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The Hajj, or pilgrimage to Makkah is a central duty of Islam whose origins date back to the time of Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH). It brings together Muslims of all races and tongues for one of life's most moving spiritual experiences. For 14 centuries, countless millions of Muslims, men and women from all over the world, have made the pilgrimage to Makkah, the birthplace of Islam. In carrying out this obligation, they fulfill one of the five "pillars" of Islam, or central religious duties of the believer.

Definition of Hajj:
Literally: The word "Hajj" means heading for an honorable person or place.
Legally: Hajj means worshipping Allah by performing the Hajj rituals, which are defined as specific acts performed at a specific time and place in a specific way.
There is agreement among Juristic schools over the Hajj definition.

Obligations:
It means any obligatory act on which the validity of Hajj depends and which is redeemed by offering a sacrifice.
According to this school: the obligatory act may be represented as the Essential [Al-Rukn], and it includes the Requisite [Al-Shart].

The Four Obligatory Acts of Hajj:
1. Ihram
2. Standing by `Arafah
3. Ifadah Circumambulation
4. Sa`i between Safa and Marwah
There is agreement among Juristic Schools on the obligatory and necessary rituals of Hajj.

Rule and Evidence:
Performing Hajj is an obligation once in a lifetime upon every individual, male or female.
Evidence from the Holy Qur'an:
Allah, the Almighty, says,"Pilgrimage thereto is a duty men owe to Allah, - those who can afford the journey; but if any deny faith, Allah stands not in need of any of His creatures."
Allah made Hajj an obligation to Muslims in the ninth year after Hijrah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) performed only the Farewell Hajj.

Evidence from the Prophetic Tradition:
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, " (The superstructure of) Islam is founded on five (pillars): .... etc. "
Among these pillars the Prophet mentioned the Hajj.
The Prophet (may peace be upon him) said, " The Hajj which is accepted will receive no other reward than Paradise. "
The Prophet (may peace be upon him) said, " He who performs Hajj and neither spoke indecently not did he act wickedly would return free of sin as on the (very first) day his mother born him. "
The Prophet (may peace be upon him) said, "O people, Allah made Hajj obligatory for you; so perform Hajj. Thereupon a person said, `Messenger of Allah, (is it to be performed) every year?' He (the Holy Prophet) kept quiet, and the man repeated (these words) thrice, whereupon Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said, `If I were to say: yes, it would become obligatory (for you to perform it every year) and you would not be able to do it."

Hajj type
Tamattu' Hajj
Tamattu` means performing `Umrah during the Hajj season, and on the Day of Tarwiah a pilgrim gets into the state of Ihram for Hajj. Anyone intending to perform a Tamattu`` Hajj should on approaching the Miqat make intention for `Umrah. After fulfilling the Hajj rituals, one should offer a sacrificial animal.

Detail steps: Tamattu` Rituals:
1. The Miqats 2. Arrival Tawaf 3. Sa`i 4. Haircut 5. Ihram 6. Mina 7. `Arafah 8. Muzdalifah 9. Jamrah of Al-`Aqabah 10. Slaughtering 11. Shaving or Haircut 12. Ifadah Tawaf 13. Sa`i 14. Mina 15. Throwing the Jamrahs 16. Farewell Tawaf Qiran Hajj
In this type of Hajj, a pilgrim should declare his intention to perform both Hajj and `Umrah together. Only when he throws the Jamrah of Al-`Aqabah, gets his hair shaved or cut that he can put off his Ihram. However, he should offer a sacrificial animal.
Detail steps: Qiran Rituals: 1. The Miqats 2. Arrival Tawaf 3. Sa`i 4. Mina 5. `Arafah 6. Muzdalifah 7. Jamrah of Al-`Aqabah 8. Slaughtering 9. Shaving or Haircut 10. Ifadah Tawaf 11. Mina 12. Throwing the Jamrahs 13. Farewell Tawaf Ifrad Hajj
In the Miqat, a pilgrim of Ifrad Hajj declares his intention for Hajj only. He maintains his Ihram up to the Day of Sacrifice. No offering is required from him.
Detail steps: Ifrad Rituals: 1. The Miqats 2. Arrival Tawaf 3. Sa`i 4. Mina 5. `Arafah 6. Muzdalifah 7. Jamrah of Al-`Aqabah 8. Shaving or Haircut 9. Ifadah Tawaf 10. Mina 11. Throwing the Jamrahs 12. Farewell Tawaf Umrah
Rituals of `Umrah
In Arabic the word `Umrah is derived from I`timar which means a visit. However, `Umrah technically means paying a visit to Ka`bah, performing Tawaf [Circumambulation] around it, walking between Safa and Marwah seven times. A performer of `Umrah puts off his Ihram by having his hair shaved or cut.
Detail steps:Umrah Rituals:
1. The Miqats 2. Arrival Tawaf 3. Sa`i 4. Shaving or Haircut
Scholars' Unanimous Agreement:
All scholars have unanimously agreed that Hajj is obligatory and that it represents the fifth pillar of Islam. It is an obligation that should be performed as soon as possible.

