The Course of the Devotional Acts during the Hajj Season
By: Ayatullah Shaheed Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim
The devotional acts of Hajj are the following: Devotional Acts Attached to the Rites of Hajj.
Devotional Acts on the Day of ‘Arafat.
Devotional Acts on the First Ten Days of Dhu’l-Hijjah.
Devotional Acts on the Tashriq Days.
The Devotional Acts Attached to the Rites of Hajj
Jurisprudents have mentioned some etiquettes and recommended acts to be practiced in the midst of carrying out the obligatory rites of Hajj. Such etiquettes and acts include ritual bathing, prayers, supplications, and litanies. The most eminent of them are:
1. While preparing oneself for entering into the state of Ihram, it is recommended to clean the body from dirt, trim the nails, remove the hairs of the armpits and pubes, and clip the moustache. For those who intend to perform the ritual Hajj, it is recommended, in addition to all these, to comb the hair of the head and the beard from the first day of Dhu’l-Hijjah.
It is further recommended to bathe oneself ceremonially before entering into the state of Ihram and to say a special supplication during the bathing and while putting on the uniform or Ihram.
Before entering into the state of Ihram, it is also recommended to offer a prayer, be it an obligatory or a six or two-unit supererogatory prayer. Another special supplication is said immediately before entering into the state of Ihram.
In addition to uttering the obligatory statement of Talbiyah, it is recommended to add other statements comprising words praising Almighty Allah and words beseeching Him. It is also recommended to repeat the statement of Talbiyah at different places and on different conditions until the houses of Makkah can be seen.
2. Upon entering the Holy Precinct, which is a vast circular area surrounding the holy city of Makkah, it is recommended to get off whatever one is riding, perform ritual bathing, take off the shoes, and say a special supplication.
3. For entering the city of Makkah and the Sacred Mosque, it is recommended to bathe oneself ceremonially. At the door of the mosque, it is recommended to offer salutations to the Holy Prophet and Prophet Abraham, peace be upon them both, mention the Name of Almighty Allah through a special formula, praise Him by saying another special formula, and turn the face towards the Holy Ka’bah while uttering a third special formula of supplication.
4. Upon approaching the Black Stone, it is recommended to say certain litanies and supplications. Likewise, it is recommended to beseech Almighty Allah and say more litanies, invocations of blessings upon the Holy Prophet (S) and a special supplication while kissing the Black Stone.
5. During the ritual circumambulation, there are special supplications to be said on each round and at certain places. These include the gate of the Holy Ka’bah, the corner of the Ka’bah facing Yemen (known as al-Rukn al-Yamani), the Black Stone, the backside of the Ka’bah, the flipside of the gate of the Ka’bah,1 and Hijr Isma’il, (the fence built by Prophet Ishmael (‘a) around the tomb of his mother).
6. Upon accomplishing Salat al-Tawaf (the Circumambulation Prayer), it is recommended to thank and praise Almighty Allah, invoke His blessings upon the Holy Prophet and his Household (S), and supplicate to Him while prostrating.
7. Upon drinking water from Zamzam Spring, it is recommended to say a special supplication and pour a little amount of that water on the head, belly, and back.
8. Upon performing the ritual running between al-Safa and al-Marwah, it is recommended to say some special litanies, invocations of blessings upon the Holy Prophet and his Household (S), and supplications. It is also recommended to recite certain chapters of the Holy Qur'an on al-Safa and al-Marwah and while running between them.
9. The same recommended acts that are done at entering into the state of Ihram for the Hajj may be repeated for the Ihram of the ‘Umrah. The only difference is that entering into the state of Ihram for performing ‘Umrah may be followed by saying certain supplications while heading for Mina and on the way to Mount ‘Arafat. At Mina, it is recommended to spend the whole night in devotional acts, especially at al-Khif Mosque. There is also another special supplication to be said while heading for Mount ‘Arafat.
10. In the second section, the devotional acts and etiquettes practiced on the Day of ‘Afarat will be mentioned, because some of these acts are practiced on this day by both performers of Hajj and ‘Umrah.
11. At the Holy Monument, it is recommended to say a supplication at the red dune that lies to the right side of the road, slow down one’s steps, and spend the Night of ‘«d al-Adhha in acts of worship and supplications.
