Hajj: A faithful journey to Allah!
Allah Almighty says, “Complete the Hajj and make the visit to Allah” [Al-Baqarah -196].
Hajj (pilgrimage) is the act of visiting the House of Allah (the Kaaba) in Mecca to perform the rituals of pilgrimage as ordered by God, the fifth pillar of Islam, was imposed in the ninth Hijri year.
Pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the fundamental elements of the Islamic faith. It is imposed only on Muslims who are physically and financially able to afford the costs of travel and difficulty, so you have to perform this duty once in your entire life if you are a healthy adult and have enough money to go to Mecca and perform Hajj and return without causing it. Muslims who visit Mecca for Hajj became part of God’s promise to the Prophet Abraham.
It is a sign of the utmost importance. It was the Prophet Abraham’s unconditional commitment to God that led him to leave his wife Hajar and his infant son Ismail in this desolate desert. The Prophet Abraham was rewarded for his constant obedience to Allah by promising him to make this unused land a place of promise and abundance. “And when we made the house (in Mecca) a destination for mankind and a sanctuary (saying): Take your place of worship in the place where Abraham stood (for prayer).” [Al-Baqarah -125].
The pillars of Hajj are five.
(1) Ihraam, (2) waiting in Arafat, (3) Tawaaf al-Kaaba, (4) “Sa’iy” the janitor or jogging between al-Safa and Marwa.
For those who could not attend Hajj.
However, even when we are physically away from Mecca, our hearts are with the pilgrims, thinking about what they are doing, praying for them and hoping to be like them soon. One of the things that could help us to catch up with them is to do the actions that equal to Hajj in reward! As our prophet Mohammad ﷺ informed us:
“Fasting on the day of ‘Arafah is an expiation for two years, the year preceding it and the year following it”. Even if we are not on Hajj, our situation is no different, as not all of us can perform Hajj, but nearly all of us can fast. By fasting, the hearts have the capacity to travel on a journey of nearness to Allah, just as they do in pilgrimage. Indeed, fasting is the Ihraam of the heart, which can be put on at the Meeqat (station) of dawn in any place in the world.
During the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah, days that Allah Himself swore by “By the dawn-by the ten nights” [Al-Fajr 89:1-2], this reality is ingrained in those of us who are specifically not on Hajj. As the Prophet ﷺ told us, “There are no days in which good deeds are more beloved to Allah than these days”.
During these ten days, considered as even more virtuous than the last ten days of Ramadan, we are encouraged to increase our fasting and charity and commemorate Allah, including reciting Takbir in the public and private sectors.
To Hajj from home.
Nothing, of course, can actually equal the performance of the pilgrimage and the worship of Allah in those blessed places. God knows that many people yearn to spend Hajj every year but are unable to do so. Inspired by his generosity, he rewarded some works similar to the reward for the Hajj.
- Remember Allah from dawn until sunrise. The Prophet ﷺ said that the one who goes to pray Fajr in a congregation, then sits in the place where he prays and remembers Allah until the sun rises, then he prays two Rak’ahs, then for him is the reward like that of a Hajj and Umrah. The Messenger of Allah repeated “complete” three times.
- Go to the mosque to pray the congregational prayer. The Prophet ﷺ said: “Whoever does Wudhoo’ in his house and then goes out to perform obligatory prayer in the mosque, has a reward similar to that of Hajj”.
- Perform Friday prayers. Sa`īd Ibn al-Musayyib said Friday prayers were “more beloved to me than hajj.”
- Reciting “Subhanallah” 100 times in the morning and evening. Abdullah ibn Amr reported that the Prophet ﷺ said, “He who recites Subhanallah 100 times in the morning and another 100 times in the evening is like one who performed Hajj 100 times!”
(Sunan Tirmidhi, Hadith: 3471 with a sound chain)
- Meet the needs of your brother or sister. Hassan Al-Bari said, “Going to meet your brother’s needs is better for you than performing Hajj after Hajj.”
- 6. Compulsory procedures. A slave cannot approach God except by doing superlatives after first performing what is obligatory. This includes cleansing the person’s heart of prohibited qualities and guarding his tongue and limbs against committing prohibited acts. All this is much harder on the lower soul than many acts of superlative worship.
- ‘Isha Salah in Congregation.
A reliable Tabi’e, Uqbah ibn ‘Abdil Ghaafir said: “Offering the ‘Isha Salah in congregation equals the reward of Hajj, and the Fajr in congregation equals ‘Umrah.”
Finally, on the Day of Eid, there is no more beloved action to Allah than making a sacrifice. The Prophet ﷺ said, “The son of Adam does not do any deed on the Day of Sacrifice that is dearer to Allah than shedding blood. It will come with its horns, cloven hoofs, and hair on the Day of Resurrection with, and before its blood reaches the ground, it is accepted by Allah. So be content when you do it.”
While it seems like simple actions, they are instruments to counteract the ghafla (forgetfulness) of our Creator and our obligations to Him. Today, we often marginalize the “small” Sunnahs under the guise that we must focus on things that are more important, although the purpose of detail in such external actions is to exercise the heart internally and remind us of the Creator in doing them, and most important issue for all.