September 1, 2017 has been confirmed as the first day of Eid al-Adha 2017, in KSA, after moon sighting on August 22, 2017.
Saudi Arabia’s High Judicial Court (HJC) has announced that, based on confirmed sightings of the new moon crescent, the first day of the Eid al-Adha ( Feast of Sacrifice ) in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and other Muslim countries will be Friday, September 1, 2017. India and Pakistan will observe it from Saturday, September 2, 2017.
Highlights on Hajj 2017:
According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Mecca will receive a total of 2 million people in this year’s Haj season.
According to the Saudi’s General Directorate of Passports, 1,313,946 Muslims arrived by air, while 79,501 arrived by land. Sea arrivals increased by 33 percent, representing 12,477 pilgrims compared with 7,748 pilgrims in 2016.
Summary on HAJJ and the HAJJ Rituals:
The Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) is one of the five pillars of Islam, the obligations that all Muslims uphold. Every adult Muslim (male or female) who has the physical and financial means is required to travel to Mecca to perform the Hajj once in his or her lifetime. In Mecca, Muslims from all over the world gather in a display of faith, unity, and solidarity by recreating the ritual that the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) performed in his last pilgrimage.
The Hajj must be undertaken with sincerity and out of devotion to God (Allah) and must be performed in accordance with the Prophet Muhammad’s words and deeds (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as described in the Sunnah.
The Hajj occurs from the 8th to the 12th of Dhul-Hijjah.
The three types of HAJJ include –
- Tamattu’: This is the most common form of pilgrimage and the one recommended by the Prophet Muhammad himself (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Tamattu’ involves the pilgrim performing the rites of the minor pilgrimage ritual known as Umrah, then performing the rites of the Hajj. Pilgrims performing Tamattu’ are called Mutamatti.
- Qiran: In this option, the pilgrim performs the rites of both the Umrah and Hajj in one continuous act with no “break” in the middle. Pilgrims performing Qiran are called Qaarin.
- Ifraad: Finally, this form of pilgrimage involves performing only the rites of the Hajj – not of the Umrah as well. This form of pilgrimage is also notable for being the only one that does not require animal sacrifice. Pilgrims performing Ifraad are called Mufrid.
Ihram is a holy state of purity that all Muslims must assume before performing the rites of Umrah and Hajj and which must be maintained for the duration of the rituals. The real state of purity is attained spiritually by proclaiming one’s intention to sincerely pursue the Umrah/Hajj and by reciting the Talbiyah prayer.
All people – women and men – who are attending the Hajj should prepare to be exceedingly modest for the duration of Hajj. Clothing must be modest and unadorned – for much of the pilgrimage; special religious garb is required for men. Cologne, perfume, makeup, and scented soap should be avoided. When a pilgrim enters the sacred Ihram state of ritual purity, smoking, swearing, shaving, cutting one’s nails, and marital relationships are forbidden.
Women don’t have special clothes for Ihram – their ordinary clothes should be used, provided that they are clean and modest. Covering the head with a veil, scarf, etc. is “mandatory” attire for women and should be done on the Hajj too. All women performing the Hajj should accompany a mahram – any related man, such as her father, brother, husband, son, or an approved individual according to Islamic law.
When a pilgrim in the state of Ihram approaches the Miqat at one of six historical entry points, he pronounces the Niyyah – a short recitation of his intention to complete the Umrah. Then, at the Miqat, the pilgrim recites the Talbiyah, a prayer that will be repeated often during the pilgrimage. The words of the Talbiyah are:
- Labbayk Allaah humma labbayk, labbayka laa shareeka laka labbayk. Innal hamda wan-ni’mata laka wal-mulk, laa shareeka lak.
“Here I am O Allah, (in response to Your call), here I am. Here I am, You have no partner, here I am. Verily all praise, grace and sovereignty belong to You. You have no partner.”
- If she or he has not already entered into the state of Ihram, the pilgrim must do so at the Miqat before crossing.
HAJJ – Tamattu’:
At first sight of the Ka’bah, the pilgrims keep their eyes fixed on it and stand to the side of the crowd and say “Allahu Akbar” (“God is Great”) three times, followed by saying “La Ilaha Illallah” (“There is no god but God”) and they recite other holy verses and say a blessing for the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and, in total humility, make prayers to Allah.
To start with the Tawaf, the pilgrims Make another Niyyah for Umrah, saying: Allah huma inee ‘ureedul ‘umrata fa yasir haa lee wata qabal haa min nee (O Allah, I perform Tawaf of Umrah to please You. Make it easy for me and accept it from me).
- The pilgrims begin Umrah with the recitation of Bismillahi Allahu akbar wa lilah hil-hamd and begin to circumambulate the Ka’bah. They walk counter-clockwise so that the Ka’bah stays at your left and circle the Ka’bah seven times, praying as you do so and proceed for Saeeh, (wherein they walk back and forth seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwah).
