The days of Hajj are with us. Those who undertake this momentous journey will be constantly reminded of Hazrat Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam), his wife, Hazrat Haajar (‘alaihas salaam), and his son, Hazrat Ismail (‘alaihis salaam). The Ka’bah Shareef that the haaji will perform tawaaf of was built by this illustrious father and son. The sa’ee of seven rounds between Mount Safa and Marwa is the reminder of the anxious running at that very place by Hazrat Haajar (‘alaihas salaam) in search of water for her infant son. The precious water of zam-zam makes one ponder over the thirst of Hazrat Ismail (‘alaihis salaam) and the extreme concern of his mother – until finally the miracle of the water of zam-zam was granted to them.
Then came the ultimate trial of love – the trial of Hazrat Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) choosing between his love for Allah Ta’ala and fulfilling His command or his love for his son and breaking the command of Allah Ta‘ala. Hazrat Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) gave preference to the love of Allah Ta‘ala and wholeheartedly submitted before His divine command. This great trial eventually culminated in the obligation of Qurbaani coming about.
When one examines the obligation of Hajj, one realizes that nearly every aspect of Hajj has a direct link with Hazrat Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) and the family of Hazrat Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam). Hence, it may be aptly said that Hajj is from the legacy of Hazrat Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) and his illustrious family.
Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) Being commanded to Follow the way of Hazrat Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam)
Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was divinely commanded by Allah Ta‘ala to follow the millat (way) of Hazrat Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) and emulate him in the rituals of Hajj and Qurbaani.
In regard to Hajj, Hazrat Abdullah bin Amr (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) narrates the following Hadith of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “Hazrat Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam) took Hazrat Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) to the Baytullah where he made him perform tawaaf, after which he took him to Mount Safaa and Marwa in order to perform the sa’ee. Hazrat Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam) then took Hazrat Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) to Mina where he performed zuhr, asr, maghrib, esha and fajr of the following morning. Thereafter, Hazrat Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam) took him to Arafah where he performed the zuhr and asr salaah and made wuqoof until the time of sunset. After sunset, Hazrat Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam) proceeded with Hazrat Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) to Muzdalifah where he spent the night. The following morning, Hazrat Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) performed the fajr salaah briefly, without lengthening the salaah, and then proceeded with Hazrat Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam) to Mina where he pelted the jamaraat, slaughtered his Qurbaani animal and shaved his head. Allah Ta‘ala revealed the following command to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), ‘Follow the millat (way) of Hazrat Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam).’” (Majma’uz Zawaa’id #5539)
It is reported in the Hadith that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) once mentioned to a Sahaabi who intended to come close to him on the plains of Arafah, “Remain where you are, for you are on the legacy of Hazrat Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam).” (Tirmizi #883)
In regard to the obligation of Qurbaani, the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) once inquired from Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) as to what was the significance of sacrificing an animal on the occasion of Qurbaani. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) replied, “It is the sunnah of your father, Hazrat Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam)”. (Ibnu Maajah #3127)
Embrace the Spirit of Sacrifice
If we, the ummah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), wish to acquire the true legacy of Hazrat Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) and his illustrious family, then it is not in us sufficing on merely fulfilling the rituals of Hajj. Rather, together with that, we will also need to wholeheartedly embrace the spirit of sacrifice which they displayed, as this was the catalyst which made them gain acceptance in the court of Allah Ta‘ala.
Lessons of Hajj
There is great wisdom and immense benefit in every injunction of Shari’ah. Some of the benefits are known to us, while others are unknown to us. Similarly, some benefits are comprehendible to the human mind, while others are beyond the scope of human intelligence. However, the mere fact that it is the injunction and command of Allah Ta‘ala is sufficient for the servant to obey and carry it out. Nevertheless, when one understands the benefit and wisdom of a thing, it motivates him further and creates within him the true spirit of love to fulfill the order of the Beloved.
- An Exposition of True Love
Hajj exposes the true love the servant has for his Creator. During the entire Hajj, the haaji carries out every ritual of Hajj in a manner that expresses his love for his Beloved Allah Ta‘ala.
