Hajj Background

Hajj Background

June 01, 2017 Abu Muneer Ismail Davids

Hajj according to Quran and Sunnah.

Any form of worship (Ibadah) in Islam must be performed according to the Quran and sunnah for it to be acceptable to Allah. One's true intention (niyah) must be for Allah alone and a desire for the Hereafter. It cannot be done with the intention of being seen among men for worldly gain. Strict care should be taken to perform all actions with ikhlas (to perform any act solely for Allah) and itiba'a (adherence to the sunnah). This means performing Umrah and Hajj as performed by the Prophet (Peace Be Upon him) without adding to or deleting from the rituals. Also, the money required for Hajj MUST be earned by lawful (Halal) means. One should start on this journey with the exclusive intention of carrying out the commands of Allah and to seek Allah's guidance and pleasure.

The Prophet (Peace be Upon Him) said: 

خُذُوا عَنِّي مَنَاسِكَكُم 

“Take from me your (Hajj) rites.”


The Qur'an explains in detail about Hajj. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon him) performed Hajj in the 10th year of Hijra. During this Hajj, known as the Farewell Pilgrimage (Hajj-al-Wadaa), the Prophet (Peace Be Upon him) practically illustrated how it should be performed.

The Prophet (Peace Be Upon him) uttered this (“Take from me your Hajj rites”) while in Muzdalifah, hence the importance of applying this order during Hajj. Thus, there is only one way of performing Hajj, and that is according to the Qur'an and sunnah!

"It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have an option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger he has indeed strayed in a plain error." Surah Al-Ahzab (33:36)


The Golden Rule

With so many opinions and interpretations on certain issues it is not uncommon for the pilgrims to find themselves in a state of confusion.

Keep in mind that you CANNOT follow your own desires or make your own rules as you go along.

If there are any disagreements on any issues, always ask yourself the following question:

“What did the Prophet (e) say, do or didn't do?”

Adopt this simple rule and it will make “your life much easier”.

Hajj is not the end; it is just the beginning!


The Fifth Pillar of Islam - Al-Hajj

"...This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion..."  Surah Al-Maidah (5: part of ayah 3)


Hajj as an Obligation, Types of Hajj, Who and When to go

Surah Al-Hajj, ay’at  1-3: "O Mankind! Fear your Lord and be dutiful to Him! Verily, the earthquake of the Hour (of Judgement) is a terrible thing. The Day you shall see it, every nursing mother will forget her nursling, and every pregnant one will drop her load, and you shall see mankind as in a drunken state, yet they will not be drunken, but severe will be the Torment of Allah. And among mankind is he who disputes concerning Allah, without knowledge, and follows every rebellious devil."

Throughout your journey, reflect on these opening ay’at in Surah Al-Hajj. It is a clear reminder of what will happen on the Day of Judgement and also a reminder to those that dispute about Allah. Only from ayah 27 onwards does Allah refer to the Hajj itself!


The Farewell Hajj (Hajj-al-Wadaa) is known as such from the following narration:

Narrated by Ibn Umar: "At Mina, the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said, ‘Do you know what is the day today?’  The people replied, ‘Allah and His Apostle know it better.’ He said, ‘It is the forbidden (sacred) day. And do you know what town is this?’ They replied, ‘Allah and His Apostle know it better.’ He said, ‘This is the forbidden (sacred) town (Makkah). And do you know which month is this?’ The people replied, ‘Allah and His Apostle know it better.’ He said, ‘This is the forbidden (sacred) month.’ The Prophet added, ‘No doubt, Allah made your blood, your properties, and your honour sacred to one another like the sanctity of this day of yours in this month of yours in this town of yours.’ Narrated Ibn 'Umar: On the Day of Nahr (10th of Dhul-Hijja), the Prophet stood in between the jamr’at during his Hajj which he performed and said, ‘This is the greatest Day (i.e. 10th of Dhul-Hijja).’ The Prophet started saying repeatedly, ‘O Allah! Be Witness (I have conveyed Your Message). ‘He then bade the people farewell. The people said, ‘This is Hajj-al-Wadaa’."  (Bukhari)


Hajj, an Obligation

"Verily, the first House (of worship)

appointed for Mankind

was that at Bakka (Makkah),

full of blessing, and a guidance

for Al-Alamin  (mankind and jinns).

