Hajj in the Quran is a very interesting topic. Hajj is one of the obligatory acts of worship of Muslims. In fact, it is a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca where the Kaaba (کَعبَة) is located where Muslims perform a series of rituals while wearing special clothing called the clothing of iḥrām (احرام).
Hajj is the epitome of servitude to the Lord of the worlds and a reminder of one’s death where one will be enshrouded with a white cloth just like in hajj. However, this sacred ritual must be performed provided one has the financial conditions for it, otherwise it is not obligatory. Furthermore, this act of worship has been mentioned in the Quran and a whole surah has been dedicated to it by the name of hajj. In this article on Islam4u, we will take a look at:
Verses of Hajj in Quran
There are several verses that talk about hajj in the Quran along with its rulings. God in the Quran says that Prophet Ibrahim and Ismail were the ones who rebuilt the Kaaba, or the house of God, which Prophet Adam had built long ago. He was also the one who performed the hajj rituals. The Quran states in this regard:
وَإِذْ يَرْفَعُ إِبْرَاهِيمُ الْقَوَاعِدَ مِنَ الْبَيْتِ وَإِسْمَاعِيلُ رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ ﴿127﴾
As Abraham raised the foundations of the House with Ishmael, [they prayed]: ‘Our Lord, accept it from us! Indeed You are the All-hearing, the All-knowing.
رَبَّنَا وَاجْعَلْنَا مُسْلِمَيْنِ لَكَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِنَا أُمَّةً مُّسْلِمَةً لَّكَ وَأَرِنَا مَنَاسِكَنَا وَتُبْ عَلَيْنَا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ ﴿128﴾
‘Our Lord, make us submissive to You, and [raise] from our progeny a nation submissive to You, and show us our rites [of worship], and turn to us clemently. Indeed You are the All-clement, the All-merciful.’
Hajj in Quran: Ṣafā and Marwah
One of the rituals of hajj that a pilgrim must perform during hajj is travelling a distance by foot between the two mounts of Safa (صَفا) and Marwah (مَروَة) seven times. The reason for mentioning this specific ritual is because it is in the first verse that is about hajj in the Quran:
إِنَّ الصَّفَا وَالْمَرْوَةَ مِن شَعَائِرِ اللَّـهِ ۖ فَمَنْ حَجَّ الْبَيْتَ أَوِ اعْتَمَرَ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِ أَن يَطَّوَّفَ بِهِمَا ۚ وَمَن تَطَوَّعَ خَيْرًا فَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ شَاكِرٌ عَلِيمٌ ﴿158﴾
Indeed Safa and Marwah are among Allah’s sacraments. So whoever makes hajj to the House, or performs the ‘umrah, there is no sin upon him to circuit between them. Should anyone do good of his own accord, then Allah is indeed appreciative, all-knowing. 1
The story behind this ritual goes back to the time when Prophet Ibrahim had left his wife Hajar (هاجَر) along with Ismail his son, who was a baby at that time, in Mecca. Mecca at that time was a dry land with no water or crops. Hajar and Ismail were stranded in a desert-like land with no water or anything to eat.
All of a sudden, Ismail cries for water out of thirst. Hajar sees a mirage and thinking its water, runs to it, but finds no water. Again, she sees a mirage and goes after it to no avail. After traveling seven times in between the two mounts of Safa and Marwah, she sees that water is coming out beneath Ismail’s foot. This spring came to be known as Zamzam (زمزم). God obligated Muslims to travel by foot seven times between the two mounts just like Hajar as an appreciation of her effort.
