THE PILGRIMAGE OF ISLAM
ENCOMPASSING THE FIVE SCHOOLS OF LAW
Chapter 4 (Continues)
F. The Lesser Pilgrimage (‘umrah)
The Arabic word for the Lesser Pilgrimage is 'umrah:
which means ‘a visit’, but with reference to Islam it means
visiting the Ka‘bah in a specified manner.
Commendable or Obligatory
The Hanafis and Malikis maintain that the Lesser
Pilgrimage is commendable but not obligatory. The Shafi‘is,
Hanbalis and many of the Ja‘faris maintain that it is obligatory
for anyone who is capable of undertaking the journey, for God
And complete the Greater and Lesser
Pilgrimage for Allah. (2:196)
Kinds of Pilgrimage
The Lesser Pilgrimage is of two kinds: separate,
which is an entity completely apart from the Greater Pilgrimage,
and conjoined, which is performed in conjunction with the Greater
Pilgrimage. The separate, or independent, Lesser Pilgrimage is
permissible throughout the year, according to all the schools of
law. According to the Ja‘faris, the best time is during the month
of Rajab, while according to the others the month of Ramadan is
best. The Lesser Pilgrimage that is joined with the Greater
Pilgrimage is performed by pilgrims from distant countries in a
single journey, the rites of the Lesser Pilgrimage being performed
before the rites of the Greater.
The Lesser Pilgrimage that is joined to
the Greater may be performed in the months of Shawwal, Dhu
’l-Qa‘dah and Dhu ’l-Hijjah by agreement of all the schools. They
differ, however, as to whether the entire month of Dhu ’l-Hijjah
may be considered, or just the first third of it. When a person
performs the Lesser Pilgrimage in conjunction with the Greater,
the Lesser no longer remains obligatory for him according to those
who deem its performance obligatory.
Difference between the Two Kinds of Lesser
The Ja‘faris have differentiated between the
conjoined and separate Lesser Pilgrimage in certain matters:
1. The circumambulation called the
‘circumambulation of women’ is obligatory in the separate but not
in the conjoined Lesser Pilgrimage.
The time for the conjoined Lesser
Pilgrimage begins at the commencement of Shawwal and extends to
the ninth of Dhu ’l-Hijjah, while the time of the detached Lesser
Pilgrimage is throughout the entire year.
3. A person who performs the conjoined
Lesser Pilgrimage may only cut either his hair or one of his
nails, whereas anyone who performs the separate Lesser Pilgrimage
has a choice between cutting his hair and shaving his head or
cutting one of his nails.
4. The conjoined Lesser Pilgrimage is
always performed in the same year as the Greater Pilgrimage,
whereas this is not true of the separate Lesser Pilgrimage.
Actions to be carried out during the Lesser
All that is obligatory and commendable for the
Greater Pilgrimage applies to the Lesser although there are
certain differences. The time for the Lesser Pilgrimage is not
fixed, nor does it expire; furthermore, there is no halt for
stoning at ‘Arafat nor in Muzdalifah and Mina.
The obligatory actions of the detached
Lesser Pilgrimage are eight, according to the Ja‘faris:
(1) having the intention;
(2) wearing the ihram and
observing the conditions thereto attached;
(4) performing the two cycles of prayer
at the station of Abraham;
(5) going between Safa and Marwah;
(6) cutting the hair or nails;
(7) making the circumambulation of
(8) performing two more cycles of
prayer at the station of Abraham.
Only the first six acts apply to the
attached Lesser Pilgrimage. According to the Ja‘faris, the
ihram must be put on at the designated places, as is the case
with the Greater Pilgrimage, but according to the other four
schools it may be put on anywhere. Also, the four schools do not
include the circumambulation of women and the two cycles of prayer
connected therewith, and the Malikis maintain that cutting the
hair or nails is obligatory. The Hanbalis declare that there is
no Lesser Pilgrimage for the people of Makkah, because the most
important act is the circumambulation around the Ka‘bah, and they
do it all the time.
Lesser Pilgrimage Obligatory in its own Right
The obligatory nature of the separate Lesser
Pilgrimage is not necessarily connected with the ability to make
the Greater Pilgrimage. If a person be in a position to perform
the Lesser Pilgrimage at a time other than that of the Greater
Pilgrimage, for instance, because he is travelling and comes close
to Makkah, he must make the Lesser Pilgrimage. If a person dies
without performing it, the expenses for it should be taken from
the property he leaves. Similarly, if a person is capable of
performing the separate Greater Pilgrimage (i.e. the Greater
Pilgrimage performed without the Lesser Pilgrimage), it is
obligatory to do so, because both pilgrimages are entities in
their own right.
Preferred Actions before Safa and Marwah
According to the Ja‘faris certain actions which
come after the prayer at the station of Abraham, and precede going
between Safa and Marwah, are to be preferred (mustahabb).
