Sadly, many of us will be unable to perform Hajj this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It was difficult to accept not attending the Friday prayers, staying at home on Laylat al-Qadr, and the cancellation of Eid prayer, but anyone who has planned on doing Hajj this year is facing an even greater disappointment.
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]
Hajj is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that takes years of saving, and its cancellation for the general public has no doubt saddened many who were seeking a Hajj Mabrur this year.
Actually, there are always 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 seven 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) Give to Masjid Al-Aqsa
One of the most amazing things about Hajj is that, if your Hajj is accepted from you, your sins are completely erased and you are once more as pure as a new-born. But is there anything non-pilgrims can do to seek forgiveness on such a large scale?
Just like making Hajj to Masjid Al-Haram (the Ka’bah), praying in Masjid Al-Aqsa carries the amazing blessing of having all your sins wiped out. Of course, the Prophet (saw) was aware that many of us would find it difficult to make this journey, which is why he (saw) prescribed for his Ummah an alternative; gifting light to Masjid Al-Aqsa.
The Prophet (saw) was asked, ‘If one of us cannot visit it [Al-Aqsa], what should we do?’ He (saw) said, ‘Then he should make a gift of some oil to be lit therein [in its lamps]. For indeed the one who gifts this to it, will be like the one who has prayed therein’. [Ahmad]
Thus, by gifting light to Al-Aqsa, you will earn forgiveness for all of your sins, in sha’ Allah - just as you would on Hajj.
6) 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.
7) Fulfil the needs of your brother or sister.
Hasan al-Basri said: “Going to fulfil the need of your brother is better for you than performing Hajj after Hajj.”
Helping our brothers and sisters in need is one of the acts most beloved to Allah and we have the perfect tool to help you maximise your rewards over the blessed days of Dhul-Hijjah. The Best 10 Days allows you to automate your donations to five emergency locations, including Yemen and Palestine, providing food, clean water and medical supplies to suffering families.
8) 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 Shaytaan, 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. May Allah help us seek Him in every action and earn His pleasure, ameen.
We hope this article was helpful to you! The first ten days of Dhul Hijjah are an excellent time to take advantage of the above tips, because they are the days in which righteous deeds are most beloved to Allah. You can learn more about these days in our comprehensive guide to Dhul Hijjah.