As we have previously mentioned, the visitation of God’s House is a sign of man’s thankfulness to his Benefactor, a prerequisite for courtesy, man’s human quality, a cause of distinction from animals, and a means to win God’s favor and obtain all blessings in the world and the Hereafter. How inhuman it would be then for a man not to consider himself duty-bound to visit his Benefactor and to offer his thanks to Him! What is more inhuman is that God invites man to His House but man ignores such an invitation! Such heedlessness arises from the inner unbelief of one who “disbelieves, then surely Allah is Self-Sufficient above any need of the worlds. (The Holy Quran; 3:97)”
It is worth mentioning that according to the Holy Quran and traditions, unbelief has different stages one of which is disbelief in the secondary precepts. This kind of disbelief does not lead to abiding in Hell forever unless it arises from disbelief in the fundamentals of the religion. Such disbelief is equal to atheism and subject to abiding in Hell forever.
قَال: قُلتُ فَمَن لم يَحُجَّ منّا فقدْ كَفَرَ؟ قال: لا، ولَكِنْ مَن قَالَ ليسَ هَذا هَكَذا فَقدْ كَفَرَ.
It is related that Imam Kazim (a.s), as was asked about the forsaker of Hajj, said:
“The forsaker of Hajj is not unbeliever, but if a man denies that Hajj is obligatory, he is then unbeliever.”
The late Faiz says: “The forsaker of Hajj is not unbeliever, for unbelief is related to ideology and not practice.”
He also says:
وإنمَّا يمُوتُ يهودِياً أَو نصرَانِياً لأنَّهُ لوِ اعتَقَدَها لأتَى بِها مَع عَدَمِ المانِعِ والاستِطاعَةِ وتَوَقُّعِ الفَوتِ بالمَوتِ.
“One who forsakes Hajj without having an excuse will die as a Jew or Christian because he would have performed Hajj had he believed in its obligation taking in consideration that he is able to do it and that he should have expected he might die at any moment before being able to perform it.”
FORSAKERs OF HAJJ, on the day of judgment, are with JEWs OR CHRISTIANs
Addressing Imam Ali (a.s), the Holy Prophet (saw) says:
يا عليّ ، تارك الحجّ وهو مستطيع كافر ، يقول الله تبارك وتعالى : (وَلِلّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إلَيْهِ سَبِيلاً وَمَنْ كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللهَ غَنِيٌّ عَنِ الْعَالَمِينَ).
يا عليّ ، مَن سوّف الحجّ حتّى يموت ، بعثه الله يوم القيامة يهوديّاً أو نصرانيّاً.
“O Ali, one who forsakes Hajj while having the means (to perform it) is unbeliever, for Allah Himself has said: ‘And pilgrimage to the House (Hajj) is incumbent upon men for the sake of Allah, upon everyone who is able to undertake the journey to it; and whoever disbelieves then surely Allah is Self-Sufficient above any need of the worlds.’
O Ali, anyone who delays Hajj until he dies, Allah will raise him as Jew or Christian on the Day of Judgment.”
Imam Sadiq (a.s) says:
مَن مَاتَ وَلم يحِجَّ حِجَّةَ الإسلامِ؛ لم يمْنَعْهُ مِن ذَلِك حاجَةٌ تُجحِفُ بهِ أَو مَرضٌ لا يُطيقُ فيهِ الحَجَّ أَو سُلطانٌ يمنعُهُ فَلْيمُتْ يَهودِيّاً أو نَصرانِياً.
“He who dies before he performs the obligatory Hajj while he was not too needy, too ill, or too persecuted to perform it will die as non-Muslim (i.e. Jewish or Christian).”
فَأَعظِمْ بعِبادَةٍ يَعدِمُ الدينُ لِفَقدِها الكمالَ ويُساوي تاركُها اليهودَ والنّصارى في الضلالِ وذلِك هو الجهلُ المبينُ والخِزيُ الفَضيحُ.
