Hajj Reflections 1
Makkah Al Mukarramah: Spirit and Fruits of Hajj
Why is Hajj a pillar?
Hajj is full of blessings. When you dig deep down it is full of fruits and sweetness; it is a gift from Him Almighty. Hajj about unity and also a way of elevating you:
In Hajj, you experience different colours, languages, hopes and wishes.
When you enter the state of ihram it connects you to the Hereafter and disconnects you from the dunya. This is the place to ask Allah for all your needs and all your wishes. All supplications and cries are being listened to here, as well as those across the globe. The Almighty listens to everyone. Ask for anything you want and Allah Almighty will grant it as long as it’s for your
Aim of Hajj:
Very simply, we perform Hajj to attain Allah Almighty’s pleasure.
Obedience to His command
You travel all this way to please Allah Almighty. Why travel when you can also please Allah Almighty at home? Undertake Hajj because you are a servant and you have to follow Allah Almighty’s commands. It is practical training for learning obedience. It is about stripping you from the dunya and its concerns and connecting you with Allah, the One.
Whether we understand the rituals, for example the seven circuits for tawaf, or not, we do it as it is a command that we have to abide by and follow. There is a wisdom behind all that we do, which we may or may not understand. The main message is OBEDIENCE (whether we are doing Hajj, salat or siyam). The Prophet (peace be on him) said:
‘Take your rituals from me.’
We have to follow the commands and follow the Prophet’s (peace be on him) footsteps. By focusing on the concept, you can continually increase your obedience to Allah Almighty and then you automatically follow the commands without hesitation. For example, it is forbidden to drink alcohol. We do not need to figure our the reason why, we only need to focus on the command. Similarly, Hajj, is a command. It is a connection between the servant and his Lord and this dominates everything we do. The moment we lose this connection and begin acting as lords, corruption rears its ugly head. This is why we need to strengthen and maintain our connection with Allah Almighty as much as possible.
Connection with Allah Almighty and with the Ummah
Hajj is a form of worship as are all the rituals. Is Hajj a one to one connection with Allah Almighty or is it more? Salah alone is one to one and when performed in jamaat is also one to one but with community spirit. Hajj is connection with Allah Almighty AND the Ummah. The scale is no longer one to one i.e. no longer individual or community but greater than this because it involves the
Ummah. In tawaf there is feeling of cohesion and in all of Hajj we feel the equality (as one cannot distinguish one person from another). Feel the connection and brotherhood with both Allah Almighty and with the Ummah at the same time.
Being introduced to different acts of worship (e.g. siyam) disciplines your soul to allow your spirit to lead rather than your desires being in control of you.
Hajj is a different level of discipline – you see patience in action. Watch Hajjis going around the Kaaba from the third floor. You can see that no one controls it, not the police or anyone, just Allah Almighty.
In general all Hajjis are helpful, compassionate and humble; we can’t feel this universal communal spirit anywhere but at Hajj. Without overstepping boundaries, be compassionate, and considerate towards others. If your prayers and tawaf are correct, but you are harsh with people this is unacceptable. To perform a perfect Hajj, you will need to be good with Allah Almighty AND with people. Hajj teaches you to combine the two. Part of your salah in Hajj is to be good to others around you. To be good to people is also a worship. As per the hadith:
‘Whoever performs Hajj without committing anything overstepping the boundaries, the reward will be Jannah.’
Overstepping the boundaries means using foul language, behaving badly towards other people. So controlling the tongue, our gaze and body is a compulsory part of Hajj and not a separate package. Keep this in mind throughout Hajj, wherever you go whether Makkah, Mina, Muzdalifah, you have to bear this in mind. Anyone can easily be harsh especially when aggravated but being kind is heroic. Harshness is a quality that is disliked. The Prophet (peace be on him) said:
‘The best amongst you is the best is character.’