Hajj in Quran: A Long Verse About Hajj
Some but not all laws or ahkam of hajj have been mentioned in the Quran. In one of the verses of the Quran God explains several rulings of Hajj. The verse states:
وَأَتِمُّوا الْحَجَّ وَالْعُمْرَةَ لِلَّـهِ ۚ فَإِنْ أُحْصِرْتُمْ فَمَا اسْتَيْسَرَ مِنَ الْهَدْيِ ۖ وَلَا تَحْلِقُوا رُءُوسَكُمْ حَتَّىٰ يَبْلُغَ الْهَدْيُ مَحِلَّهُ ۚ فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم مَّرِيضًا أَوْ بِهِ أَذًى مِّن رَّأْسِهِ فَفِدْيَةٌ مِّن صِيَامٍ أَوْ صَدَقَةٍ أَوْ نُسُكٍ ۚ فَإِذَا أَمِنتُمْ فَمَن تَمَتَّعَ بِالْعُمْرَةِ إِلَى الْحَجِّ فَمَا اسْتَيْسَرَ مِنَ الْهَدْيِ ۚ فَمَن لَّمْ يَجِدْ فَصِيَامُ ثَلَاثَةِ أَيَّامٍ فِي الْحَجِّ وَسَبْعَةٍ إِذَا رَجَعْتُمْ ۗ تِلْكَ عَشَرَةٌ كَامِلَةٌ ۗ ذَٰلِكَ لِمَن لَّمْ يَكُنْ أَهْلُهُ حَاضِرِي الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّـهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ ﴿196﴾
Complete the hajj and the ‘umrah for Allah’s sake, and if you are prevented, then [make] such [sacrificial] offering as is feasible. And do not shave your heads until the offering reaches its [assigned] place. But should any of you be sick, or have a hurt in his head, let the atonement be by fasting, or charity, or sacrifice. And when you have security—for those who enjoy [release from the restrictions] by virtue of their ‘umrah until the hajj—let the offering be such as is feasible. As for someone who cannot afford [the offering], let him fast three days during the hajj and seven when you return; that is [a period of] ten complete [days]. That is for someone whose family does not dwell by the Holy Mosque. And be wary of Allah, and know that Allah is severe in retribution. 2
Hajj in Quran: The State of Iḥrām
When a person wants to begin his hajj rituals, he must first enter a state called Ihram (احرام), or in other words, he must become muḥrim (مُحرِم). This word comes from ḥarām (حَرام), meaning forbidden or sacred. The reason for this naming is that certain things and acts become forbidden for the muhrim in order to observe the sanctity of hajj, Masjid al-Ḥarām (مَسجِدُ الحَرام), and the Kaaba.
The pilgrim becomes muhrim in certain places known as mīqāt (ميقات) that is several kilometers away from Masjid al-Haram. Then the pilgrim must wear special clothing of Ihram which consists of two pieces of white cloth that resemble towels. One is worn on the lower body known as izār (إزار) and one is worn on the upper body known as ridā’ (رِداء). Of course, this is only for men. Women, can wear whatever clothing they want but they usually wear white clothes to wear the same color as men. After that, the individual must say talbiyah, that is, for him to say:
لَبَّیكَ الّلهُمَّ لَبَّیكَ، لَبَّیكَ لاشَریكَ لَكَ لَبَّیكَ، إنَّ الْحَمْدَ وَ النِّعْمَةَ لَكَ وَالْمُلكَ، لاشَریكَ لَكَ لَبَّیكَ
Labayk in a nutshell means, “Here I am O God, here I am ready to obey you.”
Forbidden Acts of Hajj in Quran
Some forbidden acts that must not be done in hajj have been mentioned in a verse of the Quran:
الْحَجُّ أَشْهُرٌ مَّعْلُومَاتٌ ۚ فَمَن فَرَضَ فِيهِنَّ الْحَجَّ فَلَا رَفَثَ وَلَا فُسُوقَ وَلَا جِدَالَ فِي الْحَجِّ ۗ وَمَا تَفْعَلُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ يَعْلَمْهُ اللَّـهُ ۗ وَتَزَوَّدُوا فَإِنَّ خَيْرَ الزَّادِ التَّقْوَىٰ ۚ وَاتَّقُونِ يَا أُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ ﴿197﴾
The hajj [season] is in months well-known; so whoever decides on hajj [pilgrimage] therein, [should know that] there is to be no sexual contact, vicious talk, or disputing during the hajj. And whatever good you do, Allah knows it. And take provision, for indeed the best provision is Godwariness. So be wary of Me, O you who possess intellects! 3
So in Hajj according to this verse there is no:
- Sexual contact
- Vicious talk
- Dispute or quarrel
There are also other forbidden acts for a muhrim such as killing any animal, insect, or plant. There should be no hunting in hajj either as the Quran has stated:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَقْتُلُوا الصَّيْدَ وَأَنتُمْ حُرُمٌ ۚ وَمَن قَتَلَهُ مِنكُم مُّتَعَمِّدًا فَجَزَاءٌ مِّثْلُ مَا قَتَلَ مِنَ النَّعَمِ يَحْكُمُ بِهِ ذَوَا عَدْلٍ مِّنكُمْ هَدْيًا بَالِغَ الْكَعْبَةِ أَوْ كَفَّارَةٌ طَعَامُ مَسَاكِينَ أَوْ عَدْلُ ذَٰلِكَ صِيَامًا لِّيَذُوقَ وَبَالَ أَمْرِهِ ۗ عَفَا اللَّـهُ عَمَّا سَلَفَ ۚ وَمَنْ عَادَ فَيَنتَقِمُ اللَّـهُ مِنْهُ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ عَزِيزٌ ذُو انتِقَامٍ ﴿95﴾
O you who have faith! Do not kill any game when you are in pilgrim sanctity. Should any of you kill it intentionally, its atonement, the counterpart from cattle of what he has killed, as judged by two fair men among you, will be an offering brought to the Ka‘bah, or an atonement by feeding needy persons, or its equivalent in fasting, that he may taste the untoward consequences of his conduct. Allah has excused what is already past; but should anyone resume, Allah shall take vengeance on him, for Allah is all-mighty, avenger.
