When Hearts Compete with Bodies and Lead; towards Hajj

When Heart Compete the Body and Lead, towards Hajj - GSalam.NetPhoto Source: Telegraph.co.uk

Outline

Introduction

Alhamdulillah… All praise and thanks are due to the Almighty Allah, to Whom the pilgrimage to His Holy House is a duty upon the abled Muslim. May His Peace and Blessings be upon our Master of all time, Habibi Muhammad, his household, his companions and all those who follow his guided path.

The time has come again. The time when Muslims around the world switch their hearts towards Makkah, Arafah (the place), Hajj and the several relevant rituals, has come again. More than two and a half million Muslims from all corners of the globe pilgrimage to the Holy Land, to complete the last pillar of their religion.

In this article, I’m inviting my dear Readers, who are not going for Hajj, to compete with those who are already there, in the hope to gain some rewards for Hajj, without travelling out of the country.

Before we start, let’s refresh our information on the concept of Hajj.

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The Concept of Hajj

Hajj being the fifth pillar of Islam means every Muslim knows its importance by default. This is because he must have an undoubted belief in its obligatory. Whether or not he affords to perform it physically, a Muslim knows that going for Hajj is a decree upon every abled Muslim, the moment he matures. The only way to fulfil the requirement of Hajj and be safe, is to ensure one has performed it duly when he’s able to do so.

Allah first decreed Hajj upon our father, Sayyidina Ibrahim, ‘alaihi al-Salam, who established the House of Allah, Ka’bah, with the help of his son, Ismail, ‘alaihi al-Salam. Since then, the House is been visited yearly for the rituals of Hajj, even when it was run by the idolators, before Islam, and even during the first 23 years of the age of Islam.

On that, Allah says in Surah Al-Hajj, 22:27:

وَأَذِّن فِي النَّاسِ بِالْحَجِّ يَأْتُوكَ رِجَالًا وَعَلَىٰ كُلِّ ضَامِرٍ يَأْتِينَ مِن كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيقٍ

It means, “Call mankind to the Pilgrimage. They will come to you, on foot, and on every kind of lean camel, by every distant track.”

No wonder our hearts are attached to the House of Allah, and every single Muslim dreams, and prays hard to be granted the opportunity to respond to the Call of our Father, Ibrahim, ‘alaihi al-Salam.

Although it was a call, it is an command by Allah on you and me. Yes, it’s a command for us, the Ummah of the Prophet Muhammad, salla Allahu alaihi wasallam,  but for those who can afford it. Allah says in Surah Aali Imran, 3:97, when Allah said:

وَلِلَّـهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلًا

It means, “Pilgrimage to the House is a duty to God for anyone who is able to undertake it.”

Standing on Mount Arafah, seeing and interacting with people from all walks of life, people from all levels and classes of life, people from all colours, languages and races will certainly give you a close image, of how the Day of Resurrection is likely going to be. But… We still have to go for Hajj in response to the command to do so. We don’t go to Hajj for excursion or leisure. This is where reviewing our intention becomes very crucial.

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The Intention for Hajj

The intention for Hajj is not different from the intention we initiate for any other obligatory worship. Although this article does not intend to discuss how Hajj is performed, touching on ‘intention’ is important, as with good and sincere intentions, some may perform Hajj without going for physical Hajj. And without proper and objective intention, some may go for Hajj without performing Hajj, and come back in the same state, with which they went to Makkah.

Whether or not we are performing physical Hajj, it’s important to remember the famous Hadeeth, which was narrated by Sayyidina Umar, radhiya Allahu ‘anhu, and reported by Imam(s) Al-Bukhari and Muslim, in which the Prophet, salla Allahu ‘alaihi wasallam,  said:

إِنَّمَا الأَعْمَالُ بِالنِّيَّاتِ، وَإِنَّمَا لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مَا نَوَى

It means, “Deeds are according to the intentions behind them, and a person will be rewarded according to his intention.”

When you intend to carry out a righteous deed, such as going for Hajj, and a circumstance arises to bar you from achieving your plan, insha Allah, you will be rewarded fully as if you’ve actually gone for Hajj. However, when such a circumstance is lifted, you will have to perform the Hajj, if you still possess the financial and physical capability to do so.

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When Bodies go for Hajj

Hajj, likewise Solat, requires physical engagement by the individual Muslim, who meets the requirements for going for Hajj.

