At every step and every action, a pilgrim remembers God and makes supplication to Him. Therefore, mentioning God’s name is the ultimate goal of Hajj.

Muslims believe that Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) is one of the five pillars of Islam. Hajj has been made obligatory on those who are physically and financially able to perform it. Hajj commemorates the rituals done by Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) and his family.

Much ink has been used to write about Hajj and its benefits. In the following lines, I will reflect upon two important topics associated with Hajj, namely “dhikr” (remembrance of Allah) and “duaa’” (supplication).

Allah says in the Quran, what means:

{But it is no offence to seek some bounty from your Lord. When you surge down from Arafat remember God at the sacred place. Remember Him: He has guided you. Before that you were astray. Surge down where the rest of the people do, and ask forgiveness of God: He is most forgiving and merciful. When you have completed your rites, remember God as much as you remember your own fathers, or even more…} (Al-Baqarah 2:198-200)

In another verse we read what means:

{Remember God on the appointed days…} (Al-Baqarah 2:203)

When God ordered Prophet Ibrahim to proclaim Hajj to all people, He mentioned the reasons for this in the following words:

{… to attain benefits and mention God’s name, on specified days.} (Al-Hajj 22:28)

{We appointed acts of devotion for every community, for them to mention God’s name over the livestock He provided for them…} (Al-Hajj 22:34)

About animal sacrifice (Udhiyah), God says:

{… so invoke God’s name over them as they are lined up for sacrifice.} (Al-Hajj 22:36)

{… so that you may glorify God for having guided you.} (Al-Hajj 22:37)

In the above verses there is a clear command from God to those performing Hajj to mention His Name and to seek His forgiveness. At every step and every action, a pilgrim remembers God and makes supplication to Him. Therefore, mentioning God’s name is the ultimate goal of Hajj. This is supported by what Aishah, Prophet Muhammad’s wife, is reported to have said: “Indeed, “Tawaf” (circumambulation of the Kabah), “Sa’i” (walking between al-Safa and al-Marwa) and throwing pebbles were legislated only for the frequent mention of Allah’s Name.” (Al-Darimi, Abu Dawud, and Ahmad).

The details of the formula of “dhikr” and supplications are explained by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the following manner:

After the Ihram

When a pilgrim sets out for Hajj, he starts with wearing the ihram attire (special clothing for Hajj) and chants the “talbiyah” (the pilgrim’s invocation of glorifying God). Aishah reported: “I know how the Prophet used to say (Talbiyah) and it was: ‘Labbaika Allahumma Labbaik, Labbaika la sharika Laka labbaik, Inna-l-hamda wan-nimata Laka walmulk, La sharika Laka’.” What it means: Here I am, O Allah, here I am. Here I am, You have no partner, here I am. Verily all praise and blessings are Yours, and all sovereignty, You have no partner. (Al-Bukhari) A pilgrim is recommended to repeat the talbiyah from time to time until he casts the pebbles on the day ofEid.

During the Tawaf

When a pilgrim reaches the sacred Mosque and starts the “Tawaf”(circumambulation around the Kabah), he should say: “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is the Greatest).

Ibn Abbas reported that: “Allah’s Messenger performed the “Tawaf” around the Kabah while riding his camel and every time he reached the corner of the Black Stone he pointed at it with his hand and said: “Allahu Akbar.” (Al-Bukhari) Offering prayers and reading the Quran are also forms of remembering God. Abdullah ibnUmar reported: “When Allah’s Messenger performed “Tawaf “around the Kabah for Hajj or Umrah, he used to do ramal (jostling) during the first three rounds, and in the last four rounds he used to walk. After the Tawaf he used to offer two rakahs and then performed Sai between Safa and Marwa.” (Al-Bukhari)

In Ibn Hazm’s Hajjat al-Wada`: it is reported that when Prophet Muhammad did “Tawaf”, when walking between the Yemenite Corner and the Black Stone he used to say: {Our Lord, give us good in this world and in the Hereafter, and protect us from the torment of the Fire} (Al-Baqarah 2:201)

During the Sai

When a pilgrim goes out to walk between the two mountains of al-Safa and al-Marwah, he should recite the verse which reads: {Safa and Marwah are among the rites of God…} It is reported that: “When the Prophet went out of the gate to al-Safa and as he reached near it he recited: “Safa and Marwa are among the rites of God…” adding: “I begin with what Allah (has commanded me) to begin.”

