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HAJ, ESSENCE

Nov 06, 2008

by Abdul Hamid

Alhamdoelillah! Barefooted and bareheaded, Muslims from every corner of the World are once again responding to the heavenly cry of verse 27 of Surah An-Naml to re-live the Divine Message and gladden the heart of Nabee Ebrahim Alayis Salaam:

 

"(O Ebrahim) proclaim among mankind the Hajj. They shall come unto thee on foot and every lean beast, they shall come forth from every deep ravine."

 

The Hujjaj are all Guests of Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala. They have all come to wash the dust of journey from their faces with the waters of Zamzam and to quench the thirst of their spirit with the etherial waters of the Hajj rituals, to seek greater strength for carrying out their Islamic obligations and responsibilities. These servants of the Glorious Creator and Sustainer in the course and process of their journeying had discarded all the accoutrements of attachment to the Doonya, not only in the Miqat of Hajj but also in the Miqat of life. They have come to assure Almighty Allah Azza Wajjal that they have not become tired of struggle. They know well that the Abu Lahab's, Abu Jahls, Fir'auns and Qarun's of this age sit in ambush to take revenge, asking each other: "Are there any Lanat, Manat and Hubal any longer in the Ka'bah? Yes, there are! And more dangerous than those stone idols, though with a new face and with a new guile.

 

All the Hujjaj know that the Baitullah is a place of safety, and that Hajj is an everlasting Divine Gift and an ever-flowing river at whose banks Muslims, forever, may always wash away the dusts of hardship and suffering, pollution and malaise. They can refresh themselves with this eternal provision in order to overcome these kinds of vulnerability at all times. There is no loss to the Muslim Ummah heavier than allowing the teachings and guidance of Islam, which are a vital and lasting reserve for negligence or ignorance of their religious or political leaders, and to deprive the people from their benefits. Hajj is an everlasting reserve of this kind, and it is obligatory upon all Muslims to understand it better and to employ it more fully for the good of the Islamic Ummah.

 

The point is that if the Hajj were held rightly and as commanded by Almighty Allah Azza Wajjal, it is capable of remedying all the major maladies and causes of failure, though not all of a sudden but gradually in the course of several long years. This is a gathering of millions of brothers and sisters from all over the world at a single place. The scene is the observance of spiritual rights performed in unison under the majestic banner of Tawhid. With refreshed memories of the early years of Islam, of the battles of Badr and Uhud, and the pilgrim's presence in Masjidun Nabawi within whose walls still reverberate the animating revelations of the Most Glorious Qur'an and the resounding cries of "Allahu Akbar".

 

The greatest drawback of Muslims the world over is that they have not yet understood the real philosophy of the Divine commands of Hajj. As a result the Hajj, with all its majesty and mysteries, has remained a dry ritual and a fruitless and futile exercise for some people. One of the foremost and important duties is to understand what the Hajj is for, and why we should perpetually expend a part of our material and non-material resources for its undertaking. What does Hajj have to do with how we live? What does it have to do with any struggle? What does it have to do with how Muslims should confront its avowed enemies and its repressive onslaughts? What does Hajj have to do with the imperative to recover the rights and dignity of Muslims and all other deprived and oppressed human beings from the oppressors?

 

What does Hajj have to do with the urgent need to think out the means to relieve Muslims of the moral and material pressures weighing upon them? What does Hajj have to do with how Muslims can emerge as a major second force in the world? Yes, how very sad – they contend that all that there is to the annual Hajj is a pleasure shopping trip to visit the Qiblah, to quench their thirst from the well of Zamzam and to visit Madinah. This then is their rendition of Hajj. Hajj is a means to bring humankind closer to Almighty Allah Rabbul Ala'meen – the Master and Lord of the Baitullah. Hajj is not merely a sequence of ritual movements, acts and words. For merely words and actions devoid of meaning cannot bring one close to Almighty Allah Azza Wajjal. Hajj is a storehouse of Divine teachings, from which we must draw the content of the outlook of Islam on all aspects of life.

