The Virtues and Commandments of Hajj
The month of Dhul-Qa’dah is the second month of Hajj, and it is during this month that most pilgrims embark on their journey of Hajj. It is in this month that the preparations and movements of those intending to perform Hajj become apparent, even though Hajj itself is performed in the month of Dhul-Hijjah.
Hajj holds great emphasis, importance, and significance in Islam, and abandoning it is considered a violation of the fifth and final pillar of Islam, which is the completion of Hajj by visiting the House of Allah Ta’ala (Kaaba).
Hajj is the greatest act of worship in the sight of Allah Ta’ala. Many scholars have stated that from Prophet Adam to Prophet Muhammad, (عليهم السلام). All or most of the noble prophets performed Hajj. Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), performed Hajj in the year 10 AH (After Hijra) along with a large gathering of his Companions, known as ” حَجَّةُ الْوِدَاعُ “ (The Farewell Pilgrimage).
روی آن آدم عليه السلام حج أربعين سنة من الهند ماشيا وأن جبريل قال له : إن الملائكة كانوا يطوفون قبلك بهذا البيت سبعة آلاف سنة وادعى ابن إسحاق أنه لم يبعث الله تعالى نبيا بعد إبراهيم إلا حج، والذى صرح به غيره أنه ما من نبي إلا حج خلافا لمن استثنى هو داود وصالحا عليهما الصلاة والسلام (روح المعانی)
And it is called “Hajjatul Wida” (The Farewell Pilgrimage) because after this Hajj, the Prophet (ﷺ), bid farewell to the world and depart. During this Hajj, the Prophet (ﷺ), delivered comprehensive and valuable advice to the Ummah (Muslim community), which encompassed matters of guidance and separation, similar to the guidance given by a caller who is about to depart.
When was the obligation of Hajj revealed?
There are different opinions among the scholars regarding the time when the obligation of Hajj was revealed. One opinion states that it was revealed in the 5th year after Hijra, another opinion suggests the 6th year, a third opinion mentions the 7th year, a fourth opinion states the 8th year, and a fifth opinion suggests the 9th year after Hijra as the time when Hajj became obligatory. Among these opinions, the majority of scholars consider the 6th year after Hijra as the most widely accepted view regarding the obligation of Hajj.
Importance of Hajj in the Quran and Sunnah
The Quran and Sunnah emphasize the importance of Hajj to a great extent. Harsh punishment and warning of a severe consequence are mentioned for those who are capable of performing Hajj but neglect it. In the Noble Quran, Allah Ta’ala says in Qur’an:
فِيهِ ءَايَـٰتٌۢ بَيِّنَـٰتٌۭ مَّقَامُ إِبْرَٰهِيمَ ۖ وَمَن دَخَلَهُۥ كَانَ ءَامِنًۭا ۗ وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى ٱلنَّاسِ حِجُّ ٱلْبَيْتِ مَنِ ٱسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلًۭا ۚ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَنِىٌّ عَنِ ٱلْعَـٰلَمِينَIn it there are clear signs: The Station of Ibrāhīm! Whoever enters it is secure. As a right of Allah, it is obligatory on the people to perform Hajj of the House – on everyone who has the ability to manage (his) way to it. If one disbelieves, then Allah is independant of all the worlds. (3:97)
The person who outright and explicitly denies and rejects the obligation of Hajj, considering it non-obligatory, is indeed included in the category of those who deny and reject. It is evident that such a person has stepped outside the boundaries of Islam and falls into the category of disbelief. The term “kufr” (disbelief) accurately applies to such an individual who denies and rejects. It is applicable to someone who believes in the obligation of Hajj in principle but fails to perform it despite having the means and ability. Such a person is also considered a denier practically. The usage of “kufr” and “inkar” (denial) in relation to their actions is justified. Although they are not actually outside the fold of Islam, they resemble disbelievers in their actions.
The mentioned verse carries a severe warning for those individuals who, despite having the means and ability, do not perform Hajj. By neglecting this obligation, they resemble disbelievers in their conduct. The word “kufr” (disbelief) is used to describe their attitude towards the act of Hajj, despite their capability. The verse “فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ عَنِ الْعَالَمِينَ” emphasizes that Allah Ta’ala is independent of the entire universe, implying that those ungrateful and disobedient individuals who perform any deed or act while disregarding Allah’s command, do not concern Him.
In the Noble Quran, there is a directive from Allah that states:
وَأَذِّن فِى ٱلنَّاسِ بِٱلْحَجِّ يَأْتُوكَ رِجَالًۭا وَعَلَىٰ كُلِّ ضَامِرٍۢ يَأْتِينَ مِن كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيقٍۢ ٢٧
and announce among people about (the obligation of) Hajj, so that they should come to you on foot, and on every camel turned lean, traveling through every distant hilly pathway, (22:27)
The meaning of the passage is that those who undertake long journeys from distant places will bear the physical marks of their extensive travels (in the form of dust and exhaustion) when they arrive.
