The Importance of Salāh during Hajj

By Shaykh Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

Throughout the world, thousands are graced every year by Allāh ta‘ālā to carry out one of the greatest obligations and worships – hajj. The many virtues and rewards related to this great act of worship have been mentioned in the last issue. However, for hajj to be accepted and for one to reap all its spiritual fruits, it will need to be performed with due care, ensuring that all its rituals are carried out correctly, along with assuring that no sin is committed. The Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said:

Whoever performs hajj for the sake of pleasing Allāh, and therein utters no word of evil, nor commits any evil deed, shall return from it free from sin as the day on which his mother gave birth to him. (Al-Bukhārī, Muslim)

He sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam also said:

There is no reward for a mabrūr hajj except Jannah. (Al-Bukhārī, Muslim)

The ‘Ulamā have stated that a mabrūr hajj is that in which a person carries out all the rituals of hajj properly and does not disobey Allāh ta‘ālā. It is saddening to see that we spend thousands of pounds to fulfil this important obligation, yet we become negligent with regards to certain important commands of Allāh ta‘ālā, consequently becoming deprived of the spirituality of hajj and adversely polluting our hearts with sin, rather than enriching them with the spiritual vibes of hajj.

In this article I would like to address an issue in which much negligence has become prevalent on the part of many of my brothers and sisters undertaking this sacred journey.

Salāh – A Fundamental Worship

Salāh is a fundamental worship – a pillar of Islām, the significance of which needs no elaboration. Allāh ta‘ālā has commanded us over and over again to perform salāh. In the glorious Qur’ān, the order of establishing salāh has been repeated at least 15 times. The extreme importance of salāh can easily be understood from the many warnings of the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam in regards to missing it:

•   “Verily, between a person and kufr and shirk, is leaving salāh.” (Muslim) This hadīth warns that discarding salāh destroys the barrier between a person and kufr or shirk; he can easily fall into disbelief ignoring this important pillar of Islām.

•   “Whoever misses a salāh, it is as if he has lost all his family and wealth.” (Ahmad and Al-Bayhaqī)  From this hadīth we learn that the ultimate loss incurred by missing one salāh is in no way less than the loss of the whole family and all wealth.

Moreover, there are many virtues mentioned regarding this great worship:

•   “Allāh has ordained five salāhs upon His servants. Whoever brings them to Allāh, not having missed any of them out of levity, will have a covenant with Allāh that He will enter him into Jannah. Whoever does not bring them, will not have [such] a covenant with Allāh; if He wishes He will punish him, and if He so wishes He will enter him into Jannah.” (Abū Dāwūd and An-Nasa’ī)

•   Once the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam asked his Sahābah radhiyallāhu ‘anhum, “Do you believe that dirt can remain on a person bathing five times a day in a brook running in front of his door?” “No”, replied the Sahābah radhiyallāhu ‘anhum, “No dirt can remain on his body.” The Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam remarked, “So, likewise [is the effect of] salāh offered five times a day. Through it, Allāh washes away all sins.” (Muslim)

Despite these virtues and warnings, we become negligent with regards to salāh during the blessed journey of hajj. Some common instances are:

•   Motorway and Airport

     When travelling, we seldom keep salāh in mind. Salāh is not a factor when planning out travel arrangements. If our travel arrangements are such that we have to perform salāh at the cafe or the airport, then this becomes a great burden on us and many people will just omit the salāh altogether. We are very fortunate that dedicated spaces are now available at airports with ablution facilities where we can perform salāh in relative peace and seclusion, and so there should be no excuse to miss it out.

•   Aeroplane

     This is also another place where we become negligent with regards to salāh. Even religious people are found wanting in this regard. For many it is a factor of inferiority complex and insecurity in expressing ones religious beliefs. For others it is just a matter of it being inconvenient.

     The flight staff should be approached in a respectable manner and requested to arrange an appropriate place to perform salāh. Merely assuming that it is too inconvenient is unacceptable. Alhamdulillāh, in all my travels, I have never been declined such a request. The aeroplanes nowadays accommodate the need of a person to perform salāh.

•   Madīnah – Al-Hujjāj

     In the hajj terminal at the Jeddah Airport, much confusion and hustle bustle is observed, both on arrival and departure.  At this time, one needs to keep a cool head and not let the situation get the better of him. Many fall prey to the commotion at this place and, in making arrangements for travel, food etc. end up committing sins, and especially neglecting their salāh.

     This is our condition despite being very close to the blessed places and every facility being available, to the extent that even the adhān is called out. May Allāh have mercy on us.

