Welcoming a Haji

Hajj pilgrims have started arriving from Harmain Shareefain. Before stepping into his home, a Haji (male) must go to his local mosque and offer a two-rak’at namaaz. This, however, is not for Hajis alone. The most revered Prophet (SAW) and his pious companions (RA) would do this when arriving in Madinah. So, whenever a person returns from a journey, he must go to the mosque before going to his home.  When the Haji comes out of the mosque, he must be accorded a warm welcome by relatives, friends and neighbours. But the welcome should not be turned into crude ostentation.

Most people spend large sums on buntings and even crackers. This is against the very spirit of Hajj. Remember that the Haji has just come from Mina after stoning Iblees. So his relatives must also refrain from indulging in satanic acts. Bursting crackers to greet a Haji cannot be justified by any means.

The most revered Prophet (SAW) once said that the Haji gets purified during the pilgrimage. Therefore, every person who greets the Haji must request him to pray for the Ummah, and the Haji must pray for the Ummah and for those who come to greet him. People must embrace the Haji, shake hands with him, and seek his blessings.

The Haji must also accept and acknowledge the greetings of them all, and bless them. The pilgrimage should not go to his head. Performing Hajj definitely is an honour, but it must bring modesty and humility, not make the Haji proud and arrogant.

In Kashmir, the people who come to welcome and greet the Haji sit for hours together to irritate him and his relatives. This is not fair. The Haji must be given some time to meet his family and interact with it. It must be borne in mind that the Haji is meeting his family after over a month. He must be allowed sufficient time. People can visit later for greetings and felicitations.

Welcoming a Haji and greeting him is not a mere ritual. It must be turned into a fruitful exercise. When people come to meet and greet the Haji, they forget everything else. When the muezzin calls for prayer, the Haji goes for prayer, but others remain unmoved, discussing everything under the sun, from international politics to cricket.  Little do people know that going for prayer is obligatory not only for the Haji but also for their own selves. The Haji (immediately after his arrival from the holy cities) is a role model for the people who come to see him. People must try to learn from him.

The Haji should not be forced to offer zum zum immediately after his arrival. This may subject the Haji to inconvenience.  He must be given some time to settle down first. Similarly, people who have made special requests of the Haji on his leaving for the journey should not ask for their gifts immediately. This can be done after some days.