Allah the Exalted One says: Verily, the first House (of worship) appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (Mecca), full of blessings, and guidance for Al-Alamin (the mankind and Jinns). In it is manifest signs for example, the Maqam place of Ibrahim (Abraham); whoever enters it, he attains security. And Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) to the House (Ka’bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the expenses for one’s conveyance, provision and residence; and whoever disbelieves (i.e denies Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca), then he is a disbeliever of Allah, then Allah stands not in need of any of the Alamin (mankind and jinns).” (Al-‘Imran, 3: 96-97)
DEFINITION OF HAJJ
The majority of the scholars hold that Hajj was prescribed in the sixth year after Hijrah for it was then that the following verse concerning it was revealed. “And perform properly (i.e. all the ceremonies according to the ways of Prophet Muhammad), the Hajj and Umrah (i.e. the pilgrimage to Mecca) for Allah.”(Al-Baqarah, 2:196). This conclusion is based on the understanding that the “completion” in the above verse in fact refers to the time when it was first made obligatory. This view is also supported by ‘Alqamah, Masruq, and Ibrahim An-Nakh’y, who substitute “And establish “for “And complete” in the above verse, as reported by At-Tabarany on sound authority. Ibnul-Qayyim, however, is inclined to the view that Hajj was made obligatory in the ninth or the tenth year of Hijrah.
EXCELLENCE OF HAJJ
The Divine Law Giver exhorted Muslims to perform Hajj. In this regard we may refer to the following:
HAJJ-One of the Best Deeds
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was once asked: “What is the best deed?” He replied: “To have faith in Allah and His Messengers.” The enquirer asked: “What next?” the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “To strive in the cause of Allah.” “What is the next best thing?” He replied: “Hajj Mabrur (a faultless Hajj that is free of sin and is graced with Divine acceptance and pleasure).” Al-Hasan said: “It means that a person after performance of Hajj should desire and be inclined to the life of the Hereafter rather than the material pleasures of this world.” Another report transmitted on sound authority from the Prophet (peace be upon him) says that a righteous performance of Hajj is crowned by feeding the needy and speaking kind words to men.
HAJJ: A Form of Jihad
Al-Hasan bin ‘Aly says that a man came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said: “I am a coward and a weak person. Is there anything I can do? The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “You may go for a Jihad (striving) that involves no fighting, that is Hajj.” This is reported by Abdur-Razzaq and At-Tabarany and all its narrators are trustworthy.Abu Hurairah narrates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Hajj is the jihad for the old, the weak and the woman. A’ishah reports that she once said: “O Prophet of Allah! Jihad (striving or fighting in the cause of Allah) is the best deed. Should we (women) then, not actively participate in it?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “The best jihad for you is Hajj Mabrur. In another report A’ishah says: “ I once asked the Prophet (peace be upon him). “O Prophet of Allah!Should not we (women) strive and actively participate in the Islamic war with you? The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied:“The best and the most beautiful striving for you in the cause of Allah is Hajj Mabrur.”A’ishah commented: “After hearing this from the Prophet (peace be upon him) I shall never cease performing Hajj.”
HAJJ WIPES OFF PAST SINS
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “He who performs Hajj for Allah’s pleasure and avoids all lewdness and sins will return after Hajj free from all sins as he was the day his mother gave birth to him.” Amr bin Al-As says: “When Allah guided me to Islam, I went to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said to him: ‘O Prophet of Allah! Stretch out your hand so that I may pledge my allegiance to you. The Prophet (peace be upon him) stretched out his hand to me, but I withdrew my hand. The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked: ‘O Amr! What is the matter with you? I said: I would like to stipulate a condition! The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked: “What is it? I said: That all my past sins be forgiven! The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: ‘O Amr! Do you not know that Islam wipes off all past sins, and hijrah (leaving one’s home and hearth for Allah’s cause) wipes off all sins, and similarly Hajj wipes off all past sins.” The reward for Hajj Mabrur is nothing short of Paradise.
To be continued