Haj an obligation, do not take it lightly

I respond to Your call my Lord, I respond to You. There is no deity save You. All praise, grace and dominion belong to You. You have no partners."

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Published: Fri 2 Jan 2004, 11:16 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:16 AM

All Praise is to The Creator Who owns and deserves every bit of it. Each and every thing around us glorifies His Greatness and in its own tongue extols Allah's Attributes. The human being has been blessed to acknowledge his Lord through observation and knowledge. Yet, it is only the guided that humbly submit whole-heartedly to The Irresistible and bear witness to the Message of Ibrahim (Abraham). May Allah bless the holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) for showing us the way to this monotheistic message.

Every year, millions of pilgrims set off towards the House of Allah echoing the above quoted words.

As revelation has it, when Prophet Ibrahim completed the structure of the Kabah, Allah commanded him to call the people to Haj. Ibrahim, grasping the universality of this monotheistic relationship, pleaded, "O Allah! How shall my voice reach all of those people?" Allah revealed that his duty was only to give the call and it was up to Allah Himself to make it reach the people!

Ibrahim then climbed Mount Arafat and called out in his loudest voice, "O People! Verily Allah has prescribed upon you Haj, so perform Haj."

Glorified is Allah Who has revealed in the Quran:

"And proclaim the Haj among mankind. They will come to thee on foot and (mounted) on every camel, lean on account of journeys through deep and distant mountain highways" (Quran, 22:28).

This year as well, millions of Muslims will continue to answer the call of Prophet Ibrahim. Yes, times have changed and a greater number of pilgrims arrive through air. Blessed is He Who has made for us possible to travel to His House from distant land in the shortest time. Perfect is Allah Who calls us to His House in comfort and dignity.

Yet many able Muslims take this Pillar of Islam lightly and do not embark upon this journey despite these technological blessings. Having the wealth and means to undertake the noblest of journeys, their itineraries tell a different story. With thousands of miles logged under their 'frequent flier' belts, not one has them pointing towards the House of Allah!

The journey to the House of Allah (SWT) should not merely be taken to become a Haji but rather one should carefully analyse what The All-Knowing has revealed:

"This day have I perfected your religion for you; completed my favour upon you; and have chosen for you Islam as your religion." (Quran, 5:3)

One of the great virtues of Haj is that this verse announcing the completion of the Deen was revealed at the time of Haj. Imam Ghazali (may Allah be pleased with all Muslim scholars and make us from those who benefit from them) writes in his 'Ihyaa': "Haj is one of the fundamental principles of Islam. Upon it the foundation of Islam became completed and upon it the Deen was completed. It was at the time of Haj that this verse was revealed!"

The able Muslim should remember that Haj is one of the five institutions of Islam. The performance of Haj is an enjoined duty and its superiority lies in the following statement of Allah:

"Haj (pilgrimage) to the House (Kabah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the journey. And whoever disbelieves (that is, denies Haj) then he is a disbeliever of Allah and Allah stands not in need of any of His Creature." (Quran, 3:97)

Pilgrimage is a duty to be performed at least once in a lifetime by every adult Muslim, man or woman, who is of sound mind and able to undertake it. It is highly important that every Muslim who has fulfilled the conditions which make him "able" to perform pilgrimage should do so as soon as possible. If he postpones offering this duty from one year to another, he may die before he has fulfilled his duty. He then meets his Lord having neglected a main pillar of Islam. It may also happen that a person who slackens reaches old age; an age when trips are not enjoyable and pilgrimage becomes doubly difficult!

Dear readers, we will cover various aspects of Haj in the days to come. May Allah make us from those who heed the call of Prophet Ibrahim and make us from the righteous. - Abid Ishaq

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