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Guide to Hajj 2024: A Transformative Journey for the Ummah

06/11/24

Guide to Hajj 2024: The Significance of the Sacred Pilgrimage

In the Name of Allahﷻ, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Hajj 2024 approaches, igniting the flame of emaan in every Muslim believer’s heart. This sacred pilgrimage takes place every year between the 8th and 12th of Dhul Hijjah, this year beginning on the 14th of June 2024. This sacred ritual must be performed by every able Muslim at least once. It is important to understand the rituals, importance and practical aspects for both pilgrims, and those unable to perform Hajj. Whether in Makkah or at home, this is the most opportune time to draw closer to our Lord and purify our souls. Let us all embrace the spirit of Hajj, seeking the pleasure of Allahﷻ.  This is your guide to Hajj 2024.

The pilgrimage to the Holy Kaaba isn’t just a duty, but a transformative journey for millions each year. It is a profound test of faith, patience and resilience, presenting spiritual, emotional and physical challenges. The holy pilgrimage holds immense spiritual significance, as it commemorates the unwavering devotion of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and his family to Allah’sﷻ command. It symbolises the unity of the Muslim Ummah, where believers from all corners of the world gather as equals before their Creator, leaving behind their worldly desires.

We are gifted this invaluable opportunity for sincere repentance, spiritual purification, and forgiveness for our sins, allowing pilgrims to return cleansed and renewed, like newborns. Moreover, it serves as a reminder of the Day of Resurrection, when we will all stand accountable before Allahﷻ.

Narrated by Abu Huraira, The Prophetﷺ said: “Whoever performs Hajj for Allah’s pleasure and does not have sexual relations with his wife, and does not do evil or sins then he will return (after Hajj free from all sins) as if he were born anew.” –[Bukhari]

Preparing for the Hajj Pilgrimage in 2024 – Hajj Step by Step

Hajj is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, calling millions from every class, sect, race, and culture to unite in the holy land of Makkah. Step by step Hajj preparation is crucial for those answering the call of Hajj to ensure a safe, spiritually fulfilling, and accepted pilgrimage. Consulting with healthcare providers to ensure physical fitness, obtaining necessary vaccinations and medications, packing essential items, and staying hydrated while pacing oneself during rituals are vital to ensure a smooth and successful trip.

Preparation for Hajj is not only physical but spiritual. Increasing acts of Ibadah like reciting the Qur’an, performing voluntary prayers, extra charitable deeds and seeking forgiveness from Allahﷻ is crucial for maximising the benefits of Hajj. Pilgrims must purify their intentions, letting go of worldly distractions and focusing solely on pleasing Allahﷻ, while embracing patience, humility, and brotherhood, as these virtues will be tested during the journey.

Who is Eligible to Perform Hajj?

Hajj is a mandatory pillar of Islam for those who can fulfil it. Here are some key conditions when considering Hajj eligibility:

1. Maturity: Only adult Muslims (male or female) must perform Hajj. While children can participate, it’s not compulsory for them at that age.

2. Physical Ability: Hajj requires physical strength. The elderly, the sick, the weak, or the physically incapable Muslims are excused from the obligation of Hajj.

3. Financial Means: Hajj can be financially demanding. Muslims in significant debt are exempt from Hajj until their debts are resolved. However, the intention to perform Hajj when financially able remains important.

There are some rules and requirements for performing the Hajj. Individuals must be at least 12 years old, comply with mandatory health regulations, and have a Hajj permit.

How to Perform Hajj Step by Step

Hajj can be performed in three ways: Tamattu, Ifrad, and Qiran. This steps of Hajj guide will focus on Tamattu, the method Prophet Muhammadﷺ recommended for pilgrims. Here are the 18 steps of Hajj in detail:

Step-1. Preparation and Intention

Before arriving at Makkah, set your intention (niyyah) with a pure heart. This pilgrimage is solely for Allah’sﷻ sake, seeking blessings in the afterlife. It should not be done with the intention of being seen by others or for worldly gain.

