By Adil Salahi
Q. The Prophet offered only one pilgrimage after Prophethood. How many people offered the pilgrimage with him on that occasion? Was it a grand pilgrimage, that is Haj-e-Akbar?
Where did the (Pbuh) give his speech on that occasion? Was it in Mina or in Arafat?
Ans. The most authentic account of the Prophet’s e pilgrimage in the 10th year of his emigration to Madinah is that reported by his companion, Jabir bin Abdullah. He states that when the (Pbuh) intended to offer the pilgrimage he made his intention clear to all people, and people started to come to Madinah to join him on his pilgrimage in order to offer the rituals of pilgrimage in the same way as the (Pbuh) did. Jabir describes that when they started their long journey they formed such a large group that he could not see the end of the people either to his front or to his back or to his left or to his right. Other reports suggest that the number of pilgrims who went to Makkah with the (Pbuh) was about 100,000. This is obviously a rough estimate. No one can give any figure with any measure of accuracy.
Many people use the term “Haj-e-Akbar” as denoting a pilgrimage when attendance at Arafat happens to be on a Friday.
This is a mistaken notion. The term occurs at the beginning to Surah 9 in the Qur’an, where the (Pbuh) was instructed to make a declaration to all people in Arabia, using the occasion of pilgrimage in order to ensure that all Arabian tribes, wherever they lived, would hear of it. This particular term may be rendered in English in either of the two forms. “The day of grand pilgrimage” or “the grand day of pilgrimage.” This ambiguity led certain people to associate what they term as “grand pilgrimage” with Friday. They claim that if a person offers the pilgrimage in a year when attendance at Arafat coincides with a Friday, he receives the reward of seven pilgrimages. This is the reason which makes many people exert a special effort to go to pilgrimage when it is certain that the day of Arafat will fall on a Friday. In all this, people are mistaken.
The Qur’anic term to which I have referred means actually “the grand day of pilgrimage”, which means the day after Arafat, that is the day of sacrifice. There is a measure of disagreement among scholars whether the term actually refers to the day of Arafat or the day of sacrifice. Whichever way we understand it is not particularly important. All days of pilgrimage are great days. Similarly, pilgrimage is the same whether it occurs on a Friday or on any other day of the week. What actually matters in gaining more reward from Allah is to make the pilgrimage pure, that is to say, to refrain from everything Allah has forbidden or discouraged, and to do everything we are required to do without hurting or causing harm to anybody. There is certainly no basis for the claim that the reward for a pilgrimage when the day of attendance at Arafat is a Friday is seven times more than the reward of other pilgrimages. The reward of a valid and correct pilgrimage, properly done for the sake of Allah, is forgiveness of all past sins. This applies to all pilgrimages.
Having said that, we have to remember that every Friday is a blessed day, which includes an hour when prayers are answered. If the day of Arafat coincides with a Friday, then the blessings are more than doubled. On the occasion of Arafat all prayers are answered. When that is coupled with the blessed day of Friday and its special hour, the greatness of the day is limitless.
The (Pbuh) gave his speech on the day of Arafat, at the place where the Mosque of Namirah is located. Namirah is not a part of Arafat. This means, that the speech was given by the (Pbuh) before actually arriving in Arafat. The same is done by the commander of pilgrimage every year. He gives a speech at Namirah, before mid-day.
By Adil Salahi
Q.i. Most visitors who come from abroad during the Umrah season, and also for pilgrimage, do not start their consecration, of ihraam, before arrival. This is particularly the case if they are staying with relatives in Jeddah. They start their consecration in Jeddah just before they travel to Makkah. Is this practice correct?
Q.ii. If a visitor to Makkah who is doing the Umrah cannot find the slaughter house to do his sacrifice, can he do it in Jeddah after he has finished Umrah?
Ans.i. If such a visitor who has relatives in Jeddah makes his intention, before he starts his journey, that he intends to visit his relative and stay with him, then it is appropriate that he does not enter into the state of consecration until he has paid this visit. The intention makes all the difference. When he has made his visit, and he embarks on the next part of his trip, which is doing the Umrah, he begins his consecration in his relative’s home in Jeddah. That is perfectly appropriate, especially if he has stayed more than a day in Jeddah. It is only when a person comes specially to do the Umrah or pilgrimage that starting ihraam in Jeddah becomes controversial. Many scholars would consider that a violation of the rules of ihraam and require him to either go to Rabigh to start his ihraam, or consecration, or to slaughter a sheep in the Haram area in compensation for that violation.
The same applies for pilgrimage. Suppose a relative of a person who is working there in Jeddah arrives two weeks before the pilgrimage season, intending to visit his relative for a few days first. This person enters into the state of consecration, or ihraam, just before he departs to Makkah, that is in his relative’s home. No compensation is needed as he is treated like the residents of Jeddah.
ii. All sacrifices in the Umrah and pilgrimage should be done in the Haram area. If one is not familiar with the area, he can easily find out when he enquires properly. If his time is short, he can ask someone else to do the sacrifice on his behalf. The place where this must be done cannot be changed. It is not possible to offer this sacrifice anywhere else, whether it be recommended, as in the case of the ifraad method of pilgrimage or obligatory, as in the case of Tamattu’ or Qiran methods, or when the sacrifice is in compensation for a violation or omission of a duty. The best and easiest way of doing the sacrifice in pilgrimage is through the voucher system, where one buys a voucher and assigns the bank supervising the slaughter and distribution of sacrificial meat to do the sacrifice on his behalf. This is a highly beneficial system which ensures that nothing of the sacrificial meat is wasted.
