SALEEMAH JAFFER points to ways that will bring one’s heart closer to Allah during the blessed first ten days of Dhil-Hijjah.
THE Hajj period is fast approaching. For those of us who have not yet been invited to perform this sacred pilgrimage, it is a time of hopeful yearning. For those who have already been to those blessed lands, it is a time of reminiscing and nostalgia.
And for those who will soon be standing on Arafah, it is a time of reflection, gratitude and submission. In whichever category we find ourselves, we all share the same desire: to be of those who will be responding to the call with, ‘Labaik!’
While it may not be physically possible for all of us to perform the Hajj this year, we can make the intention to bring our hearts closer to Allah ta’ala.
We know that Prophet (SAW) said, ‘No good deeds are better than what is done in these first ten days of Dhil-Hijjah.’
Here are nine simple ways to keep the feeling of Hajj alive in our hearts and in our homes:
- Learn more about the Hajj and follow the events and rituals
Try to learn about the rituals, the history and essence of the Hajj. To make the Hajj real for those of us at home, follow the journey of the hujaaj each day, with the awareness of where the hujaaj are, what they are doing and most importantly, why they are doing it. Reflect on the different places and rituals and what they mean.
- Fast regularly
Our teachers recommend that we fast as many days as possible in the first nine days of Dhil-Hijjah, with special emphasis on the day of Arafah. Encourage children who have started fasting in Ramadaan to fast on this day as well – it serves as an opportunity to teach them about the Hajj and reinforces the good habits learnt during Ramadaan.
- Duah and istighfaar
The first ten days of Dhil-Hijjah have been highlighted to us as blessed days. Maximise these with duah and istighfaar. Ask Allah ta’ala for forgiveness without reckoning, and ask Him for guidance with ease. Remember to include your family, community and the entire ummah in these prayers.
- Show kindness towards your family
One of the greatest blessings and sometimes one of the greatest challenges is the maintenance of family ties. During the days of Dhil-Hijjah, reach out to family members with a word of concern or a kind gesture.
Sometimes a simple phone call to check in can soften hearts. Remember that the Prophet (SAW) told us that smiling is charity and giving gifts increases the love between people. He also reminded us that one of the acts most loved by Allah ta’ala is the maintenance of family ties.
- Do qurbani
Doing qurbani connects us directly to the rituals of Hajj. If it is a challenge from a financial perspective, make the niyyah (intention) and try to put in place a savings plan to enable you to perform it next year, Insha Allah.
We are fortunate that we have many options available to us. Regardless of which route one takes, whether it is done in the home or in a different country, whether one eats of the meat or distributes it – there is no doubt that there is a special barakah (blessing) that comes from the sacrifice, a sacrifice for the sake of Allah ta’ala.
- Recite the Talbiyyah and Takbeer
Let the Labaik roll off your tongue often. If you are blessed with young children, teach it to them and let them hear the meaning. We know Allah ta’ala is All-Hearing but often in the hustle and bustle of our day, we forget this. There is nothing more powerful than feeling, and knowing, that your Creator can hear you, and that He loves you.
- Read salaah
Try to read all salaah on time, with as many of them in congregation as possible. Congregational prayers can also be performed at home with your family or even with your neighbours. Tahajjud Salaah in these days is a highly recommended act of worship.
- Observe the Day of Wuqoof
Try and take some time during the day to engage in ibaadah. During this time, think of the hujaaj on Arafah, and ask Allah ta’ala to forgive them and accept from them.
- Give sadaqah
Be generous with your wealth and your time. Spend in the way of Allah ta’ala by contributing towards your local masaajid and supporting underprivileged communities. There are numerous reputable organisations that accept sadaqah and zakaah.
We pray Allah ta’ala accepts our efforts, forgives our sins and grants us closeness to Him and His Messenger (SAW). Wishing all the hujaaj a Hajj Maqbool and Mabroor, ameen. Eid Mubarak to you and your loved ones!
- Saleemah Jaffer is a community researcher and facilitator. She works in the youth programming department for Madina Institute and is a student of the Alawi Husayni Ninowy Zawiyah (Spiritual School).
This article was first published in the June 24, 2022 print edition of Muslim Views.