A Definition of Hajj
Hajj means annual pilgrimage which is travelling for the purpose of visiting the Ka'bah, the sacred House of Allaah which is in Saudi Arabia, to perform the rites (manaasik مناسك). The Manasik that have to be performed are the actions and words reported in accounts of the Prophet s Hajj, such as Tawaaf or walking around the Ka'bah seven times, al-Saa ee or running between the hills of Safaa and Marwa seven times, standing at Arafaah, stoning the Jamaraat (stone pillars representing the Shaytaan) at Mina, etc.
The Hajj is currently considered as the largest annual pilgrimage in the world. Muslims gather in the season of Hajj from all over the world to perform Hajj where all of them wear the same cloth, the same color (only men not women), there is no difference between a king, a manager, or a simple cleaner. They all wear the same thing and stay at the same place as a sign of unity of Islam which doesn't distinguish between a black and white, a rich and poor, or an Arab or no-Arab.
Macca when its overwhelmed by pilgrims
The Benefits of Hajj
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “That they may witness things that are of benefit to them” [al-Hajj 22:28]
The benefits are both worldly and religious (spiritual). With regard to the religious benefits, the one who goes for hajj and it is accepted, earns the pleasure of his Lord, and comes back with all his sins forgiven. He also earns the immense reward which he cannot earn anywhere else than in these places. One prayer in al-Masjid al-Haraam, for example, is equal to a hundred thousand prayers elsewhere, and Tawaaf and Saa’ee cannot be done anywhere except in these places . You can read more about the virtues of Hajj here.
Other benefits include meeting other Muslims and discussing their circumstances, and meeting scholars, learning from them and asking them about one’s problems. Worldly benefits include trade and business, and some other kinds of earnings that have to do with Hajj . You can read more about the wisdom behind Hajj here.
Much of the history of the actions of Hajj before the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is not known to us. In this case it does not matter if we do not know. And there are some things concerning whose history a few indications are narrated in some texts; we will mention some of these here:
1 – When was Hajj enjoined? When did Hajj begin?
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And proclaim to mankind the Hajj (pilgrimage). They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, they will come from every deep and distant (wide) mountain highway (to perform Hajj)” [al-Hajj 22:27]
Ibn Katheer says in his commentary on this verse (3/221):
This means: Proclaim (O Ibraaheem) the Hajj to the people, calling them to come on pilgrimage to this House which We have commanded you to build. It was mentioned that he said, “O Lord, how can I proclaim it to the people when my voice does not reach them?” He said, “Call and We will convey it.” So he stood in his maqaam (station) – or it was said, on the rock, or on al-Safa, or on Abu Qubays (a mountain) – and said: “O people, your Lord has taken a House, so come to it on pilgrimage.” And it was said that the mountains lowered themselves so that his voice could reach all parts of the earth and those who were still in the wombs or in men’s loins also heard, and everything that heard him, cities, nomad encampments and trees, and everyone whom Allaah has decreed should perform Hajj until the Day of Resurrection responded, (saying) Labbayk Allaahumma labbayk (Here I am, O Allaah, here I am. This is the summary of what was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas, Mujaahid, ‘Ikrimah, Sa’eed ibn Jubayr and others among the salaf. And Allaah knows best.
Ibn al-Jawzi, in his book Mutheer al-‘Azm al-Saakin (1/354) narrated something similar, but more briefly, and he attributed it to the narrators of Seerah.
This has to do with the history of the enjoining of Hajj before the sending of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). With regard to the enjoining of Hajj in Islam, there is some scholarly difference of opinion concerning that. It was said that it was enjoined in 6 AH, or in 7 AH, or in 9 AH, or in 10 AH. Imam Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) was certain that it was enjoined in 9 or 10 AH. He (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in Zaad al-Ma’aad:
“There is no dispute that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not perform Hajj after he migrated to Madeenah apart from one Hajj, which was the Farewell Pilgrimage. And there is no dispute that that occurred in 10 AH… When the command to perform Hajj was revealed, the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) hastened to perform Hajj with no delay. Because the enjoining of Hajj came at a later stage, in 9 or 10 AH, one might say, How can you prove that the command to perform Hajj was delayed until 9 or 10 AH? We would say that the first part of Soorah Aal ‘Imraan was revealed in the year of delegations (‘aam al-wufood), during which the delegation from Najraan came to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and he made a treaty with them regarding their paying the jizyah, and the (ruling on) jizyah was revealed in the year of Tabook, 9 AH, when the first part of Soorat Aal ‘Imraan was revealed…”
Al-Qurtubi said in his Tafseer (2/4/92): Hajj was known to the Arabs. When Islam came, they were told about something they already knew and what was enjoined upon them was something they were familiar with…” See also Ahkaam al-Qur’aan by Ibn al-‘Arabi, 1/286. See also question no 32662
2 – Tawaaf around the House
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“and We commanded Ibraaheem (Abraham) and Ismaa’eel (Ishmael) that they should purify My House (the Ka‘bah at Makkah) for those who are circumambulating it, or staying (I‘tikâf), or bowing or prostrating themselves (there, in prayer)” [al-Baqarah 2:125]
This verse indicates that tawaaf (circumambulation) around the Ka’bah was known at the time of Ibraaheem (peace be upon him).
3 – Raml
Raml means walking quickly with short steps. This is Sunnah for men but not for women during the tawaaf of arrival (tawaaf al-qudoom), which is the first tawaaf performed when one arrives in Makkah.
