Hajj is the last point on the Muslim scale that we have been following through the previous two posts of the series. [Link to Part I and Part II]
Just like Ramazaan, Hajj also comes with a season all its own starting from 1st Zil-Hajj. The seasons are experienced distinctly by the aspiring Hujjajs and the rest of the Muslim world. Both flavors though are intoxicatingly enticing!
In the families applicant to be Hujjaj, the season is marked by their Hajj classes, their preparations and arrangements for the auspicious journey, congratulations and farewells from friends and relatives and finally by the Sacred Hajj itself and topped with Qurbani and the pilgrimage to the Prophet’s Mosque.
The rest of us also have many opportunities to share in the sanctity of the occasion. Regarding the first ten days of Zil-Hajj it was narrated from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There are no days that are greater before Allaah or in which good deeds are more beloved to Him…” Narrated by Ahmad, 7/224.
This hadith assures us that whichever of our many options of worship we are able to avail during this period will be valuable for us. Thus we may fast, offer more than the obligatory salat, read, recite and learn Qur’an, and engage in a constant remembrance of our Maker.
In the same hadith as above, the Prophet (salla Allahu alaihi wa aalihi wasallam) instructs us to: recite a great deal of tehleel, takbeer and tehmeed in (these days).
Today’s day, the Day of Arafah is of particular significance with reference to fasting. According to a hadith in Muslim: The Prophet (salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam) used to fast on the ninth day of Dhu’l Hijjah and he said: “Fasting the Day of Arafah is an expiation for (all the sins of) the previous year and an expiation for (all the sins of) the coming year.”
And, of course, we share in the spirit of Qurbani, thus directly participating in one of the most important of Sunnahs in our religion. In Sura Kausar, Allah Subhanahu gave a direct command for this sacrifice to our Prophet (salla Allahu alaih):
In a hadith narrated by Hazrat Aeysha (razi Allahu unhaa) and quoted in Tirmizi and Ibne-Maja, our Prophet (salla Allahu alaih) says:
There is no dearer deed of ibne Adam in the days of Qurbani than flowing the blood (i.e. doing Qurbani) and that animal will come with his horns, hair, and hooves on the day of Qayamat. The blood of the Qurbani reaches the stage of acceptance before it reaches the floor.
Since, it’s the intentions behind our actions, that are of real worth; there is cause for a lot of care in removing any hint of pretentiousness in our Zil-Hajj worships. Both the act of Qurbani and the act of Hajj have unfortunately been embellished with a lot of pomp and show in recent times which hurts the intended purity of the acts.
Regarding Qurbani, Allah Subhanahu says in ayah 37 of Sura Hajj:
لَن يَنالَ اللَّهَ لُحومُها وَلا دِماؤُها وَلٰكِن يَنالُهُ التَّقوىٰ مِنكُم ۚ كَذٰلِكَ سَخَّرَها لَكُم لِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّهَ عَلىٰ ما هَدىٰكُم ۗ وَبَشِّرِ المُحسِنينَلَن
It is not their meat nor their blood, that reaches Allah. it is your piety that reaches Him: He has thus made them subject to you, that ye may glorify Allah for His Guidance to you and proclaim the good news to all who do right.
Similar care needs to be applied when going for Hajj. The attitude of the Hujjajs and their acquaintances should be one of humbleness; the spirit should be of a loving entreaty to Allah Subhanahu that He accept this worship.
In some part of the worlds, the Hujjah karam are made into sanctified personas whose departures and arrivals are celebrated with pomp and they are glorified to an extent which is rather opposite to the picture of humility and earthliness that might be expected in a person who has just returned from the House of God.
We should remember at all times, that by offering Qurbani or by going for Hajj, we are not (naoozubillah) doing some ‘favor’ to God Almighty. It is rather for the sakes of our own spiritual welfare. In ayah 17 of Suray Hujarat, Allah Subhanahu has used very strict words against such an attitude of ‘favor-boasting’.
يَمُنّونَ عَلَيكَ أَن أَسلَموا ۖ قُل لا تَمُنّوا عَلَىَّ إِسلٰمَكُم ۖ بَلِ اللَّهُ يَمُنُّ عَلَيكُم أَن هَدىٰكُم لِلإيمٰنِ إِن كُنتُم صٰدِقينَ
Translation: They impress on thee as a favour that they have embraced Islam. Say, “Count not your Islam as a favour upon me: Nay, Allah has conferred a favour upon you that He has guided you to the faith, if ye be true and sincere.
At the other end of the continuum, there are also people who are extremely lackaidaisical regarding their obligation towards Hajj. The obligation from Hajj is proved from Sura Al-i-Imran, ayah 97:
وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى النّاسِ حِجُّ البَيتِ مَنِ استَطاعَ إِلَيهِ سَبيلًا ۚ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِىٌّ عَنِ العٰلَمينَوَلِلَّهِ عَلَى النّاسِ حِجُّ البَيتِ مَنِ استَطاعَ إِلَيهِ سَبيلًا ۚ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِىٌّ عَنِ العٰلَمينَ
Translation: Pilgrimage thereto is a duty men owe to Allah,- those who can afford the journey; but if any deny faith, Allah stands not in need of any of His creatures.
There are many people out there who clearly have the means to perform Hajj at least once, but they ignore it. In order to clarfiy this topic, first let us review the conditions which make the Hajj obligatory.
When does Hajj becomes obligatory?
1. When we attain physical maturation.
2. When we own enough money to afford the journey of Hajj after i) fulfilling all the needs of our dependents in our absence and after ii) paying any due debts.
3. When we are physically capable of making the journey. Physical or mental illness/injury, or physical dangers in the way to Mecca will rule out the Hajj for us.
4. When, as a female, a Mahram male is also available to accompany us with the Hajj.
[Source: http://www.alminbar.com/khutbaheng/444.htm ]
If we refer to the ayah quoted above, the term of kufr has been applied when warning those who ignore the commandment for Hajj. Remember that Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam, the last member of the group of obligations which completes our identification as a Muslim. Anyone who deliberately and clearly negates that Hajj is one of the obligations when its prerequisites (as referred above) are met is NOT a Muslim. And anyone who does not so negates but still ignores the execution of the duty despite affording it, is seriously hurting his/her status as a Muslim.
May Allah shower his many blessings on his House and all those members of the Muslim Family who are there prepared to encircle the Ka’aba in their loving devotion. May Allah accept their Hajj and their Qurbani and all of their worships obligatory or nafil.
May Allah accept the efforts of the rest of the Muslim world, accept our worships, our remembrance of His Being, of the Hujjaj and the House, and of that glorious Abrahamic history which was the origin point of this major Sign of the Muslim Faith. May He also accept our Qurbani. And may He remove and ignore our ills in our performance of worships, qurbani and Hajj. Finally, may He count this little effort of my writing about Hajj among those special worhips of the first ten days of Zil-Hajj. Ameen.