After performing some of the rituals of hajj, pilgrims must spend the afternoon in a plain called ‘Arafat (عَرَفات) on the ninth of Dhī al-Ḥijjah (ذي الحِجَّة). The Quran makes mention of ‘Arafat in the following verse:
لَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ أَن تَبْتَغُوا فَضْلًا مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ ۚ فَإِذَا أَفَضْتُم مِّنْ عَرَفَاتٍ فَاذْكُرُوا اللَّـهَ عِندَ الْمَشْعَرِ الْحَرَامِ ۖ وَاذْكُرُوهُ كَمَا هَدَاكُمْ وَإِن كُنتُم مِّن قَبْلِهِ لَمِنَ الضَّالِّينَ ﴿198﴾
There is no sin upon you in seeking your Lord’s bounty [during the hajj season]. Then when you stream out of ‘Arafat remember Allah at the Holy Mash‘ar, and remember Him as He has guided you, and earlier you were indeed among the astray. 4
Afterwards, they leave for a place called Muzdalifah at sunset, where they perform their maghrib and ‘ishā prayers. They also collect pebbles for the next day when they would stone the three devils in Mina. On the tenth of Dhī al-Ḥijjah, pilgrims offer a sacrifice for the sake of God by slaughtering an animal and give the meat to poor people around the world. Of course, usually they hire someone to do that for them. Moreover, men shave their heads. The tenth of Dhī al-Ḥijjah is an eid for all Muslims known as Eid al-Aḍḥā (عيدُ الأضحی).
Supplications of Hajj in Quran
Muslims spend the afternoon in ‘Arafat in tents. The weather is very hot and it is very hard for people to stay in the plain of ‘Arafat. However, it is a good time for prayer, supplication, and invocation. The Quran states that after the pilgrims have finished their rituals in ‘Arafat, they should remember God, seek His forgiveness, and supplicate to Him:
ثُمَّ أَفِيضُوا مِنْ حَيْثُ أَفَاضَ النَّاسُ وَاسْتَغْفِرُوا اللَّـهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ ﴿199﴾
Then stream out from where the people stream out, and plead to Allah for forgiveness; indeed Allah is all-forgiving, all-merciful.
فَإِذَا قَضَيْتُم مَّنَاسِكَكُمْ فَاذْكُرُوا اللَّـهَ كَذِكْرِكُمْ آبَاءَكُمْ أَوْ أَشَدَّ ذِكْرًا
And when you finish your rites, then remember Allah as you would remember your fathers, or with a more ardent remembrance. 5
People who are on the hajj pilgrimage say different prayers. Some only ask for worldly things and some ask for both worldly and otherworldly prosperity and felicity:
فَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَمَا لَهُ فِي الْآخِرَةِ مِنْ خَلَاقٍ ﴿200﴾
Among the people there are those who say, ‘Our Lord, give us in this world,’ but for such there is no share in the Hereafter.
وَمِنْهُم مَّن يَقُولُ رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ ﴿201﴾
And among them there are those who say, ‘Our Lord, give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and save us from the punishment of the Fire.’
