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Maximizing Intentions for Hajj

As we approach the final month of the lunar calendar, the sacred month of Dhul-Hijjah, millions of Muslims around the world are preparing to embark on the most important journey of their lives – Ḥajj; the major pilgrimage to the blessed land of Makkah Al-Mukarramah.

As previously mentioned regarding having multiple intentions whilst reciting the Qur’ān in Ramaḍān,  our beloved Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said, “Verily actions are but by intentions, and every person shall have (be rewarded for) what they intended.” [Bukhārī & Muslim]

Maximizing the intentions was the trade of the hearts of the sahābah (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhum), the scholars, and those who know Allāh very well. They would carry out a single action for which they would have many intentions, so that they could be rewarded abundantly for every intention. It is due to this that Yahya b. Abī Kathīr said, “The intention reaches further than the action.”

Below, we look at some intentions that could multiply our reward during this blessed journey. Feel free to add more in the comments below.

Intentions specifically pertaining to the journey and act of Ḥajj

1. First and foremost, we intend to fulfil the obligation upon all able believers to complete the fifth pillar of Islām. Allāh says in the Qur’ān:

“… And Ḥajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Ka‘bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allāh, those who can afford the expenses (for conveyance, provision and residence); and whoever disbelieves (i.e. denies Ḥajj, then he is a disbeliever of Allāh), then Allāh stands not in need of any of the ʿAlamīn (mankind and jinn).” [3:97]

We know there can be no better way of drawing nearer to Allāh except by fulfilling the obligatory acts.

2. We intend to attain the pleasure of Allāh, and His pleasure alone. We should continuously renew this intention during our journey as well, for sincerity in our worship is conditional to its acceptance.

3. Set upon the journey intending to sincerely repent. Allāh says in the Qur’ān:

“Most certainly I am All-Forgiving to those who repent, cherish true faith and do good works and thus become rightly guided.” [20:82]

Not only might our repentance be accepted, but we are rewarded for making it. Allāh loves those who turn to Him in repentance.

4. Intend to attain Allāh’s forgiveness of all of our past sins. The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said: “He who came to this House (the Ka’bah) (with the intention of performing Ḥajj) without speaking or committing indecencies, would return (free from sin) as on the day his mother bore him.” [Muslim, 2/3129]

This is different to the intention mentioned prior to it, although the end result may be the same – there is still amazing reward in carrying both intentions.

5. Intend to attain Jannah. The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said: “From one ʿUmrah to another is expiation for what is between them and Ḥajj Mabrūr has no reward except Paradise.” [Bukhārī & Muslim]

Ḥajj Mabrūr, or an accepted Ḥajj, is one that is performed with sincerity and in accordance with the authentic Sunnah of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) with halāl money and avoiding sins and evil deeds during the journey.

6. Intend to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam). We can only perform Ḥajj by following the Sunnah, as it is he who taught us the correct rituals and acts on this blessed journey. We could attain even greater reward simply by intending to follow his Sunnah.

7. Intend to attain accepted duʿā’s, by supplicating to Allāh throughout the journey, and in particular when standing at ʿArafah.

“There is no day on which Allāh frees people from the Fire more so than on the day of ʿArafah. He comes close to those (people standing on ʿArafah), and then He praises them to His Angels, saying, ‘What are these people seeking?” [Muslim]

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said that the best supplication to make when standing on the day of ʿArafah is:

“None has the right to be worshipped except Allāh, alone, without partner. To Him belongs sovereignty and all praise and He is over all things omnipotent.” [Tirmidhi]

Seek to make this supplication frequently on that day to attain its reward.

8. Intend to answer the call of Ibrāhīm (ʿalayhi al-Salām). Upon completion of the Ka’bah, Allāh commanded him to call the people to Ḥajj, to which he asked: “O Allāh! How shall my voice reach all of those people?” Allāh told him that his duty was only to give the call and it was up to Allāh to make it reach the people.

Ibrāhīm (ʿalayhi al-Salām) then climbed Mount ʿArafat and called out in his loudest voice, “O People! Verily Allāh has prescribed upon you Ḥajj, so perform Ḥajj.” [Tafsīr Ibn Kathīr]

Allāh says:

 “And proclaim to the people the Ḥajj. They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, they will come from every distant pass.” [22:27]

Intentions pertaining to being in the haramain and their vicinity

9. Intend to drink Zamzam water, seeking its many benefits:

  1. Healing: “The water of Zamzam is for whatever it is drunk for.” [Ibn Majah] One of the salaf used to drink with the intention of it quenching his thirst on the Day of Judgement.
  2. Striving not to be from the hypocrites: “The difference between us and the hypocrites is that they do not drink Zamzam to their full stomach.” [Ibn Majah]

10. Intend to be from those who fulfil the command of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) when he mentioned that if you are to travel to any mosque, travel to one of the three of al-Masjid al-Haram, the Prophet’s mosque, and al-Aqsa.

