All praise is due to Allah. May His peace and blessings be upon the Prophet saws, his household and companions.
Fellow Muslims! The greatest issue and the obligation upon every human being is At-Tawheed (to have belief in the oneness of Allah and to act in accordance to it.) It is only with Tawheed that one attains good and comfort and without it ones lot will be misery and hardship. That is why no stage of the Prophets (e) mission was devoid of calling into Tawheed and waging war against Shirk and its manifestations. All pillars of Islam confirm the importance of Tawheed and embody it, for it is the root of those pillars, while the pillars are its branches and fruit.
Hajj, which is one of the pillars of Islam, is a great symbol of the actualisation of Tawheed in ones worship, direction and aim. Allah says:
|And for every nation We have appointed religious ceremonies, that they may mention the Name of Allah over the beast of cattle that He has given them for food. And your Ilah (God) is one Ilah, so you must submit to Him alone (in Islam). And (O Muhammad (e)!) give glad tidings to the Mukhbitin (those who obey Allah with humility and are humble from among the true believers of Islamic Monotheism). (Surah Al-Hajj, 22:34)
Dear brothers, let us now study some illustrations that reveal the spirit of Hajj in the light of these points:
1.The Prophet saws entered into the state of Ihraam with At-Tawheed. Jaabir ra said,
| And he started his Ihraam with At-Tawheed when he said:
Labbayka Allahumma labbayk, labbayka laa shareeka laka labbayk. Innal-hamda wan-ni’mata laka wal-mulk, laa shareeka lak.
(Meaning: I respond to Your call, O Allah I respond to Your call. I respond to Your call, You have no partner. I respond to Your call. Indeed, the praise and grace are yours as well as sovereignty. You have no partner.)
One must raise his voice with it for, the Prophet saws said,
| The best Hajj is the one in which the voice is raised with Talbiyah and blood of sacrificial animals flow.
It is a talbiyah of the one who feels that all acts of worship should compulsorily be directed to Allah alone and realises the danger of shirk and other destructive sins; a talbiyah of the one who sacrifices to none but Allah, calls none but Allah and seeks relief from none except Allah. The pilgrim keeps on reciting this talbiya until he casts the pebbles of Jamratul-‘Aqabah.
2.It is authentically reported from the Prophet (e) that during his Tawaaf he only touched the Yamanee Corner and Al-Hajar Al-Aswad. If the pilgrim however finds difficulty in touching them he should point to Al-Hajar Al-Aswad and say, Allahu Akbar once as he passes by it. As regards the Yamanee Corner, he should not point to it if he cannot touch it. This is done in order to come closer to Allah, and carry out His commandments. Allah says:
|So let them worship the Lord of this House. (Quraysh, 106:3).
The Prophet saws also said,
| Circumambulation of the House; running between Safaa and Marwa, and casting the pebbles is only ordained for establishment of the remembrance of Allah.
These rites were performed by the Prophet saws solely for the purpose of worshipping Allah, and not for the purpose of seeking blessings therefrom. That is why Umar ra said when kissing Al-Hajar Al-Aswad,
| By Allah! I know that you are only a stone. You neither benefit nor harm. If it were not that I saw the Prophet saws kissing you, I would not have kissed you. (Al-Bukhari & Muslim).
Scholars have agreed that it is not permissible to touch or kiss other than what is reported in the Sunnah that the Prophet saws has touched or kissed. Al-Athram -a companion of Imaam Ahmad-said,
|I saw that people of knowledge among the inhabitants of Madinah did not use to touch the Prophets saws grave, they would only stand at a corner and say their salaam to him.
|Under Islamic Law, the touching and kissing of graves are regarded to be abominable innovations. He further said, The Khuraasaanee Jurists said, Graves should not be rubbed, kissed or touched for that is the practice of Christians.
At-Tahaawee -the Hanafite scholar- said,
|Graves should not be touched nor kissed for that is the custom of the People of the Book.
In Islam, nothing is known to be touched except Al-Hajar Al-Aswad and the Yamanee Corner.
