All praise is due and belongs to Allâh. We praise Him, seek His help and forgiveness and repent to Him. We seek refuge with Allâh from the evils of ourselves and from the wickedness of our own deeds. Whomever that Allâh guides, none can mislead him, and whomever He sends astray, none can guide. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allâh alone with no partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
( يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلاَ تَمُوتُنَّ إِلاَّ وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ )
(O ye who believe, fear Allâh as he should be feared and die not unless you are Muslims) [Al-Imran: 102]
( يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُواْ رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالاً كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاء وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءلُونَ بِهِ وَالأَرْحَامَ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا )
(O people fear your Lord, who created you from a single soul. From it, He created its spouse, and from both of them scattered many men and women. Fear Allâh, by whom you ask one another, and (fear) the wombs (lest you sever its relationship). Allâh is ever watching over you.) [An-Nisa: 1].
( يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا * يُصْلِحْ لَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَمَن يُطِعْ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا )
(O you, who believe, fear Allâh and say sound statements. He will mend your deeds for you and forgive your sins. Whosoever obeys Allâh and His Messenger shall win a great victory) [Al-Ahzab: 70-71].
It is natural for hearts to be enthusiastic to attain the melodious gardens and rivers flowing with water … but it surprises to see the hearts passionate, nostalgic and eager to come to a barren desert, where there is no vegetation nor water … but if the reason is known, the surprise dashes away. It is indeed the response of Allâh to the call of Prophet Ibrahim, peace be upon him, who said,
( رَّبَّنَآ إِنِّىٓ أَسۡكَنتُ مِن ذُرِّيَّتِى بِوَادٍ غَيۡرِ ذِى زَرۡعٍ عِندَ بَيۡتِكَ ٱلۡمُحَرَّمِ رَبَّنَا لِيُقِيمُواْ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ فَٱجۡعَلۡ أَفۡـِٔدَةً۬ مِّنَ ٱلنَّاسِ تَہۡوِىٓ إِلَيۡہِمۡ وَٱرۡزُقۡهُم مِّنَ ٱلثَّمَرَٲتِ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَشۡكُرُونَ)
“O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in an uncultivable valley by Your Sacred House (the Ka’bah at Makkah); in order, O our Lord, that they may perform As-Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât), so fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allâh) provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks [Ibrahim: 37].
Therefore, you find all the Muslims all over the earthly globe yearning and nostalgic to perform pilgrimage to the house of Allâh, the Almighty. Every year, millions of people come in groups to perform pilgrimage to the Sacred House in response to the call of Ibrahim and to bring the promise of Allâh, the Almighty, to a reality:
( وَأَذِّن فِى ٱلنَّاسِ بِٱلۡحَجِّ يَأۡتُوكَ رِجَالاً۬ وَعَلَىٰ ڪُلِّ ضَامِرٍ۬ يَأۡتِينَ مِن كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيقٍ۬ )
And proclaim to mankind the Hajj (pilgrimage). They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, they will come from every deep and distant (wide) mountain highway (to perform Hajj) [Al-Hajj: 27].
Hence, it is not surprising; for Hajj indeed is the fifth pillar of Islam, which is obligatory upon one capable of affording it, as proven by the words of Allâh, the Almighty:
( وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى ٱلنَّاسِ حِجُّ ٱلۡبَيۡتِ مَنِ ٱسۡتَطَاعَ إِلَيۡهِ سَبِيلاً۬ۚ )
And Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Ka’bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allâh, those who can afford the expenses (for one’s conveyance, provision and residence) [Al-Imran: 97].
It is obligatory once in a lifetime. Abu Hurairah narrated and said, The Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), gave us a sermon where he said: “O people, Allâh has made Hajj obligatory for you; so perform Hajj. Thereupon a person said: Messenger of Allâh, (is it to be performed) every year? He (the Holy Prophet) kept quiet, and he repeated (these words) thrice, whereupon Allâh’s Messenger (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), said: If I were to say” Yes,” it would become obligatory (for you to perform it every year) and you would not be able to do it. Then he said: Leave me with what I have left to you, for those who were before you were destroyed because of excessive questioning, and their opposition to their prophets. So when I command you to do anything, do it as much as it lies in your power and when I forbid you to do anything, then abandon it. “(Agreed upon).
O Muslims! It must be noted here that there are conditions to be fulfilled in order for a pilgrimage to be accepted and give its benefits and blessings. If one does not fulfil them, these virtues will not be realized and the pilgrimage will not be accepted. These conditions include the following:
First: Sincere devotion of intention to Allâh, the most Glorified and Exalted, who said:
( وَأَتِمُّواْ ٱلۡحَجَّ وَٱلۡعُمۡرَةَ لِلَّهِۚ )
And perform properly (i.e. all the ceremonies according to the ways of Prophet Muhammad), the Hajj and ‘Umrah (i.e. the pilgrimage to Makkah) for Allâh [Al-Baqarah: 196].
Second: To follow the Sunnah. The Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) said, “Learn your Hajj rituals (by seeing me performing them), for I do not know whether I would be performing Hajj after this Hajj of mine.” (Muslim).
This includes performing all the ceremonies of Hajj completely, especially the standing at Arafah, for the saying of the Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), “Hajj is Arafah” (An-Nasaei).
Third: Lawful money: For Allâh does not accept other than it. The Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) said, “Indeed, Allâh is Good and accepts only that which is good” (Muslim).
Fourth: Avoid all acts that render the Hajj defective: Such as obscenity, immorality and controversy, which the Holy Qur’an has stipulated when it said:
( فَلَا رَفَثَ وَلَا فُسُوقَ وَلَا جِدَالَ فِى ٱلۡحَجِّۗ )
Then he should not have sexual relations (with his wife), nor commit sin, nor dispute unjustly during the Hajj [Al-Baqarah: 197].
O believers! The ritual of pilgrimage to the Sacred House of Allâh has endless virtues, some of which Allâh, the Almighty referred to when He said,
( لِّيَشۡهَدُواْ مَنَـٰفِعَ لَهُمۡ )
That they may witness things that are of benefit to them [Hajj: 28].
And these benefits fall into two categories; religious and worldly. However, the religious virtues of pilgrimage include the following:
- Pilgrimage atones for sins: Abu Hurairah reported: I heard the Prophet, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him) say, “Whoever performs Hajj (pilgrimage) for Allâh and does not have sexual relations (with his wife), nor commits sin, nor disputes unjustly (during Hajj), then he returns from Hajj as pure and free from sins as on the day on which his mother gave birth to him” (Agreed upon); i.e.: without sin. Al-Qurtubi said, “This includes forgiveness of major and minor sins and penalties”.
On the authority of Ibn Mas’ud, the Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), said: “Keep on doing Hajj and Umrah; for they eliminate poverty and sins as the bellows eliminate impurities from iron, gold, and silver, and there is no reward for the acceptable pilgrimage, but Paradise” (An-Nasaei).
- Among its virtues is that it has no reward but Paradise. This was explicitly uttered by the Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), ” (The performance of) ‘Umrah is an expiation for the sins committed between it and the previous ‘Umrah; and the reward of Hajj Mabrur (i.e., one accepted) is nothing but Al-Jannah” (Agreed upon).
“It has no other reward than Paradise” means that its reward is not limited to atonement of the sins of its owner, but he must enter Paradise.
- It is the best deed after faith and Jihad: Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), was asked: What is the best deed?” He replied, “To believe in Allâh and His Messenger (Muhammad). The questioner then asked, “What is the next (in goodness)? He replied, “To participate in Jihad (religious fighting) in Allâh’s Cause.” The questioner again asked, “What is the next (in goodness)?” He replied, “To perform Hajj’ Mabrur (Pilgrimage to Makkah), (i.e. Hajj which is done according to the Prophet’s sunnah and is accepted by Allâh).” (Agreed upon).
Indeed, the best jihad for one who is not capable of going for jihad is the pilgrimage. It was narrated on the authority of the mother of the believers Aisha, May Allâh be pleased with her that she said: O Messenger of Allâh! We consider Jihad as the best deed. Should we not fight in Allâh’s Cause?” He said, “The best Jihad (for women) is Hajj-Mabrur (i.e. Hajj which is done according to the Prophet’s tradition and is accepted by Allâh).” (Al-Bukhari).
- Among its virtues is that the pilgrims are honourable delegation of Allâh. It was narrated from Ibn ‘Umar that the Prophet (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), said, “The one who fights in the cause of Allâh, and the pilgrim performing Hajj and ‘Umrah are a delegation to Allâh. He invited them, so they responded to Him, and they ask Him and He gives to them” (Ibn Majah). They are a delegation of Allâh. They come to Him in compliance with His order, so Allâh, the Almighty does not reject their prayer (du’a).
- Attaining the reward of praying in the (Haram) Sacred Mosque or Sanctuary. Jabir narrated that the Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), said, “One prayer in my mosque is better than one thousand prayers elsewhere, except the Sacred Mosque, and one prayer in the Sacred Mosque is better than one hundred thousand prayers elsewhere.” (Ibn Majah).
The religious benefits also include meeting with and consulting learned scholars, and attending religious lessons …
Brothers in Islam! As Hajj has religious benefits, it also has worldly benefits, including: mutual understanding between Muslims, which is an aim and objective set by Allâh, the Most Glorified and Exalted, who says:
( يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلنَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقۡنَـٰكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ۬ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلۡنَـٰكُمۡ شُعُوبً۬ا وَقَبَآٮِٕلَ لِتَعَارَفُوٓاْۚ)
O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another [Al-Hujuraat: 13].
- They include displaying the unity of Muslims. Thus despite their various countries, languages and colours, their religion is one, their prayer direction is one, their (dhikr) invocation is one; (O Allâh here I am…) their goal is one, their clothing is one … And in all this is compliance with and explanation of the words of Allâh, the Almighty:
( إِنَّ هَـٰذِهِۦۤ أُمَّتُكُمۡ أُمَّةً۬ وَٲحِدَةً۬ وَأَنَا۟ رَبُّڪُمۡ فَٱعۡبُدُونِ)
Truly! This, your Ummah [Shariah or religion (Islâmic Monotheism)] is one religion, and I am your Lord, therefore worship Me (Alone). [Al-Anbiyaa: 92].
