HAJJ :THE MARVELOUS LEGACY OF HAZRAT IBRAHIM (A.S)
It denotes the journey of faith through history and journey of history through faith
DR. SYED BASHIR AHMAD
IN his History of Arabs, Philip Hitti writes: “Down through the ages, Hajj has continued to serve as the major unifying influence in Islam and the most effective common bond among the diverse believers. It rendered almost every capable Muslim perforce a traveller for once in his lifetime. The socialising influence of such a gathering of the brotherhood of believers from the four quarters of the earth is hard to over-estimate.
It afforded opportunity for Negroes, Berbers, Chinese, Persians, Turks, Arabs — rich and poor, high and low — to fraternise and meet together on the common ground of faith… Of all world religions Islam seems to have attained the largest measure of success in demolishing the barriers of race, colour and nationality.”
Conforming to the divine command, some 4,000 years back Prophet Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S.) set out from Hebron to the barren valley of Mecca. Along with him were his wife Hagar and their newborn son Ismail (Ishmael). At Mecca, Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S.) pleaded to Allah: “O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Thy Sacred House; in order, O our Lord, that they may establish regular prayer: so fill the hearts of some among men with love towards them, and feed them with fruits: so that they may give thanks.
O our Lord! truly Thou dost know what we conceal and what we reveal: for nothing whatever is hidden from God, whether on earth or in heaven. Praise be to God, Who hath granted unto me in old age Ismail and Isaac: for truly my Lord is He, the Hearer of prayer! O my Lord! make me one who establishes regular prayer, and also (raise such) among my offspring O our Lord! and accept Thou my prayer. O our Lord! cover (us) with Thy Forgiveness — me, my parents, and (all) believers, on the day that the reckoning will be established!” (Al-Qurân 14: 37 — 41)
The prayer of Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S.) was granted by Allah saying: “Behold! We gave the site, to Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S.), of the (Sacred) House, (saying): Associate not anything (in worship) with Me; and sanctify My House for those who compass it round, or stand up, or bow, or prostrate themselves (therein in prayer). 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; That they may witness the benefits (provided) for them, and celebrate the name of God, through the Days appointed, over the cattle which He has provided for them (for sacrifice): then eat ye thereof and feed the distressed ones in want. Then let them complete the rites prescribed for them, perform their vows, and (again) circumambulate the ancient house.” (Al-Qurân 22: 26 — 29)
Rekindling Hazrat Ibrahim’s (A.S.) mission
Ever since people continued to flock to Mecca keeping alive the tradition of Abraham. Abraham built the house of Allah (Ka’aba) for worship of the one and the only God (Allah).
Later on, through the history, people deviated from the Abraham’s mission and it became a place of pagan idolatry with idols and images of numerous godheads being worshiped.
Muhammad, the last Messenger (Praise And Peace Be Upon Him) was commissioned by Allah to rekindle the mission of Abraham. It took him 23 years of his prophethood to fulfill the mission. After having migrated from Mecca to Medina to escape further persecution of his followers, he established a society based on belief in the only God, Allah. He returned triumphant to Mecca, in the eighth of Hijra (migration to Medina) or 632 AD and cleared Ka’aba of the idols and reinstated it to the cause of Abraham, denouncing polytheism and worship the one and the only God, Allah. During the last year of his prophetic mission (in 10th year of Hijra), he performed his last Hajj (known as Hajjatul Wadaa’ or Hajj of farewell) and delivered his epoch making sermon. He said:
“O People, lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore listen to what I am saying very carefully and take these words to those who could not be present here today. O People, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust.
Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your Lord, and that he will indeed reckon your deeds. Allah has forbidden you to take usury (interest), therefore all interest obligations shall henceforth be waived. Your capital is yours to keep. You will neither inflict nor suffer any inequity. Allah has judged that there shall be no interest and that all the interest due to Abbas ibn ‘Abd’al Muttalib (the Prophet’s uncle) be waived.
Every right arising out of homicide in pre-islamic days is henceforth waived and the first such right that I waive is that arising from the murder of Rabiah ibn al Harith. O People, the unbelievers indulge in tampering with the calendar in order to make permissible that which Allah forbade, and to forbid that which Allah has made permissible. With Allah the months are twelve in number. Four of them are holy, three of these are successive and one occurs singly between the months of Jumada and Shaban.
