On the 12th of Dhul Hijjah, I awoke in Mina to find an text message from my wife stating that one of my best friends back home had passed away. This friend was Feroz Ganie, my neighbour and the Ameer of Al-Kauthar Durban. A brother whom just a few weeks before Hajj told me he wanted to join me on Hajj this year. A friend whom a few weeks ago was discussing with me our plans for the future and I remember telling him these words, “You are still young,”. One car accident later, everything changed.
This year, my first Hajj, was truely a reminder to me about the mortality of mankind. Besides losing one of my best friends, everyday in Makkah or Madinah there would be several janazahs after each salah, a constant reminder of how many people were dying daily in the Holy Land, could we be next?
I remember while making my Tawaaf Al-Ifaadah, I saw a woman and her child crying as if they had just lost someone close to them, soon after that there was a call for “Salah alaa Tifli” (prayer upon a child), and I could not help but wonder if the two were linked. Even if not, a child had just passed away during the Hajj.
During the Hajj, I saw and experienced many things which led to me to constantly think of death and live each moment as if it were my last. Especially during the stoning of the Jamarat and the final Tawaf, it felt like it could be my last, and I was one stone throw away from the afterlife. Alhamdulillah, the conditions surrounding the Jamarat have greatly improved and as a result drastically reduced the chances of stampedes and death.
I found myself constantly reminded of the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), “Stay in this world as if you are stranger or a traveller”.
Being a traveller in Saudi, I found myself deriving the following lessons from this hadith:
1) While travelling I enjoyed everything I could, from the good food to the good company, but I never let my heart get attached to it knowing that it was temporary and soon I would be returning home. Likewise, we should enjoy the halal in this world, be it our families or halal forms of fun, but never let our hearts get attached to it so much that we can’t be separated from it, because soon we will be leaving it and returning home to jannah.
2) During the Hajj, we all were constantly worried about doing as much ibadah as possible because our journey would soon be over and we would be returning to our homes. Likewise, we should be concerned with doing as much ibadah as possible while in this world before we return home to paradise.
3) When travelling, we are careful not to spend our money on anything besides necessities and gifts to take home to remind us and our loved ones of our journey. Similarly, in this world besides necessities, it is important to invest our money to things we can take home to paradise (charity, dawah efforts, etc) so that we do not regret wasting our money after we leave this world.
4) While on Hajj, we experience many hardships yet bear them with patience knowing that it is all part of travelling (Safar = Suffer) and soon we will return to the comfort of our homes and talk fondly about those difficult moments as good memories. Well in this world, we face many hardships and trials, if we bear them with patience and are rewarded for that in the afterlife, then we can relax in our homes in paradise and talk fondly about those hardships and how they were all worth it.
So my first Hajj trip taught me an important lesson regarding the mortality of man and our lives as travellers in this world. May Allah help us reach home to paradise safely.