Hajj in a right way
Once in a lifetime, who can afford (3:97) shall observe complete Hajj (2:196) and must be observed during the four Sacred Months – Zul-Hijjah, Muharram, Safar, & Rabi` I (12th, 1st, 2nd, 3rd months) (2:197; 9:2, 9:36), and it has 2 parts: Umrah and Hajj. However, `Umrah can also be observed at other times as well:
[3:97] In it (Ka’bah) are clear signs: the station of Abraham. Anyone who enters it shall be granted safe passage. The people owe it to God that they shall observe Hajj to this shrine, when they can afford it. As for those who disbelieve, God does not need anyone.
[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 nearby the Sacred Masjid. And you shall fear God, and know that God is severe in enforcing the retribution.
[2:197] Hajj shall be observed in the specified months. Whoever sets out to observe Hajj shall refrain from sexual intercourse, misconduct, and arguments throughout Hajj. Whatever good you do, God is fully aware thereof. As you prepare your provisions for the journey, the best provision is righteousness. You shall observe Me, O you who possess intelligence.
[9:2] Therefore, roam the earth freely for four months, and know that you cannot escape from God, and that God humiliates the disbelievers.
[9:36] The count of months, as far as God is concerned, is twelve. This has been God’s law, since the day He created the heavens and the earth. Four of them are sacred. This is the perfect religion; you shall not wrong your souls (by fighting) during the Sacred Months. However, you may declare all-out war against the idol worshipers (even during the Sacred Months), when they declare all-out war against you, and know that God is on the side of the righteous.
Hajj (pilgrimage) begins with a bath or shower, followed by a state of sanctity called “Ihraam,” where the male pilgrim wears seamless sheets of clothes and the woman pilgrim wears a modest dress (2:196). Throughout Hajj, the pilgrim abstains from sexual intercourse, vanities such as shaving and cutting the hair, arguments, misconduct, and bad language (2:197) and hunting (5:1). However, cleanliness, bathing, and regular hygiene practices are encouraged. Upon arrival at the Sacred Mosque in Mecca, the pilgrim walks around the Ka`bah seven times (tawaaf), while glorifying and praising God (2:125, 22:26-29). The common formula known as Talbiyah is: “Labbayka Allaahumma Labbayk” (I have responded to You, My God, I have responded to You). “Labbayka Laa Shareeka Laka Labbayk” (I have responded to You, I proclaim that You have no other partners, I have responded to You). The next step known as Sa’i is to walk a half-mile distance between the knolls of Safa and Marwah seven times, with occasional trotting (2:158). This completes the `Umrah portion of the pilgrimage.
[2:125] We have rendered the shrine (the Ka`bah) a focal point for the people, and a safe sanctuary. You may use Abraham’s shrine as a prayer house. We commissioned Abraham and Ismail: “You shall purify My house for those who visit, those who live there, and those who bow and prostrate.”
[5:1] O you who believe, you shall fulfill your covenants. Permitted for you to eat are the livestock, except those specifically prohibited herein. You shall not permit hunting throughout Hajj pilgrimage. God decrees whatever He wills.
[22:26] We appointed Abraham to establish the Shrine: “You shall not idolize any other god beside Me, and purify My shrine for those who visit it, those who live near it, and those who bow and prostrate
[22:27] “And proclaim that the people shall observe Hajj pilgrimage. They will come to you walking or riding on various exhausted (means of transportation). They will come from the farthest locations.”
[22:28] They may seek commercial benefits, and they shall commemorate God’s name during the specified days for providing them with livestock. “Eat therefrom and feed the despondent and the poor.”
[22:29] They shall complete their obligations, fulfill their vows, and visit the ancient shrine.
[2:158] The knolls of Safa and Marwah are among the rites decreed by God. Anyone who observes Hajj or `Umrah commits no error by traversing the distance between them. If one volunteers more righteous works, then God is Appreciative, Omniscient.
The pilgrim then goes to `Arafat to spend a day of worship, meditation, and glorification of God, from dawn to sunset and after sunset, the pilgrim goes to Muzdalifah where the Night Prayer is observed, (2:198), and 21 pebbles are picked up for the symbolic stoning of Satan at Mina. From Muzdalifah, the pilgrim goes to Mina to spend two or three days (2:203). On the first morning at Mina, the pilgrim offers an animal sacrifice to feed the poor (22:36) and to commemorate God’s intervention to save Ismail and Abraham from Satan’s trick (37:107-108). The stoning ceremonies symbolize the condemnation of Satan to be disobedient to God (15:34-35) as well as rejection of Satan’s plans and tricks being our great enemy (17:62), and are done by throwing seven pebbles at each of three stations while glorifying God. The pilgrim then returns to Mecca and observes a farewell circumvolution of the Ka`bah seven times and completes the Hajj.
