Question and answer details
|Being new to Islam, I would like Dr. Amir 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.
Thank your for your question.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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 Qur'an 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.
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.
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:
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.