All praises are due to Allah – the King of Kings, the Magnificent, the Majestic and the Supreme. To him belongs the most beautiful names and the loftiest of attributes. To him we belong and to him we return.
May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon Muhammad the son of ‘Abdullah SAW, our leader and our Qudwa (Role model)
Jabir Bin Zaid: “I contemplated upon the actions of birr (dutifulness/piety) and found that the prayer (salah) constitutes the efforts of one’s body but, not of one’s wealth. Likewise, the fasting (Siyam) is of the same nature. (But), Hajj constitutes the efforts of one’s body and wealth. Therefore, I viewed Hajj to be more preponderate than all these actions” (Hilyat Al-Awliya).
Alhamdulillah, during this years Hijri month of Dhul Hijjah, I was fortunate to be amongst the guests of Ar-Rahman – those who Allah had invited to visit his house. Alhamdulillah, Thumma Alhamdulillah – Allah gave me the chance to perform Hajj.
I set off in early September, on route to Madinah, before the days of Hajj had initiated, to visit the city of the prophet SAW. Feelings of anguish and anxiety had set upon me before i boarded the plane – Will I be patient enough? What if i perform the rituals wrong? What if Allah does not accept my Hajj? I told my mother I was nervous – and she responded “Don’t be nervous, my son. Indeed, Allah takes care of you and shows you his kindness“. This feeling of anxiousness was very penetrating as i could not eat my breakfast on the day of my departure. However, I made du’a to Allah to aid me in my endeavours and to give me the tawfeeq to perform the rituals in accordance to his pleasure. Du’a is the comfort of the believer. How can it not be – for indeed, you are reaching out to the King of Kings, to the one who possesses all power and might. This (Ad-Du’a) is the ultimate antidote to feelings of anxiety.
I started to feel better as we approached the airport. I set myself a list of things to do in the plane which i had jotted down on my notepad. One of them was to listen to a lecture/video on Hajj in order to reap some advice to make the most of my Hajj. One thing that struck me from the lecture was the Sheikh (Hafidhahullah) said “For the one who is sincere; Allah makes things easy for him“. By Allah, I was delighted to hear this. Prior to my travel, i heard how challenging Hajj was and how difficult people found it which made me even more apprehensive. I heard how even the most practicing of brothers can almost ruin their hajj!!! But, hearing this simple statement – made my heart at ease. It must be pointed out – I am not claiming sincerity here – Rather, I was overjoyed by the realisation that Hajj can be made easy (That it isn’t all hard/difficult/strenuous upon the soul).
As we landed in Madina, all nervousness was wiped away. The tranquillity and beauty of the land made me fall in love with this city. How pertinent is the prophet Statement: “Medina is like a furnace, it expels out the impurities (bad persons) and selects the good ones and makes them perfect.” The people of Madina seemed at ease and this was echoed to me by a taxi drive who said “Madina is beautiful; there is none like it”. Madina is guarded by Angels – therefore, how can one not feel at ease?
Thereafter, we left Madina and put on our Ihram for ‘Umrah. As per the prophetic Sunnah, i ensured I applied as much perfume as possible before applying the Ihram. By the leave of Allah, I performed ‘Umrah with relative comfort. A few points to note:
a) Despite the renovations going on at the Haram, the sight of the Ka’bah never fails to delight you. b) Making du’a at the first glance of the Ka’bah is something recommended by many scholars.
c) During the Sa’ee – it is perfectly acceptable to wear sandals (even during Tawaf) especially as the surface is hard and make cause discomfort to those with sensitive feet.
After ‘Umrah, we entered Aziziya (Mandatory 2 day stay imposed by Govt.) where we stayed before we left for Mina. The Aziziya apartments were really good and you can bond more with your Hajj Group here as you are all within close proximity. This is in stark contrast to the hotels because, the sheer size of the hotels makes it difficult to see your fellow Hajj group members.
During the 8th day of Dhul Hijjah, we set out for Mina. This is where the serious work begins – this is what we have come for – the DAYs of HAJJ. As we wore our Ihram and boarded our coach to head off to Mina – sounds of the Talbiyyah echoed around the coach. Brothers calling out loud and proud. LABBAIK ALLAHUMMA LABBAIK..LABBAIKA LAA SHAREEKA LAKA LABBAIK..INNAL HAMDA WAN-NI’MATA LAKA WAL MULK..LAA SHARIKA LAK. SubhanAllah, when you understand the words of this statement; you realise how powerful it is. It is a call of devotion and submissiveness to Allah Jalla wa ‘ala. Take for example “LABBAIK” commonly translated as “Here I am”. Although, not wrong – the phrase has a more deeper meaning to it than that. Some of the scholars of Arabic Linguistics have mentioned that Labbaik is derived from “lLBAAB” which refers to something that is firm and upright and persistent. Therefore, what you are saying to Allah is “Oh Allah, here I am, firm in your worship, totally devoted to you“. SubhanAllah, what a statement and how perfectly convenient is this statement for the rites of Hajj. Another meaning to it is ”perpetual love” and therefore, by proclaiming LABBAIK you are proclaiming your love to Allah. You do not say Labbaik to someone except, that you love them and venerate them.
Day 8: Go to Mina and prepare for the day of Hajj – Yawm Al-‘Arafah. Ensure you do not waste the day but, think about dua’s you want to state on the day of ‘Arafah, engage in the tilawah of the Qur’aan and other righteous actions.
Day 9: This is the day of Hajj as the prophet SAW said “Hajj is ‘Arafah”. Shaytaan will be trying his best to deter you and sway you from worship so, ensure you seek refuge in Allah from Shaytaan’s plots and be patient. Remember the virtues of the day of ‘Arafah i.e. The prophet SAW said “There is no day on which Allah frees more people from the Fire than the Day of ‘Arafah. He comes close and expresses His pride to the angels, saying, ‘What do these people want?’” (Sahih Muslim).
Seek forgiveness from Allah by contemplating upon your sins/shortcomings. Do not be afraid to let out your tears and make good use of your time. This is the day of Du’a so, ensure you raise your hands up to the lord of the heavens and earth frequently.
Have hope and take inspiration from the following narration:
‘Abdullah Bin Mubarak came to Sufyan Ath-Thawri on the even of ‘Arafah and found him kneeling whilst, his eyes were full with tears. He asked him “Who is upon the worst of conditions in this gathering (‘Arafah)”. Sufyan replied “The one who thinks Allah will not forgive him”. SubhanAllah, never despair of the mercy of Allah.