In The Name Of Allah, Most Merciful, Bestower Of Mercy

Praise be to Allah, the free of all wants and needs, the worthy of all praise; the owner of the Throne, the All-Glorious. I praise my Lord and thank Him. I turn to Him in repentance and ask Him for forgiveness.

I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone, who has no partners, the Doer of whatsoever He wills; and I bear witness that our Prophet and master, Muhammad, is His servant and Messenger, who was granted victory and given the greatest support. O Allah! Bestow your peace and blessings upon your servant and Messenger Muhammad, and upon his family and companions, who followed the rightly guided commands.

Dear brothers and sisters! The pilgrims for the upcoming Hajj will start arriving in Saudi Arabia on Thursday, July 4, with the first Hajj flight carrying 301 Bangladeshis touching the ground at King Abdulaziz International Airport (KAIA) in Jeddah.

Essam Fouad, director of KAIA, said the pilgrims would continue to arrive in the Kingdom by air, land and sea until August 5.

He said all services for Umrah pilgrims would come to a halt in 10 days.

The current Umrah season began late October and ended on Monday, June 18. The arrival of Umrah pilgrims will resume in mid-August after the Hajj.

More than seven million Muslims from abroad traveled to the Kingdom since the start of the season for the minor pilgrimage of Umrah, which is performed around the year. The Hajj is performed over six days in the Islamic month of Dhul-Hijjah.

Also the airlift of Nigeria intending pilgrims for Hajj 2019 will commence on 10th July with pilgrims from Katsina state. NAHCON chairman, Barrister Abdullahi Mukhtar Muhammed disclosed this during a stakeholders meeting held at the auditorium hall of National Mosque in Abuja.

Respected brothers and sisters! Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam, is obligatory on every adult Muslim once in his lifetime if he is financially and physically capable to undertake the journey. Allah the Almighty says:

“And pilgrimage to the house is duty upon mankind owed to Allah for whoever can find a way therein.” [Qur’an, 3:97]

My beloved people! Hajj rituals commemorate the events that took place during the time of Ibrahim (AS), one of the Prophets of Allah. Prophet Ibrahim (AS) perfected his faith in Allah and showed complete reliance on Him during the many trials and tribulations in his life.

His life is worth reading about before going for Hajj or if you simply want to understand Hajj better. When Muslims perform Hajj, they are reminded of his powerful legacy which recharges their commitment to the religion and thus helps them attain pure faith in Allah.

The fact that Hajj has been going on every year for thousands of years of human history shows that it has to be divinely legislated. Human beings are incapable of starting such a movement.

Many people who go for Hajj focus a lot in learning the rituals, and of course they must. However, preparing the heart for the pilgrimage should not be any less important. They must prepare their heart to attain the purpose of Hajj. Therefore, let’s look at the inner dimensions of Hajj, spiritual aspects that the pilgrimage reminds us of:

1. Faith in Allah and that He is Only One

This is called Tawhid in Arabic. This is the heart of our belief. The moment pilgrims enter Ihram (ritual state to perform Hajj), they start proclaiming the Talbiyyah.

Repeating the Talbiyyah makes the heart firm on the fact that Allah is one and that there is no partner besides Him. He, our Creator, is sufficient for us and He alone is in control of everything.

While repeating it, let’s remember what the proclamation indicates: the obligation to worship Allah alone and keep far away from Shirk (polytheism). Since Allah is Alone in His favours and His giving, having no partners, then likewise He is Alone in His Tawhid, not having any equal.

2. Obedience to Allah and His Messenger (Peace be upon him)

No Ibadah (worship) is valid unless it coincides with the commands of Allah and the Messenger (Peace be upon him). Hajj is a worship prescribed by Allah on mankind so we listen and obey. The ultimate purpose behind every worship is obedience to Allah. And Hajj is a manifestation of obedience to Allah and His Messenger (Peace be upon him).

3. Piety

Taqwa is translated as piety in English. Piety is the fruit of obedience and is also a purpose in itself. Piety is again to enjoin what Allah and the Prophet (Peace be upon him) ordered to enjoin and to abstain from what they asked us to abstain from.

