Haj is the fifth pillar of Islam. Allah Almighty has made Haj compulsory for those who can afford it or bear the expenditures of it. It means Haj is compulsory for that person who fulfils all the financial responsibilities of his family members easily and can bear the expenses of Haj. He should visit Kabah in the days of Haj and perform Manasik-e-Haj. The meaning of Haj is to intend. According to Shariah Haj means have an intention to perform Haj. A person who has money and health must perform Haj. Haj has a great significance because it is the pillar of Islam. It is an important source of training and prayer or ibadat. It has the devotion of Namaz, patience of the Fast and a passion of Qurbani. The faith of a Muslim refreshes when he sees Maqamat-e-Ibrahim while performing Manasik-e-Haj. He promises to follow the teachings of Allah and Mohammad (PBUH) in future strictly. Then a great revolution takes place in his life.
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said, “A person who visited Kabah, did not indulge in any discussion of sex or disobeyed Allah, he would return back to his home like a new born baby.” The Manasik-e-Haj include the journey of Haj, prayers in the days of Haj, wearing of ahram, observance of the orders of Allah about ahram, tawaf of Kabah, safa marwa, cutting of hair, visit to Mina, waqoof-e-Arafat and Muzdalfa in it. The aim of Haj-e-Mabroor (accepted by Allah) is that a Muslim should try to have the will of Allah, the desire for paradise, confession of sins, the forgiveness of Allah and shafat of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) said, “Haj has a great reward for us and the reward for Haj-e-Mabroor is Paradise.”
Haj is a universal gathering and an ibadat (prayer) for the whole Ummah. The Muslims wear the same ahram and make the same pledge with Allah Almighty. They ignore the distinctions of colour, race, tribe and community. Every Muslim proclaims, “God is one. I am present before Him. I pray to Him. He is the creator of the whole universe.” The month of Ramadan creates a sense of piety among the Muslims. Similarly, the month of Haj refreshes the spirit of Islam and sacrifice among the Muslims. It will continue up to the Day of Judgment inshallah.
The movement of Islam and the universal gathering will continue. Kabah, which is the centre of Islam will remain a source of light for all the Muslims whatever may be the conditions. This universal gathering will keep on creating a sense of fear among the enemies of Islam forever. Haj is a movement for peace. Allah has made the city of Makah as a symbol of peace. We cannot find such a blessing in any religion. At the time of Haj, millions of people from different countries gather in Kabah.
But the recent bloodshed in the Islamic countries like Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Palestine, Occupied Kashmir, Afghanistan, Burma and African countries has created anxiety and unrest among the Muslims. The conspiracies of the west, America and Hindus against Muslims have caused restlessness in the Muslim world. The enemies of Islam want to make Islam unsuccessful as a system of life. They want to divide the Muslims on the basis of colour, race, region, language and sect. A campaign has been launched on social media regarding the expenditures of Haj and Qurbani. It is argued that there is much poverty in the society. The expenses of Haj and Qurbani are unaffordable. No doubt, Allah has forbidden the display of wealth. Allah has said in the Holy Quran, “The flesh and the blood of these animals do not reach there but your piety and faith.” The aim of Qurbani is that the rich should sacrifice the animals and poor people have the opportunity to eat the meat. It is in the Quran, “Eat and drink but do not spend money wastefully because Allah does not like it.” Qurbani is compulsory for a person who can afford it. He himself should take some part of the meat. He should also give away to his relatives and the poor. The act of Qurbani is dearest to Allah on the day of Eid. It is said in a hadith, “The animal will be brought with its horns and hooves and then weighed. Allah accepts the sacrifice before the blood falls on the ground. So, sacrifice whole heartedly.”
It is said in a hadith, “A person who can afford but does not perform Haj, no matter if he dies as a Jew or a Christian.” Hazrat Umar said, “I have an intention to send my workers all around the country to find out those people that have a strong financial position but do not perform Haj. I would like to fine them. They are not Muslims.” The Holy Prophet said that five things are the basis of Islam, namely, oneness of Allah and Mohammad (PBUH) the Prophet of Allah, Namaz, Zakat, Haj and Fasts in the month of Ramadan. Haj and Umrah purify the soul of a man. He deserves the rewards and blessings of Allah on the Day of Judgment. During the journey of Medina and the visit to Masjid-e-Nabvi, Muslims remain in high spirits. It is the peak of their journey. Medina has a distinction of being a home of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and the place of revelation. May Allah make this Haj a source of peace, love and unity. Ameen.
(The writer is secretary general of Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan)