Intention is essential to every act for every act is motivated by conscious intent, Therefore making an intention to perform Hajj or Umrah solely for the sake of Allah is the first step on the journey of pilgrimage. Naturally, intentions are matters of the mind and a pilgrim should form a firm intention for either Hajj or Umrah or both before putting Ihram (donning the pilgrim garb). (Fiqh Simnah). It should be clear in his mind that he is performing the Hajj/Umra for himself or on behalf of someone else. Note that the intention must be pure, with the heart devoted exclusively to Allah and the means that is halaal (lawful) and free of debt.
Ihram is the changing of the Pilgrim (al-hujjaj) from his normal wears into a special pilgrim uniform which consists of two unsewn white sheets, two metres long each: the izar (a loin cloth) which covers the lower part of the body from the navel to the knees and the rida' (cloak) which covers the back, the chest and the left shoulder, leaving the right arm/shoulder free. He can only wear slippers and must not put on a cap. The women can wear any cloth as long as she is properly covered except for the face and hands. The ihram clothes should be ordinary and should not be overinclined to vainglory and rivalry.
Ihram is assumed at various entry points into Makkah called meeqat. Ihram must be preceeded by ablution. While the period of Ihram lasts, the pilgrim is prohibited from contracting marriage for himself or others or to have sexual intercourse with his wife (Malik). He can neither shave nor trim the nails. From this point the pilgrim begins to chant the talbiyya: 'Labbaykallahumma labbayk Labayka Iasharika laka labbayk. Innalhamda wanni’mata laka wal mulk. La sharika lak’ (Here I am at Your service. O Lord, here I am Here I am. No partner do You have. Here I am, truly; the praise and the favour is Yours, and the dominion. No partner do You have).
Shortly after donning the Ihram, the pilgrim proceeds to the Ka'abah to perform Tawaf(Circumambulation). There are three types: Tawaf al-Qudoom or Tawaf al-Tahiyya (tawaf upon arrival or of greeting respectively). This is recommended though not obligatory. The other two are Tawaaf al-Ifaadah (also known as Tawaf az-Ziyyarah (circling of visit): this is a compulsory pillar of Hajj and if it is ommited the Hajj is nullified. It can only take place after the standing on mount Arafat; and Tawaf al-Wada (farewell circling) in which the pilgrim bids farewell to the Ka'abah before leaving Makkah for home on completion of Hajj rites.
Tawaf involves the circling round of the Ka'abah seven times, keeping the House of Allah to the left as he goes round (i.e anti-clockwise) The pilgrim must be in a state of purity and the first circling must start from the Yemenite angle which precedes the angle where the Black Stone is situated. Each circuit is accompanied by personal invocations to Allah, The pilgrim must also kiss; touch or at least make a gesture of touching the Blackstone; saying: Bismillah Allahu wali “llahil-Hamad. (In the name of Allah! Allah is Most Great! And unto Allah be Praise!) After performing the tawaf, two rakaah of prayer should be performed at the station of Ibrahim (Maqama Ibrahim). Women menstruating or in post-natal bleeding cannot perform the tawaf.
- Sa’y (procession)
The Sa’y is the rite of going seven times between the hillocks of As-safa and Al-Marwah. Each one-way journey counts as a length (shawi) out of the seven to be performed. It is regarded as one of the important pillars of Hajj. When pilgrim has finished his circumambulatior; he traditionally drinks from the Zamzam well and splashes his body and clothing with its water, he then heads to perform the Sa’y. To perform the Sa’y, one needs not be in a state of purity which is a condition for tawaf, so a menstruating woman can perform this rite. The procession must absolutely begin on the hillock of As-safa and thus must end at Al Marwah. When the Pilgrim climbs As-Safa he says: “Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar Wali llahial-hamd” (Allah is Great! Alllah is Great!! Allah is Great!!! And unto Allah be Praise!) He then starts on thw walk, Upon arrival in the hollow of the valley between the two hillocks, he accelerates his pace at the spot marked by a green post, then slows down again at a second green post until he reaches Marwah from where he turns back to As-safa.
- Tarwiyah (departure for mina)
On the 8th day of Dhul-Hijjah called Yawm Attarwiyah (the day for making provisions), the day before the decisive date of the Hajj, pilgrims leave Makkah at sunrise to go to the valley of Mina. They spend the rest of the day and the following night there. The next day, they leave at sunrise and set off for Arafat for the wuquf.
- Arafat (wuquf)
The gathering of all the Hajj pilgrims on the 9th day of : Dhul-Hijjah at Arafat is known as the Wuquf (literally, standing), It is the chief rite of Hajj; without it pilgrimage is not valid. The gathering of this day is a similitude of the Day of Judgement when kings and slaves alike stand equal before Allah. There is no set pattern of behaviour nor specific spot to seek out above all others. Standing on Arafat does not also entail a compulsory period of standing, as its name would seem to imply. Pilgrims are free to sit down, to walk about and to converse among one another but Allah must remain upper most in their minds throughout. Some pilgrims recite the Qur' an others climb the Mountain of Mercy (Jabal-ar-Rahmah) or listen to orators addressing the multitudes.
On the Arafat day pilgrims shorten and combine Zuhr (noon) andAsr (afternoon) prayers-praying two rakaah instead of four. The Maghrib (sunset) prayer must be observed at Muzdalifa.
Having left Arafat after sunset, pilgrims arrive at Muzdalifu after night has fallen. The halt in this place is prescribed by Allah:
“…Then when you pour down(mount) Arafat, celebrate His praises as He has directed you". (Q2:198)
First, pilgrims must observe the Maghrib (sunset) prayer together with Isha (nightfall) which is shortened to two rakahs just as the traveller does. Thereafter the pilgrims gather forty-nine pebbles (if they are spending three days); the pebbles are about the Size of a nutmeg or less and will be used for the stoning of the pillars at Mina.
From a brief stay at Muzdalifah, the pilgrim proceeds to Mina where he stays for at least three days and three nights. Here the pilgrim stones the pillars of Shaytan. The pillars are situated at the centre of Mina over a distance of 272 metres. The smallest of the pillars is the first (Jamra al-Ula); the second is Jamra al- Wusta (middle pillar) and the third called Jamra al-Aqabah. While hurling each of the seven pebbles one after the other the pilgrim recites: "Allahu Akbar, La illaha Illa'llah;" The pilgrim hurls seven pebbles at the first pillar and then another seven at the middle one and finally another at the great pillar. This rite is repeated for three days running. If a pilgrim misses this stoning he has to atone for it by sacrificing an animal or fasting for seven days. After this rite, the pilgrim stops chanting the talbiyya which started at Ihram. At Mina, pilgrim shave or cut off a lock of hair to put an end to the sacred state. The sacrifice of Eid-Kabir is also done.
- Visit to madina
This is not compulsory but meritorious. At Madina, pilgrim visits the mosque of the Prophet (PBUH) (Masjid Nabawiyy). One should enter the mosque through the Babas-Salam (gate of Salvation) and observe a two rakaah of prayer as a greeting to the mosque. The pilgrim then proceeds to the chamber where the Prophet's tomb lies, reciting: Bismillab ar-Rahmani ar-Raheem. Other points of visit are the cemetery of Al-Baqqee' and the mosques of Qub (Masjid Taqwa) and of the two Qiblah both in Madina.