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Nov 07 2012

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What have you brought, O Hajji?

A pilgrim in Arafat Hajj 2012 making suplications to Almighty Allah - Copyright R.Mogradia

A pilgrim in Arafat Hajj 2012 making suplications to Almighty Allah – Copyright R.Mogradia

What have you brought, O Hajji?

Article by Abu Muhammed  | www.eislam.co.za

Throughout the world, as the first flights carrying the Hujaaj arrive, the airport’s ‘arrival halls’ are packed and crowded with loved ones, family members, friends and even strangers eagerly awaiting the arrival of the returning Haaji. Children anxiously begin to count the minutes of their parent’s imminent passing through the arrival gates, excitedly expecting the ‘delivery’ of ‘orders’ that they so diligently placed with Mum and Dad prior to their departure.

As the passengers begin to exit the arrival gates eyes are glued, scanning, looking….and eventually the Haaji begins to emerge, dressed in a thowb, head clean shaven, face glowing, further enhanced by the emulation of the blessed beard of the Noble Messenger of Allah (May peace be upon him) pushing a trolley atop which stands the containers bearing the blessed waters of Zam Zam flanked by his spouse who’s beauty now further enhanced by the donning of the Hijab. Suddenly from nowhere children emerge shouting, ‘Ummi, Ummi (Mummy), Abi, Abi (Daddy)’ as they run into the welcoming arms of their travel weary parents. Thereafter the elders from amongst family, friends and strangers wait to greet the Haaji and to request the Dua (Supplication) of the Haaji as per the directive of the Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace  be upon him)

‘When you meet a Haaji (on his way home) then greet him, shake hands with him and ask him to beg forgiveness of Allah on your behalf before he enters his home, for his prayer for forgiveness is accepted since he is forgiven by Allah for his sins’ {as narrated by Abdullah ibne Umar (May Allah be pleased with him).

It is for this reason that it has always been the custom and habit of our predecessors to welcome the Hujaaj, to walk with them and to ask them to pray on their behalf.

For all those of us who have been to receive a returning Haaji, the picture painted above is a reflection of that experience, to which we can easily relate. Sadly though, besides this ‘cosmetic’ change that a Haaji undergoes, there is generally a lack of what the Haj of yesteryears held for a Haaji. (There are definitely exclusions)

As mentioned in our last article ‘The Journey of a lifetime’ that, in times gone by, the returning Hujjaaj were a means of spreading the Deen. Every valley, gulley and mountain path that the Haaji passed witnessed the Nur (Divine Radiance) that the Haaji carried and no town, city, village or individual that the Haaji passed through or met remained unaffected with the legacy of the blessed Haramain Sharifain. The legacy of Makkah Mukarramah being the Tauhid of Allah Jalla wa Aalaa, and that of Medina Munawwarah, being that of Nubuwah (Prophethood) and Khatme Nubuwah (the seal of Prophethood)

Indulge me as we explore the legacy of the Haramain…

In Makkah we have the Kaaba which is THE symbol of Tawhid (Monotheism) established by Sayyiduna Ebrahim (Upon him be peace) for the sole and exclusive worship of Allah Jalla wa aala. The life of Sayyiduna Ebrahim (Upon him be peace) was one characterised by total submission to his Creator and Sustainer and complete steadfastness in the face of great trials and tribulations like being ostracised by his own community including his father and subsequently flung in the fire for his strict belief in Tawhid and his intolerance of associating a partner/s with his Creator and Sustainer. As a manifestation of one of the greatest miracles he was Divinely protected by Allah Jalla wa aala and the fire was made a place of peace and comfort for him from which he emerged unscathed. When this miracle failed to convince those involved in associating partners with the Creator of the truth of the call of  Sayyiduna Ebrahim (Upon him be peace), he migrated from the lands of his forefathers  to become a stranger in the promised land of Shaam (Syria). Here he continued with his mission and call to the light of Tawhid in the ocean of darkness, ignorance and polytheism. As he grew older his desire for a child grew stronger and he prayed to Allah Jalla wa aala thus,