They include the following: drawing one’s hand over the Black
Stone; drinking from the water of Zamzam and sprinkling it on
oneself; and leaving the Sacred Mosque through the door facing the
It is well known that the Prophet went
out from the gate of Safa and ascended the hill of Safa until he
could see the Ka‘bah. Facing it, he declared the Unity of God
three times and magnified Him. Then, praising God, he said,
There is no god except God: He is One
and has no partner. To Him belong the Sovereignty and the
Praise. He gives life and causes death, and He is powerful over
everything. There is no god except God: He is One. He has
fulfilled His promise and granted victory to His slave,
vanquishing all the parties [of the infidels]. He is One.
Safa and Marwah
All schools agree that the act of going between
Safa and Marwah follows the rite of circumambulation and the two
cycles of prayer after the circumambulation, for those who
consider them obligatory. They also agree that anyone who goes
between Safa and Marwah before circumambulating should repeat the
rite after the circumambulation.
Although there is agreement between the
schools about the necessity of going between Safa and Marwah, they
disagree about whether it is an optional rite of the Pilgrimage or
an obligatory one. According to the Ja‘fari, Shafi‘i and Maliki
schools it is an optional rite, while according to the Hanafi it
is an obligatory one. Two different traditions can be traced back
to Ahmad ibn Hanbal, which lead to two divergent opinions for the
The pilgrim ascends Safa, faces the
Ka‘bah praises God and magnifies Him. After seven times repeating
‘Allahu Akbar’, a certain phrase in remembrance of God may
be repeated, and, after this, a certain supplication is
recommended. There is no divergence between the Ja‘fari and other
schools in this matter, except for some difference in the
expressions used. Ritual purification is not obligatory for going
between Safa and Marwah.
All the schools agree that the number of times one
must go ‘between the minaret and the lane of Perfumiers’ should
preferably begin at Safa and end at Marwah. They also agree that
the distance ‘between the minaret and the Lane of Perfumiers’
should preferably be covered at a fast pace, that is, faster than
a normal walk. All but the Hanbalis permit the use of a means of
conveyance, regardless of whether one can walk or not. The
Hanbalis say that it is permissible only for one who cannot walk.
Furthermore, all but the Hanbalis, who consider continuity
obligatory, allow some interruption in the seven trips between
Safa and Marwah. The Malikis say that as long as the interruption
is not too long it is allowed.
The Ja‘faris hold that it is obligatory
while going to and fro, to keep the front of one’s body turned
towards one’s destination. Turning away from it, walking
backwards or in a lateral way is not correct. However, there is
nothing wrong in turning the face from side to side in the course
of movement while continuing to face the destination.
Rules for Going between Safa and Marwah
A person who cannot perform the rite either
on foot or on a mount may delegate another to perform it on
his or her behalf, and the Pilgrimage will still be correct.
If someone intentionally goes between
the two hills more than seven times, the whole action is invalid.
If anyone after finishing the rite should entertain doubt about
the number of trips made, his action is assumed to have been
correct and nothing is required of him. According to the Ja‘faris,
however, should the doubt occur before finishing the rite, whether
of having exceeded or fallen short of the required number, the
rite is invalid and must be re-enacted.
If a person has recorded the number of
trips performed but doubts whether the first round began from Safa
or Marwah, he should carefully consider which the number is his
present trip and the direction he is facing; if, for instance, the
number is even (i.e. two, four or six) and one is at Safa or
facing it, the act of going between Safa and Marwah is correct,
because the facts show that he had begun at Safa. Similarly, he
is performing this action correctly if the number is odd (three,
five or seven) and he is at Marwah or facing it. But if the case
is the reverse, that is, in an even-numbered trip he is facing
Marwah, or in an odd-numbered trip facing Safa, his traversing the
distance between Safa and Marwah it is invalid and should be
According to the Hanafis, the
Pilgrimage is not invalid even if the trips between Safa and
Marwah be omitted altogether, because they are not an obligatory
rite: one may perform a sacrifice to compensate for its omission.
Cutting the Hair or Nails
According to the Hanbalis and Malikis, it is
necessary to shave or shorten the entire head of hair. According
to the Hanafis, cutting or shaving one-fourth of the head is
sufficient; according to the Shafi‘is, cutting three hairs
suffices; and according to the Ja‘faris, one has the choice of
shortening either the hair of the head, the beard, the moustache
or the fingernails. All five schools agree that cutting the hair
is an obligatory rite, though not a fundamental part of the
According to the Ja‘faris if a person
is travelling on the Greater Pilgrimage from outside the environs
of Makkah and performs the Lesser Pilgrimage first, he may not
shave his head but must only cut the hair of the head, beard or
moustache, or clip one fingernail. If he is performing the Lesser
Pilgrimage without joining it to the Greater, he may do either.
