Hajj — The Pilgrimage to Makkah

by Dr. Mohamed Ali Aziz (Abdul Aziz Trust)

Hajj [Pilgrimage] was the last obligation performed by the Holy Prophet of Islam [Muhammad (pbuh)] in the year 632 and is considered one of the blessed and instructions of Islam.
    • It is a conditional obligation on every responsible Muslim, male or female, who is mentally, physically and financially able to do so.
    • In the context of financial affordability, one has to have sufficient finance to cover all expenses during the journey and back, to support one’s dependents at home, and to pay off all debts incurred before the intention to go on Hajj.
    • Mental attitude is very important and the inner self has to orient its outlook towards submission to Allah, patience and understanding, and a strong element of sacrifice of one’s selfishness. Pride and aloofness must be absent in one’s behaviour, and humility and charity must be predominant in one’s character.
    • Physical health is essential in order to fulfil one’s rites in comfort and satisfaction. The environment is different from what one is used to in one’s home country. One must follow medical advice given by one’s physician and take medication on time, as prescribed.
    • Take precautions when eating what one is not used to, and drink bottled water copiously.
    • Avoid undue exposure to the exposed sun and to dust storms.
    • Perform tawaf [encircling the Kabah seven times in an anti-clockwise direction as part of Umrah (minor pilgrimage) or Hajj] when the day is cooler, either at Fajr or after Maghrib.
    • The benefits experienced are unique.
    • It is the largest assembly of the faithful, where Muslims from all corners of the world gather and meet, exchange ideas and views and promote a stronger fellowship among the believers in a common heritage — Islam.
    • It is a holistic expression of the universality of Islam and the equality and brotherhood of Muslims who come from different cultures, speak different languages, have different levels of understanding, yet dress in the same simple way, observe the same regulations and rites, and utter and chant the same talbiyah [devotional prayer uttered by pilgrims during Hajj or Umrah after making the intention to enter into the state of ihram (specially prescribed hajj attire)] and takbir [Arabic phrase, Allahu Akbar],and make the same supplications towards a common purpose. There is no loyalty to any king or president or sheik, but only to Allah (swt), the Mighty Sovereign.
    • It is total submission and obedience to Allah (swt) and a rededication of oneself to His service.
    • It is to associate oneself as a pilgrim with the spiritual and historical environment of the last Prophet of Allah, and to derive inspiration to strengthen one’s faith.
    • It is to re-enact rituals of Abraham, Ishmael and Hajra [Hagar] in the Valley of Paran in obedience to Allah’s command, and to act out the experience of the first dedication of worship at the first House of worship of Allah—the Kabah.
    • It is described as a preview to the Day of Judgement and the complete assembly of all mankind in the presence of Allah, awaiting the final verdict.
Pilgrimage to Makkah is a sacred journey of spiritual enrichment, moral rearmament, intense devotion and discipline, of inspiring knowledge and humanitarian interest. Once you are imbued with the sacredness of the precincts of the Kabah and its effect, your life and its spirit should indicate that Holy Brightness of Allah (swt). Such is the power of faith and trust in the Creator and Sustainer of all in the universe, and His love will prevail.