In Arabic the word ‘Umrah is derived from al-i’timar which means a visit. Here it means paying a visit to Ka’bah, performing lawaf around it, walking between Safa and Marwah seven times, and then shaving one’s head or cutting one’s hair short. There is consensus among scholars that it is a prescribed worship. Ibn ‘Abbas reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “An ‘Umrah in the month of Ramadan is equal (in reward) to performing a Hajj.” (This does not, however, remove from one the obligation of performing the obligatory Hajj) This was reported by Ahmad and Ibn Majah.
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “From one ‘Umrah to the next is an atonement for any sins committed in between, and the reward for an accepted Hajj is nothing but Paradise.” This was reported by Ahmad, Bukhari and Muslim.
Repeated Performance of ‘Umrah:
Nafi’ said, “During the rein of Ibn Az-Zubair, Abdullah bin ‘Umar performed an ‘Umrah twice a year.” Al-Qasim said, “Aishah performed three ‘Umrahs in one year.” Some people asked if any of the scholars criticised her for this. He replied, “May Allah be blessed! (Criticise) the Mother of Believers?!!” The majority of scholars supports this view. Malik, however, holds that the repetition of ‘Umrah more than once a year is disliked.
Umrah Before and During the Months of Hajj:
A person may perform ‘Umrah during the months of Hajj, without performing Hajj. ‘Umar performed ‘Umrah during the month of Shawwal and returned to Madinah without performing Hajj. One may, like ‘Umar, perform ‘Umrah even before Hajj.
Taw’us said, “In the Days of Ignorance the Arabs considered performing an ‘Umrah during the months of Hajj as one of the major sins. And they used to say, “When (the month of) Safar ends, and the camels are back, and wounds in their legs are healed, and when traces of footprints (of pilgrims) are effaced, then one wishing to perform ‘Umrah may do so.”
After the advent of Islam, the people were commanded to perform ‘Umrah even during the months of Hajj. Thus, the ‘Umrah was permitted during the months of Hajj till the Day of Judgement.
Umrahs Performed By the Prophet:
Ibn ‘Abbas reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) performed four ‘Umrahs in his lifetime: ‘Umrah of Hudaibiyah, one that he performed to make up for another missed ‘Umrah, a third that he performed going forth from Al-Ji’rannah, and the fourth he combined with his Hajj. This was reported by Ahmad, Abu Daw’ud and Ibn Majah, with a sound chain of authorities.
Its Legal Status:
According to the Hanafi school and Malik, ‘Umrah is a sunnah, as described in this hadith reported from Jabir who said, “The Prophet (peace be upon him) was once asked about ‘Umrah, and whether it was obligatory (wajib), to which he replied, ‘No, it is not, but it is better if you perform it.”‘ This was reported by Ahmad and Tirmidhi who consider this a sound hadith.
The Shafi’i school, and Ahmad hold it to be obligatory (fard) in the light of the words of Allah (Qur’an 2.196) “And complete the Hajj and ‘Umrah in the service of Allah.” In the above verse ‘Umrah is mentioned along with Hajj, which is obligatory, which means ‘Umrah must likewise be obligatory, even though the former is preferable.
The author of Fath ul ‘Alam says, “On this subject no decision can be made on the basis of ahadith.” Tirmidhi has reported that Ash-Shafi’i said, “There is no evidence concerning ‘Umrah; it is only a supererogatory act of worship.”
Time for ‘Umrah:
The majority of scholars is of the opinion that ‘Umrah may be performed any time during the year. Abu Hanifah, however, is of the opinion that it is disliked to perform ‘Umrah on five days: the Day of ‘Arafah, the Day of Nahr (the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah), and the three days of Tashriq (11th, 12th, and 13th of Dhul-Hijjah).
Abu Yusuf considers it disliked on the Day of ‘Arafah, and during the three following days. All of them, however, agree on the permissibility of performing ‘Umrah during the months of Hajj. Bukhari has reported from ‘Ikrimah bin Khalid that he said, “I asked Abdullah bin ‘Umar about performing ‘Umrah before Hajj, whereupon he said, ‘There is no harm in doing so, because the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself performed ‘Umrah before the Hajj.”‘
Jabir reported that ‘Aishah’s menstruation started while she was performing Hajj, but she performed all the rites of Hajj except tawaf around Ka’bah. When her period ended and she was clean, she performed the tawaf, and said, “O Prophet of Allah! Everyone has performed Hajj and ‘Umrah together, but I have performed Hajj only.” Thereupon the Prophet (peace be upon him) commanded her brother Abdur Rahman to accompany her to Tan’im (in order to perform ‘Umrah). So she performed ‘Umrah right after Hajj in the month of Dhul-Hijjah. The best time to perform ‘Umrah is during the month of Ramadan.
