The auspicious Hajj trip is one of the five pillars of Islam, a onetime obligation upon those who have the ability to perform it. Every year millions of devout Muslims answer the call to Hajj following in the footsteps of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in answering the call of their father Ibrahim.
Unfortunately, many people delay performing the Hajj until the latter part of their lives simply because of convenience. They wish to postpone the trip until they feel they are financially ‘stable’. Some people hold back out of fear of a new Islamic lifestyle they will be obligated to embrace when they return – one should never fear drawing closer to God. Indeed the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
“Hurry to perform Hajj (the obligatory one), as none of you knows what may happen to him”
(Ahmad, Abu Dawood and Ibn Majah)
There is of course a well-known scholarly difference of opinion as to whether Haj is an obligation that must be executed promptly, or, can be delayed. According to scholars who hold the opinion that the obligation of the Haj is one of promptness; the Haj must be carried out as soon as all the preconditions are fulfilled and one cannot delay performing it for the next year. The one who delays the performance of Haj, even though he has the means to perform it, and then dies, is sinful and has left himself open to the punishment and displeasure of Allah in the Hereafter.
“Whoever wants to do Hajj, let him hasten to do so.”
(Ahmad and Abu Dawood)
Others opine that the Hajj may be delayed because the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) chose to perform Hajj in the 10 AH – around four years after the obligation was revealed. This school has other supporting arguments for which there exist counterarguments.
Without wanting to endorse one opinion over another, I would like to place the legal difference of opinion to one side and draw our attention to a few other points. Allah the Almighty encourages His servants to compete with each other in performing virtuous deeds. He says in one verse,
And march forth in the way (which leads to) forgiveness from your Lord, and for Paradise as wide as are the heavens and the earth, prepared for the pious. (Qur’an, 3:133)
Why would one delay the prospect of performing a Haj Mabroor, the accepted Haj, the reward of which is nothing less than the gardens of Paradise?
This is your chance to have all of your sins forgiven as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever performs Haj to this house – Kaaba – and does not commit any obscenity and wrongdoing, he, or she, will come out as the day he, or she, was born – pure and free from sins.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
The Well of Zam zam is a well located within the Masjid al Haram in Mecca, 20 meters east of the Kaaba (see Kaaba Old Photos of 1880 & 1953). According to Islamic tradition it was a miraculously- generated source of water, which began thousands of years ago when Ibraham’s infant son was thirsty and kept crying for water and was kicking at the ground when water gushed out. Millions of pilgrims visit the well each year while performing the Hajj or Umrah pilgrimages, in order to drink its water.
From another perspective the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is reported to have said: “Hurry to perform Haj, as none of you knows what may happen to him.” It is as if the Prophet is telling us to think about the matter in a rational way. If someone who has the ability to perform the Haj delays it; do they not fear that death may catch up with them and they then meet Allah with no Hajj to their account?
The reality is that many do delay Haj until it’s too late. As the years pass by some of them fall sick with debilitating conditions, others become financially stricken and so the great opportunity is lost.
An appeal to all Muslims who know that they can perform Haj without great difficulty to do so before they lose this unique chance of attaining complete forgiveness for their sins and be granted Paradise.