How Hajj can change your life

The Hajj Pilgrimage is unlike any other journey. Here one’s thoughts are concentrated on Allah, and
with intense devotion. When one reaches the holy places, one finds the atmosphere filled with piety
and serenity. One visits places that bear testify to the glory of Islam, and all this leaves an indelible
impression on one’s soul.
It is a great favour Allah has bestowed upon us servants so that we can draw closer to Him and have
our sins forgiven.

Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم‎ indicated:
“He who performs Hajj without speaking or committing indecencies will return as free of sins as he
was on the day when his mother gave birth to him.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
There are, many benefits that we can derive from this journey. Makkah is the centre towards which
we Muslims must converge once a year, meeting in general and refreshing in ourselves the faith that
we are all equal, irrespective of geographical or cultural origin. Thus, pilgrimage unites the Muslims of
the world into one international fraternity.
It is narrated by some that Hajj is the ultimate struggle for some and in return Allah grants them the
ultimate reward.

The Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم‎ said:
“Umrah and Hajj are the jihad for the old, the young, the weak and women.” It was also narrated that
the Prophet صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم‎ said: “Hajj is jihad and Umrah is a voluntary act.”
A man once approached the Prophet صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم‎ and said: “I want to make jihad for the
sake of Allah.” The Prophet صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم‎ replied: “Shall I guide you to a kind of jihad that will
cause you no harm?” “Yes,” the man replied. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم‎ said: “Perform Hajj”.
The journey of Hajj instils in a pilgrim’s heart the meaning of seeking refuge in Allah and the pleasure
of attaining Divine propinquity. Allah says in the Quran:
“Therefore, flee to unto Allah.” [Surah Adh-Dhariyat 51:50]

Although the meaning is spiritual, it has physical manifestations: a pilgrim leaves behind his house,
family, adornments, property, abandons desires, spends money, exerts great efforts and endures the
hardships of travel and life away from home to visit the Sacred House of Allah of which Allah says:
“Whoever enters it attains security.” [Surah Al-Imran 3:97]

A pilgrim flees to the House of Allah aspiring salvation in this world and in the Hereafter from his sins
and shortcomings. He seeks a chance to turn over a new leaf, hoping that Allah may admit him
among those who have gained His Pleasure, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
The blessed journey of Hajj asserts the unity of Muslims, who assemble at the same time and place to
worship one God and direct themselves towards one Qibla (direction of the Ka`bah). For people from
all corners of the globe, the Sacred House represents a greater homeland that affords them security;
in Makkah, “the mother of all cities” as Allah called it, all barriers created by race, countries,
languages, colour and cultures are removed. There is no difference between rich and poor, all are
equal in their need of Allah, the Almighty.

This scene of a civilized conference of different peoples is confirmed in the words of Allah Who says:

“Verily, this Ummah (community of Muslims) of yours is a single Ummah and I am your Lord and
Cherisher: therefore, worship Me (and no other).” [Surah Al-Anbiyaa 21:92]
What are the blessings of Hajj? One may describe them in great detail. But, in the Qur’an, where
Allah instructs Ibrahim to invite people to come to Hajj. Allah says:
“So that they may witness things that are of benefit to them.” [Surah Al-Hajj 22:28]
Hence, the real blessings of Hajj can only be experienced by those who actually perform it. Imam Abu
Hanifah, as narrated, was unsure which act of worship was more excellent among the various ones
laid down by Islam. But once he had performed Hajj, he had no hesitation in declaring that Hajj was
the most excellent of all.

You will find that your love of Allah heightens as you start preparing for your pilgrimage journey with
the sole intention of pleasing Allah. With your heart longing to reach your goal, you become purer in
thought and deed. You repent for past sins, seek forgiveness from people whom you might have
wronged, and try to render your due to others where necessary so as not to go to Allah’s court
burdened with injustices that you may have done to your fellow beings. In general, the inclination to
do good intensifies, and abhorrence of doing evil increases.

After leaving home, the closer you get to the House of Allah, the more intense becomes your desire to
do good. You become careful so that you harm nobody while you try to render whatever service or
help you can to others. You avoid abuse, indecency, dishonesty, squabbles, and bickering because
you are proceeding on the path of Allah. Thus, your entire journey constitutes an act of worship. How,
then, can you do wrong? This journey, in contrast to every other, is a continuing course through which
a Muslim attains a progressive purification of the self. On this journey you are pilgrims to Allah.
It is now easy to see that for two or three months, from the time of deciding and preparing for Hajj to
the time of returning home, a tremendous impact is made on the hearts and minds of pilgrims. This
process entails sacrifice of time, sacrifice of money, sacrifice of comfort, and sacrifice of many
physical desires and pleasures, and all this simply for the sake of Allah, with no worldly or selfish
motive.

Together with a life of sustained piety and virtuousness, the constant remembrance of Allah and the
longing and love for Him in the pilgrim leave a mark on one’s heart which lasts for years. The pilgrim
witnesses at every step the imprints left by those who sacrificed everything of theirs in submission
and obedience to Allah. This lesson in courage and determination, the impetus to strive in the way of
Allah, which a devotee of Allah can draw from these clear signs and inspiring examples, can hardly be
available from any source other than Hajj.