By Adil Salahi
Q. It is said that performing the Umrah in Ramadan is tantamount to offering the pilgrimage. Is this true?
Ans. The (Pbuh) is quoted to have said that “Performing the Umrah in Ramadan is equal to a pilgrimage.” In another version of this Hadith the two words, “with me”, are added at the end, which means that it is equal to offering the pilgrimage in the company of the (Pbuh). There is no doubt about the authenticity of this Hadith; it is authentic. What this Hadith indicates is the high reward one is certain to have if one offers the Umrah in Ramadan. This is not surprising because every good deed is increased in reward when done in Ramadan, because Ramadan is a season for good actions. So the reward of Umrah undertaken in this month is increased to a reward for pilgrimage. This is a great gesture of kindness and generosity by Allah. The Hadith does not mean, and it must not be understood to mean, that performing the Umrah in Ramadan discharges the duty of offering the pilgrimage, or that it gives a choice between doing the pilgrimage in its season and doing the Umrah in Ramadan. That is not right. It is only a question of increased reward. The obligation of doing the Haj remains in force until one has fulfilled this great duty at the appropriate time and in the manner indicated by the (Pbuh).
By Adil Salahi
Q. I wish to perform the pilgrimage on behalf of my wife who lives back home. She suffers from ill-health which makes travel very hard for her. She has no financial capability to meet her expenses if she wishes to go over. The same is true of my mother. I have no means to meet the expenses of either my wife or my mother over for the pilgrimage. In these circumstances can I perform the pilgrimage on behalf of my wife?
Ans. According to your statement, neither your mother nor your wife is able to undertake the pilgrimage because of lack of funds and health reasons. This means that the condition of ability which makes pilgrimage obligatory is not fulfilled in both their cases. Thus if either of them dies without having done the pilgrimage and no one performs the pilgrimage on her behalf, she would not be questioned by Allah about not performing the pilgrimage. Allah has not given them the ability, so He does not ask them about it.
You would love to bring them over for this great duty, but you lack the means to do so. This does not change the situation, because even if you have enough to pay for their journey, the duty is theirs and we consider their ability, not yours. Pilgrimage of his parents is a duty of a son who stands to earn rich reward from Allah. Similarly, a husband who pays for the pilgrimage of his wife earns Allah’s reward and brings more happiness into his family life.
With all this in mind, if you wish to perform the pilgrimage on behalf of either your mother or your wife, you are actually presenting them with a gift. That is perfectly permissible and will earn you Allah’s reward. It will also count as their obligatory pilgrimage had they had the ability to perform the pilgrimage themselves. You may go ahead and perform the substitute pilgrimage on behalf of either one of them. The only condition is that you should have done your own pilgrimage, and I understand you have done that. Hence there is nothing to prevent you from undertaking your kind gesture. May Allah rewards you for it. However, may I say that it is certainly better to undertake the pilgrimage on behalf of your wife in a subsequent year. It is always better to show kindness to your mother first.
Another point to explain is that which relates to the health condition of your wife. I have dealt with the case in general terms because her lack of ability is based on her poverty. However, if we assume that she is financially able to undertake the pilgrimage herself, but cannot do it because of her health condition, we have to look at that condition carefully. If it is curable and she expects it to be cured in a certain period of time, such as a few weeks or a few months or even a few years, then she can wait until she recovers and then performs the pilgrimage herself. On the other hand, if her condition is assumed to be incurable, then it is appropriate that she asks someone else to do a substitute pilgrimage on behalf of her. Once, this is done, her obligatory pilgrimage is deemed to have been fulfilled. Even if she unexpectedly recovers later, her duty is already done.
By Adil Salahi
Q. Many people believe that if the Day of Arafat falls on a Friday then that is the grand day of pilgrimage, and the pilgrimage that year is called Hajj-e-Akbar. Is there any evidence to support that belief?
Ans. The term Yawm Al-Haj Al-Akbar occurs in the Qur’an in reference to an announcement the Prophet (Pbuh) was instructed to make to the non-believers in the ninth year of the Islamic calendar. That announcement was to be made on that day, which is described by that phrase which means “the grand day of pilgrimage.” Scholars have different views as to whether that phrase refers to the Day of Arafat or the Day of Sacrifice. Those supporting the first reference argue that the attendance at Arafat is the major duty of pilgrimage and if one does not attend at Arafat on that day, one is not a pilgrim that year. The others say that on the Day of Sacrifice, four duties become due, namely, stoning at the Grand Jamrah, the sacrifice, the tawaf of ifaadah, and shaving one’s head or cutting one’s hair short. There is a considerable validity in support of both views.
