Living the Spirit of Hajj as a Non-Pilgrim
Alhamdulillah the blessed first 10 days of Zulhijjah are upon us. We are living in the days in which the Prophet ﷺ said, “There are no days in which good deeds are more beloved to Allah than these days.” Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said that standing in one of these nights in prayer is equal to standing in prayer on Lailatul Qadr!
Make no mistake. We are not in normal days. We shouldn’t be spending these days like they are even though we aren’t travelling to Makkah or Madinah and busying ourselves with the rituals of Hajj. Right here, right now, in hazy Singapore, our good deeds are being rewarded by 700 times.
We have been taught by our Prophet ﷺ that we should increase in Tasbih (SubhanAllah), Tahmid (Alhamdulillah), Tahlil (La ilaha ila Allah) and Takbir (Allahu Akbar) in these days. Glorifying Allah and remembering Him is incumbent upon us on all days but when special days like these arrive, it is a special invitation to Allah for us to really grab hold of ourselves and disrupt our routines, slow down and use the time to realign once more. Such moments do not come by often but Allah is so Kind to space them out throughout the year. After the crowd-favourite month of Ramadan, the first 10 days of Zulhijjah comes next. After this, we can look forward to the day of Ashura, 10th of Muharram and then the blessed month of Rajab. So it’s not true that we should only count down to Ramadan because Allah has placed special mercies and unique experiences throughout the year for us to come near to Him.
As Prophet Muhammad ﷺ says, Hajj is Arafah, meaning the pinnacle of all the Hajj rituals falls on 9th Zulhijjah when pilgrims converge on the plains of Arafah.
Unlike doing the tawaf or sa’ie, where there are actual things to do and look out for, on the 9th of Zulhijjah, pilgrims leave Mina, arrive at Arafah, listen to the sermon and then they are obligated to simply remain in retreat at Arafah till sunset.
There is no day better in the sight of Allah than the Day of Arafah. On this day Allah descends to the nearest heaven in a manner that suits His Majesty, and He is proud of His slaves on the earth and says to those in heaven, “Look at My servants. They have come from far and near, with hair disheveled and faces covered with dust, to seek My mercy, even though they have not seen My chastisement. Far more people are freed from the Hellfire on the Day of Arafah than on any other day.” (Abu Ya’la, Ibn Khzayma, al-Bazzar and Ibn Hibban)
Abu Ad-Darda reported that the Prophet ﷺ said, “On no other day does the Satan feel so belittled, humiliated, and angry as he does on the Day of Arafah.” The reason for this is the mercy of Allah that descends this day and the forgiveness that He grants to people for major sins.
The linguistic meaning of Arafah also means “to know”. When we are disconnected from our normal routines, wearing something not of our usual clothes (in ihram), being in a place we rarely go to (the plains of Arafah) and surrounded by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims all engaged in a festivity of fervent prayer and devotion, it is a physical, visual and spiritual experience. It is unlike anything we have ever witnessed. On this day, we have a heightened awareness of our neediness and weakness and the ultimate Source of Power and Mercy is Allah Himself. Just as we stand in the scorching sun with nothing but our sins and hope, we reflect on the impending Day of Judgment at the field of Mahsyar when we are burdened by fear of our measly deeds and grave sins and how none can enter jannah except by His Mercy.
Even if we may be in Singapore in our jeans and stuck in the train, our hearts and souls are not bound by physical space. If we choose to sit and reflect on our neediness and God’s Vast Kindness and Mercy, then perhaps we too can experience a small portion of what the pilgrims on Arafah are experiencing.
If we only decide to carve out a space and time in our busy schedules to also fervently pray and engage in devotions on the Day of Arafah, then who can say Allah’s Endless Mercy will not also touch us?
While the pilgrims repeat the talbiyah “Labbayk Allahumma labbayk, labbayk kala sharikalaka labbayk!”
“At Your Service, Our Lord, here I am! At Your Service, no partner have You, here I am!”, we can also immerse ourselves in it’s essence and meaning while here. In our jobs and our marriages and our daily going and coming, in our pain and fatigue, troubles and problems, we can also use all our experiences and mundane routines to reaffirm and uphold the foundation of our existence here: that of servant in service of a Great Generous Lord.
“Fasting on the day of ‘Arafah is expiation for two years, the year preceding it and the year following it.” says the Prophet ﷺ.
May Allah grant us good health and tawfiq to fast on the Day of Arafah and perhaps the days leading to it, and gift us with obedience and the barakah of time to devote ourselves to His Service and Remembrance in these blessed days and all the days of our short life.
A highly recommended sunnah in Zulhijjah is to perform the Qurban or Udhiyya. Please watch this short video on the Merits of Zulhijjah and Qurban by Shaykh Ahmad Saad al-Azhari and you can participate in SimplyIslam’s Qurban Project here: http://qurban.eventbrite.sg
Ameera is the Editor of Muzlimbuzz.sg, a chronic reader and a news junkie.