Miqat for ‘Umrah:
In case a person intending to perform ‘Umrah is outside the miqat fixed for Hajj, it is not permitted for him to cross these miqats (places fixed for ihram) without declaring ihram.
Bukhari has reported that Zaid bin Jubair came to Ibn ‘Umar and asked him, “Wherefrom should I declare my intention to perform ‘Umrah?” He replied, “The Prophet (peace be upon him) has set Qarna as the miqat for the people of Najd (from where they must declare their ihram), and similarly for the people of Madinah he set Dhul Hulaifah, and for the people of Syria AlJohfah as their miqats.”
One who is already well within the confines of the miqat area–even if one is within the Sacred Precincts of Haram itself–must go out to the miqat and declare ihram from there, as is obvious from the above hadith of Bukhari which says that ‘Aishah was commanded by the Prophet (peace be upon him) to go to Tan’im (the miqat) and put on her ihram for ‘Umrah from there.
This is called the Farewell Tawaf because by this a pilgrim bids farewell to Ka’bah, the House of Allah. It is also known as Tawaf As-Sadr (Tawaf Before Departing) because it marks the departing of pilgrims from Makkah. In this there is no jogging (ramal), and it is the last rite performed by a nonresident pilgrim in Makkah before leaving for his home. Malik has reported in Al-Muwatta that ‘Umar said, “The last rite of Hajj is tawaf around the Ka’bah.”
As for residents of Makkah, and the menstruating women (pilgrims), they are not obligated to perform it, nor to pay any atonement for missing it. Both Bukhari and Muslim reported from Ibn ‘Abbas that he said, “A menstruating woman (pilgrim) is permitted to depart (without performing the Farewell Tawaf).” According to another report, he said: “People were ordered to make the tawafof the Ka’bah their last rite; the menstruating women were, however, excused from it.”
It is also reported by Muslim and Bukhari that Safiyah, the wife of the Prophet (peace be upon him) had her monthly period during Hajj. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) was informed about this, he said, “Is she going to hold us here (till she performs her rites of Hajj)?” He was told that she had already performed all her Hajj rites except the Farewell Tawaf. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “There is no harm then, (let us go).”
Legal Status of Farewell Tawaf:
There is agreement among the Muslim scholars that the Farewell Tawaf is prescribed by law. Both Muslim and Abu Daw’ud reported from Ibn ‘Abbas that he said, “The people (pilgrims) used to leave Makkah in every other direction (and haphazardly). Thereupon the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Let none of you leave Makkah betore making a Tawaf around the Ka’bah, as the last of Hajj rites.” There is disagreement, however, about its legal position. Malik, Dawu’d, and Ibn Al-Mundhir say it is sunnah and by leaving it one does not incur any penalty. Ash-Shafi’i is also of this view. The Hanafi and Hanbali schools, and, according to one report, Ash-Shafi’i, hold that it is obligatory, and a pilgrim who misses it must slaughter an animal to atone for it.
Time for Farewell Tawaf:
One should perform this rite after finishing all other rites and just before leaving Makkah so that it is the last rite one performs as a pilgrim, as mentioned in the hadith given above.
After the completion of the Farewell Tawafa pilgrim must leave Makkah, without engaging in any selling or buying or staying on for long thereafter. A person engaging in any of these must repeat his Tawaf before leaving Makkah. One may, however, stop for a while in order to purchase necessary provisions. When departing, it is recommended that one should supplicate to Allah in these words as transmitted by Ibn ‘Abbas: Allahumma inni ‘ahduka wa ibnu ‘abdika wa ihnu ‘amatika. Hamalatni ‘ala ma sakhartali min khalqika wa satartanifi hiladika hatta ballaghtani-bini’matika-ilabaitika, waa’antani ‘ala ada-i nusuki, fa-in kunta radita ‘anni faz-dud ‘anni ridan, wa illa fa-minal aana farda ‘ani qabla an tan’a ‘an baitika dari. Fa hadha awanu insirafi in azintali ghaira mustabdilin bika wa la bi-baitika, wa la raghibun ‘anka wa la ‘an baitika. Allahummafa-as-hebnil al ‘afiyatafi badani wa sihatafi jismi wal ‘ismata fi dini, wa ahsen munqalabi, warzuqni ta’ataka ma abqaitani, wajma’ 1i balna khairai-dunyia wal akhirata, innaka ‘ala kuli shai’in qadeer. “O Allah! I am your slave, son of your slave, son of your maid slave. You enabled me to mount what You subjected to my service of Your creation. You protected me in this land of Yours, until You, by Your grace, brought me to Your House. You helped me perform rites of Hajj. O Allah! If You are pleased with me, increase Your pleasure with me. Otherwise, grant me Your pleasure before I depart from Your House. O Allah, now is the time for me to depart, by Your leave, without changing (my attitude) toward You and Your House, nor turning away from You or Your House. O Allah, grant me health in my body, purity in my religion, bless my return, and help me to obey You until You cause me to live, and combine for me the good of this world and the world to come. You have power over all things.”
