Rites of Hajj & Umrah
Sheikh Nasir-ud-Deen Al-Albani

Advice for Those About to do Hajj

These are some pieces of advice and useful points which I offer to our brothers about to make Hajj.

Firstly: The pilgrim must fear his lord by obedience to Him, and must be very careful not to fall into that which Allah has forbidden as Allah says:

For Hajj are the months well-known. If anyone undertaken that duty therein, let there be no obscenity nor wrangling in the Hajj.

[Noble Quran 2:197]

And the prophet said: �He who performs Hajj and does not speak obscenely or commit evil then he returns from his sins just as the day his mother gave birth to him�, and if he did so then his Hajj would be accepted and the prophet of Allah said: �The accepted Hajj - there is no less a reward for it than Paradise. [1] So he must be aware of what many are affected by because of their ignorance or misguidance:

Directing any form of worship to other than Allah (shirk). And we have seen many of the people falling into shirk - like praying fro the removal of distress or aid from the Prophets and the pious instead of from Allah alone, and their taking oath by them in veneration of them - so by their actions they completely nullify their Hajj. As Allah says:

If you were to join gods with Allah, truly fruitless will be you work (in life).

[Noble Quran 39:65]

Some men shaving off their beards - as it is a sinful deed - and doing it involves four separate sins - as I have explained in �The Original�.

The wearing of gold rings by men - and this is Haram - even more so those which are known as wedding-rings as that includes the further sin of imitating the Christians.

Secondly: Everyone who intends to make Hajj and has not brought the sacrificial animal (Hady) with him [2] then he should intend to perform Hajj of Tamattu' [see the Glossary] - as the Prophet ordered his companions to do in the end, and as he became angry when some did not immediately carry out this order to change the intention from Hajj to an �Umrah and he said: �I have entered the `Umrah into the Hajj until the Day of Resurrection�, and when some of the Companions asked whether he had done that only for that year or forever, the Prophet joined his fingers together and said: �I have entered the �Umrah into the Hajj until the Day of Resurrection, not just for a time, rather forever. [3] And because of this he ordered Fatimah and also all his wives - may Allah be pleased with them all - to leave the state of Ihram after finishing the �Umrah, and therefore Ibn �Abbas used to say: Whomsoever makes tawaf of the House - then he has left Ihram - the Sunnah of your Prophet - even if you are averse to it. [4] So everyone who has not brought the sacrificial animal with him, should call out that he is going to make �Umrah - in the three months of Hajj, and he who has declared his intention to do Hajj Mufrid (Hajj on its own) or Hajj Qarin then hears of the Prophet to change it �Umrah - then he should quickly obey even after reaching Mecca and Sa'i between Safa and Marwah - then he should leave the state of Ihram - then declare the intention for Hajj on the Day of Tarwiyah - the 8th of Dhul-Hijjah.

O you who believe! Give you response to Allah and His Messenger, when He calls you to that which will give you life.

[Noble Quran 8:24]

Thirdly: You must not leave off staying the night at Mina on the night before �Arafah as it is obligatory (wajib) - the Prophet did it and ordered it with his saying: �Take from me your rites of pilgrimage.� And you must also stay the night at Muzdalifah until you pray Fajr prayer, and if you miss this staying then you must at least pray Fajr there - as that is even more obligatory - rather it is one of the rukn (pillar) of Hajj according to the most correct saying according to the scholars - except upon the woman and the weak - for it has been allowed for them to leave after half of the night has passed.

Fourthly: And be very careful not to walk directly in front of anyone praying in the Haram mosque, not to speak of other mosques and prying places as the Prophet said: �If the one walking between the hands of one praying knew what were upon him then it would be better for him to stand still for forty (�) than that he should walk between his hands. [Malik, al-Bukhari, Muslim, the 4 Sunan of Abu Juhaim]. And this is a general text covering everyone walking in front, and everyone praying - and there is no authentic Hadith to make any exception for the one doing so in the Haram Masjid - and you should pray therein like any other place towards a sutrah - according to the general nature of the Hadith regarding that - and there are also some narrations from the Companions particularly about the Masjid-ul-Haram - which I have mentioned in �The Original'.