How did raml begin?
Al-Bukhaari narrated in his Saheeh (2/469-470, 1602) and Muslim also narrated (2/991-992, 1262) that Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came with his companions and the mushrikoon said, “There have come to you people who have been weakened by the fever of Yathrib. So the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded them to walk quickly (raml) in the first three circuits… According to another report, he said, “Walk quickly so that the mushrikeen (disbelievers) will see that you are strong.”
4 – The water of Zamzam and saa’i between al-Safa and al-Marwah.
Al-Bukhaari narrated in his Saheeh (6/396-397, 3364) that Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:
Ibraaheem brought Haajar and her son Ismaa’eel when she was still breastfeeding him, to a place near the Ka’bah under a tree on the spot of Zamzam, at the highest place in the mosque. During those days there was nobody in Makkah, nor was there any water. So he left them there and left with them a leather bag containing some dates, and a small water-skin containing some water, and set out homeward. Ismaa’eel’s mother followed him saying, “O Ibraaheem! Where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is no person whose company we may enjoy, nor is there anything (to enjoy)?” She repeated that to him many times, but he did not look at her. Then she asked him, “Has Allaah commanded you to do this?” He said, “Yes.” She said, “Then He will not forsake us,” and went back while Abraham proceeded onwards. When he reached al-Thaniyah where they could not see him, he turned to face the Ka’bah, and raising both hands, invoked Allah saying the following prayer:
“O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in an uncultivable valley by Your Sacred House (the Ka‘bah at Makkah) in order, O our Lord, that they may perform As-Salaah (Iqaamat-as-Salaah). So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allaah) provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks” [Ibraaheem 14:37]
Ismaa’eel’s mother went on breastfeeding Ismaa’eel and drinking from the water (she had). When the water in the water-skin had all been used up, she became thirsty and her child also became thirsty. She started looking at him (i.e. Ismaa’eel) tossing in agony. She left him, for she could not endure looking at him, and found that the mountain of al-Safa was the nearest mountain to her on that land. She stood on it and started looking at the valley keenly so that she might see somebody, but she could not see anybody. Then she descended from al-Safa and when she reached the valley, she tucked up her robe and ran in the valley like a person in distress and trouble, till she crossed the valley and reached al-Marwa where she stood and started looking, expecting to see somebody, but she could not see anybody. She repeated that (running between al-Safa and al-Marwa) seven times.
Ibn ‘Abbaas said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “This is the (origin of) the people’s saa’i (walking) between them between them (i.e. al-Safa and al-Marwa).” When she reached al-Marwa (for the last time) she heard a voice and she said to herself “Shh!” and listened attentively. She heard the voice again and said, “O, (whoever you may be)! You have made me hear your voice; have you got something to help me?” Then she saw an angel at the place of Zamzam, digging the earth with his heel (or his wing), until water appeared. She started to make something like a basin around it, using her hand in this way, and started filling her water-skin with water with her hands, and the water was flowing out after she had scooped some of it.
Ibn ‘Abbaas said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “May Allah have mercy on the mother of Ismaa’eel! Had she let Zamzam (flow without trying to control it) (or had she not scooped from that water) (to fill her water-skin), Zamzam would have been a stream flowing on the surface of the earth.” And he said: “The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid of being neglected, for this is the House of Allah which will be built by this boy and his father, and Allah never neglects His people’…”
Ibn al-Jawzi said in his book Mutheer al-‘Azm al-Saakin (2/47): “This hadeeth explains the reason why it is called Zamzam, because when the water flowed, Haajar tried to control it (zammat-ha). The linguist Ibn Faaris said: Zamzam comes from the words zamamtu al-naaqah (I reined in the camel).
5 – The standing at ‘Arafah
Abu Dawood and al-Tirmidhi (883) narrated that Yazeed ibn Shaybaan said: We were standing in ‘Arafah in a place far from the mawqif [where the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stood]. Ibn Mirba’ al-Ansaari came to us and said, “I am the messenger of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), who says to you: ‘Stay where you are (for it is also the place of standing), for you are standing in the area where your father Ibraaheem stood.’” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 1688.
Many of the actions of Hajj stem from the time of Ibraaheem (peace be upon him), but the mushrikeen introduced some innovations which were not prescribed. When the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was sent, he opposed them in that and explained what was prescribed for the actions of Hajj.
There are many ahaadeeth which speak of the virtues of Hajj, including the following:
A. From Abu Hurayrah, that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was asked which deed is best. He said, “Belief in Allaah and His Messenger.” He was asked, then what? He said, “Jihaad for the sake of Allaah.” He was asked, then what? He said, “An accepted Hajj.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 26; Muslim, 83).
An accepted Hajj means:
1. It must be paid for with halaal money
2. One should keep away from evil, sin and unjust disputes during Hajj.
3. One should observe all the rituals according to the Sunnah.
4. One should not show off by doing Hajj; it should be purely and sincerely for the sake of Allaah.
5. One should not follow it with acts of disobedience and sin.
B. Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “Whoever does Hajj for the sake of Allaah and does not have sexual relations (with his wife), commit sin, or dispute unjustly during the Hajj, will come back like the day his mother gave birth to him". (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1449; Muslim, 1350)
C. Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “ ‘Umrah is an expiation for the time between it and the previous ‘Umrah, and an accepted hajj has no less a reward than Paradise.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1683; Muslim, 1349).
