Email with question:
I have been content to follow the Quran alone in which I found all the answers, however, I was told that the Quran does not tell us which are the sacred months of Hajj. The Quran only tells us that four months are sacred (9:36). I was also told that these details, and other similar details which we need to practice Islam, can only be found in the hadith. Can you please advise as to how do we know which are the sacred months designated by God for Hajj by using the Quran?
First, it is necessary to correct the translation which you used.
In 9:36, God calls the four months ‘hurum’. The word ‘hurum’ does not mean sacred as most translators wrote!
Haram, Hurum and Ihram – The word ‘hurum’ (adjective) is used in the Quran in connection with the Hajj and it describes the state in which the pilgrims observe ‘ihram’ for the duration of the Hajj. The word ‘ihram’ (noun) is the state of abstention that must be maintained by the pilgrims while they are observing their Hajj. The Quran decrees abstention from various activities during Hajj such as warfare, hunting and others.
The word ‘hurum’ is also used to describe the four months appointed by God for Hajj (see 9:36). The word ‘haram’, as in 5:2, is also used as an adjective for the months of Hajj.
In addition, the Kaaba, which is the focal point for Hajj, is given the name the ‘Masjid Al-Haram’.
The words ‘hurum’ and ‘haram’ do not mean sacred as translated by some translators.
In 5:1 God says ‘You shall not permit hunting while you are hurum’. God is not saying here that we should not hunt when we are sacred! Rather, that we should not hunt while we are observing ‘ihram’ (abstentions). The word used in the Quran for sacred is‘muqqaddas’ as in (20:12). Therefore, the ‘Masjid Al-Haram’, which is the name given to the mosque in Mecca, is the Masjid where ‘ihram’ (abstention) is practiced.
In connection with the claim that the Quran does not tell us the exact months which are designed by God for Hajj, we first need to look at the following Quranic words:
[2:31] And He (God) taught Adam all the names then presented them to the angels, saying, “Inform Me the names of these if you are right.”
The above words confirm that it was God who gave everything its name, long before we were created. God taught Adam the names of all things and which were already set by God.
It is God who called Adam his name and it is God who gave all of us our names. Our parents may think that it was they who selected our names, but in realty, our names were already decided by God, then our parents were inspired to select our specific names.
Similarly, it is God who called the tree a tree and, the sky as the sky, and so on.
It is God who named all the months of the calendar including the month which ushers the beginning of Hajj, which is “Zhu Al-Hijjah”, which translates to: the (month) of Hajj. God gave this month its name so that when God commands us to observe Hajj we would know when to start.
This in concept is not any different from the fact that it is God who named our face as “face” so that when God tells us to wash our faces (wujuhakum) in 5:6 we would know exactly where to find our face.
We do not hear the hadith followers saying that the Quran does not tell us where to find our faces!!
God does not need to tell us where to find our faces since God made this information known to us, just like God does not need to tell us when to start the Hajj since God also made that information known to us.
We are also given the info in 9:36 that the months of Hajj are 4.
Thus the months for Hajj start with the month of Zhu Al-Hijja and continue for the 3 months to follow, a total 4 months.
It is also God who called the month of Ramadan, so that when God commands us in 2:185 to fast the month of Ramadan we would know exactly when to fast.