HAJJ- The Pilgrimage In Islam

HAJJ- The Pilgrimage In Islam


Pilgrimage is a spiritual provision for the Muslim. It fills his soul with obedience, fear of Allah, repentence from sins, love for the memory of the stuggle between right and wrong; and it reminds him of the overthrow of the idols and establishment of the worship of the One God. The pilgrimage fills his heart with the brotherly feelings because it bids him remember that all his brother Muslims are facing towards the same sacred spot; that he is one of a great company of believers; united by one faith filled with the same hopes reverencing the same things worshipping the same God. It moreover may be considered a world conference for all Muslims; a conference that is called for by Allah for the noble purposes. These around and inside the sacred House of “ the land made safe” the Muslim meets his brothers in religion from all parts of the world.

The eyes of the whole Muslim World fixed on that central spot, keep alive in the bossom of each some spark of the Divine fire which lighted up the earth in that age of darkness. The Holy Quran says:

إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيۡتٍ۬ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِى بِبَكَّةَ مُبَارَكً۬ا وَهُدً۬ى لِّلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ (٩٦) فِيهِ ءَايَـٰتُۢ بَيِّنَـٰتٌ۬ مَّقَامُ إِبۡرَٲهِيمَ‌ۖ وَمَن دَخَلَهُ ۥ كَانَ ءَامِنً۬ا‌ۗ وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى ٱلنَّاسِ حِجُّ ٱلۡبَيۡتِ مَنِ ٱسۡتَطَاعَ إِلَيۡهِ سَبِيلاً۬‌ۚ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَنِىٌّ عَنِ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ (<٩٧)

“Lo! the first Sanctuary appointed for mankind was that at Mecca, a blessed place, a guidance to the peoples; Wherein are plain memorials (of Allah’s guidance); the place where Abraham stood up to pray; and whosoever entereth it is safe. And pilgrimage to the House is a duty unto Allah for mankind, for him who can find a way thither. As for him who disbelieveth, (let him know that) lo! Allah is Independent of (all) creatures.” (Al-Imran 96-97)

One of the major significances of the pilgrimage is that it reminds us of the fine example of the great Prophet Ibrahim. There is much to know about this wonderful man called “Khalil Allah”, ‘the friend of Allah’. His life as very long and spent in the service of His Lord. The faith which Ibrahim taught, the faith that all the prophets taught, the faith that Muhammad, the last prophet taught is the faith of One God, Allah. Ibrahim was the father of the upright religion. As the Holy Quran says:

مَا كَانَ إِبۡرَٲهِيمُ يَہُودِيًّ۬ا وَلَا نَصۡرَانِيًّ۬ا وَلَـٰكِن كَانَ حَنِيفً۬ا مُّسۡلِمً۬ا وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ ٱلۡمُشۡرِكِينَ

“Abraham was not a Jew, nor yet a Christian; but he was an upright man who had surrendered (to Allah), and he was not of the idolaters.” (AL-Imran 67)

To Understand the true significance of the pilgrimage and the Eid Al Adha ( the sacrificial feast which takes place on the 10th of DhulHijja), we must recall Ibrahim’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 testing for us that we may prove ourselves in the process of strengthening our faith and character. From the very beginning Ibrahim’s life was separated from others by hand of Allah. At his birth his mother had to hide in a cave to escape the soldiers of king Namrood, who, because of a certain dream, had ordered the killing of all newborn children who were male. When still a youth he had a great spiritual experience which gave an indication of his future life.

He taught his people that there is a supreme Being, infinite and transcendent, abocve and beyond limited, human comprehension. He is the All Kind, All Knowing, nobody is asked for mercy or help save Him. He is the Only one who is distinguished by worship and He is the Sole cherisher of human kind. It one follows the logical and simple proofs set out by the Prophet Ibrahim to his people then one comes up the the ultimate conclusion that from him spread out the eternally vibrant rays of Islam. Now wonder that Ibrahim is linked to the Muslim nation with string bond. The Quran tells of many happenings in Ibrahim’s life. One day Ibrahim asked his people : “ what are these idols of worship? You are wrong in doing so”. They replied “ Our fathers did, so do we”.

Once while he was walking to his father;s house the day gradually faded. Night came and a star appeared, when he saw this star he said: “ that is my Lord”, But when it disappeared he said : “O I do not love the things that set” Then he saw the moon appear and said : “ that is my Lord”, When this also set he said : “Surely if my Lord does not guide me I shall go astray and become one of the lost”. Then sun rose an he said : “ That is my Lord who is the greatest of all”.

