“We appointed the House to be
A place of visitation for the people,
And a sanctuary.
‘Take to yourselves Abraham’s stationFor a place of prayer.”-[Qur'an 2:125].
In it are clear signs, the standing place of Abraham. 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.-[Qur'an 3:97]
The Hajj is the Pilgrimage to the House of God in Mecca, the holy city, during the month of Dhul Hajj and a mandatory duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking such spiritual journey. The events of Hajj take place in a five-day period, starting on 8th and ending on 12th Dhu al-Hajj, the twelfth and last month of the Islamic calendar. Among these five days, the 9th Dhul-Hajj is known as Day of Arafah, and this day is called the day of Hajj.
The word Hajj means "to intend a journey", which connotes both the outward act of a journey and the inward act of intentions. It is one of the five pillars of Islam, alongside Shahadah, Salat, Zakat, and Sawm. Hajj observed over five or six days, beginning on the eighth day of the last month Dhul-Hajj (pilgrimage) of the lunar year. It is the largest annual gathering of Muslims in the world that demonstrates the solidarity of the Muslim Umma, and their submission to God.
During Hajj, pilgrims join processions of hundreds of thousands of people, who simultaneously converge on Mecca for the week of the Hajj, and perform a series of rituals: These rites include circumambulating the Ka'ba (First House of God on earth) called Tawaf [walks counterclockwise around the Ka'ba] seven times, and during tawaf, pilgrims also include Hateem [an area at the north side of the Ka'ba] –inside their path. Each circuit starts with the kissing or touching of the Hajar al- Aswad [Is a Black Stone, said to have fallen from the Heaven as a guide for Adam where to build Ka'ba, the House of God. It never worshiped and placed neglected as it was in the courtyard of Ka'ba and in CE 605 Muhammad placed it as the Eastern Corner Stone of Ka'ba. And this was mentioned in the Zabur as-
“The stone, that rejected by the Masons
Has become the cornerstone;
The Lord has done this,
And it is marvelous in our eyes" -[Zabur, 118:22-23; Matthew 21:33-42]
In this verses, it is said that the stone, which rejected by the Masons (by Angels- during construction of Ka'ba for Adam, and by Abraham and Ismael- during its reconstruction) has become the cornerstone; The Lord [Muhammad] has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes]
In al-Bukhari (4:381),--al-Azraqi; or, Abraham thereupon begins building while Ishmael hands him the stones. When Abraham tires or the building gets too high for him to reach, Ishmael brings him a large rock upon which he stands. That is the "Maqam Ibrahim". or, The "Maqam" Tradition exhibits a concern for the sanctity of the Ka'ba and the Black Stone, with only the introduction referring to the "Maqam Ibrahim" and no significant concern for a history of Hagar and Ishmael. If Ishmael's stone becomes the "Maqam Ibrahim", then this would be as complete as the "Maqam" Tradition, with explanations of the sanctity of the Ka'ba and its major constituent parts, ...], a site near the Ka'ba, then to drink from the Zamzam Well.
On 9th Dhu al-Hajj before noon, pilgrims arrive at Arafat, a barren and plain land some 20 kilometers east of Mecca, where they stand in contemplative vigil: they offer supplications, repent on and atone for their past sins, and seek mercy of God, and listen to sermon from the Islamic scholars who deliver it from near Jabal al-Rahmah (The Mount of Mercy) from where Muhammad delivered his last sermon. Lasting from noon through sunset, this is known as 'standing before God' (wuquf), one of the most significant Rites of Hajj.
The Pilgrims then must leave Arafah for Muzdalifah [is a place between Arafat and Mina] after sunset. Upon reaching there, they should perform Maghrib and Isha prayer jointly, spend the night praying and sleeping on the ground under the open sky, and gather pebbles for the next day's ritual of stoning the Satan. Back at Mina, the pilgrims perform symbolic stoning of the devil (Ramy al-Jamarat) by throwing seven stones at only the largest of the three pillars, known as Jamrat al-Aqabah from sunrise to sunset. After stoning Satan, the pilgrims then shave their heads, perform a ritual of animal sacrifice for a remembrance of the Sacrifice of Ishmael by Abraham and then with the exchange of greetings and gifts, the celebration of the three-day global festival of Eid al-Adha begins.