In this regard, a hadith reads: If possible, try to spend the whole night in acts of worship, because as reported, the gates of heaven remain open on this night because of the voices of the believers who buzz like bees. On this night, Allah, Majestic be His praise, says, “I am your Lord and you are My servants. You have fulfilled your duties towards Me; therefore, it is incumbent upon Me to respond to you.” Thus, He excuses whoever He wishes and forgives whoever He wishes on this night.2
In addition, there are some supplications reported to be said on the Night of ‘Arafat.
Immediately after the obligatory dawn prayer, it is recommended to praise and thank Almighty Allah, enumerate any amount possible of His graces and favors, invoke His blessings upon the Holy Prophet and his Household, and then say a supplication dedicated to this time.
It is also recommended to run about one hundred steps at Wadi Muhassar (a valley lying on the way between Jam’ and Mina) and then say a special supplication while running there.
12. Upon stoning the large statue along with the other statutes representing Satan, it is recommended to be ritually pure, say a special supplication while collecting the pebbles, say the takbir statement while throwing them along with a special supplication, and say another special supplication on the way back to Mina.
13. Upon offering and slaughtering an animal, it is recommended to say a special supplication and to undertake the process of slaughtering or, if this is not possible, put the knife on the neck of the animal and put the hand on the slaughterer’s hand.
14. Upon having one’s hair shaved or cut short, it is recommended to say a special supplication.
15. Upon performing the ritual circumambulation for Hajj, it is recommended to do the acts that have been previously cited for performing the ritual circumambulation for ‘Umrah. In addition, it is recommended to say a special supplication while standing at the door of the Sacred Mosque before starting this rite.
16. There are more recommended acts to be done by a performer of Hajj during his/her residence in Makkah. These acts can be summed up as follows:
a) It is recommended to mention Almighty Allah as frequently as possible.
b) It is recommended to recite as many chapters of the Holy Qur'an as possible or recite it entirely during one’s residence in this city.
c) It is recommended to drink from the water of Zamzam Spring and say a special supplication thereat.
d) It is recommended to catch as many glimpses as possible of the Holy Ka’bah, for a great reward is obtained from this act.
e) It is recommended to circumambulate the Holy Ka’bah seven rounds ten times a day: three at the first hour of night, three at the last hour of it, two immediately after dawn, and two immediately after midday.
f) It is recommended to circumambulate the Holy Ka’bah sixty-three times during residence in Makkah. If this is not possible, then fifty-two rounds will be sufficient. If this is not possible either, then one may circumambulate any number of rounds possible.
g) It is recommended to enter inside the Holy Ka’bah, bathe oneself ritually before doing so, say a special supplication while entering, offer prayers, offer another special two-unit prayer, offer prayers at the four corners of the Ka’bah followed by a special supplication, and repeat the takbir statement and a special supplication while leaving.
h) It is recommended to do another circumambulating, which is called the Farewell Circumambulation, when preparing oneself for leaving Makkah. Following this, it is recommended to kiss the Black Stone, praise and thank Almighty Allah, invoke His blessings upon the Holy Prophet and his Household, and say a special supplication.
For acquaintance with the details of all these acts, the reader should refer to books on the rites and laws of Hajj.3
The course presented demonstrates the wide scope of the contents of Hajj as viewed by the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a)—a course that cannot be found in any other Muslim school.
The Devotional Acts on the Day of ‘Arafāt
The Day of ‘Arafat, the ninth of Dhu’l-Hijjah, has a special significance and value in Islam as does the night preceding it, which is a blessed night on which repentance is accepted, supplications responded to, and acts of obedience to Almighty Allah awarded the reward of one hundred and seventy years of worship.
Almighty Allah has called His servants to obey and serve Him on this day, stretching before them the tables of His kindness and magnanimity. On this day too, Satan is more humble, despised, driven away, and angry than any other day. The Day of ‘Afarat is thus a day of supplication and imploration.4
It has been narrated that Imam Zayn al-’Abidin (‘a), on the ninth of Dhu’l-Hijjah, heard someone begging people for help. He (‘a) said to him, “Woe is you! Are you begging other than Almighty Allah on such a day while even fetuses in wombs are expected to be included in His mercy on this day and become delighted?”