But this also set and when it did so he said : “O my people: I am free from your idolatry. See, I turn my face to creator of the heaven and earth”. After this, there came a time when the people left the town and Ibrahim remained behind. While they were gone, he took an exe and went to the temple where the idols stood. Then he broke them into pieces and scarrered them all except one large idol into whose hand he put the axe. When the people returned and saw what happened in their temple they accused Ibrahim of the deed and questioned him saying: “ Are you the man who did this to our Gods?” Ibrahim answered them: “ Surely the largest of them has done this thing. Ask them, if they are able to speak”. The people were confused and said” “ you know well that they cannot speak”. Then Ibrahim replied : “ Do you then, disregarding Allah, the Lord of the Universe, worship those things that cannot help or harm you? Shame on you and your worship of idols”. The people could not answer and were furious with him. As punishment they threw him into a furnace, but Allah protected him and he left the fire completely unharmed.

Then the Prophet Ibrahim had to make a supreme sacrifice. He was going to sacrifice his only son Ismail to his Lord who had put him to such a hard and severe test. In a dream he was commanded by Allah to sacrifice his son. When he told his son of his dream, he understood and told his father that he must do what he thought he had to do. Together they went to a certain place in the valley of Mina and there prepared a place for sacrifice. When it was ready Ismail laid himself down on the alter and exposed his throat to his father’s knife.

Ibrahim stood over his son, knife in hand, about to take the life of his beloved son. What courage and faith this father and son had, for this was no easy thing to do for either of the,, for the one to take the life of his son and for the other to submit himself to his father’s wish: both of them submitting to the Will of Allah. Just as Ibrahim’s knife was about to descent to his son’s throat he heard the bleating of a ram and suddenly saw the animal, an, Divine voice commanded him : “ this animal will be sacrificed and not your son”. Then taking the ram which had miraculously appeared he obediently made a sacrifice to his Lord Who put him to this particular sacrifice.

It was this man and his son who rebuilt the first sanctuary on earth, the Ka’ba at Makkah. It is to this holy place that all Muslims turn at the time of prayers and make pilgrimage. It is something wonderful and unforgettable to gaze upon the Ka’ba, for there is concentrated the adoration of millions. The Ka’ba is an inescapable part of the Islamic religion. Islam rejects all forms idolatrous worship and the Ka’ba is but a holy place where man has worshipped Allah since the time of Adam, no more, no less.

There are many traditions and legends surrounding the Ka’ba and Black stone but it iss accepted by all Muslims that the Ka’ba is the first sanctuary to be erected on earth and was rebuilt by Ibrahim and his son Ismail. The Black stone is the Only original stone left after many centuries and many reconstructions. Historical references to the Ka’ba is very limited before Islam, and only begins at the time of Muhammad ( peace be upon him), when the Ka’ba was destroyed by fire and was rebuilt of stone and wood.

It is reported that when the ttime came to replace the Black stone, the people of Makkah quarreled for the honour and so Muhammad, placing the stone on his cloak, ordered the chiefs to take each end and carry it, and he himself placed it in its position. Thanks to his wisdom, everyone was pleased and no was offended. At that time Ka’ba became a place of heathen worship and when the Prophet conquered Makkah there were found nearly 400 idols around the Ka’ba. All these were destroyed and the building was purified to become once again a place of true worship, and all idolators were forbidden to enter Makkah. In the 10th year A.H , the Prophet led the first pilgrimage in which no idolator was present. At this time, the guardianship of the Ka’ba was entrusted to Uthman, and BanuShaiba have retained this title until the present day.

The Ka’ba is a simple stone structure about fifty feet square which stands on a marble base in the middle of a the great Mosque of Makkah. In the eastern corner of the room is the Black stone. The four corners of the Ka’ba indicate the cardinal points of the compass. There is a very interesting view in Islamic cosmology which states that before the world was created Ka’ba was a focus in the flux of pre-existence and that the world was formed from this particular point.

Thus it becomes the navel of earth. Also in cosmography, the Ka’ba corresponds with the pole star and as the latter is the highest point in the heavens, so the former is highest point in the earth. The Following is the prayers of Ibrahim from the Holy Quran:

وَإِذۡ قَالَ إِبۡرَٲهِيمُ رَبِّ ٱجۡعَلۡ هَـٰذَا ٱلۡبَلَدَ ءَامِنً۬ا وَٱجۡنُبۡنِى وَبَنِىَّ أَن نَّعۡبُدَ ٱلۡأَصۡنَامَ (٣٥) رَبِّ إِنَّہُنَّ أَضۡلَلۡنَ كَثِيرً۬ا مِّنَ ٱلنَّاسِ‌ۖ فَمَن تَبِعَنِى فَإِنَّهُ ۥ مِنِّى‌ۖ وَمَنۡ عَصَانِى فَإِنَّكَ غَفُورٌ۬ رَّحِيمٌ۬ (٣٦) رَّبَّنَآ إِنِّىٓ أَسۡكَنتُ مِن ذُرِّيَّتِى بِوَادٍ غَيۡرِ ذِى زَرۡعٍ عِندَ بَيۡتِكَ ٱلۡمُحَرَّمِ رَبَّنَا لِيُقِيمُواْ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ فَٱجۡعَلۡ أَفۡـِٔدَةً۬ مِّنَ ٱلنَّاسِ تَہۡوِىٓ إِلَيۡہِمۡ وَٱرۡزُقۡهُم مِّنَ ٱلثَّمَرَٲتِ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَشۡكُرُونَ (٣٧)

