Every year millions of people around the world apply for visas hoping for a chance to perform the last Pillar of Islam, Hajj. In many countries, and because of the vast number of applicants, regulations limit the number of people allowed. It is just a sign of how many people feel the connection to this blessed part of the world and the importance of practicing the fifth Pillar of Islam, Hajj.

Hajj is a path to God consciousness or Taqwa. Allah (SW) says: {And whoever honors the prescribed rituals and waymarks of God- then, indeed, it is out of the fear of God in

[their] hearts} 22:32. When one sees all the details one needs to perform and keep up with, in relation to places, times and rituals, it is indeed a demonstration of the great level of Taqwa in the hearts.

Taqwa is seen first and foremost as a response to the call of Allah: {And Hajj to the house is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford it} 2:97, and to the call of His prophet (SAAW.) In one of his sermons the prophet (SAAW) said: “O people; Allah has obligated on you Hajj so perform Hajj.’ A person stood up and asked: Every year, O messenger of Allah? The prophet (SAAW) kept silent. The person repeated his question three times. The prophet (SAAW) then said: ‘If I said yes then it would have been obligated (every year) and you could not have done it.’ Then he said: ‘Let go of what I have mentioned not, indeed what destroyed the people prior to you was their many questions and disputes on their prophets, so if I order you something, perform of it what you can, and if I prohibit something let go of it.”[1]

When visiting someone, one wear clothes that match the occasion. Traveling to visit the sacred place of Al-Balad Al-Haram means no clothes are fitting for that occasion but the clothes of righteousness, Ihram. In wearing the Ihram, all people look alike and all social differences and financial means are out of the picture. You can feel that each one shall identify himself or herself by their faith and Taqwa only.

A sign of Taqwa revealed in Hajj is in the love of Allah felt by all pilgrims coming for His pleasure (SW.) This form of love is demonstrated in the repeated slogan of submission called Talbia. In repeating the Talbia, all pilgrims declare that there is no partner to worship with God and that nothing is great but God the Almighty. It is a level of Taqwa seen as part of the Muslim understanding of the Oneness of God (SW.)

During Tawaf around the Ka’bah and Sa’ie between Safa and Marwah, you can feel the level of Taqwa in re-living the moment of gratefulness Ibrahim and his son Ishmael felt after completion of the House of Allah, Al-Ka’bah.  And you can re-live the moment of submission that Hajar experienced being left alone in the desert with her son Ishmael. The story says that when Ibrahim walked away, Hajar said: “Is it God that told you to do this?” He replied: “Yes.” Hajar said: “Then God will not let go of us!”

Declaring your sins and asking for forgive from the only One who can grant it to you is the highest form of Taqwa under the term of Tawheed. The Day of Arafah is indeed the most important part of rituals that invites Taqwa to the hearts of pilgrims as they stand in humility and offer supplications to God begging to be free from their sins. When people identify their sins to their Lord and ask Him for forgiveness, it is indeed the reason Hajj was summarized in this moment, as the prophet (SAAW) said: “Hajj is Arafah.”[2]

Identifying the enemy as Satan, and repeating the act of throwing pebbles at the monument where Ibrahim (AS) threw it at Satan when he was trying to deceive him into ignoring the order from Allah to slaughter his only son Ishmael, is another form of Taqwa. Taqwa, felt in the ability to be able to attack Satan in a moment of sacrifice rather than in a moment of defense, is a great meaning to reflect on.

New beginnings are always a sign of cleansing the past and generating power to move ahead. This is represented in the ritual of shaving the head for men and cutting an inch of hair for women. Taqwa here is seen as your future pages in the Book of Deeds all clean and white, and you are given a fresh start to record all deeds of righteousness.

Taqwa is not just seen in the rituals practiced but in the establishment of the status of Islamic brotherhood, feeling the power of unity as an Ummah. Taqwa is seen in the reminder of such a gathering on the Day of Judgement where nothing really matters but your good deeds and the hope for the mercy from God, in the relativity to prophets and messengers who performed Hajj including our beloved prophet Mohammad (SAAW) and all the Sahabah and Muslims after him.

For all those who made the intention to perform Hajj and were blessed to embark on this journey of a lifetime, the mother of all journeys, we pray for a safe trip and safe return for all. May Allah declare you free from you sins and bless you with a Hajj Mabroor, Sai’e Mashkoor and Zanb Maghfoor, insha Allah.

By Sh. Kifah Mustapha

 

[1] Bukhari

[2] Ahmad