A Significant Hajj

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Once, a man came to visit Imam Junayd al-Baghdadi (q.s.).  His life reflected no change, even after having performed hajj.  Imam Junayd (q.s.) asked him, “Where are you coming from?”

Shaykh, I have returned after performing hajj at the House of Allah,” was the reply.

“So, have you actually performed hajj?”

“Yes, shaykh, I have performed hajj”, said the man.

“Did you pledge that you would give up sins when you left your home for hajj?” asked Imam Junayd (q.s.).

“No, shaykh, I never thought of that,” said the man.

“Then, in fact, you did not even step out for hajj.  While you were on the sacred journey and making halts at places during the nights, did you ever think of attaining Nearness to Allah?”

Shaykh, I had no such idea.”

“Then you did not at all travel to the Ka’bah, nor did ever visit it.  When you put on the ihram garments, and discarded your ordinary dress, did you make up your mind to abandon your evil ways and attitudes in life as well?”

“No, shaykh, I had no idea of that.”

“Then, you did not even don the ihram!” said Imam Junayd (q.s.) ruefully.  Then he asked, “When you stood in the Plain of Arafat and were imploring Allah, did you have the feeling that you were standing in Divine Presence and having a vision of Him?”

“No, shaykh, I had no such experience.”

Imam Junayd (q.s.) then became a little upset and asked, “Well, when you came to Mudzalifah, did you promise that you would give up vain desires of the flesh?”

Shaykh, I paid no heed to this.”

“You did not then come to Mudzalifah at all.”  Then he asked, “Tell me, did you happen to catch glimpses of Divine Beauty when you moved round the House of Allah?”

“No, shaykh, I caught no such glimpses.”

“Then, you did not move around the Ka’bah at all.”  Then he asked, “When you made sa’iy between the Swafa’ and the Marwah, did you realise the wisdom, significance and objective of your effort?”

Shaykh, I was not at all conscious of this.”

“Then you did not make any sa’iy!”  Then he asked, “When you slaughtered an animal at the place of sacrifice, did you sacrifice your selfish desires as well in the way of Allah?”

Shaykh, I failed to give any attention to that!”

“Then, in fact you offered no sacrifice whatsoever.”

“Then when you cast stones at the Jamrah, did you make a resolve to get rid of your evil companions and friends and desires?”

“No, shaykh, I did not do that.”

“Then, you did not cast stones at all”, remarked Imam Junayd (q.s.) regretfully, and said, “Go back and perform hajj once again, giving due thought and attention to all the requirements, so that your hajj may bear some resemblance with Prophet Ibrahim’s hajj, whose faith and sincerity has been Confirmed by the Qur’an:

And of Abraham who fulfilled his engagements ― (Surah an-Najm:37)”

That student was Imam Abu Bakr Shibli (q.s.), who succeeded Imam Junayd (q.s.), and became a great wali.

Every year, millions go for the hajj and 'umrah.  By their capacity, their visit is inadequate and is not accepted.  And yet so many come back and proudly wear the title of ‘Haji’ or ‘Hajjah’.  They put it in as part of their name and the names of their father.  They show the pictures of where they have been and present what they have bought.  There is no impact whatsoever in the spiritual realm.  Things have happened there.  We know of those who have been denied entry.  We know of someone who could not even find the Sacred Mosque, let alone the Ka’bah.  We know of people who fought in front of the Ka’bah whilst doing the tawaf.  So be aware and ask that Allah (s.w.t.) Remove the Self.

But Allah (s.w.t.) is Merciful.  His Generosity, we cannot even comprehend.  It is beyond our capacity to understand.  By the virtue of one of His servants, one slave who has done the smallest of deeds with full sincerity and no thought of the Self, the hajj is given to the majority.  We have not completed our obligation by our capacity, but His Capacity.  We are not even there by our efforts.  It is His Invitation.  So be cautious lest the Invitation is Rescinded and behave.


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