The collections of Hadith related to Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, are too voluminous for any single report. This article is, therefore, a compilation of ten hadith about Hajj. The annual pilgrimage is a devotional journey that is undertaken to visit (Ziarat) the House of God (Kaaba). One of the aims will be to capture the reader’s imagination and interest by highlighting some of Hajj’s most salient features.
Hadith 1: Hajj, the 5th pillar of Islam
Ibn Umar (R.A) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Islam is built upon five pillars, the testification of faith, the five daily prayers, paying Zakat, Hajj and fasting in the month of Ramadan. (Bukhari 8, Muslim 16)
This is the opener from amongst the ten hadith about Hajj. It illustrates that traveling to the holy city of Mecca to perform pilgrimage is an obligation on every adult Muslim. That is to say, those who have the health and resources should perform Hajj once in their lifetime. Islam is like a building that rests on five pillars. A structure that would soon collapse unless all its pillars were kept standing upright. Every Hajji (pilgrim) who answers Allah’s call, fulfilling his duty to Him, preserves the foundation of his faith.
Hadith 2: Avoid delaying the annual pilgrimage
Ibn Abbas (R.A) stated, “The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: ‘Whoever wants to perform Hajj, let him hasten to do it, because he may experience sudden illness or other problems.’” (Abu Dawood, 1732)
Every Muslim who is physically and financially able should pray that Allah expedites his journey to perform Hajj. And once invited, he should not procrastinate, lest something unexpected happens, and his plans fail. The Hadith warns us against squandering away our good fortune by delaying tactics. A Muslim is one who hastens to perform good deeds.
Hadith 3: The Talbiyah, a Muslim’s answer to Allah’s call
Narrated Ibn `Abbas (R.A): The Prophet (PBUH) and his companions reached Mecca in the morning of the 4th Dhul-Hijjah reciting Talbiyah … intending to perform Hajj. The Prophet (PBUH) ordered his companions to assume the lhram for Umrah instead of Hajj, excepting those who had Hadi (sacrifice) with them. (Bukhari, 1085)
The Hadith begins by depicting the annual pilgrimage, as a supreme leveler and symbol of Muslim equality and unity. Where both the king and the pauper, the black and the white, cry out with one voice. “Here I am, O God, here I am at your service, and You have no partner. Here I am. All praise, grace, and dominion belong to You. You have no partner.” An answer of solemn servitude to Allah’s call, that echoes through the streets of Mecca. It also indicates that Hajj and Umrah (minor pilgrimage) require a niyyah (intention). The requirement of wearing the Ihram upon reaching the designated Miqat is further mentioned. And finally, the necessity for every Hajji (pilgrim) to offer a Hadi (animal sacrifice) as a token of appreciation, is also brought to light in this comprehensive Hadith.
Hadith 4: Abstinence during the performance of Hajj and Umrah
Abu Hurayrah (R.A), said: “I heard the Prophet(PBUH), say: ‘Whoever does Hajj for the sake of Allah and does not have sexual relations (with his wife), commit sin, nor dispute unjustly during the Hajj, will come back like the day his mother gave birth to him.” (Bukhari, 1449; Muslim, 1350)
This Hadith comes as a welcome conditional guarantee! Every sincere Hajji who, during Hajj, abstains from marital sexual relations, sins, and injustice when disputing, is promised absolute forgiveness. He would return home, as sinless as a new-born baby. Only a fool would leave his family behind, spend a fortune to earn Allah’s pleasure, and then waste it. Excellence in the performance of one’s duties involves both self-restraint and proper observance of rites.