Step-2. Entering The State Of Ihram

Hajj emphasises equality before God. In Ihram, a state of ritual purity, pilgrims shed outward distinctions. Men wear simple white garments, while women wear modest clothing and observe the hijab. Face coverings and enclosed shoes are not permitted.

Step-3. Tawaf x7

Tawaf, a core ritual of Hajj, involves walking around the Kaaba seven times in a counter-clockwise direction. Each circuit begins and ends at the Black Stone embedded in the Kaaba’s wall. This act symbolises unity and devotion to God.

Step-4. Safa and Marwa

Following Tawaf, pilgrims perform Sa’i.  This involves walking and running seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwa.  Each circuit begins at Safa and ends at Marwa, with a brisk walk transitioning to a run between designated green markers. Sa’i commemorates the desperate search for water by Hajar, the wife of Prophet Ibrahim (AS).

Step-5. Clip/Shave Hair

After Sa’i, men traditionally shave their heads, while women clip a small portion of hair (around a fingertip’s length). This signifies the symbolic shedding of worldly concerns and the completion of Umrah.  Pilgrims can then exit the state of Ihram until the 8th of Dhul Hijjah.

Step-6. Resting and praying

Pilgrims can spend the remaining days in Makkah resting and preparing for Hajj, which begins on the 8th of Dhul Hijjah. This blessed time offers a chance to connect with fellow Muslims and dedicate oneself to sincere worship.

Step-7. Re-entering State of Ihram

The 8th of Dhul Hijjah marks the commencement of Hajj.  Here, pilgrims re-enter the state of Ihram, observing its restrictions. Once you’re all set to enter the Ihram, you’ll begin reciting the Talbiyah. You will then go to the neighbourhood of Mina in Makkah, roughly five miles from the centre of Makkah.

Step-8. Arrive At Mina

Upon reaching Mina, pilgrims find their designated tents. Here, they’ll perform their Salah following a specific format – shortening each four-unit prayer to two units without combining them, as the Qur’an prescribes. This night is a precious time for spiritual reflection and devotion. Spend it in prayer, Quran recitation, and preparation for the next day of Hajj.

Step-9. Day of ‘Arafah

After sunrise, pilgrims head to the plains of ‘Arafah, reciting Istaghfar and making supplications. The day of ‘Arafah is the Day on which Allahﷻ perfected His religion and approved Islam as the way of life.

Step-10. Arrive in Muzdalifah

As the sun sets on Arafah, pilgrims travel to Muzdalifah, a vast open plain between Arafah and Mina.  This is a designated spot to spend the night under the stars in prayer and reflection.  Here, you’ll also have the opportunity to collect pebbles about the size of date seeds for the upcoming ritual of Rami (the stoning of the devil).

Step-11. Rami and Hady

The 10th of Dhul Hijjah, also known as Yawm al-Nahr (Day of Sacrifice), marks the beginning of the Eid al-Adha celebrations. After performing the Fajr prayer in Muzdalifah, pilgrims return to Mina while reciting the Talbiyah. Here, they perform the Hady (animal sacrifice) and begin the first of three days of Rami, the symbolic “stoning of the devil” ritual.

Rami involves throwing pebbles at three structures in Mina, representing the rejection of temptation. This reenacted Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) unwavering faith when he resisted the devil’s attempts to dissuade him from sacrificing his son. The stoning of the Jamarat continues for the next three days.

Step-12. Qurbani and Eid al-Adha

The 10th of Dhul Hijjah coincides with the joyous festival of Eid al-Adha, also known as the “Festival of Sacrifice.” This celebration extends far beyond the plains of Mina as Muslims worldwide mark this holy day. Eid al-Adha commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) unwavering faith and his willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail (AS) as instructed by Allahﷻ.

Step-13. Shaving The Head

After offering the Hady, men traditionally shave their heads. The Prophet Muhammadﷺ shaved his hair, and this is preferable. A woman trims her hair by the length of a fingertip.

