الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي فرض الحج على من استطاع إليه الطريق، وأمرهم بالسعي والقيام في عرفات والطواف حول البيت العتيق، نحمده تعالى ونستعينه، ونشكره تعالى ونستغفره ونستغيثه، نعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، من يهد الله فهو المهتد ومن يضلل فلن تجد له وليا مرشدا، ونشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له، له الملك و له الحمد، يحيي ويميت، بيده الخير، وهو على كل شيء قدير،  ونشهد أن سيدنا و مولانا محمداً عبده ورسوله، وحبيبه وصفيه، بلغ الرسالة وأدى الأمانة ونصح الأمة، النبي الأمي الذي أرسله الله بالهدى والدين الحق، بشيرا ونذيرا بين يدي الساعة، صلى الله عليه وسلم وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.

أما بعد! فيا عباد الله اتقوا الله حق تقاته ولا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون. يأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله وقولوا قولا سديدا يصلح لكم أعمالكم ويغفر لكم ذنوبكم. ومن يطع

الله ورسوله فقد فاز فوزا عظيما. اتقوا الله فيما أمر وانتهوا عما نها عنه وزجر. قال الله سبحانه وتعالى في كتابه الكريم: وَأَذِّنْ فِي النَّاسِ بِالْحَجِّ يَأْتُوكَ رِجَالًا وَعَلَى كُلِّ ضَامِرٍ يَأْتِينَ مِنْ كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيقٍ لِيَشْهَدُوا مَنَافِعَ لَهُمْ وَيَذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللَّهِ فِي أَيَّامٍ مَعْلُومَاتٍ عَلَى مَا رَزَقَهُمْ مِنْ بَهِيمَةِ الْأَنْعَامِ

 

Allah says in His Noble Book, the translation of which is, “Announce the Hajj to mankind. They will come to you on foot and on every sort of lean animal, coming by every distant road so that they can be present at what will profit them and invoke Allah’s name on particular days over livestock He has provided for them.” Over the course of the last few weeks,we have being reminding ourselves of the basic elements that make up our deen, the pillars upon which the edifice of Islam is built, shahada, prayer, zakat and of course fasting which we discussed extensively in Ramadan. Now the time of the fifth and last of the five pillars has come, for the time of Hajj is almost upon us. We are on the cusp of the month of Dhul’Hijja. The pilgrims have already packed their bags and departed our shores. People are flocking to Makka from all parts of the world, from every country and every city wherein Muslims reside, in not just their thousands but their millions, by every path and every road, the one truly global pattern of human activity. In doing so, we are fulfilling a primeval need, a pull which is part of the genetic make-up of every human being, and has been since we were first placed upon this planet. Travel, gathering and worship – these three elements are core parts of the human psyche and all of them are present in pilgrimage. When Ibrahim announced the Hajj to mankind, Qurtubi narrates,

 

أجابه من كان في أصلاب الرجال وأرحام النساء: لَبَّيْكَ اللَّهُمّ لَبَّيْك

 

“All who were as yet in the loins of men and the wombs of women responded to the call, saying, “At Your service, O Allah, at Your service.” In other words, every human being from then until now heard this call and gladly expressed his readiness to obey and make the journey. In the same way that we all said balaa, we all said labbayk. Hajj is part of the fitra, the desire to make the journey is hardwired into our DNA. It links back to our intrinsic need to worship and connect. For the House of Allah was placed on this world at the dawn of time, before even the first human beings walked the planet, in order to give us a focal point, something within the realm of the created that hearkens back to the Creator and indicates Him. Allah says,

 

إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيْتٍ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِي بِبَكَّةَ مُبَارَكًا وَهُدًى لِلْعَالَمِينَ

 

the translation of which is, “The first House established for mankind was that at Bakka, a place of blessing and a guidance for all beings,” In his tafsir of these Words, Mujahid said,

خلق الله موضع هذا البيتِ قبل أن يخلق شيئاً من الأرض بألفي سنة

 

