(MENAFN- Gulf Times) Praise and thank Allah the Majestic, dear brothers and sisters in Islam, for having extended our life to see the successive days and months, for before us now is the occasion of the Haj (Pilgrimage). So many pilgrims have already begun filling the sky with talbiyyah (declaration of answering the call to Haj) and takbeer (declaring Allah's greatness). They come from the corners of the earth, both east and west, some having saved every penny they could for years struggling to save enough to fulfil this awesome obligation.
Those of you who have all the means and opportunity, why are you delaying and what are you waiting for?! Have you not read or heard the words of Allah the Most High:
And Haj to the House (Al-Ka'aba) is a duty mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the expenses and whoever disbelieves, then Allah is not in need of any of the 'Aalameen (mankind, jinn, and all that exists). [Ale-Imraan 97]
Also His statement: And perform properly the Haj and the 'Umrah for Allah. [Al-Baqarah 196] And finally: And proclaim to mankind the Haj. They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, they will come form every deep and distant mountain highway. [Al-Haj 27].
Dear Muslims, Haj is one of the five pillars of Islam. The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, said: Islam is founded upon five pillars: The declaration that there is no true deity worthy of worship besides Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, the performance of prayer (salaah), giving zakaat (due alms), fasting in the month of Ramadan, and pilgrimage (Haj) to the inviolable House of Allah for whoever has the means. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Is a duty for every Muslim who is able to hurry to the fulfil the Haj before falling into sin. The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, stated: Hasten to the Haj because none of you knows what will happen to him. [Ahmed].
It is narrated from Abdur-Rahman Ibn Saabit: Whoever dies without having performed the Haj and there was no debilitating illness as an obstacle nor unjust ruler or some overwhelming necessity preventing him, would die in the state of either a Jew or a Christian. [This statement is considered a da'eef (weak) hadith but it is supported by a similar statement by 'Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab, radhiallah 'anhu, and therefore known to have a sound origin according to Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar al-Asqalaani in Talkhees Al-Kabeer]
It is narrated by Sa'eed ibn Mansour that Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab, radhiallah 'anhu, said: I have considered sending a man to the various cities to see whoever has the means but has not made the Haj to then impose the jizyah (a tax imposed upon non-Muslim subjects in an Islamic state). They are not Muslims. They are not Muslims.
It is therefore a duty for you to fulfil this great obligation when it is easy at this time for you to do so. Don't let the Shaitaan cause you to sit and be overtaken by procrastination and be distracted by some desire. Think of the generations and how they used to trek to the Haj for months to reach the Ancient House!
The benefits of Haj are tremendous and its reward is glorious. It combines both physical and material forms of worship. The former due to the undergoing any hardship, exertion, fatigue, strain, harsh conditions and travel. The latter is due to the expenditure the pilgrim makes for and during the Haj.
The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, said: From 'Umrah to 'Umrah is an expiation for what occurs between the two (i.e. sins), and there is no reward for the accepted Haj other than Al-Jannah. Also he, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, stated: Whoever makes Haj and neither quarrels or commits indecency will return home like the day his mother gave birth to him. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
The Prophet, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, strongly urged increasing one's obedience and adherence between the Haj and the 'Umrah for he said: Make the Haj and the Umrah follow each other closely, for they remove poverty and sins as a blacksmith's bellows remove impurities from iron, gold and silver; and Haj which is accepted gets no less a reward than Paradise. [Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 2524 Narrated by Abdullah ibn Mas'ud ; Umar ibn al-Khattaab. Tirmidhi and Nasa'i transmitted it, and Ahmad and Ibn Maajah transmitted it from Umar up to“from iron.”]
He, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, also said in a hadith that enlivens the feelings and hurries you on: From 'Umrah to 'Umrah is expiation for all that occurs between them (of sins) and the accepted Haj has no reward other than Al-Jannah. [Muslim]
Along with this great reward is the fact that the days of Haj are few. So don't hesitate and undervalue this chance while the means to travel are much easier compared to past days and you live a life of relative plenty. Favors call for gratitude and life is for the purpose of worshipping Allah. Don't delay further or procrastinate and receive the good tidings as one of the delegations of Ar-Rahmaan (the Most Merciful), Allah, who has called them and they have answered Him and He has given to them.
Receive the glad tidings of a great day in which there will be many false steps and slips of the tongue forgiven for the Prophet, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, said: There is not a day when more slaves are freed from the Hellfire than on the Day of Arafah. [Muslim]
Be happy and find comfort and prepare for the meeting with Allah the Glorified and Majestic, and benefit from your time by doing that which will benefit you in the next life and it will then be cause for joy at the time when no amount of wealth nor progeny will avail you. The Day when the records will be made to fly and hearts will be trembling and transformed and you will see people as though they are drunken however they will not be ... rather it will be the intense punishment from Allah.
Dear brothers and sisters, work for this world to the extent needed to live in it, but work also for the Hereafter in order to live in it. Don't put things off when death is indeed before you and sickness stops you or you become engulfed in work. Instead, escape from all that and seek Allah's aid and depend upon Him and be among those who are answering the call to Haj and remembering Allah's greatness this year.
