A Qur’anic Pilgrimage

Since 2012-12-13

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.


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 (upon him be peace), 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 the Most High speaks of this most blessed journey.
The discussion begins with the verse; {And (remember) when We showed Ibrahim (Abraham) the site of the (Sacred) House (the Ka’bah at Makkah) (saying): “Associate not anything (in worship) with Me, [La ilaha ill-Allah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah Islamic Monotheism], and sanctify My House for those who circumambulate it, and those who stand up for prayer, and those who bow (submit themselves with humility and obedience to Allah), and make prostration (in prayer, etc.);”} [Al-Hajj 22:26]
{وَإِذْ بَوَّأْنَا لِإِبْرَاهِيمَ مَكَانَ الْبَيْتِ أَن لَّا تُشْرِكْ بِي شَيْئًا وَطَهِّرْ بَيْتِيَ لِلطَّائِفِينَ وَالْقَائِمِينَ وَالرُّكَّعِ السُّجُودِ} الحج: 26
Transliteration: Waith bawwana liibraheema makana albayti an la tushrik bee shayan watahhir baytiya lilttaifeena waalqaimeena waalrrukkaAAi alssujoodi 
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 (Ka’bah) coupled with pure monotheism as Allah established for Abraham (upon him be peace) His House along with His house rules. In keeping with His guidelines, He articulates acceptable and pleasing behavior: circumambulating, standing, bowing, and prostration – all forms of physical worship. Thus, the verse in question affirms tawheed (monotheism), the action of tawheed (al uluhiyah), the direction (qiblah) of tawheed, and the Prophet of tawheed. 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 circumambulating, standing, bowing, and prostrating; facing the Ka’bah while committing these acts; and following the millah (religion) of Abraham who was a monotheist himself.
Abraham (upon him be peace), the Friend of Allah, is given sole importance in relation to the Ka’bah, and was honoured through being commanded to build the Ka’bah 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 honoured this blessed structure. It is to this end that Umar ibn Al Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said when kissing the black 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,” [Its authenticity is agreed upon by the two Imams, Al Bukhari and Muslim (the wording is for Muslim)]
«والله! إني لأقبلك، وإني أعلم أنك حجر، وأنك لا تضر ولا تنفع. ولولا أني رأيت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قبلك ما قبلتك» متفق عليه واللفظ لمسلم
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 to mankind the Hajj (pilgrimage). They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, they will come from every deep and distant (wide) mountain highway (to perform Hajj). (27) That they may witness things that are of benefit to them (i.e. reward of Hajj in the Hereafter, and also some worldly gain from trade, etc.), and mention the Name of Allah on appointed days (i.e. 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th day of Dhul-Hijjah), over the beast of cattle that He has provided for them (for sacrifice) (at the time of their slaughtering by saying: Bismillah, WAllahu-Akbar, Allahumma Minka wa Ilaik). Then eat thereof and feed therewith the poor who have a very hard time.} [Hajj 22:27-28]
{وَأَذِّن فِي النَّاسِ بِالْحَجِّ يَأْتُوكَ رِجَالًا وَعَلَىٰ كُلِّ ضَامِرٍ يَأْتِينَ مِن كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيقٍ ﴿٢٧﴾ لِّيَشْهَدُوا مَنَافِعَ لَهُمْ وَيَذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللَّـهِ فِي أَيَّامٍ مَّعْلُومَاتٍ عَلَىٰ مَا رَزَقَهُم مِّن بَهِيمَةِ الْأَنْعَامِ ۖ فَكُلُوا مِنْهَا وَأَطْعِمُوا الْبَائِسَ الْفَقِيرَ} الحج: 27-28
Transliteration: Waaththin fee alnnasi bialhajji yatooka rijalan waAAalakulli damirin yateena min kulli fajjin AAameeqin (27)Liyashhadoo manafiAAa lahum wayathkuroo isma Allahi fee ayyamin maAAloomatin AAala ma razaqahum min baheemati alanAAami fakuloo minha waatAAimoo albaisa alfaqeera
After being commanded to build the sanctified structure, Abraham (upon him be peace) was told to call mankind to undertake the pilgrimage.
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. Interestingly Allah states that they {they will come to you} as in to Abraham instead 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.} [Al-’Imran 3:68]
{إِنَّ أَوْلَى النَّاسِ بِإِبْرَاهِيمَ لَلَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُ} آل عمران: 68
Transliteration: Inna awla alnnasi biibraheema lallatheena ittabaAAoohu 
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 the Majestic. As for the worldly gain, it is to gain an income and some profit. Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) 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.” [Tafsir Ibn Kathir (exegesis of 22:28)]
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...} [Al-Baqarah 2:198]
{لَيْسَ عَلَيْكُمْ جُنَاحٌ أَن تَبْتَغُوا فَضْلًا مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ} البقرة: 198
Transliteration: Laysa AAalaykum junahun an tabtaghoo fadlan min rabbikum 
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.
The ‘beast of cattle’ is recorded in the Qur’an as the bahimatul an’aam which are camels, cows, and sheep. This is reiterated by the hadith of Abdullah ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) as narrated by Abu Jamrah Nasr ibn Imran Al Duba’i when he asked Ibn Abbas about the tamattu’ Hajj and sacrifice. [Reported by Al Bukhari]
«سألت ابن باس رضي الله عنهما عن المتعة فأمرني بها، وسألته عن الهدي، فقال: فيها جزور أو بقرة أو شاة أو شرك في دم» رواه البخاري
In reference to the discussion pertaining to the benefits of Hajj, the bahimatul an’aam 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 complete the prescribed duties (Manasik of Hajj) for them, and perform their vows, and circumambulate the Ancient House (the Ka’bah at Makkah).} [Al-Hajj 22:29]
{ثُمَّ لْيَقْضُوا تَفَثَهُمْ وَلْيُوفُوا نُذُورَهُمْ وَلْيَطَّوَّفُوا بِالْبَيْتِ الْعَتِيقِ} الحج: 29
Transliteration: Thumma lyaqdoo tafathahum walyoofoo nuthoorahum walyattawwafoo bialbayti alAAateeqi
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 {Verily, the first House (of worship) appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (Makkah), full of blessing, and a guidance for Al-’Alamin (the mankind and jinns).} [Al-’Imran 3:96]
{إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيْتٍ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِي بِبَكَّةَ مُبَارَكًا وَهُدًى لِّلْعَالَمِينَ} آل عمران: 96
Transliteration: Inna awwala baytin wudiAAa lilnnasi lallathee bibakkata mubarakan wahudan lilAAalameena
Allah then states, {That; and whoso extols the sacred things of Allah, it will be well for him in the sight of his Lord.} [Al-Hajj 22:30]
{ذَٰلِكَ وَمَن يُعَظِّمْ حُرُمَاتِ اللَّـهِ فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّهُ عِندَ رَبِّهِ} الحج: 30
Transliteration: Thalika waman yuAAaththim hurumati Allahi fahuwa khayrun lahu AAinda rabbihi
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, {Thus it is [what has been mentioned in the above said Verses (27, 28, 29, 30, 31) is an obligation that mankind owes to Allah]. And whosoever honours the Symbols of Allah, then it is truly from the piety of the heart.} [Al-Hajj 22:32]
{ذَٰلِكَ وَمَن يُعَظِّمْ شَعَائِرَ اللَّـهِ فَإِنَّهَا مِن تَقْوَى الْقُلُوبِ} الحج: 32
Transliteration: Thalika waman yuAAaththim shaAAaira Allahi fainnaha min taqwa alquloobi
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.
Ahmed Ali
Slightly modified
Source: www.islam21c.com


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