D. ‘Aa’ishah, the Mother of the Believers (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: I said, O Messenger of Allaah, can we not go out on campaigns and fight in jihaad with you? He said, “But the best and most beautiful of jihaad is Hajj, an accepted pilgrimage.” ‘Aa’ishah said, I never stopped going for Hajj after I heard that from the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1762).
E. ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Hajj wipes out whatever (sins) came before it.” (Narrated by Muslim, 121).
F. ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood said: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Keep on doing Hajj and ‘Umrah, for they eliminate poverty and sin just as the bellows eliminate impurities from iron and gold and silver.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 810; al-Nasaa’i, 2631. The hadeeth was classed as saheeh by al-Albaani – may Allaah have mercy on him – in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah, 1200).
G. Ibn ‘Umar reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The one who fights for the sake of Allaah and the pilgrim who goes for Hajj or ‘Umrah are all guests of Allaah. He called them and they responded; they ask of Him and He will give them.” (Narrated by Ibn Maajah, 2893. The hadeeth is hasan and was classed as such by Shaykh al-Albaani in al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, 1820).
There is nothing in Islam without benefit or a great wisdom behind it, Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “That they may witness things that are of benefit to them” [al-Hajj 22:28]
There are many virtues of the rituals of Hajj, and much wisdom behind them. Whoever is blessed with proper understanding of them is blessed with much goodness. For example:
1. When a person travels to carry out the rituals of Hajj, he is reminded of his journey to Allaah and the Hereafter. When he travels, he leaves behind his dear friends, wife, children and homeland, and the journey to the Hereafter is like that.
2. The one who goes on this journey equips himself with enough provision to help him reach the sacred land, so let him remember that for his journey to his Lord, he needs to have sufficient provision to help him get there safely. Concerning this, Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best provision is At-Taqwaa (piety, righteousness, etc.).” [al-Baqarah 2:197]
3. Travelling is a kind of torment, and the same is true of the journey to the Hereafter, only much more so. Ahead of man there is his dying, death, the grave, the gathering, the accounting, the scales and al-Siraat, followed by either Paradise or Hell. The blessed one will be the one whom Allaah saves.
4. When the pilgrim puts on the two garments of his ihraam, he cannot help but be reminded of the shroud in which he will be wrapped [after he dies]. This prompts him to give up disobedience and sin. Just as he has given up his regular clothing [for Hajj], so he has to give up sin. Just as he has put on two clean, white garments, he has to make his heart clean and white [pure], and keep his faculties clean and pure, uncontaminated by the stain of sin and disobedience.
5. When he says “Labbayk Allaahumma labbayk” at the Meeqaat [station of entering ihraam], he means that he has responded to his Lord, so how can he insist on still sinning and not respond to his Lord’s call to give it up? When he says “Labbayk Allaahumma labbayk”, he means, “I am responding to Your prohibition of it and this is the time I am giving it up.”
6. When he gives up haraam things during his ihraam, and keeps himself busy with the talbiyah and dhikr, this shows him how the Muslim should be. He trains himself to give up some things which in principle are halaal, but Allaah has forbidden them to him at this time [during his ihraam], so how can he violate the prohibitions of Allaah by doing things which are haraam at all times and in all places?
7. When he enters the Sacred House of Allaah, which Allaah has made a sanctuary for mankind, he remembers the sanctuary of the Day of Resurrection, which no one can reach without striving hard and making a concerted effort. The greatest thing which will keep a person safe on the Day of Resurrection is Tawheed and avoiding Shirk (associating others with Allaah). Concerning this, Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “It is those who believe (in the Oneness of Allaah and worship none but Him Alone) and confuse not their Belief with Zulm (wrong, i.e. by worshipping others besides Allaah), for them (only) there is security and they are the guided.” [al-An’aam 6:81].
8. Kissing the Black Stone, which is the first ritual to be undertaken, teaches the visitor to honour the Sunnah and not to oppose the laws of Allaah with his feeble reasoning. He recognizes that there is wisdom and goodness behind the laws and rituals which Allaah has prescribed for mankind, and he trains himself to submit himself totally to his Lord, may He be exalted. Concerning this, ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said, after he kissed the Black Stone: “I know that you are only a stone and that you can neither benefit nor harm. If I had not seen the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) kiss you, I would not have kissed you.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1520; Muslim, 1720).
9. When he does Tawaaf, he is reminded of his father Ibraaheem (peace be upon him), who built the House to be a place of resort for mankind and a place of safety, and that he called them to perform pilgrimage to this House. And our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) also called them to perform pilgrimage to this House. Moosa, Yoonus and ‘Eesaa (peace be upon them) also performed pilgrimage to this House. This House was a symbol and a meeting place for these Prophets; how could it be otherwise, when Allaah had commanded Ibraheem (peace be upon him) to build it and venerate it?
10. When he drinks the water of Zamzam, he is reminded of the blessing which Allaah has bestowed upon mankind in the form of this blessed water, from which millions of people have drunk throughout the long ages, but it has never dried up. He is encouraged to make du’aa’ when he drinks it by the hadeeth which has been reported from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)” “The water of Zamzam is for whatever it is drunk for.” (Narrated by Ibn Maajah, 3062; Ahmad, 14435. This is a hasan hadeeth; classed as hasan by Ibn al-Qayyim – may Allaah have mercy on him – in Zaad al-Ma’aad, 4/320).
