A Moment with Our Prophet, Muhammad (S)
By Imam Zijad Delic
Abu Huraira (r) narrated that the Prophet (S) said: “Whoever performs Hajj (pilgrimage) and does not commit any obscenity or transgression shall return pure[free from sins] as he/she was on the day his/her mother gave birth to him/her.”
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَنْ حَجَّ هَذَا الْبَيْتَ فَلَمْ يَرْفُثْ وَلَمْ يَفْسُقْ رَجَعَ كَمَا وَلَدَتْهُ أُمُّهُ
Source: Bukhari, Muslim
The Hajj season will be with us in a few days!
Dhul Hijjah will start this week and with the beginning of Dhul Hijjah, we will be informed of the day of Eid.
The days of Dhul Hijjah are the most blessed days of the Muslim calendar!
Thus, believers should aspire to maximize possibilities in the days of Barakah (blessings).
Muslims – wherever they are geographically located — live in continuous connection with the sacred house called the Ka’bah, the symbol of their relationship with the Creator, the homeland of the Prophet, and the first place of worship on earth.
Canadian Muslims also have a strong spiritual connection with this sacred place.
Thousands of them yearly go for Hajj or ‘Umrah in normal conditions.
This year like during the last one, we will make supplications to the Almighty to open up opportunities for the next year and remove the pandemic (COVID-19) from our midst for good!
The word Hajj means to make a resolve to visit the Ka’bah in Makkah (Mecca).
This was the first House of Worship appointed for humanity.
Almighty Allah mentions this in the Qur’an: “Verily, the first House (of worship) appointed for humanity was that at Makkah, full of blessings, and a guidance for all ‘Alams (worlds).” (Ali ‘Imran 96)
إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيْتٍ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِي بِبَكَّةَ مُبَارَكًا وَهُدًى لِّلْعَالَمِينَ
Hence, a visit to this sacred house, in the revered ancient city of Makkah, in this most sacred land and the mot blessed season, is the wish of every Muslim (brother) and Muslimah (sister).
This pilgrimage of Islam, whose origin dates back to the Prophet Ibrahim (or Abraham), brings together Muslims of all races, nationalities and tongues to share in one of life’s most memorable spiritual experiences.
In fact, for fourteen centuries, countless millions of Muslims from the four corners of the earth have performed the Hajj to Makkah, the birthplace of Islam.
In reality, Hajj is the greatest annual congress of believers anywhere on earth.
Not only is it important to those being there but to almost two billion Muslims around the globe.
Hajj marks part of the Ummah’s (Islamic world community’s) preparation for the Qurbani, or sacrifice, which reminds us of the sacrifice that the patriarch Ibrahim was commanded to make of his son Isma’il, ‘alayhimassalam.
It reminds us of the mercy Allah extends to those who surrender themselves in complete trust to His Will just as Ibrahim and Isma’il did (the sacrifice was not the goal; the test was the goal).
As the Qur’an records the words of young Isma’il: “O my father! Do what you are commanded. If Allah wills, you shall find me … steadfast.” (As Safat 102)
فَلَمَّا بَلَغَ مَعَهُ السَّعْيَ قَالَ يَا بُنَيَّ إِنِّي أَرَى فِي الْمَنَامِ أَنِّي أَذْبَحُكَ فَانظُرْ مَاذَا تَرَى قَالَ يَا أَبَتِ افْعَلْ مَا تُؤْمَرُ سَتَجِدُنِي إِن شَاء اللَّهُ مِنَ الصَّابِرِينَ
This Hajj is a vibrant proof of Unity among all Muslims around the one inalterable principle of Islam – Tawhid, the Oneness of Almighty Allah.
Hajj gathers millions of believers and calls upon all of them to unify their opinions, ideas and values, helping them collectively to support one another in upholding all that is good and decent for themselves and for the rest of the humanity.
Islam stands for unity of the human race, teaching that all peoples in their global diversity were originally as one, deriving their existence from the sole Creator of ALL, and that the barriers now separating us — race, color, class, region, ideology, etc. — are really no more than constructed illusions.
In fact, the divisive ideologies based on negative human distinctions are among the most dangerous pandemics the humanity experiences even in the 21st century.
Hajj, on the other hand, proves that the hope of unity can be a reality, for Islam removes all differences and evaluates or rates people by their conduct.
