Stages of Hajj
STAYING IN MUZDALIFA
After the stay in ‘Arafat, the pilgrim has to embark on the third of the obligatory rituals of hajj and that is the stay at Muzdalifa. “Muzdalifa” is name of a place which is also known as “al-Mash‘ar al-Haram” and it is 6 k.m. from ‘Arafat and 14 k.m. from Mecca.
The pilgrim has to spend a part of the eve of ‘Idd at Muzdalifa until the dawn break. However, it is better for him to stay till the sunrise even though he is permitted to move to Wadi Mahsar a little before the sunrise – but he must not leave the Wadi before the sunrise.
One’s stay in Muzdalifa must be done with a sincere intention (niyyat) of seeking the pleasure of Almighty Allah. This may be done by saying, for example, “I will spend this night in al-Mash‘ar al-Haram for hajj at-tamattu‘ to seek nearness to Almighty Allah.” As mentioned earlier, the niyyat does not have to be uttered in some many words; a simple intention in one’s mind is sufficient.
RULES OF STAYING IN MUZDALIFA
2. Certain people are exempted from the “stay” in Muzdalifa (as defined in no. 1 above). These are: the children, the women, the weak, and the elderly who cannot stay that long or bear the crowd, the sick, and also those who take care of them. It is permissible for these people to stay in Muzdalifa only for a part of the night and then move on to Mina.
3. If a pilgrim is unable to stay in Muzdalifa for the entire eve of ‘Idd, not even between the dawn break and the sunrise of the next day because of illness or forgetfulness or ignorance, etc., then it is obligatory on him to say at least for some time between the sunrise and the mid-day of the day of ‘Idd. If he intentionally abandons that, then his hajj is invalid.
4. It is recommended for the pilgrim to pick seventy pebbles from Muzdalifa for use in stoning the pillars on the day of ‘Idd and after that.
5. It is recommended to combine the maghrib and ‘isha salats in Muzdalifa with one adhan and two iqamahs.
6. It is recommended to keep night vigil for ritual prayers, prescribed du‘as, etc.
COMMON MISTAKES WHILE STAYING IN MUZDALIFA
1. Some pilgrims leave ‘Arafat for Muzdalifa and when they reach a place, they inquire about it and are told that this is Muzdalifa and so they stay there. However, the next day, they find out that they were mistaken and that they were not in Muzdalifa. What happens to them?
If they are able to fulfill the requirement of staying Muzdalifa even if by staying there for a little while between the sunrise and the mid-day time of the day of ‘Idd, then their hajj is valid. But if they are not able to do even that much, then their hajj become invalid and changes into ‘umrah mufradah. In order to avoid such a serious mistake, the pilgrim must ensure that they are in Muzdalifa.
2. Some pilgrims leave Muzdalifa before the dawn break. This is obviously incorrect. Although his hajj will not become invalid, but if he does not return back to Muzdalifa, then he has to pay a penalty by sacrificing a sheep in Mina – unless, of course, he was ignorant of the ruling of staying till sunrise.
3. If the pilgrim leaves Muzdalifa before the sunrise, that is also incorrect. Of course, in this case, there is no penalty on him.
4. The present signs for limits of Muzdalifa are valid if they are based on ancient indications and have passed on from one generation to another. However, if there is doubt in validity of these signposts, then they cannot be relied upon; rather, the pilgrim has to ensure the limits of Muzdalifa by other means.
5. Some pilgrims think that it is obligatory to go from ‘Arafat to Muzdalifa directly. This is not correct; rather, one is allowed to leave ‘Arafat and go to another place like Mecca, rest there for a while and then return to Muzdalifa before the dawn break so that he can remain there till the sunrise.
6. The roads from ‘Arafat to Muzdalifa are extremely crowded with buses and cars; and sometimes the vehicles enter the boundary of Muzdalifa but the pilgrims are not allowed to get down until they reach to their site. Some pilgrims think that they cannot do the niyyat of staying in Muzdalifa except after getting down from the car or the bus. This is a wrong notion; they are allowed to do the niyyat even while the vehicle is on motion as long as they are inside the boundary of Muzdalifa