Abdul Rasool Syed
HAJJ holds a unique status among the five pillars of Islam. It is a form of worship that entails both the physical and financial sacrifices. It is also a great mean to evince ones’ love and reverence for Allah, the sublime; since without love one cannot undertake such a long journey that requires segregation, for the time being, from all the loved ones as well as worldly affairs and be wholly and solely inclined only to the creator of the cosmos. The literal meaning of Hajj is to set off for a place but in terminology of Islamic Sharia, it refers to the will of a Muslim to visit the House of God (the Holy Ka’ abah) which was the first structure built by Hazrat Adam for the worship of Allah. Then, it was re-built by Hazrat Ibrahim and Hazrat Ismail at the command of Allah. Hazrat Ibrahim was the first to call the people to the House of Allah for performing pilgrimage. Talking about the first call to Hajj, Allah says:” Behold! We gave the site to Abraham of the sacred House (saying): “Associate not anything (in worship) with me; and sanctify my House for those who compass it around, or stand up, or bow, or prostrate themselves (there in prayer). And proclaim the pilgrimage among the people; they will come to you on foot and mounted on every kind of camel (Quran 22:26)
Hajj is obligatory only, once in lifetime, on all those who are of sound mind, adults and have the provisions of travel. The Holy Quran says: “And due to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to his House—for whoever is able to find thereto a way. But whoever disbelieves –then indeed, Allah is free from the need of the worlds”. (Quran 3:97) With regard to the injunction of performing pilgrimage the Holy Prophet(SAW) said, “ if a person is not hampered by any disease, real necessities or a tyrannical ruler and yet does not perform Hajj, his death and the death of a Jew or a Christen are same”. (Al-Bukhari) There are myriad virtues attached to the performance of pilgrimage. A valid and accepted Hajj purifies one from sins. Abu Hurayrah narrated that he heard the Prophet (SAW) say: “whoever performs a pilgrimage during which he neither commits sexual intercourse nor sins will return as sinless as a new born baby on the very day his mother delivered him.”(Al-Bukhari).
It is also mentioned in the book of Hadis that the reward for an accepted Hajj is nothing but Jannah (the Paradise). It is reported by Abu Hurayrah that Holy Prophet (SAW) said, “an Umrah to another Umrah will be redemption of sins for whatever occurs between them, and entering paradise is the reward of a valid and accepted Hajj”. (Al-Bulkhari & Muslim). Moreover, the importance of Hajj can be gauged from the fact that the Holy Prophet (SAW) equated Hajj with Jehad. Hazrat Aisha (R.A) narrated that she said,” O Messenger of Allah! We see that Jehad is the best deed. Should we (women) not actively participate in it? The Prophet replied, “No, the best Jehad for you is a valid and accepted Hajj.” Thereupon Aisha (R.A) commented “I will never abandon Hajj after hearing these words from the Prophet (SAW).” (Al-Bukhari). Further, Allah Almighty called those performing Hajj as his guests and he pledged to generously host and honour them. Hazrat Umar (RA) narrated that the Prophet (SAW) said, “ The fighter for the sake of Allah and the one observing the Hajj and Umrah are the guests of Allah; He invited them and they responded and when they ask Him , He gives them.( Ibn-e Majjah).
Apart from this, there are numerous benefits attached to this unique and exemplary form of worship. Firstly, Hajj is aimed at teaching the Muslims to honour the symbols of Allah. Allah, Almighty says in Holy Quran: “And whoever honours the symbols of Allah—indeed, it is from the piety of hearts.”(Quran 22:32) Secondly, Hajj is meant to forge unity, compassion and love among the Muslims. Despite the differences in language, colour, race and nationality, All the Muslims gather at one place, supplicate only one God and circumambulate only one House. This is, for sure, an unparalleled manifestation of unity and togetherness. Thirdly, the pilgrims are supposed to declare monotheism (Tauheed) through their tongue, heart and deeds. In Talbiyah, the observer of Hajj or Umrah says, “Labbayk Allahumma Labbayk. Labbayka laa Shareeka laka Labbayk. Innal-Hamda wan-ni‘mata laka wal-mulk. Laa Shareeka lak. (I am responding to your call O Allah, I am responding to your call! I am responding to your call, you have no partner with you, I am responding to your call. All perfect praise and bounty belongs to you, and the dominion is yours.) To wind it up, I would quote one last Hadis pertaining to the virtues of Hajj, as reported by Ibn Masood, in which Holy Prophet (SAW) said,” Perform Hajj and Umrah successively for they remove poverty and sins just as fire removes the impurities of iron.”
— The writer is a Legal practitioner-cum-columnist based in Quetta Balochistan.