Hajj: Pilgrimage to Makkah
Hajj is the fifth pillar of the Islamic faith. It was made obligatory for the Muslims during the sixth century Hijri. It is considered as one of the most virtuous practices of Islam. Once the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was asked what practice was the best. He replied that Imaan (faith) was the greatest virtue. After that what? He was asked again. He replied: Hajj-i-Mabrur [impeccable pilgrimage to Makkah ] (Al-Bukhari & Muslim). It refers to a pilgrimage which is performed immaculately without committing any oversight or sin. It is narrated through Hadrat Ayesha (RadhiAllahu Anha) that once she asked the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam): O Messenger of Allah, if Jihad is the most virtuous practice should we (women folk) engage in Jihad? He said no. But perform the Hajj-i-Mabrur as it is the most virtuous practice (Al-Bukhari & Muslim). The Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said that anyone who performs Hajj without indulging in bodily pleasures and committing a sin returns from it purified of all sins like he was clean of all sins on the day of his birth (Al-Bukhari & Muslim). Pointing out the virtue and impact of Hajj and Umrah the Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: If somebody performs Umrah then performs another Umrah the latter Umrah expiates for all the sins committed by him between the two Umrahs. And the reward of Hajj-i-Mabrur is only Paradise (Al-Bukhari & Muslim). He further said that those who perform Hajj and Umrah are the guests of Allah. Since they visit His house at His call. Whatever they supplicate for, Allah will surely grant them (Al-Bazzar). Hajj is the best medium of purification of inner souls. It cleanses hearts and solemnizes intentions. The performer of Hajj becomes capable of suffering hardships and pains in the way of Allah. It cultivates in him the habit of tolerance and forbearance. Hajj prepares men for absolute submission before Allah and true obedience of His Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). By performing Hajj a devotee expresses his gratitude to the Almighty for all the bounty, peace and security He has bestowed upon him. Hajj also represents an annual congregation of the Muslims from all parts of the world. On this occasion the assembled devotees present a unique spectacle of human unity, equality and fraternity irrespective of their racial, national, ethnic, cultural and linguistic differences. They also join their hands in spreading the mission of Islam. They get acquainted with each other and become aware of their problems and difficulties and find ways to resolve them.