|Hajj - The Journey to Allah||| Print ||
Khutbah – Hajj – The Journey To Allah.
Tennyson Street Mosque –Salt River – 23rd September 2011.
Claremont Main Road Masjid - Friday 30th September 2011.
Masjidul Ummah -7th October 2011.
Masdjidul Munier –Constantia -14th October 2011
By - Imam Nur Salie
In the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Dispenser of Grace
In Surah Al-Imraan, 3:97- we read: “And Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Ka’bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the expenses (for one’s conveyance, provision and residence).but if any deny faith – Allah stands not in need of his creatures.”
In This Khutbah today - I would like to give some Philosophies around Hajj. When we teach the Hajj we deal with – The Ritualistic Dimensions of hajj – (Fiqhi Issues – The Rules on How to do the Hajj) then we also teach the Inner Dimensions – Why are we doing certain rituals –And we also teach the Spiritualistic perspectives – Then we also deal with the historical and Philosophical perspectives -
Let us see how hajj depicts death and the hereafter. A hajji leaves his home, bids farewell to all his dear ones and relatives' and departs from them just before he sets off alone. From there he proceeds to another country (as if into another world) leaving behind all those things to which he had been attached and with which he occupied most of his time; his house, his family, and the company of his friends. Death is the same. Therefore, when a person dies he leaves behind all this, his home, family, friends, country and everything that he loves. Such should the hajjis thoughts be when leaving for the house of Allah that in the same way as he is now leaving all worldly things behind for a short period of time, that time shall soon come when without a choice he shall have to leave them forever. After that, the hajji boards the train or plane, which begins to move him further and further away from his house and dear ones. --- So will his dear ones, relatives and friends lift his Janaazah? Having lifted it to their shoulders they will begin to move him further and further away from everything that he loved.
So he departs to Makkah (To Almighty Allah) like the Janaazah being carried to the grave. Some would come to bid farewell at home, some will go as far as the station and the real faithful ones may even go further; up to the boat or Aeroplane. The position of the deceased and his friends is similar to that. Some may come only to the house to have a last look at him. Others will go a short way for the Janaazah prayers. The real friends will go as far as the grave, to place him inside and fill the grave with soil. The latter are like those faithful ones who will bid farewell at the airport.
"وَ مَا الحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلاَّ مَتَاعُ الغُرُوْر"
“And the life of this world is but a chattel of deception” (Al-Qur’an – 3:185)
كُنْ فِيْ الدُّنْيَا كَأَنَّكَ غَرِيْب أَوْ عَابِرُ السَّبِيْل
“Be in this world as if you are a traveller, or a wayfarer”. (Al-Hadith)
The greatest comfort a hajji enjoys in hajj comes from the money and provisions, which are acquired by him before his departure. Likewise, the greatest comfort one enjoys in the life after death is that which comes from the good deeds performed before his death. Sometimes, in hajj a person urgently requires more money; and you can imagine how happy one becomes if that which he needs urgently is sent to him by some near relative or friend. How thankful is one at that time? - Similarly, how thankful will the deceased be if after his demise his relatives, his friends or his children give charity and offer good deeds in his name, or recite the Quran etc; and pray for the rewards and blessings of that to be conveyed to him? These will surely reach him; because that is what our beloved Prophet (saw) said.
[In the next stage the hajji then has to pass through many perilous and unpleasant things. Ill-tempered government officials will search his luggage, query his documents etc. All these experiences remind us of various scenes of the grave as when Munkar and Nakir will come to question us; our Iman will be tested; some difficulties will be in Barzakh. In addition to this each one will have the book of his deeds with him.] -- All of us have met people on their return from hajj and I think that all of us will affirm that almost no one comes back unaltered. With some returning hajjis the change is only superficial; the gloss disappears quickly; and within a very short time they are exactly as they were before. ----- Others, however, come back utterly transformed and their lives take on a new and more meaningful quality; for them the hajj really has acted as a new beginning to the rest of their lives.
