In his Haj, nothing could divert the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) attention away from his rituals, or from showing submission and humility before Allah. Standing with his hands raised close to his chest, he privately offered his supplication for extended periods of time. Secondly, all of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) movements were full of submission and surrender to Allah, Almighty.
He would walk quietly in reverence and tranquility going about his rituals. Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) performed Al-Ifadha in tranquility.” (Al-Bukhari)
Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that as he and the Prophet (peace be upon him) were moving together on the Day of ‘Arafah, they heard loud noises, clattering and roars of camels. The Prophet (peace be upon him) then pointed his whip at the people and said: “Be quiet; haste is no indication of righteousness!” (Tirmidhi)
Doing plenty of good deeds
Not only did the Prophet (peace be upon him) enjoined good, he (peace be upon him) was also keen on doing the same during the Haj. This is manifest in his performance of all the recommended Haj rituals.
He performed Ghusl (ritual body wash) and wore perfume before assuming Ihram, marked and garlanded the sacrificial animal, and frequently recited the Talbiyah aloud until he (peace be upon him) had cast the Jamaratul-’Aqabah.
He also started Tawaf as soon as he entered the House, walked briskly in Tawaf, touched the two corners of the Ka’bah, offered two Rak’ahs of Tawaf behind Maqaam Ibrahim (Ibrahim’s station), supplicated Allah on the hills of Safa and Marwah, ran in the middle of the valley, supplicated upon touching the two corners and while throwing pebbles at the Jamaraat. (Paraphrased from Al-Bukhari and Muslim) There are many other acts that he (peace be upon him) performed.
Moderation and equanimity
Islam encourages moderation and censures exaggeration. In fact equanimity was the most significant attitude of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the Haj. He (peace be upon him) abhorred exaggeration. He (peace be upon him) did neither too much nor too little. Two acts of worship can be stressed in this regard. Firstly, he (peace be upon him) adopted a wholesom middle course between his acts of worship and his responsibility as the leader of the Muslims. However, he (peace be upon him) did not neglect his duty to his wives and his household who needed care and affection. Secondly, he (peace be upon him) also took equal care of his body and soul.
This is a very important point, as the awe-inspiring surroundings of the Haj may compel many people to observe the spiritual and entirely forget the physical side of their being.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) however, took very good care of his body. For example, on Tarwiyah Day he (peace be upon him) moved closer to Mina in order to be near ‘Arafah (Sahih Muslim); slept during the nights of ‘Arafah and Muzdalifah (Al-Bukhari); took breakfast on the Day of ‘Arafah (Al-Bukhari); but did not offer supererogatory prayers. (Sahih Muslim)
He (peace be upon him) stayed in a dome made from the camel’s hair erected especially for him, moved between the sacred sites (Al-Bukhari), and performed some of the Haj rituals riding on camel’s back (Muslim). Furthermore, he even had someone who served and helped him. (Ibn Majah)
Giving up worldly life
The Prophet (peace be upon him) renounced the present life and rejected all that was not needed for the Hereafter. There are countless examples of his attitude of looking down upon the worldly life. Listed are but a few: He (peace be upon him) used an old, shabby camel saddled with a piece of velvet hardly worth four dirhams (silver currency). He (peace be upon him) allowed Usamah Ibn Zayd (may Allah be pleased with him) to ride behind him on his camel’s back from ‘Arafah to Muzdalifah, and allowed Al-Fadhl Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) to ride behind him from Muzdalifah to Mina. (Al-Bukhari)
HE is the role model, we take our rites of Haj from him – the Prophet of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. His educating and leading the pilgrims, as well as caring for his wives and household did not prevent him from worshiping Allah, or from showing his absolute submission to Him. This attitude took various forms, and here are some of the most significant examples:
Tawheed (Islamic monotheism) is the first fundamental principle of Islam that the Prophet (peace be upon him) affirmed and fostered. This was very much evident in his conduct while performing Haj. It was in his recitation of Talbiyah (saying Labbayka Allahumma labbayk), which is now like a symbol of Haj. It means that the act of Haj is offered to Allah, and Allah alone, without associating any partners with Him. The Prophet (peace be upon him) continued to recite Talbiyah from the moment he began the ritual, and until he had thrown pebbles at Jamratul-’Aqabah (Aqabah stone) on the Day of Sacrifice (i.e. Eid day).
