The holy pilgrimage of Hajj is fifth pillar of Islam. Let’s get enlightened about this obligation. Hajj was made obligatory in 9th Hijri (Islamic lunar calendar). Islamic terminology defines Hajj as a specific journey to the holy city of Makkah on the prescribed days of Zil-Hajj (Islamic month).
Hajj is a compulsion on a believer when one meets the two criterions of physical health, to perform the challenging obligation and sufficient wealth to accomplish the journey. The Quran says, “Hajj to the House is a duty that mankind owes to ALLAH for those who can afford the journey.” [Al Imran 2:97]
While explaining the above mentioned verse of Quran, Prophet PBUH said, “Whoever can afford this journey to the sacred House, by provision and transportation and he does not make the pilgrimage, there is no blame if he dies as a Jew or a Christian. This is because Allah SWT says, “Hajj to the House is a duty that mankind owes to ALLAH for those who can afford the journey.” [Al Imran 2:97]
All Scholars and Islamic Jurists are in agreement that, one who denies the importance of Hajj will be deemed out of the folds of Islam. The severity of opinion of the second Caliph of Islam, Omar bin Al-Khattab, about those Muslims who abstain from performing their Hajj as early as possible, could be gauged by one of his suggestions: he proposed to one of his cabinet members that Jizya (tax imposed on non-muslim for their welfare in an Islamic State) shall be levied on those who refrain to fulfil this Islamic obligation (Hajj) without any genuine rationale.
A number of traditions of Prophet of Islam PBUH speak about the virtues of Hajj. Once, the Messenger of Allah PBUH was asked: What is the best deed? He stated “Belief in Allah and His Messenger PBUH.” He was then asked: What next? He said “Jihad in the way of Allah.” He was again asked: ‘What next? He replied: “The Hajj which is preformed correctly and accepted by Allah.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim]
He PBUH also said: “One Umrah until the next Umrah is an expiation for what is between them. And the Hajj that is accepted by ALLAH and performed properly has no reward other than Paradise.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim]
Furthermore, for women in Islam, Hajj is their Jihad. When the Messenger of Allah PBUH was asked, whether a woman is required to take part in Jihad or not? He replied: “Yes, upon them is Jihad which does not contain fighting: Hajj and Umrah.” [Sahih by Shaikh Al-Albanee in Irwa al-Ghaleel fi-Takhreej Ahadeeth Manar al-Sabeel]
Also, Ibn Umar (RA) reported the Prophet PBUH saying: “The one who fights for the sake of ALLAH and the pilgrim who goes for Hajj or Umrah are all guests of Allah. HE called them and they responded; they ask of HIM and HE will give them.” [Termed Hasan by Shaikh Al-Albanee in Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth as-Saheehah]
It is universal fact that believer cannot sustain without the mercy and help from Allah SWT. Hence to be successful it is crucial to establish and strengthen our relationship with our Sustainer Allah SWT. Man is a servant of Allah and he ought to live like one. This relation is best established while performing Hajj. When one analyzes the rituals of hajj, every step will make us feel we are nothing more than the dust. Pride is crushed paving way for hidayah (guidance).
One, who desires to strengthen ones relationship with Allah, should be willing and prepared for any kind of sacrifice for its creator. The holy Quran explains this concept in a very unique manner. “Say! My life, my Prayer and my Death everything is for the sake of Allah.” This is the most important thing that every pilgrim realizes “I am for Allah and I must be ready to sacrifice everything for Him.”
The second aspect which every pilgrim learns is that Hajj must be performed according to Sunnah of Prophet. Prophet said“learn rituals from me.” Thereby it inculcates a habit to adopt Sunnah in all walks of life. Subhanallah
Let me conclude by quoting a hadith of the holy Prophet PBUH: “Hurry to perform Hajj (the obligatory one), as none of you knows what may happen to him.” [(Saheeh) by Shaikh al-Albanee]