 

The message of Hajj is the imperative to create and build a society free of material and moral indignities. Hajj is the stage on which are recurringly projected all the love-inspiring scenes of life of an individual and society in the search of perfection in this Doonya. The rituals of Hajj are the vital rites of life. Since the Muslim Ummah must transcend all race and nationhood to become Abrahamic in order to join the caravan of the Ummah of Nabee Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam, the Hajj is an exercise for the achievement of a monotheistic pattern of life. The Hajj is the exhibition ground and the measure of the spiritual and material capabilities of Muslims. Hajj is like the Most Glorious and Noble Qur'an, wherefrom everyone derives benefit.

 

If the thinkers of the Islamic Ummah familiar with its sufferings, were to fathom fearlessly the depths of this ocean of Divine Teaching, they will bring back pearls of guidance, wisdom and liberty, if they were not afraid to plunge into the rules (Akham) and the social objectives of Hajj. Its fountains of wisdom will forever suffice to quench their thirst. Alas, what is to be done and to whom shall we speak of the grievous fact that the Hajj, like the Most Noble and Glorious Qur'an, has become a complete stranger amongst us? To the same extent that the Holy Book of life, beauty and perfection has been concealed behind the curtains woven out by us, this precious treasure has been buried under the dirt of our perverse thinking. As a result, its message of Muhabbat, guidance and life and its life-giving philosophy have been turned into the murmurs of terror, death and the cemetery.

 

The Hajj has fallen prey to the same fate. Millions of Muslims undertake Hajj every year to place their feet on the footmarks of Almighty Allah's Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam, of His Friend Nabee Ebrahim Alayhis Salaam and his obedient son Ismail Alayhis Salaam and Hajira Radhiallahu Ta'ala Anha. Unfortunately no one asks himself or herself as to who these illustrious slaves and servants of Almighty Allah Jallah Wa'ala were, what did they do, what were their objectives and what did they require of us. There is no doubt whatsoever that a Hajj devoid of spirit and dynamism, a Hajj devoid of Bara'ah and unity, and a Hajj bereft of the intent to abolish apostasy and polytheism – such a Hajj is most certainly not a Hajj at all. Muslims must strive for the resurrection of Hajj and the Most Noble and Glorious Qur'an, and endeavour to bring them back into the context of their life. Year after year others will come and learn, find and return, to speak and to act, to listen and to think and contemplate.

 

Ultimately, the entire Ummah may attain what Almighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata'ala and the Din of Al-Islam have taught them: to always keep in one's view the great panorama of the life of the Ummah of Islam. This great panorama of the life of the Ummah of Islam manifests itself so much that one is able to see beyond national, racial, ethnic, and tribal frontiers. To examine the depths of one's own existence and to learn the conduct, the path and the direction of a life that is worthy of a Muslim; and to do all this in the light of the remembrance of Almighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata'ala.This is the refreshing spring of consciousness that in Hajj, every year, gushes forth in the Divine Sanctuary for the benefit of the great multitude of pilgrims, and this plenteous and perpetual source of guidance can satiate everyone who opens their hearts and minds to receive its limpid abundance. Hajj is a manifestation of the unity and solidarity of Muslims.

 

Almighty Allah Most Exalted, has called all Muslims to assemble at a certain place at a certain time and to perform certain rites and movements that symbolize coexistence, harmony and discipline, and to assemble together for several days and nights, its first salient impact is to infuse each one of them with a feeling of love, solidarity and communal unity.The annual Hajj with its sacred rites, rituals and places, must revive the spirit of unity, oneness and greatness in all the Muslims of the world and forge a single united Ummah out of the different nations and tribes. As a single united Ummah we must become united in the exclusive service of Almighty Allah and prepare the ground for the realization of the words of our Glorious Creator and Sustainer in verse 92 of Surah Al-Anbiyaa:

 

"Verily, this Ummah of yours is a single Ummah and I am your Lord, so serve and worship Me."

 

The Hajj of Nabee Ebrahim Alayhi Salatu Wasallam is the same as the Hajj of our Beloved Nabee Muhammad Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam wherein the movement of Tawhid and unity is the driving spirit of all the rites and ceremonies. It is a Hajj that is a source of Baraka'h and guidance and is the main support of the life and strength of the one single united Ummah. It is a Hajj that possesses abundant benefits and is rich with the remembrance of Almighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata'ala, a Hajj wherein the Muslim nations get a concrete feeling of being part of a world-wide Muslim Ummah and are relieved from feelings of weakness, impotence and self-alienation through an invigorating sense of Muhabbat, brotherhood and fraternal closeness with other nations. The true meaning of Hajj is to discover the significance and worth of the great duty to the House of Almighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata'ala. The Hajj is a manifestation of Tawhid (monotheism) and the Ka'bah is the home of Tawhid.

