Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Lessons from the Hajj

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّ حِيْمِ

As we enter the month of Dhul Hajah many people would be journeying to the sacred land in order to perform a fundamental principle of Islam that entails leaving everything and going to do what has been prescribed by Allah.  As such we wish all those who would be making the blessed journey Allah’s blessing, guidance and protection.
Allah says in His Holy Words;
Such (is the Pilgrimage): Whoever honours the sacred rites of Allah, for him it is good in the sight of his Lord.  (22:30)
Allah has prescribed the Hajj as something sacred.  There is no doubt about this fact.  And Allah has prescribed what is call the manasic or the rituals of hajj or all that is obligatory to be done while on that sacred journey.  Those who look at these rituals on the basis of reason and logic will not be able to understand.  Even we ourselves cannot fully comprehend some of the rituals that are done on the basis of reason and logic.
However Allah is telling us that we are not all knowing; only He is All Knowing as He says in Surah Joseph; and above everything is the One Who is the Possessor of Complete Knowledge. 
Thus whether we understand the Islamic command or not; we do it because only Allah is All Knowing and He knows why He prescribed it.  Allah has for example ordered that anyone who enters Makkah from outside its boundaries must perform the Umrah.  And one of the rituals of the Umrah is to get into a state of ihram; and the ihram is something really different.  Imagine some people possess all the luxuries of life, all the power and status in the respective field and when they are going to Allah’s House; they are commanded to tone down, put on two pieces of unstitched cloth and circumambulate the Kaba barefoot.  What is the rationale behind this?  It is a discipline that Allah inculcated in the believers. 
The hajj teaches us some very pertinent things.  A few of these are mentioned hereunder;
1)  Firstly, hajj teaches us that we are not great.  Only Allah is Great so do not let your material belongings fool you as it fooled Pharaoh.  Learn to understand that we have to return to our Lord one day and we have to leave all our acquisitions behind.  And it is Allah Who is responsible for our existence. 
2)  Allah alone is All Knowing.  Why do I run around the Kaba and run from Mount Safa to Marwah?  We don’t know.  Yes we have a little bit of understanding concerning the rituals but it is Allah Who truly knows.  He knows why He prescribed it.  And we understand that we have limited knowledge.  He says in the ayat quoted above that if we honour the sacred things it is better for us.  Whatever that means; He wants us to show to ourselves that we are really nothing.  One poet composed a poem in Persian about his life experiences and at the end of his journey he concluded by saying “I realise that I am nothing”.
And you will realise that when you go to perform Hajj you are really nothing, because if you are not careful at times you can get run over and trampled by those over exuberant.  
3)  Reason and logic cannot give us knowledge of everything, no matter how much you rationalise.  How can you rationalise standing up and worshipping Allah five times for the day?  How can you rationalise leaving all your luxury, comfort, family and business and go and run around the Kaba and say ‘Here I come O Allah’.
Pharaoh tried to rationalise everything Moses (as) was doing so when Moses (as) threw down his staff and Allah caused it to be transformed into a snake Pharaoh said he was a magician.
We are showing to ourselves that we are nothing, unlike Satan.  This is the attitude and spirit we develop because of the Hajj.  We leave everything to go there so it’s not a question of reason and logic but rather faith.  Allah wants us to strengthen our faith and reliance in Him and the hajj directly impacts on this.
We do not entertain the thought that if we cannot understand the commandments of Allah that we will refrain from doing it.  We do what is prescribed and with the understanding that the command came from the Lord of the Worlds.  And if He commands us to do it we have no choice.
4)  One of the greatest experience of Hajj; it makes us feel and know that we are nothing.  We are insignificant.  We are just another person counted amongst the millions.  Your power and status has no weight.  You move in the same direction as everyone else.  Allah takes you there to show something of His Greatness.  And if you are observant and dedicated you will see the working of your Lord.
We cannot rationalise Hajj.  Only Allah knows why He commanded us to do it.  But one thing we understand is that one day, willingly or not, we have to submit to our Lord; first through death and then the onward journey.  And Hajj is a real rehearsal and eye-opener because you leave everything and go there in submission. 
Hajj shows us that today we can be up materially and tomorrow you can be down.  Don’t place all importance on the material.  Yes it’s nice to have in order to live comfortable but all that is from Allah’s blessings.  That is why most of the Hajjis return so humble
Don’t emphasise the material.  Your Lord is the goal and purpose of your life and you can experience some of it through the spiritual blessing here etc.
Understand that we must cultivate humility.  It’s a sin to say ‘I am better’!  And this attitude destroys your spirituality more than you can imagine.  Be careful especially when you’re emotionally agitated as one of the most effective ways of expressing arrogance is through anger and malice to others.
One way of honouring the sacred rights is by refraining from the major sins, all for the sake of Allah. 
These include shirk, murder, disrespecting ones parents and giving false statements or witnesses (Bukhari).  One way of honouring Allah and upholding the sacredness of the duties of a believer is to avoid these major sins and giving less importance to the things that Allah has not prescribed.  And the rights of hajj inculcate this.  At the time of Tawaf, Arafat or Sai; you are giving importance to that and nothing of the material.
If you honour Allah’s rights as He ordains it, it will be spiritual beneficial above everything else.  It is truly a great blessing and possible this is one of the reasons why the narrations state that after a person performs Hajj it is like they are a newborn babe.  They sins are wiped out. 
And after all this we should build upon our spirituality.  Blessings can increase or decrease.  Don’t let your blessings decrease.  Build on it by doing good and staying away from the prohibited and insha Allah, Allah will bless us all. 
May Allah make the hajj for those who are going easy and may He accept their effort and sacrifice.  May He also accept the Qurbani from those who will be doing it and may He continue to bless us, guide us and protect us insha Allah. 
Transcript of discourse delivered by
Maulana Dr. Waffie Mohammed

The video presentation of this discourse can be accessed at

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