Ibrahim (peace be upon him) then climbed Mount Arafat and called out in his loudest voice, “O People! Verily Allah has prescribed upon you Haj, so perform Haj.”
Allah revealed in the Qur’an: And proclaim the Haj among mankind. They will come to thee on foot and (mounted) on every camel, lean on account of journeys through deep and distant mountain highways. (Qur’an, 22:27)
To this very day millions upon millions of Muslims continue to answer the call of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him). Perhaps this year you shall be amongst those who answer the call.
Amr ibn Al-’Aas narrates, “When Islam entered my heart, I went to the Messenger of Allah and said, ‘Give me your hand so that I may pledge allegiance to you.’ The Prophet spread his hand, but I withdrew mine. He said, ‘What is wrong ‘Amr?’ I said, ‘I want to make a condition.’ ‘And what is that?’ he said. I said, ‘That Allah will forgive me.’ Then the Messenger of Allah said, ‘Did you not know that Islam wipes out what came before it, and that Hijrah wipes out what came before it and that Haj wipes out what came before it!” (Sahih Muslim).
Haj is the fifth pillar upon which Islam stands. Allah made it compulsory upon every able Muslim male and female to perform it, at least once in a lifetime. Allah revealed: Haj thereto is a duty mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the journey, but if any deny faith, Allah stands not in need of any of His creatures. (Qur’an, 3:97)
Performance of the Haj washes away all sins. Abu Hurayrah narrates: I heard the Prophet say, “Whoever performs Haj and does not commit any rafath (obscenity) or fusuq (transgression), he returns (free from sin) as the day his mother bore him” (Sahih Bukhari).
Haj is one of the greatest deeds one can accomplish in his or her lifetime. Abu Hurayrah narrates: The Prophet was asked, “What deed is the best?” He said, “Iman in Allah and His Messenger.” “Then what?” “Jihad in the sake of Allah.” “Then what?” “Haj Mabrur, a Haj accepted by Allah.”
Abu Sha’tha’ said, “I contemplated the good deeds that a person does. I found thatSalah as well as fasting are a jihad of the body. And that Sadaqah is a jihad of someone’s wealth. But Haj is a jihad of both body and wealth.”
Haj is the greatest jihad. Ayshah asked the Prophet (peace be upon him), “We find that jihad is the best deed, shouldn’t we (women) do jihad?” The Prophet replied, “Rather the best jihad is a Haj Mabrur!” Ayesha later said, “I’ll never cease performing Haj after I heard that from the prophet of Allah” (Agreed Upon).
The Du’a of the one in Haj shall be accepted. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The soldier in the path of Allah and the one who performs Haj and the one who performs Umrah, all are the delegation of Allah! He called them and they answered. And they asked Him, and He shall grant them (what they ask for)!” (Authentic, narrated by Ibn Majah and Ibn Hibban).
There is not a single day that the sun has come up on more beloved to Allah than the Day of Arafat. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “There is no day on which Allah frees more of His slaves from Fire than the Day of Arafat, and He verily draws near, then boasts of them before the angles, saying: ‘What do they seek?’” (Sahih Muslim). And in another Hadith: “Verily Allah boasts of the people of Arafat before the people of Heaven (angels) saying: ‘Look to my servants who have come to Me disheveled and dusty.’”
Abdullah ibn Al-Mubarak narrates: I went to Sufyan ibn al-Uyaynah as the day of Arafat was setting. He sat on his knees, his hands raised to the Heavens, and tears moistened his cheeks and beard. He turned and looked at me, so I asked him, “Amongst the people who have gathered here for Haj, who is in the worst state?” Sufyan ibn al-Uyaynah said, “He who thinks that Allah will not forgive him.”
Ayshah would see the Prophet (peace be upon him) standing in prayer at night so much so that his feet would crack. She would ask him, “Why do you do this when Allah has forgiven all your sins, the past and anything you may do in the future?” And he would reply, “Shouldn’t I be a thankful slave?”
With this example of the Prophet (peace be upon him), what should our attitude be when we hear of Paradise and forgiveness of sin for those who perform Haj? Does it mean that after Haj we fall back into all the disobedience that we went to Haj with? Does it mean that we are promised Jannah no matter what sin we do after Haj? Many people think this to be the case and it is a very dangerous presumption.
You will find in many of the Hadith regarding the virtue of Haj the term Haj Mabrur. It means an accepted Haj. A Mabrur Haj is one in which Allah is not disobeyed during or after. Others have said that a Haj Mabrur is one that is accepted, and the sign of its acceptance is that a person will go back in a better state then when he came, and that he will discontinue the sins that were between him and Allah.
When Ibn Umar was on his deathbed and his son reminded him of all the good deeds that he did with the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the companions, he told him, “Quiet! Don’t you know whom Allah accepts from? Verily Allah only accepts from the God-Fearing (Al-Muttaqun).”
When Ali ibn Al-Husayn wore his Ihram towels and sat upright on his camel in preparation for the journey to Makkah, his face changed colour, his skin shivered and he cried, unable to say the Talbiyah, Labbayk Allahumma Labbayk. Someone asked him, “What’s wrong?” And he replied, “I’m afraid that when I say it, it shall be replied, ‘La Labbayka wa La Sa’dayk’ (May you never have come and may you not have happiness).”
With that spirit, let us march forward in the search of the Mercy of Allah and His forgiveness, to the first house of Allah on earth, to Haj.
Indeed, the Prophet said, “And there is no reward for an accepted Haj…except Jannah!”