preparing for hajj journey for a lifetime best islamic books pdf in english

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Introduction
Every year, millions of Muslims make the journey of their lifetime. They
come from all over the world for the sole purpose of fulfilling one of
Allaah’s greatest commandments to humankind – the Hajj. Abu Hurayrah
narrated that the Prophet was asked, ‘Which is the best deed?’ He
said: “To believe in Allaah and His Messenger.” He was then
asked, ‘Which is the next (good deed)?’ He said: “To participate in
Jihaad in Allaah’s cause.” He was then asked, ‘Which is the next?’
He said: “To perform an accepted Hajj.” [Al-Bukhaari] For over
1400 years, believers have been making Hajj to the House of Allaah in
Makkah. It is an obligation for each and every Muslim to perform Hajj at
least once in his/her lifetime if he is physically and financially able.
Due to the importance of Hajj, preparations for it should not be taken
lightly. Besides planning the actual logistics of the trip, the Muslim needs
to prepare Islamically, physically, mentally, and financially for this great
act of worship. Islamically, one of the most important preparations for
this journey is acquiring the necessary knowledge for performing the
rituals of Hajj and ‘Umrah correctly and in accordance to the Sunnah of
the Prophet . This means studying and learning about Islam, acquiring
a high degree of Eemaan (faith) in order to deal with the emotional and
physical demands of Hajj, and learning correctly the actual religious
rituals and requirements from the beginning to the end of Hajj and
‘Umrah. Studying and learning about the Hajj can be accomplished in a
variety of fashions, from reading books on the subject or using computer
programs which utilize a multimedia format, to actually taking classes
offered by Islamic centers on the rituals of Hajj and ‘Umrah.
Furthermore, many travel groups that specialize in Hajj and ‘Umrah trips
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offer Hajj preparation classes as well as scholars and students of
knowledge that help those going for Hajj perform the rituals of Hajj and
‘Umrah correctly.
In addition, it is important to mention that spiritually preparing for Hajj
and ‘Umrah is also a lesson on how to follow the footsteps of the Prophet
who taught the Companions – a lesson that can be transformed into
other acts of worship. Preparing for Hajj is a spiritual experience with a
period of self-reflection and a lesson in piety and humility. The pilgrim
must focus on his sole intention of performing Hajj. That it is solely for
the pleasure of Allaah The Almighty and in accordance to His
Commandment regarding this act of worship. The believer also needs to
resolve any conflicts or differences between him and others and seek
forgiveness for any acts of transgression. This stage of preparation should
take place long before the actual departure for Hajj.
Preparing early for Hajj, the season of forgiveness and great salvation, is
an important issue and one that is often overlooked by most people. A
Muslim embarking on Hajj must make an early start in order to get ready
for it so that Allaah The Almighty may guide us to perform this journey
of a lifetime to His Sacred House. Just as one should get ready for
Ramadhaan in order to attain the mercy and forgiveness of Allaah The
Exalted and to be saved from Hell in this great season of forgiveness, one
should start preparing for Hajj well in advance as well. If one does not
start preparing early, then even if Allaah The Almighty decrees Hajj for
him, his Hajj may not be Hajj Mabroor (an accepted Hajj) which is not
equaled to anything upon which the sun rises as mentioned in a narration
from the Prophet .
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Acquire knowledge of the various aspects of the Hajj
If Allaah The Exalted guides man to perform Hajj, he comes back from it
with his sins and misdeeds obliterated. He returns as sinless as a newborn child that has just been delivered by his mother, as mentioned by the
Prophet in the Saheeh of Al-Bukhaari and Muslim. People should get
ready for the days of Hajj and the season early, so that when these
blessed days arrive and they are ready to receive the mercy of Allaah The
Almighty and feel closer to Allaah The Exalted and good deeds.
However, if death approaches him and he is not ready for the mercy,
forgiveness and blessings of Allaah The Almighty, when will he ever
attain them?
If one prepares for these days with righteousness and good deeds, perhaps
Allaah The Almighty may guide him and bestow upon him the blessing
of Hajj. This is if He finds him keen on attaining the reward of this great
obligation, which is one of the obligations of Islam, if He finds him keen,
truthful and sincere in seeking this season which is one of the seasons of
forgiveness. Perhaps Allaah The Almighty may, out of His generosity,
grant him the blessing of going to His Sacred House.
One of the most important factors by which Allaah The Almighty calls a
person to His Sacred House is his longing for His House. That is to say
that when a man has this feeling of longing, Allaah The Almighty carries
him there regardless of the reasons, regardless of the impediments he was
thinking of, regardless of the obstacles he meets and issues such as
organizing money, a visa and so on. Allaah The Almighty drives all these
cares away from him all of a sudden.
