Imam Ghazali mentions that it was during the farewell Hajj, that Allah azzawajjal revealed His words (to the meaning of), which can be found in Surah al-Ma’ida;
“Today I have perfected your religion for you, and completed My grace upon you, and approved Islam as your religion.”
By this we see that it was within the act of the (farewell) Hajj that the Prophet Muhammad sallalaho alayhi wa alihi wasalim received affirmation that his life within the temporal realm would come to an end by virtue of his calling to the truth having reached its pinnacle and perfection on earth. The revelation of this ayah, (and what can be deduced from its meaning) tells us a great deal about not only prophethood but alludes to the inner dimensions of the act of Hajj itself. Which is the focus of this particular work of Imam Ghazali (may Allah have mercy upon him).
Imam Ghazali explains that the performance of Hajj is the completion and perfection of the deen of the believer. This can be understood as being partly because of its many merits in reward for the believer, such as the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad sallalaho alayhi wa alihi wasalim which states (to the meaning of)
“He who makes Pilgrimage to the House- avoiding indecent and immoral behaviour- emerges from his sin like a newborn babe.” (Al Bukhari & Muslim)
But also, and what is perhaps most significant, is that Allah azzawajjal has given the ummah an opportunity, not only to perfect and complete their deen, much like the completion of the dawah of the final Prophet sallalaho alayhi wa alihi wasalim which was revealed during his farewell Hajj, but to follow the footsteps of the final prophet in this act of congregation and reformation.
An act which is, inherently, different to all other commands of Allah. One because of its singularity (one only needs to complete Hajj once to be gain in its merits) but secondly because it is an act within which Allah has granted the ummah the chance to be totally spiritually reformed. To start life in obedience to Him, again, after what may have even been a life full of sin. Imam Ghazali points to this reality as he explains that angelic assemblies surround the sacred mosques and greet those who supplicate, circumambulate and stand within their vicinity.
What Imam Ghazali’s work alludes to is that the whole surrounding of the blessed mosques are of angelic forces and that when a sinner enters, he or she, in reality, enters into a realm of spirituality which is removed from the mundane nature of the world, a realm of Gods Mercy on Earth in the most uninterrupted fashion. It is within the Hajj that the believer is closest to a direct and uninterrupted connection with the celestial realm. And that it is within the days and lands of Hajj that Allah has granted the believer the ability to reform him/herself spiritually, and granted the believer an opportunity to once again tread the path to Allah, as purely and free-from-sin, as he begun, the day he/she was born into this earth.
Year after year, Muslims from every corner of the earth spend life savings to take this journey, many of whom will only ever get one chance to make it. All in the hope with their Lord that they will be able to realise the aforementioned hadith. That is to say, that they too will be able to complete a Hajj which is accepted and pleasing to Allah azzawajjal and to, even for a short period, be in the company of heavenly beings within the earthly realm. With the hope that in those blessed days and upon those blessed lands, they too will find atonement for their sins; a new beginning perhaps.
We ask Allah azzawajjal for us all, to be granted the calling (idhn) to the blessed lands and ability (tawfiq) to perform an accepted Hajj and the company (suhba) of the angelic assemblies upon the blessed lands. Ameen.
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