Physical involvement is one of the basic requirements in order for one to go for the Ibadah of Hajj. Thus, one cannot request someone else to perform Hajj on his behalf, whether or not in return of honorarium, while he can afford to do it physically and personally. Certainly, financial ability seconds the physical in performing Hajj.

It seems that the majority of Hajj goers, today, only focuses on the physical involvement of this great worship, and neglects all the other aspects of it. Such neglected aspects are those, which ensure, the effort one puts in to go for Hajj is worthwhile. This is to say, physical involvement alone, has never been the sole requirement for the fulfilment and acceptance of any form of worship.

It is therefore important for a Hajj goer not to enter Makkah with lack of relevant knowledge and spiritual readiness to undertake the rituals of Hajj.

Considering the Muslim population in the world today, no matter how huge the number of Hajj goers can be in a year, they remain the minority. Therefore, if you happen to be among this minority (Hajj goers), it’s important to make your presence significant.

A blessing can be descended for the whole world to benefit from, just because of one person. A curse can also be descended to perish a nation or a people, due to the wrongdoing of a small group of wrongdoers. This is where Hearts have to compete for Hajj.

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When Hearts Compete and Lead, for Hajj

As I mentioned earlier, No matter how the mosque (Haram) of Makkah is expanded, the majority of Muslims will still not be able to go for Hajj at a time. However, they always go for virtual Hajj. Their hearts are tuned and switched towards Makkah, for the minimum of two weeks during the month of Dhul-Hijjah and beyond.

To make our heart-switch more meaningful, the Prophet, salla Allahu ‘alaihi wasallam, encouraged us to seize the blessings of the first 10 days of the month of Dhul-Hijjah, especially on the day the Hujjaj (Pilgrims) stand on the mount of Arafah.

Sayyiduna Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn Al-Aas, radhiya Allahu ‘anhuma, narrated a Hadeeth which was reported by Imam Al-Tirmizhi, that the Prophet, salla Allahu ‘alaihi wasallam, said:

خَيْرُ الدُّعَاءِ دُعَاءُ يَوْمِ عَرَفَةَ، وَخَيْرُ مَا قُلْتُ أَنَا وَالنَّبِيُّونَ مِنْ قَبْلِي: لا إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لاَ شَرِيكَ لَهُ، لَهُ المُلْكُ، وَلَهُ الحَمْدُ، وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

It means, “The best of du’a is a du’a said on the Day of Arafah, and the best that I and the Prophets before me said is ‘Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wahdahu laa shareeka lah, lahul-mulk wa lahul-hamd wa huwa ‘alaa kulli shay’in Qadeer (There is no god but Allah alone, with no partner or associate; His is the dominion, to Him be praise, and He has power over all things).”

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The First Ten Days of Dhul-Hijjah/h3>

In my article, 6 Virtues We Must Attain in Ramadhan, We discussed, that the last 10 nights of Ramadhan are the best nights in the year, as it consists Lailatul-Qadr. On the other hand, the first 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah are the best days in the year. This is because it consists the Day of Arafah. Standing on the Day of Arafah, at Mount Arafah, as part of the Hajj rituals is the most significant part of Hajj. There is no Hajj for the one who fails to be at Mount Arafah before sunset, of the Day of Arafah.

Whether or not we are going for Hajj, we are encouraged to observe a lot of righteousness, I mean righteous deeds and thoughts, during the period of the first 10 days of the month. The Prophet, salla Allahu ‘alaihi wasallam, said, in a Hadeeth narrated by Sayyidina Abdullah Ibn Abbas, radhiya Allahu ‘anhuma, and reported by Imam Al-Bukhari, that:

مَا مِنْ أَيَّامٍ العَمَلُ الصَّالِحُ فِيهِنَّ أَحَبُّ إِلَى اللَّهِ مِنْهُ فِي هَذِهِ الأَيَّامِ العَشْرِ. قَالُوا: وَلا الجِهَادُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ؟! قَالَ: وَلا الجِهَادُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ، إِلا رَجُلٌ خَرَجَ بِنَفْسِهِ وَمَالِهِ، وَلَمْ يَرْجِعْ مِنْ ذَلِكَ بِشَيْءٍ

It means, “There are no days on which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these 10 days.” They said: “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah?” He said: “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah, unless a man, who goes out himself for jihad taking his wealth with him and does not come back with anything.”

There are various acts of worship (ibadaat), which a Muslim can observe in order to make utmost use of these 10 days righteously. Such righteous deeds include fasting, often remembrance of Allah (Zikr), Qur’an recitation charity, Du’a, Qiyamullail, and many more.