Hajj is a journey i.e. ‘safar’ in Arabic. ‘Safar’ is from the root word ‘to reveal something’, because travelling with someone reveals their character. You can’t always judge someone’s character until you have travelled with them. So be careful, people will judge you, and you will also get to know them for who they really are when you travel with them. When Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) was asked about someone would say: ‘Have you travelled with them or had dealings in money with them?’
Spiritual dimension of Ihram (over the dimension of desires)
A new Muslim came back from Hajj and commented: ‘I returned from Hajj and didn’t feel it was very enjoyable.’ My response to him was that when you go in tawaf you start with ihram – the root
letters of this word are ha, ra, meem – which are the same as the word haraam, so that’s why we call this area ‘Haram’ as it is forbidden to commit sins here. Moreover ihram is about making even permissible things impermissible after you have entered it.
Similarly, in salah, to eat or drink is prohibited because you have done takbiratul ihram which makes things prohibited. And in ihram, things that were permissible before are not allowed e.g. the use of perfume, cutting nails or hair and marital relations. Allah Almighty takes you to different dimension where you are not controlled by your desires. He wants you to put your desires aside, as it ruins the spirit of Hajj. Likewise, it ruins siyam and salah. So we have ihram to take these desires away from you before you start your journey. This is because He wants your spirit to lead you and not your desires to lead, as you can not have both predominant in you.
Hajj is a special journey to al-akhirah (the life Hereafter) just as salah is a journey to heavens. Ihram is like a white shroud. You carry no credit cards – instead you go to Allah Almighty with your deeds alone.
When performing tawaf it is as though you are going to al-akhirah and you never know if you will return from tawaf.
You might as well not say to friends and family that you are going to Hajj, but instead inform them that you may be going to Allah Almighty. This is one of the wisdoms for seeking forgiveness before your journey in case you don’t return. Tawaf is performed anticlockwise and the whole universe rotates anticlockwise so you are becoming part of the universe. All planets, galaxies go anticlockwise. (Notice the direction that water drains down a sink). Allah Almighty wants you to move in this special tasbeeh to Him Almighty. All the galaxies are also doing this. In heaven, angels are also doing tawaf above you. 70,000 angels enter Bait ul Mamur daily and never return (as mentioned in authentic hadith). Only Allah Almighty knows where the angels go from there. Angels, galaxies all do tawaf – blending all together – celebrating the name of Allah Almighty, His Majesty and Beauty.
When doing Sa’ee remember Hajar (may Allah be pleased with her) and the full trust she had in Allah Almighty. You see the faith (imaan) and full trust (tawakkul). Hajar, on her own and in her very fragile condition as a nursing mother, was left alone. At his point of leaving them, she asked Ibrahim (peace be on him) ‘Why are you leaving us? Did the Almighty ask you?’ Ibrahim (peace on him) replied, ‘Yes’ to which Hajar responded ‘Then He will look after us’.
The lessons for us in Hajar’s story are:
1. Her full trust in Allah Almighty. You expect fragile people to break but she was very tough and strong in her imaan.
2. She was doing her best to seek help and deal with the means around her between Safa and Marwah and not just sitting around. Although we do rely on Him Almighty, dealing with the means is something else. They compliment each other: We must deal with the means but also have full trust in Allah Almighty. When running between Safa and Marwah it is as if you are running to Allah Almighty from any sins and mistakes and to please Allah Almighty.
If we sin during Hajj (NB all of us will sin at some point during Hajj) immediately seek forgiveness from Allah Almighty. It depends also on the severity of the sin, as an expiation may be needed. Ask Allah Almighty to protect you from shaytan and the evil within you.
When entering Haram the best worship to do is tawaf, rather than doing tahayatul masjid (2 units of prayer as a greeting) which we perform in any other mosque). For the Haram it is better to do tawaf instead of tahayatul masjid.
If in tawaf you forget the number of rounds you have done – go with the smallest number that you that you are sure you have completed and then build from there (the same as you do in salah if you forget the number of rakats that you have done).
What if you worry about people’s opinions? If you are concerned about people’s opinions it is a sign that you are not concerned about Allah Almighty
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