Makkah - Salah
The gold clocks inside the Haram and the outside clock towers have digital displays of all the salah times.
The time between adhaan and iqaama varies for the different salawaat. The longest is 15 minutes and the shortest is 5 minutes. During Hajj they change them, so keep track of the timings so you can always be in time for Takbiratul-Ihram (first takbir).
About 15 to 20 minutes before adhaan time, you will notice (hear) a “blowing sound” through the microphones in the Haram. They are testing the microphones, and the women can use this as a guide to start moving towards the back, so they can perform their salah in the designated areas for ladies, and not among the men.
There are many designated salah areas for women inside the Haram. (Sometimes during Jumuah even these areas are taken over by the men.) There are two adhaans in the morning. One is called one hour before the adhaan of Salatul-Fajr, and the second is the adhaan for Salatul-Fajr.
Narrated by Abdullah bin Umar: The Prophet (saw) said:
"Bilal pronounces the Adhaan at night so that you may eat and drink till Ibn Um Maktum pronounces the Adhaan (for the Fajr prayer)." (Bukhari)
For women it is very important to keep track of the salah times to avoid being “caught” in the tawaaf area at fardh salah time. It is also the men's responsibility to assist their partners in this. Although it is quite common during the very busy periods of Hajj, the women should avoid performing salah among or in front of men.
Always try to be early for the salah as the Haram gets very crowded. About two weeks before Hajj, you need to leave for the Haram at least half to one hour before the salah, in order to obtain a place inside the masjid. For Jumuah you need to be there at least two hours before the adhaan to get a 'good' place. Be kind and always try to accommodate others for space.
Stay out of the sun to avoid heat stroke. Use your umbrella. (Do not use the heat as an excuse for not going to the Haram for Salatul-Dhuhr or Asr. Many pilgrims (healthy young males) perform salah at small mosques near their hotels, or worse, they pray in their rooms. Don’t short-change yourself by intentionally missing out on the 100,000 times reward in the Haram).
Many people do not know about the importance of sutra while performing salah. Review the following ahadith and you will realise its importance.
What is sutra? An object like a pillar, wall, stick or spear, etc., the height of which should not be less than a foot and must be in front of a person offering salah to act as a symbolical barrier between him and others.
The sutra rule does not apply to fardh salah for the jamah (congregation), as the Imam's sutra is valid for the entire congregation, except for the portion of the salah done on your own if you came late.
Narrated Sahl bin Sa'd (may Allah be pleased with him): "The distance between the Musalla (praying place) of Allah's Messenger (Peace Be Upon Him) and the wall (sutra) was just sufficient for a sheep to pass through."
Narrated Abu Juhaifa (may Allah be pleased with him): "The Prophet (e) led us and prayed a two-rak'at Dhuhr prayer and then a two-rak'at Asr prayer at Al-Batha with an Anaza (type of stick) (planted) in front of him (as a sutra) while women and donkeys were passing in front of him (beyond the Anaza)."
Narrated Abu Juhaim (may Allah be pleased with him): "The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said: ‘If the person who passes in front of another person in salah knew the magnitude of his sin, he would prefer to wait for 40 (days, months or years) rather than to pass in front of him.’ (Abu An-Nadr) said, ‘I do not remember exactly whether he said 40 days, months or years’."
"When one of you prays behind anything which screens from the people, then if someone wants to pass between him and the sutra, he should repel him by pushing at his chest. And if he refuses to defer then fight him, for he is a devil." (Bukhari)
This authentic hadith which warns against passing in front of a praying person includes the Haram in Makkah and in Madinah, as it is a general statement. The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said it either in Makkah or Madinah. Further proof as per the hadith in Bukhari about 'Ibn Umar repelling a person in front of him while he was in tashahud in front of the Ka'bah.
Many people believe that the two Harams are exempted from the above ahadith about not walking in front of a person performing salah. Unfortunately there is also no unanimous opinion by the scholars on this issue that I could find. Some scholars say it is acceptable due to the crowds while others say it's not.
You may use the pillars, Qur'an stands, zamzam drums, or even the person in front of you as a sutra. Women should take even more care about walking in front of men performing sunnah or nafl salah, as per the hadith, it “breaks” the person’s salah.
During the very busy periods of Hajj it becomes almost impossible to avoid performing salah with women next to or in front of you, let alone being able to avoid “breaking” a person's sutra. The most sensible advice we heard on the issue is to try and avoid both actions and to make it the exception rather than the rule: meaning that one should try and avoid walking in front of a person performing salah unless it is absolutely necessary. About making salah next to or behind women, one should endeavour to move closer to the front or to an area where there are only men and not merely stop where everybody else does.
Do your best and ensure that your niyah is to do the right thing. Being early in the mosque somewhat alleviates this problem. Avoid performing your salah in doorways, walkways and the tawaaf areas. People have the right to walk in these areas; therefore you should expect people not only to walk in front of you, but also over you.
If you do end up performing your fardh salah in these areas, try to move out of the way immediately after the salah is completed. Do not perform your sunnah salah here as your sutra will definitely be “broken”. Move to a less obstructive place.
Always try to be early to start the salah with the Imam, and to be in the front row or close to it. Also there is much reward in waiting for the next salah. Remember that the reward is 100,000 times more than in any other mosque except the Haram in Madinah (1,000) and Masjid-Al-Aqsa (500) in Jerusalem. Ensure that you are facing Qiblah, and are standing in straight lines.
Do not perform any sunnah or nafl salah once the iqaama is called. Join the congregation as soon as the iqaama is called and if you are late, join the salah in the position you find it, even though you may have to redo that rakah.
After the fardh salah, it is best not to rush to perform sunnah or nafl salah. Instead sit and make dhikr as per the sunnah. Also this way you will not miss the janazah salah, if it is to be performed.
When you perform your salah and you wish to sit to your side in the last (sitting) tashahud (as per the sunnah), keep in mind that it may not always be feasible due to the sheer number of people. Avoid forcing the issue as you may end up sitting on top of the person next to you, and you may even hurt his or her leg.
When the salah is completed, the exit doors are congested for a long time with people trying to leave. Make a habit of sitting for at least half an hour, either reciting the Qur'an, or making dhikr or performing nafl salah. This will allow you to avoid the crowds at the doors. Sometimes it will take you at least that long to get out, so you may as well earn some more reward, and leave when it is easier.
Do not always follow the crowd through the doors or stairs. Look to your left or right or further ahead; most of the time you may find another door or steps that are less crowded. A large proportion of people tend to follow the crowd.