On the authority of ʿAbdullāh b. ʿUmar (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhumā), who said:
The Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) took me by the shoulder and said, “Be in this world as though you were a stranger or a wayfarer.” And Ibn ʿUmar (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhumā) used to say,
“In the evening do not expect (to live until) the morning, and in the morning do not expect (to live until) the evening. Take (advantage of) your health before times of sickness, and (take advantage of) your life before your death.”
This ḥadīth highlights how a Muslim should live in this worldly life. Muḥammad Alsharīf explains how “Your story and mine in this life should be the story of a stranger in town or a traveller.” We Muslims are living in exile, working hard to reach our true home, Paradise, the original home of our parents, Ādam and Hawa (ʿalayhimā al-Salām). As travellers, we are in a state of unease, using this life as a means to arrive at our real destination, the Hereafter. We carry in our hearts this aching longing to reach this blessed home. “When you live in this world as a traveller or a wayfarer, you build the ability to not be attached to the world.”
So if your husband has been offered a good job abroad and you are reluctant to leave your comfortable home, your friends, your children’s school, remember that you are a traveller in this world. If your child or one of your parents needs specialist medical treatment that is only available in a particular country, and you have the means to travel and pay for this treatment, but you are unwilling to go because it is a disruption to your routine, remember that you are a traveller in this world. If there is an Islamic lecture by a scholar but the venue is over an hour’s bus journey away from your home, and you are thinking of not attending, then remember Mūsā’s arduous journey to find Al Khidr (ʿalayhimā al-Salām) in Sūrah Al Kahf.
Ḥajj serves as a beautiful reminder of this ḥadīth. Travellers from different parts of the world gather together in one place, at the same time, to fulfill this great pillar of Islām. Leaving behind the comfort of their families and home, they strive to perform all the rites and rituals of Ḥajj to seek the Pleasure and Forgiveness of Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā).
This internal and external struggle a pilgrim experiences during Ḥajj is a purification of the soul as long as he or she is doing it purely for the sake of Allāh. The Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:
“Beware of leading a life of ease and comfort for verily the real slaves of Allāh are not those who live in ease and comfort.”
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”
When you experience intense pain, either through giving birth or an accident, you come to realise that the pleasurable, comfortable moments of your life lose meaning and importance. The pain is true and real, the comfort is deceiving and empty.
If you are planning to go for Ḥajj, it is highly recommended to travel light, packing only the essentials. In Sūrah Al Baqarah, Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) says regarding Ḥajj (interpretation of the meaning):
“And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best provision is At-Taqwa.”
Sheikh Ibn Baaz (raḥimahu Allāhu) explained how “Taqwa is to perform the worshipful sayings and deeds purely for Allāh’s Sake, to put all trust only in Him, to ask for the help of none but Him, to fear none but Him, and to place hope only in Him.” Taqwa is “the main part of every good and its key and the reason behind every good in this life and the Hereafter.” So the best provision for a traveller to take on his or her journey is not material wealth but a provision for the heart. We need to do jihād in our hearts to attain taqwa, and to be sincere in it because it is “the cause of happiness, salvation, relief of hardship, dignity, and success in life and the Hereafter.” Negligence of taqwa causes “misfortunes, afflictions, ordeals, and punishments.”
Towards the end of Salmān al Fārsi’s life (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) it was narrated from Thābit that Anas said:
“Salmān felt sick and Saʿd came to visit him, and when he saw him he wept. Saʿd said to him: ‘Why are you weeping, my brother? Are you not a Companion of the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam)? Are you not? Are you not?’ Salmān said: ‘I am only weeping for one reason: I am not weeping because of longing for this world or for dislike of the Hereafter. But the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) gave me some advice and I think that I have transgressed.’ He said: ‘What was his advice to you?’ He said: ‘He advised me that something like the provision of a rider is sufficient for anyone of you, and I think that I have transgressed that. As for you, O Saʿd, fear Allāh when you pass a verdict, and when you distribute (spoils of war), and when you decide to do anything.’”
Thābit (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) said:
“I heard that he only left twenty dirhams from the money that he had (after his death).”
This ḥadīth teaches us that as travellers, we should limit our worldly possessions so that they do not become a burden for us. The more material wealth we accumulate, the more we chain ourselves to this life. “You limit the worldly connections that you are tied to so that you are not afraid of losing them anymore, and when you are not afraid of losing them, you can truly live.” Most people’s homes nowadays resemble little museums filled with worldly treasures – ornaments from all the places they have visited, shelves filled with books that they are never going to read, and wardrobes filled with clothes they have not worn for years.
But what about your heart? What treasures have you accumulated in your heart throughout your life? Ikhlās? Repentance? Taqwa? Knowledge of Allāh? The Qur’ān? Patience? Complete submission to Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā)? These are the enduring treasures that can help you to go to Jannah; the worldly treasures are only temporary and will all perish.
