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Category 6 => Religious - => Topic started by: N. Truth Seeker on November 15, 2009, 12:58:44 am

Title: A short and important history of Hajj
Post by: N. Truth Seeker on November 15, 2009, 12:58:44 am

Salams to all.  With the season of Hajj being so closeby, I thought it would be very appropriate to mention the history of Hajj which will help all of us to understand the importance of this fifth pillar of our Faith still better.


Light-Nur (

Hajj literally means 'to set out for a place'. Islamically however it refers to the annual pilgrimage that Muslims make to Makkah with the intention of performing certain religious rites in accordance with the method prescribed by the Prophet Muhammad according to the dictates of the Quran.

Hajj and its rites were first ordained by Allah in the time of the Prophet lbrahim [Abraham] and he was the one who was entrusted by Allah to build the Kaba - the House of Allah - along with his son Ismail [Ishmael] at Makkah. Allah described the Kaba and its building as follows:

"And remember when We showed Ibrahim the site of the [Sacred] House [saying]: Associate not anything [in worship with Me and purify My House for those who circumambulate it [i.e. perform tawaaf] and those who stand up for prayer and those who bow down and make prostration [in prayer etc.]."  [Surah Al-Hajj 22:26]

After building the Kaba, Prophet Ibrahim would come to Makkah to perform Hajj every year, and after his death, this practice was continued by his son. However, gradually with the passage of time, both the form and the goal of the Hajj rites were changed. As idolatry spread throughout Arabia, the Kaba lost its purity and idols were placed inside it. Its walls became covered with poems and paintings, including one of Jesus and his mother Maryam and eventually over 360 idols came to be placed around the Kaba.

During the Hajj period itself, the atmosphere around the sacred precincts of the Kaba was like a circus. Men and women would go round the Kaba naked, arguing that they should present themselves before Allah in the same condition they were born. Their prayer became devoid of all sincere remembrance of Allah and was instead reduced to a series of hand clapping, whistling and the blowing of horns. Even the talbiah [1] was distorted by them with the following additions: 'No one is Your partner except one who is permitted by you. You are his Master and the Master of what he possesses'.

Sacrifices were also made in the name of God. However, the blood of the sacrificed animals was poured onto the walls of the Kaba and the flesh was hung from pillars around the Kaba, in the belief that Allah demanded the flesh and blood of these animals.

Singing, drinking, adultery and other acts of immorality was rife amongst the pilgrims and the poetry competitions, which were held, were a major part of the whole Hajj event. In these competitions, poets would praise the bravery and splendor of their own tribesmen and tell exaggerated tales of the cowardice and miserliness of other tribes. Competitions in generosity were also staged where the chief of each tribe would set up huge cauldrons and feed the pilgrims, only so that they could become well-known for their extreme generosity.

Thus the people had totally abandoned the teachings of their forefather and leader Prophet Ibrahim. The House that he had made pure for the worship of Allah alone, had been totally desecrated by the pagans and the rites which he had established were completely distorted by them. This sad state of affairs continued for nearly two and a half thousand years. But then after this long period, the time came for the supplication of Prophet Ibrahim to be answered:

"Our Rab! Send amongst them a Messenger of their own, who shall recite unto them your aayaat (verses) and instruct them in the book and the Wisdom and sanctify them. Verily you are the 'Azeezul-Hakeem [the All-Mighty, the All-Wise]."  [Surah Al-Baqarah 2:129]

Sure enough, a man by the name of Muhammad ibn 'Abdullaah was born in the very city that Prophet Ibrahim had made this supplication centuries earlier. For twenty-three years, Prophet Muhammad spread the message of Tawheed [true monotheism] - the same message that Prophet Ibrahim and all the other Prophets came with - and established the law of Allah upon the land. He expended every effort into making the word of Allah supreme and his victory over falsehood culminated in the smashing of the idols inside the Kaba which once again became the universal center for the worshippers of the one True God.

Not only did the Prophet rid the Kaba of all its impurities, but he also reinstated all the rites of Hajj which were established by Allah's Permission, in the time of Prophet Ibrahim. Specific injunctions in the Quran were revealed in order to eliminate all the false rites which had become rampant in the pre-Islamic period. All indecent and shameful acts were strictly banned in Allah's statement:

"There is to be no lewdness nor wrangles during Hajj."  [Surah al-Baqarah 2:197]

Competitions among poets in the exaltations of their forefathers and their tribesmen's achievements were all stopped. Instead, Allah told them:

"And when you have completed your rites [of Hajj] then remember Allah as you remember your forefathers; nay with a more vigorous remembrance."  [Surah al-Baqarah 2:200]

