Hajj perspective #2 – prepare the heart for Hajj

Amr ibn Al-‘Aas narrates, “When Islam entered my heart, I went to the Messenger of Allah and said, ‘Give me your hand so that I may pledge allegiance to you.’ The Prophet (SAW) spread his hand, but I withdrew mine. He said, ‘What is wrong ‘Amr?’ I said, ‘I want to make a condition.’ ‘And what is that?’ he said. I said, ‘That Allah will forgive me.’ Then the Messenger of Allah said, ‘Did you not know that Islam wipes out what came before it, and that Hijrah wipes out what came before it and that Hajj wipes out what came before it!” – Sahih Muslim

The ultimate reward. Rasul Allah – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – said, “And there is no reward for an accepted Hajj … except Jannah!”

What is the first verse that you read in Surah Al-Hajj? It does not speak of Arafah, nor does it pronounce the pillars of Nahr day. It simply says …

022.001 يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمْ إِنَّ زَلْزَلَةَ السَّاعَةِ شَيْءٌ عَظِيمٌ
022.002 يَوْمَ تَرَوْنَهَا تَذْهَلُ كُلُّ مُرْضِعَةٍ عَمَّا أَرْضَعَتْ وَتَضَعُ كُلُّ ذَاتِ حَمْلٍ حَمْلَهَا وَتَرَى النَّاسَ سُكَارَى وَمَا هُمْ بِسُكَارَى وَلَكِنَّ عَذَابَ اللَّهِ شَدِيدٌ
022.001 Ya ayyuha alnnasu ittaqoo rabbakum inna zalzalata alssa’ati shay-on ‘atheemun
022.002 Yawma tarawnaha tathhalu kullu murdi’atin ‘amma arda’at watada’u kullu thati hamlin hamlaha watara alnnasa sukara wama hum bisukara walakinna ‘athaba Allahi shadeedun
022.001 O mankind! fear your Lord! for the quaking of the Hour of Judgment will be a thing terrible!
022.002On that Day you shall see that every nursing mother will forget her nursing-babe and every pregnant female will miscarry, and you will see people as if they are intoxicated, though they will not be drunk: such will be the horror of Allah’s chastisement.

Hajj is not a journey of the body such as one may take to a vacation spot or tourist attraction. It is a journey of the soul and heart.

When one pays a careful eye to the verses speaking of Hajj, they will find that verse after verse concludes with a commandment of being conscious of Allah’s presence, or a reminder of Allah’s bounteous favor upon us, or a link between Hajj and the final day.

The Destination

In the not-so-far-away days of old, whenever a journey was to be undertaken proper provisions had to be prepared. The deserts were long, hot, and harsh. Unmerciful. There were no gas stations to fill up with chips and refreshments, or rest stops to slurp water from a fountain. In fact, there was not a human in sight for miles upon miles of barren sand dunes. Losing the way meant losing your life.

Thus, you had to have the provision with you before you made the journey. Enough food, enough water, enough everything to carry you to your destination.

From here, in the verses dealing of Hajj, when everyone shall have to make some sort of journey to reach the Ka’bah, Allah tuned the attention of His slaves to another journey, a journey every soul is traveling, whether they know it or care to just remain heedless. Allah turned their attention to the journey to the Hereafter, to Paradise or Hell.

002.197 الْحَجُّ أَشْهُرٌ مَعْلُومَاتٌ فَمَنْ فَرَضَ فِيهِنَّ الْحَجَّ فَلا رَفَثَ وَلا فُسُوقَ وَلا جِدَالَ فِي الْحَجِّ وَمَا تَفْعَلُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ يَعْلَمْهُ اللَّهُ وَتَزَوَّدُوا فَإِنَّ خَيْرَ الزَّادِ التَّقْوَى وَاتَّقُونِ يَا أُولِي الألْبَابِ
002.197 Alhajju ashhurun ma’loomatun faman farada feehinna alhajja fala rafatha wala fusooqa wala jidala fee alhajji wama taf’aloo min khayrin ya’lamhu Allahu watazawwadoo fa-inna khayra alzzadi alttaqwa waittaqooni ya olee al-albabi
002.197 For Hajj are the months well known. If any one undertakes that duty therein, Let there be no obscenity, nor wickedness, nor wrangling in the Hajj. And whatever good ye do, (be sure) Allah knoweth it. And take a provision (With you) for the journey, but the best of provisions is piety and right conduct. So be aware of Me, o ye that are wise.

