Muslims around the world will soon gather for the annual Hajj, the largest human pilgrimage in the world. For most hajjis, it is a lifetime preparation, involving saving up money to afford the obligation. Besides able to afford the trip, another requirement is to be healthy.
Muslims around the world will soon gather for the annual Hajj, the largest human pilgrimage in the world. Hajj is performed in the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar, Dhul Hijjah from the 8th to the 12th day. For most hajjis, it is a lifetime preparation, involving saving up money to afford the obligation. Besides able to afford the trip, another requirement is to be healthy.
A few decades ago Hajj was seen as being only for the elderly to make the lifelong journey. Over the past few years, the youth are now changing the image that Hajj is only for older generation.
Another new phenomena is the availability of cell phones and the internet.
Depending on how it is used, the cell phone can be a blessing or an annoyance. It is a blessing to tell your family members back home that you have arrived safely and you are enjoying the beautiful sight of the Kaaba. It becomes an annoyance when you are praying and ringtone upon ringtone is going off. Considering how many people are in the haram (sanctuary) it is a huge distraction. Compare this to the previous generations of hajjaj, they would make the three month journey through busses or animal transportation and family members wouldn’t hear from them until they arrived back.
Hajj is definitely not a place to stay in your own comfort zone. It is a place to get yourself out of your bubble and interact with people who are different from you. Hajj reminds the believer of the verse in the Quran in chapter Al-Hujurat (The Dwellings), “O you men! Surely We have created you of a male and a female, and made you tribes and families that you may know each other; surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty); surely Allah is Knowing, Aware (49:13).”
It is the perfect opportunity to know the affairs of your Muslim brothers and sisters from around the world. Never in your life again will you experience seeing a beautiful diversity of people representing every country in the world. From the east to the west, Muslims uniting under one banner of “There is no god but Allah, and Mohamed is the messenger of Allah.”
In a heartfelt letter to his assistants in Harlem, New York, Malcom X explained his experience at Hajj.
"Never have I witnessed such sincere hospitality and overwhelming spirit of true brotherhood as is practiced by people of all colors and races here in this ancient Holy Land, the home of Abraham, Muhammad and all the other Prophets of the Holy Scriptures. For the past week, I have been utterly speechless and spellbound by the graciousness I see displayed all around me by people of all colors,” said Malcom X.
Hajj doesn’t guarantee every Muslim to come back as a better person. It is up to the individual to make that decision to come as a person who wants to change for the better, or stay in the same miserable state. The latter is surly the loser and did not benefit from the Hajj at all, while the former will be successful because Allah promises the believer, as indicated in the chapter of the spiders verse 69, “And (as for) those who strive hard for Us, We will most certainly guide them in Our ways; and Allah is most surely with the doers of good.