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This is why if someone asks: ‘How can one prepare for the season of
Hajj?’ it is said that the first thing with which one gets ready is longing. If
one does not have the feeling of longing and yearning for the House of
Allaah The Almighty, this is evidence that he has no longing to meet
Allaah The Exalted, nor for the Hereafter. Instead, this is an indication
that his heart is hard and distant and this deprives him from the good
deeds and great acts that bring him closer to Allaah The Almighty. He
grants the ability to visit His House to those who are longing, loving and
feel sad when prevented and deprived for many years from reaching it.
Hence, the first thing with which man gets ready is yearning and longing
for the House of Allaah The Almighty. If he does not feel longing or
yearning, he will remain in this state of deprivation, remoteness and
disinclination between himself and Allaah The Almighty.
Therefore, this is the first thing with which man prepares himself to be
granted the blessings of Allaah The Almighty. If Allaah The Almighty
wants a slave to visit His House and attain the honor of this visit and this
great rank of the religion, He enables all the factors that bring this about.
Many times, we hear about and watch the journeys of those who have an
overwhelming longing for Allaah The Exalted. Allaah The Almighty
arranges for them what they themselves did not expect, such as money,
visa and such other issues which may act as impediments or obstacles.
Such obstacles and impediments do not exist for Allaah The Almighty,
who only has to say to anything: “Be” and it is. In the story of Zakariyya
he recited this amazing supplication (which means): {and my wife
has been barren, so give me from Yourself an heir.}[Quran 19:5] The
verse means, my wife cannot give birth and I want to have a child! My
wife is barren but Your mercy, power and might are not compared to
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anything and this power and might is in charge of everything and capable
of making everything possible. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means):
{His command is only when He intends a thing that He says to it, “Be,”
and it is.}[Quran 36:82] This meaning also applies to Hajj and other
things as well.
Those who long for Allaah The Exalted, for His House and for being
honored with visiting these places, the places of the gatherings of the
sincere slaves of Allaah The Almighty, and the places of mercy where
tears are shed and obstacles are removed, should offer something to prove
their longing. This longing appears in the good deeds with which they
wish Allaah The Almighty would carry them and take them to His House,
and that Allaah The Generous and the Most High grants them this visit,
from which one returns with his sins forgiven and himself as sinless as a
newborn baby.
How does man show his longing for Allaah The Exalted and for His
House, and not think that there is no obstacle that may prevent him from
reaching this House that Allaah The Almighty cannot remove? Or that
any impediments will be lifted from his way by Allaah The Generous and
The Omnipotent? Or that Allaah The Almighty will eliminate these
obstacles and hardships, and that all of a sudden, he will find himself in
the Sanctuary, in the House of Allaah The Almighty?
Longing for His House is the evidence of longing and yearning to Allaah
The Almighty. That is why Allaah The Exalted Says (what means): {And
[mention] when We made the House a place of return for the people
and [a place of] security.}[Quran 2:125] This means that people long for
it and yearn for it; they go there and they come back thinking that they
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have not yet fully accomplished their desire and objective from going
there, and that they still need to go there again and again.
In other words, they perform Hajj time after time and still their yearning
to this House increases. They never think that they no longer need it and
that they have had their share of it. Rather, their yearning for it is intense
more than ever, and their longing for it is overwhelming. Whenever they
return from it, they long for it again. Therefore, they have a continuous
feeling of longing for the House of Allaah The Almighty till they meet
their Lord, so that their greatest longing is to see Allaah The Exalted and
to have the pleasure of looking at His Countenance in the Hereafter.
The Virtues of Hajj
When man leaves his home heading towards the Sacred House, with
every step he takes, a reward is recorded and a sin is obliterated for him.
When he performs Tawaaf (circumambulation) around the House, he is
forgiven.
When he leaves ‘Arafaat, Allaah The Almighty Says (what means):
{Depart, O My slaves, you are forgiven.}
When he cuts his hair, with every hair he obtains a reward.
When he performs Sa‘y (seven circuits) between As-Safa and Al-Marwah,
his reward for this act is equal to the reward of setting free seventy slaves
from among the children of Ismaa‘eel, .
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These various meanings and great virtues are gathered in the Hadeeth of
the Prophet in which he says: “The reward of Hajj Mabroor (the one
accepted by Allaah) is nothing except Paradise.” [Al-Bukhaari and
Muslim] We should reflect upon this meaning. One should not think that
he cannot perform Hajj because he has no money. On the contrary, the
Prophet said: “A pilgrim never suffers poverty.” [At-Tabaraani] That
is to say, that no pilgrim would need the money he spent on Hajj. When
you long for Hajj and Allaah The Almighty carries you to His House,
then He has solved all problems for you. Do not think that money may be
an obstacle as money should not be considered one of the reasons of
hardships and obstacles that stand in your way. Moreover, one should not
think afterwards that if his money decreases because of Hajj or ‘Umrah
that he may suffer poverty or that his money will diminish. The Prophet
said: “A pilgrim never suffers poverty”, because spending a Dirham
in Hajj as mentioned in the Hasan Hadeeth is rewarded with seven
hundred Dirhams in return granted to him by Allaah The Almighty.
