27 Oct Your Pilgrimage: Part 1
Hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Makkah, is the fifth pillar of Islam. It is an act of worship which not only involves the heart but also requires physical and financial ability and must be carried out by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so once in his lifetime. As the Qur’an states, “Pilgrimage to the House is a duty owed to Allah by people who are able to undertake it. Those who reject this [should know that] Allah has no need of anyone.” (Soorat Aal-‛Imraan, 3:97)
The Importance and Virtues of Makkah and the Sacred Mosque
The Sacred Mosque (Al-Masjid Al-Haraam) is located in Makkah, a city on the western side of the Arabian
Peninsula, and has numerous virtues including the following:
1) It houses the Ka‛bah
The Ka‛bah is a cube-shaped building located at the centre of the Sacred Mosque in Makkah.
It is the direction towards which Muslims turn in prayer as well as during some other acts of worship which Allah May He be glorified and exalted commands them to do.
It was built by Prophet Abraham Peace be upon him and his son Ishmael Peace be upon him following Allah’s command to do so, and was rebuilt several times throughout history.
As the Qur’an states, “And when Abraham and Ishmael were raising the foundations of the House (the Ka‛bah), [they prayed:] ‘Our Lord, accept this from us, for You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.’” (Soorat Al-Baqarah, 2:127)
Prophet Muhammad May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him himself took part in laying the Black Stone in its proper place along with the various Makkan tribes when they rebuilt the Ka‛bah.
2) It was the first mosque ever built on earth
Abu Dharr May Allah be pleased with him, one of the Prophet’s noble companions, once asked the Prophet May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, “Messenger of Allah, which mosque was built first on earth?” “The Sacred Mosque [in Makkah], he replied. Abu Dharr again asked, “Which was next?” “Al-Aqsaa Mosque [in Jerusalem],” he replied. “How long was the period between them?” Abu Dharr further enquired, “Forty years,” the Prophet May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him replied. “Wherever you may be and the prayer time becomes due,” he continued, “offer the prayer there, for virtue lies in offering the prayers at their due times.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 3186, Saheeh Muslim: 520)
3) The reward for offering prayers in it is multiplied many times over
The Prophet May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him said, “One prayer in this mosque of mine [in Madeenah] is better than a thousand prayers in any other, except the Sacred Mosque [in Makkah], and one prayer in the Sacred Mosque is better than one hundred thousand prayers anywhere else.” (Sunan Ibn Maajah: 1406; Musnad Ahmad: 14694)
4) Allah May He be glorified and exalted and His Messenger May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him have declared it sacred
As the Qur’an states, “I have been ordered to worship the Lord of this city which He has declared sacred; everything belongs to Him; and I have been ordered to be one of the Muslims.” (Soorat An-Naml, 27:91)
This verse makes it plain that Allah has declared Makkah a sanctuary and has thus forbidden people from committing injustices or shedding blood in it, chasing its game or cutting down its trees or grass.
The Prophet May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him once observed, “Allah, not the people, has made Makkah a sanctuary; therefore, any person who believes in Allah and the Last Day should neither shed blood in it nor cut down its trees.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 104; Saheeh Muslim: 1354)
5) It is the dearest of all lands to Allah May He be glorified and exalted and His Messenger May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him
One of the Prophet’s companions once said, “I saw Allah’s Messenger May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him sitting on his camel in the Al-Hazwarah market, addressing Makkah thus, “By Allah, you are the best and the dearest of all lands of Allah to Him. Had I not been driven out of you, I would have never left you.” (Sunan At-Tirmidhee: 3925; An-Nasaa’ee’s As-Sunan Al-Kubraa: 4252)
6) Allah May He be glorified and exalted has made pilgrimage to the Sacred House obligatory upon all those who are able to do so
Abraham Peace be upon him proclaimed pilgrimage to the people and they came to perform it from distant places. According to a Prophetic tradition, all the prophets performed hajj to the Sacred House. Regarding Allah’s command to Abraham Peace be upon him in this respect, the Qur’an states, “Announce hajj to mankind. They will come to you on foot and on every sort of lean animal, coming by every distant road.” (Soorat Al-Hajj, 22:27)