An extensive search for relevent info which would answer many questions at last lead to finding a piece of writing by an Iranian Shia Scholar "Dr Ali Shariati"http://www.al-islam.org/hajj/shariati/.
I found it very interesting and thought-provoking and hope that everyone else would also enjoy reading some parts which I shall put in my posts.
Life today (not life as it should be carried on) is an idle cyclical action a movement with no goal! A meaningless pendular action starts with the day only to end at night and night starts only to disappear at dawn. In the mean time, man is busy watching the play of these black and white "rats" who chew the strings of our life until we die.
Life (as we live it) is like a theater. Man watches these aimless nights and days. Indeed, what foolish play is conducted! When you are in need, you hope and struggle to overcome your needs. Yet once you achieve this, you view your past efforts humorously. What a senseless philosophy to live by!
Living on a day to day basis, the person lacks direction. His aim is only to live. What exists is a dead spirit in a living body. However, the Hajj experience alters this unhealthy condition!
Once you decide to perform Hajj and take the necessary steps, you are on the road to the actualization of Hajj. Before going to Hajj you reside in your home calm and reposed. Upon entering the state of mind for Hajj, you arise and move away from your routine environment.
Hajj is the antithesis of aimlessness. It is the rebellion against a damned fate guided by evil forces. The fulfillment of Hajj will enable you to escape from the complex network of puzzles. This revolutionary act will reveal to you the clear horizon and free way to migration to eternity toward the Almighty Allah.
Depart from your home. and visit "Allah's house", or the "house of the people"! You, whoever you are,you are a man, Adam's son, and a representative of Allah on earth!You are a relative of Allah, Allah's trustee, His master of nature and a student of God. Allah taught you the names. He made you from His spirit and endowed you with special qualities. You were praised by Him; His angels even prostrated to you. This earth and everything in it was made available to man. God became your "homemate", with you at all times and watching all of your actions. Are you living up to His expectation?
Allah is in the hearts of the believers
Thus Allah knoweth those who are sincere, and knoweth those who feign.
Quran LVII: 25
And that Allah may know him who helpeth Him and His messenger, though unseen.
Quran XVII: 7
Lo! We have placed all that is in the earth as an ornament thereof that we may try them: which of them is best in conduct.
Quran LXVII: 2
Who hath created life and death that He may try you, which of you is best in conduct; and he is the Mighty, the Forgiving,
With the passage of time and the influence of various forces of the social system which disregard human rights and duties, your character has been changed. The vicissitudes of life have affected you to the degree that you became alienated and neglectful. Originally, with Allah's spirit in your heart, you were supposed to shoulder the responsibility of being Allah's trustee on earth. You were granted time as a means for fulfilling this task but you failed because the gift was used carelessly!
Quran CIII: 2-3
By the declining day, Lo! man is in a state of loss,
This is what is called life! But realistically speaking what has been accomplished? What constructive contributions have you made? What have you gained? So many precious years have been lost, yet who are you?
Oh trustee and vicegerent of Allah on earth, you have turned to money, sex, greed, aggression, and dishonesty. You have regressed to the inferior status that you occupied before almighty Allah blew His spirit into you. Where is the spirit of Allah now? Oh man, rise out of this decadent situation! Divorce yourself from this gradual death.
Leave your surroundings and go to the pure land. There you may face Almighty Allah under the inspiring sky of Mashar. The estrangement which you have experienced will be overcome. At last, you will find yourself!