Pilgrimage: The Fifth Pillar of Islam

19/06/2019| IslamWeb

Pilgrimage was ordained in the sixth year after the migration of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ). It suffices for a pilgrim to do it once in a lifetime, and performing it more than once is voluntary.

A Pilgrim whose Hajj is accepted by Allah is given the good tidings that he would return with all his sins being forgiven. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) says: “He who performs Hajj with no obscenity or evil practices will come out from all sins as a newly born baby.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

In this article, we will guide you through the steps of pilgrimage and try to be as brief as possible without leaving anything important out or unattended.

The Meeqat:

Upon arriving at the Meeqat (the place from where a pilgrim assumes the state of Ihram), perform Ghusl (a ritual bath), perfume yourself, but not your pilgrimage garments, and put the two-piece garment on with no headgear. The garments should not be form-fitting. One piece to cover the upper part of the body, and the second to cover the lower part. The woman's Ihram (i.e. garment of pilgrimage) is any decent, loose garment that covers her entire body and that fulfills all Islamic conditions of Hijab, while exposing her face, hands and not using any perfumes. If the time comes for obligatory prayer whilst assuming Ihram, you should perform it. If not, you can pray two voluntary Rak'ahs after ablution.

You should initiate the state of Ihram by proclaiming the type of Hajj you intend to perform. For Hajj Al-Ifrad you should say: "Labbayka Allahumma Hajjan". For Hajj Al-Qiran you should say: "Labbayka Allahumma 'Umratan wa Hajjan". For Hajj At-Tamattu' you should say: "Labbayka  Allahumma 'Umrah". After concluding his 'Umrah, one goes back to normal (no Ihram restrictions). Then, you repeat the supplication of Hajj, called Talbiyyah, saying: "Labbayka Allahumma labbayk. Labbayka la shareeka laka labbayk. Innalhamda wan-n'imata laka walmulk, la shareek lak".

When you are in a state of Ihram, you are not allowed to do any of the following: wear any form-fitting clothes, cut or shave hair from any part of the body, use perfumes on the body or clothes, clip your nails, engage in hunting, eat game meat (unless it was not exclusively hunted for him or another pilgrim), contract a marriage or have sexual intercourse and all matters leading to it. As for a woman pilgrim, she is forbidden to wear a Niqab (i.e. a veil that is tied on the face), or gloves. However, in the presence of men she draws down a veil from her head to cover her face.

Arriving in Makkah:

Upon arriving at the sacred mosque in Makkah (Al-Masjid Al-Haram), you should enter with your right foot and say: "Bismillah, Allahumma Salli 'Ala Muhammad, Allahumma Ighfirli waftahli Abwaba Rahmatik. (In the name of Allah! O Allah! Exalt the mention of your Messenger. O Allah! Forgive my sins, and open the gates of your mercy for me)." You should enter in a manner expressing humility and gratitude to the blessings He conferred upon you.

Before performing Tawaf (i.e. circumambulation), make sure that the sheets of Ihram are in Idh-tibaa' position (to wrap the upper sheet of Ihram below the right arm and hang over the left shoulder so that the right shoulder is uncovered), this is done exclusively during Tawaf.

Start Tawaf from the Black stone keeping the Ka'bah to your left. Kiss the Black Stone if possible, touch it with your right hand if possible, otherwise just point at it with your right hand, without harming others, saying: "Bismillah, Allah-u-Akbar". Then immerse yourself in remembrance of Allah, supplication and asking for forgiveness.

Hasten during the first three rounds of Tawaf and walk during the remaining four. This fast walking is called Ramal.

Touch the Yamani Corner with your right hand whenever you pass by it if possible, without kissing it; if touching it is not possible, do not point at it. While you are passing between the two corners, it is recommended to say: "Rabbana Aatina Fid-Dunya Hasanatan Wa fil-Aakhirati Hasanatan Wa Qina 'Athabannar".

Circumambulate the Ka'bah for seven times starting from the Black Stone and ending by it; saying Allah-u-Akbar whenever you are parallel to it. After Tawaf, cover your right shoulder again, go to Maqam Ibraheem (Ibraheem's station) and recite: "Wattakhithoo Min Maqami Ibraheema Musalla" [Al-Baqarah: 125] you should recite this in Arabic if you know how, otherwise just perform two Rak'ahs behind it (if possible or anywhere in the mosque when crowded). Recite chapter 109 of the Quran in the first Rak'ah and chapter 112 in the second.

Ascend Mount As-Safa and recite (in Arabic only): "Inna As-Safa Wal-Marwata Min Sha'aa'irillah" [Al-Baqarah: 157]. After this you say: "I begin with what Allah began with." Face the Ka'bah and raise your hands in supplication saying thrice: "La Ilaha Illallah wahdah, Anjaza Wa'dah, Wa Nasara 'Abdah, Wa Hazamal-Ahzaba Wahdah." Then supplicate for your self.