Allaah The Exalted subjugated everything to man; He only expects from
His slaves to long for Him and yearn for His House. This will prove their
longing and love for their Lord, and their hastening to His House to obey
Him and draw closer to Him and to prove that by arriving at the House,
they will arrive at the Lord of the House, Allaah willing.
Physical and financial preparation
Other preparations that should be planned long before the actual trip are
financial in nature. Simply, going to Hajj costs money. Furthermore the
pilgrim must pay off any old debts (this includes any type of loans),
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household bills, and leave enough money to pay any living expenses
likely that other members of his family not making Hajj might need.
Finally, it is important to complete one’s will (Wasiyyah) before departing
on Hajj.
Another important step in preparing for Hajj is the need to prepare
physically for the event. Not only is Hajj a spiritual event, it also requires
a lot of physical stamina from the participant. Completing the rites of
Hajj includes a lot of walking, mixing with many people, living in high
temperatures (during summer), and exerting a great deal of effort.
Another important step in preparing physically for Hajj is to make sure
you are medically fit for the trip. Individuals with chronic health issues
need to see their primary care physician in order to discuss any medical
risks that need to be addressed prior to their Hajj experience.
Another recommendation is that these individuals also travel with a
healthy caretaker in case any problems might arise during the actual Hajj.
In addition, pilgrims must have the necessary vaccinations required by
the Saudi Government for cholera and meningococcal meningitis.
Because of these issues, it is also important to emphasize that one should
complete Hajj and ‘Umrah as soon as one is able to both physically and
financially. Some people wait until they are old to go for Hajj. This is
wrong and makes Hajj more difficult than necessary for the participant
and in many cases for his traveling companions. Performing Hajj as soon
as possible corresponds to the Hadeeth narrated by ‘Abdullaah Ibn
‘Abbaas who said, “The Prophet said: “He who intends to
perform Hajj should hasten to do so.” [Abu Daawood]
A person who intends going for Hajj must learn and accepting that the
Hajj experience includes frustration, intense desert heat (during summer),
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and various differences in culture and food. The pilgrim can expect to
stand in long lines, be shoved and pushed by others while completing the
necessary rituals, and be in an uncomfortable close proximity to members
of the opposite sex.
One purpose of Hajj is for the individual to be tested. The individual will
be tested on physical, emotional, and spiritual levels.
After preparing oneself internally and financially for one of the most
important events in the life of a Muslim, the pilgrim must plan and make
actual decisions regarding his/her journey. While one can always make
the trip by himself or with a small group of individuals close to him, in
this modern day this is not always the best choice. It is not uncommon for
hotels to be fully booked for at least one year in advance. Furthermore,
unless one starts searching very early, it is also hard to find airline
reservations and available flights to Saudi Arabia during the Hajj season
and during Ramadhaan for ‘Umrah. Because of these challenges in
planning, many individuals opt to join a travel group that specializes in
Hajj and ‘Umrah tours. Since not all tour groups are equal and provide
the same quality service, there are a number of items to look for in
choosing the right tour group.
The first thing to look for in a group is the price of the trip. Most groups
offer a variety of price packages that depend on a variety of factors.
These factors include the type of hotel, number of people per room, use
of private transportation and whether or not food is included within the
package.. Since Muslims in the West are generally accustomed to a
certain degree of comfort, some Western Muslims would find less
expensive accommodations unacceptable and uncomfortable. For
example, during Hajj some hotels accommodate up to 15 people per room
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sharing a single communal bathroom. Furthermore, many Western
Muslims are used to a certain degree of cleanliness in their hotel rooms
and eating establishments that is not found in all hotels and restaurants.
Another factor to consider is the distance of the hotel accommodations
from the Haram (Sanctuary). As a rule of thumb, if the price is too cheap,
so is probably the quality of the package. In other words, the cheaper in
price of the package, the higher the probability of encountering problems
during your Hajj, which in turn, can make for a more difficult Hajj
experience.
Another thing to look for is the number of years of experience of the tour
operator. Generally, experienced operators are the best since they are able
to handle any problems that can and will probably occur during Hajj or
‘Umrah. It is important to make sure that an experienced leader from the
tour group accompanies the group for Hajj, since it is not uncommon to
lose members of your group sometimes for hours or even days. Other
problems that often occur include lost or stolen belongings and money,
illnesses that require medical attention, and the death of a group member.
