Hajj as Worship
- :Al-Balagh Foundation
Hajj is a bodily and spiritual journey. It is man's migration towards Allah's grace and pleasure.
It is the abandonment of one's relatives, wealth, and wordily comforts, and enduring a host of difficulties, troubles and hardships for the Creator's sake. "And proclaim among people the pilgrimage; they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, coming from every remote path." Holy Qur'an (22:27)
Hajj is a form of a worship, to which several factors intertwine.
Physical and material, spiritual and emotional. Hajj, therefore, is a physical and material form of worship in which the worshipper gives of himself both physically and materially and endures hardships and troubles in the way of Allah, demonstrating his pure pristine servitude to Allah and his independence from any power other than Him. This pure goal of Hajj is the goal of any worship in Islam that is to be for the sake of Allah alone, regardless of any existing power other than Him. It is the utmost goal of man's worship. Man's conscience completely awakens and man is rendered, purified and cleansed of all evil and vice, provided sincerity of intention is involved.
For this aim, Hajj is ordained and the Holy Our'an regards it as Allah's right over His servants:
"... it is the duly of mankind towards Allah to make the pilgrimage to the House, whoever can afford the way there;..." Holy Qur'an (3:97)
Hajj is a main pillar of religion, and a mainstay of faith. Traditions and texts reported from the Prophet (s.a.w.) and his pure progeny (a.s.), refer to the significance of Hajj. It is reported that Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) said: "Prayer was not ordained, Hajj and Tawaf were not made incumbent on the faithful, and rites were not conveyed to man, but to remember Allah."
And he (s.a.w.) also said:
"The people who perform the Hajj and Ummrah are the guests of Allah. Allah grants them whatever they ask Him, accepts their prayers, and compensates them for their expenditures." Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (a.s.) is reported to have said:
"So long as the Ka' ba is secure, so is the religion" 5 And he (a.s.) also said:
"If one should leave off Hajj, when he is capable of performing it, with no legitimate excuse, then he has neglected an Islamic rite." 6
Islam gives Hajj primary attention. It goes to the point of granting the Islamic state the authority of sending a number of Muslims to Mecca, even if it is done by force, should all of them decline to perform it. It is a bid to keep Islam's religious rites fresh and dynamic. In case the pilgrims are unable to attend the journey, the Islamic state is responsible to pay for traveling expenses to Mecca for performing this congregational worship.
Imam Ja'far bin Muhammad al-Sadiq (a.s.) is reported to have said:
"Should all the people abandon Hajj, the governor is authorized to oblige them to perform it. Should they give up performing pilgrimage to the tomb of the Prophet (s.a.w.), the governor is authorized to order them to do so, if they are penniless, he should pay them from the treasury." 7
It was reported from Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (a.s.):
"If anyone of you had amounts of gold as huge as Abu-Qubais (a mountain in Arabia) and spent it in the way of Allah, its reward would never be equal to the reward of Hajj (from Allah), A dirham (an Arabic currency denomination) disbursed by the pilgrim is worth 2000 dirhams in the way of Allah."
He (a.s.) is also reported to have said:
"Hajj is the jihad (holy struggle for the sake of Allah) of the weak." He (a.s.) further said:
"He who is not prevented from the Hajj by an obvious necessity, a tyrannical ruler or a disease which confines him (or her) at home and dies without having performed the Hajj, might as well die a Jew or a Christian."
5. Al-Hur al-Amili.
6. Ibid, p. 17.
7. Ibid, p.16.
Adapted from the book: "The Hajj As Worship and Education" by: "Al-Balagh Foundation"
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