How to Perform Hajj

Fiqh (Islamic law and literature based on the teachings of the holy Quran and the traditions of Prophet Muhammad) describes in detail carrying out the rites of Hajj, and pilgrims generally follow handbooks and expert guides to successfully fulfill the requirements of Hajj. 

It is remarkable to mention that hajj mostly commemorates events in the life of the Prophet Ibrahim.

Step 1


Every pilgrim has to be clear about their intent (niyyah) whether for Umrah or Hajj before they start their journey.

Step 2


Ihram is a sacred state in which every pilgrim must enter before crossing the pilgrimage boundary, known as Miqat, both physically and spiritually. 


They leave material life behind and come in a state of submissiveness for Allah.


A Muslim must not use any scents on the body or on the robes, they must be clean (purified) before wearing the white seamless ihram clothing (different for men and women), and then praying two Raka’at (units of Islamic prayers) of Salat al-ihram signaling the start of a pilgrim’s ihram.


There are other various guidelines for ihram that are mandatory (mustahab) as instructed by the Prophet (PBUH) and others that are preferable.


When flying on pilgrimage, measures are often taken so that pilgrims will remain in the state of ihram when flying above or alongside the stations of miqat (the destination points from where pilgrims start their Hajj & Umrah).


The ihram is meant to show equality of all pilgrims with no difference between the rich and the poor, men and women in front of Allah.


There are different destination options for Miqat for pilgrims traveling to the holy land:

  • Dhu’l Hulaifah (Abbyar Ali) is the miqat for pilgrims coming from or through Madinah to perform Hajj al-Tamatt’u.
  • Al-Juhfah (near Rabigh) is the miqat for pilgrims coming from or through the Levant countries, Morocco, Egypt or Sudan.
  • Qarn-al manazil (As-Sail Al-Kabeer) is the miqat for pilgrims coming from or through Najd or Taif, including the GCC countries.
  • Yalamlam (Sa’adiyah) is the miqat for pilgrims coming from or through India, Pakistan or Yemen.
  • Dhat `Irq is the miqat for pilgrims coming from or through Iraq.

Step 3


Talbiyah is the unique prayer said while on the journey towards Makkah, in supplication to attain Ihram.  It is the conviction that they intend to perform the Hajj only for Allah. By repeating it over and over, they get themselves ready for the spiritual journey and further from non-spiritual concerns. Each pilgrim has to repeat the supplication:

 “لَبَّيْكَ ٱللَّٰهُمَّ لَبَّيْكَ، لَبَّيْكَ لَا شَرِيكَ لَكَ لَبَّيْكَ، إِنَّ ٱلْحَمْدَ وَٱلنِّعْمَةَ لَكَ وَٱلْمُلْكَ لَا شَرِيكَ لَكَ”

“Here I am O Allah, here I am. Here I am.You have no partners (other gods). To You alone is all praise and all excellence, and to You is all sovereignty. There is no partner to You.”

First Day

Tarwiyah day - Dhul-Hijjah 8

This is where the rituals of Hajj in the sacred mosque begins.

Step 4


This involves circumambulating the holy Kaaba (built by Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH)) in a counterclockwise direction. Pilgrims are required to make seven circuits; the first three rounds should be fast and the remaining four should be slower (in practice today however, the sheer size of pilgrims makes everyone virtually go slower). 

In the course of the circumambulation, pilgrims seek to touch or kiss the sacred Black stone (a rock set into the eastern corner of the Kaaba as an Islamic relic dating back from the time of Adam and Eve. Pilgrims seek to emulating the actions of Prophet Muhammad) while saying Takbir (Allahu Akbar - God is the Greatest)

Once pilgrims finish their tawaf, they pray at Maqam Ibrahim (the place of Prophet Ibrahim; where he prayed when building the Kaaba). With this step, they conclude Umrah, the essential step in order to fulfill Hajj.

Step 5


Sa’i is the ritual of walking back and forth between two hills known as Safa and Marwa seven times. 

Sa’i, whereby pilgrims re-enact the journey by Hagar, the Prophet Ibrahim's wife, as she desperately went between two small hills in Makkah, Safa and Marwa, searching for water for her infant son Ismail. Her search only ended when Ismail stamped his foot and the water of Zamzam well came gushing from the spot. Pilgrims must pace between the two points seven times as well. After prayer at Maqam Ibrahim, pilgrims also drink water from the Zamzam well, which is made available in coolers throughout the Mosque.

