There are a number of hadiths that speak of the virtues of Hajj, including the following:
1. The hadith narrated by al-Bukhaari (1521) and Muslim (1350) from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: I heard the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) say: “Whoever performs Hajj and does not commit any obscenity or commit any evil will go back (free of) sin as on the day his mother bore him”
2. Al-Bukhaari (1773) and Muslim (1349) narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “…an accepted Hajj brings no reward but Paradise.”
3. At-Tirmidhi (738) and an-Nasaa’i (2631) narrated that ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ood said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Make the Hajj and ‘Umrah follow each other closely, for they remove poverty and sins as the bellows removes the dross of iron, gold and silver, and an accepted Hajj brings no less a reward than Paradise.” Classed as hasan by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan at-Tirmidhi
4. It is narrated by Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was asked which deed was best, so he replied, “Belief in Allah and His Messenger.” He was asked, then what (was the next best deed), and he said, “Jihaad for the sake of Allah.” He was asked, then what (after that) and he sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam replied, “An accepted Hajj.” (Bukhaari & Muslim)
5. Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, also reported that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “From one ‘Umrah to another is an expiation for the sins committed between them, and the accepted Hajj has no less a reward than Paradise.” (Bukhaari & Muslim)
6. ‘Aa’ishah, the Mother of the Believers, may Allah be pleased with her, asked the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, “O Messenger of Allah, can we not go out on campaigns and fight in Jihaad with you?” He said, “But the best and most beautiful of Jihaad is an accepted Hajj.”
7. ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said, “I never stopped going for Hajj after I heard that from the Messenger of Allah sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.” (Bukhaari)
8. ‘Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger of Allah sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Hajj wipes out whatever (of sins) came before it.” (Muslim)
9. Ibn ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “The one who fights for the sake of Allah and the pilgrim who goes for Hajj or ‘Umrah are all guests of Allaah. He called them and they responded; they ask of Him and He will give them.” (Ibn Maajah)
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “That they may witness (i.e., attend) benefits for themselves…” (Al-Hajj: 28) The benefits of Hajj are both worldly and religious (spiritual). With regards to the religious benefits, the one who goes for Hajj, earns the pleasure of his Lord and comes back with all his sins forgiven. He also earns immense reward, which he cannot earn in any other place; one prayer in Al-Masjid al-Haram (i.e., the Sacred Mosque in Mecca), for instance, is equal to a hundred thousand prayers elsewhere, and Tawaf (circumambulation of the Ka’bah) and Sa’i (pacing between Safa and Marwah) cannot be done anywhere else. Other benefits include meeting other Muslims and discussing their circumstances, meeting scholars and learning from them and asking them about one’s problems. Whereas the worldly benefits include trade and business, as well as other kinds of earnings that have to do with Hajj.
Furthermore, there are many virtues of the rituals of Hajj and there is much wisdom to be found behind them. Whoever is blessed with proper understanding of them is blessed with much goodness. For example:
1. When a person travels to perform the rites of Hajj, he is reminded of his journey to Allah and the Hereafter. When he travels, he leaves behind his dear friends, wife, children and homeland, and the journey to the Hereafter is similar.
2. The one who goes on this trip equips himself with enough provisions to help him reach the Sacred land, so let him remember that for his journey to his Lord, he needs to have sufficient provisions to help him get there safely, as well. Regarding this, Allah says which means, “…And take provision, but indeed, the best provision is fear of Allaah…” (Al-Baqarah: 197)
3. Traveling is a kind of torment and the same is true of the journey to the Hereafter, only (that it will be) much greater in scale. Ahead of man there is (the stage of) his passing away, death, the grave, the gathering, the accounting, the scales and As-Siraat (a bridge that will be laid across Hellfire, for people to pass over on the Day of Judgment), followed by either Paradise or Hell. The blessed one will be the one whom Allah saves.
4. When the pilgrim puts on the two garments of his Ihraam (the state of a pilgrim in which he performs Hajj and ‘Umrah, and during which he is prohibited from certain acts that are lawful otherwise), he cannot help but be reminded of the shroud in which he will be wrapped (after he dies). This prompts him to give up disobedience and misdeeds. Just as he gives up his regular clothing (for Hajj), likewise he has to give up sins. Just as he has put on two clean, white garments, he has to make his heart clean and white (pure), and guard his senses, (so they remain) clean and pure, uncontaminated by the stains of sins and disobedience.
5. When he says “Labbayk Allaahumma labbayk (Here I am at your service, O Allaah, here I am)” at the Meeqaat (station from where one enters into the state of Ihraam), he means that he has responded to his Lord; so how can he still insist on sinning and not respond to his Lord’s call to refrain from that? When he says “Labbayk Allaahumma labbayk”, he must (also) mean, “I am responding to Your prohibition of it (committing sins) and this is the time from which I am giving it up.”
6. By ceasing to do Haram (forbidden) things while in a state of Ihraam and keeping himself busy with the Talbiyah (a prayer recited by pilgrims going to Mecca) and Dhikr (remembrance of Allaah), the pilgrim gives himself a good idea about how a Muslim should be. In this way, he trains himself to give up some things which, in principle, are Halaal (allowed), but Allah has forbidden them for him at this time (during his Ihraam); so, how can he violate the commands of Allah and commit forbidden deeds, at all times and in all places?
