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The philosophy of Hajj

Date published: 5 December 2021
Topic: Hajj


Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam and it became obligatory in the 9th Hijri. Hajj has the same significance as that of namaaz, fasting and zakaat.

Hajj is obligatory (farz) upon Muslims who have sufficient wealth to pay for their travel and to provide for the livelihood of their family. A Muslim upon reaching eligibility, must undertake hajj at the first available opportunity.

Prophet Muhammadhas said that: ‘Whoever has the provision and the means to convey him to the House of Allah and he does not perform Hajj, then it does not matter if he dies as a Jew or a Christian’.


Hajj means to make intention and to visit. Hajj is the pilgrimage to the House of Allah (Baitullah), completing the established rituals, worshiping Allah Ta’ala in the sacred days of the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar- Dhul Hijjah. Hajj is the dua of Khalilullah, Hazrat Ibrahim(alaihis salaam), the faithfulness of Zabiullah, Hazrat Ismail(alaihis salaam), and the benchmark of Habibullah, Muhammad Mustafaﷺ. Hajj is the echoing of the talbiyah Labbaik Allah Humma Labbaik, Labbaik La Sharika Laka Labbaik, Innal Hamda, Wan-ni’mata, Laka Walmulk Laa Sharika Lak”. ‘O my Lord, here I am at your service, here I am. There is no partner with You. Here I am. Truly the praise and the provisions are Yours, and so is the dominion and sovereignty. There is no partner with You’. Hajj is the constant flow of love and passion, starting from the house of the pilgrim to the House of Allah (Baitullah), from Mina to Arafat, from Safa and Marwa to Jamarat, and from Mecca to Madina. It is the desire of the divine power that whoever comes for Hajj must have an intention to perform Hajj for the glory of Allah Ta’ala, must be free of any worldly desires, must wear ihraam-unstiched long piece of cloth, symbolising kaffan, and destroy ones ego.


Allah Ta’ala states in The Holy Quran:


“O children of Adam! Undoubtedly, We have sent down to you a dress that may cover your shameful parts and that may be an adornment to you. And the dress of righteousness, which is the best. This is one of the signs of Allah, that they may be admonished”

(Surah Al-A’raaf. verse 26)


Allah Ta’ala does not want the identity of a rich and the poor, the master and the slave, the needy and the wealthy, black and white, the upper and the lower caste. Allah Ta’ala wants to see all as one, the worshipers of Allah Ta’ala.


Hajj is the representation of good manners, love and passion. Hajj begins with respect and good manners and ends with love and passion. Before embarking on the journey of Hajj, the pilgrims are taught good manners and respect.




Allah Ta’ala states in The Holy Quran:


Hajj is (during) well known months and whosoever undertakes to perform Hajj therein, is not permitted to indulge in obscenity, nor any wickedness and no acrimonious quarrelling during the period of Hajj. And whatever good you do, is known to Allah. And take full provision for the journey, but the best of such provisions is piety. And fear Me, O people of understanding”

(Surah Al-Baqara. verse 197)


“O believers! Kill not game while you are in a pilgrim’s garb (ihraam). And whoso among you kills intentionally, then his compensation is that he should give a like animal from amongst the cattle as judged by two just persons among you…”

(Surah Al-Ma’ida. verse 95)


Then the respect for Haram e Mecca, and Haram e Madina is taught.


Irrespective of race, colour or culture, all pilgrims raise one voice; the glory of Allah Ta’ala (talbiyah): “ Labbaik Allah Humma Labbaik, Labbaik La Sharika Laka Labbaik, Innal Hamda, Wan-ni’mata, Laka Walmulk Laa Sharika Lak”.


TAWAAF is a mandatory ritual in Hajj and Umrah whereby the pilgrims circumambulate the Kabah. While doing Tawaaf, for the first three rounds, men have to lift legs forcefully with rhythmic moves, and at the same time sticking out their chests with stiffness (ramal). This rite is performed as a sign of intimidating the infidels. The reason for this is that once the infidels of Mecca passed remarks that the Muslims were weak and sickly. And since then, Prophet Muhammadinstructed his companions(Radi Allaahu Anhum) to perform this rite. And this sunnah is practised till today.