Ash-Shafi’i said, “I like that when leaving the House of Allah, a pilgrim should stand by Al-Multazim, and then make the supplication mentioned in the above hadith.”
On Performing Hajj and ‘Umrah: A Brief Summary:
On approaching the miqat (the place fixed for taking on ihram), a pilgrim should trim his moustache, cut short his hair, clip his finger nails, and take a bath or make ablution, wear some perfume, and then don the ihram. He should offer a two rak’ah prayer, and then declare his or her intention to perform Hajj, or Hajj and ‘Umrah, or ‘Umrah only, as the case may be.
Wearing ihram and declaring intention for Hajj or ‘Umrah is an essential part of both, and neither will be correct without these.
Specifying the kind of Hajj, whether it is if rad (Hajj only), tamattu ‘ (Hajj and ‘Umrah combined with a break in between), or qiran (Hajj and ‘Umrah without a break), is not essential. If someone makes an intention of performing Hajj without specifying the kind, his ihram will still be valid, and he may perform any of the three kinds of Hajj.
As soon as he enters the state of ihram a pilgrim must utter talbiyah loudly, whenever he climbs a hill or goes down a valley, meets a group or a person, early in the morning, and after every prescribed prayer. When in a state of ihram, a person must avoid sexual intercourse and all things that lead to it; he must avoid wrangling and useless bickering, nor must he marry or join others in marriage. A muhrim must not wear any sewn clothes or shoes that cover his feet above his ankles. He must not cover his head, nor use any perfume, nor cut his hair or nails, nor engage in hunting any game, nor cut trees or grass within the Sacred Precincts of Haram.
When entering Makkah it is desirable that a pilgrim enter from its high iide. if possible. atter taking a bath at the Dhi Tawa well in Zahir. Then he should go to the Ka bah and enter the Sacred Mosque from the gate called Bab As-Salam, while uttering supplications of entry into the mosques and observing otheretiquette of entry with humility, fear, and talbiyah on his tongue.
On seeing the Ka’bah, he should raise his hands and supplicate to Allah for His bounties. Then he should directly proceed to the Black Stone, kiss it quietly or touch it with his hand and kiss the hand. If this is not possible and one cannot reach the Black Stone, one may just point toward it from a distance. After this one should begin his tawaf around the Ka’bah supplicating in words transmitted from the Prophet (peace be upon him).
In the first three rounds it is liked that the (male) pilgrim uncover his right shoulder and jog at a slow pace. In the remaining rounds he may walk at a normal pace. It is sunnah to touch in every round the Yemeni Corner and to kiss the Black Stone. Atter completing (seven rounds of) the tawafthe pilgrim should go to the Station of Ibrahim in compliance with the command of Allah “And take the Station of Ibrahim as a place of prayer.” (Qur’an 2.125) There he should pray two rak’ahs of tawaf.
Now he should go to the well of Zamzam and drink of its water as much as possible. Thereafter the pilgrim goes to Al-Multazim and stands there and supplicates for himself to Allah for whatever good he may wish for in this world and the hereafter. After this he should (if possible) go to the Black Stone, and kiss it.
Then he should approach the (hill of) Safa through the As-Safa gate to begin his Sa’i in compliance with Allah’s words “Behold! Safa and Marwah are among the symbols of Allah. So if those who visit the House in the season or at other times. should compass them, it is no sin.” (Qur’an 2.158) He should climb the Safa, look towards Ka’bah. and then make supplication to Allah, using one transmitted from the Prophet (peace be upon him). After this he should climb down and start walking toward the (hill of) Al-Marwah as a start of his seven round walk between the two hills, while remembering Allah and supplicating to Him.