In Hajj, Muslims practice piety from the time they decide to enter the state of performing the pilgrimage. The pilgrims also abstain from what is normally permissible outside Hajj.

The result of this piety is that they return with their good deeds accepted and blessed to a new life full of Iman and Taqwa, full of goodness and steadfastness, beautified with an eagerness to be obedient to Allah.

4. Hereafter

Anything that reminds one of the Hereafter, the Judgement Day, is of tremendous benefit because the goal is to succeed there. And Hajj is an excellent reminder of the Hereafter. The two pieces of white cloth that pilgrims wear to embark on the journey leaving behind all their worldly possessions and families reminds them of death and their final journey to Allah.

When pilgrims gather and stand in Arafah, they are reminded of how all human beings will stand on the Day of Judgment before Allah and be accounted for their deeds. Pilgrims pray and seek forgiveness at Arafah and return back hoping their sins are forgiven and that they will change for the better.

5. Honouring the Symbols of Allah

Whatever Almighty Allah has deemed sacred is sacred. Human beings cannot attribute sacredness to what they wish. The things and places that Allah has deemed sacred are the symbols of Allah. During Hajj, pilgrims honour, exalt and love the symbols of Allah and what He deems is sacred. Allah the Most High says:

“…And whoever honours the Symbols of Allah – indeed, it is from the piety of hearts.” [Qur’an, 22: 32]

6. Muslim Unity

Hajj is a beautiful scene of the unity of all believers regardless of their colour, tribe, region, country, classes, backgrounds, cultures, or languages. It’s a scene worth watching and feeling. Muslims from around the world, rich and poor, stand as one community wearing two pieces of white cloth, manifesting the fact that Allah only sees what is in the hearts. No one is higher in status in front of Allah except by virtue of good deeds.

Truly, Hajj unites the hearts and gathers them to obey Allah, be sincere to Him, follow His Shari’ah, and abide by His commands and prohibitions. This is why Allah says:

“Verily, the first House (of worship) appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (Makkah), full of blessing, and a guidance for the Alamin (mankind and jinn).” [Qur’an, 3:96]

7. Patience and Certainty In Allah

Hajj teaches us patience and having trust in Allah, especially during its rituals like the Sa’yi. It reminds us of the trials of Hajar, wife of Prophet Ibrahim (AS). It reminds us of her patience and certainty in obeying Allah’s commands. She was commanded to stay with her baby in a desert without food and water. People without faith would consider it an unimaginable thing to do. However, she was certain that if this was Allah’s command, He would take care of her and her baby.

Allah honoured her and her baby with the miracle of Zamzam water in the midst of the desert, which till today continues to quench the thirst of millions of people.

This is just one example. Hajj is no doubt a difficult journey and it used to be more difficult in the past. Muslims must practice patience and have certainty in Allah for all their affairs. This will benefit them in life after Hajj.

8. Connecting With the Past

Hajj brings to mind the migration of Prophet Ibrahim (AS), as well as the divine command to put his son for sacrifice. When Ibrahim (AS) showed full obedience and was ready to sacrifice, Allah sent a ram from paradise to be sacrificed instead of his son Isma’il – the purpose was to test Ibrahim’s faith, and indeed the Prophets are tested the most.

So beloved to Allah was Ibrahim’s piety that He honoured Ibrahim with an incredible status – a role model for Prophets and people to follow until the Day of Judgment. Hajj is a commemoration of Ibrahim’s outstanding acts of obedience and the pilgrimage will continue until the Last Day.

Hajj also reminds us of how Ibrahim and his son Isma’il built the Ka’abah and Ibrahim’s call to people to perform Hajj. Little did they know that the building Allah was asking them to build in an uninhabited land was to become the main house of Allah’s worship for the entire earth.

Hajj also revives the memory of Hajjatul-Wada (the farewell pilgrimage) of the last and final Prophet, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) who left his followers with advice that will keep them guided on the straight path until the end of time.

