Azhar Goraya, Mexico
Introduction: The Hajj
In the 14th century, Ibn-e-Battuta, a Moroccan Muslim traveler, set out at the age of 21 for the Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage. After a year and a half, he reached his destination, visiting North Africa, Egypt, Palestine and Syria along the way. [i] It was a journey that covered thousands of miles, fraught with hardships and uncertainties, as most travel was in those days (which also resulted in Battuta’s many adventures). He later went on to visit over 40 countries, covering some 73 000 miles. [ii]
Battuta was one of the greatest travelers in the medieval Muslim world, but he was not alone in his journey to complete the Hajj. Even in his time, there were thousands that would set out each year to fulfil the holy rites associated with the Islamic pilgrimage.
Today, millions of Muslims of all colours, ethnicities, and countries leave their families and jobs and traverse the sometimes thousands of miles to arrive at the holy city of Mecca, where they too fulfil the rights of pilgrimage. To go on pilgrimage means to step out of your comfort zone in order to encounter those places where God specially revealed Himself, and in the process coming to emulate and being blessed in the same manner as those who enjoyed a special relationship with Him.
The Muslim pilgrimage is known as the Hajj. Hajj is an Arabic word that literally means to head to a place for the sake of visitation. It is one of the five pillars of Islam, meaning those actions that all Muslims must complete during their lifetime. It is performed every year, beginning on the eighth and ending on the thirteenth day of Dhul-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar. Since it is according to the lunar calendar, the dates of the Hajj change every year according to the Gregorian calendar, being pushed back approximately 10 days each subsequent year.
Pilgrimage is not something unique to Islam. It’s ubiquity across all major religions and human history speaks to its relationship with the human psyche and its power to inspire human sentiments. All major religions of the world have emphasized the importance of pilgrimage. Christians have historically visited the sites connected with the life of Jesus (as), as well as places associated with the lives of different saints and miraculous events. Nevertheless, it is not proven that Jesus (as) ever encouraged his followers to participate in any sort of pilgrimage. In Judaism, Jews were originally told to appear ‘before God’ three times a year with an offering. [iii] This was done at the tabernacle, a portable tent used for worship first constructed during the time of Moses, that over hundreds of years was moved to various locations. The tabernacle was eventually brought to Jerusalem and thereafter housed in Solomon’s Temple after its construction, after which the temple became the location of pilgrimage. Nevertheless, after the exile of the Jewish people from Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE, this has not been carried out in the form that it used to. Some maintain that the pilgrimage is no longer obligatory after the destruction of the temple. [iv]
Islam is a complete and universal religion. Unlike in other religions, the Hajj is specifically mandated and explained in the Holy Qur’an, the holy book of Islam. Moreover, the Prophet Muhammad (sa) himself participated in the Hajj during his life and practically demonstrated how it was to be carried out. Since then, the Hajj has continuously been observed by Muslims all over the world. Mecca, the place where Hajj is observed, has always remained under Muslim rule, and thus there has never been a case where the Hajj was stopped because of foreign occupation or the destruction of the areas linked with the completion of Hajj.
The Rites of Hajj
The Hajj is obligatory to be performed at least once during the lifetime of every healthy, adult Muslim, provided he or she has the means to perform it.[v] There are various rites associated with the Hajj.
Briefly, a person travels to Mecca with the intention of Hajj. Most arrive days or weeks before the 8th of Dhul-Hijjah and first do the lesser pilgrimage, known as the Umrah. This type of Hajj is known as the Hajj-e-Tamattu. In this case, the Umrah can be performed any time in the two months before the Hajj (Shawwaal, Dhul-Qadah and up to the 7th of Dhul Hijjah). During these months, pilgrims who wish to perform the hajj are encouraged to prepare themselves spiritually and mentally by avoiding sins and needless arguments, as mentioned in the Holy Qur’an, chapter 2 verse 198.[vi]
For this type of Hajj, pilgrims don the white garb of the Ihram with the intention of performing Umrah as they cross into the area of Haram, the holy area surrounding Mecca. While in the state of Ihram, certain actions are no longer allowed, such as cutting the hair or having marital relations. Pilgrims begin to constantly recite the Talbiyyah, a prayer in praise of God, which will the norm for most of the time that they are in the state of Ihram.
They first perform seven circuits around the Ka`bah, the cube-shaped mosque, which is the principle mosque in Islam. History dictates that it was first constructed by Prophet Adam (as), and thereafter reconstructed by Prophet Abraham (as).
After performing the circuits, a prayer is offered close by in a place called Maqam-e-Ibrahim(the place of Abraham (as)). Afterwards, pilgrims run seven times between the two hills of Safa and Marwah, which are approximately 450 meters apart.
Pilgrims then cut their hair, which completes the rites of Umrah. The state of Ihram ends, and they are free to spend their time as they wish until the beginning of Hajj.
