Nov 14, 2009

Hajj - an articles from arabnews.com

Performing four duties on the same day
Adil Salahi | Arab News


When the Prophet (peace be upon him) arrived in Mina shortly after sunrise on 10th Dul Hijjah, the day after attending at Arafat and staying in Muzdalifah, he proceeded to do more of the pilgrimage duties. He started by stoning at the Grand Jamrat, throwing seven pebbles. He then slaughtered his sacrificial animals, before going to Makkah where he did his tawaf of ifadah and finished by shaving his head. These four duties fall due on that day. Should they all be performed on the same day and in the order the Prophet performed them?

A certain school of thought maintains that these duties should be done in this order. This is a mistaken view because the Prophet’s companions did not follow the same order. Many of them came to the Prophet saying that they performed their duties in different orders. Every possible permutation was put to him. To all those who asked he gave the same answer, approving the way they performed their duties. This is in line with the nature of this particular act of worship. It is based on making things easy for the pilgrims, because if we were to insist on a particular form, many pilgrims would not be able to complete their rituals and duties. If we were to imagine that all three million pilgrims were required to do the stoning at the Jamrat, then slaughter their sacrifice and proceed to Makkah for their tawaf of ifadah and return to Mina before nightfall, we realize that this could not be completed in two days, let alone one day. God does not impose on us any duty that is too hard for us to fulfill. The Prophet was keen to illustrate that opting for the easier way is of the essence of the pilgrimage. Therefore, we should opt for the same. How to ensure the fulfillment of these duties without much difficulty? First of all, the stoning at the Jamrat must be done on that day. Its time range, however, is long. It can be done at any time between sunrise and sunset. It does not take long. With the new system that allows one-way movement, it has been made much easier.

Slaughtering the sacrifice can be done at any time on the four days of the Eid, i.e. 10-13 Dul Hijjah. However, with the voucher system that allows the pilgrims to buy their sacrifice and assign the Bank to do the slaughter on their behalf, this duty has been made easy. It also ensures that the sacrifice is fully utilized. What the Bank does is to ensure that the sacrifice is slaughtered on those four days and that all the needs of the poor in the Haram area are satisfied. What is left is sent to various parts of the Muslim world, particularly poor areas. Thus, the purpose of the sacrifice is achieved in the most beneficial way. We should explain that although the Prophet shaved his head as one of the rituals of the pilgrimage, cutting a small portion of one’s hair is enough to fulfill the duty. It is certainly better to follow the Prophet’s example, but people should consider their own circumstances and needs. For women, shortening a small bunch of hair by two centimeters is all that is required. The shaving of one’s head or cutting some of one’s hair can be done at any time on 10 Dul Hijjah. It signals the ending of all restrictions associated with the state of consecration that applies during the pilgrimage, except for sexual intercourse between man and wife. This last restriction ends when the tawaf of ifadah is completed.

Therefore, on the day that follows the Arafat day, we must do the stoning and we follow it with shaving our heads or cutting a portion of our hair. If we use the voucher system for the sacrifice, then we have completed three of the four duties. There remains the tawaf of ifadah. This is the second most essential duty of the pilgrimage. If omitted, it cannot be compensated for in any way.

The time range allowed for this duty varies according to different schools of thought. Most scholars agree that it should be fulfilled during the four days of the Eid. However, the Maliki school of thought says that its time extends to the end of Dul Hijjah. Therefore, pilgrims should choose the time at which they can do it most comfortably.

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