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ABC's of Islam New Muslims

The Requirements Of The Accepted Hajj

By Editorial Staff

On their journey to Makkah, pilgrims hope and pray that their hajj (Pilgrimage to Makkah) will be accepted. They want to be rewarded, gain Paradise and the pleasure of Allah and to be saved from the Hellfire. To achieve this, they need to meet the requirements of Hajj.

What are the requirements for an accepted Hajj?

1. Sincerity

The pilgrim must have a purely sincere intention to observe this great pillar of Islam, Hajj, solely for the sake of Allah. This is the most important requirement which if not met, the Hajj will be invalid. Allah says,

“Though they were not commanded but to worship (One) God making the (practice of their) religion (pure and) sincere to Him (alone), being ever upright (of heart)” (Quran 98:5)

Observing Hajj for showing off invalidates it. On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: Allah (glorified and exalted be He) said: I am so self-sufficient that I am in no need of having an associate. Thus he who does an action for someone else’s sake as well as Mine will have that action renounced by Me to him whom he associated with Me. (Muslim)

2. Giving people their due rights

If the pilgrim succeeds in keeping away from bad manners, they will be back home with no sin at all.

The pilgrim must hasten to give people their rights back. This includes the redress of past injustices, paying off debts, etc. Although Hajj is one of the greatest means of forgiveness of sins, the other sins related to people’s rights require their pardon first to be forgiven.

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Whoever has wronged his brother, should ask for his pardon (before his death), as (in the Hereafter) there will be neither a Dinar nor a Dirham. (He should secure pardon in this life) before some of his good deeds are taken and paid to his brother, or, if he has done no good deeds, some of the bad deeds of his brother are taken to be loaded on him (in the Hereafter). (Al-Bukhari)

It is also highly recommended to seek the pardon of family members, relatives, friends and other people for anything the pilgrim may have done and made them angry.

3. Taking provisions for the journey

The pilgrim should have enough food or enough money to be able to buy food, drink, clothes and other things necessary for the journey.

Narrated Ibn `Abbas: The people of Yemen used to come for Hajj and used not to bring enough provisions with them and used to say that they depend on Allah. On their arrival in Medina they used to beg the people, and so Allah revealed,

“Moreover, take with you your (own) provisions and, indeed, the best provision is to be ever God-fearing. (Quran 2:197).” (Al-Bukhari)

4. Having lawful money

For Hajj to be accepted and for du’aa (supplication) to be answered, the pilgrim’s money must be earned lawfully.

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “O people! Allah is Pure and, therefore, accepts only that which is pure. Allah has commanded the believers as He has commanded His Messengers by saying:

‘O Messengers! Eat of the good things, and do good deeds.’ (Quran 23:51) And He said:

‘O you who believe (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism)! Eat of the lawful things that We have provided you…”‘ ( Quran 2:172).

Then he (ﷺ) made a mention of the person who travels for a long period of time, his hair are dishevelled and covered with dust. He lifts his hand towards the sky and thus makes the supplication: ‘O Lord! O Lord!’ But his food is unlawful, his drink is unlawful, his clothes are unlawful and his nourishment is unlawful, how can, then his supplication be accepted?” (Muslim)

5. Travelling with a good company

It is recommended that the pilgrim travels in the company of the people of knowledge about the rites of Hajj. If he or she makes mistakes, forgets something or have no knowledge about a certain rite of the Hajj, they should be there for help. This is highly recommended especially for people observing Hajj for the first time because they are more liable to miss something or make mistakes.

6. Making a will

Making a will before setting off for Makkah is recommended.

Narrated `Abdullah bin `Umar: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “It is not permissible for any Muslim who has something to will to stay for two nights without having his last will and testament written and kept ready with him.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

7. A Mahram for a woman

A mahram for a woman is the male person who Allah made it unlawful for her to marry for good because they are related by blood such as a father or a son, breastfeeding or marriage such as her father-in-law.

For a woman to perform the Hajj, she has to travel in the company of her husband or a mahram of hers. As for a woman who has no mahram to accompany her, there are two opinions regarding whether she is allowed to treavel or not. Imam Al-Tirmidhi summarizes this issue as follows:

“Scholars hold different opinions concerning a woman who is wealthy enough to perform the Hajj but has no Mahram. Is the Hajj obligatory for her?

Some scholars are of the opinion that it is not obligatory for her to observe the Hajj. Allah says,

“Thus Hajj-Pilgrimage to the (Sacred) House (in Makkah) is owed to God, as an obligation upon all people who are able to attain a way to it. And as to those who disbelieve (this, know), then, (that) God is, indeed, self-sufficient, without (any need for any of His creation in) all the worlds.” (Quran 3:97)

Unless a woman has a mahram, then, she is not able to attain a way to it. This is the opinion of Sufyan Al-Thawri and the scholars of Kufa, a city in Iraq.

Other scholars hold the opinion that a woman who has no mahram may perform the Hajj only if the roads or the journey are safe and secure. She can set off with other people. This is the opinion of Malik ibn Anas and Imam Al-Shafi’i.”

8. Learning how to observe the Hajj

It is highly recommended for the person who wants to perform the Hajj to learn its rites and rulings so that he or she can perform it properly and make sure that the things that invalidate it are avoided. Moreover, the pilgrim will get the best of reward for both learning and performance. It happens that some people miss very essential elements of hajj such as Standing on ‘Arafat.

