Hajj is one of the fundamental pillars of Islām, and obligatory upon every Muslim male or female who meets its requirements and who has been granted the capability to carry it out by Allāh ta'ālā. If there are no Shar'ī excuses to prevent you from fulfilling the obligation of hajj, you should not delay.
Every year, however, Shaytān whispers the following thought in the minds of those who are under an obligation to go for hajj: "I have some important reasons preventing me from going this year, but I will definitely go next year, no matter what happens, and I will absolve myself of this obligation." In this way Shaytān secures a year's grace for himself. The following year, just before hajj, he will play the same trick again and secure yet another year. Shaytān leads people on in this manner right up to their graves.
It is another amazing trick of Shaytān that whatever he whispers to people, he never encourages them to rule out the intention of fulfilling any of Allāh ta'ālā's commands. Someone who has been neglecting salāh for years will not think to himself that he intends never to perform salāh. And likewise with sins: Shaytān never makes people feel they will never give up a particular disobedience of Allāh ta'ālā. Someone who indulges in drinking alcohol, for example, will never think that he is never going to give it up, but will always intend one day, possibly when Ramadhān comes, to definitely give it up. This is the very condition of many Muslims regarding hajj; not for a moment do they entertain the thought of leaving this world without having fulfilled the obligation of hajj, but on the other hand, they never make a firm decision to do it either.
The Affection of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam for his Ummah
Being so affectionate, kind and merciful, anything that would place his ummah in difficulty bore heavily on Rasūlullāh sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam. Allāh ta'ālā describes this quality in the Qur'ān:
Surely there has come to you, from your midst, a Messenger who feels it very hard upon himself if you face a hardship, who is very anxious for your welfare; and for the believers he is very kind, very merciful. (9:128)
At every juncture, Rasūlullāh sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam has tried to save us from harm. He has said regarding those people upon whom hajj is fardh, and who have made the intention to go:
Whoever intends hajj should hurry! (Abū Dāwūd)
This is because even when someone makes the intention to go for hajj, Shaytān erects obstacles and whispers all sorts of thoughts and worries into the heart. Our beloved Prophet sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam warns us not to be deterred by these tricks, but to start preparations straight away.
Trust in Allāh ta'ālā
Everything is in the hands of Allāh ta'ālā, and when a servant of His makes the firm intention to go for hajj, He removes all the difficulties and obstacles. Some people, misled by Shaytān, worry about their children or their parents, while others worry about their businesses and earnings. All of this is actually a test from Allāh ta'ālā to see whether His servant is prepared to sacrifice everything in order to fulfil the obligation he has to Allāh ta'ālā. If you steel yourself to make these sacrifices, Allāh ta'ālā will make your heart firm, grant you courage and take over the responsibility of settling all your affairs.
Look to the example of the People of the Cave described in the Qur'ān. A handful of young men were up against an idolatrous people and an idolatrous king. There were nothing but obstacles in their path of upholding tawhīd, yet when they rose to the challenge, Allāh ta'ālā strengthened them and protected them:
We made their hearts firm when they stood up and said: "Our Rabb is the Rabb of the heavens and the earth..." (18:14)
An Invitation from Allāh ta'ālā is a Great Honour
Allāh ta'ālā does not invite just anyone to His House; it is a great honour to be given the opportunity to visit the sacred cities of Makkah Al-Mukarramah and Al-Madīnah Al-Munawwarah. If we had true love for Allāh ta'ālā, we would long to visit His House, even if it was not obligatory upon us, and we would be prepared to undergo any hardship to get there. Those who, despite having the means, have not yet received the tawfīq to undergo the journey should be concerned about their condition: could it not be that Allāh ta'ālā is displeased with them and so does not want them to be guests of His House? Tawbah and istighfār should be made immediately in abundance, and humility adopted, beseeching Allāh ta'ālā to grant the privilege of visiting the Haramayn.
Perform Hajj Before it is too Late
We need to consult the 'ulamā and muftīs concerning our own circumstances to find out if we really do have a Shar'ī excuse to postpone going for hajj. People postpone hajj for all sorts of reasons: some do not go because they want their parents to perform hajj first; some wives, who have a mahram available to accompany them, put off hajj in order to go with their husbands; some husbands wait for their wives, etc. If a person were to die without having fulfilled the obligation of hajj, there are dire consequences in the hereafter. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam has said:
Whoever possesses the provisions and means of transport to bring him to the House of Allāh, yet he does not perform hajj, there is no difference in him dying as a Jew or as a Christian. And that is because Allāh has said: "Pilgrimage to the House is a duty mankind owes to Allāh, for him who has the ability to make his way to it." (At-Tirmidhī)
If someone leaves a wasiyyah requesting his next of kin to perform hajj on his behalf, it is hoped that Allāh ta'ālā will grant forgiveness once the hajj is performed, but he is still a sinner for failing to perform hajj despite having the means during his life. And it is a sad fact that even if a wasiyyah is left, people nowadays have so much love for wealth that they are not prepared to spend even a pound for the sake of their departed parents. They do not have the time or the concern to make the journey, even if the money their parents left them is more than sufficient to cover the costs. Therefore each individual should ensure that the obligation of hajj is fulfilled at the earliest opportunity.
May Allāh ta'ālā grant a safe journey to all those who are going for hajj this year and grant them hajj mabrūr. May he guide those upon whom hajj is farḍ but who have not resolved to go yet, and may He grant all the necessary means to those who long to go for hajj but are unable to do so. Āmīn.
Courtesy: Riyādul Jannah