Descend from As-Safa and head to Al-Marwah, when you reach the two green signs, increase your pace between them and run. Then return to your normal pace until you reach Al-Marwah. Immerse yourself in remembrance of Allah praying to him whilst walking.

Upon reaching Al-Marwah, ascend it, face the Ka'bah and say as you've said on As-Safa. Thus you have fulfilled one lap of seven. Going back to As-Safa, walk calmly and hasten on reaching the aforementioned green sign. The same steps are repeated in each of the seven laps.

Shaving the Head or Trimming the Hair:

After Sa'y, (i.e. walking between As-Safa and Al-Marwah seven times) if you are performing Hajj At-Tamattu' it is preferable to trim (and not shave) your hair and with this you end your 'Umrah rites. At this stage, the prohibitions of the state of Ihram are lifted and you can resume your normal life. If you are performing Hajj al-Qiran or al-Ifrad, you remain in the state of Ihram and this Sa'y suffices you from having to do it at the end of Hajj.

The Tarwiyyah Day:

On the 8th of Thul-Hijjah, a Pilgrim performing Hajj At-Tamattu' should assume Ihram again from where he is staying, saying: "Labbayka Allahumma Hajjan".

It is better to leave for Mina in the morning. In Mina, the pilgrims pray Thuhr, 'Asr, Maghrib and 'Ishaa' of the 8th and Fajr of the 9th ('Arafah day). Thuhr, 'Asr and 'Ishaa' are shortened to two Rak'ahs, but are not combined. One should increase remembrance of Allah and supplication, and repeat Talbiyyah.

Departure to 'Arafat:

On the 9th of Thul-Hijjah. ('Arafah day), you stay in 'Arafat until sunset. It is preferable to pray Thuhr and 'Asr at 'Arafat, shortened and combined during the time of Thuhr. Make sure that you stay within the boundaries of 'Arafat, not necessarily standing on the mountain of 'Arafat. You should spend most of the day glorifying Allah, supplicating and asking forgiveness, raising your hands in supplication as did the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ).

Leaving for Muzdalifa:

After sunset, on 'Arafah day, quietly and reverently leave for Muzdalifah in compliance with the advice of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ). In Muzdalifah, the pilgrim combines Maghrib and 'Ishaa' prayers, shortening the 'Ishaa' prayer to two Rak'ahs. Spend the night in Muzdalifah to perform the Fajr prayer of the next day. Then you should immerse yourself in remembrance of Allah praying to Him.

Stoning Jamartul-'Aqabah

Before sunrise, head to Mina to throw the pebbles. Walk calmly, repeating Talbiyyah throughout the way. When you reach Jamratul-'Aqabah, stop saying Talbiyyah and stone the seven pebbles saying: "Allah-u-Akbar" at each throw.

The end of the First Phase of the State of Ihram:

After stoning Jamratul-'Aqabah, the pilgrim goes to slaughter his sacrifice himself or he appoints somebody else to do it. He eats of it and feeds the poor. The final rite on the tenth day is to shave your head or shorten it. Shaving the head is more rewarding. For women, the length of hair to be cut is that of a fingertip. Stoning Jamratul-'Aqabah, and shaving the head or trimming the hair symbolizes the end of the first phase of the state of Ihram and the lifting of its restrictions, except for sexual intercourse with one's spouse.

Tawaf Al-Ifadhah:

After performing all the aforementioned steps, go to Makkah to perform Tawaf Al-Ifadhah by circling the Ka'bah seven times and praying two Rak'ahs behind Maqam Ibraheem, without causing any harm to Muslims, otherwise anywhere in the Haram. Then perform Sa'y between As-Safa and Al-Marwah if you are performing Hajj At-Tamattu', or if you are performing Hajj al-Qiran, or al-Ifrad and did not perform it with your first Tawaf. After Tawaf Al-Ifadhah the state of Ihram ends and all restrictions are lifted, including sexual intercourse with one's spouse. Tawaf Al-Ifadhah can be delayed until the days spent in Mina are over.

Spending the Night at Mina:

After Tawaf Al-Ifadhah you should return to Mina and spend the days of Tashreeq there (11th, 12th and 13th of Thul-Hijjah). The first two nights are an obligatory rite of Hajj and must be fulfilled and the third one is optional.


During each of the days of Tashreeq, stone the three stone pillars called "Jamarat" (small, medium and Jamratul-'Aqabah) saying: "Allah-u-Akbar" with each throw of the seven pebbles, stoned successively at each pillar. The time of stoning the three Jamarat is after zenith. It is commendable, after stoning the first Jamrah and the second Jamrah, to face the direction of the Qiblah and supplicate to Allah. After Stoning the largest Jamrah (Jamaratul-'Aqabah), do not stop for supplication.

Farwell Tawaf:

The farewell Tawaf is the final rite of Hajj. When you intend to return to your home country, go to Makkah and perform the Farewell Tawaf around the Ka'bah. However, women in their menstrual or postnatal period are exempted from this Tawaf.