Stages of Hajj
IHRAM OF HAJJ
The ihram for hajj is donned in Mecca and the best time for it is the Day of Tarwiyya (i.e., the 8th of Dhul Hijja) at mid-day prayer’s time. If someone wants to put on this ihram before the 8th of Dhul Hijja, he may do so.
After putting on the ihram, the pilgrim has to do the niyyat, with the sincere intention of seeking the pleasure of Almighty Allah. He may do the niyyat by saying, “I am putting on the ihram for hajj at-tamattu‘ to seek the nearness of Almighty Allah.” As mentioned above, there is not need to say the niyyat in so many words; just the thought in mind is sufficient.
The pilgrim then has to say the talbiyya soon after the niyyat by saying: “Lab-bay-ka Allahumma lab-bay-ka; lab-bay-ka la sharika laka lab-bay-ka.” It is recommended to add the following to it: “Innal hamda wan ni‘mata laka wal mulk; la sharika laka lab-bay-ka.”
Then the pilgrim leaves the Mecca to go to Mina (through the tunnel route that consist of 7 k.m. or through the land route which consist of 4 k.m.) with calm and dignity, reciting the talbiyya loudly and constantly reciting the zikr of Almighty Allah.
It is recommended that he stay the eve of 9th Dhul Hijja at Mina and spend the time in worshipping Allah. It is preferable that his prayers be done in Masjid al-Khif (in Mina), especially at the distance of 20 cubits from the minarets which are at the centre of the mosque since that is the actual place where our Prophet and the other past prophets prayed. The pilgrim should do his Dawn Prayer and then, after the sunrise, he should proceed towards ‘Arafat, reciting the talbiyya all the way until he reaches it.
It is important to mention that going to Mina and spending the eve of 9th Dhul Hijja over there is among the recommended good deeds for which the pilgrim will be rewarded – but it is not among the obligatory acts of the hajj.
COMMON MISTAKES IN IHRAM FOR HAJJ
1. It is permissible to put on the ihram in any part of Mecca including the newly developed neighbourhoods except what falls outside the boundary of haram (the sacred territory) from the Masjid at-Tan‘im. Of course, it is a better precaution to put on the ihram in the old sectors of Mecca of the Prophet’s days.
Some pilgrims think that putting on the ihram in the old sectors of Mecca is mandatory and, therefore, they put themselves in undue inconvenience by leaving their residents (for example, from the ‘Aziziyya quarter) and going to the old quarters of the city for putting on the ihram. They also put themselves in religious problems, for example, by traveling in a covered vehicle during the daytime in the state of ihram which is forbidden for them as mentioned earlier.
2. Some people put on the ihram for hajj at-tamattu‘ on the morning of the Day of ‘Arafah (9th of Dhul Hijja) from Sacred Mosque since the crowd is less about the Ka‘bah – they do so considering it a good opportunity to do a sunnat tawaf after putting on the ihram. This is, however, incorrect on basis of precaution. He may do the tawaf first and then put on the ihram for hajj. However, if he made a mistake and did the tawaf after the ihram, then based on recommended precaution, he should renew his talbiyya.
3. Some pilgrims forget to say the talbiyya when they do the niyyat for the ihram, and they don’t remember it until they reach ‘Arafat and then they say the talbiyya. This is incorrect since it is obligatory upon him, if possible, to return to Mecca and redo his ihram. And if he cannot return back to Mecca for this, then he can redo his ihram in ‘Arafat itself.