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کتیبه مسجد.png
Pilgrims performing tawaf around the Ka'ba during the time of hajj

Furu' al-Din

Wajib: Daily prayersFriday prayerEid prayerAyat prayerFuneral Prayer

Mustahab: Night prayerGhufayla prayerPrayer of Ja'far al-Tayyar

Other types of worship
FastingKhumsZakatHajjJihadEnjoining the goodForbidding the evil

Rulings on Tahara

Civil Law

Family Law
MarriageTemporary marriagePolygamyDivorceMahrBreastfeedingIntercourseSexual gratification

Criminal Law

Economic Laws

Other Laws
HijabSadaqaNadhrTaqlidFoods and drinksWaqf

See also
FiqhRulings of Shari'aManual of Islamic lawPubertyWajibHaramMustahabMubahMakruh

Ḥajj (Arabic: حجّ) is an act of worship and one of the most important sacraments in Islam, which consists of pilgrimage to Mecca for performing especial rituals. In addition to worshiping aspect, hajj has social, economical and political aspects and it is the largest gathering of Muslims that happens once a year from the eighth to the twelfth day of Dhu l-Hijja, the 12th month of the Hijri Calendar. Adherents to all Islamic sects gather in Mecca during hajj. Undertaking the hajj at least once is a duty for Muslims who are physically and financially able to make the journey.

Hajj starts with ihram which is by putting on a special cloth in special places called "miqat". After ihram, the pilgrim is not allowed to do certain actions; on the other hand he has to carry out the other Rites of Hajj (manasik al-hajj) which consist of staying in 'Arafat, staying in al-Mash'ar al-Haram, going to Mina, ramy al-jamarat (stoning the pillars), sa'y between al-Safa and al-Marwa, tawaf al-nisa' and its Prayer, tawaf al-ziyara and its Prayer and sacrifice.

Etymology and Terminology

A man in ihram cloth, which is usually made of only two pieces of white towels without using any yarns or stitches.

Literally, the Arabic word "hajj" or "hijj" means a proof, demonstration or an intention of doing something important.[1] In Islamic scripts and sources including jurisprudential books, hajj is embarking on a journey to Ka'ba for performing special rites during a specific time. According to Faqihs (jurists) hajj is a set of actions performed in certain places in Mecca.[2] The set of the acts of worship performed during hajj is called "manasik al-hajj" (the rites of hajj).[3] The word "manasik" (plural form of mansak) means the place or time of an act of worship, worshiping or the place of slaughtering (the sacrifices in hajj). However, it is used for all the rites that a pilgrim performs in Mecca.[4]


In the Qur'an

  • The Qur'an talks about hajj in various verses, in which hajj is described as the duty of capable people,[5] an Islamic sacraments and also deserving to be honored and respected.[6]
  • According to the verse 27 of Sura al-Hajj, the Prophet Ibrahim (a) was ordered by God to inform people about hajj. The Qur'an defines hajj as an act of worship that has a specific time, which is known by sighting the new moon crescent -the sign of a new month in Islamic calendar.[7]
  • The Qur'an clearly indicates that there are specific months for performing hajj.[8] Based on this, Islam voided the prevalent tradition of postponing or advancing the months of hajj during the Ignorance Era.[9]
  • There are several verses about the rites of hajj, the jurisprudential and ethical rulings of it including legislation of tamattu' for non-residents of Mecca;[10] staying in al-Mash'ar al-Haram and 'Arafat and the rites of that;[11] the rulings of slaughtering sacrifices in Mina;[12] the rulings of hunting during hajj;[13] compulsion of performing tawaf[14] and sa'y between al-Safa and al-Marwa;[15] prohibition of shaving the hair of head before sacrificing;[16] permission to buy and sell during hajj[17] and some disliked (makruh) or forbidden (haram) acts during hajj such as arguing, engaging in sexual activities;[18] and some wrong traditions from the Ignorance Era.[19]

In Hadiths

The black line shows the area of al-Haram al-Makki

There are more than 9150 Hadiths about the importance and the rulings of hajj only in Wasa'il al-shi'a and Mustadrak al-wasa'il which indicates the significance and the abundance and complexity of the rulings of hajj.