- An Exposition of Death
The journey of Hajj is an exposition of death. Death is the bridge that joins the lover with the Beloved. The true lover, at every moment in his life, is preparing for the ultimate journey – the journey to the Hereafter where he will meet his Beloved. He is prepared to leave his family, friends and wealth behind as the love of the Beloved has enveloped his heart. Similarly, we find that the haaji leaves all that he loves and proceeds to acquire the love of Allah Ta‘ala.
- An Exposition of Patience
Throughout the journey, he is faced with various difficulties and hardships in the form of waiting in queues, boarding planes, and staying in conditions that are not to his taste. Yet, he patiently bears all these difficulties in the spirit of love for the sake of his Beloved, until he finally reaches the Ka’bah Shareef, the home of the Beloved.
- An Exposition of Humility
The clothing he presents himself with is also one of total humility. From the king to the subject, the rich to the poor, and the young to the old, all stand on the same plain, whether the plain of Arafah, Muzdalifah, or Mina, and throughout the Hajj, they are covered with the same clothing of humility out of love for the Beloved.
- An Exposition of Submission
When he is commanded to remain in the haram, where the reward for salaah and all other ibaadaat is multiplied one hundred thousand times, he presents himself wholeheartedly, and when he is commanded to leave the precincts of the haram to go to Arafah for the wuqoof then he subserviently complies.
- An Exposition of Sacrifice
During the entire Hajj, he does not apply any fragrance to his body, despite his nafs desiring it, and at the time when he completes the rituals, he shaves off his hair in obedience with the command of the Beloved. Despite him being fond of his hair and the hair adding to his beauty, he understands that without fulfilling the orders of the Beloved, he will not be able to become the beloved of Allah Ta‘ala. Hence, he is prepared to sacrifice every desire of his for the sake of the Beloved.
The Essence of Hajj
In essence, the journey of Hajj is a journey of true love. Every ritual is replete with various lessons of love, and at the end, the haaji – who fulfilled the obligation of Hajj in the prescribed manner, without committing any excesses and sins – is crowned with the crown of acceptance. Hence, he returns home after performing Hajj free of all sins, like the day his mother gave birth to him. While these benefits are reaped by the haaji himself, the true lesson of Hajj – to sacrifice one’s desires, life and wealth for the sake of the Beloved – applies to each and every believer throughout his life.
The Lofty Status of the Haaji
When the haaji sacrifices everything for Allah Ta‘ala and fulfills the command of Allah Ta‘ala in the manner he is commanded, then Allah Ta‘ala honors him with many favors. Among these favors is that Allah Ta‘ala forgives all his sins, to the extent that he is completely purified from sin.
Hazrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “Whoever performs Hajj for the sake of pleasing Allah Ta‘ala and therein utters no word of evil, nor commits any evil deed, he shall return from it (free from sins) as the day on which his mother gave birth to him.” (Bukhaari #1521)
Similarly, through the barakah of Hajj and Umrah, Allah Ta‘ala blesses him with barakah in his wealth and sustenance. Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas’ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “Perform Hajj and Umrah together because they remove poverty and sins just as a furnace removes impurities from iron, gold and silver.” (Tirmizi #810)
Since he is the guest and visitor of Allah Ta‘ala, Allah Ta‘ala readily accepts the duas he makes for himself and others. Hazrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “The Mujaahid and those performing Hajj and Umrah are the delegation of Allah Ta‘ala. If they make dua to Allah Ta‘ala, He answers their dua and if they beg Him for anything, He grants it to them.” (Ibnu Maajah #2893)
Allah Ta‘ala becomes pleased when He sees the hujjaaj in a dishevelled and dusty condition, sacrificing everything to earn His love. Hence, Allah Ta‘ala says:
انظروا إلى عبادي جاءوني شعثا غبرا
Look at My servants! They have come to me dishevelled and dusty! (Haakim #1708)
