Hajj Reflections 3 – Ikhlas and Taqwa

Makkah Al Mukarramah: The time and the place

Allah Almighty described the Ka’ba:

‘The first house established for mankind is the one at Bakka; blessed, and guidance for all people. (3:96)

The majesty of Makkah and sweetness of Madinah

Bakka is the old name for Makkah. The root word for Bakkah means to break something. Makkah was called Bakkah because it broke the necks of oppressors and transgressors. For instance, Abraha wanted to destroy the Ka’ba (Surah Al Fil) and instead Allah Almighty broke him. Madinah, by contrast, is sweet and relaxing. Makkah is known as ‘jalal’ i.e. majestic and Madinah is known as ‘jamaal’ i.e beautiful. You can see the difference when you go to Makkah that there is majesty and people are busy with rituals, whereas when you go to Madinah which is not as majestic or full of rituals, but instead you simply go there to pray without any additional rituals apart from praying in the Rawdah.

The tranquility of the sacred place

In a verse, Allah Almighty describes the Haram in the following way:

‘And whoever enters into this house will have security and tranquillity descend on him’. (3:97)

You don’t feel this calmness and tranquillity in your heart anywhere else. You forget your family, time, and dunya. It is a different world. Blessings descend (showered with mercy) on those during tawaf, salah or even just gazing at the Ka’ba.

The peace and security of Hajj

The Hajj is during specific months. (2:197)

The specific months are: Shawwal, Dhul Qa’dah and Dhul Hijjah.
There are Prohibited/Sacred Months (Al-Ashahr ul Hurum) and the Hajj pilgrimage takes place in one of the three months:
1. Dhul Qa’dah (11th)
2. Dhul Hijjah (12th)
3. Muharram (1st)
These three consecutive months are known as the prohibited months. There are four prohibited months in total, the fourth one is Rajab (7th month). Why are these known as the prohibited months? They are called prohibited because it is prohibited to start a war or fight in these months. It is also prohibited to kill animals or cut down or prune trees in the Haram area. The prohibitions are pretty vast and comprehensive. Why are there prohibitions? Because these are the months of Hajj. In the past it took two months to do Hajj (including travelling to Makkah), so to ensure that people went to and returned safely from the Haram, Allah Almighty made these months safe (prohibited).

Why Rajab? Rajab is also classed as a prohibited month because it is the month of Umrah. So you can see the inside and outside security, tranquility Allah Almighty mentions His order for safety and security in the last two verses of Surah Quraish:

‘Let them worship the Lord of this House, Who has fed them from hunger and has secured them against fear,’ (106:3-4)

So He is counting the favours He bestowed upon them. These are blessings, so in gratitude He wants us to worship Him with full concentration.

Sincerity – the Key to Acceptance

Hajj is mentioned many times in the Qur’an. In Surah Baqarah and in Surah al-Imran and in Surah Al-Hajj. The verses contain very beautiful descriptions. They mention the story of Ibrahim (peace be on him) building the Ka’ba. Ibrahim and Ismail (peace be on him) started making dua which shows that their main concern was acceptance and that this was connected with Hajj, the history of Hajj and the House of Allah Almighty. Therefore they made the dua:

‘When Abraham and Ishmael were raising the foundations of the House, (Abraham prayed): Our Lord! Accept from us (this duty). Lo! You, only You, are the Hearer, the Knower’ (2:127)

This is because whatever we do, we must always consider whether it is acceptable to Allah Almighty or not.

In the saying (hadith) of the Prophet (peace be on him) said: ‘Actions are but by intentions.’ (Bukhari)

It is the intention behind the action that makes any deed acceptable or not. So the password for acceptance is sincerity or ikhlas. Ask yourself why are you doing this deed today? The purity of the intention is what makes a deed acceptable or not. Is it for Allah Almighty’s sake? If it is, this will make it acceptable.

Taqwa – the Best preparation

Allah Almighty told the Prophet (peace be on him) to purify his clothes:

And purify your clothes.  (74:4)

This is outward purity, inward purity is even more important. Allah Almighty also says in the verse:
‘And prepare for your journey, And take provisions, but the best provision is taqwa righteousness. And be mindful of Me, O people of understanding. (2:197)

Preparation is a common aspect in other acts of worship too. Allah Almighty mentions preparation to draw our attention to the most important aspect – which is not luggage or other provisions for travelling – but the best provision is Taqwa, i.e. doing the obligations and refraining from prohibitions. So make preparation with taqwa – fear displeasing Allah Almighty and behave with piety, to be closer to Him in all that you do. Feel answerable to Him. The first and most important thing is taqwa.

Having taqwa is not an attitude exclusive to Hajj (you shouldn’t leave taqwa behind when you leave Makkah). The outcome of Hajj has to be an increase in taqwa. You find this in salah (prayer) and siyam (fasting) as well.

How do we increase our taqwa? Allah Almighty mentions the avoidance of three things during Hajj to increase our taqwa, i.e. control of:

1) Rafath (sexual talk and intercourse)

There is no room for evil actions. Abstain from arguments, sexual talk and intercourse. If we avoid these we will have Hajj Mabroor (an accepted Hajj).

Whoever decides to perform the Hajj—there shall be no sexual relations, nor misconduct, nor quarrelling during the Hajj. And whatever good you do, God knows it. (2:197)

2) Fusuq (literally means to swerve from the right path like swerving on the motorway i.e. avoid committing sins or mistakes intentionally). Fusuq is the opposite of the right path
3) Jidala (quarrelling).
Avoiding these three things will increase your taqwa.

 

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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.