Some 3 million Muslims are nearing completion of the Hajj, a pilgrimage to Mecca that every Muslim who is able must make, the culmination of a spiritual and physical journey to the most sacred of environs. The Hajj is one of the pillars of Islam and the reward of a successful Hajj is nothing less than complete forgiveness for all one's sins.
But the blessings of Hajj extend to all Muslims, as the first ten days of the month in which Hajj is held are the most blessed days of the year - any good acts performed in them receive more grace and reward from Allah than in any other days of the year.
A beautiful poem by Ibn Arabi, one of the greatest saints of Islam, expresses his love for the Ka'bah. It has been translated to English by Gibril F. Haddad, from Ibn Arabi's Futuhat:
1. In the Place of refuge my heart sought refuge, shot with enmity's arrows.
2. O Mercy of Allah for His slaves, Allah placed His trust in you among all inanimate forms.
3. O House of my Lord, O light of my heart, O coolness of my eyes,b O my heart within,
4. O true secret of the heart of existence, my sacred trust, my purest love!
5. O direction from which I turn from every quarter and valley,
6. From subsistence in the Real, then from the height, from self-extinction, then from the depths!
7. O Ka`ba of Allah, O my life, O path of good fortune, O my guidance,
8. In you has Allah placed every safety from the fear of disaster upon the Return.
9. In you does the noble Station flourish, in you are found the fortunes of Allah's slaves.
10. In you is the Right Hand that my sin has draped in the robe of blackness.c
11. Multazam is in you - he who clings to love for it, will be saved on the Day of Mutual Cries.d
12. Souls passed away longing for Her, in the pain of longing and distant separation.
13. In sorrow at their news she has put on the garment of mourning.e
14. Allah sheds His light on her court, and something of His light appears in the heart.
15. None sees it but the sorrowful whose eyes are dark from lack of sleep.
16. He circumnambulates seven times after seven, from the beginning of night until the call to prayer.
17. Hostage to endless sadness, he is never seen but bound to effort.
18. I heard him call upon Allah and say, beside the Black Stone: "O my heart!
19. Our night has quickly passed, but the goal of my love has not passed!"