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An overview of Hajj during the Sacred Months

Hajj at a glance

  • Hajj consists of two parts: Hajj and Umrah. The steps of normal Hajj are: (1) maintaining the state of sanctity (Ihraam) throughout the Hajj, (2) circling the Ka’ba seven times (tawaaf), (3) walking the distance between Safa and Marwah (sa’i), (4) head shaving or shortening hair (5) going to Arafat for a day long commemoration of God, (6) Observing Night Prayer and staying overnight at Muzdalifa, (7) offering animal sacrifice and (8) stoning of Satan staying at Mina, and (9) circling the Ka’ba seven times to mark the completion of Hajj (farewell tawaaf). It is noteworthy that the circling of the Ka’ba seven times as well as walking the distance between the Safa and Marwah seven times is Umrah portion of Hajj. However, the Hajj is an annual event in the sacred months while the Umrah can be performed at any time of the year.
  • God has commanded the able Muslims to perform Hajj to the Ka’ba located in Mecca in sura Ali Imran but its basic requirements and steps are given in sura Al Baqarah while restrictions are found in sura Al Ma’edah and in sura Bara’ah. The commandment of offering animal sacrifice is in sura Al Hajj while history is associated with the rite from sura Al Saffat and sura Al Fath. However, the facts like prohibition of hunting throughout Hajj for conservation of wild life, alternating the sacred months with other months is a sin, extended Hajj time period, placement of order of animal sacrifice in sura Al Hajj and livestock preservation dictate that God has decreed the animal sacrifice for the pilgrims not for the non-pilgrims.
  • It is also found in the verses of the very sura Al Hajj that Abraham is the one who had been assigned the location of the Ka’bah to worship God alone and had been ordered to proclaim Hajj to the people to the House including the order of animal sacrifice with livestock to eat and feed the needy and how to carry out it on behalf of the pilgrims while the verses of the sura Al Saffat confirm the reflection of the historical event to the Hajj ritual.
  • The Quran has detailed out all the ceremonial acts along with the historical events related to the Hajj including who are to do, what to do, how to do, when to do and where to do to complete this ritual:

1. The first house was built in Mecca to perform Hajj for the able Muslims (3:96-97) coming from different locations using any kind of transport (22:27):

[3:96] The first House established for the people is the one in Becca, a blessed and guidance for all the people.
[3:97] In it are clear signs, the station of Abraham, and whoever enters it is safe. And the people are to perform Hajj to the House for God, whoever is able to make a journey to it. But whoever has disbelieved, then God does not need any of the people.
[22:27] And proclaim the Hajj to the people; they will come to you on foot and on every transport; they will come from every farthest location.

2. When Abraham and Ismael raised the foundations of the House, they prayed to their Lord to accept it along with to make them submitters to Him and to teach them the rites as well as to guide and purify their descendants through sending messenger (2:127 -129):

[2:127] And when Abraham and Ismael raised the foundations of the House, “Our Lord, accept this from us. You are the Hearer, the Omniscient.”
[2:128] “Our Lord, make us submitters to You, and from our descendants let there be a community of submitters to You. And show us our rites and redeem us. You are the Redeemer, Most Merciful.
[2:129] “Our Lord, and raise up in them a messenger to recite to them Your revelations, and teach them the scripture and the wisdom, and purify them. You are the Almighty, Most Wise.”

3. The timing of Hajj is determined by the new moon that signals the beginning of Hajj (2:189) in the next four sacred months while sexual intercourse, misconduct and arguments are prohibited (2:197) but alternating the sacred months is a sin (9:36-37):

[2:189] They ask you about the new moons. Say, “They are measures of timing for the people as well as for the Hajj.” And it is not righteousness that you come to the houses from their backs, but it is righteous for the one who fears God and comes to the houses from their doors, and you shall fear God so that you may be successful.
[2:197] The Hajj can be performed in the specified months. So whoever decides to perform the Hajj therein, then there shall be no sexual relations, no wickedness and no vain arguments throughout the Hajj. And whatever good you do, God is aware of it; and bring provision, indeed, the best provision is righteousness. And you shall fear Me O people of understanding
[9:36] The count of the months with God is twelve months in ordinance of God from the day He created the heavens and the earth; four of them are sacred. That is the perfect religion, so do not wrong yourselves therein. And fight the idol worshipers all together as they fight you all together, and know that God is with the righteous.
[9:37] Indeed, postponing the sacred months is an increase in disbelief as those who disbelieve are led astray by it. They alternate it every other year adjusting the number of months what God has made sacred. Thus, they violate what God has decreed as sacred months. Their evil works have been adorned for them, and God does not guide the disbelieving people.