11. When he does al-Saa’ee, running between al-Safaa’ and al-Marwah, he is reminded of the trial endured by Haajir, the mother of Ismaa’eel and the wife of al-Khaleel [Ibraaheem] (peace be upon him), and how she ran back and forth between al-Safaa’ and al-Marwah, searching for water which would save her from what she was suffering, and especially so that she could give her little son – Ismaa’eel – water to drink. Since this woman was patient in the face of this adversity and turned to her Lord, this teaches man that doing this is better and more appropriate. When a man remembers the struggle and patience of this woman, it makes it easier for him to bear his own problems, and a woman who is of her own kind will find her problems easier to bear.
12. The standing (wuqoof) in ‘Arafaah reminds the pilgrim of the throngs of people on the Day of Gathering. If the pilgrim feels tired from being in a crowd of thousands, how will it be in the crowds of barefoot, naked, uncircumcised people, standing for fifty thousand years?
13. When he throws the pebbles at the Jamaraat, the Muslim trains himself to obey Allaah unquestioningly. Even if he does not understand the reason and wisdom behind this throwing (ramy), and cannot make the connection between rulings and their purpose, this is a manifestation of complete submission (‘uboodiyyah) to Allaah.
14. When he slaughters his sacrifice (hady), he is reminded of the great event when our father Ibraaheem submitted to the command of Allaah to sacrifice his only son Ismaa’eel, after he had grown up and become a help to him. He is also reminded that there is no room for emotions which go against the commands and prohibitions of Allaah. This teaches him to respond to what Allaah commands, as Ismaa’eel said (interpretation of the meaning): “ ‘O my father! Do that which you are commanded. In shaa Allaah (if Allaah wills), you will find me of al-saabireen (the patient ones).’” [al-Saaffaat 37:102].
15. When he comes out of his ihraam and things that had been forbidden to him once again become permissible, this teaches him about the consequences of patience and that after hardship comes ease. The one who responds to the call of Allaah will have joy and happiness, and this joy cannot be known by anyone except those who have tasted the sweetness of obedience, such as the joy felt by the one who fasts when he breaks his fast, or by the one who prays Qiyaam during the last part of the night, after he has finished praying.
16. When he has finished performing all the rituals of Hajj as they were prescribed by Allaah and in the manner that Allaah loves, he has the hope that his Lord will forgive him all his sins, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) promised in the hadeeth, “Whoever does Hajj for the sake of Allaah and does not have sexual relations (with his wife), commit sin, or dispute unjustly during the hajj, will come back like the day his mother gave birth to him. (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1449; Muslim, 1350). This invites him to start a new page in his life, free of sin.
17. When he comes back to his wife and children, and experiences the joy of meeting them again, this reminds him of the greater joy of meeting them in Paradise. This also teaches him that the greatest loss is losing oneself and one’s family on the Day of Resurrection, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “The losers are those who will lose themselves and their families on the Day of Resurrection. Verily, that will be a manifest loss!” [al-Zumar 39:15].
Hajj is a fareedah (obligatory duty), one of the pillars of Islam. The evidence (daleel) for this is the aayah mentioned above, and there is also evidence in the Sunnah which indicates the same thing.
Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with them both) said: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Islam is built upon five (pillars): testifying that there is no god but Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah, establishing regular prayer, paying zakaah, Hajj and fasting Ramadaan.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 8; Muslim, 16).
It is obligatory to do Hajj once in one's lifetime for those who can afford it.
Abu Hurayrah said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) gave a sermon (khutbah) and said: “O people, Allaah has enjoined Hajj upon you so do Hajj.” A man said, Is it every year, O Messenger of Allaah? He remained silent until the man had said it three times, then he said, “If I say yes, it will become obligatory and you will not be able to do it.” Then he said, “Do not push me to tell you more than what I have left you with, for those who came before you were destroyed because they asked too many questions and argued with their Prophets. If I command you to do a thing, do as much of it as you can, and if I forbid you to do something, then avoid it.” (Narrated by Muslim, 1337)
Al-Masjid al-Haraam (the Sacred Mosque) is situated in Makkah, a city in the Arabian Peninsula 330 meters above sea-level. The history of the mosque goes back to its founding at the time of Ibraaheem (Abraham) and his son Ismaa’eel (Ishmael), peace be upon them both. Makkah is the place where the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was born and where the Revelation began, and from which the light of Islam spread. Al-Masjid al-Haraam is located here. This is the first mosque that was built for people on earth, as Allaah says in the Qur’aan (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, the first House (of worship) appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (Makkah), full of blessing, and a guidance for al-‘aalameen (mankind and jinns).” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:96].
It was reported in Saheeh Muslim that Abu Dharr said: “I asked the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) about the first mosque to be built for people on earth. He said, ‘Al-Masjid al-Haraam.’ I asked, ‘Then which?’ He said, ‘Al-Masjid al-Aqsaa [The Furthest Mosque, in Jerusalem].’ I asked, ‘How long between them?’ He said, ‘Forty years.’”
The Ka’bah – which is the direction of prayer for all Muslims throughout the world – is situated roughly in the middle of al-Masjid al-Haraam. It is a 15-meter high stone structure more or less in the shape of a cube. It was built by Ibraaheem (peace be upon him) on the command of Allaah. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And (remember) when We showed Ibraaheem the site of the (Sacred) House (the Ka’bah at Makkah) (saying): ‘Associate not anything (in worship) with Me, and sanctify My House for those who circumambulate it, and those who bow and make prostration.” [al-Hajj 22:26]
The word “bawwa’naa” [translated here as “We showed”] means “He guided him and gave him permission to build it.” (Tafseer Ibn Katheer).
