The return journey is always bittersweet; the anticipation of seeing loved ones back home, and yet the heart becomes restless as the airport slowly looms in the horizon.
Will I come back?
Is this my last visit here?
Are all of my sins forgiven?
Are all of my deeds accepted?
Have I truly tried and done enough?
And with each question, the heart responds with a sense of longing, hoping, and worrying. For the fact of the matter is, nobody knows, and nobody can claim piety upon oneself. So we place our hope with Ash-Shakoor, the One who accepts imperfections from those who are imperfect, if He wills.
But the most important question that the Hujjaj should ask is: Will I remain istiqamah after this?
Hajj Mabrur does not necessarily mean it’s attained just by completing the manasik, but it means to remain true and consistent on Tawhid, on the Sunnah, in Taqwa, in righteous good deeds, in obeying what has been commanded and what has been prohibited, and in the removal of everything that gets in the way between your relationship with your Rabb – just like your father, Ibrahim AS.
Labbayka Allaahumma labbayk.
Here I am (I commit myself to serve You and worship You), O Allah, here I am.
The talbiyah reminds us of our focus – and that is Allah, and Allah alone.
So will we leave Makkah with our lives changed? Because living by this statement means we’ve committed ourselves to Allah, we’ve intended everything for Allah, in every moment of our lives, in everything that we do – our work, family relations, friends, what or where we choose to work, to live. Everything.
Hajj is not about getting the title ‘Pak Haji’.
Hajj is not about striking it off on your To-Do-List.
Hajj is not just about completing the manasik.
Hajj is not about returning home and to our old ways – be it of immodest fashion and lifestyle, to haram relationships, to unguarded gaze, to unrestrained tongue, to be lazy in ibadah, to be impatient when tested, to be immersed in entertainment, to each and every single bad habit and bad character that we have vouched that we will never return to.
You were a guest of Ar-Rahman, you were invited by your Rabb, you did not arrive there by your own. So will you repay the honour and kindness by returning to your sins?
O Hujjaj, remember how patient you were, so continue to be patient!
Remember how steadfast you were, so continue to be steadfast!
Hajj is about being consistent. This is why I personally feel that the Hujjaj have a greater amanah towards their Rabb upon their shoulders.
Allahumma, grant us all Hajj Mabrur, and allow us to return again and again to the Haramain, and help us remain istiqamah until the last of our breath.
Allahumma, there is now a distance between us and Your House, but do not make our hearts distant from You, for you are the same Rabb that we worship, and the same Rabb that we will return to. The heart yearns to return, so make our hearts yearn to return to You in the best state that is most pleasing to You.
(Photo taken at Masjid An-Nabawi, 2017)