On the day Buhaym Al-‘Ajlee set out with his companion for Hajj, he looked toward the endless desert awaiting them both and wept, his chest soaking from the tears. “This is something,” said Buhaym, “that has made me understand the most certain journey I must one day take to Allah!”

Hajj – the journey of hearts.

The Provider

In the early days, when someone decided to perform the journey for Hajj, it was synonymous with bidding farewell to life on earth. This was due to the treacherous obstacles of traveling in the desert – trials such as sickness, starvation, and the struggles of the separate situations. An entire village might gather to bid those people farewell.

When someone would go through such a remarkable journey and return alive, they would dedicate their lives to the worship and obedience of Allah. Gone was the cheating, or the lying, or the missed Salah. He/She was now a Hajji.

Today, with the Jumbo jets and ocean liners and Mercedes buses, the facilitation of performing Hajj has taken away the luster of the title Hajji. Some might complain that there are no queen-size mattress beds in Mina, or that the air conditioning motor is a bit too loud.

But dear brothers and sisters, who is it that provided us with all the blessing that we are living in? It is the same Allah that has tested us on the plains of Arafah. The slave of Allah can only truly understand the favor of Allah when it is taken away.

002.198 لَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ أَنْ تَبْتَغُوا فَضْلا مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ فَإِذَا أَفَضْتُمْ مِنْ عَرَفَاتٍ فَاذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ عِنْدَ الْمَشْعَرِ الْحَرَامِ وَاذْكُرُوهُ كَمَا هَدَاكُمْ وَإِنْ كُنْتُمْ مِنْ قَبْلِهِ لَمِنَ الضَّالِّينَ
002.198 Laysa ‘alaykum junahun an tabtaghoo fadlan min rabbikum fa-itha afadtum min ‘arafatin faothkuroo Allaha ‘inda almash’ari alharami waothkuroohu kama hadakum wa-in kuntum min qablihi lamina alddalleena
002.198 There is no blame upon you for seeking bounty from your Lord (during Hajj). But when you depart from Arafat, remember Allah at Al Mash’ar Al Haram. And remember Him as He has guided you, for indeed you were before that among those astray.

Alhamdulillaah. Indeed the greatest blessing that Allah has favored us with is Islam, and it alone suffices as favor.

Allah knows we are going to get dusty during Hajj, Allah knows it. So don’t be surprised when that dust blows, instead turn to Allah with patience and a whisper of gratitude to Allah.

022.029 ثُمَّ لْيَقْضُوا تَفَثَهُمْ وَلْيُوفُوا نُذُورَهُمْ وَلْيَطَّوَّفُوا بِالْبَيْتِ الْعَتِيقِ
022.029 Thumma lyaqdoo tafathahum walyoofoo nuthoorahum walyattawwafoo bialbayti al’ateeqi
022.029 “Then let them complete the rites prescribed for them, perform their vows, and circumambulate the Ancient House.”

Ibn Al-Qayyim wrote a Qasidah about this journey of the hearts, here is only an English glimpse of some of the Arabic verses:

He says, my slaves have come to me (for Hajj) out of love for me
And I am merciful to them, bounteous and loving
Glad tidings O participants of that stand (on Arafah)
a moment when Allah forgives all sins and showers His mercy

Abu Hurayrah narrates: I heard the Prophet say, “Whoever performs Hajj and does not commit any Rafath (obscenity) or Fusooq (transgression), he returns (free from sin) as the day his mother bore him” – Bukhari

Getting the heart in shape same for life as for Hajj.

Many years ago, as the Hujjaj swept through the valley of Muzdalifah, a man remarked out loud, “My look at the number of Hujjaj!” The wise man replied, “Nay, the passengers are many, but the Hujjaj are few.”

I once heard the story of a man who was blessed with the opportunity to join the caravan for Hajj regularly. However, his shortcoming was that he could never control his anger during the days of Hajj, and would snap cursing others.

Well, one person had an idea for him. His inspiration: Instead of cursing Muslims during Hajj, write all your bad comments on a piece of paper – fold it – and then when you get mad at someone, just hand him the paper. On the top of the tiny envelope write, ‘Do not open until after Hajj’. The man agreed.

As incident after incident assailed him, the man would simply smile, then frown and hand out the tiny envelopes to the provoking party.

Everything was going smoothly until the day when he was walking to the Jamarat and someone stomped his toes. He lost all control. Teeth gritting, he snarled and took out his briefcase of envelopes and dumped it on that poor guys head.

