It’s a sunny day at the city of Makkah near Mount Arafaa where millions of Muslims gather under the heat of the sun raising their hands towards the sky asking for forgiveness from The supreme Master of this universe, The Master who is responsible for their existence ,wellbeing and who taught them to repeat this verse from the Glorious Quran 17 times a day ( To you we worship and to you we seek our assistance ) Quran (1:5).More than 12 years have passed by since I performed my first Hajj which was an everlasting experience of a unique combination of hardship and the pleasure of obeying Almighty Allah. It is difficult for those who have not yet taken this journey to comprehend or imagine the deep inner feeling that a Muslim goes through in this holy journey.
The religion of Islam is based on 5 fundamental pillars of which they constitute the practical performance of faith that Muslims believe in and performing these pillars are acts of worship that confirm their sincere belief and assists the believing men and believing women in holding on to their faith .Out of the 5 pillars of Islam ,Hajj is the only pillar that Muslims are asked to perform once in a lifetime ,this is obligatory for those who are capable to take on this journey whether it is physically or financially capabilities . This journey is so special that some Muslims from around the world enroll themselves for Hajj ten years before their actual turn arrives .During these ten years they pay the cost of this journey and in some cases they move on to the next life before performing Hajj which then becomes a burden on a family member to perform Hajj on behalf of their deceased relative ,Some Muslims go through hardship by selling their properties in order to secure an opportunity to go for Hajj ,this only indicates the significance of this amazing journey and its effect on the hearts of believers .One would wonder what might be the reason for this devotion towards this ritual ? The prophet of Islam PBUH said ( A good performance of Hajj is not rewarded except by Paradise ) and in another narration he says ( who ever performs hajj and didn’t commit any wrong doings will come back free of sins as if he was just born by his mother),these prophetic narrations are just a few from many other narrations and verses from the Quran glorifying the reward of those who perform Hajj. Only those who value this gift from Allah will appreciate that this ritual can never be postponed or delayed for any worldly matter ,it’s a spiritual calling from Allah almighty through His great Prophet ,Ibrahim PBUH.
Modern Technology has for sure made it easier for pilgrimages from around the world to reach their sacred destination though modern means of transportation which are a blessing from Allah ,if one should look back to the generations before us who traveled by camel or on foot for months to reach Makkah and yet some of them never made it and died on the way ,he would for sure appreciate this ritual more and would not hesitate on making this journey as soon as possible with no further delay .
There are many divine wisdoms that are yet to be revealed when it comes to the way Hajj is performed and the way Muslims are asked to conduct themselves , but through our simple human understanding we come to understand the following from the ritual of Hajj:
- Hajj is a practical example of what will actually happen on the day of resurrection, where humans will be gathered in one place and will be deprived from all worldly attachments .
- All humans are equal in the site of Almighty Allah .
- Only those with patience will prosper and be entitled for the grand prize ,Paradise .
- Reflecting on the concept of total obedience to Allah.
- Eliminating the physical differences among humans .
- Loving one another .
- A reason for shortfalls to be forgiven .
Among the practices of those who are preparing to take this journey soon is to clear any outstanding debts and to seek forgiveness from those whom they wronged and from all family members ,friends and colleagues ,as this might be the last journey where they are chosen by Allah to move on to the next life ,what better honor is there than to depart this world in the holiest lands on earth performing the best ritual prescribed by Almighty Allah .
By/ Hatim Al Abdissalaam