Fifthly: The people of knowledge should teach the pilgrims the rites of Hajj and its commands according to the Book and the Sunnah whenever meeting with them, and that should not stop them from calling to Tawhid which is the essence of Islam and was the reason for sending of the Prophets, and the sending down of revealed books, as most of the people whom we have met - even some of those who are supposed to be seeking knowledge - we have found to be in complete ignorance of the real meaning of oblivious to the necessity of the return of the Muslims - upon their differing madhabs (schools of thoughts) and various parties - to unification and joining ranks upon the basis of the Book and the Sunnah, - in belief (Aqidah) and Regulations (Ahkam) and transactions, and behaviour, and politics and economic affairs and all other aspects of life. And they must remember that any voice raised or any movement made to reform which is based upon any foundation other than this firm splitting and weakening of the Muslims - and will increase their shamefulness and humiliation - and the present state of affairs is the greatest proof of that - and Allah is the One Whose help is sought.

And there is nothing wrong with debating in the best way - when required, as the kind of argumentation that is forbidden in Hajj is useless argument which is also forbidden outside Hajj, just like the evil-doing that is forbidden in Hajj - for that is not the debating which is commanded in Allah's Quran:

Invite (all) to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching, and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious.

[Noble Quran 16:125]

However, it should be noticed that if it appears that there is no benefit in the discussion because of the other persons blindly sticking to his madhab or own opinion - and if he were to continue then there is fear of going into that which is not permissible - then it is better to leave that argument with him as the Prophet said: �I am a claimant for a house in the outskirts of Paradise for one who leaves off arguing even if he is in the right� [6]

No Difficulty

And the one who is inviting to the truth should always make things easy for the people in general and the pilgrims in particular as this making things easy is one of the principles of the kind of Shari'ah - as is known - as long as there is no text against the point, for when there is a specific text then it is not permissible to make things easy by opinion. And this is the just and middle way which it is binding for every caller to the truth to adopt. And there is no need to take any notice to the people's objecting after that and saying: He is too strict, he is too lenient.

And there are various actions which are permissible for the pilgrims which they have become used to avoiding due to some people's fatawa going against the aforementioned principle. So I decided to make note of those:

1. Bathing, without need to because of (e.g.) wet dreams (Ihtilam), even if it involves rubbing the head - as it is authentically reported from the Prophet in Bukhari and Muslim and others from the narration of Abu Ayyub. [7]

2. Scratching the head, even if some hair falls out as shown by the preceding hadith of Abu Ayyub - and it is the saying of Shaikh-ul-Islam Taimiyyah.

3. Cupping/Blood-letting (Ihtijam) even if some of the hair is shaved off in the place required, as the Prophet had it done on the center of his head while in Ihram - and that is not possible without shaving some of the hair. And this is also the saying of Ibn Taymiyyah - and the Hanbali scholars also - however, they say that he must make a sacrifice to make up for it, and they have no proof of this. Rather that is rejected by the Prophet's cupping - and had he made a sacrifice because of having done that then the narrator would have reported that - and his not having done so shows that it did not happen - so the correct position is the saying of Ibn Taymiyyah.

4. Smelling sweet smelling plants and pulling off broken nails - and there is narrations about that mentioned in �The Original'.

5. Taking the shade of a tent, or upheld garment - as this is proven from the Prophet, and in the same way using the camel-litter in the old days or an umbrella or car - even sitting inside - these days. And making it obligatory to make up for that with a sacrifice is a harshness for which there is no proof, rather there is no difference between seeking the shade of a tent which is proven from the Sunnah and seeking shade from the camel-litter - and its like, and this is a narration from Imam Ahmad as occurs in �Manar us-Sabeel' (1/2460). And what some people do regarding removing the roofs of their cars is entering into religion something that the Lord of the worlds has not allowed.

6. Wearing a belt around the izar and tying it when necessary, and wearing rings - as occurs in some narrations. And like it is wearing a watch or spectacles and money-pouch around the neck.

All of those things fall under the aforementioned principle - furthermore some of them also being supported by hadith from the Prophet, or by narrations from the Companions - and Allah says:

He (Allah) intends every facility for you, He does not want to put you into difficulties.

[Noble Quran 2:185]

And all praise is for Allah Lord of the worlds.

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