A Brief Musing on Hajj

There is no better place for personal reflections at any given time than the Haram in Makkah. I truly miss those days. The peaceful and breathtaking ambiance in Makkah and Madinah made me realize yet again that we are all lone travellers in this world with one purpose. To a certain extent, Islam asks us to look out for each other, but each individual has a personal limit how far they will go for you and it is subjective.

It has been almost two months since my wife and I left the Haram. Personally, the Makkah-Madinah journeys have impacted my life immensely. Like many of us, I have been faced with difficult people and situations all of my life. Let’s make no mistake about it; whether it is at work or with family members, we all face difficult people in some aspects of our life. The only fact that keeps us intact is our firm believe in Allah SWT and our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). A recent encounter with some extremely difficult people refreshed my memories of those difficult people and situations I had to go through while in the Haram. I knew very well now that there were limits to how far someone will help you in this world.

Allah SWT states in the Qur’an: “O mankind! Fear your Lord! For the convulsion of the Hour (of Judgment) will be a thing terrible! (1) The Day you shall see it, every mother giving suck shall forget her suckling-babe, and every pregnant female shall drop her load (unformed): you shall see mankind as in a drunken riot, yet not drunk: but dreadful will be the Wrath of Allah.(2) [Surah Al-Hajj: 1-2]

Surah Hajj connects us to The Day of Judgment. A profound reflection of the meaning of the early verses allows us to weigh against the various stages of hajj to the state of the people on that Day. One of the features is that no man or woman will look out for another.

Ultimately, we have to look out for ourselves and reach our destination by ourselves. The only assistance that will come will be from Allah; for indeed Allah’s Mercy and Forgiveness supersede His Wrath.

The description of the Day of Judgment in the opening verses of Surah Hajj illustrates the day as when the mother will forget her baby who she is in the act of suckling. On that Day, every man and woman will be out for himself and herself in a state of disarray.

The illustration befits Hajj. During this time, even close friends and family members will leave each other as the pressure mounts on each of them to complete the next edification (manasik) in the allotted period. This is where it is extremely important for anyone who wishes to perform it to learn and reflect upon the philosophical underpinnings of each of the rituals during hajj. One will not be able to appreciate and benefit from this great act of worship if one falls short of merely memorizing the rituals and ignoring the larger picture.

The time and actions in hajj serve as a “training camp” which provides oneself not only a vast opportunity for spiritual enlightenment, but also to prepare in oneself love and consideration for one’s companions. Surah Hajj commences with a clear warning to fear Allah SWT, and to remember the Day of Judgment; Hajj illustrates it so clearly as no other ibadah ever can.

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