Hajj, or pilgrimage, is the fifth pillar of Islam.
Hajj is the journey to the Holy Ka’bah, the Sacred House of Allah, in Makkah for the purpose of worshipping Allah in a very special way.
Hajj is performed during the month of Dhul-Hijjah, the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar.
Allah commands that Hajj be performed once in a lifetime by those adults who can afford the journey to Makkah and are physically strong enough to do so.
Children may perform the Hajj too if they wish but it is not compulsory upon them.
Hajj is not a new practice.
Allah had commanded all his Prophets [a] to perform Hajj to the sacred Ka’bah.
Hajj is a great form of worship (‘ibadah) for which Allah rewards tremendously.
Unlike Salah and Sawm, which is only a physical form of ibadah (worship), or Zakah, which is only a monetary form of ibadah, Hajj is both a physical and monetary form of ibadah, requiring both a great deal of physical action and the spending of a large sum of one’s wealth.
Because of the great sacrifices and difficulties in performing the Hajj, Allah grants the Haji, the person performing Hajj, His greatest rewards.
The Holy prophet Muhammad [s] said, “The Hajj which is accepted by Allah has no less reward than Jannah (Paradise) itself.”
A man once asked the Prophet [s], “What are the best of deeds?” The blessed Prophet [s] replied, “The best of deeds are belief in Allah, Jihad in His way and the accepted Hajj.”
Hajj is an act of worship which purifies man of all sins.
The Messenger of Allah said, “Whoever performs Hajj for Allah’s pleasure alone … and does not do any evil or sin, then he will return as pure (and free of sin) as he was on the day his mother gave birth to him.”
The Hajj has many other benefits.
These are a few:
– Performing the Hajj is a way by which Muslims show their commitment to Allah and their readiness to sacrifice all their worldly comforts and pleasures for His sake.
– It is a way of saying to Allah, “O Allah we love you more and prefer you over everything else.”
– A Haji leaves everything behind when he leaves for Hajj. All he has are two simple pieces of cloth to cover his body, called Ihram, and the piety of his heart.
– In this way Hajj is a reminder of our death, when we will leave the world with nothing but simple pieces of cloth to cover our bodies.
– When death comes we will journey into the hereafter to meet our Creator with only our pious deeds as a provision.
– Hajj is also a reminder of the resurrection on the Day of Judgement, when all human beings will be brought back to life and answer for their deeds on this earth.
– Just as people gather together on the plains of Arafah around Makkah with nothing but their good deeds and intentions, so too will they be gathered infront of Allah with only their good deeds and intentions.
– Just as Muslims hope for Allah’s mercy and forgiveness on the day of Hajj, so too will they have only the mercy and forgiveness of Allah to hope for on the Day of Judgment, and Allah is most Merciful, Most Forgiving.
– Hajj is also a way by which Muslims come to know the history of the blessed Prophet Muhammad [s] and the land and cities in which he lived.
– It brings to life the history of Islam and the prophets before, prophets like Adam [a], Ibrahim [a] and Isma’il [a].
– For example, the Ka‘bah, also known as Baytullah (The House of Allah), was the first masjid built on earth for the sole purpose of the worship of Allah alone.
– It was originally built by Nabi Adam [a] and later rebuilt by Nabi Ibrahim [a] and his son, Nabi Isma‘il [a], the great, great grandfather of Nabi Muhammad [s].
– By visiting the Ka‘bah during Hajj, Muslims are encouraged to follow in the footsteps of all the Prophets [a] of Allah, especially the blessed Prophet Muhammad [s].
– In this way Muslims strengthen their bond with the Prophet Muhammad [s] and their faith, Islam.
– Hajj is a reminder to all mankind of the sacrifices and devotion of Prophet Ibrahim [a] in serving Allah and the true religion, the religion of Islam.
– It is a celebration of the great love of Nabi Ibrahim [a] for Allah.
– Hajj is a reminder to Muslims of Nabi Ibrahim’s [a] willingness to sacrifice his dear son Nabi Isma‘il [a] on Allah’s command.
– This teaches that Allah expects complete obedience from all Muslims and that we should love Him more than any other.
– In emulating the sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim [a], a Muslim sacrifices an animal during the days of Hajj.
– By sacrificing an animal a Muslim shows that he is prepared to sacrifice those things dearest to him, even his own life, for Allah.
– Hajj is the largest gathering where Muslims from all over the world meet and learn about one another.
– It is a gathering of peace – peace with Allah, peace with one’s soul, peace with one another and peace with animals, birds and even with insects.
– To harm or even disturb the peace of anyone or any creature is prohibited during the Hajj.
– Hajj teaches us brotherhood and the equality of all human beings.
– Muslims from different parts of the world assemble at Makkah in obedience to Allah.
– They dress in the same way, perform the same acts of worship, utter the same du’a’s (supplications) at the same time in the same way with the same hope, the hope of Allah’s mercy and forgiveness, and – His paradise.
– There are no kings or paupers during the time of Hajj.
– All people are equal.