This is a strange year for us as Muslims. For most of us, it is the first time that we have seen masjids closed in Ramadan and Eid prayers being cancelled.
With so many aspects of our lives and worship being affected in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, even Hajj was not spared.
The vast majority of Muslims are not going to be able to go for Hajj, including those who were planning on going this year. It is a sad but necessary attempt at keeping people safe.
Hajj Requires Sacrifice
However, Hajj being cancelled does not mean that we can’t reflect on it and benefit from the month of Dhul-Hijjah. We can still think about what Hajj is meant to make us learn and reflect on and try to implement some of those lessons in our lives.
For example, Hajj is one of the biggest sacrifices of time, wealth, and energy that many people will make for Allah in their lives. Muslims going for Hajj leave their home, work, family, and friends, usually for several weeks.
It is not a small thing to do. They live in discomfort and experience life without a lot of the modern amenities they might be used to. Whether they are millionaires or live in poverty, they are all dressed similarly and are virtually indistinguishable by class.
Patience is a Virtue
What makes these sacrifices count for anything is the patience that must come with them. Saving up for Hajj is a huge task in itself for most people, and can take years.
Then, there is the physical toll that Hajj can take on the body, as well as tolerating high temperatures in the desert. Patience comes with making these sacrifices without complaining, and instead seeing them as an opportunity to get closer to Allah.
If someone has their priorities wrong, they might not have the patience necessary to do what is required for Hajj. They might be tempted to spend their extra money on unnecessary things rather than saving up for the pilgrimage. Or, they might not give up their time off from work for Hajj and go on a vacation instead.
So it really shows a person’s priorities and desire to obey and be close to Allah if they are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to perform Hajj.
A World Without Inequalities
One of the most beautiful aspects of Hajj, in my opinion, is that it shows a glimpse of how humankind would look without inequalities. While on Hajj, everyone is dressed similarly and has to stay in similar accommodations.
While camping in Mina, even people with more expensive packages do not stay in 4 or 5-star hotels.
People of all income levels and classes blend together while doing the rituals of Hajj. There is no VIP access to the Kabah, for example. Everyone does tawaaf at the same time. It is a lesson in humility for all of us.
One more way that Hajj promotes equality is by eradicating racial divides. No matter what someone’s race or ethnicity is, they all do the same actions and go at the same time.
It is a reminder that although human beings segregate and discriminate, Allah does not. He created all of us and sees us all the same, with the only distinction being our taqwa.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) stated in a hadith:
Verily, Allah does not look at your appearance or wealth, but rather He looks at your hearts and actions (Sahih Muslim).
I personally do not believe in “color blindness” when it comes to race, so I will not say that Hajj shows that Black or White does not matter. Instead, I see Hajj as a beautiful display of the diversity of our Ummah.
Allah (SWT) created us all differently for a reason. We meant to neither ignore our varying skin colors nor to discriminate against each other because of them; rather, we should celebrate these differences and see them as another chance to praise and glorify Allah for being Al-Musawwir, the Fashioner, the Shaper.
Even after Eid-al-Adha, and despite not having the chance to go for Hajj, we can still reflect on the lessons that Hajj teaches us.
May Allah grant us all good health, and may He open up the doors to His house soon and allow us a chance to visit.