3.The running between As-Safaa and Al-Marwa has been prescribed as a pillar of Hajj and ‘Umrah. This is so that pilgrims may be reminded of Haajar and her son (Prophet Ismaa’eel as) and the hardship they experienced and how Allah caused Zamzam water to gush forth for them to quench their thirst and as a healing for the sick. Thereby making Muslims believe that refuge should be sought with Allah alone. Allah says:
|Is not He Who responds to the distressed one when he calls Him and Who removes the evil (better than their gods). (An-Naml, 27:62).
It also makes him know definitely that sincere dependence on Allah coupled by making use of the means is the gateway to success and attainment of desired things.
4. That there is no prosperity or success in this world except through following the path of Prophet saws, having faith and doing good deeds. It is in the light of this that he said,
| Take from me your Hajj rites.
The eagerness of the Companions was embodied in this saying of Ibn Abbaas ra:
|Do your Hajj as the Prophet saws did his, and do not say: This is sunnah and this is compulsory.
One of the greatest aims of Hajj is to remember his guidance and to adhere to his path without negligence or exaggeration. The Prophet saws said,
| Whoever performs a deed on which there is no order from us will have it rejected.
To emphasise the importance of moderation and shunning of exaggeration and negligence in everything, Ibn Abbaas ra narrated that the Prophet saws:
| told him to fetch him pebbles on the morning of Aqabah (i.e. the tenth day of Dhul-Hijjah) while he was on his camel. He said, I fetched him seven throwing-pebbles. He started sorting them out in his fingers saying, Throw ones like these. He then said, O you people! Keep away from extremism in religion, for that which destroyed those who came before you was extremism in religion.
Dear brothers, let this great occasion be an avenue for self-examination. Let it be an opportunity for renewing ones allegiance to the book of Allah and the sunnah of His Prophet saws. Let it be a time when one shuns exaggerations and negligence in all sorts of worship. Let it also be known that Hajj should not be an occasion where one accuses his brother of abominable things without clear evidence.
Brothers in faith! Adhere to the guidance of the Leader of the Messengers, Mohammad son of Abdullah saws. Whoever follows his path shall prosper and achieve everlasting happiness. Further, only when this ummah recognises the true guidance of its religion and the path of its Prophet in its true sense that it will attain glory and might. It was said,
|Islam shall become a hard rock upon which the evangelical ships are crumbled as long as the pillars; Al-Quran, Friday Prayers and the Hajj gathering, remain firm.
Fellow Muslims! Some highly important days have come upon us. They are the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. Allah swore by them as a token of their importance and merit and to stress the great reward of those who do righteous deeds in them. He says,
|By the dawn! By the Ten Nights! (I.e. the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah). (Al-Fajr, 89:1-2)
The Prophet saws also said,
| There are no days in which good deeds are more loved by Allah than these days.
Meaning the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. The Companions ra said, Even jihad in the way of Allah? He replied, Even jihad in the way of Allah, with the exception of a man who goes out for jihad with his soul and his wealth, and does not return with either. (Al-Bukhari)
Good deeds, dear brothers, include righteous sayings, actions and behaviour. An important aspect of that is to visit Muslims wherever they may be, to feel concerned about their affairs, to alleviate their sufferings and to pray for them.
Brothers in Islam! It is recommended to do a lot of Tahleel (saying La ilaha illa Allah), Takbeer (saying Allahu Akbar) and Tahmeed (saying Al-hamdu lillah) in these days. Also, if anyone wants to make a sacrifice for Eid, and it is already in the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, he should not cut his hair or nails. The Prophet saws said,
| When you see the moon of Dhul-Hijjah let any one of you who intends to sacrifice an animal for Eid not take anything from his hair or nails until he has made the sacrifice. (Muslim)
This prohibition is only binding on those who want to sacrifice. As for those on whose behalf a sacrifice is to be made, they are not included in this prohibition.
On this great occasion, we sincerely appeal to eminent Muslim personalities to recognise the enormous responsibilities they have to shoulder so that they can make use of these noble days to propagate Islam and spread the good virtues that Islam promotes in accordance with the commandments of Allah and respect to His limits and injunctions. We should always follow this method, be it during Hajj or other days.(NOTE: If you want to build a strong and powerful relationship with Allah, check out Islamia TV, where you can watch Islamic speakers from across the globe deliver inspiring and motivational courses. Learn more at www.islamia.tv.)