  • According to Hadiths, hajj is better than fasting, jihad and even every acts of worship except salat.[20] There are countless secrets and benefits lie with the rites of hajj. Imam al-Sadiq (a) said, "The performer of hajj and the performer of 'umra are God's guests; if they ask Him, He gives them, if they call Him, He answers them, if they intercede with Him, He accept their intercession, and if they remain silent, He begins (to give) them (his blessings) …".[21] In another Hadith, he said, "When people are settled in Mina, a herald calls in behalf of Allah that if you sought My satisfaction, I am satisfied."[22]
  • According to hadiths, hajj is one of the pillars of Islam,[23] one of the best deeds and the most precious acts in Islam.[24]
  • Imam 'Ali (a) counted hajj as the jihad of poor people.[25] In his will, he said that the least advantage of hajj is deliverance form sins.[26]
  • Not performing or postponing hajj was dispraised in hadiths and said to have bad consequences in this world and the hereafter.[27]
  • Hajj is very important that based on hadiths if people left it or could not financially afford it, the Islamic governor is obligated to send some people to hajj or aid them financially for performing it from bayt al-mal.[28]

Wisdom in Legislation

There are several hadiths explaining the philosophy of the legislation of hajj. In various cases Imam Ali (a) mentioned some of them, such as humility of Muslims before the greatness and the glory of God, deliverance form arrogance, the great test for forbearing the hardships, making Muslims closer to each other and making them closer to God and His mercy.[29]

The Lady Fatima (a) counted hajj as the element of raising and stabilizing the religion.[30]

Imam al-Sadiq (a) mentioned these philosophies for hajj: gathering Muslims from all over the world, letting Muslims to get to know each other, having various commercial advantages and learning the Prophet's Hadiths and teachings.[31]

Imam al-Rida (a) counted these things: being Allah's guest, deliverance from all sins, preventing the body form the desires and whims, leaving callousness and hopelessness, fulfilling the need of people, having financial advantage and getting to know Islam and its teachings.[32]


There are three types of hajj:

  1. Tamatu’,
  2. Qiran,
  3. and Ifrad.

Hajj al-tamatu' is the duty of people who live in a distance of 16 or 12 leagues (based on a disagreement in this regard) or further from Mecca.[33] Hajj al-qiran and ifrad are the duty of the residents of Mecca and those who live within that distance.[34]


Main article: Manasik al-Hajj
The artwork shows the locations where the rites of hajj are performed

The practices and rites of hajj (manasik al-hajj) according to their sequence are as follow:

  1. Ihram
  2. Staying in 'Arafat
  3. Staying in al-Mash'ar al-Haram (Muzdalifa)
  4. Staying in Mina over the night of 11th, 12th and -for some people- 13th of Dhu l-Hijja in where everyone has to perform the following practices: ramy al-Jamarat al-Thalatha (stoning the three pillars);[35] slaughtering a sacrifice: this practice is wajib (compulsory) only in hajj al-tamatu' and mustahab (recommended) in hajj al-qiran and al-ifrad;[36] halq (shaving the head) or taqsir (cutting a wisp of hair or clipping nails)
  5. Tawaf al-ziyara (circling Ka'ba for ziyara)
  6. Salat of tawaf al-ziyara
  7. Sa'y between al-Safa and al-Marwa (walking and running seven times between two hills, al-Safa and al-Marwa)
  8. Tawaf al-nisa'
  9. Salat of tawaf al-nisa'

Manners and Rulings

The Ka'ba in Mecca, and the direction of tawaf and sa'y during hajj


Hajj is one of the pillars of Islam and every Muslim must perform it at least once during his/her lifetime if he/she is capable of doing it. This hajj is called "hajjat al-Islam".[37]

Hajj is al-wajib al-fawri (immediate compulsion), which means it must be performed in the first season of hajj after a person became mustati' (capable) of performing hajj. Postponing hajj without an acceptable excuse is one the great sins.[38]

In addition to hajjat al-Isalm, which is compulsory due to itself, hajj can become compulsory by vow (nadhr), promise ('ahd), oath (qasam) and being hired to perform hajj in behalf of someone else. Without these things performing hajj is mustahab (recommended) as well as performing it every year or taking the members of the family to hajj.[39]

If performing hajj in its specific time requires some preparations, it is compulsory (wajib) to have them done in time.[40]

Conditions of Compulsion

Hajj is compulsory upon every sane, adult Muslim who is physically and financially capable (mustati') of undertaking the journey. Based on this, it is not compulsory upon the insane, children, and who are not capable of performing it. That is, if they perform hajj it will not be counted as their hajjat al-Islam.[41] However, majority of Shi'a faqihs (jurists) said that if a child reaches puberty and an insane person become sane before "staying in Mash'ar" their hajj is counted as hajjat al-Islam.[42]

Hajj is not compulsory upon who has the money for performing hajj but also has debts equals to that amount of money.[43]

Borrowing money for performing hajj is not compulsory.[44] However, if someone donates the money for hajj, it'll become compulsory if other conditions are met as well.[45] However, some say that accepting the donation is not compulsory.[46]

If someone passes away after ihram and entering haram area, he will not have any duty concerning his hajj (and that hajj will suffice).[47]

If someone does not perform hajj after it had become compulsory upon him, his hajj will be al-hajj al-mustaqar (firmly fixed) which means he has to do it even if he loses the condition of wujub (compulsion) of hajj, and if he could not perform that during his lifetime it is compulsory for his heirs to perform hajj on his behalf and its expenses must be paid from all of his property that he left as inheritance not just from the one-third of it.

Mustahab Hajj

Photo from mountainside of the tented areas covering the Plain of Mina, Saudi Arabia

It is mustahab for everyone who does not have the condition for al-hajj al-wajib to perform hajj. Also, those who have performed their hajj before, are recommended to perform hajj again. Leaving hajj for more than 5 years was counted as makruh (reprehensible) for those who are able to perform it. And performing hajj on behalf of other people -alive or dead- especially the infallible Imams (a) is mustahab (recommended).[48]

Travel Etiquette

Many pieces of advice have been narrated from the Prophet (s) and the Imams (a) about the etiquette of the journey to Mecca, such as, regretting and repenting from sins, having a pity that prevents committing sins and a forbearance that surpasses the anger, being kind toward the companions, being generous, avoiding bargaining, speaking righteously during the journey, avoiding vain talks and feeding the poor.[49]

Conditions of Validity

Being Muslim and mu'min, doing the rites of hajj in person and directly, performing hajj in the specified months and having permission from husband (only for women) for mustahab hajjs are the conditions of a valid hajj.[50] Who wants to perform al-hajj al-tamattu' must perform its 'umra in hajj months; otherwise it will not suffice. Likewise, ihram for 'umrat al-tamattu' or for hajj is not valid after the 10th of Dhu l-Hijja, even according to faqihs (jurists) who believe that all of Dhu l-Hijja is a time of hajj.[51]

Even though hajj is not valid from unbelievers, it is compulsory upon them.[52] And according to majority of Shi'a faqihs, if a Muslim from other sects turns Shi'a and he has already performed his hajjat al-Islam, he does not have to redo his hajj according to Shi'a rulings.[53] Nevertheless, repeating hajj in this case is mustahab (recommended).[54]

One who can (physically) perform hajj on his own, is not allowed to hire another person to perform a compulsory hajj on his behalf.[55]

Recommended Practices During Rites

There are netiquettes and recommended actions for each rite of hajj. Mustahab acts have been mentioned for ihram, entering Masjid al-Haram, tawaf, prayer of tawaf, sa'y between Safa and Marwa, staying in 'Arafat, staying in al-Mash'ar al-Haram, ramy al-Jamarat, sacrificing, Mina and the city of Mecca.