4. The Hajj is a great opportunity for the pilgrims to purify themselves through repentance to God and asking His forgiveness keeping in mind that idol worship nullifies our all works and we cannot escape God, and the disbelievers will have a painful retribution (9:3 &19):

[9:3] And a declaration from God and His messenger to the people on the day of the great Hajj that God is not responsible for the idol worshipers and so is His messenger. If you repent, then it is better for you, but if you turn away, then know that you cannot escape God. And inform those who disbelieve in a painful retribution.
[9:19] Do you consider the giving of water to the pilgrims and the taking care of the Sacred Masjid are as same as the one who believes in God and the Last Day and strives in the cause of God? They are not equal to God, And God does not guide the wicked people.

5. God has specified what is lawful and what is unlawful around the Hajj. He has commanded us not to violate the God given rites concerning the sacred month, hunting game animal, animal sacrifice or what is garlanded, those coming to the Sacred House and inciting hatred for a people when prevented from going to the Sacred Masjid, helping one another (5:1-2):

[5:1] O you who believe, you shall fulfill your covenants. Made lawful for you are the livestock, except that which is specifically mentioned to you, not being permitted to hunting while you are in the state of Ihram. Indeed, God decrees whatever He wills.
[5:2] O you who believe, do not violate the rites of God, nor the sacred month, nor the animal sacrifice, nor what is garlanded with, nor those coming to the Sacred House for seeking bounty from their Lord and blessing. And when you come out of Ihram, then you may hunt. And let not you incite the hatred for a people when you are prevented from going to the Sacred Masjid that you transgress. And help one another in righteousness and piety, but do not help one another in committing sin and aggression. And you shall fear God, indeed, God is severe in enforcing the retribution.

6. Completing Hajj under both unusual and secure condition with no fear including exception and expiation:

[2:196] And you shall complete the Hajj and the Umrah for God. But if you are prevented, then you shall make an animal sacrifice what is easy to obtain, and do not shave your heads until the animal sacrifice reaches its destination. But whoever among you is ill or has an ailment of his head, then you may expiate either by fasting or giving a charity or a sacrifice. And when you are secure, then whoever continues the Umrah to the Hajj, then he shall make an animal sacrifice what is easy to obtain. But whoever has no animal sacrifice, then you shall fast for three days during the Hajj and seven when you return. This is ten in all; that is for him whose family does not live near the Sacred Masjid. And you shall fear God, and know that God is severe in enforcing the retribution.

7. Maintaining a state of Ihram throughout the Hajj while hunting is prohibited but if anyone kills the game animal deliberately, then he is to expiate with the same from livestock judged by two equitable men. The game of the sea has been made lawful while the game of the land has been made unlawful (5:94-96):

[5:94] O you who believe, God will test you with some of the hunting that can be reachable to your hands and your spears, so that God may make evident who honors Him in the unseen. So whoever has transgressed after that, then there is a painful retribution for him.
[5:95] O you who believe, do not kill any game while you are in a state of Ihram. And whoever among you has killed it deliberately, then the recompense is to expiate with the same from the livestock that is equivalent to the game he killed being judged by two equitable men among you, as an offering reaching the Ka’bah or an expiation feeding the needy persons or its equivalent in fasting so that he may perceive the consequence of his deed. God has pardoned what has past but whoever returns, then God will avenge from him. And God is Almighty, Avenger.
[5:96] Made lawful for you is the game of the sea and its food as provision for you as well as for the travellers but made unlawful for you is the game of the land as long as you are in a state of Ihram. And you shall fear God to whom you will be gathered

8. Circling the Ka’ba seven times known as tawaf (2:125, 22:26):

[2:125] And when we made the House a place of meeting for the people and security, “You shall use the station of Abraham as a prayer house, and we made a covenant with Abraham and Ismael that you shall purify My house for those who go around, those who devote, those who bow and those who prostrate.”
[22:26] And when we assigned to Abraham the location of the House that do not associate anything with Me and you shall purify My House for those who go around, those who devote, those who bow and those who prostrate.

9. Walking the distance between the Safa and Marwah seven times known as sa’i (2:158):

[2:158] The Safa and the Marwah are among the symbols of God. So, whoever performs Hajj to the House or performs Umrah, then there is no blame on him that he traverses between them. And whoever does goodness, then God is Appreciative, Omniscient.

