Read Part 1 here.
Second on your Hajj check list is Provision.
One of the earliest scenes of Hajj, which reminds you of what is yet to come, is the check-in lines at the airport. You wait for hours and hours depending, of course, on where you’re traveling from.
One basic reason for this entire wait is the luggage. Some people decide to carry with them stuff, and literary ‘stuff’ hoping to save some money while in Makkah and wound up wasting time, energy and probably their Hajj, and on top of that they still spend more money.
Some might carry with them food and pots and all what is needed to survive the desert of Arabia. Little they know the last thing they need to worry about in Makkah is food.
It’s an early reminder of the Akhira. The more load you carry the longer the wait will be. Hajj is a virtual reminder of the events of the Akhira.
Provision is essential during the Hajj. Food as a source of nutrition is required to ensure you have the energy your body needs to fulfill, the optimal way, the obligation of Hajj. Allah even mandates this provision ‘And take a provision (with you) for the journey’ Al-Baqarah 2:197.
For those who don’t know; the eighth day of Dhul Hijjah is called the day of ‘Tarwiyah’ –watering or quenching thirst- because the hujjaj used to spend the whole day organizing there meals, provision and watering their camels so that they wont worry about this the following day, the day of Arafa. They need their energy to engage themselves in worship not cooking or fetching water. There will be no time for distractions.
However, Allah subhanahu wa ta’alaa directs our attention towards a more essential provision for the journey, a provision for the soul, Taqwa.
“وتزودوا فإن خير الزاد التقوى واتقوني يا أولي الألباب”
“And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best of provisions is righteousness ‘Fearing Allah’. So fear Me, O ye that are wise!” Al-Baqarah 2:197
Man was created from two different components, earthly and heavenly. Even though the source of the body is earth, it does not make it human until it’s mixed with its counterpart, the heavenly part, the soul.
It was made clear in many ayat in the Qur’an how man was created from earth, dirt or clay. But the soul was kept a secret.
Of the little we know about it, is that it is sent down with an angel after the passing of 120 days for the baby in the womb. It is for sure not coming from earth, because it’s coming from above.
Consequently, the body needs nutrition of earthly ingredients to sustain its functionality. Things like a good, nutritious and balanced diet with ample amount of exercise will definitely do the job. That’s why we eat at least three meals a day, don’t we? And do we count the snacks in between? It will surely bring the number of meals up. This, however, will not do any good for the soul.
However you try to satisfy your spiritual starvation with earthly material, heavenly food, as they call it, for instance, music, or sports or whatever, the soul will not feel happy. It might enjoy a momentary high with some yoga exercises but it is not the food it’s yearning for.
Man is a human being by the soul not just the body. When a strong healthy human being dies, he or she is called a dead body or corpse. They are no longer counted amongst the people. But the soul will always remain the soul.
Shouldn’t then extra attention be given to the nutrition of the soul? Isn’t this why we feed our souls at least five times a day? And snacks in this case are always rewarding.
The source of the soul is heavenly, and that’s why you seek heavenly nutrition to feed it. Taqwa and fearing Allah is something supernatural. When people stand, for the sake of Allah, against what is natural instinct it is indeed a heavenly power that is working it out. Hajj is one source of this nutrition.
“يسألونك عن الأهلة قل هي مواقيت للناس والحج وليس البر بأن تأتوا البيوت من ظهورها ولكن البر من اتقى وأتوا البيوت من أبوابها واتقوا الله لعلكم تفلحون.”
“They ask thee concerning the New Moons. Say: They are but signs to mark fixed periods of time in (the affairs of) men, and for pilgrimage. It is no virtue if ye enter the house from the back: it is virtue if ye fear Allah ‘Taqwa’. Enter houses through the proper doors: and fear Allah: that ye may prosper.” Al-Baqarah 2:189
How do we realize and achieve this concept in Hajj?
Most of the Hajj practices and acts of worship are based on devotional rites and rituals. That is to say they’re prescribed to test your standard of obedience to Allah. There is no place for arrogance in Hajj. There is an absolute wisdom in every step of the Hajj journey, it might be obvious or might be ambiguous. Some are easily rationalized and some are hard to rationalize, even though it’s not obligatory to rationalize any act of worship to make it justifiable.
Allah commands the Hujjaj to observe the Sa’i between Safa and Marwa and name it a Sha’eerah or rite.
“إن الصفا والمروة من شعائر الله فمن حج أو اعتمر فلا جناح عليه أن يطوف بهما”
“Behold! Safa and Marwa are among the Symbols ‘Rites’ of Allah. So if those who visit the House in Hajj or at other times in Umrah, should compass them round, it is no sin in them.” Al-Baqarah 2:158
We may not fully understand why we do this part of the Hajj except through history, the story of Hagar and her endless search for water. But was that the reason the Messenger of Allah did it?
We may seek guidance to understand the Sha’eerah of Jamarat –stoning the pillars in Mina- in the story of Ibrahim alayhis salaam and the casting of the Shaytan three times, but is that why we do it?
Regardless of your perception of the rituals of Hajj, you’re ought to perform them correctly as they were prescribed, revere them and accept them with full devotion, love and respect. This attitude guarantees you Taqwa and shall nourish your soul.
“ذلك ومن يعظم شعائر الله فإنها من تقوى القلوب”
“Such (is his state): and whoever holds in honour the Symbols ‘Rites’ of Allah, (in the sacrifice of animals), such (honour) should come truly from piety of heart.” Al-Hajj 22:32
It is essential to approach these rituals and practices with Ta’dheem, honoring and reverence, for they were ordained by Allah subhanahu wa ta’aala.
“ذلك ومن يعظم حرمات الله فهو خير له عند ربه”
“Such (is the Pilgrimage): whoever honours the sacred rites of Allah, for him it is good in the sight of his Lord.” Al-Hajj 22:30
Allah does not receive anything material from us, but he receives and sees our piety.
“لن ينال الله لحومها ولا دماؤها ولكن يناله التقوى منكم”
“It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah: it is your piety that reaches Him:” Al-Hajj 22:37
Wearing the two simple garments of Ihraam, the frequent Tawaf around the Ka’ba, the kissing of the Black Stone, the wait in Arafa, the sleeping in the opened desert of Muzdalifa, the stoning of the devil all are rituals of Hajj. Even if you question the reason behind such injunction you are still required to perform them with full respect and veneration. These are the Sha’aa’er ‘Rites’ of Allah.
So let your practice be out of piety and reverence to Allah and to the Sha’aa’er of Hajj. After all, the whole Hajj is about this concept, worshiping Allah and Allah alone.