Also according to the Ja‘faris if a
pilgrim from outside the Sacred Precinct intentionally omits to
cut the hair and then puts on the garment for the Greater
Pilgrimage, the performance of the Lesser Pilgrimage is thereby
rendered void. One must then change the intention of performing
the Lesser Pilgrimage before the Greater Pilgrimage to the
intention of performing the Greater Pilgrimage on its own. The
Lesser Pilgrimage is then performed again after the Greater. If
one can, it is better to perform the Lesser and Greater Pilgrimage
in the correct sequence the following year. Should, however, one
forget to cut the hair and put on the garment for the Pilgrimage,
the Lesser Pilgrimage is not invalid. It is preferable, but not
obligatory, to sacrifice a sheep as compensation for having
G. The Greater Pilgrimage
The Arabic word for the Greater Pilgrimage is
hajj, and derives from the verb hajja, which means to
go to or visit a place in honour and respect, adoration and
worship. As with many Arabic words, this meaning extends from a
primary meaning, which is, ‘to convince with proof’ or ‘overcome
(with arguments or evidence)’.
Four schools of law, the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi‘i
and Hanbali, recognize three kinds of Greater Pilgrimage:
the Greater Pilgrimage,
which is preceded by the Lesser Pilgrimage;
the Greater Pilgrimage which
is followed by the Lesser Pilgrimage without the pilgrim doffing
the Greater Pilgrimage, which is
followed by the Lesser Pilgrimage, but during the
interval between them the pilgrim removes his ihram.
All five schools agree that in the
first kind the pilgrim performs the Lesser Pilgrimage in the
specified months, whereupon he is released from the obligation of
ihram and its attendant prohibitions. When the Greater
Pilgrimage occurs, the pilgrim reassumes the dress and so comes
under its conditions.
The four schools make it is permissible
for anyone, whether a resident of the Sacred Precinct or not, to
choose any one of the three kinds of Pilgrimage one desires. The
Hanafis, however, contend that it is undesirable for a Makkan to
perform the first two kinds. The four schools of law differ among
themselves as to which of the three is more preferable. The
Shafi‘is maintain that the first and third are superior to the
second; the Hanafis hold that the second is superior for a
non-resident of the Sacred Precinct; the Malikis, that the third
is superior; and the Hanbalis that the first is superior.
The Ja‘faris assert that the second and
third kind are not distinguished by removing or not removing the
ihram before the Lesser Pilgrimage: rather, the two kinds are
distinguished by bringing or not bringing an animal for
sacrifice. According to the Ja‘faris the Lesser and Greater
Pilgrimages cannot be performed together without removing the
ihram, nor can a pilgrim make a single intention that includes
the performance of both.
According to the Ja‘faris, the first
kind of Pilgrimage is obligatory for one who lives 48 miles or
more from Makkah, and he may not choose any other kind save in an
emergency. As for the other two kinds the choice of one of them
is obligatory for the people of Makkah and those who live up to 48
miles away. For these people, the first kind is not permissible
unless unavoidably necessary, such as when a woman anticipates
All five schools concur that with the
third kind it is not obligatory to offer sacrifice, but if one do
so it is admirable.
According to the Ja‘faris, the obligatory acts to
be performed during the Greater Pilgrimage are thirteen:
having the intention;
assuming the ihram and its
halting in ‘Arafat;
halting in Muzdalifah;
slaughtering an animal;
shaving the head or cutting the hair;
performing two cycles of prayer at the Station of
going between Safa and Marwah;
making the circumambulation of women, and
performing two more cycles of prayer at
the Station of Abraham.
The New Moon of Dhu ’l-Hijjah
Usually the determination of the new moon of Dhu
’l-Hijjah is the responsibility of the authorities of Makkah. It
is unusual for Muslim scholars to question the validity of the
sighting. It is conceded by most ‘Ulama’ that the pilgrim
should be in ‘Arafat, halting with the other pilgrims, for his
pilgrimage to be correct.
Living within the Sacred Precinct
The pilgrim who lives within the Sacred Precinct,
as well as the pilgrim who lives outside and has performed the
Lesser Pilgrimage before the Greater, both assume the ihram
in Makkah. All of the conditions which apply to the state of
ihram must be observed. If possible, one should put on the
garment at one's residence within the Sacred Precinct, then go to
the Station of Abraham or the Wall of Ishmael to formulate the
intention to undertake the Pilgrimage, and to pronounce the
Before the Halt in ‘Arafat
There is consensus among the schools of law that it
is preferable for the pilgrim to go out from Makkah, in pilgrim’s
garb, on the eighth of Dhu ’l-Hijjah, passing through Mina on his
way to ‘Arafat. According to the Ja‘faris it is preferable not to
leave Makkah before offering the afternoon and late afternoon
prayers. The other schools hold that it is preferable to offer
them in Mina.
It is permissible to proceed to ‘Arafat
a day or two before, particularly for the ill, the elderly, women,
and those who suffer from claustrophobia. Also, it is permissible
to delay leaving for ‘Arafat until the morning of the ninth, so as
to arrive at ‘Arafat by the time the sun reaches its zenith.