On approaching one of the two green markers, he should jog to the second green marker. And after that he should resume his normal walking speed toward Al-Marwah. Upon reaching Al-Marwah he should climb it, turn toward Ka’bah, and make supplications and glorify Allah. This will complete his one round. Then he should make the remaining six rounds in like manner, completing all seven rounds. This Sa’i is an essential (wajib) ritual of Hajj, and any pilgrim failing to perform it or a part of it must slaughter an animal to atone for this omission. Finally, if he is performing a Hajj Tamattu’ (Hajj with an ‘Umrah with a break between the two), he should either shave olf his head or trim his hair short. This would release him of all the restrictions of the state of ihram, and all things that were prohibited to him in that state become permissible for him, including sexual intercourse with his wife.
Those who intend to perform a Hajj Ifrad (Hajj only) or Hajj Qiran (Hajj and ‘Umrah together without a break) they must continue in the state of ihram. On the 8th of Dhul-Hijjah those intending to perform Hajj Tamattu’ will once more resume ihram from their residences and proceed to Mina, along with those who had continued in a state of ihram, and spend the night there.
At sunrise of the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah the pilgrims leave for Arafah, and (if possible) stay by the Mosque of Namira. There they take a bath and offer Zuhr and ‘Asr prayers, making Qasr (shortening the prayers) and combining them at the earliest time behind an imam. If this is not possible then one may pray alone, as best as one can, combining and shortening the two prayers.
Pilgrims’ stay at Arafah begins only atter the sun has passed its zenith. During this time one should stand by the rocks (of Arafah) or as close as possible, because this is where the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to take his stand. Staying at Arafah is the principal rite of Hajj, but climbing the Mount of Mercy is neither a sunnah nor should it be attempted.
During this stay one should face the direction of Qiblah, glorify Allah and remember Him, and supplicate to Him as much as possible until nightfall.
After nightfall the pilgrims must leave for Muzdalifah, and reaching there, offer Maghrib and ‘Isha prayers, combining them and offering them toward the the end of the usual time, and then spend the night there. At dawn the pilgrims stand by Al-Mash’ar al Haram (the Sacred Monument), and remember and glorify Allah until it is broad daylight. Thereafter they should return to Mina after picking up their pebbles from Muzdalifah.
Standing by the Sacred Monument is essential (wajib), and anyone failing to do so is required to offer a sacrifice in atonement.
After the sunrise, a pilgrim must throw seven pebbles at Jamarah Al-Aqabah. Then he should slaughter his sacrificial animal, if possible, shave off or cut his hair short. This will release him frolll the restrictions of ihram. and he may engage in any normal activity except sexual intercourse with his wite. He must then return to Makkah to perform Tawaf Al-Itadah an essential part of Hajj, and also known as Tawaf Az-Ziyarah. He should perform it in the same manner as he had earlier performed Tawaf Al-Qudum. If the pilgrim is performing Hajj Tamattu’, he must perform a Sa’i after this Tawaf Al-Ifadah. For a pilgrim performing Hajj Qiran or Ifrad, this second Sa’i is not essential, if on arriving in Makkah he had performed a Tawaf Al-Qudum.
After this tawaf – Tawaf-Al-Ifadah – a pilgrim may engage in all normal lawful activities including sexual intercourse with his wife.
The pilgrim must now return to Mina and stay overnight there. This overnight stay at Mina is essential and for abandoning it one must atone by offering a sacrifice. After midday on the 11th of Dhul-Hijjah, the pilgrim must throw pebbles at the three Jamarahs, starting with the one nearest to Mina, then the middle one, and stand for a while invoking and supplicating to Allah. Then he should go to the last Jamarah, throw pebbles at it, and leave without stopping there. A pilgrim should finish throwing pebbles at the three Jamarahs well before the sunset. On the 12th of Dhul-Hijjah he should repeat the rites of the previous day.
Having thrown the pebbles a pilgrim is free either to return to Makkah before the sunset of the 12th of Dhul-Hijjah, or spend the 13th of Dhul-Hijjah as well in Mina, and throw pebbles at the Jamarahs. Throwing pebbles is an essential rite of Hajj and for failing to do so one must offer a sacrifice. After returning to Makkah if the pilgrim desires to return to his home country he must perform TawafAI-Wida’ or Farewell Tawaf, which is also an essential rite of Hajj. In case he is unable to perform it, and if he has not crossed the miqat, he should return to Makkah and perform it, or else sacrifice a sheep. In short, the essential rites of Hajj and ‘Umrah are: declaring ihram from miqat, tawaf, Sa’i, halq (shaving one’ s hair) or qasr (or cutting one’ s hair short). With these the rituals of ‘Umrah are completed. In the case of Hajj one has to perform certain additional rites. The essential rites of Hajj are spending a Day at Arafah, throwing pebbles at Jamarahs, Tawaf Al-lfadah, staying in Mina, slaughtering an animal, shaving or cutting one’s hair short. This is a brief summary of all the rites of Hajj and ‘Umrah.
