By Dr. Saleh As-Saleh
Excerpted from the book Hajj & Tawhid
This is a journey that was taken by Prophets and Messengers before you. Those who take the path of the Prophets magnify the Tawhid of Allah and His House. There are those, however, who come to perform Hajj and their hearts are attached to other than Allah. They invoke the dead and the righteous, whether present or absent. This is the opposite of Tawhid, it is shirk no matter what they call it because it is setting up rivals besides Allah. So, free your intention from any kind of devotion to other than Allah. Repent and come with a sincere heart submitting to Allah remembering what Ibrahim and his son Isma'il said when they were raising the foundations of Allah's House, the Ka'bah:
Oh our Rabb! Accept from us and make us submit to You in Islam and show us our Manasik [all the rites of Hajj] and accept our repentance.
[Noble Quran 2:128]
You are set to depart and you may or may not return to your home. Make this journey to Allah's House as Allah wants it. Think of the next journey that is surely coming, the one that leads to the meeting of Allah, Most High. This raises questions like: What did I prepare for that Day? Am I following Allah's Commands? Am I a follower of the Sunnah of Muhammad (peace be upon him)? Do I really know Allah? Am I a believer that Allah is above the seven heavens over His 'Arsh as He has stated in His Book and as His Messengers have asserted? Am I a believer that believes Allah has a true Face that suits His Majesty as He has affirmed in the Quran and as has been affirmed by His Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)? Am I believer in all of Allah's Names, Attributes and Actions which He has affirmed in His Book and by His Messengers? Or do I just take and accept by my doubt, rejecting, or distorting (through figurative interpretation of His Attributes) the meanings of Allah's Attributes and Actions? And invoke not any other ilah [god] along with Allah, La ilaha ila huwa [none has the right to be worshipped but He], Everything will perish save His Face. His is the Decision, and to Him [all] shall be returned. [Al-Qasas 88]
Know, may Allah's Mercy be upon you, that when you reach the Miqat there is another Miqat that is still to come. It is the Miqat (appointed meeting) on the Day of Resurrection:
Say [O Muhammad]: [Yes] verily, those of old, and those of later times. All will surely be gathered together for an appointed Meeting of a known Day.
[Noble Quran 56:49-50]
When you start saying the Talbiyah remember the Command of Allah to Prophet Ibrahim:
And proclaim to mankind the Hajj. They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, they will come from deep and distant [wide] mountain highways [to perform Hajj].
[Noble Quran 22:27]
The Talbiyah you make is in response to Prophet Ibrahim's proclamation to visit Allah's house of worship. Allah is Most Great.
Upon entering Mecca remember that you are in the Secure Sanctuary:
Have We not established for them a secure sanctuary [Mecca], to which are brought fruits of all kinds, a provision from Ourselves, but most of them know not.
[Noble Quran 28:57]
Let one commit himself to repentance, having a good opinion of Allah, hoping that Allah will grant him security from His Punishment.
You will enter one of the gates of al-Masjid al-Haram. Then there you are before the magnificent House of Allah, Most High, the Ka'bah. Now you see what you hoped to see for a long time. Thank Allah for making this possible and hope that He, the Mighty and Majestic, will grant you the greatest reward of seeing His Majestic Face on the Day of Resurrection. This thankfulness is not just in saying "alhamdulillah," but also by obeying Allah while on Hajj and for the rest of your life.
You start your Tawaf (circling the Ka'bah) knowing that it is a great time for magnifying Allah the Exalted. Remember Him by His Names, Attributes, and Actions. Also while in Tawaf try to reflect upon the time when Prophet was prevented from doing the same thing you are doing today. Then think about what he did in clearing out the site from the symbols signifying worship to other than Allah! All idols were demolished. Busy yourself with Du'a. Ask Allah, the Most Great, to make you hold to the correct belief and Path of the salaf and make you die on it. Ask Allah to save you from all forms of shirk and Bid'ah.
While in Sa'i (walking between As-Safa and Al-Marwah), contemplate on Hajar, the mother of Isma'il, when she asked her husband Ibrahim (peace be upon him), "Did Allah order you to do this (leaving her and her baby Isma'il in Mecca)? He said: "Yes." Her great response was: "Then He (Allah) will not neglect us!" Think about this great dependence upon Allah when you are in the Sa'i walking the same path which Hajar took in search for water and for the means of life around the mounts of Safa and Marwah. Think about her endurance, perseverance and trust in Allah. The Sa'i exemplifies the strong belief that we are in need for the One Who Sustains and Provides, Allah, the Exalted. Think about Ibrahim's invocation on his way homeward to Palestine:
O our Rabb! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in a valley with no cultivation, by Your Sacred House [the Ka'bah at Mecca]; in order, O our Rabb, that they may offer prayers perfectly, so fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and [O Allah] provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks.
