There are Three Ways of
Performing the Hajj.

Al-Hajj Step by Step:
Second Way | Al-Hajj Al-Ifrad

Decorative Lines

Stages of Hajj

Al-Ifrad

Hajj al-Ifrad involves performing Hajj only. A sacrificial animal is not obligatory when performing Hajj al-Ifrad. In this section we give details of each stage of Hajj al-Ifrad and provide advice on the rituals that must be performed if the Hajj is to be completed satisfactorily.

  • Ihram
  • Performing the Welcome Tawaf and Sa’y
  • Going to Mina from Makkah
  • Going to Arafat from Mina
  • Going to Muzdalifah from Arafat
  • Proceeding to Mina from Muzdalifah
  • Tawaf al-Ifadha in the Holy City of Makkah
  • Returning to Mina from Makkah
  • Farewell Tawaf in the Holy City of Makkah
  • Departing for home

Ihram

Bathe yourself (ghusl).

Put on the white clothing of Ihram. The white garment of the Ihram consists of two pieces of white cloth: the cloth covering the upper part of the body is the Rida’; the cloth covering the lower part of the body is the Izar.

After donning the white garment of Ihram and verbally declaring the intention to perform Umrah or a specific type of Hajj, recite the Talbiyah.

Now that you are in a state of Ihram, you are subject to a number of prohibitions. You must not:

  • Wear sewn clothes
  • Cut or pluck hair
  • Clip nails
  • Cover your head
  • Wear perfume
  • Engage in sexual intercourse

Other prohibitions include entering into a marriage contract, hunting, or cutting down trees in the Sacred Precinct.

Performing the Welcome
Tawaf and Sa’y

Enter the Holy Sanctuary (al Masjid al Haram), preferably right foot first through the Bab as-Salam gate, reciting the Talbiyah:

  • Labbayk, Allahumma Labbayk.
  • Labbayk, La Shareeka laka labbayk.
  • Innal-hamda wan-ni’mata laka wal-mulk
  • La shareeka lak’

The above means:

‘Here I am O Allah, (in response to Your call), here I am. Here I am, You have no partner, here I am. Verily all praise, grace and sovereignty belong to You. You have no partner.’

You should then say: “In the name of Allah, may peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah. O Allah, forgive me my sins and open to me the doors of Your mercy. I seek refuge in Allah the Almighty and in His Eminent Face and in His Eternal Dominion over the accursed Satan.”

When you first see the Holy Kaaba, keep your eyes fixed on this the holiest of all structures in Islam. Standing to one side, proclaim:

  • “Allahu Akbar” three times
  • “La ilaha illa’Llah” three times

Then proclaim a blessing on the beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) and, in all humility, make your prayers to Allah. This is an especially propitious time to offer prayers to the Almighty.

You may recite some other similar holy verses if you so desire.

After this, while uttering Talbiyah once more and repeatedly, move forward to prepare for the circumambulation of the Kaaba (Tawaf).

To prepare for the Tawaf, the pilgrim must ensure ablutions have been performed. The pilgrim should pass the upper garment of the Ihram (the rida’) under the right arm and over the left shoulder, thus leaving the right shoulder bare. This procedure is called iddtibaa’.

When you reach the Black Stone (al-Hajar al-Aswad), you have arrived at the starting point for the circumambulation (Tawaf), and you may cease reciting the Talbiyah.

Niyyah

Standing facing the Kaaba, with the Black Stone to your right. You are now ready to perform Niyyah (i.e. express your intention to pray):

Istilam

Now, moving right, if space permits, stand before the Black Stone and kiss it. If you are unable to move close enough to kiss the Black Stone, you may touch it with your hand. If you are unable to kiss or touch the Black Stone, place your hands at your ears, palms facing outwards, and say:

“Bismi’Llah Allahu akbar wa li’Llah al-hamd”

This alternative is perfectly acceptable so there is no need for pushing or shoving which may harm yourself or others if you are not able to reach the Black Stone.

This act, whether you kiss the Black Stone, touch it with your hand or utter a prayer while pointing the palm of your hand toward the Black Stone is called Istilam.

Tawaf

You may now begin your seven circumambulation, moving right, so that you keep Kaaba to your left, counter-clockwise, around the Kaaba. When performing the first three circumambulations, men may move their shoulders and move with quick, short steps. (This procedure is called Ramal.) The remaining four circumambulations should be performed at a normal walking pace.