Going Back Home After the Hajj:
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet said. “Traveling is but a sort of torture. One is prevented from (properly) eating and drinking. So when one of you (travels and) accomplishes his work, he must hasten back to his family.” This is reported by Bukhari and Muslim. ‘Aishah reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “When one of you has performed Hajj, he should hasten back to his family, for that will increase his reward.” This was reported by Ad-Daraqutni.
Muslim has reported from Al-‘Ala bin Al-Hadrami that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “A pilgrim from abroad may stay for three (days) after completing his Hajj.”
Al-Ihsar (Or Blockading):
Al-lhsar (as used in the Qur’an) means blocking the path to the House of Allah. Allah says, “And complete the Hajj or ‘Umrah in the service of Allah. But if you are prevented (from completing it) send an offering for sacrifice.” (Qur’an 2.196)
This verse was revealed at the time of Hudaibiah when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was prevented from visiting the Sacred Mosque. By implication it means being prevented from making tawaf in the case of ‘Umrah, or spending the Day at Arafah and making Tawaf Al-lfadah in the case of Hajj. There is disagreement among the scholars, however, on what constitutes a state of prevention or blockading. Malik and Shafi’i hold that such a state refers to a blockade by an enemy, for the verse was revealed about the Prophet (peace be upon him) who was blocked from performing an ‘Umrah. Ibn ‘Abbas also holds a similar view.
Most scholars including the Hanafites and Ahmad, however, are of the opinion that a person is deemed blocked when he is prevented from approaching the House of Allah, by reason of an enemy force (A force of disbelievers or a rebel group) or a sickness which could worsen by motion or travel, a state of fear (and insecurity), loss of provisions, or in the case of a woman, the death of her mahram accompanying her, or any other similar cause. Ibn Mas’ud even gave a verdict that a man bitten by a snake is also considered among the prevented ones.
These scholars base their argument on the fact that the words “But if you are prevented” used in the above Qur’anic verse about the Prophet (peace be upon him) are general and are not limited to any specific cause of prevention. This is the strongest view on this subject.
Prevented Person to Slaughter a Sheep or a Bigger Animal:
The verse is quite clear in that a prevented person may slaughter any animal he is able to afford. Ibn ‘Abbas reported that when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was prevented from performing ‘Umrah (by the Quraish) he shaved his head, consorted with his wives, and slaughtered his animal. The next year he performed an ‘Umrah to make up for the year that he had missed. This was reported by Bukhari. The majority of scholars in light of this hadith hold the view that a prevented person must slaughter a sheep, a cow or a camel. Malik, however, differs with this opinion and says slaughtering an animal is not essential.
The author of Fath ul ‘Alam remarks, “Malik is right in his opinion, because all the Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) who were prevented with him (at Hudaibiyah) did not have animals with them to slaughter after they were unable to perform ‘Umrah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) slaughtered his animal which he had brought along with him from Madinah.” There is no implication of any obligation in the verse. Rather, it is the Prophet (peace be upon him) who is referred to in the Qur’anic verse (48.25): “They are the ones who denied revelation and hindered you from the Sacred Mosque and sacrificial animals.”
Place for Slaughtering the Prevented Animals:
The author of Fath ul ‘Alam says: ‘ The scholars disagree concerning the place of slaughter on the Day of Hudaibiah whether it was within or outside the Sacred Precincts of Haram. Apparently the words of Allah “and they hindered you from the Sacred Mosque and sacrificial animals” suggest that the animals were slaughtered outside the Sacred Precincts of Haram. There are various views concerning this. One view – the majority view – is that a prevented person may slaughter his sacrificial animal within or outside the Sacred Precincts of Haram. Another view, the view of the Hanafi School is that he must slaughter it within the Sacred Precincts of Haram. A third view, the view of Ibn ‘Abbas and a group of scholars, is that if a prevented person is in a position to send his sacrificial animal to the Precincts of Haram he must slaughter it there, and only then terminate his ihram. If this is not possible then he may slaughter it at the place where he is prevented.
