“In al-Amal bi Nayat” - Actions are but by intention.
As in all acts of worship in Islam the intention is of prime importance.
The Prophet, SAWS, said:
Sound Hajj has no reward except paradise
For our Hajj to be sound our intention must be correct and fixed.
The Prophet, SAWS, said:
At the end of the age, four classes of people will go on pilgrimage: their rulers for the outing; their rich men for the trade; their poor men for begging; the Qur’an readers for the benefit of their reputations.
“INNER DIMENSIONS OF ISLAMIC WORSHIP”
Al-Ghazali, translated by Muhtar Holland.
Kube Publications www.kubepublishing.com
The Pilgrimage begins with understanding, by which I mean the understanding of its place in the religion. The subsequent steps are then: yearning for it; resolving upon it; severing the ties that keep one from it; acquiring the seamless garments to be worn during consecration (ihram); purchasing the necessary provisions; hiring transport; setting out from home; crossing the desert; consecration at the assembly point, with the cry of ‘Labbayk’; the entry into Makkah and then the completion of all the rites of Pilgrimage. Every one of these steps serves as a reminder to the mindful, a lesson to the heedful, an exhortation to the faithful aspirant, an instruction and indication to the sagacious.
Al-Ghazali has broken down the intention for Hajj into several stages each containing an important preliminary to the Hajj. He goes on to discuss each of these stages and shows how at each point we can purify our intention.
As for understanding it must be realised that there is no way of attaining to God, Glorified and Exalted is He, except by divesting oneself of desires, abstaining from pleasures, confining oneself to necessities and devoting oneself exclusively to God in every movement and rest.
The place of the pilgrimage in Islam – 5th Pillar.
We perform certain actions to which the soul does not readily conform, and the significance of which is not easily grasped by the mind, like stoning the pillars and the running back & forth between Safa & Marwa.
“The Zakat has the rational appeal of an intelligible humane purpose. Fasting breaks the hold of desire, which is the tool of God’s enemy and is conducive to worship because it dispels distraction. Bowing and prostration in ritual Prayer promote humility towards God, Great and Glorious is He, through actions of symbolic of humility, and the soul enjoys intimacy in the veneration of God, Great and Glorious is He. The sole inducement to perform them is therefore the command itself and the intention to comply because it is an order that must be obeyed.”
As for yearning: this arises only after understanding and the realisation that the House is truly the House of God, Great and Glorious is He, so that he who goes there goes as a visitor to God and that he who goes to the House in this world deserves that his visit should not be in vain.
Yearning to meet with Allah, SWT, to ‘see His face’ or ‘attain His countenance’
Wishing to complete your din.
As for resolve: the Pilgrim should be aware that by his resolve he is purposing to leave his family and homeland behind, forsaking pleasures and desires as he sets out to visit the House of God, Great and Glorious is He. He must know that he has resolved upon a matter of high consequence and an affair of great moment. Let him be fully aware that only what is sincere in his intention and action will find acceptance and that there is no offence more outrageous than to visit the House of God and His Sanctuary for ulterior motives.
Verify your resolve; double check & make sure. Just like you would check you’ve packed all the really important things like your money and your passport before setting off.
“Verification is in sincerity and sincerity lies in shunning all taint of hypocrisy and desire for fame.”
As for severing ties: this means the rejection of all iniquities and sincere repentance to God, Exalted is He, for all acts of disobedience, for each iniquity is a tie, and every tie is like having a creditor with you, clinging to your collar….The Pilgrim should sever all ties with his homeland, cutting himself off completely as if he were going into exile, never to return. He should also write down his will and testament for his children and family, for the traveller and his money are at risk unless protected by God, Glorified is He.
Can be achieved by dwelling on the fact that you may not return! What if you were to die in Makkah or Madinah? Are you prepared? You can’t even take your suitcase with you!
As for the purchase of the two seamless garments of consecration: when buying his ihram the Pilgrim should recall the shroud in which he will be wrapped for burial. He should remember that just as he goes to visit the House of God in unusual garb and attire, so after death he must go to meet God, Great and Glorious is He, dressed in a fashion different from that of this world.
Did you know that if you die on pilgrimage then your Ihram becomes your shroud?
