The following post was written by Asma bint Shameem
They say it is the journey of a lifetime. Yet I see so many people, brothers and sisters, confused, angry, frustrated or just simply ignorant. So here are some points of sincere advice for all of my brothers and sisters going for Hajj this year to help you make it an unforgettable journey!
1. Educate yourself before you go
This is the most important point and really does not mean read all the books you can find! They say ‘knowledge is Power’ and how true that is. I see people confused, not knowing what to do, looking left and right… bewildered. And in the end, they just follow what the rest of the crowd is doing without any basis of knowledge from the Quran or Sunnah.
Going to Hajj without knowing the basics of how to perform Hajj and Umrah is like placing someone who doesn’t know how to offer Salah, in the middle of people praying in Jama’ah. He may follow their movements in ruku’ and sujood, but does he really know how to pray? Did such a prayer even count?
Study the rituals of Hajj before you go. Learn how to perform this magnificent journey closest to the Sunnah by attending a course or classes by a teacher. Because the closer to the Sunnah your Hajj will be, the more acceptable it will be to Allaah (Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala).
Know the various rulings about the Meeqaat, Ihraam, Tawaaf, staying in Mina, stoning the Jamaraat, visiting the Prophet’s (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) Masjid, etc. Educate yourself by attending classes and reading/listening to scholars on this matter and on the various common mistakes made by the pilgrim, so you can be aware of them and avoid them. And Insha Allaah, you will be able to perform your Hajj with confidence, according to the Sunnah, hoping for it to be accepted by Allaah.
2. Go with a prepared heart
Every year at Hajj, you see only two kinds of people. So for example, when stuck in traffic for 5 hours, you will see the first kind of people, sitting there calm and cool, with patience, wisely utilizing his time making dhikr of Allaah or reading Qur’aan. Whilst the other kind of person will grumble and complain, fidget restlessly in his seat, cuss at the bus driver and waste his whole time fighting with whoever is sitting next to him.
Why is that?
Because the first kind of person came with a prepared heart and the second one didn’t. You see, Hajj is not only a journey of the body to the house of Allaah, it is also a journey of the heart and soul. Just as it is important to know the manners of performing Hajj, it is equally important to prepare yourself spiritually. Remember, this is Hajj – a great act of Ibaadah, the fifth pillar of our Deen which Allaah loves. So have khushoo’ in your Ibaadah such that you submit your heart and soul to Him, to the One Who has invited you to His Honorable House.
Reflect on why you are here. Have tawakkul in Him and complete faith. Be sure to know that He will take care of you. Be kind to His slaves, have patience and forbearance, take everything in stride and look for the positive in everything, even if it seems bleak. So when the bus breaks down, its okay because it was the Will of Allaah that it happened. And when the guy next to you pushes you, or your shoes get stolen, forgive him. And if your luggage gets lost for a day or two, be patient. And if you get stuck in traffic for 8 hours, remind yourself – whatever time Allaah has decreed for me to get there, I will get there, not a second before and not a second after.
3. Know Salatul Janazah
There is hardly any Fardh prayer in the Haram, that is not followed by the prayer for Janazah. And I see so many brothers and sisters who just sit there and not participate in this great act of worship, just because they don’t know how. The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said:
“Whoever attends the janaazah until he offers the prayer will have one qeeraat (of reward), and whoever attends until (the deceased) is buried will have two qeeraats.” It was said, “O Messenger of Allaah, what are the two qeeraats?” He said, “Like two great mountains,” meaning, of reward. (Saheeh – agreed upon). And remember the reward of a prayer in al masjid al-Haraam is equal to 100,000 prayers anywhere else. [Tabarani]. So don’t miss out on this great opportunity to add to your good deeds.
4. Don’t get overwhelmed with the crowd
When you look at the large number of people there for Hajj, don’t get overwhelmed or bothered. Instead, raise your head up high, feel proud and thank Allaah. After all, all those people are none, but your own brothers and sisters in Islaam. This is the Ummah of your beloved Prophet, Muhammad (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa sallam). They are from you and you are from them. They are a part of you, just as much as you are a part of them. All of you are there for one and one purpose only – to worship One God, Allaah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala). So love them, have mercy for them and make dua for them.