It is not sufficient just to passively participate in the rites of hajj, it is necessary, as Almighty Allah makes clear to bring to them the inner dimension of Taqwah, fearful awareness of Allah. --- Certainly there is phenomenal blessings in the Manaasik/rites of HAJJ - stemming from the ancientness of their Divine prescription and billions of believers who have participated in them down through the centuries. But the benefit those performing them derive from them is directly proportional to the amount of Taqwah they bring to the Hajj. *“And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best provision is At-Taqwah (piety, righteousness, etc.).” [Al-Baqarah 2:197]
The first act the Hajjis perform upon their arrival in Makkah is the Tawaaf, the seven circuits of the House of Allah with which the rites of hajj begin. When one enters the great wheel which night and day incessantly revolves around the Ka’bah, it is all too easy to become distracted by the amazing sight it represents and the pushing and shoving which is the inevitable accompaniment of so many people moving round in a limited space and which becomes particularly vigorous in the vicinity of the Black Stone.- For this reason it is extremely important to keep a watch on your heart and your temperament and remember why you are there. Almighty Allah reminds Us - - Let there be no obscenity (immoral behaviour/ ugly sexual behaviour /indecency /vulgarity /immodesty) nor wickedness (coarseness/ crudeness /rudeness / ungodly behaviour) Nor wrangling (fighting /altercations /disputing /.quarrelling) - For whatever good you do – be very sure Almighty Allah is aware.
The circle of the Tawaaf is perhaps the place on hajj where one is most aware of being a citizen of the world. Every continent, race, and nation is represented and, extraordinarily, the specific characteristics of each are evident in the way they perform the rites. (Manaasik) - On another level the act of Tawaaf can be seen as a reflection of our lives. If you look carefully at your life you will see that it is not so much an unbroken progression from beginning to end - as a series of cycles which tend to bring you back and back again to the same point in a kind of repeating pattern.
What is to be desired both in our lives as a whole and in our Tawaaf -- is that our circling should not, as it were, remain always at the same level but should rather take the form of an upward spiral so that each time we pass the same point we have come that much closer to Allah than we were the previous time round. – Our lives should be about learning and growth – Islam is all about growth –Socialization - Transformation and not about stagnation. -
The Tawaaf ends with two rak'ats at the Maqaam of Ibraheem and this really is an exercise, which has great meaning for our lives as a whole. Somehow, in the midst of all the hustle and bustle of the Haraam, at the edge of, or even within the compass of, the endless wheeling of the Tawaaf crowd, we have to carve out a space for ourselves and locate a few moments of stillness and concentration in which we can stand and bow and prostrate and devote ourselves to the worship of our Lord -- Almighty Allah.
After Tawaaf comes Sa’yi which in a way always reminds me of the rush hour in one of the great cities of the world. An endless mass of people flooding ceaselessly backwards and forwards in a paradoxical integration of confusion and order. Sa'y is a re-enactment of the desperate search for water by Hajjar, (as)the wife of Sayyidina Ibrahim, (as), when she and her young son Isma'il were placed by him in the Hands of Allah in the barren valley of Bakka (Makkah). She ran backwards and forwards between the two rocks of Safaa and Marwah, climbing first onto the one and then onto the other searching every horizon for that group of travelers who would save them from their plight. In the end, as we know, what they needed appeared literally under their feet with the emergence of the spring of Zam-Zam. How often we do the same thing in our own lives. When we are Traumatized by something happening in our lives - desperately seeking help of one kind or another, - usually forgetting that Almighty Allah is very well aware of our circumstances, and then Allah's help arrives from right under our noses or sometimes even from within ourselves and the situation is resolved. Almighty Allah also commands “They said, “Allah is sufficient for us, and He is the best Disposer of our affairs.”--
Like all the rites of hajj the act of Sa’yi is packed with wisdom and many different insights can be gained from its performance. Like Hajirah (AS) begged to Allah not to let her child die from malnutrition and dehydration – something we should be very familiar with in Our Community – where we have so much poverty -- so the Hujjaaj must beg Almighty Allah for all our children – We have so many Ishmael’s in our community.