Hajj and its rites were first ordained by Allah in the time of Prophet Abraham. According to the History, When Abraham discover the Real God and came to understand that all on earth were in the clear wrong, he dismantled all those false God. And the people brought him to the court to Nimrod. Who ordered to burn him alive publicly. But God saves him in front of the whole country men.
Later, when Ishmael born, Angel Gabriel told him: "Abraham, all the world shall know how God loves you; but how shall the world know the love that you bear to God? Assuredly it is necessary that you do something for the love of God."
Abraham answered: 'Behold the servant of God, ready to do all that which God shall wills.'
So to prove his love, Abraham left his wife Hagar and his only son Ishmael alone in the desert of ancient Mecca. And when the little food and water ended, then Hagar desperately ran seven times between the two hills of Safa and Marwah, in search of passerby for their food and drink, so that she and her son may alive. But she found none. Then she fell on the ground and cried out, "Oh God! Do you not see we are dying? Help us, if You really want to keep us alive."
Back in despair to her child, she saw the baby scratching the ground with his leg and a water fountain underneath. Because of the presence of water, tribes started to settle in Mecca, Jurhum being the first such tribe to arrive.
After a few years when Abraham finds them alive, he was very happy. Then spake God, saying to Abraham: "Take your son, your firstborn; and come up the mountain Marwah [al-Marwah- a mountain now located in the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca] to sacrifice him."
And to prove his love to God, Abraham brought Ismael to the said place and down him and then place the knife on his son's neck. And the very moment God…….
Thus Abraham fulfilled Gods commands, which was only a test.
Later Abraham along with his son Ishmael raised the foundations of Ka'ba. Qur'an says- And when Abraham was raising the foundations of the House and [with him] Ishmael, [saying], "Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed You are the Hearing, the Knowing.-[Quran 2:127].
Our Lord, and make us Muslims to You and from our descendants a Muslim nation to You. And show us our rites and accept our repentance. Indeed, You are the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful.-[Quran 2:128].
Our Lord, and send among them a Messenger from themselves who will recite to them Your verses and teach them the Book and wisdom and purify them. Indeed, You are the Exalted in Might, the Wise."-[Quran 2:129].
This prayer was granted and God gave him a “Glad Tidings” saying: "Behold, in your seed I will bless all the tribes of the earth; and as you have broken in pieces the idols, O Abraham;, even, so shall your seed do."-[GOB]
Then Abraham and his son Ishmael raised Ka'ba, the 1st house of God on earth ["The first house (of worship) ever to be built was that at Bekka, a blessed place and a beacon for nations." (3:96)]. According to Shibli Nomani, it was 27 feet high, 96 feet long, and 66 feet wide. After the completion of Ka'ba, it is said in the Qur'an,- "And We enjoined Ibrahim and Ismail saying: Purify My House for those who visit (it) and those who abide (in it) for devotion and those who bow down (and) those who prostrate themselves.-[Qur'an 2:125].
And they prayed, as said in the Qur'an,- And when Abraham said, "My Lord, make this a secure city and provide its people with fruits - whoever of them believes in Allah and the Last Day."
[Allah] said. "And whoever disbelieves - I will grant him enjoyment for a little; then I will force him to the punishment of the Fire, and wretched is the destination."-[Qur'an 2:126].
And God commanded Abraham to proclaim the Hajj to the mankind, as said in the Qur'an- "And proclaim the Hajj among mankind. They will come to thee on foot and mounted) on every camel, lean on account of journeys through deep and distant mountain highways."-[Qur'an 22:27]
Abraham pleaded, "O Allah! How shall my voice reach all of those people?"
God told him that his duty was only to give the call and it was up to Him to make it reach the people. Abraham then climbed Mount Arafat and called out in his loudest voice, "O People! Verily Allah has prescribed upon you Hajj, so perform Hajj."
