Attaining the Hajj Mabrūr
By Feisal Ibn `Ali Al-Ba'dani
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of the al-`ālamīn. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam is His Messenger.
Allāh the Most Exalted has promised a great reward for Hajj Mabrūr, as the saying of the Messenger, (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam), said, “…There is no reward for Hajj Mabrūr except Paradise.” [Al-Bukhari]
The term “Al-birr” which derived from the word Mabrūr, and its meaning involving two aspects as follows:
1. Demonstrating good akhlak (good behavior) towards people, fulfilling one’s duties towards others, and giving them their rights. In a hadith: “Al-Birr is good behavior.” (Muslim) In the Musnad, from Jabir (radiyallahu`anhu), a hadith traced back to the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) states: They asked: “What makes Hajj Mabrūr, Messenger of Allāh?” Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) replied: “Providing food to people and spreading (the greeting of) Salām.” [Fathul-Bāri, 4/446] It indicates kindness and maintaining good relationship.
2. Doing much worship and having the trait of taqwa (piety and fear of Allāh), as opposed to sinfulness. Allāh Most Exalted Says: "Do you order people towards Al-Birr (righteousness) while you forget (it) yourselves?" [Al-Baqarah, 2:44]. Al-Qurtubi said: “[The] tafsir (explanation) of this verse means that birr is performance of Hajj in which its rules are fulfilled and which is done in the most complete manner.”
Not all who performed the Hajj will have their Hajj accepted by Allāh. As Ibn `Umar (radiyallahu`anhu) said to Mujahid when he said, “How many Hajjis!” “How few? Rather say, how many riders!” [Musannaf 'Abdur-Razzaq 8836] It indicates those who may attain Hajj Mabrūr are few.
Following are some criteria of Al-Birr that would facilitate a pilgrim ensure that his or her Hajj will be accepted, insya' Allāh.
1. Sincerity and Following the Sunnah
The foremost, is the sincerity to Allāh and seeking His reward and pleasure, alone. Allāh says in the hadith Qudsi, “Whoever does an action for other than Me, I will leave him and his syirik (associating others with Allāh).” [Muslim] The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) says: “Allāhumma hajjatan la riyā`a fīha wa la sum`ah” (O Allāh, (enable me to make) Hajj without riya’ [showing off with the desire that others witness one’s good acts] or sum`ah [showing off with the desire that others hear about one’s good acts] in it.” [Ibn Mājah]
It is the following the Allah’s Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) in all matters. Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Whoever does an action not in accordance with our matter (deen), it will be rejected.”[Muslim]. And Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Take your rituals (from me), for I do not know whether I will perform Hajj after this one.” [Muslim]. The Companions (radiyallahu`anhum) comprehended this matter well. `Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (radiyallahu`anhu) said when he kissed the Black Stone: “By Allāh, I know that you are a stone, you neither brings harm nor benefit, nor if I had not seen the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) kiss you, and I would not have kissed you.” [Al-Bukhari]
2. Preparation for Hajj
The preparation for Hajj is one of the most important matters that determine the performing of Hajj within the rules that ensuring that his or her Hajj would be, insya’Allāh, accepted. Among the matters in preparation are the following:
a. Examining and rectifying one’s relationship with Allāh the Almighty by sincerely repenting and fulfilling the well-known conditions of repentance.
b. Seeking Allāh’s help and guidance, manifesting one’s need of Him, fearing Him and hoping in His reward. This is among the most important matters, for it is not permissible for one to rely solely on one’s material means.
c. Relieving oneself of obligations towards others, one’s trusts and debts.
d. Writing one’s will, as travel exposes one to various dangers.
e. Preparing provision for those for whom the pilgrim is responsible until one returns, advising them with good and appointing someone to take care of their matters, so that the pilgrim’s concern and attention may be devoted to performance of the pilgrimage.
f. Taking a convenient journey and good halal (lawful) provision, for provision obtained through haram (unlawful) means may cause one’s worship not to be accepted. It is related from At-Tabarāni in a hadith traced back to the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam): “When a person leaves for Hajj with good provision, places his foot in the stirrup (of his mount) and calls, ‘Labbaika Allāhumma Labbaik (Here I am at Your service, O Allāh! Here I am at Your service),’ he is called from the heavens, ‘Labbaika wa sa’daik (May your call be replied and happiness be your reward), your sustenance is halal, your journeying is halal, and your Hajj is accepted.’ And when he leaves with corrupt provisions and places his foot in the stirrup (of his mount) and says, ‘Labbaik,’ he is called from the heavens, ‘La Labbaika wa la sa’daik daik (May your call not be responded to and happiness not be your reward), your provision is haram, your sustenance is haram and your Hajj is not accepted.’” [Al-Mu'jam al-Awsat by At-Tabarāni]
So let us fear Allāh and remember His saying: “Allāh is Good and does not accept except what is good.” [Muslim].Therefore, it is recommended for one of us to find the halal provisions according to ability. Do not depend on others and yet to show kindness to the weak (by giving money in charity).