It is important for the pilgrim to understand that their Hajj will not be
problem free. Problems arise frequently and an experienced tour operator
is needed to handle the situation. When looking for a tour operator, it is
important to ask how they handle problems. If the potential tour operator
tells you that you will have a problem free Hajj, continue searching for a
better program.
Researching the business strength of your potential tour group is another
important step in choosing a tour group. Generally, it is better to choose
groups that have offices or contacts within Saudi Arabia. These contacts
can make a Hajj experience run more smoothly in a number of areas
which include helping facilitate and streamline the customs process in
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Jeddah (which can take between 8 to 20 hours) to providing private
ground transportation and buses for the pilgrims. One thing that is highly
recommended is to look for a company that offers its own private tour
buses. This is especially important since the pilgrim can literally expect to
wait for hours for public transportation.
Another important quality of the travel agent is the degree they are versed
in the rules and regulations of the Hajj process. This includes helping the
pilgrims with the visa process from the Saudi Arabian Embassy or
Consulate to understanding the Hajj and ‘Umrah rites from an Islamic
standpoint. For example, in order for a pilgrim to enter Saudi Arabia,
there are certain requirements that need to be met from the Saudi Arabian
government. These requirements include the necessary vaccinations; if
the person has a non-Muslim name, a letter from a mosque stating he is
Muslim is needed. Women must have proof of being accompanied by a
Mahram (a husband or non-marriageable relative). In addition, there are
fees that need to be paid in advance for use of the public transportation
system and use of the tents in Mina along with the necessary forms that
need to be completed in full and approved prior to the trip. It is also best
to use a travel agent that utilizes scholars as religious guides for the trip.
Besides helping to keep the travel group focused on the worship of
Allaah, rather than on worldly distractions such as chatting, playing
cards, etc., he is also available to ensure that group members are correctly
performing the rituals.
Performing Hajj can be one of the most important events in a Muslim’s
life. However, one should not make the decision to go on Hajj at the last
minute. The planning of this trip takes time and is a process within itself.
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Gaining knowledge of the inner dimensions of Hajj
Besides the financial aspects of the trip, one needs to be ready for the trip
from an Islamic standpoint. This includes studying Islam, knowing what
is obligatory and what is non-obligatory in the rites of Hajj, and
developing a strong Eemaan. While both the process and task of Hajj can
be difficult for some, the rewards of Hajj should not be underestimated.
In a Hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurayrah the Prophet said:
“Whoever performs Hajj for Allaah’s pleasure and does not have
sexual relations with his wife and does not do evil or sins then he will
return [after Hajj free from all sins] as if he were born anew.” [AlBukhaari]
It is important to understand the sublime aims and objectives of Hajj. The
Hajj journey gives a Muslim a sense of connection with the Prophets
from our father Ibraaheem who built the House, to our Prophet
Muhammad the Messenger of Allaah and his respect for the sanctity
of Makkah. When the pilgrim visits the sacred places and performs the
rituals, he remembers the visits of those pure Prophets to this sacred
place.
Imaam Muslim narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas said, “We traveled with
the Messenger of Allaah between Makkah and Madeenah, and we
passed by a valley. He said: “What valley is this?” They said, “The
valley of al-Azraq.” He said: “It is as if I can see Moosa the
Messenger of Allaah putting his fingers in his ears beseeching Allaah,
reciting the Talbiyah and passing through this valley.”
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Then we traveled on until we came to a mountain pass. He said: “What
mountain pass is this?” They said, “Harsha or Lift.” He said, “It is
as if I can see Yoonus on a red camel, wearing a woollen cloak, the
reins of his camel made from fibres of date-palm, passing through this
valley reciting the Talbiyah.”
The whiteness and cleanness of the pilgrims’ clothes is a sign of inward
purity, cleanness of heart and the purity of the message and the method.
This means putting aside all adornment and showing humility, and it is a
reminder of death when the deceased is shrouded in similar clothes.
Therefore, it is as if he is preparing to meet Allaah The Almighty.
Entering Ihraam from the Meeqaat is a physical expression of worship
and enslavement to Allaah The Almighty, and of submission to His
commands and laws. No one passes it (without entering Ihraam) because
it is a command from Allaah and a law that He has prescribed. This
confirms the unity of the Ummah (Muslim nation) and its following one
system with no differentiation or exemptions with regard to the definition
of the Meeqaats.
Hajj is the symbol of Tawheed (Islamic Monotheism) from the first
moment the pilgrim enters Ihraam. Jaabir ibn ‘Abdullaah said,
describing the Hajj of the Prophet : “Then he started to say the words
of Tawheed: ‘“Labbayka Allaahumma labbayk, labbayka laa shareeka
laka labbayk. Inna al-hamd wa’l-ni’mata laka wa’l-mulk, laa shareeka
lak (Here I am, O Allaah, here I am. Here I am, You have no partner, here
I am. Verily all praise and blessings are Yours, and all sovereignty, You
have no partner).’”
