Categories of the Ritual Hajj
By: Ayatullah Shaheed Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim
To a great extent, all Muslims unanimously agree upon classifying the ritual Hajj into three categories and upon the basic details of each category. This is of course one of the divine blessings with which Muslims are endued and one of the matters that expresses their unity.
The categories of Hajj are thus three:
1. Hajj al-Tamattu’: The most significant and preferred category of Hajj, Hajj al-Tamattu’ is obligatory upon every adult person (old enough to carry out religious duties) who is capable of carrying out this duty and whose place of dwelling is more than ninety kilometers away from the city of Makkah. Referring to such people, the Holy Qur'an says: This is for him whose family is not present in the Sacred Mosque. (2:196)
In the Muslim jurisprudential terminology, they are called ahl al-afaq (People of the Horizons).
2. Hajj al-Ifrad: This category of Hajj is obligatory upon those who live near Makkah and are present in the Sacred Mosque. In it the performer (of Hajj) is required to enter into the state of Ihram (i.e. put on two ceremonially white pieces of cloth and pledge to abandon the forbidden acts that violate one’s Hajj or ‘Umrah). They start either from the Miqat (the starting points for Hajj) or from their houses and then perform a single ‘Umrah (i.e. minor Hajj) only. This category of Hajj is different from the earlier in the point that it does not require offering a sacrifice to the Holy Ka’bah or slaughtering an animal. Additionally, entering into the state of Ihram for this category of Hajj is different from the earlier category.
1. Hajj al-Qiran: This category of Hajj is similar to the abovementioned one with one difference. The pilgrim is required to mark the offering that he must offer to the Holy Ka’bah from the first moment of entering the state of Ihram until he slaughters it at Mina on the Day of ‘«d al-Adhha.
Rites of Hajj al-Tamattu’
In brief, in Hajj al-Tamattu’ a pilgrim enters the state of Ihram to perform the ‘Umrat al-Tamattu’1 from one of the five places known as Mawaqit (sing. Miqat) and which had been marked out by the Holy Prophet (S) for the people of the remote horizons as follows:
(1) Masjid al-Shajarah, which is also called Dhul-Halifah or Abyar ‘Ali: the starting point (i.e. Miqat) from which the people of Madinah and those who pass by it start their ritual Hajj.
(2) Al-Juhafah: the starting point from which the people of Sham (currently Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine) and those passing by it start their Hajj.
(3) Wadi-’Aqiq: the starting point from which the people of Iraq and those passing by it start their Hajj.
(4) Qarn al-Manazil: the starting point from which the people of al-Ta'if (a city in western Saudi Arabia, in al-Hijaz Province) and those passing by it start their Hajj.
(5) Yalamlam: the starting point from which the people of the Yemen and those passing by it start their Hajj.
Entering into the state of Ihram means to take off one’s ordinary clothes and put on two unstitched pieces of cloth worn as shirt and apron. Then, the pilgrim utters the statement of Talbiyah (i.e. responding to the call of Hajj), which is in the following form: Here I am responding to You, O Allah, here I am. Here I am, You have no partner, here I am. Surely, praise, grace, and kingship are Yours. You have no partner.
A pilgrim must also abstain from a set of matters some of which are inherently forbidden while others are not, such as touching women, using perfume, wearing clothes other than the two pieces of Ihram, covering the head with anything, engaging in disputes, hunting, and others.
A pilgrim must then present himself in Makkah to circumambulate the Holy Ka’bah seven times, beginning and ending at the corner on which the Black Stone is placed. Then, he must offer the two-unit prayer of circumambulation at the place known as the Station of Abraham (‘a) (Maqam Ibrahim).
Afterwards, he must go to al-Safa to begin performing the rite of Sa’y2 from al-Safa to al-Marwah, two small hillocks between which a pilgrim must run slowly seven times; four times from al-Safa to al-Marwah and three times the other way so as to end up at al-Marwah.
