Sa’i is an Arabic word which means ritual walking in Pilgrimage. It is the going back and forth seven times between hills of Safa and Marwah that is done during the Hajj or the Umrah. Safa and Marwah are two small hills located in the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca. The walkway is entirely covered by a gallery and is divided into four one-way lanes, of which the inner two are reserved for the elderly and disabled.
Sa’i serves to commemorate Hajar’s (Wife of Prophet Ibraheem, Peace be upon them both) search for water for her son and Allah’s mercy in answering prayers.
HOW TO PERFORM SA’I
Istilam of Hajar-e-Aswad
Before starting Sa’i, do Istilam of Hajar-e-Aswad again the ninth time or point towards it, saying:
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ, اللّهُ أكبر, و لِلّه الحمدَ
“Bismillahi Allahu Akbar Wa Lillah Hil Hamd”
(In the name of Allah, Allah is the greatest, and All praise belong to Allah)
Now Proceed towards Safa. Although it is not mandatory but it is a Sunnah to be in the state of ablutions during Sa’i.
Start of Sa’i at Safa
Climb the hill of Safa to the point from where you can see the Ka’bah, then facing the Ka’bah make intention (niyyah) for Sa’i:
اللهم إني أريد السعي بين الصفا والمروة سبعة أشواط لله تعالى فيسره لي وتقبله مني
“Allahumma inni uridu sa’ya baynas safa wal marwata sab’ata ashwat lillahi ta’aallah, fayassirhu li wa taqabbalhu minni”
(O Allah! I intend for 7 rounds of Sa’i between Safa and Marwah to please You. Make it easy for me and accept it from me.)
إِنَّ الصَّفَا وَالْمَرْوَةَ مِنْ شَعَائِرِ اللهِ
“Inn-as-Safa wal-Marwah min Sha’a’irillah.” (Al-Qur’an 2 : 158)
(Indeed Safa and Marwah are among the Signs of Allah.)
Now raise your hands in supplication, say Allahu Akbar three times and recite the following supplication:
لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ ، لَهُ الْمُلْكُ وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
“La ilaha ill-Allahu wahdahu la Sharika lahu, lahul-mulku wa lahul-hamdu wa howa ala kulli shai’in Qadeer.”
(None has the right to be worshipped except Allah, alone, without partner. To Him belongs all sovereignty and praise and He is over all things omnipotent)
Now very humbly and with tears in your eyes supplicate to Allah for whatever you wish. This is a special time for the acceptance of prayers.
Proceed towards Marwah
Come down from Safa and move towards Marwah while reciting this supplication:
سُبْحَانَ اللّهِ ، والْحَمْدُللّهِ ، وَ لا اِلهَ اِلَّا اللّهُ ، وَ اللّهُ اَكْبَرُ ، وَ لا حَوْلَ وَ لا قُوَّةَ اِلَّا بِاللّهِ
“Subhan-Allah wal-hamdu-lillahi wa la ilaha ill-Allah wa-Allahu Akbar wa la haula wa la quwwata illa-billa.”
(Glory be to Allah, All Praise is for Allah, There is No God but Allah, Allah is the Greatest, There is no might or any power Except with Allah)
If you don’t remember this supplication also, recite Subhan Allah, Alhamdu Lillah, Allahu Akbar repeatedly and keep moving. You may also praise Allah and ask for His mercy in your language or use supplications taken from the daily Salah.
There are set of green lights between the two mounts of Safa and Marwa, and it is Sunnah for the male believers to do a slight jog between these two green lights when performing the Sai. Women walk here with their normal pace. This area is called Milayn al-Akhdharayn. Recite the following dua here repeatedly, which was also recited by Abdullah ibn Umar (R.A.):
رَبِّ اغْفِرْ وَارْحَمْ، تَجَاوَزْ عَمَّا تَعلَمْ، إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ الْأَعَزُّ الْأَكْرَمُ
“Rabb ighfir wa rḥam, tajāwaz ‘ammā ta’lam(u), innaka anta l-a’azzu l-akram.”
(O my Lord, forgive, have mercy, and pardon that which You know. Truly You are the Most Mighty, the Most Noble.)
When on top of Marwah, praise Allah facing the Ka’bah and repeat the same supplications that were recited at Safa. One trip is over, second trip will end at Safa and third trip will end at Marwah.
End of Sa’i
In the same way, the seventh trip will end at Marwah. In all trips the men will run between the green pillars but the women will walk in a normal way.
Two raka’at Nafl
If it is not an undesirable (Makrooh) time, offer two raka’ats of nafl in the al-Haram.
Guidelines and Advice for Sa’i
- For the elderly or disabled, there is a wheelchair section. Tiredness is not an excuse to use a wheelchair.
- Men may abstain from running between Milayn al-Akhdharayn (the two green mileposts) if they are taking care of the elderly or female pilgrims.
- Continuity is not a necessary condition for Sa’i. Therefore, if you need to stop your Sa’i, for example, to answer the call of nature, you may resume from the position that you stopped. If a Fardh prayer is due to start, you must join the congregation and resume your Sa’i from where you left. If you can’t remember exactly where you stopped, start the lap again.
- Talking is permissible during Sa’i, although it should be necessary and not merely idle or worldly talk.
- Sa’i can also be performed in the middle and roof areas. If you’re performing Sa’i during a hot day, the middle would be a better option. The roof is the better option at any other point during the day.