For many of people out there Hajj is something they can do every year. They make their yearly plans and get on with it. For a great many others Hajj will be a real once in a lifetime opportunity. Many have to decide WHEN they will go to Hajj. Common Sense tells us that if a person wants all their sins forgiven they should wait until they are much older and have had more sins to wipe off. Others believe "No time like the present". I think the majority though do it when they can afford it. No matter what else is happening in their lives or how old they are.
I've been thinking very hard lately about when my chance will be to do Hajj. Just yesterday I was reading about it and getting misty-eyed at the thought of traveling the path that millions have trod before. The idea that I will be surrounded by millions of fellow Muslims bowing in front of the same object that our beloved Prophets have touched amazes me and fills me with a great longing to go there.
When I left Lebanon I made the intention with my husband that we would come to this new country (UAE) and try to save for Hajj. So far not even a half a dirham we've managed. But the problem with planning for Hajj is not just the money. Sure, it's a big part of it but that's not all.
Children. You can't take small children for Hajj. Perhaps you CAN but I would be deathly afraid. I've seen on TV people being trampled. Grown people with strength and height. My little toddling headstrong boy and my waif thin daughter don't stand a chance. I have to wait to do Hajj until they can physically be capable to join us. Since we are going to need a long time to save up that kind of money I was thinking, "Why not wait until they are pubescent?" Therefore when we go for our Hajj they too will have undertaken their personal obligation for Hajj. I think that's one of the best gifts a parents could give their child. Plus it would be an awesome bonding experience for a family to do together.
My sister-in-law H (the older one) left her sufficiently older kids with Tayta (her mother) when she went for Hajj. This too can be a good thing if you have someone reliable to watch your children for almost two weeks and if your children are of an age where they can stand to be away from you for so long. My two would go absolutely crazy without me there. The longest I've been away from my daughter is overnight when having my son and she was with her Father and Grandmother so not so difficult for her. And I've never been away from my son for longer than an hour, you know like once every two months. So for me I have no one here in UAE that can watch my kids for two weeks. Plus my children are the most important people in my life and why would I leave them out of the most important experience in my life? The things they could learn from Hajj are just as important as the things I could. And they could learn it at an earlier age .
Some selfish parents (I think) will leave their young babies (some of them still nursing!) with relatives to go for Hajj when they could easily wait a few years more until their children are more mature to understand the slight abandonment. I don't understand these parent's mentality at all. How could you circumbate the Kabbah knowing your darling baby is in tears wondering where it's Mommy/Daddy has run off to.
So for now I'm thinking to keep trying to save up for Hajj for when my kids are like 15/16 years old (unless in the future Allah Wills for me to have more younger children then I'll have to postpone until THEY are older). I think that age would be perfect to understanding and taking on the challenges of Hajj. And again it would cover their accountability of completing a pillar of Islam.
So when are you planning to go for Hajj? Do your children factor into When you will go?