‘O Allah, grant me a righteous son?’ (Surah 37, Verse 100)

Against all odds and against every expectation Allah granted him a son at the ripe old age of 86 (Ibn Kathir)

Sayyiduna Ebrahim (Upon him be peace) was then commanded by Allah Jalla wa aala to leave the blessed lands of Shaam  which represented lands of material abundance and financial well being and migrate to the barren desert land of Arabia in the valley of Makkah, devoid of any vegetation or habitation. Together with this, he was instructed by Allah Jalla wa aala to take his wife, Haajar (Upon her be peace) and his infant son, Sayyiduna Ismaeel (Upon him be peace) and commanded to leave them there with very little provisions and proceed onwards as per the command of Allah Jalla wa aala. Sayyiduna Ebrahim (Upon him be peace) showed unflinching faith and allegiance to the command of his Creator and Sustainer in that he never once questioned the command of Allah Jalla wa aala. Equally impressive was the response of his wife Haajar (Upon her be peace) who, after being told that this was the Command of Allah Jalla wa aala responded, ‘If your leaving us here is on the command of Allah Jalla wa aala then He will never forsake us!’

While her words are worth marveling at, it must be said that her faith was tested. After being left in this barren valley that had no sign of any habitation or vegetation her little provisions were soon exhausted and as scorching desert sun took its toll, her infant son began to writhe in hunger and thirst. She then ascended Mount Safa hoping to see someone or something to come to her assistance. Having scanned the pitiless horizon from this vantage point she hastily and frantically descended this mount and quickly made her way up Mount Marwa having the same hope of redemption. Not seeing anything she once again descended into the valley and repeated her ascent up Safa. With every vain ascent and descent her hopes began to crumble while her desperation began to increase at the sight of her child crying uncontrollably due to hunger and thirst. When eventually, on her seventh ascent (her fourth on Safa), the pendulum of her hopes shifted totally off creation and ONLY onto her Creator, Allah Jalla wa aala, the spring of Zam Zam began bubbling beneath the feet of her infant son, Sayyiduna Ismaeel (Upon him be peace). The water of Zam Zam which, from that time until today, flows forth in abundance and quenches both the physical and spiritual thirst of the millions visiting the Haramain as well as those that anxiously visit the returning Hujaaj/Umaraa at their homes having hope of being honoured with the good fortune of being offered a drink of this blessed water can be said to be the product of the great sacrifice of the family of Sayyiduna Ebrahim (Upon them be peace). Once this water began to gush forth the valley of Makkah began its growth as a habitation with the settling of the Jurhum tribe from Yemen that would today become THE most visited and revered place in the whole world. Sayyiduna Ismaeel (Upon him be peace) grew up amongst the Jurhum tribe who loved him dearly and it was amongst them that he learnt the Arabic language. When Sayyiduna Ismaeel (Upon him be peace) reached the age of puberty, the age wherein a father begins to see the continuation of his generations, Sayyiduna Ebrahim (Upon him be peace) was commanded by Allah Jalla wa aala, in a dream, to sacrifice his only son (at that time) – that same son granted to him at such an old age and in whom, like every father, he had great love for and as well as hopes for his future. In a sense, Sayyiduna Ismaeel (Upon him be peace) was his whole world. That same Sayyiduna Ebrahim (Upon him be peace) who had spent almost a hundred years totally devoted towards the mission of Tawhid and passing test after test was now to be tested the ultimate test! As in his fulfilling of his Creator’s commands before, Sayyiduna Ebrahim (Upon him be peace) did not for a moment pause or hesitate to fulfill the command of his Creator neither did he question the logic and reasoning behind such a command. The response of Sayyiduna Ismaeel (Upon him be peace) when his father communicated this command of Allah Jalla wa aala, is worthy of admiration. He told his father,