Beware of Satan, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope of that he will be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things. O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under Allah’s trust and with His permission.
If they abide by your right, then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with anyone of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste. O People, listen to me in earnest, worship Allah, say your five daily prayers, fast during the month of Ramadhan, and give your wealth in Zakat. Perform Hajj if you can afford to.
All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over a white — except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood.
Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not therefore do injustice to yourselves. Remember one day you will meet Allah and answer your deeds. So beware: do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.
O People, no prophet or apostle will come after me, and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand my words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Quran and my Sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray.
All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness, O Allah, that I have conveyed Your message to Your people.”
A careful musing over reveals that the attraction and the driving force that motivates millions of the faithful every year to set out on the course to Mecca is their allegiance to the legacy of Abraham enshrined in the institution of Tawheed that culminated at the hands of Muhammad (Praise And Peace Be Upon Him), who not only cleansed the sanctuary of Ka’aba and purified the faith but established a society on the basis of Tawheed, that established foundations for freedom, liberty and dignity of the human being.
At the very outset of his book, The Pilgrimage, the famous Islamic writer Dr Ali Shariati, registers his impression about the Hajj: “In essence, Hajj is man’s evolution toward Allah. It is a symbolic demonstration of the philosophy of Creation of Adam. To further illustrate this, it may be stated that the performance of Hajj is a simultaneous show of many things; it is a ‘show of creation’, a ‘show of history’, a ‘show of unity’, a “show of the Islamic ideology” and a show of the Ummah”.
Although the final of the pillars of Islamic faith, Hajj is obligatory only upon those who can afford the journey, yet through the ages embarking on this revered and enchanting journey has kept fascinating the believers. Men and women of devotion save penny by penny all through their years for the required expenses with their eyes focused to the day when leaving behind them all their kith and kin they could fulfil the dream of looking at the sacred house of Abraham and be one among the sea of white clad faithful chanting:
Labbaika Allahomma Labbaik. Labbaik La Shareeka Laka Labbaik. Innal-Hamdah, Wan-Nematah, Laka wal Mulk, La Shareeka Laka
Here I am at Thy service O Lord, here I am. Here I am at Thy service and Thou hast no partners. Thine alone is All Praise and All Bounty, and Thine alone is The Sovereignty. Thou hast no partners.
It is a dream of every faithful to don one day the unstitched white garb of Ehraam that symbolises equality, detachment from the materialistic impulses, and readiness for march to the day of judgment.
It is yearning to flow in the tide of devotees circumambulating the Ka’aba, eager to kiss the Black Stone remembering the founders, Abraham and Ishmael. It is a craving of every mother and father to run between the hillocks of Safa and Marwah remembering Hagar’s compassion, anxiety and commitment to the cause, and to exclaim: how much revered is woman in Islam! It is a burning desire of the travellers to the holy land of Mecca to drink from Zamazam, to prostrate in front of the mesmerising ancient house of Allah, Ka’aba.
It is the craving to spend a few nights at Mina, be part of the sea like gathering of the faithful at Arafat and to supplicate there along with the faithful belonging to all colours. Once having invested so much of money, effort and emotion to be cleansed from wickedness, every pilgrim is eager to condemn the Satan by stoning, wowing not to return again to his fold.
How spiritual is to spend night in the barren desert land of Muzdalifa practising asceticism, to offer sacrifice at Mina, shave or trim the hair connoting to renouncing of sinfulness and pledge for a new beginning. Everyone yearns to live to complete the rites with the concluding Tawaaf with a mixed feeling of attainment and of sorrow for having to leave the spiritual milieu of the holy land. Still more fortunate are those who make it to visit Medina, the city of the beloved Messenger (Praise And Peace Be Upon Him), and offer Salaam of gratitude to the greatest guide of the mankind who accomplished the mission of Abraham.
Dr. Syed Bashir Ahmad is a Kashmiri academic working at University of Nizwa,Oman
Lastupdate on : Thu, 3 Nov 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 3 Nov 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 4 Nov 2011 00:00:00 IST
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