5. Treat Time as ‘precious’
Utilize your time to the MAX while in Makkah and Madeenah. Do all your 5 prayers in the Masjid, no excuses allowed! When you pray in Masjid al-Haraam in Mecca, your salaah is multiplied by 100,000 times. Just imagine, if you’re there for about two weeks (14 days), and you pray all five prayers in the masjid, that’s equivalent in reward to praying more then 3800 years! (Subhan Allaah) When you get to Mina, busy your self with making dua, dhikr, reading Qur’aan, etc.
Your stay here is only a few precious days. You can’t waste it by talking, relaxing, doing nothing, as some people do. And once in Arafah, this is THE day you were waiting for. This is what Hajj is all about. The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said, “Hajj IS Arafah.” (Abu Dawud) Put in all you got during the day of Arafah. Take advantage of each hour, minute and second. Do not waste even a single moment. Make a dua list and do lots and lots of dua, for this is the day to make dua.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best of du’a is du’a on the day of ‘Arafah, and the best thing that I and the Prophets before me said is Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wahdahu laa shareeka lah (There is no god but Allaah alone with no partner or associate). (al-Tirmidhi, hasan by Albaani)
6. Hajj is not your annual vacation trip. It’s an act of Ibaadah
Some people forget that they are going for Hajj… they expect Mina to be a five star hotel and the whole journey about relaxation and luxury. So they complain about the food, they complain about the weather, they complain about the crowds, the bus, the beds, the bathrooms, the tents, the A/C in Mina, you name it. They complain about everything under the sun.
Remember this is Hajj, not a cruise or a vacation. Remember when not so long ago people traveled for months through dangerous terrain and rough weather to get to Hajj, not to mention the heat, diseases, thugs and other hardships of travel. They had to draw water from a well and walk to the bushes to relieve themselves. Look around you, what is there to complain? Alhamdulillaah, you have flowing water from a tap and running bathrooms. And even if they are not as clean as they should be, at least they are there! And you have hot food and air conditioned tents, a place to sleep and transportation from one place to another. So be patient and thank Allaah.
7. Don’t just say it… mean it
When you recite the Talbiyah, don’t just say it like a parrot, without knowing what it means and what it implies. Think about the greatness of these words and an even greater Greatness of the One you are saying these words to. You are saying “Labbaik, Allaahumma Labbaik..” What do these words imply? Oh Allaah I am here, here to serve You, here to obey You, here to submit my life, my wants, my desires only to You. I am ready for change. Oh Allaah, I love you and I worship no one but you. So forgive me and guide me.
This is the implication behind these words. So say these words from the heart, make sure you check your intention and mean what you say, with the urge to weep when you say it.
8. Be nice
Obviously, everybody wants their Hajj To be ‘Mabroor’ (accepted) because the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: “There is no reward for Hajj mabroor except Paradise.” (Al-Bukhaari)
They said: “What makes Hajj mabroor, Messenger of Allah?” He said, “Providing food to people and spreading (the greeting of) salaam.” (Fath al-Bari, 4/446)
Thus we see that being kind to the people, being generous and considerate, serving and helping them is the KEY to having your Hajj accepted. So go ahead and help that old lady with her luggage, and the older brother across the street. Move over to make room in the ‘saff’ for your fellow Muslim so that they too can find a place to pray.
Distribute candy among the children, pass out glasses of Zam Zam, smile at everyone and say salaam to those you know and those you don’t. In other words, just keep you eyes and ears open for every opportunity to do good and jump at any chance you get to spread khair, all this for the sake of pleasing Allaah Alone and Insha Allaah your Hajj will be mabroor.
May Allah accept all the Hajj of all the brothers and sisters, and teach the coming Hujjaj how to best prepare and earn a Hajj Mabroor, Ameen.