of Haj in life of a Muslim
of the fundamental duties in Islam is that of Haj. Laying
it down as an essential religious obligation upon Muslims,
the Holy Quran says: "Pilgrimage thereto is a duty men owe
to Almighty God - those who can afford the journey, but if
any deny faith, God stands not in need of any of His creatures"
(III:97). In this verse while Haj has been declared obligatory,
it has been made clear that it is applicable only to those
who possess the means and material resources to undertake
it. But care has to be taken in interpretation of the last
part of the verse.
that if Muslims whom Almighty Allah has blessed with the necessary
means to perform pilgrimage fail to carry out their duty through
sheer ingratitude, then Almighty God does not stand in need
of their pilgrimage. He will definitely lose nothing by their
not performing Haj - the loss will be entirely theirs.
obligatory on every adult who can afford the journey, and
this duty is to be performed only once in a person's lifetime.
No other institution in the world has the wonderful influence
that Haj does. It helps in levelling all distinctions of race,
colour and rank. Not only do people of all races and countries
meet together in front of the Holy House of Almighty God as
His servants and the members of one Divine family, they also
have the same dress code. All of them are wrapped in two white
sheets, and there remains nothing to distinguish those who
are monetarily well off, from those who aren't.
is a vast concourse of human beings, all dressed in the same
way, moving in one manner, and all uttering the same words,
"Labbaika Allah-umma labbaika," meaning, "Here are we, O Allah!
here are we in Thy presence". It is Haj alone that brings
into the domain of practicality what would otherwise seem
impossible, namely that all people, to whatever class or country
they belong speaking one language and having uniformity in
their dress code. Thus every Muslim is made to pass once in
his life through that narrow gate of equality which leads
to broad brotherhood. All men are equal at birth and death;
they come into life in one way and leave this world in another
way, but both these ways are the same for all.
living in this world, Haj is the only occasion when they are
taught how to live , act and feel in one manner.
writers describe Haj, they make note only of its outward actions.
They have never tried to discover the real significance of
Haj. Looking broadly at the scene at Makkah during the Haj
days, one is struck first of all by the unity that can be
seen to prevail among the discordant elements of humanity.
Deeper than that, however, lies another value of Haj, and
this is the higher spiritual experience which is made possible
by this unique assemblage of men - the experience of drawing
closer and closer to Almighty God till man feels that all
those veils that keep him away from Almighty God have been
lifted and he is standing in the Divine presence of Almighty
member of this great assemblage sets out from his home with
that object in view. He discards all those comforts of life
which act as a veil against the inner sight.
significance of a man's spiritual experience in an assemblage
is evident from another point of view as well. That there
is a mysterious way from one heart to another is an undeniable
truth. Therefore, the company of a man who is inspired by
similar feelings and who is undergoing a similar experience
is undoubtedly an additional force to the spiritual experience
of each one of those performing Haj.
case of thousands of men, even hundreds of thousands, all
inspired by the one idea of feeling the presence of the Divine
Being, all concentrating their minds on the One Supreme Being
Whose Goodwill, for the time being, is their sole object.
And add to this the mighty effect of the outward unity of
them all, all clad in the same two sheets, all crying in one
language what is understood by all, "Labbaika Allah-umma labbaika"
- "Here we are, O Allah! Here are we in Thy presence." Their
appearance, as well as the words which are on their lips,
show that they are standing in the Divine Being's presence,
and are so engrossed in the contemplation of Almighty Allah
that they have lost all ideas of the self.
God is surely not in Makkah to the exclusion of other places,
yet that vast assemblage at Makkah sees Him and feels His
presence as if He is actually there in their very midst. Such
is the higher spiritual experience of the pilgrims in Makkah,
the experience, not of a hermit shut up in his closet cut
off from the world, but of a mighty concourse gathered together
in one place.