[2:198] You commit no error by seeking provisions from your Lord (through commerce). When you file from `Arafaat, you shall commemorate God at the Sacred Location (of Muzdalifah). You shall commemorate Him for guiding you; before this, you had gone astray.
[2:203] You shall commemorate God for a number of days (in Mena); whoever hastens to do this in two days commits no sin, and whoever stays longer commits no sin, so long as righteousness is maintained. You shall observe God, and know that before Him you will be gathered.
[22:36] The animal offerings are among the rites decreed by God for your own good. You shall mention God’s name on them while they are standing in line. Once they are offered for sacrifice, you shall eat therefrom and feed the poor and the needy. This is why we subdued them for you, that you may show your appreciation.
Note:The steps of Hajj are mostly found in sura Al-Baqarah while the placement of the order of animal sacrifice in sura Al-Hajj confirms that this ritual is only decreed for the pilgrimsas per (2:196).
The history of animal sacrifice and condemnation of Satan being our ardent enemy by symbolic stoning at Mena is found in the following verses:
[37:107] We ransomed (Ismail) by substituting an animal sacrifice.
[37:108] And we preserved his history for subsequent generations.
[15:34] He said, “Therefore, you must get out; you are banished.
[15:35] You have incurred My condemnation until the Day of Judgment.”
[17:62] He (Satan) said, “Since You have honored him (Adam) over me, if You respite me till the Day of Resurrection, I (Satan) will possess all his descendants, except a few.”
Distortions in Hajj
Like all the rituals of Islam, prophet Abraham was also the first receiver of Hajj ritual. He passed these rituals from one generation to another. Corruptions found its way to these rituals over the years. There are many distortions and corruptions around Hajj inside (pilgrims) and outside (non-pilgrims) of it but here are the ones that have worse impact on the ritual: (1) custom visit to prophet’s tomb, (2) alteration of sacred months, (3) celebration of Eid-ul-Adhaa (Festival of sacrifice) for non-pilgrims, (4) performing Hajj on behalf of the dead relatives and elderly persons, and (5) limiting to observe Hajj only during a few days in Zul-Hijjah.
1. Pilgrims nullify their Hajj through custom visit to prophet’s tomb
Most of today’s Muslim pilgrims make it a custom to visit to the prophet Muhammad’s tomb at Medina where they commit the most flagrant acts of idolatry and nullify their Hajj. Thus, they get back home from Hajj without having any gain or good for their souls except to have pleasure of sharing their Hajj experience and the story of visiting to Islamic historical places with others. I believe it might be good for us to know that the Quran consistently talks about “The Sacred Mosque,” while today’s Muslims talk about “The Two Sacred Mosques!” In a glaring act of idolatry, the Muslims have set up Muhammad’s tomb as another “Sacred Mosque!” which is a blasphemous violation of the Quran. In fact, there are about 16 verses in the Quran wherein the Ka’bah has been designated as only the Sacred Masjid (Al-Masjid Al-Haraam) but the following verse is cited just an example.
[22:25] Surely, those who disbelieve and repulse others from the path of God, and from the Sacred Masjid that we designated for all the people – be they natives or visitors – and seek to pollute it and corrupt it, we will afflict them with painful retribution.
2. Alteration of Sacred months with regular months
God has ordered us to observe Hajj in four sacred months of the lunar (Islamic) calendar but these sacred months have been altered with the regular months as the Muslim World considers Rajab, Zul-Qi’dah, Zul-Hijjah, and Muharram (7th, 11th, 12th, 1st months) to be the Sacred Months disregarding the severe warning about the alternating of the sacred months with the regular months given in the Quran (9:37).
[9:37] Altering the Sacred Months is a sign of excessive disbelief; it augments the straying of those who have disbelieved. They alternate the Sacred Months and the regular months, while preserving the number of months consecrated by God. They thus violate what God has consecrated. Their evil works are adorned in their eyes. God does not guide the disbelieving people.
However, a thorough review indicates that the four sacred months are Zul-Hijjah, Muharram, Safar, & Rabi` I (12th, 1st, 2nd, 3rd months).During review it is found that there is no dispute with Zul-Hijjah as one of the four sacred months as we all are comfortable with having Zul-Hijjah as one of the four sacred months as the name of this month implies connection with Hajj. Rabi` is derived from the root word ‘Araba’ which means 4. There are 2 months in the lunar calendar with the name Rabi`; the 3rd month – Rabi` I and the 4thmonth – Rabi` II as the 1st and 2nd months are Muharram and Safar respectively. Use of the word Rabi` (implying 4) for the fourth calendar month is understandable, but why is the third month also has the word Rabi` in it. It is fourth of what? Then it makes sense to us that It is the fourth of the 4 sacred months beginning with Zul-Hijjah (12th month in the lunar calendar). In addition, there is a hint in the Quran especially in (9:2) that the sacred months are continuous. Hence, the four sacred months are Zul-Hijjah, Muharram, Safar, & Rabi` I (12th, 1st, 2nd, 3rd months) instead of Rajab, Zul-Qi’dah, Zul-Hijjah, and Muharram (7th, 11th, 12th, 1st months). These names of the 4 sacred months have also been confirmed with the Quran’s mathematical code from the verse connected with Hajj (2:197) and the gemetrical values of the letters in four sacred month names.