Prayers During Tawaf

While performing Tawaf, there are no prescribed prayers but there are a number of supplications which are recommended. You may also use the prayers that form part of your daily prayer sessions and pray to Allah in your own way in your own language.

Hateem

Hateem is a semi-circular section which originally formed part of the Kaaba but was not incorporated into the Kaaba when the Kaaba was rebuilt. You should include the Hateem in your circumambulations.

When you reach the fourth corner of the Kaaba (Rukn Yamani), touch it with your right hand or both hands and, as you walk between Rukn Yamani and the Black Stone, you may pray:

“Rabbana atina fid-dunya hasanatan wa fil-akhirati hasanatan wa qina azabin-nar”.

When you reach the Black Stone, perform Istilam again, to mark the start of your second circumambulation.

Continue in the same way, until you have completed the seven circumambulations, including Istilam at the end of each circuit.

Completion of Tawaf

On completion of your seven circumambulations, men should cover their right shoulder, thus ending iddtibaa’.

Multazam

Between the Black Stone and the door of the Kaaba is a deeply holy place about two meters in length where it is very good to pray. If you are able to reach this place, pray to Allah for His mercy and for His beneficence. If you are prevented by the number of people from reaching Multazam, simply face towards the area and make your prayers.

Maqam Ibrahim

On completion of the seven circumambulations, you should approach Maqam Ibrahim (the Station of Ibrahim) and offer two short prayers (rakaats). Then, if it is possible, you should return to the Black Stone and touch it.

Safa And Marwah

You are now ready to perform the Sa’y, the shuttling between the two hills of Safa and Marwah.

As you approach Safa, you may say:

“Verily, As-Safa and Al-Marwah are among the shrines of Allah”.

You should now ascend Safa and, facing the Kaaba, make whatever supplication you choose. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), when he stood on Safa, proclaimed three times “There is no god but Allah”.

You should now proceed towards Marwah, walking at a normal pace until you reach the green marker. Men, if they are able, should run until they reach the next green marker, whereupon they should revert to a normal walking pace until you reach Marwah. Women should proceed throughout at normal walking pace. The area between the two markers is where Haajar used to hear her baby Ismael crying out from thirst while she was looking for help.

She ran whenever she heard his cries. When you stand on Marwah, face the Qibla, and repeat the prayers and supplications you voiced at Safa. You are now ready to make the return journey, walking where you should walk and, if a man, running, if able, where you should run. This is your second passage.

You should now repeat the procedure until you have completed seven passages, ending your Sa’y at Marwah. While performing Sa’y, you should pray to Allah as you wish and recite verses from the Holy Qur’an.

Going to Mina from Makkah

8th of Dhu’l-Hijjah: You will be in Mina for one day from after dawn prayer (Fajr) on 8th of Dhu’l-Hijjah till after dawn prayer (Fajr) on 9th Dhu’l-Hijjah.

Perform five prayers, starting with the noon (Zuhr) prayer and ending with dawn (Fajr) prayer on the day of Arafat.

You may also collect some of the seventy small pebbles you will need for the “stoning” ceremony (ramy)

Going to Arafat from Mina

9th of Dhu’l-Hijjah: This is the Day of Arafat. You will be in Arafat from after dawn until after sunset on 9th Dhu’l-Hijjah.

After performing the dawn (Fajr) prayer at Mina, leave for Arafat on the morning of the 9th of Dhu’l-Hijjah.

When you reach Arafat, you may stay anywhere in Arafat, except in ‘Batn Oranah, the valley immediately after the Namirah Mosque in the direction of Qibla. Devote as much of your time as possible to prayer. Repent your sins, and seek the forgiveness of Allah.

At the Namirah Mosque listen to the Arafat day sermon.

From after noon onwards, perform Wuquf at Arafah. This is the most holy of times when you stand alone with Allah. Go outside your tent, and face towards the Qibla in the Holy City of Makkah, raise your hands and pray to Allah, pray as you wish, pray in your own language, pray for the forgiveness of sins, pray with all your heart.

When the sun has set, leave Arafat for Muzdalifah.

Going to Muzdalifah from Arafat

9th – 10th of Dhu’l-Hijjah: You will be in Muzdalifah from after sunset on 9th Dhu’l-Hijjah till after the dawn prayer (Fajr) on 10th of Dhu’l-Hijjah. Your stay in Muzdalifah will be under the open sky. Here you will offer the evening prayer (Maghrib) and stay over night.

