“Labbayka-Allahummma labbayk, Labbayka laa shareeka laka labbayk. Innal-Hamda wanni’mata laka wal-Mulk, laa shareeka lak!”
Hearing these words of Allah’s remembrance every year reminds us of Hajj, one of the five major pillars of Islam. Hajj is enjoined on every sane adult Muslim having the physical strength and financial ability to do so.
Allaah mentions in Quran: “And Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Ka‘bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allaah, those who can afford the expenses (for one’s conveyance, provision and residence) ; and whoever disbelieves [i.e. denies Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah), then he is a disbeliever of Allaah], then Allaah stands not in need of any of the ‘Aalameen (mankind, jinn and all that exists)”
[Aal ‘Imraan 3:97]
Islam is built on various forms of worship some of which require physical strength such as Salah and some require financial strength as in the case of Zakah. Hajj on the other hand is a combination of physical and financial strength. Hajj allows Muslims to unite in the name of Allah destroying any boundaries of wealth, race, or gender. It is a means of gathering everyone on the same plains at the same time with only one intention of pleasing Allah. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) narrated: “Whoever performs Hajj to this house – Kabah- and does not commit any obscenity and wrongdoing, he, or she, will come out as the day he, or she, was born – pure and free from sins. “(Bukhari & Muslim). The practice of Hajj dates back to our Prophet Ibraheem and it is a combination of rituals performed by Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and our Muslim ancestors. It commemorates the sacrifice of Ibraheem and Ismaeel (AS) along with the hardships faced by Hajar (AS) during Sa’ai between Safa and Marwah.
Hajj teaches us the concept of Tawakkal or complete reliance on Allah. In the state of Ihram, a person is only covered by two pieces of cloth, which is similar to a shroud used to wrap a corpse for burial. No matter how much wealth we leave behind coming in to Hajj, as we enter the state of Ihram, we are left with nothing except with our trust and belief in Allah alone. Similarly sleeping on the plains of Muzdalifah under an open sky forces us to understand how life is all in the hands of Allah. We lay there helpless and equal to others just as we will be resurrected on the day of judgment. It teaches us self control and patience allowing us to accept others as they are and be thankful to Allah for all His blessings on us. The Day of Arafah unites all Muslims together to stand in front of one God and pray for His mercy and guidance. It reminds us of the one and only Almighty in control of our lives and livelihoods as we stand in the heat of sun praying to Him alone knowing no one in this world can rid us of our misery except Him.
Hajj is incumbent on every able Muslim as it allows us to renew our faith in Allah. It enables us to remember our duties as Muslims and is enjoined as a blessing from Allah for allowing us to ask for forgiveness and guidance. It teaches us discipline and patience along with uniting us as one Ummah spreading equality between people from all corners of the world.
Allah mentions in Quran: “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 22:27]
How true this statement of our lord Allah is!