Part 1

Physical Diseases v Diseases of the Heart

Today, I received a phone call. Someone is sick. The symptoms are described. Phone calls are frantically exchanged between families and friends, with everyone giving their own diagnosis. Now we are concerned about the biopsy results. What will happen to the sick person - are they going to a journey of healing, or are they fine, or do they have a chronic or terminal disease?

We go through the whole drama, spending time and money over the phone and internet, panicking. We become concerned about the medical bills and the expenses, whether we have enough if the result shows a positive and the ill person is diagnosed with cancer or something similar. We end up worrying about the results, the statistics and the medical jargon.

Our main concern is whether there will be a cure, what the side effects are, and all other medical concerns. Our focus is healing and the preservation of life.

Let us pause for a moment and ask ourselves – did we ever think about death and the journey after death? Do we ever reflect about the journey of the soul after death? When illness strikes, we think we care about ourselves, and our loved ones. The reality is that we lack sincerity, and focus on the wrong aspects. All the physical illnesses,and all the accompanying symptoms, in perspective, are very brief. They are nothing compared to the suffering of the soul after death for maybe hundreds and thousands, or even millions of years, and the torture on the Day of Judgment, the grave and Hellfire.

The early scholars said that all the illnesses of the body have one cure, which is death. After death, there is no physical symptom of the disease. However, and this is the crucial point – for the diseases of the heart, the pain only starts after death, and will persist for a long time, perhaps for infinity.

What are these? Kufr (disbelief), shirk (association with Allah), kibe (arrogance) stinginess, jealousy, backbiting, lack of contentment, lack of gratitude to Allah, envying and comparing between each other – the list is long.

A study of Islam will reveal that every disease of the heart corresponds with minor or major sins, zulm (oppression) or even disbelief. Each of these diseases can lead us to suffer and be tortured by Allah in this life, in the moment of death, in the grave, on the Day of Judgment and may Allah protect us from it, in hellfire.

Scholars say that according to the amount of disease in the heart, Allah will either cleanse us with physical diseases, or torture us in the moment of death, or torture us in the grave for a duration which only Allah knows - maybe thousands of years. If this is not sufficient, this will be followed by torture on the Day of Judgment and torture in Hellfire. If the disease is deeply rooted such as kufr, shirk and arrogance, the ultimate, and maybe even final, destination is hellfire.

What has this to do with hajj?

You are now thinking: "The title of this article is hajj! What does this have to do with hajj?"

This is actually my point. Today, people neglect the status of their hearts. We are willing to spend exorbitant amounts of money, being melodramatic when illness strikes, and even sometimes celebrating and taking vacations after the physical cure has been found. For the disease of the heart, we are not willing to spend or seek help from the right doctor for the cure.This train of thought almost doesn't exist today.

If we do not take action when we think of the diseases of the heart and the amount of suffering, what will happen? Human beings nowadays worry only about the physical diseases. We are meticulous about nutrition and calories, we are fitness fanatics, we are about our looks and body sizes, yet we neglect the same amount of care for the journey after death.

You are still wondering: "We are supposed to talk about hajj!"

When I returned from hajj , everyone asked the same questions. How was the hajj? How was the accommodation? How was the group? How was the food? How was the weather? The common theme was that everyone was concerned about the outer issues.

The experience of hajj varies from one person to another, and even if you gather all the knowledge about hajj , your journey will be unique. Even if you plan it with the best travel agent, you will end up with different conditions and circumstances. Only Allah knows how your hajj will progress.

We concern ourselves with external details, instead of worrying about our status before and afterhajj . Whereas, the worry should be about if Allah granted us an accepted hajj , or hajj mabrur.

We should wonder whether a person who just came back from hajj had his hajj accepted by Allah. How would we know if this is the case, and what are the signs? Very simple, if the person is coming from hajj and he has hajj mabrur. , his aim is towards akhirah as his ultimate priority. He will come back with beautiful manner mixed with a lot of remembrance of Allah and reading the Qur'an. He would display a high amount of generosity and perform an abundance of good deeds, done speedily, for he tries to accumulate the maximum of good deeds to preserve his status as the cleansed one. He hopes to remain clean until he dies, so that he can meet Allah with minimum sins,and his luggage of this dunia containing the accumulation of the rahmah (mercy) of Allah, his belief and his good deeds insha Allah. This is what hajj is all about.

Inner or Outer Journey?

The journey of hajj is a preparation, hoping for cleansing, purification and forgiveness from Allah. We embark on this journey to meet our Lord purified from sins to the maximum extent possible, in the hope that we get the pleasure of Allah and not His torture. Hajj is a reminder to leave the material life: family, job, house, children, places, to train us to be ready for the final destination after our death.

Allah gave us the hajj as a wake up call to prepare us for His meeting. It is a journey from dunia to akhirah. It is a journey from the accumulation of material life to the accumulation of good deeds,the transformation of bad manners to good manners, from the vigilance of our external appearances to the vigilance of our habits, remembrance of Allah, concern about the condition of the ummah and ultimately, meeting our Lord with His pleasure.

Our name, our title in this dunia reflects our name and our title in akhirah. It does not depend on the money we earn or our status in society, but it depends on how famous we are in our good or bad manner, generosity or stinginess, good deeds or becoming selfish and greedy. Hajj is not the end of the journey, it is merely a part of it.

Follow us for our instalment on the hajj series, coming soon, insha Allah.

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