Allaah also says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And (remember) when Ibraaheem and (his son) Ismaa’eel were raising the foundations of the House (the Ka’bah at Makkah)…” [al-Baqarah 2:127]
Wahb ibn Munbih said: “… It was built by Ibraaheem, then [rebuilt] by the Amalekites, then by Jurham, then by Qusayy ibn Kilaab. Its rebuilding by Quraysh is well known… They began to rebuild it with the stones of the valley, which Quraysh carried on their shoulders, and they built it up, 20 cubits high… Between the rebuilding of the Ka’bah and the beginning of the Revelation there were five years, and between the rebuilding and the Hijrah there were fifteen years. ‘Abd al-Razzaaq reported from Mu’ammar from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Uthmaan from Abu’l-Tufayl, and from Mu’ammar from al-Zuhri: ‘They were building it and when they reached al-Rukn, Quraysh argued about which tribe should lift it up. Then they said, “Let us ask the first person who comes from this direction to judge between us.” They agreed on that, then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came to them, and he was a young man wearing a spotted sash. They asked him to judge between them, and he told them to place al-Rukn on a piece of cloth, then he told the chief of every tribe to hold the edge of the cloth, then he climbed up and they lifted al-Rukn up to him, and he himself (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) put it into its place.” (Taareekh Makkah by al-Azraqi, 1/161-164)
Muslim (2374) reported that ‘Aa’ishah said: “I asked the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) about al-Jadr [the wall] and whether it was part of the House [the Ka’bah]. He said, ‘Yes.’ I asked, ‘So why is it not incorporated into the House?’ He said, ‘Your people ran out of money.’ I asked, ‘What about the door? Why is it high up?’ He said, ‘Your people did that so they could let in whomever they wanted and keep out whomever they wanted. If it were not for the fact that your people are still new [in Islam] and too close to their Jaahiliyyah (the era before Islam), and I am afraid that they would resent it, I would think of incorporating al-Jadr (the wall) into the House and bringing the door down to ground level.’”
Before Islam (in the year in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was born), the Ka’bah was subjected to an attack by the Ethiopian Abrahah, who had built al-Qulays, a church to which he wanted the Arabs to make their pilgrimage. He set out with his army, with whom was the elephant, and when they reached Makkah, Allaah sent flocks of birds against them; each bird was carrying three stones like chickpeas or lentils, one in its beak and two in its claws. Every man who was struck by a stone was killed, so the army was destroyed, by the command of Allaah.
Allaah has mentioned this incident in His Book, where He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Have you not seen how your Lord dealt with the Owners of the Elephant? Did He not make their plot go astray? And sent against them birds, in flocks, Striking them with stones of Sijjeel, And made them like an empty field of slaks (in which the corn has been eaten up by cattle).” [al-Feel 105:1-5]
(See al-Seerah al-Nabawiyyah by Ibn Hishaam, 1/44-58).
There was no fence or wall around the Ka’bah until it became necessary. Yaaqoot al-Hamawi said in Mu’jam al-Buldaan (5/146): “The first one to build a wall around the Ka’bah was ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him); there was no wall around it during the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or Abu Bakr. [The wall was built] because people were building their houses too close to the Ka’bah and making the space around it too small for people. ‘Umar said: ‘The Ka’bah is the House of Allaah, and a house needs a courtyard. You have encroached on its space, it has not encroached on yours.’ So he bought those houses, demolished them and added that space to the space around the Ka’bah. He also destroyed the houses of people in the vicinity of the Ka’bah who had refused to sell, and kept the money aside for them until they came and took it later on. He built a wall around the mosque, lower than the height of a man, and lamps were placed on it. When ‘Uthmaan was khaleefah, he bought more houses that were more expensive… It was said that ‘Uthmaan was the first one to build porticos around it … When Ibn al-Zubayr was in power, he improved its appearance, although he did not increase its size, by adding marble pillars, extra doors and other improvements. When ‘Abd al-Malik ibn Marwaan was khaleefah, he added to the wall of the mosque, and brought columns from Egypt by sea to Jeddah, which were carried from Jeddah to Makkah on wheels. Al-Hajjaaj ibn Yoosuf commanded that the Ka’bah should be covered in drapes (al-kiswah) and when al-Waleed ibn ‘Abd al-Malik was khaleefah, he added to the adornment of the kiswah and spent money on improvements to the drainage spout and roof… When al-Mansoor and his son al-Mahdi were khaleefahs, they added more adornments to the mosque and improved its appearance.”
There are also other religious monuments in the Mosque, such as Maqaam Ibraaheem (the Station of Ibraaheem), which is the rock on which Ibraaheem (peace be upon him) stood whilst he was building the Ka’bah. There is also the Well of Zamzam, which is a spring of water brought forth by Allaah for Haajar and her child Ismaa’eel (peace be upon him) when he got thirsty. We should not forget either the Black Stone and al-Rukn al-Yamaani, which are two of the precious stones of Paradise. Al-Tirmidhi and Ahmad reported that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr said: “I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saying that the Rukn and the Maqaam are two of the precious stones of Paradise, whose light has been extinguished by Allaah. If He had not extinguished their light, it would illuminate everything between the East and the West.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi, 804).