- When the pilgrims reach the top of Safa, they recite another Niyyah, saying: Allah huma inee ureeduss sa’ ya baynas safaa wal marwata sab ‘ata ashwaatin lilaahi ta’aala fa yasir hoo lee wata qabal hu minee. (O Allah! I intend to perform seven rounds of Sa’ey between Safa and Marwah to please You. Make it easy for me and accept it from me) Then, add: Inn-as-Safa wal-Marwa-ta min Sha’aa’irillah (Indeed Safa and Marwah are among the Signs of Allah). Finally, they face the Ka’bah and recite “Allahu Akbar” three times. Add any additional prayers and, then proceed towards Marwah.
As they move towards Marwah, they recite: Subhan-Allah, wal-hamdu-lillah, wa la ilaha ill-Allah, wallahu Akbar, wa la haula wa la quwwata illa-billa, or, Subhanallah, Alhamdu Lillah, Allahu Akbar and add any prayers. At the top of Marwah, they repeat the glorification of God while facing the Ka’bah, then walk down from the hill again.
After the ritual hair-cutting, Umrah is complete.
Depending upon how the trip is scheduled, most pilgrims performing the Tamattu’ pilgrimage have a several-day break in between their Umrah duties and their Hajj duties, so, for sake of ease, they leave the state of Ihram after their Umrah. However, as with Umrah, the Hajj requires ritual purity and meekness before God, so, at the outset of the Hajj, pilgrims re-assume the state of Ihram. As before, they bathe, groom and don the proper Ihram clothes. When ready, the pilgrims say another Niyyah: Allahuma in nee u-reedul hajja fayassir hu lee wata qabal hu min nee (O Allah! I intend to perform Hajj. Please make it easy for me and accept it from me). After, say the Talbiyah three times.
The rites of the Hajj last five days are that from the 8th to the 12th of Dhul-Hijjah, the pilgrims maintain Ihram for about three days, abstaining from the activities that are forbidden until this period is over.
On the first day of Hajj, pilgrims head to Mina, a town near Mecca, where they spend the rest of the day. On the first night, no major rituals take place, so the pilgrims spend time praying and reflecting with other pilgrims. Many pilgrims choose to say the Dhuhr, Asr, Magrib, Isha and Fajr prayers. In Mina, men and women stay in separate tents, which are located adjacent to each other. Though husbands and wives may interact, men cannot enter women’s tents.
On the second day of Hajj, pilgrims travel to Arafat, a nearby mountain. Pilgrims must reach Arafat by the afternoon, because, at this time, a ritual called Waquf begins. From the time when the sun first starts to decline until the time it sets completely, pilgrims hold a vigil on a plain of Arafat during which time they pray and reflect.
After sundown, pilgrims head to a place called Muzdalifah between Mina and Arafat. Here, they offer an evening prayer (Maghrib) to God and spend the night sleeping on the ground beneath the open sky.
In the morning, they gather pebbles, for the Ramy “stoning” ceremony later in the day.
Before the sun rises, pilgrims head back to Mina. Here, pilgrims participate in a ceremony meant to symbolize stoning the devil. Pilgrims throw seven consecutive pebbles at a special stone monument called the Jamrat al Aqabah.
After the Ramy ceremony, it’s necessary to offer an animal sacrifice (Qurbani) to God. Animal sacrifice can be done at any point on the 10th, 11th, or 12th day of Dhul-Hijjah. If Ramy has to be postponed for any reason, wait until after Ramy to make your sacrifice.
Then as in Umrah, the pilgrims have their hair ritually cut.
Just as in the Umrah, the Hajj requires pilgrims to perform the Tawaf and Sa’ey rituals at the Ka’bah and the nearby hills. The rituals are performed essentially identically to how they are performed during the Umrah, but it is highly recommended that these ceremonies be done only after the stoning, sacrifice, and hair-cutting rituals.
After completing the Tawaf and Sa’ey, the pilgrims are released from their state of Ihram and may resume the activities that were previously prohibited.
At the end of your third day, they return to Mina and spend the night there in prayer.
In Mina, the pilgrims once again participate in the stoning ritual. This time, they will not throw pebbles only at the Jamrat al Aqabah, but also at two other monuments – the Jamrat Oolah (the first jamrat) and Jamrat Wustah (middle jamrat) and they repeat this ritual after sundown on the fifth day.
The pilgrims finally perform the Farewell Tawaf, which is the final tawaf.
After making the Hajj, many pilgrims opt to travel to Medina, the second-holiest city in Islam. Here, they can visit such holy sites as The Prophet’s Mosque. No Ihram is necessary to visit Medina.