While at Muzdalifah you should ensure you have the pebbles you will need for the “stoning” ceremony (ramy). You may have already collected some pebbles in Mina. You should now make sure you have enough by picking up as many as you need from the foot of the hills at Muzdalifah. You will need 70 pebbles in total, so it is as well to gather a few extra in case of losses on the way.

At dawn, you will offer Fajr (the dawn prayer). Then, before the sun has risen, you will set off for Mina.

Proceeding to Mina from Muzdalifah

10th of Dhu’l-Hijjah: You will be in Mina for the stoning (ramy) of Jamarat ul Kubra; the stoning must be performed according to pre-determined schedules. The stoning is followed by shaving/cutting of hair (Halq/Taqseer).

Here seven times you will stone the pillar that represents the devil, saying “Bismillah, Allahu akbar” each time you throw a pebble. “Bismillah” means “in the name of Allah”. “Allahu akbar” means “God is great”.

Women and those who are old or otherwise infirm need not themselves perform ramy, leaving it to those delegated to perform it on their behalf.

You will now leave the state of Ihram. Shave your hair (or if you are a woman clip your hair). You may now shower, shave, and change into your normal clothes. The prohibitions imposed by Ihram are now removed, except that you must not have sexual relations. (Husband and wife may not enjoy conjugal relations until after Tawaf al-Ifadha – the Circumambulation of the Kaaba, central to the Hajj rites.)

You will now proceed to the al Masjid al Haram in Makkah to perform Tawaf al-Ifadha.

Tawaf al-Ifadha in the Holy City of Makkah

10th of Dhu’l-Hijjah: You return to the Holy City of Makkah to perform Tawaf al-Ifadha on 10th of Dhu’l-Hijjah.

  • Tawaf al-Ifadha is an essential element of Hajj.
  • You will circumambulate the Kaaba seven times and then offer prayers (rakaat) behind Maqam Ibrahim.
  • You will then perform Sa’y between Safa and Marwah.
  • Drink water from the Well of Zamzam.

As soon as you have completed the Hajj Tawaf (Tawaf al-Ifadha) the state of Ihram is completely ended and all restrictions are lifted including those relating to sexual relations with one’s spouse.

Return to Mina.

Returning to Mina from Makkah

11th – 13th of Dhu’l-Hijjah: You stay in Mina for up to three days for the stoning of the three pillars representing Satan (ramy of the three Jamarat).

On these two or three days, you will stone the three pillars in a set order, according to predetermined schedules, performing ramy al-uula, ramy al-wusta and ramy al- kubra. You may return to al Masjid al Haram to perform the Farewell Tawaf after ramy on 12th of Dhu’l-Hijjah, if you wish. Or you may stay till 13th of Dhu’l-Hijjah, performing ramy for the third time, before returning to al Masjid al Haram for the Farewell Tawaf.

The act of stoning the devil (shaytan) commemorates the three attempts the devil made to tempt the Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him). The Prophet rejected all three of the devil’s attempts, stoning him and driving him away. The three stone pillars mark the places where the failed temptations took place and the act of stoning commemorates the Prophet Ibrahim’s constant obedience to Allah and the vanquishing of the devil.

Farewell Tawaf in the Holy City of Makkah

This is the final Tawaf before you leave the Holy City of Makkah.

This, the Farewell Tawaf (Circumambulation), marks the end of your Hajj. Spend whatever time you can within the precincts of al Masjid al Haram. Make your prayers and devotions as you wish. Sa’y does not form part of the Farewell Tawaf.

Departing for Home

Your Hajj completed, you should leave the Holy City of Makkah promptly for your next destination.

Explanations

Ihram | What is an Ihram and how should I wear it?

The Ihram garments for men consists of two pieces of white sheet. Wrap the larger sheet around your waist to cover your body from the navel to the ankles. Secure the Ihram either with a belt or by a strip of fabric torn from Ihram material. Drape the other sheet over the back and shoulders and wear a pair of stitched or unstitched sandals or shoes which do not cover the ankles. The head should not be covered, and no underwear should be used. The Ihram should preferably be white.

Should women wear the Ihram?

Women are allowed to make Ihram in any dress they wish which fulfills the Islamic conditions of public dress, regardless of the color. Women’s hands and face should be uncovered in Ihram. Their heads should be covered.