Near the Mosque are the two hills of al-Safa and al-Marwah. One of the unique features of the Mosque is that it is the only mosque in the world to which people come on pilgrimage (Hajj). Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily! Al-Safa and al-Marwah are of the Symbols of Allaah. So it is not a sin on him who performs Hajj or ‘Umrah (pilgrimage) of the House to perform the going (tawaaf) between them. And whoever does good voluntarily, then verily, Allaah is All-Recognizer, All-Knower.” [al-Baqarah 2:158]
Another of its unique features is that Allaah has made it safe, and one prayer in it is equal to a hundred thousand prayers elsewhere. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And (remember) when We made the House a place of resort for mankind and a place of safety. And take you (people) the Maqaam (place) of Ibraaheem as a place of prayer, and We commanded Ibraaheem and Ismaa’eel that they should purify My House for those who are circumabulating it, or staying (I’tikaaf), or bowing or prostrating themselves.” [al-Baqarah 2:125]
“In it are manifest signs (for example); the maqaam (place) of Ibraaheem; whoever enters it, he attains security. And Hajj to the House is a duty that mankind owes to Allaah, those who can afford the expenses (for one’s conveyance, provision and residence); and whoever disbelieves [i.e., denies Hajj, then he is a disbeliever of Allaah], then Allaah stands not in need of any of the ‘aalameen (mankind and jinns).” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:97]
(See Akhbaar Makkah by al-Azraqi and Akhbaar Makkah by al-Faakihi).
The following picture is the Ka'bah from outside:
1. The Black Stone (Al Hajar Al Aswad)الحجر الأسود
2. Door of the Kaaba (Baab Al Kab'ah)باب الكعبة
3. Gutter to remove rainwater (Al Mizab) الميزاب
4. Base of the Kaaba (Shaadharwaan) الشاذوران
5. Al-Hatim الحاطم
6. Al-Multazam (The wall between the door of the Kaaba and black stone) الملتزم
7. The Station of Ibrahim (Maqaam Ibrahim) مقام إبراهيم
8. Angle of the Black Stone (Rukn Al Hajar Al Aswad) ركن الحجر الأسود
9. Angle of Yemen (Rukn Yamaani) الركن اليماني
10. Angle of Syria (Rukn Shami) الركن الشامي
11. Angle of Iraq (Rukn Iraqi) الركن العراقي
12. Veil covering the Kaaba (Kiswa ) كسوة الكعبة
 Islam QA with some additions
Hajj has four pillars, they are; Al-Ihram, At-Tawaf, As-Sa'y and Al-Wuquf at 'Arafat. If one of these pillars is left off, the Hajj is nullified. The explanation of these pillars is as follows:
1. Al-Ihram: The first pillar of Al-Hajj and Al-Umrah is Al-Ihram, that is the intention to enter into one of the two sacred rituals, Al-Hajj and Al-Umrah, accompanied by the removal of the (normal) clothing (for men) and then reciting the Talbiyyah*.
Things Obligatory for Ihram:
The obligations are the deeds that if one of them is left off, blood (i.e. sacrifice of an animal) is required from the person who did not perform, if unable, then he must fast ten days. The obligations of Al-Ihram are three and they are the following:
1. Assumming Al-Ihram from the Miqat: This is the place that the Shari'ah has fixed where AI-Ihram is assumed and it is not permissible to pass it without Ihram for whoever wants (to perform) AI-Hajj or Al-Umrah. Ibn 'Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said:
"The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) made the Miqat for the people of AI-Madinah, Dhul-Hulayfah; and for the people of AshSham, AI-Juhfah; and for the people of Najd, Qarn-ul-Manazi1; and for the people of AI-Yemen, Yalamlam. They are for them (these places) and' whoever passes by them that is not of their people, for those who want to perform Al-Hajj or Al-Umrah. And for whoever is nearer (to Makkah) than them, then he makes the Talbiyyah* for assuming Ihram from his people (i.e. his home), and so forth, until even the people of Makkah make the Talbiyyah for Ihram from it (Makkah)." (AI-Bukhari)
2, Removal of stitched clothing: One in Ihram (Al-Muhrim) does not wear a Thawb (long robe-like garment), shirt or hooded robe. He does not wear a turban and he never covers his head with anything. Likewise, he does not wear leather socks, nor shoes (which cover the entire foot), This is due to the Prophet's statement:
"The Muhrim (person in Ihram) does not wear the Thawb (a long robe-like garment) , turbans, pants, hooded robes or leather socks, except for whoever cannot find two sandals, then he wears two leather socks and he should cut them below the ankles" (Al-Bukhari)
Likewise, he does not wear any clothing that has had saffron or Wars (a type of perfume) applied to it. The woman does not wear the niqab (the face veil were only eyes are shown, instead she can cover all of the face without showing eyes) and she does not wear gloves. This is due to what AI-Bukhari related concerning the prohibition of that (i.e. these aforementioned things).
3. At-Talbiyyah*: This is the saying:
Labbayk Allaahumma labbayk, Labbayka La shareeka laka labbayk. Innal hamda. wan-ni'mata laka walmulk. La shareeka lak.
"I am here at Your service, O Allah! I am here at Your service. I am here at Your service. You have no partner. I am here at Your service. Verily the praise, and the favor are Yours, and also the sovereignty. You have no partner."
One in Ihram says this when he begins his Ihram while he is at the Miqat. He does not neglect (saying) it and it is recommended to repeat it, raise the voice with it and say it again at every appropriate occasion (during travel), whether stopping, or setting out, or (before) the start of the prayer, or after completing it or meeting friends.
