The religion of Peace, i.e. Islam offers complete code of life. It is based on five most important deeds, i.e. faith, salah, charity, fasting and Hajj (pilgrimage). Muslims are obligated to perform these religious actions which bring productivity in their lives, such as daily prayers benefit in both remembrance of Allah SWT and also teach about time management, unity and humility etc. Hajj is completion of the Sunnah of Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S), and is solely made for the sake of Allah SWT. It results in washing out of all the past sins, earning of great blessings and also emphasizes on the importance of harmony and modesty among Muslims brotherhood.
However, it is not possible for everyone to act upon all the above mentioned sacred duties, like a sick is exempted from fasting, offering salah etc. provided it fulfills them once it gets better in health. But performing Hajj is only for those have to the capacity, in terms of both health and wealth, so whoever lacks one of them, does not necessarily have to visit the Holy Kaaba. Islam is supposed to be a strict belief, which is not true. There are some substitute deeds one can perform which are as substantial as having executed Hajj.
Such acts are described below:
Carrying Out Ablution At Home For Regular Prayers
Wudu (ablution) is a prerequisite for every Namaz. It is a great basis of purification of one`s soul and attaining the freshness of mind and body. Abu Umaamah (R.A) once reported the Apostle (PBUH) of God having said concerning the tremendous value of this act:
“One who purifies himself (i.e, makes wudhu) and leaves his home to attend the fardh salaah in congregation receives the reward of a Haji in the state of Ihram, and if he leaves for the salaatu-Dhuhaa (Chaast) he gets the reward of ‘Umrah… (Abi Dawud)
Majority of us Muslims go to Masjid straight away, and forget the increased importance of having already performed ablution while at home, as walking towards the mosque itself is a bless worthy deed. In the above stated Hadith, Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) has described moving towards the House of Allah for regular prayers while being in the condition of wudu like having worn Ihraam (customary dress for Hajj), which is the most essential part of pilgrimage.
Performing Isha Salah In Mosque
Although all of the prayers are compulsory to perform and are equally significant in the life of a Muslim, but the salats of Fajr and Isha have even greater ranks among them. Since they are to be offered at times when it is very difficult to keep awake and stand erect in the memory of the Almighty. So, the Creator of the universe appreciates the effort made in these moments of time for pleasing Him, and rewards its servants exceptionally. Abu Dharr (R.A) narrates that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was once asked by a group of companions about lack of incentives for poor ones and greater returns for the riches in shape of carrying out Zakah (charity). So the Rasulullah (PBUH) answered:
“Has Allah not rendered for you the ‘Ishaa’ prayer in congregation equal to Hajj, and the Fajr prayer in congregation equal to ‘Umrah?” [Muslim]
Hence, the Messenger (PBUH) of Allah brilliantly removed all the doubts in the minds of believers by comparing the night prayer with that of actually having visited the Makkah and completed the act of pilgrimage. It shows that the Gracious God loves the effort made for Him in the hardest times and rates them equal to those of the greatest deeds.
Performing Morning Prayer is one of the key signs of the true Muslim, as well as carrying out the Nafl (supererogatory prayers). After Fajr salah, when the sun has just risen, it’s the time when an optional prayer called salat-ul-Ishraaq is observed. It is deemed as one of the superlative elective prayers.
Hazrat Anas Ibn Maalik (R.A) reports that Rasulullah (PBUH) said:
“Whoever offers his Fajr salah in congregation, and then remains seated making the dhikr (remembrance) of Allah until (approximately 15 minutes after) sunrise after which he offers two rak’ats of salah (Ishraaq), will receive the reward of one complete Hajj and one complete ‘Umrah” (Tirmidhi)
So, through Namaz of Ishraaq, one can earn the same amount of returns from the Almighty Lord as by performing Hajj and Umrah.
Fulfilling The Rights Of Parents
There is a huge importance regarding good conduct with one`s parents in the Holy Quran. They raise their children with great love and they deserve the same level of affection from their offspring when they get old.
Hazrat Anas (R.A) reports that a man came to Rasulullah (PBUH) and said: “I wish to participate in Jihad, but I cannot afford it”. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) enquired if any of his parents was alive, to which he said: “Yes! My mother is alive”. Thereupon, the Messenger (PBUH) of Allah said:
“Show Allah how you serve her. If you do so (duly) you will be like a: Haaji, a Mu’tamir (one doing ‘Umrah) and a Mujaahid (One striving in Allah’s way).” (Tabarani)
Such is the remarkable status of serving one`s patents that Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) first asked about their presence when a man wanted to go fighting in the cause of Allah. Jihad is one of the foremost religious obligations of a Muslim, but Rasulullah (PBUH) regarded the rights of one`s parents equal to that and also Hajj. So, one should first look after its own father and mother if it wants to gain the rewards of the most righteous deeds like Jihad and pilgrimage.
Executing Umrah in Ramadan
As, it is impossible to accommodate all the Muslim Ummah in Makkah at once, so, for the relief of those who cannot go to Kaaba in the month of Dhul Hijjah, there is an alternate deed, which results in half the rewards and blessings from Allah SWT as compared to Hajj, and is called Umrah. One can visit the Sacred Place throughout the year for the purpose of this action.
Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Abbas (R.A) has reported that Rasulullah (PBUH) passed by Ummu Sinan while on his way to Hajj. “Why didn’t you accompany me for Hajj?” he enquired. She said: “We only have 2 camels, one my husband has used to be with you in Hajj, and the other is needed for transporting water.” The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Umrah in Ramadhan equals the reward of Hajj with me”. (Muslim)
Since, Ramadan is the Holy month of fasting, and it is very difficult to travel while being in the condition of hunger and thirst, so, completing the necessary acts of Hajj in this month through Umrah is as weighty as doing the mandatory pilgrimage.
In short, Islam offers a great room for flexibility for its followers in the form of substitute acts for Hajj. These actions are rewarded very high because of their difficulty and high moral values and prioritization. Although there is no other option for those who can carry out Hajj, but those who cannot, they can take help from these alternate acts and earn incentives equal to that of performing Hajj.