The people of the world are usually aware of two kinds of journey. One journey is that which is made to earn livelihood which includes business, immigration and educational trips. The second one is that which is undertaken for pleasure and sightseeing and visiting family and friends.
In both of these journeys man is impelled to go abroad by his need and desire. He leaves home for the purpose of his own, he spends money or time for his own requirements. Therefore, no question of sacrifice or devotion arises in such a journey. There is however a unique journey called ‘Hajj pilgrimage’ that is quite different from that of all other journeys.
A Hajj pilgrim leaves his family and business behind, bearing the rigors of the travel to a dessert country, spends money with no worldly expectation and compensation. Such act is a proof of devotion to the Command of the Almighty God and that there is a fear of God and love for Him.
The Almighty God has made certain acts obligatory in a way that a typical human can easily observe it. For “ Allah does not want to place you in difficulty, but He wants to purify you and to complete his Favour upon you that you may be grateful.” [5:6]
Thus, He has made 17 Rak’at daily prayer an obligation and one month in a year fasting while man could really offer more than that. Thus, there are many people who comfortably offer their daily obligation in addition to its recommended the total of which is 51 Rak’at. Similarly, there are some Muslims who at ease fast every Monday and Thursday in addition to the obligatory fasting of Ramadan.
Pilgrimage to Hajj is one of the pillars of Islam and hence is an obligatory worshipping though only once in a lifetime for those males or females who are mature and sane and can afford the journey. Undoubtedly the obligation of Hajj pilgrimage was one of the last obligations in Islam.
The late Allamah Tabatabaei the respected author of al-Mizan asserts that Hajj was made mandatory during ‘the Farewell Hajj (Hajjatul-Weda’) in the year 9 AH.1 There is however another opinion that its obligation was proclaimed during ‘the Treaty of Hodaybiyeh’ in the year 6 AH. This opinion is supported by the Aya 196 in the Second Chapter of the Quran.