A treatise on the sacred task of Hajj – Abu MazeedatilKhayr
OH YOU GUESTS OF THE MERCIFUL LORD!
“Is Hajj ritual that difficult that you asked Allah to ease the task for us?” A friend had asked me in a sarcastic manner when he read my short prayer post.
He has, although, been a regular guest of the Merciful Lord both in hajj and umrah for almost two decades, he fails to acknowledge the enormousity of this sacred task.
I have therefore chosen this platform (Facebook) to respond to his question and explain the numerous challenges in the religious practice of this fifth pillar as well as the moral burden of getting it done as prescribed by Allah and His Messenger. I pray, again, that Allah should ease the task for prospective pilgrims.
Nothing hinders the acceptability of the hajj rituals as much as the money spent in financing it, the intention behind the pilgrimage and lack of Godly consciousness which is the basic preparation enjoined by Allah while embarking on the trip.
Oftentimes, the money used in financing the trip may not be as clean, with the acute desperation of a pilgrim whose desire is to be publicly identified as someone who had embarked on pilgrimage. This is but a betrayal of ikhlaas- sincerity – the basic prerequisite of a valid religious act of worship.
With a lack of piety, anything goes and holds, even in the holy sanctuary. That’s probably the major reason behind the constantly amplified warning from Allah on the ritual of hajj: “…and prepare, but certainly, the best of preparation is piety…” (2:197)
Nevertheless, the excitement of being present in the holiest place does not necessarily result in spiritual ecstasy. Yes, the holy sanctuary is the purest space on earth, but that spot is usually inhabited by some humans who have only struggled to be pure as well as those who are striving to be.
There are also those who may have journeyed down in search of holiness and also those who conceive other motives and are probably unrepentant. So, a sincere pilgrim shouldn’t assume that every other person present in hajj is as Godly conscious as he is.
Thus, stealing, swindling, adultery and fornication are unusual crimes committed during hajj by some devil-inspired pilgrims (from any part of the world, including Nigeria, and even the residents of the land) to the dismay and chagrin of any sincere, Godly conscious pilgrim, who may be visiting for the first time.
As some guests of the Merciful Lord perform the hajj to offload their burden of sins and renew their allegiance to Allah in purity, many others are only there to accomplish the mission of Iblis. It’s your choice.
What have we not witnessed amongst pilgrims of different nations, including residents and citizens of the holy land?
We’ve heard of pilgrims who indulge in sacrilegious sins. We’ve also seen those who worship and weep at the sacred temple, seeking the face of Allah. What have we not seen in the holy land?
O’ you guests of the Merciful Lord, you must rightenow resolve from home what mission you aspire to accomplish in Makkah.
You may have visited the sacred house a number of time; but what have you achieved, other than the excitement that comes with that prestigious identity?
Those who lack ikhlaas and taqwa would definitely lose the requisite respect for the sacred house, as they continue to visit it annually, now and then.
On the other hand, a Godly conscious visitor would only be further humbled by this magnificient house, whatever his number of visits; because each time he comes, he does not only arrive with a bag of food, utility and foreign currency; but also with a baggage of ikhlaas!
There’s a particular scholar of Sunnah in Lagos whose frequent visits is rather a blessing to him and his entire household. For the past three decades, I have known him to be a guest in the holy sanctuary – with both hajj and Umrah visits.
We’ve met in Madinah and Makkah a couple of time and I have even lined behind him for the hajj rituals of a particular year. But during this last ten days of Ramadan, as I searched around for my lost musallah (mat) and mas-haf inside Haram, he called me that funny name he fondly calls me…
I looked up and stumbled over him where he was hidden inside Haram in a state of worship. “Sir, you’re here again, but you were here three months ago sir!” I asked him in astonishment. “Yes, Saheed, you know my own sin is heavier than yours… (so I need to visit here more often).
What a sense of humility! How could his sin be heavier than mine?
Someone from whose tongue constant dhikr has refused to vanish even for a second since I got to know him. Even now, everything around him, including his mobile phones compete for Allah’s attention with the chant of dhikr!
But I laughed it off – that soothing compliment from the father figure. He is indeed a good example of a pilgrim whose frequent visits to the holy land has never deprived of humility, piety and the path of knowledge.
Thus, I learnt a lesson and quickly found my place among the pilgrims to offload the burden of sins I brought from home! But then, not many regular guests of the Merciful Lord are as fortunate as this fatherly Shaykh.
The annual Hajj rituals, for many, are as frivolous as a fanfare. We must however learn to take the ritual serious by worshipping Allah as though we would never again be fortunate to visit His house.
Listen to me, you must be very selective with the kind of operator that organizes your trip.
Hajj and Umrah operators are like school managers. Both the orientation and personality of a school owner/manager sometimes determine the quality of ideology, orientation and academic delivery acquired by students.
Why would you then perform a religious rite behind an ignorant fellow whose life-style does not even conform to the principles of the Qur’an and Sunnah?
The operator is a business man whose desire for profits outweighs your own desperation for Allah’s mercy. So, search well for a pious guide!
Your arrival in Medinah is a mere visit; but which is much more than a tourist visitation. You’re here to visit the beloved, the love of my own heart, Abul Qaasim – Muhammad, the son of Abdullahi. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
Say the salaam to him at his noble grave and then shift a step to your right hand side and utter same to his khaleefah, Abubakr, who sleeps comfortably in his own grave, and then, the commander of the faithful, Umar, the son of Khattaab, whose grave is also there beside that of the khaleefah – inside the mosque – and do not ask them for a favour!
You shouldn’t forget to visit Baqee’, the cemetery behind the Prophet’s mosque where the early Muslims were buried; and then, Uhud – where Hamzah and other martyrs of Uhud have taken shelter in the comfort of the graves.
Say salam to the dead and pray for them; and do never seek their help, for they are dead and helpless. So, pray for them, for you will soon meet with them. Strive a bit to worship at Rawdah and plan as well to pray at Qubah with your homemade ablution!
As you leave Madinah for Makkah on a sacred duty, I pray, again, that the Merciful Lord should ease your task. Along with the caravans from all over the world – with the intention of hajj or umrah, you wait briefly at Miqat to commence the duty…
To be continued…
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