After completing Umrah rituals, Hajj al-Tamatt’u pilgrims must assume the state of Ihram and declare their intentions and repeat Ihram to do Hajj again.

Step 6

Departure to Minah

After praying Fajr (one of the five mandatory daily prayers that occurs at dawn) in Makkah pilgrims will head towards Mina city. It lies around eight kilometers away from Makkah. Pilgrims will remain in the valley of Mina until the sunrise of the second day. While in Mina they will pray Zuhur, Asr, Maghrib, Isha, and Fajr (all five mandatory daily prayers).

Second Day

Arafah day - Dhul-Hijjah 9

Step 7

Departure to Arafah

Pilgrims depart Mina, heading towards Arafah, a Mount located around 20km away from Makkah. 

It is typically an Islamic holiday and fasting on the Day of Arafah for non-pilgrims is considered to be Sunnah; entailing great rewards and forgiveness of all sins. 

Here, pilgrims will spend their afternoon repeating Duaa (prayer and supplication) and Dhikr. Wuquf (standing before God) is considered one of the most significant parts of Hajj rites; as pilgrims continue repenting and praying to Allah on Mount Arafah, commonly known as the Mountain of Mercy. 

Mount Arafah also has historic Islamic significance, as it is the main ritual related to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) climbing the mountain and preaching his last sermon during the Farewell Pilgrimage (the last and only pilgrimage he participated in).

Step 8

Departure to Muzdalifah

After the sun sets, pilgrims will head to an open level land southeast of Mina named Muzdalifah where they will stay overnight and pray, jointly Maghrib and Isha. Here, Muslims will collect jamarat (pebbles) for the next phase of the Hajj process.

third Day

First Day of Eid Al Adha and Ramy Al Jamarat - Dhul-Hijjah 10

Step 9

Stoning of the Devil

Near the city of Mina lie three stone walls. Pilgrims will throw the pebbles that they collected from Muzdalifah towards the stone walls symbolizing the “stoning of the devil”. This ends the second day of Hajj.

Stoning of the devil is regarded as a reenactment of Prophet Ibrahim's pilgrimage, where he stoned each of the three pillars seven times against the devil who asked him to defy Allah’s commands. It is also a symbol for challenging oneself and casting aside all low desires.

Step 10


Pilgrims and Muslims around the world will slaughter an animal as a sacrifice. The origin of this ritual also goes back to Prophet Ibrahim when he was commanded by Allah to sacrifice his own son Ismail as a testament of faith. Ibrahim was willing to execute when at the last minute, Allah commanded him to sacrifice an animal instead as a reward to his unwavering faith. 

Pilgrims are following Prophet Muhammad’s teachings during his farewell pilgrimage when he sacrificed a few camels, ate little from what they sacrificed then gave the rest for charity. 

Sacrificing animals for non-pilgrims is also optional for those who can afford it, and they typically sacrifice a goat, sheep, cow or camel and make sure to share it with the poor and charity in their communities. 

In modern times, pilgrims now buy a sacrifice voucher in Makkah before heading for Hajj, which allows for a sacrifice in their name without them being physically present.

Step 11

Halq or Taqsir

Pilgrims must either cut their hair or shave it completely (for women, it’s typically cutting just a single lock of hair) after animal sacrifice rituals to signify rebirth on their spiritual journey.

Fourth Day

Three days of Tashreeq - Dhu al-Hijjah 11-13

Step 12

Tawaf and Sa’i

Pilgrims will head back to Makkah to perform tawaf and Sa’i. They will continue going back and forth seven times.

Step 13

Stoning of the Devil

During the final days of Hajj, pilgrims would stay in Mina to stone again against the three pillars as reaffirmation of their submission to Allah. Pilgrims would stone each pillar with seven small pebbles while repeating “Allahu Akbar”.

The last day of Hajj is not mandatory, so every pilgrim can choose to stay on the 12th of Dhu al-Hijjah and continue ramy al jamarat or to leave Mina for Makkah before sunset or to perform the ritual again on the 13th before heading to Makkah.

Step 14

Tawaf Al-Ifadha

The last rite of Hajj is crucial to complete every pilgrim’s Hajj journey successfully. Once they reach Makkah, they will circumambulate the Kaaba seven times as per Prophet Muhammad’s guidance then pray two rakaat in Masjid Al-haram.

Disclaimer: All content related to religious protocols and details on Hajj & Umrah processes etc has been compiled from multiple credible resources and is not to be considered as an official religious guidance.