Significance of Hajj and its Meaningful Benefits

Chapter 04 - The meaning of Hajj, Dawah & Tabligh, Virtues of Hajj (Fazail e Hajj) / Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

In the real and true state of Hajj there is as a matter of fact a specimen or pattern of two scenes, and in each and every act of Hajj there are two implied realities. Although in every one of Allah’s commands there are manifold benefits and much wisdom, of which the significance and deeper meanings are mostly of such depth that our minds cannot even conceive them. But much significance on the other hand is such that every mind’s can comprehend. Similarly, Hajj is such that mostly the significance and wisdom that lies in its each and every act is not easily understood. While many other significance and the Wisdom in them can easily be grasped.
Firstly, Hajj depicts death i.e. our departure from this world and the circumstances after death. Secondly, it gives a most vivid practical description of true love; devotion and adoration.

Let us see how Hajj depicts death and the hereafter. A Hajee leaves his home, bids farewell to all his dear ones and relatives; and departs from them just before he sets off alone. From there he proceeds to another country (as if into another world) leaving behind all those things which he was attached to and which had occupied most of his time; his house, his family, his farm, his orchards and the company of his friends. Death is the same, therefore, when one dies he leaves behind all this; his home, his family, friends, country and everything that he loves. Such should the Hajees thoughts be when leaving for the house of Allah, that in the same way as he is now leaving all worldly things behind for a short period of time, similarly, that time shall soon come; when without a choice he shall have to leave them forever. After that, as when the Hajee mounts his camel, his horse or gets on the train, which begins to move him further and further away from his house and dear-ones, so does his dear-ones relatives and friends lift his janazah. Having lifted it to their shoulders they begin to move him further and further away from everything that he loved. So he departs like the janazah being carried to the grave. Some would come to bid farewell at home, some will go as far as the station and the real faithful ones may even go further; up to the boat. The position of the deceased and his friends is similar to that. Some may come only to the house to have a last look at him; others will go a short way for the janazah prayers. The real friends will go as far as the grave, to place him inside and fill the grave with soil. The latter are like those faithful ones who will bid farewell on the docks. However on the boat (as well as in the grave) only those will accompany him, who could have been of assistance to him n this life only, whether that be a friend, a relative or wealth. With regard to the journey, some companions are such that at all times they will see to his comfort and happiness, thereby making the journey a happy and pleasant one. Others will be such ill tempered and quarrelsome that at every step they will make his journey a most unpleasant ordeal. Exactly so are the circumstances of the deceased one. With him will remain his deeds, which will abide by him till the end. His good deeds will indeed cause him great comfort and pleasure on the journey to the hereafter, (Akhirah), and his evil deeds will indeed cause him severe pain and suffering. The good deeds will remain with us in the grave in the form of a most handsome person, while evil deeds will remain with us in the grave in the form of an exceedingly ugly and fearsome person. The greatest comfort a Hajee enjoys in Hajj comes from the money and provisions, which are prepared by him before leaving. Likewise, the greatest comfort one enjoys in the life after death is that which comes from the good deeds he performed before his death. Sometimes, in Hajj a person due to lack of money urgently requires more money; and you can imagine how happy one becomes; if that which he needs urgently is sent to him by some near relative or friend. How thankful is one at that time? Similarly, how thankful will the deceased be if after his demise his relatives, his friends or his children give charity, or recite Quran etc; and pray for the rewards and blessings of that to be conveyed to him. These will surely reach him; because that is what our Rasulullah Sal’am said. In the next stage the Hajee then has to pass through many perilous and unpleasant things. Thieves may rob him, ill-tempered government officers will search his luggage, query his documents etc. All these experiences remind us of various of the graves as when Munkar and Nakeer will come to question us; our Imaan will be tested; snakes and scorpions and various insects will be in the grave to punish us. In addition to this each one will have the book of his deeds with him.

“Every man’s fate we have fastened on his own neck.”

Certainly, many a rich Hajee; instead of having to go through all these bitter and unpleasant experiences goes through the normal passport, immigration and customs formalities unharassed; and experiencing no inconvenience reaches Hijaaz (his destination) in a short time. Likewise, those who toiled in this world and successfully accumulated many good deeds will not even feel the ordeal of being put to test by the questioning of Mankar and Nakeer; nor will they suffer other punishments of the grave on the journey to their destination-the Akhirat; which he will similarly reach in a short time. Then until Qiyamah he will rest in great comfort like a bride on her first night delighted and happy; completely unaware of the hardships surrounding her. Then again for the Hajee in the next stage the two white cloths worn by him as ih’raam should always bring to mind the kafn he is to wear one day. When Labbaik (I am at thy service; I am present) is being uttered aloud by him, he; the Hajee should remember the day of Qiyamah when all people will be called upon by the angel who will blow the horn, to assemble before Allah for reckoning.

