Hajj : Its definition, Status, Rulings and Conditions - I

Tuesday 26/10/2010
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Praise be to Allah The Almighty who made pilgrimage to His House obligatory upon the people of faith since the time of Ibraaheem, may Allah exalt his mention, until the time of Muhammad,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), the best of mankind. We thank Allah The Almighty for distinguishing this Ummah (Muslim nation) with the inheritance of the Holy House until the end of time and the advent of the Day of Judgment. Praise be to Allah The Almighty who made the Ka‘bah standing for the people. They face it from all places and their hearts meet upon it at all times, making it a symbol of the unity of the Ummah that worships the One true God regardless of time and place. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {Indeed this, your religion, is one religion, and I Am your Lord, so worship Me.} [Quran 21:92]

May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet of mercy,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), who was sent to cultivate the best nation produced as an example for mankind. The Ka‘bah is its Qiblah (direction of prayer), and Hajj and ‘Umrah are its [places of] religious travel, “Labbayka Allahumma Labbayk” is its psalm, and the Holy Mosque is its place of gathering to which they come from every distant pass to remember Allah The Almighty in all languages, and to perform a great act of worship with their money, bodies and hearts.
 
Hajj is one of the most virtuous acts of worship in the sight of Allah The Almighty and one of the best righteous deeds that expiate sins. So, what is Hajj? What are its merits and excellence in the religion? What are its cornerstones and conditions?
 
Definition of Hajj:
 
According to “Lisaan Al-Arab”, the word Hajj in Arabic means “heading towards” a place.
 
Hajj, as an Islamic term, denotes heading towards the Holy House in Makkah to perform specific rites. Alternatively, it is defined as a visit to a specific place, at a specific time and for a specific purpose. The specific place is the Ka‘bah and ‘Arafah; the specific time is the months of Hajj which are Shawwaal, Thul-Qa‘dah and the first ten days of Thul-Hijjah; and the specific purpose is to come in a state of Ihraam to a certain place with the intention of performing Hajj.
 
When was Hajj legislated?
 
Hajj was imposed in the ninth year of Hijrah, by the revelation of the following Aayah (verse): {And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House - for whoever is able to find thereto a way.} [Quran 3:97]
 
This Aayah was revealed in the Year of Delegations (ninth year after Hijrah), according to the opinion of the majority of scholars.
 
The merits of Hajj and its status in religion:
 
Hajj is one of the best acts of worship, as Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), was asked, “Which deed is the best?'' The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) replied:"Faith in Allah and His Messenger.''Then he was asked, "What is next?'' He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) replied:"Hajj Mabroor (an accepted pilgrimage).” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
 
‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said, "O Messenger of Allah! We consider Jihaad as the best deed, should we not then go out to perform Jihaad?'' The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "The best Jihaad for you (women) is Hajj Mabroor (i.e. one accepted by Allah).'' [Al-Bukhari]
 
The Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), stated that the accepted Hajj has no reward but admittance to Paradise. It was narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), said: "‘Umrah is an expiation for the sins committed between it and the previous ‘Umrah; and the reward of Hajj Mabroor (i.e. one accepted) is nothing but Paradise.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
 
If one performs Hajj and avoids sexual relations and disobedience, he will return from it purified from his sins and misdeeds as he was on the day his mother bore him. Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), said: “Whoever performs Hajj and does not have sexual relations (with his wife), nor commits sin, nor disputes unjustly (during Hajj), then he returns from Hajj as pure and free from sins as on the day his mother gave birth to him.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
 
Congratulations to the pilgrims who will attain forgiveness of sins, as they are the guests of Allah The Almighty. Ibn ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), said: “The fighters in the way of Allah The Almighty, those who perform Hajj and ‘Umrah are guests of Allah The Almighty; He has invited them and they answered, [so,] when they ask Him, He gives them what they ask for.” [Ibn Maajah]
 
‘Abdullaah ibn Mas‘ood, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), said, “Perform Hajj and ‘Umrah alternately, for they remove poverty and sins as a blacksmith's bellows remove impurities from iron, gold and silver; and Hajj which is accepted gets no less a reward than Paradise.” [At-Tirmithi]
 
The ruling of Hajj:
 
Scholars unanimously agreed that Hajj is obligatory once in a lifetime based on evidence from the Quran and the Sunnah (Prophetic tradition).
 
Allah The Exalted Says (what means): {And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House - for whoever is able to find thereto a way.} [Quran 3:97]
 
As for the Sunnah, the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), said: “Islam is based on five (pillars): testifying that there is no god truly worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger; observing prayer; the payment of Zakah; performing Hajj (pilgrimage) to the House (the Ka‘bah); and fasting the month of Ramadan.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
The evidence that Hajj is obligatory once in a lifetime is the Hadeeth narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, who said, “The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) addressed us and said:O people, Allah has made Hajj obligatory for you; so perform Hajj. Thereupon a man said: Messenger of Allah, (is it to be performed) every year? The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) kept quiet, and the man repeated his question thrice, whereupon the Messenger  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said:"If I were to say 'Yes', it would become obligatory (for you to perform it every year) and you would not be able to do it.” [Muslim]
 
However, Hajj may be obligatory more than once in a lifetime for a contingent reason such as making a vow to perform Hajj by saying “I vow that I owe Allah The Almighty one Hajj.” Hajj might also be prohibited, as in the case of performing Hajj using ill-gotten gains. Hajj may also be reprehensible as in the case of performing it without obtaining permission from the one that must be asked for permission. For example, asking permission of one of his parents who need his service, and the creditor if he does not have money to repay his debt, as well as the guarantor of such debtor.

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