 

The repetitive mention of remembrance of Allah (Dhik'rullah) in the noble verses related to Hajj, indicates the presence in this Sanctuary should have the blessed result of wiping out the traces of every agent aside from Almighty Allah from the mind and conduct of Muslims. The traces of the various forms of Shirk must be wiped out from their life. In its surroundings, the axis and focus of all movement is Almighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata'ala. The Tawaf around the Holy Ka'bah, the Sa'ee between Safa and Marwa, the (Rami) pelting of Shaythaan at the Jamarats, the Wuqoof at Arafat and all other divine rites involved in the Hajj – each of them symbolizes, in its own way, attraction towards Almighty Allah. Repulsion from all negation of any "partners" in regard to Almighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata'ala.

 

This is the "sincere creed" of Nabee Ebrahim Alayhi Salatu Wasallam the great idol-breaker and herald of Tawhid who stands at the apex of history. The Hajj and the great congregation around the House of Tawhid should negate these manifestations of Shirk and warn the Muslims against them. Hajj is a call for the condemnation of Fithnah, hatred, oppression, and repression. The mysteries and secrets underlying Hajj are more than what I have indicated here. A reflection on these secrets, are meant to revive the Islamic personality of the Muslim individual and society and to revive the struggle against the agents hostile to it, opens up a new horizon before the pilgrim and draws him or her towards a world of relentless effort and dynamism.

 

The primary duty of each and every pilgrim is to reflect upon these secrets and to exchange views with other Muslims from all over the world in order to find clues and solutions to solving problems facing and confronting the global Muslim Ummah. Is it not the purpose of Islam and its luminous laws to administer and guide the material and spiritual affairs of human life? Is it not the case that religiosity and politics are inextricably united in the Islamic ethos? Today the Muslim Ummah are once again awakening and rising up to the task of struggling for the sake of Almighty Allah. The aroma of liberty, independence and return to Islam and the Most Holy and Glorious Qur'an has filled the atmosphere in many Islamic countries.

 

It is essential, more than ever before, that they strengthen their bonds with that luminous and miraculous past, with the first era of Islamic struggle and Qiyam for the sake of none other than Almighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata'ala. A true and perfect Hajj is a Hajj worthy of Tawhid. A Hajj that is the mainspring of the love of Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala, and all of humanity, of the rejection of satans, idols and idolaters, such a Hajj would first curb the growth of all problems of the Islamic Ummah and then resolve them, to become a source of honour for Islam and vigour for Muslims and of independence of Islamic countries and their freedom from the evil of the aliens. It is on the basis of such a correct view of the significance of Hajj that should be given top priority in the international agenda in bringing the contemporary Hajj closer to the Hajj of early Islam. Such a Hajj revived the ceremony of disavowal of the polytheists [Bara'ah min al-mushrikin] in Hajj as a symbol of this, and it has pursued the observance of this great Islamic duty despite all the political harassment and obstructionist moves inspired by un-Islamic motives.

 

Hajj is the ideal forum for the awakening of Muslims and revivification of the spirit of Allah wariness and faith in the implementation of the Islamic Shari'ah, as well as a means for the restoration of the honour and independence of the world's Muslims. Hajj teaches us that it is our foremost duty to do what we have to for averting this danger and putting an end to this colossal injustice being perpetrated against Islam and the Muslims all over the world. As sincere Muslims we submit to whatever our Glorious Creator and Maker has willed and we submit to His command. Hajj teaches us that we do not submit to disgrace and to servitude of another than Almighty Allah Jallah Wa'ala. The passing hardships and sorrows encountered will never be able to darken his or her life, however difficult the path to achieving a goal may appear for Almighty Allah declares in verses 5 and 6 of Surah Al-Inshirah:

 

"So, verily, with every difficulty, there is relief.

Verily, with every difficulty there is relief."

 

And this is the Message of Hajj.

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