Hajj

Hajj

Hajj in Islam is one of the great worship acts and is considered as a pillar of Islam. Imam Muhammad Baqir (a) said: Islam is based on five pillars: Prayer, Zakat, Hajj, Fasting and Wilayat.

Hajj should be performed with intention of seeking divine proximity; show off and ostentation leads to its invalidation. Rituals of Hajj are performed in the special days of the month of Zilhajj and it is obligatory once in a lifetime on every Muslim who has the capability and means of travel.

Hajj is a great and comprehensive worship act and its legislation has many aims. And if it is performed in the proper manner, it carries important advantages for the pilgrim as well as the great Muslim community. Therefore, Prophet Ibrahim (a) was appointed by Almighty Allah to call people to it.

 

The Holy Quran says:

وَأَذِّن فِى النَّاسِ بِالْحَجِّ يَأْتُوكَ رِجَالًا وَعَلَى‏ كُلِّ ضَامِرٍ يَأْتِينَ مِن كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيقٍ‏ * لِيَشْهَدُواْ مَنَفِعَ لَهُمْ وَيَذْكُرُواْ اسْمَ‏اللَّهِ فِى أَيَّامٍ مَّعْلُومَتٍ عَلَى‏ مَا رَزَقَهُم مِّن بَهِيمَةِ الْأَنْعَمِ فَكُلُواْ مِنْهَا وَأَطْعِمُواْ الْبَآئِسَ الْفَقِيرَ

And proclaim among men the Pilgrimage: they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, coming from every remote path. That they may witness advantages for them and mention the name of Allah during stated days over what He has given them of the cattle quadrupeds, then eat of them and feed the distressed one, the needy.” (22:27-28)

 

Attention to Allah and discipline of the self

One of the important advantages and aims of Hajj is purification, discipline, development of self and gaining proximity to Allah. Hajj is a spiritual and ideal journey, in which the Hajj pilgrim prepares himself before setting out to visit the House of God and to be there in the presence of the Lord. He repents for his past sins, which cause distancing from Almighty Allah. He repays his debts, purifies his wealth from unlawful and obligatory rights and if he has oppressed anyone, he obtains his forgiveness.

At that time, he sets out towards the House of God and throughout the journey, he considers himself to be the guest of Allah, who is in His presence and always having His remembrance. He performs these rituals with insight and with attention to their wisdoms. When in Miqaat (starting point) he puts on two pieces of white cloth, without any stain and becomes a Muhrim (one who is dressed in pilgrim garb), he also purifies his inner being from sins and worldly relations. He chants the Thalbiya (slogan of: Here I am, My Lord) as acceptance of the invitation of Almighty Allah and throughout his period of Ihram, he does nothing, which is against its decorum.

In this condition, he moves towards the House of God. As much one is sincere, as much his heart is proximate to Allah. While circumambulating the Kaaba, during Tawaf Prayer, Sayy (trotting) between Safa and Marwah etc. he is consistently having remembrance of Allah.

By halting in Arafat, one is reminded of the halting on Judgment Day and during the process of accounting of deeds. In Mina and halt in Mashar, he sees himself to be in the condition of moving towards Almighty Allah. During the stoning of satans, he also stones his baser self (Nafse Ammara) and the satans; at the time of slaughtering the sheep in the slaughtering area, he is reminded of the ranks of obedience and loyalty of Prophet Ibrahim and Ismail (a) and he fulfills all the rituals of Hajj in this condition. In the end, he makes a firm determination that he would never again commit sinful acts and that he would always protect the sanctity and value of being a Haji. At that time, with illuminated self, confident heart, a satisfied mind and an absolute determination and an accepted Hajj he returns to his hometown.

