We are getting closer to what may be regarded as the most significant event in the Muslim calendar. Hajj!
Muslims all over the world look forward to the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah and honour the days of Hajj, whether they are performing it or not.
Why is Hajj as significant as it is?
All the other pillars of Islam, Salah, Fasting, Zakah have their significance, but when we think about it, Hajj seems to be taking the lead.
The importance of Hajj has been emphasised in the Quran and Sunnah, and so it carries huge weight in Islam.
We know whoever performs Hajj with all its dues and rites and the right intention comes back as sinless and pure as a newborn baby.
So, is it the huge reward that makes Hajj significant? Yes. But there’s more to it.
Hajj is Fardh (obligatory) for us and it has been a practice honoured not only by our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW but also by our Father Ibrahim AS.
Besides being a profound practice of Allah’s (SWT) Messengers, Hajj may also be taken as a means to reorient a believer and deliver them from a dunya-focused mindset to an akhirah-focused mindset.
Hajj is as much a spiritual journey as it may be a physical one. When people depart for Hajj, they leave behind all worldly relationships and pleasures, an unplugging of sorts from this delusional world.
The beautiful obligation of Hajj helps the believers reconnect with their reality – the inevitable truth that this life is also a journey and one day, we will be standing in a vast terrain, in front of Allah SWT, similar to how Hajjaj stand in the expansive plain of Arafah at the start of this spiritual journey.
Moreover, the gathering of believers from across the world, with diverse cultural, social, and financial backgrounds in one place, dressed in the same clothes is also a reminder that no Muslim is better than the other just because they belong to a certain family, their skin is a certain color or they drive a certain car. This massive gathering of people, all mingled and dressed the same way regardless of how rich or poor they may is symbolic of the beautiful hadith of our beloved Prophet SAW:
“Verily Allah does not look to your faces and your wealth but He looks to your heart and to your deed”
Once the believers are through the Arafah, next comes Muzdalifah where they stay the night, not in comfortable rooms but under the stars, void of all the comforts of life. The stop at Muzdalifah prepares the believer for an important part of their lives, that is sacrificing their comforts when journeying for the sake of Allah SWT in hope for unparalleled rewards. That’s what the Hajjaj get, don’t they? They give up their comforts when they leave for Hajj and return with all their misdeeds and sins removed and that’s what Muslims also get, no? They leave this dunya for Allah’s pleasure and they get Jannah at the end of this road.
After a night spent under open sky, the Hajjaj head back to Mina to stone the devil. It’s not too hard to reflect on this step of Hajj and find a message, is it?
Stoning the devil at Jamaraat is symbolic of the constant battle humans are engaged in with the devil and his crew and how we need to work individually and collectively to make sure we don’t end up falling into its traps. This step also reminds us to pick as many pebbles as we can and hurl them at the devil as soon as we sense its presence.
People, much like my friend, are often filled with awe and fascination with the idea of the profound expedition of Hajj. However, what demands even greater contemplation is the realisation that the Day of Judgment may not be as distant from us as we assume. The culmination of this world is drawing near, and it is crucial for us to deeply reflect upon the nature of this reality, beseech Allah’s protection, and indulge ourselves in the worship of Allahﷻ to safeguard our eternal Hereafter.
Following Jamaraat is sacrifice, tawaaf (circumambulation) of the Ka’aba and Sa’ee, all the rites reminiscent of the efforts Allah’s Messengers and their families put in order to spread the Deen and save humanity from a destructive end.
All of this followed by a final few days in Mina which involves a couple more rounds of stoning the devil and a farewell tawaaf (circumabulation) of the Holy Ka’aba.
Every step of Hajj is divinely ordained and intricately designed for a purpose. Understanding the essence of this obligation can help us get as close as we can to fulfilling this purpose.
The essence of Hajj is to help believers disconnect from the world in its truest sense and reconnect with a reality that’s closer to us than we think. Hajj is a deep-cleansing ritual, that does not only rid the Hajjaj of their misdeeds, but when done with its essence in mind, can also cleanse the hearts and minds of destructive mindsets and thoughts and infuse in them a new sense of purpose.