For this day, there is a wide-ranging course of devotional acts and rites. All these acts and rites are to be practiced during the ritual halting on Mount ‘Arafat during the Hajj season. However, some traditions show them to also be practiced by other people in their own countries, especially those visiting Imam Husayn’s tomb about which a tradition holds that Almighty Allah looks at the visitors of Imam Husayn’s tomb on the ninth of Dhu’l-Hijjah before he looks at the performers of Hajj who are standing on Mount ‘Arafat.
Likewise, Talhah ibn Zayd has reported on the authority of Imam al-Baqir (‘a) on the authority of his father on the authority of Imam ‘Ali (‘a) who said: The Day of ‘Arafat should not be celebrated anywhere save Makkah. It is however not objectionable for the people of a country to gather on this day and supplicate before Almighty Allah.5
Rites on the Night before the Day of ‘Arafat
Shaykh al-Qummi has cited a course of the rites on the night preceding the Day of ‘Arafat, which will be cited hereinafter, albeit briefly:
It has been reported that whoever says the following supplication on the night preceding the Day of ‘Arafat, as well as on Thursday nights, will have all his/her sins forgiven by Almighty Allah: O Allah Who witnesses all secrets of hearts, Who is the object of all complaints…
This supplication holds highly regarded contents, including statements praising and thanking Almighty Allah, recollection of His signs, and beseeching Him in the name of these signs to grant requests of this world and the next.
Highly recommended is repeating one thousand times the Four Statements of Glorification (al-Tasbihat al-Arba’ah).
Visiting Imam Husayn (‘a)
It is highly advisable to visit the tomb of Imam Husayn (‘a) this night.
Rites on the Day of ‘Arafat
It is recommended to perform ritual bathing at midday.
Visiting Imam Husayn (‘a)
It is highly recommended to visit the tomb of Imam Husayn (‘a) and address him with a special formula of ziyarah.
It is recommended to offer a two-unit prayer in each unit of which Surah al-Fatihah is recited once and Surah al-Tawhid repeated fifty times. This prayer, which is offered after the obligatory afternoon prayer and before beginning the supplications of this day, should be offered outdoors.
Those who will not faint as a result of uttering many supplications on this day are recommended to fast. Of course, this act does not include those performing the rite of halting on Mount ‘Arafat because travelers are exempted from fasting.
Many formulas of litanies are reported for this day. One of these is the litany of praising Almighty Allah, glorifying Him, and professing Him as the One and Only God and as the Greatest of all, using all the expressions mentioned in the Holy Qur'an.
Too many are the supplicatory formulas that are reported to be said on the Day of ‘Arafat. However, the most significant, magnificent, and comprehensive of all these is Imam Husayn’s supplication on the Day of ‘Arafat—a marvelous supplicatory formula that he (‘a) recited one day in the midst of a group of people during the last hours of the Day of ‘Arafat. This supplication, which is considered singular in its form and eloquence, includes highly regarded contents.
The supplication of Imam Zayn al-’Abidin (‘a) on this Day is another wonderful formula. This supplication is mentioned in al-Sahifah al-Sajjadiyyah under prayer No. 47.
On this day, it is highly recommended to pray to Almighty Allah for the good of one’s brothers-in-faith and relatives, especially parents.
Actually, the devotional acts dedicated to this day, cover all the hours of this day.
The Devotional Acts On The First Ten Days Of Dhu’l-Hijjah
For the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, a set of both particular and general devotional acts are reported. The Holy Prophet (S) is reported to have said that nothing is more desirable to Almighty Allah than practicing acts of worship on these ten stated days. Of course, the tenth day is the Day of ‘«d al-Adhha. The summary of these devotional acts can be presented as follows:
It is highly recommended to fast during the first nine6 days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, for it is equal in reward to fasting during one’s whole lifetime.
