The general notion among masses is that youth is an age which should be spent in the pursuit of worldly achievement. This is the reason why in youth most of the people give little importance to religion and spend maximum time enduring to make their mark and achieve their worldly objectives. A contrasting behavior is seen when one grows old.
When youth passes away, people start realizing the importance of this world and the pursuits they had made in their prime time. They come to the conclusion that all these worldly objectives are transient and temporary and the achievement of one leads to another triggering an endless chain. Thus, the end of their life haunts them and they turn towards religion to find peace and solace.
In Islam there is great reward for whatever good a person does in his or her youth. Pertaining to the different religious rituals and obligations that a Muslim can undertake in youth, Hajj is perhaps the important one. People usually have the objective of performing Hajj set for their later age without realizing the fact that it gives a greater exponential reward if undertaken in the prime age of youth. The lines below discuss why Muslims should consider performing Hajj while they are young and energetic.
Life Is Short:
As humans it is in our nature that we forget the transient nature of this life and plan for a long life. In this planning of long life, we tend to keep the worldly things at the high priority level and keep religious rituals for the end part. Most of the Muslims place Hajj at the end of their life plan with the perception that they will do Hajj when they have free time. What Muslims don’t realize is the fact that life is too short and one cannot guarantee if he or she will live to see the next day. Even those who have a long life still find it too short at the end. Regarding this Quran says:
“You stayed not but little – if only you had known.” (23:114)
To a logical mind it might seem irrational when it knows that there is no guarantee of life and still it keeps the prestigious Hajj for the end days. Therefore, it is imperative that Muslims realize that life is short and hence as soon as one finds time in youth, he or she must offer Hajj and gain blessings and reward that will surely help in the remaining days of life and in the Hereafter as well.
Life Does Not Go As Planned:
For the sake of argument if one assumes that one has a certain specific duration of life and out of this assertion he or she sets a particular time for performing Hajj, even then there is the fatal flaw that life does not go as planned. There are times when things go according to the plan, however, the times when it does not follow the plan are far more greater. Therefore, the logical solution to this problem is to perform as soon as one finds time. Regarding this Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said in His hadith:
“Expedite the performance of Hajj. For nobody knows what may obstruct one.” (Ibn Majah)
The hadith clearly shows the unreliability of planning in a life that is as dynamic as anything can get. In such a life postponing Hajj for the later years is simply an act of ignorance especially when one has the means. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said in another hadith:
“Any of my slaves who is healthy and are of the means for five years, and did not visit my house, he is mahroom.” (Ibn hibban and Musnad Abu Ya’laa)
Performing Hajj requires time, therefore, regardless of your means if you don’t have time available in your plan for later age then what would be your excuse for not performing Hajj? Therefore, one must realize the unreliability of planning and should opt for performing Hajj as soon as one is able in the youth.
The question to ask is that whether a person should purify him or herself from sins at the earliest or keep the purification for a later time, which may or may not be available? The answer to this is obvious that a person should opt for purification from sins at the earliest without postponing it on the uncertain future. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said in a hadith:
“One who comes to this House for Hajj and avoids all lewdness and sins, he returns as he was on the day his mother gave birth to him.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
The hadith makes it clear that going to Hajj with pure intention and doing everything right results in purification from sins. Therefore, to every rational mind performing Hajj at the earliest, i.e. youth is the best time to get purified and then spend the rest of life on the path of righteousness.
Youth is the age of desires and ambitions, therefore, it is quite natural that in this age one has the most needs and wants and one supplicates for most of them. What if one found a way in which all the supplications would be answered? The best way of getting the prayers and supplications answered is to perform Hajj as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said in a hadith:
“The warrior in the path of Allah, the one performing Hajj and the one performing Umrah are the delegations of Allah. If they call on Allah they are answered and if they ask Him for anything it is given to them.” (Ibn Maajah)
Thus, performing Hajj is the best way to get your needs and wants fulfilled, hence the more reason for it to be performed in youth.
Alleviation of Poverty:
Another major reason why people do not opt for going to Hajj is that they think that they don’t have enough savings and whatever little they have if they spend it on Hajj, it might lead to tough days of poverty. Thus, they wait for the old age when they have enough finances to go to Hajj. For such people the simple answer is available in the following hadith where Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Keep on doing Hajj and Umrah, because they both eliminate poverty and sins just like a furnace eliminates the dirty impurities of iron, gold and silver. And an accepted Hajj has no reward less than paradise.” (Tirmidhi)
Therefore, those who think that performing Hajj will make holes in their pocket should reconsider their perception on the bases of this hadith and try performing Hajj at the earliest time possible.
In a nutshell, one needs to offer Allah Almighty the best in every things, whether it is the best intentions in the prayer, the best things in charity or the best attitude in obedience. Similarly, when it comes to offering Hajj, which is the most prestigious form of worship, it should also be performed in the age of youth when one has the best energy and spirit.