[الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِيْنَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِيْ وَرَضِيْتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِيْنًا]
"On this day, I have perfected for you your religion, completed My favours upon you and chosen for you Islam as your way of life." Surah 5, Verse 4
On the day of `Arafah, the year before Sayyiduna Rasoolullah SAW passed away, he delivered his farewell sermon at `Arafah, which combined all the laws and rulings of Islam. Allah SWT revealed the above verse at the same time and the last laws of Hajj also came down.
It is certainly, through Hajj and with Hajj that the Islamic Shari`ah is perfected and the religion completed. A servant can only feel and discover the reality of spirituality during Hajj. That is why Allah SWT says in Surah Al-Hajj, Verse 32:
[وَمَنْ يُّعَظِّمْ شَعَائِرَ اللهِ فَإِنَّهَا مِنْ تَقْوَى الْقُلُوْبِ]
"And whosoever sanctifies the rites of Allah, then indeed it is a sign of the piety of their hearts."
Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah RA reports that Rasoolullah SAW said:
[مَنْ حَجَّ فَلَمْ يَرْفُثْ وَلَمْ يَفْسُقْ رَجَعَ كَيَوْمَ وَلَدَتْهُ أُمَّهٗ]
"Whosoever performs Hajj and does not behave in an obscene manner nor does he leave the obedience of Allah, he returns like he was on the day when his mother gave birth to him." Agreed upon by both Imams Al-Bukhari and Muslim RA.
This means that he does not say or do anything contrary to the commands of Allah SWT and His Beloved Prophet SAW, nor does he commit any sin or disobey Allah SWT. If he fulfils this, then he returns from his Hajj as pure as a new born baby, without any sins and with a clean slate. It is noteworthy here that this is only for the minor sins; as he has to seek pardon from Allah SWT for the major sins and from his fellow man for any wrongs he may have done to that person.
Imam Al-Bukhari RA also narrates on the authority of Sayyidah `Aa-ishah RA, the Mother of the Believers that she said:
يَا رَسُوْلَ اللهِ، نَرَى الْجِهَادَ أَفْضَلَ الْأَعْمَالِ، أَفَلَا نُجَاهِدُ؟ قَالَ: لَا، لٰكِنَّ أَفْضَلَ الْجِهَادِ ]
"Oh Messenger of Allah; we consider Jihaad as the best of deeds, should we not carry out Jihaad? He replied: No; but the best Jihaad is a Hajj that is accepted by Allah."
In order for a Hajj to be righteous and accepted, it has to be entirely free from sin. When Imam Al-Hasan RA was enquired about a Hajj that is accepted he replied: "For a servant to return turning away from the life of this world, not attached to it, and desiring only the Hereafter." This is the meaning of the hadeeth:
كُنْ فِي الدُّنْيَا كَأَنَّكَ غَرِيْبٌ ]
[أَوْ عَابِرُ سَبِيْلٍ
"Live in this world as if you are a stranger or just someone passing through."
Narrated by Imam Al-Bukhari on the authority of Sayyiduna `Abdullah Ibn `Umar RA.
Indeed, Sayyiduna `Abdullah Ibn `Umar RA used to say: "When you go to sleep at night then do not wait for the morning, and when you get up in the morning then do not wait for the evening. And take from your health for your sickness and from your life for your death."
Imam Ahmad Ibn Hajar Al-`Asqalani RA states that the stranger in this world is the one who does not have a place from which he seeks refuge or tranquillity; and the one passing through always goes from one place to another. Therefore, we have to continue walking forwards in our journey to Allah SWT and not delay or stop, otherwise we will perish."
Furthermore, life is not free of health and sickness, and thus the one who is healthy should benefit from it, as he will not know the value of that health until he loses it. Sayyiduna `Abdullah Ibn `Abbaas RA reports that Rasoolullah SAW said:
اِغْتَنِمْ خَمْسًا قَبْلَ خَمْسٍ: شَبَابَكَ قَبْلَ هَرَمِكَ، وَصِحَّتَكَ قَبْلَ سَقَمِكَ، وَغِنَاكَ قَبْلَ فَقْرِكَ]
[وَفِرَاغَكَ قَبْلَ شُغُلِكَ، وَحَيَاتِكَ قَبْلَ مَوْتِكَ
"Take benefit from five things before five things: Your youth before your old age, your health before you are ill, your wealth before you are in poverty, your free time before you are occupied, and your life before your death." - Narrated by Imam Al-Haakim in Al-Mustadrak.