A Prevented Person Not Required to Repeat His Hajj Except the Obligatory Hajj:
Commenting on the Qur’anic verse “But if you are prevented (from completing it) send an offering for sacrifice,” Ibn ‘Abbas said, “If one intended to perform either Hajj or ‘Umrah, but was prevented from approaching the House of Allah, then he must slaughter whatever animal he can afford, a sheep or a larger animal.”
If a person intended to perform the obligatory Hajj (and he was prevented), he must make it up later, but if he was intending a supererogatory Hajj, he does not have to make up for it. Malik said that he was told that the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his Companions came to Hudaibiah, and there they slaughtered their animals, shaved their heads, terminated their ihram, and resumed their normal course of life, without having first made Tawaf of Ka’bah or without the sacrificial animals reaching the Ka’bah.
Likewise there is no record, according to Bukhari, that the Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered his Companions to make up for their (missed) ‘Umrah or return to the Sacred Mosque to repeat it, although Hudaibiah is outside the Sacred Precincts of Haram. Ash-Shafi’i holds that a prevented person may slaughter his sacrificial animal at the place he is stopped and terminate his ihram and resume his norrnal life. He is not required to make up for what he missed, because Allah has not mentioned any such thing.
Ash-Shafi’i adds, “For we know from the recorded reports that some of the people who were with the Prophet (peace be upon him) at the time of Hudaibiah did not return the next year to make up for their missed ‘Umrah. They were not forced to stay back for any excuse, sickness or worldly business. If making up for the ‘Umrah were essential the Prophet (peace be upon him) would have certainly commanded them to join him and not to stay back.”
Continuing, he further says, “This ‘Umrah was called the “‘Umrah tul Qada (or ‘Umrah performed in order to make up for the missed ‘Umrah)” because of the the dispute between the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Quraish, and not because it was essential (wajib) and had to be made up later by another ‘Umrah.”
A Muhrim Terminating Ihram Because of Illness or Some Other Reason:
Many scholars hold it to be permissible for one to set a condition when entering the state of ihram that one will be relieved of it if one fell ill. Muslim has reported from Ibn ‘Abbas that the Prophet (peace be upon him) told Daba’ah, “Perform Hajj but set a condition that you shall be relieved of the ihram whenever you are prevented (due to illness, etc.,).”
ln such a case if a pilgrim is prevented from performing Hajj or ‘Umrah for any reason, illness or something else, he may terminate his state of ihram and not be required to slaughter any animal, or fast in atonement.
Covering of the Ka’bah:
In the pre-lslamic period the Arabs used to cover the Ka’bah with a cloth covering. When Islam prevailed it retained this tradition. Al-Waqidi has stated that Isma’il bin Ibrahim bin Abu Habibah reported from his father that in the Days of Ignorance the Ka’bah was covered with rugs made of red skin. Later on the Prophet (peace be upon him) covered it with Yemeni cloth, while ‘Umar and ‘Uthman covered it with an Egyptian white cloth, Qabati. Hajjaj covered it with silk brocade. The first one to cover it was a man from Tubba’ of Yemen called As’ad al-Himairi.
Ibn ‘Umar used to choose the best and most expensive Qabati, Egyptian cloth, and send it as covering for the Ka’bah. This is reported by Malik. Al-Waqidi has also reported from Ishaq bin Abu Abd bin Abu Ja’far Mohammad bin Ali that he said, “The people used to send cloth coverings for the Ka’bah, and likewise they sent to it sacrificial camels loaded with Yemeni cloth.”
Yazid bin Mu’awiyah covered it in silk brocade, and so did Ibn Az-Zubair afterwards. He used to delegate Mus’ab bin Az-Zubair to send a covering for the Ka’bah which was changed on ‘Ashura (the 10th of Muharram). Sa’id bin Mansur has reported that “Umar bin Al-Khattab used to take down the old cover of Ka’bah, every year, cut it into pieces, and distribute them among the pilgrims who used them as shelter from the heat of Makkah.
Perfuming the Ka’bah:
Aishah said, “Perfume the Ka’bah, because this is a part of purifying it.” Ibn Az-Zubair used to perfume the entire interior of the Ka’bah. He used to burn one pound of incense in the Ka’bah daily, but on Friday, he burnt two pounds of incense.
Prohibition of Profane Acts in Haram:
Allah says in the Qur’an (22.25): “And any whose purpose therein is profanity or wrongdoing, them will We cause to taste of a most grievous penalty.” Abu Daw’ud reported from Musa bin Badhan that he said, “I went to Ya’la bin Amayyah, who said, ‘the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Hoarding food in the Sacred Mosque is committing an act of profanity.” Bukhari in his At-Tarikh Al-Kabir reported from ‘Umar that he said, “Hoarding food is a profane act.”