To this very day, millions upon millions of Muslims continue to answer the call of Abraham. However, with the course of time both the form and goal of Hajj rites were changed. The process of distortion reached its peak with the introduction of idols to the Ka'ba. Many major tribes with their allies and slaves used to come to Mecca and encamp there separately. Poets praised the bravery, renown, dignity, strength, and generosity of their fellow tribesmen. They also satirized the other tribes by inventing exaggerated tales of the latter cowardice, stinginess, and weakness.
Competitions in generosity were also staged. In order to assert his superiority, the chief of every tribe set up huge cauldrons, slaughtered numerous camels and cooked the flesh which was then freely distributed for the "pilgrims". The sole objective of this extreme generosity was for their name to be exalted in the whole of Arabia and for it to be publicized that this person slaughtered so many camels and gave food to so many people. Singing, drinking, adultery and various kinds of immorality were indulged in, and the thought of God scarcely occurred to anybody.
The religious rites of Tawaf were reduced to a circus. Women and men went round and round the Ka'ba performing Tawaf stark naked. They said: "We shall go before God in the same condition in which our mothers gave birth to us."
Prayer in the Masjid of Abraham was accompanied by hand-clapping, whistling and the blowing of horns. The name of God was pronounced in the prayer of intent known as Talbiyah (Labbayka Allahumma Labbayk: "Here I am present, My Lord, I am present.") However, even this expression of reverence was distorted the following additions: "No one is your partner except one who is permitted by you. You are his master and the master of what he possesses."
Sacrifices were also made in the name of God; however, the blood of the sacrificed animals was poured on the walls of the Ka'ba in the belief that Allah demanded flesh and blood. Even the four months of Hajj (Shawwal, Dhul-Qa'dah, Dhul-Hajj, and Muharram), which Prophet Abraham had declared as sacred and free from war and bloodshed were not safe from their tampering. Later generations paid little regard to the sanctity of these months, and when they wanted to fight, they merely turned a sacred month into the ordinary month for that year, then compensated for it in the next year.
Some people who were good intentioned in religion used to set out for Hajj without any provision for the journey and traveled there begging food along the way. They considered this form of begging an act of piety. They claimed that they were Mutawakkilun (those having full trust in God) and that they were proceeding towards the House of God, therefore, they were not in need of worldly materials. Doing business or working for one's livelihood during the Hajj journey was considered unlawful. Others used to give up food and water during Hajj and regarded this abstention as part of worship, while others stopped talking from the beginning of Hajj until its end.
These distorted Hajj rites continued to be practiced for nearly two and a half thousand years. No Arab Prophet was born during this long period, nor did any Prophet's genuine teaching reach the people of Arabia. Ultimately, however, the time arrived for granting the (prayer) of the Prophet Abraham which he had invoked while raising the walls of the Ka'ba.
Consequently, a man arose from the progeny of Abraham, who revived the same genuine and pure religion which was taught by Prophet Abraham.6+ He completed the mission of purifying the Ka'ba and establishing God's religion as the law of the land, and he again declared the Ka'ba as the universal center for worshippers of the one True God.
