The Hajj and the Month of Zil Hajj
Zil Hajj is the last and significant month of Islamic calendar. This month is full with blessing of Allah Almighty. As its name is indicating, an important pilgrimage of Islam is offered in Makkah (Saudi Arabia) that is Hajj. This month is full with blessing of Allah Almighty as well as Namaz, Ibaadats, Tilawat-ul-Quran, Nawafils, Takbeer, Roza, Sadqa and Tasbeeh. There are many rewards for the first ten days of this month. Hazrat Hafsah (R.A) said that in the months of Islamic calendar there are four things, which the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.W) never missed, those are:
- To fast (roza) of the Yawm-e-Aashourah (10th Muharram
- To fast (roza) from the 1st to the 9th day of Zil Hajj
- To fast (roza) three days every month: 13th, 14th and 15th
- To achieve before the faraz namaz of Fajar, 2 raka’ats of namaz (this is what we observe as Sunnat-ul-Mu’aqiddah in the namaz Fajar).
Hajj, which is performed in the Holy and important Islamic month of Zil Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam. Literal meanings of Hajj are “to resolve or to intend”. This is a devotional exercise for the Muslims. Hajj is obligatory for all those Muslims who are physically and mentally sane. Allah Almighty says in Surah-al-Imran about Hajj. “And pilgrimage to House is duty unto Allah, for mankind, for him who can find a way hither.” Holy Prophet (S.A.W.W) also expressed importance and rewards of Hajj. He (PBUH) said that “reward of Hajj is not less than Paradise”. Hadees, which is in Tirmidhi, stated that: “Hajj, which is accepted, gets no less a reward than Paradise.” About reward of the Hajj, the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W.W) also said: The Noble Prophet (Blessings of Allah be upon Him and His Family) has said, “A person who circumambulates this House (the Ka’bah) seven times and performs the two Rak’at Salat (of Tawaaf) in the best form possible will have his sins forgiven.” (Biharul Anwar, Volume 96, Page 49) There are many benefits and rewards for Muslims who perform Hajj. Some of these benefits are:
- Spiritual and Mental purification.
- It is source of seeking forgiveness of Allah.
- It boosts equality among Muslims.
- It also promotes fraternity and brotherhood among believers.
As Hajj is important and basic pillar of Islam. Therefore, for every Muslim who may have capability to perform it is mandatory on him/her. Allah Almighty says:
“So then hasten towards Allah, surely I (Muhammad) am a plain warner to you from Him.”
(Suratul Dhariyat (51), Verse 50)
The Imam said, “Struggle towards Allah (perform the Hajj).”
(Ma’aniul Akhbar, Page 222)
The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.W) said, “Islam is built upon five pillars: Testifying that there is No true God except Allah and that Muhammad (PBUH) is the Messenger of Allah, performing Prayer, paying the Zakah, making the pilgrimage to the Sacred House (Hajj), and fasting the month of Ramadan.”
(Reported by Al-Bukhari)
Hajj is binding and uniting factor among Muslims. There are many lessons in Hajj for the Muslims, which they should learn. This important practice shows that all Muslims are one Ummah (nation) and these pilgrims show uniqueness of Islam and its values. About importance of Hajj, the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.W) said: It has been narrated from al-Ridha [Imam ‘Ali Ibn Musa] (peace be upon him) that he said, “I have not seen a single thing which makes a person free from want (financially secure) quicker, nor which is more effective in removing poverty, than continuously performing the Hajj (year after year).” (Biharul Anwar, Volume 74, Page 318 Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, who is the former President of the Islamic Society of North America, says that: The first ten day of the month of Zil Hajj are much important and sacred days of the whole year. These days are mentioned is Surah Al-Fajar. The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.W) said: “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.” The people asked, “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah?” He said, “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah, except in the case of a man who went out to fight, giving himself and his wealth up for the cause, and came back with nothing.”
On this important occasion of Hajj, millions of Muslims from all over the world gathered in the sacred city Al-Makkah. All these Muslims are coming here from all over the world to perform their sacred Hajj, which is obligation on them from their religion Islam. Hajj is an important occasion and ceremony for devotion and love to Allah. Every Muslim has his/her deep relation with Allah. This relation is deep love, obedience, and devotion. All Muslims love Allah because Allah loves them.
“….He loves them and they love Him…”
Hajj followed by sacrifice of animals by Muslims all over the world is also another important practice of the Holy month of Zil Hajj. Hajj and sacrifice has association with Holy Prophet Ibrahim (A.S). Allah had great love for Holy Prophet Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S) therefore called him friend (khalil).
“…. Allah took Ibrahim as a friend”
Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W.W) told the importance of sacrifice of animal on 10thof Zil Hajj. He said: In a tradition, ‘Ali ibnil Husain [Imam Zainul ‘Aabidin] (peace be upon him) has said,
“When a person performing the Hajj slaughters an animal, it saves him from the fire of hell.”
(Biharul Anwar, Volume 96, Page 288)
Association of Hajj and sacrifice of animals with history and life story of Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S) and Hazrat Isma’il (A.S) shows the sense of Muslims with history and their deep-rooted faith on Prophets of Allah. This show that Allah give this religion Islam to all His prophets from: Adam, Nuh, Ibrahim, Isma`il and finally to the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W.W). All these are poise people of Allah and Allah give them authority to guide humanity toward Allah. Hajj in the month of Zil Hajj is also important because it gives a universal sprite to Islam. People from all over the world belonging to different nations, races, colors, regions go there to bow before Allah and to perform their religious obligation. Here they all are one without any discrimination which Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (S.A.W.W) taught on his last address of his last hajj which is famous as Hajj-tul-Wida. He said: “O People, listen to me in earnest, worship ALLAH, say your five daily prayers (Salah), fast during the month of Ramadan, and give your wealth in Zakat. Perform Hajj if you can afford to. All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim, which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves.”Hajj shows that all Muslims of the world have one Qiblah and this is the only direction for them to worship Allah and bow before him. Now all Muslims of the world offer their all prayers by facing to this Qiblah, which show that their center, focus, and orientation are same. This show unity is their lives and mission for a specific purpose. Due to this Holy month of Zil Hajj and Hajj now Muslims are not people without any direction and orientation. Therefore, focus of all Muslims of the world is Allah and Ka’bah the House of Allah. Now Muslims have to hold fast, book of Allah together so that they remain united.
“And hold fast all together Allah’s rope and be not divided…”
(Aal `Imran 3:103)
Month of Zil Hajj is month of peace and prosperity. Hajj is the largest gathering and ceremony of the world in which billions of people from all over the world gather to perform one act. They remain united with peace. They respect each other in this gathering and all other things, which they have. No one harm anybody or anything at this occasion, which show their unity and show that how much Islam and its followers are peaceful. Therefore, this is lesson for the rest of the world and especially for Muslims that how much Islam is peaceful and they are peaceful nation on the world. The whole occasion of Hajj ceremony is exercise and moving. This movement include tawaf, sa`i, going to Mina, `Arafat, Muzdalifah, Mina again, around the Jamarat and other places. Therefore, this ceremony also teaches lessons to all Muslims of the world that their life is all about action, motion, and sacrifice. Acting upon all these things brings success and give freedom from salvation in their lives.