أُولَـٰئِكَ لَهُمْ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا كَسَبُوا ۚ وَاللَّـهُ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ ﴿202﴾
Such shall partake of what they have earned, and Allah is swift at reckoning. 6
رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لِي وَلِوَالِدَيَّ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَوْمَ يَقُومُ الْحِسَابُ ﴿41﴾
Our Lord! Forgive me and my parents, and all the faithful, on the day when the reckoning is held.’ 7
Surah Hajj in Quran
There is an entire chapter in the Quran titled Hajj. This surah is the 22nd surah of the Quran that God revealed to Prophet Muhammad in Medina. Starting from verse 26, the topic of hajj begins. Verse 26 states:
وَإِذْ بَوَّأْنَا لِإِبْرَاهِيمَ مَكَانَ الْبَيْتِ أَن لَّا تُشْرِكْ بِي شَيْئًا وَطَهِّرْ بَيْتِيَ لِلطَّائِفِينَ وَالْقَائِمِينَ وَالرُّكَّعِ السُّجُودِ ﴿26﴾
When We settled for Abraham the site of the House [saying], Do not ascribe any partners to Me, and purify My House for those who circle around it, and those who stand [in it for prayer], and those who bow and prostrate themselves.
Prophet Ibrahim was a prophet who invited people to monotheism. According to narrations, Adam was the one who first built the Kaaba. However, it was left unattended and no sign of it was left, until Prophet Ibrahim as per the order of God Almighty rebuilt the Kaaba. God had also commanded Prophet Ibrahim to purify the Kaaba from any idols for those who circumambulated (طَواف) it.
Moreover, God commands him to stand in prayer, bow, and prostrate before it, quite similar to the way Muslims now pray. Therefore, we can also understand that at the time of Prophet Ibrahim the qiblah or direction of worship was most probably the Kaaba.
Prophet Ibrahim and the Hajj Rituals
Our Imams have said in narrations that the first person to perform the hajj was Adam. However, the one who made it worldwide and made it very famous was Prophet Ibrahim. God commands Prophet Ibrahim to tell people to perform the hajj in Quran:
وَأَذِّن فِي النَّاسِ بِالْحَجِّ يَأْتُوكَ رِجَالًا وَعَلَىٰ كُلِّ ضَامِرٍ يَأْتِينَ مِن كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيقٍ ﴿27﴾
And proclaim the Hajj to all the people: they will come to you on foot and on lean camels, coming from distant places,
لِّيَشْهَدُوا مَنَافِعَ لَهُمْ وَيَذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللَّـهِ فِي أَيَّامٍ مَّعْلُومَاتٍ عَلَىٰ مَا رَزَقَهُم مِّن بَهِيمَةِ الْأَنْعَامِ ۖ فَكُلُوا مِنْهَا وَأَطْعِمُوا الْبَائِسَ الْفَقِيرَ ﴿28﴾
that they may witness the benefits for them, and mention Allah’s Name during the known days over the livestock He has provided them. So eat thereof and feed the destitute and the needy.
ثُمَّ لْيَقْضُوا تَفَثَهُمْ وَلْيُوفُوا نُذُورَهُمْ وَلْيَطَّوَّفُوا بِالْبَيْتِ الْعَتِيقِ ﴿29﴾
Then let them do away with their untidiness, fulfill their vows, and circle around the Ancient House.
So as you can see, the act of ṭawāf or circumambulation around the Kaaba was not an act confined to today’s Muslims. In fact, a prophet as far back in history as Ibrahim who was even before Jesus and Moses performed such a ritual. For this reason, the hajj rituals are known as an Abrahamic act of worship.
Hajj is an act of worship that is obligatory for all Muslims who have the funds for it. Hajj in the Quran has been mentioned a lot. In fact, several verses of surah Baqarah explain certain rulings of hajj. One should know that hajj is a Divine act of servitude to God Almighty and is in fact the epitome of devotion to God. In hajj, everyone wears the same color showing their unity.
Moreover, the white cloth that hajj pilgrims wear is reminiscent of death as one is enshrouded with a white cloth when one is to be buried. All in all, hajj is the highest act of servitude to God. It is hoped that all of us have the conditions and privilege to go on this sacred pilgrimage.
- Quran 2:158 (Qara’i).
- Quran 2:196 (Qara’i).
- Quran 2:197 (Qara’i).
- Quran 2:198 (Qara’i).
- Quran 2:199-200 (Qara’i).
- Quran 2: 200-202 (Qara’i).
- Quran 14:41 (Qara’i).