by Rafiq ibn Jubair
When someone is preparing to go to Hajj they ask their family, friends and those who have previously been to Hajj for advice on what to pack for Hajj. Different people give different recommendations. Some will give a whole list of things to take whilst others will advise travelling light – taking only the essentials.
However, we can all get a bit caught up on focusing too much on the material preparation and forget the spiritual preparation.
Here are 7 things every Hajji should ‘pack’ in order to be spiritually ready.
When Allah talks about preparing for Hajj 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. And whatever good you do – Allah knows it. And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is fear of Allah. And fear Me, O you of understanding.” Surah Al Baqarah, Verse 197
Some people from Yemen did not used to take provisions with them when travelling for Hajj and they used to rely on others. Allah commanded that provisions should be taken by pilgrims and that they should be well-prepared for the journey. However, after mentioning this, Allah says the best provision is Taqwa. The translator has translated Taqwa in the verse mentioned above as ‘fear of Allah’ and whilst that is correct, the word Taqwa encompasses so many meanings. One translation I prefer is being mindful of Allah at all times.
Hajj is not something only for those who have already reached a high level of piety but it is for the sinner to go and beg Allah for forgiveness and come back a changed person. However, it is important to try to adopt a level of mindfulness of Allah before going to Hajj so a person has already started rectifying themselves spiritually and is able to avoid committing sins during Hajj itself.
2. Good intentions
Ask yourself, why am I going Hajj? Are you going due to family or social pressure, are you going just to get it out of the way? Are you going to post loads of photos on social media so that people think you are pious? If your intention is any of the above or something similar, then it is extremely important to rectify your intentions before going to Hajj. Your intention should be only to please Allah, to fulfil His commandment and to show your servitude to your Allah.
In addition to your main intention, you can also make many other good intentions in order to earn extra rewards. For example, to follow the Sunnah of the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), making dua for your parents and letting them know in order to make them happy and having intention to help other pilgrims during Hajj by assisting them if they need help. These are just a few examples, try to think of some more good intentions.
Pack knowledge with you. It is important to know the do’s and don’ts of Hajj and it is vital that you learn how to perform the rituals of Hajj. Don’t just rely on your group’s scholars, make an effort to learn. You don’t have to become an expert but at least try to learn the basics.
Also try to improve your Tajweed and at least try to ensure you know how to recite Surah Al-Fatiha correctly as well as a few other short surahs. Perhaps ask a family member or friend to help you. Ensure that you know how to do wudhu and pray salah correctly so that during Hajj, all your prayers are properly performed and accepted.
Anyone who has been to Hajj will tell you, you need loads of patience during Hajj. Hajj is not easy and when it’s hot and crowded people can get irritated and the smallest of things can make them argumentative.
The key is never to rush. Take your time. There is no extra reward for completing tawaf/sa’ee quickly or going to Arafat early or doing the stoning of the Jamaraat quickly. Take your time and be mindful of other Hujjaj so that you don’t inadvertently cause them inconvenience. If you are trying to rush and there are queues etc. you may get annoyed. Carry a Mus-haf with you and busy yourself in the recitation of the Qur’an and the remembrance of Allah.
It’s imperative to practice patience during Hajj in order to ensure an accepted Hajj. If someone says something or does something to you, just leave it for the sake of Allah and don’t allow yourself to become irritated. Pushing and shoving happens during Tawaf and sometimes the person behind you does not mean to push you but is pushed onto you from behind due a sudden movement of the crowd so bear that in mind and have good thoughts about your brothers and sisters from around the world.
One thing you can do is pray for blessings upon the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) when you feel that you are getting irritated and angry. I was told of an incident where two brothers got into an altercation in Makkah and things were getting quite heated to such an extent that a fight was about to break out. All of a sudden, a brother said to them “send salutations upon the prophet” and upon hearing that, both brothers immediately calmed down.
We have so much to be grateful for, and it is important that we are grateful for being given the opportunity to perform Hajj. There are so many people who are healthy and have the money to perform Hajj but do not do so or are unable to do so for various reasons. If you are going for Hajj, it is because Allah has chosen you, so thank Him for choosing you!
6. Hope in Allah’s Mercy
Allah says: “[Prophet], if My servants ask you about Me, I am near. I respond to those who call Me, so let them respond to Me, and believe in Me, so that they may be guided.”Surah Al Baqarah, Verse 186
Allah says in a Hadith Qudsi: “I am to my servant as he thinks of Me.”(Sahih Al Bukhari).
Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) saying, “Allah, the Exalted, has said: ‘O son of Adam! I shall go on forgiving you so long as you pray to Me and aspire for My forgiveness whatever may be your sins. O son of Adam! I do not care even if your sins should pile up to the sky and should you beg pardon of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam! If you come to Me with an earthful of sins and meet Me, not associating anything with Me in worship, I will certainly grant you as much pardon as will fill the earth.”‘ (At-Tirmidhi).
Go to Hajj hoping for Allah’s mercy. When you make du’a be positive and be confident that Allah will listen to and accept your du’as. Have good thoughts about Allah. If we doubt Allah’s ability to forgive, it’s not having good thoughts about Allah. Know that He is able to do all things and He promised to accept the prayers of those who call unto Him.
Do your best in Hajj and when you return, think that you are returning in a state like the day you were born.
7. Firm Resolve to Change
Go with a firm resolution to change when you return from Hajj. This is in fact a condition of repentance – to have a firm resolution to leave the sins you were previously involved in.
Try to leave any bad habits you may have had and try to remove those things from your life which lead you to commit sins. For example, you may have certain friends who are a bad influence. Maybe for the sake of Allah, disassociate yourself from them.
Rectify your heart to avoid sins of the heart and tongue. Read books on/listen to lectures from scholars about purifying one’s hearts and take steps to improve yourself as a person.
We will all slip up as we are not perfect but it’s important to immediately ask for forgiveness and keep trying your best to avoid sins. Shaytan will try to get you involved in a cycle of sins so don’t allow yourself to fall into it.
If you found this article beneficial, please share it with other Hujjaj who are going for Hajj.
The immediate past Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, …