Three Steps to Haj
When it comes to preparing and enjoying a special dish of food, firstly we need to make the arrangement of getting all the ingredients. Thereafter we need to know how to put the ingredients together and prepare the dish. Lastly, we simply serve the meal and enjoy it. In the same way when it comes to preparing and enjoying our special journey of haj, firstly we need to make the arrangement of our flight and accommodation, which everyone does with great care and precision. Thereafter we need to learn the method and laws pertaining to haj. However, only some take an interest in doing so completely. This will enable one to physically fulfill the rites of haj. The most crucial factor however is to condition the heart and mind so that one spends one’s time according to the spirit of haj and imbibes the message of haj. A haj performed with the spirit of haj will create a revolution in one’s life. One’s life after haj will be much better than the life before haj.
Compulsory only Once
Our most fundamental need is imaan which we need every moment of our lives. Together with imaan we have various ibaadat to perform. Among them salaah is to be performed five times a day. Fasting and zakaat are compulsory duties carried out once a year. However, haj is compulsory only once in our lifetime. Thus the first haj that we perform will be our fardh (compulsory) haj. Thereafter even if we perform a hundred haj, it will all be nafl (optional). Thus this highlights the need to get our first haj right. Haj is unlike salaah and other compulsory duties where we have the chance of improving on our previous duty. We should therefore strive to perfect our first haj and get it accepted in the court of Allah Ta’ala. We cannot afford to have our first haj rejected due to our carelessness in as far as learning and preparing for the haj itself. The spiritual preparation is the most essential need of every Haaji so that together with haj of “Baitullah” (Ka’bah Shareef), when one returns, he returns as a true “Abdullah” (servant of Allah Ta’ala)
Imagine a newly wed couple who are together for the first time. The husband spends the entire night praising his wife and expressing words of love to her. However the very next morning he is gone fishing or golfing with his friends, leaving his wife all alone. This makes one wonder what the entire nights praises and “I love you” were all about? Did it come from the heart or was it mere lip service?
A Haji Never Tastes Poverty
Likewise when proceeding to Makkah Mukarramah we shout out “lab-baik”, and out of love we announce “We are present O Allah Ta’ala.” But then we slip out to Jeddah for some sight seeing, or for every one tawaaf we make of the Ka`bah, we end up making ten tawaafs of the shopping malls. Let not our “lab-baik” be an empty slogan of love. Let it be followed by sincere actions and dedication.
Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “A Haji never becomes poor and destitute.” (Majma’uz Zawaaid #5272)
Expenses during Haj
Despite the rising costs of performing haj, this hadith is sufficient to remove all fears of becoming poor due to performing haj. A true Believer places his trust on Allah Ta’ala and is convinced with the words of Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam).
Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “The expenses incurred during haj is like that incurred in jihad, rewarded seven hundred times.” (Musnad Ahmad #23000)
It is not possible for the material world to offer us an opportunity where we can invest our money and secure for ourselves a return which is seven hundred times over. Here on the occasion of haj we are rewarded seven hundred times for the money we spend during haj with rewards that are stored for us in the eternal vaults of the hereafter, where there is no fear of any deficiency, loss, or theft.