Haj is not just a trip to a new geographical location. It is a journey of the soul and heart — a continued spiritual journey in divine light. Haj helps Muslims remove the inhuman barriers of caste, creed, race, ethnicity, language and colour, inspiring them to live in a common spiritual symbiosis.
Performing Hajj, pilgrimage to Holy Mecca, is one of the five fundamentals of Islam (arkaan-e-Islam) and is obligatory for every Muslim at least once in a lifetime, if s/he can afford to travel to the holy city of Mecca. However, it is solely aimed at enhancing a strong bond with the universal human legacy of Prophet Ibrahim, also known as Abraham. Hazrat Ibrahim is equally venerated in all monotheistic faiths, notably Islam, Christianity and Judaism.
Prophet Ibrahim’s lofty status in Islam is that he was named Khalilullah (friend of Allah) for his unshakeable faith in the unseen God and his unwavering willingness to sacrifice even his dearest and nearest — his first son Ismail, who later emerged as a saintly prophet. Hajj is an occasion to remind Muslims of the universal message embedded in the life of the two holy prophets.
During the Hajj, Muslims take pilgrimage to the Ka’bah, which is situated in Makka, the first place dedicated to the belief and worship of one God. It was built by the first prophet, Hazrat Adam. Later, it was renovated on the same foundations by Prophet Ibrahim and his son Ismail. It was Hazrat Ibrahim who exhorted others to take pilgrimage to the site. Much before the revelation of the Quran, the Hebrew Bible confirmed the existence of this pilgrimage to Mecca.
The Quran revalidated the same, “And proclaim to the people the Hajj (pilgrimage); they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every distant pass”.
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi is an Islamic scholar, speaker and a Delhi-based writer. He can be contacted at email@example.com