The Halt in ‘Arafat
There is consensus among the schools that the day
of the halt in ‘Arafat is the ninth of Dhu ’l-Hijjah, but they
disagree as to when the halt begins and ends on that day.
According to the Hanafi, Shafi‘i and Maliki schools it begins at
midday on the ninth and lasts till daybreak on the tenth, and
according to the Hanbali school it begins at daybreak on the ninth
and lasts until daybreak on the tenth. According to the Ja‘faris
for anyone not in a hurry, the halt lasts from midday on the ninth
till sunset on the same day.
It is preferable to take a ritual bath
like the Friday ritual bath before standing at ‘Arafat.. There is
no rite specifically prescribed for ‘Arafat; the only thing
required is one’s presence and one may stay awake or sleep, sit,
stand, walk around or ride a mount.
The Limits of ‘Arafat
The limits of ‘Arafat are Arnah, Thawbah, and from
Nimrah to Dhu ’l-Majaz, which are all places around ‘Arafat. One
may not halt in any of these places, neither in Taht al-Arak,
because they are outside the limits of ‘Arafat; if a person were
to halt in any of these places his Pilgrimage would become invalid
by consensus of all the schools, with the exception of the Malikis,
who say that one may halt at Arnah, although a sacrifice would be
due from him.
The entire area of ‘Arafat is
permissible for the halt, which may be made at any spot within it
by consensus of all the schools. Imam al-Sadiq relates that when
the Prophet halted at ‘Arafat the people crowded around him,
having followed his camel; whenever the camel moved, they moved
along with it. When he saw this, the Prophet said, ‘O people, the
halting-place is not confined to where my camel stands, rather it
is the entire plain of ‘Arafat. If the halting-place were limited
to where my camel stands, the place would be too small for
The Conditions of the Halt
By consensus of all the schools ritual purity is
not a condition for the halt at ‘Arafat, though it is preferred.
According to the Ja‘fari and Maliki schools, the halt at ‘Arafat
must be made with prior intention, in the knowledge that the place
where one is halting is indeed ‘Arafat.
According to the Shafi‘i school neither
intention nor knowledge is a condition; all that is required is
that one is not insane, intoxicated or unconscious. According to
the Hanafis neither intention, knowledge or sanity are
conditions. They assert that the Pilgrimage of whoever is present
in ‘Arafat during the proper time is correct.
The question arises whether it is
necessary to make the halt in ‘Arafat for the full specified
period, or if it is sufficient to be present there for only some
of the time, even as little as a single moment. According to the
Ja‘faris, if a person be able he is obliged to halt for the entire
period. If, however, due to some legitimate excuse he cannot make
the halt for the entire period, it is sufficient for him to halt
for a part of the time.
According to the Ja‘faris if a person
leaves ‘Arafat intentionally before midday, he must return later,
and nothing is due from him should he do so. If he does not
return, he must sacrifice a camel; and if that is beyond his
means, he must fast for eighteen days in succession. If one
leaves before midday because of error or miscalculation, and does
not discover it until the time is past, nothing is due from him
providing he is present at the halt in Muzdalifah on time. If he
remember before the period of ‘Arafat expires, he must return as
far as possible in the remaining time. Should he fail to do so,
he must sacrifice a camel.
According to the Shafi‘i, Maliki and
Hanbali schools, mere presence, at least for a single moment, is
sufficient. The Malikis, however, aver that anyone who makes the
halt in ‘Arafat after midday and leaves before sunset must repeat
the Pilgrimage the following year if he fails to return to ‘Arafat
before daybreak on the tenth.
According to the Ja‘faris anyone who
omits the halt at ‘Arafat has invalidated his Pilgrimage.
According to the Shafi‘is, if one forgets and omits the halt, it
is obligatory upon him to change his Greater Pilgrimage to a
Lesser Pilgrimage, after which he must fulfil the remaining rites
of the Greater Pilgrimage after completing the rites of the Lesser
Pilgrimage. Furthermore he must repeat the Greater Pilgrimage the
It is desirable for anyone halting in
‘Arafat to observe ritual purity, face the Holy Ka‘bah, make
supplication and ask forgiveness with humility and a feeling of
being in the presence of God.
The Halt in Muzdalifah
The halt in Muzdalifah is the next rite after the
halt in ‘Arafat according to all the schools. They also agree
that when the Pilgrim turns to Muzdalifah after the halt in
‘Arafat he is acting in accordance with the following verse of the
When you pour forth from ‘Arafat, then
remember Allah in the sacred site, remembering Him in the way you
have been shown. (2:198)
Furthermore, they also agree that it is preferable
to delay the sunset prayer preceding the day of the Festival until
one reaches Muzdalifah. When the sun sets in ‘Arafat, the pilgrim
should go forth towards Muzdalifah before the sunset prayer is
offered. It is preferable to pray the sunset prayer in Muzdalifah
and then the evening prayer immediately afterward, as the Prophet
did. There is consensus on this point among all the schools who,
with the exception of the Hanafis, agree that if a person performs
the sunset prayer before reaching Muzdalifah and fails to pray the
sunset and evening prayers together, his prayer would still be
valid, even though it is preferable not to do this.
