The Significance of Hajj

In the concluding aayah of The Bride of the Qur’aan, Surah Rahmaan, Allah describes Himself as Master of Grandeur and Honour. In this light it is observed that the more than 99 names of Allah belong to two major groups; those which expound Allah’s grandeur and majesty and those which expound His honour. The former is known as the attributes of jalaal while the latter are called the attributes of jamaal. Examples of the former are anger, punishment, might, power, ownership, and kingdom.

Mercy, compassion, generosity, tolerance, forgiveness, guidance, and sustenance are examples of the latter. Because man has been endowed with the potential to do good and bad, to obey and disobey, Allah constantly reminds him of these two types of His attributes so that he will neither be deceived by only hearing and reading of the attributes of jamaal nor will he become despondent by only thinking of the attributes of jalaal.

There are only two types of ibaadah in Islam; those which are based on respect and those which are based on love. In fact, there are only two primary forms of ibaadah; salaah and haj. Every other form of ibaadah is secondary and a subsidiary or supplement of either salaah or haj. This applies to zakaat and saum as well; zakaat is a supplement of salaat and saum is a supplement of haj.

Quenching the Thirst of Love
Constant pondering over the attributes of jamaal gradually increases the worshipper’s love for Allah to the extent that a burning desire to meet and see Allah is kindled in his heart. Since this is not possible in the worldly life, he develops a desire to visit and see anything that is attributed to Allah. The Ka’bah is attributed to Allah; it is called the House of Allah. Therefore, one of the purposes of Haj is to quench the thirst of love. Shah Waliyullah writes in his Hujjatullah-il-Baalighah that:

“Man often develops a strong yearning for Allah and needs something to fulfil this yearning. However, he will never find anything other than Haj.”

A Reminder of Death and Thereafter
In some aspects there is a strong resemblance between the Haj journey and the journey to the Aakhirah. Firstly, when Allah commanded prospective hujjaaj to take their own provisions instead of begging from the residents of Makkah and fellow hujjaaj, He added “And undoubtedly the best provision is Taqwa”. Scholars of Tafseer interpret this as a reminder to the would-be hajee that like Haj, death is also a journey – a journey to the Aakhirah – and he’s got to prepare for this journey to the Aakhirah with the same fervour with which he prepared himself for the Haj journey.

A Symbol of Obedience

Viewed differently Haj is also a symbolic representation of our submission and obedience to Allah. Hence the huge sum of money spent to endure the restrictions of ihraam, sleep under the open sky in Muzdalifah and live in tents in Arafaat and Minaa. Tawaaf of the Ka’bah even though we don’t worship it, running between Safaa and Marwah although we’re not looking for water like Haajar did and pelting the jamaraat whereas they are not Shaytaan but the sites where Shaytaan had appeared to Ibrahim in order to deter him from fulfilling the command of Allah all indicate to the same spirit of obedience. The continuous and tiresome movement of the haajee – from Makkah to Minaa, Minaa to Arafaat, Arafaat to Muzdalifah, Muzdalifah to Minaa, Minaa to Makkah and back to Minaa – is based on the same spirit of obedience. His fatigue and desire to rest do not matter at that moment; all that matters is the need to fulfil the command of Allah.

Drawing Allah’s Mercy

Shah Waliullah writes in his Hujjatull-il-Baalighah that one of the most effective methods for drawing Allah’s mercy is the assembly of a huge multitude of pious people at the right place and the right time. This, he explains, is the reality of Haj. There can’t be a more appropriate place for du’aa than the Haram regarding which Allah said in the Qur’aan: “In it are clear signs; (for example) the Muqaam-e-Ibrahim”. Similarly there can’t be a more appropriate time for du’aa than the days of Haj upon which Allah took an oath in Surah Al-Fajr and regarding which Rasulullah (SAW) said: “There are no other days in which good actions are more beloved to Allah than these ten days”. Shah Sahib explains further that when the hujjaaj assemble in the above manner and exert themselves in du’aa and istighfaar they are not deprived of Allah’s mercy and forgiveness. This explains why Rasulullah (SAW) said that Shaytaan is never seen more disgraced and angry than the day of Arafaat.

Earning Forgiveness
Shah Waliullah also mentions that another method of earning forgiveness from Allah is to frequently visit places which were revered by Allah’s special friends. In this regard too, there can’t be a better place than Makkah which was revered by the greatest of Allah’s friends; Nabi Ibrahim, Nabi Isma’il and Nabi Muhammed (SAW). Engaging in ibaadah, tawbah and istighfaar in such a blessed place must surely result in forgiveness. Thus Rasulullah  (SAW) said that person who performs Haj and abstains from sin, indecency and quarrelling with his companions and others returns home “like the day his mother gave birth to him (without a single sin)”

In short, if performed correctly, Haj and the visit to the blessed grave of Rasulullah (SAW) are a means of boosting one’s Imaan.

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Source: (Jamiat Ulama KZN, 2022)


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