Post-Pil­grim­age: Main­tain­ing your Hajj High

The Miracle - - Faith - By: Ya­coob Man­joo http://pro­duc­tive­mus­

Hajj is now over and as the pil­grims re­turn home to their loved ones, they take back with them a mul­ti­tude of pre­cious mem­o­ries from the jour­ney, lessons they’ll hope to ap­ply for the rest of their lives, and an el­e­vated sense of spir­i­tu­al­ity.

Back to re­al­ity

But for many, those feel­ings can quickly fade once they ar­rive home, be­cause the con­trast be­tween the lands of Hajj and the ‘nor­mal’ home en­vi­ron­ment is as strik­ing as day against night. It’s al­most as if Mad­i­nah, Makkah, Mina, Arafah and Muz­dal­i­fah are not in the real world. Away from the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of fam­ily, work, and home life, Hajj is like be­ing in an­other gal­axy – one where ev­ery­one is geared to­wards wor­ship­ping Al­lah; where there’s no crude ad­ver­tis­ing, mu­sic and im­ages smack­ing you in the face every hour; and where the only worry each day is mak­ing it to the masjid to get a spot for the five com­pul­sory prayers. But once you ar­rive home, you re­turn to the en­vi­ron­ments of hard­ship, lazi­ness and sin. De­spite all the won­der­ful gains from the weeks you’ve just spent as a guest of Al­lah, main­tain­ing a spir­i­tual high un­der such cir­cum­stances is dif­fi­cult – if not im­pos­si­ble. While you know that the real work of Hajj only starts once you get home – in that you need to live your Hajj for the rest of your life – the cir­cum­stances of nor­mal life can soon erode all the am­bi­tious plans you had for liv­ing the rest of your days as one of Al­lah’s spe­cial peo­ple.

Hang­ing on

In such cir­cum­stances, it’s easy to lose hope – see­ing Hajj as a tem­po­rary high that, in re­al­ity, can­not be main­tained as the months and d years go b by. But suchh an at­ti­tudei d wouldld be in­cor­rect, be­cause with the right in­ten­tions, sin­cere duas and ded­i­cated ef­forts – it is in­deed pos­si­ble to re­main on a higher level – even if that level isn’t quite as grand as what you’d hoped for. So here are five points of ad­vice which if fol­lowed, can in­sha Al­lah help you from slip­ping into de­cline, so that you can main­tain your Hajj for life:

1. Be re­al­is­tic

Ac­cord­ing to ha­dith, the most beloved deeds in Al­lah’s es­ti­ma­tion are those that are con­sis­tent – even if they are few. You need not main­tain the same lev­els of wor­ship you had on your Hajj jour­ney, but if you can keep just a few small and man­age­able ones – and do them sin­cerely and con­sis­tently – you’re al­ready a win­ner.

2. Stay clean

Af­ter be­ing to­tally pu­ri­fied on Arafah, your clean soul recog­nises your new sins and mis­takes much more eas­ily. But you won’t stay that pure for­ever – and Al­lah doesn’t ex­pect you to re­main that way: all of mankind sins, but the best of those who sin are those who re­pent and re­turn to Al­lah. Rec­og­nize that you will slip – but you should fol­lowf ll up thoseh sinsi andd mis­takesi k withi h imi me­di­ate re­pen­tance. In this way, you can keep your slate as clean as pos­si­ble In­sha Al­lah. Even when you don’t rec­og­nize sins, make a habit of daily istigh­far (seek­ing for­give­ness from Al­lah). It is re­ported that the Prophet ṣal­lal­lāhu ‘alayhi wa sal­lam (peace and bless­ings of Al­lāh be upon him) made istigh­far 100 times a day! So mak­ing istigh­far not only helps keep you spir­i­tu­ally clean, but also gives you more points for fol­low­ing a sun­nah.

3. Keep pelt­ing for life

Re­mem­ber the spir­i­tual sig­nif­i­cance of pelt­ing the ja­ma­raat. Af­ter shay­taan was hu­mil­i­ated on the day of Arafah, he’s even more deter­mined to cor­rupt you now that you’re back home. So, just as you stoned Shay­taan in those days, when­ever you no­tice his whis­per­ings/temp­ta­tions com­ing to you back home, re­peat that pelt­ing in your mind: you chased him away on Mina, and you can do it again now too.

4. Pro­tect and erase

Pro­tect your senses from ‘spir­i­tual filth’: stay away from sights and sounds that would cor­rupt your heart, and if you do see or hear them, im­me­di­ately try to erase their ef­fects by re­plac­ing those ex­pe­ri­ences with some­thing bet­ter. For ex­am­ple, if you see a non-mahram of the op­po­site sex in in­de­cent cloth­ing, im­me­di­ately look at some­thing else (ha­laal) and try to make that the im­age that sticks in your mind. If you hear dirty mu­sic around you, re­cite or lis­ten to Qu­ran im­me­di­ately and let that push the mu­sic out of your mem­ory. Re­mem­ber that Shay­taan uses your senses as the gate­way to cor­rupt­ing your heart in a slow and grad­ual way. Close those gates, be on guard and have your spir­i­tual eraser ready.

5. Use grat­i­tude to go back

It’s very, very sad to leave Makkah – es­pe­cially af­ter you’ve made your fi­nal tawwaf and left the Grand Mosque. Like mil­lions of oth­ers be­fore you, you dream of go­ing back for Hajj again. But to make this de­sire a re­al­ity, those feel­ings need to move be­yond just nos­tal­gia and emo­tional yearn­ing. Al­lah prom­ises us that if we’re grate­ful, He will give us more: “And [re­mem­ber] when your Lord pro­claimed, ‘If you are grate­ful, I will surely in­crease you [in fa­vor]; but if you deny, in­deed, My pun­ish­ment is se­vere.” [Qur’an: Chap­ter 14, Verse 7] If you show true grat­i­tude for the jour­ney He has just granted you, in­sha Al­lah you can earn an in­vi­ta­tion to go again. Ap­pre­ci­ate what you had through your ac­tions: by striv­ing to live the best you can, as close to Al­lah as you can. May Al­lah ac­cept your Hajj from you, help you to main­tain it un­til you reach the end of your life, and take you there again – so that you may step up to even higher lev­els of spir­i­tu­al­ity and close­ness to Him.

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