When the pilgrim raises his voice with Talbiyah, he remembers that he answers the call of the Almighty and that there will be another call on the Last Day, when people will be either accepted or refused, punished or rewarded, elevated or debased. Moreover, as the pilgrim utters the words of Talbiyah, he should bear in mind that this signifies a response to the summons of Allah, Most High, as it is stated in the Qur’anic verse: (And proclaim the pilgrimage among men: they will come to thee on foot and (mounted) on every kind of camel, lean on account of journeys through deep and distant mountain highways) (Al-Hajj 22:27).
Elaborating on the significance and meanings of Talbiyah Sheikh M. S. Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Muslim lecturer and author, states: Hajj is the symbol of Tawhid (the Oneness of Allah) from the first moment the pilgrim enters ihram. Jabir ibn `Abdullah said, describing the Hajj of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him): “Then he started to say the words of Tawhid, ‘Labbayka Allahumma labbayk, labbayka la sharika laka labbayk. Inna al-hamd wal-ni`mata laka wal-mulk, la sharika lak (Here I am, O Allah, here I am. Here I am, You have no partner, here I am. Verily all praise and blessings are Yours, and all sovereignty, You have no partner).’” (Muslim)
Anas said, describing how the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) entered ihram, said that he said: “Labbayka `Umratan la riya’a fiha wa la sum`ah (Here I am for `Umrah in which there is no showing off or seeking reputation).”
This trains the soul to acknowledge the Oneness of Allah and to be sincere towards Him. The pilgrim starts his Hajj with Tawhid, and continues to recite the Talbiyah with its words of Tawhid, and he moves from one action to the next with Tawhid.
The Talbiyah has a number of meanings, such as:
1. “Labbayka Allahumma labbayk (Here I am, O Allah, here I am)” is one response after another, which is repeated to show that the response is lasting and ongoing.
2. It also means, I submit and submit again, which indicates ongoing submission.
3. It may mean staying in one place (labba bil-makan) and clinging to it, which means, I am persisting in obeying You, thus emphasizing the meaning of continuous servitude to Allah.
4. One of the meanings of the Talbiyah is confirming love of Allah. One only says “Labbayk (Here I am at your service)” to a person whom one loves and respects.
5. It implies sincerity and drawing close, so it emphasizes the meaning of seeking to draw closer and closer to Allah.
The Talbiyah also includes:
– Praising Allah, which is the dearest thing with which a person may draw close to Allah.
– Recognizing the blessings of Allah, for He is the source of all blessings and the One Who bestows them.
– Acknowledging that all sovereignty belongs to Allah alone, and no one else has any true dominion. [See: Ibn al-Qayyim, Mukhtasar Tahdhib as-Sunan]
When the pilgrim is reciting the Talbiyah, he feels a connection with all other created beings, as they all join with him in submission to Allah alone and echo his Talbiyah. The Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “There is no Muslim who recites the Talbiyah but whatever is to his right and to his left of stones, rocks and clods recites it with him, to the furthest point to the east and the west – meaning from his right and his left.” (At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Khuzaymah, and al-Bayhaqi)