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Hajj is a reminder of the Hereafter when all the people come together in
one place in ‘Arafah and elsewhere, with no differentiation between
them. All of them are equal in this place and no one is better than anyone
else. It is a symbol of unity, because Hajj makes all people the same in
their clothing, deeds, rituals, Qiblah and the places they visit. Thus, no
one is better than anyone else, king or slave, rich or poor, are all the
same: people are equal in terms of rights and duties. They are equal in
this sacred place, and differences in color and nationality do not matter;
no one has the right to differentiate between them.
In the words of the Prophet : “People come from Adam, and Adam
came from dust. No Arab is superior to a non-Arab and no white man is
superior to a black man, except in terms of piety (taqwa).”
More than two million Muslims all standing in one place, wearing the
same clothes, sharing one aim, with one slogan, calling upon one Lord
and following one Prophet… what unity can be greater than this?
Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {“Verily, those who
disbelieved and hinder (men) from the path of Allaah, and from
Al-Masjid Al-Haraam (at Makkah) which We have made (open) to (all)
men, the dweller in it and the visitor from the country are equal there
[as regards its sanctity and pilgrimage (Hajj and ‘Umrah)] — and
whoever inclines to evil actions therein or to do wrong (i.e. practise
polytheism and leave Islamic Monotheism), him We shall cause to taste
from a painful torment”} [Quran 22:25]
Hajj trains a person to be content with modest clothing and
accommodation, when he wears two pieces of cloth and it is sufficient for
him, and his accommodation gives him just enough room to sleep.
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This huge gathering makes a great impression on the unbelievers and
followers of misguidance. Even though they are scattered and different,
the simple fact that they come together despite those differences at a
certain time and in a certain place is indicative of their potential to unite
at other times and in other places.
Pointing out the importance of Muslims coming together and establishing
harmony. For we see usually each person travelling on his own, whereas
in Hajj we see people coming in groups.
Getting to know the situation of the Muslims from trustworthy sources,
since the Muslim can hear directly from his brother about the situation of
his Muslim brothers in the land from which he has come. This leads to
exchanging benefits and experience among the Muslims in general.
Another benefit of the Hajj is meeting scholars and decision makers from
all countries and studying the situation and needs of the Muslims, and the
importance of cooperating with them.
Hajj leads to achieving true submission to Allaah The Almighty by
standing in the holy places when the pilgrim leaves Al-Masjid Al-Haraam
which is the best of spots, and standing in ‘Arafah.
It also leads to forgiveness of sins, because the Prophet said:
“Whoever performs Hajj and does not speak any obscene words or
commit any sin will go back cleansed of sin as on the day his mother
bore him.”
Hajj opens the doors of hope to those who commit sin, and teaching them
to give up their sin in these holy places, so that they will give up many of
their bad habits during the period of Hajj and its rituals.
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The rituals of proclaim that Islam is the religion of organization, because
during Hajj the rituals and time are organized, with every action done in
the place and at the time defined for it.
Hajj trains a person to spend in charitable ways and to avoid miserliness.
The pilgrim spends a great deal of money for the sake of Hajj, on travel
expenses, on the road and in the sacred places.
Hajj increases piety and makes the heart fit to honor the Symbols of
Allaah. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {“and whosoever
honors the Symbols of Allaah, then it is truly, from the piety of the
hearts”}[Quran 22:32]
Hajj serves the purpose of training the rich to give up their distinct
clothing and accommodation and making them equal with the poor in
clothing and in the rituals of Tawaaf, Sa’y and stoning the Jamaraat. This
teaches them to be humble and to realize the insignificance of this
worldly life.
The pilgrim persists in worshipping and remembering Allaah The
Almighty during the days of Hajj, moving from one sacred place to the
next, from one ritual to another. This is a kind of intensive training in
worship and remembrance of Allaah The Almighty.
Hajj trains a Muslim to be kind to people – so the pilgrim guides those
who are lost, teaches those who are ignorant, helps the poor, and supports
the disabled and weak.
Hajj enables one to develop good characteristics such as forbearance and
putting up with annoyance from people, because the pilgrim will
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inevitably be exposed to crowding and arguments, etc. Allaah The
Almighty Says (what means): {“The Hajj (pilgrimage) is (in) the wellknown (lunar year) months (i.e. the 10th month, the 11th month and
the first ten days of the 12th month of the Islamic calendar, i.e. two
months and ten days). So whosoever intends to perform Hajj therein (by
assuming Ihraam), then he should not have sexual relations (with his
wife), nor commit sin, nor dispute unjustly during the Hajj.”}[Quran
2:197]
Hajj trains a person to be patient and to put up with difficulties such as
heat, long distances, being apart from one’s family, going back and forth
between the holy sites and crowded conditions therein.
