The correct months for Hajj

Question

Can you please clarify the correct months for Hajj, which God calls Hurum? I have been told that they are the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th months of the Islamic Calendar. Are these correct? If not, why are they not correct?

Reply

The claim that the months of Hajj start in the 9th month (Ramadan) are based on the incorrect interpretation of various Quranic words. The following is the analysis of this matter in the light of the Quran:

1-
God says in the Quran that He does not wish to cause the believers any hardship in practicing their religion:

You shall strive in the cause of God with the kind of striving that is due to Him. He has chosen you and has placed no hardship on you within the religion.
22:78

If the 9th month (Ramadan) is one of the months of Hajj, this would cause the believers untold hardship to fast the very long days of summer (when Ramadan falls during the summer months), and at the same time observe the rituals of Hajj which are physically very demanding at any time, let alone while fasting!
If God decreed Ramadan to be one of the months of Hajj, this would directly contradict the words we read in 22:78 about "no hardship". Needless to say, God is neither merciless, nor does God contradict His words.

2-
Those who claim that the 12th month of the Islamic (lunar) calendar is the last of the 4 Hurum Months of Hajj rely on an erroneous interpretation of 9:28. The words of this verse say:

O you who believe, the mushrikeen are nothing but pollution, so they shall not come near the Masjid Al-Haram after this year of theirs. If you fear loss of income, God will enrich you from His blessings if He so wills. God is Knowledgeable, Wise.
9:28

From
9:28, and particularly the words "after this year of theirs", they claim that the end of the Hajj months must coincide with the end of the lunar year! Thus, they claim that the 12th month of the year is also the last month of Hajj!
By going backwards, they conclude that the first of the 4 months of Hajj must be the 9th month, which is Ramadan.

This is not what
9:28 says, directly or indirectly. All what 9:28 says is that the mushrikeen will not come near the Masjid Al-Haram after the Hurum Months of that year. The Hurum Months of that year will be their last to approach the Masjid Al-Haram.
It also means that the year when 9:28 was revealed was the last year in which they were allowed to come near the Masjid Al-Haram.
The countdown does not have to start at the first month of the year to make it the last year for them to come near the Masjid Al-Haram.

Let us consider the following example:
"I used to smoke heavily in the past, but I stopped smoking completely in July 2008."
- From the above example we can say that the end of my smoking was in the month of July, and also that the end of my smoking was in the year 2008.
However, there is no justification to conclude that since July was the last month of my smoking, and that 2008 was also the last year of my smoking, that July must be the last month of the calendar year!

3-
We are told in 2:31 that it is God who gave everything its name. Thus it is God who named a tree a tree, and the sky the sky, and so on. It follows that it is also God who gave the months of the Islamic Calendar their names.
It is God who gave the month of Ramadan its name, and God who called the 12th month Dhu Al-Hijjah, which translates to: that (month) of the Hajj.

If we consider the claim that Hajj starts in the 9th month, which makes the 12th month the last month of Hajj, it would make no sense at all for God to give the last month of Hajj the name "the month of Hajj"! Not when there are 3 months preceding that are also months of Hajj!

Rather, God called the 12th month the month of the Hajj so that when it comes around people would know that it ushers in the start of the Hajj season.
Similarly, God called the 9th month Ramadan, so that when it comes around we would know that it is time to obey the command in the Quran to fast the month of Ramadan.

4-
Finally, and perhaps the most conclusive evidence, can be seen by reading the following verse which speaks of Hajj and Umrah:

You shall complete the Hajj and Umrah for God. If you are prevented, then make a convenient offering and do not shave your heads until the offering reaches its destination. And for the one who is ill or suffering a head injury, is given the concession of fasting or giving to charity, or by observing a worship ritual.
And if you are safe and well, then for those who progress from Umrah to Hajj, they shall make a convenient offering. And for those who are not able to, they shall fast three days during Hajj and seven on their return; this is a total of ten. This is for those whose family is not present at the Masjid Al-Haram. You shall revere God and know that God's punishment is severe. 2:196

Let us look closely at the following words:

"for those who are not able to (make an offering),
they shall fast three days during Hajj"

The question that arises is as follows:
If a man goes to observe his Hajj in the 9th month (as per the false claim), then he would also be fasting because it is Ramadan.
Why would God ask him to fast 3 days during Hajj when he is already fasting the whole month? Can anyone fast the same days twice? This piece of evidence tells us beyond doubt that Ramadan can never be one of the months of Hajj.

Conclusion:
The false claim that the 4 Hurum Months start in the 9th month contradicts all the above Quranic evidence. It must thus be discarded and we should follow the correct sequence that is substantiated by the Quran.
The first of the Hurum Months is the 12th month of the year, and that is why God called it the "month of the Hajj" since it ushers in the Hajj season.
The Quran also tells us that the months of Hajj are consecutive, this evidence is given in the word "insalakha" in 9:5, which means 'passed in succession'. Therefore, the months of Hajj are the 12th, 1st, 2nd and 3rd months of the Islamic Calendar.
They are the months of:
- Dhu Al-Hijjah
- Muharram
- Safar
- Rabi Al-Awwal