- Among its worldly benefits is taking advantage of trade. Allâh, the Almighty, said:
( لَيۡسَ عَلَيۡڪُمۡ جُنَاحٌ أَن تَبۡتَغُواْ فَضۡلاً۬ مِّن رَّبِّڪُمۡ )
There is no sin on you if you seek the Bounty of your Lord (during pilgrimage by trading). [Al-Baqarah: 198].
Ibn Abbas said, explaining this verse, “there is nothing wrong in buying and selling before and after entering the state of Ihram.
- Among its benefits is that it erases poverty. In the previous Hadith, the Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), says, “Keep on doing Hajj and Umrah; for they eliminate poverty and sin”.
Performing Hajj and Umrah continuously eliminates and erases poverty, just as charity increases wealth.
Slaves of Allâh! There are countless spiritual meanings and lessons of faith in pilgrimage, including the following:
First: Remembrance of the afterlife. The pilgrim strips himself of all worldly pleasures and wears the Ihram clothes that are more like the shroud, with which the dead is wrapped.
He then departs his parents, wealth and children goes out with the provisions that will be adequate for him during the journey. This entails a reminder of death and the grave, where a person enters isolated from everything and unaccompanied by anyone.
Then the gathering of the pilgrims on the plane of Arafah with these multitudes remind of the Day of Resurrection…
Second: Being connected with the legal ways and model of the prophets and following their tracks. The pilgrim follows and tracks the legal way and model of Prophet Ibrahim and Ismaeel and his mother Hajar, and then of our prophet Muhammad, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him). He walks on the spots trodden by the prophets, and then the noble companions of Prophet Muhammad and the generation that succeeded them… This is something that furnishes the pilgrim with the feelings of belonging, which links him to the prophets and the righteous people…
Third: Full compliance with Allâh and His Messenger (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him). The pilgrim learns the ceremonies of Hajj from the Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him). He circumambulates the Holy Ka’bah seven times, hastens between Safa and Marwah seven times not knowing the wisdom for specifying their numbers to be seven! Then he kisses the black stone, while he is certain that it is just a stone that does not hurt nor benefit! Then he stands in the plane of Arafah at the designated time, not knowing why Arafah plane was specified for the standing. But albeit not comprehending all that, he does it all in compliance, submission and surrender.
Fourth: Perceiving the grace of Allâh in the well of Zamzam, and how Allâh the Almighty has made it flow for thousands of years. People drink from it, but it is never exhausted or run short of water. Moreover, he even tests how “it serves as food” (Muslim)
All these increase the faith of the pilgrim.
Fifth: The enmity of the devil for humans materializes before the pilgrim. He expresses how he has taken the devil as enemy by casting the pebbles at Al-Jamaraat then he gets preserved in his heart the meaning of the words of Allâh, the Most Glorified and Exalted:
( إِنَّ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنَ لَكُمۡ عَدُوٌّ۬ فَٱتَّخِذُوهُ عَدُوًّاۚ )
Indeed, the devil is to you an enemy, so treat him as an enemy [Fatir: 6].
All praise is due and belongs to Allâh alone. May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon the final Prophet.
O believers! Among Men are some that relapse in their fitra (Islam and natural disposition). So they do not answer the call of Allâh, with the ability to do so. They lack interest in all the virtues we have stated. For such are so many penalties including the following:
The first penalty is that the one who does not perform the pilgrimage out of denial of its obligatoriness is an unbeliever, for renouncing a pillar among the five pillars of Islam, May Allâh safeguard against that. Allâh the Most High, said,
( وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى ٱلنَّاسِ حِجُّ ٱلۡبَيۡتِ مَنِ ٱسۡتَطَاعَ إِلَيۡهِ سَبِيلاً۬ۚ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَنِىٌّ عَنِ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ)
And Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Ka’bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allâh, those who can afford it; and whoever disbelieves [i.e. denies Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah), then he is a disbeliever], then Allâh stands not in need of any of the ‘Alamîn (mankind and jinn and all that exists) [Al-Imran: 97].
Umar bin al-Khattab says, “I have thought of sending a man to the regions, to observe any able man who did not perform Hajj, and impose tax upon them; for they are not Muslims, they are not Muslims”.
The second penalty is that he shall be among the deprived. Abu Sa’eed narrated that that the Messenger of Allâh, (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), said, “Allâh said: The slave I have granted sound health, and expanded livelihood for him, but lives five years without coming to me as delegation (for Hajj or Umrah) shall be deprived” (Ibn Hibban).
There is no wonder that he is among the deprived ones; because he has deprived himself of all the benefits of Hajj in this world and the hereafter!
Finally, dear believer! Hurry up! As long as you are able and do not delay. This is order of the Messenger of Allâh (May the blessings and peace of Allâh be upon him), who says, ” Whoever intends to perform Hajj, let him hasten to do so, for he may fall sick, lose his mount, or be faced with some need ” (Ibn Majah).
O Allâh send your blessings upon Prophet Muhammad…