O my father! Do as you have been commanded! You will find me, if Allah so wills, one of the patient (steadfast) ones!’ Surah 37, Verse 102

Sayyiduna Ebrahim (Upon him be peace) then proceeded towards Mount Arafah with Sayyiduna Ismaeel (Upon him be peace) in order to fulfill the command of Allah Jalla wa aala. On route, at Mina, the devil appeared on three occasions to thwart the commitment of Sayyiduna Ebrahim (Upon him be peace) towards fulfilling the command of Allah Jalla wa aala. However both father and son remained steadfast and proceeded to fulfill the command of their Creator. It was when both had firmly resolved to fulfill the command of their Creator that Allah Jalla wa aala presented the ram from paradise to be sacrificed as a ransom for Ismail (Upon him be peace).

Thereafter, both father and son, were commanded by Allah Jalla wa aala to build the Baitullah, the House of Allah in Makkah and Sayyiduna Ebrahim (Upon him be peace) was commanded to call for the pilgrimage. Until today millions visit the house of Allah Jalla wa aala on the invitation of Sayyiduna Ebrahim (Upon him be peace) and this will continue until just before Qiyamah.

Scholars mention that the reason the hearts of men incline towards the House of Allah has little to do with the cosmetic appearance of the Baitullah. In fact as much as the Haramain has been developed and advanced in architecture and other ways the actual Kaaba has remained essentially the ‘cube’ that it has always been. The thing which literally draws the hearts of men towards it is in fact the underlying sacrifices of Sayyiduna Ebrahim (Upon him be peace) and his family as well as of the thousands of Ambiya (Upon them be peace) who underwent untold hardships and difficulties for the establishment of Tawhid and the raising of the name of Allah Jalla wa aala on the surface of this earth.

This tradition of sacrifice continued with the advent of, and anointment of the greatest human to set foot on this earth the Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him). When he received Nubuwah (Prophet-hood) the first command to which he was asked to invite was towards the Tawhid (Oneness of Allah). At this time the Arabs were considered to be the most backward nations resigned to the silence and heat of the desert, plunged in ignorance and darkness, devoid of faith and engaged in polytheism. There were 360 Idols in the Kaaba itself. Yet we find that these idols were not destroyed until approximately 20 years later at the occasion of the conquest of Makkah in spite them being the physical and outward form of Polytheism. This begs the question WHY?

Scholars mention that this was because before the physical Idols had to be removed from the Kaaba the hope, dependence and reliance on anything other than Allah Jalla wa aala had to be removed from the heart and ALL HOPE, ALL DEPENDENCE and ALL RELIANCE had to be learnt to be placed on Allah Jalla wa aala ALONE….just as Haajar (Upon her be peace) had done when ascending the Mount for the seventh time.

The first twelve or so years of the Prophet’s life in Makkah was one characterised by all forms of abuse, torture, difficulty, persecution and alienation – both for him and his Companions (May Allah be pleased with them) purely for the sake of the re establishment of what the Kaaba was a symbol for – the Tawhid of Allah Jalla wa aala. It can be said that the hearts of the Companions were placed in the ‘furnace of sacrifice’ so as to emerge pure and enlightened free of the impurities and darkness of ignorance and polytheism. Each Companion emerged as the living embodiment of Tawhid ready to be the lanterns of guidance for humanity that until then had, for 600 years, been groveling in the quagmire of ignorance and idol worship.

When this purified and refined group had been prepared Allah Jalla wa aala set in motion the second part of this process that would herald the transformation of the Arabian Peninsula as well as propel this group of ‘backward desert dwellers’ to becoming the beacons of faith and justice in a world drowned in the injustice of faithlessness – the migration to Medina Munawwarah and the establishment of the Islamic state and subsequently the Islamic Khilafate.

