A Journey of a Lifetime: Hajj

A Journey of a Lifetime: Hajj

We have entered the blessed month of Dhul Hijjah. It is the month that contains the best days in the entire year. After Ramadan, the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah are the most important days of the year to do good deeds and increase worship. The best of all acts to do during these ten days is fulfill the fifth pillar of Islam by going to Hajj. 

Going to hajj is a major life event. In fact, it is said to be a once in a lifetime journey due to the high costs and long distance. Many of us under forty shrug off the obligation as something that should be pushed to the end of our life once we enter old age. More often than not, people living in the West wait until they have saved for decades and are ready to retire before making the commitment to go on hajj. But in a time in which we spend thousands on lavish walimas or take multiple vacations in a year to escape the monotony of our jobs, isn’t it possible that we can save faster than previous generations for hajj? As someone who is preparing to go to hajj for the first time at age thirty-two, I want to make the case for you to go to hajj in your youth.

Here are three reasons why you should prioritize hajj while you’re young:

Because the Prophet (SWS) Said So:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘Whoever intends to perform Hajj, let him hasten to do so, for he may fall sick, lose his mount, or be faced with some need.” - Sunan Ibn Majah 2883, Book 25, Hadith 2

There is a well known hadith that scholars cite when answering the question of when one should go to hajj. The Messenger (SWS) said hajj should be hastened. Scholars say that when one has arranged to pay off their debt and when they have secured the funds, they should make hajj. Because it takes some people decades to secure the funding to go, many wait until old age. However, for those of us that have the money we should plan to go as soon as we can. 

The Physical Strain is REAL:

Hajj is hard work. I’m not just talking about the emotional and spiritual weight you will feel, I’m talking about the physical endurance. Imagine walking for miles upon miles each day in 100+ degree weather in your hijab and abaya. Imagine sleeping in the desert with millions of people alongside you in Muzdalifah. It’s common for people to get sick from covid, flu, or heat exhaustion. Some even die because their bodies in old age cannot handle the heat. At a younger age, a person can more easily prepare for and endure the physical strain and can bounce back faster if they get sick. This is why it’s better to go when you’re in your best health and when you are young. 

Your Finances are Flex:

While everyone’s financial situation is different, a person’s finances are arguably more flexible before having children. Once you have a young family to care for, your finances are devoted primarily to maintaining the family. However, if you’re single or newly married, you can build up your savings and allocate them towards hajj. If you take the plunge and spend towards hajj, you will do so knowing that you might suffer for a few months because you’ll be on a tight budget, but that’s a million times less stressful than if you are juggling the responsibility of financially caring for others. Also, remember when you spend in the path of Allah, He (SWT) gives it back to you in ways you never imagined. 

Hajj Can Help You Beat the Quarter-Life Crisis:

Have you experienced the Quarter-Life Crisis? It’s that real (and exaggerated) phenomena of feeling like you are hitting a wall once you hit age 25 (plus or minus a few years). It’s hard to know what to do when in your twenties or early thirties you start to question the meaning of your life. Some people quit their jobs or go to grad school. For you, it might be a moment to go back to Allah (SWT). Hajj is a life changing opportunity to seek closeness to Allah in the holiest places in the world. It is a way to start over. All your sins will be erased and you come home clean as a baby. What better way to snap out of your crisis than that?

The Price Continues to Increase:

Last, but not least is mention of the cost. Yes, hajj is thousands and thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, the way the economy is going the cost for hajj will only continue to increase in price. Just like home prices, airline tickets and accommodations will only increase with increased demand. So it’s better to take advantage of the moment and save to go to hajj as soon as you can. 

As always, it’s best to consult with your local imam to make sure you’re ready to make hajj. I pray that we can all find benefit in this season of hajj and may Allah (SWT) invite you to the journey of a lifetime soon. 


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