Entrance into Mecca brings safety and peace. It is a place where Allah’s mercy is sought and assured. Yet, on account of our misdeeds we should be uneasy and overcome with grief; that we do not find peace even in a place of peace; but Mecca is a place of peace and security. Therefore, throughout the stay in Mecca we are reminded constantly of the fact that this place that offers peace to us is wholly due to the mercy and favors of Allah Taala only. Looking at the ka’bah should again bring to mind the sighting The Master of the Ka’bah on the day of Qiyamah. For this reason; looking at the Ka’bah should be done with great fear and respect: as in the case of watching a great king at the time of entering his court. Tawaaf of the Ka’bah brings to mind those angels who continuously make tawaaf around Allah’s throne; at all times and will continue doing so. When the Hajee holds the drapery of the Ka’bah with tears flowing down his cheeks; throwing himself against the Multazam; it calls to mind the picture of a sinner having sinned against a most kind, noble and generous Master. He now comes to that Master, holding onto His clothes; throwing himself down before Him; and tearfully begs for mercy and forgiveness. This brings to mind how one will weep for his sins on the day of the Qiyamah.

When a Hajee runs to and from between the Safa and Marwa; it calls to mind those who will go running from place to place on the plain of Hashr (assembly) on the day of Qiyamah.

“They will come forth-their eyes humbled from their graves; like locusts scattered abroad.” (Sura-ul-Qamar-7).

In my opinion this is what the Saee signifies. The story is told in full detail in the Hadith, that on the day of Qiyamah; when all people will be greatly perplexed and worried as a result of unbearable and intensive hardships, and sufferings; they will decide to run to the prophets; for them to intercede on their behalf because of being the near ones of Allah: having no blemishes, being pure of sin and transgression.

They will go first to Hazrat Adam A.S and say: “You are our father. Allah created you with his own hands. He caused the angels to perform sajda before you, and taught you the names of all the things ….; Please intercede to Allah on our behalf.” He will say: “No I cannot, for what shall I answer when asked about eating of the forbidden tree?” Go to Hazrat Nooh A.S. more worried now than ever, people will then run to Hazrat Nooh A.S and he too shall reply: “I cannot intercede on your behalf because at the time of the storm (deluge) I asked an unwarranted question to save my son. Go to Hazrat Ibrahim A.S.” He too will excuse himself saying: “Go to Hazrat Moosa A.S” Hazrat Moosa A.S too will excuse himself, saying: “Go to Eisa A.S.” Verily he also will ask to be excused; and he will refer them to Muhammad Sal’am then he, our Holy prophet Sal’am will open the doors of intercession (Shafaa’at). The Hadith is long; but I only wish to illustrate the happening on that day; when people greatly worried, will run from one to the other. What a trying-day it will be.

What else can Arafat signify other than the Mah’shar; the plain where the reckoning shall take place? There at Arafat we see them all on one plain: with the sun shining from above; we see them begging for mercy, fearful of their sinful acts. Qiyamat will also be similar; only that it will be much more frightening and awe-inspiring; in my humble opinion the thing that one should especially ponder over is the treaty made with Allah, before time itself was created by Him.

Long before the creation of mankind, Allah took an oath from the souls of all human beings ever to appear on earth. In the words of the Quran Allah inquired from them; “Am I not your Lord?” they replied: “Yes”.

In Mishaat we find a hadith related from Musnad Ahmad that Rasulullah sal’am said: “This oath was taken at Arafat”. In my personal opinion the day of Arafaat should remind us of that covenant. The greatest thought should be given to this at Arafaat. What pledge was taken from us; and to what extent did we fulfil the promise.

From Arafaat the journey is towards Muzdalifah; and Mina, Hazrat Imaam Ghazali R.A. states that this vast crowd moving in their thousands; pleading in their different languages; behind their own Imaams; each busy in his own activities brings to mind the picture of Qiyaamat even more vividly. There too we shall see them greatly perplexed, worried and in their great fear and anxiety we shall see them also behind their own prophets; moving from place to place. Hence the Haji should adopt the greatest humbleness and humility at these stations.

That is how Haj appears as a picture of Qiyaamat. A symbolic representation of what is to come to each of us. When we look at Haj in this light numerous details of it become clear to be understood.