The attachment developed with the focal point of his religion by walking round the Ka`bah (Tawaf),
and the training received to live a Mujahid’s life through the rites of Hajj (such as running from place to
place, repeated departures, patiently waiting, food rations, and restraints from desires) are great
blessings indeed.

Combined with the Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving (Zakah), looked at as a whole, you will see that
Hajj constitutes a preparation for the great task, which Islam wants Muslims to do. This is why it has
been made compulsory for all who have the money and the physical fitness for the journey to the
Ka`bah. This ensures that, in every age, there are Muslims who have passed through this ultimate
training of body, mind and soul.

Lessons from Hajj
Hajj contains many lessons that Muslims should learn. It assures the fact that all Muslims are one
Ummah (nation) and instils in the pilgrims the unique values of Islam. In summary:
1 – Love and Devotion to Allah
A Muslim’s relation with Allah is that of deep love, devotion and obedience. We love Allah as He loves
us: “He loves them and they love Him…” [Surah Al-Ma’idah 5:54]

Prophet Ibrahim loved Allah and Allah took him as a friend (Khalil): “Allah took Ibrahim as a friend.”
[Surah An-Nisaa’ 4:125]
Hajj is deeply associated with Prophet Ibrahim and his life story. Hajj gives us a sense of history. Our
faith is deep-rooted in history. This is the religion of Allah given to us by His many Prophets: Adam,
Nuh, Ibrahim, Isma`il and finally Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم‎. These were the people
who loved Allah, and Allah loved them the most, making them the guides of humanity.
2 – Universal Spirit of Islam
People of all races, colours and nationalities perform Hajj, becoming one without any class or
distinction. Looking and dressing alike while performing the same actions. The spirit of Hajj is to foster
unity and universal brotherhood and sisterhood among the believers.
3 – Giving a Focus, Centre and Orientation
We have one Qibla which is our direction of worship. Providing us focused unity and purpose in our
life, in preparation for the Hereafter. Our focus of life is Allah and the book of Allah that we must hold
fast together: “And hold fast all together Allah’s rope and be not divided…” [Surah Al-Imran 3:103]
4 – Peace and Harmony
The pilgrims come in peace and spend their time together in the most peaceful and respectful
manner. They do not harm anyone or anything. This is also the spirit of Islam. Islam is a total
commitment to care, compassion and kindness. Hajj is the symbol of this commitment and it must be
manifest in our daily life.
5 – Motion, Action, and Sacrifice
The pilgrim keeps on moving all the time, with Tawaf, Sa`i, going to Mina, Arafat, Muzdalifah, the
Jamarat, and other places. It is a dynamic ceremony and this is the way a Muslim’s life should be.
Motion, action, and sacrifice; these things bring success in this life and salvation in the Hereafter.
Hajj is first and foremost one of the most beloved worships to Allah that unites the Muslims in His
Servitude, and reconnects the Ummah with its pure, monotheistic foundations established by Ibrahim.
In addition to remembering and reliving the experiences of our spiritual forefather and his blessed
family, Allah has also designed the Hajj to yield numerous and multifaceted benefits: it strips you of
the worldly distractions so you can focus on remembering Allah and purifying your heart; it provides
you with intensive moral, social, and physical training and discipline; it repeatedly foreshadows
situations of the Hereafter so you can remember its reality and prepare for it; it dissolves superficial
distinctions between you and fellow Muslims and gives you the chance to develop new, long lasting
relationships and bonds with them; and it reminds you of the age old enemy who you’ll continue
battling against, even with your rejuvenated Emaan when you return home.
When you go through this worship solely for Allah, and adorn it with His remembrance, righteous
deeds, kindness, gentleness and beautiful character with your fellow Muslims, then In’Sha’Allah (God
Willing) that is the Hajj Mabrur (the one accepted by Allah) which earns you the reward of none other
than Paradise, and sends you back home sinless as your mother bore you.
Now, isn’t it a blessing that Allah made Hajj obligatory (for whoever has the means)? It’s out of Allah’s
mercy that He wants His servants to be showered with these countless gifts when they travel to His
sacred House as His guests.
There is one last thing Allah wants instilled in you before leaving. The Arabs of pre Islamic Arabia
would gather in Mina after completing the rites of Hajj and boast about their forefathers to boost their
reputation amongst other Arabs. Allah now tells the believers:
“And when you have completed your rites, remember Allah like your (previous) remembrance of your
fathers or with (much) greater remembrance.” [Surah Al-Baqarah 2:200]

 

After just finishing a series of rites that train you to constantly remember Allah, He wants you to keep
it up even more! That way, when you go back home, you’re hooked on Allah’s dhikr (remembrance).
After all, how could one forget Him when He’s the One Who guided you, blessed you and chose you
from amongst millions of Muslims to visit His sacred house and follow the footsteps of Ibrahim,
Isma`il, Hajar, and Muhammad صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم‎ like countless believers who walked this earth
before you.
“And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger; those will be with the ones upon whom Allah has
bestowed favour of the Prophets, the steadfast affirmers of truth, the martyrs and the righteous; and
what excellent companions these are.” [Surah An-Nisaa 4:69]

Has Hajj changed your life?