The lofty status of the haaji can perhaps be gauged from the fact that we have been encouraged to seek the dua of the haaji. Hazrat Ibnu Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “When you meet a haaji (on his way home) then greet him, shake hands with him and ask him to beg the forgiveness of Allah Ta‘ala on your behalf before he enters his home, for his prayer for forgiveness is accepted since he is forgiven by Allah Ta‘ala for his sins.” (Musnad Ahmed #5371)
Furthermore, through the blessings of Hajj, the haaji enjoys the special mercy of Allah Ta‘ala until the 10th of Rabee’ul Awwal. Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had said, “The haaji receives the forgiveness of Allah Ta‘ala until the tenth of Rabee’ul Awwal, and Allah Ta‘ala accepts his duas for those on behalf of whom he begs forgiveness.” (Musannaf Ibnu Abi Shaybah #12800)
Earning the Reward of Nafil Hajj Through Righteous Deeds
If a person is unable to embark on the journey of Hajj, then it does not mean that there are no opportunities for him to progress and gain the love of Allah Ta‘ala. Rather, there are certain actions which he can carry out which will also secure him the reward of Hajj. Some of these actions are:
- Wudhu at home before proceeding for salaah with jamaat – Hazrat Abu Umaamah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “The one who makes wudhu and leaves his home to attend the fardh salaah in congregation receives the reward of a haaji in the state of ihraam, and if he leaves for the salaah of dhuha (chaast), he receives the reward of Umrah.” (Abu Dawood #558)
- Ishraaq salaah – Hazrat Anas bin Maalik (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “Whoever offers his fajr salaah in congregation, and then remains seated engaged in the zikr (remembrance) of Allah Ta‘ala until (approximately 20 mins after) sunrise after which he offers two rakaats of salaah (ishraaq), he will receive the reward of one complete Hajj and one complete Umrah.” (Tirmizi #586)
- Going to the musjid to acquire or impart deeni knowledge – Hazrat Abu Umaamah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “The one who goes to the musjid for the purpose of learning or teaching the knowledge of deen receives the reward of a haaji whose Hajj was perfect.” (Tabraani #7473; At-Targheeb wat Tarheeb #145)
- Umrah in Ramadhaan – Hazrat Abdullah bin Abbaas (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) reported that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) passed by Hazrat Ummu Sinaan (radhiyallahu ‘anha) while proceeding for Hajj. He asked her, “Why did you not accompany me for Hajj?” She replied, “We only have two camels. My husband is using one to travel with you for Hajj, and the other is needed for transporting water.” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “Umrah performed in Ramadaan equals the reward of Hajj with me.” (Muslim #1256)
- To recite “Subhaanallah” 100 times in the morning and evening – Hazrat Abdullah bin Amr (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) reported that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “He who recites Subhaanallah 100 times in the morning and 100 times in the evening is like one who performed Hajj 100 times!” (Tirmizi #3471)
- Serving one’s parents – Hazrat Anas (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that a man came to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and said, “I wish to participate in jihaad, but I cannot afford it.” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) enquired if any of his parents were alive, to which he said, “Yes, My mother is alive.” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “Show Allah Ta‘ala how you serve her. If you do so, you will be like a haaji, a mu’tamir (one doing Umrah) and a mujaahid (one striving in Allah Ta‘ala’s path).” (At-Targheeb wat Tarheeb #3747)
- Obedient child looking at his parents with mercy – Hazrat Abdullah bin Abbaas (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “There is no obedient child who looks at his parents with mercy (and love) except that Allah Ta‘ala records for him the reward of an accepted Hajj for every time he looks (at his parents with mercy)” The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) asked, “Even if he looks one hundred times every day?” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) replied, “Yes, Allah Ta‘ala is the greatest and He is much more bountiful (His reward is much more than you can imagine).” (Shu’bul Imaan #7472 – هذا الحديث وإن كان ضعيفا ولكن يقبل في فضائل الاعمال لأجل الشواهد).
N.B. The condition for receiving the abovementioned virtue is for one to be obedient to his parents and his heart being filled with their love.