If a pilgrim dies they are washed in the same way as a deceased Muslim anywhere in the world but shrouded in their ihram. For men the head should not be covered since they are in Ihram and no perfume is applied because the restrictions of ihram still apply to him/her.
Ibn ‘Abbas said: ‘During the last Hajj, a man, mounted on a horse, was close to Allah’s Prophet, peace be upon him, and was trying to learn more from him, when he suddenly fell off his mount. The horse kicked him and killed him. When the Prophet, pbuh, was told about him, he said: ‘Wash him with water and lotus (leaves), then wrap him in his two sheets, and do not perfume his body nor cover his head, for Allah, The Exalted, will raise him on the Day of Resurrection with talbiyah on his lips.
Analogy; both your shroud, in any circumstances, and your Ihram are unstitched garments
As for provisions: these must be acquired from a lawful source. Apart from piety, whatever one supposes to be provision will be left behind when you die, leaving you in the lurch. Beware therefore, in case the deeds which make up your provision for the Hereafter do not go with you after death, but get spoiled instead by the taint of hypocrisy and the turbidity of remissness.
“Wa tazawwadu fainna khier az-zaadi, at-taqwa, wat-taqoon ya oulil albab.”
“And take a provision (with you for the journey), but the best of provisions is right conduct. [God consciousness, piety] So fear Me Oh you that are wise.”
Hajj is one of the good deeds that we want to count for us on the Day of Judgement. This Hajj of ours will be part of what “our hands send forward”.
Preparing the best of provisions; Hadith relating to the day of Arafat. Be generous in provision.
As for transport: when the Pilgrim procures a riding-beast, he should give heartfelt thanks to God, Great and Glorious is He, for putting animals at his disposal to relieve him of pain and hardship. At the same time he should call to mind the vehicle that will carry him to the abode of the Hereafter, namely his coffin, for the Pilgrimage presents a certain parallel to the final journey.
The analogy that Ghazali gives us is even more striking today.
Aeroplane = Coffin.
As for leaving home: the Pilgrim should know that he has now left hearth and home, bound for God, Great and Glorious is He, on a journey unlike any other worldly voyage. He should be conscious in his heart of what he wishes, where he is heading and Whom he intends to visit. He should be aware that he is wending his way toward the King of kings, along with a host of visitors who have been summoned and have answered the call, in whom a great longing has been awakened, who have been roused and have risen, who have severed connections and said farewell to relations, and who have set out for the House of God, Great and Glorious is He, which is splendid in majesty and of lofty esteem.
Hope of attainment and success through trust in the bounty of God and belief in his promise.
“Whoever sets out from his home, migrating to Allah and His messenger, then death overtakes him, his recompense is incumbent upon Allah.”
As for crossing the desert to the assembly point, with all attendant hardships: the Pilgrim should there recall the crossing at death between this world and the assembly point on the Day of Resurrection, with the terrors and trials that intervene.
Assembly point = Miqat.
The Hajj terminal = Modern day assembly point.
It has its own modern tests and trials its own jihad.
As for donning the garb of consecration and crying ‘Labbayk’ from the assembly point onwards: the Pilgrim should know that this signifies a response to the summons of God, Great and Glorious is He. Hope, therefore, to be accepted and dread being told: ‘No favour or fortune for you!’ The moment of talbiya (calling ‘Labbayk) is the real starting point – this is the critical instant.
‘Here I am, Oh Allah, here I am. Here I am, there is no partner with you, here I am. Truly, the praise and the provisions are Yours, and so is the dominion and sovereignty. There is no partner with you.’
This is where we make the intention for Hajj or Umrah.
As for entering Mecca: the Pilgrim should remember at this time that he has arrived safely at the Sanctuary of God, Exalted is He. As he enters he should hope to be safe from the punishment of God and should dread not being worthy to approach Him. On setting eyes upon the House the Pilgrim should be conscious in his heart of the majesty of the House, venerating it with such intensity that he seems to anticipate beholding the Lord of the House. He should hope that God, Exalted is He, will grant him the vision of His noble countenance, just as He has afforded him the sight of His might House.
An important time when du’a is accepted.
‘O Allah! Increase this House’s honour, dignity, respect and grant all those who come to it for Hajj or ‘Umrah honour, dignity, respected and righteousness. ‘
‘O Allah! You are the Peace, from You is the Peace. O Allah! Greet us with the Peace.’