Competitions in generosity were also prohibited. Of course, the feeding of the poor pilgrims was still encouraged as this was done during the time of Prophet Ibrahim but Allah commanded that the slaughtering of the animals which was done for this purpose should be done seeking the pleasure of Allah rather than fame and the praise of the people. He said:

"So mention the name of Allah over these animals when they are drawn up in lines. Then, when they are drawn on their sides [after the slaughter], eat thereof and feed the beggar who does not ask, and the beggar who asks."  [Surah al-Hajj 22:36]

As for the deplorable practice of spattering blood of the sacrificed animals on the walls of the Kaba and hanging their flesh on alters, then Allah clearly informed them that:

"It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is Taqwaa (piety) from you that reaches Him."  [Surah al-Hajj 22:37]

The Prophet also put a stop to the practice of circling the Kaba in a state of nudity and the argument that the pagans put forward to justify this ritual was sharply rebutted in Allah's question:

"Say: Who has forbidden the adornment [i.e. clothes] given by Allah which He has produced for His Slaves?"  [Surah al-A'raaf 7:32]

Another custom which was prohibited through the Quran was that of setting off for Hajj without taking any provisions for the journey. In the pre-Islamic period, some people who claimed to be mutawakkiloon (those having complete trust in Allah) would travel to perform Hajj begging for food through the whole journey. They considered this form of behavior a sign of piety and an indication of how much faith they had in Allah. However Allah told mankind that to have sufficient provisions for the journey was one of the preconditions for making Hajj. He said:

"And take a provision [with you] for the journey, but the best provision is at-Taqwaa (piety)."  [Surah al-Baqarah 2:197]

In this way, all the pre-Islamic practices, which were based on ignorance, were abolished and Hajj was once more made a model of piety, fear of Allah, purity, simplicity and austerity. Now, when the pilgrims reach the Kaba, they no longer find the carnivals and the frolic and frivolity that had once occupied the minds of the pilgrims there before. Now, there is the remembrance of Allah at every step and every action and every sacrifice was devoted to Him alone. It was this kind of Hajj that was worthy of the reward of paradise.

May Allah grant us all the ability to visit His House and perform the Hajj in the manner of the Prophet Muhammad . Ameen.

Labbaik Allahumma labbaik... (Here I am present, O' God, I am present...) This is the chant which the pilgrims say when they are traveling for pilgrimage.

Related link:
What does the Quran say about Hajj (

Title: Re: A short and important history of Hajj
Post by: Heba E. Husseyn on November 17, 2009, 11:49:50 pm

Thanks br. ts.  This is a very well written piece which people should know.

The following are the extra worship we can perform during these 10 days.

Read the Qur’ân:

Read as much of the Noble Quran as you can each day.  If you can plan to complete it, nothing could be better.  Otherwise read as much as possible everyday.  However much you read, it's always a good idea to proceed according to a plan.  Don't forget, Allah is the most Merciful and the Kareem.  His Bounty is infinite which we can hardly fathom.  If we try to reach out to Him, He loves to reward us which is hundreds of times greater than our sacrifice for Him.  That's because He knows that the believers have Ikhlas.  Remember, the reading / recitations of the Glorious Quran must come from the heart.  Don’t be like a machine.   But honor the rights of the Qur’ân when reading / reciting it.

Offer Nawâfil Prayers:

In addition to the daily fard and sunnah rakahs, try to offer as many nafl rakahs as you can throughout the day.  

Ask yourself these questions and make sure that your heart gives you sincere answers:
Do you love Allah?
Do you have an aim?
Do you really want to be closer to Allâh?
Do you live with this craving?

If, you want this, then know that Allâh teaches you the means of gaining His qurb.  Allâh says:  “Fall prostrate and draw near to Allâh!” [Al-Alaq 96:19]  

Some recognized Nafl rakahs are:

-  Salât Dhuha - also known as al-Awwâbeen, may be offered as 2, 4, 6 or 8 rak’ât, prayed after the sun has risen and before the time for Dhuhr.  It comes from the term “Al-Awwâb’ meaning one who is obedient, or one who turns to obedience.

-  4 rakahs before and another 4 rakahs after the regular Duhar prayers.

-  4 rakahs before the regular Asr prayers.

-  Salât at-Tawbah: It could be any bad deed, any sin, you hear something bad , you see something bad, you feel your heart constricted because of something you have done and you didn’t mean it, etc, you can repent and express remorse immediately with your prayer of repentance. Perform wudhű’ and offer two sincere rak’ât of repentance.  Ask Allâh to forgive you. Make sure it comes from your heart.

