On personal journey to Hajj, prayers get answered
Haj ji Imam Khalil Sultan Guest columnist
For me personally, my recent journey to Mecca as a Hajji was the culmination of a 75 years-of-life struggle, with all its ups and downs, detours, challenges, losses, gains and lessons learned and shared with my family and humanity at large. The struggle continues, and now, more than ever, I am looking forward to the next chapters in my life with greater spiritual insight and vigor.
In Al-Islam, Muslims are required to complete the five pillars as follows: 1 Tobelievein,worshipandtogive devotion and allegiance to Allah, creator of the heavens and the Earth.
2 Salat(prayers)daily,onwhichthe religion is built.
3 Zakat (charity), even a smile is charity.
4 Siyam (fasting) in the month of (Ramadan) for self-reflection, purification and for the benefit self, family, friends and neighbors and especially to get closer in one’s personal relationship with Allah.
5 Hajj(pilgrimage)totheKa’aba(the First House of Worship), called Al Bait the House or Ka’aba, located in Mecca, which was built by Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) and his son Ismail (Ishmael) to be a symbol for all the nations on Earth. The fifth pillar is required for completion of the Pillars of Al-Islam for those who are financially, physically and emotionally sound and fit to make the journey.
I first visited Medina (the City of Enlightenment), where Prophet Muhammad built the first Islamic community. What struck me immediately was that it was so peaceful in Medina until I was almost scared. There were approximately 1 million Muslims heading to prayer five times a day.
It was so amazing to see that when the time for prayer is announced on speakers, every business closed down and the merchants, people in the marketplaces, pedestrians and others all began to rush to prayer. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims could be seen praying in the mosque, the streets, in front of the mosque, in the malls, in the hotels. Everywhere! There was no fighting, no arguing, no cursing, no drinking, only peace.
My first night after completing our ritual of circling the Ka’aba seven times, I laid in my bed and cried and prayed for three hours that G_d would bless me to be a better human being, a better Muslim, father, husband, grandfather and brother to all of humanity.
After this Blessed Journey on Hajj to the Sacred Precincts in Mecca, my life has been transformed. I am more at ease and at peace than I have ever been in my entire life. I am truly grateful for all those who offered duas for me, who encouraged me, who donated what little they had to help me and especially to my wife and life partner, Hajjah Karima, who stood by me and urged me to never give up on making the journey.
May Allah grant the means, resources, health, and strength to all those who are reading this article who are sincerely seeking to make Hajj in the near future. Amen.
Hajji Imam Khalil Sultan, a member of the Arizona Interfaith Movement and Imam Muhammad Abdullah. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 520-518-0813.
Devout Muslims pray in Mecca.
COURTESY OF HAJJI IMAM KHALIL SULTAN