Fasting the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah

As for fasting, it’s one of the greatest deed a Muslim can do to attain the Pleasure of Allah. Why not, when Allah Himself, has said, in a Hadeeth Al-Qudsi, which was authenticated by Imam Al-Bukahri, that the Prophet, salla Allahu ‘alaihi wasallam, said?

قَالَ اللَّهُ: كُلُّ عَمَلِ بَنِي آدَمَ لَهُ إِلا الصِّيَامُ؛ فَإِنَّهُ لِي وَأَنَا أَجْزِي بِهِ

It means, “Allah says: ‘All the deeds of the son of Adam are for him, except fasting, which is for Me and I shall reward for it.”

It’s therefore Sunnah for a Muslim to fast on the first nine days  of the month of Dhul-Hijjah. If he can’t, then he should try to make it happen on the Ninth day. The Ninth day is the Day of Arafah.

According to a Hadeeth reported by Al-Nasaai, some of the wives of the Prophet, salla Allahu’alaihi wasallam,  said:

كَانَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَصُومُ تِسْعَ ذِي الحِجَّةِ وَيَوْمَ عَاشُورَاءَ وَثَلاثَةَ أَيَّامٍ مِنْ كُلِّ شَهْرٍ. أَوَّلُ اثْنِيَنِ مِنَ الشَّهْرِ وَخَمِيسَيْنِ

It means, “The Prophet, salla Allahu ‘alaihi wasallam, used to fast on the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah and the day of ‘Ashouraa, and three days each month, the first Monday of the month and two Thursdays.

It’s important to remember that we don’t fast on the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah, as it’s a Day of Eid. Muslims are forbidden from fasting on the days of Eid.

Glorifying and Praising Allah (Zikr)

Concerning this, Allah says in Surah Al-Hajj, 22:28, that He has decreed Hajj, for Muslims to reflect deeply on His bounties, and also for them to praise Him and remember Him.

لِّيَشْهَدُوا مَنَافِعَ لَهُمْ وَيَذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللَّـهِ فِي أَيَّامٍ مَّعْلُومَاتٍ عَلَىٰ مَا رَزَقَهُم مِّن بَهِيمَةِ الْأَنْعَامِ

It means, “That they may witness things that are of benefit to them, and mention the Name of Allah on appointed days, over the beast of cattle that He has provided for them (for sacrifice).”

It saddens to see that majority of Muslims today have abandoned the Sunnah of remembering Allah, during the first 10 days of the month of Dhul-Hijjah. The possible reason for this abadonning may be due to the business in preparation for the Eid. Celebrating Eid is an Ibadah. But it should be handled in the way that helps us remember Allah more, rather than cause us forget about Him.

The Prophet, salla Allahu ‘alaihi wasallam, said in a Hadeeth narrated by Sayyiduna Abdullah Ibn Umar, radhiya Allahu ‘anhuma, and reported by Imam Ahmad, that:

مَا مِنْ أَيَّامٍ أَعْظَمُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ وَلا أَحَبُّ إِلَيْهِ العَمَلُ فِيهِنَّ مِنْ هَذِهِ الأَيَّامِ العَشْرِ، فَأَكْثِرُوا فِيهِنَّ مِنَ التَّهْلِيلِ وَالتَّكْبِيرِ وَالتَّحْمِيدِ

 It means, “There are no days that are greater before Allah or in which good deeds are more beloved to Him, than these ten days, so recite a great deal of tahleel, takbeer and tahmeed during them.”

One form of the Tahleel, Takbeer and Tahmeed can be as follows:

اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ… اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ… لا إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ… وَاللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ وَلِلَّهِ الحَمْدُ

Let’s make it a point to glorify and praise Allah at all times, especially in seasonal moments like this, which may not turn to meet us alive.

Qiyamullail

Different Solat(s) differ in rewards, but Qiyamullail (the optional Solat performed at night) comes second in ranking after the obligatory ones (Faraidh). In other words, the best prayers after the Faraidh, is Qiyamullail. The Prophet, salla Allahu alaihi wasallam, said in a Hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurairah, radhiya Allahu ‘anhu, and authenticated by Imam Muslim:

أَفْضَلُ الصِّيَامِ بَعْدَ رَمَضَانَ شَهْرُ اللَّهِ الـمُحَرَّمُ، وَأَفْضَلُ الصَّلاَةِ بَعْدَ الفَرِيضَةِ صَلاَةُ اللَّيْلِ

It means, “The best month for observing fasting, after Ramadan is Muharram, and the best Solat after the prescribed Solat is the Solat performed at night.”

