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. "