11. Intend to attain the reward of 100,000 prayers by praying in the haram in Makkah, and 1,000 by praying in the Prophet’s masjid, many times over, [Ibn Majah]

12. Intend to attain the amazing rewards associated with Masjid al-Haram that cannot be attained elsewhere, such as tawāf; the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever circumambulates (the Ka‘bah) seven times, counting them, and then prays two rakʿahs (after tawāf) it will be equivalent to his freeing a believing slave.

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) also said, with regard to touching the Black Stone and Yemeni Corner in tawāf: “Touching them erases sins.” [Tirmidhi] Of course one should only attempt this if it does not cause harm to themselves or others.

13. Intend, if possible, to pray 2 rakaat in the area known as al-Rawdah in the Prophet’s masjid, for the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said: “The area between my house and my minbar is one of the gardens of Paradise, and my minbar is on my cistern (hawd)” [Bukhārī]

14. Although we are not travelling to Madīnah specifically for this purpose, whilst there – intend to attain the reward for praying 2 rakaat in Masjid Quba, as the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever purifies himself in his house then comes to the mosque of Quba and prays there, he will have a reward like that for ʿUmrah.” [Ibn Majah]

15. Whilst in Madīnah, intend to visit the graves of our beloved Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam), Abū Bakr, ʿUmar, and those in al-Baqī’ (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhum) in order to send salāms upon them and make duʿā’ for them. Let these visits be a lesson and reminder of the Ākhirah for us too.

16. In Madīnah, travel to see Mount Uḥud, the martyrs buried there, and intend to remember the events which took place there and take admonition from them, remembering the need to be steadfast upon what the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) has commanded us to do. It was about this mountain that the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said: “Verily, the mountain of Uḥud loves us and we love it.” [Muslim]

General intentions one can make in performing Ḥajj

17. Intend for this journey to be first step in improving one’s relationship with Allāh, for this life-changing experience permanently improves our rank with Allāh. Let us keep reminding ourselves of the amazing ḥadīth qudsi in which Allāh said of His servant: “If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I run towards him.” [Bukhārī]

18. Intend for it to be an opportunity to learn more about our beautiful and perfect dīn, through performing the Ḥajj itself as well as through sitting with scholars and listening attentively to their lessons and advice, implementing that which we learn and expanding upon this learning once we return.

19. Intend for it to be a means of renewing and strengthening our relationship with the Qur’ān; ask Allāh that He returns us to our homes far closer to the Qur’ān than before the journey, so that we may increase in its recitation, reflection of its verses and implementation of its rulings.

20. Intend to make ourselves used to being in state of remembrance through constant dhikr during the journey, taking advantage of the blessed environment, so much so that this dhikr becomes a permanent coat of armour for us in every place we visit, at every time.

21. As part of the constant dhikr mentioned, intend to take full advantage of the many opportunities to make duʿā’ at blessed times, such as whilst travelling, during the last third of the night, whilst in prostration and the hour of answered duʿā’ on Fridays. One ḥadīth highlighting such an opportunity is when the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said about Fridays: “On this day there is an hour when no Muslim slave stands and prays and asks Allāh for something, but Allāh will give it to him.” [Ibn Majah] Imagine making duʿā’ in this hour whilst performing Ḥajj.

This blessed hour is thought to be the final hour before Maghrib on Fridays according to many scholars.

22. Intend to increase in gratitude to Allāh for His countless blessings upon us; that fact that He chose us to be amongst His slaves, and to make this journey. Furthermore, when in such a large gathering of people from all over the world, remind ourselves of how blessed we are with our health and wealth compared to so many others – and increase further in gratitude.

23. Intend to be in the company of believers and strengthen the bonds of brotherhood, learning from the best of our fellow travellers. Often the friendships made over Ḥajj, friendships made for the sake of Allāh, are the strongest and most beneficial and should remind us of the need to keep good company at all times.

24. Intend to increase in patience and humility; the journey will undoubtedly be testing for us, which presents the perfect opportunity to seek the virtue of the quality of patience. We will need to conquer anger and restlessness, discomfort and tiredness, repeatedly through the journey. We should intend that this experience be a means to make a permanent improvement in ourselves, to become less fussy, knowing we can handle anything after Ḥajj.

25. Intend to walk in the footsteps of our Salaf, reflecting over their lives as a means to inspire ourselves to change and improve our own lives.

26. Intend to detach our hearts from the desires of this dunya and firmly attach our hearts to the Ākhirah – through constant remembrance, standing at ʿArafah, seeing the graves, etc., the whole experience should be a means to return to our homes with our hearts seeking the Ākhirah rather than the dunya.

27. Use the journey to see how far we have fallen as an ummah, and intend to come back from it with a new mind-set, realising that the condition of the ummah can only be improved by each of us doing our part to improve ourselves, our families and our communities – seek to bring back honour to the believers by way of any small action we are able to do.

These are just some intentions one can have in embarking on the blessed journey of Ḥajj. Let us strive to possess them all (and even more), and attain the ultimate success of this journey through them that is Allāh’s pleasure.

We pray that Allāh grants us an accepted Ḥajj – Amīn.

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