Hajj is the most unique of all journeys. The journey of Hajj is not for gain, not for personal end nor for any self desire, this journey is solely to fulfill our covenant and is exclusively a duty prescribed by and for Allah, Most Gracious. There is no way we can prepare for this journey, it is truly by the permission of Allah that we feel in our hearts the call to fulfill this journey. This state of awareness requires spiritual strength and willing sacrifice of our comfort. Hajj is loyalty to Allah, a loyalty that compels us to leave our family, abandon our livelihood, spend our money and bear the physical rigors of travel as we undertake our prescribed obligation to Allah, Most Gracious. A duty that produces unlimited effects and affects in our minds and hearts upon our return home.
We learn lessons in courage and determination, we enlighten our salaat, our fasting, our charity, all of which constitute the training for this enormous task. Hajj is a collective form of worship, as we do not perform the Hajj alone, but with hundreds of thousands of Muslims with the same commitment and achievement.
We circumambulate the Kaaba seven times in a counterclockwise direction. The circling is believed to demonstrate the harmony of the believers with the universe in the praising and supplicating Allah, Most Gracious. The Kaaba is constantly circumambulated by pilgrims at all times except for the times of the obligatory ritual prayers.
Allah, Most Gracious says 21:33: “And He it is Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon, each in an orbit floating”. This verse refers to the scientific discoveries that found that we live in a universe that depends on rotation. The earth revolves around the sun once a year, the moon revolves around the earth once each lunar month, and the planets of the solar system revolve around the sun, each in its own orbit, with moons that revolve around them, each in its orbit. All matter in the universe-whether solid, liquid, or gaseous obeys the natural law of rotation. The natural law of rotation applies to everything: stars, planets, moons, animals, plants, sand, seas, air, cells in our bodies and so on; all rotating in a counter-clockwise direction.
The Kaaba is the spiritual center. Believers turn toward the Kaaba five times a day to perform the prescribed ritual Prayers. A pilgrim circumambulates the Kaaba in a counter clockwise direction as if he or she is a celestial body orbiting a greater body. This points to the consistency between the obligations of worship in Islam and the natural laws that govern the universe, which belong to one source, Allah, Most Gracious.
Islam is the true religion that provides us with a comprehensive view, in obedience to divine truth that is apparent in the natural laws of the universe. We, are a part of the universe, the difference being, that the planets circumambulate in a compulsory way according to the laws of nature; yet as humans, we are rational beings and possessors of free will who circumambulate logically and willingly.
Allah tells us; 6:162 “Say: Surely my prayer and my sacrifice and my life and my death are all for Allah, the Lord of the worlds”.