About 95,000 Muslims from Nigeria will join their brethren from all over the globe to perform Hajj this year.
Hajj is a spiritual exercise, which all Muslims are expected to make at least once during their lifetime if they can afford to do so.
For anyone preparing to perform the sacred exercise, it’s crucial to know the rituals of holy pilgrimage.
In a training organised by National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) in Lagos, Ulamah NAHCON, Oyo State, Sheikh Musa Nojimdeen, said the intention to perform hajj should be solely to please Allah, noting that the holy pilgrimage requires preparation and planning.
“Apart from being physically, mentally and spiritually ready, it requires intending pilgrims to repent for their sins, make amends, and reconcile with anyone they have issues with.”
He said pilgrim must get into the state of purity (Ihram) before beginning the hajj rites.
“Ihram is a divine state that Muslim enter to perform the rituals of Hajj. The Ihram cloth is worn after performing cleansing acts. Ihram clothing includes two unsewn sheets of white cloth without sewing or hems. One of these clothes covers the upper half of the body including the shoulders, The other half of the cloth, worn on the waist, covers the area between the navel and the feet. You can’t wear undergarments, socks, or a cap.”
He said on arrival in Makkah, pilgrims would first perform Umrah.
“ This means pilgrims will perform Umrah tawaf (encircling the Kaaba) seven times and after tawaf, they will walk between Safa and Marwa. They will begin from Safa and walk towards Marwa until you see the green light at which point the men will run until the next green light and continue walking till they reach Marwa. This will be done seven times. Once completed, men will have their hair shaved while women clip their hair to the length of their fingertips.
This marks the completion of umrah, allowing you to leave ihram, until the 8th of Dhul Hijjah.”
He said the 8th day of Dhul Hijjah marked the beginning of the days of Hajj and pilgrims are expected to enter the state of ihram once again.
“Smoking, swearing, nail clipping, sexual intimacy, fighting and all forms of indecency are prohibited for someone in the state of Ihram. Also, scented products like perfume, soaps and makeup must be avoided.”
He added that in Muna, tents will be made available to settle in and it might be inconvenient but the hajj authority will try as much as possible to make it convenient.
“The first day in Muna is for spiritual reflection and devotion, the four rakah prayers will be shortened to two rakah without combining solat.
“After praying fajr salat in Muna, pilgrims will go to Mount Arafah, making supplications, asking Him for forgiveness and blessings from Allah (SWT).”
He added that after sunset, pilgrims will move to Muzdalifah (open plain land between Muna and Arafat).
“Once you reach Muzdalifah, pilgrims will perform Maghrib and isha prayers and spend the night in worship or resting. At Muzdalifah, you will stay under the night sky. There are no tents or other accommodation facilities there. You can pick pebbles to stone the devil over the next three days. The size of the pebbles should be similar to the size of date seeds. A total of 49 pebbles will be needed to stone the devil at Jamurat. On the first day, seven pebbles, on the second day 21 pebbles and on the third day 21 pebbles also.”
He said after performing fajr solat at Muzdalifah, pilgrims will depart and go back to Muna to start going to Jamurat to throw their pebbles and sacrifice their animals.
“Following the sacrifice, pilgrims will shave or trim their hair. After which they can leave the state of ihram and wear comfortable clothing.”