“How excellent is the worship (of Hajj) by the lack of which the religion lacks perfection and the neglector of which becomes as same as Jews or Christians in terms of deviation—this is surely the evident ignorance and the scandalous infamy.”
FORSAKER OF HAJJ WILL BE BLIND ON THE DAY OF JUDGMENT
... قَال: سَألتُ أبا الحَسنِ ( الإِمامَ الرِّضا) عليه السلام عن قَولِ اللهِ تعَالى "وَمَنْ كَانَ في هَذِهِ أَعْمَى فَهُوَ في الآخِرَةِ أَعْمَى وَأَضَلُّ سَبِيلاً" فقَالَ: نزَلتْ فِيمَن سَوَّفَ الحَجَّ حِجَّةَ الإِسلامِ وعِندَهُ ما يحِجُّ بهِ فقَالَ اَلعَامَ أَحِجُّ، اَلعَامَ أَحِجُّ، حتَّى يمُوتَ قَبلَ أنْ يحِجَّ.
…I asked Imam Reza (a.s) about the Quranic Verse, ‘And whoever is blind in this (world), he shall also be blind in the Hereafter; and more erring from the way. (17:71).’ The Imam (a.s) said:
This Quranic Verse is about one who delays Hajj despite having the means (to perform it) and keeps on saying, I will go on Hajj this year, but does not do until he dies.’
HAJJ CONSOLIDATES FAITH
Imam Ali (a.s) says:
فَرضَ اللهُ ... والحَجَّ تقوِيةً للدِّينِ.
“Allah has made obligatory upon you… the pilgrimage (Hajj), for it consolidates faith.”
Evidently, any institution that is weakened by the nature of this world is in need for factors to make up for the weakness and to consolidate. Religion, too, which is the source of happiness for man in this world and the Hereafter, might be weakened as a result of the negative propaganda of the foreigners from outside and excess of lusts from within as well as temptations for committing sins in a way that Muslims’ faith will be undermined. The call to Hajj will certainly blow a new spirit into the body of the Ummah. Once again, Mecca, the mother of cities, opens her arms embracing the believers coming from the remotest parts of the world and enlivens the good memory of obedience to God and servitude by displaying a scene full of life and activity within a few limited days. It reminds everyone of the worthless worldly life, the horrible stages of purgatory, and Hell as well as all the prophets and the Imams’ sufferings for the consolidation or the religion. Mecca removes the veils of ignorance before people’s eyes, revealing the light of faith, devotion to God, and the Last Judgment and satiates the believers spiritually. From this cause, it is admitted that the survival of the religion in the Ummah depends on the survival of the Kaaba and revival of the Hajj rites. In this relation, Imam Sadiq (a.s) says:
لا يَزالُ الدِّينُ قائِماً ما قَامتِ الكَعبَةُ.
“As long as the Kaaba is upright, the religion will not perish.”
He (a.s) also says:
إِنَّ للهِ حُرُمَاتٍ ثلاثاً لَيسَ مِثْلَهُنَّ شَيٌء؛ كِتابُهُ—وهُو نُورُهُ وحِكْمَتُهُ، وبَيتُهُ الّذِي جُعِل للنّاسِ قِبلَةً لا يقبَلُ اللهُ مِن أَحَدٍ تَوَجُّهاً الى غَيرِهِ، وعِترَةُ نَبيِّكُم محَمَّدٍ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وآلهِ.
“Three things are sacred for Allah; His Book that is full of light and wisdom, His House that is the Kiblah towards which people offer their prayers –and Allah does not accept from him who directs towards any other direction save the House-, and the Household the Holy Prophet (saw).”
THE KAABA, EMBLEM OF ISLAM
Imam Ali (a.s) says:
جَعَلهُ (البيتَ الحرامَ) سُبحانهُ وتعَالى لِلإسْلامِ عَلَماً.
“Allah the Glorified has made it (the Sacred House) an emblem for Islam.”
