This is the time to think about and plan for Haj. Now as you welcome the people coming back from Haj in your community, decide that you want to go next year and start planning.
I knew a young girl who read that haj is both a physical and financial act of worship and started saving for it from her first job at age seventeen.She performed haj nine years later using her own money. I saw people in Mecca who were wrinkled and bent over; they looked like they planned and yearned for this trip since they were very young. If you start feeling the pull, the tug, the need to answer Ibrahim’s call and your duty to Allah, you must start seriously working toward practicing this pillar of Islam now, for who knows how long it will take before it comes to be.
Haj is fard and it is a fifth of Islam. It has an alarming ability to strip one of fake appearance and actions one does, to go along with others. People come back from haj altered: they either drop the veneer of dunia, becoming serious about their deen, or they lose the subconscious pretence of religion and come back so much worse than before. It is always a turning point for one spiritually.
Haj is boot- camp training for life. Just like in haj, one must not allow the distractions and discomfort to allow him to get sidetracked, just like despite inner and outer interruptions, one must focus on the rites of haj and enjoy his closeness to the Kaba, so too, in everyday life, one must not allow any trial or pleasure to get him sidetracked and his heart must continue to focus on Allah and to enjoy His closeness through ongoing thikr.
May Allah, light the flame of longing for the sacred land in our hearts, may Allah write us among those who are invited by Him to be His guests. May Allah allow us to visit His beloved Messenger Muhammad, and may he become more beloved to us than our wealth, children and very selves….ameen.


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