Time for Hajj: Turn off the Autopilot!

Let's Get Connected Again
By Dr. Amira Ayad
Freelance Writer- Egypt

And here comes the holy time of the year, in these sacred days, that urges us to slow down and reconsider our options and choices.

It’s this holy time of the year once again: time for Hajj.

The experience of Hajj is full of meanings, wisdoms, and insights. Some are readily available and others are symbolic and hidden for us to reflect and ponder.

In our modern stressful hectic life, we do not stop running. Time seems to fly by unnoticed. We rarely have the time to stop and reflect, to slow down and breathe. We are running on autopilot!

And here comes the holy time of the year, in these sacred days, that urges us to slow down and reconsider our options and choices.

The scene starts with millions of men and women gathered in a crowded specified spot in an appointed time and place. We hear their prayers and supplications seeking forgiveness and repentance. The sun may be blazing hot, the air freezing cold, the sand may be blowing or the clouds may be pouring, and yet, they do not seem to notice.

Men are all sharing a simple dress code resembling a shroud. And, women abandoned their adornments and fancy dresses. Isn’t it a striking reminder of the Day of Judgment? The message is loud and clear. Allah has delivered it to us in the first verse of Surat-al-Hajj (the chapter of Pilgrimage): 

“O mankind, fear your Lord. Indeed, the convulsion of the [final] Hour is a terrible thing.” (The Holy Qur'an-22:1)

In this amazing scene, a hidden message of detachment is gently delivered to us. It’s time to evaluate our intentions and realign our paths. It's time to see the ‘Big Picture’, the higher meaning and purpose of our creation.

It's time to reevaluate our true mission and goals in life. Time to wake up!

Every Step Has a Meaning


Our walk between Safa and Marwa is a recall of Prophet Ismail’s mother, Hajaar, who hurried searching for water to quench the thirst of her new born son. She ran and ran before the water of Zamzam spurted out at her son’s feet. Another lesson is here to stay.

Let’s do our part in life; let’s assume our responsibilities and seek all worldly means yet know, deep in our hearts, that the results are in the hands of Allah, the Almighty.

Our circling around the Ka'bah highlights our unity, the Unity of all Muslim Ummah. It’s a reminder of our unified mission, goal and purpose in life. As we all face the same direction and worship the same One and Only God, we unify our hearts and connect our souls.

And as we throw the pebbles at shaytan (Satan), we remember our true enemy. We revive our spirit and renew our motivation to struggle against evil whispers and wrongful deeds in this tempting world we live in.

Slaughtering holds another valuable message, a lesson in surrender. We learn total submissiveness and obedience to Allah, yet knowing deep in our hearts that He is All-Merciful, All-Just and All-Wise.

Allah knows best and His reward will be delivered to us in the best and perfect timing as it was to our Prophet Ibrahim:

“And when they had both submitted and he put him down upon his forehead, We called to him, "O Abraham, You have fulfilled the vision." Indeed, we thus reward the doers of good. Indeed, this was the clear trial. And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice.” (The Holy Qur'an - 37: 103-107)

The lessons are endless and the wisdoms are priceless. But, again and again, an essential call is repeated: Turn off the auto pilot!

To understand, to heed the warnings, to gain wisdom and insight in our lives, to transcend worries, challenges and ordeals, we need to be fully aware and start to live in the here and now.

Notice every thought, action and reaction. Engage in your environment, your surroundings, and your community.

Be connected and fully grounded. No better time or place to start than this holy place, Makkah, and this holy time of the year, the days of Hajj.

Even if you are not performing pilgrimage this year, take advantage of these holy days to slow down and reflect.

Let’s keep our feet grounded to earth, to where we belong; yet keep our hearts and spirits open to a higher level of awareness, sincerely seeking guidance and direction from their One and Only Creator.

Here, in Makkah, lays our practical experience in mindfulness. Let’s turn off the autopilot and allow our hearts to feel the hidden wisdoms and valuable insights in our unique spiritual journey.

Related Links:
The Architecture of the Three Holy Mosques
Muslim Woman's Hajj Diary (Series)
Diversity & Unity: Travels to Makkah(Special)
Dr. Amira Ayad is a pharmacist, nutrition specialist and  natural health consultant.

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