Practices Recommended after Finishing Rites

The picture shows the pilgrims resting in al-Mash'ar al-Haram, which has to be in the open air without any shelter or roof above their head. The photo is taken on October 26, 2012.
  1. Returning to Mecca from Mina for tawaf al-wida' (farewell tawaf)[56]
  2. Performing 6 rak'as of Prayer in Masjid al-Khayf during the stay in Mina.[57]
  3. Stopping by Wadi l-Muhassab also known as Abtah (the valley of al-Muhassab) on the way from Mina, on the 13th of Dhu l-Hijja and lying on back in that valley.
  4. Entering Ka'ba barefooted; especially for the ones who are performing their first hajj. Before that, a Ghusl is recommended. The person should pray while entering the holy Ka'ba. Then, performing 2 rak'as between the two pillars on the red stone, and 2 rak'as in each corner and then reciting the reported supplication, and touching the corners (rukns) of Ka'ba especially al-Rukn al-Yamani.[58]
  5. Performing tawaf on behalf of relatives and people of each one's town, then performing tawaf al-wida', touching the four corners of Ka'ba and Mustajar, praying, going to the well of Zamzam and drinking from its water, and reciting the reported supplication while going out of Masjid al-Haram.[59]
  6. Prostrating (performing sajda) toward Ka'ba and praying before leaving Masjid al-Haram.
  7. Exiting from Bab al-Hannatin
  8. Having the intention of coming back again
  9. [According to some faqihs] Going to the birthplace of the Prophet (s), Lady Khadija's (a) house (i.e. Lady Fatima's (a) birthplace) and ziyara of lady Khadija's at her grave in al-Hajun Cemetery.
  10. Going to Masjid al-Arqam
  11. Climbing to the cave of Hira' and the cave of Thawr.[60]

Al-Hajj al-Niyabi

Main article: Al-Hajj al-Niyabi

Al-hajj al-niyabi is a hajj performed by someone on behalf of another. Hiring someone for performing mustahab hajj on behalf of a dead or alive Muslim is mustahab (recommended). Hiring someone to perform hajj on behalf of a dead Muslim, who did not perform hajj and his hajj became mustaqar (firmly fixed), is compulsory on the heirs. According to majority of Shi'a faqihs, hiring someone for performing hajj on behalf of a person, on whom hajj has become compulsory but he has lost his physical ability to perform hajj permanently due to ageing or an illness, is also wajib (compulsory). Some faqihs also gave the same verdict for someone that even if the hajj is not mustaqar on him but he is financially capable of hiring someone for performing hajj on his behalf. Moreover, there is disagreement about compulsion of hiring a na'ib (someone who performs the hajj instead of other people), whether the hiring is only wajib for hajjat al-Islam or it is also wajib for a hajj which has become wajib by vow or because his last hajj was void.[61]

