Monday, 21 November 2011

Some Mistakes of Pilgrims

All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and prayers and peace of Allah be upon the Seal of Prophets and Messengers, our Prophet, Muhammad, and upon all his family and Companions.

Hajj (Pilgrimage) carry fruitful acts, as Allah, Glorified be He, has made it a mean for expiating wrongdoing and forgiving sins. The Prophet (Prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) said,

"Whoever performs Hajj and does not commit any obscenity or commit any evil will return (free of) sin as on the day his mother bore him". [Agreed upon]
متفق عليه«من حج فلم يرفث ولم يفسق رجع من ذنوبه كيوم ولدته أمه»

He also said,

"From one Hajj to the next Hajj is an expiation for whatever (sins) committed between them, so long as major sins are avoided".
«الحج إلى الحج كفارة لما بينهما ما اجتنبت الكبائر»
Since validity of worship depends on sincerity to Allah, Exalted be He, and following of his Prophet (Prayers and peace of Allah be upon him), it is necessary for an observant Muslim to well consider such fundamentals, so that his worship may become perfect. Allah, Exalted be He, says, {And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allâh, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him)} [Al-Bayyinah 98:5].
البينة: 5{وَمَآ أُمِرُوٓا۟ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا۟ ٱللَّـهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ ٱلدِّينَ}

Transliteration: Wa Ma Umiru Illa liya`budu Allaha Mukhlisina lahu ad-din.

He also says, {Indeed in the Messenger of Allâh (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes for (the Meeting with) Allâh and the Last Day, and remembers Allâh much.} [Al-Ahzab 33:21].
{لَّقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِى رَسُولِ ٱللَّـهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُوا۟ ٱللَّـهَ وَٱلْيَوْمَ ٱلْـَٔاخِرَ وَذَكَرَ ٱللَّـهَ كَثِيرًا} الأحزاب: 21

Transliteration: Laqad kana lakum fi rasuli Allahi Uswatun Hasanatun Liman kana Yarju Allaha wa al-Yawma Al-Akhira Wa Thakara Allaha kathira.

In addition, He says, {….And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) gives you, take it; and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it). And fear Allâh; verily, Allâh is Severe in punishment.} [Al-Hashr 59:7].
الحشر: 7{وَمَآ ءَاتَىٰكُمُ ٱلرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَىٰكُمْ عَنْهُ فَٱنتَهُوا۟}

Transliteration: Wa Maatakumu Ar-Rasulu fa khuthuhu Wa Ma Nahakum `Anhu fa Intahu)

These are just examples of the Qur'anic texts in this regard.

Hajj to Allah's Sacred House is one of the Five Pillars of Islam that is obligatory only on the part of those who can physically and financially afford it. Its rituals and rulings were fully clarified by the Prophet (Prayers and peace of Allah be upon him), through verbal explanation, actual performance, and silent consent. Companions watched the Prophet carefully to well learn Hajj practices, in observance of his command,

"Take from me your rituals (of Hajj)" [Reported by Muslim].
رواه مسلم«لتأخذوا مناسككم»

Then, they passed to us what they have learnt, as clear as could be.

Despite all such clarification and demonstration, some people do deviate from the Prophetic guidance, by either leaving some commendable supererogatory ritual or falling in an act of Bid`ah (i.e., innovation in religion) or disobedience, out of ignorance, misconception, or imitation of unreliable persons.

Sheikh Saleh Al-Fawzan has discussed some mistakes and errors commonly committed by pilgrims.

Mistakes in Ihram

1. Some pilgrims coming by air delay their Ihram (i.e., state of consecration to Hajj or `Umrah) until they reach Jeddah Airport and then assume Ihram there or at any other point nearer to Makkah, thus surpassing the Miqat (i.e., site of assuming Ihram) on their way. The Prophet (Prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) described Miqats saying, "They are for the people at those very places and besides for those who come through those places". [Reported by Al-Bukhari]
رواه البخاري«هن لهن ولمن أتى عليهن من غير أهلهن»

Thus, everyone who passes by or becomes parallel to a Miqat on his way, whether by air or on land, while he has the intention to perform Hajj or `Umrah (i.e., Lesser Pilgrimage) should assume Ihram at that Miqat. If he surpasses it and assumes Ihram at a place closer to Makkah, then he will have missed one of the obligatory rituals of Hajj and should offer a sacrificial animal in expiation. It is noteworthy that Jeddah is not a Miqat for those who do not live in it and those who assume Ihram in it.

2. Some pilgrims take souvenir photos after assuming Ihram and keep them and show them to their friends and acquaintances. This is wrong in two ways:

a) Taking photos in itself is haram and an act of disobedience, based on hadiths that prohibit it and show punishment for doing it. A pilgrim is consecration himself to worship, and thus it is not suitable to start that worship with an act of disobedience.

b) This falls under dissimulation and false pretension; liking to show others one's photo in the state and garments of Ihram is a dissimulation, and dissimulation annuls good deeds. It is a form of "minor polytheism", and it is one of the distinctive features of hypocrites.