Learning to give up one’s usual habits and the things that one is
comfortable with, because the pilgrim has to uncover his head and give
up his regular clothes, and leave behind the accommodation, food and
drink that he is used to.
When the pilgrim does Sa’y between As-Safa and Al-Marwah, he
remembers that the one who obeys Allaah The Almighty and puts his
trust in Him and turns to Him, He will not let him down, rather He will
raise high the esteem in which he is held. When Haajara the mother
of Ismaa’eel said to Ibraaheem “Has Allaah commanded you to
do this?” he said, “Yes.” She said, “Then He will not let us down.”
So Allaah raised high the esteem in which she was held and the people,
including the Prophets, started to run between the two hills as she had
done.
Hajj teaches one not to despair of the mercy of Allaah, no matter how
great one’s worries and distress. For the way out is in Allaah’s hand. The
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mother of Ismaa’eel thought her son was about to die, and she started
to run from one mountain to the other, looking for a solution, and it came
to her from a source she could never imagine: an angel came down and
struck the ground, and out came the water of Zamzam with its healing for
diseases of the heart and body.
The pilgrim remembers that in doing these rituals he is the guest of the
most Merciful. The gathering of Hajj is not at the invitation of any
government or organization or king or president, rather it is the invitation
of the Lord of the Worlds Who has made it an occasion on which the
Muslims meet on a footing of equality in which no one is superior to
anyone else.
Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {“And proclaim to mankind
the Hajj (pilgrimage). They will come to you on foot and on every lean
camel, they will come from every deep and distant (wide) mountain
highway (to perform Hajj). That they may witness things that are of
benefit to them (i.e. reward of Hajj in the Hereafter, and also some
worldly gain from trade)”}[Quran 22:27-28]
An-Nasaa’i narrated that Abu Hurayrah said, “The Messenger of
Allaah said: “The guests of Allaah are three: the warrior for the
sake of Allaah, the pilgrim performing Hajj and the pilgrim performing
‘Umrah.” [Saheeh by Al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Nasaa’i]
Hajj enables the believers to strengthen bonds with each other as
represented in the words of the Messenger of Allaah : “Your blood,
your honor and your wealth are sacred to you as this day of yours in
this month of yours in this land of yours is sacred.” [Narrated by AlBukhaari, 65; Muslim, 3180]
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The season of Hajj is distinguished by complete separation from the
people of Shirk and Kufr who are forbidden to attend any part of it. It is
forbidden for them to enter the Haram at any time, no matter what their
purpose.
Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {“O you who believe (in
Allaah’s Oneness and in His Messenger Muhammad)! Verily, the
Mushrikoon (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness
of Allaah, and in the Message of Muhammad) are Najasun (impure).
So let them not come near Al-Masjid Al-Haraam (at Makkah) after this
year; and if you fear poverty, Allaah will enrich you if He wills, out of
His Bounty. Surely, Allaah is All-Knowing, All-Wise”}[Quran 9:28]
Al-Bukhaari narrated that Abu Hurayrah said, “Abu Bakr
sent me as an announcer on that Hajj [which the Prophet appointed
Abu Bakr to lead in 9 AH], to announce on the Day of Sacrifice in Mina
that after this year no Mushrik might perform Hajj and no one might
circumambulate the House naked.”
Conclusion
The Hajj teaches a lesson which opens a great door before the Muslim in
Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence). A Muslim learns from this that deeds have
different degrees in terms of reward and excellence and that each deed
has a specific time and priority over other deeds. This is known as “dues
to be fulfilled with priority in a certain time”.
The Fiqh of priorities means considering the ratio (of priorities) among
deeds and Sharee‘ah (Islamic legislation) obligations and this is one
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means of rearranging the Muslim mindset. Reversion in these ratios
causes considerable damage to religion and life. In Islam, the creed takes
precedence over deeds; deeds differ to a great extent, they are also
different in the sight of Allaah The Almighty. Consequently, it is
impermissible to give precedence to the voluntary act of worship over the
obligatory ones. Likewise, the individual obligation takes precedence
over the communal obligation.
When he was asked about the best deeds, whether the hardest or those
whose benefit extends to others, Ibn Al-Qayyim indicated that the
preponderant view is that there are no deeds which are absolutely the
best. Rather, for each time there is a certain act of worship which is the
best at that particular time. [Madaarij As-Saalikeen]
We should not forget the advice of the Prophet when he arranged the
priorities in spending as he said: “Start with those in your charge.”