The Hajj Requisites according to the Hanafi Juristic School
1. Being a Muslim: Performing Hajj is not required from a non-Muslim. If a non-Muslim performs Hajj, it will not be accepted.
2. Sanity: Performing Hajj is not required from an insane person. If an insane person performs Hajj, it will not be accepted.
3. Adulthood: Performing Hajj is not required from a child. If a child performs Hajj, his Hajj will be accepted if he has reached the age of discretion. Moreover, a child's performance of Hajj does not exempt him from performing the obligatory Hajj after reaching adulthood.
4. Freedom: Performing Hajj is not obligatory to a slave.
5. Physical ability.
6. A means of transport should be available along with the financial ability to afford for the journey.
7. The journey should be safe.

As for a female pilgrim: 1. She should be accompanied by her husband or an unmarriageable person.
2. She should not be in the waiting period of irrevocable divorce or in mourning for her husband.

The Hajj Requisites according to the Maliki Juristic School
1. Being a Muslim: Performing Hajj is not required from a non-Muslim. If a non-Muslim performs Hajj, it will not be accepted.
2. Sanity: Performing Hajj is not required from an insane person. If an insane person performs Hajj, it will not be accepted.
3. Adulthood: Performing Hajj is not required from a child. If a child performs Hajj, his Hajj will be accepted if he has reached the age of discretion. Moreover, a child's performance of Hajj does not exempt him from performing the obligatory Hajj after reaching adulthood.
4. Freedom: Performing Hajj is not required from a slave.
5. Physical and financial ability.

As for a female pilgrim:
It is not necessary for her to be accompanied by her husband or an unmarriageable person. Young or old, she is allowed to perform Hajj if she finds a trustworthy company to go with.

The Hajj Requisites according to the Shafi`i Juristic School
1. Being a Muslim: Performing Hajj is not required from a non-Muslim. If a non-Muslim performs Hajj, it will not be accepted.
2. Freedom: Performing Hajj is not obligatory to a slave.
3. Eligibility.
4. Physical and financial ability. This ability is subject to the following conditions:
a. Having food and other provisions sufficient for the journey to and from Hajj.
b. A means of transport should be available.
c. Provisions and the cost of transport means should not affect repaying one's debts nor providing for one's family.
d. Having enough strength to endure the journey.
e. The journey should be secure.

As for a female pilgrim:
A free, female Muslim pilgrim should be with a secure, trustworthy company.

The Hajj Requisites according to the Hanbali Juristic School
1. Being a Muslim: Performing Hajj is not obligatory to a non-Muslim. If a non-Muslim performs Hajj, it will not be accepted.
2. Sanity: Performing Hajj is not obligatory to an insane person. If an insane person performs Hajj, it will not be accepted.
3. Adulthood: Performing Hajj is not obligatory to a child. If a child performs Hajj, his Hajj will be accepted if he has reached the age of discretion. Moreover, a child's performance of Hajj does not preempt him from performing the obligatory Hajj after reaching adulthood.
4. Freedom: Performing Hajj is not obligatory to a slave.
5. Physical and financial ability.
As for a female pilgrim:
She should be accompanied by an unmarriageable person.