Moreover, the Prophet (peace be upon him) observed strict devotion to Allah in all his deeds. He always asked Allah to help him avoid hypocrisy and showing-off. Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that he heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) say: “O Allah, make my Haj (pilgrimage) free of hypocrisy and showing-off.” (Saheeh Muslim)
While he was on the hills of Safa and Marwah, the Prophet (peace be upon him), supplicated to Allah as narrated by Jabir, “The Prophet (peace be upon him) began by ascending As-Safaa until the Ka’ba was visible to him, then he faced Qiblah and said ‘Laa ilaaha illAllah, Allahu Akbar’ (There is no god worthy of worship but Allah, Allah is the greatest) and said, ‘There is no god worthy of worship but Allah, the One, there are no associates to Him; He is the Master of the universe, to Him we give thanks, He is the Omnipotent; there is no god worthy of worship but Allah, the One… ‘He repeated this three times until he reached Al-Marwah, where he did the same as he did on As-Safa.” (Saheeh Muslim)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) supplicated Allah on the Day of ‘Arafah saying as narrated in an authentic Hadith, “The best invocation is performed on the Day of ‘Arafah, and the best supplication ever offered by me or by previous prophets is: ‘There is no god worthy of worship but Allah, the One, there are no associates to Him; He is the Master of the universe, to Him we give thanks, He is the Omnipotent; there is no god but Allah, the One.’” (Sahih Muslim)
Repudiating the polytheists and their acts
In many of the Haj rituals, the Prophet (peace be upon him) insisted on acting differently from the polytheists and on following in the footsteps of our revered Patriarch Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him). This attitude culminated in his rejection of their actions in the sermon he delivered on the Day of ‘Arafah. “All Jaahiliyah (pre-Islamic) traditions lay trampled under my feet,” the Prophet (peace be upon him) declared. (Sahih Muslim)
Some of the most important rituals that the Prophet (peace be upon him) insisted on changing are as follows:
Talbiyah: The polytheists used to associate other gods with Allah when they said “Except one associate; he is yours; you own him and whatever he owns.” (Al-Bukhari)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) made Tawheed pure, and cast away the association of other gods with Allah, repudiating such practice.
Another example of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) insistence on acting differently from the polytheists is seen in his stopping with the pilgrims at ‘Arafah, unlike the Quraish who used to stop at Muzdalifah, saying: “We do not perform Al-Ifadah (departure) except from Haram.” (Al-Bukhari)
Supplication and humility before Allah
Supplication (Du’a) has a special status in Islam as it aims at expressing total submissiveness, surrender and humility to Allah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Supplication is worship.” (Abu Dawood)
He would supplicate Allah, the Almighty, while in Tawaf, and while standing on the hills of Safa and Marwah. He also made lengthy supplications on the Day of ‘Arafah, riding on his camel’s back, raising his hands close to his chest as if he were an humble slave begging for Sadaqah (charity). He would remain in that condition from the moment he had chosen the spot at which he would stop after Salah (prayer) until sunset. He also did the same at Al-Mash’ar Al-Haraam (the Sacred Monument) in Muzdalifah right after he had offered the Fajr (dawn) prayer and almost until sunrise. (Al-Bukhari)
On the Days of Tashreeq, and when he had thrown pebbles at the first two Jamarat (ramy), he would face Qiblah, raise his hands, and make a prolonged supplication. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Allah Almighty says: [And He it is Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. They float, each in an orbit. ] (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21: 33)
This glorious verse refers to a scientific fact concerning the system of the universe. Scientific discoveries have proved that we live in a huge universe that depends on revolution. The earth revolves round the sun once a year, the moon revolves around the earth once per lunar month, and the other planets of the solar system also revolve round the sun, each in its own orbit. Besides, most of these planets have moons that revolve around them, each, also, in its own orbit. Astronomers have discovered more than 60 of these moons so far.
The solar system, likewise, orbits a center of our galaxy, the Milky Way. This galaxy consists of more than 130 billion stars. Galaxies, in turn, revolve round a center that only Almighty Allah knows.
The law of revolution applies also to atoms, the smallest units of elements that cannot be seen even by microscopes. An atom is composed of a nucleus whose diameter is less than a millionth of a millimeter. An atom is surrounded by electrons that move round the atom in an orbit. Since all matter in the universe-whether solid, liquid, or gaseous-consists of atoms, this means that the law of revolution applies to everything: stars, planets, moons, animals, plants, sand, seas, air, and so on.
