“Pilgrimage thereto is duty men owe to Allah those who can afford the journey” (Q3:97)
The Qur'an presents, in its various verses, the specific stages that the rites and sites of the pilgrimage had gone through over time. These stages are: restoration, sanctification, proclamation and preservation.
Restoration: During the time of Adam (PBUH), the Ka'abah was raised as a symbol of tawhid, a house of worship and a point of return to Allah. Succeeding generations of men desecrated it until it was destroyed with the flood of Prophet Nuh's time (PBUH). The lot fell on Prophet Ibrahim and his son Isma'il (PBU1) to restore the glory of the sacred House:
"And remember Ibrahim raised the foundations of the House (with this prayer): "our Lord! accept (this service) from us: for You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing." (Q2:127).
Sanctification: After raising the foundation again, the holy place of pilgrimage had to be sanctified and venerated in order to play host to the celebration of one true God and to be the focus for an enduring monotheism. "Behold! We pointed the site, to Ibrahim, of the sacred House, (saying):
"Associate not anything (in worship) with Me; and sanctify My House for those who compass it round, or stand up, or bow, or prostrate themselves (therein in prayer)." (Q22:27).
The sanctification purified the House for the service of Allah alone in pure worship and sincere devotion.
"And proclaim the pilgrimage among men: they will come to you on foot and (mounted) on every camel, lean (on account of journeys) through deep and distant mountain highways" (Q22:27).
Pray, what is to be the purpose of their visit?:
"...that they may witness the benefits (provided) for them, and celebrate the name of Allah, through the Days appointed ..." (Q22:28).
Preservation: The foundation of the sites of hajj has been restored and sanctified, proclamation had gone to men to go on pilgrimage hence no longer will the sacred places be subjected to impure worship and no longer shall men be allowed to defile their sacredness. The sanctity and sacredness" of the haram (sacred precinct) is preserved for all time. The believer is then charged to ensure preservation:
"O you who believe! molate not the sanctity of the rites of Allah, nor of the sacred month, nor of the animals brought for sacrifice ...nor the people resorting to the sacred House, seeking the bounty and good pleasure of their-Lord..." (Q5:2).
All men are invited but not all men are expected. The pilgrim must be able (physically and materially Q3:97), must perform spiritual obligations (Q2:196) and must come at due time, with correct attitude and frame of his moral mind (Q3:196).