LABBAIKA Here I am,
Yes my Lord, Here I am, at your service
MINDSCAPE BY S.SARWAR
Prayer, fasting and pilgrimage are common in all religions. Form & language, duration & items of abstinence as well as the place & associated rituals may be different but essence is same. Transformative expectations and psychological dividends too are surely similar. Right from antiquity, from what so ever pristine form each religion made the beginning, accretions, additions and changes necessitated by circumstances have happened as the desire of adaptation and attunement with the time & immediacy of issues have been the driving force. True, in the changing time & space; soil & sunlight; and human material addressed to primarily, the seeds of preceding religions might have inspired and shaped the new entrants, exhibiting common strands thereby.,
Conceding that there existed a pre-conceived, a pre- planned divine design but for its fulfillment men of extra ordinary qualities had to be instrumental for executing this plan and their place of eminence has to be recognized.
One such great man, in the Semitic belt of earth was Hd. Ibraheem( a.s) – the great patriarch. His fore fathers probably came to Mesopotamia from Armenia and challenged the Amorites- then ruling there; who belonged to the early settled- Semitic- branch. The Mesopotamian Empire had been established around 2300 BC and to this part belonged the world’s Ist urban civilization, wherein the great ruler, Namrood ruled, and the great architectural marvels in the shape of imposing ziggurat temples existed when Hd Ibraheem and his father Aazer appear on the scene.
Surah No 19, 21 and 37 tell us about the statue breaking episode and the wrath of Namrood; that ultimately forced Hd. Ibrahim ( a.s) to leave the place…wander from here and there, to Syria, Egypt, ,Hebron, Palestine etc. On the death of his Ist wife-Hd. Sarah, he buried her at Hebron. In 1927 AD the great archeologist- Mader, found the sepulcher of both.
But prior to that Hd Ibraheem left his son- Hd Ismail, and 2nd wife Hajira nearer to a dilapidated structure in Arab land, called baitul ateeq, that was latter built and used as house of worship , called Kabaa- the cuboid, or Bait ullah. During the annual pilgrimage time, Muslims circumambulate, make its 7 rounds i.e tawaf, keeping left arm towards it.
In Buddhist Ladakh people also do rounds of sacred mounds in opposite direction.
The holy city of Mecca exists in the wadi-e- Ibraheem, 350 ft above sea level, in the vast peninsula of Saudi Arabia, that is dotted with hillocks, and ever since Hd. Ibraheem ( a.s) and his 2nd son Hd. Ismael ( a.s) raised the walls ( urfauoo) / constructed Kaaba ( The house of worship ) some 40 centuries ago, it has become the pivotal & central place of pilgrimage for Muslims, since 9 Hijri, management whereof is receiving professional touches day by day- not only due to the high number of pilgrims ( over 20 lakhs) but as demanded by the fixed schedule spanning 45 to 60 days; when literally “all roads lead to Mecca”. Continuous experience of past + 14 centuries has turned Hajj/ pilgrimage into a well organized affair; that has a commercial aspect too. True I found a cold sigh escaping my lips, when I found among the apples & other fruits traded in abundance,that belonging to my land- Kashmir, was no where seen also my heart refused to buy the claim of an officer of Al-Rajhia Bank - who receive cash for the Qurbani, that Islamic Development Bank & Utilization Project, that the “ meat of sacrificed animals is sent to all Muslim countries”; and I asked “ Kashmir too ?”
Besides Hd. Ibraheem & Hd. Ismael ( a.s), one more known prophet who has preached in this Arab land- specifically in the area that lies between Hijaz & Syria, in 9th century B.C, was prophet Saleh ( 7:65) in whose mention it is said that the Muslim army on their way to Tabuk in 9H first saw the rock-hewn-chambers of 6 th century BC- that bear Nabataean inscriptions of Babylonian origin; visited and described by C,M. Doughty in 1880 AD.
Masjid- e- Harrum in its present vastly expanded form of today that encloses Kaaba , has 112 entrance points called ‘ Babs’ and a number of escalators- easily remembered by their numerical number than the name given to each. Expansion projects undertaken at different times, has subsumed many dwelling places and areas of yore associated with prophet’s life period and placing conjecturally those of historical value is a difficult exercise now, for visitors having limited time. Mention of the houses of Hd. Khadija, Um Hanni, Hd. Zubayr & Arqam surfaced in my thoughts while I was in Makkah but in Medina it turned to pain when the empty 4th place, and the burial place of ‘The man who enlightened the world’ was found dark, unlit, though buildings outside on all sides were well lit.
Since arrogant shurta and police men abound Masjid-e- Harrum area, any attempt to make a study would have landed me in trouble, I satiated my curiosity by guesstimating that Holy Kaaba is still a cuboid ( though Hateem/ Hujr-e-Ismael side had to shortened due to availability of short sized planks, when during prophets life time Kaaba had to be reconstructed—thereafter scholars say it was reconstructed a score times). 14 meters high, its sides vary from 11 to 12 ˝ meters, with (the only visible) door 7 ˝ feet above ground (probably to be safe from flooding waters ..in 1941 Kaaba was reportedly submerged upto 5 feet…but now drainage system doesn’t allow such things to happen now). Books do speak of a rear door called mustajaar, now closed; only mortar pointing reveals it. Above the Hateem- side 1 meter long roof pipe ( parnala) made of gold, called al-Mezaab can be seen .
In response to the clarion call of Allah- that was voiced by the great patriarch, Hd Ibrahim ( a,s) and prophet Hd. Muhammad ( s.a.w) Muslims go to the city of Makkah previously known as Bakkah ( 3.95 Holy Quran, 84.6 of Old Testament,) in the appointed days ( ayamin maloomat) as a enjoined in holy Quraan, reciting Labbaika Allahumma Labaika: Here I am, at your service, O’ Lord.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 7 Aug 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 7 Aug 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 8 Aug 2011 00:00:00 IST
- MORE FROM OP-ED
Bandipora, Aug 7: The increasing pollution in the Asia’s largest fresh water lake, Wular here has adversely affected the production of water chestnut, threatening the livelihood of scores of people.  More
- Srinagar City
Residents aghast, seek fibre glass walling; Will do it, assures minister
Srinagar, Aug 7: At a time when governments even in the metropolitan cities like New Delhi are so sensitive towards people’s privacy living in the vicinity of flyovers, that they got fibre glass walls More
‘PAY IMMEDIATE HEED ON CONSUMER COMPLAINTS’
Jammu, Aug 7: Minister of State for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution and Power, Shabir Ahmad Khan directed CA&PD authorities to keep close vision on black marketing and undue profiteering at More
- South Asia
Karachi, Aug 7: The death toll in the Lyari building in Karachi collapse rose to 21 as rescuers recovered nine more bodies from the rubble and feared more people, alive or dead, were still under the debris More
Kabul, Aug 7: Insurgents shot down a US military helicopter during fighting in eastern Afghanistan, killing 30 Americans, most of them belonging to the same elite Navy SEALs unit that killed Osama Bin More