Having the opportunity to make Hajj, for a Muslim, is the dream of a lifetime, but what does one aspire for or towards after Hajj? Do we merely return to our regular lives unaffected, uninspired?
One of the foremost thoughts a returning pilgrim has is whether or not his or her Hajj was accepted. We will, of course, never know until the Day of Judgment, however, I read somewhere that one of the possible signs of an accepted Hajj is that the returning pilgrim re-enters his or her life with a renewed intention to embrace in mind, body, and soul, the practice of their religion, which, in turn makes them an inspiration to others.
Approximately four months after returning from Hajj I became reacquainted with someone I had met three years prior while attending an event in Washington, D.C., popularly known as American Muslim Heritage Day. It was a pleasant surprise, after all that time, to run into Brother Maged all the way up in Connecticut where I happened to be attending a convention.
Brother Maged and his partner were once again manning tables and selling their wares, the most popular being miniature bottles of Egyptian oils expertly mixed to a customer’s preference in such a way that it was impossible to leave the table without making a purchase!
What strikes one upon meeting Brother Maged is the clearly visible love for Allah (Exalted be He), evidenced through his beaming smile and exuberant “Assalamu `Alaikum” – which never varies from customer to customer.
As I came upon his table at the convention’s bazaar, I stopped dead in my tracks, instantly recognizing him despite the passing of years. We immediately fell into conversation.
Now, if there were a single person to whom I could point, that embodied the characteristics of a Muslim returning from Hajj with a renewed love and zest for Islam and life in general, it would be Brother Maged.
It was a blessing from Allah to have run into him that day, as he became the first person that I had encountered since returning from Hajj myself, that was filled with as much joy and enthusiasm as I had felt in my own heart, despite the fact that I had felt so disoriented upon returning from Saudi Arabia.
And to my astonished eyes, the joy of Hajj was still pouring out from Brother Maged for months after his return, and discovering that we had made Hajj in the same year was just a wonderful, added surprise. I think we could have talked for hours had time and place allowed!
Brother Maged’s enthusiasm was unbridled. His joy and renewed sense of knowing why he was put on this earth shone through his eyes and poured out through his words. He was absolutely unstoppable and listening to him was infectious!
But best of all, before parting company with Brother Maged that afternoon, he shared something that sealed for me, personally, beyond any doubt whatsoever, that if a single person’s Hajj was accepted that year, it must surely have been his, in sha` Allah.
What Brother Maged went on to share with me that day was that, upon returning from Hajj, as an expression of love and gratitude to Allah for all he had been blessed with in this dunya (worldly life), he had made the decision to redirect a portion of his company’s earnings towards organizing a program to make sure other Muslims had the opportunity to make Hajj. Subhan Allah!
I felt so blessed that day for having run into Brother Maged; he became for me, a shining example of a person filled with the blessing of Hajj, and I pray that Allah (Exalted be He) facilitates his intention to help other members of his community fulfill the dream and obligation to make hajj. I am sure Brother Maged continues to be an inspiration to those who have made his acquaintance or whose lives have been touched by the intention of his good deeds, in sha’ Allah.
How to Maintain that Post-Hajj Clean Slate
Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whoever performs Hajj solely for Allah’s sake and, in the course of it, abstains from obscenity and disobedience, returns after Hajj as immaculate as a child just born.”
In striving upon return from Hajj to maintain our ‘clean slate’ or ‘just born’ state, among the things we might consider is to set our focus on righteous actions.
And those who are guided, He increases them in guidance and gives them their righteousness (taqwa, fearful awareness of Allah, care to avoid His displeasure). (Muhammad 47:17)
Hajj is a journey of discovery. A discovery by definition uncovers that which was covered. Hajj opens up the heart, leading a person to a state of the heart externalized into behavior that some may have been incapable of or shy to demonstrate before.
There are several righteous actions that we may consider; actions of the heart; recitation of the Qur’an, remembrance of Allah, seeking forgiveness; goodness towards people, da`wah, and supplication.
Righteous actions of the heart do not cost us a thing monetarily, and therefore, should come more easily to us, particularly after Hajj, because it is from our hearts that we express sincerity, love of Allah, reliance on Him, fear of Him, hope in His reward, glorification and respect of Him, submission, surrender, repentance, patience, acknowledgment of our need of Him, truthfulness in supplication, being pleased with Allah, tranquility, etc.
If we occupy ourselves with these actions of the heart, we are embracing the true meaning of Islam and are sure to realize the blessings that Allah has in store for us as we strive to maintain our new born state, to the degree that it is possible.
That said, rest assured completion of Hajj does not preclude your continuing to be tested in this dunya, therefore, we must strive in constancy of our supplication to Allah.
Allah loves that His slaves should supplicate to Him. He says in a hadith qudsi:
“O My slaves! You are all astray except him that I guide, so seek for My guidance, I will guide you. O My slaves! You are all hungry except him whom I feed, so seek for provision from Me, I will feed you” .
Thus, Allah tests His slaves with trials that drive them to supplicate to Him, and this is, in itself a blessing.
We should be patient with whatever happens to us, and be reminded that there is relief for every difficulty, and above all, we should continue in supplication. We should always be mindful to praise Allah and to be thankful for His mercy.
Also, Abu Hurairah reported that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever does not ask from Allah, He becomes angry at him.”
And for anyone who finds they are experiencing what may seem like more than their share of testing along the way, take heed and don’t be discouraged, turn to Allah in supplication and keep your compass pointed in the direction of the Day of Judgment.
This life we live today is a very short life, and will come to an end on a day known only to Allah. The unbelievers on the Day of Judgment will think that the life they lived on earth was only a day or part of a day, as Allah says:
He (Allah) will say, “How many years did you stay on the earth?” They will say: “We stayed a day or part of a day…” (Al-Mu’minun 23:112)
As for the believers, “…those who believe and do good deeds, they are dwellers of Paradise, they dwell therein forever.”
May your Hajj be accepted, your life in this dunya an inspiration to others, and may we all meet one day under a shade tree in Jannah (Paradise). Amin.