Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 5: Sa'i between Safa and Marwah
Ibn 'Abbas said: 'Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) brought Hajar, hiswife, and her son Isma'il (peace be upon them), whom she was still nursing, andleft 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 (peacebe 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 acompanion or a thing?" She repeated this several times but he did notrespond. At last she asked him, "Has Allah commanded you to do so?"He answered, "Yes." Thereupon she said, "Then He will not let usperish!'' (Bukhari) In another narration we read: "She asked him, 'Who areyou leaving us to?' He answered, 'To Allah' whereupon she responded, 'I amsatisfied,' and turned back."
Ibrahim left and when he reached a mountain pass where he could no longersee 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 valleywithout cultivation by your Sacred House; in order Our Lord, that they mayestablish regular prayer: so fill the hearts of some among men with lovetowards 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 watercontainer hanging nearby, and nursed her baby, until all the water she had wasgone, her milk dried out. Her son grew hungrier and hungrier. She could hardlybear to look at him. She went and stood at Safa - the hill nearest to her. Shelooked down the valley to see if there was someone around to help. She couldsee no one. So, she climbed down Safa and reached the valley. She struggledhard, crossed the valley and reached Marwah. She stood on Marwah, and lookedaround. Still she could see no one around. She repeated this seven times. Ibn'Abbas added, "The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: 'It is (tocommemorate this walk) that pilgrims walk between Safa and Marwah."'
There is disagreement among scholars concerning the legal status of Sa'ibetween Safa and Marwah. These scholars may be divided into three groups:
-1- 'Aishah, and from among the Companions Ibn 'Umar, and Jabir hold thatSa'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 offeringof a sacrifice will not be enough to make up for it. These scholars based theiropinion on the following:
-2- Ibn 'Abbas, Anas, Ibn Al-Zubair, Ibn Sirin, and Ahmad - according to onenarration from him - hold that Sa'i is sunnah, which if not performed, nopenalty is incurred by the person neglecting it.
It is reported that the Mushaf of Ubaiy and Ibn Mas'ud read " ..ifthose who visit the House in the season or at other times, should not compassthem, it is no sin in them." This is not the Qur'anic text, but it doesconvey 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 isan 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 (slaughtera 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 wajibsupports the absoluteness of the obligation rather than the principle thatanything needed to fulfill an obligation (wajib) is also obligatory (wajib).
-2- 'Aishah's statement in this respect is different from what otherCompanions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) have narrated.
-3- The hadith of the daughter of Abi Tajrah has among its narrators onecalled Abdullah bin Al-Mu'mal, who is controversial. According to him it isobligatory, whereas it is only wajib.
-4- The verse quoted above was revealed concerning those people who fearedthey would be committing a sin if they walked between Safa and Marwah as theyused to do in the days of Jahiliyya while two idols were set on top of Safa andMarwah.
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, becausethe Prophet (peace be upon him) did so, and moreover he explicitly told us:"Take your (religious) rites from me." Therefore, a Sa'i performedwithout performing tawaf prior to it, or one that starts from Marwah and endsat Safa, or is performed in a place other than the specified area (between Safaand Marwah), is void. (The Hanafi school holds that Sa`i after tawaf andbeginning it at Safa and ending it at Marwah, are two essential conditions forthe validity of Hajj . Thus if someone made a Sa`i before making tawaf, orbegins his Sa`i at Marwah, and ends it at Safa, his Sa`i is valid, but he is requiredto slaughter an animal)
Climbing on op of Safa or Marwah is not a necessary condition for Sa'i, butone must walk back and forth the full distance between these two points. Incase any part of this distance is left untraversed the Sa'i will remainincomplete.
Continuity in Sa'i is not a necessary condition for its validity. (Malikholds. however. that continuity of Sa`i, without a long break, is a necessarycondition for it) Thus if a pilgrim stops Sa'i (between Safa and Marwah) forsome reason, e.g., it is prayer time and he joins the congregation, in all suchcases 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, relievehimself, make ablution, and then go back and resume his Sa'i, (Reported bySa'id bin Mansur) because the continuity in Sa'i is not required.
The author of Al-Mughni observes: "Ahmad says there is no harm indelaying the Sa'i after performing tauaf until one is rested, or postponing ituntil evening. 'Ata and Al-Hasan also see no harm in someone making tawaf earlyin 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-Zubairperformed Sa 'i between Safa and Marwah and because she was a big and heavywoman, she completed it in three days.
