In the previous article we discussed the virtues of preparing for Ḥajj. However the advice learnt should be applied to our daily lives. In this article we discuss how we can incorporate these lessons into our lives to make a positive change.
Before we attempt to change ourselves and our lives, we should first make duʿā’ asking Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) to help us to change, to correct us, to bless us with the strength and patience to become better Muslims. Only Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) can help us to change; we just need to take the means and make an effort.
Before embarking on your journey to Mecca, it is recommended to leave a will. Al-Ḥasan al-Basri (raḥimahu Allāhu) said:
“Son of Ādam! You are nothing but a number of days, whenever each day passes then part of you has gone.”
This internet and coffee shop culture in which we are living tries its best to make us forget death, turning our attention to consumerism instead. It was narrated that Abū Hurairah (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) said:
“The Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said: ‘Frequently remember the destroyer of pleasures,’ meaning death.”
Death is close to us all; every breath is taking us closer to the Ākhirah (the Hereafter). We need to hasten to do good deeds before we depart from this world. Do not delay performing good deeds until tomorrow, do them now because we only have the present moment; there is no guarantee that we will still be alive by the end of the day. Seize every opportunity to do good because these are blessings from Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā). This worldly life “is like a net that you are fishing with, you just want to collect hasanāt (good deeds).” Ibn Masʿūd (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) said
“I have never regretted anything as much as day on which the sun sets and my life span decreases, while my good deeds have not increased.”
My Qur’ān teacher said that after the death of one of her close friends she started to write more (she is working on a book). So instead of wallowing in depression and wasting time like most people nowadays unfortunately (which is what the shayṭān wants us to do), remembering death should push us into doing more, working harder.
Remembering death also makes us repent more to Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) for our sins. ʿAbdullāh b. Masʿūd (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) said:
“Verily the believer sees his sins as if he is standing under a mountain, afraid that it will collapse upon him. And verily the evildoer sees his sins as flies passing by his nose and he does this to it.” Abū Shihab said (whilst clarifying the action that Ibn Masʿūd made when he said “he does this to it”): “He moves the fly away by swiping his hand over his nose.”
Sheikh Al-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah (raḥimahu Allāhu) said that “Repentance is the best of good deeds” and “it raises the servant from the lower status to the higher and more complete one.” Imām Ibn ul Qayyim al Jawziyyah (raḥimahu Allāhu) explained how:
“The state of repentance, tawbah, is at the beginning, the middle and the end of all states of submission to the Will of Allāh. The servant who seeks the Pleasure of Allāh never abandons tawbah. He remains in the state of tawbah until his death. Whatever his state of belief, the servant makes tawbah his constant companion. Thus, tawbah is at the beginning and at the end of his servitude to his Creator. His need for tawbah at the end, just as at the beginning, overrides, and supersedes all other needs.”
The door to repentance is always open; it is only the person himself who closes the door on himself. To increase in seeking Allāh’s forgiveness, “it is necessary to take account of oneself and remember one’s sins.” It is reported that ʿUmar b. Al Khattāb (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu) said:
“Bring yourselves to account before you are brought to account, and weigh your deeds before they are weighed.”
Sincere repentance purifies and softens the heart. When you stand before Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) in prayer, your heart broken because of a sin you have committed, begging for His Forgiveness and Mercy, remember that (interpretation of the meaning):
“Truly, Allāh loves those who turn unto Him in repentance and loves those who purify themselves.”
Marcus Aurelius said “Do every act of your life as if it were your last.” We should apply iḥsān to every aspect of our lives. When Jibrīl (ʿalayhi al-Salām) asked the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) “What is iḥsān (perfection)?” Allāh’s Messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) replied, “To worship Allāh as if you see Him, and if you cannot achieve this state of devotion then you must consider that He is looking at you.”
For example, you can see the effect that the presence of a police car has on nearby motorists. They start to slow down, making sure that they are driving within the speed limit. They check that all passengers have their seatbelts on. If they see that the lights are about to change, they do not push down on the accelerator, but instead patiently slow down and stop at the lights. They conduct each manoeuvre with great care. As soon as the police car has driven away from their line of sight, they start to speed up and relax back into their usual driving.
We should always be on our best behaviour because Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) is All-Seeing and All-Hearing, and not because of fear of other human beings; we should fear the Creator and not the creation. It is the quality of the deeds that is important, and not the quantity; we should do everything in an excellent manner for Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā). We should deal with people in the best way, as if it is our last meeting with them.
It is also highly recommended to go for Ḥajj when you are fit and healthy, rather than postponing it until illness and old age set in because of the physical hardships that are involved. When we are sick, our ability to carry out good deeds is significantly reduced. Just the physical ability to prostrate to Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) is a great blessing which most people do not fully appreciate until they are no longer physically able to do so due to ill health or an accident.
Sūrah Al Ḥajj opens with a warning from Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) (interpretation of the meaning):
“O mankind! Fear your Lord and be dutiful to Him! Verily, the earthquake of the Hour (of Judgement) is a terrible thing.”
Ḥajj is “a reminder of the Grand Assembly on the Day of Judgement when people will stand equal before God, waiting for their Final Destiny, and where no superiority of race or stock can be claimed.” “You see people dusty, barefooted, as if they have come out of their graves.” Pilgrims of all colours, races, languages and nationalities assemble together in one place, dressed in iḥrām, “with no palaces or houses to distinguish the princes from the paupers, suffering together under the hot sun.” “Just as Allāh is Able to unite people in one place in this life, He is Able to bring together everyone on the Day of Judgement.”
Ḥusayn al-‘Awayishah advises: “We should be conducting ourselves (in our daily lives) as if we can see the scenes of the Day of Resurrection with our own eyes.” We should live each day as if we are preparing for Ḥajj because, by preparing for Ḥajj, in essence, we are preparing for the Day of Judgement. Even if you are not destined to perform Ḥajj in this life, every human being has to be present on the Day of Judgement. So start packing your heart for Ḥajj; start packing your heart for the Day of Judgement.
 Reported by Sāliḥ al-Murri
 Sunan Ibn Majah, hadith no. 4258
 Sheikh Al Islām Ibn Taymiyyah, “Seeking Forgiveness,” (Darussalam) p.51
 Ibn ul Qayyim al Jawziyyah, The State of Repentance, p.1
 Husayn al-‘Awayishah, “Weeping From The Fear Of Allah,” www.kalamullah.com
 Al-Qur’ān, 2:222
 Saḥīḥ Al-Bukhārī, ḥadīth no.50
 Hammudah Abdalati, “Islam In Focus,” (American Trust Publications, 1975), pp.99-100
 Ustadha Eman Al Obaid in a lecture on tafseer of Surah Al Hajj
 Imām Mohsen, osakamosque.org
 Ustadha Eman Al Obaid in a lecture on Glimpses of Hajj
 Husayn al-‘Awayishah, “Weeping From The Fear Of Allah, www.kalamullah.com