See Also


  1. Ibn Manzur, Lisan al-'arab; Jawhari, al-Sihah; al-Zubaydi, Taj al-'arus, under the word "حجج"
  2. Ibn Idris al-Hilli, Al-Sara'ir, vol. 1, p. 506; Al-Muhaqqiq al-Hilli, Risala fi l-hajj, vol. 1, p. 163
  3. Al-Halabi, Al-Kafi fi l-fiqh, pp. 195, 198, 217; Al-Tusi, Al-Mabsut, vol. 1, p. 309; Al-'Ayni, 'Umdat al-qari, vol. 9, p. 121
  4. Ibn Manzur, Lisan al-'arab; Jawhari, al-Sihah; Al-Turayhi, Majma' al-bahrayn, under the word "mansak"
  5. See Qur'an, 3:97
  6. See Qur'an, 22: 32
  7. See Qur'an, 2: 189
  8. See Qur'an, 2: 197
  9. See Qur'an, 9: 37
  10. See Qur'an, 2: 196
  11. See Qur'an 2: 198-199
  12. See Qur'an, 2: 196; 22: 28
  13. See Qur'an, 5: 1-2; 95-96
  14. See Qur'an, 22: 29
  15. See Qur'an, 2: 158
  16. See Qur'an, 2: 196
  17. See Qur'an, 2: 198
  18. See Qur'an, 2: 197
  19. See Qur'an, 2: 189
  20. al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol. 4, p. 253-254
  21. al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol. 4, p. 255
  22. al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol. 4, p. 262
  23. Ibn Khuzayma, Sahih ibn khuzayma, vol. 1, p. 159; 'Asqalani, Ibn Hajar, Fath al-bari, vol. 3, p. 285-286; al-Shaykh al-Hurr al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-shi'a, vol. 1, p. 13-20, 26-28
  24. see: al-Bukhari, Muhammad b. Isma'il. Sahih al-bukhari, vol. 2, p. 141; Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol. 4, p. 252-264
  25. Nahj al-balagha, Maxim 136
  26. see: al-Bukhari, Muhammad b. Isma'il. Sahih al-Bukhari, vol. 2, p. 209; al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol. 7, p. 51-52
  27. see: Nahj al-balagha, Letter 47; al-Tirmidhi, Muhammad, Sunan al-tirmidhi, vol. 2, p. 153-154
  28. see: al-Kulayni, al-Kafi, p. 259-260; al-Shaykh al-Hurr al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, vol. 11, p. 23-24
  29. see: Nahj al-balagha, Sermon. 1, 110, 192; Maxim 252
  30. al-Majlisi, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-anwar , vol. 29, p. 223
  31. see: al-Shaykh al-Hurr al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-shi'a, vol. 11, p. 14
  32. al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Muhammad b. 'Ali b. Babiwayh, 'Uyun akhbar al-Rida, vol. 2, p. 90
  33. Najafi, Jawahir al-kalam, vol. 18, p. 5-10
  34. Najafi, Jawahir al-kalam, vol. 18, p. 44-47
  35. Najafi, Jawahir al-kalam, vol. 18, p. 136
  36. Najafi, Jawahir al-kalam, vol. 19, p. 114-115
  37. Najafi, Jawahir al-kalam, vol. 17, p. 220-223
  38. Najafi, Jawahir al-kalam, vol. 17, p. 223-225
  39. Najafi, Jawahir al-kalam, vol. 17, p. 217, 228
  40. Sabziwari, Sayyid 'Abd al-A'la, Muhadhab al-ahkam, vol. 12, p. 18
  41. Najafi, Jawahir al-kalam, vol. 17, p. 229, 241, 248,275
  42. Najafi, Jawahir al-kalam, vol. 17, p. 229, 234
  43. Najafi, Jawahir al-kalam, vol. 17, p. 258-259
  44. Najafi, Jawahir al-kalam, vol. 17, p. 260
  45. Najafi, Jawahir al-kalam, vol. 17, p. 261
  46. Najafi, Jawahir al-kalam, vol. 17, p. 268
  47. Najafi, Jawahir al-kalam, vol. 17, p. 295
  48. see: Tabataba'i Yazdi, Muhammad Kazim, al-'Urwat al-wuthqa, vol. 4, p. 595-596
  49. Ibn Abi Jumhur, 'Awali al-la'ali, vol. 4, p. 33; qazwini, Muhammad Ma'sum, Kashf al-ghita' , p, 586-588
  50. Najafi, Jawahir al-kalam, vol. 17, p. 332
  51. Najafi, Jawahir al-kalam, vol. 18, p. 12-13
  52. Najafi, Jawahir al-kalam, vol. 17, p. 301
  53. Najafi, Jawahir al-kalam, vol. 17, p. 304
  54. Najafi, Jawahir al-kalam, vol. 17, p. 396
  55. Najafi, Jawahir al-kalam, vol. 17, p. 275
  56. Najafi, Jawahir al-kalam, vol. 20, p. 53
  57. Najafi, Jawahir al-kalam, vol. 20, p. 54
  58. Najafi, Jawahir al-kalam, vol. 20, p. 60-65
  59. Najafi, Jawahir al-kalam, vol. 20, p. 65
  60. Najafi, Jawahir al-kalam, vol. 20, p. 69
  61. Najafi, Jawahir al-kalam, vol. 17, p. 281-286; Tabataba'i Yazdi, Muhammad Kazim, al-'Urwat al-wuthqa, vol. 4, p. 434-435


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