The next rite is to have his hair cut short and his nails trimmed.
Immediately after performing this rite, a pilgrim may release himself from the state of Ihram and return to his normal state. However, he must wait for the time of Hajj to begin. Once it begins, he is required to enter into a new state of Ihram for the Hajj from the holy city of Makkah on the eighth of Dhu’l-Hijjah. On this day, he must leave for Mount ‘Arafat and stay there from midday to the sunset of the ninth of Dhu’l-Hijjah. This rite is known as halting at ‘Arafat.
After sunset, he must come down this mountain and move towards the Holy Monument (i.e. al-Mash’ar al-Haram) where he must stay until sunrise.
On the tenth of Dhu’l-Hijjah, he must come to Mina to perform the rite of stoning the ‘Aqabah statue (jamarat al-’aqabah) with seven small pebbles that he must gather from the Holy Precinct of Makkah and the Holy Monument. He must then sacrifice an animal offering, which must be a sheep, a cow, or a camel, and then shave or have the hair of his head cut short. Only then, can he release himself from the state of Ihram and do all the legal things that have been made forbidden to him as long as he was in the state of Ihram, except touching women and using perfumes.
He must then come to the Holy House again, circumambulate it seven times, offer a two-unit prayer at the Station of Abraham (‘a), and run seven times between al-Safa and al-Marwah. Only then can he use perfume.
In order to have intimacy made lawful for him, he must perform another seven-round circumambulation, known in the jurisprudential terminology of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) School as Tawaf al-Nisa' and in the terminology of the other Muslim schools as Tawaf al-Wada’ (Farewell Circumambulation).
On the eleventh and twelfth nights of Dhu’l-Hijjah, a pilgrim is required to spend half of the night (either from nightfall to midnight, or from midnight to its last hour, at least) at Mina, although it is recommended, and even obligatory under certain circumstances, to spend the thirteenth night there, too.
On the eleventh and twelfth days, and even the thirteenth day for those who spent the last night at Mina, a pilgrim must stone the three statues (known as al-jamarah al-sughra, al-jamarah al-wusta, and jamarat al-’Aqabah) with seven pebbles each.
This is a summary of the method and obligatory rites of Hajj al-Tamattu’ according to the jurisprudence of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), although there are further details, manners, recommended acts, and even duties to which a pilgrim may be exposed while performing this category of Hajj. However, there is no space to mention all these in this book.
This method is largely followed by the other Muslim sects with the exception of a very few details, options, and advancing or delaying in the performance of certain rites and in the rulings appertaining to certain acts of a pilgrim.
Distinctive Features of Hajj
Under this title, we can refer to three features by which the worship of Hajj is distinguished from the other devotional acts.
First: Hajj comprises several sorts of devotional acts, such as prayer, fasting, jihad, and almsgiving. The ritual circumambulation of the Holy House is a sort of prayer, in addition to the ritual prayer that follows each practice of circumambulation, known as Salat al-Tawaf (Circumambulation Prayer). Entering into the state of Ihram, which imposes abstaining from certain good things and desires, is a sort of fasting. Sacrificing and offering an animal to the Holy Ka’bah is a sort of almsgiving.
The hardships undergone by a performer of Hajj, such as the hardship of taking long journeys to Makkah and the exhaustive efforts that come from carrying out the rituals of the Hajj, are a sort of jihad. Besides, the ritual Hajj involves other devotional acts, such as halting at a mountain, stoning the three statutes, that represent Satan, with pebbles, and having one’s hair cut short or shaved. All these devotional acts are distinctive, unlike all other acts of worship.
Second: Hajj is a large collective practice and Muslims of various social classes and from every remote path gather on certain days to perform this religious duty collectively and respond to the divine call of Prophet Abraham (‘a). They all move on the same highland and in a unified form to express the actual equality of all human beings and practically achieve the perfect unity of the Muslim nation.
Third: The purpose behind the practice of this worship is wide-ranging at both the individual and collective level and in various aspects, including the material, spiritual, social, political, economic, educational, and moral.