This advantage is considered to be the most important benefits of Hajj and it is also hinted at in traditions:

Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a) said: Hajj and Umrah are two markets of the markets of the hereafter. One, who goes for Hajj and Umrah, is in the neighborhood of divine mercy. If he gets the good sense (Taufeeq) to complete the rituals of Hajj, his sins are forgiven and if his death occurs, his reward is on Almighty Allah.[194]

In the same way, he said: When people camp at Mina, a caller from Almighty Allah calls out: If you knew in whose neighborhood you are situated, you would be certain that Allah, the Mighty and the High is your successor in protecting your wealth and family and He blesses you with His forgiveness.[195]

He also said: When you decide to perform the Hajj, make your mind free of every apprehension and obstruction for Almighty Allah; leave your affairs on Allah; and in all actions rely on God and be content with His will and decree. Leave the world and it contents for the people and fulfill the rights that others have on you. Do not rely on your provisions, conveyance, companions, youth and wealth, lest all of them create problems for you, because one who is seeking the pleasure of Allah, but relies on anything other than Him, Allah makes that same thing as a means of trouble for him. You should prepare for the journey of Hajj in such a way as if you have no hope of return. Be congenial with your companions; observe with diligence the times of obligatory divine duties and recommended practices (Sunnah) of the Prophet. Always be observant of Islamic manners, bearing hardships, patience, thankfulness, kindness, charity and loyalty. At that time, wash your sins with the pure water of repentance, put on a proper and clean dress of sincerity and become aloof (Muhrim) from everything, which prevents you from the remembrance and obedience of Allah. At that moment, with a true and sincere slogan of ‘Here I am, my Lord’ (Labbaik) reply to the call of truth and attach yourself to the firm rope of God. Like you circle the House of God with other Muslims, with a sincere heart in the company of angels circle the empyrean. In Harwala[196] abstain from following your selfish desires.

When you set out from Arafat to Mina, declare immunity from your power and become free of carelessness and mistakes and do not aspire for that, which is not lawful for you and which you have no right of.

In Arafat confess to your mistakes and renew with Almighty Allah your covenant about belief in His oneness. In Muzdalifah, seek proximity to Almighty Allah and adopt piety and fear of God. When you climb the mountain, take along your soul to a higher level as well.

At the time of sacrifice, cut off the throat of selfish desires and greed. When you stone the Satans stone the base desires and bad morals. By shaving the head, remove your hidden and apparent defects as well.

When you enter the holy sanctuary, consider yourself in the refuge of God for the fulfillment of your wishes. And prepare yourself to pay respect to the owner of the House and recognition of His majesty and Power. During circumambulation (Tawaf) kiss the Black Stone with satisfaction and contentment. In the farewell circumambulation, forsake anything other than God. When you halt on Mount Safa, purify your inner soul for meeting Allah. When you climb Mount Marwah, repose yourself with piety to the presence of God and till Judgment Day remain faithful to the promises and covenants you have made to Him. Know that Almighty Allah has not made Hajj obligatory and among all worship acts has not related it to Himself and has not accorded importance to prophets in proper sequence in the rituals of Hajj, except that by witnessing the ritual of Hajj by sane persons, they should prepare themselves and get instruction for death and grave, the resurrection and Judgment Day, separation of the righteous from the evil doers and entry of the dwellers of Paradise into Paradise and the dwellers of Hell into Hellfire.[197]

The Messenger of Allah (s) said: The sign that Hajj is accepted is that when the pilgrim returns to his hometown, he never commits any sins. If after returning, he again commits sins like adultery, cheating or other sins, it would be known that his Hajj has not been accepted.[198]

The Holy Prophet (s) said in the sermon of Ghadeer: O people, perform the Hajj and visit the holy places associated with it with perfection of faith and recognition of its correct method and do not turn away from the holy places, except after you have repented for your sins.[199]


Universal gathering of Muslim Ummah

The second benefit of Hajj is participation of the Muslim Ummah in a social gathering. Gathering of Hajj is a great conference of the Islamic world, which is held in Mecca every year and in the vicinity of sanctuary of Almighty Allah. Some Muslims from every country participate in it and through it become aware of political, social, cultural, economic difficulties of each other. They cooperate with each other in solving problems and in exchanging views; and with morals and manners, become aware of each other from close quarters.

Previously it was mentioned that Islam considers all Muslims to be a single community having common interests and responsibilities, which are as follows:

1. Propagation and original culture of Islam among itself and in other communities.

2. Confrontation with polytheism, idols and false deities, who have trespassed on the sanctities of the oneness of Godhead and considered themselves to be having the right to legislate laws and administering the Islamic countries.

