Quarterly: Issue No 76
All Praise is due
to Allah, Glorified be His Name, and the Blessings and Mercy of Allah be upon
His beloved Messenger Muhammad, his family and all his companions. Ameen.
Hajj, the fifth
important pillar of Islam, refers to that comprehensive form of worship which involves
a Muslim’s visit to holy city of Makkah and performance of certain acts and
rituals there and in its surroundings. It is the
largest regularly held gathering of humans on the planet.
The Qur’an and
Sunnah explain in detail the importance, greatness and rationale of Hajj.
The Qur’an says:
“Indeed, the first House [of worship] established for
mankind was that at Makkah - blessed and a guidance for the worlds. In it are
clear signs [such as] the standing place of Ibraheem.
And whoever enters it shall be safe. And [due] to Allah from the people is a
pilgrimage to the House - for whoever is able to find thereto a way. But
whoever disbelieves - then indeed, Allah is free from need of the worlds.” (Chapter 3:
Surah Ale Imraan: Verse 97)
Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu
Alayhi Wasallam) was once asked: ‘Which deed is the most superior?’ He replied:
‘Belief in God and His Messengers’. ‘After that?’ he was asked. ‘Jihad in His
way’, was the answer. It was then asked: ‘After that’. He replied: ‘the Hajj offered with all its
One who offers Hajj in His (Allah’s) way and doesn’t
speak obscene language, and doesn’t commit sins, will come back (purified) as
he was at the time of his birth. (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “If any one
possesses sufficient provision and transportation to take him to Allah’s House
(Ka’bah) but still he does not perform Hajj (in his
lifetime), it does not matter whether he dies as a Jew or Christian” (Sunan at-Tirmidhi)
ritual of Hajj reminds us of the great Prophet Ibraheem
(Alayhis Salaam), called by Allah as Khaleelullah (Friend of Allah) and about whom Allah says in
the Holy Quran: “Ibraheem was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was one inclining toward
truth, a Muslim [submitting to Allah]. And he was not of the polytheists.” (Chapter 3:
Surah Ale Imraan: Verse 67)
The faith which Ibraheem (AS) propagated, the faith that all the prophets
propagated, the faith that the last Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
propagated is the faith of the One God, Allah.
Thus Ibraheem (AS) was the patriarch of
Islam. This patriarch of Islam is not
only revered by the Muslims alone, but also by the followers of the two other
major monotheistic religions of the world — Judaism and Christianity. To understand the true significance of Hajj,
we must recall Prophet Ibraheem’s life and his
sacrifices. He showed us that we must submit to the Will of Allah, no matter
what it may cost, and often this submission is a form of test for us that we
may prove ourselves in the process of strengthening our faith and character.
From the very
beginning, Prophet Ibraheem’s life was separated from
others by Allah. He was born in Babylonia (modern-day Iraq) at a time when
superstition and evil ruled the world. At the occasion of his birth, his mother
had to hide herself and her son in a cave to escape the soldiers of Nimrod, who
had ordered the killing of all new-born male children after he had had a
certain dream. During his youth, Ibraheem (AS) had great spiritual experiences, which gave
an indication of his future life. He was a thinker of unusual intellect. Even
in his youth, he had begun to question the wisdom of his father, Aazar, who worshipped idols. Ibraheem (AS)
adopted several methods to dissuade his people from superstitious beliefs and
evil practices. He taught them that there is a Supreme Being—infinite and
transcendent, above and beyond the limited human comprehension, All-Kind,
All-Knowing, and nobody is asked for help or mercy save Him.
told the people that that Being is the Creator of this universe, and there is
no creator but He, no partner to Him. He is the only
one who is worth worshipping and He is the sole cherisher of humankind. If one
follows the simple and logical proofs set out by Prophet Ibraheem
(AS) to his people, one comes to the ultimate conclusion that from him spread
the eternally vibrant rays of Islam. No wonder Ibraheem
(AS) is linked to the Muslims with such a strong bond.
test of Ibraheem (AS) by Allah was when Allah
commanded him in his dream to sacrifice his only and beloved son Ismail. The
Holy Quran relates this incident of Prophet Ibraheem’s
supreme sacrifice thus: “And when he reached with him [the age of] exertion, he
said, "O my son, indeed I have seen in a dream that I [must] sacrifice
you, so see what you think." He said, "O my father, do as you are
commanded. You will find me, if Allah wills, of the steadfast and patient." (Chapter
37: Surah As-Saaffaat: Verses: 102-103).
