Throughout the world, thousands are graced every year by Allāh ta'ālā to carry out one of the greatest obligations and worships hajj. The many virtues and rewards related to this great act of worship have been mentioned in the last issue. However, for hajj to be accepted and for one to reap all its spiritual fruits, it will need to be performed with due care, ensuring that all its rituals are carried out correctly, along with assuring that no sin is committed. The Prophet sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam said:
"Whoever performs hajj for the sake of pleasing Allāh, and therein utters no word of evil, nor commits any evil deed, shall return from it free from sin as the day on which his mother gave birth to him." (Al-Bukhārī, Muslim)
He sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam also said:
"There is no reward for a mabrūr hajj except Jannah." (Al-Bukhārī, Muslim)
The 'Ulamā have stated that a mabrūr hajj is that in which a person carries out all the rituals of hajj properly and does not disobey Allāh ta'ālā. It is saddening to see that we spend thousands of pounds to fulfil this important obligation, yet we become negligent with regards to certain important commands of Allāh ta'ālā, consequently becoming deprived of the spirituality of hajj and adversely polluting our hearts with sin, rather than enriching them with the spiritual vibes of hajj.
I would like to address two issues in which much negligence has become prevalent on the part of many of my brothers and sisters undertaking this sacred journey.
1) Salāh – A Fundamental Worship
Salāh is a fundamental worship a pillar of Islām, the significance of which needs no elaboration. Allāh ta'ālā has commanded us over and over again to perform salāh. In the glorious Qur'ān, the order of establishing salāh has been repeated at least 15 times. The extreme importance of salāh can easily be understood from the many warnings of the Prophet sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam in regards to missing it:
- "Verily, between a person and kufr and shirk, is leaving salāh." (Muslim) This hadīth warns that discarding salāh destroys the barrier between a person and kufr or shirk; he can easily fall into disbelief ignoring this important pillar of Islām.
- "Whoever misses a salāh, it is as if he has lost all his family and wealth." (Ahmad and AlBayhaqī) From this hadīth we learn that the ultimate loss incurred by missing one salāh is in no way less than the loss of the whole family and all wealth.
Moreover, there are many virtues mentioned regarding this great worship:
- "Allāh has ordained five salāhs upon His servants. Whoever brings them to Allāh, not having missed any of them out of levity, will have a covenant with Allāh that He will enter him into Jannah. Whoever does not bring them, will not have [such] a covenant with Allāh; if He wishes He will punish him, and if He so wishes He will enter him into Jannah." (Abū Dāwūd and AnNasa'ī)
- Once the Prophet sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam asked his Sahābah radhiyallāhu 'anhum, "Do you believe that dirt can remain on a person bathing five times a day in a brook running in front of his door?" "No", replied the Sahābah radhiyallāhu 'anhum, "No dirt can remain on his body." The Prophet sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam remarked, "So, likewise [is the effect of] salāh offered five times a day. Through it, Allāh washes away all sins." (Muslim)
Despite these virtues and warnings, we become negligent with regards to salāh during the blessed journey of hajj. Some common instances are:
- Motorway and Airport
When travelling, we seldom keep salāh in mind. Salāh is not a factor when planning out travel arrangements. If our travel arrangements are such that we have to perform salāh at the cafe or the airport, then this becomes a great burden on us and many people will just omit the salāh altogether. We are very fortunate that dedicated spaces are now available at airports with ablution facilities where we can perform salāh in relative peace and seclusion, and so there should be no excuse to miss it out.
This is also another place where we become negligent with regards to salāh. Even religious people are found wanting in this regard. For many it is a factor of inferiority complex and insecurity in expressing ones religious beliefs. For others it is just a matter of it being inconvenient.
The flight staff should be approached in a respectable manner and requested to arrange an appropriate place to perform salāh. Merely assuming that it is too inconvenient is unacceptable. Alhamdulillāh, in all my travels, I have never been declined such a request. The aeroplanes nowadays accommodate the need of a person to perform salāh.
In the hajj terminal at the Jeddah Airport, much confusion and hustle bustle is observed, both on arrival and departure. At this time, one needs to keep a cool head and not let the situation get the better of him. Many fall prey to the commotion at this place and, in making arrangements for travel, food etc. end up committing sins, and especially neglecting their salāh.
This is our condition despite being very close to the blessed places and every facility being available, to the extent that even the adhān is called out. May Allāh have mercy on us.
