Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 5: Sa'i between Safa and Marwah

Introduction to Fiqh-us-Sunnah

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Volume 5, Page 85a: Historical Background

Ibn 'Abbas said: 'Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) brought Hajar, his wife, and her son Isma'il (peace be upon them), whom she was still nursing, and left them at (the site of) the House of Allah under a tree above the Zamzam. Makkah at that time was a place where there was neither water nor any dweller. He left a bag of dates and a container of water for them. Then Ibrahim (peace be upon him) turned to go away. Isma'il's mother said to him, "O Ibrahim! Where are you going? And who are you leaving us to in this valley without a companion or a thing?" She repeated this several times but he did not respond. At last she asked him, "Has Allah commanded you to do so?" He answered, "Yes." Thereupon she said, "Then He will not let us perish!'' (Bukhari) In another narration we read: "She asked him, 'Who are you leaving us to?' He answered, 'To Allah' whereupon she responded, 'I am satisfied,' and turned back."

Ibrahim left and when he reached a mountain pass where he could no longer see them, he turned his face toward the Ka'bah and with his hands raised, supplicated, "O Our Lord! I have made of my offspring to dwell in a valley without cultivation by your Sacred House; in order Our Lord, that they may establish regular prayer: so fill the hearts of some among men with love towards them, and feed them with fruits, so that they may give thanks!" (Qur'an 14.37)

Hajar sat under the tree with her baby next to her. She drank from her water container hanging nearby, and nursed her baby, until all the water she had was gone, her milk dried out. Her son grew hungrier and hungrier. She could hardly bear to look at him. She went and stood at Safa - the hill nearest to her. She looked down the valley to see if there was someone around to help. She could see no one. So, she climbed down Safa and reached the valley. She struggled hard, crossed the valley and reached Marwah. She stood on Marwah, and looked around. Still she could see no one around. She repeated this seven times. Ibn 'Abbas added, "The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: 'It is (to commemorate this walk) that pilgrims walk between Safa and Marwah."'

Volume 5, Page 86: Its Legal Status

There is disagreement among scholars concerning the legal status of Sa'i between Safa and Marwah. These scholars may be divided into three groups:

-1- 'Aishah, and from among the Companions Ibn 'Umar, and Jabir hold that Sa'i of Safa and Marwah is an essential part of Hajj rites. Malik, AshShafi'i, and Ahmad (according to one narration from him) also hold a similar opinion. Thus if a pilgrim fails to perform Sa 'i his Hajj will be void and his offering of a sacrifice will not be enough to make up for it. These scholars based their opinion on the following:

-2- Ibn 'Abbas, Anas, Ibn Al-Zubair, Ibn Sirin, and Ahmad - according to one narration from him - hold that Sa'i is sunnah, which if not performed, no penalty is incurred by the person neglecting it.

It is reported that the Mushaf of Ubaiy and Ibn Mas'ud read " ..if those who visit the House in the season or at other times, should not compass them, it is no sin in them." This is not the Qur'anic text, but it does convey an important piece of information and an interpretation of the Qur'anic text.

-3- Abu Hanifah, Thawri and Hasan hold that Sa'i between Safa and Marwah is an essential rite (wajib), but it is not obligatory for Hajj and 'Umrah. Therefore, if a pilgrim failed to perform it, he must pay a penalty (slaughter a sheep in sacrifice).

The author of Al-Mughni prefers this opinion, and says:

-1- This is preferable, because the argument of those holding it to be wajib supports the absoluteness of the obligation rather than the principle that anything needed to fulfill an obligation (wajib) is also obligatory (wajib).

-2- 'Aishah's statement in this respect is different from what other Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) have narrated.

-3- The hadith of the daughter of Abi Tajrah has among its narrators one called Abdullah bin Al-Mu'mal, who is controversial. According to him it is obligatory, whereas it is only wajib.

-4- The verse quoted above was revealed concerning those people who feared they would be committing a sin if they walked between Safa and Marwah as they used to do in the days of Jahiliyya while two idols were set on top of Safa and Marwah.