Along with the revival of Hajj, all the deviant and idolatrous customs of the period of ignorance which had become rampant since the time of Prophet Abraham were completely eliminated. All the idols in Ka'ba were smashed and removed, and the worshipping of other than Allah that was being done there was stopped. All invented rituals were wiped out and all fairs and carnivals were stopped. Furthermore, it was ordered that Allah's worship should only be carried out in the prescribed manner. The Prophet said: "Take your rites of Hajj from me alone." All indecent acts were strictly banned in Qur'an: There is to be no lewdness or wrangles during Hajj. -[Qur'an 2:197]
Competitions among poets in the exaltation's of their forefathers and clansmen's achievements were all stopped. Instead, Allah told them: And when you have completed your rites (of Hajj), then remember Allah as you used to remember your fathers, nay with a more vigorous remembrance. -[Qur'an 2:200]
All competitions in generosity which were meant solely for pride and fame were terminated and in their place was revived the system which existed in Abraham's day, whereby animals would be slaughtered exclusively in the name of Allah in order that poor pilgrims may be fed during Hajj. Allah said: Eat and drink but do not be excessive. Verily He does not love the wasteful. -[Qur'an 7:31] So mention the name of Allah over these animals when they are drawn up in lines. Then when their flanks fall (dead), eat from them and feed the beggar and the supplicant. -[Qur'an 22:36]
The practice of spattering the blood of the sacrificed animals on the walls of Ka'ba and throwing off their flesh there was also stopped. Allah informed them that: Their flesh and their blood do not reach Allah, but it is the devotion from you that reaches Him. -[Qur'an 22:37]
Circling the Ka'ba in a state of nudity was strictly prohibited by the Prophet on Allah's command. And Allah further explained: who has forbidden the adornment (dress) given by Allah which he has brought forth for his servants. -[Qur'an 7:32]
It was also strictly prohibited to interchange the months of Hajj so as to turn the Haram months in Halal ones for the purpose of battle. Allah said: Postponement (of the sacred month) is only an excess of disbelief whereby those who disbelieve are misled. They allow it one year and forbid it another year so that they may make up the number of the months which Allah has allowed in order to permit what Allah has forbidden. -[Qur'an 9:37]
It was also prohibited to start for Hajj without taking provision and Allah said: You must make provision for the journey because (not to take provision for a journey in the world does not mean taking provision for the Hereafter) the best provision for the Hereafter is piety. -[Qur'an 2:197]
It was formerly considered an act of piety not to trade during Hajj because it was regarded as being unlawful in this condition to utilize sources of livelihood. This concept was also rejected by Allah who said: It is no sin for you that you seek the bounty of your Lord (by trading). -[Qur'an 2:198]
The system of performing Hajj without talking, without eating and without drinking was ended. After abolishing all other pre-Islamic customs. Hajj was made a model of piety, fear of Allah, purity, simplicity, and austerity. When the pilgrims set out from their homes, they were ordered to purify themselves of all worldly pollution, abandon sexual relations with their wives and abstain from filthy language and indecent acts.
On all roads leading to Ka'ba, marks were fixed from scores of miles away to indicate that before proceeding beyond these limits, all pilgrims must put on the simple dress of Ihram, which consisted of only two sheets for men, so that the rich and the poor may become equal, distinctions of different nationalities may be eliminated and all may appear in the court of Allah in a state of oneness as worshipper full of humility. It was made Haram, to kill any animal while in a state of Ihram or even speak of killing a human being. The object was to create an atmosphere of peace and to make the minds of the pilgrims spiritually inclined.
The four months of Hajj were again made sacred so that peace would reign on all roads leading to the Ka'ba and no pilgrim would be molested en route. When the pilgrims reached the Ka'ba in this manner, there were no festivals or carnivals, no fun and games and no frolic and revelry. There should only be the remembrance of Allah at every step. There are prayers, animal sacrifices, and circling of the Ka'ba. The only Talbiyah which proclaimed in a loud voice is: "Here I am present, Oh Allah for you I am present. I am present. You have no partner, I am present. Verily all praise and blessings are due to you. And to you belongs the entire sovereignty. You have no partner."
The Prophet Muhammad said the following about a neat, clean, selfless and sincere Hajj: "Whoever performs Hajj solely for Allah and in the course of it abstains from sensual and sinful acts, he will return as pure as a new-born child."
Amr ibn al-As narrates, "When Islam entered my heart, I went to the Prophet and said, 'Give me your hand so that I may pledge allegiance to you.' The Prophet spread his hand, but I withdrew mine.
He said, 'What is wrong Amr?'
I said, 'I want to make a condition.'
'And what is that?' he said.
I said, 'That Allah will forgive me.'
Then the Messenger of Allah said, 'Did you not know that Islam wipes out what came before it, and that Hijra wipes out what came before it and that Hajj wipes out what came before it!" -[Sahih Muslim].
