For those who
could not make it to Hajj
By Majd Arbil
The Pilgrimage to Makkah, is one of the essential
elements of the Islamic faith. It is obligatory on all believers provided they
have the financial capability and physical ability to endure the challenges of
According to Islamic tradition the Kaaba, a simple square cube structure in
Makkah, was the first house of worship established to remind humanity of the One
Supreme God. The structure was reconstructed by Prophet Abraham and his son
And when We made the House (at Makkah) a
destination for humankind and a sanctuary, (saying): Take as your place of
worship the place where Abraham stood (to pray). And We imposed a duty upon
Abraham and Ishmael, (saying): Purify My house for those who go around and those
who meditate therein and those who bow down and prostrate themselves (in
worship). Quran 2:125
The gathering of millions of faithful in Makkah
during the days of annual pilgrimage, Hajj is a fulfillment of Prophet Abram's
And, lo, Abraham prayed: "O my Sustainer!
Make this a land secure, and grant its people fruitful sustenance - such of them
as believe in God and the Last Day." .. Quran 2:126
The Pilgrimage to Mecca is a sign of supreme
significance. It was Prophet Abraham's unconditional commitment to God that led
him to leave his wife Hagar and his infant son Ishmael in this desolated desert.
Prophet Abraham was reward for his unwavering submission to God, by a promise
from Him to make this uninviting land into a place of promise and plenty.
Muslims who visit Makkah for Hajj become part of God's promise to Prophet
Like any other article of faith, the pilgrimage can become meaningless if it is
regarded as an end in itself rather than a means for the attainment of a
The following story reminds us of the spirit of Hajj.
It is related that a noted Muslim scholar Abdullah
bin Mubarak, had a dream while he was sleeping near the Ka'aba.
Abdullah bin Mubarak saw two angels' descend from the sky, and start talking to
One of the angels asked the other: "Do you know how many people have come for
Hajj this year?"
The other angel replied: "Six hundred thousand have come for Hajj."
Abdullah bin Mubarak had also gone for Hajj that year.
The first angel asked: "How many people's Hajj has been accepted?"
The second replied: "I wonder if anyone's Hajj has been accepted at all."
Abdullah bin Mubarak was grieved to hear that. He thought, "So many people have
come from all over the world, crossing so many obstacles like rivers, jungles,
mountains, suffered so many hardships, and meeting so many expenses. Would their
effort be wasted? Allah does not let anyone's effort go to waste".
He had thought only so far when
he heard the other angel speak: "There is a cobbler in Damascus. His name is Ali
bin al-Mufiq. He could not come for Hajj, but Allah has accepted his intention
of Hajj. Not only will he get the reward for Hajj, but because of him, all the
Hajjis will be rewarded.
When Abdullah bin Mubarak woke up, he decided he would go to Damascus and meet
that cobbler whose Hajj intentions carried such a lot of weight.
On reaching Damascus, Abdullah bin Mubarak inquired if anyone knew a cobbler
named Ali bin al-Mufiq. The town people directed him to a house. When a man
appeared from the house Abdullah bin Mubarak greeted him and asked his name. The
man replied "Ali bin al-Mufiq".
Abdullah bin Mubarak asked: "What do you do for a living?"
Ali replied: "I am a cobbler". Then Ali asked the stranger's name that had come
looking for him.
Abdullah bin Mubarak was a very well-known scholar of Islam, when Abdullah bin
Mubarak introduced him self, the cobbler was anxious to find out why such a well
known scholar was seeking him out.
When Abdullah bin Mubarak asked Ali to tell him if he had made any plans to go
for Hajj. Ali replied "For thirty years I have lived in the hope of performing
the Hajj. This year I had saved enough to go for Hajj, but Allah did not will
it, so I couldn't make my intention translate into action.
Abdullah bin Mubarak was eager to find out how could this man's Hajj be accepted
and blessed for all the people who went for Hajj that year when he didn't go for
Hajj in the first place. While talking to the cobbler he could feel a certain
purity in his heart. Islam regards greatness not in wealth or in power, but in
civility, in good manners and the goodness of heart.
Abdullah bin Mubarak further asked: "why could you not go on Hajj?". In order
not to disclose the reason, Ali again replied "it was Allah's will".
When Abdullah bin Mubarak persisted, Ali revealed: "Once I went to see my
neighbor's house. His family was just sitting down for dinner. Although I was
not hungry I thought my neighbor would invite me to sit down for dinner out of
courtesy but I could see that my neighbor was grieved about something and wanted
to avoid inviting me for dinner.
After some hesitation the neighbor told me: "I am sorry I cannot invite you for
food. We were without food for three days and I could not bear to see the pain
of hunger of my children. I went out looking for food today and found a dead
donkey. In my desperation I cut out some meat from the dead animal, and brought
it home so that my wife could cook this meat. It is halal (lawful or permitted)
for us because of our extreme condition of hunger, but I cannot offer it to
Ali continued: "On hearing this, my heart bled with tears. I got up and went
home, collected the three thousand dinars I had saved for Hajj, and gave my
neighbor the money. I too had to go hungry but that was to save money for Hajj,
but I thought helping my neighbor during his difficult times was more important.
Although I still desire to go for Hajj if Allah wills."
Abdullah bin Mubarak was greatly inspired by the cobbler's story and told the
cobbler of his dream.
God is merciful and shows mercy to those who do likewise to his creatures. This
act of compassion on the part of the cobbler was so pleasing to God that it not
only earned him the reward of Hajj but was extended to all the people who came
Hajj is a journey that can ignite the sole to be reminded of the time it was
created and takes it beyond the dimensions of this life to the time it will meet
The sincere performance of Hajj can transcend a person's day to day life into a
spiritual awakening of the highest magnitude. A successful Hajj experience
connects us to our creator and the greater compassion of humanity.