Preparing for Umrah #101: Advices from Ustaz TM Fouzy
Going on a pilgrimage be it Umrah or Hajj is, as cliche as it sounds, an experience of a lifetime. One of the best descriptions I’ve read of a pilgrimage is the following by Bruce Feiler of the New York Times:
“So much of religion as it’s been practiced for centuries has been largely passive. People receive a faith from their parents; they are herded into institutions they have no role in choosing; they spend much of their spiritual lives sitting inactively in buildings being lectured at from on high.
A pilgrimage reverses all of that. At its core, it’s a gesture of action. In a world in which more and more things are artificial and ephemeral, a sacred journey gives the pilgrim the chance to experience something both physical and real. And it provides seekers with an opportunity they may never have had: to confront their doubts and decide for themselves what they really believe.”
While the pilgrimage will be life-changing, the journey towards the departure date is just as important.
Below are several advices and statements from Ustaz Tengku Mohd Fouzy (TM Fouzy) taken from his book “Manasik Haji dan Umrah: Mengikut Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah” and translated to English by this writer.
Our daily lives are like a static cycle, much like a hamster wheel. We carry burdens in the day & rest from the toil at night and the cycle repeats itself the next morning. Without meaning or purpose, life goes on indefinitely. Hajj or Umrah disrupts this lifeless cycle. As we prepare for our trip, our lives snap back in focus and we start to distance ourselves from our usual habits to simulate life at Hajj/Umrah.
Hajj/Umrah is the opposite of a directionless life. There are specific rituals to perform, rulings of ihram to adhere to, and a stark focus on God for that few days. It reminds us that our whole life is merely a journey back to Him.
Preparing for Hajj/Umrah is like preparing for death since you are meeting your Lord. Debts need to be paid, anger and ill-feelings need to be addressed and forgiveness sought from family and friends. We need to make account of our deeds before we leave.
“And do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge. Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the heart – about all those [one] will be questioned. Surah al-Isra 17:36”
Since our arrival on Earth, and with the passing of time, humans have forgotten our covenant with God and put in place idols like money, fame, our own selves to worship. Hajj/Umrah helps us to reconnect to our purpose and sacred covenant from before.
Inward & Outward Checklist of Preparations:
- Sincere repentance. (Taubah nasuha)
- Leave sins
- Regret over past sins
- Strong conviction to never return to them
- Seek forgiveness from and make amends with people you have wronged
- Fulfil trusts.
- Pay debts
- Discharge or execute binding agreements/promises
- If the above are not possible, appeal to the person’s generosity to waive or start on a clean slate
- Prepare nafkah.
- Prepare sufficient maintenance/nafkah for your dependents for the duration you’ll be away
- Blessings & permission.
- Get the permission and blessings of your parents and/or your husband for the trip
- Halal means.
- Ensure the money and the items you are using to pay for the trip or to bring to the trip are from halal means or you risk your Hajj/Umrah not being accepted by Allah
- Learn about the rulings pertaining to all aspects of Hajj and Umrah
- Travel Companion.
- Find a righteous travel companion who can help you in your worldly and spiritual affairs while on the journey
- Be generous.
- Prior to, and during the trip, increase in charity for charity stands in the way of calamities (hadith)
- Prepare taqwa and sincerity of intentions
- In 2:197, Allah says “And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is fear of Allah . And fear Me, O you of understanding.” Taqwa, fear or or consciousness of Allah, is your best travel companion or provision in this life but also for your Hajj and Umrah where you will definitely be tested.
- Purify your intentions to perform Hajj or Umrah only for Allah’s sake and seek His Help, Guidance and Protection always.
Ameera is the Editor of Muzlimbuzz.sg, a chronic reader and a news junkie.