Hajj and its rites were first ordained by Allah in the time of the Prophet lbrahim. As a test of faith, Allah had commanded Prophet Ibrahim, to leave his wife, Hajar and his son, Ismail in a desert located between the two hills of Safa and Marwah in Makkah with only basic provisions.
The Rite of Sa’i
After Prophet Ibrahim had left them both there, their provisions soon ran out and Hajar, ran back and forth from hill to hill, seven times searching for water for her parched child. The rite of Sa’i, which is performed by pilgrims during Hajj and Umrah, is a re-enactment of the actions performed by Hajar during her search for water.
A miracle occured where a spring of water from the earth, which is now known as the Zamzam well, sprang from the ground and saved both of them. Prophet Ibrahim eventually came back and retrieved his family from the desert.
Kaabah as the Place of Pilgrimage
Years later, Prophet Ibrahim and his son, Ismail were instructed to construct a monument in dedication to Allah near the site of the Zamzam well. This monument, the Kaabah, was to become a place of pilgrimage for the worship of the one true God. After they built the Kaabah, Allah commanded Prophet Ibrahim to proclaim a pilgrimage to the site — in other words, the Hajj — to all mankind so that they can come together in one place to show their devotion.
Centuries down the line, the people of Makkah abandoned the worship of one God and denigrated into idolatry and polytheism, during a period known as the Jahiliyyah (the Age of Ignorance). During this time, the Kaabah was surrounded by 360 idols and statues depicting human and animal deities which were openly worshipped.
The Time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
In 610 CE, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) received his first revelations from Allah during which he was divinely instructed to re-establish monotheism. Twenty years after the first revelation, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had amassed enough religious and political authority to gain victory in Makkah, the city where he was born and where he suffered much persecution at the hands of its inhabitants. He destroyed the idols in and around the Kaabah and rededicated it to the worship of one God.
Jabal al-Rahmah is the site where Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) delivered his farewell sermon. In 623 CE (10 AH), shortly before his demise, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) personally led his one and only Hajj, known as Hajj al-Wida, accompanied by thousands of companions. He gave his farewell sermon at Jabal Arafat, where he emphasised the equality and unity of the Muslim Ummah, a symbol of the egalitarian nature of the Hajj pilgrimage. The Hajj, as performed by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on that occasion, continues to this day.
Throughout Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) time, Muslims faced restrictions to access the holy site of Makkah and thus, were denied their rights to practice the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages. Makkah was occupied by Arabs who were indulged in worshipping of idols and were not ready to accept the truth and brightness of Islam. Due to trouble that were caused by the non- believers, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Muslims fled from Makkah and made Madina their second home where they were welcomed wholeheartedly.
The Treaty of Hudaibiyyah
During this time, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) knew the strong desire of Muslims to visit Makkah and perform Umrah. In 628 CE, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) made the decision to finally go to Makkah so they could perform the pilgrimage. He and his followers were stopped at Hudaibiya and were refused entry by the Quraysh (a local tribe). Even after Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) explained that they only wished to perform the pilgrimage, the Quraysh did not allow them to pass through.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) refused to use force to enter Makkah so, diplomatic negotiations were pursued. An agreement was drawn up and signed in regards to visit Makkah and it is known as the “Treaty of Hudaybiyyah”. The agreement was signed for 10 years as a peace maintaining agreement between the parties. Muslims were not allowed to perform the Umrah that year but were asked to come back the following year for the purpose.
The First Umrah
The first Umrah was the first pilgrimage that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the Muslims made after the migration to Madina. It took place on the morning of the fourth day of in 629 CE (7 AH), after the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah in 628 CE and the first Umrah lasted for three days.
The Succession of Makkah
In 630 CE, Muslims had become a formidable force and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) decided to attack Makkah along with the suggestions of companions and of course by the will of Allah.
On arrival of Muslims at Makkah, the leaders of Quraysh realised that they were not able to fight against the Muslims so they chose to surrender. They were terrified about the impending conquest of theirs. However, Prophet Muhammad was a merciful person and in accordance to his personality he claimed forgiveness for all of the ones who had no longer wish to fight against Muslims and forgave even the most ardent foes.
This victory of Muslims is known as “Succession of Makkah” and even for today is an exemplary case to wind up a conflict without any bloodshed.