Most scholars are of the opinion that purification is not necessary forperforming Sa'i between Safa and Marwah, in light of what the Prophet (peace beupon him) said to 'Aishah once when she menstruated. He told her, "You mayperform all rites (of Hajj ) as other pilgrims do, except performing tawafaround the Ka'bah which you may do after you are clean and no longermenstruating." (Muslim) 'Aishah and Umm Salamah said, "A woman whoperforms the tawaf, offers a two rak'ah prayer (by the Station of Ibrahim), andthen finds that her period has started, may perform Sa'i between Safa andMarwah.'' (Reported by Sa'id bin Mansur) It is preferable, however, to be in astate of complete purity while performing various rites of Hajj or 'Umrah,because cleanliness is commendable in Islam.
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 uponhim) performed Sa'i on foot, but when the overcrowding increased and he foundthat the people wanted to know more (about their religion), he rode his mountso 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 Safaand Marwah - is it (really) sunnah to perform it riding, for your people claimit is?" Ibn 'Abbas replied, "They are right, but they arewrong." Then he added, "The people crowded around the Prophet (peacebe 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 peopleovercrowded 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, thoughpermitted, is disliked. Tirmizhi has reported that a group of knowledgeablepeople disliked that someone should perform tawaf of the House and make Sa'ibetween Safa and Marwah riding on a mount without any genuine excuse. This isthe opinion of Ash-Shafi'i.
The Malikites hold that a person who performs Sa'i between Safa and Marwahriding without any genuine reason, must repeat it, if there is still time forhim to do so. And if there is no time, then he must offer a sacrifice inpenalty, because it is wajib (obligatory) for him if he is able to walk. AbuHanifah holds a similar view. According to these scholars the Prophet (peace beupon him) performed the Sa'i riding because of the large number of peoplearound him.
Walking between Safa and Marwah is commended, except between the two markerswhere jogging is encouraged. The hadith of the daughter of Abi Tajrah tells usthat the Prophet (peace be upon him) jogged so hard that his lower garment waswrapped around his body.
Thus jogging between these two markers is preferable, but walking is alsopermissible between them. Sa'id bin Jubair reported: "I have seen 'Umarwalking between Safa and Marwah." Then he added, "If you want to, youmay walk, because I have seen the Prophet (peace be upon him) walking. So, ifyou want to jog, you may jog, because I have seen the Prophet (peace be uponhim) 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. Sheshould walk at her normal pace. Ash-Shafi'i has reported that once 'Aishah sawsome women walking fast whereupon she said to them, "You should follow ourexample. You are not obligated to jog (while performing Sa'i)".
Climbing Safa and Marwah and making supplications for one's material andspiritual well being and welfare is encouraged. During the supplications oneshould face Ka'bah.
It is well known that the Prophet (peace be upon him) went through the Safagate, 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 "Ibegin with what Allah Himself began" he climbed Safa until he could seethe Ka'bah from where he stood. He faced the Ka'bah, thrice proclaimed Allah'sOneness, glorified Him, praised Him, and then said, "There is no deityworthy of worship except Allah. He has no partners. To Him belongs the kingdomand all praise. He alone grants life and causes death, He has power over allthings.
There is no God but He. He has fulfilled His promise, given victory to Hisservant, and He alone defeated the confederates." Thrice he made similarsupplications. Then he walked toward Marwah and climbed it, until he could seethe Ka'bah. There he made supplications as he had at Safa.
Nafi' has reported that he saw Abdullah bin 'Umar standing on Safa andsupplicating in these words: "O Allah! You have said 'Call Me and I shallrespond to your call.' Verily, You do not break Your promise. O Allah! I praythat just as You guided me to Islam, so divest me not of it until the day youcause me to die."
Making supplications, remembrance of Allah, and reciting the Qur'an whilewalking between Safa and Marwah are all desirable. It is reported while makingSa'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." Alsohe used to supplicate, "O my Lord, forgive me, and have mercy upon me. Youare 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 byclipping some of his hair short or else shave it all. However, a pilgrim shouldkeep his state of ihram if he is performing Hajj Qiran. Such a pilgrim mayterminate his state of ihram on the Day of Sacrifice (Yaum un-Nahr) after thesacrifice. For a qarin pilgrim, this Sa'i will suffice in place of the oneother pilgrims are required to make after Tawafal Fard when they return fromMina. 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 inMakkah until Yaum al-Tarwiya (the 8th of Zhul-Hijjah).