Purify your Intention
Your intention to perform Hajj or Umrah must be solely for the pleasure of Allah. In the case of Hajj, your intention should also be to fulfil a compulsory obligation and to be obedient to the will of Allah.
The sacred journey must never be undertaken with the intention of relaxation, tourism and above all, ostentation. An intention of pleasing or impressing others with an external display of piety should never cross your mind. The Prophet ﷺ warned against this when he said:
A time will come when wealthy people perform Hajj solely for the sake of tourism and relaxation. The middle class will perform Hajj for the sake of trade and business. The poor will perform it for the sake of begging. The qurra (reciters of the Quran) and ulama (scholars) will perform it for prestige and fame.
Throughout the journey, constantly ask yourself why you’re investing a great deal of time, effort and money for the trip. Your answer should always be that it’s for the sake of Allah. These regular internal reminders will help you to be patient when faced with inevitable trials during your journey and will allow you to maintain a strong connection to Allah.
Make a serious effort not to criticise or get angry during your journey. Remember everything happens by the will of Allah and more often than not, you will face a trial that is inevitable and unavoidable.
Don’t criticise or get frustrated at your travel agent or tour operator if things don’t go as smoothly as you’re expecting. Remember, they are trying their best and often times, situations may arise that are out of their control, especially during Hajj.
Before your journey stats, seek assistance from Allah, asking Him to allow you to perform the rites of Hajj and Umrah in the manner that they should be carried out. You should also ask Him to allow you to observe proper etiquette during your journey and in the sacred lands of Makkah and Madinah.
Before you embark on your journey repent for your minor and major sins. There are generally three conditions for repentance:
- Express regret and remorse over past sins and make amends for those offences where possible.
- Desist from those sins immediately.
- Make a firm intention (i.e. a resolution) not to return to those sins in the future.
Merely repenting verbally, without fulfilling the above-mentioned criteria, does not constitute a proper repentance.
The following is a recommended way of asking for forgiveness:
- Perform ghusl or wudhu.
- Perform two rak’ahs of salah with the intention of repentance.
- After the salah, send salutations upon Rasulullah ﷺ.
- Seek forgiveness by making dua with complete humility and submission. Cry if you can and beseech Allah as much as possible. You should repent from your minor and major sins with absolute sincerity.
Seek Forgiveness from Others
You should make an honest effort to seek forgiveness from anyone you may have harmed, backbitten about or hurt in any way, regardless of whether the person is a Muslim or non-Muslim. Remind yourself that every individual has rights, a concept known as Huquq al-Ibad, so you should make a concerted effort to resolve any outstanding differences with anyone whose rights you have violated in the past. The Prophet ﷺ said:
Don’t sever relations of kinship, don’t bear enmity against one another, don’t bear aversion against one another, and don’t feel envy against the other and live as fellow brothers as Allah has commanded you.
[Narrated in Sahih Muslim]
Make up Outstanding Prayers, Fasts and Zakah
The non-observance of salah, fasting in Ramadan and zakat must be rectified prior to your journey to the best of your ability. To do so, seek forgiveness for missing these obligations as described above. You should then resolve to do qada (paying in) of any mandatory acts of worship you may have missed after having reached the age of puberty. Outstanding prayers and fasts should be calculated and made up. If you haven’t paid zakah for a number of years, calculate the amount due and pay it. If a calculation is impossible, make an estimation. If it is difficult to complete the qada before travelling to Hajj or Umrah, an effort should be made to complete the qada in Makkah and Madinah.
If you have a debt or any other monetary obligation towards anybody, settle it with them. Where appropriate, obtain a receipt of the transaction for future use. If the creditor has passed away, you must settle the debt with person’s heirs and ask them for their forgiveness. If you can’t locate the individual or the individual’s family, give the sum of the debt to charity in the name of the creditor.
It’s impermissible for someone in debt to perform Hajj without the creditor’s permission. This ruling does not apply to debts that are due at some point in the future.
If you feel that is impossible to repay the debt, make a firm intention to do so in the future and appoint somebody to fulfil the remaining amount in the event of death. If you die with debt and an arrangement to fulfil the debt on your behalf hasn’t been made, the creditor will be repaid with your good deeds on the Day of Judgement.
If you have a possession that you been entrusted, as an amanah or otherwise, you should return it to the rightful owner before your journey.
Expenses for Hajj and Umrah must be paid with money earned through legitimate means. You must make sure the finances haven’t come from unlawful or doubtful sources. The Prophet ﷺ said:
Certainly a time will come when people won’t be bothered about the source of their income; whether it was lawfully earned or unlawfully earned.
[Narrated in Sahih al-Bukhari]
Although the ritual of Hajj would be considered fulfilled if performed with unlawful (haram) money, it won’t be accepted nor would there be any reward for it.