Dear brothers and sisters! Please read the following important story of the great Imam, Abdullah Bin Mubarak:

“It is related that a noted Muslim scholar Abdullah Bin Mubarak, had a dream while he was sleeping near the Noble Ka’abah in Makkah. He saw two angels descend from the sky, and start talking to each other. One of the angels asked the other: “Do you know how many people have come for Hajj this year?” The other angel replied: “Six hundred thousand have come for Hajj.” Abdullah Bin Mubarak had also gone for Hajj that year. The first angel asked: “How many people’s Hajj has been accepted?” The second angel replied: “I wonder if anyone’s Hajj has been accepted at all.” Abdullah Bin Mubarak was grieved to hear that. He thought, “So many people have come from all over the world, crossing so many obstacles like rivers, jungles, desert and mountains, suffered so many hardships, and meeting so many expenses. Would their effort be wasted? Allah the Almighty does not let anyone’s effort go to waste.” Abdullah Bin Mubarak had thought only so far when he heard the other angel speak: “There is a cobbler in Damascus. His name is Ali Bin al-Mufiq. He could not come for Hajj, but Allah the Most High has accepted his intention of Hajj. Not only will he get the reward for Hajj, but because of him, all the Hajjis/Hujjaj (Pilgrims) will be rewarded.” When Abdullah Bin Mubarak woke up, he decided he would go to Damascus and meet that cobbler whose Hajj intentions carried such a lot of weight. On reaching Damascus, Abdullah Bin Mubarak inquired if anyone knew a cobbler named Ali Bin al-Mufiq. The town people directed him to a house. When a man appeared from the house Abdullah Bin Mubarak greeted him and asked his name. The man replied “Ali Bin al-Mufiq.” Abdullah Bin Mubarak asked: “What do you do for a living?” Ali Bin al-Mufiq replied: “I am a cobbler.” Then Ali Bin al-Mufiq asked the stranger’s name that had come looking for him. Abdullah Bin Mubarak was a very well-known scholar of Islam, when Abdullah Bin Mubarak introduced him self, the cobbler was anxious to find out why such a well known scholar was seeking him out. When Abdullah Bin Mubarak asked Ali Bin al-Mufiq to tell him if he had made any plans to go for Hajj. Ali Bin al-Mufiq replied, “For thirty years I have lived in the hope of performing the Hajj. This year I had saved enough to go for Hajj, but Allah Almighty did not will it, so I couldn’t make my intention translate into action.” Abdullah Bin Mubarak was eager to find out how could this man’s Hajj be accepted and blessed for all the people who went for Hajj that year when he didn’t go for Hajj in the first place. While talking to the cobbler he could feel certain purity in his heart. Islam regards greatness not in wealth or in power, but in civility, in good manners and the goodness of heart. Abdullah Bin Mubarak further asked: “why could you not go on Hajj?” In order not to disclose the reason, Ali Bin al-Mufiq again replied “it was Allah’s Almighty will.” When Abdullah Bin Mubarak persisted, Ali Bin al-Mufiq revealed: “Once I went to see my neighbour’s house. His family was just sitting down for dinner. Although I was not hungry I thought my neighbour would invite me to sit down for dinner out of courtesy but I could see that my neighbour was grieved about something and wanted to avoid inviting me for dinner.” After some hesitation the neighbour told me: “I am sorry I cannot invite you for food. We were without food for three days and I could not bear to see the pain of hunger of my children. I went out looking for food today and found a dead donkey. In my desperation I cut out some meat from the dead animal, and brought it home so that my wife could cook this meat. It is Halal (lawful or permitted) for us because of our extreme condition of hunger, but I cannot offer it to you.” Ali Bin al-Mufiq continued: “On hearing this, my heart bled with tears. I got up and went home, collected the three thousand dinars I had saved for Hajj, and gave my neighbour the money. I too had to go hungry but that was to save money for Hajj, but I thought helping my neighbour during his difficult times was more important. Although I still desire to go for Hajj if Allah Almighty wills.” Abdullah Bin Mubarak was greatly inspired by the cobbler’s story and told the cobbler of his dream. Allah the Most High is merciful and shows mercy to those who do likewise to his creatures. This act of compassion on the part of the cobbler was so pleasing to Allah Almighty that it not only earned him the reward of Hajj but was extended to all the people who came for Hajj.”

