Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) is one of the five pillars of Islam while Umrah is generally taken as short form of Hajj. It’s not just a religious duty but a complete exercise aimed at reinvigorating the spirits of purity and love of Allah SWT. The entire year, we spent our lives in the pursuit of happiness in this world, completely ignoring the eternal happiness and peace inside. Hajj/Umrah brings the pilgrims very close to Allah and refreshes their souls as if they are born today.
However, not every one of us is able to attain the same experience, joy and peace, during this exercise. The reasons are manifold, which can be from personal to social and psychological. However, a slight care can provide ample support, to do away with those distractions. In the following, I’m sharing some decent suggestions that will enable you to enjoy the experience of Hajj and get the most out of your pilgrimage.
Realize and remember that separation is the ego’s method of maintaining a separate and independent existence from God. It is responsibility of us, to love humanity, regardless of the superficial differences of culture and creed. This requires a simple rectification of mindset and a sense of humbleness. When you depart on the journey to Mecca, all of passengers/pilgrims are guests of Allah and all have same status before Him. Things like vanity may deprive you from real fruits of Hajj exercise; hence, pursue unity and exhibit brotherhood.
Keep the Right Focus:
Everything, other than Allah, is set to die. Keep your focus on eternity and omnipresence of Allah SWT. This will help you avoid dunya that continually seeks to distract us and lead us into heedlessness, oblivion and loss of core purpose. The five time prayer exercise is also meant to reaffirm our focus and rectify direction of life. Therefore, your pursuit should be divine pleasure and firm connection with Allah, whether you are performing Hajj or Umrah.
Learn Manasiks before Departure:
There are people, who ignore to keep the right information with them, d usually suffer from confusion. Though, tour operators and Hajj ministries of different countries organize pre-hajj training, still you should learn the ‘do’s and don’ts of pilgrimage at your own.
Use books/internet and thoroughly read about the following:
- Conditions that Make Hajj Obligatory
- Pillars of Hajj and Umrah
- Different forms of Hajj
- Etiquettes of Journey
- Etiquettes of Hajj
- Hajj of Male and Female- Difference
- Things Forbidden in State of Ihram
- Things Permitted in State of Ihram
- Manasik of Hajj on Different Days/Sites
- How to Perform Hajj/Umrah?
- Visit to Prophet’s Mosque/Grave
Darussalam Publishers has published multiple books on the subject. Our latest addition to the subject are; “Hajj, Umrah & Ziyarah, and Hajj, Umrah & Visitors. In addition, if you have smartphones, we have dedicated mobile applications to assist you on the journey. Download our Hajj and Umrah Guide from your respective app stores.
Don’t Hesitate to Ask:
Many brothers and sisters feel shy while asking questions. If you are there in Mecca/Medina and feel a bit of confusion, it is your duty to ask your group leader or some other brother/sister to help you. These confusions spoil the peace, joy of pilgrimage, and end up with frustration. As noted above, if you got a smartphone or e-reader, get some guide/mobile app with you that could provide you on-the-go assistance.
Discover the Divine Presence:
Hajj/Umrah exercises are aimed at bringing you closer to Allah. Hence, continually turn inward, take advantage of silence and stillness, and learn to dissolve in the perfection of the present moment, the doorway into the Divine Presence of God. Forget everything else, forgive others for what they did to you, and pray for the entire Ummah. Once this spirit of purity prevails and selfishness goes away, you will feel the real peace within.
If you have some questions or suggestions, do let us know. We will try providing you some good ideas and advices to help you out. May Allah SWT Shower His countless Blessings upon you, me, and the entire Ummah.
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