40 Days With God – Introduction

Released Date : 10/07/2013

Everyone must go on a pilgrimage sometime in their life.

We often read and hear the need to see the big picture, to view things from a broader perspective, to have a sense of gratitude – to transform. A pilgrimage provides a real life opportunity to make this possible.

When I decided to go for Haj (the obligatorypilgrimage to Mecca and Medina for every Muslim who has the requisite health and wealth) I had no idea about this. All I had in mind was that it was a mandatory thing to do at least once in a lifetime and now that I was able to, I should.

The Quran says about Haj thatwhosoever performs the pilgrimage the way it is prescribed becomes pure like the day he was born. When I used to hear this statement in various sermons it sounded idealistic, almost patronizing, the way all religious text appears when ‘read.’ The end outcomes of religious decrees are always either too lucrative or too fearful and most discourses focus on the outcome. What is rarely explained is ‘how’ our actions logically lead to these outcomes. What is needed they say, and sometimes quite conveniently, is the need to have belief or faith. But faith is easier said than believed.

Logic is the asset of an educated mind. It can also sometimes become its liability. When a logical mind doesn’t see the ‘how’ it disbelieves the outcome. That is logical. The question that needs to be asked is, is it because there is no ‘how’ or is it simply because one has not yet understood the ‘how’?

During those 40 days of pilgrimage there were many moments when you start experiencing thathow.In the forthcoming chapters wewill undertake the journey and discover how each step unravels a beautifully designed, almost scientific process of atonement and purity.

I share this because, irrespective of our religious beliefs, our age, education or financial background, there is universality in what we seek beneath all the obvious needs; peace and purity.

And there is no one more pure than a new born – s/he has no diabetes or blood pressure, no desire or need except for hunger and love, no pride or prejudice and only one expectation – to be attended to when cried.

How does an adult who has ‘experienced’ life re-achieve this state of peace and purity? And how does a pilgrimage help? The answer lies in performing the pilgrimage ‘the way it is prescribed.’

A pilgrimage, as per Wikipedia is a journey or search of moral or spiritual significance. A journey generally implies travel and it is interesting to note that all quest for knowledge – whether spiritual or worldly has implied travel. Why the travel? Travel reveals our true character. It is said that you do not know someone unless you have travelled with him. The Urdu word for travel (safar) is derived from the Arabic sufur meaning ‘to unveil’.

So what is the prescribed way for this journey?The next chapter will focus on how one should prepare physically, mentally and spiritually for a journey of this nature; a journey that you will supposedly undertake only once in your lifetime.

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