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Hajj… A Journey of Spiritual Healing

Question and answer details
Tom
2013/09/10
Being new to Islam, I would like you to shed quick light on how the journey of Hajj (Pilgrimage) can heal one's spiritual self?
AAI Editorial Staff
Answer
*This answer was kindly provided by Dr. Amir Saleh, a sincere friend of Ask About Islam.

Salam dear brother,

Thank your for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

The journey of Hajj can be considered as a spiritual and physical healing program or journey, because it touches upon different aspects of the human self.

Similarity of Appearance

 

During Hajj, pilgrims have to wear a special kind of unified and simple form of clothes. This is known to be the clothes of ihram. These clothes of ihram have a great psychological influence on the pilgrims. Each Muslim takes off his regular clothes and exchanges them for the simple clothes of ihram. With taking off the regular clothes, the Muslim also puts aside everything that these clothes represent; the profession reflected in a certain uniform, the culture represented in a specific fashion, the status reflected in the quality and price, and so on.


So, the soldier is no longer in his military uniform, the farmer is no longer in his farming suit, doctors and nurses are no longer in their white coats…. All are alike, you would not know who was who.

Also, in our daily life we find that people of different status, profession, rank or position, usually cover their heads with some kind of head cover. Mineworkers and engineers use helmets for protection, officers use different kinds of caps for status, and of course, kings and rulers use crowns for sovereignty. As for male pilgrims, they have to take off any kind of head cover as a symbol of putting aside any worldly rank or position. So, there is no shelter for the human head except the shelter of belief and obedience to the Divine.

The similarity of appearance gives the pilgrim the feeling of a lighter spirit and takes the mind to a much higher mood; becoming detached from all the worldly, materialistic glamour of career, wealth, position, and status.


Hajj is also a great meeting between brothers and sisters from all over the world. This gives the clear living example of brotherhood in Islam.

So, Hajj is a perfect treatment for people who suffer delusions of grandeur. Sometimes, high governmental positions, or wealth, or any materialistic aspect of life, make the person feel he is superior to his own brethren.

The Same Rituals

 

The pilgrims follow the same rules and act out the same actions, like making tawaf (circumambulation) in the same direction, or making sa`i (walking between Safa and Marwah).


In every ritual of the Hajj, there is no difference between rich and poor, strong and weak, high rank and low rank, black and white, Eastern and Western, Northerner and Southerner. All of them are equal.

This reminds us of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), who was a mercy to mankind when people used to get anxious and worried when in relation to him directly. That is because he was the Prophet of Allah and His last messenger. The Prophet used to tell the person what roughly means "take it easy on yourself; I am but the son of a woman who used to eat jerky meat in the streets of Makkah."

An incident I recall here is Caliph `Umar ibn Al-Kattab (may Allah be pleased with him) when he used to lie on the ground in order to heal his soul from this feeling of grandeur or superiority, and on his trip to Jerusalem, he walked on foot while his servant rode the mule.

A Stop for a Breather

 

Hajj is also a very good chance for many pilgrims to stop for a breather. It is a chance to think about your life and to consider or to evaluate your past. This can be during Hajj by asking Allah to forgive your sins and to plan for a straight future, free from sins.

The journey of Hajj can also treat many physical pains and illnesses, as well as spiritual ones. Physical activities, like tawaf, sa`i, and standing on Mount `Arafah, improve physical endurance and muscle performance.

These physical activities decrease the blood glucose level for diabetic patients. Drinking enough water from Zamzam improves the urinary system and helps to get rid of small stones in the ureters or kidneys. So, Hajj purifies the person from inside, just as ablution cleans the body from outside. Hajj is a spiritual and physical purification of the self.


Also, this journey gives the mind a rest from thinking about too many things at the same time, and it makes the mind focus on only one idea, which is asking Allah for forgiveness.

An Example of Steadfastness

 

Hajj is also an example of steadfastness, when a person has chosen the righteous truth. Pilgrims in their rituals remember Lady Hajar, when Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham, peace be upon him) left her in the dry valley, where Makkah is, all by herself with her newborn baby. This was when she asked him, "Was it Allah who ordered you to this?" He answered, "Yes." She simply said what meant, "Then He won't get us lost."

This inner strength and steadfast belief in God's ability and care for his servants, which penetrated and controlled her heart, is transmitted to the heart of each pilgrim throughout the rituals of Hajj.


Each pilgrim remembers our Mother Hajar running up and down between the two hills of Safa and Marwah while she was searching for a drop of water for her child; then Allah provided her with His help and steadfastness by having the water of Zamzam flow from underneath the feet of her baby. So, the assertion of belief that takes place within the hearts of pilgrims during this obligatory worship is a divine gift from God Himself. He has said in the Quran what means:


{Allah confirms those who believe by a firm saying in the life of the world and in the Hereafter, and Allah sends wrong-doers astray. And Allah doeth what He will.} (Ibrahim 14:27)


And, in this obligatory ritual of worship we see Muslims raising their hands humbly asking Allah Almighty to give them their needs in this life. So, if they are rich they remember that their riches are a gift from God Himself.

A Training on Patience

 

Pilgrims also train themselves concerning patience in order to be able to complete the steps of Hajj. They raise their hands up, asking Allah to give them the virtue of patience. Allah has said in the Quran what means:


{… if ye endure patiently, verily it is better for the patient.} (An-Nahl 16:126)


As every other manner of worship in Islam, Muslim men and women during pilgrimage are equal in every step and duty. Also, Allah gave women the excuse to have someone throw the stones for them if they can not make it due to the crowd or anything of that sort. In the rest of the rituals, both men and women are equal in every single step.

Controlling Worldly Desires

 

Pilgrims are supposed to spend a lot of money during Hajj, just for the sake of pleasing Allah. This is another self-treatment for spiritual sicknesses like greed and miserliness. Allah has touched upon these spiritual sicknesses in the Quran by saying what means:


{And the parable of those who spend their property to seek the pleasure of Allah and for the certainty 'of their souls is as the parable of a garden on an elevated ground, upon which heavy rain falls so it brings forth its fruit twofold but if heavy rain does not fall upon it, then light rain (is sufficient); and Allah sees what you do.}
(Al-Baqarah 2:265)

 

Here, the Muslim pilgrim overcomes such fatal spiritual sickness and is once again capable of controlling his or her worldly desires.

These are briefly some of the points through which the pilgrim can heal him or herself throughout the majestic journey of Hajj.

Thank you again and please do keep in touch.

Salam.

Useful Links:


Understanding the Why of Hajj


What You Should Know About Hajj


Spiritual Ethics of Hajj


Once in a Lifetime



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