The next step on the hajj is the move to Mina on the 8th of Dhu'l-Hijja. It is perhaps at Mina that the reality of the Ummah of Islam is most clearly to be seen. People tend to be camped according to the geographical area of the world from which they come so that at Mina all the races and nations of Islam more or less preserve their ethnic and national distinctions and yet are all in close juxtaposition to one another within a very confined area.
So for a few precious days communities normally separated by thousands of miles find themselves right next door to one another and in the benign atmosphere of hajj that brotherhood of Islam, which is so elusive in today's artificially divided world, finds genuine and heartwarming expression, as Muslims from every part of the globe meet and enjoy the pleasure of one another's company. - Surah 49/v13 "O mankind! We have created you from a single pair of male and female, and made you into nations and tribes that you may know each other. The most honoured of you is he who is the most righteous of you" surely Allah is All Knowing, Aware.--
The Prophet, salla'Llahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said, "Hajj is 'Arafah," so it is evident that the great gathering of the hajji's on the plain of 'Arafah is the core rite of hajj. This is what everyone has come for. There is no doubt that in an almost explicit way it prefigures that Final Gathering which all of us will inevitably attend on the last day. It is there at 'Arafah that the reality of the state of ihram is made most manifest. The lives of all who are present are stripped down to the barest essentials.
All distinctions are removed. Wealth and poverty, every kind of class distinction, all the things which normally set people apart from one another in their worldly lives, all these things are set aside and all that remains is the simple fact of our common humanity. All we have is our actions, what we have done with ourselves up to that point, what we have turned ourselves into by what we have done, nothing more and nothing less than what we truly are. It is a priceless opportunity to take stock. We stand there, as it were, naked in front of our Lord, with all the normal distractions and cushions taken away, face to face with Allah with nothing in between but the veil of our own existence.
The three rites of the Eid after returning to Mina are stoning the Jamaraat al-'Aqaba, sacrificing an animal and shaving the head. -- Stoning the Jamrahs is often referred to as stoning Shaytaan. Allah warns us against Shaytaan and informs us unequivocally that he is our enemy and perhaps one lesson we can learn is that even on this most blessed of days, the Eid al-Adha, we are not safe from Shay tan’s insinuations and must protect ourselves from them. Sheikh ibn al-'Arabi al-Hatimi takes that one step further in his explanation of the rite. He says that at 'MINA we purify our understanding of Tauheed and rid ourselves of shirk and that in throwing the seven stones we are casting out of ourselves certain Shaytaan inspired thoughts or SATANIC manifestations - that make us associate other things with Allah and that is why we call out the Takbeer as we throw. Stating that Allah is indeed the greatest and that Shaytaan can never ever be the greatest.-- So rather than throwing stones at Shaytaan we are casting out from ourselves satanic thoughts.
As Allah Almighty makes clear, the important element in the rite of sacrifice is that awareness of Him in us which must accompany the physical act and which alone imbues it with meaning. We should remember that it commemorates the occasion when Sayyidina Ibrahim, 'alayhi as-salam, was absolved from having to sacrifice his beloved son and given a ram to sacrifice in his stead. So what the rite indicates is our preparedness to give up what is most precious to us for the sake of Allah.
The thing more precious to us than anything else is our own selfhood, our own independent existence, and so, in its highest sense, the sacrifice represents our willingness to give up our own will and submit ourselves entirely to the will of our Lord and the truth is that by doing this we stand to lose nothing and to gain our heart's desire. Allah says in Surah at-Taubah: "Allah has bought from the Mu’minoon their selves and their wealth in return for the Garden -- and then at the end of the ayah: "Rejoice then in the bargain you have made. That is the great victory." (9:111)
The sheer physical relief of removing the accumulated dust and grime and dishevelment of our days in ihram in itself gives a more than adequate meaning to the act of shaving the head and the cleaning process which accompanies it. It really does give one a sense of starting life all over again. It is this very feeling which validates a slightly more symbolic interpretation of the rite which is, that in getting rid of your hair you are in a certain sense stripping away your past and that the new hair growth as it emerges truly is indicative of a new beginning to your life as a whole. In the case of women, who may only shorten their hair, and men who decide to do that rather than shave, the same applies but in a more symbolic way.
One aspect of the journey to the Hijaaz we have so far not mentioned at all is the visit to Madinah al-Munawwara. Although Not part of the HAJJ - This is strongly recommended -- "Visiting the tomb of the Prophet, salla'Llahu 'alayhi wa sallam, is a Sunnah among the Muslims on which there is agreement. It is a virtue which is encouraged." If Makkah is a crucible where the hajji is purged and purified, Madinah is a pool of tranquillity where he finds peace and refreshment. Remember that it was in Madinah that the social reality of Islam was first given form, where the justice and compassion of Allah's deen found their most perfect expression, that city about whose inhabitants Allah Himself said, "You are the best community ever to be produced before mankind." Enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong and believing in Allah -- (3:110)
What was latent and implicit during the long and difficult years in Makkah became realized and explicit in Madinah and a community of human beings living according to the laws of Allah by following the example of His Messenger brought about the best human social situation ever to have existed on the surface of the earth. It is the resonance of this which emanates from the grave of the Prophet, salla'Llahu 'alayhi wa sallam, and still pervades the city which welcomed him and made it possible for Islam to be implemented in its totality.
One does not have to go too far to discover the spiritual benefits of the visit to Medina. - And certainly there are very few hajjis who do not experience something of the sweetness of the Prophetic presence during their stay in Madinah. So just as the hajj itself imbues one with a greater sense of the Divine presence and fosters love of Allah in the heart, the visit to Madinah opens the heart to greater love for His Messenger and by extension to the whole Ummah of Islam.
IN CONCLUSION -- What I have hoped to do by talking of these aspects of HAJJ - is to indicate something of the inner dimension of the various rites of hajj. But in the end, although such indications may perhaps open a door or two to a deeper appreciation of the hajj, it is only your own tasting of the acts themselves, which will really be of any use. It is only your direct experience of the rites of hajj which will actually constitute your hajj, and your hajj will inevitably be uniquely your own, totally different from everyone else's, even that of someone who may have been alongside you for most of the time you were there.
This is because the hajj is as much an inward journey as an outward one and, as we have seen, it is that inward dimension, the unknowable amount of that outwardly indefinable but indispensable quality of Taqwah which you bring to all the rites you perform, -- it is that and that alone on which the amount of benefit you receive from the hajj and its acceptability to Allah in the end depends. Hajj is a compulsory pilgrimage to weaken the love for the world: Hajj is indeed a constant reminder of Almighty Allah and a stark reminder of the hereafter –
"إِنَّا ِللهِ وَ إِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْن"
“Indeed we come from Allah and to Him is our return”.(Al-Qur’ān - 2:156)
Labbayk Allahuma Labbayk -- Here I am O Allah, at Thy Command. Here I am, at Thy Command. -- There is no partner unto Thee. Here I am, at Thy Command. -- Verily Thine is the praise, the blessings and the sovereignty of the universe. There is no partner unto thee.
We pray for the safety and good health of all Hujjaaj, - May Almighty Allah take good care of them on their journey to Makkah, Medina and all the other sacred Places. –
May Almighty Allah accept their Hajj, and when they have completed their duties, may Allah return them safely to their homes and families, Insha-Allah. –
May Allah Most Gracious, also accept this prayer, that each and every one of us here in this Masjid and elsewhere, should find the means and the opportunity, to perform our sacred duty, and complete our own Hajj, at Almighty Allah’s invitation, in the near future.