The virtue of pilgrimage and the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah
By Sheikh Abdul Mohsin Bin Mohammed Al-Qaasim
In what is to follow: So fear Allah, O servants of Allah, as He should be feared, and beware of His presence in secret and in states of supplication.
O Muslims! The seasons of good come successively upon the servants (of Allah). As soon as a rite expires, another one manifests to them. Here are the cohorts of pilgrims heading to the ancient house of Allah, answering the call of the Friend (of Allah), peace be upon him: And proclaim the Pilgrimage among men: they will come to you on foot and (mounted) on every kind of camel, lean on account of journeys through deep and distant mountain highways [Al-Hajj: 27]. A house, which Allah made into a place of assembly for men and a place of safety; and in the vicinity of which requests of mercies and gifts are expected from the Generous, a blessed sanctuary wherein guidance, good provisions and visible signs. The first House (of worship) appointed for men was that at Bakka: Full of blessing and of guidance for all kinds of beings: In it are Signs Manifest; (for example), the Station of Abraham; whoever enters it attains security [Al-Imran: 96, 97]. Pilgrimage to it is one of the pillars of Islam. The Almighty said: Pilgrimage thereto is a duty men owe to Allah, those who can afford the journey; but if any deny faith, Allah stands not in need of any of His creatures. [Al-Imran: 97].
Legislation came with the order to reach its premises in order to perform the religious ordinance. He, peace be upon him, said: ((O people, Allah has enjoined pilgrimage upon you so do pilgrimage)) Narrated by Muslim. Pilgrimage to it is one of the greatest acts of worship in the sight of Allah. Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, says: the Prophet was asked: Which act of worship is best? He said: ((having faith in Allah and His Messenger)). One said: then what? He said: ((striving in the way of Allah)). One said: then what? He said: ((A Sound pilgrimage)). Statement agreed upon.
In performing the fifth pillar of Islam there is forgiveness of major sins and cleansing the smudges of minor sins and disobedience. The Chosen one says: ((Whoever performs pilgrimage and does not utter obscenities or commit sin, will come back as on the day when his mother bore him)) Narrated by Bukhari. Whoever kept piety in his pilgrimage, Allah will make ready Paradise for him to abide therein. He, peace be upon him, said: ((A Sound pilgrimage has no reward but Paradise)). Statement agreed upon. An-Nawawi, may Allah have mercy on him, said: It does not limit the reward of the bearer to expiate some of his sins, but must be entered into Paradise."
Actions are weighed with sincerity; if marred by false worship or boasting, gets spoiled. The Glorified and Exalted One said: It has already been revealed to you, as it was to those before you, that if you were to join (gods with Allah), truly fruitless will be your work (in life), and you will surely be in the ranks of those who lose (all spiritual good). [Az-Zumar: 65]. The acceptance of pilgrimage can only be complete by earning a good devoid of impurities of prohibitions and pollution of misconceptions.
Good companionship in pilgrimage is an aid to obedience and good worship, and beneficence to them is a form of worship with many benefits. Mujahid, may Allah have mercy on him, said: "I accompanied Ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with both of them, in a journey to serve him, but he was serving me". Ibn Rajab, may Allah have mercy on him, said: "Many of the forebears used to require of his companions in the journey to serve them, seizing the opportunity for reward for that". No one favors the right of Allah over the whim of himself and its comfort, but felt happiness in this world and the Hereafter.
The best of provision a pilgrim carries with his companions is the provision of fear and piety. He, Exalted and Glorified He be, said: And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best of provisions is right conduct. [Al-Baqarah: 197].
From the acceptance of pilgrimage is to provide food, propagate peace, good conversation, treatment of people by being kind to them; do not belittle during your pilgrimage nothing of what is just, for the best of people is the most useful to people, and the most honorable is the most patient about their harm, and the custodian of pilgrims is the faithful to Allah in their care and a partner to them in reward and recompense. He, peace be upon him says: ((Allah will cause three persons to enter Paradise for one arrow: the maker when he has a good motive in making it, the one who shoots it, and the one who hands it)) Narrated by At-Tirmidhi.
