By: Ramia Abdo Sultan
To those mums and dads going to Hajj and having to leave their children behind- this piece is for you!
In drafting wills for clients who are travelling to Hajj, and from discussions of details like the guardianship of the children should the parents die on the journey, I can in some way sense the difficulty, worry, and guilt that parents can experience when having to leave their children with family or friends while they embark on their Hajj journey.
So, with a view to addressing some of those concerns I have decided to share my personal experience going to the sacred places without the children.
A few years ago, my husband and I had booked a Umrah trip with the children (at the time aged 7,5,2). We had performed Hajj together prior to having children, and so now, we felt we had to take them with us.
Being so excited I shared the news with my dad, to which he replied, “You have made a very bad decision. You shouldn’t take them with you!”
That just burst my bubble! I was upset, of course, and very disappointed but he and my mum offered to take care of the children while my husband and I went on the trip. The kids were very young and even though the wisdom of my dad’s advice was not apparent yet we heeded it.
And so, we decided to entrust the children to my parents, and we went on what I remember as one of the best trips- especially since we were able to visit the other beloved homeland- Palestine and Al Aqsa.
Now, on the emotional side: for the entire plane ride from Australia until we landed in Madina, I could not stop crying. I was overcome by a mix of emotions – guilt, excitement and confusion.
But, subhan Allah, that all changed the moment we landed in Madina. My heart just felt at ease, and I truly internalised a security and contentment like never before.
I knew there and then that, alhamdulilah, we had made the right decision. I understood what tawakul (placing trust in God) meant in a practical sense and I embraced it.
The trip allowed me to utilise every moment to be in supplication – where I made dua (supplication) for my children who were not with me and I always reflect on that. I wonder that had they perhaps been with me, I wouldn’t have been able to make the sincerest of dua that I did.
We were away for just under three weeks. Alhamdulilah, it was very a fulfilling Umrah trip.
And so here are some suggestions for those mums and dads leaving their children behind to perform Hajj:
- If you have the opportunity to entrust your children with someone you love and trust who have the same mutual love towards your children say alhamdulillah and embrace this opportunity. Make dua for the carers and for your children.
- You will feel guilt, you may cry ALOT. But that’s all ok.
- Once you get to your destination insha Allah, you will feel a sense of contentment and ease. This doesn’t mean you have forgotten about your children – you are actually embracing tawakul and so enjoy it.
- Always know that the more you delay this obligation (for no valid excuse), the harder it will become both financially and emotionally.
- Remember the spirit of Hajj is one of sacrifice and that is what you should intend by leaving not only your job, wealth and routine behind, but also by leaving a piece of your heart behind – your children. Do you think this will be overlooked by Allah the most Merciful?
Enjoy your journey- be excited- and make plenty of dua. May your Hajj be accepted and may you all be reunited with your loved ones safe and sound.