The sacred Muslim pilgrimage, hajj, is obligatory only once in a lifetime for all Muslims. This pilgrimage expiates sins of the believers. Every year hundreds of thousands of Muslims from all over the world gather and carry out this beautiful form of worship together. The rituals have to be performed exactly as commanded by Almighty Allah and His beloved Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H).
Here is a comprehensive list of basic points which should be kept in mind when one sets out for hajj:
• A woman cannot go to hajj without a mehram (husband, or any man to whom she can never marry such as her father, brother etc.)
Once in a gathering, Allah’s Apostle (P.B.U.H) was saying: “It is not permissible for a man to be alone with a woman, and no lady should travel except with a Mahram (i.e. her husband or a person whom she cannot marry in any case forever; e.g. her father, brother, etc.).” A man got up and said, “O Allah Messenger of Allah! I have enlisted in the army for such-and-such Ghazwah and my wife is proceeding for Hajj.” Allah’s Apostle said, “Go, and perform the Hajj with your wife.”
• Bathing, trimming moustache, plucking unwanted hair, and clipping nails are encouraged before the niyyah of Ihram.
• Observing Ihram after nafl or fardh prayers is recommended.
• A pilgrim cannot wear any type of sewn clothes or even shoes. One should not even wear gloves; if there is such a need, he may wrap pieces of cloth on his hands. For his feet, he should opt for sandals.
• Men should not cover their heads while both men and women should avoid any fabric touching their faces. To wipe their faces, they may use tissue paper.
• Hair cutting and trimming are not allowed. Any unwanted hair should be removed before observing Ihram.
• Intimacy between a man and his wife should be avoided.
• He must be patient; avoid fights, obscene language and any act which may annoy or hurt any other living being.
“Let there be no obscenity, nor wickedness, nor wrangling in the Hajj.” (Al Baqara, 197)
• The pilgrim must not hunt or kill an animal until the time of sacrifice.
As Allah commands in Qur’an:
“You who believe! Kill not game while in Ihram.” (Al-Maeda, 95)
• Rings, sandals, eye glasses, money bags, watches and hearing aids can be worn. He may even hang a watch around his neck.
• Recite and repeat Talbiyah while embarking, disembarking, upon hearing adhaan, and at the end of each of your prayers.
Labbayk, Allahumma Labbayik — Labbayk La Shareek Laka Labbayk– Innal-hamda Wanimata laka wal-mulk — La shareeka lak.
Here I come to you O Allah. Here I am to worship you. Here I am to respond to you. There is no partner with you. Here I come to you, verily Praise, Bounty, and Dominion belong to you. There is no partner with you.
• Perfume must not be applied. It is advised to use soaps, lotions and toothpastes which do not have fragrance. Use miswak, if possible. Fragrant foods and drinks should also be avoided.
• Marriages or marriage proposals are discouraged during the hajj period. One cannot propose marriage on behalf of anyone else either.
These simple points should be remembered to please Allah Almighty and for the great worship to be accepted.