Despite its blessedness, this season of Hajj often tends to sneak up upon us. Unlike the months of preparations that occur in advance of Ramadan, Hajj and Dhul-Hijjah preparation seem to be exclusive to those making the physical journey to Makkah and Madinah.
But how can we all, regardless if making the pilgrimage by foot or not, ready our hearts spiritually to make productive use of this time?
Hajj season is an opportune time to deepen our relationship with Allah Almighty. Many of us write out Ramadan supplications (Dua’s) in advance to read at the time of breaking our fasts or in the blessed last ten days of the month.
Similarly, the Hajj is a symbolic act of submission encased in prayers. The pilgrim’s lips are constantly moving in His Zikr (remembrance of Allah), the hearts yearning for deliverance from error, for ease of suffering, for guidance, for a path forward in all avenues of life.
It would be unbecoming of us to lose out on this time, especially on the day of Arafah – the most sacred day of the year for Muslims – when from mid-day to sunset pilgrims spend their time earnestly calling out to Allah in longing and in love.
Akin to how we plan for any other goals in life, the Hajj season is a divine opportunity to reconnect our hearts in reverence for Allah and realign our lives to live in integrity and complete submission to Him.
Are we able to take a few days off work or reshuffle our schedules to permit some quiet time for reflection? What have we achieved since Ramadan? What about our goals for the upcoming year? Where have we fallen short in purpose? Where can we better ourselves? How will we go about this?
- Structure your time, be mindful of the obligatory (fard) prayers and pray them on time.
- Perform the recommended (Sunnah) and extra supererogatory (Nafilah) prayers.
- Aim for Tahajjud (night prayers) and pour your heart into Du’a.
- Fast the first nine days, especially the day of Arafah.
- Spend a few moments on the recommended Azkar and reflect after each prayer:
Subhanallah, Alhamdulillah, Allahu Akbar, La ilaha illallah, La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah, Asthaghfirullah, Subhanallahi wa bihamdihi Subhanallahil azim, La ilaha illallahu wahdahu la sharika lahu, lahul-mulku wa lahul-hamdu wa huwa ala kulli shai’in qadir.
- Pray in congregation whenever possible and keep the bond with the Masjid (Mosque).
- Continue to donate to your Masjid (Mosque).
- Ask forgiveness of others, especially those we have hurt, and rekindling broken ties.
- Be extra mindful of personal conduct.
- Help the needy and visit the sick. Control your anger.
- Spend time in solitude with the Qu’ran.
- Perform the (Udhiyyah/Layyah) – the symbolic sacrificing of meat as a reminder of Prophet Ibrahim, Isma’il, and Hajar’s sincere devotion to Allah, and distribute the meat to the poor, needy, less privilege, family and friends.
- Attend and perform Eid prayer with the community.
Credit: Murtadha Gusau