Hajj Reflections 4 – transformation and tests

Transformation

hajj reflections taqwa and ikhlas

Hajj is not a tick box exercise. Allah Almighty uses Hajj as training for us to change our bad habits. It’s not about ticking off tawaf and sa’ee and standing in Arafat. These are not the end but the means to the end. Hajj is about personal transformation. For this reason the Prophet (peace be on him) said

‘The reward for accepted Hajj is nothing but Jannah’. (Musnad Ahmad)

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) 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. (Bukhari)

So a Hajj that is accepted (mabroor) clears your records.

The Internal Reboot

It is about having an internal reboot and upgrade. It encompasses everything. If you have a bad habit then this is the time to change it. Hajj provides the right company, time and environment to facilitate this change. Everything is supporting you to change yourself unless deep down inside you don’t want to change. You are the one who decides whether you truly want to change. If you are sincere ask Allah Almighty to help you come back to the right path.
The fusuq or wrong paths can take different forms. For instance, arguing all the time. Now is the time to stop arguing and nagging, and to change your habits – controlling your tongue, not swearing, lowering your gaze. Now is the time to get a grip of these aspects of your self, in this very time and place.
Where else do you have the time and place where prayers are accepted. Use your time here to change yourself for the better and to come back on track.

The CPD of the Akhirah

You will be tested in your journey. Allah Almighty tests you while you are here to see if you really deserve to be here. Who is putting these tests your way? Who controls everything? None other than Allah Almighty. These tests prove whether you are really worthy of coming. Or if you failed from the start.
Don’t ruin your Hajj for trivial matters. Move on. This is not the time for arguments. Allah Almighty wants us to change ourselves. The nature of any test is hardship. It a bitter and hard to swallow.
What if He tests you in something that you love?
The nature of any test is that it is tough and hard. The purpose of the test is to improve the quality of our character, and to become a better person and improve our life. It is like CPD (Continuing Professional Development) in your professional lives. CPD helps you to develop and improve yourself. If we keep up with our CPD for our careers in this world, imagine what we should be doing as CPD for the ever-lasting akhirah. Allah Almighty is testing us and wants to improve us. The heavier the test, the higher the level of the person.
Allah Almighty tested the noble Prophets (peace be on him) and how are we compared to them? Even though they were so much better than us, they were still tested. You can only imagine the types of tests that the Prophets (peace be on him) went through (even though supported by Allah Almighty and the angels).
Throughout all tests in life you are supported by the Number 1 support – Allah Almighty – and also by His angels. However, look at us, little things any little thing goes wrong and sometimes we blow up in anger over it. It is all a test, so we need to improve the quality of our characters from every different angle these tests come in order to cope with them. Prepare yourself for these tests. Do not fail them or else you will ruin your Hajj. May Allah Almighty make our patience strong and improve our character.

Closeness to Allah

The following are ways in which you can increase your closeness to Allah Almighty starting with the most important:
1) Salah
2) Qur’an
3) Dhikr

Note that of these three, salah is fard and is a one to one connection and conversation with Allah Almighty.

Avoid these three things – Rafath and Fusuq and arguing Insha Allah your Hajj will be acceptable. Rabi’a b. Ka’b said:

I was with Allah’s Messenger (peace be on him) one night. and I brought him water and what he required. He said to me: Ask (anything you like). I said: I ask your company in Paradise. He (the Holy Prophet) said: Or anything else besides it. I said: That is all (what I require). He said: Then help me to achieve this for you by devoting yourself often to prostration. (Muslim)

This shows that you need to do your bit. Good deeds strengthen you.

Training and shortcuts to change

The main thing in Hajj is to change your character. Your character controls everything. If you change your character, you change your life. Hajj is about changing your character for the better. To fix the problem – fix the character and then Insha Allah all problems will be fixed. Make the right intention and persist with your training, as you would in preparation for a marathon. For example, one would start with two or three miles then increase it because one can’t run 26 miles on the first day.In Islam we have short cuts that give a boost in this training. Hajj is a shortcut to changing yourself. If you stick to the rules and commands of Hajj it will change you. The best way to teach and convey knowledge is through practical training. For instance if you see patience and sincerity in a person walking in front of you, you can almost feel and touch these qualities it is much more effective and different than reading about these qualities in a book. Therefore, if you can stick to one of the heirs of the Prophet (peace be on him) it will be easier to change yourself.

Some Shayukh are very special in their patience, ikhlas (sincerity), character and devotion and at the same time are very down to earth. You can learn just by sitting with them and watching what they do. In this way you can see practical examples of characteristics such as patience and sincerity and instead of just reading about it, you can feel it and touch it.

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Shaykh Haytham Tamim is the founder and main teacher of the Utrujj Foundation. He has provided a leading vision for Islamic learning in the UK, which has influenced the way Islamic knowledge is disseminated. He has orchestrated the design and delivery of over 200 unique courses since Utrujj started in 2001.His extensive expertise spans over 30 years across the main Islamic jurisprudence schools of thought. He has studied with some of the foremost scholars in their expertise; he holds some of the highest Ijazahs (certificates) in Quran, Hadith (the Prophetic traditions) and Fiqh (Islamic rulings). His own gift for teaching was evident when he gave his first sermon to a large audience at the age of 17 and went on to serve as a senior lecturer of Islamic transactions and comparative jurisprudence at the Islamic University of Beirut (Shariah College).He has continued to teach; travelling around the UK, Europe and wider afield, and won the 2015 BISCA award (British Imams & Scholars Contributions & Achievements Awards) for Outstanding Contribution to Education and Teaching.