After Hajj…

Once again more than two million believers were honoured to become the ‘Guests of Allah’ and through Divine Guidance have completed the rituals of Hajj with great love and enthusiasm. How fortunate are these souls who are blessed with the following words from Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam:

Whoever performs Hajj for the Pleasure of Allah 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. Bukhaari, Muslim

Verily there shall be no reward for a Mabroor Hajj except Jannah. Bukhaari, Muslim

It is hoped that all the pilgrims were sincere in their intentions and had travelled thousands of miles only to secure the Pleasure of Allah by fulfilling the obligation laid down upon them. May Allah the Almighty grant all the pilgrims acceptance and grant them opportunity again and again to visit the Sacred Land. Aameen.

Nevertheless, I wish to draw the attention of the pilgrims towards certain points which are necessary and of utmost importance to observe about which many pilgrims seem to attach no importance.

Firstly, the sincerity of intention should remain even after the performance of Hajj. There should be no pomp or show. One should not wish to be called or recognised as a Haajji. Many people adopt the habit of talking frequently about their journey in order that people may come to know of their Hajj. They talk about the expenses incurred in the Way of Allah, their charity amongst the poor and needy, their devotion and worship, their assisting the weak and old, etc.; and all this is mentioned with the intention of gaining fame. This is a deceit from Shaytaan who ruins the ‘ibaadat of the person who is unaware of it. It is therefore of great importance that the pilgrim does not talk about his Hajj without necessity as it may lead to riyaa (show, insincerity). However, if necessity arises and one must talk about his Hajj then he is at liberty to do so. But, he must not indulge in this type of conversation unnecessarily.

Secondly, it is noted through experience, that many pilgrims return with nothing but the sad memories to reflect upon and this darkness filters through their tongues to the extent that they talk only about the hardships they have encountered during Hajj. The pilgrims should strictly refrain from this. On the contrary, they should talk about the greatness of the sacred places, the spiritual gains, the enjoyment in devotions of Haramayn ö Umrah, Tawaaf, Salaam on the Sacred Grave, Salaat in Masjidul Haraam and Masjidun Nabawi etc. If one looks at his journey of Hajj carefully he will find that the spiritual benefits far outweighs the physical hardships. Every second spent in these sacred places is incomparable with anything in the world. The journey of Hajj is a long journey; one has to travel by air, pass the immigrations, go through the customs, encounter people who speak foreign languages, etc. In these circumstances, difficulties are certain to arise. When we travel in our country, do we always travel with comfort and ease? Do we never encounter difficulty? Do we not find ourselves held up in traffic for hours on a Motorway? Considering the fact that 2-3 million pilgrims perform the rituals of Hajj at one time, in one place and that they all come from different countries and backgrounds and that many of them have never before used or seen the facilities available to them, I think the difficulties encountered are insignificant. Moreover, the pilgrims are rewarded abundantly by Allah ta‘aalaa upon every difficulty encountered in their journey whereas the same is not the case whilst we undertake other journeys.

Those people who engage in these types of conversation become the cause of discouragement to others who have not yet had the opportunity to perform Hajj. These unfortunate pilgrims fall into the category

…. and who stop (men) from the way of Allah, and from the Sacred Masjid, …

mentioned in Soorah Hajj in the Qur’aan. They should take heed that if people are discouraged by their conversation and postpone their Hajj then those who have discouraged them will be equally responsible.

Thirdly, the sign of a ‘Mabroor Hajj’ or ‘accepted Hajj’ is that upon one’s return, his life changes from worst to good. He becomes totally punctual in fulfilling the Commands of Allah ta‘aalaa. His love and inclination towards the Hereafter increases and love for the worldly pleasures decline. Therefore, it is essential that the pilgrim is watchful over his actions and conversations and should try his utmost to instil in himself good characters and refrain from all types of evil. He should endeavour to fulfill the obligations laid down by Allah and avoid all the things forbidden by Him.

The Powerful Nature of Istighfaar

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This story about “Istighfaar” is from the life of Imam Ahmed Bin Hanbal RH,who is considered as a renowned scholar of Islam and a famous theologian. Imam Ahmed RH is also considered to be the founder of the Hanbali school of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and is one of the most celebrated Sunni theologians, often referred to as the “Sheikh ul-Islam” or the “Imam of Ahl al-Sunnah.”

During his old age, while Imam Ahmed RH was travelling he stopped by a town. After the prayers, he wanted to stay for the night in the masjid yard because he didn’t know anyone in the town. Owing to his humility, he hadn’t introduced himself to anyone thinking that if he did, he would be welcomed by many people.

Failing to recognize Ahmed bin Hanbal RH, the caretaker of the mosque refused to let him stay in the mosque. As Imam Ahmed was quite old, the caretaker had to drag him out of the mosque. On seeing this, a baker from a nearby place felt pity for this man (Imam Ahmed) and offered to be the host to him for the night.

During his stay with the baker, Imam Ahmed RH observed that the baker would constantly recite Istighfar (seek forgiveness from Allah). Imam Ahmed RH asked the baker if the constant practice of saying Istighfar had any effect on him. The baker responded by telling Imam Ahmed RH that Allah had accepted all of his duas (supplications), except one. When he asked him what dua was it that hadn’t been accepted, the baker replied that he had been asking Allah to provide him the privilege to meet the famous scholar Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal RH.

On this, Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal RH said that Allah had not only listened to his dua but had dragged him onto his (the baker’s) doorsteps.

[Summarized from Al Jumuah magazine, vol 19, issue 7]

This story is a reminder of the power of saying Istighfaar (seeking forgiveness) frequently. Let’s remember that the prophet used to say Istighfaar frequently during the day.

Tafseer Al-Qurtubi states:

A man complained to Imam Hasan alBasri RH about a drought, and he said to him: “Pray to Allah for forgiveness.”

Another man complained to him of poverty and he said to him: “Pray to Allah to forgive you.”

Another man said to him: “Pray to Allah to bless me with a child.” He said: “Pray to Allah for forgiveness.”

Another complained to him that his garden was dry. He said to him: “Pray to Allah for forgiveness.”

He was asked about it and he said: “This is not my personal opinion, for Allah says in Surah Nooh (interpretation of the meaning): ‘Ask forgiveness from your Lord, verily, He is Oft Forgiving; He will send rain to you in abundance. And give you increase in wealth and children, and bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers.” Tafseer Al-Qurtubi (18/301-302)

One of the narrators of a Hadith was asked about the manner in which forgiveness is to be sought, to which he answered:

The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) used to say: ‘Astaghfirullah! Astaghfirullah! (I beseech Allah for forgiveness, I beseech Allah for forgiveness)’.” [Sahih Muslim].

Rajab 1436