The Mental Impact of Hajj
hajj has a great impact also on the development of mentality and intellectual activity. the major aspects of the effect of hajj on the mentality of the muslim individual are clear from the following points.
it is a given that piety of allah almighty leads to more knowledge. this is based upon the verse, (observe your duty to allah, and allah will teach you... ) (al-baqarah 2:282) therefore, hajj leads to piety if its pillars and good mannerisms, are observe
d. this is demonstrated in the following:
surely the performance of the rituals should be accompanied by the glorification of allah almighty because it is obligatory from him. it is also the sunnah of his prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). this in itself leads to piety based upon the verse in which allah almighty says, (...so it is, and he who respects the symbols of allah, surely shows the piety of his heart. ) (al–hajj: 22:32)
allah almighty is not worshiped by the actions which have no soul or those actions which do not spring from a base of piety. as allah almighty confirms in the quran. ( [but bear in mind] never does their flesh reach god. and neither their blood: it is only your god -consciousness that reaches him.) (al-hajj 22:37)
and allah almighty also says, (...allah accepts the sacrifice from only the righteous. ) (al-ma'idah: 5:27)
coming out to hajj should be accompanied by the provision of piety based upon the words of allah almighty, (hajj is in the well known months. he who undertakes to perform it must abstain from the husband -wife relationship, obscene language, and wrangling during hajj. whatever good you do, allah knows it. take necessary provisions with you for the journey, and piety is the best provision of all. fear me, 0 people endowed with understanding. ) (al-baqarah 2:197)
the delay in throwing the stones in the days of mina must be accompanied by piety. allah almighty says, (celebrate the praises of allah during these appointed days. if anyone hastens to leave mina after two days or stays there a day longer, there is no blame on him provided he spends these days in piety. fear allah, and remember that you will surely be gathered before him.) (al-baqarah 2:203)
these texts and others like it confirm the strong relationship between hajj and piety. and this is the cause for the flood gates of knowledge to be opened by allah almighty, insha' allah.
in some of its regulations, hajj symbolizes the epitome of distinctiveness for the muslim mind which stipulates thinking that is based upon foundations of iman. when a person reaches that level of sure faith and turns his face towards allah almighty [without hesitation], then he is given the orders of allah almighty and finds it easy to perform them—even if the wisdom behind the order is not realized.
it is narrated by bukhari and muslim that umar (may allah be pleased with him) came to the black stone and kissed it saying, "i know you are a stone that can't harm or benefit, and had i not seen the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) kissing you, i would not kiss you."
umar (may allah be pleased with him) directs our attention to the purity of the faith of tawhid whereby a person is certain that only allah almighty is the beneficent, and only he controls harm. in his hands are all matters, and even stones have no ability in this world, it is unacceptable to give any holiness to the lives of the people. however, kissing the black stone is based upon following the sunnah of the messenger of allah (peace and blessings be upon him), and he did not do things of his own accord. instead, he received revelation, and he delivered the message to us.
this issue is considered as one of the qualities of the islamic psyche. while examining the universe by his mind and submission by his heart, the muslim reaches a combination of iman and thought that regulates the mind, but at the same time, allows it to ponder over that which brings benefit to the life of the human being. as it ponders this, it slops where it is unable to realize the wisdom.
and in both situations, it is convinced that it must follow the orders because they are from their lord—the lord of the universe—or they are revelations to the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). in so doing, it does not get overly excited by what it has understood, and it does not feel numbness from what it has missed the wisdom thereof (this is mental humbleness).
the regulations of hajj have an abundance of flexibility that impressed upon the muslim mind with such distinctive open-mindedness and ease towards the people. it also impresses that one should not impose upon the people that which will cause them hardship or frustration. some of those regulations are as follows:
allah almighty permitted trading for the person who is in the state of ihram during the days of hajj because allah almighty knows that some of them will want to gather as much as possible of that which is halal during those days. consequently, allah almighty allowed it.
it is narrated from ibn abbas that the people at the start of hajj used to trade in mina and arafah in the market of thil-majaz during the season of hajj, and they were concerned that they were trading while in the state of ihram. then allah almighty revealed the verse, ([however, you will be committing no sin if [during the pilgrimage] you seek to obtain any bounty from your sustainer.) (al-baqarah 2:198)
this highlights the complete coordination between the regulations of deen and our basic instinct. it also portrays the correct picture of being religious wherein the people are not forced against their instinct in an effort to chase or be coerced into some exaggerated state of priesthood. indeed, it is the deen of moderation and balance that leaves out no natural, basic instinct, but takes care of it without wretched excess or miserliness.