Hadith 5. Circumambulation (Tawaf), offering a two Rakat prayer at Maqaam-e-Ibrahim, and the performance of Sa’i between Safa and Marwa
Narrated Ibn `Umar: The Prophet (PBUH) reached Mecca, circumambulated the Kaaba seven times, and then offered a two Rakat prayer behind Maqam-e-Ibrahim. Then he went towards the Safa. Allah has said, Verily, in Allah’s Apostle, you have a good example. (Bukhari, 1627)
This is perhaps, one of the most exhaustive Hadith from amongst the ten hadith about Hajj. It touches upon some of the fundamental rites of pilgrimage. What is historically compelling about it is the fact that it chronicles the only Hajj our beloved Prophet (PBUH) ever performed. He is our divinely declared role model and guide. Through this narration, we learn that Tawaf (circumambulation) consists of seven complete rounds around the Kaaba. (House of Allah). It also specifies the number of rakats (two), that a pilgrim is required to pray at Maqam-e-Ibrahim. The exact spot where Ibrahim (PBUH) had stood while building the Kaaba.
The subtle mention of Safa is another refreshing reminder of the sacrifices made by Ibrahim (Abraham PBUH) and his family. The Safa and Marwa (hills) testify to Hajra’s (Haajar) prayers of desperation after she and her infant son Ismail (PBUH) were left abandoned by Ibrahim (PBUH) upon Allah’s instructions. As baby Ismail wept inconsolably, his distraught mother (Hajra) ran to and fro from Safa and Marwa, searching for any sign of water. Then the miracle of Zamzam (holy water) occurred, and the rest is history…
Hadith 6: Hajr-e-Aswad, the Black Stone. Umar’s remark
Narrated `Abis bin Rabi’a: `Umar came near the Black Stone and kissed it and said No doubt, I know that you are a stone and can neither benefit anyone nor harm anyone. Had I not seen Allah’s Apostle kissing you, I would not have kissed you. (Bukhari, 1597)
Hajr-e-Aswad is a black, oval stone mounted in a silver frame. During Tawaf, pilgrims may kiss, touch, or simply point towards it. In this Hadith, Umra (R.A) is denying the possibility of any reverential significance being attached to it. On the contrary, he makes it abundantly clear that he would have never kissed it had he not seen the Prophet (PBUH) do so.
Hadith 7: Hajj is the equivalent of a ‘beautiful’ jihad for womenfolk
Ayesha (R.A), the Mother of the Believers, said: “I said, O Messenger of Allah, can we not go out on campaigns and fight in Jihad with you? He said: ‘But the best and most beautiful of Jihad is Hajj, an accepted pilgrimage.” (Bukhari, 1762)
It was also reported by Ayesha (R.A), that she never stopped going for Hajj after she heard this prophetic glad-tiding. This piece of information also testifies to Allah’s flawless wisdom and justice. Not wanting to deprive women of the reward of Jihad, Hajj was declared its equal. Praise be to Allah.
Hadith 8: The Pilgrim (Hajji) is considered to be Allah’s guest
Abu Hurairah said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “The guests of Allah are three: The ghazi, the Hajji (pilgrim) and the Mu’tamir.” (Nasa’i 2625)
For a pilgrim to be named alongside someone who fights for Allah’s cause, and one who performs Umrah is indeed an honor. Yet to be addressed as Allah’s guest, is an overwhelming privilege beyond compare.
Hadith 9: The permission to perform Hajj-e-Badal granted to one who has completed his own Hajj
Abdullah bin Buraidah (R.A) narrated from his father: A woman came to the Prophet (PBUH) and said: “My mother died and she did not perform Hajj should I perform Hajj on her behalf?’ He said: ‘Yes, perform Hajj on her behalf.” (Tirmidhi 929)
From this Hadith, we learn that anyone who has already performed their own Hajj can undertake Hajj-e-Badal on behalf of someone else. And whether the person whom Hajj is being performed for, is living or deceased.
Hadith 10: Hajj-e-Mabrur merits a reward no less than Heaven
Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “…Hajj Mabrur (an accepted Hajj) brings no less a reward than Paradise.” (Ibn-e-Majah 2888)
How befittingly, does this concluding Hadith, carry the assurance of Paradise to every single pilgrim, whose Hajj is accepted.