Hajj and its significance

In the real and true state of Haj there is a matter of fact a pattern of two scenes, and in each and every act of Haj there are two implied realities. In every one of Allah’s commands there are manifold benefits and much wisdom, of which the significance’s and deeper meanings are mostly of such depth that our minds cannot conceive them. But many of the inner meanings on the other hand are such that everyone’s mind can comprehend. Haj is such that most of the significance and wisdom that lies in its each and every act is not easily understood, while many other of its meanings and wisdom can easily be grasped. Firstly, haj depicts death; i.e. our departure from this world and the circumstances after death. Secondly, it gives a very vivid practical description of true love, devotion and adoration.

Let us see how haj depicts death and the hereafter. A haaji leaves his home, bids farewell to all his loved ones and relatives; and departs from them just before he sets off alone. From there he proceeds to another country (as if into another world) leaving behind all those things to which he had been attached and with which he occupied most of his time; his house, his family and the company of his friends. Death is the same. Therefore, when a person dies he leaves behind all this, his home, his family, friends, country and everything he loves. Such should the haajis thought be when leaving for the house of Allah, that in the same way as he is now leaving all worldly things behind for a short period of time, that time shall soon come when without choice he shall have to leave them forever.

After that the haaji boards his car, train or aeroplane, which begins to move him further and further away from his house and dear ones. So will his dear ones, relatives and friends lift his janazah. Having lifted it to their shoulders they will begin to move him further and further away from everything that he loved. So he departs like the janazah being carried to the grave.

Some would come to bid farewell at home, some will go as far as the station and the real faithful ones may even go further, up to the airport. The position of the deceased and his friends is similar to that. Some will only come to the house to have a last look at him. Others will go a short way for the janazah prayers. The real friends will go as far as the grave, to place him inside and fill the grave with soil. The latter are like those faithful ones who will bid farewell at the docks or airport.

However on the boat (as well as in the grave) only those will accompany him, who could have been of assistance to him in this life only, whether that be a friend, a relative or wealth. With regard to the journey, some companions are such that at all times they will see to his comfort and happiness, thereby making the journey a happy and pleasant one. Others will be so ill tempered and quarrelsome that at every step they will make his journey a most unpleasant ordeal. Exactly so are the circumstances of the deceased one. With him will remain his deeds, which will abide with him till the end. His good deeds will indeed cause him great comfort and pleasure on the journey to the Hereafter, and his evil deeds will indeed cause him severe pain and suffering. The good deeds will remain with us in the grave in the form of a most handsome person, while evil deeds will remain with us in the grave in the form of a exceedingly ugly and fearsome person.

The greatest comfort a haaji enjoys in haj comes from the money and provisions, which are acquired by him before his departure. Likewise, the greatest comfort one enjoys in the life after death is that which comes from the good deeds performed before his death. Sometimes, in haj a person urgently requires more money; and you can imagine how happy one becomes if that which he needs urgently is sent to him by some near relative or friend. How thankful is one at that time? Similarly, how thankful will the deceased be if after his demise his relatives, his friends or his children give charity, or recite the Holy Quran etc; and prayed for the rewards and the blessings of that to be conveyed to him. These will surely reach him; because that is what our Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said. In the next stage the haaji has to pass through many perilous and unpleasant things. Thieves may rob him, ill-tempered government officials will search his luggage, query his documents etc. All these experiences remind us of varies scenes of the grave as when Munkar and Nakeer will come to question us; our iman will be tested; snakes and scorpions and various insects will be in the grave to punish us. In addition to this each one will have the book of his deeds with him.

