Every Muslim anywhere in the world is obliged to perform the Hajj (sacred pilgrimage) to Mecca where the House of Allah, the Ka’ba is situated. The pilgrimage to Mecca is a conditional one and if the pilgrimage exceeds the financial, and physical condition of a Muslim, he is not expected to perform the Hajj. Allah says in the “Holy Quran”
“The men owe a duty to Allah to take the journey to perform Hajj of the House of Allah, if they can afford the journey” (Surah Al-Imran verse-97)
The Hajj of Muslims is not simply a visit to the holy place, as pilgrimage is understood in Christianity, nor is it a participation in a ritual as understood in Judaism. The Haj timing is absolutely fixed, and it cannot be performed except on the eighth, ninth and tenth days of the last month of the Muslim year (Dhul-Hajja). It is a binding upon the Muslims to perform it on the prescribed days and time. If any Muslim makes journey to Ka’aba except these days, it will not be called a Hajj.
When a Muslim makes the pilgrimage and performs Hajj, he does so for two reasons. The first to fulfill commandment of Allah, his Lord and Creator, and secondly, to be among the assembly of other believers where all them utter the same words of prayer and humility.
“Labbaika Allah-Umma labbaika, la sharika la-ka labbaika,
(Here am I, o Allah! here am I in thy Presence, there is no associate with Thee, here am I.)
The Quran is our most certain testimony to the significance of the Hajj. Our beloved Prophet Mohammed (SAW) taught us the importance of the Hajj in our lives. He followed the religion of Prophet Abraham (AS) and extended it to us. He was concerned not only with reforming the beliefs, ways of life and practices of his people but also brought Islam and made it a great religion for us to follow. But do we follow it now in the right standpoint? We observe that every year millions of people make pilgrimage to Ka’aba and learn and practice the true spirit of Islam. It is a great sight to watch that all Muslims, black and white, Arab and non-Arab are together and there is a feeling of fraternity. They forget that they are from different countries, regions, cultures and colors. They validate oneness and exhibit an aptitude of unification for the cause of Islam. They pray for an end to the sufferings of the Muslim brethren and others everywhere in the world.
But it is perceived that after the flight from Allah’s House to the respective countries , the spirit of the Hajj is lost. Some of them may be reformed in their personal acts but it is usually observed that their attitude towards the sufferings of the people does not get nearer to the reality. They fail to recall that they entered into a covenant with Allah in His “Sacred House” to bring a change among themselves and work for the cause of the Ummah. It is due to this unchanged slant of the Muslims that corruption, prejudice, hoarding, black marketing, exploitation, obscene activities still persist in our societies. It would be a great blessing if the pilgrims follow everything practically what they learn during the Hajj.
We don’t comprehend the true meaning of the Hajj and have got estranged from the supreme advices and teachings which Prophet (SAW) gave during the last Hajj at Arafat where he said, “O people! Your Allah is one and your ancestor is also one. The most respected before Allah amongst you is one who fears also. . No Arab has preference over a Non – Arab. No white is superior to a black. Allah sees the deeds of people and the best among you is whose deeds are good. I have left behind two things- the Quran and the Sunnah, if you follow them you can not deviate and astray.”
We need to change after performing Hajj so that the real purpose is achieved.