A Qu­ranic Pil­grim­age

The Miracle - - Faith - BY: AHMED ALI Source: Is­lam21C.com - Ahmed Ali

Hajj, also known as the greater pil­grim­age, is an amaz­ing phe­nom­e­non which en­gulfs the hearts and minds of Mus­lims from all across the globe. It is an event which is in­deed spec­tac­u­lar a mass sea of hu­man will and flesh surg­ing along the path once tra­versed by Abraham , the caller to Is­lamic monothe­ism. It is a pil­grim­age that is cen­tered around the prime maxim of monothe­ism, ev­ery ac­tion and rit­ual main­tain­ing a di­rect re­la­tion­ship with it. Inas­much as Hajj be­ing the sin­gle most im­por­tant and spir­i­tual jour­ney that man will un­der­take, it is per­ti­nent to note that most are un­aware of the Qur’anic verses re­lat­ing to it. It is in this vein that we shall be tak­ing a brief look at a few verses in Su­rah Hajj where Al­lah speaks of this most blessed jour­ney. The dis­cus­sion be­gins with the verse, “And (re­mem­ber) when We ap­pointed for Abraham the place of the House (say­ing) ‘Do not as­cribe any­thing as a part­ner to Me and pu­rify My House for those who cir­cum­bu­late, stand, bow, and pros­trate.’” The verse com­mences the dis­cus­sion about Hajj through in­tro­duc­ing it as an af­fair which stems from Abraham. We find that the ap­point­ment of the house (Kabah) cou­pled with pure monothe­ism as Al­lah es­tab­lished for Abraham His House along with His house rules. In keep­ing with His guide­lines, He ar­tic­u­lates ac­cept­able and pleas­ing be­hav­ior: cir­cum­bu­lat­ing, stand­ing, bow­ing, and pros­tra­tion - all forms of phys­i­cal wor­ship. Thus, the verse in ques­tion af­firms tawhid (monothe­ism), the ac­tion of tawhid (al-Uluhiyah), the di­rec­tion (qi­blah) of tawhid, and the Prophet of tawhid. It is through such points that man may achieve eter­nal bliss by be­liev­ing in the monothe­is­tic na­ture of Al­lah with­out as­crib­ing any form of part­ner­ship to him, by wor­ship­ping Him in line with His monothe­is­tic na­ture through the pre­scribed ac­tions of cir­cum­bu­lat­ing, stand­ing, bow­ing, and pros­trat­ing fac­ing the Kabah while com­mit­ting these acts and fol­low­ing the mil­lah (re­li­gion) of Abraham who was a monothe­ist him­self. Abraham , the Friend of Al­lah , is given sole im­por­tance in re­la­tion to the Kabah, and was hon­ored through be­ing com­manded to build the Kabah where Al­lah de­creed. It was built out of taqwa and founded upon obe­di­ence, he and his son built this great ed­i­fice and a part of his off­spring re­mained in Makkah liv­ing along­side it. As for Al­lah’s com­mand to pu­rify His House, it was to pu­rify it from poly­the­ism and dis­obe­di­ence, and from im­pu­ri­ties and dirt. Al­lah, the Most High, as­cribes the House to him­self through His us­age of the pro­noun ‘my’, and in do­ing so sanc­ti­fied and hon­ored this blessed struc­ture. It is to this end that `Umar b. Al- Khat­tabh b said id whenh ki kissingi theh bl black k stone, “Ver­ily I know that you are merely a stone, you nei­ther harm nor ben­e­fit. Were it not for the fact that the Prophet kissed you, I never would have,” since his kiss was merely be­cause of its sanc­ti­fied na­ture which God af­forded it, and not be­cause it is spe­cial in and of it­self. Al­lah then says, ”And pro­claim unto mankind the Pil­grim­age. They will come to you on foot and on ev­ery lean camel they will come from ev­ery deep ravine, so that they may wit­ness things that are of ben­e­fit to them, and men­tion the name of Al­lah on ap­pointed days over the beast of cat­tle that He has be­stowed upon them. Then eat thereof and feed there­with the poor un­for­tu­nate.” Af­ter be­ing com­mand­ing to build the sanc­ti­fied struc­ture, Abraham was told to call mankind to un­der­take the pil­grim­age. It is men­tioned the Abraham said, “My Lord, how can I call mankind when my voice can­not reach them?” So it was said, “Call, and its con­veyance is upon us.” Sim­i­larly, the fa­mous ex­egete Ibn Al-’Arabi states that “Al­lah com­manded him to climb Abi Qubais [4] and call out, “O mankind, Al­lah has or­dained upon you the Hajj, so un­der­take the Pil­grim­age.” So none were left ex­cept that Al­lah con­veyed the call of Abraham to them...” The verse then states the means by which the pil­grims shall re­spond to the call, and their com­ing from “ev­ery deep ravine” is from ev­ery far and des­o­late place, so much so that the be­liev­ers will flock from all corners of the earth - this mirac­u­lous state­ment is ev­i­dent to­day where peo­ple of all na­tion­al­i­ties and races ar­rive at the sa­cred House. In­ter­est­ing­lyg y Al­lah states that “theyy will ill come to you” as ini to Abra­hamb h