Dear brothers and sisters! Hajj is a journey that can ignite the soul to be reminded of the time it was created and takes it beyond the dimensions of this life to the time it will meet the creator.

The sincere performance of Hajj can transcend a person’s day-to-day life into a spiritual awakening of the highest magnitude. A successful Hajj experience connects us to our creator and the greater compassion of humanity.

The pilgrimage to Makkah, is one of the essential elements of the Islamic faith. It is obligatory on all believers provided they have the financial capability and physical ability to endure the challenges of the pilgrimage.

According to Islamic tradition the Noble Ka’abah, a simple square cube structure in Makkah, was the first house of worship established to remind humanity of the One Supreme Allah. The structure was reconstructed by Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and his son Prophet Isma’il (AS) more than 3000 years ago. Allah the Most High says:

“And when We made the House (at Makkah) a destination for humankind and a sanctuary, (saying): Take as your place of worship the place where Ibrahim (Abraham) stood (to pray). And We imposed a duty upon Ibrahim and Isma’il, (saying): Purify My house for those who go around and those who meditate therein and those who bow down and prostrate themselves (in worship).” [Qur’an, 2:125]

My beloved people! The gathering of millions of faithful in Makkah during the days of annual pilgrimage, Hajj is a fulfillment of Prophet Ibrahim’s prayer. Remember Prophet Ibrahim said:

“My Lord, make this a City of Peace, and feed its people with fruits, such of them as believe in Allah and the Last Day.” [Qur’an, 2:126]

The pilgrimage to Makkah is a sign of supreme significance. It was Prophet Ibrahim’s unconditional commitment to Allah Almighty that led him to leave his wife Hajar and his infant son Isma’il in this desolated desert. Prophet Ibrahim (AS) was rewarded for his unwavering submission to Allah Almighty, by a promise from Him to make this uninviting land into a place of promise and plenty.

Muslims who visit Makkah for Hajj become part of Allah’s promise to Prophet Ibrahim (AS). Like any other article of faith, the pilgrimage can become meaningless if it is regarded as an end in itself rather than a means for the attainment of a meaningful life.

I pray, may Allah be pleased with the visitors of the Noble Land. May the blessings and mercy of Allah be to all the visitors of this Noble Land, and May Allah accept their Hajj. There is no other mission in life than to earn Allah’s blessings and to be granted paradise. May the pilgrims be safe in their journey and be back home safely and with full credits of a sinless soul.

To those who weren’t able to perform Hajj, In Shaa Allah, I pray to Allah one day you will visit this place, which is the holiest place on earth, and to grant you the ability to perform Hajj and get the reward as well.

Let us continue our Ibadah (worship) and increase more in Zikr (Remembrance of Allah), prayers aside from obligatory prayers, to fast especially on the day of Arafat, which is Dhul-Hajj 9, and if possible, to fast these 10 blessed days. So let us ask for Istighfar (Forgiveness) and count all the blessings of Allah. Let us all be grateful that Allah called us in this wonderful and noble religion, and be one of the pious who will enter paradise In Shaa Allah.

Lastly, I am but a humble servant of Allah among you, serving you all my life, with all the remembrance from Allah, and By Allah, I love you all! Have a Hajj Mabruk.

I ask Allah to assist us in living by the Qur’an and Sunnah. I pray that He lets us recognise the truth for what it is and helps us to follow it, and that He lets us see falsehood for what it is and helps us to avoid it.

O Allah! Guide us and protect us from the causes of ignorance and destruction! Save us from the defects of ourselves! Cause the last of our deeds to be the best and most righteous! And forgive all of us.

My respected people! Anything good I have said in my today’s Sermon is from Allah the Almighty, and any mistakes are my own and I seek refuge in Allah from giving wrong advice and from all forms of calamities and fitnah. And I ask Allah’s forgiveness if I stepped beyond bounds in anything I said or I do.

May Allah be praised; and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad and upon his family and Companions.

With this I conclude, and ask Allah the Almighty and the Sublime, to forgive all of our sins. So seek his forgiveness, He is all forgiving Most Merciful.

Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: gusaumurtada@gmail.com or +2348038289761.

This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today Friday, Shawwal 25, 1440 AH (June 28, 2019).