Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Hajj: a true test in sacrifice

In just two days time, more than three million Muslims from all over the world would congregate at Arafah, a plain about 22km outside Makkah. This act, called the ‘wuquf’, represents the climax of the Hajj pilgrimage.

The Hajj is a test in sacrifice in the way of Allah. The sacrifices cover a completely wide spectrum from the time and money spent, to leaving behind loved ones and the comforts of one’s home. But more importantly, each and every of these sacrifices is aimed at seeking the pleasure of none but Allah subhanahu wa taala.

It is a totally different level of sacrifice compared to what one is used to when going through worldly challenges and experiences. It is an act of whole-hearted and total submission to God.

The Talbiyah, recited by pilgrims doing Hajj, perhaps encapsulates this very essence of act of submission and servitude to Allah:

Labbaik Allah hummalabbaik…“Here I am, O Allah, here I am. Here I am, You have no partner, here I am. Verily all praise and blessings are Yours, and all sovereignty, You have no partner”.

With just two days left to wuquf, all pilgrims will have arrived in this holy city. As a result, Makkah will be very, very crowded. The Masjidil Haram will be bursting at the seams, literally.

If you want to perform your five times daily obligatory prayers inside the mosque, you’d be well advised to be in the mosque at least one hour before the azan. Or else, you would most likely be praying on one of the streets of Makkah. And if you start leaving for the mosque only when the azan is being called then, for sure, you would find yourself praying at the very entrance doorstep of your hotel !

During these last few days before wuquf, pilgrims are advised to ‘take it easy’. What this means really is that they should rest and take care of their health and prepare for the big day of wuquf.

I remember how I spent this time sitting a lot on my small bed in our equally small, five-bedded hotel room. I would find myself looking up the do’a and zikir booklet given to all Malaysian pilgrims by Tabung Haji.

I would also make notes on additional do’a which I’d wanted to communicate to, and ask of, Allah during my wuquf. For wuquf is a big day in every sense of the word. It is the day when Allah would descend to be the closest to His servants, the pilgrims. It is, therefore, one of the best occasions to make self-reflection, ask for forgiveness and make do’a to Allah.

The day after wuquf is Aidil Adha, or what many Malaysians know as the Hari Raya Kurban. Muslims all over the country would slaughter cows or goats as a mark of sacrifice.

To many, this is the only sacrifice in the way of Allah that we have come to know. But for Hajj pilgrims the world over, the sacrifices had started a year or maybe even much earlier, as they prepare themselves financially, physically and spiritually for the journey of a lifetime. A journey to be the guests of Allah. A journey in answer to the call of Allah, …“Here I am, O Allah, here I am…”

May Allah reward all the pilgrims with Haji mabrur.


KotaStar said...

Allah HuAkbar
Allah HuAkbar
Allah HuAkbar

It is great that you remind yrself and friends re the Haj.For those who have gone to Mekkah for Haj it will always remain a classic journey unequalled by any other.Maybe the personal sacrifice in terms of comfort, health etc has lessen with Tabung Haji extra care, yet for many it is the very objective of one's ambition in life to fulfill one of the pillars of Islam. Personally I had an extraordinary experience at the time of wukuf and after reciting the doa. Long will I remember. I am sure you would also have returned home after Haj with an experience of yr own.

Salam Aidil Adha and pray to Allah that all our jemaah will be safe without undue mishaps of any nature.

Azizi Ahmad Termizi: said...

Pak Non

Indeed, the Hajj affords us some exceptional experiences and self discovery.

During wuquf, tears flow freely down everyone's cheeks almost without exception, including yours truly. As you said: it is an experience which "long will I remember".