[Al-Bukhaari]
A caller to Allaah The Almighty is the most deserving of all people to
have a clear, organized mindset. By doing so, he realizes the importance
of time, understands his priorities and avoids an unbalanced approach for
dealing with different issues.
The blessed journey of Hajj starts from certain places called Mawaaqeet
(plural of Meeqaat). They are five places from where pilgrims assume
Ihraam (sacral state). It was narrated on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbaas ,
that he said, “The Messenger of Allaah made Thul-Hulayfah as the
Meeqaat for the people of Al-Madeenah; Al-Juhfah for the people of AshShaam; Qarn Al-Manaazil for the people of Najd; and Yalamlam for the
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people of Yemen; and these Mawaaqeet are for the people at those very
places, as well as for those who come through those places with the
intention of performing Hajj and ‘Umrah; and whoever is living within
these boundaries can assume Ihraam from the place he starts, and the
people of Makkah can assume Ihraam from Makkah.” [Al-Bukhaari and
Muslim]
When one intends to perform Hajj or ‘Umrah, it is not permissible for
him to pass through the Meeqaat without assuming Ihraam. If someone
passes the Meeqaat without assuming Ihraam, he is required to go back
to the Meeqaat in order to assume Ihraam from it. Otherwise, he is liable
to slaughter an animal that is to be distributed among the poor of the
sanctuary of Makkah.
This particular ritual helps us learn a disciplinary lesson with far-reaching
meanings: a Muslim must always be aware of the fact that there are
certain limits for each act of worship that should not be transcended.
Transcending these limits is dangerous as it is reflected on the soundness
of the deed itself, besides rendering it unaccepted by Allaah The
Almighty.
Discipline has far-reaching consequences on one’s Islamic upbringing,
which is one of the prominent features of the Islamic methodology that a
Muslim should learn. A Muslim has to have this disciplinary spirit and
develop it and therefore get used to loving order, discipline, obeying
commands and adhering to the limits of each deed and not transcending
it. All these aspects are included in the desired disciplinary
characteristics.
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All the other deeds of the obligation of Hajj are performed in this way
and with the same spirit.
Reflect on the fact that this great obligation has four pillars: Ihraam,
Tawaaf Al-Ifaadhah, staying at ‘Arafah and Sa‘y between As-Safa and AlMarwah. Abandoning one of these pillars renders the Hajj invalid.
Reflect also on the fact that there are obligatory actions of this great pillar
of Islam. When a pilgrim abandons one of these obligations, he is
required to slaughter an animal and distribute it among the poor of
Makkah. This is also the underlying spirit of all acts of worship and
rituals.
We can take only one example, which is prayer. It has certain conditions,
pillars as well as recommended acts. All these deeds are determined by
Sharee‘ah (Islamic legislation) texts with no room for human reasoning.
It is impermissible to add anything to these acts.
The same holds true for the spirit of all the relationships of a Muslim.
There are certain regulations for the Muslim’s relations with his Lord, his
self as well as his family. They are duties and he is obliged to fulfill them.
In a Hadeeth, the Prophet said: “Indeed, Your Lord has a right on
you, your self has a right on you, your family has a right on you. So,
you have to fulfill each one’s due right.” [At-Tirmithi]
We conclude from this that discipline and adherence to the limits set by
Allaah The Almighty is the character of the true Muslim.
The opposite of discipline is disorder, indiscipline, violation and
transgression. This has dangerous effects within oneself as well as within
the Muslim community. Let us reflect on this great advice from the
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beloved Prophet which indicates that external and internal order are
firmly connected. It is a warning and indicates that external deviance is
reflected on hearts. In a Hadeeth (narration), the Prophet said: “Do
not differ lest your hearts differ as well.” [Muslim]
A caller to Allaah The Almighty is worthier of adhering to the spirit of
regimentation and discipline. Mere signs are enough for an intelligent
person to understand, thus, how would he act when he receives a clear
and manifest Prophetic injunction?
Starting from the Mawaaqeet and during the Hajj months, a Muslim
assumes Ihraam when he intends to perform either Hajj or ‘Umrah. He
takes off his clothes and wears the Ihraam dress, which consists of two
white clean sheets, Ridaa’ (the upper sheet) and Izaar (the lower sheet).
A woman wears whatever she wants of permissible clothes while
ensuring that there is neither impermissible exposure of beauty nor
adornment. Before Ihraam, it is recommended to make Ghusl, apply
perfume (for men) and wear clean clothes.
When a Muslim assumes Ihraam, he is required to loudly repeat
Talbiyah, saying: “Labbayka Allaahumma labbayk. Labbayka laa
shareeka laka labbayk. Innalhamda wan-n‘imata laka wal-mulk, laa
shareeka lak (O Allaah, I answer Your Call, there is no partner with You,
to You Alone belongs praise, favor and sovereignty, there is no partner
with You)”. Thereafter, a pilgrim is required to avoid the known
restrictions of Ihraam.
