The eighth of Dhul-Hijjah is the first day of Hajj, which starts after the Maghrib prayers of the seventh of Dhul-Hijjah.
Steps to perform Hajj as per Sunnah
Ihram and Niyah: Ihram literally means to make Haram (forbidden). When a Hajj pilgrim pronounces the Niyah (intention) of Hajj and Umrah and says Talbiyah (Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik…), certain Halal (permissible) things become Haram for him. This combined action of Niyah and Talbiyah is called Ihram. The two sheets that a pilgrim wears are symbolically known as Ihram, but the Ihram is actually the Niyah and Talbiyah.
Departure to Mina: Pilgrims proceed towards Mina after the sunrise. They utter the Talbiyah, as often as they can. Pilgrims have to offer Zuhr, Asr, Maghrib, Isha prayers and spend the night of eight Dhul-Hijjah (first day of Hajj) in Mina.
Departure to Arafat and performing Waquf: After offering Fajr prayer in Mina on the Ninth of Dhul-Hijjah (second day of Hajj), pilgrims leave for Arafat. Wuquf-e- Arafat starts at declining of sun and ends at the sunset. It is better (Afzal) to do Wuquf while standing, but it is allowed to sit as well. This whole time is spent reciting Talbiyah, repenting on sins, uttering supplications and asking Allah (swt) for His forgiveness. Zuhr and Asr prayers are offered combined at Zuhr time, if prayed in Masjid-e-Namrah, and offered separately, if away from Masjid-e-Namrah.
Departure to Muzdalifah: When the sun sets, pilgrims proceed to Muzdalifah, without offering Maghrib prayer, reciting supplications and Talbiyah. Maghrib and Isha prayers are offered together at Isha time. There is one Iqamah and one Adhan for both prayers. Night in Muzdalifah is a blessed night, which is spent in reciting supplications, Quran and Talbiyah. Pebbles of the size of chick peas are collected in order to perform Ramy (stoning the Shaytan) in Mina. Two Rakah Sunnah are offered at Fajr prayer before Fard and Waquf is performed. Pilgrims proceed to Mina when sun is about to rise.
Perform Ramy (stoning the Shaytan) in Mina: On the tenth of Dhul-Hijjah (third day of Hajj), pilgrims hit Jamrah-Aqabah with seven pebbles one after the other. Talbiyah is stopped, when pilgrims throw the first pebble. After Ramy, pilgrims leave Mina to perform the sacrifice (Qurbani).
Offer a sacrifice: Three days are designated for sacrificing an animal: the tenth, eleventh and twelfth of Dhul-Hijjah. It can be done anytime during day and night.
Get your hair cut (Qasr) or shaved (Halq): Halq or Qasr is done after the sacrifice (Qurbani). If the sacrifice is postponed, Halq or Qasr will be postponed too. It is also a Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (sa). After Halq or Qasr, prohibitions of Ihram are lifted, except private relations between husband and wife, which are permissible after Tawaf-e-Ziarah only.
Perform the Tawaf and Sai: It can be done any time, day or night, from tenth of Dhul-Hijjah to the sunset of twelfth Dhul-Hijjah.
Repeat Sai after Sundown on the Fourth and Fifth days: Pilgrims perform Sai after Tawaf-e–Ziarah. It is a Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (sa) to make sure that your Wudu is intact.
Return to Mina: Pilgrims return to Mina after performing Sai, where they spend the night.
Ramy of Jamarat: Pilgrims throw pebbles on each of the tree Jamarat on eleventh and twelfth of Dhul-Hijjah after Zawal (decline of the sun).
Tawaf-e-Widah: After Hajj, it is obligatory on pilgrims to perform Tawaf-e-Wida (Farewell Tawaf). This is performed when pilgrims are leaving Makkah for their homeland.
Eid-ul-Adha – The Tenth of Dhul-Hijjah: Muslims around the world celebrate Eid-ul-Adha. Muslims offer Eid prayers any time after the sun completely rises but before the Zuhr time. The Sunnah of preparation for Eid-ul-Azha prayer includes- making Wudu, offering Fajr prayers and wearing best clothes available. It is a Sunnah of Allah’s (swt) messenger Ibrahim (as).
Allah (swt) mentions in The Quran, “It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is piety from you that reaches Him. Thus have We made them subject to you that you may magnify Allah for His Guidance to you. And give glad tidings (O Muhammad (sa)) to the Muhsinun (doers of good).” (Al-Hajj 22:37)
Slaughtering animal with one’s own hands and distributing the meat among family and Mustahikeen (deserving people) is a Sunnah of Allah’s (swt) Messenger (sa). (Bukhari)
Dhul-Hijjah is a month of great importance for all Muslims. Besides Hajj and Eid-ul-Adha, it is a great opportunity for Muslims to do as many good deeds as possible in the prescribed days of this sacred month.
Ibn Abbas (ra) has narrated that:the Prophet (sa) said: “No good deeds done on other days are superior to those on these (first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah).” Then some companions of the Prophet (sa) said, “Not even Jihad?” He replied: “Not even Jihad, except that of a man who does it by putting himself and his property in danger (for Allah’s (swt) sake) and does not return with any of those things.” (Bukhari)
May Allah (swt) make us the people of Taqwa and prevent us from falling into the footsteps of those, who failed before us. Ameen.