Hajj is on the horizon, and a common attitude among our communities is that it’s something you only do when you’re old. While you’re young, you want to live your life (i.e. “have fun”), and when you get older and settle down, you’ll make this journey, change to be a better Muslim, and live the rest of your life as a ‘good Muslim’.
It sounds logical – but in reality, the argument is flawed: death can come at any time, so you don’t know if you’ll even live to be ‘older’ or ‘ready’. And if you do see old age, chances are it’ll be much harder to change a lifestyle and habits that have been deeply ingrained in you for decades. Hajj doesn’t magically change you into a good Muslim. You have to do the work yourself, and it’s much harder work when for so many years you’ve been heedless of your responsibilities in Islam.
So why should you go when you’re young? Well, in addition to the above points:
- The experience strengthens you and opens your heart in ways you never knew before. Being surrounded by so much barakah can benefit you in unimaginable ways.
- It exposes you to environments that are out of this world – with Madinah’s serenity so beautiful that you sometimes feel like you’re in Jannah already.
- It gives you a unique chance to disconnect from the stresses of everyday life and reconnect yourself to Allah – nurturing the most important relationship in life.
- It teaches you tremendous values – such as sabr, taqwa, humility, and selflessness – that will serve you well in every aspect of life.
- Everyone has sins and mistakes, and Hajj offers you a complete forgiveness of them all – an absolutely fresh start.
- Hajj is physically demanding, so it’s better to go when you’re younger and healthier.
- It shows you the equality and unity of mankind – being among millions of different people, but all united by Islam.
- In some countries, the quota system dictates that Hajj visas are reserved for the elderly only. Alhamdullilah – South Africa’s youth aren’t restricted in this way; but it could happen in future, so rather take the chance while it’s available to you.
And if you need even more convincing of the need to go as soon as possible, listen to this talk from an American Muslim scholar – which gives a different perspective on the reasons we often give (such as waiting to finish our studies, etc).
Hajj is really the ultimate opportunity for Muslims to draw closer to Allah and make the permanent changes they aspire to make: dropping bad habits, picking up good practices, improving character and conduct, and becoming the person they dream of becoming.
There’s no time like the present, and if you have the chance to go for Hajj while you’re young, grab the opportunity with both hands and make the most of it. For if you adopt this attitude and succeed in your Hajj, it’s quite likely that you’ll find that the decision to go was the best choice you ever made.