بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Alhamdulillah, there are so many people going for Hajj this year. And alhamdulillah, there are so many people who are dying to go to Hajj next year.
But why exactly do you want to go for Hajj?
Possible Reasons why you want to go to Hajj
1) You have no idea (Don’t worry, you’re not alone).
2) You heard it was a “great experience” (It is but that’s still a lousy reason to be making such a great journey for).
3) Your parents / spouse / children are dragging you with because they need someone to go with. (Oh dear…)
4) You want to “escape” from all your troubles and relax. (Okay, but are you planning to set up camp in Makkah all your life and never come back?)
5) Because Hajj is the 5th pillar of Islam and is therefore “important.” (Question: Do you apply the first four pillars of Islam?)
6) Because you want to become a better Muslim.
As you might have guessed, Answers 1-4 are not correct.
What about Nos. 5 and 6? Well, they’re not wrong. However, they mistake the means for the end.
Before I explain why they are not the correct answers, let me ask you two questions:
1) What is the purpose of your life? Why were you created?
2) Is going for Hajj the purpose? Or is it a means to achieving that purpose?
The Purpose of Life
What IS the purpose of our lives?
As Allah was the one who created us, He is the only one who can tell us what we were created for:
“And I (Allah) created not the jinns and humans except they should worship Me (Alone).” [Surah Ad-Dhaariyaat (51) : 56]
Say: “Verily, my salaah, my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the Alameen (mankind, jinns and all that exists).” [Surah Al-Anaam (6) : 162]
So, the purpose of our lives, according to the One who created us is that we worship Him alone. The reward for doing this is the attainment of Paradise.
Please note a few points regarding the above:
1) Allah does NOT need our worship, rather it is we who need Him.
“And whosoever strives, he strives only for himself. Verily, Allah is free of all wants from the Alameen.” [Surah Al-Ankabut (29) : 6]
2) Ibaadah (worship) does not just include prayer, fasting, going for Hajj, etc. Yes, these are the core acts of worship; however, ibaadah is not limited to that. Any halal act can be turned into an ibaadah by changing one’s intention. For example, one is allowed to get married simply because one desires to do so. However, if one does it with the sole intention of pleasing Allah, it turns into an act of worship.
3) How does one ultimately fulfill one’s purpose of life and attain Paradise?
This is done by applying Tawheed. Tawheed is to single out Allah in His Lordship, in His Worship and in His Names and Attributes.
We are all created to apply tawheed i.e. we are meant to worship the Creator alone and stop the worship of creation.
A future post will discuss the relationship between Hajj and Tawheed, insha-Allah.
4) Do you really want Paradise? If so, you should understand that it is attained through righteous deeds (and the Mercy of Allah). It is NOT attained by merely wanting and daydreaming about it.
Tawheed is the main requirement to get into Paradise. Only the people of tawheed will be permitted to enter Paradise.
Hajj and the Purpose of Life
Everyone has a yearning for happiness. And this is natural as our final abode is meant to be Paradise.
Hajj is a means to an end. It is not an end in and of itself. What is the End? It is pleasing Allah and attaining Paradise.
It is important to remember this because many people get confused between the means and the end. In the reasons mentioned above, both No. 5 and No. 6 were means to pleasing Allah and attaining Paradise. They are not the ends.
For example, Hajj does make you a better Muslim but you’re not going there just to achieve the means. (i.e. being a better Muslim). You should go there with the intention of worshipping Allah and getting granted Paradise. One of the results of Hajj should be to make you a better Muslim. However, it is not THE reason that you are going for Hajj.
Why is this so important to understand? Well, because what happens to many people is that they go to Hajj thinking that this is the goal. They come back and what happens? Absolutely nothing. Most of them are unable to continue with their acts of worship. Why? Because they didn’t realize that Hajj was a means, not the end.
Let me give you two simple analogies to help you understand:
1) The Petrol Pump (or Gas Station) Analogy
You want to go somewhere. On the way to your destination, you pass by a petrol pump in order to refuel your car and to buy some food (to refuel yourself).
Tell me: Is this petrol pump your destination? No! It is simply a means. A means to what? A means for you to continue with your journey so that you are able to get to your destination.
The Petrol Pump is this life. We are just travelers and this world is a temporary stop for us to get what we need to get us to the destination (which is Paradise).
Abdullah Ibn Umar (radiallahu anhu) said: “The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alaihi wasallam) took me by the shoulder and said: ‘Be in this world as though you were a stranger or a wayfarer.’” [Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 8, Hadeeth No. 425]
Hajj and Ramadan in particular are also petrol pumps. They help to refuel our iman so that we can keep going on with our good deeds so that we attain Paradise.
We do not stop at the petrol pump. We only stop when we reach our destination.
2) The Elevator and the Staircase Analogy
Suppose you met someone waiting for an elevator. The person tells you that he is desperate to get to the top floor of that building. Unfortunately, the elevator is not working at that time.
The person makes no attempt to take the stairs, preferring to wait for the elevator instead. What does this mean? It means that he is really not that desperate to get to the top. Had it really been that important to him, he would have taken the stairs for now, and would have used the elevator when it become available.
The top floor is Paradise. The elevator is Hajj and Ramadan. The stairs are the other times of the year.
Yes, it’s harder to increase our iman and attain Paradise in those times but it can be done. It is much easier to increase our iman and attain Paradise at these two times.
However, even after they are gone, we still need to keep trying to get to the top floor, because until we do, we have not attained our goal.
So, to summarise: You should go to Hajj in order to glorify, praise and please Allah. And after you come back, you need to continue doing that until you die. It’s as simple as that.