The Limits of Muzdalifah
The area from al-Ma’zamayn to al-Hiyad,
towards the valley of Muhassir, comprises the legal area of
Muzdalifah. Like ‘Arafat, it is proper to halt at any spot within
it, and among the Ja‘faris it is permissible, in case of
overcrowding, to climb up towards the hill which is one of the
limits of Muzdalifah.
The Night at Muzdalifah
According to the Hanafi, Shafi‘i and Hanbali
schools, it is obligatory to spend the night before the day of the
Festival in Muzdalifah, and anyone who does not must offer a
sacrifice. According to the Ja‘faris and the Malikis, it is not
obligatory but commendable. None of the schools considers
spending the night in Muzdalifah an essential part of the
For the Ja‘faris and the Hanafis it is compulsory
to stay in Muzdalifah until after daybreak; the other schools
permit departure after midnight. The Ja‘faris consider that the
obligatory time for the halt in Muzdalifah is between daybreak and
sunrise on the day of the Festival (the tenth of Dhu ’l-Hijjah).
Whoever leaves intentionally before sunrise after having been
there in the night does not invalidate his Pilgrimage if he had
made the halt in ‘Arafat, but he must sacrifice a sheep. If
anyone leaves before daybreak because of ignorance it does not
count. Those who have an excuse for not halting between daybreak
and sunrise have an optional extension of time until midday on the
day of the Festival.
According to the Ja‘faris it is an
obligatory part of the Pilgrimage for the halt to take place
during these two specific periods of time. Therefore should
someone omit it during the obligatory and optional periods of time
without valid excuse, and has not stayed the night either, his
Pilgrimage is invalid. For there to be a legitimate excuse, one
must have performed the halt at ‘Arafat. Whoever fails to make
the halt at both ‘Arafat and Muzdalifah has invalidated his
Pilgrimage, even if his failure to do so had a legitimate cause.
If the invalidated Greater Pilgrimage were an obligatory one, it
must be repeated the following year.
Actions considered Preferable at Muzdalifah
According to the Ja‘fari, Shafi‘i and Maliki
schools it is preferable, before leaving Muzdalifah for Mina, to
gather seventy stones for stoning the pillars; and once the
pilgrim arrives in Mina, he should not let anything detain him
from the rite of stoning. The Hanbalis say that the stones may be
gathered from anywhere. Maintaining ritual purity, repeating the
affirmation of unity (la ilaha illa ’llah) and performing
supplication are all desirable actions.
All schools agree that the rites after the halt at
Muzdalifah are the same as those of Mina, and that the best time
for departure from Muzdalifah is after sunrise. According to some
Ja‘faris, anyone who leaves before sunrise and passes beyond the
limits of Muzdalifah must sacrifice a sheep.
In Mina several rites are performed,
continuing from the day of the Festival until the night of the
twelfth and the morning of the thirteenth. The three days
following the day of the Festival (the eleventh, twelfth and
thirteenth of Dhu ’l-Hijjah) are called ‘the days of drying the
meat’, because pilgrims formerly used to dry strips of meat from
the sacrificial animals in the sun.
Three rites are obligatory at Mina on
the day of the Festival:
(1) stoning the pillar of ‘Aqabah (the
largest of the three pillars);
(2) slaughtering the sacrificial animal, and
(3) cutting the hair, beard, moustache or
one nail, or shaving the hair on the head.
Although all the schools agree that the
Prophet performed these three acts in the above order, they
disagree whether this order ranks as obligatory or only preferred.
According to the Shafi‘is and Hanbalis,
this order may be changed. The Malikis say that if anyone
performs the cutting before the slaughter or the stoning, he must
make a sacrifice; they further maintain that if he resides in the
Sacred Precinct and is performing the Greater Pilgrimage which is
followed by the Lesser Pilgrimage, then he must make two
sacrifices. According to the Ja‘faris it is a wrong action to
change the order knowingly and intentionally, although repetition
is not required.
The symbolic rite of throwing stones at the pillars
in Mina is obligatory for all pilgrims, the rite being performed
ten times during the four days. The first time, only the pillar
of ‘Aqabah is stoned: this is done on the day of the Festival. On
the second day, i.e. the eleventh of Dhu ’l-Hijjah, all three
pillars are stoned, and this is repeated on the third and the
fourth days. The stoning on the fourth day applies only to the
pilgrim who has spent the previous night in Mina; otherwise, he
does not throw stones on that day.