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ABC's of Islam New Muslims

The Virtues of Hajj And `Umrah

By Editorial Staff

Definitions

The Hajj, Pilgrimage

The Arabic word ‘Hajj’ literally means to repair to, betake oneself or set off for a place. In the technical usage of the term, it means to repair to the Sacred House in Makka and perform the rites of the Pilgrimage. Allah says,

“Thus Hajj-Pilgrimage to the (Sacred) House (in Makkah) is owed to God, as an obligation upon all people who are able to attain a way to it. And as to those who disbelieve (this, know), then, (that) God is, indeed, self-sufficient, without (any need for any of His creation in) all the worlds.” (Quran 3:97)

This verse highlights the obligation of Hajj for every Muslim who meets the requirements of observing it. Observing it more than once is voluntary.

“So complete the Hajj –Pilgrimage and the `Umrah-Lesser Pilgrimage solely for (the sake of) God.”

The `Umrah, Lesser Pilgrimage

In the Arabic language, `Umrah means a visit. It means in Islamic law to visit the Sacred House in Makka to perform the rites of the Lesser Pilgrimage. Allah says,

 

“So complete the Hajj –Pilgrimage and the `Umrah-Lesser Pilgrimage solely for (the sake of) God.” (Quran 2:196)

The difference between the Hajj and the `Umrah

Unlike the `Umrah, the Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam. It differs from the `Umrah in the legal ruling, the rites and the time of performance. As for the legal ruling, the Hajj is obligatory for once in a lifetime and for every Muslim who can afford it, namely, the person has enough money and health to make it, whereas the `Umrah is non-mandatory. Secondly, there are a few differences concerning the actions of both rites. The most important one is standing on ‘Arafat which the Hajj cannot be complete without observing this pillar on the 9th day of Dhul-Hijjah, the last month of the lunar year. Thirdly, the hajj can only be performed at a particular time of the year on specific days of Dhul-Hijjah, whereas the `Umrah may be performed at any time of the year.

The virtues of the Hajj and the `Umrah

1. Hajj is one of the best acts of worship. To be accepted, it must be observed sincerely and with the intention of seeking only Allah’s pleasure. Moreover, it must be performed properly based on the rulings derived from the Quran and the authentic Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) was asked, “What is the best deed?” He replied, “To believe in Allah and His Apostle (Muhammad). The questioner then asked, “What is the next (in goodness)? He replied, “To participate in Jihad (religious fighting) in Allah’s Cause.” The questioner again asked, “What is the next (in goodness)?” He replied, “To perform Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca) ‘Mabrur, (which is accepted by Allah).” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

2. There is a great reward for the observance of this great pillar. Observing `Umrah also expiates sins. However, what is meant by sins in the following hadith is minor sins. As for major sins, they require sincere repentance. In addition, the sins that are related to people’s rights require a person to give those people their rights back. That’s why sincere repentance and to free oneself from acts of injustice are highly recommended before setting off for Makka.

Abu Hurairah (RAA) narrated that the Messenger of Allah said, “The performance of `Umrah is an expiation for all the sins committed (between this `Umrah and the previous one), and the reward for Hajj Mabrur (the one accepted by Allah or the one which was performed without doing any wrong) is nothing save Paradise.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

3. If the pilgrim succeeds in staying away from sinning, mischief or doing any wrong during Hajj, he or she will have his or her sins forgiven. Millions of Muslims gather together in one place where they are tested to show how well they can treat each other. This sheds light on the ethical aspect of hajj which promotes good manners, peace, tolerance and cooperation among Muslims.

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Whoever performs Hajj (pilgrimage) 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 on which his mother gave birth to him.” (Al-Bukhari)

4. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) encouraged Muslims to perform hajj and `Umrah because of the great benefits brought to the pilgrim in this life and Afterlife. In addition to the forgiveness of sins, the hajj and `Umrah are also legal means of alleviating poverty.

Ibn ‘abbas said: “The Messenger of Allah said: ‘Perform Hajj and ‘Umrah consecutively; for they remove poverty and sin as the bellows removes impurity from iron.” (It is a hasan (good) hadith related by Al-Nasa’i)

 

5. For Muslim women, Hajj is a substitute for Jihad as it is not obligatory for them. In fact, this shows the facilitation and moderation of Islamic teachings.

‘Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported:

I said: “O Messenger of Allah! We consider Jihad as the best deed, should we not then go for Jihad?” The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “The best Jihad for you women is Hajj Mabrur (i.e., one accepted by Allah).” (Al-Bukhari)

 

6. It is known that the blessed month of Ramadan is one of the best months. This may be the reason why observing `Umrah in it has a greater reward.

Ibn ‘Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him and his father) reported:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “(The performance of) `Umrah during Ramadan is equivalent to Hajj (i.e. in reward).” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

 

Finally, Hajj and `Umrah have a lot of other benefits and virtues because there are other acts of worship included while performing them. These include performing prayer, fasting, giving to charity, remembrance of Allah, making du’aa (supplication), etc. There are also social benefits as these kinds of worship help solve problems like racism. In fact, a lot of differences disappear there as all people dress the same and observe a lot of acts of worship collectively and at the same time.

 

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