It’s therefore a good idea, to seize the opportunity of the good health we are given during this 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah, to have good communications with Allah.

Udhiyah (sacrifice)

The most significant activity that involves every Muslim, young and adult, male and female, black and white, which brings visible happiness to everyone’s face, is the ibadah of Udhiyah. Udhiyah is the act of sacrificing animals through slaughtering for Allah.

It’s done to remember the historical instance when Sayyidina Ibrahim was commanded to sacrifice his son, Sayyidina Ismail, and when he was about to carry out Allah’s Command, Allah replaced Ismail with a sheep, which Sayyiduna Ibrahim, gratefully slaughtered.

Sayyiduna Ibrahim, ‘alaihi al-Salam,  passed the test, as he was ready to sacrifice his son, in response to Allah’s Command. Do you find it difficult to sacrifice an animal (out of your money) in response to Allah’s Command? This test (yours and mine) is not worth failing.

Every abled head of family does the Udhiyah on behalf of his household. Udhiyah  can be done anytime after Eid prayers until the sunset of the 3rd day, after the day of Eid. This means 4 days (The Day of Eid plus 3 days). This is in accordance to the school of thought of Imam Al-Shafi’ee.

As for the schools of thoughts of the great Imams; Abu Hanifah, Malik and Ahmad, Udhiyah is done for 3 days altogether. It starts with the day of Eid and ends 2 days after the day of Eid, at sunset.

Udhiyah can be done during daytime or nighttime, provided it’s within the chosen timeframe. But the earlier (closer to Eid prayers), the better.

The Sunnah of Udhiyah is to divide the meat into three portions, which don’t have to necessarily be equal. One portion is to be distributed among the poor and the needy. The second portion goes for your family members, neighbours and loved ones. And the last portion is for your personal discretion.

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On the Day of Arafah

On the day of Arafah, the entire population of the (physical) Hajj goers meets at one point. They meet at Mount Arafat.

The best a Hajj goer can do this day is to surrender Himself to Allah, plea to Him, and reconcile with Him.

Remember:

خَيْرُ الدُّعَاءِ دُعَاءُ يَوْمِ عَرَفَةَ، وَخَيْرُ مَا قُلْتُ أَنَا وَالنَّبِيُّونَ مِنْ قَبْلِي: لا إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لاَ شَرِيكَ لَهُ، لَهُ المُلْكُ، وَلَهُ الحَمْدُ، وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

It means, “The best of du’a is a du’a said on the Day of ‘Arafah, and the best that I and the Prophets before me said is ‘Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wahdahu laa shareeka lah, lahu’l-mulk wa lahu’l-hamd wa huwa ‘alaa kulli shay’in aadeer (There is no god but Allah alone, with no partner or associate; His is the dominion, to Him be praise, and He has power over all things).”

That Hadeeth is applicable to those who are at Arafah, and for those of us, outside Arafah. For those of us, who are not performing Hajj physically, we are encouraged to fast on this day, in addition to the other rewarding deeds starting from the first day of the month. Let’s give charity, remember to do our Qiyamullail, please our parents, reconcile with our spouses (hopefully no problems) and try to do the right things.

Du’as made on the Day of Arafah are answered. Dua’s made at Arafah are answered. Whether you are there at Arafah or not, don’t single yourself, out of the blessings and bounties.

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Conclusion

This article didn’t discuss how Hajj is performed. It rather highlighted what virtual Hajj goers can do, to compete with physical Hajj goers and possibly lead some of them, in the race. The objective is that, once we master a virtual Hajj, when the time comes for us to experience the physical Hajj, we can do it in a way close to excellence with possible greatest rewards, insha Allah.

Bodies go for Hajj. That can be done only once a year.
Hearts compete righteously for Hajj. This can be achieved everyday.

May Allah grant us the reward of going for Hajj, in the way He deems best for us. Ameen.

I would love to hear from you. I welcome your comments and feedback.

Allah knows best.

Allahu Hafiz 🙂

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  • sarifudin sapari

    SubhanAllah may Allah give me strength to carry out those great amal as sharedIn this article. Syukran.

  • Nuhu

    Alhamdu-lillah. Thanks for the enlightenment.

  • Sulaiman

    Jazakumullahu khair an ya abba l izz