-  And the well known Qiyam al-Leil prayer.  This is the middle of the night prayers in remembrance of Allah (The Most High).  For Qiyam al-Leil, one should offer at least 2 rakahs.  If one wants to worship more, one can offer as many rakahs as one likes.  Waking up in the middle of the night and remembering Allah and begging for His forgivness carries huge blessings at all times.  Especially during special times like Ramadan and Dhul Hajjah the importance of Qiyam al-Leil is considered to be greater.  That makes sense.

Offering extra Nafl prayer is an excellent way for making ourselves eligible for Allah's special mercy .. something which we all need, always.

Make lots of du’â:  We have a lot of needs from Allâh.   One of the best times to make du'a is when we are in sajoud.  Prostration brings us very close to Allah.

We have to show Allâh that we want His special mercy. We need to make ourselves eligible for it.

Make lots of Dhikr:

Do a lot of dhikr (zikr) especially during these 10 days.  Keep praising Allah by reciting verses of the Quran which you can remember.  Recite Ayat al-Kursi, Fatiha, Surah Ikhlas, Ayat al-Kerimah etc.  Recite the qalmas.  And say
“Allâhu Akbâr, Allâhu Akbâr, lâ ilâha ill-Allâh, Wallâhu Akbâr. Walilâhilhamd.”  Keep doing your dhikr throughout the day, whenever you can, as much as possible.  Dhikr will make your relation with Allâh stronger.  In addition to dhikr, also recite the durud several times a day.


This is for begging forgiviness from Allah for our sins and violations.  Just say ‘Astaghfirullâh’ for yourself and for other believers.  It means "I seek the forgivness of Allah."  Make sure it comes from the heart.  You can also recite the full Astighfar - "Astaghfirullah-i-Rabbi min qulay zambiv Wa-toobu alay" meaning "I seek the forgivness of Allah, my Lord, for every sin and I return to Him."  If our Astaghfirullah is sincere, Allah might erase some of our sins, if He wills, InshAllah.  Begging His forgivness with sincerity cleanses us.

“…nor will He punish them while they seek (Allâh’s) forgiveness.” [Al-Anfâl 8:33]

“Why seek you not the forgiveness of Allâh, that you may receive mercy?” [An-Naml 27:46]

Allâh is telling us to make istighfâr to gain His mercy. Let our istighfâr ascend to Him so that we give ourselves a chance for His mercy to descend upon us, InshAllah.

Nafl Fasting:

Fast as much as you can during these blessed days. If you can fast all of these days, then do so.  Fasting is a good and pious act that keeps us from evil and cleanses our souls.  The 9th day of Hajj, that is, the day of Arafah, is the most popular day for fasting during these 10 days.


Spending for the sake of Allâh!
Only Allâh knows how many trials & calamities have been pushed away from us, our family and loved ones as a result of our sadaqâh. Allâh knows how many times relief and ease has come to us due to the sadaqâh we gave. Therefore, give in the way of Allâh, as much as you can. Show Allâh that you love Him by spending from that which you love. Show Allâh [subhâna wa ta’âlâ] that all these things mean nothing besides gaining His acceptance.
Don’t look and remind yourself of what you have already spent in the past. If Allâh wills, He [subhâna wa ta’âlâ] has accepted and written it for you.  Spend from what you love and Allâh will love you.

Last but not least, optional fast on the Day of Arafah can be very comforting for those not performing Hajj.

These are some of the wonderful things we can do during the forthcoming best days of Dhul-Hijjah.

O Allâh, help me to remember You, to give You thanks, and to perform Your worship in the best manner.

Title: Re: A short and important history of Hajj
Post by: Zeynab on November 18, 2009, 12:25:36 am
Br. ts and sister Heba, many thanks for this wonderful article and reminder.  Yes, this is a very important month and the first 10 days give us a perfect opportunity to get closer to Allah with additional worship.  I must keep this for reference and will, InshAllah, try to follow it as diligently as I can.

Title: Re: A short and important history of Hajj
Post by: Ruhi_Rose on November 19, 2009, 12:25:26 am