Whoever headed to the house (of Allah) ought to observe three characteristics: a devotion preventing him from acts of disobedience of Allah, patience by which to stop his anger and good companionship to those who accompany him.
O Muslims! The best means by which servants may draw closer to their Lord is by showing unity in their rites, devotion of works to Allah in their acts of worship. The Almighty said: and completed the Hajj and Umrah in the service of Allah [Al-Baqarah: 196]. In displaying the rite through utterance, there is Oneness of the Creator: Here I am at Your service, O Allah! Here I am at Your service. You have no partner. Here I am at Your service.
The best of words expressed by the speakers on the day of Arafah is the word of Oneness. He, peace be upon him, said: ((The best supplication is that of the day of Arafah, and the best thing that I and other prophets before me said, is: there is none worthy of worship except Allah alone with no partners, dominion and praise belong to Him, and He is over all things Omnipotent)) Narrated by al-Tirmidhi.
Putting one’s trust in Allah is among the major acts of worship. The Almighty said: so worship Him and put your trust in Him [Hud: 123]. Despair has nothing to do with the religion of Allah. The Glorified and Exalted one said: truly no one despairs of Allah's soothing mercy, except those who have no faith. [Yusuf: 87].
Hagar seeking water for herself and her baby in a valley devoid of cultivation, between two mountains, exhausted of thirst and anguished in pity for her toddler, and following trust in Allah and making use of all available means, she found a spring flowing for her and for generations thereafter. The prophet says: ((May Allah grant mercy to Ishmael's mother! Had she let Zam-zam (flow without trying to control it), Zam-zam would have been a stream flowing on the surface of the earth)) Narrated by Bukhari.
In the hands of Allah, Glorified and Exalted He be, benefit and harm; the reliever of anguish and revealer of adversities, self-Exalted over his servants, in His hands are the keys of the heavens and the earth, of His attributed are pride and greatness. The pilgrim declares that in the utterance of magnification of Allah in his rites during circumambulation, jogging back and forth (between the two hills) and stoning ritual, on the day of Sacrifice and during the appointed days of Tashreeq, so that the heart remains merely for Allah, attached to Him, separating oneself from attaching to what is in the hands of creatures.
In the stoning ritual there is a reminder to the children of Adam of an enemy lurking to them, calling them to the fire. The Almighty said: Verily Satan is an enemy to you: so treat him as an enemy. He only invites his adherents, that they may become Companions of the Blazing Fire [Fatir: 6]. So, be wary of dereliction of duty or falling into sin that may lead you to peril.
And know that the moments of pilgrimage are to be cherished and its hours precious. The Almighty said: Celebrate the praises of Allah during the appointed days [Al-Baqarah: 203], Hurry thereof to every good and desirable act of worship, from remembrance, seeking forgiveness, magnification and reading the Quran. The Exalted One said: Then when you pour down from (Mount) Arafat, celebrate the praises of Allah at the Sacred Monument and celebrate His praises as He has directed you; even though, before this, you went astray. [Al-Baqarah: 198].
When the rituals are over, praise Him for guidance and thank Him for the worship; So when you have accomplished your holy rites, celebrate the praises of Allah, as you used to celebrate the praises of your fathers; yea, with far more heart and soul [Al-Baqarah: 200]. In the course of rituals there is forgiveness and return to Allah. The Almighty said: Then pass on at a quick pace from the place whence it is usual for the multitude to do so, and ask for Allah's forgiveness. For Allah is Oft-forgiving, most Merciful [Al-Baqarah: 199]. The Arch-scholar of Islam, may Allah have mercy on him, said: "Seeking forgiveness is one of the major good deeds, its door is wide, whoever felt shortfall in his words or acts, circumstance or sustenance, or the volatility of the heart, he has to proclaim the Oneness (of Allah) and seek forgiveness, for there is healing in them if they were in honesty and sincerity."
