Hajj and Umrah:
Umrah: this is the lesser pilgrimage which is optional and can be performed at any time.
Hajj: The pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, which every adult Muslim who is physically and financially able must make at least once in his or her lifetime. About 2,000,000 persons perform the hajj each year, and the rite serves as a unifying force in Islam by bringing followers of diverse backgrounds together in religious celebration.
Hajj: (A more detailed explanation)
Author(s): Sayyid Muhammad Zia Abadi
Translator(s): Ali Akbar Aghili Ashtiani
Hajj, A Lively Act
Hajj, which is full of meaning and spirit, can be inspiring and bring about such ritual effects. Ceremonial rites devoid of truth are not expected to bring about prosperity or dignity. In this relation, the Holy Qur’an says:
إِنَّ في ذلِكَ لَذِكْرى لمَنْ كَانَ لَهُ قَلْبٌ أوْ ألْقى السَّمْعَ وهُوَ شَهيدٌ
“Most surely, there is a reminder in this for him who has a heart or he gives ear and is a witness. (50:38)”
Beyond doubt, like healing medicine, religious duties are composed of ingredients with divine formula, which will leave great effects on the human societies. Nevertheless, susceptible temperaments are needed to manifest those effects.
Hajj of most people is devoid of spirit
Unfortunately, most people who go on Hajj have neither a heart to understand the meaning of Hajj nor give an ear to those who have a heart so as to perform the Hajj rites which are full of spirit.
They would rather perform the Hajj rites hastily, get out of the state of Ihram and restriction, and then engage in taking photos, buying souvenirs, or doing business. They think they have achieved the ultimate goal of Hajj and return home purified like when they were born of their mother!
Hajj Devoid of Spirit Has No Living Effects
Hajj devoid of spirit cannot possibly purify man’s heart from vices and adorn it with virtues nor can it turn human beings divine. Socially too, it cannot give dignity to the ummah nor can it give supremacy or world leadership to the ummah.
A clear proof of Muslim’s Hajj being abortive in our times is the fact that this great religious duty is performed every year with much glory but, unfortunately, does not produce the intended result. Its radiant effects, including purification of the soul and the ummah’s supremacy, some of the inevitable results of Hajj as mentioned in the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah, are not noticeable.