"And Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Ka'bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the expenses (for one's conveyance, provision and residence) " Q3[Aal-Imran] :97)
Every Muslim knows that hajj is the last of the five pillars of Islaam, thus a compulsory duty' on all believers. However, many people have not gone for hajj because they can't really free their time to do so. Some others simply become complacent about it taking solace in the fact that it is only compulsory on those who can afford it. Both are really great errors that most Muslims fall into with regard to hajj. It is true that hajj is only compulsory on Those who can afford it still it does not forecloses that one seeks that affordability. If you contemplate on the wisdoms and gains for which Allaah has ordained hajj and comprehend the reality and spirit of hajj, then you will want to be on your way to hajj next year insha Allaah. The followings are just some of the reasons you should sharpen your urge to make hajj soon.
INCREASE YOUR TAQWA
The foremost goal of Hajj is realization of taqwa (piety, fearful awareness of Allaah).This is why we find the link between Hajj and Taqwa in many verses: Allaah says:
"The Hajj (pilgrimage) is (in) the well-known (lunar year) months (i.e. the 10th month, the II th month and the first ten days of the 12th month of the Islamic calendar, i.e. two months and ten days). So whosoever intends to perform Hajj therein by assuming Ihram), then he should not have sexual relations (with his wife), nor commit sin, nor dispute unjustly during the Hajj. And whatever good you do, (be sure) Allah knows it. And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best provision is At-Taqwa (piety, righteousness, etc.). So fear Me, O men of understanding!" (Q2 [Baqarah]: 197)
FULL GRASP OF THE ESSENCE OF TAWHEED
Hajj is based on tawheed (affirmation of oneness of Allaah) and following of the Messenger (salallahu alayhi wo sallam) and not falling into shirk of obedience. Hajj is based on making one's intention sincere for Allaah and seeking with one's act the pleasure of Allaah and none other. Allaah says:
"And perform properly (i.e. all the ceremonies according to the ways of Prophet Muhammad SAW), the Hajj and 'Umrah (i.e. the pilgrimage to Makkah) for Allah." (Q2 [Baqarah]: 196)
Likewise,' in the talbiya which is the slogan of Hajj, singling out Allaah in one's rituals is made clear: "Labbayka Allahumma Labbayk Labbayka laa shareeka laka labbayk. Innal-Hamda wan nj' mota, laka wal-mulk. La shareeka lak. " [Here I am at Your service, O Allaah! You have no partner. Here I am at Your service, O Allaah.
REMINDER OF THE LAST DAY
Hajj reminds you of the Last Day and its states and conditions in a clear manner. First, your departure from your country and separation from your family should remind you of your inevitable separation from them when you will leave this world for the Hereafter. Next. the removal of stitched clothing and lack of adornment reminds you of when you are dead and how you will be buried in such simple clothing. That should also remind you of life in the grave and the resurrection of all human beings from their graves on the Day of Resurrection barefoot and naked. Then. the standing of the multitude on the' plains of 'Arafaat should remind you of the Day when all of mankind will stand before AIlaah for judgement. You should wonder: Will I be forgiven on that Day as I am, insha Allaah, forgiven on this day of 'Arafaat?'Finally. the journey and fatigue should remind you of weakness and hardship of the Day of Resurrection. to the point that some will drown in sweat to their necks.
INCREASE IN REMEMBRANCE OF ALLAH
If you contemplate during rituals of Hajj about the talbiyah [see above], takbir [A Ilaahu Akbar], tahlil (saying La if aaha ilia Allaah), supplication as well as the two revelations (Qur'an and Sunnah) which speak about them. you will find that an increase in remembrance of Allaah is from the greatest wisdoms and aims of Hajj. An example is the saying of Allaah:
"Remember Allah (by glorifying His Praises. i.e. prayers and invocations. etc.) at the Mash'ar-il- Haram. And remember Him (by invoking Allah for all good. etc.) as He has guided you ... " (Q2 [Baqarah1: 198)
FORGIVENESS OF SINS
When you perform hajj sincerely for Allaah in the correct manner, Allaah grants you the reward that all your past sins are forgiven by Him. Abu Hurayrah (RA) narrated: "I heard the Prophet" (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) say:
"Whoever performs hajj and does not commit any rafath (obscenity) or fusooq (transgression), he returns (free of sin) as the day his mother bore him." (Bukhari)
CULTIVATION OF GOOD CHARACTER
If you perform the hajj in truth and faithfulness, you will acquire some good and praiseworthy characteristics that should serve you very well for the rest of your life. We highlight some of those characteristics below:
I) Decency and chastity: Allaah says:
"Hajj is [during] well-known months. So whoever has made hajj obligatory upon himself therein [by entering the state of ihrom], there is [to be for him1 no Rafath ... " (Q2[Baqarah1: 197)
Ar- Rafath is sexual intercourse or what leads to it from sayings or actions.
2) Suppressing anger, leaving argumentation and disputes: Allaah says:
"...and no (Jidal) disputing during Hajj." (Q2[Baqarah1: 197)
'Ataa' said, AI-Jidal is that you dispute with your companion until you anger him and he angers you.
3) Gentleness, softness and calmness: When he heard strong rebuking, hitting and shouts at a camel while moving from Muzdalifa, the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhiwa sallam) said:
"O people, you must be calm, for rush and hurrying is not righteousness." (Bukhari)
4) Humility and humbleness: This becomes evident in the unity between all Hujaj in rituals and feelings. and the negation of traces of material differences between them, such as language, nationality, wealth, etc. The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said during his last farewell Hajj,
"O people! Verily. your Lord is one, and your father (Adam) is one, verily the Arab is not superior to the non-Arab, nor the non- Arab to the Arab, nor the white to the black. nor the black to the White, except by taqwaa (piety, fearful awareness of Allaah)." (Lata' ifal-Ma' arif)
5) Patience: The servant restrains oneself from one's desires by leaving acts that are prohibited while in the state of ihraam, and also by leaving some permissible acts while not in the state of ihraam. He exposes himself to hardship and fatigue in fulfilling the orders of Allaah by performing the rituals, so that this be a motive for leaving sins, doing righteous acts and bearing inconveniences with patience after Hajj.
6) Generosity and openhandedness: This is clear in your paying the huge amount for the Hajj trip as well as your readiness to share with others during the trip.
7) Not being concerned only about oneself and associating with people: During Hajj, the servant is not only concerned about oneself, rather he mixes with his pilgrim brothers and shares with them in clothing, recitation of talbiyah, transportation and acts.
8) Taking responsibility for one's mistakes: This becomes evident in the case of obligatory atonement for one who makes an intentional mistake that violates the state of ihram, or leaves for Muzdalifah before sunset, etc.
Pray and Save
You can develop a firm commitment by putting something away in savings towards your hajj. A woman from Indonesia who made hajj with her husband in 2005 had been putting away savings for that purpose ten years earlier. You can also do it and with the tawfiq of Allaah, it could be earlier than you thought. Allaah promises:
"And whosoever fears Allaah and keeps his duty to Him. He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allaah. then He will suffice him. Verily. Allaah will accomplish his purpose. Indeed Allaah has set a measure for all things." (Q65 [Talaq]:2-3)
In the meantime, take the first and easy step, start praying towards making hajj. See you on Arafah next year insha Allaah.