In Hajj we learn our history. The stories of Adam, Eve, Hajar, Ibrahim, and Muhammad (Peace be upon them) come to life. We see the places they struggled in their journeys back to their Lord.
In the Pilgrimage, we get a small glimpse into the sacrifices made by those who achieved success. In this process of following their physical and spiritual footsteps, we align our hearts with those who lead the way back to Allah (SWT).
We tie our sapling souls to their legacies in hopes that we can grow straight and strong.
In Hajj we see our future, as it is said to be practice for the Day of Judgment. A layer of the veil we create for ourselves that makes us feel safe from death and judgment is drawn back as we travel to gather with humanity.
We pray with sincerity to be saved from misguidance and misfortune.
Our past and our future converge at Hajj.
When we leave our home, we leave behind iniquity and travel toward righteousness. With every step on the path we make toward Hajj, we make a step on the path to Allah (SWT). When we remove our normal clothing and put on our ihram, we remove our ego and nafs and wear the clothing of equality on humility.
Hajj shall be observed in the specified months. Whoever sets out to observe Hajj shall refrain from sexual intercourse, misconduct, and arguments throughout Hajj. Whatever good you do, God is fully aware thereof. As you prepare your provisions for the journey, the best provision is righteousness. You shall observe Me, O you who possess intelligence. (Quran 2:197)
When we orbit the Kabah, we affirm that we are part of the creation of the One Creator, who created even the orbiting celestial bodies. We are reminded that we are unique in the creation for ours is a free will. The hearts are filled with peace and awe in the original place of worship on earth.
We have rendered the shrine (the Kabah) a focal point for the people, and a safe sanctuary. You may use Abraham’s shrine as a prayer house. We commissioned Abraham and Ismail: “You shall purify My house for those who visit, those who live there, and those who bow and prostrate.” (Quran 2:125)
When we run between Ṣafa and Marwah, we admit that like Hajar we are in desperate need of whatever provision Allah (SWT) gives.
You commit no error by seeking provisions from your Lord (through commerce). (Quran 2:198)
When we stand on ʿArafat, surrounded by a sea of humanity, we stand begging God in dua for forgiveness, as will we on the Day of Judgment. It is in this same place that we are reminded of the place our mother and father, Adam and Eve, met after descending to earth.
You shall file together, with the rest of the people who file, and ask God for forgiveness. God is Forgiver, Most Merciful. (Quran 2:199)
When we stay at Mina and Muzdalifah, we are reminded of the limits of our bodies, the limitlessness of God, and we are thankful for the faculties that God has given us.
You shall commemorate God for a number of days (in Mina); whoever hastens to do this in two days commits no sin, and whoever stays longer commits no sin, so long as righteousness is maintained. You shall observe God and know that before Him you will be gathered. (Quran 2:203)
When we stone the Jamarat, as Ibrahim (AS) did, we acknowledge our enemy’s ability to lead us astray and we deepen our desire and sincerity to be granted true guidance.
When you file from `Arafaat, you shall commemorate God at the Sacred Location (of Muzdalifah). You shall commemorate Him for guiding you; before this, you had gone astray. (Quran 2:198)
All aspects of Hajj have a physical component, but their deeper meanings are spiritual.
It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is piety from you that reaches Him. (Quran 22:37)
This verse embodies the essence of the Hajj. It is not a thoughtless rote of physical acts that are meant to please our Lord.
It is the intention of the heart that counts. It is the will to choose to expend physical energy to draw closer to one’s Lord that matters. It is the desire to look to the past to learn and prepare for our inevitable future that reaches Allah (SWT).
When the pilgrimage is seen for what it is, as a spiritual rite, as a looking back and looking forward, as a drawing nearer to Allah (SWT), the soul becomes renewed in its purpose and the path of the soul becomes clearer.
The outcome of this physical effort, this heartfelt intent, for this spiritual journey is nothing less than paradise. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
The reward for an accepted hajj is nothing but paradise. (Al-Bukhari)