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The Spiritual Dimensions of Hajj

Hajj is one of the neglected integrals, not so much in the fact that people don’t perform Hajj, but that people overlook the spiritual reality and opportunity of Hajj.

So the verses that we’re going to be looking at are verses 27 to 32 from chapter Al-Hajj which unsurprisingly tell us a lot about the meaning and purpose of Hajj.

Allah tells us:

And proclaim to the people the Hajj [pilgrimage]; they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every distant pass –
That they may witness benefits for themselves and mention the name of Allah on known days over what He has provided for them of [sacrificial] animals. So eat of them and feed the miserable and poor. (22:27-32)

So in these verses here, Allah tells us about some of the spiritual aims of Hajj

If you think about a reality that precedes Islam, even the Arabs your, there is a spiritual magnetism to Makkah, to the Ka’bah.

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And it’s not an accident, this is an, as these verses will proclaim it as “the ancient house”.

It is said that the original building of the Ka’bah was done by Adam and that was lost in the mists of history.

But then Prophet Ibrahim when he re-erected this as a place of worship with his son, from that time people have come and the prophet was promised that they’ll come from all corners. And this is one of the marvels of Hajj.

But it is not that gathering of people that is the point of the Hajj but rather to witness points of benefit for them.

Why? Because Hajj being made up of so many different actions, each of these actions there’s the act of submission to Allah. And this is one of the things that people miss out on the Hajj. Then they perform the Hajj with their body and that has some benefit, but they miss the heart of the Hajj.

Every single action of Hajj has an outward aspect which we do it out of submission to Allah. And even doing it just out of submission to Allah, you will find benefit in it. Even if you just do it heedlessly, there will be some residual benefits.

But if you do it with a sense, “I’m doing this for Allah”, whether it be the Sa’ii, whether it be entering into the ihram, whether it be the stoning of the jamarat… that very act of doing it for the sake of Allah has some benefits.

But if you do it with understanding of what are the numerous wisdoms in it, then it’ll have a much deeper benefit.

It’s clear here that there are numerous benefits from Hajj. So at a basic level, people with respect to Hajj are of three types:

Some go to Hajj unprepared and that is foolishness… You’ll still benefit, but it may not be a transformative Hajj.

The Prophet said:

The virtuous Hajj has no reward but Paradise.

Others prepare just outwardly for the Hajj. Hajj for them is a type of spiritual tourism. That’s not the point, there’s a partial preparation at least, then you’ll know what to do outwardly and that’s important. Because the Hajj has many moving parts.

But the real preparation for the Hajj is a preparation that you know what to do, but you also have invested some time in understanding why you do it.

You should prepare well in advance for the Hajj. Take some time to reflect on the verses related to Hajj. So, what are these points of benefit that we behold? And for that one of the resources, we’d highly recommend imam Al-Ghazali’s chapter on Hajj, Ihya has a wonderful section on the spiritual dimensions of Hajj.

So we need to learn how to perform the Hajj soundly, the basics of Hajj and in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet.

Watch the full talk here.