Pilgrimage: Hajj & `Umrah (Introduction)
Once in a lifetime, Hajj and `Umrah are decreed for those who can afford it. Pilgrimage commemorates Abraham’s exemplary submission to God (Appendix 9), and must be observed during the four Sacred Months – Zul-Hijjah, Muharram, Safar, & Rabi` I (12th, 1st, 2nd, 3rd months) (2:197; 9:2, 36). `Umrah can be observed any time. Like all other duties in Islam, Hajj has been distorted. Most Muslims observe Hajj only during a few days in Zul-Hijjah, and they consider Rajab, Zul-Qi’dah, Zul-Hijjah, and Muharram (7th, 11th, 12th, 1st months) to be the Sacred Months. This is a distortion that is strongly condemned (9:37).
The pilgrimage begins with a bath or shower, followed by a state of sanctity called "Ihraam," where the male pilgrim wears seamless sheets of material, and the woman wears a modest dress (2:196). Throughout Hajj, the pilgrim abstains from sexual intercourse, vanities such as shaving and cutting the hair, arguments, misconduct, and bad language (2:197). Cleanliness, bathing, and regular hygiene practices are encouraged. Upon arrival at the Sacred Mosque in Mecca, the pilgrim walks around the Ka`bah seven times, while glorifying and praising God (2:125, 22:26-29). The common formula is: "Labbayka Allaahumma Labbayk" (My God, I have responded to You). "Labbayka Laa Shareeka Laka Labbayk" (I have responded to You, and I proclaim that there is no other god besides You; I have responded to You). The next step is to walk the half-mile distance between the knolls of Safa and Marwah seven times, with occasional trotting (2:158). This completes the `Umrah portion of the pilgrimage.
The pilgrim then goes to `Arafat to spend a day of worship, meditation, and glorification of God, from dawn to sunset (2:198). After sunset, the pilgrim goes to Muzdalifah where the Night Prayer is observed, and 21 pebbles are picked up for the symbolic stoning of Satan at Mina. From Muzdalifah, the pilgrim goes to Mina to spend two or three days (2:203). On the first morning at Mina, the pilgrim offers an animal sacrifice to feed the poor and to commemorate God’s intervention to save Ismail and Abraham from Satan’s trick (37:107, Appendix 9). The stoning ceremonies symbolize rejection of Satan’s polytheism and are done by throwing seven pebbles at each of three stations, while glorifying God (15:34). The pilgrim then returns to Mecca and observes a farewell circumvolution of the Ka`bah seven times.
Unfortunately, most of today’s Muslim pilgrims make it a custom to visit the prophet Muhammad’s tomb where they commit the most flagrant acts of idolatry and thus nullify their Hajj. The Quran consistently talks about "The Sacred Mosque," while today’s Muslims talk about "The Two Sacred Mosques!" In a glaring act of idolatry, the Muslims have set up Muhammad’s tomb as another "Sacred Mosque!" This is a blasphemous violation of the Quran, and, ironically, even violates Hadith. The Hadith shown below illustrates this strange irony:
Translation of this false statement: "God has cursed the Jews and Christians for turning the tombs of their prophets into mosques." [Bukhari, Nawawi Edition, Vol. 6, Page 14]