As the pilgrims returned from Mecca this year, it brought back memories of my experience from my own hajj. The feeling one has from such an experience is practically impossible to put into words. Thus, the following is just a glimpse of what it really was like for me:
Just over two years ago, I had randomly decided to take a break from school not knowing that a few months down the line I would be going on a trip of a lifetime. That year my mum was going for hajj, and about a month before she was to leave I asked her, “who are you going with?” Before I knew it, I had my ticket and visa: ready to go to hajj!
They say that the pilgrimage is a life-changing experience most likely due to the hadith of the Prophet (SAW) explaining that the reward of an accepted hajj is Jannah. Personally, it was a booster for the transition I had decided on two years prior when after a lot of introspection as well as general observation, I concluded that I needed to practice Islam in the best manner possible in order to be successful in this life and the hereafter.
For example, I had already began cutting down on listening to music but after hajj, I completely stopped. Alhamdulillah up until today, I am glad to say I do not listen to music.
While people have differing opinions about the issue of music, this has definitely been a positive change in my life. I have managed to listen to hundreds of hours of lectures that are of benefit to my life and that of others rather than have those hours going to waste on alternative forms of entertainment.
This was my first hajj, and I tried to read up on the process as much as I could as well as watch videos beforehand so as to be better prepared. This was key during the trip as it helped me remain calm during those times when others were panicking.
We flew to Madina first. It was my first time back to the city of our beloved prophet, Muhammad (SAW), in a decade. The feeling: sublime. There is no way to describe the peace and tranquillity you get when you’re in the masjid of the Prophet (SAW). When you are there, your worries dissipate and your fears evaporate. It’s almost like time slows down and you are completely at peace. And this is a feeling throughout the trip despite the struggles and trials one faces.
When you understand the purpose of the journey, everything else takes a back seat.
Alhamdulillah, the group that we went with had an enjoyable mix of people which meant we never had any major issues that took away our attention from the main purpose of our trip: worshipping Allah.
As mentioned earlier, the reward of an accepted hajj is the expiation of one’s sins and entry into Jannah. And one of the signs of an accepted Hajj is a transformed character, it is natural then for one to strive to adopt a better character after hajj. Yet, it is not a night and day transformation.
It takes some time and effort for one to be a better Muslim. While many put off this goal until their latter years, it is definitely a wise choice for the youth to go for hajj, if able. If done correctly, it is a lifetime inspiration.
Why go for hajj and then just come back to be ordinary? Hajj is a calling — an invitation. It is the highest honour that can be bestowed on a Muslim. Therefore, having gone at a ‘tender’ age has helped in adding purpose, as well as direction, to my life. I hope to be able to follow in the footsteps of the many great men of the ummah that have come before us so that I may achieve even a glimpse of what they did, bi idhnillah.
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