Brothers and sisters
in Islam! What are the blessings of Hajj? One may describe them in great detail. But, in the Qur’an, where Allah instructs
Ibrahim to invite people to come to Hajj, it is said: [So that they may witness things that are of benefit to them]
(Al-Hajj 22: 28).
Hence, the real
blessings of Hajj can only be experienced by those who actually perform it. Imam Abu Hanifah, it is narrated, was unsure which
act of worship was more excellent among the various ones laid down by Islam. But once he had performed Hajj, he had no hesitation
in declaring that Hajj was the most excellent of all.
Still, I shall
now try to give you, briefly, some idea of its blessings.
We usually think
of journeys as of two kinds: those made for business and those made for pleasure. In both cases, it is to fulfill your worldly
desires and benefit yourselves that you leave your homes, separate from families, spend money-all is done for your own sake.
No question arises of sacrifice for any higher, sublime purpose.
But the journey
that is the Hajj is quite different in nature. This is not meant for any personal end. It is undertaken solely for Allah and
the fulfillment of the duty prescribed by Allah. Nobody can be prepared to undertake this journey until and unless he has
love of Allah in his heart, as well as fear of Him, and is convinced that Allah wants him to do what he is doing. That you
are willing to bear the privations arising from separation from your family, to incur great expenses on a journey that will
bring no material rewards, and to suffer any loss of business or job, all are signs of certain inner qualities: that you love
and fear Allah more than anything, that you have a strong sense of duty to Him, that you are willing to respond to His summons
and ready to sacrifice your material comforts in His cause.
Virtue and Piety
You will find that
your love of Allah heightens as you start preparing for your pilgrimage journey with the sole intention of pleasing Allah.
With your heart longing to reach your goal, you become purer in thought and deed. You repent for past sins, seek forgiveness
from people whom you might have wronged, and try to render your due to others where necessary so as not to go to Allah’s
court burdened with injustices that you may have done to your fellow beings. In general, the inclination to do good intensifies
and abhorrence of doing evil increases.
After leaving home,
the closer you get to the House of Allah, the more intense becomes your desire to do good. You become careful so that you
harm nobody while you try to render whatever service or help you can to others. You avoid abuse, indecency, dishonesty, squabbles,
and bickering because you are proceeding on the path of Allah. Thus your entire journey constitutes an act of worship. How,
then, can you do wrong? This journey, in contrast to every other, is a continuing course through which a Muslim attains a
progressive purification of the self. On this journey, then, you are pilgrims to Allah.
The Impact of Hajj
It is now easy
to see that for two or three months, from the time of deciding and preparing for Hajj to the time of returning home, a tremendous impact is made on
the hearts and minds of pilgrims. This process entails sacrifice of time, sacrifice of money, sacrifice of comfort, and sacrifice
of many physical desires and pleasures- and all this simply for the sake of Allah, with no worldly or selfish motive.
Together with a
life of sustained piety and virtuousness, the constant remembrance of Allah and the longing and love for Him in the pilgrim
leave a mark on his heart which lasts for years. The pilgrim witnesses at every step the imprints left by those who sacrificed
everything of theirs in submission and obedience to Allah. They fought against the whole world, suffered hardships and tortures,
were condemned to banishment, but ultimately did make the word of Allah supreme and did subdue the false powers that wanted
man to submit to entities other than Allah.
The lesson in courage
and determination, the impetus to strive in the way of Allah, which a devotee of Allah can draw from these clear signs and
inspiring examples, can hardly be available from any other source. The attachment developed with the focal point of his religion
by walking round the Ka`bah (Tawaf), and the training received to live a mujahid’s life through the rites of Hajj (such
as running from place to place and repeated departures and halts) are great blessings indeed.
Combined with the
Prayer, fasting and almsgiving (zakah), and looked at as a whole, you will see that Hajj constitutes a preparation for the
great task, which Islam wants Muslims to do. This is why it has been made compulsory for all who have the money and the physical
fitness for the journey to the Ka`bah. This ensures that, in every age, there are Muslims who have passed through this training.
Hajj: A Collective Worship
The great blessings
of spiritual and moral regeneration, which Hajj imparts to each person, are before you. But you cannot fully appreciate the
blessings of Hajj unless you keep in view the fact that Muslims do not perform it individually: hundreds of thousands perform
it communally during the time fixed for it. At one stroke Islam achieves not one or two but a thousand purposes.
of performing the Prayer singly are by no means small, but by making it conditional with congregation and by laying down the
rule of Imamah (leadership in the Prayer) and by gathering huge congregations for the Friday and `Eid Prayers, its benefits
have been increased many times. The observance of the fasting individually is no doubt a major source of moral and spiritual
training, but by prescribing that all Muslims must fast in the month of Ramadan those benefits have been greatly increased.
The almsgiving, too, has many advantages even if dispensed individually, but with the establishment of a centralized bayt
al-mal (Treasury of the Islamic state) for its collection and disbursement, its usefulness is increased beyond measure.
The same is true
of Hajj. If everyone were to perform it singly, the effect on individual lives would still be great. But making it a collective
act enhances its effectiveness to a point, which gives it a new dimension altogether.
minor corrections from Let Us Be Muslims, by Sayyid Abul A’la Mawdudi
 This was the average duration of time required to perform Hajj in 1938, when
this address was delivered. In this jet age it may take as few as seven days.