Step 3: Spiritual Prep
This important aspect tends to be ignored since many people focus on the external actions of Hajj and then focus on trying to survive the trip. If you make this a priority ahead of time by taking a few steps to prepare then the struggle can be spiritually uplifting and rewarding.
- Read theInnerDimensionsofHajjnotes based on a lecture by Shaykh Mokthar Maghraoui ahead of time to get in the proper spiritual frame of mind. The Shaykh describes the Hajj rites from a different perspective—beyond the walking and waiting, Hajj is an intense act of worship that has spiritual significance. Hajj is not just a physical journey but a surrendering of the heart to Allah (swt) with absolute submission. You will give up everyday comforts (even personal hygiene!) for a few short days as you purify the soul. Print the articles out and share with roommates.
- Evaluate yourself before leaving for Hajj. Really take yourself to account. As one experienced Hajji stated, “Look at your personal weaknesses and flaws. Make tawbah (repentance) for all the sins you are committing and all the weaknesses you have. Do not go to Hajj with the intention of continuing on any known sin when you return. Your intention needs to be that you will discontinue it and fight it. This is very important. Hajj is not something a person does many times—so make sure you receive the full reward for completing it. Do not risk an unaccepted Hajj.” She also emphasized, “Don’t let the spirit of the group affect your spirit. If people on the bus are talking and socializing and you feel like doing the talbiyah then go ahead and start instead of wondering why others aren’t.”
- Keep good companionship during the trip. I was blessed to have good friends as roommates during my journey. You might observe different types of people in your group: the complainers, the chit-chatters, the Debby-downers, etc. If you feel distracted then keep to yourself since you don’t want the negativity to rub off and affect your experience. Make a pact with yourself that you will come back from Hajj and keep the complaints to yourself. There might be things that you don’t like but you will hold those complaints in your heart and share constructive criticism with the group organizer. Good friends will remind you and support you in this goal. Optimism is contagious!