In Medina the community of Believers began to grow in number from approximately 250 at the time of the Hijrah (Migration) to 10 000 at the time of the conquest of Makkah, some eight years later in the month of Ramadaan. There were two reasons for this. Firstly, Medina offered a stable environment for the establishment of the Islamic way of life and secondly every Muslim was prepared and made to understand that he/she was a representative of the Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) and, as such, was responsible for the establishment of Tawhid and the Islamic way of life in the whole world across all political, social and cultural divides and spectrums. It was at this juncture that the vast majority of the Arabian Peninsula came in to the fold of Islam and an it was also at this time that the Noble Messenger of Allah (May peace be upon him) destroyed the Idols that had until then remained in the Kaaba. This was symbolic of the fact that now that the ‘Idols’ that the hearts of Man concealed, were destroyed, it was time for the destruction of the physical manifestation of Idol worship in the Holy sanctuary which would never return to the Arabian peninsula. In the next two years people entered Islam in their droves and in Dhula Qa’dha of the 10th year of the Hijrah the Noble Messenger of Allah announced his intention to perform Haj-the only obligation outstanding in his prophetic mission of 23 years. His mission had, by this time, been completed to all intents and purposes. To a people steeped in ignorance and darkness, he gave light and inspired them with belief in Allah Jalla wa aala, the sole Creator, Master and Sustainer of the Universe. To a disunited people, engaged in mutual rivalry and perpetual warfare, he gave unity of thought and action. He had revealed the love of Allah Jalla wa aala and His will to mankind and had given it a visible expression by founding a society on the basis of righteousness, piety and God-consciousness, the like of which is not to be found in the whole history of humanity. The Noble Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) had delivered to humanity the final Truth with all its necessary implications. Together with this he had prepared a group of Companions who were trained by none other than the Master himself who were prepared to spend every resource whether physical, mental or financial for the establishment of Tawhid throughout the length and breadth of the earth. The lives of the Sahabah leaves no doubt whatsoever of this fact whether it was leaving their homes, sacrificing their families, spending all their wealth even sacrificing their innermost desires for the sake of the establishment of the religion of truth in the world. It was at here at the farewell pilgrimage that the collective responsibility of more than 124 000 Prophets had culminated and now that responsibility had been placed squarely on the shoulders of his 124 000 Companions and in turn on the shoulders of every individual of this Ummah until Qiyamah in the following words,

“Let those of you who are present inform those that are absent. There will be NO PROPHET AFTER ME and no nation after you. (He then asked) Have I not conveyed (the message)? Have I not conveyed (the message)? Have I not conveyed (the message) ?

The Companions replied in unison ‘Yes you have O Messenger of Allah’ Then pointing to the sky he said (three times), ‘O Allah! You bear witness that I have conveyed the message’”

This responsibility was understood and fulfilled by that blessed gathering, the like of which the sky will never cover again neither the sun shine upon, to such an extent that, of those 124 000 present only the graves of 14 000 are found in the Arabian Peninsula (according to Imam Malik) while the rest have been spread out in different, far off lands in other countries and continents where they strove to elevate the name of Allah Jalla wa aala. In fact my writing of this article and your reading is sufficient proof of that!

As mentioned, in times gone by the returning delegations of the Haj were a means of every individual understanding his responsibility as a human being, that being to worship Allah Jalla wa aala alone as well as that of being from amongst the Ummah of the final Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him), which meant being responsible to see how every human being understands their purpose and object of life in this world and in so doing entitle themselves to the eternal bliss that awaits them in the gardens of Paradise and protects them from eternal damnation in Hell.

Important!

O Haaji,

‘Have you contemplated and pondered on how much of your journey was the re enactment of the sacrifices of Sayyiduna Ebrahim and his family (upon them be peace) and why?’

O Haaji, you have brought with you the dates of Medina Munawwarah and the Zam Zam of Makkah Mukarramah but the question is O Haaji,

‘Have you brought with you the legacy of these two Holy places that Allah Jalla wa aala had allowed for you to visit?’

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