On the 8thof Dhul-Hijjah, pilgrims again enter into the state of Ihram from their place of residence. They travel to the plain of Mina, which is about 8 kilometers away from Mecca, and spend the day and night there. This time is spent in prayer and contemplation. Most people use buses to travel between the different sites of the Hajj.
The next day (9th of Dhul-Hijjah) pilgrims go to the plain of Arafat situated 13 kilometers away and remain there in prayer and meditation until the evening. When night falls, pilgrims travel to the plain of Muzdalifah, situated 8 kilometers away, and spend the night there.
The next day (10th of Dhul Hijjah) pilgrims travel to Mina, which is about 4 kilometers away. In Mina they throw stones at a pillar of rock in a symbolic act of stoning Satan, and later sacrifice an animal. After this, they shave or cut their hair, and their state of Ihram comes to an end. Pilgrims return to Mecca and perform circuits around the Ka`bah.
The next three days (11th, 12th and 13thof Dhul Hijjah) are spent in Mina, where each day pilgrims stone the pillars of rock representing Satan.
Pilgrims have the option of ending their pilgrimage on the 12th of Dhul-Hijjah. The pilgrimage ends by going back to Mecca and performing a last circuit of the Ka`bah and drinking the water there called Zam-Zam.
Each aspect of the Hajj is a source of great blessings and forgiveness. The Prophet Muhammad (sa) stated:
‘When you leave home intending to perform the Hajj, for every stride your camel takes, a good deed is written down for you and one sin is forgiven. The reward for the Raka’ats (units of prayer) after the Tawaf (circumambulating the Ka`bah) shall be as you have freed a slave from among the descendants of Prophet Ismael (as). The reward for Sa’i (running) between the hills of Safa and Marwah is like that of freeing seventy slaves. As for your stay in ‘Arafah, Allah descends to the lower Heaven during this time and He boasts to the angels saying, ‘My slaves have come to me, having unkempt hair, coming from every well-travelled corner of the earth, seeking My paradise. [O my Servants!] If your sins are as numerous as the grains of sand or drops of rain or as much as the foam of the ocean, I have forgiven them all. O My servants! Go forth. You are forgiven as well as those whom you intercede on behalf of’.
[The Prophet Muhammad (sa) further stated] ‘As for stoning the Jamarah (stone pillars representing Satan), for every stone that you throw, one such major sin that would have destroyed you is pardoned. The reward for sacrificing an animal is stored by your Rabb. When you shave your head, for each hair, you will receive one good deed and one sin is wiped off. After all this when you perform the final Tawaf around the Ka`bah at the end of the Hajj, you do so in a condition where not a single sin remains upon you. An angel places his hand on the back between your shoulder blades and says, ‘Now you may recommence your deeds, all your previous sins are forgiven.’’ [vii]
Those that don’t physically go on the Hajj are still required to participate in some of the rites. During the days of Hajj, Muslims around the world are encouraged to recite Takbeerat (prayers of glorification of Allah) from the morning of the 9th to the afternoon of the 13th of Dhal Hijjah after the obligatory daily prayers. The 10th of Dhal Hijjah is celebrated as the Day of Eid-ul-Adha, or Festival of Sacrifice. Muslims offer a prayer in congregation, listen to a sermon, and those who are able also sacrifice an animal and distribute a portion of the meat amongst the poor and the needy.
These are the major rites associated with the Hajj which were established by the Prophet Muhammad (sa) when he performed the Hajj in the year 632 CE. Nevertheless, pilgrimage to Mecca and particularly the Ka`bah has a history that predates Islam. Not only would the Arabs perform the pilgrimage (after a fashion), but history indicates that Mecca has been a place of pilgrimage for millennia. Islamic literature tells us that the Ka`bah was first constructed by Prophet Adam (as), and thereafter reconstructed by Prophet Abraham (as). The rites of the Hajj were first given to Prophet Abraham (as) and thereafter revived and completed by the Prophet Muhammad (sa).
Hajj: Symbolizes the Love of a Believer for God
Like other aspects of Islam, the physical rites associated with the hajj are symbolic of a deeper reality that at times is not readily observed. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) was the divine reformer of the age, sent as the Promised Messiah in part to elucidate these deeper spiritual realities. He explains in one place how the rites of Hajj symbolize the different ways of demonstrating the love of God:
‘Whatever is done during the Hajj shows different ways of love. In the extreme condition of love, at times, one does not feel the need of clothes; love is also a sort of madness and a lover cannot be looking after his clothes to maintain their fineness. There was a woman at Sialkot and she was in love with a tailor-master. The people tried all they could to restrain her, but she would tear off her clothes and run to him. This condition of the dress is to be met with in the ceremonies of Hajj; one has to shave off his head ; one has to run; one has to kiss-this is the kiss of affection (all the religions have taken kissing to be a sign of affection). Slaughtering of the ram (sacrifice) is also a sign of excellence of love.’ [viii]
Hajj: A History of the Sacrifices of Abraham and His Family
Alongside these deeper spiritual realities, many of the rites of the Hajj are intricately linked with the history of Prophet Abraham (as) and symbolize the different sacrifices he and his family made in the path of God. While describing the rites of Hajj, Allah states in the Holy Qur’an that pilgrims must keep in mind to ‘take the station and devotion of Abraham as a paradigm for their own worship’ (2:126).[ix] Thus, the procession of the Hajj is to impress upon the pilgrims the station of Abraham (as) and to encourage them to follow him as a model in their own devotion to God.
