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Sunday, January 15, 2006

Setting out for Haj: Why right means matter

BY ABID ISHAQ

30 December 2005

BLESSED days of Zul Hijjah are here again. These generous days radiate the lunar calendar annually by directing us towards good behaviour and fulfilling our duties towards each other. These sacred days also encourage us towards a more positive relationship with our Creator so these days should find us involved in more worship, attaining taqwa (piety) and opposing sins. It is narrated from Companion Ibn Umar RA that Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said: "There aren't any days greater, nor any days in which deeds done in them are more beloved to Allah, the Most High, than these ten days (of Zul-Hijjah). So, increase in them the saying of Tahleel (La Ilaaha illa Allah), and Takbeer (Allahu Akbar) and Tahmeed (al-Hamdu li-llah)" [Ahmad]

The preparation for Haj is an important matter that we discussed in the last article as well. This preparation helps in performing the pilgrimage in the prescribed manner and ensuring that one's Haj is accepted. Emphasising on this preparation, the following points need careful consideration by pilgrims:

1. Examining and rectifying one's relationship with Allah, The Most High, by sincerely repenting and fulfilling the well-known conditions of repentance. This condition is accompanied by the intention to perform Haj as a tool for rectifying one's sinful past and continuing after the pilgrimage on a positive note.

2. Seeking His help and guidance by recognising that none other than Allah can help the pilgrim fulfil this obligation. By fearing Him and hoping in His reward, the pilgrim automatically starts to rely on Allah instead of relying solely on his material means.

3. Relieving oneself of one's obligations towards others, one's trusts and debts. It is not right for a pilgrim to leave behind dependants without resources and basic requirements. Furthermore, this also helps us to fulfil our financial duties towards others by repaying debts and trusts.

4. Now here is something we do not think much of; writing of one's will. Since travel exposes one to various dangers, Islamic teachings encourage us to write a will. Many pilgrims are martyred while observing the rites of Haj.

5. Taking a convenient journey and good, halal (legal or ethically sanctioned) provision. For provision obtained through haram (forbidden) is from matters that cause one's worship not to be accepted. "When a person leaves for Haj with good provision, places his foot in the stirrup (of his mount) and calls, "Labbaika Allahumma Labbaik" (Here I am at your service, O Allah! Here I am at your service), he is called from the heavens: "Labbaika wa Sadayk [may your call be replied and happiness be your reward], your sustenance is halal, your journey is halal, and your Haj is accepted." And when he leaves with corrupt provisions and places his foot in the stirrup (of his mount) and says, "Labbaik", he is called from the heavens, "La Labbaika wa la sadaik daik [may your call not be responded to and happiness not be your reward], your provision is haram, your sustenance is haram and your Haj is not accepted." [Tabarani]

Dear readers, today we live at a time when haram (illegal) earnings have become widespread. May Allah protect us from this calamity, as illegal income adulterates and voids good intentions and deeds. It is recommended for a servant to increase one's halal provisions according to his abilities, so that one does not depend on others and in order to show kindness to the weak (by giving money in charity).

The above points bring to light the need to self-evaluate and rectify our duties towards each other and the Creator. The words of the righteous signal a warning to all of us going for Haj or those intending to in the future. Not everyone who offers Haj will have his Haj accepted. As Companion Ibn Umar RA said to Mujahid RA: "How many pilgrims! (But) How few! Rather say, how many riders." [Musannaf Abdur Razzaq]
These blessed days should find us therefore prepared.


Source: Khaleej Times

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