in­steadi d of the House it­self. This pas­sage em­pha­sizes the link be­tween the Hajj and Abraham, and that the Hajj is to re­spond to the call of monothe­ism - it is in ef­fect an act of monothe­ism. Fur­ther­more, in re­spond­ing to Abraham we be­come of him, as Al­lah states “Ver­ily, among mankind who have the best claim to Abraham are those who fol­lowed him.” Thus, the Hajj es­tab­lishes the con­nec­tion be­tween the Mus­lims and Abraham since we are the only peo­ple to fol­low in his way, in both deed and in­tent. As for “the things that are of ben­e­fit”, they are of two types: re­li­gious and worldly. As for the re­li­gious ben­e­fit, it is to en­gage in wor­ship and ful­fill one’s duty to Al­lah . As for the worldly gain, it is to gain an in­come and some profit. Ibn `Ab­bas said the verse per­tained to ben­e­fit in this life and the here­after. “As for ben­e­fit in the here­after, it is to re­side in eter­nal bliss and as for this life, it is ben­e­fit in re­gards to profit and busi­ness un­der­tak­ings.” [7] In this re­gards, the ma­jor­ity of ex­egetes state that the mean­ing of the verse “There is no sin on you if you seek the Bounty of your Lord...” [8] is that there is no harm nor sin in un­der­tak­ing prof­itable ven­tures dur­ing the Hajj as long as it does not in­ter­fere with car­ry­ing out the pre­scribed rit­u­als. In re­gards to men­tion­ing the name of Al­lah on the ap­pointed days, then this is to slaugh­ter the sac­ri­fice in His Glo­ri­ous name as well as to praise and thank Al­lah for His many boun­ties. Ibn `Ab­bas stated the ‘ap­pointed days’ are the first ten days of the month of Dhul Hi­j­jah. [9] The ‘beast of cat­tle’ is recorded in the Qur’an as the bahi­matul an’am which are camels,, cows,, and sheep.p This is re­it­er­ated by the ha­dith of `Ab­dul­lah b. `Ab­bas as nar­rated by Abu Jam­rah Nasr b. `Im­ran Ad-Duba’ī when he asked Ibn `Ab­bas about the tamattu’ Hajj and sac­ri­fice. [10] In ref­er­ence to the dis­cus­sion per­tain­ing to the ben­e­fits of Hajj, the bahi­matul an’am are also a ben­e­fit in this life and the next since the one sell­ing them ben­e­fits fi­nan­cially, and the one who slaugh­ters them ben­e­fits in the here­after. It is then from the divine mercy and wis­dom of Al­lah the Most High that he al­lows the slaugh­terer (who now ben­e­fits from his sac­ri­fice in this life) and the poor to eat from the sac­ri­fi­cial meat. In end­ing the Hajj, Al­lah says, ”Then let them make an end of their un­kempt­ness and pay their vows and go around the an­cient House. Their ‘un­kempt­ness’ is the hair on their heads that they have let grow and been un­able to fully comb or cut dur­ing their time in the state of ihram, and ‘to make and end’ is to ei­ther shave or trim one’s hair. As for pay­ing their vows, it is the prom­ises they have made to the Almighty con­cern­ing their Hajj, `Um­rah or sac­ri­fice. They are then or­dered to com­plete their Hajj by means of the tawaf al-ifadah, the prin­ci­ple cir­cum­am­bu­la­tion of the an­cient House. The House is stated as be­ing an­cient since Al­lah says that “first House (of wor­ship) ap­pointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (Makkah), full of bless­ing, and guid­ance for the uni­verse.” [12] Al­lah then states, “That and whose ex­tols the sa­cred things of Al­lah, it will be well for him in the sight of his Lord.” The first word of the verse (“that”) is to es­tab­lish the verses which have pre­ceded as be­ing the de­ci­sive com­mands of Hajj and thus means, ‘that is the com­mand’. As for ex­tolling the sa­cred things of Al­lah , it is ex­tremely im­por­tant since it is amongst the ac­tions which Al­lah loves and al­lows the slave to draw close to his Lord. The ‘sa­cred things’ are ev­ery­thing that Al­lah has made sa­cred and or­dered to be ex­alted, such as salah (rit­ual wor­ship), the man­asik (rit­u­als of Hajj), the haram (sa­cred vicin­ity), the ihram (the state of a pil­grim), the sac­ri­fice, and all other mat­ters that re­quire ex­al­ta­tion and love since all these forms of wor­ship stem from an obe­di­ent heart and sub­servient limbs. It is to this ef­fect that Al­lah says, “That (is the com­mand). And whoso ex­tols the of­fer­ings con­se­crated to Al­lah, it surely is from the piety of the hearts. [The Hajj, just like the other pil­lars of Is­lam com­bines spir­i­tu­al­ity with phys­i­cal ac­tion and re­minds us that monothe­ism is not only a be­lief we main­tain within our hearts and ut­ter with our lips, but a prin­ci­ple we live out through our ac­tions, re­gard­less as to whether we be pil­grims or in a nor­mal state go­ing about our daily lives.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.