This includes cells as well. The cytoplasm in the cell moves around the nucleus.
There is a common factor between the orbital movements of all the objects referred to above, this is, their revolution is counterclockwise.
Contemplating the above lines, we come to realize that revolution is a cosmic law.
With a believer’s meditation upon such a scientific fact, another image of revolution is brought to one’s mind: the pilgrims’ circumambulation of the Ka`bah, which is a basic ritual of Hajj in Islam.
Circumambulating the Ka`bah is a symbolic act of worship, whose wisdom may be hidden form some. It indicates the believers’ utter submission to Almighty Allah alone. The pilgrims go to Hajj in response to the divine order that Prophet Abraham (peace and blessings be upon him) conveyed to people. Allah Almighty says: [And (remember) when We prepared for Abraham the place of the (holy) House, saying: Ascribe thou no thing as partner unto Me, and purify My House for those who make the round (thereof) and those who stand and those who bow and make prostration. And proclaim unto mankind the pilgrimage. They will come unto thee on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every deep ravine. ] (Al-Hajj 22: 26-27)
This signifies that the Ka`bah is the spiritual center of the believers. It refers to the close bond that should be between a believer and his Lord. A believer turns toward the Ka`bah five times a day during the prescribed ritual Prayers.
A pilgrim circumambulates the Ka`bah as if he or she is a celestial body orbiting another greater body. Circumambulation of the Ka`bah is to be performed counterclockwise. This indicates that there is a joint factor between a pilgrim’s expressing his ultimate faith in Almighty Allah by circumambulating the Ka`bah in that way and between the cosmic law of revolution discussed above. This indicates that there is consistency between the obligations of worship in Islam and the natural laws that govern the universe, which indicates that they all belong to only one source, that is, Almighty Allah.
This proves the truthfulness of the call of Islam that there is no god but Almighty Allah. Thus, Islam is the true religion that provides humankind with a comprehensive view in conformity with the divine truth that is apparent in the natural laws of the universe.
By Prof. Dr. Ahmad Fouad Pasha
There are four fundamental and practical principles of Islam: Prayers, Fasting, Poor-due (Zakah) and Haj. Of these each one has an “axis” round which the faith revolves.
Almighty Allah says in the Holy Qur’an: “The Haj (pilgrimage) is (in) the well-known (lunar year) months ( i.e. the 10th month, the 11th month and the first 10 days of the 12th month of the Islamic calendar). So whosoever intends to perform Haj therein (by assuming Ihram), then he should not have sexual relations (with his wife), nor commit sin, nor dispute unjustly during the Haj. And whatever good you do, (be sure) Allah knows it. And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best provision is At-Taqwa (piety, righteousness). So fear Me, O men of understanding.
“There is no sin on you if you seek the Bounty of your Lord (during pilgrimage by trading). Then when you leave Arafat, remember Allah (by glorifying His Praises, i.e. prayers and invocations) at the Masha’r-il-Haram. And remember Him (by invoking Allah for all good) as He has guided you, and verily, you were, before, of those who were astray.
“Then depart from the place whence all the people depart and ask Allah for His forgiveness. Truly, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (2:197-99)
The Haj of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) — and his everlasting message — is known as the Hijjat Al-Wida (the Farewell Pilgrimage). It is because, upon returning from Haj the Prophet (peace be upon him) left this world within three months. This Haj is also known with other names: It is called “Hijjat Al-Islam” because this is the only Haj that the Prophet performed after receiving the message of Islam.
It is also called “Hijjat Al-Balagh” because in this Haj the Prophet (peace be upon him) conveyed the final message of Islam. It is also called “Hijjat Al-Kamal and Hijjat At-Tamam” because in this Haj Allah revealed to the Prophet (peace be upon him) the good news that the message of Islam is perfected and Allah’s favor is fully granted to those who shall follow the way of Islam.
This Haj took place in the 10th Hijrah year. Many details about this Haj are available in the books of Ahadith and Seerah. One can prepare a whole diary of this Haj from Prophet’s departure and return to Madina.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) left Madina on 25th of Dhu’l Qa’dah. People kept joining him from all directions. When he arrived in Makkah, the number of those who joined him reached about 125,000 people. The Prophet explained to them at every step the basic rules and principles of Haj.