3. Eid-ul-Adhaa (Festival of sacrifice)
Eid-ul-Adhaa is not a religious requirement as practiced by traditional Muslims involving 2 rites: (1) the Eid Prayer and (2) animal sacrifice on the same day that the Hajj pilgrims also perform the rite of an animal sacrifice at Mina. While offering an animal sacrifice is indeed a part of the rites of Hajj, it is only meant for the pilgrims at Hajj, not for the non-pilgrims, i.e., the Muslims who are not in Hajj.
As regards the “Eid” Prayer mentioned above is illegal and another innovation because there is no such prayer, just like there is no “Eid-ul-Fitr” prayer practiced by traditional Muslims on the first morning after the month of Ramadan. In Islam, there are only five daily Salat (Contact) Prayers consisting of 17 units from Saturday to Thursday and 15 units on Friday having 2 units of sermon and 2 units of Jumu’ah Prayer instead of 4 units of Zahur Prayer decreed by God, independent of whether a person is at Hajj or observing the month of Ramadan fasting or any other time in the year.
For those who are not performing Hajj, they are not required to offer an animal sacrifice, and by insisting that it is a religious requirement constitutes a man-made innovation. Logically, if non-pilgrims want to offer an animal sacrifice to mark the completion of Hajj (which they are not performing themselves), then they should also wear pilgrim clothes, carry out the Shaitan stoning rite, and whatever else is done at Hajj. But they don’t do that other than an animal sacrifice and an illegal “Eid-ul-Adhaa” Salat Prayer. They spend the rest of the day celebrating in the finest clothes while the pilgrims at Hajj continue to be dressed in a state of Ihraam, worship etc. In addition, while God has prohibited hunting for the pilgrims to conserve the wildlife, He would order the non-pilgrims all over the world to offer an animal sacrifice (livestock) at Hajj time should not make any sense to them who volunteer to use their common sense.
Moreover, the concept of a single day for celebration of Eid-ul-Adhaa is also incorrect. As per Quran, God has allowed four months within which Hajj can be performed. This is a very practical system because large volumes of people can come at different times and perform this once in a lifetime requirement comfortably instead of struggling to manage the crowds. This also clearly points out that you cannot have a single day to perform any rite because people will have a different day of starting and ending sacrifice etc.
However, we should know that there is nothing wrong in festivities to celebrate some occasion or show our appreciation to God. Like we may wish to feed the poor or host a feast for friends and family. Whatever the occasion, as long as we don’t falsely attribute it to God/religion, it is fine to enjoy God’s bounties as we wish (7:32). Unfortunately, traditional Muslims believe it is a religious requirement to have Eid-ul-Adhaa activities. However, when it comes to enjoying feasts, we may wish to know that God prohibits the eating of any food that is dedicated to other than God and should also remember to eat upon mentioning God’s name (6:121):
[7:32] Say, “Who prohibited the nice things God has created for His creatures, and the good provisions?” Say, “Such provisions are to be enjoyed in this life by those who believe. Moreover, the good provisions will be exclusively theirs on the Day of Resurrection.” We thus explain the revelations for people who know.
[6:121] Do not eat from that upon which the name of God has not been mentioned, for it is an abomination. The devils inspire their allies to argue with you; if you obey them, you will be idol worshipers.
4. Hajj by a Deputy!
In spite of clear assurances in the Quran, we find Muslims today doing Hajj and Umrah on behalf of their dead relatives or the elderly persons. They do that in accordance with various alleged hadiths that claim you can do Hajj, fast and also give Zakat on behalf of your dead relatives! These hadiths are in direct contradiction to the Quran and cannot possibly originate from prophet Muhammad who followed the Quran.
God asserts the fact that each soul will be held accountable only to what it has done (53:39).Hence, all humans are individually responsible and accountable to God for their actions on Earth to redeem themselves (90:4). Everyone is required to work for his or her own soul, and the laws and practices of Islam help the soul growth of the individual who upholds them. There is no proxy system with regards to religious obligations and responsibility to grow the soul. If it were okay for others to do the religious practices for others, people would do Hajj for all their friends and relatives who couldn’t make it, and several people would not make the extra effort to make it sometime in their lives. Or people would do Salat for those who couldn’t bend/prostrate, or fast for those who couldn’t…and so on. Therefore one person cannot do Hajj for another. One person cannot commemorate or show appreciation or ask for forgiveness of the sins of another at Hajj because no one can really know the mindset, soul quality or what the other has done wrong etc. And if the person could do this for another, God will ask why the person is not using the precious for his own forgiveness, commemoration etc.
