Rules of Conduct of Hajj
Taken from the Tadhkirah al Muttaqeen, Chapter 9
Translated by Yasin T. al-Jibouri
Be informed, O seeker of the Sacred House of Allah, that Allah, the most Great and the most Exalted, has various houses: this obvious Ka`ba, the sacred mausoleum in Jerusalem, the Ever-Inhabited House (al-Bayt al-Ma`mãr), the `Arsh, till the matter reaches the true house which is: the heart of the believer (mu’min), which is the greatest of all these houses. Undoubtedly, each of these houses is approached through a set of rules of conduct and etiquette. It is important to display here the rules of conduct of visiting the Ka`ba, in addition to what is contained in books dealing exclusively with holy places, and we may point out to the true Ka`ba in general terms. So let us say the following:
Be informed that the objective behind legislating the hajj is to absorb this fact: The reason why the hajj was mandated is to get to know Allah, to arrive at loving Him, feeling comfortable with Him, and these cannot take place except when one purifies his heart. The latter, in turn, cannot take place except when one keeps himself away from surrendering to desires, placing himself in the arduous task of performing the acts of worship, the outward and the inward ones. This is why the One Who brought the Shariah did not make the rituals on one and the same level. Rather, He made them diversified: Each act of worship causes the removal of one abominable act of immorality. For example, offering charity and paying other financial obligations causes one to stop leaning towards perishing worldly wares. Fasting puts an end to one’s illicit desires. Performing the prayers prompts one to enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. So does the performing of other obligations.
As for the hajj, it incorporates all these many objectives. It contains the hardship of performing rituals each one of which suffices to remove one abomination. It involves generous spending, not thinking [for the time being] about the family, the children and the home country, staying away from the company of evil-doers, being tested with thirst during hot weather, etc. It also involves doing things which primary thinking does not readily accept such as throwing the stones, making the rounds, running, wearing the Ihram clothes, etc.
Hajj contains another benefit which is: remembering the conditions of the Hereafter when one sees so many people on one and the same level, following the same path, especially in wearing the Ihram and standing at both sacred places, in addition to reaching the place where the revelation descended and where the angels visited the prophets from Adam to the Seal of Prophets (S.A.W.) and feeling the honor of walking where their purified feet once walked. It also includes the honor of visiting the sacred haram, something which softens the heart and brings about the purity of the soul.
A servant of Allah should keep in mind that Islam replaced monasticism with jihad and hajj. One cannot reach such an honor except if he observes the rules of conduct and the etiquette as follows:
FIRST: A servant of Allah must perform all his rituals with a true intention, aiming at only obeying the commandments of the Lord, so that the goal behind the performing of such a ritual is achieved just as Allah Almighty wants it. A pilgrim, prior to performing the pilgrimage, has to review his intention and make it purely for the same of the One Whom he intends to visit at His House, avoiding any and all nullifying goals such as: seeking prominence, putting an end to people’s criticism of his debauchery, or even out of fear of poverty, for it has been narrated that one who fails to perform the hajj runs the risk of being afflicted with poverty. Another nullifying goals are: seeking to trade in the land or simply to go on a tour in it. If the pilgrim pays attention to how bad his goal and intention are, he has first and foremost to correct them and to realize the ugliness of going to the courtyard of the King of the kingdom and of the domains while being in such a state of paying attention to such trivial matters. Doing so causes one to feel ashamed, to fear the consequences of his intention, rather than feeling proud and conceited.
SECOND: The pilgrim has to prepare himself for the spiritual setting by repenting an inclusive repentance which includes all prerequisites such as the payment of all financial obligations like the khums, the monetary compensations to anyone whom he wronged, the due kaffaras (monetary payments in lieu of violating certain Commandments), in addition to non-monetary measures such as asking forgiveness of those whom one was backbiting or harming, or those whose honor one violated, up to all other sins as detailed in the right place. He must also ask his parents, who are the source of his being, to forgive his shortcomings in looking after them. Then one must write his will in the presence of eye-witnesses without over-burdening the person whom he chooses to carry out his will (his wasi) on his behalf in spending the third of his wealth, so that he may not cause any Muslim to be embarrassed following his death. After all of these steps have been undertaken, the pilgrim must entrust all his family and offspring to the One Who is entrusted with everything, for surely He is the best to help, and how good He is to trust!
The outcome is that a pilgrim has to sever all his ties in order to solely keep Allah in mind, weighing the possibility, even the certainty, that he will die at any moment.
THIRD: The pilgrim must avoid being concerned, while on this great trip, about anyone or anything other than the One whom he loves as he moves around or when staying still, albeit whether his distraction is rendered to a particular person or to wealth, etc. Here, he has to accompany nobody who would distract him from the One whom he loves. It is, therefore, recommended that one must accompany a person who is mostly involved in remembering Allah so that he would remind him, too, of his Lord as he undertakes this sacred journey should he be overcome by distraction.
FOURTH: The pilgrim has to exert an effort to make sure that what he spends on his pilgrimage comes from halal wealth, and he should be generous to himself and to others while on this path. One dirham he spends during the hajj, as has been transmitted, will be rewarded seventy-fold. Imam al-Sajjad (A.S.), who is the most ascetic of all ascetics, used to take with him the best of food for his hajj trip.