“Allah created the place wherein lies this House two thousand years before He created anything else on this earth.” This House was and is hudan – guidance. Allah has been guiding people through it to Him since the beginning of existence. He created the place, He created the call and He created the response. Those who understood the call and had the knowledge made their way to it from all parts of the Earth, those who did not instead built their own places of pilgrimage closer to home and performed their rites there, rites involving circles and straight lines. Nearly every country has evidence of structures of this kind, such as stonehenge in England. Pilgrimage has been a major part of life of every civilisation through history. It is only in this modern so-called enlightened, but in reality endarkened, time that such practices have been discarded by the masses and regarded as foolish and primitive. It is they who are foolish. Everyone needs a reason to live, a purpose, beyond mere survival. That purpose has always been what is greater, what is immutable, the approval of One who has the power to reward. But in their rush to deny the Divine, all they have done is replace Him with what is lesser. Allah says,

‫أَتَسْتَبْدِلُونَ الَّذِي هُوَ أَدْنَى بِالَّذِي هُوَ خَيْرٌ

 

the translation of which is, “Do you want to replace what is better with what is inferior?” For instead of their Lord and Creator, they idolise men or the works of men, and instead of seeking His eternal reward, they dedicate every minute of their lives to the pursuit of money. In reality, modern secular man is no different from the idolators of the past, they spend their whole lives servicing something that will bring them no benefit. The only difference is that they haven’t necessarily named those gods. And the same is true of their pilgrimage, for while they may have denied the validity of that basic human urge, it still manifests itself in their actions, in the way they flock to concerts or do their tawaf of shopping malls. It is just that their form of pilgrimage is unfulfilling and leaves them feeling empty. Whereas the Hajj is the very opposite. It fills in that gap, it is the final piece to the jigsaw. By means of it, a person becomes complete. It was upon the occasion of Hajj that Allah revealed the Words,

 

اليوم أكملت لكم دينكم وأتممت عليكم نعمتي

 

the translation of which is, “Today I have completed your deen for you and perfected My blessing upon you.” It is the fifth of the five pillars of Islam, and it is a crowning moment in the life of every fit and financially able Muslim. Both the culmination of their life’s work, and a new and exciting start. So let us announce the Hajj and remind ourselves of it.

The Hajj is not an optional journey, it is an obligatory one. It is not the icing on the cake, it is one of its core ingredients, just as much as prayer, fasting or zakat. Every sane adult Muslim, male or female, is commanded to make the journey to the House of Allah in the moussem of Hajj once in their lifetime if they have the capacity to do so. Allah says,

 

وَلِله عَلَى النَّاسِ حَجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلًا

 

the translation of which is, “Hajj to the House is a duty owed to Allah by all mankind – those who can find a way to do it.” This condition of finding a way, of capacity, applies to all the five pillars, indeed all the Commandments of Allah – you only have to say the shahada if you have the capacity to speak, you only have to do sajda, standing and ruku in the prayer if you can physically do so without causing yourself harm, you only have to fast if you are strong enough and you only have to give zakat if you have a level of excess wealth above the nisab for a full year. But Allah mentions it specifically with respect to the Hajj, because the difficulties associated with Hajj are far greater than the difficulties associated with any of the other pillars. The journey is long and often arduous, and the financial outlay daunting, especially in this day and age when a majority live hand to mouth.

In the past, people would be away from their families and friends for as much as a year, travelling overland and oversea, braving the elements and the threat of robbers, brigands and wild animals. So people made sure their affairs were completely in order before setting out, knowing that they might not come back. Now the physical side of the journey is much easier, but the financial side has been placed out of the reach of many. Costs associated with the trip have become prohibitive and the limited availability of visas too has prevented many who wished to go from making the trip. If you find yourself in this position, do not despair. You have not left a pillar of your Deen unfulfilled because that pillar has not fulfilled the conditions for it to be obligatory on you. Your deen is not deficient. The Hajj only becomes obligatory on you in this day and age when all three aspects of capacity are met.

Firstly, that you have the physical strength to make the journey. If you are desperately ill or frail, you are not required to go even if this year might be your last chance to do so.

Secondly, that you have the financial means to get there and back and survive while you are there, without getting yourself into debt or leaving those who depend upon you at home, such as a wife, parents or children, in desperate straits. If your finances do not stretch that far, then you do not have to go, and it may well be that it is reprehensible for you to go.