In the same way that there are certain marks on the road to guide people, God has made the Kaaba an emblem for Islam so that those who err in recognizing the truth of this religion and its deductive programs reflect on the Hajj rites and its spiritual effects on Muslims and find the true nature of Islam—the religion of pure sincerity, away from polytheism and what is ungodly. Islam is the religion of intellectual development of shedding the childish splendor of the world and of affinity with the Creator of the universe. Moreover, it is the propagator of equality between the poor and the rich, man and woman before the law of truth and justice. It is based on unity of faith, which is the strongest factor among human beings; so, Islam is a dynamic faith and constant movement towards supremacy in cultural, economic, and military fields. And, finally, Islam is the religion of jihad (holy war), of fighting against all satanic powers, of self-sacrifice, of being upright to Him Who originated the heavens and the earth, and of reaching perfection. This is the essence of Islam. Hajj pilgrimage represents such an essence and spirit.
HAJJ REMOVES POVERTY AND SOCIAL DISOBEDIENCE
Imam Ali (a.s) says:
وحجُّ البيتِ واعتِمارُهُ فإِنّهُما يَنفَيانِ الفَقرَ ويَرخَصانِ الذّنبَ.
“Hajj and Umrah remove poverty and cleanse sins.”
The words ‘poverty’ and ‘sins’ in the above-mentioned sermon indicate that Hajj brings about absolute independence and purification for Ummah in a way that they feel no need for alien nations’ help and feel independent in cultural, economic, military, and administrative affairs. We hope that theft, indecency, bribery, hoarding, and injustice will leave the society to change it into a purified, rich one.
IGNORING HAJJ LEADS TO WEAKNESS OF THE RELIGION AND THE UNBELIEVERS’ DOMINATION OVER MUSLIMS
In view of the vital effects of Hajj on the ummah’s supremacy, if the Islamic governments ignore this important religious duty, or if Hajj becomes devoid of its content, its spiritual power will diminish in the ummah in view of the propaganda spread by the enemies of Islam. Imam Sadiq (a.s) says:
لو عَطَّلَ النّاسُ الحَجَّ لَوَجَبَ على الإمَامِ أَنْ يُجبِرَهُم عَلى الحَجِّ، إِنْ شاءُوا وإِن أَبَوا، فَإنَّ هذا البَيتَ وُضِعَ لِلحَجِّ.
“If people ignore Hajj, it is incumbent upon the statesmen to encourage people to go on it whether they are willing or unwilling, for the House has been made for pilgrimage.”
لَو أَنّ النّاسَ تَرَكُوا الحَجَّ لَكانَ علَى الوالِي أَنْ يجبِرَهُم على ذَلك… فَإِنْ لم يكُن لهم أموالٌ أَنفَقَ عليهِم من بيتِ مَالِ الُمسلِمينَ.
“If people neglect Hajj, it becomes obligatory upon the leaders to force them to perform it… and if they need money to go on Hajj, the leaders will be required to supply them with such money from the public treasury.”
لَو تَركَ النّاسُ الحَجَّ لَما نوظِروا العذابَ (أو قال: أُنزِلَ عليهِمُ العَذابُ).
“If people quit Hajj, they will be given no respite from punishment.”
Addressing to Imam Hasan and Imam Hussein, Imam Ali (a.s) says:
اللهَ اللهَ في بَيتِ ربِّكُم؛ لا تُخَلُّوهُ ما بَقِيتُم فَإِنهُ إِنْ تُرِكَ لم تُناظَروا.
“(Fear) Allah (and) keep Allah in mind in the matter of your Lord’s House; the Kaaba. Do not forsake it so long as you live, because if it is abandoned, you will not be respited.”
Imam Sadiq (a.s) says:
وَإِنَّ اللهَ لَيَدفَعُ بمَنْ يحِجُّ مِن شِيعَتِنا عَمَّن لا يحِجُّ منهُم، ولَو أَجمَعوا عَلى ترْكِ الحَجِّ لهلَكُوا.
“Thanks to our Shiite pilgrims, Allah removes disaster from the Shiites who do not perform it, but if all agree to forsake Hajj, they will perish.”