al-Hajj (the Pilgrimage)

"And hold firm all of you together to the Rope of Allah and be not divided" Quran 3:103

 

"Hajj, in essence, means 'to make pilgrimage to the honored or blessed place', you have to be chosen, and I was a guest of Allah for 3 weeks!"

 

The Kaaba, Makkah

"Everything in the universe goes counter clockwise, just as 4 million Muslims made tawaaf this year around the kaaba 7 times- except the clock. They are the only ones that got it wrong. Everyone and everything else is in unison, and it was a sight to see and a feeling to feel- you leave the materialistic world far behind."

 

 

 

...if you have never experienced brotherhood, then you are missing out on a huge aspect of one of the foundations of our mere existence."

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...the greatest experience of my life. I was able to work my way through the heavy crowds, kiss the black stone and prostrate. It made me strong."

 

 

Allah says in the Noble Qur'an, commending his Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh): "And make a proclamation of Hajj (Pilgrimage) to mankind: they will come to you on foot and lean camels from every distant quarter" Suratul Hajj, Ayah 27

Mustapha Saoui

 

 

 

Sakinah - Peace and Tranquility

"I have read this verse so many times and watch people flocking to Mecca from all over the world to respond to the call of our father ibrahim. But, I have always wondered how it feels being there among the believers who Allah bestowed to come and stand before him in his sacred house. I was so overwhelmed with emotion when I opened my FedEx package to find the documents and itinerary to the Holy City of Mecca. My journey started from Charlotte Airport to JFK, then the city of Cairo (Egypt) where I changed into state of Ihram and head to Jeddah, then Mecca. As I get closer to the final destination, I noticed the diverse faces of people changing before me. I said to myself Soubhana Allah (Glory be to Allah), the believers came answering Allah's call from every corner of the globe. I took my first step inside the haram and kept walking until I laid eyes on the Kaaba. My initial feeling was what awesome site. Then, I felt peace and tranquility surrounding me and realized this is what Allah described in Quran as "Sakinah". This feeling that the soul in the presence of the angels, the self (nafs) is content, and the body is numb (no feeling of pain and tiredness). This feeling kept coming to me throughout my journey and overpowered the feeling of impatience and disappointment regarding the sizable group of misinformed brothers and sisters. I have also built a special bond with the brothers that accompanying me in this wonderful Journey. I still reminisce over my journey and contemplate over Prophet Ibrahim's duaa (prayer) to Allah to make the hearts of some people yearn toward Mecca after he left our mother Hajar and her son Ismael in the barren land.


--I ask Allah Subhanahou Wa Taala to give me the means to go back to his sacred place as long as I live insha'Allah."

Mustapha Saoui, Fort Mill South Carolina (Suburb of Charlotte)

 

 

 

Allah says in Surah al-Hajj of the Glorious Qur'an, "Have they not traveled the land, and do they not have hearts with which to understand, or ears with which to hear? For surely eyes do not become blind, but it is the hearts in the breasts that grow blind." (22:46)

Allah also says in the same surah, 'Let them end their [period of] self-denial, fulfill their vows, and circle round the Ancient house [in tawwaf].' (22:29) 

Whether or not you can see the truth of this world with both eyes or if you're partially blind- seeing it with only one eye, if you see the kaaba in person, it will take your breath away... and you will indeed see the reality of your religion and way of life."

 

 

 

"My Hajj trip was truly the best time I have ever had. I had a feeling like none other at the first sight of the Kaaba, and my experiences from Hajj made a huge impact on the way I practice my religion. I began performing religious duties not because I had to, but because I wanted to seek the pleasure of Allah. I pray that I can maintain and Inshallah increase this level of Iman after returning to my daily life. My suggestion to any of the other young brothers is to perform Hajj as soon as you are able to do so. Make it a goal after
you graduate from school or start a job because Hajj will be the best foundation to start your life."

Ali Syed, Greenville, SC

 

"They are all such good brothers, we felt like we knew each other since childhood. Masha'Allah I was really fortunate to get the last seat in the Hajj USA Group."

Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves. Thou (O Muhammad) seest them bowing and falling prostrate (in worship), seeking bounty from Allah and (His) acceptance. The mark of them is on their foreheads from the traces of prostration. Such is their likeness in the Torah and their likeness in the Gospel - like as sown corn that sendeth forth its shoot and strengtheneth it and riseth firm upon its stalk, delighting the sowers - that He may enrage the disbelievers with (the sight of) them. Allah hath promised, unto such of them as believe and do good works, forgiveness and immense reward. [Qur'an 48:29]

"These are some of my favorite verses from the Noble Qur'an. In Makkah and Madinah, there were thousands with the marks of prostration on their foreheads. People from every land and part of the world, even places like Dagastan - a country many people never even heard of. In ever corner of the world, people are worshipping Almighty God and not associating partners with Him, subhan'Allah.... and they are following the most profound human being example that ever walked the face of the earth, Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him and his family. Where do we each stand individually in the race towards righteousness? ...with so many believers sacrificing their lives for a just means to salvation, where do I stand? For me, this question pounded my senses.

Hajj was not only about soul searching and the purification of the heart, but about what people don't always talk about, such as helping others in the sometimes overwhelming impatient crowds, or the elderly twice your age but passing you up in their superb physical condition. What about the elderly in wheelchairs or with canes, where every second entails a challenging trial for them, to not give up. The phenomena remain silenced-- for example, giving sadaqa (charity) to the street vendors running away from the police every day - some who are quadriplegics, others who have severed arms and legs... even little 5 year olds bargaining with people 10x their age and not giving in, in order to make a sufficient living. What about just giving your sincere and humble salaam to people you don't know and who didn't speak your language, who in all likelihood you would never see again in your life? Smiling above all, because we were all there for the same purpose - to worship Allah (swt). In retrospect, Hajj - to me, is a life training, reflective of all the stages of life, from the womb to the tomb! And then, before completion of your rites, even before your farewell tawwaf, you even get a taste of the Day of Judgment. "

"Outside the Haram in Makkah is hustle and bustle, but Madinah is peace and tranquility. When I first glanced inside Musjid Nabawi, I could not turn my head nor say a single word for 30 minutes, mesmerized by the details of beauty and Islamic calligraphy from the walls to the ceilings. It was a feeling like no other felt before. Speechless, thoughtless- just in awe. After visiting the grave of the Prophet (pbuh), and feeding the birds who swayed over the graves of the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet),  suddenly, my efforts were no longer good enough. In comparison, mine were nothing. I had to do more for mankind, I had to improve and continue to humble myself. These companions (may Allah be pleased with them) died for us.

'Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.' (Qur'an 13:11)  Thus, what we really all need to change, fix, and improve, first, is our very own relationship with Allah (swt).  

Shortly afterwards, I met Dr. Zakir Naik, who was also performing Hajj this year. What a beautiful, memorable, and enticing learning experience this all was for me. I pray to Allah that He (swt) lets me take my mother in the coming years and perform Hajj again, but this time for my late father... and also gives the same opportunity to those reading this. Ameen." 

 

"If you're gonna do it, do it right!"

 

Al-Hamdu-Lillahi Rabbil-Alameen

"I opened a Hajj account over a year ago. Every week I put aside $50 or more. You have to make a committment to yourself and Allah (swt) and be sincere. A few months before Hajj, I realized that I needed the money that I had set aside for moving expenses and the new Invitation Relief office in New York. After one of my lectures at a fundraising dinner in Virginia, a family approached me and commended my efforts, and apparently heard of my intention for Hajj and that I did not have the ability to go this year. They kindly donated half of the Hajj costs in hopes that the experience would take me to the next level. It has, and it just shows you, if Allah wills, you will make Hajj... but you have to plant the seed. When I tried to get a seat, everything was booked. One of Invitation Relief's volunteers was informed by my staff that I was looking for a seat, and masha'Allah, her father was a traveling shaykh for Hajj. I immediately called one last Hajj group with the help of a few new references and I was able to claim the last seat. "