Hajj – The Journey of a Lifetime
Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam, brings together Muslims of all races to adopt two unidentifiable white pieces of cloth in an awesome demonstration of Islam’s total disregard of insignificant issues like race, social position and nationality. Annually, several million people make pilgrimage to Makkah from every corner of the globe, providing a unique opportunity for people of different nations to meet one another, making it the largest gathering in the world. It is a clear-cut act of worship, but also it is symbolic and represents the spirit’s return to its place of origin. Hajj is an essential duty (fardh) for all Muslims, who are physically and financially able to perform it. Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an:
“We appointed Abraham to establish the Shrine: ‘You shall not idolize any other god beside Me, and purify My shrine for those who visit it, those who live near it, and those who bow and prostrate.’ And proclaim that the people shall observe Hajj pilgrimage. They will come to you walking or riding on various exhausted (means of transportation). They will come from the farthest locations.” [22:26-27]
The purpose of Hajj is to develop consciousness of Allah (SWT) and also spiritual upliftment. It is also an opportunity to atone sins accumulated throughout one’s life.
Abu Hurayrah (RA) narrated: Allah (SWT)’s Apostle (SAW) said, “Whoever performs hajj to this House and does not engage in or talk of sexual relations nor commits sins (while performing hajj), he will come out as sinless as a newly-born child (just delivered by his mother).” (Al-Bukhari)
Abu Hurayrah (RA) narrated that Allah (SWT)’s Apostle (SAW) was asked, “What is the best deed?” He replied, “To believe in Allah (SWT) and His Apostle (SAW) (Muhammad) . The questioner then asked, “What is the next (in goodness)? He replied, “To participate in Jihad in Allah (SWT)’s Cause.” The questioner again asked, “What is the next (in goodness)?” He replied, “To perform hajj Mabrur, (which is accepted by Allah (SWT) and is performed with the intention of seeking Allah (SWT)’s pleasure only and not to show off, without committing a sin and in accordance with the traditions of the Prophet).” (Al-Bukhari)
It is also a reminder of the great assembly on the Day of Judgement when people will stand equal before Allah (SWT), waiting for their reckoning and the decision about their final abode, and where no superiority of race or stock can be claimed. Furthermore, it is also a reminder of the fact that Makkah alone, in the whole existing world, has been honoured by Allah (SWT) as the centre of monotheism since the time of Ibrahim (AS), and that it will continue to be the centre of Islam, the religion of pure monotheism, till the end of time.
Allah (SWT)’s Apostle (SAW) said, on the day of the conquest of Makkah, “Allah (SWT) has made this town a sanctuary since the day He created the Heavens and the Earth. So, it is a sanctuary by Allah (SWT)’s Decree till the Day of Resurrection…” (Al-Bukhari)
Foremost in the mind of every individual is the fact that Hajj is a means of cleansing one’s sins. This is shown in the following hadith:,
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (RA) who said: “the Messenger of Allah (SWT) said ‘one umrah to another umrah is expiation for (what transpires) between them and the reward of an accepted hajj is nothing but paradise’” (Narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
‘Aisha ( (RA) said, “O Allah (SWT)’s Apostle (SAW)! We consider Jihad to be the best deed.” The Prophet (SAW) said, “The best Jihad (for women) is hajj mabrur (an accepted hajj). ” (Al-Bukhari)
Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (RA) reports that the Messenger of Allah (SWT) has said, “Perform Hajj and Umrah one after the other for surely they (Hajj and Umrah) remove poverty and sins just as the furnace removes dirt from iron, gold and silver”. (Al-Tirmidhi, Al-Nasa’i)
The pilgrims are the guests of Allah (SWT). He hosts them and listens to their every request.
Jabir (RA) said: “They who perform Hajj and umrah are the deputation of Allah (SWT), whenever they pray to Him, He answers, and whenever they beg of Him, He grants.” (Ibn Majah)
Apart from the immense reward of Hajj overall, individual actions, places and days hold great virtue and reward.
A’isha (RA) reported Allah (SWT)’s Messenger as saying: “There is no day when Allah (SWT) sets free more servants from Hell than the Day of Arafah. Indeed He draws near, then He boasts about them to the angels, saying: ‘What do these want?’” (Muslim)
Talha (RA) reports that the Messenger of Allah (SWT) said: “Apart from the day of the battle of Badr there is no day on which the Shaytaan is seen more humiliated, more rejected, more depressed and more infuriated, than on the day of Arafah, and indeed that is only because of the descending of mercy (on that day) and Allah (SWT)’s forgiveness of great sins …”. (al-Muwatta)
The most rewarding act in the Haram is tawaaf, even more so than nafl salaah. One should strive to do as many tawaaf as one is capable of performing as the reward is immense as illustrated in the following.
Ibn Abbas (RA) relates that the Messenger of Allah (SWT) has said, “Allah (SWT) sends down one hundred and twenty mercies upon the Masjid every day and night; sixty for those performing tawaaf, forty for those who are engaged in salaah and twenty for those who are looking at the Ka’bah.” (Baihaqi)
Ibn Umar (RA) relates that he heard the Messenger of Allah (SWT) saying, “whoever performs the tawaaf properly (according to its rules) is rewarded as though he has freed a slave. One does not place one’s foot on the ground nor raise it (in tawaaf) except that Allah (SWT) removes a sin (from his deeds) and orders for him one good deed”. (Al-Tirmidhi)
‘On the Day of Judgment the Hajar Aswad shall be raised up in such a manner, that it shall have eyes to see and a tongue to speak with. It shall bear witness in favour of whoever kissed it with faith and devotion. (Al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and al-Darami
Ibn Umar (RA)relates that he heard the Messenger of Allah (SWT) saying, “The touching (of Hajar Aswad) removes sins” (Al-Tirmidhi)
In Makkah there are many blessed places which carry historical significance. It is a fact, mentioned in the Qur’an, that Makkah is a blessed city. Every inch, every rock, and every grain of sand is blessed. One should try and visit the places of historical significance, not as a tourist or for sightseeing purposes but rather to be reminded of the events that happened in that place and to reflect on them while physically there. There are a few places in particular to which attention should be drawn. One should look up these places in detailed books and arrange to visit them without missing the congregation in the sacred masjid. While it is good, particularly for people who live far from the holy cities, to connect with the history that these sites are steeped in, it is important to not lose sight of one’s purpose such that the journey turns in to a sightseeing trip with whole days lost in excursions away from the masjid where all the mercy and blessings await.
What is extraordinary about the great masjid, is that it is surrounded by distractions. From the great clock tower that directs one’s attention and sight from the beauty of the Ka’bah to the Shopping malls, great towers, different places to eat and varieties of food to taste that very quickly eat up one’s time. One should try one’s utmost to spend minimum time on one’s necessities and on shopping for oneself or for gifts for others. Spend maximum time in and around the masjid engaged in worship. How unfortunate for one to turn up at the door of Allah (SWT)’s house and then get distracted by fancy towers and shopping malls!
Sahl Ibn Sa’d ?(RA) relates that the Messenger of Allah (SWT)said, “When a Muslim recites talbiyah, then every stone, tree and even the ground to his left and right all recite the talbiyah with him to the ends of the earth.” (Al-Tirmidhi)
“O my Lord, Here I am at Your service, Here I am. There is no partner with You. Here I am. Truly, the praise and the provisions are Yours, and so is the dominion. There is no partner with you.”
BY: SHAYKH SHAMS AD DUHA MUHAMMAD