- In Makkah and Al-Madīnah
Performing salāh in the two harams is worthy of great reward. The Prophet sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam said, "One salāh in this masjid of mine (AlMasjid AnNabawī) is better than a thousand prayers in any other, except for Al-Masjid AlHarām." (AlBukhārī and Muslim) The actual virtue of performing salāh in AlMasjid AlHaram is understood from another hadīth to be 100,000 times more than any other. (Ibn Mājah) Despite there being such a great virtue, many people are observed missing salāh altogether. How grieving it is that we should have such a disregard for a fundamental pillar of Islām even in sacred places! Indeed, we are inviting the wrath of Allāh. 'Umar radhiyallāhu 'anhu said, "O people of Makkah! Fear Allāh with regards to this haram of yours! Do you know who resided in this haram before you? Such and such a tribe was residing in it, and they violated its sanctity and so were destroyed…" he then went on mentioning a number of tribes, and then said, "By Allāh! That I commit ten sins outside Makkah is more desirable to me than that I commit even one inside Makkah!" (Ibn Abī Shaybah and AlBayhaqī)
The importance of salāh and the great virtue for it in the haram should compel us to ensure we perform every salāh there, let alone miss it altogether or even perform it elsewhere. Even if our place of residence is at a considerable distance from the haram, we should endeavour to make it there to reap the rewards. After all, we are closer than most, and may never get the opportunity again in our lives.
Similarly, if we happen to go for ziyārah anywhere, we should arrange it at a time when we are unlikely to miss any salāh with jamā'ah in the haram.
It is unfortunate to note that some people miss their salāh in AlMasjid AlHarām due to being preoccupied with shopping, or going to dine further away from the vicinity of the haram. This is inexcusable and completely incomprehensible, and should never happen. Lā hāwla walā quwwata illā billāh.
- Travelling During the Days of Hajj
Another instance where there is much neglect in salāh is whilst travelling during hajj, between the different places, e.g. going to and returning from TawāfUzZiyārah. It is often found that whilst stuck in traffic, the times of different salāhs pass, but hardly anyone has alighted from their means of conveyance to perform salāh.
Similarly, on the final day of hajj, the 12th of DhulHijjah, in a mad rush to get back to Makkah and out of Minā, people leave in large numbers for Makkah, resulting in much congestion. Whilst stuck in traffic, the adhān for the Maghrib salāh is heard, but noone leaves their vehicles to perform salāh. It is observed that the traffic remains at a standstill till the 'Ishā salāh and beyond, yet no one has come out of their vehicles and performed Maghrib. How sad that we have just pelted the Jamarāt, and expressed our resolve in not falling prey to Shaytān, only to make him happy in the next hour!
Salāh was at the forefront of our pious elders in every circumstance. 'Umar radhiyallāhu 'anhu, expressing the importance of salāh, wrote to his governors during his reign of khilāfah, stating,
"Verily, the most important of your affairs to me is salāh; whoever safeguards it and is punctual upon it, safeguards his Dīn, and whoever lets it slip, he is likely to let slip other things too." (Mālik)
It has been recorded regarding Shaykh Mawlānā Khalīl Ahmad As-Sahrānpūrī rahimahullāh that he would perform all his salāh in the haram, in the first row, on the right side of the imām, whatever the circumstance. Even in the scorching heat of Arabia when the ground would become so hot that putting ones foot down would cause burns and scolds, he would hastily tip toe towards the first row and ensure that he would be standing close to the imām.
Whilst travelling, he would also be particular about performing salāh with congregation. It has been written about his travelling to AlMadīnah that he would get off his camel for every salāh and perform it with congregation. Getting on and off a camel during travel is not an easy task, and many a young and strong are fearful of endeavouring such an act, but Mawlānā Khalīl Ahmad rahimahullāh was observed to be mounting and dismounting for every salāh to perform it in its preferred time with congregation. He would dismount his camel, perform wudū, thereafter run and advance further than where the camels had reached, and perform salāh with congregation. When the camels then passed him during salāh, after finishing he would again run a considerable distance ahead of them and perform his as-sunan al-mu'akkadah. Meanwhile, the camels would have passed him so he would run and once again mount the camel.
I myself have observed the late Shaykh Mawlānā As'ad AlMadanī rahimahullāh that he would search various flight options when planning his journey, to determine in which option he would miss the least amount of salāh with jamā'ah, and he would take such an option although it meant he may have to incur a larger expense.