10. Heads shaving or shortening hair (48:27):

[48:27] God has fulfilled His messenger’s vision with truth: “You will enter the Sacred Masjid, God willing, secure, having with your heads shaven and shortened, without having any fear.” Thus, He knew what you did not know, and He granted, besides that a near victory.

11. Visiting Arafaat and making night halt at Muzdalifa for remembering God (2:198-199):

[2:198] There is no sin upon you to seek provision from your Lord. So when you depart from Arafaat, then you remember God at the sacred place. And you shall remember Him as He has guided you, even before you were among those who went astray.
[2:199] Then you shall depart from wherever the people depart, and ask forgiveness of God. God is surely Forgiving, Most Merciful.

12. Staying at Mina at least couple of days for animal sacrifice and symbolic stoning for condemnation of Satan (2:203):

[2:203] And you shall remember God in a number of days. But whoever hurries in two days, then there is no sin upon him; and whoever delays, then there is no sin upon him who is righteous. And you shall fear God, and know that before Him you will be gathered.

13. Offering animal sacrifice with livestock (22: 28, 33 & 36) while both animal sacrifice for God and stoning for condemnation of Satan associated with historical event being the dream of Abraham a satanic trick but it was accepted to be a great test for him when he was going to fulfill it (37:102-108):

[22:28] That they may witness the benefits for themselves and remember God’s name at specified days for what He has provided them with livestock of the animal. So eat from it and feed the needy and the poor
[22:33] In it there are benefits for you for a certain period of time, then their place of sacrifice is to the ancient House.
[22:36] And the livestock, we have made it for you as one of the rites decreed by God wherein there is righteousness for you. So mention God’s name upon it while standing in the line and down at its sides. Then eat from it and feed the poor and the needy. It is thus that we have made it for your service so that you may be appreciative.
[37:102] When he grew enough to work with him, he said, “O my son, I see in a dream that I am sacrificing you. What do you think?” He said, “O my father, do what you are commanded to do. You will find me, God willing, patient.”
[37:103] So when they both submitted, and he put his forehead down.
[37:104] And we called him: “O Abraham.
[37:105] You have fulfilled the dream.” It is thus that we reward the righteous.
[37:106] Indeed, it was a difficult test.
[37:107] And we ransomed him with a great sacrifice.
[37:108] And we left him in the later generations.

14. Circling the Ka’ba seven times to mark the completion of Hajj (farewell tawaaf):

[22:29] Then let them complete their obligations and fulfill their vows, and go around the ancient House.

15. Continuing to remember God and ask Him to give them righteousness both in this world as well as in the Hereafter instead of just for this life even upon completion of Hajj (2:200 -201):

[2:200] And when you completed your rites, then remember God as you remember your fathers or even more. But among the people there are some who say: “Our Lord, give us in this world!”, and they have no share in the Hereafter.
[2:201] And some of them say: “Our Lord, give us righteousness in this world, and righteousness in the Hereafter, and spare us from the retribution of the Fire.”

16. Understanding that none but God has made the Ka’ba the sacred House, the sacred month, the offering and the garlanding (5:97) and the Hajj is an annual event based on lunar year (28:27):

[5:97] God has made the Ka’ba the Sacred House, an establishment for the people, and the sacred month, and the offering and the garlands, that you may know that God knows what is in the heavens and what is in the earth, and that God is aware of all things.
[28:27] He said: “I wish you to marry one of my two daughters that you serve me for eight pilgrimage period of time, but if you complete ten, it will be from your part, and I do not wish to make it difficult for you. God willing, you will find me righteous.”

Mathematical phenomenon

Table 1
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Note 1: In this confirmation with attenuation of the prayer of Abraham and Ismael when they raised the foundations of Ka’bah (2:127) as well as presenting concise historical event of Abraham and his son (37:107-108).

Table 2
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Note 2: The verses related to the prayer of Abraham and Ismael (2:128-129), detailed story of Abraham and his son (37:102-106) and free travel of four months (9:2) are included in the confirmation.

Table 3
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Note 3: The verses related to understanding of who has made the Ka’ba the sacred House, the sacred month, the offering and the garlanding (5:97), and the Hajj is an annual event based on lunar year (28:27) are included in the confirmation.

Four Sacred Months in the lunar calendar

There are three versions of the sacred months around us that are reviewed to find the correct sacred months in the lunar calendar for performing Hajj.

(a) 11th, 12th, 1st and 7th (Dhu al-Qa’dah, Dhu al-Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab)

(b) 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th (Ramadan, Shaw’wal, Dhul Qa’dah, Dhu al-Hijjah).