If Allah has already opened your breast and you have decided to perform the Haj for His sake and the reward of the Hereafter, I remind you of the following matters:
1. Ask Allah For Guidance And Advice (Al-Istikhaarah and Al-Istishaara): The one who seeks guidance will not fail, nor will the one who seeks advice regret it. Seek the guidance of Allah regarding the appropriate time, transportation and companions for your journey. The Istikhaarah prayer is to perform two units (rak'atain) of prayer and afterwards supplicate to Allah saying the supplication of Al-Istikhaarah which is as follows: O Allah, I consult You as You are All-Knowing and I appeal to You to give me power as You are Omnipotent, I ask You for Your great favour, for You have power and I do not, and You know all of the hidden matters . O Allah ! If you know that this matter (then he should mention it) is good for me in my religion, my livelihood, and for my life in the Hereafter, (or he said: 'for my present and future life,') then make it (easy) for me. And if you know that this matter is not good for me in my religion, my livelihood and my life in the Hereafter, (or he said: 'for my present and future life,') then keep it away from me and take me away from it and choose what is good for me wherever it is and please me with it.” [Al-Bukhari]
2. Purify Your Intention To Perform The Haj For Allah Alone: It is incumbent upon the person undertaking the Haj to intend their Haj and 'Umrah for the sake of pleasing Allah alone and attaining the reward of the Hereafter. This, so that all one's actions and speech and expenditure is a means to get closer to Allah. The Prophet, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, said: Verily deeds are judged and motivated by intention and verily every person shall get what they intended. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
3. Learn The Rites of Haj And 'Umrah And Related Issues: Learn the conditions of Haj and its obligations, its pillars and Sunnah or supererogatory aspects to the point that you can worship Allah with insight clarity and knowledge and you will also avoid errors which may spoil your Haj. Books on Haj are plentiful and easy to obtain. Your local mosque may have preparatory classes as well.
4. Leave Plenty of Provisions For Your Family And Advise Them To Have Fear Of Allah (Taqwaa): It is obligatory for whoever intends to make Haj that they leave adequate provisions for those whose maintenance they are responsible for of money, food, and drink. One should be confident that their family is safe and sound and not left in a situation of trial or danger. It is highly recommended (and many scholars say obligatory) to have one's will prepared before travelling.
5. Sincere Repentance to Allah for All Sins And Disobedience: Allah, Who is free of all imperfections, states: And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful. [An-Noor 31] True repentance (At-Taubah) is when one renounces all his or her sins and disobedience to Allah and His Messenger, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, and discontinues doing them and feel truly remorseful for those past ill deeds and is determined not to return to them. If someone else's rights have been violated they must be given back their rightful possessions or made amends with no matter what the violation may have been.
6. Use Only Lawful (halaal) Funds: Funds that were lawfully earned so that nothing sinful may touch your Haj. It may be that you Haj is accepted but tainted with some sin from some other way. It is stated in a hadith of the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, where he said: As soon as a pilgrim sets out for Haj with a provision which is lawful, and puts his foot in the stirrup (rides his mount) and calls out: 'O, Allah! Here I am in response to Your call,' an announcer answers him from the heavens above, saying: 'Your call has been heard; you are a happy one; your provisions are lawful, your mount is lawful and your pilgrimage is free of sin and acceptable.' But, if his provisions are unlawfully gained, and he puts his foot in the stirrup and calls out: 'O Allah! Here I am in response to Your call,' an announcer from the heavens above answers him back, saying: 'Your call is not accepted; nor are you welcome; your food is unlawful; your provisions are unlawful; and your pilgrimage is not free of sin and is unacceptable.”' Al-Mundhri says:“This is reported by At-Tabarani in Al-Awsat, and also by Al-Asbahani in a mursal hadith from Aslam, the freed slave of 'Umar bin al-Khattaab.”
It is said in a poem:
When you make Haj with wealth whose origin is unlawful
You have not made a Haj but a Haj of no consequence
Allah accepts not except all that is virtuous. Not all who make the Haj to the House of Allah are successful
7. Choose Righteous Companions: They will be good for you during travel for they will remind you of what you may have forgotten and inform you of what you may not know and look out for you and show you brotherly love. They will consider all of that as an act of worship gaining them nearness to Allah the Mighty and Majestic.
8. Adhere To The Etiquette Of Travel: Make those supplications that are well known, such as the supplication of travel and the takbeer when ascending to a high point and the tasbeeh (Subhaanallah – glorification of Allah as free of all perfection) when descending in a valley, along with supplications when stopping at places along the road etc.
9. Mentally Prepare For The Haj: Just as important as preparing physically you should prepare to make psychological adjustments to deal with the hardships, toils and inconvenience of traveling and Haj and consider all of it as good to be added to your scale of deeds. There are those who just complain and mumble about the heat, the food, the long trip... Haj is not a vacation or recreational activity! Know that the highest type of patience, and the type that is most greatly rewarded, is patience in the obedience of Allah. Even with all the transportation and road facilities, some hardship and toil will remain. Don't nullify your deeds dear pilgrim by mentioning all you have done or irritations and petty annoyances and driving away other Muslims by your hand or your tongue. You must apply kindness and compassion.
10. Lower The Gaze From What Allah Has Made Haraam To Look At: Be conscious and fear Allah regarding those things which are unlawful. You will be in holy places of tremendous religious significance, so hold your tongue and control your limbs so that your Haj is not a sinful or false one that will be a burden upon your back on the Day of Resurrection.
May Allah accept our obedience and adherence and excuse us of our shortcomings and make for us and our Muslim parents those through whom forgiveness is granted from among the pilgrims answering the call this year and in the years to come.
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