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The following section has been serialised from Essential Islam's critically acclaimed Hajj guide book; The Essentials of Hajj and Umrah. You can purchase a copy from the Essential Islam store.

Step 1 - Leaving Home

After making a sincere intention that you will be performing Hajj solely for the sake of Allah and to fulfil the rites of Hajj, seek forgiveness from neighbours, friends and relatives and request them to make du’a for you.

Step 2 - The State of Ihram

Before departing on your outbound journey to Saudi Arabia, perform the ritual bath (ghusl) and adopt your ihram at your earliest point of convenience.

Now perform your two units of prayer for ihram, invoke the talbiyah (a prayer of conviction that signifies a pilgrim's objective), followed by your intentions for Umrah. You are now a muhrim (in the spiritual state of ihram) and are bound to the legal rules of ihram, which require a penalty being paid if they are violated.

Step 3 - Arriving in Makkah

When you reach Makkah, it is best to settle and rest at your hotel a while. If you want to shower (it is sunnah to perform ghusl for entering Makkah) you can, but as you are still in the state of ihram you should be extremely cautious.

Once rested, head to Masjid al-Haram to perform Umrah.

Step 4 - Readying Yourself for Umrah

Keep your gaze lowered as you enter the Masjid until you are close enough to the blessed Ka'bah. At this point, with complete humility, lift your gaze and witness the beatific vision of the Ka’bah.

Show sincerity in your thoughts and prayers, as this is one of the stations where your supplications are accepted.

Before you begin your tawaf, the male pilgrim passes the top sheet of his ihram under the right armpit and lets the sheet hang from the left shoulder, such that the right shoulder remains uncovered. This is called idtiba, which is only performed during the seven rounds of Umrah.

In the first three rounds the male will also perform raml - where it is sunnah for men to walk briskly, lifting his legs forcefully and keeping the chest out and moving the shoulders simultaneously like a warrior in an arena. After the completion of the first three rounds, the male will continue the remaining four rounds at a normal pace.

Step 5 - Performing the Tawaf of Umrah

Like any other act of worship, the Tawaf (circumambulation of the Ka'bah) also starts with an intention, which should be to perform this ibadah solely for the sake of Allah.

The Tawaf consists of 7 circuits, and circuit starts from Hajar al-Aswad (the Black Stone).

To begin your Tawaf of Umrah, greet Hajar al-Aswad via istilam (gesturing towards the Black Stone with a kiss).

Now proceed to circumambulate the Ka'bah - keeping the Ka’bah to your left at all times.

Whilst circling the Ka'bah you are advised to recite prayers and supplications during the tawaf. You may supplicate in any way and in any language you prefer.

Each circuit ends at Hajar al-Aswad with istilam. You can face the Black Stone each and everytime you perform istilam.

Each circuit is performed in the counter clockwise direction, with the Ka’bah always to your left.

After you have completed the seven rounds you will finish the tawaf with an eighth and final istilam.

Now offer two units of prayer for the Tawaf you have just completed.

Make plenty of du’a, as this is another station where supplications are accepted. You have now completed the Tawaf al-Umrah.

You should drink as much Zamzam water as you can.

Step 6 - Performing the Sa'ee of Umrah

Now head towards Safa and Marwa (the area where you will perform sa'ee, or the walking between the mounts of Safa and Marwa)

Perform istilam of Hajar al-Aswad for your sa’ee. This will be done as previously mentioned.

Your sa’ee will start at Mount Safa.

Show sincerity in your thoughts and prayers, as this is one of the stations where your supplications are accepted.

Descend from the slope and begin the sa’ee. You will now head towards Marwah.

As you move towards Marwah, you will encounter two sets of green lights (Milain Akhdarain), this indicates that it is sunnah for male pilgrims to walk briskly between the two lights.

When you reach Marwah, again you will see a slope which you can climb.

Show sincerity in your thoughts and prayers, as this is one of the stations where your supplications are accepted.

Now return back to Safa - remembering the rules of Milain Akhdarain.

On reaching Safa, you will supplicate as mentioned previously. You have now completed 2 rounds of the Sa'ee of Umrah.

In this manner complete 7 rounds in total - where you will finish the sa’ee at Marwah.

You can then perform a further 2 units of prayer for the sa'ee of Umrah.

Step 7 - Completing Your Umrah by Cutting Your Hair

Once you have cut your hair, your umrah is now complete and you are no longer bound the rules of ihram.

Step 8 - The First Day of Hajj (8th Dhu al-Hijjah)

You will wear your ihram within the limits of the Haram, followed by the talbiyyah and intention for Hajj.

After sunrise, you will head towards Mina trying to arrive by Dhuhr.

You will then stay in Mina for the full day and a portion of the following day.

Like all the days of Hajj, it is advised that you spend most of your time in excessive worship.

Step 9 - The Second Day of Hajj (9th Dhu al-Hijjah)

After Fajr you will head towards Arafah. This is the day of Hajj.

Show sincerity in your wuquf (standing), thoughts and prayers, as this is one of the stations where your supplications are accepted.

This is the moment where Allah will absolve you of your sins, returning you to a state as pure as the day you were born.

After sunset, make your way out of Arafah with calmness and head towards Muzdalifah.

Upon arriving in Muzdalifah, pray Maghrib followed by Isha.

It is sunnah to stay the night in Muzdalifah and pick up the pebbles needed for the next three days.

At the earliest time of Fajr, you now perform wuquf in Muzdalifah, even if this is for a moment, whilst facing the qiblah.

Show sincerity in your wuquf (standing), thoughts and prayers, as this is one of the stations where your supplications are accepted.

Just before sunrise you will depart Muzdalifah and head towards the Jamarats for the stoning of the Jamarah al-Aqabah only.

Once you have finished your stoning of Jamarah al-Aqabah you will perform your qurbani.

Once the qurbani is completed, you can now shave or trim your hair (as mentioned before).

Once you have cut your hair, you are no longer bound the rules of ihram (apart from conjugal relations).

You can now perform the Tawaf of Hajj on the 10th, 11th, 12th of Dhul Hijjah.

After performing the Tawaf of Hajj, conjugal relations are permitted.

Step 10 - The Third Day of Hajj (10th Dhu al-Hijjah)

It is recommended to perform the Tawaf al-Ziyarah on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah.

It is Sunnah to spend the night in Mina on this day.

Step 11 - The Fourth Day of Hajj (11th Dhu al-Hijjah)

On the 11th of Dhul Hijjah it is sunnah to stone all three Jamarats between midday and sunset.

It is Sunnah to spend the night in Mina on this day.

Step 12 - The Fifth Day of Hajj (12th Dhu al-Hijjah)

On the 12th of Dhul Hijjah it is sunnah to stone all three Jamarats between midday and sunset.

You will now leave Mina before sunset.

Step 13 - Completing Your Hajj

It is necessary to carry out the farewell tawaf (Tawaf al-Wada) when you leave Makkah. This is the last rite of Hajj and the last action you will perform in Makkah al-Mukarramah. This tawaf is done without sa’ee.

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