Effects and Purpose of Hajj
Hajj is surely the most absolute form of worship and the most thorough deed of devotion before the Allah Almighty. The effects of Hajj are too many and the aims and purposes of Hajj are great and inspirational beyond what our imagination could possibly capture. It is an occasion of great spiritual, moral, and worldly significance. It gives us an opportunity to purify and strengthen our relationship with our Creator. Hajj is a source of restoring the association with the Prophet (PBUH) and to Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) who built the Ka’aba for the Muslims to visit the sacred places and perform all the rituals that were performed by the Prophets, they remember them. Abu Hurayrah said:
The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) gave a sermon and said: “O people, Allah has enjoined Hajj upon you so do Hajj.” (Narrated by Muslim, 1337)
A magnificent and splendid outcome of Hajj is the expiation of the sins of the person performing it with pure intention seeking Allah’s mercy and forgiveness. Abu Hurayrah said: I heard the Prophet (PBUH) say:
“Whoever does Hajj for the sake of Allah and does not have sexual relations (with his wife), commit sin, or dispute unjustly during the Hajj, will come back like the day his mother gave birth to him.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1449; Muslim, 1350)
The Hajj emphasizes the Islamic characteristics of unity and equality of the Muslims while at the same time proclaiming the absolute unity of Allah. When a person enters Ihram, he gives his expression of enslavement and reliance to his Lord and submits himself to all His commands and decree. Hajj is also a symbol of unanimity and harmony. Pilgrims wear the same clothes no matter whatever class or creed they belong to. They perform the same rituals, pray towards the same Qiblah and visit the same places. Thus, there is no sense of dominance and superiority among them. No one is better to another and everyone is equal in rights and duties. In addition to this, the whiteness and cleanness of the pilgrims’ Ihram is a sign of inward purity and the cleanliness of his heart. This means he has put aside all adornment and is showing modesty. It acts as a reminder of death when the deceased is shrouded in similar white clothes.
Hajj reminds the Muslims of the life hereafter, when all the people have to gather in one place in Arafat and elsewhere, without any differentiations or exemptions. All of them will be equal on that day in that place and no one will be better than another. Everyone will be judged on the basis of their deeds. Moreover when a person travels for Hajj, he leaves behind his dear friends, wife, children and homeland, and the journey to the Hereafter is somewhat similar to it. When he comes back to his wife and children, this gives him the intimation of the greater joy of meeting them in Paradise. This also teaches him that the greatest loss is losing oneself and one’s family on the Day of Resurrection, as Allah says:
“The losers are those who will lose themselves and their families on the Day of Resurrection. Verily, that will be a manifest loss!” [al-Zumar 39:15].