HAJJ MABRUR AND UMRAH

As one of the five principles of Islam, Hajj is both a physical and financial act of worship. Proper fulfillment of this meritorious act depends on an elevated state of the heart and a perfect state of faith and spirituality.

Hajj is a sublime act of worship beginning with Adam (Peace Be Upon Him), the first ring of the chain of the Prophets, and continuing till the last Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him). It is a means of comprehending the true meaning of “die before death comes to you.”

The family of human beings starting with Adam and Eve has adopted the place of the Ka’bah in the respected city of Mecca as their first place of worship in order to live in a state of religious peace and happiness. Due to of changing individual and social circumstances the sons of Adam spread all around the world. Centuries passed; generations passed, and people deviated from the straight path. Tragically, this sacred place of worship was lost. By the command of Allah the Almighty, Abraham (Peace Be Upon Him) rebuilt it and had it blessed by his prayers. This is stated in the Holy Qur’an as follows:

“And when Abraham said: My Lord! Make this city secure, and save me and my sons from worshiping idols: My Lord! Surely they have led many men astray; then whoever follows me, he is surely of me, and whoever disobeys me, You surely are Forgiving, Merciful: O our Lord! Surely I have settled a part of my offspring in a valley unproductive of fruit near Your Sacred House, our Lord! That they may keep up prayer; therefore make the hearts of some people yearn towards them and provide them with fruits; haply they may be grateful.”(Ibrahim 14; 35-37)

Pilgrimage was an act of worship during the pre-Islamic period; however polytheists had changed its character and, in a way, turned it into an immoral ceremony displayed towards those who held the power. In fact the people of the Arab tribes used to circumambulate nude around the Ka’bah except for those of the Quraish who had a privileged status. It was the benevolence of the Quraish to let others to cover their private parts. In other words if the Quraish gave them garments, they could cover themselves, otherwise they would circumambulate around the Ka’bah nude. When they sacrificed an animal, they used to rub its blood to the gate and walls of the  Ka’bah and burn its flesh.

Finally, with the coming of the Prophet Muhammad Mustafa (Peace Be Upon Him) and with the emergence of the age of happiness, religious life reached its zenith at the same place where it had begun. Islam completely abolished all those shameful customs and superstitions; for the object of Islamic acts of worship is to remember Allah and ask His forgiveness.

The Messenger of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him) lived and enabled people to live in an age of happiness centered around Mecca and Medina. Thus these cities have become blessed places where Islam and believers’ hearts will beat until the end of the world.

These blessed places of pilgrimage have been watered by the tears of  believers and have flourished by the spirituality of the believer’s hearts since Adam (Peace Be Upon Him).  Those who perform their pilgrimage with a sagacious heart look for these and other spiritual marks of the many prophets. They are  inspired by their memories; because, these exceptionally inspiring and sacred places are filled with the memories of the prophets. Allah’s mercy, benevolence, and blessings always come to mind in these places.

Another goal of pilgrimage is to show respect to the signs of our Lord at these Holy places and to inspire our souls by the contemplation of these sacred memorials.

Those who visit these places with the intention of performing Hajj or Umrah participate in and are honored with the blessings of Abraham’s following supplication:

“Our Lord! And make us both submissive to Thee and (raise) from our offspring a nation submitting to Thee, and show us our ways of devotion …”(al-Baqara 2; 128)

This and many other blessings and manifestations kindle the believing heart with the longing and wish for visiting these places. Many caravans’ of those who love Allah are reverberated with the expressions such as:

“I have become blind of far and near
O beautiful Ka’bah!  I wish to come to you”

or with the lines of

“O morning breeze! If you pass by the two Sacred places
Take my greetings to the Messenger of the two worlds.”

And thus they sent their greetings and best wishes to these places and to the master of the worlds, saying “O morning breeze! If your happen to pass by Mecca and Medina, present my greetings to Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) the Messenger of the people and genies.”

These manifestations of love have deepened in the hearts of believers so much that it has become a custom to send those who set out the journey of pilgrimage with supplications and greetings. A poet reflects the loving wishes whispered into the ears of the pilgrims as follows:

To the roads you pass
Take our greetings.
To the servants saying the Truth is our friend
Take our greetings.

Go and perform your pilgrimage
Reach endless pleasure
To Muhammad Mustafa
Take our greetings.