Hajj is the fifth pillar upon which Islam stands. Allah made it compulsory upon every able Muslim male and female to perform it, at least once in a lifetime. Allah revealed: "Hajj thereto is a duty mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the journey, but if any deny faith, Allah stands not in need of any of His creatures." -[Qur'an 3:97]
Performance of the Hajj washes away all sins. Abu Hurayrah narrates: I heard the Prophet say, "Whoever performs Hajj and does not commit any Rafath (obscenity) or Fusuq (transgression), he returns (free from sin) as the day his mother bore him" -[Sahih Bukhari].
Hajj is one of the greatest deeds one can accomplish in his or her lifetime. Abu Hurayrah narrates: The Prophet was asked, "What deed is the best?"
He said, "Iman in Allah and His Messenger."
"Jihad in the sake of Allah."
"Hajj Mabrur, a Hajj accepted by Allah."
Abu Sha'tha' said, "I contemplated the good deeds that a person does. I found that Salah, as well as fasting, are a jihad of the body. And that Sadaqah is a jihad of someone's wealth. But Hajj is a jihad of both body and wealth."
Is Hajj the greatest jihad?.
Aysha asked the Prophet, "We find that jihad is the best deed, shouldn't we (women) do jihad?"
The Prophet replied, "Rather the best jihad is a Hajj Mabrur!"
Aysha later said, "I'll never cease performing Hajj after I heard that from the prophet of Allah".
The Prophet said, "The soldier in the path of Allah and the one who performs Hajj and the one who performs Umrah, all are the delegation of Allah! He called them and they answered. And they asked Him, and He shall grant them (what they ask for)!" -[bn Majah; Ibn Hibban].
It was narrated that on the day of Arafat, a man from Turkmenistan stood on the plains of Arafat in Hajj. To his left, all he could see was Muslims crying and praying to Allah. To his right, all he could see was Muslims crying and praying to Allah. Because of his native tongue, he could not imitate the lengthy prayers of the others. At this realization, everything blurred in front of him. His face reddened, his eyes poured tears as he raised his hands, "O Allah! Grant me everything that they are asking for! Grant me everything that they are asking for!" And it is said that his Du'a accepted.
There is not a single day that the sun has come up on more beloved to Allah than the Day of Arafat. The Prophet said, "There is no day on which Allah frees more of His slaves from Fire than the Day of Arafat, and He verily draws near, then boasts of them before the angels, saying: 'What do they seek?'" -[Sahih Muslim].
And in another Hadith: "Verily Allah boasts of the people of Arafat before the people of Heaven (angels) saying: 'Look to my servants who have come to Me disheveled and dusty.'"
Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak narrates: I went to Sufyan ibn al-Uyaynah as the day of Arafat was setting. He sat on his knees, his hands raised to the Heavens, and tears moistened his cheeks and beard. He turned and looked at me, so I asked him, "Amongst the people who have gathered here for Hajj, who is in the worst state?"
Sufiyan ibn al-Uyaynah said, "He who thinks that Allah will not forgive him."
Aysha would see the Prophet standing in prayer at night so much so that his feet would crack. She would ask him, "Why do you do this when Allah has forgiven all your sins, the past and anything you may do in the future?"
And he would reply, "Shouldn't I be a thankful slave?"
With this example of the Prophet, what should our attitude be when we hear of Paradise and forgiveness of sin for those who perform Hajj? Does it mean that after Hajj we fall back into all the disobedience that we went to Hajj with? Does it mean that we are promised Jannah no matter what sin we do after Hajj? Many people think this to be the case and it is a very dangerous presumption. So we have to discuss the term "Hajj Mabrur".
What does Mabrur mean?
A Mabrur Hajj is one in which Allah is not disobeyed during or after. Others have said that a Hajj Mabrur is one that is accepted, and the sign of its acceptance is that a person will go back in a better state than when he came, and that he will discontinue the sins that were between him and Allah.
When Ibn Omar was on his deathbed and his son reminded him of all the good deeds that he did with the Prophet and the companions. He told him, "Quiet! Don't you know whom Allah accepts from? Verily Allah only accepts from the God-Fearing -[Al-Muttaqun]."