the permitted activities of ihram confirms the point mentioned above by allowing a person to perform ghusl, change their clothes and non-intentionally cover the head. it also allows for a woman to cover her face in forgetfulness or in fear of fitnah as well as emptying a cyst or pulling out teeth or undergoing life-related surgery. it also allows scratching the head or the body, looking in the mirror, smelling oregano, and tightening the money belt in the middle of sacred mosque in order not to lose one's money. it also allows wearing a ring, putting on kohl, using an umbrella, getting away from the heat within a tent, using henna, killing the five hated ones (crows, swooping falcons, scorpions, rats and dogs that are in the habit of biting), and all that which may bring harm.
all of these points to the flexibility of the islamic shari`ah, which leaves nothing out which is required. even in the state of ihram, in which activities are limited, it allows for natural needs as long as the human being can benefit from them. any limitation is meant to train the human being to have a strong will. and the permissions allow that which is indispensable for the will being of the hajj
the aforementioned issues made permissible take care of the people's needs and feelings and treats them with kindness. this permissiveness leads a muslim to be flexible in his mentality while dealing with any issue.
people were excused from observing some of the rituals on the day of eid which helps to create an islamic mind-set that is built around flexibility. some of that can be seen in the narration of malik, who quotes abdullah ibn umar saying: "the messenger of allah (peace and blessings be upon him) stood in mina to receive the people's questions. a man came to him and said, 'o messenger of allah, and i didn't realize what i had done until i had cut my hair before i slaughtered.' then another came and said, 'o messenger of allah, i didn't realize and i slaughtered before throwing the stones.' he said: 'go throw and do not be fretted.' and the messenger of allah (peace and blessings be upon him) was not asked about any action brought forward or delayed except he said, 'do and do not be concerned.'
this last expression exemplifies total mindfulness of the received islamic message and its goal in reducing the worry. it should be followed and carried forward by muslims to all the corners of the globe. it should be carried exactly as demonstrated without neither forcefulness nor laxity .
tolerating fiqh differences
from the above material we also see what illustrates open-mindedness in dealing with the fiqh (islamic law) differences. this is demonstrated in what bukhari narrated, quoting abdullah ibn mas`ud as saying, "i prayed with the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) two rak`ahs on the day of arafah, and i prayed with abu bakr two rak`ahs, and i prayed with umar two rak`ahs. and then in there were several ways introduced that came up with different numbers of rak'ahs." during 'uthman's time , 'uthman prayed four rak'ahs and ibn mas'ud followed him.
scholars say that this is a demonstration of the fact that ibn mas'ud disliked disunity, so even though he had prayed with the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), he followed uthman, even though it was to the contrary.
this directs us to an approach that is built on mental analysis and good manners at the same time, especially when dealing with the opinions of others. in this case, the imitation of ibn masud to uthman was not out of blind imitation where the follower becomes mindless and without an opinion. instead, it is a kind of leaving what is more correct for what is correct. .
the truth is that respect of someone else's opinion, even if it differs from one's own, is a kind of respect for the thinking mind that is behind that opinion.
the mind that chooses and balances between what is new and what it knows is a mind that should be respected regardless of the extent of the difference between us and it.
in islamic texts we also see what engages the mind and preoccupies it with useful, serious, non-trivial issues from which benefit both religion and life.
this is illustrated in the hadith narrated by bukhari and muslim where they quoted abu hurairah who said that the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, '"allah almighty has ordered you to make hajj, so do it.' and then a man asked him, 'every year, 0 prophet of allah?' the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, 'do not force me to say what i have left without telling . the peoples before you were destroyed because they asked too much and differed with their prophets. so when i forbid you something, then stay away from it. and if i order you something, then do of it as much as you can.'"
this question about hajj being obligatory every year brought to the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) a feeling that the people were about to talk more than they do and fall into argument without matching action. consequently, the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) forbade them from that. this directs us to an approach of a kind of research into that which is beneficial for people to ask about and that which is not. that which is beneficial are all of the things which benefit a person individually or the people around him. it would also promote the muslim in this life and in the hereafter.