Pilgrims can now exit the state of Ihram and wear comfortable clothing. You can resume activities that were forbidden in the Ihram besides sexual intimacy. As a sign of renewal, it’s considered a Sunnah to apply perfume.

Step-14. Tawaf al-Ifadha and Saai’

The obligatory rituals of Tawaf al-Ifada and Sa’i are performed in Makkah after the Rami, sacrifice, and hair actions. You are then permitted to relax and do everything that was lawful before Ihram, including engaging in marital relations. You will now return to your tents in Mina.

Step-15. The Second Day of Rami

The remaining days in Mina involve the symbolic ritual of Rami, the “stoning of the Jamarat.”  Here, pilgrims throw pebbles at three designated structures, each representing a rejection of temptation.

Step-16. Spend the night in Mina

Once you complete the second Rami, you will spend the rest of the day and night in worship at your camp in Mina.

Step-17. The Third Day of Rami

On the 12th Dhul Hijjah, you’ll have your final set of pebbles ready to repeat the same steps as the previous day.

Step-18. Tawaf al-Wida

One essential rite remains before your Hajj journey concludes and you depart Makkah.  This final act is the Farewell Tawaf (Tawaf al-Wida).  Performing this Tawaf is obligatory for most Islamic schools of thought, and omitting it without a valid reason is not permissible in Islam.

Connecting with the Spirit of Hajj from Afar

While not physically present in the holy land of Makkah, the rest of the Ummah can still share in the blessings of Hajj.

1. Emulate the Pious Acts of Hajj: Hajj rituals reflect acts of devotion, sacrifice, and unity. Increase your charitable giving to worthy causes, mirroring the spirit of sacrifice during Hajj. Volunteer your time to help others, reflecting the sense of service embodied in the pilgrimage.

2. Embrace the Power of Du’a: Raise your hands in sincere prayer. Pray for pilgrims’ safe and successful Hajj and ask Allahﷻ to accept their efforts. Your heartfelt Du’a can bridge the physical distance and connect you to the spiritual journey of Hajj.

3. Follow the Footsteps of the Pilgrims: Learn about the Hajj rituals and their significance. Read accounts of Hajj experiences and watch documentaries capturing the pilgrimage’s essence. By immersing yourself in the knowledge and emotions of Hajj, you create a spiritual connection despite the physical separation.

4. Strengthen Your Spiritual Practice: Hajj is a time for intense devotion and self-reflection. Use this period to enhance your own spiritual practice. Increase your prayers, recite the Qur’an more frequently, and engage in acts of personal piety. Deepen your connection with Allahﷻ and emulate the spiritual growth experienced by Hajj pilgrims.

5. Embrace the Spirit of Unity: Hajj is a powerful display of Muslim unity. Despite differences in language, culture, and background, pilgrims stand together as equals before God. Strengthen your bonds with fellow Muslims in your community. Share meals together, discuss the significance of Hajj, and create a sense of togetherness despite being geographically separated from the pilgrimage itself.

A Time for Celebration and Reflection

As the blessed season of Hajj descends, the Ummah unites in spirit. Pilgrims embark on a journey of sacrifice and devotion while the global community shares their blessings through dua and reflection. Ya Allah, grant our pilgrims a safe and accepted Hajj. May their efforts be rewarded and their sins forgiven.

For those at home, let this be a time for deep, meaningful self-reflection. Evaluate your deeds, strengthen your connection with the Qur’an and Sunnah, and seek forgiveness from your Lord. Renew your commitment to Islam, striving for righteousness and fostering brotherhood within the Ummah.

Increase your charity, honour your parents, strengthen family bonds and promote righteousness within the community. And for those yearning to one day perform the sacred ritual of Hajj, let your most fervent Du’a be for Allah’sﷻ acceptance of your hajj in His perfect timing. May this Hajj be a catalyst for spiritual growth and unwavering faith for the entire Ummah.

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