  • Are there things I should and shouldn’t be doing while I am in a state of Ihram?
  • Yes, a Muhrim (someone who is in state of Ihram) must observe certain obligations and prohibitions. These are:
  • Keep your head uncovered at all times. Women should keep their heads covered
  • Do not shave, cut your hair, clip your nails, use perfume, or wear sewn clothes of any kind
  • Do not perform marriage or get married yourself
  • Do not kill an animal of any kind for any reason, unless it poses a danger to you and to the others.
  • Do not enter into conjugal relations with your spouse. Avoid suggestive and provocative talk or gestures and remain focused on Hajj

Al-Moltazam

The Kaaba, a large stone structure constituting a single room with a marble floor, lies at the heart of the Holy Mosque (al Masjid al Haram) in the Holy City of Makkah. The Kaaba is Islam’s holiest building. It now stands some 60 feet high and each side is approximately 60 feet in length. The Kaaba is the focal point around which the Holy Mosque is built. The four walls of the Kaaba are covered with a black curtain (the Kiswah) which reaches to the ground and is fastened to the Shadharwan with copper rings.

The door of the Kaaba is set in the south-east wall, about seven feet from the ground. Inside, there are pillars, which support the roof. The interior is furnished with many gold and silver lamps. On the inner walls, there are several bands of inscriptions which record the many repairs done to the Kaaba. The Holy Qur’an makes it clear that Ibrahim (Abraham) and his son Ishmael were the true founders of the Kaaba, together building the holy shrine dedicated to the worship of the one true God.

Five times each day more than a billion Muslims around the world turn to face the direction of the Kaaba to offer their prayers to the one true God. It is also, of course, the focal point of the Hajj when, once each year, some two million pilgrims converge on the Holy City of Makkah. Set in the eastern corner of the Kaaba is the Black Stone (al-Hajar al-Aswad).

The Black Stone predates the birth of Islam but now, set in gold, forms an integral part of the Kaaba. In the course of the pilgrimage, the Hajjis will kiss or touch the Black Stone, not because the Black Stone is holy in itself but because it was kissed by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). On the roof of the Kaaba is a gilt water spout (al-Masabb) which projects out from the north-west wall.

Opposite the north-west wall of the Kaaba, but not joined to it, is a semi-circular wall (Al-Hateem) which is 5ft high and 3ft thick. This area is also known as Hijr Ishmael. To the north-east side of the Kaaba is the Maqam Ibrahim, a small kiosk of glass and metal topped by a small dome. In it is kept the stone on which Ibrahim stood while building the Kaaba. Nearly opposite the Black Stone, near the Maqam Ibrahim, is the well of Zamzam.

Maqam Ibrahim

Station of Ibrahim (Maqam Ibrahim)

In order to complete the upper part of the walls of the Kaaba, Ibrahim stood upon a large stone block which he moved along when each section was completed. When the Kaaba was finished, the large stone block was left outside the Kaaba, close to the eastern wall of the sanctuary. It became known as the Maqam Ibrahim (the station of Ibrahim). Today, the Maqam Ibrahim, with the stone within, is located in front of the door of the Kaaba. The boulder is about 2 x 3 feet. Where it stands today is the place where Ibrahim offered up his prayers.

Black Stone

Black Stone in the Holy Mosque

Set in the eastern corner of the Kaaba is the Black Stone (al-Hajar al-Aswad). The Black Stone predates the birth of Islam but now, set in gold, forms an integral part of the Kaaba. It was brought from Paradise by the Archangel Gabriel and was set into one corner of the Kaaba.

Kiswah

The Kiswah is a black cloth, woven of silk and lined with cotton, which covers the Kaaba. Each year, a new Kiswah is prepared, embroidered in gold thread with the Shahadah and verses from the Holy Qur’an and carried to the Holy City of Makkah by pilgrims. The completed Kiswah is over 45 feet wide, and nearly 130 feet in length. A recent estimate of producing the Kiswah each year put the cost at about SR 17 million (U.S. $ 4.5 million). The Kiswah is created in the special factory that has been making kiswahs since it was first opened around 1927. During the Hajj, the black Kiswah is replaced by a white cloth, matching the white robes (ihram) of the pilgrims. At the end of Hajj, the newly woven kiswah is placed over the Kaaba. The old one is cut into small pieces and give to pilgrims from different Muslim countries.

Mina

City of tents, Mina

Mina, which lies between the Holy City of Makkah and Muzdalifah, is now known as tent city. Here are the white pillars representing the devil at which the pilgrims cast the pebbles they gathered at Muzdalifah.

Muzdalifah

Hajj route

Muzdalifah is a valley between Mina and Mount Arafat in which pilgrims on Hajj spend the night in the open. It is here they gather pebbles to hurl at the pillars of Mina.

Also see:

Al-Hajj QiranAl-Hajj Tamattu’