Lapidation on the Tenth of Dhu ’l-Hijjah
All five schools agree that it suffices to stone
the pillar of ‘Aqabah any time from sunrise until sunset on the
tenth of Dhu ’l-Hijjah, but they disagree as to whether or not
stoning may occur before or after that period. According to the
Maliki, Hanafi, Hanbali and Ja‘fari schools, it is not permissible
to stone the pillar of ‘Aqabah before daybreak, and if one does
so without an excuse, it must be repeated. (They permit it for an
excuse such as sickness, or other incapacity.) According to the
Shafi‘i school, performing the rite earlier, or even the next day,
is unobjectionable, for they maintain that the specified period is
preferred, not obligatory according to the Malikis, a sacrifice is
necessary from the pilgrim who performs the rite during the night
or the next day.
According to the Ja‘faris if anyone
forgets to stone ‘Aqabah on the tenth, he must make it up on the
eleventh. If he forgets on the eleventh, then he should make it
up on the twelfth, and so on. If a person forgets until after he
has left Makkah, he may carry it out the following year, either in
person or through a representative who carries it out on his
The Conditions of Lapidation
Intention is explicitly required by the Ja‘faris;
each lapidation must be carried out with
the stones must be thrown one at a time;
the stones must strike the target;
the stones must reach the target by
being thrown (if they reach it by some other manner,
this does not suffice);
the stones must be real stone, not some
other material such as salt, iron, copper, wood, porcelain, etc.
This is accepted by all the schools except the Hanafis, who
maintain that it is alright if the stones be made of some earthen
material, such as porcelain, clay or stone;
the stones must not have been used for
stoning before (the Hanbalis expressly state this condition);
ritual purity, though desirable, is not a
The Ja‘faris contend that it is
preferable for the stones to be about the size of a fingertip,
rough in texture, and neither black, white nor red in colour. The
other schools say that the stones should be about the size of a
broad bean. The Ja‘faris also hold that it is preferable for the
pilgrim to perform all the rites facing the direction of the
Ka‘bah, except for stoning the Pillar of ‘Aqabah on the day of the
Festival: they consider that it is preferable to perform this act
with one’s back towards the Ka‘bah, since the Prophet did so. The
other schools believe that facing the Ka‘bah is preferable for
It is also preferable to perform the
stoning on foot, though riding a mount is permissible; to be no
farther than fifteen feet from the pillar; to throw with the right
hand, and to recite the prayers prescribed by tradition, as well
as other recommended prayers.
Should a person doubt whether the pebble struck its
target, it is assumed not to have hit; and if he has doubts about
the number of stones thrown, he should count from the lowest
number which he is sure he has thrown.
The Preferred Sacrifice
There are two types of sacrifice in Islam: the
obligatory and the preferred. The preferred sacrifice is
according to what God says in the Qur`an:
So pray to your Lord, and sacrifice. (108:2)
This is interpreted as a command to the Prophet to
sacrifice after the Festival prayer, when he was not present in
Mina for the Greater Pilgrimage. A tradition relates that
the Prophet sacrificed two rams, one white and the other black.
According to the Malikis and the
Hanafis, this sacrifice is obligatory for every family once a
year, holding that it is similar to the alms given after the fast
of Ramadan. The Ja‘faris and the Shafi‘is say that the preferable
sacrifice can be carried out in Mina (by those not performing the
Pilgrimage) on either the day of the Festival or one of the three
days following it. In places other than Mina the sacrifice may be
performed on one of three days only: the day of the Festival, the
eleventh or the twelfth. According to the Hanbalis, Malikis and
Hanafis the time for the sacrifice is three days, whether in Mina
or elsewhere. The best time for the sacrifice is after sunrise on
the day of the Festival.
The Sacrifice of the Greater Pilgrimage
All the schools agree that the obligatory sacrifice
is not one of the essential parts of the Greater Pilgrimage. They
also agree that it is not obligatory for the pilgrim who lives
within the Sacred Precinct, but is obligatory for the non-resident
pilgrim who performs the Lesser Pilgrimage before the Greater.
The Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi‘i and Hanbali schools maintain that the
sacrifice is compulsory for the pilgrim who joins the Lesser
Pilgrimage after the Greater; but according to the Ja‘faris it is
not compulsory for this pilgrim except as a vow, or when he brings
the sacrificial animal with him at the time of assuming the
There is disagreement as to whether a
resident of the Sacred Precinct performing the Lesser Pilgrimage
before the Greater must offer a sacrifice or not. According to
the Hanafis, Malikis, Shafi‘is and Hanbalis, the sacrifice is not
obligatory. The Ja‘faris consider the sacrifice obligatory if the
person is performing the pilgrimage.
The Requirements of the Sacrifice
The sacrificial victim must be either a camel, a
cow, a sheep or a goat, by consensus of all five schools.
According to the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi‘i and Hanbali schools, a
sheep must be at least six months old; a goat, one; a cow,; and a
camel, five years old. This agrees with the Ja‘fari view, except
that for them the camel must have entered its sixth year and the
goat its second year, and as a precaution they say the sheep
should have entered it second year.
The sacrificial animal must be free of
any defect, and, by consensus, must be neither one-eyed, lame,
sick, old or decrepit. There is disagreement, however, regarding
the acceptability of a castrated animal, or an animal with no
horns or broken ones, and missing or mutilated ears or tail.