g. Selecting a righteous company that will help one in moments of weakness, remind one when one forgets, teach one when one does not know, order one to good and forbid one from evil. So let the servant beware of the following two types of companies: a corrupt company that leads to sinfulness and falsehood, and a company that spends its time in what brings no benefit in the hereafter.
h. Learning the rules of Hajj and its manners, as well as rules related to travel, including qasar (shortening Prayers), jama' (combining the Solāh), Tayammum (dry ablution), mash (wiping over socks), etc. The Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Whoever Allāh wishes good, He gives him understanding of the deen (religion).” [Al-Bukhari]
What helps a person in this is obtaining books and tapes by people of knowledge and accompanying them while performing Hajj. Likewise, it is helpful to accompany people who are familiar with places and times of different Hajj rituals.
3. Awareness of the Reality of Hajj and Wisdom of the Rituals
This is similar to khushu' (humble submission) in Solāt, for whoever has greater khushu` has a greater chance of his or her Solāt being accepted. Likewise with Hajj, the more one comprehends the reality and spirit of Hajj, the wisdoms and goals for which it has been ordained, and takes that as a means of correcting one’s creed and way, the more likely one’s Hajj will be accepted and the greater will be one’s reward. One will not be able to achieve this except by preparing and drowning in contemplation and research about the realities and wisdoms of Hajj. As for one who does not do this, it is feared that one’s action is a mixture of tourism and hardship.
Among the most important wisdoms and aims of Hajj that the pilgrim must be aware of are the following:
a. Realization of Taqwa. The goal of Hajj is realization of taqwa (piety, fearful awareness of Allāh). This is why we find the link between Hajj and taqwa in many verses: Allāh the Most Exalted Says: “And complete the Hajj and `Umrah for Allāh…And fear Allāh…” [Al-Baqarah, 2:196]) “And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is fear of Allāh” [Al-Baqarah, 2:197].
b. Affirmation of Tawhid. Hajj is based on making one’s intention sincere for Allāh Most High and seeking with one’s act the pleasure of Allāh and none other. Allāh says: “And complete the Hajj and `Umrah for Allāh” [Al-Baqarah, 2: 196] and, within the verses speaking of Hajj, “So avoid the uncleanliness of idols and avoid false statement, inclining [only] to Allāh, not associating [anything] with Him” [Al-Hajj, 22: 30-31]. Likewise, in the Talbiyah, which is the slogan of Hajj, performing the rituals for Allāh Alone is made clear: “Labbaikallāhummalabbaik. Labbaika Lā sharīkalak Labbaik. Innal-hamda, wan-ni `mata, laka-wal mulk. Lāsharīka lak. [Here I am at Your service, O Lord, here I am. Here I am at Your service. You have no partners. Yours alone is all praise and all bounty, and Yours alone is sovereignty. You have no partners.]” [Al-Bukhari] Hajj is based on Tawhid (Oneness of Allāh), following the Messenger (Sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam), and not falling into syirik of obedience, as there is no place in acts of worship for any rituals based on desires.
c. Reverence of Allāh’s Symbols (Rites) and Sanctities. Among the most apparent of goals and wisdoms of Hajj is to cultivate in the servant an appreciation, esteem, and love of Allāh’s symbols and sanctities. Allāh Says: “That [is so]. And whoever honors the symbols [i.e., rites] of Allāh-indeed; it is from the piety of hearts” [Al-Hajj, 22:32].
d. Cultivation of Good and Praiseworthy Characteristics.
1) Decency and chastity. “Hajj is [during] well-known months, so whoever has made hajj obligatory upon himself therein [by entering the state of ihram], there is [to be for him] no Rafath” [Al-Baqarah, 2:197]. Rafath is sexual intercourse or sayings or actions that lead to it.
2) Suppression of anger, leaving of argumentation and disputes. Allāh Says: “and no jidal (disputing) during Hajj” [Al-Baqarah, 2:197]. `Atā' said, “Jidal is that you dispute with your companion until you anger him and he angers you.”
3) Gentleness, softness and calmness. When the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) heard strong rebuking, hitting, and shouting at a camel while moving from Muzdalifah, Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “O people, you must be calm, for rushing and hurrying are not righteousness.” (Ahmad)
4) Concern for others. During Hajj, the servant is concerned not only about himself or herself, but he or she mixes with the pilgrim brothers and sisters and shares with them in clothing, recitation of Talbiyah, transportation, and acts.
