As the time of Hajj draws ever closer, I find myself reminiscing, and very nostalgic about my own Hajj. During my travels I kept a fairly in-depth Hajj Journal and in my attempt to teach the children about Hajj, and the importance of this uniquely beautiful pilgrimage, I’ve been reading to them from my Hajj journal. One thing that stands out for me, is how much the rituals are focused around the basic building block of any societal structure, family!
At the beginning, when Nabi Ibraheem (as) was commanded to leave his wife and infant child in a barren dessert, and obey the commands of Allaah, he did so. In South Africa, because of the strict quota system limiting the number of people who may perform Hajj every year, preference is given to the elderly, and to ‘first-timers’, and a strict rule in place is that NO children are allowed. So, when we went for Hajj, we too left our children behind in an attempt to fulfil Allaah’s commands. However, our children were left with plenty of provisions, family, shelter ect whereas Nabi Ibraheem (as) left his family solely in the care of Allaah!
Another poignant moment for me, was during the Sa’ee, the ritual of running between the 2 hills of Safa and Marwa, following in the footsteps in Haajar as she searched for water for her infant son Ismaeel. As a mother myself, much of my duaa and supplications too, centred on my children, on their futures, on my ability to bring them up as good strong muslims, who never waiver in their conviction in Allaah, who never forsake His commands.
The sacrifice of an animal, during the days of Tashreek, is a moment of devotion to Allaah, that compares to none other, in terms of what it represents, and the reasoning behind where it originated. This is to commemorate the unparalleled sacrifice offered by the Prophet Nabi Ibrahim (as), when he, in pursuance to a command of Allah Ta’ala conveyed to him in a dream, prepared himself to slaughter his beloved son, Isma’eel (as) and actually intended to do so, but Allah Ta’ala the Almighty, after testing his submission, sent down a sheep and saved his son from the logical fate of slaughter. It is from that incident that the sacrifice of an animal became an obligatory duty to be performed by every Muslim who has the means to do it, even those who are not performing the Hajj.
There were numerous other moments of beauty, and spiritual awakening that I experienced during this life-changing travel. However, one facet that has still stuck with me, is the fact that even our families and our children, should not be an obstacle, in keeping us from the worship and obedience of Allaah.
Allah the Most High said:
“Indeed, your wealth and children are a trial.” [Al-Qur’an 64:15]
The wealth and the children are a test from Allah to His slave, so that He may know his ability of (correct) upbringing of his children, and the use of the wealth in a manner that Allaah has commanded, such as payment of Zakaat, and indeed going for Hajj, which is a very costly exercise in the current times.
Indeed, our efforts in raising our children should be focussed not only on their success in the world, but to a higher, more eternal success in the Hereafter.