And thirdly, that you obtain the hajj visa. This is not something you will find in the books of fiqh, nor is it something that our forefathers had to put up with, but it is part of the existential reality of the world in which we live. Without this visa, no matter how much money you have, no matter how strong and fit you are, you will not be let past the border. If you have met the other conditions, and applied for this visa, but been denied, then do not worry, you have not fallen short in your obligation. Allah does not require anything of us that is beyond us. Allah says,

‫لَا يُكَلِّفُ اللهُ نَفْساً اِلَّا وُسْعَهَا

 

the translation of which is, “Allah does not impose on any self any more than it can stand.” We ask Allah to enable us to complete and fulfil this great part of his deen and give us the strength, permission and capacity to do so. We ask Him to give us intentions that are firm and unwavering, and rank us among those who receive His invitation.

 

أقول قولي هذا وأستغفر الله لي ولكم ولسائر المسلمين من كل ذنب فاستغفروه إنه هو الغفور الرَّحيم.

 

الحمد لله الحمد لله رب العالمين، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله، صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله وصحبه، والتابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.

أما بعد! فيأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله ما استطعتم واسمعوا وأطيعوا وأنفقوا خيرا لأنفسكم. يا عباد الله أوصيكم وإياي بتقوى الله وطاعته وأحذركم وإياي عن معصيته ومخالفته.

 

Most of the other pillars are immediate and regular, but the Hajj is distant and far-off, because it is a once in a lifetime deal and it seems to us at any given moment that we have plenty of time left available to us to do it in the future. Do not allow yourself to fall into such thinking. No one knows the future except our Lord. None of us know if we will be here tomorrow, let alone next year or some year in the future. It is a general rule in life that you should not put off until tomorrow what you can do today, but that applies especially to the Hajj. The Prophet said,

 

تَعَجَّلُوا إِلَى الْحَجِّ يَعْنِي الْفَرِيضَةَ فَإِنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ لَا يَدْرِي مَا يَعْرِضُ لَهُ

 

“Hurry to do your Hajj for you never know what will happen to you (i.e. to prevent you going in the future).” Based upon this hadith and the actions of the Salaf, Imam Malik was of the opinion that hajj is wajib ‘ala-l-fawr that is to say, Hajj becomes obligatory on you in the moment that its conditions are fulfilled. So if you are one of those who have not yet made the journey but have the requisite wealth and physical well-being to do so, then do not delay. Apply now for your visa and keep on applying until you are accepted. Exhaust every possibility and try every door. And if those doors continue to remain shut, then start your process for the next year. By means of your health and your wealth, you have been granted a tremendous opportunity to fulfil one of his pillars, you have been honoured by your Lord, so do not spurn it. By treating such opportunities lightly, you are opening yourself up to kufr and the wrath of Allah. For Abu Umamah narrated the Prophet said,

 

من لم يمنعه عن الحج حاجةٌ ظاهرة أو سلطانٌ جائر أو مرضٌ حابس فمات ولم يحجَّ فليمت إن شاء يهودياً وإن شاء نصرانياً

 

“If anyone who is not prevented by illness, or by obvious need, or by a tyrannical ruler, fails to perform hajj, he might as well die a Jew or a Christian.” This is quite a warning, so do not let the petty concerns of this world stand in your way when the time comes. Put them to one side and hurry to the House of Allah. Place yourself at His service completely and you will have success. Follow in the footsteps of your Messenger and his Companions and all those who have followed them in guidance in every age. Go where they have gone, do what they have done, and say what they have said. And gladly and joyously fulfil its pillars and obligations.

View it as an opportunity and a means of getting closer to your Lord and closer to your fellow believers. Do not waste a moment while you are there. Every act is rewarded 100,000 fold. You can make great headway and huge advancements on your path to Allah.

