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This is a special series of Blogs which describes my time and experiences during Hajj this year.
Aziziya – Haram Shareef
I am in Haram Shareef, sitting in Mataf, with Ka’aba tul Musharrafah in sight. By Allah’s Grand Grace, I am in a grand place.
When we come to Harmain Shareefain, we bring many desires, expectation, requests, issues and personal matters. Allah is our Sole Owner, and we are His subjects, totally and absolutely. It is the duty and the right of subjects to ask everything from the Owner. And our Owner is the Most Benevolent, the Merciful and the Most Beneficent.
Whatever we bring as desire or expectation, we receive in the same measure. If my expectation (Allah Forbid) is small, I shall get small; if it is for more, I shall InShaAllah get more.
The point to ponder is that when we ask from Allah, we ask for what we desire. We somehow desire our wishes to come true.
Surah Al Baqarah; verse 216. “Fighting has been enjoined upon you while it is hateful to you. But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not.”
When it is established beyond any doubt that Allah is All Knowing, and He knows what has gone and what will come in future; is it not preferable that the final decision be left to Him?
Istikhara has been around since the time of the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) or may be even before that. Presently, you could get Istikhara done on phone, through internet, on payment. The person doing Istikhara on your behalf and for you will tell what is good to do and what is not.
It is narrated that the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him) used to advise for doing Istikhara before taking up important matters. The masnoon way is a prayer to be recited after 2 raka’at nawafil. The prayer is available in many books.
The theme of the prayer is that My Lord! You are All Knowing; if this matter as per Your Knowledge, is good for me, please make it possible and easy for me; and if this matter as per Your Knowledge is bad for me, please keep me away from it and keep it away from me; and ordain for me the best thing, wherever it may be.
If you read the whole prayer, it nowhere says that My Lord! Please tell Me if it is good or bad. Why do we want to know first? Why don’t we simply leave it to Allah? Is there a trust deficit? (I seek Allah’s Forgiveness for even saying so)
Despite clarity, our people insist that even in masnoon Istikhara, we shall get some hint in a dream. May Allah Protect us from our own rigid, wrong ideas. Aameen,
Back to our expectations. Someone comes for Hajj thinking that he has accomplished all important worldly tasks; educated and married children; constructed a house; accumulated reasonable savings etc., and it is okay to perform Hajj now; his Hajj will be done.
If someone comes to Hajj with the expectation that Hajj will help him/her to change life, their Hajj will be done, and their lives shall also change. InShaAllah.
We receive what we expect.
Our expectations are extremely imperfect and limited. We come for Hajj e Tamattau and our expectation is one Umrah and Hajj. This is done and the job is done. Those who have more devotion, energy or passion may do several Umrahs and many more Tawafs. The only problem is when it is done with immaculate counting, and explicit advertising.
It is generally not our expectation that Hajj will bring revolutionary changes in life. Our revolution is limited to growing a beard (me included in this group). The elders were already regulars at the nearby mosque; they would become more so and upgrade themselves to the First Row. First Row is a preferred and ‘afzal’ place. For this reason, every mosque has its own ‘First Row Mafia’ who do not approve lesser people trying to get to the coveted First Row.
What about the young? What will they do after Hajj? They have to go back to their usual life anyway. The chances are that gradually the layers of piety gathered during Hajj shall peel off and the same old self will re-emerge with full force, all of which may not be for good.
Hajj is the process and tool for changing thoughts, desires, minds, hearts and bodies. Unfortunately, this agenda is not part of our Hajj training anywhere.
I performed first Hajj in 2005 as a local resident. It took only five days. Although I had been preparing for Hajj before, but it was at home. This time, I got 44 days. My personal experience says that short Hajj (7-10 days) is not so enriching. If you are making the effort to come from another country, please increase the effort a little more and prolong Hajj days as much as you can, even if not for 40 days. Hajj is most likely once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; do make the most of it. Please come here, spend time and renew and strengthen your relationship with Allah.
May Allah give all of us opportunity and understanding. Aameen.