Sa‘i is the fourth of obligatory rituals of ‘umrah at-tamattu‘.
After completing the salat of tawaf, it is recommended for the pilgrim to drink from Zamzam water before going towards the Safa hill for the sa‘i.
It is also recommended for him to go calmly towards Safa from the door which is opposite the Black Stone. And when he ascend on the hill of Safa, he should look towards the Ka‘bah, especially towards the corner of the Black Stone and then thank Allah, praise Him, remember His blessings and then descend from Safa to begin the sa‘i.
It is recommended for the pilgrim to do the walk calmly for the sa‘i until he reaches the first pillar (which is identified by a special light). From the first pillar to the next one, it is recommended for the men to walk briskly; however, this recommended is not for women.
RULES OF SA‘I
1. Niyyat (sincere intention) is an essential condition for sa‘i which can be said, for example, in the following words: “I am doing sa‘i between Safa and Marwah seven rounds for the ‘umrah at-tamattu‘ of the hajj at-tamattu‘ for seeking pleasure of Almighty Allah.” As mentioned earlier, the niyyat does not have to be uttered in some many words, just the thought in one’s mind is sufficient.
2. The ritual ablution (wudhu) is not a condition for the validity of sa‘i even if there is an impurity (like blood) on his blood or dress. Of course, it is better to be with purity.
3. Sa‘i also have seven rounds like the tawaf. The first round of the sa‘i begins from the Safa hill and end at the Marwah hill; and the second round starts from the Marwah and ends with Safa. Finally, the seventh round ends at Marwah.
4. It is important to cover the entire area between the hills of Safa and Marwah; however, it is not necessary to go over the hills even though it is better to do so.
5. While walking towards Marwah, it is necessary to keep the body facing towards Marwah just as it is necessary to face towards Safa while returning to it from Marwah. Of course, turning one’s face to the right or the left or the back does not harm the sa‘i.
6. Based on obligatory precaution, one should not leave a considerable time gap between the rounds of sa‘i. For example, a ten minute gap between two rounds would violate the condition of continuity for the sa‘i. Of course, there is no harm in sitting on Safa or Marwah to rest between the rounds of sa‘i. Similarly, there is no harm in interrupting the sa‘i at the time of prayer for saying the prayer and then returning back to the same place to continue the sa‘i.
7. It is permissible to delay the sa‘i (after completion of the tawaf and its salat) for hours or even for a night in order to recuperate from tiredness or the heat of the season, etc. It is, obviously, better to do the sa‘i soon after the tawaf and its salat. It is however not permissible to delay the sa‘i to the next day without an excuse.
8. If the pilgrim has a doubt about the number of rounds in sa‘i, he is allowed to continue his sa‘i with the doubt. If his doubt is resolved that he has not added to or missed the rounds, then his sa‘i is valid. However, if he is unable to resolve his doubt before concluding the sa‘i, then his sa‘i is invalid and he has to repeat it all over again.
9. A doubt about the number of rounds entertained after completion of the sa‘i is to be ignored. For example, if has doubt after doing the other rituals like taqsir and tawafun nisa’, then he should ignore his doubt.
10. You are not allowed to do sa‘i on the second level of the mas‘a (the area of doing sa‘i) since it amounts to doing the sa‘i “above” the hills and not “between” the hills.
COMMON MISTAKES IN SA‘I
1. Some pilgrims think that going from Safa to Marwah and then returning to Safa is counted as one round of the sa‘i. The correct way is to count the going towards Marwah as the 1st round and the return to Safa as the 2nd round.
If someone counts it in the wrong way (and ended up doing 14 rounds instead of 7) out of ignorance or he relied on someone who is known to be familiar with rulings of pilgrimage, then there is nothing on him. But if he does this without a good excuse, then he must repeat the entire sa‘i.
2. It happens sometimes that the pilgrim is going towards Safa and then turns his back towards it because of crowd or because he saw a friend, etc. This is incorrect; and if this happens, then he has to return back to the place where the violation took place and restart the sa‘i from that point onwards in the right direction because one of the conditions of validity of the sa‘i is that the pilgrim should face Marwah while walking towards it and face Safa while walking towards it.
3. A person who habitually entertains doubt does that in sa‘i also and ends up repeating it. The ruling for such a person is that he should ignore his doubts just as he is required to ignore them while doing the prayers. The pilgrim is allowed to use a counter to help him in keeping track of his number of rounds or rely on a companion.
4. Sometimes a pilgrim might interrupt his sa‘i to drink water or something similar – and that does not harm the sa‘i provided the following two conditions are fulfilled:
(a) He is able to continue his sa‘i exactly from where he left without missing or adding any part. He can ensure that by going a few step back from where he stopped and then do the niyyat that he is continuing from the exactly place where he stopped.
(b) His interruption should not harm the continuity of the rounds of sa‘i. However, if the interruption amounts to discontinuity of the sa‘i, then, based on precaution, he should complete the sa‘i at hand and then repeat it entirely again.
5. A pilgrim’s sa‘i is interrupted and becomes invalid, then he starts the new sa‘i immediately. This is not correct. He should leave some time gap in between the invalid sa‘i and the new one.
6. Some pilgrims choose to do the sa‘i sitting on the wheelchair which is pushed by someone else. This is not permissible except for those who cannot do sa‘i by themselves.
However, there would be no problem in doing sa‘i on a wheelchair or something similar which is being pushed by the person himself in the sense that he can stop it by himself rather than ask the other person to stop or push it.
7. Some people engage in worldly conversation with their fellow pilgrims during the sa‘i. Although this does not harm the sa‘i, it is better in such a place and such a time to recite the zikr of Almighty Allah, the du‘as which that have been recommended by the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), and the salawat on Muhammad and Al-i Muhammad.
8. While doing the sa‘i, some pilgrims run between Safa and Marwah in such a way that it disturbs the fellow pilgrims. One should know that it is recommended to walk calmly in the sa‘i, and that only between the two green lights are the men urged to walk fast.