What is haj?
Pilgrimage is the fifth pillar among the basic pillars of Islam. Hajj is distinguished by the fact that it also brings together the teachings of the other four pillars.
Language defines Hajj as the intention to visit a "sacred".
The juristic definition Hajj is to visit specific places at specific times with specific actions.
The virtue of Hajj:
Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
"Whoever offers Hajj for Allah’s sake without committing obscenity or acting sinfully will return as pure as the day he was born".
The conditions for the obligation (wujub) of Al Hajj:
- be a Muslim
- To have a sound mind (sanity)
- The ability (to perform Hajj)
- To be free
- To be an adult
Ability includes the following:
- Physical health
- Road safety
- A woman must be accompanied by either her husband or a mahram (a person whom she can't marry)
- A widow has to pass the "Iddah" period.
Conditions for the correct performance of Al Hajj:
- Being a Muslim
- The correct timing (the time for Ihram)
- The correct place (the site for Ihram)
- Common sense
- Sound mind (sanity)
- To perform the duties himself, unless for a valid execuse
- No Sexual intercouse
The three types of Hajj:
It is the intention to offer Hajj only.
The type of Hajj where a pilgrim starts first by performing 'Umrah (the Ihram for 'Umrah starts from his country, when he finishes 'Umrah he is released, then makes Hajj later with an Ihram from Makkah).
The pilgrim following Tamattu' is so called as he enjoys freedom from the requirements of "Ihram" between the 'Umrah and the Hajj.
3- Al Qiran:
It is the intention to offer both Hajj and 'Umrah together (i.e. the pilgrim enters into the state of Ihram for both Hajj and 'Umrah together).
Allah says : "Whoever performs 'Umrah [during the hajj months] followed by hajj [offers] what can be obtained with ease of sacrificial animals. And whoever cannot find [or afford such an animal] – then a fast of three days during hajj and of seven when you have returned [home]. Those are ten complete [days]. This is for those whose family is not in the area of al-Masjid al-Haram."
Pilgrims who offer either Qiran or Tamattu' Hajj must offer a sheep (sacrificial animal) as thanks to Allah who helped them offer both 'Umrah and Hajj during the period of Hajj in the same trip to the Holy lands. But if he couldn't afford a sacrificial animal, the pilgrim has to fast for three days during the Hajj and seven days when he returns home.