It’s the month of Dhul-Hijjah. It’s the season of the year, when Muslims around the world focus their attention towards Makkah more than anywhere else. While we look forward to live the spiritual moments of the month of Dhul-Hijjah, some two million are heading to the holy city of Makkah, to fulfil their ‘ibādah of Hajj. Here is a short reflection on the importance of rethinking the objectives of hajj, especially once we are in Makkah.
Going for Hajj is important. In fact, it’s an obligation upon any matured Muslim who can afford it financially and physically. But what is equally important is to rethink our objectives for going for Hajj. This is because, going for Hajj has emerged to be a trend, which most of us observe to fulfil our personal quench or to boost our social ranking.
Undoubtedly, considering the physical, financial and psychological readiness it requires, going for Hajj can be considered as the most demanding religious command the Muslim has to observe. Despite it being for a short while and a one-time requirement in the Muslim’s lifetime. Therefore, it’s important to ensure all these factors combined (financial, physical and mental ability) are optimized for a worthwhile endeavour.
Similar to any other religious activities in Islam, the two million pilgrims (ḥujjāj) can be categorized into two main categories, and a middle category.
In Makkah… The Different Types of Hajj Goers
It all starts with intentions and objectives. We can’t judge others’ intentions, but we can remind ourselves and our loved ones to constantly review, refine and refresh our intentions for our struggle and sacrifices to be worthwhile ones.
“Deeds are according to the intentions behind them, and a person will be rewarded according to his intention” (Ḥadīth).
The first category of Hujjaj represents those who go for Hajj just for Hajj. Even if Hajj wasn’t an obligation upon the abled Muslims, they would still go for Hajj. Their only objective is to go to the place. Feel the place. Experience and encounter stories worth sharing. To be seen to have gone. To do what everyone thinks it’s done. To be in Makkah.
They go for Hajj to conduct social experiment and enhance their knowledge of multi-cultural experiences. What comes next isn’t important.
This category learns about everything relevant to Hajj, including travel, immigration, safety and security. The only thing they fail to learn about is how Hajj is performed. They don’t care to learn how it’s performed. They’re not bothered about what is permissible in Hajj, and what’s not. They don’t equip themselves with what to do while in Makkah, and what not to do while in Makkah.
On the other hand, we have Hujjaj who go for Hajj not for Hajj. But in response to the special invitation of Allah. Regardless; whether it’s called Hajj or something else. Thus, they seek His Pleasure. They invoke Him for His acceptance. They observe the sacredness of Hajj.
As much as they prepare themselves and their trip for Hajj, they also learn about Hajj. The learn how it’s performed. They learn about what keeps it valid and what invalidates it. They learn about what to do in Makkah and what not to do in Makkah. They are concerned about the sacredness of the rituals they’re going to perform while in Makkah. And they observe their level of interaction with other Hajj goers, so not to offend or cause harm to anyone.
To them, going for Hajj can earn them the opportunity to attain some worldly gains, networking or even business opportunities. But, all that are secondary to the original objective Hajj, while in Makkah.
Between these two categories is a group of Hajj goers, who will surely engage in the rituals of Hajj. They have learnt how it’s performed. And are aware of the ‘Dos and Don’ts’ of Hajj. However, they only invoke Allah to seek for the adornment of this temporal life. In fact, they go for Hajj. They plea and cry to Allah. But they solely invoke Allah to grant them the bliss of this temporal world. And that’s it.
“Deeds are according to the intentions behind them, and a person will be rewarded according to his intention.”
The two main categories of Hajj goers and the one in between are highlighted in the Qur’an, in Surah al-Baqarah, 2:200-202, when Allah says:
“And among the people (ḥujjāj) is he who says, “Our Lord, give us in this world,” and he will have no share in the Hereafter. But among them is he who says, “Our Lord, give us good in this world as well as good in the Hereafter and protect us from the punishment of the Fire. Those will have a share of what they have earned, and Allah is swift in account.”
Something to Ponder…
Once we leave our homes for Hajj, only Allah knows whom returns. If a Hajj goer is in Makkah just for Hajj (as in the second category) or just to solely invoke Allah for worldly attainments (as in the middle category), and he happens to be unable to return to his family, he’ll have to justify what he went to Makkah for. In fact, what he actually did in Makkah will speak for itself.
And, if he went for Hajj in response to His call (as in the first category), he wouldn’t need to justify. For his intention is known. And his deeds in Makkah will speak for themselves. In fact, even if he happens to return to his Creator on his way to Hajj (before reaching Makkah or before fulfilling the requirement of Hajj) he will be fully rewarded for that Hajj, and better. His intention and objectives were genuine.
You may be going for Hajj next year, or the in the coming years. May Allah grant you that opportunity. It will be wise to ensure we have our Hajj objectives, likewise any other religious endeavour accurate and genuine before it’s time. Who knows, one may not return from Hajj to his family members.
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Allah knows best.
Allāhu Hafiz 🙂