As we all know, Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and plays a pertinent role in a Muslim’s lifetime. It is an obligation that must be fulfilled by those capable of performing it; in terms of health and the monetary aspect. It is essential for those who are privileged to perform it at least once throughout their life.

The ritual of Hajj begins on the Eighth of Dhul-Hijjah and gets completed on the thirteenth day of Dhul-Hijjah. There are numerous rituals incorporated during the performance of Hajj which are ideally meant to be covered in the specified five days. The Hajj of 2018 is just around the corner and the fellow Muslim community is on its toes for preparations as it is to commence on the 20th of August, continuing for five days till the 25th of August 2018. It is not surprising that the number of people going for the holy pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia increases year by year. Over more than two million Muslims perform this ritual by the will of Allah (SWT).

Hajj, being a central pillar of Islam, is an indication of the submission of Muslims as well as their solidarity to Allah (SWT). It acts as a unifying factor as Muslims all over the world perform this ritual together, sharing the umbrella of Islam. No regard is given to the race, ethnicity, caste and the cultural background people belong to; being Muslim is the only identity withheld by everyone present. Hajj is a means of representation for the fellow Muslims to realize their equality in the eyes of Allah (SWT) as they perform the ritual; bringing them close to Him. Moreover, it brings the whole Muslim community closer as they assist each other in various aspects throughout their pilgrimage journey.

Hajj is a means to eagerly seek forgiveness from Allah (SWT) and is highly significant as it is also performed in the remembrance of the sacrifices Hazrat Ibrahim made in the name of Islam.

Then depart from the place from where [all] the people depart and ask forgiveness of Allah. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. (Surah Baqarah: 200)

Delaying Hajj is considered to be a great sin given that an individual qualifies for all the requirements of the pilgrimage. Therefore, a deliberate delay is highly discouraged. We, as Muslims, need to ensure we are fulfilling our obligations, according to Islam. Thus, those capable must prepare themselves to perform the Hajj of 2018 and take use of the chance to become closely connected with Allah (SWT).

And complete the Hajj and Umrah for Allah. But if you are prevented, then [offer] what can be obtained with ease of sacrificial animals. And do not shave your heads until the sacrificial animal has reached its place of slaughter. And whoever among you is ill or has an ailment of the head [making shaving necessary must offer] a ransom of fasting [three days] or charity or sacrifice. And when you are secure, then whoever performs 'umrah [during the Hajj months] followed by Hajj [offers] what can be obtained with ease of sacrificial animals. And whoever cannot find [or afford such an animal] - then a fast of three days during Hajj and of seven when you have returned [home]. Those are ten complete [days]. This is for those whose family is not in the area of al-Masjid al-Haram. And fear Allah and know that Allah is severe in penalty. (Surah Baqara: 196)

May Allah bring ease for those intending to go to Hajj this year and may they fulfil this obligation in the best manner possible. Ameen!

For more information, see Hajj 2018

The author

Rida Ghaffar