While we yearn and pray for the day Allah invites us to experience the last pillar (whether or not it is our first visit), we can find solace in a few gifts the Prophet (s) left us: messages that confirm that even when we are far from his land and the land of Ibrahim (a), we can still earn the reward of a fully accepted Hajj through the ordinary deeds that are in extraordinary standing with the Most High.
A major theme of the Prophet’s directions on how to perform Hajj was flexibility. He knew that, just as Allah never places a burden upon anyone beyond what they can handle, Hajj was also meant to be something every individual could handle. He reminded his Companions to be flexible and to remember that honoring each other was even more important than the holy pilgrimage itself.
On the most blessed day of all in the Sight of Allah, the Prophet (s) did two things: speak to the people and speak to Allah. And on that fateful day, as the Ummah was spread out across Arafah, he delivered his final sermon: the unparalleled, most comprehensive message to the world that marked the moment Islam was perfected and completed.
The journey of the Prophet ﷺ began with rejection, as he stood atop a hill in Makkah to declare a message that few accepted. But many years later came a moment of redemption, when a crowd of 144,000 believers joined him in his farewell Hajj. The example he set in his final pilgrimage is one we still follow today.
After the Battle of Hunayn in the 8th year after Hijrah, the Prophet (s) performed his third Umrah. But it was the eventful 9th year that saw both the abolishment of the rituals from the days of ignorance and the first ameer of Hajj in Islam who set the stage for the Prophet’s (s) farewell pilgrimage to come in the next year.
The opening of Makkah was a momentous event, but it was immediately followed by challenges. After the Battle of Hunayn, whisperings of discontent arose among the Ansar. But in a speech that left everyone present in tears, the Prophet ﷺ reassured the hearts of the people of Madinah, affirmed his abiding love for them, and chose them even over his own homeland.
After the Treaty of Hudaybiyah was broken by the Quraysh, the Prophet ﷺ and the Muslims embarked on the long-awaited journey back to their homeland of Makkah. In a day of reconciliation and mercy that was an example of the faith they were persecuted over, he ﷺ liberated the Ka’bah from idolatry and solidified the triumph of truth.
Sometimes a sign can lead to good things that we didn’t expect. For the Prophet ﷺ, the truth of a dream of performing Umrah was assured, but it was not to be fulfilled immediately. Instead, it re-directed to a lasting good: the Treaty of Hudaybiyah.
What did the eventual journey to Umrah and the first homecoming back to Makkah look like for the Messenger ﷺ and his Companions?
Forced out of the only home they knew, the Prophet ﷺ and the Companions missed Makkah dearly. They reminisced through tearful poetry and heartbreaking conversations, until the Prophet ﷺ made a du’a that not only gave them solace, but made the city of Madinah twice as beloved to believers for generations to come.
Before Islam, the Quraysh knew the Ka’bah was special, but they misused the holy site in pursuit of idolatry. As a result, the Prophet ﷺ avoided the Ka’bah in his early years, wishing to stay away from shirk and obscenity. But that would change once he received revelation. As he learned about what the Ka’bah truly stood for—a symbol of monotheism in a lost world—he began to spend more time there to establish the rituals of Hajj.
Over Ramadan, we peered into the life of the Prophet ﷺ. We saw him in gatherings, met him around town, and heard his khutbahs. But we haven’t yet explored one of the seminal moments of his life—and the experience that every Muslim strives for, too: the Hajj. What did the first official pilgrimage look like? What was the story surrounding it?
This Dhul Hijjah, we’ll step deeper into the life of Muhammad ﷺ and learn his Hajj story. From the long and arduous journey to his homecoming into Makkah, join Dr. Omar Suleiman as he tells the story of the most inspirational pilgrimage of all.