And the people during pilgrimage are according to their endeavors, many of whom seek the immediate worldly affairs, and some of them seek the Hereafter and the pleasure of their Lord. The Almighty said: ((There are men who say: "Our Lord! Give us (your bounties) in this world!" but they will have no portion in the Hereafter. And there are men who say: "Our Lord! Give us good in this world and good in the hereafter, and defend us from the torment of the Fire!" To these will be allotted what they have earned; and Allah is quick in account)) [Al-Baqarah: 200 -202].
And the successful one is the one who completed his pilgrimage with good unadulterated intention and lawful expenses, fragranced his tongue with the remembrance of Allah, has accompanied his worship with beneficence and benefit to the creatures. So be in your pilgrimage as such, be sincere in your religion to Allah, diligent in good works and rush to the gardens of your Lord.
I seek refuge with Allah from Satan the accursed “For Hajj are the months well known. If anyone undertakes that duty therein, let there be no obscenity, nor wickedness, nor wrangling in the Hajj. And whatever good you do, (be sure) Allah knows it. And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best of provisions is right conduct. So fear Me, o you that are wise”. [Al-Baqarah: 197].
May Allah bless me and you in the Glorious Quran, and benefit me and you from what is therein of verses and message of wisdom. I say what you have just heard, and seek forgiveness from Allah for me and you, and all the Muslims from all sin. So, seek forgiveness from Him. He is Oft-Forgiving, Oft-Merciful.
The Second Sermon
Praise be to Allah for His kindness, and thanks to Him for granting us success and gratitude, and I bear witness that there is no god except Allah, alone without partner, in glorification of His status, and I bear witness that our Prophet Muhammad is His slave and His Messenger, may Allah bless him, his family and his companions a multitude of times more.
In what is to follow: O Muslims! You have been shadowed by ten blessed days, in which acts of worship are virtuous. The prophet says: ((No good deeds done on other days are more beloved to Allah than those done on these days)). He means the first ten days. They (the companions) said: not even jihad in the way of Allah? He said: ((Not even jihad, except for the man who puts his life and wealth in danger [for Allah's sake] and returns with neither of them)) Narrated by Bukhari.
So, multiply during them glorification, praising and reading Quran, observing kinship ties, giving in charity, honoring one’s parents, relieving sorrows, fulfilling needs and other types of worship. The Arch-scholar of Islam, may Allah have mercy on him, said: "The first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah are better than the first ten days of Ramadan, and the last ten nights of Ramadan are better than the first ten nights of Dhul Hijjah". The Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, used to revive the tradition of magnification (of Allah) among people during the first ten days. Ibn Umar and Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with both of them, used to go out to the market place during the first ten days; they magnify (Allah) and people reciprocate after them. Narrated by Bukhari.
And goodness comes in succession during the first ten days by slaughtering the sacrificial animals on the day of Eid and during the appointed days of Tashreeq. The Prophet offered as sacrifice two rams, black and white in color and horned; he pronounced (the name of Allah) magnified (Allah) and slaughtered them himself. Statement agreed upon.
The best sacrificial animals are the most expensive and most precious for their owners and one sheep counts as acceptable for a man and his family. It is prohibited for those who sacrifice to take off, during the first ten days, anything from their hair, nails or skin until he had sacrificed. So be merry, and eat, feed and give in charity, and seek your poor with your alms, and with your gifts your kinship and your neighbors, and protect your feasts from what angers your Creator, and take part with pilgrims in supplication, acclamation and magnification, and whoever stayed in his country and was preceded by pilgrims to the holy sites, it is permissible for him to fast the day of Arafah. He, peace and blessings be upon him, says: ((Concerning fasting the day of Arafah, I hope Allah will expiate thereby the year before it and the year after it)) Narrated by Muslim.
So take advantage of the seasons of worship before they expire, for life is an asset, days are numbered and lives are short.
Then, know that Allah has commanded you to send peace and blessings upon His Prophet, therefore said in His precise revelation: Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet: O you who believe send blessings on him, and salute him with all respect. [Al-Ahzab: 56].
O Allah! Send your peace and blessings upon our Prophet Mohammed, and be pleased O Allah with his rightly-guided successors.