Islam seeks to build an intellectual, moral, ethical and just ideology throughout international society – an ideology strong enough to stand its ground against existing tribal, racial, linguistic and national barriers which have turned the world into a sea of tragic conflicts.
Hajj symbolizes an opposite movement, the movement from chaos and conflict toward unity in diversity.
It is a noble tradition that upholds the hope and potential of kindred love and solidarity among the people.
In calling all believers back to the basic principles of Tawhid (which are expressed in the words of Talbiyyah during Hajj) it is the living response of Allah’s servants.
On this special occasion, all pilgrims are guests answering their Lord’s personal invitation to visit His house in Makkah.
All Hujjaj (Hajj pilgrims) chant the following words:
بَّيْكَ اللهُمَّ لَبَّيْكَ – لَبَّيْكَ لَا شَرِيْكَ لَكَ لَبَّيْكَ – إِنَّ الْحَمْدَ وَالنِّعْمَةَ لَكَ وَالْمُلْكَ – لَا شَرِيْكَ لَكَ
“Labbaykallahumma Labbayk, Labbayka La Sharika Laka Labbayk, Innal Hamda Wan Ni’mata Wal Mulka La Sharika Laka.”
In English paraphrase, they mean: “Here I am at Your service, O my Lord. My humble submission is only to You, and I am here submitting to You who does not have a partner, for no one is worthy of worship except You. You are the Only One Who deserves every praise. You are the Only One Who has all power, so help me, O Allah, that I benefit from all the blessings that You have bestowed on humankind. This is the only way, for I have no other reason for existence.”
This repeated statement is meant to re-awaken every Muslim’s consciousness that Allah is the eternal Centre of their reality and the source of all meaning and blessing in life.
With these words, believers fervently express their belief and their commitment to the Straight Path that Allah has set out for them.
The journey to Hajj is purely for the sake of Almighty Allah who wants us to learn from the examples of the Prophets that He chose to be our teachers.
Allah wants us to learn that Hajj is a spiritual training ground and a unique experience of worship which changes a person from the inside out, washing him/her clean and restoring his/her belief and attitude.
The discipline of Hajj has often been the key to awaken many Muslims to a fuller and deeper understanding of the concepts of Islam and its true Message.
More than simply an annual institution or ritual, Hajj holds the potential to draw all believers into a future filled with blessings, among which the following are central:
- Purification of the soul from all traces of sin.
Hajj provides the greatest opportunity for believers to seek forgiveness of sins accumulated throughout life and to make Du’as for others.
This can happen when one has performed Hajj Mabrur, or done the pilgrimage in a proper way, as the Messenger of Allah mentions: “They will return from Hajj as newly born babies (free of all sins).” (Bukhari, Muslim)
- Unity and understanding.
Through Hajj, the believers come to know each other and are made more aware of the mutual affairs of their brothers and sisters from all over the world.
In Hajj they feel more connection and kindred love for each other, irrespective of their geographical or cultural backgrounds.
Thus, Hajj unites the believers of the world into one international community.
- Confirmation of commitment to Almighty Allah.
Through demonstrating that they are ready to sacrifice all material possessions and values for the sake of their Creator, believers show their commitment to Allah; for unless a Muslim really loves Allah, he/she would never undertake such a long, costly and arduous journey to Makkah, leaving all their near and dear ones behind.
- Reminding believers of complete trust in Allah.
Believers come face to face with the deep faith and unshaken commitment of Ibrahim and his son Isma’il (peace be upon them) when they were called to make the ultimate sacrifice – of life itself — in His name (the sacrifice that no one else of humans will be asked for).
- Preserving important rites.
Hajj reminds us of the rites which were ordained for us by Allah and taught by His Last Messenger, the Prophet Muhammad (S).
- Walking in the Prophet’s footsteps.
Hajj is a memorable and cleansing means of acquainting believers with the spiritual, historical and physical environment in which the last Messenger, Muhammad (S), lived and served Allah.
- Spiritual blessing.
This is the greatest Hajj blessing of all, for pilgrims (Hujjaj) are encouraged to develop a greater consciousness of Allah in and to return home with a sense of uplifted spirit and fulfillment.
Ya Rabb! Help us to be among those who will benefit from this great season of blessings and hope!