The Holy Quran says: “Every man’s fate we have fastened on his own neck.” (Bani Isra’eel –13)

Certainly, many a well to do haaji; instead of having to go through all these bitter and unpleasant experiences goes through the normal passport, immigration and customs formalities unharassed; and experiencing no inconvenience reaches Hijaaz (his destination) in a short time. Likewise, those who toiled in this world and successfully accumulated many good deeds will not even feel the ordeal of being put to test by the questioning of Munkar and Nakeer; nor will they suffer other punishments of the grave on the journey to their destination – the Hereafter, which he will similarly reach in a short time. Then until Qiyaamah he will rest in great comfort like a bride on her first night delighted and happy: completely unaware of the hardships surrounding her. Then again for the haaji in the next stage the two white cloths worn by him as ihraam should always bring to mind the kafn he is to wear one day. When Labbaik (I am at Thy service; I am present) is being uttered aloud by him, he the haaji, should remember the day of Qiyaamah when all people will be called by the angel who will blow the horn, to assemble before Allah (SWT) for reckoning.

Entering Mecca is entrance to that realm where Allah’s (SWT) mercy is sought and assured. Yet, on account of our misdeeds we should be uneasy and overcome with grief; that we do not find peace even in a place of peace; but Mecca is a place of peace and security. Therefore, throughout the stay in Mecca we are reminded constantly of the fact that this place that offers peace to us is wholly due to the mercy and favours of Allah (SWT). Looking at the Ka’aba should again bring to mind the sighting of the master of the Ka’aba on the day of Qiyaamah. For this reason, looking at the Ka’aba should be done with great fear and respect, as in the case of watching a great king at the time of entering his court. Tawaaf of the Ka’aba should bring to mind those angels who continuously make the Tawaaf around Allah (SWT) throne at all times and will continue to do so. When the haaji holds the drapery of the Ka’aba with tears flowing down his cheeks, throwing himself against the Multazam, it calls to mind the picture of a sinner having sinned against a most kind, noble and generous Master. He now comes to that Master, holding on to his clothes, throwing himself down before Him, and tearfully begs for mercy and for forgiveness. This brings to mind how one will weep for one’s sins on the day of Qiyaama. When a haaji runs to and from between Safa and Marwa, it calls to mind those who will go running from place to place on the plain of Hash’r (assembly) on the day of Qiyaama.

“They will come forth – their eyes humbled – from their graves; like locusts scattered abroad.” (al-Qamar – 7)

This is what the Saee signifies. The story is told in full detail in the hadeeth, that on the day of Qiyaama, when all people will be greatly perplexed and worried as a result of unbearable and intensive hardships, and sufferings, they will decide to run to the Prophets (alaihi salaam), for them to intercede on their behalf because of being the near ones of Allah (SWT), having no blemishes, being pure of sin and transgression.

What else can the Arafat signify other then the Mah’shar – the plain where the reckoning shall take place? There at Arafat we see them all in one plain, with the sun shining from above. We see them begging for mercy, fearful of their sinful acts. Qiyaama will also be similar, only that it will be much more frightening and horrifying. In my humble opinion the thing that one should especially ponder over is the treaty made with Allah (SWT), before time itself was created by Him. Long before the creation of mankind, Allah (SWT) took an oath from the souls of all the human beings ever to appear on earth. In the words of the Holy Quran Allah (SWT) inquired from them: “Am I not your Sustainer?”; they replied: “Yes.” In Mishkaat we find a hadeeth related from Musnad Ahmad that the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “This oath was taken at Arafat.” In my personal opinion the day of Arafat should remind us of that covenant. The greatest thought should be given to this at Arafat. What pledge was taken from us; and to what extent did we fulfil the promise.

From Arafat the journey is towards Muzdalifah and Mina. Imam Ghazaali (RA) states that this vast crowd moving in their thousands, pleading in their different languages, behind their own Imams, each busy in his own activities brings to mind the picture of Qiyaamah even more vividly. There too we shall see them greatly perplexed, worried and in their great fear and anxiety we shall see them also behind their own Prophets (alaihi salaam), moving from place to place. Hence the haaji should adopt the greatest humbleness and humility at these stations.

That is how haj appears as a picture of Qiyaamah. A symbolic representation of what is to come to each of us. When we look at haj in this light numerous details of it become clear and understandable.Taken from Fazail-E-Haj
By Shaikhul Hadeeth Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya (RA)

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