Q. If the person performing ‘Umrah or Hajj only knows a few words of supplication, should he recite from the books of supplications during his Tawaf, Sa’y and other rites?

 A. It is sufficient for the Hajj or ‘Umrah pilgrim to restrict himself to the supplications which he knows, because when he recites the supplications which he knows, he understands their meaning and he asks Allâh for what he needs in them. But if he takes a book or a Hajj guide who dictates to him things which he does not know about, then that will not benefit him. Many people follow the Hajj guide in what he says and they do not know the meaning of what he is saying; and many people take these booklets and recite from them without understanding the meaning of what they are saying. These booklets which have a special supplication for each circuit of the Tawaf are innovations which are not permissible for a Muslim to use, because they are a misguidance, and the Prophet (sal-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) did not prescribe a different supplication for each circuit. He (sal-Allaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) only said:

إِنَّـمَا جُعِلَ الطَّوَافُ بِالْبَيْتِ وَبِالصَّفَا وَالْمَرْوَةِ، وَرَمْيُ الْجِمَارِ، لإِقَامَةِ ذِكْرِ اللهِ

“Tawaf of the House, As-Safa and Al-Marwah, and stoning the Jimar have only been made incumbent for the remembrance of Allâh.” [1]

Since the matter is so, then it is incumbent upon the believer to avoid these booklets and to ask Allâh to give him the things which he needs, and to mention Allâh according to his ability and his knowledge. That is better for him than using these booklets whose meaning he may not understand, indeed, he might not be able to pronounce them, let alone understand them.

[1] Reported by Abu Dawud in the Book of (Hajj) Rites, in the Chapter on Running (During Tawaf); and by At-Tirmithi in the Chapters on Hajj, in the Chapter: What Has Been Said Regarding the Manner of Stoning the Jimar 6:64

[Fatawa Arkanul-Islam by Shaykh Salih Al-‘Uthaymeen, Fatawa on Hajj (Pilgrimage), Q502 p.740-741, Darussalam]