[53:39] Every human being is responsible for his own works.
[90:4] We created the human being to work hard (to redeem himself).
Now, what we know that God has made the law and He is absolutely aware that some people will not be able to make Hajj once in a lifetime. If it could be substituted, He would have allowed it so. Interestingly, the typical words recited throughout the Hajj “Labbayaka…..”are of an individual nature, i. e., “I”. A pilgrim says “I have responded to You…,” NOT “he” or “we” have responded to You.” Is not it an another example for us that everyone is in charge of his/her own soul? This might be another proof for us that only the individual has access to the God’s bigger universal system to exercise his soul saving activities in a right way to serve it to make it to Heaven.
5. Limiting to observe Hajj only a few days in Zul-Hijjah
Hajj can be observed in four months (2:197) but some of the Muslim scholars corrupted the law of God and reduced the time of Hajj from four months to the first ten days of the 12th month. They have justified their claims by misinterpreting the meaning of couple of verses in the Quran (2:203, 22:28):
[ 2:197] Hajj shall be observed in the specified months. Whoever sets out to observe Hajj shall refrain from sexual intercourse, misconduct, and arguments throughout Hajj. Whatever good you do, God is fully aware thereof. As you prepare your provisions for the journey, the best provision is righteousness. You shall observe Me, O you who possess intelligence.
[2:203] You shall commemorate God for a number of days (at Mena); whoever hastens to do this in two days commits no sin, and whoever stays longer commits no sin, so long as righteousness is maintained. You shall observe God, and know that before Him you will be gathered.
[22:28] They may seek commercial benefits, and they shall commemorate God’s name during the specified days for providing them with livestock. “Eat therefrom and feed the despondent and the poor.”
Note: The above two verses talks about the duration of pilgrims at Mena to complete the specified Hajj rituals at Mena such as symbolic stoning of Satan and animal sacrifice. Hence, any misinterpretation of these verses is a satanic trick.
In brief, once in lifetime, Hajj is an opportunity for an well to do to purify his soul. Maintaining the state of Ihraam, reciting Talbiyah and refraining from sexual intercourse, misconduct, arguments and hunting are required for the pilgrims throughout the Hajj. There are 2 parts of Hajj: (a) Umrah and (b) Hajj. When the pilgrims complete the Umrah portion at Mecca, i.e., (1) Tawaaf (circumvolution of the Ka`bah seven times) and (2) Sa’i (walking the half-mile distance between the knolls of Safa and Marwah seven times), then they proceed for completing the Hajj portion, i.e., (1) the whole day of commemorating God at Arafat, (2) Observing Night prayer and making night halt at Muzdalifah, (3) symbolic stoning of Satan and (4) animal sacrifice at Mena and finally, observing a farewell circumvolution of the Ka`bah seven times at Mecca to complete the Hajj. The Hajj that starts with the circumvolution of the Ka’bah seven times, also ends with the circumvolution of the Ka’bah seven times and thus, we may reflect on divineness in the symmetry between starting and ending of Hajj.
Like other religious rites, the distortion is also found in Hajj. Most of today’s Muslim pilgrims make it a custom to visit to prophet Muhammad’s tomb where they commit the most flagrant acts of idolatry and nullify their Hajj. The four sacred months of lunar calendar have been alternated with the regular months despite severe warning in the Quran. The sacred months are restored to Zul-Hijjah, Muharram, Safar, & Rabi` I (12th, 1st, 2nd, 3rd months) based on logical decision, which has also been confirmed from the Quran and by the mathematical interpretation, the knowledge given to the people of this generation. The Eid-ul-Adhaa (Eid prayer and animal sacrifice) as practiced by the non-pilgrims, is man-made, and those who insist on continuing it would be idol worshipers. Hajj on behalf of someone is illogical as there is no proxy system in religious obligations. The time of Hajj has been reduced from four months to the first ten days of Zul-Hijjah (12th month) is a direct violation of God’s commandment. The price of abandoning God’s laws are many problems and disasters have been happening in and around the Hajj season because of the overcrowding due to limiting the Hajj time to only ten days instead of 4 months! If Hajj is spread over the four months as commanded by God in the Quran, all the millions of Muslims who wish to make it to Hajj would have a fair chance to do so, and the overcrowding with all its multiple problems and difficulties would be eliminated.
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.