3. Some pilgrims think that they should bring with them their shoes, money, and all other belongings that they might need on their journey and that it is impermissible for them to use anything that they had not brought with them before assuming Ihram. This is a big mistake and stark ignorance: They should not, and it is not haram to use any personal stuff not brought before Ihram. They can purchase and use anything they need, and they can replace Ihram garments, shoes, etc. They should avoid only the known prohibitions of Ihram.

4. Some men in the state of Ihram uncover their right shoulders, which is impermissible unless during circumambulation on arrival and circumambulation of `Umrah. Otherwise, both shoulders should be covered with the garment all the time.

5. Some women think that they should wear a specific color when on Ihram, such as green. This is wrong. There is no particular color that should be worn by women during Ihram. They can assume Ihram in their ordinary clothes, excluding clothes that are dandifying, tight, or transparent, which are impermissible whether on Ihram or not.

6. Some women in the state of Ihram put on a turban-like headdress so that burka does not touch the face, which is wrong and needless, and there is no evidence on its legitimacy. In a hadith narrated by `A'isha (may Allah be pleased with her), we are told that women on Ihram did cover their faces when in front of men but did not wear turbans or burka carriers. There is no problem if the burka touches the face.

7. Some women who get their period while on their way to Miqat with the intention of performing Hajj or `Umrah may abstain from assuming Ihram, thinking that ritual purification from menstruation is a prerequisite to Ihram. This is evidently wrong: Menstruation does not invalidate Ihram, and menstruating women can assume Ihram and perform all rituals of Hajj except for circumambulation around the Ka’ba, which is to be delayed until menstruation stops, as clarified in the Prophetic Sunnah. If a menstruating pilgrim goes beyond the Miqat without assuming Ihram, she should go back and assume Ihram at the Miqat. If she assumes Ihram from a point nearer than the Miqat, she should offer a sacrificial animal to compensate for leaving a Hajj duty.

Mistakes in Circumambulation

1. Many pilgrims restrict themselves to specific supplications that they read from handbooks during circumambulation, and sometimes they form groups that repeat together supplications after a recite. This is wrong in two ways:

a) The pilgrims stick to supplications that were not specified for that very event; the Prophet (Prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) was not reported to utter particular supplications during circumambulation.

b) Congregational supplication is a Bid`ah, and it disturbs other pilgrims. Typically, every pilgrim should utter whatever supplications he himself chooses to say, silently or in a low voice.

2. Some pilgrims kiss Ar-Rukn Al-Yamani (i.e., the Ka’ba corner to the direction of Yemen), which is wrong — it is just to be held with hands, without kissing. The Black Stone can be kissed, held with hands, or pointed at in case of crowd. Ar-Rukn Al-Yamani, however, is to be held with hands, but not to be kissed or pointed at from a distance. Other corners are neither to be kissed nor to be held.

3. Some people jostle through the crowds to hold and kiss the Black Stone. This is impermissible, since it is very difficult, can do harm to others as well as the jostler himself, and causes bodily contact with women. Normally, the Black Stone is to be held and kissed only when possible; otherwise, it is to be pointed at from a distance, to avoid jostling, doing harm, and touching women's bodies. Acts of worship are based on easiness. Holding and kissing the Black Stone is supererogatory and conditional on ability, and the option of pointing at it is to be used in case of inability to hold and kiss it. Also, jostling and pushing may lead to haram things — then how come that a haram is committed in order to perform a supererogatory act?

Mistakes in Haircutting

Some pilgrims cut only a few hairs of their heads, which is not sufficient for the ritual to be properly done. The point is to shorten hair in all parts of the head; on the basis that shortening replaces shaving, and since shaving is for the whole head, so is shortening. Allah, Exalted be He, says, {(some) having your heads shaved, and (some) having your head hair cut short, having no fear.} [Al-Fat-h 48:27].
الفتح: 27{مُحَلِّقِينَ رُءُوسَكُمْ وَمُقَصِّرِينَ لَا تَخَافُونَ}

Transliteration: Muhalliqina Ruusakum Wa Muqassirina la Takhafun)

When one shortens some part of his head, it is not the same as shortening all his hair.

Mistakes in Stay at `Arafa

1. Some pilgrims do not check where they stay and do not follow the signposts indicating the boundaries of `Arafa, thus erroneously staying outside the mountain. If they continue to be where they are and do not enter the area of `Arafa itself all through the Shar`i stay time, then their Hajj will be invalid. Pilgrims should make sure to be within the perimeter of `Arafa during the Shar`i stay time.