3. Endeavoring to strengthen the unity of Islamic countries and sects.

4. Protecting the independence of the great nation of Islam.

5. Confronting the domination of enemies in Islamic countries.

6. Defending Islamic territories.

7. Defending Islam and confronting the powers opposed to Islam.

8. Defense of the rights of the Muslims of the world.

9. Confronting the invasion of debased culture and corrupted morals of the enemies of Islam.

10. Guidance of the young generation.

11. Defending the rights of women.

12. Defending the rights of children.

13. Defending the rights of the deprived and poor.

14. Defending the victims and the oppressed.

And other important matters, which are related to the Muslim world.

Muslim Ummah can assume the form of a single community, which is independent and powerful; having self respect in the world and is able to defend its reality; which is united and in defense of unity and fulfillment of common responsibilities it should be concerned and proactive. Although the fulfillment of this living and important matter also is not possible without the existence of an integrated and powerful movement.

On the basis of this, formation of a public gathering for the Muslim world is necessary; a gathering which is attended by Muslims from every country and Muslim sect and that they exchange views and suggestions in important matters related to the world of Islam. Representatives of the world of Islamic countries throughout the years have participated in public gatherings and commissions and discussed the important problems of the Muslim world and this matter can best be achieved through the gathering of Hajj.

Although such an extensive organization is needed for the Muslim world, which venue can be more suitable for it than the sanctuary of God and the neighborhood of monotheism?

The Holy Quran says:

إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيْتٍ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِى بِبَكَّةَ مُبَارَكاً وَهُدىً لِّلْعَلَمِينَ‏ * فِيهِ ءَايَتٌ بَيِّنَتٌ مَّقَامُ إِبْرَ هِيمَ وَمَنْ دَخَلَهُ كَانَ ءَامِناً وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى الْنَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلاً وَمَنْ كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِّىٌ عَنِ الْعَلَمِينَ‏

Most surely the first house appointed for men is the one at Mecca, blessed and (a) guidance for the nations. In it are clear signs, the standing place of Ibrahim, and whoever enters it shall be secure, and pilgrimage to the House is incumbent upon men for the sake of Allah, (upon) every one who is able to undertake the journey to it; and whoever disbelieves, then surely Allah is Self-sufficient, above any need of the worlds.” (3:96-97)

It also says:

وَإِذْ جَعَلْنَا الْبَيْتَ مَثَابةً لِلنَّاسِ وَأَمْناً وَاتَّخِذُواْ مِن مَّقَامِ إِبْرَهيمَ مُصَلّىً وَعَهِدْنَا إلَى‏ إِبْرَهِيمَ وَإِسْمَعِيلَ أَنْ طَهِّرَا بَيْتِىَ لِلطَّآئِفِينَ وَالْعَكِفِينَ وَالرُّكَّعِ السُّجُودِ

And when We made the House a pilgrimage for men and a (place of) security, and: Appoint for yourselves a place of prayer on the standing-place of Ibrahim. 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.” (2:125)

 

In the same way, it says:

جَعَلَ اللَّهُ الْكَعْبَةَ الْبَيْتَ الْحَرَامَ قِيَماً لِّلنَّاسِ وَالشَّهْرَ الْحَرَامَ وَ الْهَدْىَ وَالْقَلَئِدَ ذَ لِكَ لِتَعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا فِى السَّمَوَ تِ وَمَا فِى الْأَرْضِ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ بِكُلِّ شَىْ‏ءٍ عَلِيمٌ‏

Allah has made the Kaaba, the sacred house, a maintenance for the people, and the sacred month and the offerings and the sacrificial animals with garlands; this is that you may know that Allah knows whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth, and that Allah is the Knower of all things.” (5:97)

In the above verses, Kaaba is introduced as ‘blessed’, ‘guidance for the nations’, ‘a (place of) security’, ‘a maintenance for the people’; thus it is known that the Holy Kaaba is the most suitable and the best venue of a public gathering on the Muslim world, and independence and greatness of Muslim Ummah is related to it. Therefore, it is necessary for it to be a source of blessing, bounty and guidance for the Muslim world.