These animals are not acceptable according to the Ja‘faris but are
acceptable according to the other schools.
The Time and Place of the Sacrifice
According to the Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi‘i and
Hanbali schools, the occasion for the sacrifice is on the day of
the Festival and the two days following it. The Hanafis add that
this time is specific for pilgrims performing the Lesser
Pilgrimage before or after the Greater Pilgrimage, while the
Malikis do not recognize any difference between both pilgrimages.
The Hanbalis say that should the
sacrifice be made before its time, it must be made again.
According to the Hanafis, slaughtering the sacrificial animal
before the three days of the Festival is not correct, but if done
later a recompense can make up for the delay. According to the
Shafi‘is, the time of the obligatory sacrifice for the Pilgrimage
(the Lesser Pilgrimage having been performed beforehand) starts
when the pilgrim assumes the ihram; performing it earlier
than the day of the Festival is permissible, therefore, and there
is no time limit for delay, although it is best performed on the
day of the Festival itself.
The Ja‘faris maintain that intention is
obligatory for the sacrifice, which should be made on the day of
the Festival, although it is acceptable to delay until the third
day following it, or even until the end of Dhu ’l-Hijjah.
According to them it is not permissible to make the sacrifice
before the Festival on the tenth of Dhu ’l-Hijjah.
The place of sacrifice, according to
the Hanbali, Shafi‘i and Hanafi schools, is within the sanctified
area, which includes Mina and the other places mentioned above.
Distributing the Meat of the Sacrificial Animal
The Hanbalis and Shafi‘is say that the meat of an
animal slaughtered inside the sanctified area must be distributed
among the poor there; the Hanafis and Malikis say that it is
permissible to distribute it either inside or outside the
sanctified area. The Shafi‘is maintain that one may not eat the
meat of an obligatory sacrifice, but the meat of a voluntary
offering is permissible. In modern times a large incinerator has
been constructed in the area where much of the sacrificed animals
are burned, a practice which negates the purpose of the
sacrifice. The Malikis, on the other hand, declare that with the
exception of a sacrifice made as a recompense for hurting someone
or for hunting, or a sacrifice avowed specifically to the poor, or
the animal sacrificed voluntarily which dies before reaching its
destination, the meat of the animal may be eaten. The Ja‘faris
maintain that a third of the meat should be given to the poor
believers, a third to other believers, even those of means, and
the remaining third may be consumed by the pilgrim.
All the schools agree that when the pilgrim either
cannot find a sacrificial animal or does not possess the means to
acquire one, a possible atonement is to fast for ten days, three
of which should be successive days to be kept during the
Pilgrimage while the remaining seven should be completed upon
returning home. This is in accordance with the divine verse:
Whoever cannot find the means, let him fast three
days during the Pilgrimage and seven when he has returned; that is
ten days in all. (2:196)
A pilgrim’s ability to offer the sacrificial victim
is judged according to whether he can arrange for one in the place
of sacrifice. When this cannot be done, the duty of
sacrifice is changed to that of fasting, even though the pilgrim
may a man of means in his own homeland.
Sacrifice by a Proxy
It is preferable for the pilgrim to sacrifice the
animal himself, though it is permissible for him to ask someone
else to do it, because it is one of the rites in which delegation
is possible. The one deputed makes the intention of slaughtering
on behalf of the one who deputes; but it is better for both of
them to formulate the intention together. According to the
Ja‘faris, it is preferable for the pilgrim to put his hand on the
person performing the slaughter, or at least to be present at the
time of slaughtering.
Cutting the Hair
Cutting the hair is part of the rites of the
Greater Pilgrimage, and it is performed in Mina after the rite of
sacrificing an animal. All the schools concur that one has a
choice between cutting and shaving, shaving being more
meritorious; they concur furthermore that women should not shave
the head but only cut their hair (the Hanafis and some Ja‘faris
hold that a person who is bald should nevertheless draw the razor
over his head; the rest consider it only a preferred action).
According to the Ja‘faris this cutting
or shaving must be performed in Mina, and therefore anyone who
departs without having done so should return to perform the rite,
regardless of whether his lapse were intentional or not. If,
however, it is difficult or unfeasible for him to return, he may
perform the rite wherever he can. The other schools maintain that
it should be performed within the Sacred Precinct.
All agree that sexual activity is not
permitted after cutting or shaving the hair; the Malikis and the
Ja‘faris do not permit the use of perfume nor do they permit the
hunting of animals.
Circumambulation and Women
As mentioned above, the first rite in Mina on the
tenth is stoning the Pillar of ‘Aqabah, after which the sacrifice
is performed, and then one cuts one's hair or shaves one’s head.