Mecca and Medina
Are two unique treasure
To the distinguished beloved
Take our greetings.

Constantly say labbaik
Run to zamzam water
To the Hashim’s offspring
Take our greetings.

You wear ihram
Without touching the illicit
To the blessed Companions
Take our greetings.

Beg to our Lord
Say prayer for us
To our great Ka’bah
Take our greetings.

Those who enter the garden of love
Will not fall into the trap of heedlessness
To the beautiful mountain of Light
Take our greetings.

Enter the heart of Hatim
Prostrate yourselves to The All-Merciful
To the station of Abraham
Take our greetings.

To the Excellence of the Lord
To all stretched wings
To Mina, to Arafa
Take our greetings.

To the garden of Baqi
To our pure rose garden
To our joy
Take our greetings.

Throughout history, those lovers of the Truth who could not calm down the excitement of their souls miraculously folded up the distances and rushed to these Holy places to perform their acts of worship. Some of them have even taken along with them some poor lovers of Truth who did not have the means to travel. The following story about Aziz Mahmud Hudayi is a famous one concerning this:

During the days when he was the judge of Bursa a weird case was brought to his attention. A woman complained about her husband saying:

“Your honor! Every year my husband plans to go to pilgrimage, but due to our poverty he never had a chance to fulfill his plans. This year he insisted on going to pilgrimage. He even said: “If I do not go to pilgrimage this year, I will divorce you.” Then around the days of the festival of sacrifice he disappeared. Five or six days later he came back and claimed that he had gone to pilgrimage. How can this be possible? Your honor! I request a divorce from this liar.”

Judge Mahmud summoned the woman’s husband to enquire into the validity of the claims. He asked the man whether or not his wife was telling the truth. The man replied:

“You honor! Both my wife and I are telling the truth. You should know that I really went to Hajj. There I even met some pilgrims from Bursa and entrusted them with some presents to take to Bursa.” Puzzled with this response Judge Mahmud asked again:

“How could this be true?” The man began to narrate:

“Like previous years, when I had not been able to go to Hajj, I went to Eskici Mehmet Dede in deep sorrow. He told me to hold his hand and close my eyes. When I opened my eyes I was at the Ka’bah.” Never having witnessed such an incident before, Judge Mahmud did not accept this statement. Thereupon the poor man, who was still under the influence of the spirituality of those sacred places, gave the following thought-provoking response:

“Your Honor! If the Devil who is an enemy of Allah is able to travel all around the world, why can a friend of Allah not go to Ka’bah in an instant?”

Judge found this response very meaningful and postponed his verdict till the pilgrims returned. When the pilgrim from Bursa came back, he confirmed the incident that this man had really gone for Hajj. Hence he had to dismiss the case. However, he did not feel comfortable, so he met his master Uftada (May Allah Bless his Secret) through Eskici Dede Efendi and became one of the sultans of the souls.


“Wherever I turn my eyes, countless miracles grab the heart saying: “this is the real place.”
We should remember that the longing and love for these blessed places is not just to see its physical appearance or sandy deserts. It is done to visit the station of Abraham (Peace Be Upon Him) and abode of his son Ishmael (Peace Be Upon Him). It is done to see the lands where the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) was born, where he grew up and where he conveyed the message of Islam. Another goal of pilgrimage is to inhale the air and absorb into our souls the image of the lands where this noble Messenger of Allah lived. How eloquently the poet describes this:

These are not just poetic words but divine realities. Allah the Almighty expresses in the Qur’an:

فِيهِ اٰياَتٌ بَيِّناَتٌ

“Wherein are plain memorials (of Allah’s guidance)…” (Al-i Imran 3; 97)

Therefore in these sacred places those who remove the veils of heedlessness from their eyes and look about through the windows of their souls will strengthen their faith and the Divine love will encompass all their being. Wherever they turn their faces, a state of rapture and spiritual ecstasy will embrace them. Their eyes begin to shed tears and their tongues are busy with pronouncements of ceaseless praises to Allah and declarations of His unity. They spend all their time in a state of reverence and lofty manners. And this is the great blessing obtained from the secret noted in the following verse:

ذٰلِكَوَمَنْيُعَظِّمْشَعاَئِرَاللّٰهِفَاِنَّهَامِنْتَقْوَىالْقُلُوبِ

“That (shall be so); and whoever respects the signs of Allah, this surely is (the outcome) of the piety of hearts.”(al-Hajj 22; 32)