Abraham (as) was instructed by God to travel from Ur and leave his young son Ismael (as) in the desert of Arabia with his mother Hagar.[x] As he left them behind, Hagar demonstrated absolute confidence in God that He would not abandon them. After travelling a certain distance, being overcome by grief, Abraham (as) raised his hands in prayer and asked God to provide for them.[xi]
This travel to the deserts of Arabia is commemorated in much the same way today during the Hajj. Muslims all over the world leave their possessions behind and travel to the city of Mecca, still situated within a desert, because of the command of God. Before entering the confines of the area for Hajj, they don the garb of the pilgrims, known as the Ihraam – two pieces of simple, unsown white sheets. Amongst other things, this garb is to demonstrate that all mankind is equal before God. Pilgrims continuously chant the Talbiyyah when doing the Hajj, a prayer where the pilgrim repeats:
‘Here I am [at your service] O God, here I am.
Here I am [at your service]. You have no partners (other gods). Here I am [at your service]
To You alone is all praise and all excellence, and to You is all sovereignty.
There is no partner to You.’
The outer state of a pilgrim is one that symbolizes the inner condition of one who has left this world and its luxuries and becomes completely immersed in the love of God and fulfilment of His commandments. It is this inner state of conviction of love that allowed Abraham (as) and his family to fulfil the commands of God.
As the child Ismael (as) began to grow thirsty and thrash about, Hagar began to run between the hills of Safa and Marwah in search of someone who could help them. In her desperation, she would run across from one hill to the top of the other and cry out for help, then observe if anyone was approaching. When she could see no one, she would run back to the first hill and do the same. She did this for a total of seven times.
This running is also part of the rites of Hajj, symbolizing the sense of fear for ourselves and our loved ones that assails us during times of great trial. Pilgrims run and jog seven times between the hills of Safa and Marwah.
In His great mercy, Allah heard her prayers and caused a stream to flow at the feet of Ismael (as), by which both mother and child were saved. This water became the source of an oasis, which soon brought others to the area and resulted in the founding of a settlement – water, the source of life, had given life to the city of Mecca.
This water, known as Zam-zam, continues to flow to this day. Pilgrims parch their thirst with it, and at the same time internalize the belief that God, the All-Powerful one who caused a stream to flow from a desert to help his servants, and also maintained it thereafter as a sign for thousands of years, surely has the power to liberate us from all other difficulties as well.
Abraham (as) continued to visit his family in the desert, perhaps thinking that the trial had been completed. Nevertheless, he thereafter saw a vision where he was sacrificing his son. He related his vision to Ismael (as), who told him to do as God had told him – he would find him obedient to the will of God (37:103) [xii]. Abraham (as) thus set out with his son with the intention of sacrificing him. Along the way, it is said that Satan appeared to him and tried to dissuade him. Abraham (as) rejected his influence and said he would carry out the commandment of God. Thereafter, Satan appeared to Ismael (as) and was rejected in the same manner. He then went to Hagar and was similarly rejected. After this, he despaired of misguiding them abandoned his efforts. [xiii]
This act of rejecting the three temptations of Satan is commemorated during the Hajj by pelting three different stones pillars with rocks. Pilgrims symbolically demonstrate that they too will not be swayed by satanic influences in the fulfilling of the commandments of God.
Overcoming the temptations of Satan, Abraham (as) arrived at the place of sacrifice and placed his son Ismael (as) face down. As he readied his knife, God revealed to him that he had fulfilled his vision (37:104-108) [xiv]. It was at once a great trial and demonstration of the obedience of Abraham (as) to God. Moreover, it served as a lesson that human sacrifices were not acceptable to God. In place of a human sacrifice, God instructed Abraham (as) to sacrifice a sheep instead, which he did.