The Prohibited Acts during Ihram:
The prohibitions are the deeds that are not allowed and if the believer does them, he is obligated to sacrifice a sheep as compensation or fast or feed (poor people). These deeds are as follows:
1. Covering the head with any head covering.
2. Shaving the hair or cutting it, even if it is a little. It makes no difference whether it is the hair of the head or other than it.
3. Clipping the nails, whether they are the nails of the hands or the feet.
4. Applying perfume.
5. Wearing any type of stitched garment (i.e a garment that has a seam in it)
6. Killing game animals of the land. This is due to Allah the Almighty's statement:
(O you who believe! Do not kill the game animals while you all are in Ihram (for Al-Hajj or Al-Umrah)) [5:95]
7. Petting (i.e. caressing, fondling, etc) that is done before sexual intercourse, such as kissing and similar things. This is due to Allah the Al,ighty's statement:
(So there should be no Rafath, nor sinful transgression, nor quarreling during Al-Hajj) [2:197]
The meaning of Rafath is those things that are done before sexual intercourse and everything leads to it.
8. The marriage contract or its proposal. This is due to the Prophet's statement:
"The person in Ihram does not perform the marriage (of someone else), nor is he married, nor does he propose (marraige)" (Muslim)
9. Sexual intercourse. This is due to Allah the Almighty's statement:
(So there should be no Rafath, nor sinful transgression, nor quarreling during Al-Hajj) [2:197]
Rafath includes sexual intercourse and its precursors.
2. At-Tawaf: Tawaf is going around the House (Ka'bah) seven circuits.
Conditions for its Validity:
1. Having intentions when beginning it, as actions are based upon the intentions. Thus, the person who wants to perfrom Tawaf must have the intention for Tawaf in order to worship Allah the Most High and obey Him, the Mighty and Sublime.
2. Purity from filth and defilement, due to the Hadith below stating that Tawaf around the House (Ka'bah) is like the prayer.
3. Covering the private areas of the body, as Tawaf is like the prayer. This is due to the Prophet's statement:
"Tawaf around the House (Ka'bah) is like the prayer, except that you all speak during it. Therefore, whoever speaks, let him not speak except with good (words)" [At-Tirmithi]
3. As-Sa'y: As-Sa'y is to walk between As-Safa and Al-Marwah coming and going (back and forth) with the intention of worshiping (Allah). It is a pillar of Al-Hajj and Al-Umrah. This is due to the statement of Allah the Most High:
Verily As-Safa and AI-Marwah are from the symbols of Allah., [2: 158]
And the statement of the Prophet:
"Perfomt As-Sa'y, for verily Allah has enjoined As-Sa'y upon you all" (Ibn Majah, Ahmad and Ash-Shafi'i. i-:e (Ibn Hajar) said in AI-Fath that it is Hasan due to its numerous routes of transmission)
Conditions for the Validity of As-Sa'y:
1. The intention: This is due to the Prophet's statement: "Deeds are judged by their intentions"[Al-Bukhari]Therefore, it is necessary to have the intention to perform worship when making As-Sa'y, in obedience to Allah and carrying out His command.
2. Keeping the proper order between it and At-Tawaf by performing At-Tawaf before As-Sa'y.
3. Making its trips in close succession. However, a brief break between them is not harmful as long as there is a need for it.
4. Completing all seven trips. If one trip or part of a trip is left out, the Sa'y is not acceptable, as its actuality is established upon completing its trips.
5. It should occur after the correct performance of Tawaf, regardless of whether the Tawaf is obligatory (Wajib) or recommended (Sunnah). However, it is better if it is performed after an obligatory (Wajib) Tawaf, like Tawaf-ulQudum,
or a Tawaf that is a pillar (Rukn), like Tawaf-ulIfadhah.
4. Standing (Al-Wuqoof) at 'Arafat: Standing at 'Arafah is the fourth pillar of the pillars of Al-Hajj.
This is due to the Prophet's statement:
"Al-Hajj is Arafah" [Ahmad and Tirmithi and it is Sahih]
In actuality, it is to be present at the place that is called 'Arafat, for a moment or more With the intention of standing there during its valid time from after Zuhr (midday) on the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah to Fajr on the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah.
The Obligatory Acts (Wajibat)
1. Being present at 'Arafat on the 9th of Dhul-Hiiiah after high noon until sunset.
2. Spending the night at Muzdalifah after coming down from 'Arafat on the 10th night of Dhul-Hijjah (i.e. the night of the 9th in English terms).
3. Throwing pebbles at the stone pillar of Al-'Aqabah on the Day of An-Nahr (Sacrifice).
4. Shaving or shortening the hair after stoning the pillar of Al-'Aqabah on the Day of An-Nahr.
5. Spending the night at Mina for three nights, which are the 11th, 12th and 13th nights (i.e. the 10th, 11th and 12th of Dhul-Hijjah and leaving on the 13th) or two nights for whoever is in a hurry. If he stays two nights, they are the 11th and 12th nights (i.e. the 10th and the 11th of Dhul-Hijjah and leaving on the 12th).
6. Throwing pebbles at the three stones pillars after midday on each of the three Days of At-Tashriq or two days (if the person only stays until the 12th of Dhul-Hiijah).
