By Husain Zakariyya Yawale.
“The number of months In the sight of Allah is twelve (in a year)- so ordained by Him the Day He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are sacred: that is the straight usage. so wrong not yourselves therein, and Fight the Pagans all together As They Fight you all Together. but know that Allah is with those who restrain themselves.”[al-taubah: 36]
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. All Praise is due to Allah! We praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our evils and bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Allah is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and final messenger to mankind. May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon His last and final Apostle, his Household, his companions and all his followers until the end of time.
Every moment belongs to Allah. There is no free moment in which one is absolutely free to do whatever he or she pleases that is not accountable before Allah on the Day of Reckoning. It is absolute franchise of Allah to allocate what He desires at any particular moment of time to fill in the time frames. Time belongs to Him. He is the Creator of time. He has full knowledge of the spans of time. He is the One; the only One Who knows its beginning and end! Thus, appointing any particular moment for any particular act of ibadat is His prerogative. He has set rewards for any of His servant who uses his or her time to recognize His bounties by thanking Him alone by the sets of ibadat he or she performs.
Muslims in particular are aware of the fact that all time belongs to Allah and that it must be spent wisely and judiciously. They also know as part of their belief in Allah that they were created to worship Him alone!
It is very interesting to know that out of all times based acts of ibadat such as Salah, Fasting, Zakat, Jihad, and Hajj, hajj has the longest period within which to carry it out. While Salah is short time based though recurrently, Fasting has only one month in a year, Zakat and Jihad on the other hand are decided on the circumstances available. Hajj has three months within which to begin and end. Hajj can start from the ninth to twelve month yearly. Allah says:
“For Hajj are the months well known.Ifany one undertakes that duty therein, let there be no obscenity, nor wickedness, nor wrangling In the Hajj. And whatever good ye do, (be sure) Allah knoweth it. And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best of provisions is right conduct. So fear me, O ye that are wise.”[al-Baqarah: 197]
Similarly, it is only hajj that includes all the aspects of every act of ibadat mentioned above. It includes spending of money (Zakat), requires a lot of energy and strength (Jihad), needs quantum of patience (Salah), involves good planning to suit particular time frame and comprises the Fasting and the sacrifice of animals. Could it be the wisdom for this onerous characteristic of Hajj is because once is enough in a life time? Allah knows best!
The verse quoted above is a very rich one. It contains warning consisting of the expected conducts and behaviours every pilgrim is expected to avoid from. That means by extension, any violation can lead to hajless exercise.
SpecificallyAllah mentioned three causes of misconduct in a manner unprecedented. The verse says: “If any one undertakes that duty therein, let there be no obscenity, nor wickedness, nor wrangling In the Hajj. Obscenity includes but limited to any offensive or indecent word or phrase or trait of behaving in an obscene manner. In fact, not even with your spouse. The tongues must be trained for the period of hajj to say only goods words that emanate from the bottom of the hearts of men. Wild and vulgar imaginations, dreamsand thoughts must be discarded and buried the exit airports.
The second warning is wickedness. This includes all aspects of harm, mischief, disruption, injury and malice during the entire period of the Hajj. That means no harm should reach any fellow pilgrim during the circumambulation (Tawaf) or the Sa’ay between the mounts Safa and Marwa or the throwing of pebbles at the Jamarats (stoning of Satan) or cause any obstruction leading hardship to some fellow hajis. To deny a needed assistance within one’s capability which reduces the suffering of another pilgrim is deemed as an act of wickedness and mischief.
The third misconduct is wrangling. This aspect involves any instance of unnecessary arguments or quarrel noisily or angrily or disruptively such as to cause tension and anxiety to a fellow pilgrim. Blocking access roads or parking on non-parking areas or making resting places wet and dirty are ingredients of wrangling because they will to quarrel and squabble.
In essence, Allah is offering mankind lasting cure from all types of misconduct through the therapy of Hajj. Could then be understood that anybody who did not misbehave by being wicked or quarrelling or behaving in an obscene manner his Hajj has been accepted by Allah, and that all his previous sins and shortcomings have been pardon? The answer to this pertinent question is yes! The Messenger of Allah, may His peace and blessing be upon him confirmed that in an authentic Hadith.
The Prophet of Allah said, ‘Whoever performs Hajj to this House (Ka’abah) and does not approach his wife for sexual relation nor commit sins, will come out sinless as a new born baby (just delivered by its mother)”[Bukhari]
Allah has preserved the city of Makkah and places of the Hajj rites as sacred. As such even evil thinking attracts severe punishment and chastisement to anybody within its vicinity. The Qur’an clearly warns thus,
“As to those who have rejected ((Allah)), and would keep back (men) from the way of Allah, and from the sacred Mosque, which we have made (open) to (all) men – equal is the dweller there and the visitor from the country – and any whose purpose therein is profanity or wrong-doing – them will we cause to taste of a Most grievous penalty.”[al-Hajj: 25]
Thus, whoever intends to commit atrocity, wickedness and crime against anybody within the sacred precinct of Makkah, will himself to blame on the resurrection day. Here Allah does not wait for the actualization of the sin before the punishment. The very intention or proposal to act barbarically was enough to earn such heavy punishment.
The month of Zul-Hajj is a very important period in which Allah is pleased with His servant pilgrims provided they conduct their affairs very well and orderly. He is as well very furious with them if they chose to misbehave themselves at any juncture of the rites. Allah does condone nuisance from anyone! The fact that He is Oft-Forgiving does not preclude His sternness and harshness when it comes to punishment.
Therefore, any pilgrim who did not conduct himself during the Hajj period and to come back as though he or she is newborn baby has indeed won the other side of Allah. There is no in-between. It is either you have come out clean and fragrant or dirty and malodourous!
May Allah accept our Hajj rites and forgive our shortcomings.
Written by: Husain Zakariyya Yawale