KISSING THE HAJR E ASWAD: Fourteen hundred years ago, Hazrat Farooq e Azam(Radi Allaahu Anhu) came to kiss the stone (Hajr e Aswad), he said in front of the assembled: “no doubt, I know that you are a stone and can neither harm or benefit anyone. Had I not seen the Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammadkissing you, I would not have kissed you”.

This gives us a lesson that it becomes wajib upon a Muslim to show utmost respect for everything that has been associated with Prophet Muhammadﷺ. 

Kissing Hajr e Aswad can just be symbolic too, without any physical touching.

Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Abbas narrates: “Prophet Muhammaddid the Tawaaf of Kabah riding a camel. When Prophetcame near the Hajr e Aswad, he lifted his hands towards Hajr e Aswad and blew a kiss towards it, reciting Allaahu Akbar. The hands of the pilgrims becomes sacred and blessed when they raise it towards Hajr e Aswad in envisagement of kissing it.

This begs a question, if it is permissible to kiss a jannati stone, then why is not permissible to kiss a jannati human being. The Wahabis, Deobandis and Tableeghe Jamaatis propagandize that kissing gair-ullah is shirk. They need to be told that worshiping gair-ullah is shirk, kissing gair-ullah is not shirk. We, the Sunnis do not kiss Allah Ta’ala, but we worship Allah Ta’ala. And if you do not accept this argument, then kiss Allah Ta’ala and show us. By kissing the hands and feet of Awliya Allah, we are showing respect and love. We are not worshiping them.




Allah Ta’ala states in The Holy Quran:


“And recall when We made the House (Kabah) a centre of peace for the people and made the standing place of Ibrahim a station for prayer. And We enjoyed upon Ibrahim and Ismail: ‘Purify My House for those who perform Tawaaf and those who are staying there for devotion, and those who bow down and prostrate (in prayer).

(Surah Al-Baqara. verse 125)


For the acceptance of the Tawaaf, two rakaat nafil, wajib ul tawaaf namaaz has to be performed at Makam e Ibrahim(alaihis salaam).

The lesson drawn is that without showing respect for the Makam e Ibrahim(alaihis salaam), the Tawaaf is not accepted in the court of Allah Ta’ala. Makam e Ibrahim is a stone on which Hazrat Ibrahim(alaihis salaam) stood when he was building the Kabah. Because of the respect for a Prophet, the stone became soft and the imprint on the stone came from Hazrat Ibrahims(alaihis salaam) feet. Because of the imprint on the stone, Allah Ta’ala made it wajib to perform two-rakaat nafil after Tawaaf for the pilgrims, till the judgement day. And this respect for the stone, became a part of worship of Allah Ta’ala.

Because of the connection of the stone with Hazrat Ibrahim(alaihis salaam), its respect became wajib. Then, why wouldn’t the respect become wajib for everything that forms a connection with Prophet Muhammadﷺ.


ZAMZAM: After performing the ritual of Tawaaf and nafil namaaz, it is a sunnah to drink ZamZam water. Following the commands of Allah Ta’ala, Prophet Ibrahim(alaihis salaam) left his wife Hazrat Haajra(Radi Allaahu Anha) and his child Hazrat Ismail(alaihis salaam) in the barren land of Mecca. Hazrat Ismail(alaihis salaam) started crying with thirst and began striking the ground with his heels. Allah Ta’ala with his divine power generated water at the place Hazrat Ismail(alaihis salaam) was kicking with his heels. ZamZam water is a blessed holy water. It is a commandment of Prophetthat while drinking, one has to be in a sitting position. But for drinking ZamZam water, one has to drink in three mouthfuls, in a standing position, and facing the Kabah. Recite ‘bismillah’ before drinking and ‘alhamdulillah’ after every sup, and then the following dua: “Allahumma inni as’aluka ‘ilman naafi-‘aw wa rizqaw waasi-‘aw wa shifa’am min kulli daa’in”. ‘O Allah, I ask You, beneficial knowledge, ample provisions, and restoration from every illness’. Because, the ZamZam water was touched by a blessed Prophet-Prophet Ismail(alaihis salaam), it demands a great deal of respect.


