Hajj Pilgrimage, a Journey towards God

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Salaam friends, and as you know Zil-Hijja is the month in which God has decreed the Hajj pilgrimage to His Symbolic House, the holy Ka’ba in Mecca, for those who can afford the journey and are sound in health to perform the rituals. The annual Hajj, which is undoubtedly the world's largest assembly, is the manifestation of monotheism that reflects the power, glory, and unity of Muslims.

 

"Labbaika Allahumma Labbaik, Labbakia La sharika laka Labbaik. Innah hamda wan ne’mata laka wa’l-mulk.La Sharika lak"

What you heard was the “Talabiyya” that the pilgrims recite while performing the Hajj rituals. When translated from Arabic into English, it means: “Here I am my Lord. Here I am. Here I am. You have no partner. Here I am. Indeed the praise, grace, and the kingdom are for You. You have no partner.”

These are the words of monotheism chanted by millions of pilgrims coming from all over the world to Mecca, of different ethnicities, and speaking different languages. But this superficial diversity, there is unity of purpose and goal for the faithful who join each other to move towards a single sacred spot, as if pulled by a magnet. This is what Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) has taught the Muslims by reviving the rituals which by the command of God, Abraham the Iconoclast had conveyed to humanity. It is a call that emanates from the depth of the hearts of the believers responding to Allah's call.

Among all acts of worship, the Hajj enjoys a special status. It is one of the pillars of Islam and it is among the most glorious manifestations and symbols of Islam. The Hajj pilgrimage is held only in Mecca in the month of Zil-Hijja and its specified days, and at the specified spots, whereas the other acts of worship can be performed anywhere. The Hajj instills in us the characteristics of faith, resolve, patience, endurance, selflessness and devotion for attaining proximity to God the Almighty Creator. While performing the Hajj, the pilgrims unshackle all chains of attachment to the world and its pleasures. What matters is the proper cognizance of God, and this could be achieved by developing the true cognition of one’s own self. The Hajj is indeed a spiritual journey, which has its own unique conditions. The pilgrim should first make the sincere intention of undertaking the Hajj pilgrimage solely for the sake of God through repentance and imploring forgiveness for the sins committed. Another condition is to repay the loans and restore to the owners if property has been seized from them. The Khoms and Zakat that are due ought to be paid. We come across many hadith where it is said that God might forgive the violation of His rights, but will not forgive the violation of the rights of others, unless that person who has been wronged first forgives. The means of the Hajj journey should be procured through legal and lawful means.

In Surah Ma’edah, ayah 97, the holy Qur’an says:

“Allah has made the Ka’ba, the Sacred House, a [means of] sustentation for mankind”

This ayah refers to the gathering of Muslims from all over the world in one place, regardless of the colour of skin, ethnicity, language spoken, or social ranks. It is a chance to get familiar with the problems of each other, and to exchange views on commerce, cultures, technology, and politics. The Hajj and its rituals thus create social amity and solidarity among Muslims, and there is no difference between rich and the poor. According to the holy Qur’an, eligibility for performing the Hajj, and of assuming responsibility for custodianship of the holy Ka’ba, is of prime importance. God warns the incompetent ayah 34 of Surah Anfal:

"Its custodians are only the Godwary, but most of them do not know."

The Hajj pilgrimage is indeed a grand display of unity in diversity. Thus, once the Hajj pilgrimage becomes a factor of unity and understanding, it removes distances and brings hearts closer to each other. In other words, the spirit of Hajj ought to create profound development not only for an individual but also for the social life of Muslim communities. The Hajj pilgrimage is a collective or mass form of worship, for; it is the Will of God to inculcate consciousness amongst Muslims through it. The pilgrims to the House of God can benefit from the various aspects of the Hajj, since this grand pilgrimage benefits the whole Muslim world.

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