My closest friend is leaving for Hajj in less than a week. Thinking about the journey he is about to undertake, I can't help but think that his journey, and that of every other pilgrim, is far more worthy of celebration than any marriage. We put so much emphasis on marriage, forgetting about the more important things in life.
- Hajj is mandatory (fardh), while marriage is sunnah. Completing Hajj is establishing a pillar of Islam; it is the very foundation of one's deen.
Both marriage and Hajj are once-in-a-lifetime experiences for most people, but Hajj is such an experience that cleanses a person spiritually and can change a life completely. Generally, marriage will also change a person for the better, but it occasionally brings out the worst in people. There is no guarantee that marriage will provide the spiritual renewal that Hajj provides.
Hajj is a privilege that very few get to experience. Assuming an average adult lifespan of seventy years, and an average of two million new pilgrims per year, approximately 140 million Muslims will go for Hajj during the life of an average person. This makes up only 10% of the entire Muslim population - meaning 90% of the Muslims of the world do not get such an opportunity. On the other hand, most people get married eventually, and it is not even something exclusive to Muslims. Most people get married eventually.