2. Some pilgrims think that during stay at `Arafa, they should see or climb the Mountain of Ar-Rahmah, and to do so, they impose on themselves huge difficulty and danger. There is no need to overdo it: All is needed is just to be present anywhere in `Arafa, as the Prophet (Prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) said, "And all of `Arafah is the place of standing, and avoid the Valley of `Uranah". [Authenticated by Al-Albani]
صححه الألباني«عرفة كلها موقف، و ارتفعوا عن بطن عرنة»

It makes no difference to see the mountain itself or not. Also, some turn their faces to the Mountain of `Arafa when supplicating, while they should do so to the Ka`ba.

3. Some pilgrims leave `Arafa before sunset, which is impermissible. Leaving time is defined as the sunset, and whoever leaves `Arafa before that time and does not return will be missing a Hajj duty and should thus offer a sacrifice and show repentance to Allah. The Prophet (Prayers and peace of Allah be upon him) remained at `Arafa till sunset, and he had already said, "Take from me your rituals (of Hajj)". [Authenticated by Al-Albani]
صححه الألباني«خذوا عني مناسككم»

Mistakes at Muzdalifah

Upon reaching Muzdalifah, a pilgrim should perform Salahs of Al-Maghrib and Al-`Isha' combined, spend the night there, pray Salah of Al-Fajr, supplicate just before sunrise, and leave to Mina. It is permissible for people who have excuses - especially women, the elderly, and children - and those who take care of them to leave after midnight. Mistakenly, some do not make sure to be staying within the boundaries of Muzdalifah, and some leave before midnight. Whoever does not spend the whole night at Muzdalifah with no excuse will be omitting a Hajj duty that should be compensated for by sacrificing an animal and repenting to Allah.

Mistakes in Pebble Throwing

In the duty of pebble throwing, a pilgrim is to throw at `Aqabah on the Eid day (it is permissible to do so as of the midnight of the Eid day) and then throw at the other three sites of throwing following the noon of the three Days of Tashriq (i.e., 11th, 12th, and 13th of Dhul-Hijjah), respectively. However, some pilgrims commit the following errors in that ritual:

1. Some throw at a wrong time - i.e., throw at `Aqabah before midnight of Eid day or at the other three sites before the noon of the Days of Tashriq. Such throwing is invalid, since it is not done at the specified times. It is just like performing a Salah before its due time starts.

2. Some miss the order of throwing at the three sites, starting with the second or last one. The right order is to start with the Small, then the Middle, and finally the greater.

3. Sometimes, thrown pebbles do not hit the throwing target (i.e., the stone column) or hit it so strongly that they bounce back and fall outside the stone column basin. Such throwing is invalid, since the pebbles have not fallen inside the basin. This mistake occurs due to ignorance, hastiness, or carelessness.

4. Some perform the throwing of the last two days in advance along with the throwing of the first day or appoint a proxy to perform the remaining two times of throwing on behalf of them, to be able to travel back home early before completing Hajj. This is an act of manipulation of Hajj activities and temptation from the Devil. A person spends much effort and money to perform Hajj, and when he is just a few steps away from finalizing it, he falls under the influence of the Devil and errs on several Hajj duties, which are:

(1) Dropping the last two times of throwing,
(2) Not staying at Mina all through the three Days of Tashriq,
(3) Doing Farewell Circumambulation at a wrong time (as it should be done after the elapse of all hajj days and activities).

It would have been better if such a person had not gone to do Hajj in the first place and save himself the waste of effort and money. Allah says, {And perform properly (i.e. all the ceremonies according to the ways of Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم), the Hajj and ‘Umrah (i.e. the pilgrimage to Makkah) for Allâh} [Al-Baqarah 2:196].
البقرة: 196{وَأَتِمُّوا۟ ٱلْحَجَّ وَٱلْعُمْرَةَ لِلَّـهِ}

Transliteration: Wa Atimmu al-Hajja Wa al-`Umrata lillah.

That is to say, all activities of Hajj and `Umrah should be done in a Shar`i manner by those who assume Ihram for either of them, with sincere intention devoted to Allah, Exalted be He.

5. Some pilgrims misunderstand the meaning of hastening in the Qur'anic verse: {But whosoever hastens to leave in two days, there is no sin on him and whosoever stays on, there is no sin on him} [Al-Baqarah 2:203].
البقرة: 203{فَمَن تَعَجَّلَ فِى يَوْمَيْنِ فَلَآ إِثْمَ عَلَيْهِ وَمَن تَأَخَّرَ فَلَآ إِثْمَ عَلَيْهِ}

Transliteration: Fa Manta`Ajjala fi Yawmayni fa la Ithma `Alayhi wa man ta'akhkhara fa la Ithma `Alayh.

They think that the two days refer to the Eid day and the day following it (i.e., 11th of Thul-Hijjah), and consequently they assume to be hastening and leave on the 11th day. This is a fatal mistake that is committed out of ignorance. The two days here follow the Eid day (11th and 12th), and there is nothing wrong either to hasten to leave upon throwing pebbles after the noon of the 12th or to stay and throw after the noon of the 13th and then leave - the latter will be better and more recommendable.

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