaaf-al-Ifadah. If you plan to go to Makkah on the 10th then these is fine but if you do not, remember that you will be in Ihraam, and after two days it will be quite dirty, so take some clothes with you.

One more important item we would like to repeat. Take enough food (biscuits, fruit, dates, etc.) for the night stay in Muzdalifah. As it is very likely that you will walk to Mina from Muzdalifah, also take something to eat for breakfast as well as a water flask and an umbrella.

Over the last few years we 'discovered' a very handy item to take with if you don't mind carrying it. It is a fold-up (flip open) two person tent. We have been using it very effectively for privacy (change, sleep, eating) in Arafat and you cannot believe its 'value' in Muzdalifah.  These tents are not readily available, but you can normally find them with some street vendors during Hajj. So you may have to do some searching, but leave the pillow and the clothes, but take this item, you will not regret it.