“And when Abraham said: My Lord! Make safe this territory, and preserve me and my sons from serving idols. (35) My Lord! Lo! they have led many of mankind astray. But whoso followeth me, he verily is of me. And whoso disobeyeth me – Still Thou art Forgiving, Merciful. (36) Our Lord! Lo! I have settled some of my posterity in an uncultivable valley near unto Thy holy House, our Lord! that they may establish proper worship; so incline some hearts of men that they may yearn toward them, and provide Thou them with fruits in order that they may be thankful. “

( Surah Ibrahim 35- 37 )

In the conference of Pilgrimage Muslims meet in the service of Allah exchanging ideas, investigating their problems and strengthening the bonds of fraternity and unity. The pilgrimage also adds to man’s knowledge and experience. Differences of color, race and nationality are leveled off and the real bond among them is sincere brotherhood.

In one of the earliest revelations of the Quran Makkad is described as “ the Land made safe”. In another revelation it is referred to as follows:

لَآ أُقۡسِمُ بِہَـٰذَا ٱلۡبَلَدِ (١) وَأَنتَ حِلُّۢ بِہَـٰذَا ٱلۡبَلَدِ (٢) وَوَالِدٍ۬ وَمَا وَلَدَ (٣)

“Nay, I swear by this city – And thou art an indweller of this city, And the begetter and that which he begat, “

( Surah Al Balad 1-3)

In another verse of the Quran Abraham is spoken of : “ And when We assigned to Abraham the place of the House saying , Do not set up aught with Me and purify My house for those who bow and prostrate themselves”. Then addressing Abraham , the revelation continues: and proclaim unto mankind the pilgrimage. They will come unto thee on feet and on every lean camel; they will come from every deep ravine. That they may witness things that are of benefit to them, and mention the name of Allah on appointed days over the best of cattle that He hath bestowed upon them. Then eat thereof and feed therewith the poor unfortunate. Then let them make an end of their unkemptness and pay their vows and go around the ancient House”.

As a historical evidence of antiquity of Ka’ba the Holy Quran proclaims the ka’ba as the first house of Divine worship on earth. In one place it is call “ Al- Bait al- Atiq” or the Ancient House. It is also called as ‘Bait al- Haram’ which carries the meaning of ‘forbidden’; in other words, a place whereof the sanctity must not be violated. There is nothing in the Holy Quran to show when and by whom the Ka’ba was first built. The Quran makes it clear that the Ka’a was already there when Abraham left Ismail in the wilderness of Arabia as the Quran said : “ I have settled some of my offspring in a valley unproductive near Thy sacred house…”

It also appears from this verse : “… And when AAbraham and Ismail raised the foundations of the House…”, that the Ka’ba was rebuilt by Abraham and Ismail. It appears from this that Ismail and his mother had been purposely left near the sacred House. When Abraham left them in the wilderness of Arabia the ka’ba was in a demolition. After that the father and the son rebuilt the House.

As the city of Ka’ba which is the first sanctuary to be erected for mankind on earth, Makkah is called in the Quran “ Mother of villages”. The eyes of the whole Muslim world are fixed on that central spot which saw the first rays of the Divine Guidance. The Sacred house of Makkah is called Ka’ba on account of its glory and exaltation, for the root word Ka’ba means : to become prominent, high or exalted.

All Mosques of the world are built facing it. It should be born in mind that the clear object of Qibla is to bring unity of purpose. So as Muslims have all one centre to turn to, they must set one goal before themselves. The city of Makkah is situated in the centre of all great Sacred places of the Muslim world.

