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Muslim Students

By: Anwaar Ahmed

The Hajj or Pilgrimage to Makkah, is a central duty in Islam whose origins date back to the beloved Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him). It brings together Muslims of all races and languages for one of life's most spiritual experiences. The Hajj can only be carried out in the first two weeks of the Islamic month of Dhul Hijja. The Hajj is a duty that mankind owes to Allah Almighty. Allah Ta‘ala has said in the Holy Qur'an:

And Hajj (Pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House of Allah is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, for those who can find a way to do it (afford the expense). (Al-Qur’an, Surah 3, Aali-‘Imran, Verse 97).

For 14 centuries, countless millions of pious Muslims, men and women from the four corners of the earth, have made the Pilgrimage to Makkah, the birthplace of Islam. In carrying out this obligation, they fulfill one of the five pillars of Islam.

Hajj provides an opportunity for Muslims with diverse racial, ethnic and geographical heritage to get acquainted and feel unified as one Ummah (community) on a global level.

The beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Islam is founded on five pillars”. Among these five pillars, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) mentioned the Hajj.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “The Hajj which is accepted by Allah will receive no other reward than Paradise”.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “He who performs Hajj and neither spoke indecently nor did he act wickedly would return free of sins as on the (very first) day his mother gave him birth”.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also said, “O people! Allah made Hajj obligatory for you; so perform Hajj”. Thereupon a person said, “Messenger of Allah, (is it to be performed) every year?” He (the Holy Prophet) kept quiet, and the man repeated (these words) thrice, whereupon Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “If I were to say; yes, it would become obligatory (for you to perform it every year) and you would not be able to do it”. Therefore, due to these Hadiths we now know the importance of performing Hajj at least once in our lifetime.

According to the Holy Qur’an it was Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) who, together with Prophet Isma‘il (peace be upon him), built the Ka‘bah, “the House of Allah Ta‘ala,” the focal point towards which Muslims turn in their worship five times each day. It was Prophet Ibrahim, (peace be upon him) who established the rituals of Hajj, which recall events or practices in his life and that of Hajar (peace be upon her) and their beloved son Prophet Isma‘il (peace be upon him). After that, polytheists came and corrupted the rituals of Hajj. Then Allah Ta‘ala sent Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who purified the rites of Hajj.

The specific rites of performing Hajj are: the state of Ihraam, Tawaaf of the Ka‘bah, running between the hills of As-Safaa and Al-Marwah, stay at ‘Arafa, Muzdalifah and Mina, Ramy of Jamaraat (stoning of the specified pillars in Mina), and slaughtering of Hady (animal). These rites are collectively referred to as Manasik. Some of these rites are obligatory whereas some are recommended.

After the Hajj, the pilgrim is recommended to visit the Rawda of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in Madina. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has said that his shafa‘a (intercession) becomes obligatory for anyone who visits him.

As the pilgrims of diverse races and languages return to their homes, they carry with them cherished memories of Prophet Muhammad, Prophet Ibrahim, Prophet Ismail, and Hajar (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon them). They will always remember that universal fraternity where the poor and the rich, the black and the white, the young and the old met on equal footing.

The pilgrims go back with hope and joy, for they have fulfilled Allah Ta‘ala's Command to humankind to undertake the Pilgrimage. Above all, they return with a prayer on their lips. May it please Allah, they pray, to find their Hajj acceptable and may what the Prophet (peace be upon him) said be true of their own individual journey: “There is no reward for an accepted Pilgrimage but Paradise”. They also return with a better understanding of conditions of their brothers in Islam. Thus is born a spirit of caring for others and an understanding of their own rich heritage that will last throughout their lives.

Therefore, due to the sacrifices of Prophet Muhammad and his Companions, as well as the sacrifices of Prophet Ibrahim, Prophet Ismail and Hajar (peace be upon them), their trust in Allah Ta‘ala, and their love for Allah Ta‘ala, has enlightened my dream of going for Hajj. However, before I fulfill my dream, Insha Allah I will make sure that my parents perform Hajj. May Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta‘ala) make this dream come true. Ameen.

Rabi‘ Thani 1424, June 2003

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