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There are three types of pilgrimages and these are Qiran, Ifraad and Tamattu. The last one is the most common. Tamattu’ involves the pilgrim performing the rites of Umrah, then performs the rites of the Hajj. Pilgrims performing Tamattu’ are called Mutamatti. As this is the most common type of pilgrimage.

Preparing for the Hajj: Be sure you are ready to perform the Hajj. The Hajj is not to be undertaken lightly or as an afterthought. It should be approached with the seriousness and dedication and must be performed following the prophet Muhammad’s words and deeds as described in the Sunnah.

Performing the Rites of Umrah: Assume Ihram. Ihram is a holy state of purity that all Muslims must assume before performing the rites of Umrah and Hajj and which much be maintained for the duration of the rituals. Men Clothes in clean, plain Ihram sheets – wrap around waist and the other over the upper body, simple sandals or flip flops that don’t cover the top portion of your foot and avoid covering the head. These simple garments signify the equality of all before God- the wealthiest king and the lowliest beggar wear the same clothes on the Hajj.

Women: besides the requisite sandals, women don’t have special clothes for Ihram – their ordinary clothes should be used, provided that they are clean and modest. Covering the head with a veil, scarf etc. is “mandatory” attire for women and should be done in the Hajj too. Declare your intention and say the Talbiyah. A special boundary called a Miqat surrounds the holy sites of the Hajj. At the Miqat pronounces the Niyyah – a short recitation of his intention to complete the Umrah. Then, recites the Talbiyah,Labeka that has to be repeated often during the pilgrimage.  Proceed towards the Kaaba – the most sacred location in Islam. At first sight of the Kaaba, keep your eyes fixed on it and stand to the side of the crowd as you say “Allahu Akbar” (“God is Great”) three times, followed by saying “La Ilaha Illallah” (“There is no god but God”). Recite other holy verses if you desire. Say a blessing for the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and, in total humility, make your prayers to Allah. 

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Perform the Tawaf. To begin, men should make sure their Ihram garb is properly arranged – make sure the upper sheet passes under the right arm and lays across the left shoulder, exposing the right shoulder. Make another Niyyah for Umrah, saying: ” O Allah, I perform Tawaf of Umrah to please You. Make it easy for me and accept it from me.” Begin to circle the Kaaba. Walk counter-clockwise so that the Kaaba stays at your left. Circle the Kaaba seven times, praying as you do so. There are no designated prayers for the Tawaf, except Rabana so you may use ones from your daily life but not aloud.

Perform Sa’ey. It means walking back and forth seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwah. Originally, this was done outdoors, but today, the entire path is enclosed in a long gallery. When you reach the top of Safa, recite another Niyyah, saying: “O Allah! I perform Sa’ey between Safa and Marwah to please You. Make it easy for me and accept it from me.” 

After completing the Sa’ey, men should have their hair either completely shaved or cut short – both are permissible, but Women should not have their heads shaved but instead may cut a lock of hair or have their hair trimmed several inches. Here, the ritual hair-cutting, Umrah is complete and the restrictions of Ihram are lifted. You can return to your normal activities, wear your normal clothes and wait for hajj and need to re-enter Ihram to do so.

Rites of Hajj

The rites of the Hajj last five days –  from the 8th to the 12th of Dhu al-Hijjah. You must maintain in Ihram for about three days, abstaining from the activities that are forbidden to you until this period is over. As with Umrah, the Hajj requires ritual purity and meekness before God, so, at the outset of the Hajj, pilgrims re-assume the state of Ihram. As before, bathe, groom yourself, and don the proper Ihram clothes. When you’re ready, say another Niyyah:  “O Allah! I intend to perform Hajj. Please make it easy for me and accept it from me. Amen.” Then say, the Talbiyah three times. 

Head to Mina. On the first day of Hajj, pilgrims head to Mina, a town near Mecca, where they spend the rest of the day. On the first night, no major rituals take place, so you may spend your time praying and reflecting with other pilgrims if you wish. Many pilgrims choose to say the Dhuhr, Asr, Magrib, Isha and Fajr prayers.]

Head to Arafat and perform Waquf. On the second day of Hajj, pilgrims travel to Arafat and must reach Arafat before afternoon, because, at this time, Waquf begins. From the time when the sun first starts to decline until the time it sets completely, pilgrims camp on  Arafat during which time they pray and reflect. 

Pray in Muzdalifah. After sundown, pilgrims head to a place called Muzdalifah between Mina and Arafat. Here, they offer an evening prayer (Maghrib) and Ishai spending the night sleeping on the ground beneath the open sky. In the morning, gather pebbles, as you will use these for the Ramy “stoning” ceremony later in the day.

Perform Ramy in Mina. This ceremony can be extremely crowded, tense, and emotional. Trampling and deaths have occurred. Because of this, the elderly, sick, and injured are discouraged from participating. Instead, they may perform this later in the evening or have a friend or confidant performs the ritual in their place.

Offer a sacrifice. After the Ramy ceremony, it’s necessary to offer an animal for sacrifice (Qurbani) to God. In the past, each pilgrim did this individually, however, today; it’s much more common for pilgrims to simply purchase a sacrifice voucher. These vouchers signify that an animal was sacrificed in your name. 

Get your hair cut or shaved. As in the Umrah, male pilgrims must have their hair ritually completely shaved or cut into a very short haircut the Women can have a short lock of a hair cut – their heads are not shaved. If a pilgrim cannot shave the head for medical reasons, he should offer sadaqah (charity-feeding six persons) to make a sacrifice of sheep.

Perform the Tawaf and Sa’ey. Just as in the Umrah, the Hajj requires pilgrims to perform the Tawaf and Sa’ey rituals at the Kaaba and the nearby hills. The rituals are performed essentially identically to how they are performed during the Umrah, but it is highly recommended that these ceremonies be done only after the stoning, sacrifice, and hair-cutting rituals.

Repeat Ramy after sundown on the fourth and fifth days. In Mina, you must once again participate in the stoning ritual. This time, you will not throw pebbles only at the Jamrat al Aqabah, but also at two other monuments – the Jamrat Oolah and Jamrat Wustah.

Perform the Farewell Tawaf. Finally, your Hajj has come to a close. To mark the end of the most important religious experience of your life as a Muslim, perform one final tawaf, walking around the Kaaba seven times as before. As you perform the Farewell Tawaf, reflect on the thoughts and feelings you’ve experienced on your Hajj. Offer praise and supplication to Allah. When you’ve finished, complete any unfinished business you have remaining in or around Mecca, then depart for your home. 

May Allah accept the hajj.

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