Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says (what means):
“Indeed, the first House [of worship] established for mankind was that at Makkah – blessed and a guidance for the worlds. In it are clear signs [such as] the standing place of Ibraheem [Abraham]. And whoever enters it shall be safe. And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House – for whoever is able to find thereto a way.” [Aal Imran 3: 96-97]
“And [mention] when We made the House a place of return for the people and [a place of] security. And take, [O believers], from the standing place of Ibraheem [Abraham] a place of prayer. And We charged Ibraheem and Ismaeel [Ishmael], [saying], ‘Purify My House for those who perform Tawaaf and those who are staying [there] for worship and those who bow and prostrate [in prayer].’” [Quran 2: 125]
Al-Masjid Al-Haraam [the Sacred Mosque in Makkah] is the cradle of Islam and the Ka’abah is the place that Muslims circumambulate as an act of worship. The feeling of closeness to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and Divine love that are manifested in it are disseminated around the world. This has the most beautiful effect on every Muslim individual who has a protective zeal for his religion and Ummah. Thus, there is no wonder that Muslims respond to the call of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and to the Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam when they call the Muslims to that which enlivens their faith, instills the spirit of sincere affection and brotherhood in them, and protects them from the ignominy of division and dispute.
In spite of the distance of their countries and the plurality of their races, they gather under the banner of the Qur’an, unified by the word of Islam. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says (what means),
“And remember the favor of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers.” [Aal-Imran 3: 103]
Allahu Akbar [Allah is the Greatest]! How great it is to see pilgrims assuming Ihraam [the sacral state] and chanting Talbiyah! How beautiful are the white clothes of Ihraam that indicate the whiteness and purity of the heart!
How wonderful it is to see them when they are performing Tawaaf [circumambulation], Rukoo’ [bowing], Sujood [prostration], Saa’i [walking] between mounts As-Safa and Al-Marwah that are from the rites of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala! How wonderful to see them trying to get to know one another and showing kindness to each other in the House of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, gathering together in lessons of knowledge and guidance, and showing goodness to the needy. And whatever you do of good – indeed, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is Knowing of it.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, perfect thanks and praise be to Him, has indeed perfected the religion, completed the favor, and chosen for us Islam as our religion. Imam Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, An-Nasaa’i, At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah reported from Tariq ibn Shihaab radhiAllahu ‘anhu who said,
“A Jew came to ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab radhiAllahu ‘anhu and said, ‘There is an ayah which you read in your Book; if it had been revealed to us Jews and we knew the day on which it was revealed, we would have taken it as a festival.’ He said, ‘Which ayah is that?’ He said (reciting what means): “This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion.” [Al-Ma’idah 5: 3].’
‘Umar radhiAllahu ‘anhu said, ‘By Allah! I know when and where this ayah was revealed to the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. It was the evening on the Day of ‘Arafah on a Friday.’”
In brief, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has completed the religion by the Qur’an and the exegesis of his Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Thus, whatever is authentically reported of his exegesis cannot be replaced by another and what comes after his Sunnah is a light that can be taken as guidance in understanding its rulings, such as the consensus of the Companions radhiAllahu ‘anhum or the action of the vast majority of them and those who followed their guidance. Therefore, whoever refrains from adopting their way, will be inevitably misguided and will not be saved from following his desires and whims.
Dear pilgrims of the Sacred House of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, you have heard the hadeeth of the greatest Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: “An accepted Hajj brings no less a reward than Paradise.”
Planes, cars and ships travel this journey in a short time. They have made the distant places near, and lightened the difficulty, especially for the disable and weak. Thus, bear the glad tidings today for the pilgrims of the Sacred House of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. A warm welcome to those who perform Tawaaf, staying there for worship, bowing and prostrating! Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala rewards the good doers with good rewards and grants them extra from His bounty. He is the Most Generous and The Most Kind.
Dear pilgrims, you have witnessed these sacred places, that were founded on righteousness and fear of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and seeking His approval; no blood can be shed in them, no Muslim can be threatened in them, and no game can be hunted in them. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has made the accepted Hajj a means of obliterating sins and misdeeds and a cause of entering Paradise. He says (what means),
“Indeed, the first House [of worship] established for mankind was that at Makkah – blessed and a guidance for the worlds. In it are clear signs [such as] the standing place of Ibraheem [Abraham]. And whoever enters it shall be safe.” [Aal Imran 3: 96-97]
Moreover, the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Whoever comes to this House and does not commit any obscenity or commit any evil will go back (free of) sin as on the day his mother bore him.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
An eminent scholar once said,
“Hajj is the general conference of Muslims that is held every year where the revelation descended, in the secure city [Makkah]. In Makkah and Madinah, the sacred place of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and the sacred place of His Messenger, all Muslims meet in spite of their distant countries, different races, different languages, different colors, and different etiquette and traditions.
Everyone comes to his Lord, declaring repentance from all sins, seeking His reward, fearing His punishment, seeking the pleasure of Allah, leaving the adornments of life, reciting Talbiyah obediently, reciting Takbeer submissively, and supplicating Allah in humility. They meet there and the word of Tawheed [Islamic monotheism] combines them, the banner of Islam shades them, and the language of the Qur’an links them to each other. They meet there so that they may witness benefits for themselves; spiritual, physical, religious, and worldly benefits, and perfect the relationships of brotherhood and mercy. It is a bounty and favor from Allah; and Allah is Knowing and Wise.”
Dear Muslims, Hajj has great wisdom and secrets in its rites. Every action in the rites of Hajj is a precious reminder and a great lesson for those who have understanding. If such secrets are comprehended well, then their effects will result in purity of heart and richness of knowledge and understanding.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has honored the Ancient House by mentioning it in conjunction with Him and making it a destination for His worshipers. Furthermore, He affirmed its sanctity by forbidding its game and trees. The clothing of Ihraam signify renouncing the vanities of the worldly life, demonstrating complete equality and avoiding all adornment, with no distinction between the highest and lowest. One returns to his country, afterwards, a new person with strong faith, noble morals, and a pure and clear conscience.
Slightly modified. Originally published at islamweb.net