Hajj saudi arabia mecca
Pilgrims circle the Ka'aba and pray at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia for Haj. Image Credit: Reuters

Abu Dhabi: The Emirates Fatwa Council of the Ministry of Presidential Affairs (now renamed as Presidential Court) has launched a new guide for pilgrims titled Haj Fatwas.

The guide explains the most important fatwas for Haj and Umrah pilgrimage based on an innovative and simplified technique. The booklet includes 10 fatwa chapters that take into account the stages and sequence of Haj and its temporal and spatial arrangements.

It also explains all fatwas that Haj pilgrims may need in each step of their journey and provides short answers to these (questions) fatwas with drawings and contemporary mental maps that help pilgrims visualise the rituals of Haj and understand its most important tenets.

Speaking on the occasion, Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, chairman of Emirates Fatwa Council, said: “Haj is one of the five pillars of Islam and the fourth basic act of worship. Allah Almighty has promised a great reward for those who perform it perfectly. Emirates Fatwa Council is playing its full part and doing its best to enhance awareness of pilgrims about fatwas related to Hajj pilgrimage and offer more clarity on Hajj fatwas, thereby enabling pilgrims to perform their rituals easily and conveniently and in line with Islam teachings.”

The 39-page booklet was designed to unify and control the fatwas related to Haj rituals. It clarifies the most frequently-asked questions (on fatwas), in a practical manner.

Haj fatwas 02
Image Credit: Seyyed de la Llata, Senior Designer

The booklet includes ten chapters explaining the different stages of Haj:

• The first chapter talks about how to prepare yourself for Haj financially and morally.

• The second chapter talks about ‘ihram’ and its types. There are three types of Ihram:

Haj-ul-Ifrad: A pilgrim wears Ihram for Haj only. When they reach Makkah, they perform ‘Tawaf’ for their arrival and Sa’i for Haj. They don’t shave or clip their hair as they don’t disengage from ihram. Instead, they remain in the ihram till after they stone Jamrat Al-’Aqabah on the Eid day. It is permissible for them to postpone their Sa’i for Haj until after his tawaf for Hajj. But a lot of people prefer to perform it earlier for convenience and ease later on.

Haj-ul-Qiran: A pilgrim wears the ihram for both Umrah and Haj or wears the ihram first for Umrah, then makes intentions for Haj before the tawaf for Haj. The obligations on those performing Qiran are the same as on those performing Ifrad, except that it is compulsory for those performing Qiran to sacrifice an animal while those performing Ifrad are not obligated to do so.

Haj-ul-Tamattu: A pilgrim wears ihram for Umrah only during the months of Hajj, which means when they reach Makkah, they make Tawaf and Sa’i for ‘Umrah. They then shave or clip their hair. On the day of Tarwiyah, which is the eighth of Dhul-Hijjah, they put on the Ihram again, but this time for Haj only and carry out all of its requirements.

• The third chapter touches on some fatwas while entering Makkah and the Grand Mosque.

• The fourth chapter clarifies the rulings of Tawaf (circumambulation) and Sa’i and how to perform them. Tawaf means taking rounds or encircling the Holy Ka’abah seven times in an anti-clockwise direction as part of Umrah or Haj, starting from Hajr-al-Aswad (the black stone) while Sa’i is to run or walk between Safa and Marwa while performing Haj or Umrah. Performing Sa’ee is the fourth compulsory rite of Haj or Umrah. Muslims are obligated to perform Sa’ee after the completion of Tawaf and its prayers.

• The fifth chapter talks about ‘Tarwiyah’ or the day of fetching water, which is the eighth day of the Islamic month of Dhu Al-Hijjah and it marks the journey of Haj pilgrims from Makkah to Mina. It also explains the deeds that pilgrims have to do on this day.

• The sixth chapter touches on Arafa Day and highlights its importance and what pilgrims can do on this holy day.

• The seventh chapter clarifies the fatwas related to staying overnight in Muzdalifah and the rulings on performing the Maghrib and the shortened Isha prayers combined.

• The eighth chapter talks about the most important fatwas related to Yawm An Nahr (The Day of Sacrifice) or Eid Al Adha, which includes four specific rites i.e. stoning the major jamarat, shaving the head or shortening the hair for men and clipping a bit of the hair for women, offering the had’y or the sacrificial animal and performing Tawaf (circling seven times around the Ka’bah) and Sa’y (to run between the two hills of Safa and Marwa).

• The ninth chapter deals with the legal rulings on the days of Al Tashreeq (the three days that succeed the day of Eid Al Adha) and the ruling on throwing stones before the noon, and what are the acts that are prescribed for pilgrims on this day.

• The tenth chapter talks about Tawaf Al Wada, ‘The Farewell Tawaf’, and preparation for travel after completion of Hajj.

Digital copies of the booklet will be sent to all Emirati pilgrims.