When Ali ibn al-Husayn wore his Ihram towels and sat upright on his camel in preparation for the journey to Mecca, his face changed color, his skin shivered and he cried, unable to say the Talbiyah, "Labbayk, Allahumma Labbayk".
Someone asked him, "What's wrong?"
And he replied, "I'm afraid that when I say it, it shall be replied, 'La Labbayka wa La Sa'dayk'."
With that spirit, Muslim should march forward in the search of the Mercy of Allah and His forgiveness, to the "First House of God" on earth, to Hajj.
Indeed, the Prophet said, "And there is no reward for an accepted Hajj except Jannah!"
And in Qur'an it is said-"Verily the first House set apart unto mankind was that at Beca, blest, and a guidance unto the worlds."-[3:96]
So Muslims embark on Hajj to Beca [Beca is used for Mecca in 3:96, while Mecca is used in 48:24. The language used in the southern portion of the Arabian Peninsula at the time of the Prophet Muhammad, alphabet 'b' and 'm' were interchangeable.-[Philip K. Hitti, 1973. Capital cities of Arab Islam. p. 6] Also, there is a mention of the Valley of Beca in the Book of Psalms.
"Blessed are they that dwell in thy house;
They will still be praising thee. Selah.
Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee;
In whose heart are the ways of them.
Who passing through the valley of Beca
Make it a well," -(Psalm. 84:4-6)
The word Beca, according to Bible 'a valley of weeping', but in a better sense it 'signifies rather any Valley lacking water'. And, this waterless valley, which can easily be identified with the valley of Mecca. And, to some, Beca is a valley where certain trees grow that are called בכאים "Beca-trees"] to obtain the blessings and the Guidance of Allah. Hajj serves not just as a Spiritual Journey but also as a means to seeking forgiveness for the mistakes of the past as well. Muslim pilgrims visit Mount Arafat, also called Jabal al-Rahmah [Mount of Mercy], as they take part in the hajj rituals in Mecca. Muslims embark on Hajj so that their sins may forgiven by Allah, The Merciful.
An integral part of the Hajj is the visit to Mount Arafah, where the Prophet Muhammad prayed on the ninth of Dhul Hajj when he made Hajj. The Day of Arafah is a day of atonement when we stand in prayer from just after the sun reaches its zenith during midday until sunset. If one stands in Arafah in sincere devotion and sincerely repents of his sins, all his sins will be forgiven.
It was probably the most difficult physically and spiritually of the entire trip. But it was also extremely beautiful and cleansing. The most beautiful time came when it was close to sunset and hundreds of people gathered on a hillside, facing the Ka'ba in the West, to make supplications while the sun was setting. All this was done while one imam made the supplications, called Dua's, out loud. It was extremely powerful and many people were crying.
During the pilgrimage, Muslims from all over the world gather together for five days to pray as one community and celebrate the history of their faith. From the Masjid al- Haram, or Grand Mosque, complex to the hills of Mina, the rites include circling the Ka'ba seven times and visiting sites of historical and religious importance. The holiday of Eid al-Adha takes place several days into hajj and commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael in obedience to God.
Is not it fulfilled through Hajj, what was promised to Abraham?
And, when Abraham was tried by his Lord with commands and he fulfilled them. [Allah] said, "Indeed, I will make you a leader for the people."-[Qur'an 2:124].
Hajj brings together and unites the Muslims from different parts of the world irrespective of their race, color, and culture, which acts as a symbol of equality. However, Hajj is associated with religious as well as social significance. Apart from being an obligatory religious duty, Hajj is seen to have a spiritual merit that provides an opportunity of self-renewal. Hajj serves as a reminder of the Day of Judgment when people will stand before God. Hadith articulates various merits a Pilgrim achieves upon successful completion of their Hajj. After pilgrimage, pilgrims titled with "al-Hajj", and are respected in Muslim society.
Not Yet Verified.
http://www.performhajj.com. Hajj in Pre-Islamic Times, Dr. Bilal Philips,
http://www.performhajj.com. The Call of Ibrahim, By Muhammad Al-Shareef,
Safi-ur-Rehman al-Mubarkpuri (2002). The Sealed Nectar.