Hajj is now over and as the pilgrims return home to their loved ones, they take back with them a multitude of precious memories from the journey, lessons they’ll hope to apply for the rest of their lives, and an elevated sense of spirituality.
Back to reality
But for many, those feelings can quickly fade once they arrive home, because the contrast between the lands of Hajj and the ‘normal’ home environment is as striking as day against night.
It’s almost as if Madinah, Makkah, Mina, Arafah and Muzdalifah are not in the real world. Away from the responsibilities of family, work, and home life, Hajj is like being in another galaxy – one where everyone is geared towards worshipping Allah; where there’s no crude advertising, music and images smacking you in the face every hour; and where the only worry each day is making it to the masjid to get a spot for the five compulsory prayers.
But once you arrive home, you return to the environments of hardship, laziness and sin. Despite all the wonderful gains from the weeks you’ve just spent as a guest of Allah, maintaining a spiritual high under such circumstances is difficult – if not impossible. While you know that the real work of Hajj only starts once you get home – in that you need to live your Hajj for the rest of your life – the circumstances of normal life can soon erode all the ambitious plans you had for living the rest of your days as one of Allah’s special people.
In such circumstances, it’s easy to lose hope – seeing Hajj as a temporary high that, in reality, cannot be maintained as the months and years go by. But such an attitude would be incorrect, because with the right intentions, sincere duas and dedicated efforts – it is indeed possible to remain on a higher level – even if that level isn’t quite as grand as what you’d hoped for.
So here are five points of advice which if followed, can insha Allah help you from slipping into decline, so that you can maintain your Hajj for life:
1. Be realistic
According to hadith, the most beloved deeds in Allah’s estimation are those that are consistent – even if they are few. You need not maintain the same levels of worship you had on your Hajj journey, but if you can keep just a few small and manageable ones – and do them sincerely and consistently – you’re already a winner.
2. Stay clean
After being totally purified on Arafah, your clean soul recognises your new sins and mistakes much more easily. But you won’t stay that pure forever – and Allah doesn’t expect you to remain that way: all of mankind sins, but the best of those who sin are those who repent and return to Allah. Recognize that you will slip – but you should follow up those sins and mistakes with immediate repentance. In this way, you can keep your slate as clean as possible Insha Allah. Even when you don’t recognize sins, make a habit of daily istighfar (seeking forgiveness from Allah). It is reported that the Prophet made istighfar 100 times a day! So making istighfar not only helps keep you spiritually clean, but also gives you more points for following a sunnah.
3. Keep pelting for life
Remember the spiritual significance of pelting the jamaraat. After shaytaan was humiliated on the day of Arafah, he’s even more determined to corrupt you now that you’re back home. So, just as you stoned Shaytaan in those days, whenever you notice his whisperings/temptations coming to you back home, repeat that pelting in your mind: you chased him away on Mina, and you can do it again now too.
4. Protect and erase
Protect your senses from ‘spiritual filth’: stay away from sights and sounds that would corrupt your heart, and if you do see or hear them, immediately try to erase their effects by replacing those experiences with something better. For example, if you see a non-mahram of the opposite sex in indecent clothing, immediately look at something else (halaal) and try to make that the image that sticks in your mind. If you hear dirty music around you, recite or listen to Quran immediately and let that push the music out of your memory. Remember that Shaytaan uses your senses as the gateway to corrupting your heart in a slow and gradual way. Close those gates, be on guard and have your spiritual eraser ready.
5. Use gratitude to go back
It’s very, very sad to leave Makkah – especially after you’ve made your final tawwaf and left the Grand Mosque. Like millions of others before you, you dream of going back for Hajj again. But to make this desire a reality, those feelings need to move beyond just nostalgia and emotional yearning. Allah promises us that if we’re grateful, He will give us more:
“And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.” [Qur’an: Chapter 14, Verse 7]
If you show true gratitude for the journey He has just granted you, insha Allah you can earn an invitation to go again. Appreciate what you had through your actions: by striving to live the best you can, as close to Allah as you can.
May Allah accept your Hajj from you, help you to maintain it until you reach the end of your life, and take you there again – so that you may step up to even higher levels of spirituality and closeness to Him.