The Prophet’s Mosque of Madina, Al-Aqsa mosque of Jerusalem, Umayyad Mosque of Damascuss, Al-Azhar Mosque of Cairo and all the mosques of the world are connected with the Sacred House of Makkah, as it is the direction of all the mosques around the world, and the central point of the Muslims. The significance of this land and its connection with the Father of Prophets, Abraham, the ancestor of the Arabs, Ismail and the last of the prophets Muhammad (peace be upon him ) find clear mentions in the following verses; the Holy Quran referred to the prayers offered by Abraham and Ismail after the completion of the rebuilding of Ka’ba at Makkah:

رَبَّنَا وَٱجۡعَلۡنَا مُسۡلِمَيۡنِ لَكَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِنَآ أُمَّةً۬ مُّسۡلِمَةً۬ لَّكَ وَأَرِنَا مَنَاسِكَنَا وَتُبۡ عَلَيۡنَآ‌ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلتَّوَّابُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ (١٢٨) رَبَّنَا وَٱبۡعَثۡ فِيهِمۡ رَسُولاً۬ مِّنۡہُمۡ يَتۡلُواْ عَلَيۡہِمۡ ءَايَـٰتِكَ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ وَٱلۡحِكۡمَةَ وَيُزَكِّيہِمۡ‌ۚ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلۡعَزِيزُ ٱلۡحَكِيمُ

“Our Lord! And make us submissive unto Thee and of our seed a nation submissive unto Thee, and show us our ways of worship, and relent toward us. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Relenting, the Merciful. Our Lord! And raise up in their midst a messenger from among them who shall recite unto them Thy revelations, and shall instruct them in the Scripture and in wisdom and shall make them grow. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Mighty, Wise.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 128-129)

The pilgrimage was enjoined in the 9th year after Hijra. This is to be performed in the first nine days of the month of DhulHijj.

The Holy Quran honours the months of pilgrimage and calls them the sacred months because fighting, war and aggression were prohibited in those months since the building of the sacred House. The Holy Quran declares:

إِنَّ عِدَّةَ ٱلشُّہُورِ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ ٱثۡنَا عَشَرَ شَہۡرً۬ا فِى ڪِتَـٰبِ ٱللَّهِ يَوۡمَ خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَ مِنۡہَآ أَرۡبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ۬‌ۚ ذَٲلِكَ ٱلدِّينُ ٱلۡقَيِّمُ‌ۚ فَلَا تَظۡلِمُواْ فِيہِنَّ أَنفُسَڪُمۡ‌ۚ وَقَـٰتِلُواْ ٱلۡمُشۡرِڪِينَ كَآفَّةً۬ ڪَمَا يُقَـٰتِلُونَكُمۡ ڪَآفَّةً۬‌ۚ وَٱعۡلَمُوٓاْ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلۡمُتَّقِينَ

“Lo! the number of the months with Allah is twelve months by Allah’s ordinance in the day that He created the heavens and the earth. Four of them are sacred: that is the right religion. So wrong not yourselves in them. And wage war on all of the idolaters as they are waging war on all of you. And know that Allah is with those who keep their duty (unto Him)” (Surah Al-Thowba 36)

The months of pilgrimage are Shawwal, DhulQa’da, DhulHijja and Muharram. This tradition was meant to give security to the pilgrims and the vistors to Makkah.

The first thing to be done in pilgrimage us the entry into the state of pilgrimage by “ihram”. Ihram has two aspects : the first is to declare the intention to perform pilgrimage for th sake of Allah. The intention is combined with casting off all seamed and sewn clothes and shunning all kinds of luxury, ornamentation, obscene talk and offences. As regards women pilgrims they are clad in a long garment reaching from head to foot and revealing only the face and palm of the hands. The second aspect of Ihram is the call of “Talbia”. Entering the state of Ihram the pilgrim shall raise his voice and say: “ Here I am, O my Lord at your Presence”. This is the sign of obedience to show himself completely to the Ordinance of Allah.

The other important requirement is making circuits round the ka’ba, called ‘Tawwaf’. When the pilgrim reaches makkah, he goes round the Ka’ba seven times beginning from the side of the Black Stone. The next step is running between ‘Safa and Marwa’. Then the pilgrim starts for going to Arafat provided he reaches his destination on the 9th day of the month of DhulHijja. The devotion of standing at Arafat is the most important of all pilgrimage actions, so that the Prophet said “ pilgrimage is standing at Arafat”.

When the pilgrim leaves Arafat he passes by the place known as ‘ Al- Muzdalifa” where he has to spend the night. The pilgrim reaches the area ‘Mina’ on the morning of the 10th day of month of DhulHijja, in which the pilgrim casts seven stones known as ‘Jamarathul Aqaba”.

Then the Pilgrim performs the sacrifice of a sheep, a goat, a cow, or even a camel according to his means. This ceremony concludes the pilgrimage and the pilgrim is now allowed to chave or cut short his hair and to replace pilgrim’s clothes by the usual dress. Then he has to perfom the ‘tawwaf al –Ifada’.

Before leaving Makkah he has to perform the circuits round the Ka’ba as farewell salute to the Sacred house. It is called the ‘farewell circuits’. It is regarded highly meritorious act to drink of the water of the famous well near the Ka’ba known as ZamZam well, and go to Madina to visit the mosque of the Prophet and pray there and say Salam to the Prophet. Then the Pilgrim returns back with heart – felt pleasure and satisfaction.