Objectives and Benefits of Hajj
“And proclaim among people the Pilgrimage; they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel coming from every remote path. That they may witness advantages for them and mention the name of Allah during the stated days over what He has given them of the cattle quadrupeds, then eat of them and feed the distressed one, the needy”.
Holy Qur'an (22:27-28)
Hajj is a great Islamic conference. It is and ideal demonstration of faith in which diverse groups of every race, class, and nationality join together at a given time and in a specific place. They repeatedly recite a single call, and proclaim the same slogan. They gather for one purpose.
To declare their servitude and loyalty to Allah alone, freeing themselves from any trace of polytheism and ignorance, in a deeply effective, collective way, which fills the soul with feelings of faith.
As the Holy Qur'an proclaims, and the Prophetic traditions bespeak, it is not only worship and a way of getting closer to Allah, but is a way of granting the pilgrim social, educational, economic and political benefits. Combined together these bounties are conducive to improvement within an Islamic society, increase its awareness, and activate its movement.
During Hajj, Muslims witness the most excellent example of equality, submissiveness, and human brotherhood. This is accomplished by removing the outer difference and donning the dress of unity Ihram. The result is that all feel a oneness among the human race, brotherhood and equality.
While performing Hajj, Muslims feel a oneness with the earth and the people. The invalidate all the artificial boundaries established by human, regional, national and racial superiority complexes and egoism. Traveling across thousands of miles, they penetrate all barriers, and rise above all-man-made hurdles, in order to respond to Islam's call of faith.
During Hajj, Muslims meet each other in a magnificent communion. They relate to each other's domestic and regional affairs. They consult each other concerning their life and religion. They exchange experiences, opinions, and good habits. They become acquainted with each other's problems. They learn of each other's viewpoints. This interchanging of ideas increases their awareness, knowledge grows, and the impetus to reform is invigorated. As a result, plans are proposed, projects designed, educational, political, social and economic centers are established. The Muslims support each other, as if they are one body and one soul.
Since Hajj is a large and impressive human gathering, it attracts millions of Muslims from different countries. It also stimulates an economic movement, which is beneficial to the world of Islam.
During Hajj, the pilgrim imbibes ethical and educational lessons which reduce his faults. He inquires patience through hardship. He becomes humble, generous, and tender. He renounces lying, backbiting, animosity, and pride. He learns from his journey through mixing with other. Within him, positive social tendencies grow and morals are refined.
Imam Ja'far bin Muhammad al-Sadiq (a.s.) has talked about Hajj and its benefits, eloquently answering the question of one of his followers, (Hisham bin al-Hakam). Once he asked Imam Ja'far (a.s.), Why does Allah order His servants to perform Hajj, and circumambulate around the Ka'ba?
The Imam (a.s.) replied:
"Allah has created His servants and instructed them how to obey Him through the performance of religious duties. He has made (Hajj) a gathering in which people from the East and the West participate and become acquainted with one another. Every' single one of them benefits from the experiences of others who come from different places. Memories of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.), and his life will never be forgotten...etc.”
This explanation is completely congruous with that of his nephew, Imam Ali bin Musa al-Reza (a.s.) on the benefits of Hajj and its social effects. Imam al-Reza (a.s.) says:
"People are ordered to perform Hajj so that they remain the guests of Allah, the Most High, gain divine rewards and win the remission of whatever wrong they have committed through repentance, and preparing for the future. During Hajj people spend of their wealth and selves, leave their families and children, refrain from pleasures travel inhospitable weather and are filled with determination to complete Hajj, while being continuously humble, calm and submissive. During Hajj benefits abound for all people every where, from the East and the West, on land and sea, for those who perform Hajj and for those who have not.
All people profit from Hajj, whether merchant, seller, buyer, the poor, and the destitute. Whenever the pilgrims get together the inhabitants of that place prosper. They in crease in knowledge, while spreading the statements of the Imams to every corner of the earth. As Allah, the Most High says:
"... Why should not then a group of every party from among them go forth in order to master religion so that they may warn their people when they return to master religion so that they may warn their people when they return to them that they may beware?”, and that they may witness advantages for them”
Allah, thus willed that Hajj be a place of prayer and devotion, a season for worship and enlightenment, and a bounteous field for the fulfillment of man's social interests.