Allah Most High has assigned a great reward for Al-Hajj Al-mabrur, as evidenced by the saying of the Messenger “…There is no reward for Al-Hajj Al-mabrur except Paradise.” (Al-Bukhari)
The meaning of “birr” (from which the word mabrur is derived) involves the following:
1. Demonstrating good behavior towards people, fulfilling one’s duties towards others, and giving them their rights. In a hadith: “Al-Birr is good behavior.” (Muslim) In the Musnad, from Jabir, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was asked: “What makes Hajj mabrur, Messenger of Allah?” He said, [Providing food to people and spreading (the greeting of) salam.] (Fath al-Bari, 4/446)
2. Doing much worship and having the trait of taqwa (piety, righteousness, and fear of Allah), as opposed to sinfulness. Allah Most High says: [Enjoin ye righteousness (al-birr) upon mankind while ye yourselves forget (to practise it)?] (Al-Baqarah 2:44).
Not all who make Hajj will have their Hajj accepted. As Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said to Mujahid when he said, “How many Hajjis!” “How few. Rather say, how many riders!” (Musannaf `Abdur-Razzaq 8836)
Sincerity and Following the Sunnah
Sincerity to Allah and seeking His reward and pleasure alone are important elements of acceptable Hajj. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) supplicated: “Allahumma hajjatan la riyaa’a feeha wa la sum`ah” (O Allah, (enable me to make) Hajj with no riya’ [showing off with the desire that others witness one’s good acts] or sum`ah [showing off with the desire that others hear about one’s good acts].” (Ibn Majah)
Following the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) in all matters is also an important factor to render acts acceptable. The Prophet said, “He who innovates something in this matter of ours that is not of it will have it rejected” (Muslim) Also, “Take your rituals (from me), for I do not know whether I will perform Hajj after this one.” (Muslim) The Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) comprehended this matter well. `Umar said when he kissed the Black Stone, “By Allah, I know that you are a stone, you bring neither harm nor benefit, and if I had not seen the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) kiss you, I would not have kissed you.” (Al-Bukhari)
Preparation for Hajj
The servant’s preparation for Hajj is one of the most important matters that helps in performing the pilgrimage in the legislated manner and ensuring that his or her Hajj is, insha’ Allah, accepted. Among the matters that require emphasis in preparation for Hajj are the following:
a. Examining and rectifying one’s relationship with Allah Most High by sincerely repenting and fulfilling the well-known conditions of repentance.
b. Seeking His help and guidance, manifesting one’s need for Him, fearing Him and hoping in His reward. This is among the most important matters, for it is not permissible for one to rely solely on one’s material means.
c. Relieving oneself of obligations towards others, one’s trusts and debts.
d. Writing one’s will, as travel exposes one to various dangers.
e. Preparing provision for those for whom the pilgrim is responsible until he or she returns, advising them with good and appointing someone to take care of their matters, so that the pilgrim’s concern and attention may be devoted to performance of the pilgrimage.
f. Taking good lawful provision, for provision earned through haram (unlawful) means may cause one’s worship not to be accepted.
Today we live at a time when haram earnings have become widespread and questionable wealth has increased, except for those that Allah has mercy upon. So let every servant fear his or her Lord and remember that “Allah is Good and does not accept except what is good.” (Muslim)
It is recommended for a servant to increase his or her lawful provisions according to ability in order to not depend on others and to show kindness to the weak (by giving money in charity).
g. Selecting a righteous company that will help one in moments of weakness, remind one when one forgets, teach one when one does not know, order one to do good and forbid one from evil. So let the servant beware of the following two types of companies: a corrupt company that leads to sinfulness and falsehood, and a company that spends its time in what brings no benefit in the hereafter.
h. Learning rules of Hajj and its manners, as well as rules related to travel, including qasr (shortening Prayers), jam` (combining Prayers), tayammum (dry ablution), wiping over socks in ablution, etc. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whoever Allah wishes good, He gives him understanding of the deen (religion).” (Al-Bukhari)
What helps a person in this is obtaining books and tapes by people of knowledge and accompanying them while performing Hajj. Likewise, it is helpful to accompany people who are familiar with places and times of different Hajj rituals.