In Arafat he gave his famous sermon and then next day in Mina he repeated some of its points and gave some more points. The speech had many important aspects and it was communicated by different people in the crowd who would repeat after the Prophet (peace be upon him). The main theme of this famous speech can be summarized as: “Do not wrong any one.”
Here are some basic points of this speech:
“O People, do you know in what month, what day and in what city you are?” They said, “On a sacred day, in a sacred city and a sacred month.” He said, “Your blood, your properties and your honor is as sacred among you as the sacredness of this day of yours, this month of yours and this city of yours.”
Then he said, “Listen to me and you shall live (happily): Behold, do no injustice, Behold, do no injustice, Behold, do no injustice. ”
“It is not permissible to take the money of a Muslim without his/her good pleasure. Behold, every blood demand, every money demand or any special privilege that you held in the time of “ignorance” (before accepting Islam) are under my feet until the Day of Judgment. Every demand of interest is cancelled. You can only have your capital without doing wrong or being wronged. ”
“All people are equal like the teeth of the comb. All of you are descendants of Adam and Adam was created from dust. There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab or for a white person over a black person except in the matters of piety.”
“A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim. All Muslims are one brotherhood. ”
“Behold, do not turn infidels after me by striking at the necks of each other. Behold, Satan has lost all hope that the people of Salah will worship him, but he shall still try to create dissensions among you. (So beware of Satan and his plots.) ”
“Be conscious of Allah concerning women. They are your helpmates. They have some rights on you and you have some rights on them. ”
“Behold, whosoever has any thing entrusted to him by someone else, he should give it back to the one who entrusted him.”
Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) spread his hands and he said, “Behold, I have conveyed. Behold, I have conveyed.” Then he said, “Let those who are present convey this message to those who are not here. Indeed some who may receive it later may follow it better than those who heard it.”
Here the Prophet (peace be upon him) emphasized the following principles:
* Honor the life, dignity and property of others.
* Do not do injustice and oppression.
* Be honest in your business and financial dealings.
* All human beings are equal.
* Muslims are brothers to each other.
* Do not fight each other.
* Avoid quarrels and disputes among yourselves.
* Recognize the rights of women.
* Fulfill the trusts.
* Convey the message of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to others.
This message was delivered more than 1,400 years ago and it is always needed. Muslims need it and the whole world needs it. This is the message that we have to live with and should convey to the world.
It is a road-map to success and a reminder of the standard of excellence, great devotions and triumph of high achievements. It charts the direction in the battle of life for those who does actually strive to do deeds and reach for their goal, their prize. The promised prize that no human being could imagine the joys kept hidden as reward for all that they did, await at the end of the road. The eye has seen not, nor the ear heard, nor does the heart of man ever conceive.
Abraham was certainly a model of faith for the people, obedient to Allah and upright. Allah pay back people who do good and this event is one of the proofs of Allah mercy thus indeed do doers of goods rewarded.
A great event when Abraham and his son Ishmael passed the trial successfully. We offer remembrance of Allah’s blessings, celebrate His name and offer the eid salaat to give thanks for sending us guidance and map to tread through the life’s path.
There should be no room for emotions which go against the commands and prohibitions of Allah. Eid teach us to trust that He shall not give us more than what we can bear. He will either shield us from suffering or will give us unfailing strength to bear it. Was it not said to ‘follow My Guidance, no fear shall be on them, neither shall they sorrow’ Certainly Allah knows best and was best witness when Ishmael said:
“O my father! Tie my hands and legs so that I do not struggle.
Put a blindfold over your eyes so that you do not have to see me die
And tighten your cloak so that my mother does not see my blood splattered on your clothes. Make your knife sharp so that you can do your job quickly. That way I will feel no pain.”
Peace be upon Ibrahim. Indeed this was a clear trial.
Eid al-Adha is a light that shine our way near and far,
The love of Ibrahim for Allah was true, tested by fire to stay forever.
Devotion so endless, will always light the way.
