Editorial

Hajj occupies a very important position in the various forms of Islamic worship. The Holy Prophet (sws) once, answering a question placed it among the basics of Islam. He defined Islam in the following words:

الْإِسْلَامُ أَنْ تَشْهَدَ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَتُقِيمَ الصَّلَاةَ وَتُؤْتِيَ الزَّكَاةَ وَتَصُومَ رَمَضَانَ وَتَحُجَّ الْبَيْتَ إِنْ اسْتَطَعْتَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلًا (مسلم , رقم: 8)

Islam means that you openly state that there is no god except Allah, and Muhammad (sws) is the Messenger of Allah; establish the prayer, pay Zakah; fast during the month of Ramadan and offer the H~ajj of the House of Allah if you are able to afford journey to it. (Muslim, No: 8)

According to another narrative, the Prophet (sws) acknowledged it as one of the pillars of Islam:

بُنِيَ الْإِسْلَامُ عَلَى خَمْسٍشَهَادَةِ أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَإِقَامِ الصَّلَاةِ وَإِيتَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ وَالْحَجِّ وَصَوْمِ رَمَضَانَ (بخاري : رقم 7)

Islam is based on five fundamentals: to proclaim that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad (sws) is the Messenger of Allah, and to establish the prayer, and pay Zakah, to offer pilgrimage of the House [of God] and to fast during Ramadan. (Bukhari, No: 7)

Abu Hurayrah(rta) narrates:

أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ سُئِلَ أَيُّ الْعَمَلِ أَفْضَلُ فَقَالَ إِيمَانٌ بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ قِيلَ ثُمَّ مَاذَا قَالَ الْجِهَادُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ قِيلَ ثُمَّ مَاذَا قَالَ حَجٌّ مَبْرُورٌ (بخاري , رقم:25)

The prophet was once asked: 'Which deed is the most superior?' He replied: 'Belief in God and His Messengers'. 'After that?' he was asked. 'Jihad in His way', was the answer. It was then asked: 'After that'. He replied: 'the H~ajj offeredwith all its requirements'. (Bukhari, No: 25)

At another place, the Prophet (sws) is reported to have said:

مَنْ حَجَّ لِلَّهِ فَلَمْ يَرْفُثْ وَلَمْ يَفْسُقْ رَجَعَ كَيَوْمِ وَلَدَتْهُ أُمُّهُ (بخاري , رقم: 1421)

One who offers H~ajj in His way and doesn't speak obscene language, and doesn't commit sins, will come back [purified] as he was at the time of his birth. (Bukhari, No: 1421)

At yet another place, he said:

الْعُمْرَةُ إِلَى الْعُمْرَةِ كَفَّارَةٌ لِمَا بَيْنَهُمَا وَالْحَجُّ الْمَبْرُورُ لَيْسَ لَهُ جَزَاءٌ إِلَّا الْجَنَّةُ(مسلم , رقم: 1349)

An 'Umrah after the other stands for the atonement of the sins committed in between. H~ajj offeredwith all its requirements is rewarded with Paradise. (Muslim, No: 1349)

The importance of H~ajjis also manifest in the H~adithin which the Prophet (sws) warned those people who do not perform H~ajj, even when they do not have any obstacle in their way. Abu Amamah narrates:

قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَنْ لَمْ يَمْنَعْهُ عَنْ الْحَجِّ حَاجَةٌ ظَاهِرَةٌ أَوْ سُلْطَانٌ جَائِرٌ أَوْ مَرَضٌ حَابِسٌ فَمَاتَ وَلَمْ يَحُجَّ فَلْيَمُتْ إِنْ شَاءَ يَهُودِيًّا وَإِنْ شَاءَ نَصْرَانِيًّا(دارمي , رقم: 1792)

The Holy Prophet said: 'If a man unhindered by a compelling necessity, or a tyrant ruler, or a disabling disease dies without offering Hajj, God doesn't care if he dies the death of a Jew or a Christian'.(Darmi, No: 1792)

H~ajj, in fact, is an Abrahamic worship which the Prophet (sws) introduced and promulgated among his progeny and directed it to keep it in practice. We find the pagan Arabs who, in spite of having forgotten most of the teachings of the Abrahamic religion, practicing H~ajjthroughout their history, regarding it a great duty. They indeed regarded it a great religious service. With the passage of time like the other teachings of religion, they lost the true form of this worship and excluded many of its rituals and introduced some new practices that they deemed appropriate. The Qur'an re-established this Abrahamic worship in its original form and said:

وَللَّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلاً وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ الله غَنِيٌّ عَنِالْعَالَمِينَ (97:3)

And whosoever can afford should visit the House on pilgrimage as duty to God. Whosoever denies should remember that God is above heed of the world. (3:97)

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We have dedicated this issue of the journal to the rituals of Hajj and Umrah for the benefit of the pilgrims who are going to offer Hajj this month. Presented in this issue is the research of Javed Ahmad Ghamidi on these rituals.

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