For those of us who were not going to Hajj this year, we may not feel the pain and sadness as acutely as those whose Hajj has been canceled due to COVID-19. But that doesn’t mean we can’t swing into the Hajj spirit. If we already haven’t made Hajj, we must always remember that one day, when our health and finances are in the right shape, we too must make this journey to the House of God insha Allah.
Here are some ways we can build up the anticipation and enthusiasm:
1. Help next year’s Hajji
Hajj may be canceled for those outside of Saudi Arabia this year, but you can help someone who missed the chance this time to start planning for the next one. You can offer to make phone calls to various travel groups to compare rates, and discuss any health concerns to watch out for with doctors.
2. Read/watch/learn about Hajj
When it comes to prayer and fasting, we tend to know much more about these pillars of the faith than Hajj. Most of us tend to put off learning more until we actually go. But who knows how long you have before going, so why wait? If books aren't your thing, find a class or video online that can help you better understand and learn the requirements of the pilgrimage.
You can and should also read travel accounts and diaries of those who have gone for Hajj. Their insights provide a more personal perspective of the journey.
3. Throw a physically distanced Hajj reflections party
In your backyard or a park, host a small gathering and allow those who have gone for Hajj in the last few years to share their experiences and reflections. They should also share their longing to return, as well as how they prepared for the journey, especially if it was something they did over a long period of time.
4. Read the Prophet's Last Sermon
The Prophet Muhammad's last sermon was offered on the occasion of the only Hajj he ever performed in his lifetime. Peace and blessings be upon him. Read the sermon not only for the wisdom it offers, but also, try to close your eyes and picture yourself there, with the thousands of other Muslims who were.
It will be hard not to cry.