Establishment of such an organization is from the greatest advantages of Hajj. If people of foresight and well wishers of Muslims had established this important organization the circumstances of the Muslim Ummah would definitely have been better; but regretfully such an organization does not exist and its establishment is very difficult in such conditions. In any case, international Islamic organizations can be established on the basis of views of the enlightened and well wishers of the world of Islam and its need should be justified and it should be propagated in the form of a single Islamic view and the background should be prepared for its establishment.

In the same way, Mecca should be deemed as the permanent venue of organization of conference of Muslim countries and it should be endeavored that they should also try to be concerned and proactive in the issues related to the Muslim world.

In the present circumstances, advantage can be taken from the rituals of Hajj and conferences can be held on different subjects in Mecca and Medina. If these conferences follow a detailed program, with awareness of authorities of the hosting country, they would definitely help in creating general awareness about Muslims.
Display of Unity

The third benefit of Hajj is general participation of all Muslims in rituals and renewal of oath of unity and display of power before infidelity and world imperialism. Islam is a religion of monotheism. The most important aim of the Prophet of Islam (s) was confrontation with polytheism and false deities. He was appointed from the side of Almighty Allah so that he may wave the standard of monotheism in the world to completely eradicate idol worship and polytheism. The Messenger of Allah (s) accepted this great responsibility without any worry or fear and openly expressed immunity from polytheism and polytheists. He also ordered Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a) to recite the verses of Surah Baraat in the crowd of Hajj pilgrims to the House of Allah.

As the Holy Quran says:

وَأَذَنٌ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ إِلَى النَّاسِ يَوْمَ الْحَجِّ الْأَكْبَرِ أَنَّ اللَّهَ بَرِى‏ءٌ مِّنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ وَرَسُولُهُ فَإِن تُبْتُمْ فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَإِن تَوَلَّيْتُمْ فَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّكُمْ غَيْرُ مُعْجِزِى اللَّهِ وَبَشِّرِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ‏

And an announcement from Allah and His Apostle to the people on the day of the greater pilgrimage that Allah and His Apostle are free from liability to the idolaters; therefore if you repent, it will be better for you, and if you turn back, then know that you will not weaken Allah; and announce painful punishment to those who disbelieve.” (9:3)

By the recitation of Surah Baraat in the crowd of Muslims, the Holy Prophet (s) declared immunity from polytheism, polytheists, false deities and idol worshippers and declared confrontation against them and brought it out in the form of a customary program of Muslims.

After the passing away of the Holy Prophet (s), this responsibility came upon the Muslims. They are duty bound to completely fulfill the objectives of the Prophet and they must not forsake the standard of defending monotheism and confronting infidelity and hegemony.

Have the aims and aspirations of the great Prophet of Islam fulfilled so that Muslims may now take rest and remain quiet? Are the majority of the people in the world still not idolaters? Are tyrants and oppressors still not dominating the people? Have all the deprived people of the world been able to have their legal rights restored? Has Islam emerged victorious over infidelity and hegemony? Has Palestine been liberated from Zionism and all conspiracies to eradicate Islam have been destroyed? And hundreds of other question!!

On the basis of this, Muslims should continue to declare immunity from the idolaters and should defend monotheism in every way. In order to fulfill this religious obligation, no better place exists than the sanctuary of God, which is the original outpost of monotheism and within a crowd of world Muslims and pilgrims who come to perform Hajj of the House of God.[200]

 

[194] Al-Kafi, Vol. 14, Pg. 240
[195] Al-Kafi, Vol. 14, Pg. 263
[196] Peculiar pace of Hajj pilgrims.
[197] Mustadrakul Wasail, Vol. 10, Pg. 172
[198] Mustadrakul Wasail, Vol. 10, Pg. 165
[199] Mustadrakul Wasail, Vol. 10, Pg. 174
[200] Hajj is a worship act, whose rituals are performed in a particular way in a particular time period. The method of this worship act and their commands and prohibitions require details and explanations, which regrettably is not possible here. Those who are interested may refer to books of Islamic jurisprudence.