THE JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME
In this life people are usually aware of two kinds of journeys: Those made to earn a livelihood and those undertaken for pleasure and sight seeing.
The Hajj, however is unique from these journeys, in that it is made solely for the pleasure of Allah. It is the Fifth pillar of Islam and its performance is an obligatory duty prescribed by Allah at least once in a lifetime if one is able.
“And perform properly the Hajj and Umrah as a duty to Allah…” Baqarah 2:196
The rites of Hajj transform a physical journey into a profoundly spiritual one. Rich and poor undergo the same conditions; they stand up on the same ground wearing the same garment; two white pieces of cloth in which no one stands out by color or wealth. Distinctions of different nationalities are eliminated and all appear in the court of Allah in a state of oneness as worshippers, full of humility. It is an assembly resembling that of the Day of Resurrection. Every Muslim, male and female, young and old does the same rituals. They leave their beloved ones back home and come to perform Hajj responding to the invitation of Allah.
“Verily, the first House (of worship) appointed for mankind was that at Bakka (Makkah), full of blessing, and a guidance for the worlds. In it are clear signs, the place of Ibraheem. He who enters it becomes secure. And Hajj (Pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the expenses. And he who denies it, then Allah stands in need on none of His creatures.” Al Imran 3:96-97
By combining both the physical and monetary aspects of worship, the Hajj nurtures in the pilgrim all of the spiritual and moral goals of worship in Islam such as sincerity and piety, humility and obedience, sacrifice and submission.
BENEFITS OF MAKING HAJJ
As mentioned above, Hajj is obligatory. However, what we often forget is that Allah the Most High does not stand in need of any of our worship or actions. Allah is free of all wants, free of all needs, worthy of all praise and worthy of all worship. When Allah has made something obligatory for mankind, it is for the benefit of mankind.
Narrated by Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle, Sallah Allahu Alaihi wa Salaam, was asked, “What is the best deed?” He, Sallah Allahu Alaihi wa Salaam, replied, “To believe in Allah and His Apostle (Muhammad).” The questioner then asked, “What is the next (in goodness)?” He, Sallah Allahu Alaihi wa Salaam, replied, “To participate in Jihad in Allah’s Cause.” The questioner again asked, “What is the next (in goodness)?” He, Sallah Allahu Alaihi wa Salaam, replied, “To perform Hajj (Pilgrimage to Makkah) ‘Mabrur, (which is accepted by Allah and is performed with the intention of seeking Allah’s pleasure only and not to show off and without committing a sin and in accordance with the traditions of the Prophet ).” Sahih Al-Bukhari
Narrated by Abu Huraira: The Prophet, Sallah Allahu Alaihi wa Salaam, said, “Whoever performs Hajj for Allah’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.” Sahih Al-Bukhari
Allah’s Apostle, Sallah Allahu Alaihi wa Salaam, said, “(The performance of) ‘Umra is an expiation for the sins committed (between it and the previous one). And the reward of Hajj Mabrur (the one accepted by Allah) is nothing except Paradise.” Sahih Al-Bukhari
Performance of Hajj is especially rewarding and beneficial for our Sisters in Al Islam:
Narrated by Aisha (That she said), “O Allah’s Apostle! We consider Jihad as the best deed. Should we not fight in Allah’s cause?” He, Sallah Allahu Alaihi wa Salaam, said, “The best Jihad (for women) is Hajj-mabrur (i.e. Hajj which is done according to the Prophet’s tradition and is accepted by Allah).” Sahih Al-Bukhari
However, a Muslim woman must have a “mahram” (close male relative) to accompany her on the journey of Hajj. This is based on what al-Bukhari recorded that the Prophet, Sallah Allahu Alaihi wa Salaam, said: “It is not allowed for a woman to travel a day and night’s distance except with a mahram.” Al Bukhari and Muslim also recorded from ibn Abbas that he heard the Prophet, Sallah Allahu Alaihi wa Salaam, say: “A man cannot be alone with a woman unless in the presence of a mahram of hers. And a woman does not travel except along with a mahram.” A man said, “O Messenger of Allah , my wife has left to make the Hajj and I have enlisted for such and such expedition.” He said, “Go and make Hajj with your wife.”
The scholars have said that a wealthy woman who has no mahram, is not obligated to perform the Hajj.
PERFORM YOUR HAJJ THIS YEAR
Unfortunately many Muslims delay making Hajj until the latter part of their lives, even though they are able to perform it now. Some Muslims incorrectly think that you should wait until you are old to make Hajj so you can make up for all the mistakes of youth. How many Muslims have died without performing their Hajj because of this type of thinking? Hajj is a duty on every adult, sane Muslim who can afford performing it once in a lifetime. The one who is financially, physically and mentally able has no excuse to delay his or her Hajj! Let us obey Allah and His Messenger:
“Race one with another in hastening towards Forgiveness from your Lord (Allah), and towards Paradise, the width whereof is as the width of heaven and earth, prepared for those who believe in Allah and His Messengers. That is the Grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He pleases. And Allah is the Owner of Great Bounty.” Al-Hadid 57:21
THE PRECONDITIONS OF HAJJ
Like all acts of worship in Islam, there are certain preconditions that should be fulfilled before proceeding. The preconditions of Hajj are as follows:
6) The mahram for women
So what are we waiting for?
Brothers and sisters in Al Islam, let us prepare now and make plans to attend Hajj this year, before its too late! We ask Allah the Most High to make easy our Journey for Hajj, to increase us in Iman, to increace us in Taqwa, to increase us in Knowledge, to enter us in His Paradise and save us from the Fire, amin.
NOTE: I rewrote this Pamphlet for Jeddah Dawah Center and they printed it in the year 2000. Go to their website: http://jdci.org/