This tells us that when we use that term, we are not speaking of a grand pilgrimage as opposed to a regular or ordinary one, but we are speaking of a day when the pilgrimage reaches its climax. There is no support to the notion that if Arafat Day happens to be a Friday, then the pilgrimage is of a greater importance. Indeed this notion does not fit well with the principle of divine justice. Why should the pilgrimage of some people earn a higher reward for no reason other than a coincidence in which they themselves have no say? Some people say that if the Arafat Day happens to be a Friday, then the reward of the pilgrimage is greater than in any other year. That is not right. There is no evidence to support that claim. What gives a greater reward for pilgrimage is better devotion, greater sincerity of intention, more diligence in attending to rituals and duties, doing the recommended practices in conjunction with the obligatory rituals, etc. This does not include the timing of a particular duty because people have no say in that.
By Adil Salahi
Q. In the Gospel it is mentioned that the son of Abraham asked to sacrifice was Issac, not Ishmael. It is also mentioned that Abraham married Sarah, his own sister. How far are these claims correct? What is the Islamic view?
Ans. The first claim is an example of the distortion that has crept into earlier messages sent by God to mankind. The claim is absurd, because when Allah sent an angel to deliver the news to Sarah, Abraham’s wife, that she would be give birth to a son, the angel also told her that this son will beget a son called Jacob. How is it possible to give such a promise and then command Abraham to sacrifice the boy Issac when he was still young? The fact is that the son who was to be sacrificed was Ishmael, as indicated clearly in the Qur’an.
Sarah was not Abraham’s sister, nor is it possible that a Prophet and a messenger of Allah should marry his sister. However, when Abraham went to Egypt with his wife, he was summoned to meet the king, who raped many a married woman. If a married woman was accompanied by her husband, the king would kill that husband before raping his wife.
If her companion was her brother or father, he would let him be. Therefore, when the king asked Abraham about the relationship between him and Sarah, he said that she was his sister, meaning a sister in faith, like we call each other brothers and sisters. He mentioned this in order to avoid being killed by that tyrant.
By Adil Salahi
Q. Many people say that if one performs the Umrah in the month of Shawwal, it is obligatory for him to perform the pilgrimage as well. How far is this correct?
Ans. The first thing to say here is that the pilgrimage and the Umrah are two separate duties, and the performance of one should not affect the performance of the other. However, because they are done at the same place, then Allah has made it possible for us to do both on the same trip. This is done in choosing the Tamattu’ or the Qiran methods of pilgrimage.
The Qiran method means that one does the actions of pilgrimage and they count as a complete pilgrimage and a complete Umrah the same time.
The Tamattu’ method, which is the one preferred by the (Pbuh) and which he urged upon his companions and followers in all generations to follow, means that one does the Umrah in the pilgrimage months, releases himself from ihraam or consecration, and waits until the days of pilgrimage when he enters into ihraam again to do the pilgrimage. Therefore, if one does the Umrah in the pilgrimage months without intending to do the pilgrimage, but later decides to do the pilgrimage, then he has chosen the Tamattu’ method. The other two methods are no longer open to him. That is all that relates to the two duties and the timings of both.
People tend to reverse the principle and say that if you do the Umrah in the pilgrimage months, then performing the pilgrimage is obligatory for you. That is absolutely untrue. Allah has made only one pilgrimage obligatory to all Muslims. No other duty is obligatory, unless one chooses to make it so, by pledging to Allah to perform the pilgrimage. That is another matter.
By Adil Salahi
Q. I have three sons aged 18, 15 and 8 years. I intend to go on pilgrimage with my family. As the children are not earning, I will bear the expenses. Would this count as their obligatory pilgrimage or would they be still required to go on pilgrimage in future, paying for it from their own earnings?
Ans. It is not a condition for the discharge of the obligatory pilgrimage that a person should have earned the money with which he covers his expenses. Millions of Muslim women have over the centuries offered the pilgrimage with their expenses being paid by their husbands, fathers or brothers. No one has ever suggested that such payment makes the pilgrimage less valid or not discharging the duty binding on every Muslim to do the pilgrimage at least once in a lifetime.
As for your children, you will do very well to take them with you, although I am not keen on the idea that an 8 year old boy goes on pilgrimage. It is too tough for him in this tender age. However, if you take him with you, his pilgrimage is valid. You receive a reward for doing so, but his pilgrimage does not count toward the discharge of his obligation to do the duty of pilgrimage when he grows up.
That is because this duty does not apply to him yet. It is not possible to do a duty which is not due yet. This is like offering Zuhr prayer before it has become due at noon, or offering Maghrib prayer before the sun has set. That is not possible.
As for the other two children, their pilgrimage with you, at your expense, counts as fulfilment of their obligatory pilgrimage, that is Hajj fardh, as this is already binding on them. As you are aware, Islamic duties like fasting, prayer and pilgrimage, become applicable to a person when he or she has attained puberty. You have only to make sure that this is the case with your middle son. When I say that the pilgrimage is binding on them, I do not forget that this must be qualified with the condition of ability. However, since you are paying for them, they may go and discharge this very important duty.