Respected scholars, as-salamu `alaykum. I watched scenes of the pilgrims on TV and saw them coming to visit the Sacred House of Allah. I was overwhelmed and my eyes filled with tears when I saw this great scene, and I wished that I could be with them and do this great deed.
My question is this, does this great gathering have any effect on the Muslims and the people of Islam? Jazakum Allahu khayran.
Wa`alaykum As-salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Dear brother in Islam, thanks for your question, which emanates from a God-fearing heart, since it shows your commitment to Hajj. Also, we'd would like to commend your pursuit of Islamic counseling.
There is doubt that Hajj has great purposes and effects on Muslims. During Hajj, more than two million Muslims all stand in one place and share one aim, call upon one Lord, and follow one Prophet. It connects those millions with all prophets from Prophet Ibrahim and his son Prophet Isma`il (peace and blessings be upon them all) until Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). Hajj also links people with the Hereafter with the full hope of their sins be forgiven and come back with clean slate.
In his response to your question, Dr. Yahya ibn Ibrahim Al-Yahya, a prominent Saudi Muslim scholar, states the following:
We thank you for your question and appreciate your concern. We ask Allah to bless those who perform Hajj with forgiveness of sins; and for those who have not done Hajj, we ask Him to grant them what they hope for and save them from that which they fear.
The aims and purposes of Hajj are great and sublime, such as the following:
1. Hajj creates a sense of connection with all of the prophets (peace and blessings be upon them) from our forefather Ibrahim who built the Ka`bah to our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) who respected the sanctity of Makkah. When pilgrims visit the sacred places and perform the rituals, they remember the visits of those pure prophets to this sacred place.
Ibn`Abbas said: We traveled with the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) between Makkah and Madinah, and we passed by a valley. He asked, "What valley is this?" They said, "The valley of Al-Azraq." He said, "It is as if I can see Musa, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), putting his fingers in his ears beseeching Allah, reciting the Talbiyah, and passing through this valley."
Then we traveled on until we came to a mountain pass. He asked, "What mountain pass is this?" They said, "Harsha or Lift." He said, "It is as if I can see Yunus on a red camel, wearing a woolen cloak, the reins of his camel made from fibers of a date palm, passing through this valley reciting the Talbiyah" (Muslim).
2. The whiteness and cleanness of (male) pilgrims' clothes is a sign of inward purity, cleanness of heart, and the purity of the message. This means that pilgrims should put aside all adornment and should show humility, and their clothes are a reminder of death when the deceased is shrouded in similar clothes. So it is as if pilgrims were preparing to meet Allah.
3. Entering ihram at the miqat is a physical expression of worship and enslavement to Allah and of submission to His commands and laws. No pilgrim can pass it without entering ihram because it is a command from Allah and a law that He has prescribed. This confirms the unity of the Ummah.
4. Hajj is the symbol of tawheed (Oneness of God) and takes on meaning from the first moment the pilgrim enters ihram. Jabir ibn `Abd Allah described the Hajj of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him): Then he started to say the words of tawheed, "LabbaykaAllahummalabbayk, labbaykalasharikalakalabbayk. Inna al-hamdwa inni`matalakawa al-mulk, lasharikalak (Here I am, O Allah, here I am. Here I am, Youhave no partner, here I am. Verily all praise and blessings are Yours, and all sovereignty, You have no partner)" (Muslim).
5. When all the people come together at `Arafat and elsewhere, with no differentiation between them, this is a reminder of the hereafter. All of them are equal in this place and no one is better than anyone else.
6. Hajj is a symbol of unity, because Hajj makes all people the same in their deeds, rituals, direction of prayer, and the places they visit, and the men are also the same in their clothing. So none are better than others, be they kings or servants, rich or poor. All are the same.
All are equal in terms of rights and duties. They are equal in this sacred place; differences in race and nationality do not matter. No one has the right to differentiate between them.
There is unity of feelings, unity of rituals; unity in purpose, unity in action, unity in words. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said, "O mankind, there is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab, or for a non-Arab over an Arab, or for a white over a black, or for a black over a white. All of you are descended from Adam and Adam has been created from dust of the ground" (Ahmad).
During Hajj, more than two million Muslims all stand in one place, the men wearing the same type of clothes. They all share one aim, call upon one Lord, and follow one Prophet. What unity can be greater than this?
Almighty Allah says, [Verily, those who disbelieved and hinder (men) from the path of Allah, and from Al‑Masjid Al‑Haram (at Makkah) which We have made (open) to (all) men, the dweller in it and the visitor from the country are equal there [as regards its sanctity and pilgrimage (Hajj and 'Umrah)] — and whoever inclines to evil actions therein or to do wrong (i.e., practice polytheism and leave Islamic monotheism), him We shall cause to taste from a painful torment] (Al-Hajj 22:25).
7. Hajj trains Muslims to be content with simple clothing and accommodation.
8. Hajj terrifies the non-Muslims and the misguided with this huge gathering of Muslims. Even though the Muslims are scattered and different, the simple fact that they come together despite those differences at a certain time and in a certain place is indicative of their potential to unite at other times and in other places.
9. Hajj illustrates the importance of Muslims coming together and establishing harmony. While we usually see people traveling by themselves, in Hajj we see people coming in groups.
10. Hajj helps people get to know the situation of the Muslims from trustworthy sources, since Muslims can hear directly from each other about the situation of their fellow Muslims from around the world.
