The Timeless Message of Hajj
Hope this article serves as a timely reminder of the timelessness of Hajj, InshaaAllah.
Islamic terms are powerfully loaded with meanings and connotations. Translating them in English is like belittling their importance and import.
Hajj, when translated as ‘pilgrimage’ dilutes the very spirit of this great Islamic practice. Pilgrimage means ‘a journey of devotion’ which Hajj does include but then goes beyond it.
The word Hajj comes from the root-word hajja which carries a myriad of meanings, for example: proof, to overcome, to defeat, to confute, to vindicate, to convince. Hajj absorbs all these meanings.
With all its dynamic acts – Tawaf, Sa’ee, prayer, prohibitions, sacrifice, devotion, truly global gathering – Hajj reminds man of a variety of relationships: Islam and life, Allah and man, man and man and this world and that world ( the Aakhirah)
The hardships involved in Hajj directly knocks one’s heart reminding him that one’s Islam can never be detached from the thunder and symphony of life.
Tawaf gushes forth a fountain of meanings. Literally, it means round, circuit and beat. Tawaf in Hajj means going round the Ka’bah. The circular movement involved in Tawaf pivots around a nucleus. This circular movement infuses and thrusts into one’s consciousness the fact that life should have a nucleus. That nucleus is Allah.
The movements of life, as the movement in Tawaf, should be pivoted around Allah and His commands. Tawheed is a Muslim’s heartbeat. This feeling of nucleus is refreshed in one’s heart seven times in Tawaf. And, by corollary, a Muslim’s entire life – behavior, thoughts, emotions, actions – must necessarily be in harmony with his faith in his Lord.
Sa’ee, the running between Safa and Marwa, brings into focus that without effort nothing can be achieved in life!
Pelting of stones at Jamraat reminds one of the Satan tempting Prophet Ibraheem on way to sacrificing his son, Ismaeel. In actual life, it implies that a Muslim should always be conscious of temptations of Satan and should turn him away by way of loving and fearing Allah alone.
Arafah reminds ‘the day on which men shall stand before the Lord of the worlds’. Arafah symbolizes a worldly taste of the Day of Judgment. Millions of Ibadur Rahman stand in utmost devotion to their Lord on the Day of Arafah begging mercy and forgiveness from the Master of the Day of Judgment.
Arafah also brings to memory the following glorious verse, thus recalling and refreshing the fact that Islam is not only a complete Deen but it is also the only Chosen Way of Life for mankind!
الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا
“This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion.” Part of ayah 3 of Surah al Maaidah
And sacrifice of a goat or camel on the 10th Dhu’l Hijjah, the day of Eid of Adhaa, demand of a Muslim a Sacrifice of a higher level: the sacrifice of time, energy, wealth, talents, and above all, the very life in the way of Allah.
قُلْ إِنَّ صَلاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
“Say, ‘Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds.’ Surah Al An’aam 6:162
Hajj also brings into picture some of the colourful snapshots from the pages of history: the repentance of Adam, the sacrifice of Ibrahim, the obedience of Ismail, the struggle of Muhammad, peace be upon them all.
By projecting history, Hajj infuses in man the unpolluted concept of unity – the unity of Almighty Allah and the unity of man. Hajj erases the division of “they” and “we”.
‘O People! All of you are from Adam, and Adam is of dust.’ From the Prophet’s Farewell Address at Mount Arafah
May we live by the spirit of Hajj, and die in the state of eemaan. Aameen.
رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ “Our Lord Accept this from us, for You are the All-hearing, the All-knowing. “
Note: With inputs primarily from an article by Br. Ibrahim Abu Sheriff that was published in Islamic Horizons over two decades ago.
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September 8, 2016 - Posted by MuQeet | Hajj related, Inspiration, Reflections | Arafah, Five Pillars of Islam, Hajj 1437, Hajj Pilgrimage, Ibraheem, Islam, Mina, Muslims, Muzdalifah, Pilgrimage to Makkah, Prophet Ibrahim, Quran blog, Sacrifice, Yassarnalquran
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