Hajj Prep: Educating Oneself Before Embarking
By Abu Asim Badrul Islam
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
With regard to educating oneself of the significance, virtues, laws and method of hajj, hajj-goers are generally of three categories:
(1) Those who are absolutely indifferent and do not have any sense of the importance of learning and understanding before setting off for hajj. This, sadly, is a very large percentage of all those who embark on this magical ‘journey of a lifetime’. It does not occur to them in the least that there is a total of five days of hajj, and in the case of most non-locals travelling from other parts of the world, they will have to perform an ‘umrah before the actual five days of hajj, and in those 5 days they have to perform special rites in special ways, during special – and sometimes strict – times, in special locations. This category simply goes for hajj, hoping to just follow the crowd and come back home as a ‘hajji’.
(2) There are then those who are at the opposite extreme. They are overwhelmed by the complex details of the five days of hajj, the often mind-boggling and confusing rites, deadlines, complex nomenclature, a labyrinth of strict laws – the ‘dos’ and the ‘don’ts’, the variety of possible scenarios and things that can go wrong etc. This category starts panicking and stressing over the whole prospect from long before the actual journey to hajj. They become victims of paranoia – something that Shaytan delights in.
(3) Finally, a third category. They are the ones who plan things well. They see their ‘journey of a lifetime’ as just that and they take it very seriously. They prepare well and do not leave things to chance, or till the last minute, or just hope for the best and intend to just follow the crowd. This category is excited at the prospect of being invited by Allah Most High to His house, and finally their lifetime’s dream coming true. As the date of their departure draws nearer, their excitement increases. They start their preparation weeks and even months in advance. They proactively look for hajj seminars, courses and workshops. They consult with their imams and scholars regarding their ‘journey of a lifetime’. They seek guidance from their scholars who specialise in the fiqh of hajj and ‘umrah. They ask them for authentic literature recommendations. They make notes. They leave no stone unturned in their preparation. By the time their date of departure arrives, they are well-prepared and are not panicking or stressing. Rather, their hearts are pounding with fervour and excitement. For this category, their hajj journey becomes truly ‘magical’. They return home washed of their sins, spotless – just as they were on the day in which their mother gave birth to them. They are spiritually uplifted. They return home and begin a new life after their ‘re-birth’ of hajj.
Do not leave things to chance. Be of this third category of hajj-goers. Prepare before it is too late.
Abu Asim Badrul Islam
3rd Dhu ‘l-Qa’dah 1437/7th August 2016