Life lessons associated with the different rites of the Pilgrimage
The Messenger of God told us that if our pilgrimage is performed correctly and is accepted by God, all our previous sins will be erased. Imagine, total and complete forgiveness. We would be born again spiritually and return to the pure state the day our mothers gave birth to us.
That’s a huge and delightful reward.
But it doesn’t come without a cost.
First, there is the financial sacrifice. It costs money to travel to Mecca, no matter where you are in the world. You have to part with your money for this trip. It’s a trip that will not send you to a relaxing vacation, or allow you to indulge in desires. It is a trip of restrictions and devotion.
You learn that serving God means that you must let go of some wealth which is dear to you. Everything you own including the money you spend truly belongs to God. The financial cost of the pilgrimage helps you prioritize and put things in perspective.
You are going to one of the hottest, most crowded destinations on the planet. No matter if you’ve paid for the fanciest hotel room with the most refreshing air conditioning, you will spend time with those less fortunate pilgrims walking and exerting yourself in the desert heat.
You are reminded, as we all should be, of the heat of hell. How unbearable it must be if the desert heat is this intense.
The multitude of Muslims surrounding you as you go around the Ka’ba is overwhelming. You could marvel at just how many Muslims there must be left in the world, if just a fraction of them are at the pilgrimage sites alongside you. If things get confusing and people mill around you left and right, you can consider the Day of Judgement, when people will be behaving like scattered moths.
Just seeing the Ka’ba, the first and original Temple and House of God, is exhilarating. Reflecting on its age and origin, you might be filled with gratefulness that you are fortunate to answer God’s invite, following in such an age-old tradition, still kept alive and pristine from the time of Abraham.
Abraham pelted stones at Satan many years ago, as Satan met him on the path, trying to convince him to leave obedience to God. Collecting a set number of pebbles, and stoning the set location as Abraham did, reminds you of the daily battle you have with Satan. As you announce that God is the greatest with each pebble thrown, you reflect on your inner battle against satanic whispers in life, and you renew your intention to seek refuge in God from his suggestions in the future.
Each soul that has ever been born was already at the valley of Arafat, at the dawn of man’s creation when God took a testimony from us all, accepting God as our Lord and Master. Standing at Arafat, you reflect on the fact that every living person knows deep down that God is their Lord. You also renew your covenant with God to fulfill your purpose of devotion and service to the Lord.
In making the sacrifice, you remember Abraham and his son, and their willingness to go through with the command of God even if it meant sacrificing one’s life. How dearly we all cling to life, yet they both submitted to the command of God and showed God their genuine dedication and willingness even if it meant the ultimate sacrifice. Both father and son were rewarded for their commitment with the gift of a sheep to slaughter instead.
God rewards sacrifice for His sake.
Performing the pilgrimage is full of reminders about this life and the next life. It is also a recipe for success for life after returning from the pilgrimage.