Secondly, Haj appears as a true exposition of affection and inordinate love; which is manifest in Haj. In order to understand this properly the following should be borne in mind; man’s relation with his Creator in Islam is of two kinds. Firstly, man stands as a mere slave before Him, in a Master-slave relationship; where Allah is Master, the Sustainer, the Creator, the All Mighty, and man is the servant, slave and subject. Man s the worshipper; and Allah is the only One worthy of worship. For this reason everything in salaah emphasizes this relationship and radiates humility, humbleness and submission on the part of man. Hence, man enters salaah undisturbed with dignity, neatly dressed with proper behavior; as in the case of one presenting himself at a royal court of some king; where special regulations are imposed for all as far as attire, neatness etc. is concerned. We therefore, see that for salaah the clothes must be clean, a person must have performed wudhu (ablution), and with calmness and dignity; as in the case of being present before a king; the Musalli (one in prayer) stands before his Lord with his eyes lowered; and lifting his hands up to his ears he then extols the Lord, and glorifies His name. Thereafter; complying with the rules of the royal court; the arms are folded; with hands held on the navel; and in sincerity favors are begged for by him from his king. Thereafter the servant bends down praising Him.

Things move to a climax as the musalli (one in prayer) prostrates himself. Thereby exhibiting his complete weakness, humility and submission. While prostrating every single part of the body shows the humble attitude expected of a slave, while only the tongues praises Allah; his king. During salaah a complete tranquil and dignified manner is required; as is expected in the presence of a mighty powerful king, in his court. That is the reason why it is Makrooh to run towards the Masjid for salaah. One should walk calmly with dignity. Then while waiting for salaah it is makrooh to sit with the fingers of one hand interlocked in the fingers of the other. For the same reason it is makrooh to crack the finger joints and knuckles in salaah; and to cough without cause or necessity; to look around from side to side; to wear ones clothes in a manner other than the way in which it should be worn; to hang clothes (coats, overcoats) over the body without putting the arms through the sleeves, because salaah resembles one’s presence in the Royal Court. Salaah therefore breaks if one talks to anyone (except Allah), or if the wudhu breaks, or if one laughs aloud; intentionally or unintentionally; and also if one lifts both his feet of f the ground while in sajdah. All these things nullify the salaah because it is against dignity. When one ponder over all these things no doubt exists that salaah is indeed the exhibition of true humility before the Creator and is in fact a perfect resemblance of the court of the king of kings. That is then the one aspect of man’s relationship with Allah; the Master-slave; king subject relationship.

Secondly, there is between man and Allah another relationship based on love and gratitude. Here Allah is the Lord, Sustainer, Beneficent, Gracious, the One possessing all the attributes of beauty and perfection. Man by nature possesses the ability to love, admire and adore beauty and virtue. Such has he been created. The second relationship is of Allah

As the possessor of all attributes, of beauty and perfection, and man as the admirer of that. It shows Allah as the Beloved, man as the lover searching for the object of his love; and striving his utmost for the pleasure and reciprocal love of his beloved. The distinct exposition of this relationship is shown in Haj. It shows a love so great that everything is being sacrificed in the interest of gaining His love also.

The haji is seen right at the outset leaving home and severing all relations with his home, his family, his children and dear ones. He casts them all aside and then sets forth towards his most Beloved. His love is such that without complaint or doubt he braves the journey through deserts and jungles, plains and mountains, valleys and hills, rivers and oceans to reach his destination. Greatly impatient and over anxious the journey continues. The reason for this impatience and over anxiousness is the fact that the time has come near for the annual gathering of all His lovers at His House; A gathering for which He Himself has issued the invitation. No doubt such a journey will contain its fair share of difficulties and obstacles, but with great tolerance these are overcome. So the Haji proceeds until it is time for ihraam; which is his attire in the presence of his beloved. Without any hear-gear or shirt on the body; an appearance of a man humble and submissive without any form of adornment; in fact, that of an inordinate and ardent lover. In this manner his journey nears the house of Allah; the house of his Beloved. Actually this should have been the position the moment he sets forth from his home and not merely at the borders of the Haram; hence some ulama are of the opinion that it is more virtuous and rewarding to perform the ihraam from one’s home. However, because so many things become haraam after performing ihraam; and because it becomes very difficult to remain in ihraam with all its very strict rules; Allah in his wisdom decreed that it could be performed at the borders of the Haram. Therefore, when one enters the Haram borders, he should be like an ardent lover, with disheveled hair and dust-covered ihraam clothes; uttering aloud the labbaik.

That is what Rasulullah Sal’am made apparent when he said: ‘Disheveled hair and one laden in dust.’ The manner in which the Hajis present themselves is so much appreciated and liked by Allah that He boasts about it in front of the angels saying; ‘O my angels, look at the visitor of My holy house; with hair disheveled; and laden in dust; they come to Me’. It is obvious that after a long and tiresome journey this will be the appearance. The more apparent this untidiness, the more it will show in devotion and love. The Haji searchingly continues his journey; and in this untidy state, while shouting the labbaik; he moves towards his goal, and then eventually enters Mecca.

