Description of the Rites of Hajj

Reviewing by : A.J. Kassem

   Allah has ordered Muslims to go for haj once in a lifetime . We are going to explain some of the important things about this pilgrimage so that they can be easily understood.

If you want to perform haj, you must first to go to a place outside of Makkah called ‘’Al Miqat’’. At that place, you pronounce your intention to do pilgrimage as you enter the state of ‘’Ihram’’, wearing two pieces of cloth, one around your waist, and the other on your shoulder. Then you should start repeating the ‘’Talbiya" in Arabic, which is translated as:

"I respond to Your call, O Allah I respond to Your call. I respond to Your call, You have no partner. I respond to Your call. Indeed, the praise and grace are yours as well as sovereignty. You have no partner."

لبيك اللهم لبيك
لبيك لا شريك لك لبيك
إن الحمد و النعمة لك و الملك
لا شريك لك

From this time until the end of the pilgrimage, it is forbidden for you to hunt , cut your hair, use perfume, have sexual relations, propose for marriage, and for men to wear normal clothing. Women shouldn’t cover their faces, nor wear gloves.  If, while in the state of ihram, for whatever reason, you purposefully did one of these forbidden things, you must do something called a “fidya”, which is to either fast for three days like the fast of Ramadan, or feed six poor people, or slaughter a sheep in sacrifice and distribute the meat to the poor people of Makkah.  For more details about the forbidden actions of ihram and the expiations for them, pilgrims should refer to the scholars and their books.

After the pilgrimage is finished, you may do anything normally permissible that was prohibited while you were in a state if Ihram .


On the ninth day of the Islamic month  of Dhul Hijjah , pilgrims must go to Arafah and pray the midday and afternoon prayers consecutively and shortened to two units each. You should supplicate Allah, the Lord of all the worlds and stay in Arafah with the other pilgrims until sunset.

After sunset, you should leave Arafah for Muzdalifah. There, you should pray the sunset and night prayers together, remember Allah, supplicate Him, and rest.  In the morning, you should pray the dawn prayer when the time arrives and then get ready to go to the valley of Mina.

At Mina, and throw seven stones at a big pillar, called "AlJamarah Alkubra" and say: "Allahu Akbar’’ (God is Greatest) every time you throw a stone. If you have a sacrificial animal such as a sheep, cow, or a camel, you should slaughter it at this time. These days, most pilgrims pay a fee to have one slaughtered for them. After throwing the seven stones, the men shave their heads or cut their hair, and the women cut their hair. Finally, you must go to the Kaabah, the first house of worship established for mankind, and walk around it seven times, starting and finishing at the Black Stone. This is called "Tawaf".

After walking around the Kaaba seven times, you should go to a nearby place called ‘’Al Mas’a’’ where you walk back and forth seven times between two hills of Safa and Marwa, remembering and supplicating Allah. This is called "Sa'yie".

You may perform tawaf, sa'yie, throw the stones, and cut your hair in any order that you like, then go back to Mina to spend the next two or three nights there. During the daytime, you should throw seven stones at the small jamarah, then seven stones at the middle one, then seven stones at the big one, makeing supplications after stoning each jamarah except the big one .

If you choose to stay for the third night, you should do the same things as you did on the previous two, namely, stoning the pillars and sleeping in Mina.

If you want to leave Mina after the second day of staying there, you may do that, but you need to leave before sunset, or else you should stay for the next day, after which you should walk around the Kaabah seven times again before leaving Makkah.

You should go back to your home with hopes that Allah accepts your good deeds and is pleased with you, so you can be as free from sins as you were on the day you were born, especially if you didn’t hurt anyone, commit any violations nor dispute with anyone .

There are three types of pilgrimage: Ifrad, Qiran, and Tamattu’e.

1- Ifrad  :

To perform haj without performing 'umrah in the same trip.

Umrah is the lesser pilgrimage and consists of wearing the Ihram, walking around the Kaabah seven times, walking between the hills of Safa  and  Marwa, and shaving or cutting the hair. ‘’Ifrad’’ means alone, or without Umrah. Those who perform this type of haj do not have to sacrifice an animal called a “hadya”, which is a sheep, a cow, or a camel, whereas those who perform the other two types must do so.

2 – At Tamattu'e

This type of pilgrimage consists of performing both haj and umrah, beginning with umrah. Between them, you should wear normal clothes and stay in Makkah until the ninth day of the month of Dhul Hijjah, then perform haj as described above. The scholars call this ‘’At Tamattu’e’’ (enjoyment) because you have enjoyed yourself between umrah and haj by exiting the state of ihram while still performing two rites in one trip.

3 –Al Qiran :

Another sort of Haj (pilgrimage) is named ‘’Al Qiran’', which means combined. It is to join the haj and Umra without separation or interval. I'm other words, on approaching Makkah, the pilgrim will enter in to a state of ihram with the intention for both haj and umrah. The pilgrim will perform the rites of umrah first and remain in a state of ihram until after he or she has completed the rites of haj.

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