It is a light that could shine the difficult ways in times of trials. We can do more than just lament the flaws of the Muslim Ummah, for a better world to live and make the word of Allah dominant in the world. If we can all sacrifice what we love most for Love of Allah as Ibrahim did to his son Ishmael. Only then we will know the power and wisdom of Eid al-Adha and deserve what Allah has promised, to grant succession and security after fear. If we can stand strong in the middle of trials and hardships, know that surely Allah help will find way to shine through.
This event also reminds us of one of the pillar of Islam, the hajj. It manifests a unique unity, dispelling all kinds of differences. Muslims from all corners of the world, wearing the same dress, respond to the call of Hajj in one voice and language: LABBAIK ALLA HUMMA LABBAIK (Here I am here I am O lord!).
Hajj is a great congress that gives an opportunity to Muslims all over the world to meet annually. The time, venue and even the invitation has been set by the One True God when Allah, the Almighty, said to Ibrahim:
“You call, and I will convey your call.”
Haj is the ‘ultimate’ journey, the journey of a lifetime. Yet I’ve seen so many people, brothers and sisters, confused, angry, frustrated or just simply ignorant during Haj. So here is a piece of sincere advice for all of my brothers and sisters going for Haj this year.
Educate yourself before you go
This is the most important point. They say “Knowledge is Power,” and it is. I’ve seen people confused, not knowing what to do, looking left and right, bewildered during Haj. In the end, they just follow what the rest of the crowd is doing without knowing if what they are doing is from the Shariah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) or not. Indeed, I know people who have gone and come back from Haj, and they didn’t know what kind of Haj they performed, how many days one was required to stay in Mina, and so on. In fact, some didn’t know it takes seven rounds around the Ka’ba to make one Tawaf!
Going to Haj without knowing the basics of how to perform Haj and Umrah is like placing someone who doesn’t know how to offer Salah in the middle of a congregation. He may follow the movements in Ruku’ and Sujood, but does he really know how to pray? Does such a prayer even count?
So, study the rituals of Haj before you go. Learn how to perform this magnificent journey in a manner that is closest to the Sunnah. Because the closer it is to the Sunnah, the more acceptable it will be to Allah. Learn about the common mistakes pilgrims do, so you can avoid them.
Go with a prepared heart
Every year at Haj, you see only two kinds of people. The first kind will be sitting calm and patient, even when they are stuck for five hours in traffic, wisely utilizing the time making Dhikr of Allah or reading the Qur’an. The other kind will be grumbling and complaining, fidgeting restlessly in his seat, cussing at the bus driver and wasting his whole time fighting with whoever is sitting next to him.
Why is that? Because the first kind of people come with prepared hearts and the second type don’t.
Haj is not a mere physical journey, it is a spiritual journey of the heart and soul. And just as it is important to learn the rituals of Haj, it is equally important to condition yourself spiritually. Remember, Haj is an act of worship, the fifth pillar of our Religion. So, have Khushoo’ in it.
Trust Allah and have complete faith in Him. Be sure that He will take care of you. Be kind to others and have patience and forbearance.
Hardly any obligatory prayer in the Haram is not followed by a funeral prayer. I’ve noticed several brothers and sisters sitting there and not participating in this great act of worship, just because they don’t know how to. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever attends the Janazah until he offers the prayer will have one Qirat (of reward), and whoever attends until (the deceased) is buried will have two Qirats.” It was said, “O Messenger of Allah, what are the two Qirats?” He said, “Like two great mountains,” meaning, of reward. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Don’t get overwhelmed
When you look at the large number of people there for Haj, don’t get overwhelmed or disturbed. Instead, raise up your head high, feel proud and thank Allah. After all, all those people are none, but your own brothers and sisters in Islam. This is the Ummah of your beloved Prophet, Muhammad (peace be upon him). They belong to you and you belong to them. They are a part of you, just as much as you are a part of them. All of you are there for one and one purpose only – to worship Allah, the One God. So, love them, show mercy to them and make Du’a for them.
Time is precious
Utilize your time to its maximum while in Makkah and Madina. Do all your prayers in the mosque. When you pray in the Grand Mosque in Makkah, the reward is multiplied by 100,000 times.
When you get to Mina, busy yourself with making Du’a, Dhikr, reading the Qur’an, etc. Your stay here is only a few precious days. You can’t waste it by talking, relaxing, and doing nothing, as some people do.