11. Hajj allows Muslims to exchange benefits and experience in general.
12. Scholars and decision-makers from around the world can meet and study the situation and needs of the Muslims, and the importance of cooperating with them.
13. Muslims achieve true submission to Allah by standing in the holy places in Al-Masjid Al-Haram and `Arafah.
14. In Hajj the Muslims find forgiveness of sins because the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Whoever does Hajj and does not speak any obscene words or commit any sin will go back cleansed of sin as on the day his mother bore him."
15. In Hajj the doors of hope are opened to those who sin, and they are taught to give up their sin in these holy places so that they will give up a lot of their bad habits during the Hajj rituals.
16. Hajj proclaims that Islam is the religion of organization because during Hajj the ritual times are organized, with every action done in the place and at the time defined for it.
17. Hajj trains Muslims to spend in charity and to avoid miserliness. Pilgrims spend a great deal of money to travel for the sake of Hajj.
18. Hajj increases piety and makes the heart fit to honor the symbols of Allah. [And whosoever honors the Symbols of Allah, then it is truly, from the piety of the hearts] (Al-Hajj 22:32).
19. Hajj trains the rich to give up their distinct clothing and accommodation and makes them equal with the poor in clothing and in the rituals of Tawaf, Sa`i, and throwing the pebbles. This teaches the rich to be humble and to realize the insignificance of this worldly life.
20. The pilgrim persists in worshiping and remembering Allah during the days of Hajj, moving from one sacred place to the next, from one action to another. This is a kind of intensive training in worship and remembrance of Allah.
21. Hajj trains the pilgrims to be kind to people, to guide those who are lost, to teach those who are ignorant, to help the poor, and to support the disabled and weak.
22. Hajj develops good characteristics, such as forbearance and putting up with annoying people, because the pilgrim will inevitably be exposed to crowding and arguments, etc. Allah says, [The Hajj (pilgrimage) is (in) the well-known (lunar year) months (the 10th month, the 11th month and the first ten days of the 12th month of the Islamic calendar). So whosoever intends to perform Hajj therein (by assuming ihram), then he should not have sexual relations (with his wife), nor commit sin, nor dispute unjustly during the Hajj] (Al-Baqarah 2:197).
23. Hajj trains the pilgrims to be patient and to put up with difficulties such as heat, long distances, being apart from their families, going back and forth between the holy sites and the crowded conditions in them.
24. In Hajj the pilgrims learn to give up their usual habits and the things that they are comfortable with because the male pilgrims have to uncover their head and give up their regular clothes, and they all leave behind the accommodation, food, and drink that they are used to.
25. When pilgrims do Sa`i between As-Safa and Al-Marwah, they remember that Allah will not let down those who obey Him and put their in Him and turn to Him. Rather, Allah will raise high the esteem in which they are held. When Hajar the mother of Isma`il (peace and blessings be upon them both) said to Ibrahim "Has Allah commanded you to do this?"
he said, "Yes."
She said, "Then He will not let us down."
So Allah raised high the esteem in which she was held and the people, including the prophets, started to run between the two hills as she had done.
26. Hajj teaches the pilgrims not to despair of the mercy of Allah, no matter how great their worries and distress, for the way out is in Allah's hand. The mother of Isma`il thought her son was about to die, and she started to run from one mountain to the other, looking for a solution. It came to her from a source she could never imagine when the angel came down and struck the ground, and out came the water of Zamzam with its healing for diseases of the heart and body.
27. The pilgrims remember that in doing these rituals, they are the guests of the Most Merciful. The gathering of Hajj is not at the invitation of any government or organization or king or president; rather it is at the invitation of the Lord of the Worlds Who has made it an occasion on which the Muslims meet on a footing of equality in which no one is superior to anyone else. Allah says, [And proclaim to mankind the Hajj (pilgrimage). They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, they will come from every deep and distant (wide) mountain highway (to perform Hajj). That they may witness things that are of benefit to them (reward of Hajj in the hereafter, and also some worldly gain from trade)] (Al-Hajj 22:27-28).
An-Nasa'i reported that Abu Hurairah said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "The guests of Allah are three: the warrior for the sake of Allah, the pilgrim performing Hajj and the pilgrim performing `Umrah."
28. Hajj strengthens the bonds with the believers, as represented in the words of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him): "Your blood, your honor and your wealth are sacred to you as this day of yours in this month of yours in this land of yours is sacred" (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
29. The season of Hajj is distinguished by complete separation from the people of shirk and kufr who are forbidden to attend any part of it. It is forbidden for them to enter the Haram at any time, no matter what their purpose. Allah says, [O you who believe (in Allah's oneness and in His Messenger Muhammad)! Verily, the m ushrikun (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers in the oneness of Allah, and in the Message of Muhammad) are n ajasun (impure). So let them not come near Al‑Masjid Al-Haram (at Makkah) after this year; and if you fear poverty, Allah will enrich you if He wills, out of His Bounty. Surely, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise] (At-Tawbah 9:28).
Al-Bukhari reported that Abu Hurairah said: Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) sent me as an announcer on that Hajj [which the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) appointed Abu Bakr to lead in AH 9], to announce on the Day of Sacrifice in Mina that after this year no polytheist might perform Hajj and no one might circumambulate the House naked.