Ahmad reported that Ibn ‘Umar came to Ibn Az-Zubair who was sitting in Al-Hijr (The area attached to Ka’bah and also called Hijr Isma’il) and said, “O Ibn Az-Zubair! Be mindful of acts of profanity while in the Haram of Allah! I bear witness that I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), saying, ‘A man of Quraish shall violate its sanctity.”‘ The words of another report are “a man from the Quraish will commit acts of profanity in it. His sins will be equivalent to the sins of humans and Jinns combined, if weighed against them. Be mindful that you are not that man.”
Mujahid said that good deeds multiply (many fold) in Makkah as do the sins. Ahmad was once asked, “Are the sins recorded more than once?” He replied, “No, except in Makkah because of the sanctity of that city.”
Invasion of Ka’bah:
Bukhari and Muslim reported from ‘Aishah that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “An army will attack the Ka’bah. When they reach a desert they will all be caused to be swallowed up by the earth, to the last man.” ‘Aishah asked, “O Messenger of Allah, how is that, because among them there may be some pious and good people and others who are not with them?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said. “They will all be swallowed up by the earth, but then they will be restored to life (on the Judgment Day) according to their intentions.”
Traveling to Three Mosques:
Sa’id bin Al-Musayyib reported from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “You should not undertake a special journey to visit any place other than the three Mosques: the Sacred Mosque of Makkah, this mosque of mine, and Al-Aqsa Mosque (of Jerusalem).” This is reported by Bukhari, Muslim, and Abu Daw’ud. In another natration the words are “For three mosques a special journey may be undertaken: The Sacred Mosque (Ka’bah), my mosque, and the mosque of Al-Quds (Jerusalem).”
Abu Dharr reported that he asked the Prophet (peace be upon him), “O Prophet of Allah, which mosque was built first on earth?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied, “The Sacred Mosque of Makkah.” Abu Dharr again asked, “Which was next?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The Al-Aqsa Mosque.” “How long was the period between them?” Abu Dharr asked. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Forty years. Apart from these, offer your prayers anywhere when it is time to pray, although excellence is in praying in these mosques.”
Traveling to these three mosques is prescribed because of their special position in Islam. Jabir reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “One prayer in this mosque of mine is better than 1,000 prayers offered anywhere else except the Sacred Mosque, and one prayer in the Sacred Mosque is better than a hundred thousand prayers in any other mosque.” This was reported by Ahmad with a sound chain of authorities.
Anas bin Malik reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever prays forty prayers consecutively in my mosque without missing any of the obligatory prayer, he will be removed from Hell, from punishment, and from hypocrisy.” This was reported by Ahmad and At-Tabarani with a sound chain. We read in various ahadith that a prayer offered in the AlAqsa mosque is five hundred times superior (in reward) to one offered in any other mosque, except the Sacred Mosque and the Mosque of the Prophet (in Madinah).
Etiquette of Visiting the Prophet’s Mosque and Grave:
1. It is recommended that one should approach the Prophet’s Mosque calmly and with composure. One should wear perfume, put on a nice clean dress and enter the mosque with the right foot, and say, A’udhu billahil ‘azeem wa bi-wajhihil kareem wa sultanihil qadeem minashaitanir rajeem. Bismillah, Allahumma salli ‘ala Muhammadin wa aalihi wa sallam, Allahummaghfir li zunubi waftah li abwaba rahmatika. “I seek refuge with Allah the Supreme with His Noble Face and with His Eternal Dominion from the accursed devil. In the Name of Allah O Allah! Bless Mohammad his family and his followers. O Allah! Forgive my sins and open doors of Your mercy for me.”
2. It is also recommended to go first to the raudah (According to a hadith raudah (literally, a garden) is the space in the Prophet’s mosque between his grave and his pulpit. As is stated in the hadith below. The Prophet (peace be upon him) died in his house, and that is where he was buried) and offer there two rak’ahs as greetings to the Mosque with calm and humility.