•   In Makkah and Al-Madīnah

     Performing salāh in the two harams is worthy of great reward. The Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said, “One salāh in this masjid of mine (Al-Masjid An-Nabawī) is better than a thousand prayers in any other, except for Al-Masjid Al-Harām.” (Al-Bukhārī and Muslim) The actual virtue of performing salāh in Al-Masjid Al-Haram is understood from another hadīth to be 100,000 times more than any other. (Ibn Mājah) Despite there being such a great virtue, many people are observed missing salāh altogether. How grieving it is that we should have such a disregard for a fundamental pillar of Islām even in sacred places! Indeed, we are inviting the wrath of Allāh. ‘Umar radhiyallāhu ‘anhu said, “O people of Makkah! Fear Allāh with regards to this haram of yours! Do you know who resided in this haram before you? Such and such a tribe was residing in it, and they violated its sanctity and so were destroyed…” he then went on mentioning a number of tribes, and then said, “By Allāh! That I commit ten sins outside Makkah is more desirable to me than that I commit even one inside Makkah!”(Ibn Abī Shaybah and Al-Bayhaqī)

     The importance of salāh and the great virtue for it in the haram should compel us to ensure we perform every salāh there, let alone miss it altogether or even perform it elsewhere. Even if our place of residence is at a considerable distance from the haram, we should endeavour to make it there to reap the rewards. After all, we are closer than most, and may never get the opportunity again in our lives.

     Similarly, if we happen to go for ziyārah anywhere, we should arrange it at a time when we are unlikely to miss any salāh with jamā‘ah in the haram.

     It is unfortunate to note that some people miss their salāh in Al-Masjid Al-Harām due to being pre-occupied with shopping, or going to dine further away from the vicinity of the haram. This is inexcusable and completely incomprehensible, and should never happen. Lā hāwla walā quwwata illā billāh.

•   Travelling During the Days of Hajj

     Another instance where there is much neglect in salāh is whilst travelling during hajj, between the different places, e.g. going to and returning from Tawāf-Az-Ziyārah. It is often found that whilst stuck in traffic, the times of different salāhs pass, but hardly anyone has alighted from their means of conveyance to perform salāh.

     Similarly, on the final day of hajj, the 12th of Dhul-Hijjah, in a mad rush to get back to Makkah and out of Minā, people leave in large numbers for Makkah, resulting in much congestion. Whilst stuck in traffic, the adhān for the Maghrib salāh is heard, but no-one leaves their vehicles to perform salāh. It is observed that the traffic remains at a standstill till the ‘Ishā salāh and beyond, yet no one has come out of their vehicles and performed Maghrib. How sad that we have just pelted the Jamarāt, and expressed our resolve in not falling prey to Shaytān, only to make him happy in the next hour!

Salāh was at the forefront of our pious elders in every circumstance. ‘Umar radhiyallāhu ‘anhu, expressing the importance of salāh, wrote to his governors during his reign of khilāfah, stating, “Verily, the most important of your affairs to me is salāh; whoever safeguards it and is punctual upon it, safeguards his Dīn, and whoever lets it slip, he is likely to let slip other things too.” (Mālik)

It has been recorded regarding Shaykh Mawlānā Khalīl Ahmad Sahrānpūrī rahimahullāh that he would perform all his salāh in the haram, in the first row, on the right side of the imām, whatever the circumstance. Even in the scorching heat of Arabia when the ground would become so hot that putting ones foot down would cause burns and scolds, he would hastily tip toe towards the first row and ensure that he would be standing close to the imām.

Whilst travelling, he would also be particular about performing salāh with congregation. It has been written about his travelling to Al-Madīnah that he would get off his camel for every salāh and perform it with congregation. Getting on and off a camel during travel is not an easy task, and many a young and strong are fearful of endeavouring such an act, but Mawlānā Khalīl Ahmad rahimahullāh was observed to be mounting and dismounting for every salāh to perform it in its preferred time with congregation. He would dismount his camel, perform wudū, thereafter run and advance further than where the camels had reached, and perform salāh with congregation. When the camels then passed him during salāh, after finishing he would again run a considerable distance ahead of them and perform his sunan mu’akkadah. Meanwhile, the camels would have passed him so he would run and once again mount the camel.

I myself have observed the late Shaykh Mawlānā As‘ad Madanī rahimahullāh that he would search various flight options when planning his journey, to determine in which option he would miss the least amount of salāh with jamā‘ah, and he would take such an option although it meant he may have to incur a larger expense.

These pious servants of Allāh ta‘ālā were so particular in regards to salāh that the missing of the first takbīr would grieve them. At an event in Darul Uloom Deoband, Shaykh Mawlānā Rashīd Ahmad Gangohī rahimahullāh got held back a little due to the large crowd trying to meet him, and was unable to join the row when the Imām said the first takbīr. Upon this he was much grieved. (Tadhkiratur Rashīd)

Allāh ta‘ālā’s Command is not something which we should take lightly; we should not be embarrassed in fulfilling the Commands of Allāh ta‘ālā at any given time or place. If it is a matter of inconvenience, then too the obligation of salāh is not excused, and should not be missed. Even an ill person is not excused from salāh to the extent that if he/she is only capable of performing salāh by indication, he/she will still be obliged.

May Allāh ta‘ālā instil in us all the importance of this great worship, and make us all true establishers of salāh. Āmīn.

© Riyādul Jannah 


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