Sheikh Haitham Al-Dukhin, Imam of the Education City Mosque at Qatar Foundation, explains how, for those who intended to perform the rites of Hajj but are unable to because of COVID-19, “a sincere intention” and good deeds bring the same reward
“Allah is Most Great and much praise be to Allah and glorified be Allah at the beginning and end of the day)”
In days such as these, the hearts and the gaze of Muslims long to visit the Kaaba, the sacred ‘House of Allah’. But how can it be possible to fulfill this desire of visiting God’s house in such unfortunate circumstances as those we now face? How can even a sincere and devoted worshipper have the opportunity to perform Hajj rituals in such a challenging situation?
God ordered Muslims to perform some worships only if they are able to perform them; if they are not able to, he gave us alternatives that are equally rewarding
Amid these unprecedented times, a persistent question arises: “I am longing for Hajj…but how can I fulfill it?” God ordered Muslims to perform some worships only if they are able to perform them; if they are not able to, he gave us alternatives that are equally rewarding.
Among those is the sincere intent. If someone has an honest intention and has prepared themselves physically and financially to perform Hajj, but was forced to call it off because of other obstacles, then God is forgiving, and a sincere intention is enough to grant them the same reward as if they had actually performed Hajj. As God says in the Holy Qur’an: “If Allah finds any good in your hearts, he will give you something better than what has been taken from you and he will forgive you”. Also, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), said in a Hadith: “Actions are judged by their intentions, so each human will have what he intended”.
Muslims unable to make it to Hajj have an opportunity to increase their good deeds in ways that compare to the actions of Muslims who have made the journey to Mecca and the sacred House of Allah
As Muslims, we must also make a particular effort during the blessed 10 days and nights of the month of Dhul-Hijjah, which are deemed the most sacred days of each year. Muslims unable to make it to Hajj have an opportunity to increase their good deeds in ways that compare to the actions of Muslims who have made the journey to Mecca and the sacred House of Allah. God places the highest value and reward on performing good deeds during this specific time of the year, as the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) says: “There is no virtue more to the liking of Allah in any day than in these days, that is, the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. They (the Companions) asked: Messenger of Allah, not even the struggle in the path of Allah? He said yes, not even the struggle in the path of Allah, except a man who goes out (in the path of Allah) with his life and property, and does not return with any of them.”
In addition, God swore to the greatness of these days in the Holy Qur’an, where it says: “And the best day among them all is the day of Arafat, the day when God forgives the sinners and respond to prayers”. And the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said about this day: “There is no day in which Allah sets free more slaves from Hell than he does on the day of Arafat”. He also urges us to fast during this day, saying: “Fast the day of Arafat, for indeed I anticipate that Allah will forgive the sins of the year after it, and the year before it.”
There is no doubt that each Muslim “wishes that they could join the pilgrims to God’s sacred house and stand in their position in Arafat. It’s a deep and dear wish to most of us, but it shouldn’t be seen as ‘all or nothing’
So, increase your good deeds during these days through fasting, reading the Holy Qur’an, providing food for the poor and needy, praying, and praising God’s name. As God said: “Glorify Allah for that to which he has guided you” and “praise the name of Allah on appointed days”.
There is no doubt that each Muslim wishes that they could join the pilgrims to God’s sacred house and stand in their position in Arafat. It’s a deep and dear wish to most of us, but it shouldn’t be seen as ‘all or nothing’. That is because God is kind and gracious; He diversified the ways we can worship him and gave us alternatives. So, I urge you all to draw the greatest benefit from these days and do good while we can, as we never know how life can change and what it may bring.