Lesson 5 (Hajj)

Chapter No.: 

The last of the fundamental duties in Islam is the Hajj. Laying it down as an essential religious obligation of Muslims, the Quran says:

فِيهِ آيَاتٌ بَيِّنَاتٌ مَقَامُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمَنْ دَخَلَهُ كَانَ آمِنًا وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلًا وَمَنْ كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ عَنِ الْعَالَمِينَ ()

Pilgrimage thereto is a duty men owe to Allah, those who can afford the journey, but if any deny faith Allah stands not in need of any of His creatures. (3:97)

In this verse while the Hajj has been declared obligatory it has been made clear that it is applicable only to those who possess the means and material resources to undertake it. But care has been taken, in the last part of it, to warn that if Muslims whom Allah has blessed with the necessary material means to perform the pilgrimage still fail to carry out the duty through sheer ingratitude (as is common among the wealthy classes these days) then Allah does not stand in need of their pilgrimage. The Almighty, definitely, is not going to lose anything by their not performing the Hajj, the loss will entirely to theirs. They will forfeit His good graces, they will deprive themselves of His benevolence, and Allah-forbid, a most lamentable fate will be waiting for them in the Hereafter. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is reported to have gone as far as to say: "A person whom Allah has given enough to perform the Hajj, if he still fails to do so then it does not matter at all whether he dies a Jew or a Christian,"

Brother, if there is any regard in our hearts for Islam, if we can boast of the least attachment to Allah and the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), none of us who can afford to make the journey should remain without performing the Hajj after we have known this Traditions.

Spiritual Merit

The importance of the Hajj and the spiritual meritoriousness of those who perform it have been emphasized in a number of Traditions. We will reproduce a few of them here.

"Those who make the pilgrimage for the Hajj or the Umra they are guests of Allah: their petitions, if they make any to Allah, will be granted, and if they seek deliverance from sins, their sins will be forgiven."

"He who performs the Hajj and commits no wicked or sinful deed during it and does not disobey Allah, he will return from it as pure and guiltless as he was at the time of his birth."

"The reward for a pure and untainted hajj is paradise itself and nothing short of it."

Immediate Gains

The remission of sins and the enjoyment of the supreme blissfulness of paradise as a result of the spiritual auspiciousness of the Hajj will, Insha Allah, surely be granted to the faithful in full measure in life to come, but the exquisite thrill and the sublime joy one experiences, the soul-stirring sensation of delight and wonderment one feels, on seeing that choicest seat of Divine splendour the House of Ka'aba and on visiting those special places in Mecca where the memories of Prophet Abraham and of our own Prophet (peace be upon whom) are still alive, are also things of the celestial world on the earth. Then the pilgrimage to the Prophet's mausoleum at Medina, the offering up of Salaah in his own mosque, the addressing of the salutation and the benediction to him directly, the aimless wanderings in the streets and the wilderness of that blessed city, the breathing in of its air and the fragrance which always seems to be filling its atmosphere, the ethereal joy of his remembrance bursting upon one sometimes in laughter and sometimes in tears-all these things provided, of course, that one is blessed enough to feel them are the immediate rewards a pilgrim gets when he betakes himself to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

Five Pillars of Islam

The five fundamental teachings of Islam we have discussed so far the Kalima, Salaah, Zakat, Saum and Hajj are known as the 'Five Pillars of the Faith'.

A well-known Tradition of the holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) tells us that, "The foundation of Islam rests on these five things:

(i) The affirmation of Oneness of Allah,

(ii) The establishment of Salaah,

(iii) The payment of Zakat,

(iv) The observance of Saum in the month of Ramzan, and

(v) The performance of Hajj by those who can afford to make the pilgrimage."

When these five items are spoken of as the 'Pillars of Islam' it means that these are the fundamental duties of the faith. If carried out properly these duties are capable of producing in us the ability to fulfill our other religious obligations as well. Here we have dwelt only on their importance and the intrinsic spiritual virtue that underlies them. Detailed rules and principles governing them can be learnt from reliable books on Islamic Jurisprudence or directly from a Muslim theologian.