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Hajj is an imperative duty (fard) for all Muslims who have the resources. It is to be performed during the days of Hajj, preferably once in a lifetime. The word Hajj literally means repairing to a place for the sake of visit, and in the terminology of the Islamic Sharia, it implies repairing to Bait-Allah (the House of Allah, one of the names of al-Ka'aba) to observe the necessary devotions. Hajj is not a new institution introduced by Islam in its Sharia, This practice of Hajj is as old as al-Ka'aba, itself, referred in the Holy Quran as the “first House of Divine Worship appointed for mankind” (3:95). This verse corroborates the Hadith (Prophetic Saying) which tells us that al-Ka'ba was first built by Prophet Adam (AS), the first man on earth.
History of Hajj
The performance of Hajj is commemorative of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and his family's acts of devotion to Allah (SWT), the Almighty. Through Muhammad (SWS), the Holy Prophet, hajj was made an obligatory act of piety, by which one could develop God-consciousness; hence it is one of the five pillars of faith incumbent upon each believer if he or she is capable physically and financially. Pilgrimage is rightly said to be the perfection of faith, since it combines in itself all the distinctive qualities of other obligatory acts including prayer, patience, privation of the amenities of life, devotion, Zakat (alms), and application. In fact, physical pilgrimage is a prelude to spiritual pilgrimage to Allah (SWT) where man would bid good-bye to worldly pleasures and present himself before Allah (SWT), as His humble servant saying, “Here I am before Thee, my Lord, as a slave of Thine.”
There are three forms of Hajj: Tamattu', Ifraad and Qiran.
Tamattu': Considered the best of the three forms of Hajj and urged by the Prophet Muhammad (SWS) to his followers to perform, Tamattu’ refers to the performing of umrah during the hajj season, followed by the performance of hajj. When a pilgrim reaches Makkah, he/she makes Tawaf and Sa'yi for Umrah. Then shaves or clips the hair. On the day of Tarwiya, which is the eighth of Dhul-Hijja, a pilgrim puts on his Ihram for Hajj only and carries out all of its requirements. During Tamattu’, two ihrams are required, one for umrah and one for hajj.
Ifraad: A pilgrim wears Ihram for Hajj only. When he reaches Makkah, he performs Tawaf for his arrival and Sa'yi for Hajj. He doesn't shave or clip his hair as he doesn't dis-engage from Ihram. Instead, he remains in Ihram till after he stones Jamrah Al-Aqaba on the Eid day. It is permissible for one to postpone his Sa'yi for Hajj until after his Tawaf for Hajj.
Qiran: A pilgrim wears one Ihram for both Umrah and Hajj or he wears the ihram first for Umrah, then makes intentions for Hajj before his Tawaf for Hajj. The obligations on one performing Ifraad are the same as those on one performing Qiran, except that the latter must slaughter whereas the former is not obligated to do so.
Even if a pilgrim makes intentions to perform Qiran or Ifraad he is allowed to change his intentions to Tamattu'; he can do this even after he has performed Tawaf and Sa'yi.
When the Prophet (SAW) performed Tawaf and Sa'yi during the year of the Farewell Hajj with his companions, he ordered all those who hadn't brought sacrificial animals to change their intentions for Hajj to intentions for Umrah, cut their hair, and disengage from Ihram untill Hajj. He said,"If I hadn't brought the sacrificial animal, I'd have done what I've ordered you to do."
In Arabic the word 'Umrah is derived from al-i'timar which means a visit. Here it means paying a visit to Ka'bah, while performing tawaf (circumambulating the Ka’bag), walking between Safa and Marwah seven times, and then shaving one's head or trimming one's hair. There is consensus among scholars that it is a prescribed worship, as Ibn 'Abbas reported that the Prophet (SAW) said, "An 'Umrah in the month of Ramadan is equal (in reward) to performing a Hajj.''
RULES FOR TAWAF OF UMRAH
1. One should be in the state of Ihram before starting Tawaf.
2. There are three conditions essential for performance of Umrah, namely:
a. To be a Muslim
b. Niyyah (intention) to perform Umrah
c. Tawaf inside Masjid al-Haram. Tawaf can be performed in Mataf or on different floors
of Masjid al-Haram or even on its roof. While performing Tawaf, one does not need to
look towards the Kabah. One has to face Kabah only when doing Istilam of Hajar-e-
i. After completing the seven circuits of Tawaf, if someone deliberately starts the eighth circuit, it becomes obligatory (wajib) for him to
complete the second Tawaf by doing six more circuits.
ii. Undesirable times for prayer are not considered undesirable for performing Tawaf.
iii. If someone has to discontinue Tawaf because of time for prescribed prayer or because a dead body is brought for a funeral prayer or
need for fresh ablutions arises, he can later resume Tawaf at the point where he discontinued.
Umrah has three pillars:
1. (Ihram) it is the intention to perform Umrah, according to the Hadith (Deeds come with intentions)
2. Circling Kaaba (Tawaf).
3. Saai (going to and fro in Alsaai place).
The Prophet Mohamed Peace and blessing be upon him �said: (Who did not give his sacrifice, then let him circle Kaai (Go to Alsaai,
because Allah ordered you to).
Ihram is the intention to perform either Hajj or 'Umrah, or to make intention of performing both. Intention is an important element of both. Allah says: "And they have been commanded no more than this: to worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion.'' (Qur'an 98.5) The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "The actions will be rewarded according to the intentions behind them, and every person will have what he had intended."