– SHAKIRAH HUNTER
We were all at OR Tambo international, for the first time since the Pandemic hit – the restrictions were lifted completely. Rushing into the international arrivals, the first Hujaaj had arrived. It was a moment of excitement, noise and children running around in circles. “Welcome home Dadi and Dada” said one placard, “Hajj Mabroor,” said another. Hyped on sweets and sugar my nieces and nephews waited in eager excitement for their parents to land.
Every space was overtaken, five flights had landed at the same time so there were people everywhere. Each time a scarf or a kurta was spotted we all rushed forward eagerly checking to see if it was “our hujaaj” coming through.
And then after what seemed like hours, the first hujaaj came through – fatigue etched in their faces, their journey to that moment home was a long tiring one. But as they bonded with their families – you saw the fatigue, the physical pain of hajj melt away, the long wait replaced by the joy of the meeting of their loved ones. They had separated from their children for the sake of Allah, separated from their homeland for the sake of Allah, separated from their comforts all for the pleasure of Allah.
And as those trolleys made the turn and the hujaaj scanned the crowd looking for their families, you watched the flash of children running and jumping into their parents’ arms. “My mummy is back from Hajj!”. The little ones were not reserved at all and ran into the arms of grandparents, uncles, aunts, and siblings. Then the teenagers awkwardly hugged their parents, not comfortable to express the emotion that was so obviously etched on their faces.
As the greetings overwhelmed each group of people- people struggled to find the right words to express the feelings and to adequately welcome the Hujaaj home. And once again the Duas of Nabi (s) is always perfect and express every emotion so concisely.
Qabilallahu hajjaka wa ghafara dhambaka wa akhlafa nafaqataka
May Allah accept your Hajj, forgive your sins and recompense your expenses. (At-Tabrani) From the Fadhail-e-Haj (Virtues of Haj) by Shaykh Zakariyya Kandehlawi (RA):Hadith No. 8
Ibn Umar (ra) reports that Rasulullah (sws) said“When you meet a haji (on his way home) then greet him, shake hands with him and ask him to beg forgiveness of Allah on your behalf before he enters his home, for his prayer for forgiveness is accepted since he is forgiven by Allah for his sins.”
The first part of that dua- “may Allah accept your Hajj” frames the constant condition of the believer- even as we express our joy for meeting our family members, we are reminded that our true joy is always attached to the acceptance by Allah Ta’ala. The Hujaaj might be experiencing joy, yet they are constantly worried about the acceptance of this great amal and even their families within their joy express the sentiment that acceptance should be the core focus.
We understand that our Hujaaj coming home return free of sin like the day they were born – yet the Dua is still focused on making Dua for Allah to forgive them. This again directs our attention to the focus of the life of every believer – whether for Hajj or any action that we bring into our lives- the constant worry with regards to the forgiveness of our sins.
The duas of Nabi (s) are all encompassing as always – therefore this dua ends in a beautiful practical way: “May your expenses be recompensed”. The financial expenditure of Hajj is a huge impact on the returning hujaaj and this part of the Duaa grants a lovely feeling of comfort for the returning Hujaaj.