5) Responsibility for one’s mistakes. This becomes evident in the case of obligatory atonement for one who makes an intentional mistake that violates the state of ihram, or leaves for Muzdalifah before sunset, etc.
6) Humbleness. This becomes evident in the unity between all pilgrims in rituals and feelings, and in the negation of traces of material differences between them, such as language, nationality, wealth, etc. Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said during his last Farewell Hajj: “O people! Verily, your Lord is one, and your father (Adam) is one; verily the Arab is not superior to the non-Arab, nor the non-Arab to the Arab, nor the white to the black, nor the black to the white, except by taqwa (piety, fearful awareness of Allāh).” (Lata`if al-Ma'arif, 411)
7) Patience. The servant restrains himself or herself from desires by leaving acts that are prohibited while in the state of ihram, and also by leaving some permissible acts while not in the state of ihram. He or she exposes himself or herself to hardship and fatigue in fulfilling the orders of Allāh by performing the rituals so that this is a motive for leaving sins, doing righteous acts, and bearing inconveniences after Hajj.
8) Generosity and openhandedness. This is clear in the bearing the expenditures for the Hajj.
e. Reminder of the Day of Resurrection
Hajj reminds the servant of the Last Day and its states and conditions in a clear manner, including the following:
1) Departure from his or her country and separation from the family reminds the servant of the separation from them when leaving this world for the hereafter.
2) Removal of stitched clothing and lack of adornment reminds the servant of the shroud and resurrection of servants from their graves on the Day of Resurrection barefoot and naked.
3) Journey and fatigue remind the servant of weakness and hardship of the Day of Resurrection, to the point that some will drown in sweat to their necks.
f. Cultivation of Submission and Surrender to Allāh
The pilgrim is trained in the submission, surrender, and complete obedience to Allāh, the Lord of the worlds, as, for example, in the actions of Hajj, such as abandonment of stitched clothing and adornment, Tawaf, Sa`ie, standing on `Arafat, stoning the Jamarat, and shaving or cutting of the hair, and other such matters that do not have an obvious meaning.
g. Deepening of Brotherhood Based on Faith and Islamic Unity
Pilgrims, with all their differences in tongues, races, and nationalities, gather in one place at the same time, in the same appearance, pronouncing the same call of Talbiyah, and for the same purpose: belief in Allāh The Exalted, fulfillment of His order, and leaving of sinfulness, all of which develops deep love between them, which, in turn, becomes a motive for them to know each other, to cooperate, exchange thoughts, advice, news and experiences, reinforcing in them uprightness upon the deen that joined them together and the performance of deeds to reach higher levels.
h. Strengthening the Attachment of Pilgrims to the Predecessors
Actions of Hajj remind of the past, the syi`ar from the migration of Ibrāhīm (`alaihissalam) with his wife and infant to Hijaz, his story when he was ordered to sacrifice his son, his building of the Ka`abah, and his call to people to make Hajj. Likewise, Hajj is a reminder of the prophethood of our Prophet Muhammad (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) and his Farewell Pilgrimage with more than 100,000 Companions, when Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said to them: “Take from me your rites (of Hajj).” Since then ages have passed, and presently time millions of people performing the Hajj. This causes the pilgrim to remember the generations that have witnessed this land before him and to remember that the final destination is the same for all.
i. Strengthened the Remembrance of Allāh
The servant who contemplates during the rituals of Hajj about Talbiyah, Takbir (saying Allāhu Akbar), Tahlil (saying Lāilāha illa Allāh), Tasbih, Du`ā’ [supplication, as well as the two revelations (Qur`ān and Sunnah) that speak about them, will find that an increase in remembrance of Allāh Most High is among the greatest wisdoms and aims of Hajj. Allāh says: “Remember Allāh at Al-Mash `ar Al-Haram (Muzdalifah)” [Al-Baqarah, 2:198]. And the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “Circumambulating of the house, [going] between As-Safa and Al-Marwah and stoning have only been legislated for establishment of remembrance of Allāh on the Earth.” [At-Tirmidzi]
4. Warning against Sinfulness and Falling into Error
One does not earn Hajj Mabrūr (An Accepted Hajj) except by leaving sins. While falling into sin is prohibited at all times, Allāh gives a specific order to the pilgrims to leave sins. He says: “Hajj is [during] well-known months, so whoever has made Hajj obligatory upon himself therein [by entering the state of ihram], there is [to be for him] no sexual relations and no disobedience and no disputing during Hajj” [Al-Baqarah, 2:197]. This is due to the nobility of the time and the greatness of the place. Allāh says: “Whoever intends [a deed] therein [i.e., in Al-Haram] of deviation [in religion] or wrongdoing-We will make him taste of a painful punishment” [Al-Hajj, 22:25]. How could there be reward for one who commits sins?