Between the obligatory sunset and early night prayers on these days, it is recommended to offer a two-unit prayer in each unit of which Surah al-Fatihah, Surah al-Tawhid, and the following verse (7:142) are recited once: We appointed with Moses a time of thirty nights and completed them with ten more, so the appointed time of his Lord was a complete forty nights. Moses said to his brother Aaron: Take my place among my people, act well, and do not follow the way of the mischief-makers. (7:142)
On these days, it is recommended to say the special supplication that is reported by Shaykh al-Tusi and Sayyid Ibn Tawus from Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) in addition to other supplications that are reported to have been gifted by Archangel Gabriel to Prophet Jesus, the son of Mary, peace be upon them.
A special formula of litany that is reported from Imam ‘Ali (‘a) is recommended to be said on these days.
It is worth mentioning that there are other special acts to be done on the first day of Dhu’l-Hijjah exclusively.7
The Devotional Acts On The Tashriq Days
The Tashriq Days8 (the 11th, 12th, and 13th of Dhu’l-Hijjah) are the three days that follow ‘«d al-Adhha. There are certain devotional acts that are common to the Day of ‘«d Adhha and the Tashriq Days. The most important of these acts is the rite of stoning the three statutes (jamarah), which is an obligatory rite for the performers of Hajj. Besides, there are other recommended acts to be done on these days:
Offering an Animal in Sacrifice
It is recommended to slaughter an animal in sacrifice on ‘«d al-Adhha although it is also lawful for those who are not participating in the Hajj season to offer such animals on the eleventh and twelfth days, or the thirteenth day at Mina.
It is recommended to repeat the famous statements of takbir specified for this occasion. These statements are as follows:
Allah is the Greatest. Allah is the Greatest. There is no god save Allah. Allah is the Greatest. Allah is the Greatest. Allah is the Greatest. All praise be to Allah. Allah is the Greatest for He has guided us (to the right path). Allah is the Greatest for He has endued us with the cattle quadrupeds. All praise be to Allah for the graces He has given us.
For those performing the Hajj rites, it is recommended to repeat these statements beginning with the obligatory afternoon prayer on ‘«d al-Adhha up to the thirteenth of Dhu’l-Hijjah after performing the obligatory and supererogatory prayers at Mina.
For those who are in their homelands, it is recommended to repeat these statements until the dawn of the twelfth of Dhu’l-Hijjah.
1. - Also called al-Multazam and al-Muta`awwadh, this place, which is commonly known as al-Mustajar (the place of seeking aid) is situated before al-Rukn al-Yamani and directly behind the gate of the Holy Ka`bah. It is the place wherefrom Lady Fatimah bint (daughter of) Asad entered the Holy Ka`bah and gave birth to Imam `Ali (‘a). Many traditions have conveyed the merits of this place. Imam `Ali (‘a) is reported to have said, “At al-Multazam, you should confess to Almighty Allah all of your sins that you can recollect. As for the sins you may have forgotten, you should express them by saying, ‘(please) forgive all our sins, including those, which Your keeper-angels recorded, but we have now forgotten.’ Verily, whoever confesses his sins at this place, mentions them, and prays to Almighty Allah to forgive him, it will be incumbent upon Almighty Allah to forgive him.” [Translator]
2. - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi`ah 10:44, H. 1.
3. - The translator of this book has compiled a guide book on the laws and rites of Hajj and `Umrah in English language. This book is entitled The Rites of Makkah and Madinah, with some general laws of Hajj and `Umrah, compiled by Badr Shahin, published by Ansariyan Publications. [Translator]
4. - Shaykh `Abbas al-Qummi, Mafatih al-Jinan, pp. 253 & 258.
5. - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi`ah 10:32, H. 2.
6. - It is of course unlawful to observe fasting on the tenth of Dhu’l-Hijjah, because it is a feast day (i.e. `«d) and all feast days are forbidden to fast according to the laws of Islam. [Translator]
7. - Shaykh `Abbas al-Qummi, Mafatih al-Jinan, pp. 251-252.
8. - The Tashriq (brightened) days are given this name either because the meat of the sacrificed animals shines on these days when left under sunlight in order not to decay or because these animals should be offered for the sake of Almighty Allah and not slaughtered before sunrise. (Quoted from Fathullah Ahmad, Mu`jam Alfaz al-Fiqh al-Ja`fari, pp. 78) [Translator]