Bismillah (In The Name of Allah)
The following brought tears to my eyes…I hope to one day experience this life changing and sacred ritual, Ya Rabb!
“As Muslims from across the globe gather in Makkah for the start of Haj, they must try to grasp the deeper meaning of the rituals they are about to perform.
Haj is the last of the five pillars of Islam. The other four are a declaration of faith in one God and in His Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the five daily prayers, zakah (giving a percentage of one’s income to charity), and fasting during the month of Ramadan. Pilgrimage is an once-in-a-lifetime obligation only for those who have the physical and financial means to undertake such an arduous journey.
While all the great religions state that humans are more than mere physical creatures in that we possess an essence beyond the material world, Haj represents the spiritual journey toward this essence.
Haj is unquestionably the most demanding of all the Islamic duties, and the Prophet said: “Whoever performs Haj to this house — Kaaba — and does not commit any obscenity and wrongdoing, he, or she, will come out as the day he, or she, was born — pure and free from sins.”
The importance of Haj in our religion has been noted by the late Egyptian scholar Sheikh Sayyed Sabiq who quotes this Hadith in his book Fiqh-us-Sunnah: Abu Hurayra (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The performance of Umrah is expiation for the sins committed between it and the previous ones. And the reward for Haj Mabrur (pilgrimage accepted by Allah) is nothing but Paradise.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol. 3, Book 27, Hadith No. 1)
During these days of worship, one can honestly expect many benefits such as the opportunity to correct one’s faults, to sincerely atone for one’s sins and make up for any shortcomings or wrongdoings of the past. Deeply engrossed in prayers, the pilgrims will seek Allah’s mercy.
During Haj, millions of Muslims converge in unison on Makkah rising above all barriers based on race, nationality or class and that is a tribute to the universality of Haj.
As reported by an Islamic scholar, the rituals and the experience of Haj can be overwhelming.
“Imagine yourself stepping on the same land where Prophet Muhammad used to step and going through the valleys and mountains wherein he used to receive the divine revelation. It gives you another insight into how much he and his companions did suffer in order to get this message communicated to us in its most perfect and purest form.
“Of course we hear and read about such things but when we see them with our own eyes, it places us in a different atmosphere.
“When you go to the mountain of Hera, you realize that this is the same place where the Prophet used to seclude himself from the whole world for one month every year. It is the place that witnessed the revelation of the first words of the Qur’an and the appearance of the Archangel Gabriel.
“When you move in the Sacred Mosque of Makkah and remember Abraham and his son Ishmael, you can feel the true meaning of sacrifice and how a father left his newborn with his weak mother in that barren piece of land.”
Yes dear Hajis, this is your moment. It is your time and opportunity to dedicate yourselves to the true meaning of Islam, the religion of peace. Keep away from temptations our Holy Book warns of, and resist the calls of those who exhort violence and mayhem.
And above all, spread this message of peace and good will when you return to your lands.
Have you made it to Hajj, or in the process of planning on going let us know in the comments below.
About the Author: Halimah bint David authored, illustrated, published and marketed several books on Islamic monotheism (tawhid) for kids and Sharia for adults. Halimah founded a few popular blogs at SurvivorsAreUs.WordPress.Com, HighwayToHeaven.WordPress.Com, ChristinaMacQuarrie.Wordpress.Com and is currently researching and implementing new copy writing skills.