It is to this that Rasulullah Sal’am referred when he said: “Haj means raising the voice; crying out aloud the labbaik; and shedding the blood-of the Qurbani animal”. In fact many ahaadith indicate that the male Haji is encouraged to raise his voice while uttering labbaik. Rasulullah Sal’am said: “Hazrat Jibra’il A.S. said to me; “Instruct thy companions to recite the labbaik with raised voice”. It is a fact that shouting this call and announcing one’s presence at the gate of the Beloved with so much pleasure and yearning for Him is indeed a sign of ardent love. In this manner he enters Mecca, and also the house of his Beloved. There we see him walking in circles around the holy house. We see him in reverence and love, touching the door; and holding unto it. Tawaaf commences at the Hajarul Aswad; the black stone; which a Haji is required to kiss or to touch with his hand. Rasulullah Sal’am called it ‘The right hand of Allah’. That kissing of the Hajar is in symbolic terms the kissing of the hand of his Beloved Master. Is that not a sign of Allah’s grace to allow this insignificant man such liberty? To the great ones who lost and drowned themselves; in the love of Allah, the touching of Ka’bah’s corners; and the stones; also the door of the Ka’bah: signify kissing the hands and feet of the beloved, which are manifest signs of love. Perhaps there is not a poet worth his name who did not in one or another of his works express this exposition of love.

‘When I arrive at the house of my Layla; then I do kiss this wall sometimes; and that wall’

When Rasulullah Sal’am once performed tawaaf he was seen placing his lips on the black stone for a considerable time, until tears flowed from his eyes. He then saw Hazrat Umar R.A; standing near him, with tears rolling down his cheeks. Seeing this he said; ‘This is indeed a place where tears are to be shed”. Further we see the Hajis’ hugging the curtain that covers the Ka’bah. Here again it shows the lover’s hugging and pulling at the clothes of the beloved; while begging for his forgiveness; and attention and favors. Similar is the case of he who attaches himself to that section of the wall of the Ka’bah called the Multazam. The Multazam is the section between the Hajarul Aswad and the door of the Ka’bah. It is significant and most blessed section where duaas are heard and supplications answered.
It is reported that Rasulullah Sal’am and the hazrat Sahabaa R.A. used to attach themselves to; and place their cheek against the multazam. It is something that brings to mind the search of one madly in love with his beloved. The description of the ardent lover does not end there. After that the Haji is seen running on top of the hill of Safa in the direction of Marwa and back numerous times. We see him with a bare head; and without his usual pants and shirts; running towards his Maker, the object of his love, as one who is deeply distressed. As a lover in that distressed state-not knowing whether he is worthy of his Beloved’s love; and ready to be tested by Him-Gaining momentum we next see him leaving Mecca to spend a night in Mina; from where he then proceeds in the morning for the desert waste of Arafaat. Continuing this trail o beloved, we see him the same night at Muzdalifah where he spends the night; and early the next morning he sets forth for Mina. Thereafter, it is back to Mecca and again to Mina. “What is the love for Layla compared to the love for the every pathway is being trodden. What a hazardous journey it is; one morning the lover is in one place; the afternoon at another; the evening again in another place. The last phase of this unique scene of a searching lover comes at the time of stoning the Sahytaan at Mina, which signifies casting aside and obliterating everyone, and everything that can possibly come between the lover and the Beloved; anything that can tear them apart; especially this Shaytaan that he now stones.

This phase ends with the sacrificial act of Qurbani. In reality this is the sacrifice of one’s own self; which in His mercy; Allah has changed to an animal sacrifice. This is the climax of the lover’s entity on the sacrificial altar to his beloved Master. In other words before this he was prepared to sacrifice his health, wealth, strength and time. Now he sacrifices his most precious possession, his life, for Allah.

In the above paragraphs I merely sketched in brief how Haj has great similarity with an attached devotee deeply in love. There has been no time to go into minute details. Apart from these there are numerous other points of wisdom and significance in Haj. This is the case with all Allah’s commands. Very often these points of significance and intrinsic meaning are such that our intelligence does not even perceive. The more one ponders over these commands; day by day, more and more significance and meanings become clear and apparent. Everyone looks at command of Allah according to his ability; from his own point of view, and with his own professional eye, and each one will see very many different meanings. Hence a politician looking at Haj sees its many significance differently from a sufi. These cannot all be put on paper here.

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