The Journey of a Pilgrim

 The Journey of a Pilgrim
  • Publish date:20/10/2012
  • Section:Highlights
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He leaves his house happy and contented. He has pledged to his Lord to try hard to make his Hajj Mabroor (i.e., accepted by Allah The Almighty, performed with the intention of seeking His pleasure only and not to show off, without committing a sin and in accordance with the traditions of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention )). He dreams of all the good deeds he will perform to please Allah The Almighty and arrives at the airport feeling as if the heavens and earth are congratulating him on Hajj.

Tension:

At the airport, he has his first brush with reality, when he experiences the extreme overcrowding and flight delays. At first, he attempts to be patient but with the passage of time, he starts running out of patience, especially as all those around him begin to grumble and lose their temper and the atmosphere becomes tense. His eyes survey the pilgrims as they jostle amongst themselves roughly. Some of them start fighting with those responsible for this delay and when he is about to join them, he remembers the verse in which Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {…so whoever has made Hajj obligatory upon himself therein [by entering the state of Ihraam], there is [to be for him] no sexual relations and no disobedience and no disputing during Hajj.} [Quran 2:197]

Thus, he stays in his place glorifying and remembering Allah The Almighty, finding solace in the verse in which Allah The Exalted Says (what means): {...And remember Allah during [specific] numbered days....} [Quran 2:203] He finds it to be his best friend and companion, just like the other verse in which Allah The Most Merciful Says (what means): {...And whatever good you do - Allah knows it....} [Quran 2:197]

This verse urges him to help the others calm down and contain their anger with soothing words, until some of his companions in the hall lowered their voices, seeking the forgiveness of their Lord. He remembered the saying (what means): {…And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is fear of Allah….} [Quran 2:197]

Change of Conditions:

He takes out a book from the folds of his clothing to read the order of the rituals of Hajj and the supplications of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ). Then, he starts reminding pilgrims of this and they listen to him with rapt attention, their angry expressions changing to cheerful ones and their shouts turning to whispers of remembering Allah The Almighty, praying and asking Him to confer His blessings upon His Messenger  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ). They are encompassed by a cloud of tranquility when recalling the verse in which Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {…And fear Me, O you of understanding…} [Quran 2:197]

Time passes quickly and it is time for the plane to take off. People rush towards the plane, attempting to precede one another. He allows them to pass him, while remembering, praising and glorifying Allah The Almighty, thus abiding by the verse (what means): {…and mention the Name of Allah on known days….} [Quran 22:28]

When he enters the plane, he observes a chaotic scene: everybody is trying to sit in the plane with no order or numbering, even in the first class, whoever bagged the seat and was able to sit there had "won" – or so it seemed. The competition was intense and one brother even started quarrelling with another. For what? For a seat which they would leave after a short while? At this, he remembered the Hadeeth in which the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: "‘The Mabroor Hajj has no reward other than Paradise.’ It was said, ‘How can it be Mabroor?’ He said: ‘By feeding the needy and speaking kindly to people.’" So where was ‘kind speech’ in this spectacle? He smiles when he remembers the noble verse which he wanted to act upon and apply (what means): {…but righteousness is [in] one who fears Allah…} [Quran 2:189]

He remembers and glorifies Allah The Almighty and keeps walking quietly until he takes the seat upon which he should have sat, by the will of Allah The Almighty, whether he had rushed or not. The plane took off and the pilgrims recited the supplication (what means): {…"Exalted is He Who has subjected this to us, and we could not have [otherwise] subdued it. And indeed we, to our Lord, will [surely] return."} [Quran 43:13-14]

Practical Examination:

The pilgrims remembered the Hadeeth in which the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) says: "‘No one pronounces Tahleel (saying, La Ilaaha Illallah (none is worthy of worship except Allah)) except that he would receive glad tidings.’ The people asked, ‘Of Paradise, O Messenger of Allah?’ He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) replied: ‘Yes.’" [At-Tabaraani, with an authentic chain of narrators]

The plane arrives at Jeddah Airport and they are obliged, due to the crowd, to stay in the arrival hall until Allah The Almighty encompasses them in His mercy. Hour after hour passes while they see nothing but walls and seats and their eyes are fixed on the same door, all hoping that it would open to start the departure procedure. This delay is a practical examination to test if the hearts have attained piety, which has been mentioned repeatedly by Allah The Almighty in the verses of Hajj, almost nine times. Indeed, how can Allah The Almighty alone be in the heart of the pilgrim, if he does not remember anything but Him and does not think about anything except obeying and pleasing Him?

Occupying Oneself with Allah The Almighty:

He tells himself, "If I occupy myself with Allah The Almighty in a way that fills my heart and controls my actions, He will certainly help me. As long as Allah The Almighty is with you, don't worry about anything else." After this inner dialog, he feels calm and purposeful.

However, some of the pilgrims, in spite of their Ihraam (the sacral state), lose their temper and patience and start grumbling and complaining, to the extent that some of them, in their rage forget to remember Allah The Almighty. While others would recite Tahleel from time to time, their hearts were occupied with things other than Allah The Almighty.

Eventually, because every trouble comes to an end, the departure procedures were finally over and the group headed towards Makkah. Within just a few hours of their journey, some of the pilgrims had lost their provisions of righteousness over minor issues. Pilgrims face minor problems continuously during the Hajj, and they should be aware of these to avoid losing their composure, and consequently, their reward.

Buses start approaching the Sacred Mosque and our pilgrim is still reciting the Talbiyah (saying “Labbayka Allahumma Labbayk, Labbayka laa Shareeka laka Labbayk, Inna al-Hamda wan-Ni’mata laka wal-Mulk, laa Shareeka lak”), glorifying and remembering Allah The Almighty, and shedding tears with humble submissiveness.

When the bus arrives at the building where the pilgrims are to reside during the period of Hajj, they start putting away their luggage while the hearts of some of them are still attached to the world and they start quarreling over the accommodation. This happens at a time when they are preparing for Tawaaf (circumambulation), prayer and Sa’y. This is how Satan works, conniving to distract us from the purpose for which we have come. He keeps away, repeating in his heart and upon his tongue, "Labbayka Allahumma Labbayk, Labbayka laa Shareeka laka Labbayk, Inna al-Hamda wan-Ni‘mata laka wal-Mulk laa Shareeka lak (O Allah! I hasten to You. You have no partner. I hasten to You. All praise and grace belong to You and the Sovereignty too; You have no partner)."

He sits quietly, waiting for his turn to use the bathroom, keeping Satan away by remembering Allah The Almighty and reciting Talbiyah. He remembers the Hadeeth of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) in which he says: "The Mabroor Hajj has no reward other than Paradise."

There are many afflictions on the path to an accepted Hajj. Pilgrims must remember that if the pleasure of Allah The Almighty is the only purpose of this blessed journey, then piety is one of the necessities that should accompany the obligation of Hajj.

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