3. After this one should head toward the grave of the Prophet (peace be upon him) face it, and with the back to the Qiblah, give greetings of peace to the Prophet (peace be upon him), saying: Assalamu ‘alaika ya rasulallah. Assalamu ‘alaika ya nabiyallah. Assalamu ‘alaika ya khiyrata khalqillah min khalqihi. Assalamu ‘alaika ya khaira khalqillah. Assalamu ‘alaika ya habiballah. Assalamu ‘alaika ya sayyidil mursaleen. Assalamu ‘alaika ya rasullallah rabal ‘alameen. Assalamu ‘alaika ya qa ‘idal ghirril muhajjaleen. Ash-hadu alla-ilaha illallah, wa ash-hadu annaka ‘abduhu wa rasuluhu wa ameen uhu wa khiyratuhu min khcllyihi, wa ash-hadu annaka qad ballaghtar rasalata wa addaital amanata wa nasahtal ummata wa jahdta fillahi haqa jihadihi. “Peace be on you, O the Messenger of Allah. Peace be on you, O, the Prophet of Allah. Peace be on you, O, the chosen one of Allah’s creation. Peace be on you, O, the beloved one of Allah. Peace be on you, O, the Chief of the Messengers of (Allah). Peace be on you, O, the Messenger of the Lord of the universe. Peace be on you, O, the Chief of the unique generation. I bear witness that there is no God but Allah, and I bear witness that you are His slave, messenger, trustee, and the chosen one of His creation. I bear witness that you indeed delivered the message (of Allah). discharged your trust, counseled the Muslim community, and strove hard tor the cause of Allah.”
4. Now moving about a yard to the right, the visitor should offer his greetings to Abu Baker As-Siddiq, and then moving further another yard in the same direction, offer greetings to ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab.
5. Then facing the direction of Qiblah the visitor should supplicate for himself, his family, friends, relatives, and the rest of the Muslims, and then leave.
6. A visitor should not raise his voice more than needed to hear himself. The people in charge should prevent others from raising their voices gently and politely.
It is reported that ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab saw two men raising their voices in the Mosque of the Prophet (peace be upon him). At this he told them, “Had I known that you are from this city, I would have punished you.”
7. Avoid wiping hands on the chamber (i.e., the grave of the Prophet), or kissing it. The Prophet (peace be upon him) has forbidden all such things.
Abu Daw’ud reported from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Do not turn your houses into graves, nor make my grave a place of festivity. Send your greetings upon me, for your greetings are conveyed to me wherever you are.” Abdullah bin Hasan saw a man frequenting the grave of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and making supplications there. Thereupon he told him, O, so and so, the Prophet (peace be upon him) has said, ‘Do not make my grave a place of festivity. but send your greetings upon me from wherever you happen to be, for your greetings are conveyed to me.’ (In this respect) there is no difference between you and a man from (a distant country like) Andalusia.”
Excellence of Prayers in Raudah:
Bukhari reported from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The space between my house and my pulpit is (raudah) one of the gardens of Paradise, and my pulpit is at my Fountain.”
Offering Prayers in the Mosque of Quba:
The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to go there, riding or on foot, every Saturday and offer a two rak’ah prayer. He advised others to do the same, saying, “Whoever makes ablutions at home and then goes and prays in the Mosque of Quba, he will have a reward like that of an ‘Umrah.” This was reported by Ahmad, Nasa’i, Ibn Majah, and Al-Hakim, who says it has a sound chain of narration.
Excellence of Madinah:
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Verily, belief returns and comes back to Madinah as a snake returns and comes back to its hole (when in danger).” At-Tabarani has reported from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Madinah is the dome of Islam, the abode of faith, the land of migration, and the dwelling place of what is lawful and unlawful.”
‘Umar reported that when things became very dear in Madinah and the people suffered hardship, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said (to the people), “Be patient (and of good cheer) and receive the happy news. I have blessed your measures, your Sa’ and Mudd. So eat in groups together. One person’s food shall be sufficient for two; two people’ s for five; and food for four people shall be sufficient for five and six people. The blessings are upon the community. He who perseveres and is patient in its (i.e., of Madinah) times of hardship and difficulty, I shall be an intercessor and a witness for him on the Day of Judgement. And he who leaves it (i.e., Madinah) disliking what is therein (of hardships), Allah will replace him with someone better than him. Whoever intends evil against it, Allah will cause him to be dissolved (destroyed) like the salt is dissolved in water.” This was reported by Bazzar with a sound chain of narration.
Excellence of Death in Madinah:
At-Tabarani has reported with a sound chain of narration from a woman of Thaqif that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “He amongst you who is able to stay until death in Madinah must do so, as I shall be a witness or an intercessor for him on the Day of Judgement.”
That is why ‘Umar prayed to Allah to cause him to die in Madinah. Bukhari reported from Zaid bin Aslam, and he from his father that ‘Umar said, “O Allah! Grant me martyrdom in Your cause, and cause me to die in the sanctuary of Your Prophet (peace be upon him).”