And when you are in Arafah, know that that’s the day you were waiting for. That’s what Haj is all about. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Haj is Arafah.” (Abu Dawood)
Put in all you have got on the Day of Arafah. Take advantage of every second. Do not waste even a single moment. Make a Du’a list and do lots and lots of Du’a. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The best of Du’a is Du’a on the day of Arafah, and the best thing that I and the Prophets before me said is, ‘La ilaha ill-Allah Wahdahu la Shareeka lah (There is no god worthy of worship but Allah alone with no partner or associate).’” (Al-Tirmidhi, authenticated by Al-Albani)
Not on vacation
Some people forget that they are going on Haj. They expect Mina to be a five star hotel. So they complain about food, weather, crowds, and just about everything.
Remember this is Haj, not a vacation. Remember, not so long ago people traveled for months through dangerous terrain and rough weather to perform Haj. If we think about that, then is there anything left to complain about?
Don’t just say it
When you recite the Talbiyah, don’t just say it like a parrot without knowing what it means and what it implies. Think about the greatness of these words and the Magnificence of the One you are saying these words to.
Obviously, everybody wants their Haj to be ‘Mabroor’ (accepted) because the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “There is no reward for Haj Mabroor except Paradise.” (Al-Bukhari)
They asked, “What makes Haj Mabroor, Messenger of Allah?” He replied, “Providing food to people and spreading (the greeting of) Salam (peace).” (Fath Al-Bari, 4/446)
Thus we see that being kind to people and serving and helping them leads to a Haj Mabroor.
So go ahead and help that old lady with her luggage and help someone else cross the street. Move over to make room in the row for your fellow Muslim so that he/she too can find a place to pray. Distribute candy among children, pass out glasses of Zamzam water, smile at everyone, and say Salam to those you know and those you don’t.
Keep you eyes and ears open for every opportunity to do good and jump at any chance you get to spread Khair – all for the sake of Allah alone – and Insha Allah your Haj will be one of Mabroor.
DURING Haj in Arafah, 10 years after the Hijrah, a man was thrown from his camel. The camel stomped him and the man’s neck was snapped. He was dead. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
“Bathe his body with water and sidr and bury him with both garments. Do not cover his head, nor touch him with camphor … for verily he will be returned (to Allah) on the Day of Resurrection in the state of Talbiyah.” – (Bukhari and Muslim)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said about Haj, “And there is no reward for an accepted Haj … except Jannah!” This is the ultimate reward.
The first verses of Surah Al-Haj does not speak of Arafah or the rituals, it simply says:
“O mankind! Fear your Lord and be dutiful to Him! Verily, the earthquake of the Hour (of Judgement) is a terrible thing. The Day you shall see it, every nursing mother will forget her nursling, and every pregnant one will drop her load, and you shall see mankind as in a drunken state, yet they will not be drunken, but severe will be the Torment of Allah.” (Qur’an, 22:1-2)
Haj is not a journey like a vacation to a tourist destination, it is a journey of the soul and heart. When one pays careful attention to the verses speaking of Haj, he will find that almost all verses conclude with a commandment of being conscious of Allah’s presence, or a reminder of Allah’s bounteous favor upon us, or a link between Haj and the Last Day.
In the olden days, whenever a journey was to be undertaken, proper provisions had to be prepared. The deserts were long, hot, harsh, and unmerciful. There were no gas stations to fill up with chips and refreshments, or rest stops to slurp water from a fountain. In fact, there was not a human in sight for miles upon miles of barren sand dunes, and losing the way meant losing your life. Thus, you had to have the provisions with you before you made the journey – enough food, enough water, enough everything to carry you to your destination.
In the verses that speak of Haj, Allah speaks about the provisions one should take. While everyone is focused on their journey to the Ka’ba and the material provisions, Allah turns the attention of His slaves to another journey, journey of the Hereafter, and a different kind of provision, the provision of Taqwa.
“…And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best provision is At-Taqwa (piety, righteousness, etc.)” (Qur’an, 2:197)
On the day Buhaym Al-‘Ajlee set out with his companion for Haj, he looked toward the endless desert awaiting them both and wept, his chest soaking from the tears. “This is something,” said Buhaym, “that has made me understand the most certain journey I must one day take to Allah!”
