In this article we shall try to understand the pillars and obligatory actions of Hajj. In the subsequent articles we shall go into details regarding the actions performed on each day In Sha Allah.
The essential parts of Hajj are four, the obligatory actions are seven and everything other than the essential parts and obligatory actions is Sunnah.
The obligatory actions of Hajj are seven:
As we will learn in detail later on, Hajj is of 3 types, Tamattu’, Qiraan and Ifraad. If the pilgrim is doing tamattu‘ (‘umrah followed by Hajj, exiting ihram in between) or qiraan (‘umrah followed by Hajj without exiting ihram in between), then he must offer a sacrifice (by slaughtering a sheep), because Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“whosoever performs the ‘Umrah in the months of Hajj, before (performing) the Hajj, (i.e. Hajj-at-Tamattu‘ and Al-Qiran), he must slaughter a Hady such as he can afford, but if he cannot afford it, he should observe Saum (fasts) three days during the Hajj and seven days after his return (to his home), making ten days in all. This is for him whose family is not present at Al-Masjid-al-Haram (i.e. non-resident of Makkah)” [al-Baqarah 2:196].
The rest of the actions and words of Hajj are Sunnah, such as tawaaf al-qudoom, staying overnight in Mina the night before ‘Arafah, idtibaa‘ [uncovering the right shoulder from the beginning of tawaaf until the end, by placing the middle of the rida’ (upper garment) beneath the right armpit and the ends of the rida’ over the left shoulder], walking at a rapid pace [when doing so is recommended], kissing the Black Stone, reciting the adhkaar and du‘aa’s, and climbing as-Safa and al-Marwah.
The difference between an essential part, an obligatory action and a Sunnah action is that Hajj is not valid without an essential part, whereas if an obligatory act is omitted, Hajj is still valid, but the one who omits it must offer a compensatory sacrifice (a sheep), according to the majority of scholars. As for Sunnah actions, the one who omits them does not have to do anything.
In the next articles In Sha Allah we will go in details of the steps of Hajj