[Noble Quran 14:37]
Men and fruits came to Mecca from many places. Ibrahim (peace be upon him) returned to visit and later to share with his son Isma'il the noble task of raising the foundations of the Ka'bah.
The standing on 'Arafat is the Hajj. The crowds should remind you of the Day of Resurrection. Humble yourself to Allah, manifest your 'Ubudiyyah to Him Alone through Du'a, sincere intention and strong determination to free yourself from the sins of the past and to build up a commitment to rush for doing what is good. Think of becoming a better person when you return. Rid yourself of false pride and showing off because it may ruin what you may gain on this day.
You gathered the pebbles and you are about to embark on stoning the Jamarat. This is an act of obedience and remembrance of Allah, Most Magnificent. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: When you cast the small pebbles (i.e. at the Jamarat), it will be a light for you on the Day of Resurrection. [Reported by At-Bazzar in his Zawa'id (p.113) on the authority of Ibn Abbas. This Hadith is reported by Sheikh Al-Albani (may Allah have mercy upon him) in Silsilat al-Ahadith as-Sahihah. V. 6 Hadith 2515.]
When performing the sacrifice remember the saying of Allah:
It is neither their meat not their blood that reaches Allah, but it is your devotion that reaches Him.
[Noble Quran 22-23]
When you have completed you Hajj, do not think that the remembrance of Allah has ended. Listen to what Allah says:
So when you have accomplished your Manasik (i.e. the rites of Hajj) remember Allah as you remember your forefathers or with far more remembrance.
[Noble Quran 2:200]
Special Note: If you go to Medina then the objective of your visit should be according to the Sunnah and not Bid'ah. Your intention is to set on a journey to visit the Prophet's mosque and not his grave. When you reach the mosque and your pray upon entering then you may go to the grave and say, "As-salamu 'alayka ayyuhan-nabiyy." The position of the scholars regarding visiting the gravesites by women can be summarized as follows:
disliked but not unlawful
Allowable, if done infrequently. If a woman is known as being unable to behave herself within the limits of Shari'ah at the gravesite, then she should be prevented from visiting the graves
A grave sin
Many scholars state that women visiting the Prophet's mosque may pronounce the salaam upon the Prophet (peace be upon him) away from the gravesite since it is confirmed by many Ahadith that the salaam is related to the Prophet (peace be upon him) wherever the person may be. The Prophet (peace be upon him) is in a state of barzakh (as state of existence that begins with death and lasts until the Day of Resurrection,) the nature of which is only known to Allah, Most High.
[Ash-Sharh-ul-Mumti' V5. pp. 475 -478]
The same salaam is also mentioned when you pass by Abu Bakr and 'Umar without innovations like:
Visiting the grave of the Prophet (peace be upon him) before praying in the mosque.
Making Du'a facing the grave
Seeking nearness to Allah by means of the Prophet (peace be upon him). This is a prohibited form of Tawassul. (method of communicating or getting close to Allah)
Seeking intercession from the Prophet (peace be upon him).
Placing the hands upon the grills around the room containing the Prophet's grave to seek blessings, etc."' (Refer to Sh. Al-Albani's book Manasik al-Hajj wal 'Umrah for more details.
Remember the Prophet's (peace be upon him) sayings:
"Do not make my grave an Eid (place of celebration)"
[Abu Dawud, Ahmed]
"May Allah's curse be on the Jews and the Christian for taking the graves of their Prophets as places of worship"
[Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa'i, Ibn Majah]
"Those before you took the graves of their Prophets as places of worship. Do not take graves as places of worship for verily I forbid you to do so."
The journey is not meant to gain any material reward. It is a selfless sacrifice solely for Allah, Most Majestic. It demands true love and fear of Him. It should be performed with full consciousness of one's heart, with full humility and submission to Allah. It should not be thought of as a tourist-type excursion or be performed as mere physical rites. It develops sincerity, piety, humility, self-control, sacrifice, and true knowledge of the meaning of submission and obedience to Allah, Most High. It helps the pilgrim to be a better person who is devoted to Allah in every aspect of his life.