To support this version to be accurate, there is a mathematical confirmation from the gematrical value of the names of four sacred months (the last four months of the lunar year) being a multiple of 19 => 1091 + 337 + 916 + 753 = 3097 = 19 x 163.
(c) 12th, 1st, 2nd and 3rd (Dhu al-Hijjah, Muharram, Safar, Rabi’I).

To support this version to be accurate, there is a mathematical confirmation from the gematrical value of the names of 4 sacred months as derived with the digits of sura and verse numbers connected with the commandment of observing Hajj in the known months (2:197) being a multiple of 19 => 7006130835 + 40820040 + 9080200 + 200210701630 + 2 + 197 = 207266732904 = 19x10908775416 (see the table below for the details of gematrical values of each month).

Name of Month Arabic Letters in the name Gematrical Values
Dhu al-Hijjah Dhal, Waw, Alif, Laam, Ha, Jeem, Ha (closed) 700 6 1 30 8 3 5
Muharram Meem, Ha, Reh, Meem 40 8 200 40
Safar Saad, Faa, Reh 90 80 200
Rabi al-Awwal (Rabi’ I) Reh, Beh, Yaa, Ayn, Alif, Waw, Laam 200 2 10 70 1 6 30

Conclusion

The Quran has detailed out all the ceremonial acts of Hajj along with the historical events. There is also a clear indication that the ceremonial acts of Hajj are limited to the Sacred House and the locations adjacent to it. The pilgrims are to visit to Arafaat, Muzdalifa and Mina, and the distance of Mina, Muzdalifah and ‘Arafat from the Sacred House is a few kilometers, i.e., Mina is located about 7 km, Muzdalifah at about 10 km and ‘Arafaat is nearly 20 km away from the Sacred Masjid and the distance between Arafat and Muzdalifa is about 7 km.

There are three mathematical confirmations of the verses connected with Hajj consisting of (1) 31 verses across 7 suras, (2) 39 verses across 7 suras and (3) 41 verses across 8 suras. But we have to use our best logic and judgment to understand the verses that are directly connected with the Hajj ritual are mathematically confirmed to fulfill the ceremonial acts of Hajj. A careful review of the verses in connection with Hajj and the scrutiny of the relevant mathematical confirmations indicate that 39 verses across 7 suras covering all aspects of Hajj are directly connected to the Hajj ritual.

There are three versions around us about the sacred months. The sacred months are not continuous in (a) whereas they are continuous in (b) and (c). In the (a) and (b) the sacred months belong to the same lunar year whereas in the (c) these months belong to two lunar years. The (a) is hadith based whereas the (b) and (c) are in light of the Quran. The (b) and (c) are supported by mathematical confirmation whereas the (a) is not supported by anything like that. The mathematical confirmation of (b) is straightforward but that of (c) is not as straightforward as in (b). The beginning month in (a) is Muharram, in (b) is Ramadan and in (c) is Dhu al-Hijjah. All these facts may help us understand the four sacred months wherein Hajj can be performed. The Quran confirms that the sacred months are continuous. Hence, Muharram, Rajab, Dhul Qa’da and Dhul Hijjah are not the correct sacred months in the lunar calendar even Muharram being an important month to signal the beginning of the Hajj. On the other hand, Ramadan, Shaw’wal, Dhul Qa’da and Dhul Hijjah being continuous supported by mathematical confirmation are not the correct sacred months because of the contradiction of the commandment of 3 days fasting during Hajj to substitute the animal sacrifice in an exceptional situation even Ramadan being a significant month for month long obligatory fasting that does not signal the beginning of the Hajj. Thus, Dhul Hijjah, Muharram, Safar and Rabi’I supported by mathematical confirmation are the correct sacred months in the lunar calendar because of Rabi’I being the fourth of sacred months of Hajj as well as Dhul Hijjah being a well-known month to signal the beginning of the Hajj, which can also be supported by the fact that both the beginning month (Dhu al-Hijjah) and the ending month (Rabi al-Awwal) of Hajj consist of 7 Arabic letters.

To understand Hajj and its ceremonial acts are so detailed in the Quran that we do not see such thorough detail in case of other rites such as Salat. Zakat and Siyam. Thus, Hajj is a great opportunity for the pilgrims being once in lifetime event to purify themselves through remembrance and repentance to God as well as asking His forgiveness keeping in mind that idol worship nullifies their all works. However, the extended hajj time period every year, i.e., during the four sacred months (Dhul Hijjah, Muharram, Safar and Rabi’I) is also a great opportunity for those Muslims who wish to fulfill this obligation.
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.
Tafazzal (9/30/2016)