Hazrat Shah Abdul Aziz saheb (Rah) of Delhi; the famous scholar of hadith and tafseer; says in his commentary of the Qur’an ‘Fathe Azizee’: ‘Whosoever deals lightly; and discards, the aadaab of any duty shall be deprived of the sunnah by way of punishment, and whosoever thinks lightly of the sunnah and discards it shall be deprived of the obligatory duties (Fardh) by way of punishment, and whosoever deals lightly with obligatory duties shall as punishment be deprived of the true knowledge and recognition of Allah’. The above quotation is a reason why we find in the hadith that a verdict of kufr (disbelief or rejection of faith); is given against some people, because disregard of proper procedure in action leads to it. In the light of this it is deduced that importance of following the proper etiquette and aadaab of any Islamic injunction is necessary. Should one be forced to neglect any etiquette for a special reason; then there shall be no blame attached to that; although one should never loose the sight of the importance of that point. Under no circumstances should such action be left aside willfully as if it is of no consequence. The Ulama of Islam have divided the duties of a Muslim into various stages of importance, and with great care did they preserve and compile them. Careful study of these compilations and to seek and avail oneself of the company of the learned ones will bring all these things home to us. Here I only wish to mention some of the aaddaab of Haj in broad outlines.
1. When Allah bestows His favor on any fortunate person to perform the obligatory Haj or nafl Haj; he should not delay at all in the execution of that duty; particularly the fardh Haj. Under no circumstances should it be postponed unnecessarily, because this only affords shaytaan the opportunity to involve one in unnecessary activities, which will keep him so busy that, the journey to the Holy Places becomes postponed or cancelled. Hazrat Ibn Abbaas R.A. reports that Allah says in the Qur’an that the Shaytaan said: ‘Because Thou hast thrown me out of the way, lo! I will lie in wait for them on Thy straight way’.
The straight path mentioned here is the path of Islam, in which all the walks of Islamic life are included. In commenting on the verse Hazrat Ibn Abbaas R.A. is reported to have said: ‘according to ‘Ithaaf’; that this verse refers especially to the path of Haj. The evil accursed one; shaytaan sits on that route and in every manner causes them; the pilgrims; to worry and despair by way of obstacles, and by also providing for them numerous excuses in order to stop them from performing Haj properly.
Shaytaan’s major aim with the Hajis’ enroute to Mecca is to particularly stop them from being able to gather at Arafaat; where their hearts will cry out in repentance to Allah; and where particularly their every sin will be forgiven. For this reason every Haji should regard every obstacle in his journey as being from the shaytan and must try and fight against his (shaytaan’s) efforts which on the journey to Haj may cause them grief, unrest, inconvenience and worry. It is apparent that when Haj, in particular, is the one sure means of the unreserved and total forgiveness from Allah for the Haji at Arafaat; and when it is a devastating blow to the untiring efforts of the shaytaan; then; on the Haj journey; shaytaan will certainly do his utmost to cause the Haji some inconvenience and worry; so as to make him uncertain and despondent.
2. It is sunnah to perform Istikhaara when one intends to go on a journey; however when a person desires to perform any righteous deed; no Istikhaara is necessary. Yet, where Haj is concerned, it is advisable that Istikhaara should be made before one proceeds. This will not be for asking Allah to assist us in deciding whether to go or not; but as to which route should be taken, or when one must proceed etc. Hazrat Jaabir R.A. reports; ‘Rasulullah Sal’am used to teach us the chapters of the Qur’an’; and he (Sal’am) used to say: ‘When any important matter faces you; for your decision; perform two Rak’ahs for Allah and thereafter recite this prayer……’ The Istikhaara dua is well know and can be found in most of the booklets on Haj.
3. It is the duty of every intending Haji to learn the details and mass’il of Haj. Hazrat Ibn Ameerul Haaj R.A writes that for a Haji it is the most important duty to learn everything he is required to do before proceeding for Haj; during Haj; and after Haj; as Rasulullah Sal’am has made it obligatory on every person to seek knowledge. For this reason it is necessary that one should learn all that which is fardh, sunnah, makrooh and haraam in Haj. (see ‘Madkhal’)
In Urdu there are numerous books in this respect. One should acquire a suitable one and study it thoroughly a few times at least before commencing the journey; so that during Haj this most important duty is not performed incompletely or incorrectly as a result of one’s ignorance. Even the ulama groups are not exempted from this. It is one thing to teach others how to perform Haj; and all the details go with it; and completely another thing when it comes to being in the know when the need arises. On the other hand; where the ulama may only be required to glance through such books; the general public has to study it much more intensely. For such people it would be most advisable to travel the Haj journey in the company of an Aalim, who knows the rules; so that when any doubts arise in the mind, or when the need is felt; the correct procedure may be obtained from him. In all humbleness I would recommend three Haj guide books:
a. Zubdatul Manaasik; by Maulana Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi.
b. Mu’allimul Hujjaj.: by Maulana Saeed Ahmad Saheb.
c. Ziyaratul Harmayn: by Maulan Aashiq Ilahi Saheb.
Besides these three, many other books written by reliable pious ulama.