The contemplation about the state of people during Hajj causes one to realize the many evil deeds and mistakes, which are the result of weak fear of Allāh, lack of consideration of the sacredness of the time and place, ignorance of the Syāri`āh, and following customs. Perhaps among the most widespread evil actions and mistakes in Hajj are the following: intentionally committing prohibited acts while in the state of ihram without a valid excuse, harming Muslims with one’s sayings and actions, leaving of mutual advising and ordering of good and forbidding evil, delaying prayer from its due time, backbiting, slander, vain talk, argumentation, hearsay, extravagance, miserliness in spending, wasting food, bad behavior towards others, negligence with regards to sins such as listening to what is not allowed, uncovering what is not allowed to be uncovered, hurry or delay in performance of rituals, lack of observance of spatial limits that may not be overstepped in performance of actions of Hajj.
Who is more deprived than the pilgrim who sacrifices his or her soul and wealth, and leaves his or her previous state and adornment, and then returns with forbidden actions and the anger of the Merciful?
A poet said: He went to Hajj so that Allāh forgives his sins, and returned with even more sins
5. Striving hard in obedience of Allāh and proper use of time
In the verses about Hajj there are signs that exhort the servant to make a lot of righteous actions while performing the pilgrimage. Among them are the sayings of Allāh Most Exalted: “And whatever good you do, Allāh knows it” [Al-Baqarah, 2:197].
Perhaps among the most important righteous actions that the servant should do plenty of and keep busy with while at Hajj are the following:
a. Actions of the heart. Sincerity, love of Allāh, reliance on Him, fear of Him, hope in His reward, glorification and respect of Him, submission and surrender, expression of one’s need of Him, truthfulness in supplication, repentance, patience, being pleased with Allāh, tranquility, etc. are from the most important actions of the heart that the servant should occupy himself or herself with in the Hajj, for Islam is centered around them. Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahullāh) said: “Whoever contemplates the aims and means of the Syari'ah will know the correlation between actions of the body and actions of the heart and (will understand) that the former are of no benefit without the latter.” (Bada`i`ul Fawa'id, 3/330)
b. Recitation of the Qur’ān, remembrance of Allāh, and seeking forgiveness. Allāh has ordered the pilgrims in the verses about Hajj to engage in remembrance (dzikir) and seeking forgiveness. It is related that the Prophet (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) was asked, “What Hajj is the best?” Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “That in which there is most dzikir (remembrance of Allāh).” (Al-Mu`jam al-Awsat by At-Tabarāni)
c. Goodness towards people. The Sahabah asked the Prophet, “O Messenger of Allāh, which people are dearest to Allāh?” Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said: “The dearest people to Allāh are those who are the most useful to (other) people.”
d. Call to Allāh. Ignorance, innovations, evil actions, and mistakes have widely spread among the pilgrims. It is obligatory upon scholars and da`ie (those who call people to Islam) to guide and advise others, ordering them to good and forbidding them from evil with wisdom, good exhortation, and arguing in a better way. Shuja' Ibn Al-Walid said: “I was making Hajj with Sufian, and his tongue hardly ceased to enjoin good and forbid evil, both while going and coming back.” (Siyar A'lam an-Nubala', 7/259)
e. Supplication. Hajj is one of the great occasions to ask Allāh the Most Exalted and to supplicate to Him. It is an occasion that requires one to use the opportunity and be submissive before Allāh. Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) said “The best supplication is supplication on `Arafat.” [At-Tirmidzi]
Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu `alayhi wasallam) also said “Those performing the Hajj and `Umrah are the delegates [guest] of Allāh, He who called them, they answered Him and they ask Him and He bestows upon them.” [Sahih al-Jami`, 3173]
6. Steadfastness after Hajj
The evidence of Hajj Mabrūr is steadfastness of the servant after Hajj in practicing righteous acts and leaving of sins. Al-Hasan Al-Basri said: “Hajj Mabrūr is to return abstinent from this world and desiring the hereafter. This is witnessed to in His saying: “And those who are guided-He increase them in guidance and give them their righteousness (taqwa, fearful awareness of Allāh, care to avoid His displeasure) [Muhammad, 47:17]."
So beware, brothers and sisters, of destroying what you build, dispersing what you gather, eliminating what you gain, regressing after guidance, and deteriorating after refining.Remember that Hajj nullifies the sins that precede it and that because of Hajj you return in a state like that on the day your mother bore you. So beware of opposing Allāh with sins after this blessing.
Thus, open a new page in your life and fill it with righteous actions in steadfastness upon His "Ad-Deen".
And Allāh Almighty Knows best.