I am so happy to read this thread.  The reason being, it's nice to see the emphasis on worship rather than just the celebrations that are made to follow.  I mean, during the 30 days of Ramadan as well as the first 10 days of Dhul Hajjah .. there are very few Muslims around the world who are really focusd on the actual importance of these days and therefore they barely concentrate on ibadah or worship of Allah Almighty.  Those who do worship, do it like a machine.  Their actual interest is in celebrating Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha.  The day Ramadan and Dhul Hajjah start, you will hear talks also starting in almost every Muslim household regarding the preparations for Eid ---- what new clothes they're gonna buy or make, what they're gonna cook, whom they'll visit, whom they'll invite for Eid milan parties and so on.  Ibadah of Allah is done as a ritual and most heedlessly.  These people perhaps don't even know that the Quran does not even mention about Eid celebrations.  On the 10th of Dhul Hajjah, the sacrifice of sheep by the pilgrims is not supposed to be a celebration like a party.  It's to mark the end of Hajj with a new beginning, and so the pilgrims are told to sacrifice an animal for food in remembrance of the incident in the life of Prophet Abraham (pbuh).  And the pilgrims are allowed to eat a nice meal themselves but most importantly to share it with others especially those who aren't rich or they can also send portions of the meat to the poor and orphans living closeby.  But we have misinterpreted this event to the extent that during the 10th day of Dhul Hajah every year, their are lavish parties with dinner tables overflowing with meat dishes in all rich and middle class Muslim households.  Many of them who are financially hard pressed spend almost all their savings during Eid celebrations.  It's only the hadith that's brought the practice of Eid which has gradually developed into an extravagant ceremony and of course, a money-making opportunity for many in the business circles.  Hence those few days prior to Eid, all commodities in the markets become expensive.  I have no doubt that if our Prophet (SAAW) saw this, he would have been shocked.

Btw, would anyone care to elucidate as to how the present concept of Eid evolved into our society?

Title: Re: A short and important history of Hajj
Post by: Heba E. Husseyn on November 19, 2009, 01:13:54 am
Your perception and concern are correct and justified, sister Ruhi. 

While only Allah knows the details best, here's how I surmise the present concept of Eid evolved in our Muslim society.

As we know, the Noble Quran mentions nothing to presume that Eid is a Quranic dictate.  In many narrations of various hadith collections you will find lots of stuff about Eid, like, eating a certain number of dates before Eid prayers, for Eid-al-Adha eating after making the sacrifice, wearing clean or best clothes, men must use perfume not women etc.  There is a hadith which also says that on Eid (probably Eid-al-Fitr or may both Eids) the Prophet (pbuh) in the mosque went around the congregation with a bag requesting all women to drop into the bag whatever jewellery they could give for charity. Of course I don't believe this at all.  The Prophet (pbuh) would never collect charity in this manner.  We know that for sure.  What I mean to show is this is how the concept of Eid started, purely through hadith.

Now, in reality, I would presume that at the end of Ramadan, the Prophet (pbuh)would be meeting people in his masjid in Medinah after the prayers and probably congratulating them for completing the fasts successfully .... and perhaps the people (including women who would be present) would offer each other some dates or some simple thing to eat.  That's it.  Then they would disperse after a while. I am also sure that during the period of the 4 righteous Caliphs who succeeded the Prophet (pbuh), things were just as simple and down-to-earth.  In my opinion, the extravagance began from the time of the Ommayad rulers.  That's when gradually lavish feasts became significant of observing Eid by marking it as the end of a religious season.  As the time of the Ommayads and Abbasids was very prosperous for the Muslim Empire, therefore these parties in the palace gradually became more extravagant, spreading into the society as a social culture or tradition.  Thus, this way eventually this practice also spread from the rich to the middle-class as a household culture. 

Like I said, only Allah knows best, but this is how I think it came about.

I had also read in a fairly sensible Muslim website sometime ago (I can't recall the name of that website) that marking the end of a religious season with celebration was a typical pre-Islamic custom.  It obviously popped back after the passing away of the Prophet (Saaw) and his successors, Abu Bakr, Umer, Usman and Ali (may Allah be pleased with them). 

Title: Re: A short and important history of Hajj
Post by: Zeynab on November 19, 2009, 02:08:10 am

Sisters Ruhi and Heba, many many thanks for your valuable input.  Really found this informative and sensible.  It's an apt example of what's so inherent of human nature - putting unwanted 'frills' not needed.  And that's how they alter the concept and beauty of the Divine Message.  Very sad indeed.   And yes, the beloved Final Messenger (Saaw) would have been astonished if he saw the present ideology of Eid with all its extravaganza!

Allah bless.

Title: Re: A short and important history of Hajj
Post by: Zeynab on October 30, 2010, 03:07:26 am
This seems to be an informative step by step illustrated guide on Hajj.

Title: Re: A short and important history of Hajj
Post by: Zeynab on August 20, 2018, 08:16:37 am

Dhul Hijja 1439 (August 2018), Day of Arafah.   Observing an optional fast today would be a very good idea for those not performing Hajj. 

Title: Re: A short and important history of Hajj
Post by: Heba E. Husseyn on August 20, 2018, 08:19:04 am

Yeah Sis, my husband and I are fasting  :)  Though not fard, yet highly advisable for a healthy soul.

Title: Re: A short and important history of Hajj
Post by: Zeynab on August 20, 2018, 08:21:43 am

.... Though not fard, yet highly advisable for a healthy soul.

Exactly, well said Sis :)