He first mounted al-Safa till he saw the House, and facing the Qiblah he declared the Oneness of God and glorified Him, and said: “La ilaha illa allahu wahdahu la sharika lah, lahu al-mulku wa lahu al-hamdu wa huwaala kulli shai’in qadeer. La illah illa Allahu wahadahu, anjaza wadahu, wa nasaraabdahu, wa hazama al-ahzaba wahdahu”, “There is no god but Allah alone, there is no partner with Him. His is the Sovereignty. To Him praise is due. And He is Powerful over everything. There is no god but Allah alone, Who fulfilled His promise, helped His servant and routed the confederates alone.” (Muslim)

On the Day of Arafah

This is the best day of the year. On this day God saves from the Hellfire many people. The Prophet said: “There is no day in which Allah frees a greater number of His slaves from the Hellfire than the Day of Arafah.” (Muslim)

The Prophet also said: “The best supplication is that of the Day of Arafah, and the best thing that I and other Prophets before me said, is: La ilaha illa allahu wahdahu la sharika lah, lahu al-mulku wa lahu al-hamdu wa huwaala kulli shai’in qadeer (There is no god but Allah alone. He has no partners. To Him belong the sovereignty and all praise. He has power over all things.) (Al-Tirmidhi)

While Throwing the Pebbles

Ibn Umar used to throw al-Jamrah al-Dunya (the Jamrah near to the Khaif mosque) with seven small stones and used to recite Takbir (saying Allahu Akbar) on throwing every pebble. He then would go ahead till he reached the level ground where he would stand facing the Qiblah (Prayer direction) for a long time to invoke (Allah) raising his hands (while invoking). Then he would throw al-Jamrah al-Wusta (middle Jamrah) and then he would go to the left towards the middle ground, where he would stand facing the Qiblah. He would remain standing there for a long period to invoke (Allah) while raising his hands, and would stand there for a long duration. Then he would go to throw al-Jamrah al-Kubra from the middle of the valley, but he would not stay by it, and then he would leave and say, “I saw the Prophet doing like this.” (Al-Bukhari)

When Slaughtering the Sacrifice

Those who performed the “Tamattu”or “Qiran” Hajj or missed one of the Hajj rituals, they have to slaughter a sheep or a goat. It is also recommended to slaughter an animal by the one who performed Hajj without Umrah. While slaughtering, a pilgrim should say Bismillah, Allahu Akbar (in the name of Allah and Allah is the Greatest).

A pilgrim should keep himself busy all the time with saying the supplications that the Prophet is reported to have said at certain places and circumstances.

Apart from these reported supplications, the pilgrim should feel free to recite any supplication in any language, and be sure that God is always there to answer him. A pilgrim should repeat the supplication three times, reflect on the words he is saying, and be certain that God will answer his supplications, as He promised us so in the Quran:

{[Prophet], if My servants ask you about Me, I am near. I respond to those who call Me, so let them respond to Me, and believe in Me, so that they may be guided.} (Al-Baqarah 2:186)

Now, we have seen how the hajj rituals reflect the power of supplication and remembrance. There is no wonder then when we remember the benefits of Hajj from the following Hadiths:

“The reward for an accepted Hajj is nothing less than Paradise.” (Ibn Khuzaymah)

“Whoever performs Hajj for Allah’s pleasure and does not have sexual relations with his wife, and does not do evil or sins then he will return (after Hajj free from all sins) as if he were born anew.” (Al-Bukhari)

These are the benefits that God referred to in one of the verses mentioned above, in addition to other benefits related to worldly matters such as making new Muslim friends, connections, business deals, … etc.

By Mohsen Haredy