Reflect on the ritual of Hajj in the context of the verse in which Allaah
The Exalted Says (what means): {Indeed, Allaah will not change the
condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.}[Quran
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13: 11], we are convinced that the desired change is the internal change of
the human self and essence. We are also certain that Allaah The Almighty
does not treat people according to their appearance. In a Hadeeth, the
Prophet said: “Allaah does not look at your bodies or shapes; rather,
He looks at your hearts and deeds.” [Muslim]
Nevertheless, wearing the Ihraam directs us to another important
perspective from the point of Islamic upbringing: a person who seeks
internal change should not neglect external change. The human is one
unit which cannot be divided into parts. External disorder causes a farreaching internal effect. I have already referred to the advice of the
Prophet in the Hadeeth: “Do not differ lest your hearts differ as
well.” [Muslim]
Ihraam is a symbol for shifting from one stage to another. It marks the
beginning of a covenant between the Muslim and his Lord. He asserts his
truthful intention to change and adheres to this externally by wearing the
Ihraam dress. One also publicly declares this through repeating the
Talbiyah so that people know about this covenant as well as the
consequences of abandoning the restrictions of Ihraam. We can even
understand and deduce the inner dimension of Talbiyah through the
Hadeeth in which the Prophet said: “When any pilgrim utters
Talbiyah, every stone and tree on his right and on his left responds with
a (similar) Talbiyah, until the whole earth resounds with it.” [Ibn
Khuzaymah]
Reflect on this call and the act of repeating Talbiyah loudly as well as its
external and internal impact and how it is related to the call of the founder
of this great rite, the intimate friend of Allaah, Prophet Ibraaheem
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(Abraham) when Allaah The Almighty commanded him to call
people and proclaim the message. Allaah The Almighty promised him
that He will convey his call to all people. Allaah The Exalted Says (what
means): {And proclaim to the people the Hajj [pilgrimage]; they will
come to you on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every
distant pass.}[Quran 22: 27]
It means: announce Hajj to humankind and call them to perform Hajj to
this House which We have commanded you to build. It was said that
Ibraaheem said, “O Lord, how can I convey this to people when my
voice will not reach them?” It was said, “Call them and We will convey
it. ” So Ibraaheem stood up (on his place, or on the Black Stone, or
on (the mountain of) As-Safa or on (the mountain of) Abu Qubays and
said, “O mankind! Your Lord has established a House so come for
pilgrimage to it.” It is said that the mountains lowered themselves so that
his voice would reach all the corners of the earth, and those who were
still in their mothers’ wombs and their fathers’ loins would hear the call.
The response came from everything that heard him, from stones, trees,
and those whom Allaah has decreed will make Hajj, until the Day of
Resurrection: “We answer your call, O Allaah, we answer your call.” [Ibn
Katheer]
Hajj is a means of declaring one’s identity. It also indicates that this rite is
universal and brings happiness to all creatures, that all beings respond to
it and that the Lord of all creatures and the whole universe blesses this
rite.
It is the symbol of distinction, which differentiates between the
advocators of this great Divine rite and the advocators of other contrary
earthly projects. It differentiates between this journey to which the whole
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existence responds and the human nature finds comfort in, and other
projects which, if they do not clash, go against existence and are alien to
the human nature.
The challenge involved in this journey which makes it sublime over all
other projects is depending on Allaah The Almighty, Who blesses it,
purifies it and takes pride before the angels with it. It was narrated that
the Prophet once went out and found his Companions sitting in
circles. He asked: “What made you sit?” They said, “We sat to
remember Allaah The Almighty and praise Him for guiding us to Islam
and bestowing other favors on us.” He said: “Would you swear by
Allaah that you have sat for this only?” They said, “By Allaah, we have
sat only for this.” He said: “I did not ask you to swear because I
doubt your intention. Rather, Jibreel (Gabriel) came to me and told me
that Allaah boasts of you before the angels.” [Muslim]
Thus, we come to realize the universal effect of this great rite of Hajj.
This is in addition to its internal effects which overwhelm the spirit and
for which the heart palpitates out of yearning and love. This is in response
to the supplication of the intimate Friend of Allaah, Ibraaheem
which he raised on one of the days of this great project. Allaah The
Exalted Says (what means) through his words (which mean): {Our Lord,
I have settled some of my descendants in an uncultivated valley near
Your Sacred House, our Lord, that they may establish prayer. So make
hearts among the people incline toward them.}[Quran 14: 37]
Therefore, this is a tangible declaration of commitment to the covenant of
change, a shift from the past with all its negative deeds and entering into
the future.