Although explanation of this point requires elaborative discourse, it seems possible to explain it by citing some traditions of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) that deal with some of the spiritual and material aspects and the holy purpose of this worship.
Imam ‘Ali (‘a) is reported to have said: Allah has made obligatory upon you the pilgrimage (Hajj) to His sacred House, which is the turning point for the people who go to it as beasts or pigeons go towards spring water. Allah, the Glorified, made it a sign of their supplication before His Greatness and their acknowledgment of His Dignity. He selected from among His creation those who upon listening to His call responded to it and testified to His word. They stood in the position of His Prophets and resembled His angels who surround the Divine Throne securing all the benefits of performing His worship and hastening towards His promised forgiveness. Allah the Glorified made it (His sacred House) an emblem for Islam and an object of respect for those who turn to it. He made obligatory its pilgrimage and claim on you, holding you responsible to discharge it.
Thus, Allah the Glorified said, “And (purely) for Allah, is incumbent upon mankind, the pilgrimage to the House, for those who can afford to journey thither. And whoever denies, then verily, Allah is Self-sufficiently independent of the worlds. (3:97)”3
Within the famous tradition that al-Fadhl ibn Shadhan has reported from Imam al-Ridha (‘a) with regard to the logic for the religious duties, Imam al-Ridha (‘a) has said: …If he asks, ‘Why have we been ordered to go on the Hajj pilgrimage?” It is said: This is because it is a form of going towards Allah the Exalted and Majestic, asking him for numerous rewards, departing from all evils that one has committed, being repentant for all that he has done in the past, and starting anew what he will do in the future. The Hajj pilgrimage is also done so that one expends his wealth, puts himself to physical trouble, experiences separation from his spouse and children, avoids lust and pleasure, and suffers from the troubles of the trip in the hot and cold weather, in fear, for a long interval in humility, submission, and humbleness.
In addition, the Hajj pilgrimage carries great benefits for all people (such as learning to desire Almighty Allah, fear Him, abandon hardheartedness, make continuous reference to Him, and not lose one’s hope and expectation). It reminds people of fulfilling their duties towards their Lord and towards all people: people who live in the deserts or at sea, partake in the Hajj pilgrimage or not, import goods, do business, sell or buy, are dealers or needy, rent riding animals or are too poor to rent any riding animals to go on the Hajj pilgrimage.
It also includes the fulfillment of the needs of the people who live in the vicinity where the Hajj pilgrims gather. It includes the training of individuals in the narration of the traditions from the Immaculate Imams (‘a) from one region over to another region. Almighty Allah has said, “If a contingent from every expedition remained behind, they could devote themselves to studies in religion and admonish the people, when they return to them, that thus they may learn to guard themselves against evil. (9:122)”
He has also said, “So that they may witness advantages for them. (22:28)” If he asks, “Why have we been ordered to go on the Hajj pilgrimage once and not more?” It is then said: It is because Almighty Allah established the obligatory deeds taking into consideration the weakest people as He, the Exalted and Majestic, has said, ‘…He must make an offering, as he can afford, but if he cannot afford it…’ This refers to a sheep that both the rich and the poor can offer. The other obligatory deeds are established considering the weakest people. One of the obligatory deeds is to go on the Hajj pilgrimage, which is obligatory once in one’s lifetime. God has encouraged the rich people to perform it as often as they can.4
1. - `Umrat al-Tamattu` is the lesser Hajj (pilgrimage) to Makkah made independently or at the same time of the ritual Hajj, and consisting of a number of devotional rituals performed within the city. `Umrat al-Tamattu` must be connected to the ritual Hajj.
2. - Sa`y is the ritual of running between Hill al-Safa and Hill al-Marwah seven times.
3. - Nahj al-Balaghah, Sermon No. 1.
4. - Shaykh al-Saduq, `Uyun Akhbar al-Ridha 1:126.