Various ulama have written numerous booklets on Haj and how it should be performed; and the etiquette of every obligatory act. For most people a Haj journey comes but once in a lifetime. For this reason it is advisable that the intending Haji should acquire a few such booklets by acknowledged ulama; some time before his departure; and study them thoroughly. How unworthy and unfortunate will it be that after spending so much money; one finds that it has been wasted as result of wrong and prohibited acts rendering the Haj invalid.
It is advisable that the booklets be studied thoroughly a few times. These should be taken with on the journey and referred to until the Haji is well acquainted with his duties; so that when the time comes to put them into practice, he is fully conversant with everything. Even the ulama groups are not exempted from this. It has often been seen that those learned ones who come for Haj for the first time are less conversant with what to do than unlearned ones who have visited the Holy places previously. Knowing the facts and teaching them does not necessarily mean that one is able to perform the act practically; when called upon to do so.
It is not my aim to explain each and every act of Haj in detail here. In a brief manner I shall mention some of the most important ones.
Allah says in the holy Qur’an: “And take with your provision for the journey; and indeed the best of provision is proper conduct”. This verse draws attention to the most important fact that one should be in possession of the expenses and provision for the journey to Mecca. Mere reliance on Allah is not for everyone. In the time of Rasulullah Sal’am according to the hadith; at times people proceeded for Haj; without any provisions; saying: “We rely on Allah”. On reaching Mecca, they took to begging. Thereupon Allah revealed this verse. According to another hadith some used to say: “When we are going for Haj; as Allah’s guests; will Allah ten not feed us?” In answer to this challenge Allah revealed this verse as if to say: “Do provide for your journey by means of that provision which causes you to refrain from begging”, (Durre Mansoor). i.e. that which saves you from humiliation of being in wants of the charity of others. Reliance in Allah is indeed a great thing. It is; however, not something connected with our tongue and speech. It is linked with our heart and faith. Complete reliance in Allah; without any dependence on worldly provisions; is only for him whose heart has faith in Allah, more than his confidence in the money in his pocket; and whose heart is completely at ease in the fact that whatever is n Allah’s treasury is so much more to be trusted than that which is in his possession. He who does not have this faith should never ever proceed on reliance (Tawak’kul) alone.
In order to illustrate this point I wish quote two worthy and inspiring incidents from the life of our Rasulullah Sal’am. Firstly, there is the incident of Hazrat Abu Bakr R.A. at the time of the expedition of Tabook. (The story has been related in detail in ‘Stories of the Sahaba’).
When contributions were collected from companions for the preparation of the expedition. Hazrat Abu Bakr R.A. came to contribute everything which he possessed; so much so that nothing was left at his home. Such is the man whose tawakkul in Allah was complete. Secondly there is the story of the man who came to present to Rasulullah Sal’am a piece of gold; about the size of an egg; saying: “This is my sadaqah, please accept it. O Rasulullah Sal’am, I have nothing else save this”. Rasulullah Sal’am turned his face away from him, and he again face Rasulullah Sal’am from a different direction; with the same request. Again Rasulullah Sal’am turned away from him. This happened a few times. Then at the fourth time; Rasulullah Sal’am took hold of the gold and threw it away with such force, that, had it struck him; he would have been badly hurt. He then replied to him; saying: “Some people are such that they give everything in charity in the way of Allah; and afterwards start begging from others”.
These incidents clearly show the difference. When a person being completely penniless; does not become impatient; neither does he have any form of complaint at heart against Allah; or in diffuse again anyone; and neither is he inclined towards begging of others; then it is only right that he should rely on Allah alone, and not worry about provisions. Few indeed are the ones who count among these. Whoever is not of these people; is not allowed to take the road to Mecca merely relying on Allah.