Blessings on us
There is debate over whether someone who performs Haj should be called a Haji. The title is not something found in the Sunnah, but it has an interesting background in our cultural history. In ancient days, when someone decided to perform the journey for Haj, it was synonymous with bidding farewell to life on earth. This was due to the treacherous obstacles of traveling in the desert – trials such as sickness, starvation, and the struggles involved in the journey. An entire village might gather to bid those people farewell.
When someone would go through such a remarkable journey and return alive, he would dedicate his life to the worship and obedience of Allah. Gone was the cheating, lying, or missing Salah – he was now a “Haji.”
Today, with the jumbo jets, ocean liners, and Mercedes buses, the facilitation of performing Haj has taken away the luster of the title “Haji.” Some might complain that there are no queen-size mattress beds in Mina, or that the air conditioning motor is a tad too loud. But dear brothers and sisters, who is it that provided us with all the blessings that we are living in?
The slave of Allah can only understand the favor of Allah upon him when it is taken away.
Alhamdulillaah. Indeed the greatest blessing that Allah has favored us with is Islam, and it alone suffices as favor.
Allah knows we are going to get dusty during Haj, Allah knows it. So don’t be surprised when that dust blows, instead turn to Allah and hit back with patience and a whisper of gratitude to Allah.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever performs Haj and does not have sexual relations (with his wife), nor commits sin, nor disputes unjustly (during Haj), then he returns from Haj as pure and free from sins as on the day on which his mother gave birth to him.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Getting the heart in shape
Many years ago, as the Hujjaj swept through the valley of Muzdalifah, a man remarked out loud, “My! Look at the number of Hujjaj!” A wise man replied, “Nay, the travelers are many, but the Hujjaj are few.”
In Haj, I have seen people who are patient and seek the reward of Allah during trying moments. What is the difference between them and those who spend their breath in criticism, argumentation and fights?
Some people come to Haj prepared financially, others come with a prepared heart. That is what’s essential – a prepared heart. How can we get that heart in shape for Haj? First, attend lectures and workshops dealing with Haj. Haj is one of the pillars upon which Islam is built. When someone intends to perform this rite, it is a must upon him that he learns it well. Seeking knowledge is a must on every Muslim.
Imam Bukhari writes in his Saheeh, “Knowledge comes before statements and actions.” He then quotes the verse of Allah:
“So know that La ilaha ill-Allah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah), and ask forgiveness for your sin…” (Qur’an, 47:19)
Secondly, establish prayers and pray Tahajjud (the late night prayers). When the Prophet (peace be upon him) was preparing his heart for the mission of conveying this Deen, Allah ordered him to prepare by praying Tahajjud.
“O you wrapped in garments (i.e. Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him)! Stand (to pray) all night, except a little.” (Qur’an, 73:1-2)
A student once slept over at Imam Ahmad’s house. Imam Ahmad had left a vessel of water for him. At the time of Fajr, he found the vessel still full of water and realized the student had not woken up during the night. He was shocked and remarked, “How can a person be a student of knowledge and not stand for the night prayers!”
Some people said to Ibn Mas`ood (may Allah be pleased with him), “We are unable to wake up to perform Tahajjud.”
He told them, “You are distancing yourselves from it by your sins.” And lastly, repent to Allah and make lots of Du’a.
Muslim reported that the Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said, “?Hasn’t Allah made for you Salat Al-`Ishaa’ in congregation equal to Hajj, and the Fajr prayer in congregation equal to `Umrah.”
“Whoever walks to an obligatory prayer in congregation, it is like Hajj, and whoever walks to a voluntary prayer, it is like a voluntary `Umrah.” (Saheeh Al Jaami`, 6432)
“Whoever prays Fajr in congregation, then sits remembering Allah until the Sun rises, then prays two units of prayer, he will receive the reward of Hajj, and `Umrah – complete, complete, complete.” (Saheeh Al Jaami`, 6222)
It is authentically reported that people said, “O Messenger of Allah! The rich took the reward of akhirah, they do Hajj and we do not; they engage in jihaad, and we do not. So the Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, said, “Shall I not guide you to something that, if you stick to it, you will come with what is better than what one of them will come with: that you say Allahu Akbar 34 times, and Subhan Allah 33 times, and Alhamdulillah 33 times, at the end of every prayer.”
“When one prays for one’s brother, the angel says: ‘Amin, and for you the same.'” (Saheeh Al Jaami`, 2143) So pray for your brother pilgrim that Allah accepts his Hajj and gives him its reward.