In Hajj there are people who snatch for patience and the reward of Allah during those trying moments, like a man pan handles for gold. I asked myself, what is different from them and those who spend their breath in criticism and argumentation? It finally dawned that it was not the body of Zayd or ‘Amr that I was witnessing, but it was the hearts of Zayd and ‘Amr.

Some people come to hajj prepared financially. Others come with a prepared heart – that is what’s essential. Whether the grindstone grinds us to dust or polishes us up depends on what we are made of.

Part 2

Now – How to get that heart in shape for Hajj or life?

Firstly: Gain knowledge.

Hajj is one of the pillars that Islam is built on. When someone intends to perform this rite it a must upon them that they learn it well. Rasul Allah – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – said, “Seeking knowledge is obligatory on every Muslim.”

Imam Bukhari writes in his Saheeh, ‘knowledge comes before statements and actions.’ He then quoted the verse of Allah:

047.019 فَاعْلَمْ أَنَّهُ لا إِلَهَ إِلا اللَّهُ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لِذَنْبِكَ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مُتَقَلَّبَكُمْ وَمَثْوَاكُمْ
047.019 Fai’lam annahu la ilaha illa Allahu waistaghfir lithanbika walilmu/mineena waalmu/minati waAllahu ya’lamu mutaqallabakum wamathwakum
047.019 Know, therefore, that there is no god but Allah, and ask forgiveness for thy fault, and for the men and women who believe: for Allah knows how ye move about and how ye dwell in your homes.

Secondly: Establish Salah and perform Qiyaam ul-Layl

When Rasul Allah – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – was preparing his heart for the mission of conveying this Deen, Allah ordered him to prepare using Qiyam ul-Layl.

Allah ta’ala says:

073.001 يَا أَيُّهَا الْمُزَّمِّلُ
073.002 قُمِ اللَّيْلَ إِلا قَلِيلا
073.003 نِصْفَهُ أَوِ انْقُصْ مِنْهُ قَلِيلا
073.004 أَوْ زِدْ عَلَيْهِ وَرَتِّلِ الْقُرْآنَ تَرْتِيلا
073.001 Ya ayyuha almuzzammilu
073.002 Qumi allayla illa qaleelan
073.003 Nisfahu awi onqus minhu qaleelan
073.004 Aw zid ‘alayhi warattili alqur-ana tarteelan
073.001 O thou folded in garments!
073.002 Stand (to prayer) by night, but not all night,-
073.003 Half of it,- or a little less,
073.004 Or a little more; and recite the Qur’an in slow, measured rhythmic tones.

A student once slept over at Imam Ahmad’s house, rahimahullah. Imam Ahmad had left a vessel of water for him, and upon arriving at Fajr time, found the vessel still full of water. He was shocked and remarked, “How can a person be a Talib Al-‘Ilm (student of Islam) and not stand for Qiyam ul-Layl!”

Some said to Ibn Mas`ood, may Allah be pleased with him, “We are unable to wake up to perform Qiyam ul-Layl.” He told them, “You are distancing yourselves from it by your sins.”

Thirdly: Repentance to Allah and Dua

It was during the days of Tashreeq when Jirbreel – alayhis salam – came to Rasul Allah – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – with the words of Allah:

110.001 إِذَا جَاءَ نَصْرُ اللَّهِ وَالْفَتْحُ
110.002 وَرَأَيْتَ النَّاسَ يَدْخُلُونَ فِي دِينِ اللَّهِ أَفْوَاجًا
110.003 فَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ وَاسْتَغْفِرْهُ إِنَّهُ كَانَ تَوَّابًا
110.001 Itha jaa nasru Allahi waalfathu
110.002 Waraayta alnnasa yadkhuloona fee deeni Allahi afwajan
110.003 Fasabbih bihamdi rabbika waistaghfirhu innahu kana tawwaban
110.001 When comes the Help of Allah, and Victory,
110.002 And thou dost see the people enter Allah’s Religion in crowds,
110.003 Celebrate the praises of thy Lord, and pray for His Forgiveness: For He is Oft-Returning (in Grace and Mercy).

The conquest of Allah is in our hearts, remember that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the US now Alhamdulillah!

This was the culmination of 23 years of Da’wah, Jihad, and work; here now was the farewell pilgrimage. What did it end with? [Then exalt Him with praise of your Lord (Tasbeeh) and ask forgiveness of Him]

Subhaanak Allaahumma wa bihamdika, Allahumma ighfir-lana / Glory be to you O Allah, and may You be praised. O Allah, forgive us!

 


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Contact Imam Salim

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