These pious servants of Allāh ta'ālā were so particular in regards to salāh that the missing of the first takbīr would grieve them. At an event in Darul Uloom Deoband, Shaykh Mawlānā Rashīd Ahmad AlGangohī rahimahullāh got held back a little due to the large crowd trying to meet him, and was unable to join the row when the Imām said the first takbīr. Upon this he was much grieved. (Tadhkiratur Rashīd)
Allāh ta'ālā's Command is not something which we should take lightly; we should not be embarrassed in fulfilling the Commands of Allāh ta'ālā at any given time or place. If it is a matter of inconvenience, then too the obligation of salāh is not excused, and should not be missed. Even an ill person is not excused from salāh to the extent that if he/she is only capable of performing salāh by indication, he/she will still be obliged.
May Allāh ta'ālā instil in us all the importance of this great worship, and make us all true establishers of salāh. Āmīn.
The second issue which I wished to discuss, was hijāb. Hijāb is another great teaching of Islām which, unfortunately, is rapidly leaving our lives. Our neglecting this important command has not only become common in our daily lives, but it is very sad to see that it is overlooked during hajj by even those otherwise observant. Allāh ta'ālā mentions in the Qur'ān:
"Tell the believing men that they must lower their gazes and guard their private parts; it is purer for them. Surely Allāh is All-Aware of what they do.
And tell the believing women that they must lower their gazes and guard their private parts, and must not expose their adornment, except that which appears thereof, and must wrap their bosoms with their shawls, and must not expose their adornment…" (24:30-31)
These verses are the very base of hijāb; they instruct both the men and women to lower their gazes, and specifically instruct the women to cover themselves.
Muftī Muhammad Shafī' rahimahullāh discussing hijāb in his tafsīr, Ma'āriful Qur'ān, writes that there are different levels of hijāb. One level of hijāb that the Sharī'ah advises is that of the actual woman herself, in that she should remain concealed totally from the view of males by occupying her house. Ideally, the woman should not leave her home without necessity.
The Sharī'ah does acknowledge that circumstances arise when the woman has to leave the confines of her home too, to attend to her needs, and for such times, the Sharī'ah has introduced the second level of hijāb, which is that she emerges covered from head to toe, in such attire that conceals her beauty.
On this same principle of hijāb, Islām prohibits free mixing of the two genders in any situation. On different occasions Rasūlullāh sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam would instruct the Sahābah radhiyallāhu 'anhum to take care in this regard. It is stated that the Prophet sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam instructed the women to walk on the sides of the streets away from the men. The women would practice upon this instruction of the Prophet sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam to the extent that their clothes would brush the walls on the sides of the streets. (Abū Dāwūd) Imām Al-Bukhārī rahimahullāh narrates a hadīth in which it is stated that after Rasūlullāh sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam would have completed the salāh, the women would stand up and leave, and the Prophet sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam would remain seated for a while. The Sahābah radhiyallāhu 'anhum would not stand until the Prophet sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam himself stood up. In one of the narrations, the narrator Imām Ibn Shihāb AzZuhrī rahimahullāh adds that he felt this was to avoid the mixing of men and women on the way back from salāh, and Allāh knows best. (AlBukhārī)
The importance of hijāb can also be understood from the hadīth of Anas radhiyallāhu 'anhu. Once, Anas radhiyallāhu 'anhu and Abū Talhah radhiyallāhu 'anhu were returning from a journey with the Prophet sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam, and Safiyyah t was mounted behind the Prophet sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam on his camel. When they reached a certain point the camel tripped, and the Prophet sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam and Safiyyah radhiyallāhu 'anhā fell off the camel. Abū Talhah radhiyallāhu 'anhu immediately jumped off the back of his camel and rushed to the Prophet sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam, saying, "May Allāh accept me as ransom for you, are you hurt?" The Prophet sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam replied, "No, but see to the lady." Abū Talhah radhiyallāhu 'anhu covered his face with a sheet, went towards her, and covered her with the sheet. She then got up. Abū Talhah radhiyallāhu 'anhu thereafter prepared their conveyance for them and they then mounted. (AlBukhārī) We can see from this incident how particular the Sahābah radhiyallāhu 'anhum were in adhering to hijāb. Abū Talhah radhiyallāhu 'anhu did not utter a word to Safiyyah radhiyallāhu 'anhā, and by using the sheet as cover, neither did he allow himself to look at her, nor her to look at him.
The topic of hijāb demands due attention, and a whole article can be penned on the subject alone. But here we are discussing the issue of hijāb during the journey of hajj, and I would like to highlight those occasions where we need to be vigilant with regards to this command of the Sharī'ah.
