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Hajj: Black or White Dots?

Take a look at the picture above. What do you see?

Many will see the black dot, not the whole field of white dots.

Despite the innumerable white dots around us – our health, wealth, youth, household, offspring, fine clothing, ceaseless sustenance, etc. – some see only the few black dots (that guy at work who is always talking on the phone; that dripping tap that never stops; etc.).

Believers are required to look positively at things around them and show gratitude to their Lord, the Most Generous. In the Qur’an, Almighty Allah says,

{And when your Lord proclaimed, “If you give thanks, I will give you more, but if you are thankless, lo! My punishment is dire.} (Ibrahim 14:7)

The majority fail to be thankful, however. This is related in a Qur’anic verse as follows:

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{And very few of My servants are grateful.} (Saba’ 34:13)

This is true indeed, and it is more so when it comes to Hajj.

Difficult journey

Hajj is a time of hardship; there is no doubt about that. But one way to make Hajj more inspiring and more acceptable in the sight of Allah is to focus on the white dots existing therein, not the black ones. Be sure you will be tested in ways you cannot imagine.

Suppose you are in Mina, and you suddenly realize you have to use the washroom. You rush out, only to find more than a hundred people lined up in front of 10 stalls! Obviously, that’s a big black dot. But what are the white dots that are not so obvious?

1. You are alive, which is a big blessing in itself.

2. You are surrounded by your brothers and sisters in Islam; besides, they are pilgrims.

3. It is not a serious medical emergency. It is only a need to use the washroom.

For an acceptable and trouble-free Hajj, one should assume the conduct of looking for all the white dots  associated with any given situation. About the boundless favors that He bestows upon us, Almighty Allah says,

{And He gives you of all that you ask for, and if you count the favors of Allah, never will you be able to number them. Verily, man is given up to injustice and ingratitude.} (Ibrahim 14:34)

White dots examples

Here are some other examples of such situations that a pilgrim is likely to encounter:

1. Your group leader tells you that the bus going to `Arafah is coming at 3:00 a.m. Consequently, you should get up at 2:00 a.m. to get ready. And actually you wake up in time and you wait until it is 8:00 a.m. with the bus making no appearance.

A white dot: You have a group! Sure it beats going alone. Hey, you could get lost if you go alone!

Another white dot: Almighty Allah let you wake up; He could have taken your soul that night, but He gave you respite and more time for you to ask for forgiveness and come back to Him.

2. You complete your Tawaf (circumambulation of the Ka`bah) and Sa`i (walking between Safa and Marwah) and return to your tent, only to find out that dinner has already been served, and you are hungry.

A white dot: It’s all right. Remember! You fast the 30 days of Ramadan anyway, no matter how hungry you feel. Remember also that Almighty Allah provides you with foods day in, day out in your hometown.

Being hungry for a few hours is not so serious. If you are still not budging, remember those places where 10 or so people fight to get a piece of bread. Can you find a piece of bread in your tent? Eat it, and thank Allah for His bounty.

Another white dot: Say al-hamdu lillah that Allah has enabled you to perform the rituals of Sa`i and Tawaf. When you first started, you had inner feelings that “it is not going to be easy.” But out of His mercy, Almighty Allah has made it easy for you, and it is all over now. You have carried out the ritual and have reaped the fruit. What a great blessing!

3. You are sitting on a bus heading to Mina. You have been sitting for four hours. All of a sudden, the driver turns off the air-conditioner because the engine is overeating.

A white dot: Say al-hamdu lillah that Almighty Allah has made you a Muslim, and hope that He will show mercy to you and save you from Hellfire, the hottest place ever. Bringing this to mind will surely make you feel cooler.

These are only a few examples of such seemingly unpleasant situations that are not free from white dots. You only have to look for these not-so-obvious dots.