7. When he enters the Sacred House of Allaah, which He has made a sanctuary for mankind, he remembers the sanctuary of the Day of Resurrection, which no one can reach without striving hard and making a rigorous effort. The greatest thing, which will keep a person safe on the Day of Resurrection, is Tawheed (belief in the Oneness of Allaah) and shunning Shirk (association of others with Allaah). Concerning this, Allah says which means, “They who believe and do not mix their belief with injustice – those will have security, and they are (rightly) guided.” (Al-An’aam: 82)
8. Kissing the Black Stone which is amongst the first rituals to be carried out, teaches the visitor (of Allaah) to honor the Sunnah and not oppose the laws of Allah with his feeble reasoning. He comes to recognize that there is wisdom and goodness behind the laws and rites which Allah has prescribed for mankind, and trains himself to submit totally to his Lord. It is narrated that ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said after he kissed the Black Stone: “I know that you are only a stone and that you can neither benefit nor harm. If I had not seen the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam kiss you, I would not have kissed you.” (Bukhaari & Muslim)
9. When the pilgrim does Tawaf, he is reminded of his father Ibraaheem, peace be upon him, who built the House so it would be a place of resort for mankind and a safe haven, and that he called them to perform pilgrimage to this House. Moreover, our Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam also called humanity to perform pilgrimage to this House, to which Moosa, Yoonus and ‘Eesaa, peace be upon them, also came for the same purpose. This House was a symbol and a meeting place for these Prophets; how could it be otherwise for Allah had commanded Ibraaheem, peace be upon him, to build and venerate it?
10. When he drinks the water of Zamzam, he is reminded of the blessing which Allah has bestowed upon mankind in the form of this holy water, from which millions of people have drunk throughout history, yet, it has never dried up. He is encouraged to make Du’aa’ (supplications) when he drinks it, according to the Hadeeth in which the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is reported to have said, “The water of Zamzam is for whatever it is drunk for.” (Ibn Maajah & Ahmad)
11. When he does the Sa’ie (running between Safa and Marwah), he is reminded of the trial that afflicted Haajar, the mother of Ismaa’eel and the wife of Al-Khaleel (i.e., Ibraaheem, peace be upon him); (he remembers) how she ran back and forth between Safa and Marwah, searching for water which would save her from what she was suffering, and especially so she could give her little son, Ismaa’eel, peace be upon him, water to drink. Since this woman was patient in the face of this adversity and turned to her Lord, this teaches the man that doing this is better and more appropriate. When a man remembers the struggle and patience of this woman, it makes it easier for him to bear his own problems and a woman, who is of the same gender (as Haajar), will also find her problems easier to put up with.
12. The standing in ‘Arafat reminds the pilgrim of the throngs of people on the Day of Gathering. If the pilgrim is tired due to being in a crowd of thousands, how will it be to stand amongst the hordes of barefoot, naked, uncircumcised people, for fifty thousand years?
13. When he throws the pebbles at the Jamaraat (the three small stone-built pillars in Mina), the Muslim trains himself to obey Allah unquestioningly, even if he does not understand the reason and wisdom behind this act, and cannot make the connection between rulings and their purpose; this is a manifestation of complete submission to Allaah.
14. When he slaughters his sacrificial animal, he is reminded of the great incident when our father Ibraaheem submitted to the command of Allah to sacrifice his only son Ismaa’eel, peace be upon them, after he had grown up and become a helping hand for him. He is also reminded that there is no room for sentiments, which go against the commands of Allaah. This teaches him to respond to what Allah orders, as Allah tells us that Ismaa’eel, peace be upon him, said: “…‘O my father, do as you are commanded. You will find me, if Allah wills, of the steadfast.’” (As-Saaffaat: 102)
15. Once the pilgrim comes out of the state of Ihraam that he was in and things that had been forbidden to him become permissible again, he is thus taught about the consequences of patience and that after hardship comes ease. The one who responds to the call of Allah will have joy and happiness, and this delight cannot be felt by anyone except those who have tasted the sweetness of obedience, such as the joy felt by one who fasts upon breaking his fast or by the one who prays during the last part of the night, after he has finished praying.
16. After he concludes performing all the rituals of Hajj as they were prescribed by Allah and in the manner that He loves, the pilgrim has hope that his Lord will forgive all his sins, as the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam promised in the Hadeeth: “Whoever does Hajj for the sake of Allah and does not have sexual relations (with his wife), nor commits a sin or disputes unjustly during the Hajj, will come back (free from all sins) like the day his mother gave birth to him.” (Bukhaari & Muslim) This encourages him to start a new page in his life, free of evil deeds.
17. When he comes back to his wife and children, and experiences the joy of meeting them again, this reminds him of the greater joy of meeting them in Paradise. This also teaches him that the greatest loss is losing one’s self and family on the Day of Resurrection, as Allah says which means, “…’Indeed, the losers are the ones who will lose themselves and their families on the Day of Resurrection. Unquestionably, that is the manifest loss!’” (Az-Zumar: 15)