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Why Hajj?

November 7, 2010

The Hajj is full of rites but what do they mean? Why do we have to do this every year?

The biggest event of the Islamic year is the Hajj and it is the biggest religious gathering in the world. At the time of Hajj, the world focuses on Makkah. However looking from the outside, what do all these rites mean?

Well, the essence of Hajj is obedience, loyalty, sacrifice, tribute and remembrance. Obedience, loyalty and sacrifice is to Allah swt and tribute and remembrance is to our forefather Ibrahim (as) and his son Ishmael (as) and their followers. In Hajj, we commemorate them as well as their sacrifice, sincerity, dedication and patience, which constitute the main elements of their legacy. We should not perform Hajj only physically, but spiritually as well. We should try to understand the meaning of every thing we do and see what lessons we can draw. Without these annual gathering, they story of Ibrahim would have slowly gone out of our minds, however is it not insignificant story to be forgotten, by re-enacting their sacrifices, the pilgrims live their actions.

With the talbiyah, the pilgrims remind themselves why they are there and with each utterance, they confirm their commitment with Allah swt. They make this pilgrimage in obedience to Allah swt. Pilgrims come from all corners of the globe in what transport mode, airplanes, ships, cars, animals or trains but all with one purpose.

Here are some symbols of Hajj and the lessons we draw from them:

1 – The Ihram garment: this is a seamless two piece white garment. It is simple, does not have even pockets or buttons or even linings. Its main purpose is to cover. Its significance is unity, equality and simplicity. It is exactly like a shroud. It is a symbol of total renunciation of worldly life in order to get purified and to raise the soul to a high spiritual level of consciousness of Allah and the Eternal life. It makes the pilgrim humble, equal to others, and helpless as if it is the Day of resurrection. The restrictions that come with Ihram, make 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.

2 – Tawaf: the circumbulation of the Ka’aba is to imitate the angels who circumambulate around al-bayt al-Ma’amour – the filled house – above in the seven Heaven as reported in many authentic hadiths. Just as the Black Stone, it is a reminder of the other life after the present one.

3 – Sa’ie: The seven trips between As-Safa and Al-Marwah is to commemorate Haajar. the mother of Ishmael (as) and the wife of Ibrahim (as). She performed Sa’ie when she was looking for water for her son. After she relied on Allah swt and assured Ibrahim (as) that Allah swt won’t leave them without help (he left with them some dates and water but soon it was finished after a couple of days). She was certain that Allah swt would not forsake her and her son. In that remote place, water sprung out from under the feet of Ishmael the baby. After her strong faith in Allah, her sacrifice of searching for water by going back and forth between As-Safaa and Al-Marwah, Allah answered her du’a and blessed her with a water that run and never stopped in an arid and rocky land. She left a great legacy in sacrifice, piety, trust in Allah, and patience. There is a lot to be learnt here.

4 – Arafaat: At this place the pilgrims commemorate the success of the Muslims over the pagans of Makkah. It was the success of truth over falsehood. Here, the Muslim remembers that truth always prevails no matter how long it takes for falsehood and delusion to last and deceive. Arafaat is also the symbol of unity and solidarity because it is a pillar of Hajj that should be done by all the pilgrims in the same place and at the same time following the same way. The day of Arafah reminds us also of the Day of Judgment when we will all stand up waiting for the Just Judgment of Allah Almighty.

5 – Stoning at al-Jamaraat: Pilgrims commemorate Ibrahim (as) and remember how strong and firm he was against satan – our enemy since the time of Adam (as). We should remember how satan does his utmost effort to distract us from doing what we are supposed to do to become closer to Allah swt and to enter Paradise. Allah has told us that satan is our enemy and that we should be constantly in a state of war with him. Stoning also reflects on the great sacrifices Ibrahim (as) had to undergo in offering his son Ishmael that he had to wait for his birth for many decades. In the middle of joy and happiness for becoming a father, Allah swt wanted to see how strong was his commitment to Him. He ordered him to offer the most valuable thing he had; his only son at that time. Ibrahim and Ismael did not fail in that very difficult test and earned the pleasure of Allah. Allah called this trial a great one when He said, “For this was obviously a great trial.”

6 – Hady’: This is the animal sacrifice again to commemorate Allah’s commands to Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ishmael. Both, father and son, accepted this as part of their obedience to Allah swt earning them the rewards. Ishmael was replaced with an animal. Allah says :

“By no means shall you attain righteousness unless you give (freely) of that which you love; and whatever you give, of a truth Allah knows it well.” (3:92)

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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 3, 2013 10:21 am

    Reblogged this on In A Drop Of Water.

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