Therefore pilgrimage is not a physical and outward act of worship alone. It consists also of an inner aspect, which is much more important than its outer manifestations.. The pilgrimage which is called by the Messenger of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him) as Hajj mabrur, or the accepted pilgrimage, is the one that is made up by spiritual beauties from its beginning to the end. From this point of view pilgrimage entails supplication, repentance, as well as attainment of Divine mercy, blessings and virtues. It is the improvement of this life by righteous deeds. We also pledge to Allah the Almighty that we will strive to maintain the beautiful state attained during the pilgrimage following the return from these holy places.

How wonderful the following prayer of the prophet Abraham (Peace Be Upon Him) is:

“Our Lord! And make us both submissive to You and (raise) from our offspring a nation submitting to You, and show us our ways of devotion and turn to us (mercifully), surely You are the Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful.”(al-Baqara 2; 128)

The loving souls which happen to perform pilgrimage get molded by prayers while contemplating that they are within the borders of sacred places where the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) lived. They feel the deep excitement of thinking that he or she may be walking on the same spots as the Prophet’s footsteps. When they visit the hill of Safa, they think, for instance, of the  Prophet’s address to the polytheists of Quraish. They remember that on that hill the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) told the people of Quraish, pointing at that mountain of Abu Qubais:

“If I told you that there were horses on the other side of this mountain about to attack you, would you believe me?” The Meccans replied:

“Yes. Even if we do not see what is behind that mountain, we do not have any doubts about what you tell us for you are Muhammad al-Amin (trustworthy Muhammad).” Upon hearing this when our Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said:

“As you believe in me, believe that there is Allah who created this universe and who is one and omnipotent. The idols you worship are just pieces of stones and wood. Abandon them and believe in the One God. You should know that Allah has sent me as a prophet to you.” Polytheists including Prophet’s uncle Abu Lahab told him:

“Have you gathered us here for this?” Then they turned away from the Messenger of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him). Even though they conscientiously accepted his trustworthiness, they refused his message because of their selfishness.

Nevertheless, he was the Messenger of Allah and the Prophet for the worlds, so he never lost his heart before such manifestations of heedlessness. He continued to convey the Divine truths to the thirsty souls whenever possible, under any circumstances..

If we reflect upon these moments and look around ourselves in such a spiritual state, we might feel as though we  are reprising the Quranic event manifested by the House of Arqam. On these moments the experience of Hijra (Exodus from Mecca) is evolved deep within us, with its Quranic resonance and the blessings that accompany them.

Maybe we can be a part of the three-day-long spiritual interaction which occurred between the Messenger of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him) and his friend Abu Bakr (May Allah Be Pleased With Him) in the cave of Sawr and benefit from its divine secrets to the extent of our spiritual capacity to comprehend this amazing event. Afterwards our souls may experience the sweetness of faith which emerged from the love and rapture of the golden chain which has started with that conversation.

After tasting the sweetness of faith, we can follow the Companions of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), who have become like stars, and think about how they lived in Medina and then conquered Mecca under the command of the Messenger of Allah (Peace Be Upon Him).

When we gaze upon the mountains around Mecca, we can imagine the thousands of fires lit by the Companions to frighten the Meccans. We can hear the echoes of the call for prayer pronounced by Bilal Habashi (May Allah Be Pleased With Him) on the Ka’bah’s roof on that day. We may also picture how our Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) destroyed the idols in the Ka’bah while reciting the verse: “…The truth has come and the falsehood has vanished away …” (al-Isra 17; 81)

We should remember that our hearts, like the Ka’bah, might also be filled with the idols of our selfish wants. We can destroy these idols by the spiritual strength we gather in every step of our pilgrimage and turn our hearts into places of Divine sight.

Pilgrimage, which is a gate to attain many manifestations and insights like these, is an event of spiritual purification, calming down and revival. Pilgrimage is a comprehensive act of worship, which directs the individual to perfect his or her religiosity.

Pilgrimage means to take off the garments of being and of inner self and step into the spiritual world. It is an act of worship in which one can find ones own spiritual color, climate, and harmony, as well as gain ones real identity. In pilgrimage one gets washed by the showers of enlightenment. It is an act of worship filled with manifestations of spirituality.