When the pilgrim has completed these rites on the day of the
Festival, he returns to Makkah to perform circumambulation, after
which he prays two cycles at the station of Abraham and goes to
and fro between Safa and Marwah. According to the Hanafi, Maliki,
Shafi‘i and Hanbali schools, after completing that
circumambulation he returns to Mina, whereupon everything becomes
permissible to him, even sexual activity. According to the
Ja‘faris, he must still perform the circumambulation of women and
women must perform the circumambulation of men and pray two more
cycles at the station of Abraham before Mina. Sexual activity
does not become permissible to the pilgrim, from the Ja‘fari
viewpoint, without this circumambulation, which we discussed in
detail earlier on.
The Night at Mina
After completing the circumambulation, the pilgrim
must return to Mina for the nights of the eleventh, twelfth and
thirteenth. Anyone who is in a hurry may depart after midday and
before sunset on the twelfth, in accordance with the verse:
One who departs on the second day incurs no sin.
Then whoever hastens off in two days, there is no blame upon him.
According to the Hanafis staying
overnight in Mina is not obligatory, although the other schools
consider it so. None of the schools consider it a fundamental
part of the Pilgrimage, and according to the Hanbalis, there is no
recompense due from anyone who does not stay. According to the
Shafi‘is 800 grams of food is required to be given as charity, and
according to the Malikis, a sacrifice. According to the Ja‘faris,
nothing is due upon one who spends the night in Makkah, praying
all night till morning. If the night be passed there without
prayer, or somewhere else, in prayer or otherwise, one must
sacrifice a sheep, even if the lapse were made through an
oversight or ignorance. However, a person is excused if he, for
any reason, finds it difficult to remain the night. There is no
obligatory ritual for the nights in Mina, though spending them in
prayer and worship is preferred.
Stoning the Pillars during the ‘Days of Drying the
The five schools agree that there is no obligatory
ritual apart from stoning the three pillars every day for these
three days (some of the details have been mentioned above, in the
section on lapidation). According to the Ja‘faris the time for
stoning on each of the three days extends from sunrise until
sunset, midday being preferable. The other schools contend that it
extends from midday till sunset, and if done earlier than midday
ought to be repeated. The Hanafis permit stoning before midday
only on the third day and stoning after sunset is permissible only
for those with a valid excuse.
All five schools are agreed about the
number of stones and the way of performing the ritual on the three
days. The pilgrim throws twenty-one stones each day, seven at
each of the three pillars. He begins at the first pillar, which
is the farthest from Makkah and the nearest to the mosque of al-Khayf;
it is preferable to say Allahu akbar with every pebble that
is thrown. After that, the pilgrim proceeds to the second pillar
and, facing in the direction of the Ka‘bah, praises God and
invokes blessings upon the Prophet, then, moving forward a little,
throws the pebbles. Finally, he moves on to the third pillar,
‘Aqabah, and performs the stoning as before. With this the ritual
of stoning for the day is complete.
All schools except the Hanafis agree on
the order of stoning the pillars, and that if one of them be
stoned out of turn, it is obligatory to repeat the ritual in the
correct order. The Hanafis say that the order is not binding.
The stoning may be performed on foot or from a mount, though the
former is better; and it is permissible for someone with an excuse
to have someone else perform it for him. Nothing is due from
anyone who omits the phrase Allahu akbar.
Delaying the Stoning
If the lapidation be delayed by a day,
intentionally or through ignorance or an oversight, or it is
delayed until the thirteenth and performed in a single day, the
pilgrim does not incur a penalty according to the Shafi‘is and
Malikis. The Hanafis maintain that if one, two or three stones
are delayed by a day, for every pebble delayed a poor man must be
fed. If four stones be delayed by a day, a sacrifice becomes
The Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi‘i and Hanbali
schools agree that if a person does not stone at all until the
eleventh,. twelfth, and thirteenth days of the month are past, he
is not obliged to perform the rite later, however, they disagree
about the recompense. According to the Malikis it is a sacrifice,
regardless of whether one or all of the stones are omitted.
According to the Hanafis, sacrifice is required for omitting all
the stones, and if fewer, one must feed a poor man for every
pebble omitted. The recompense according to the Shafi‘is is 800
grams of food for every pebble if two are omitted; for three, a
sacrifice becomes obligatory.
The Ja‘faris maintain that if a person
forgets to stone one or more pillars, the rite must be performed
during the days of the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth. If the
person has already reached Makkah, he is obliged to return to Mina
to perform the rite if the days of meat-drying are not past;
otherwise, he must perform the rite himself the following year, or
delegate someone else to perform it for him. In either case, no
recompense is due from him.
According to both the Ja‘faris and Malikis when the
rites of Mina have been completed, it is preferable for the
pilgrim to perform the Circumambulation of Farewell. Hanafis and
Hanbalis maintain that it is obligatory for non-residents of the
Sacred Precinct, and those who do not wish to stay on in Makkah
after returning from Mina. There is no circumambulation, nor any
recompense, for women who enter their menstrual cycle before
departure, even from the viewpoint of those who consider the
circumambulation obligatory. It is, however, preferable for them
to bid farewell to the Ka‘bah from the door nearest to it, without
entering the Mosque.