Volume 5, Page 87: Prerequisites for Sa'i

For Sa'i to be valid and acceptable, it must meet the following conditions:

-1- Should be performed after tawaf.

-2- Must be performed in seven rounds.

-3- Must begin from Safa and end at Marwah.

-4- Must be performed in Al-Mas'a, the path between Safa and Marwah, because the Prophet (peace be upon him) did so, and moreover he explicitly told us: "Take your (religious) rites from me." Therefore, a Sa'i performed without performing tawaf prior to it, or one that starts from Marwah and ends at Safa, or is performed in a place other than the specified area (between Safa and Marwah), is void. (The Hanafi school holds that Sa`i after tawaf and beginning it at Safa and ending it at Marwah, are two essential conditions for the validity of Hajj . Thus if someone made a Sa`i before making tawaf, or begins his Sa`i at Marwah, and ends it at Safa, his Sa`i is valid, but he is required to slaughter an animal)

Volume 5, Page 88: Climbing the Safa Mountain

Climbing on op of Safa or Marwah is not a necessary condition for Sa'i, but one must walk back and forth the full distance between these two points. In case any part of this distance is left untraversed the Sa'i will remain incomplete.

Volume 5, Page 88a: Continuity of Sa'i Between Safa and Marwah

Continuity in Sa'i is not a necessary condition for its validity. (Malik holds. however. that continuity of Sa`i, without a long break, is a necessary condition for it) Thus if a pilgrim stops Sa'i (between Safa and Marwah) for some reason, e.g., it is prayer time and he joins the congregation, in all such cases he may resume his Sa'i when the reason forcing him to stop is no longer there, and begin from where he had left it.

It is reported that Ibn 'Umar used to perform Sa'i between Safa and Marwah, and whenever he had to answer the call of nature, he would stop, relieve himself, make ablution, and then go back and resume his Sa'i, (Reported by Sa'id bin Mansur) because the continuity in Sa'i is not required.

The author of Al-Mughni observes: "Ahmad says there is no harm in delaying the Sa'i after performing tauaf until one is rested, or postponing it until evening. 'Ata and Al-Hasan also see no harm in someone making tawaf early in the day and postponing the Sa'i between Safa and Marwah until evening. Al-Qasim and Sa'id bin Jubair followed this, because the continuity of Sa'i is, as such, not a condition, much less the continuity of tawaf and Sa'i.

Sa'id bin Mansur reported that Saudah, the wife of 'Urwah bin al-Zubair performed Sa 'i between Safa and Marwah and because she was a big and heavy woman, she completed it in three days.

Volume 5, Page 88b: Purification For Sa'i

Most scholars are of the opinion that purification is not necessary for performing Sa'i between Safa and Marwah, in light of what the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to 'Aishah once when she menstruated. He told her, "You may perform all rites (of Hajj ) as other pilgrims do, except performing tawaf around the Ka'bah which you may do after you are clean and no longer menstruating." (Muslim) 'Aishah and Umm Salamah said, "A woman who performs the tawaf, offers a two rak'ah prayer (by the Station of Ibrahim), and then finds that her period has started, may perform Sa'i between Safa and Marwah.'' (Reported by Sa'id bin Mansur) It is preferable, however, to be in a state of complete purity while performing various rites of Hajj or 'Umrah, because cleanliness is commendable in Islam.

Volume 5, Page 89: Riding and Walking During the Sa'i

Sa 'i may be performed either riding or walking, but walking is preferable. In the hadith narrated by Ibn 'Abbas we find that the Prophet (peace be upon him) performed Sa'i on foot, but when the overcrowding increased and he found that the people wanted to know more (about their religion), he rode his mount so that they could see him and ask him (whatever they wanted to ask).

Abu At-Tufail asked Ibn 'Abbas, "Tell me about the Sa'i between Safa and Marwah - is it (really) sunnah to perform it riding, for your people claim it is?" Ibn 'Abbas replied, "They are right, but they are wrong." Then he added, "The people crowded around the Prophet (peace be upon him), saying 'This is (Prophet) Muhammad, this is (Prophet) Muhammad. Even young girls came out of their houses to see him. So when the people overcrowded he mounted on his camel, because the people were not beaten back (to make way for the Prophet)."

