How to make the most of your Haj

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Saudi Gazette

Performing Haj is the most important event in a Muslim’s life. That is why whoever is planning to perform Haj this year should start preparing mentally and spiritually from now. Having the right mindset going into Haj can help you truly make the most of this amazing journey, meaning that you can maximize your rewards, gain the acceptance of Allah, and come back from Haj with no sins on your record of deeds.

Are you aware of how special the season of Haj is?

The first ten days of Dhul Hijjah are the best days of the entire year.

In an authentic saying of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), reported by Ibn Abbas, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.” – referring to the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah.

And as for the place, there is no better place on Earth than Makkah. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that the prayer in the Grand Mosque in Makkah is equivalent to 100,000 prayers elsewhere in the world.

For those of you going for Haj this year, you will be in the best place on Earth during the best time of the year. That is a blessing in itself to appreciate and to be thankful for.

I will share with you 7 tips mentioned by a young Muslim teacher, Dunia Shuaib, to help you make the most of your Haj, and to get you thinking of your spiritual journey from now.

1. Intention. Keep reminding yourself of the reason you are embarking on the pilgrimage; and that is to fulfill the fifth pillar of Islam, to seek the pleasure of Allah, and to cleanse yourself of previous sins committed. Do not allow the wrong intentions to creep up on your thinking, such as looking for people’s praise or thinking that you are better than others. Be careful of taking selfies and sharing them on social media because it could spoil your intention. Every day when you are in Haj, remind yourself that you are performing the pilgrimage purely for the sake of Allah.

2. Forgive and seek forgiveness from Allah. There are times in our lives when we have been hurt by others. It is painful and difficult, but before going for Haj we must forgive those who have wronged us, in order for Allah to forgive us of our sins. Free yourself of past grudges, grievances, and anger, and forgive others.

A verse in the Qur’an implores the believers to forgive one another; Allah says, {And let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.} (Chapter 24, verse 22)

It is not easy to forgive and pardon those who have harmed you. Do you know for whom this verse was revealed? When the hypocrites slandered Aisha, the wife of the Prophet (peace be upon him), one of her relatives also spread these lies about her. Aisha’s father, Abu Bakr, had been used to financially supporting this man. Can you imagine how hurtful this must have been for Abu Bakr? The person who he had been assisting financially was harming his beloved daughter. Abu Bakr discontinued the financial assistance to this man. And then the above verse was revealed, reminding Abu Bakr to pardon and overlook. Abu Bakr complied with the teachings of this verse, and he returned the monthly stipends that he had previously given this relative, despite his involvement in spreading rumors against Aisha.

While on Haj, forgive others; would you not like that Allah should forgive you? Also, constantly make istighfar; ask Allah to forgive you. We all have committed sins and we all have shortcomings, we turn to Allah to forgive us. Haj is the best time to seek forgiveness.

3. Patience. Keep your temper in check; it is easy to lose your patience when in Haj. Mentally prepare yourself that Haj will not go as smoothly as you expect. During tawaf, people will push you, hold your tongue. There will be extremely long waiting periods on buses, remain patient and refrain from complaining. Haj is a struggle and to gain the ultimate rewards, you must not complain, curse, or argue. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever performs Haj for the sake of Allah and does not utter any obscene speech or do any evil deed, will go back (free of sin) as his mother bore him.” (Sahih Bukhari)

4. Be happy. Smile. You have been chosen by Allah to be among the pilgrims this year. Allah has invited you to the Haj, and you are the guest of Allah. Be grateful to Allah that you have been given this wonderful opportunity.

5. Make a duaa list. Prepare a list of supplications that you will make during Haj, and especially on the day of Arafat. We all have our needs, challenges, and past sins. This is a special time to call on Allah.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him said, “The best supplication is the one made on the Day of Arafah. The best thing ever said by me and the previous prophets is: There is no deity worthy of worship other than Allah, who is alone, having no partner. His is the dominion and to Him belongs all praise. He is of everything All-Capable.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Be balanced in your duaa; ask for your needs in this world but also do not neglect asking for the rewards in the Hereafter. Remember to make duaa for others; your children, family, relatives, friends, teachers, co-workers, and those who work for you.

6. Set goals. It’s a good idea to think about what you would like to accomplish during the Haj journey, for example, to read a certain portion of the Holy Qur’an daily, pray voluntary prayers, or say istighfar a certain number of times each day. Having goals will help you avoid wasting time while on Haj. It is easy to get distracted, to talk to the people around you, and to waste too much time shopping.

7. Do not throw it all away. Be committed to make permanent changes in your lifestyle to be a better person after your Haj. After all the struggle and exhaustion you will experience during the Haj, do not come back from Haj only to make all the old mistakes that eat away at your good deeds, such as backbiting, slandering, and hurting others.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said to his companions, “Do you know who is bankrupt?” They said, “The one without money or goods is bankrupt.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Verily, the bankrupt of my nation are those who come on the Day of Resurrection with prayers, fasting, and charity, but also with insults, slander, consuming wealth, shedding blood, and beating others. The oppressed will each be given from his good deeds. If his good deeds run out before justice is fulfilled, then their sins will be cast upon him and he will be thrown into the Hellfire.” (Sahih Muslim)

Performing Haj gives us a clean slate and a second chance to start over, so try to make the most of your Haj.


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