One of the things worthy of these sacred places is that if a pilgrim happens to lose his luggage, or if it is stolen from him, he must not feel sad; rather, he should feel happy and glad, for he is to be rewarded for what he lost with manifold by the most generous One. Suppose someone suffered some harm while visiting a ruler, the latter would compensate him for his loss with whatever he can, especially if he was the one who had invited him to visit him; so, what would you think about the most Able One, the most Generous?! Far away it is from him that His generosity should be less than that of the residents of the desert who are well known to us as being quite generous. We seek refuge with Allah Almighty against thus thinking ill of Allah Almighty.
FIFTH: One should improve his manners with those in his company, including the person who tends to his means of transportation and should avoid foul language. Good manners are not confined to simply reluctance to harm others but extends beyond that to tolerating the harm of others, to even being kind to those who harm you.
SIXTH: The pilgrim should try to take care of the needs of the believers in his company, to teach them the injunctions of the Shariah, to invite them to the true sect, to glorify the rituals, to enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong.
SEVENTH: One must distance himself from feeling obligated to look nice or to look superior to others, for what he is ordered to do is to enter the divine precinct with humility, with dusty and untidy hair, as we read in the books dealing with rituals in the chapter dealing with ihram.
EIGHTH: A pilgrim must not leave his home except after entrusting himself, his family and companions to Allah Almighty, giving all of this as a trust to the Protector, the all-Knowing One.
There are other rules of conduct recorded in the books of rituals which ought to be observed and which include paying charity, for with it does a pilgrim purchase the safety of his trip. Keeping all the above in mind, one should ponder on the fact that this journey is only the physical journey to Allah Almighty, and there is another journey, a spiritual one, represented in bearing in mind the fact that a pilgrim did not come to this world to enjoy its pleasures but to know his Lord and to achieve perfection through such knowledge, then he has to act upon such a concern.
Finally, let us say that just as the pilgrimage trip requires food, a means of transportation, a companion, someone in charge of the hajj, and a guide, so is the case with the spiritual trip. The latter needs the same. As for one’s means of transportation, it is his body which he has to look after with moderation. He must not surrender to his body’s desires lest his body should control him, nor should he be too harsh with it else it should be too weak to make the trip. The best is moderation.
As for his sustenance, it is his deeds whereby he expresses his piety. Their least status requires acting upon the obligations and abandonment of prohibitions, the doing of what is commendable and the avoiding of what is contemptible. Their highest status is avoidance of anything and anyone other than Allah Almighty. Between both of these is the middle one which is also worthy of being taken into consideration.
The outcome is that doing what is obligatory and abandoning what is prohibitive is like food for each of the stations of the Hereafter. If he is deprived of such sustenance, he will fall into great perils; we seek refuge with Allah against being thus afflicted. As for companionship, his companions are the believers who accompany him on his path to Allah Almighty. It is to this meaning that Allah Almighty refers in this verse: “Help each other in (the doing of) goodness and piety...” (Qur’an, 5:2). It is through the unity of the hearts and minds that the hearts ascend to lofty stations. Without such a unity, the goal cannot be achieved. It is here that the One Who brought the Shariah prohibited this nation from practicing monasticism. Our mentor, may Allah be pleased with him, used to say that the magnanimous undertakings could not be achieved except when the hearts are united, not when they are disunited.
As for the person in charge of the hajj, these are the pure Imams (A.S.); so, you have to hold on to the rope of loyalty to them so that you may be able to make the journey to the haram of Allah Almighty; otherwise, you will be a prey to the Satans from among the jinns and the humans even as early as the beginning of the path. This is what we see among the Bedouins when they lose their prince who protects them. Yes, anyone who enters the haram will be secure, but it is impossible to get there without someone’s help.
As for the guides during this trip, they are in fact the Infallible Imams (A.S.). Although they are the true guides to the path, yet due to the fact that we are very low in our status, too weak to receive their favors without an intermediary, we have to seek help from well knowledgeable people who act upon their knowledge in order to receive guidance with regard to whole or partial issues. Receiving the greatest favor without resorting to these intermediaries who are enlightened by the noor of Allah is quite unattainable. At any rate, if the pilgrim reaches his destination, let him take off his clothes and put on both sheets of ihram, and let his intention be to take the clothes of disobedience and to put on the clothes of obedience. And let him remember that just as he entered the divine precinct naked, according to the common standards of clothing, so will he meet his Lord after his death: naked and lonely.
When he cleans his body, let him bring about what cleanses his soul from the sins and the filth of acts of disobedience. At the time of performing the covenant of the ihram, he has to make the intention that he is making a sincere repentance, prohibiting himself, with determination and self-will, from doing anything which Allah Almighty has prohibited him from doing both during and after the pilgrimage.