The clothes that a Muslim should pack for Ḥajj is ihrām clothing: for brothers, this consists of two white, unstitched sheets, and for sisters, any clothes which are loose and plain, not attractive or tight-fitting, and which fulfill the conditions of hijāb. These white sheets are reminiscent of the white burial shroud, and they eliminate all the marks of social status, wealth and nationality, reinforcing a sense of brotherhood and equality. Imagine if everyone went out to work, or out shopping, dressed in ihrām clothing. This would help to cure many diseases of the heart, such as jealousy, arrogance, and showing off.
Muslims who are preparing themselves to travel for Ḥajj will be aware of the restrictions on their behaviour during Ḥajj in order to reap its full reward. The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:
“Whoever performs Ḥajj and does not utter obscene speech or commit immoral actions will go back (free of sin) as on the day his mother bore him.”
If in your daily life you have a habit of expressing yourself without any boundaries (e.g. backbiting, arguing, lying, using inappropriate language), then it is highly likely that this sinful behaviour will also be manifest during Ḥajj, no matter how hard you try to control yourself. You need to train yourself from now to guard your tongue, and not wait until you go for Ḥajj to do it because “a sin becomes more serious if it is committed at a time or in a place that is regarded as holy.”
If you are easily provoked by other people’s mistakes, you need to strive to overlook, pardon, and move on. As travellers, this is how we should behave in our journey through this life. Forgiving others is a highly important part of being a Muslim. Do not become involved in arguments, even if you are on the truth, for “arguing creates enmity, brings out the evil from inside, and affects your focus.” Protect yourself and others from the evil of your tongue and hands.
Ustādha Eman Al Obaid describes how Ḥajj is “a sample of what you go through in your life;” it is “a small picture of our own lives.” Your attitude and behaviour towards other people during Ḥajj is very important, and that is why, if your heart contains taqwa, this will control how you behave on the outside. “You will experience different things with different people” because “Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) wants to look at your heart.” You need to watch your heart because Ḥajj is not just a physical journey, it is the journey of the heart to Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā). This is our true journey from the moment we are born until we leave this world. During Ḥajj, “you need to go through different situations in a short time to show your submission to Allah (subḥānahu wa taʿālā).” Seeking the Pleasure of Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) should be our main concern and focus in life.
Worship would be light and easy without the disturbance and influence of other people. If you were the only person performing Ḥajj, it would be a smooth and tranquil experience, but your true reality would not be revealed because it is people and situations that bring your true character to the surface.
If you are preparing to go for Ḥajj, make an effort to improve the quality of your Ṣalāh and make sure you are praying correctly, in the way that the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) taught us to pray. Do not just pray in a certain way because that is how your mother, grandmother or friend taught you but consult the books on Ṣalāh written by the authentic scholars of Islām, such as Imām Bukhārī and Sheikh Al Albani. Make a duʿā’ list because sometimes we can forget duʿa’s we have not made for some time; knowledge that is not practised is easily forgotten. Memorise, with understanding, as many of the duʿā’s from the Qur’ān and Sunnah as you can so you can carry the knowledge in your heart (Fortress of the Muslim is an excellent book mashāAllāh). Dedicate a portion of your time every day for studying, memorising, reflecting on the Qur’ān, even if it is just one ayah a day. Appreciate how each blessed word is a treasure for your heart and your life. Read up on the tafsīr of each ayah to enrich your understanding. Attend study circles to increase your knowledge of the Deen. Learn the rites and rituals of Ḥajj.
This advice is not just restricted to Ḥajj but it is advice that we should apply to our daily lives. In the following article we discuss how we can use this advice to improve our daily lives, making them more productive, and to become proactive in our application of the teachings of Islām.
Notes: Al-Bukhārī  Muhammad Alshareef, “Portrait of a Traveller” Sheikh Jamaal Diwan, 40hadithnawawi.com  Ahmad, Abu Nu’aym in al-Hilyah  Frederick Douglass  Al-Qur’ān, 2:197  Sheikh Abdul’ Aziz ibn Baaz, “Majmoo’al-Fatawa”  Sahih Sunan Ibn Majah, hadith no. 4104  Sheikh Jamaal Diwan, 40hadithnawawi.com  “Ikhlas (sincerity) is the servant establishing his worship sincerely towards Allah in his words, acts and in his intentions.” www.al-aqeedah.com  Al-Bukhārī, ḥadīth no. 1521; Muslim, ḥadīth no. 1350  Islamqa.info, question 44833  Ustadha Eman Al Obaid’s lecture on Tafseer of Surah Al Baqarah  Ustadha Eman Al Obaid’s lecture on Tafseer of Surah Al Hajj  Ustadha Eman Al Obaid’s lecture on The Provision Of Hajj  Ustadha Eman Al Obaid in a lecture on Hajj