Abu Uthman al-Sabani al-Shafii (d 449) in his book Kitab ul Maitain narrates Prophet Muhammad as saying, "towards the end of the time, four main groups of people will flock around the Kaaba to perform Hajj: The powerful rulers to have fun or to enjoy the occasion, the rich people to promote their businesses, the poor to seek financial support and the reciters (or scholars) to demonstrate their skills."
Al-Sabuni was not an ordinary scholar. He narrated the Hadith after ensuring that the matan or text and isnad or chains are sound. He once said "I never narrated a Hadith nor a non-Prophetic report in a gathering except if I possessed its chain of transmission; nor did I ever enter the library except in a state of ritual purity; nor did I ever narrate Hadith, nor hold a gathering, nor teach, except in a state of ritual purity."
Are we living in that period that was predicted by the Prophet? Has Hajj really become a type of ritual devoid of any meaning? Is Hajj an individual ibada (worship) that requires a believer to spend time and resources to get closer to an omni-potent and omni-present God? Has the Hajj become a business in our times? Or has it become a vacation?
There was a time when people would spend months and months preparing themselves financially and spiritually to live the real meaning of Hajj. However now a days Hajj is offered as a holiday package. Many Hajj agencies all over the world offer value packages with super programs, deluxe programs and short executive program. These programs offer the best and closest accommodation in Makkah and Medinah, best available food and best possible position in the House of Allah. Depending how much you pay, you can get the finest place in Makkah and Medinah. If you happen to be the guest of royalty, then probably, no one can ever compete with your placement in the two mosques. When the Prophet performed his only Hajj, the only provision that he had with him was no more than four dirham as narrated in several books of ahadith.
Click HERE to read full article.
by mail fromIslamiCity Bulletin