In it are manifest signs (for example)

the Maqaam (place) of Ibraheem;

whosoever enters it, he attains security.

And Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah)

to the House (Ka’bah)

is a duty that mankind owes to Allah,

those who can afford the expenses

(for one’s conveyance, provision and residence);

and whoever disbelieves

(i.e. denies Hajj, then he is a disbeliever of Allah),

then Allah stands not in need

of any of the Alamin (mankind and jinn)." 

Surah Al-Imran (3:96-97)


As we can see from the preceding ay’at, Hajj is not only the fifth pillar of Islam, but it is an actual DUTY WE OWE UNTO ALLAH!


Who should go?

Allah does not wish to make things difficult for the Muslims. Apart from the duty being fardh (compulsory) only once in a lifetime, there are certain other conditions that have to be met for one to be ‘eligible’:

  1. To be a Muslim
  2. To have reached puberty
  3. To be of sound mind
  4. To be free (not a slave)
  5. To have the financial means*
  6. To possess the physical means**
  7. To have a Mahram (for women)

* One does not have to be debt free in order to be eligible. As long as arrangements are made for the payment of your debts during your absence, or in the event of your death.

** If your physical disablement is of a permanent nature, and you have the money, then it is advisable to send (deputise) somebody to perform the Hajj on your behalf.


When should one go?

One should expedite the performance of Hajj.

It is reported on the authority of ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said: "Expedite the performance of the duty of Hajj. For nobody knows what may obstruct one." (Ahmad)


Once you have met all the listed conditions, it is important to perform your fardh Hajj as soon as possible. Many people tend to leave this obligation until much later in their life. It is so much easier and better if one undertakes this journey while one is young and has the health and strength. No matter when you go you will regret that you did not go when you were younger. So go as soon as you are able to!


What about those that have been before?

If you have performed Hajj before and you feel complacent about it, or if you are not convinced about the benefits of performing Hajj again, ponder over the next hadith Kudsi:

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudrie, the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him)  said, Allah said: "Any of My slaves who is healthy and are by the means and for five years did not visit My house, he is Mahroum*." (Ibn Hiban & Musnad Abu Ya’laa)   

* Mahroum: the direct translation of the word is ‘deprive’, meaning that a person who is able and does not do so, has certainly deprived himself of something good. It is like a very rich person who does not spend or use his money. He deprives himself of the benefit of having that money. Also, for example, if a person lives away from his parents, and he is able to visit them, but chooses not to, he has certainly deprived himself of great benefits. Now when Allah uses the word Mahroum we can be certain that it means that we are depriving ourselves of benefits that we cannot imagine and we will regret it on the Day of Judgement.


Umrah and Hajj in the same year

Hajj months:

Shawaal (10th month of the Hijra calendar);

Dhul-Qada (11th month) and Dhul-Hijja (12th month).

There appears to be a great deal of confusion on this issue.



  • If you perform Umrah in the Hajj months, you must perform Hajj in the same year.
  • If you perform Umrah, you must perform Hajj in the same year.
  • You are not allowed to perform Umrah in the Hajj months if you are not going to perform Hajj also.
  • You are not allowed to perform Umrah in the Hajj months.

There is no instruction from the Qur'an or the sunnah that one MUST perform Umrah and Hajj in the same year. There is also nothing to substantiate that you cannot perform Umrah in the Hajj months. This is a belief from the days of polytheism and there is plenty of evidence to the contrary.

If a person performs Umrah in the Hajj months followed by performing Hajj the pilgrim automatically opts for the Tamattu method of Hajj (and without coming out of Ihraam, the Qiran method). This means that the Hady (a sacrifice to THANK Allah for being able to perform Umrah and Hajj) becomes compulsory. See surah Al-Baqarah, ayah 196 for more details.

The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) performed three Umrahs in Dhul-Qada without performing Hajj also!

"Qatada said that Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) had informed him that the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) performed four Umrahs, all during the month of Dhul-Qada including the one he performed along with Hajj (and these are): The Umrah that he performed from al-Hudaibiyah or during the time of (the truce of) Hudaibiyah in the month of Dhul-Qada, then the Umrah of the next year in the month of Dhul-Qada, then the Umrah for which he had started from Jiranah, the place where he distributed the spoils of (the battle of ) Hunain in the month of Dhul-Qada, and then the Umrah that he performed along with his Hajj (on the occasion of the Farewell Pilgrimage)." (Muslim)