When he performs the talbiya, he has to pay attention to the implication of what he is repeating. On one hand, he is obligating himself to uphold obeying every commandment of Allah, the most Exalted One, the most Great. On the other hand, he lives as someone afraid, not sure whether his call will be well taken or not. Our Imam, Zainul Abidin (A.S.), Ali son of al-Husain (A.S.), used to faint at the time of the talbiya out of his fear of his call being rejected. He must remember this same status at the time of the Great Gathering where some will be accepted, while others will be rejected or simply confused. When the pilgrim enters the haram, he must be both apprehensive and hopeful, just like one who meets a palace feeling that he fell short of fulfilling his obligations to that king. He must keep in mind the status of the great precinct which he enters on one hand and, on the other hand, the greatness of its Owner Who had invited him to be His guest, the most generous that He is of all generous ones. Be informed that He, Great is His Name, loves to see you at His House at least once. Now He has seen you as His guest, ask Him whatever you want, for He is greater than ignoring your needs especially since you now are present in the courtyard of His Holiness. Such is not expected from generous Arabs, so what would you say about the Absolutely Generous One?!
But if the pleading one is ignorant of how to plead, or if he is incapable of safeguarding what he is given, what fault is it of the most generous One, the most High? The greatest worry of most pilgrims is to finish the rituals of the pilgrimage as soon as possible in order to spend the rest of their time in worldly affairs such as selling and buying, whereas a guest is expected under such circumstances to direct his full attention to his host, feeling ready to perform the requirements of being a guest.
If one commits what is uncalled-for contemptible act prior to being in the presence of one’s ruler, what would you say about one who commits a contemptible act even while being in the presence of one’s ruler?! Violating a ruler’s sanctity is by doing the opposite of what he orders. Let us here raise this question: How many pilgrims of the sacred House of Allah who did not commit during his pilgrimage scores of acts of disobedience such as telling lies, backbiting, falsely charging an innocent person, neglecting people’s rights, etc.?!
When the pilgrim is about to perform the tawaf (circling the Ka`ba), let him bear in mind the dignity of the Lord, the necessity of fearing Him, and he has to follow the example of the angels who circle the `Arsh of their Lord. Be informed that such circling is not done by simply physically going around the House; rather, the true circling is when the heart gyrates with the remembrance of the Lord of the House. Such physical deeds were enforced so that they would be examples to emulate besides the deeds of the heart.
Since truly appreciating the Ka`ba cannot be complete unless one suspends his emotional ties with the family and offspring, so is the case with appreciating the implicit Ka`ba: It cannot be unless one removes the veils of such ties, all of them. It is highly recommended also to visit the Mustajar and the Hateem, to take hold of the Black Stone, and to cling to the Ka`ba’s curtains just as one does when he realizes his shortcomings in serving his master, so he kisses his feet and clings to the ends of his clothes, pleading to him in the name of those whom he loves the most, for he finds no refuge nor a supporter besides him. One wonders: Will such a servant leave the ends of his master’s clothes before receiving from him the slip declaring him as emancipated, having received salvation?!
When you wish to perform the sa`i, you must assume the condition of a servant who repeatedly goes to the ruler’s courtyard in the hope of earning his generous rewards, yet he is apprehensive of being disappointed, of being a loser. And when you stand at `Arafat and hear the tumultuous utterance of people in various languages, you should remember the standing on the Day of Judgment and how terrifying its woes are. Think about how Allah will take care of the needs of all of these folks. It is truly a magnanimous occasion during which hands extend to the courtyard of the most Great One, the hearts anticipate His generosity, the necks extend to receive His benevolence, and the tears flow out of fear of His awe. Such a day is the day when the King gives all those who sought Him, outfitting His greatest wali [al-Mehdi], may Allah Almighty hasten his ease and reappearance, the outfits of honor and glory. On that day, [divine] mercy reaches the extremes of its plateaus to include all people, for it has been transmitted that one of the greatest of all sins is when a pilgrim stands at `Arafat thinking that he was not forgiven. How can he not be forgiven since he made himself accessible to his Lord’s mercy on such a great occasion, away from his family, wealth and offspring?! Such is not the way one should think of his Lord, nor is it known that He thus rewards!
When you leave `Arafat and enter Muzdalifa, be optimistic that the sign of your returning a second time to the haram is indicative of the acceptance of your hajj. And when you throw the stones, be informed that the essence of so doing is stoning the devil inside you; so, if you are like the Friend of Allah, then you are as such; otherwise, you are not!
When you bid the haram farewell, you should look like one who has lost a very dear one to the extent that your condition will reflect such a mood; so, feel worried, heart-broken, and make the intention to return as soon as possible, for thus was the determination of Ibrahim (Abraham), the Friend of Allah (A.S.), upon leaving Ismail (Ishmael) and Hagar (Hajar). You have to observe the rules of conduct of bidding farewell to the Host so that He may not deprive you of returning to His House at all, for although He is swift in His acceptance [of your repentance], the rules of conduct must nevertheless be observed when you stand before Him no matter what.
Be informed that a pilgrim in Mecca the Venerable ought to seek the honor of the spots which were honored by the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) such as the cave of Hira, not as an onlooker, then he must seek nearness to Allah by offering two rekat. It is also recommend that he should prolong his standing at such holy places especially if he is performing the pilgrimage the first time. If he is able to get inside the Ka`ba, he should do so while observing the relevant rules of conduct of one who enters it.