their will to Allah, both of them went to a certain place in the valley of
Mina, near Makkah, and there prepared a place for sacrifice. When it was ready
Ismail laid himself prostrate on his forehead for sacrifice. Ibraheem (AS),
knife in his hand, stood over his beloved son about to take his life. What
courage and faith this father and son had, for this was no easy thing to do for
either of them—for Ibraheem (AS) to take the life of
his son and for the latter to submit to his father’s wish. Both of them
submitted to the Will of Allah. Just
when Prophet Ibraheem’s knife was to descend on to
his son’s throat he heard the bleating of a ram and suddenly saw the animal,
and a Divine Voice commanded: “O Ibraheem, You have fulfilled the vision!” (Chapter
37: Surah As-Saaffaat: Verse: 105).
Thus Ibraheem (AS) implemented Allah’s command and succeeded in
the trial. Ismail was not to be killed. Ibraheem (AS)
withdrew his hand. Allah commanded him to sacrifice the ram in place of Ismail.
Then taking the ram, which had miraculously appeared, he obediently made a
sacrifice to his Lord. It is to remind
the Hajj pilgrims of this great sacrifice that Allah has commanded every one of
them to sacrifice an animal during Hajj. The Holy Quran has also pointed out
that it is through Prophet Ibraheem (AS) that the
ritual of Hajj came into being:
And when We designated for Ibraheem the site of the House, [saying], “Do not associate
anything with Me and purify My House for those who perform Tawaaf
and those who stand (in salaah) and those who bow and
prostrate. And proclaim to the people the Hajj (Pilgrimage); they will come to
you on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every distant
mountain-pass.” (Chapter 22: Surah Al-Hajj: Verses: 26-27)
A lesson for
total submission to God
During Hajj, one can seldom do anything on his own. One is totally submitted to Allah; from
wearing the prescribed clothes of Ihraam, going to
the prescribed places of Mina, Muzdalifah, Arafaat and Makkah at the right times in the right
sequence, pelting stones at the Jamaraat at fixed
times and days, and evening abstaining from any sort of intimate relations with
one’s partner; all train us for ultimate submission to Allah.
Discipline, Self Restraint and Taqwah
The restrictions of the state of Ihraam are
very rigorous in terms of the way the pilgrim behaves with others, with
himself, and with Allah and also in terms of using regular worldly things such
as putting perfume, cutting one’s hair…etc. This makes Hajj a school of discipline,
taqwah and self-control. A school, which can produce
righteous, decent, honest and hardworking people as the five daily prayers and
the fasting of Ramadan and the pillars of Islam do.
Equality Among Muslims
Hundreds of thousands of Muslims, belonging to different nationalities
and races, drawn from all walks of life, the rich and the poor, ‘the princes and the slaves’, the doctor and the mechanic,
the ruled and the ruling all gather together in Hajj as EQUALS. They all wear
the same clothes; recite the same phrases “Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik”; are shoulder
to shoulder in similar lines during Tawaaf around the
Ka’bah, while performing the Sai (brisk walk) between
Safa and Marwa and while peltering stones at the Jamaraat,
besides standing together at the five daily prescribed salawaat.
A Rehearsal for
Meeting for With the Lord
When leaving for Hajj, one leaves almost everything
behind: family including often wife and children, friends, and all ones wealth
including ones belongings. It’s a similar situation to what one happens when
one dies. So this blessed journey becomes a rehearsal for meeting with the
Lord. Over there he will see so many people at one place, that he never saw
before, all in similar clothing, a site that one will face on the day of Judgment.
Hajj is an effective factor in establishing unity
amongst the ranks of the Muslims. It is an instrument to combat nationalistic
and racial fanaticism, and oppose confinement (of the Muslims) within their
geographical boundaries. Hajj is a means for eliminating the shackles of
censorship and breaking the stranglehold of the oppressive leaderships
prevalent in Islamic nations.
Hajj is a tool for transferring news of political affairs of the Islamic
nations from one corner of the globe to another, and finally, it is an
effective means for breaking the fetters of captivity and colonialism, and
liberating the Muslims.
Allah grant us all the tawfeeq to make these Adhkaar
every day and night.
May the Peace and
Blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad, the WITNESS to all Mankind. Ameen.
Allah! Your Forgiveness is far greater than my sins and I have more hope in
Your Mercy than in my own deeds.
Abdul Haq Abdul Kadir
Kyalami Glen, Gauteng
Johannesburg, South Africa