لَمَّا فَرَغَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ مِنْ بِنَاءِ الْبَيْتِ قَالَ: رَبِّ قَدْ فَرَغْتُ فَقَالَ : أَذِنُ فِي النَّاسِ بِالْحَقِّ، قَالَ: رَبِّ وَمَا يَبْلُغُ صَوْتِي؟ قَالَ: أَذِنَ وَعَلَى الْبَلَاغُ قَالَ: رَبِّ كَيْفَ أَقُولُ؟ قَالَ: قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ، كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْحَجُ، حَجُّ الْبَيْتِ الْعَتِيقِ فَسَمِعَهُ مَنْ بَيْنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ أَلَا تَرَى أَنَّهُمْ يَجِيئونَ مِنْ أَقْصَى الْأَرْضِ يُلَبُونَ؟ (مستدرک حاکم)
When Prophet Ibrahim (علیہ الصلاۃ والسلام) completed the construction of the House of Allah Ta’ala (Kaaba), he supplicated, “O my Lord, I have completed the construction of the House (Kaaba), so make this known among the people.” Allah Ta’ala commanded him, “Proclaim the obligation of Hajj among the people.” Prophet Ibrahim (علیہ الصلاۃ والسلام) asked, “O my Lord, will my voice reach the people?” Allah Ta’ala replied, “You proclaim, and it is upon Us to make the voice reach them.” Prophet Ibrahim (علیہ الصلاۃ والسلام) then asked, “O my Lord, how should I proclaim?” Allah instructed him to say, “O people, the obligation of Hajj has been made incumbent upon you for the House of Allah (Kaaba).” Prophet Ibrahim (علیہ الصلاۃ والسلام) made this proclamation in the manner instructed by Allah Ta’ala. All those between the heavens and the earth heard the proclamation of Prophet Ibrahim (علیہ الصلاۃ والسلام). Don’t you see how people from distant lands come, reciting the talbiyah (saying) while marching in groups, for Hajj and Umrah? This is the impact of that proclamation. (Mastadrak Hakim)
And it is narrated in some traditions from Ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنه) that Allah Almighty made the proclamation of Prophet Ibrahim’s obligation of Hajj reach the souls of all people as a miraculous event until the Day of Resurrection. Since then, for thousands of years, those who come for Hajj to the House of Allah (Kaaba) have possessed the same characteristic. Even during the long era of ignorance that followed the time of Prophet ‘Eesa (علیہ السلام), the Arab people, although they were afflicted with idolatry, still observed the obligation of Hajj.
وَعَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: ” بُنِيَ الْإِسْلَامُ عَلَى خَمْسٍ: شَهَادَةِ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَإِقَامِ الصَّلَاةِ وَإِيتَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ وَالْحَجِّ وَصَوْمِ رَمَضَانَ ”
Ibn ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه) reported the messenger of Allah said, “Islam is based on five things: the testimony that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is His servant and messenger, the observance of the prayer, the payment of zakat, the Pilgrimage, and the fast during Ramadan.” (Bukhari and Muslim.) (Mishkat al-Masabih)
There are authentic narrations and chains of transmission that convey this information. It is evident from this that Hajj is among the foundational pillars of Islam, upon which the structure of Islam is built.
There is a narration from Umar (رضي الله عنه) that states that the angel Jibriel (عليه السلام) asked the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) a series of questions, and the Prophet (ﷺ) provided answers to them. One of the questions was about Islam, and the Prophet (ﷺ) replied:
“Jibriel (عليه السلام) asked, ‘O Muhammad (ﷺ), inform me about Islam.’ The Prophet (ﷺ) said, ‘Islam is to testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah Ta’ala, and Muhammad (ﷺ) is the Messenger of Allah Ta’ala, to establish prayer, to give zakat (obligatory charity), to fast during the month of Ramadan, and to perform Hajj (pilgrimage) if one is able to do so.'” (Sahih Muslim)
This narration highlights the essential components of Islam, which include the testimony of faith, prayer, charity, fasting, and Hajj for those who are capable.
قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: أَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ، وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ، وَحُجُوا واعْتَمِرُوا ، وا يُسْتَقَمُ بِكُمُ (المعجم الكبير للطبراني)
The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “Establish prayer, give zakat (obligatory charity), perform Hajj, and Umrah. Through these acts of worship and righteous deeds, steadfastness will be granted” (Tabarani). The mention of Hajj along with prayer and zakat, and the attainment of steadfastness through these actions, indicates the importance of Hajj.