Impressions from the Hajj

An interview with Ayyub Tillinghast by Wahida Kass

The thought of putting his recent Hajj experience into words felt “overwhelming” to Ayyub Tillinghast of Vermont, largely because there are no words adequate to capture it.  “Indescribable”, “beyond immense”, and “words fall short” came up frequently in our conversation. However, he did relate some highlights to share with beloveds, and, inshallah, to inspire their hearts to take this journey of a lifetime.  

One thing Ayyub impressed upon me was the enormous baraka associated with the prayers one performs on Hajj.  In fact,
each prayer counts as one hundred thousand prayers. This benefit alone is an enormous gift to the pilgrim, his or her family and the world.

He also received the clear understanding that “this was a commitment I made long, long ago – when my soul said ‘Yes, You are my Lord’, and I promised to make this pilgrimage for Allah.”

Several times Ayyub spoke about a new, deeper experience of God’s qualities during the whole Hajj.  Basically, “your own qualities go out the window and you really feel the [untainted] qualities of Allah.”

In Medina: “There is an indescribable sense of peace” in this city of the Prophet [saws].
In Mecca: “Approaching the Kaaba I felt Sidi’s presence guiding me through the swirling mass of thousands of pilgrims doing their circumambulations.  It's really intense.  However, about five feet from the actual Kaaba, there is a transition, like a barzak, and as you pass through there is suddenly a space of quiet, Holiness.  Being this close to the Kaaba I found it to be extremely peaceful and still; there was no jostling, even as people reach out to put their hands on the stone wall.”

“For me, there are no words to describe my experience. Sidi says; ‘One must eat the fruit to taste it!’  Words are inadequate to convey any meaning that I felt in this space. Al-hamdu li llahi, rabbi l-alamin.  It was a gift that is still unfolding for me.”  

Ayyub’s final advice to those thinking about performing Hajj is, “Don’t let anything stop you!! There are so many blessings. You begin to receive them from the time you determine to go and they continue indefinitely. People praying for you--you praying for the people…Allah!”