SAFA AND MARWA are two small hills. Normal paced running up and down between the hillocks of Safa and Marwa is a mandatory rite of the Hajj.


Allah Ta’ala states in The Holy Quran:


“Surely. Safa and Marwa are of the symbols of Allah. Then whosoever performs Hajj and Umrah of the sacred House, there is no sin upon him walking between the two of them. And whoever volunteers to do any good, then, surely, Allah is the Most Appreciative, All-Knowing”.

(Surah Al-Baqara, verse 158)


From this verse of The Holy Quran, we learn that anything, which is connected with the pious, gains sanctity. The hills of Safa and Marwa have been sanctified because Hazrat Haajra(Radi Allaahu Anha) had run between them in search for water for her child Hazrat Ismail(alaihis salaam). To show respect to the holy relics is among the religious teachings. It is for this reason that running seven times between Safa and Marwa (Sa’ee) has become one of the rites of Hajj. And not making Sa’ee is sinful because it is a wajib rite of Hajj. Acceptance of Hajj and Umrah rests upon this run of Hazrat Haajra(Radi Allaahu Anha) on Safa and Marwa.


Sa’ee is not worshiping Allah Ta’ala. It is an expression of deep love and respect.

Deen is not only worshiping. It is also an expression of deep love and respect for the holy relics. Deen is love and ecstasy. Deen is not only learned from books, but also from shrines (astaana). Deen is not only learned mentally, but also from expressions of adoration. Expressing deep love and respect for a Prophet is propagandized as shirk by the Wahabi,Deobandi,and Tableeghe sects. But Allah Ta’ala commands respect for the relics that have been touched by the blessed feet of the Prophets, and the pious.


Allah Ta’ala states in The Holy Quran:


“The thing is this and who so respects the signs of Allah, and then it is from the piety of hearts”

(Surah Hajj. verse 32)


The external acts of worship are the piety of the external body, while adoration for the pious and their blessed relics in one’s heart is the inner piety. May Allah bless us with it. Any animal, and stone which is associated with the venerated, they become the symbols of Allah Ta’ala. And Safa and Marwa is one of them.


In The Holy Quran, Allah Ta’ala takes oath of the city of Mecca


“Indeed, I swear by this city (Mecca)”

(Surah Al-Balad. verse 01)


Due to the connection of the city of Mecca with our beloved Prophet Muhammad, every street and market place of Mecca gained such sanctity that Allah Ta’ala took oath on it.


JAMARAT are the three-stone walls (pillars), which are pelted as a mandatory ritual of Hajj in emulation of the actions of Prophet Ibrahim(alaihis salaam). They represent the three locations where Hazrat Ibrahim(alaihis salaam) pelted shaitaan with stones when the shaitaan tried to dissuade him from sacrificing his son Hazrat Ismail(alaihis salaam). This ritual is known as ‘Rami’. This action of pelting stones at Jamarat has gained sanctity because of its connection to Prophet Ibrahim(alaihis salaam).

Showing respect to the relics is among the religious teachings. And for this reason, ‘Rami” has become the rites of Hajj.


Hajj is the teachings of deep love and respect of the holy relics. It is an expression of love for Allah Ta’ala and is the splendid beauty of Prophetﷺ. Hajj is the dua of Hazrat Ibrahim(alaihis salaam) (Khalilullah), the faithfulness of Hazrat Ismail(alaihis salaam) (Zabiullah), and the benchmark of Prophet Muhammad(Habibullah).


Deen is not only worshiping Allah Ta’ala. It is also an expression of deep love and respect for the holy relics.



This article is an abridged English translation of an Urdu sermon delivered by his eminence, Peer Syed Imroz Dean Saifi, Hanfi, Maturidi of Masjid Anwaar e Madina, Surrey BC Canada.

If there is an inaccurate translation, please pardon it and not let it be a means to negatively reflect on the honoured presenter.