By Shaykh Abdool Rahman Khan
As the month of Zul-Hijjah dawns upon the Muslim Ummah, millions of Muslims, from almost every nook and corner of the globe, swoop down on Makkah for the annual pilgrimage or Hajj.

They come to fulfill one of the Five Pillars of Islam,  Narrated Ibn Umar (RA) who said that “The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:
“Islam is built upon five (pillars): testifying that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad (SAS) is the Messenger of Allah, establishing regular prayer, paying Zakaah, Hajj and fasting Ramadan.” [Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim]
They come from all walks of life to answer the command from Allah SWT:
And proclaim to mankind the Hajj (pilgrimage). They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, they will come from every deep and distant (wide) mountain highway (to perform Hajj).  (Surah Hajj verse 27).
They come from all ethnicities and social status of life to commemorate and celebrate the ultimate sacrifice and establishment of Tawheed or Belief in The Oneness of Allah SWT by two of mankind’s greatest leaders; Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and Muhammad (SAS).
As so many ethnicities and colors converge in one place that one cannot help but to reflect on the verse:
And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the difference of your languages and colors. Verily, in that are indeed signs for men of sound knowledge. (30:22) 
Here the true humanity in all its diversities gather together at Makkah, Mina, Arafah, Muzdalifah saying and doing the same rites of Hajj while:

Yet they spend almost one week being together and worshipping together because at the end of all their outward differences comes the fact that:

This is the power one experiences as one undertakes the Pilgrimage to Makkah. It is this power that has transformed the lives of many Muslims as it did to   Malik Shabaaz or Malcolm X. This is the power that goes beyond the rituals and rites of Hajj that make him start a movement of opening the minds to a larger brotherhood establishing true Islam till he met his martyrdom.
One expects if the Pilgrims can come together in spite of their differences to do the same thing at Hajj then what prevents them from uniting when they return from Hajj. Our Muslim Ummah needs to reflect on this!
Hajj is about Submission
Hajj is all about submission to Allah SWT amidst trials while doing simple acts of worship or refraining from simple acts like not cutting the nails or refraining from using perfume or stitched clothing for men. Or simple act like stoning the Jamaraat (places of Satan) or even picking up pebbles at Muzdalifah (a place between Mina and Arafah) or shaving the hair, doing Tawaaf are all simple acts of worship yet to do them takes lots of energy and each one is highly symbolic.
They all cause us to bow down and glorify to Allah SWT The One and Only God that is to be worshipped and whose commands are to be followed.
 In a similar manner Prophet Ibrahim(AS) and Prophet Ismail(AS) raised a simple building; The Ka’bah for the worship and surrendering to One God. Allah SWT mentions in 2/127-8
Allah SWT says:
And mention when Abraham and Ishmael were raising the walls of the House, they prayed, “Lord, accept this service from us; You are All-Hearing and All-Knowing. Lord, make us Your Muslims (submissive servants) and also raise from our offspring a community which should be Muslim (submissive to Your Will). Show us the ways of Your worship and forbear our shortcomings: You are Forgiving and Merciful.”’ (2:127-8)

Now for Some Reflections of Hajj

There is a lot of symbolism in Hajj and not just simply outward rituals. Too often the majority of pilgrims try to accomplish Hajj rituals to the very minute details while neglecting the spiritual goals. If this happens the pilgrim returns without the full impact of Hajj blessings. Then falling back into former ways is very easy. As for the one who reflects on the rituals and what they signify in his life truly find the greater realization of Hajj.  
Now let’s begin some of Hajj reflections and symbolism:

Then when we go on a journey what do we take with us? We take some provisions depends on the length of the journey. The longer the journey the more provision is required. Regarding our provision for Hajj, Allah says
“…And take provision, but indeed, the best provision is fear of Allah…” (Al-Baqarah: 197)
Generally a journey is strenuous even in modern times when the means of transportation has been greatly improved. But at the end of that tiring journey comes your destination and relaxation. Reaching Makkah itself brings joy and relief. Allah SWT says:
“Have We not established for them a secure sanctuary (Makkah), to which are brought fruits of all-kinds, a provision from Ourselves, but most of men know not.” [Soorah 28: 57]
Or like Hajj which is filled with challenging acts of Ibaadah but then when it is completed the Pilgrim returns home with a peace in his heart and free from sins like the day his mother has given birth to him.
Similarly, our journey back to Allah SWT is not so simple. Life, death and beyond are also very tough. But if one endures the hardship of life and keep his eyes fixed on his goal, he will have Paradise to dwell in with peace and tranquility by Allah SWT’s mercy.

We don’t need to show who has better clothes as Allah SWT does not look at our clothes and our faces. He looks at our hearts and our actions.


Then came Rasoolullah SAS who took almost 21 years of his 23 years of Prophethood to erase the idols from the hearts of people before erasing it from the Ka’bah. So in order to rightfully do Tawaaf around the Ka’bah Muslims need to do Tawaaf deep down in our souls and cleanse it of any idols therein and then truly submit to Allah SWT. This also reminds us that we are quick in removing idols in our environment but how often do we address the idols in our hearts?

Today we have so much to eat and drink at Makkah, with so many comforts and we still complain and complain and we forget what Makkah was at the time when Prophet Ibrahim (AS) brought his family and left them there. As pilgrims so desperately want to drink the Zam Zam water so it will be on the Day of Judgment when people are thirsty and they will want to drink from the fountain of Rasoolullah SAS.

Beyond the rituals of Hajj is the story of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) who after conquering his ego and submitted to Allah SWT became Khaleelullah. Allah SWT says:
And who can be better in religion than one who submits his face (himself) to; and he is a Muhsin (doer of good). And follows the religion of Ibrahim (Abraham) Hanifa (purely and sincerely). And Allah did take Ibrahim (Abraham) as a Khalil (a close friend). (4/125) 
So as we are now in the season of Hajj let us make sure we have the right understanding though which we will stand more firm in our Deen.

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