Muslim reported that walking in Sa'i is better, and riding, though permitted, is disliked. Tirmizhi has reported that a group of knowledgeable people disliked that someone should perform tawaf of the House and make Sa'i between Safa and Marwah riding on a mount without any genuine excuse. This is the opinion of Ash-Shafi'i.

The Malikites hold that a person who performs Sa'i between Safa and Marwah riding without any genuine reason, must repeat it, if there is still time for him to do so. And if there is no time, then he must offer a sacrifice in penalty, because it is wajib (obligatory) for him if he is able to walk. Abu Hanifah holds a similar view. According to these scholars the Prophet (peace be upon him) performed the Sa'i riding because of the large number of people around him.

Volume 5, Page 89a: Jogging Between the Two Green Markers

Walking between Safa and Marwah is commended, except between the two markers where jogging is encouraged. The hadith of the daughter of Abi Tajrah tells us that the Prophet (peace be upon him) jogged so hard that his lower garment was wrapped around his body.

Thus jogging between these two markers is preferable, but walking is also permissible between them. Sa'id bin Jubair reported: "I have seen 'Umar walking between Safa and Marwah." Then he added, "If you want to, you may walk, because I have seen the Prophet (peace be upon him) walking. So, if you want to jog, you may jog, because I have seen the Prophet (peace be upon him) jogging, but I am an old man."l' This applies to a male pilgrim only. As for a woman, she is not required to walk fast between these two points. She should walk at her normal pace. Ash-Shafi'i has reported that once 'Aishah saw some women walking fast whereupon she said to them, "You should follow our example. You are not obligated to jog (while performing Sa'i)".

Volume 5, Page 90: Making Supplications on Safa and Marwah

Climbing Safa and Marwah and making supplications for one's material and spiritual well being and welfare is encouraged. During the supplications one should face Ka'bah.

It is well known that the Prophet (peace be upon him) went through the Safa gate, and on approaching Safa he recited the Qur'anic verse 2.158 "Verily, Safa and Marwah are among the symbols of Allah" and then saying "I begin with what Allah Himself began" he climbed Safa until he could see the Ka'bah from where he stood. He faced the Ka'bah, thrice proclaimed Allah's Oneness, glorified Him, praised Him, and then said, "There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah. He has no partners. To Him belongs the kingdom and all praise. He alone grants life and causes death, He has power over all things.

There is no God but He. He has fulfilled His promise, given victory to His servant, and He alone defeated the confederates." Thrice he made similar supplications. Then he walked toward Marwah and climbed it, until he could see the Ka'bah. There he made supplications as he had at Safa.

Nafi' has reported that he saw Abdullah bin 'Umar standing on Safa and supplicating in these words: "O Allah! You have said 'Call Me and I shall respond to your call.' Verily, You do not break Your promise. O Allah! I pray that just as You guided me to Islam, so divest me not of it until the day you cause me to die."

Volume 5, Page 90a: Supplications Between Safa and Marwah

Making supplications, remembrance of Allah, and reciting the Qur'an while walking between Safa and Marwah are all desirable. It is reported while making Sa'i the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to supplicate, "O my Lord, forgive me, have mercy upon me, and guide me to the straight path." Also he used to supplicate, "O my Lord, forgive me, and have mercy upon me. You are the most Honorable, most Dignified."

After performing Tawaf and Sa'i a pilgrim completes the rites of 'Umrah. Similarly a person performing Hajj Tamattu' may terminate his state of ihram by clipping some of his hair short or else shave it all. However, a pilgrim should keep his state of ihram if he is performing Hajj Qiran. Such a pilgrim may terminate his state of ihram on the Day of Sacrifice (Yaum un-Nahr) after the sacrifice. For a qarin pilgrim, this Sa'i will suffice in place of the one other pilgrims are required to make after Tawafal Fard when they return from Mina. As for those pilgrims who join Hajj with 'Umrah with a break in between (i.e., who make Hajj Tamattu'), they must perform another Sa'i and stay in Makkah until Yaum al-Tarwiya (the 8th of Zhul-Hijjah).

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