- Whilst Travelling
When going for hajj, people – both men and women tend to travel in groups. Naturally, as everyone travels together, bonds of friendship are created within individuals. While this is a good thing, the instruction of hijāb is left aside, and nonmahārim begin to interact freely with one another. Some fall under the misconception that we are travelling with our fellow Muslim brothers and sisters for a virtuous cause, so the hearts of all are pure, therefore it is ok. This is in reality a deception. The wives of the Prophet sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam and the Sahābah radhiyallāhu 'anhum without doubt had the purest of hearts, yet Allāh ta'ālā commanded both parties in the Qur'ān, "…And when you ask anything from them (the blessed wives of the Prophet), ask them from behind a curtain. That is better for the purity of your hearts and their hearts." (33:56) When this was the case with the Sahābah, who are we?
'Ā'ishah radhiyallāhu 'anhā says that whilst travelling during hajj, groups of other travelling pilgrims would pass by the female companions of the Prophet sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam. When they would draw near, the ladies would cover their faces with their jilbābs until the men had passed. (Abū Dāwūd) Most definitely, we must ensure that we observe their level of hijāb during our journey for hajj.
- During the five days of Hajj
Before and after the days of hajj, when the groups are situated in hotels, there is often mass violation of the rules of hijāb. Men and women mix freely, chatting in the hotel lounges, dining halls, or visit each other's rooms. This should never be the case, especially on such a blessed journey.
Whilst in Minā and 'Arafāt, the hujjāj camp in tents. There are arrangements for separate tents for males and females. However, these tents are situated not far from each other. Consequently, it is observed that nonmahārim men and women freely mix with one another. If there is a need to communicate with a mahram from the other tent, it should be done within the guidelines of hijāb. Similarly, in Muzdalifah, there are no tents at all, and the night is spent out in the open. Again, we should be vigilant in matters of hijāb.
- In Al-Masjid Al-Harām
As we all know, both men and women are allowed inside the Haram. Due to this, one needs to be extra vigilant in his/her conduct. The gaze should always be lowered, and one should avoid proximity with the opposite gender especially at times of salāh and crowd congestion. One should always remember the sanctity of the place he/she is occupying; one is in the Haram, very close to the Ka'bah, the House of Allāh, a place which was attended by almost all the prophets of Allāh 'alayhis salām, thousands of Sahābah, and millions of pious people.
- During Tawāf
Although this already falls under the subheading of the Haram, it is worthy of being singled out, as it is an occasion wherein much neglect is shown. Because of the nature of tawāf and the number of people performing it, the possibility of coming close to the opposite gender arises. At this time, again, there are many people who completely ruin their tawāf due to casting lustful glances at the opposite gender or purposefully trying to come into contact with them. May Allāh ta'ālā protect us.
Ideally, men and women should perform tawāf completely away from each other. The Prophet sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam instructed Umm Salamah radhiyallāhu 'anhā to perform tawāf on the outside of the normal flow of people, so that she may stay a distance away from the menfolk. (Sharh Muslim)
Whilst performing salāh with jamā'ah, the men should form rows at the front, and the women should form rows behind the men, leaving a considerable gap so as not to draw too close to them. The Prophet sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam said, "The best of the men's rows [in salāh] are the first, and the worst are the last; and the best of the women's rows are the last ones, and the worst of them are the first ones." (Muslim, Abū Dāwūd and others) We can learn from this hadīth and others addressing the same issue, that the Prophet sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam demanded the instruction of hijāb to be strictly observed during salāh also, despite it being a sacred act of worship, where each individual is meant to be concentrated on Allāh ta'ālā only.
In the Haram, there are sections designated for men and women separately for salāh. Despite this, many women are seen performing salāh amongst the rows of men, resulting in the invalidity of the men's salāh in many situations. They should ensure they perform salāh in the areas designated for them.
These are just some situations where neglect in salāh and hijāb has been observed. In general, these two are very important in the daily life of a Muslim, not just during hajj, and so should be observed at all times. If we have been neglectful of these two up till this point in our lives, then there is no better starting point than hajj, because hajj is such an act of 'ibādah that if performed properly, changes the religious life of a person for the better. If we neglect these two important teachings of Islām during hajj, then what hope can we have of implementing them into our daily lives? Further, what hope can we have of our hajj being accepted by Allāh ta'ālā?
May Allāh ta'ālā grant us the ability to perform a hajj free from any disobedience to Allāh ta'ālā, and may He accept the hajj of all those who have and will perform it. May He also make the journey of hajj easy for all those intending it, and remove all obstacles in their path. May Allāh also grant us the opportunity to visit the blessed lands time and time again, and may we breathe our last in the blessed city of His beloved Prophet sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam. Āmīn.
Courtesy: Riyādhul Jannah (Volume 22 Issue 9)