See only good and never bad, no matter what you are confronted with. For if you start to see bad, all you will see will be bad and you will get nothing from your hajj. It will consume and absorb all your time and energy, and your constant state will become one of frowning and disapproval – the behaviour of the guards, the encroachment of all the ugly skyscrapers onto the haram, the jostling and the shoving, the preponderance of people taking selfies as they do tawaf around the House of Allah. Ignore them, do not let them bother you. Instead, concentrate on where you are, why you are there and Who you are visiting. Nothing else matters.

You are the guest of All-Merciful, and are immensely privileged to have received the invitation to His House. It is a gift beyond compare, no journey you will ever undertake will ever have such significance and meaning. Your life has reached his pinnacle, you have fulfilled the fifth and last pillar of your deen. You are a complete human being.

And you have entered the ultimate bath house. Never will you ever be so clean as when you complete your Hajj with correctness and sincerity. Every wrong action will have been washed from your heart and body until not a single one remains. You become as blameless and unblemished as the new-born baby. The Prophet said,

 

من حج البيت فلم يرفث ولم يفسق خرج من ذنوبه كيوم ولدته أمه

 

“If anyone performs Hajj and keeps away from sexual intercourse and wrong action during it, then all his wrong actions will be washed away so he will be like the day his mother gave birth to him.” Those who come back from the Hajj are not the same beings as those who went. The cares and worries of this life do not have the same hold over them – their perspective has been realigned and their purpose renewed. Their lives will never be the same.

We ask Allah to accept the Hajj of all those who go this year, and protect and safeguard them throughout their journey. And bring them back from it refreshed and revitalised, and ready to do all that is necessary to put His deen back in place. We ask Him to reunite the hearts of the Muslims through this Hajj and heal the divisions that have formed. We ask Him to make whole what has been broken and restore this Muslim umma to its former glory. And we ask Him to grant victory to all those who are fighting and struggling in His Way and keep them safe from His enemies. We ask that He grant victory to His deen and thwart the plots and machinations of those who reject Him.

 

إِنَّ اللهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ، يَا أَيُهَا الذِينَ آمَنُواْ صَلُّواْ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيماً.

اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ وَبَارِكْ عَلَيْهِ وَعَلَى آلِهِ وَصَحْبِهِ  أَجْمَعِينَ. وَارْضَ اللَّهُمَّ عَنِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرَ وَعُثْمَانَ وَعَلِيٍّ، وعن أم المومنين عائشة التي أمرنا الله في سورة النور أن ندافع عنها، وَعَنْ سَائِرِ الصَّحَابَةِ أَجْمَعِينَ، خُصُوصاً اِلأَنْصَارَ مِنْهُمْ وَالمُهَاجِرِينَ، وَعَنِ التَّابِعِينَ وَتَابِعِي التَّابِعِينَ وَمَنْ تَبِعَهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّينِ.

اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِ وُلَاةَ أُمُورِ المُسْلِمِينَ لِمَا يُرْضِيكَ وَلِاتِّبَاعِ سُنَّةِ نَبِيِّكَ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَهُمْ عَلَى الصِّرَاطِ المُسْتَقِيمِ، وَأَصْلِحْهُمْ يَا رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ.

اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى شَيْخِنَا، وَعَلَى أَمِيرِنَا، وَعَلَى جَمِيعِ أُمَرَاءِ وَزُعَمَاءِ المُسْلِمِينَ.

اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى المُسْلِمِينَ فِي هَذِهِ المَدِينَةِ، وَوَفِّقْهُمْ لِمَا تُحِبُّهُ وَتَرْضَاهُ يَا أَكْرَمَ الأَكْرَمِينَ.

اللَّهُمَّ أَعِزَّ الإِسْلَامَ وَالمُسِْلمِينَ، وَاخْذُلِ الْكُفْرَ وَالْكَافِرِينَ، وَانْصُرِ المُجَاهِدِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ. وَاجْعَلْ كَلِمََتَكَ هِيَ العُلْيَا وَكَلِمَةَ الْكُفْرِ هِيَ السُّفْلَى.

رَبَّنَا ءَاتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقَِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ.

إِنَّ اللهَ يَامُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى، وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ، يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَّكَّرُونَ، وَلَذِكْرُ اللهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ. وَقُومُواْ إِلَى صَلاتِكُمْ يَرْحَمُكُمُ اللهُ.