- Published on Monday, 24 September 2012 03:49
- Written by MOHAMED MAMBO
- Hits: 783
SINCE Hajj is an act of worship once-in-a-lifetime experience for Muslims, it must be performed in peace and with single minded devotion. The ritual of hajj is not any different from other rituals of Islam, all acts of worship, which must be dedicated to the name of God alone (6:162).
The Quran stresses in a number of verses that the only purpose of Hajj is to commemorate the name of God, as a result, every precious hour and day of the Hajj should be spent in commemorating the name of God Almighty alone. There are a number of simple, yet important, things you can do to get in the right frame of mind for this unique experience, all of these are self-evident and are based on common sense.
Your intention must be to perform Hajj solely for the sake of Allah. Considerations of pleasing or impressing others with your show of piety should never be a factor. All Hajj expenses must be paid out of money obtained through legitimate (Halal) means. Money obtained through illegitimate or doubtful means is not acceptable. Pilgrim must discharge all debts and financial obligations before you start your journey.
There is a considerable investment of money, time and physical effort required for the Pilgrimage to be fulfilling and meaningful. The most important is to make an honest effort to resolve your outstanding differences with others and seek forgiveness from those you may have hurt in a way in the past and there is no excuse because that is the instructions of Allah (pbuh) and must be followed for the Hajj to be meaningful because the main benefit of Hajj for many people is the sense of purification, repentance and spiritual renewals.
Information has to be collected, itineraries must be worked out and documents have to be readied. The purpose of these preparations is not only to minimize physical discomfort, emotional aggravation and monetary expenses, but also to enable you to perform Hajj in relative peace of heart and mind. Therefore it makes sense to be as ready as possible for this momentous journey of self-discovery, self-appraisal and spiritual enlightenment.
Arrangements must be started early enough so that you are not rushed for time in the few days before your voyage commences. Make sure you contact your travel agent or a knowledgeable friend who has performed Hajj recently, can also guide you in your preparations. You will be exerting considerable physical effort during Hajj.
All Hajj rites (Tawaf, Sai, Rummy, etc.) require a great deal of strength and endurance. The constant crush of hundreds of thousands of other pilgrims, each trying to perform the same rites at the same time in limited spaces and very hot weather, compounds the demands on your physical conditioning and mental toughness.
In order to be prepared for the rigors expected of you, you must be in good physical shape. To achieve this, start a program of brisk walking and jogging for at least two hours a day about three to four months before your departure. Gradually increase this regimen to an hour every day or every other day. After a few days of walking/ jogging start reciting audibly the Talbiyah and the prayers for Tawaf. This will keep your mind occupied during the monotony of the exercise and will also help you get in a peaceful frame of mind.
Concentrating on the meaning of the prayers will help you get ready for the actual Hajj as well, obtain and study books on Hajj and its rites if you wish to know more about its history and traditions. Familiarize yourself with all aspects of the Hajj process. Memorize the prayers you will be reciting and also learn their meaning. It requires very little effort to do so and it is so much more fulfilling and rewarding when you understand what you recite.
It serves little purpose to recite prayers mindlessly with no comprehension of the words spoken. The more you know about Hajj, its obligations and prohibitions, the more comfortable and at peace you will feel during the whole process. You will be confident of what you are doing. All pilgrims must do tawaf or circling the Ka’aba. This obligation creates a stunning scene as thousands of people circle the building at all times of the day and night.
Also, the standing at Arafah on the 9th day of the Islamic month of Dhul-Hijjah presents a scene in which several million people all dressed alike and with the same intention to worship God, gather on a barren plain. (The literal meaning of the name Zhul Al- Hijjah is: The (month) of the hajj. God gave this month this specific name so that we would know that Hajj starts when this arrives. The Prophet (SAW), said, “Hajj is ‘Arafa,” so it is evident that the great gathering of the Hajji’s on the plain of ‘Arafa is the core rite of hajj.
Failure to be present in the plain of Arafat on the required day invalidates the pilgrimage (on the 9th day). Many pilgrims stay here all night in vigil. HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Arafat” \l “cite_notearmstrong-0” This is what everyone has come for. There is no doubt that in an almost explicit way it prefigures that Final Gathering which all of us will inevitably attend on the Last Day. It is there that the reality of the state of ihram is made most manifest.
The lives of all who are present are stripped down to the barest essentials, all distinctions are removed, wealth and poverty, every kind of class distinction, all the things which normally set people apart from one another in their worldly lives, all these things are set aside and all that remains is the simple fact of our common humanity.
All we have is our actions, what we have done with ourselves up to that point, what we have turned ourselves into by what we have done, nothing more and nothing less than what we truly are. It is a priceless opportunity to take stock. We stand there, as it were, naked in front of our Lord, with all the normal distractions and cushions taken away, face to face with Allah with nothing in between but the veil of our own existence.