Note: The evidences for these obligations (Wajibat) are the Prophet's actions, and he (peace be upon him) said:
"Verily you must take your Hajj rites from me" [Muslim]
And he (peace be upon him) said:
"Perform Hajj just as you have seen me performing Hajj" [in The Sahih]
And he (peace be upon him) said:
"Stand at your sacred places, for verily all of you are upon a heritage from the legacy of your father Ibrahim" [At-Tirmithi, who said it is Sahih]
* The Talbiyah is a Muslim prayer invoked by the pilgrims as a conviction that they intend to perform the Hajj only for the glory of God. Talbiyah is repeatedly invoked during the Hajj, or pilgrimage, upon putting on the Ihram, so the pilgrims can purify and rid themselves of worldly concerns.
Taken from "Minhaj Al Muslim" By Shiekh Abu-bakr Jaabir Al-jazairy with some modifications. You can read more about the way to do Hajj in more details in the same book. Download it here
There are three forms of Hajj that a person can chose:
This type of Hajj is one in which a person performs an Umrah and then a Hajj, both separately. During the months of Hajj, a pilgrim wears the Ihraam making his intention for Umrah only. He proceeds to Makkah and makes Tawaf (walking around the Ka'bah 7 times) and Sayi (walking from Safa to Marwah 7 times) for Umrah. He then shaves or clips his hair. On the day of Tarwiyah, which is the eighth of the month of Dhul-Hijjah, he wears his Ihraam again but this time making the intention for Hajj only, and then he carries out all of its requirements.
This type of Hajj is one in which a person performs a Hajj only without an Umrah. A pilgrim wears the Ihraam, making his intention for Umrah only, He proceeds to Makkah and performs Tawaaf for his arrival  and Sayi for Hajj. He does not shave or clip his hair as he doesn't disengage from Ihraam. Instead, he remains in his Ihraam till after he stones Jamrah al-Aqabah on the day of Eid. It is permisible for him to postpone his Say'i of Hajj until after his Tawaaf of Hajj (The Tawaaf of Hajj is also called Tawaff Al-Ifaadah)
This type of Hajj is one in which a person combines the rites of Hajj and Umrah, not performing each one separately. A pilgrim wears the Ihraam, making.his intention for both Umrah and Hajj, or he may make intention for Umrah, then makes the intention for Hajj only, and adds the intention for Hajj before the Tawaf of Hajj (Ifaadah). The obligations on one performing Ifraad are the same as those performing Qiraan. except that the latter must slaughter wherea the former is not obligated to do so. The best of the three forms is Tamattu. It is the form that the prophet (peace be upon him) encouraged his folloers to perform.
Can The Pilgrim Change The Form of Hajj?
Even if a pilgrim makes intentions to perform Qiraan or Ifraad, he is allowed to change his intentions to Tamattu; he can do this even after he has performed Tawaaf and Sayi.
When the prophet (peace be upon him) performed Tawaff and Sayi during the year of the Farewell Hajj with his companions, he ordered all those who had not brought sacrificial animals to change their intentions for Hajj to intentions for Umrah, cut their hair, and disengage from their Ihraam till Hajj. He said:
"If I hadn't brought the sacrificial animal, I'd have done what I've ordered you to do"
Footnotes: This Tawaaf is called the Tawaf al Qudoom, the tawaaf performed when one first reaches. It is not obligatory
Taken from "How to perform the ritual of Hajj" by Sheikh Al Uthaymin with slight modifications
A pligrim should go to Madeenah before or after Hajj with the intention of visiting the prophet's Masjid and praying in it . Prayer in his Masjid is better than a thousand prayers elsewhere except in the Holy Masjid in Makkah. Upon reaching the Masjid, he should pray two Rak'ahs of salutation or perform any obligatory prayer that is due.
He should go to the grave of the prophet (Peace be upon him) and stand before it. He greets him saying:
(السلام عليكم ورحمة الله و بركاته يا نبي.......الخ)
"May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be upon you, O Prophet. May Allah grant you a good reward on behalf of your people"
He takes a step or two to his right to position himself before Abu Bakr and greets him saying:
(السلام عليكم ورحمة الله و بركاته يا أبا بكر.......الخ)
"May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be upon you, O Abu Bakr, Khaleefah of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). May Allah be pleased with you and grant you a good reward on behalf of Muhammad's people"
Then he takes a step or two to his right to position himself before Umar and greets him saying:
(السلام عليكم ورحمة الله و بركاته يا عمر.......الخ)
"May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be upon you, O Umar, Ameer-ul-Mu'minoon. May Allah be pleased with you and grant you a good reward on behalf of Muhammad's people"
In a state of purity, he should go to pray in Masjid al-Qubaa. He should go to al-Baqee' to visit Uthman's grave (may Allah be pleased with him). He should stand before it and greet him saying:
(السلام عليكم ورحمة الله و بركاته يا عثمان.......الخ)
"May the peace, mercy and blessing of Allah be upon you, O Uthman, Ameer-ul-Mu'minoon. May Allah be pleased with you and grant you a good reward on behalf of Muhammad's people"
He greets any other Muslims in al-Baqee'. He proceeds to the mountain of Uhud and visits the grave of Hamzah (may Allah be pleased with him) and other martyrs there with him. He greets them and prays to Allah them forgivness, mercy, and pleasure.
1. A common practice amongst people is that they proceed to Madeenah with the intention of visiting the grave of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), which is not permissible. One should have the intention of visiting and praying in the Prophet’s (Peace be upon him) masjid, and while he is there for that reason, he should visit his grave and greet him with greetings of Salaam.
2. Ameer-ul-Mu´minoon: The Leader of the Believer, the title given to the
"How to Perform the Rituals of Hajj" by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Sâlih al-‘Uthaymeen