Sadly, many of us will be unable to perform Hajj this year due to the impact of the pandemic. This is the third year in a row where UK Muslims are facing the disappointment of postponing this once-in-a-lifetime journey.
The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, '(The performance of) the Umrah to the (next) Umrah is an expiation for the sins committed between them. And the reward of Hajj Mabrur (Hajj which is accepted by Allah) is nothing except Paradise'. [Bukhari]
There have always been people who can't perform Hajj, since it is so expensive and why Hajj is only obligatory for those who have the means. But Islam is not just a religion for those who have with wealth, which is why there are so many actions which carry the same reward as Hajj, alhamdulillah!
Of course, none of these actions can actually replace the obligation of doing Hajj. However, we've put together a list of six actions which carry a similar reward to Hajj:
1. Do dhikr after your salah
Abu Huraira (ra) said, 'Some poor people came to the Prophet (saw) and said, "The wealthy people will get higher grades and will have permanent enjoyment and they pray like us and fast as we do. They have more money by which they perform the Hajj and Umrah, fight and struggle (in Allah's Cause) and give in charity".
The Prophet said, "Shall I not tell you a thing upon which if you acted you would catch up with those who have surpassed you? Nobody would overtake you and you would be better than the people amongst whom you live, except those who would do the same. (If you say) SubhanAllah, Alhamdulillah and Allahu Akbar thirty three times each after every (compulsory) prayer"'. [Bukhari]
2. Perform wudu then go to the masjid to perform salah
The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, 'Whoever goes out from his house after performing ablution to perform a prescribed (compulsory) prayer (in congregation in the mosque), his reward will be like that of one who goes for Hajj after wearing ihram. And he who goes out to say the mid-morning (Duha) prayer, and takes the trouble for this sole purpose, will have the reward like that of a person who performs Umrah. And a prayer followed by a prayer with no worldly talk between them will be recorded in 'Illiyyun (the record of deeds for the righteous)'. [Abu Dawud]
Alhamdulillah, since the masjids have re-opened, we are able to earn this reward! Moreover, by making wudu at home before leaving for the masjid, you're being conscious of health and safety while still earning the rewards of praying in congregation.
3. Pray the Ishraq prayer after sunrise
The Prophet (saw) said, 'Whoever prays Fajr in congregation, then sits remembering Allah until the sun has risen, then he prays two rak’ah (the voluntary Ishraq prayer), then for him is the reward like that of a Hajj and Umrah'. [Tirmidhi]
Imagine beginning the day by earning the reward of Hajj and Umrah! What better motivation can there be for waking your family up to pray Fajr together? It's a truly blessed way to spend our early mornings and set the right tone for the day.
Note: Wait until approximately 15 minutes after sunrise before praying the Ishraq prayer. Praying directly after the end of Fajr is not allowed.
4. Go to the masjid to learn or teach
The Prophet (saw) said, 'Whoever goes to the masjid for the sole purpose of learning or teaching what is good, receives the reward of a Hajj pilgrim who completed his Hajj'. [Tabarani]
The Prophet (saw) placed a special emphasis on seeking and sharing knowledge. Learning and teaching are highly rewardable actions, especially when people gather for the sole purpose of sharing knowledge.
5. Pray Eid prayer
Ibn Rajab (rh) narrated that the Companion Mikhnaf ibn Sulaym (ra) said, 'The reward for attending Eid al-Fitr prayer is equal to the reward of performing Umrah and the reward for attending Eid al-Adha prayer is equal to that of performing Hajj'. [Lata’if al-Ma’arif]
Again, since the masjids have re-opened we can now participate in this reward! Since spaces are limited, please do check with your local masjid to find out their arrangements.
6. Seek Allah in every action
Finally, scholars have reminded us that the linguistic meaning of Hajj is seeking or intending. Thus, the people of Allah are constantly 'performing Hajj' - not in the sense of the rituals of Hajj, but in the sense that they seek Allah in every action.
Just as the pilgrims enter into a state of ihram, daily we must stay away from actions which are forbidden in everyday life. Just as the pilgrims stone the Shaytan, we must be adamant in staying on the straight path.
Just as the pilgrims spend the day of 'Arafah seeking Allah's forgiveness, we should always be repentant, and just as the pilgrims sacrifice their animals on Eid, we should always be willing to sacrifice our time, wealth and more for the sake of Allah.
Although these actions are not the same as actually travelling to the House of Allah, being His guest and performing Hajj, it is still important to remind ourselves that we don't have to be in blessed Makkah to be close to Allah.
Even though we aren't able to perform Hajj this year, we can still increase our rewards and earn forgiveness during these blessed days of Dhul Hijjah.
Before you go...
The Best 10 Days is a handy tool to help you automate your charity over the first 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah. The Prophet (saw) said, 'There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than in these (ten) days'. [Abu Dawud]
Your donations will go to Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, India-administered Kashmir and the Rohingya refugee camps. These are some of the most vulnerable people in our Ummah - and you will be providing them with life-saving relief.
The Prophet (saw) was seen circling the Ka’bah and saying, 'By the One in Whose Hand is the soul of Muhammad, the sanctity of the believer is greater with Allah than your sanctity - in his wealth, his blood (i.e. his life), and to assume nothing of him but good'. [Ibn Majah]
SubhanAllah, the life of a believer is more sacred to Allah than the Ka'bah itself. Don't miss out on protecting the lives of our vulnerable brothers and sisters during the most significant days of the entire year.
May Allah help us seek Him in every action and earn His pleasure, amin.
Reminder: Have you ordered your Qurbani yet? If not, give your Qurbani now, with locations starting from just £35. If you have already made your order, why not revive a forgotten Sunnah and give an extra sacrifice to double your reward and feed more families?