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 Physical Fitness of Hajj

In addition, Hajj trains us to be physically strong – a treat that the Prophet (s.a.w.) strongly encourages when he said that “a strong Muslim is better than a weak Muslim.” The seven times circumambulation around the Ka’bah, the walking and running (back and forth) from Safa to Marwa, the travel from Makkah Haram mosque to Mina, Arafat, Musdalifah, the throwing of stones, and of course the daily prayers, all these give us opportunities to be physically strong. We have to be strong, to prepare ourselves to carryout the task of fighting Satan and his allies and those who follow their footsteps. Allah reminds us that Satan is (dreadful) evil (4:38). He makes it clear that Satan is our enemy, an enemy avowed (57:60) who deceives (8:48) and suggests vanity (22:52-53). Satan descends on every lying, wicked person (26:221-222). He commands us to do what is evil and shameful (2:168-169). He only invites his adherents, that they may become companions of the Blazing Fire. Therefore, we have to treat him as our enemy(35: 6).We have to be strong so that we can worship Allah to the best of our abilities in the best manner so we earn His tremendous Rewards. We have to be strong in enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong so that we will be among those who in the sight of Allah are the best among mankind:“You (Muslims) are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind. You enjoin what is right, forbid what is wrong, and believe in Allah...” (Qur’an, 3:110)

Spiritual Consciousness

Coupled with physical strength is for us to be mentally alert and spiritually conscious because as Muslims we are obliged to dedicate everything to Allah. For every thing that we do we have to have the pure intention of dedicating it to Allah the Almighty:“And they have been commanded no more than this: to worship Allâh, offering Him sincere devotion, being True (in Faith); establish regular prayer; and to give Zakat. And that is the Religion Right and Straight.” (Qur`an, 98:5)“Say: ` Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death are (all) for Allâh, the Rabb (Only Cherisher and Sustainer) of the Worlds.`” (Qur`an, 6:162)‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab (r.a.) said: I heard Allâh’s Messenger (s.a.w.) saying, “The reward of deeds depends upon the ntentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended....” (Bukhâri, 1/1 and Muslim 3/ 4692)For our Hajj to be accepted we must first and foremost purify our intention to do it for the pleasure of Allah. This we should do sincerely so that we will be among those who will return to our respective homes, Insha Allah, free from all sins as if we are newly born:Abu Hurairah (r.a.) narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “Whoever performs Hajj for Allah`s pleasure and does not have xxxxxx relations with his wife, and does not do evil or sins then he will return (after Hajj free from all sins) as if he were born anew.” (Bukhari Vol. 2, Hadith 596 and Vol 3, Hadith 345)

Patience

Another positive attribute that we develop in the performance of Hajj is patience. We develop patience not only in the performance of the various Hajj rituals but also in remembering how Prophet Ibrahim and his family sacrificed in building the Ka’bah, the first Holy House of Allah. How many among us women are patient enough to follow Hajar (the Prophet Ibrahim`s wife) and allow our husbands to leave us alone with our baby in a barren land, with no food, no water and no people around? How much patience and endurance can we afford for the sake of pleasing our Rabb? Just how many of us could pass the test that Prophet Ibrahim had when Allah the Almighty commanded him to sacrifice his own son? In the case of his son, Prophet Ismael, can anyone among us follow his courage and submission to be sacrificed in order to build the Ka’bah?Indeed, Allah will test us Muslims, either by our children or by our wealth. We should know that as believers, Allah will try our Iman (faith). Allah may test us as to which of us is best in deed (67:2). The closer we are to Him, the more He will try us, just as He did to all His prophets and messengers. For those who are not living in a comfortable life let the life of the Prophet (s.a.w.) be a lesson for us. The following is just one of the many narrations how he lived in a destitute life but shows how patient he was:Ibn Abbas (r.a.) narrated that according to `Umar bin Al-Khattab (r.a.)… “Underneath his (Prophet’s) head there was a leather pillow stuffed with palm fibers, and leaves of a saut tree were piled at his feet, and above his head hung a few water skins. On seeing the marks of the mat imprinted on his side, I wept. He said, `Why are you weeping?’ I replied, `O Allah’s Messenger! Caesar and Khosrau are leading the life (i.e. luxurious life) while you, Allah’s Messenger though you are, is living in destitute.’ The Prophet (s.a.w.) then replied, `Won’t you be satisfied that they enjoy this world and we the Hereafter?’” (Bukhari 6/435)In our Hajj journey and in the performance of all the prescribed Hajj rituals, we may feel very uncomfortable for any reason. But let not any temporary difficulties in life hinder our devotion to Allah, especially during the Day of ‘Arafât on the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah when we ought to make more supplications to Allah for His forgiveness, blessings and mercy. We should be patient because Allah commands us to patiently persevere (2:153). We should remember that Allah shall test us:“Be sure We shall test you with something of fear and hunger some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil) but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere.” (2:155)Abu Hurairah (r.a.) narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “A Muslim male or female, remains subject to trials (in this world); in respect of self, children and property till he or she faces Allah the Exalted (on the Day of Judgment) in a state in which all his or her sins have been remitted.” (Tirmidhi 49)