Lessons of Qurbaani
Just as there are many lessons for the ummah in the obligation of Hajj, similarly there are many lessons for the ummah in the obligation of Qurbaani (sacrifice). Qurbaani is not just a ritual of slaughtering an animal. Rather, Qurbaani teaches us many lessons which we should remember and uphold in our lives, even after the days of Qurbaani have passed.
Submission before the Command of Allah Ta‘ala
Qurbaani involves taking the life of an animal in the name of Allah Ta‘ala and only for His pleasure. What lesson do we take from this? This should instil within us the spirit of being prepared to sacrifice our own lives for the sake of deen. However, unfortunately, the very next day after Eid-ul-Adha, a great number of those who sacrificed animals do not manage to sacrifice their sleep for the sake of fajr salaah. Many do not manage to sacrifice the ringing tills for the sake of zuhr salaah. Numerous people do not have the courage to sacrifice the dictates of their base desires and give up all sins. There is a need to revive this spirit of sacrifice within us in every department of our life. At the very least, when placing the knife on the throat of the animal, let us resolve to sacrifice our desires in order to fulfil the command of Allah Ta‘ala and to uplift His deen. If this resolution is made sincerely, it is absolutely possible that it could be the first spark that will set alight an iota of the enthusiasm of sacrifice displayed by Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), Hazrat Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) and the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum).
Islam Stands For Submission to The Command of Allah Ta‘ala
We claim to be Muslims. However, we need to understand that the word Muslim is linked to the word Islam. What does Islam mean? Islam means “submission.” Hence, a “Muslim” is one who submits himself, at every moment, before the command of Allah Ta‘ala. We should ask ourselves, “To what extent have we submitted to the clear commands of Allah Ta‘ala and His beloved Rasul (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) in regard to the following?”
- Interest – When Allah Ta‘ala has declared: “O you who Believe; fear Allah Ta‘ala and forsake what is left of interest (Surah Baqarah, 278),” do we stop and submit before this command?
- Lowering the gaze before the opposite gender – When the Quraan Majeed exhorts the believing men and women to lower their gazes, how do we respond? Do we protect our eyes and hearts from sin or do we break the command of Allah Ta’ala and view all types of haraam on the cellphone, internet, etc.?
- Women leaving the home without necessity – When Allah Ta’ala commands the women: “And remain firmly within your homes (Surah Ahzaab, 33)” do we see the example of the unquestioning submission of Sayyidah Haajar (‘alaihas salaam), the Azwaaj-e-Mutahharaat and the Sahaabiyyaat (radhiyallahu ‘anhun) being implemented in our lives?
- Women’s clothing – The same question should be asked about the command of Allah Ta’ala to the believing women to “draw down their shawls over them” (Surah Ahzaab, 59). Do our women don the niqaab and dress modestly as commanded in the Quraan Majeed or not?
- Performing salaah with jamaat in the musjid – When the azaan is called out at the time of fajr, are we prepared to sacrifice our sleep and proceed to the musjid? Likewise, when we are occupied in our businesses and the time of salaah approaches, are we prepared to sacrifice our business by going to the musjid for salaah?
- Dealing with employees – When we deal with our workers, staff and other employees, are we harsh, ruthless and unforgiving, or do we uphold the Islamic teaching of showing them kindness and consideration?
These are some of the lessons of Qurbaani (sacrifice) which the ummah should ponder over. Just as Hazrat Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) and his illustrious household passed the test of sacrifice, are we also passing the test of sacrifice in our lives or are we merely carrying out the ritual of Qurbaani every year?
Greater than Qurbaani
It is recorded in the Hadith that the best of actions carried out on the day of Qurbaani is the spilling of blood. However, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has explained that the action that will earn one even greater reward is the joining of family ties that have been severed. Hence, together with carrying out the obligation of Qurbaani, we should ensure that we maintain family ties. Hazrat Abdullah bin Abbaas (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said on the day of Eid-ul-Adha, “There is no action more virtuous than the spilling of blood (Qurbaani) on this day, except the joining of family ties (that have been severed). (At-Targheeb wat Tarheeb #1661)