This sacrifice is also part of the Hajj. Pilgrims slaughter an animal in remembrance of the Mercy of God. The essence of the act is not found in the sacrifice itself, rather in the spirit of sacrifice and submission to the will of God. As the Qur’an explains: ‘It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, rather it is your piety that reaches Him’ (22:38). [xv] Moreover, this meat is primarily meant to be gifted to those who are distressed and needy (22:29). [xvi]
This sacrifice is an outward demonstration of the sacrifice of inner animal of carnal desires and sinful passions that a Muslim must make if he is to come closer to God. The Promised Messiah (as) states:
‘The worship which saves one from loss in the afterlife is where one slaughters that self which incites to evil (nafs-e-ammara). This is the self which has the greatest inclination and desire towards evil deeds and is so overbearing that in every moment it directs one towards evil. So, salvation lies in slaughtering this self that incites towards evil with the knife of selfless devotion to Allah and the cutting asunder of ties to the world while taking Allah as the Beloved and source of peace. One should bear all types of hardships in His path so that the soul may be saved from the death of heedlessness. This is the meaning of Islam and the reality of complete devotion. The true Muslim is he who has placed his face before Allah for slaughter and has sacrificed the camel of his self for Him, throwing it down upon its forehead. Nor is he ever forgetful of death, even for a moment. So, the reality behind the sacrificial animals and offerings that are common in Islam are that they serve to remind one of this purpose, which is the sacrifice of the self. It is meant to encourage one to achieve this rank and is a harbinger to the truth which is perceived after completing the spiritual journey.’ [xvii]
The sacrifice also serves to remind the pilgrims of the transcendent truth that just as animals have been made subservient to the needs of man, in the same way should man view himself as being subservient to God and an object created for His worship and obedience. Man, who despite his own weaknesses, acknowledges his intellectual and social superiority to animals, should logically then also acknowledge his subservience to God, a Perfect Being, who is infinitely superior to man than man is to other animals. His obedience to God and devotion to Him is thus reinforced through the act of sacrifice.
After the sacrifice, a male pilgrim is required to shave his head, while a female should trim some part of her hair. This symbolically represents rebirth and purity. The Prophet Muhammad (sa) indicated that one who completes his Hajj sincerely, will return from it as if born anew. [xviii]
As opposed to popular belief, God did not actually tell Abraham (as) to sacrifice his son. The dream Abraham (as) originally saw where he was sacrificing his son was symbolic. It actually meant that he would soon be called upon to permanently leave his son in Arabia. This great sacrifice was to facilitate the arrival, centuries later, of the Chief of the Prophets and greatest descendant of Ismael (as), the Prophet Muhammad (sa), who was born in Mecca in 571 CE.
Nevertheless, God desired to demonstrate to the world the obedience of Abraham (as) and make it a symbol for all future generations, alongside permanently putting an end to the horrendous practice of human sacrifice. This is why he permitted Abraham (as) to attempt to fulfil the dream literally.
Abraham (as) continued to visit Ismael (as) and Hagar in Arabia. During one of these visits, God told him to reconstruct the Ka`bah with his son Ismael (as), which had fallen into disrepair. They both thus rebuilt the Ka`bah while offering heartfelt prayers for the acceptance of their action and the appearance of the Prophet Muhammad (sa) in the future (Holy Qur’an 2:128-130).[xix]
During the Hajj, one of the rites is to make circuits around the Ka`bah. Pilgrims make seven circuits around the Ka`bah. Being a House of God, the circuits symbolize how a believer’s entire life revolves around God. In Islam, the number seven is seen as being a number denoting completion, fullness and perfection. The Promised Messiah (as) explains:
‘The truth is that the last stage of the seeker’s journey is that withdrawing himself altogether from the demands and desires of self he should be completely engulfed by the love of God and complete devotion to Him. A true lover sacrifices his soul and heart; and the circuit of the House of Allah is a visible sign of such a sacrifice. As there is a House of Allah here below on the earth, so there is one in heaven. Until a person performs the circuit of the House above, his circuit of the House below is not truly performed. One who performs the circuit of the House below puts aside all garments, retaining only one of them to cover his body, but he who performs the circuit of the House above discards all garments altogether and becomes naked for the sake of God. The circuit is a sign of the lovers of God. They go round theKa`bah as if they have no will of their own left and they are devoted wholly to Him’. [xx]
After the circuits are complete, one can approach and kiss the black stone, set in the eastern corner of the Ka`bah. The stone dates back to the time of at least Prophet Abraham (as). The act of kissing the stone symbolizes the love one has of God.
The Promised Messiah (as) explains in one place:
‘In a state of love, the human soul revolves around the object of its affection and kisses its threshold. In the same way, the Ka`bah has been made a physical representation of this truth for the lovers of God the Truthful. God has stated that this is My House, and this black stone is the stone that marks its border. He gave the order to do Hajj so that man may demonstrate his deep-seated love and affection for God. Those that perform the Hajj perform circuits around the Ka`bah in such a way that it appears as if they are completely lost in the love of God. They remove all objects of beauty from themselves. They shave their heads and perform circuits around His House like those who are possessed by love. They kiss that rock picturing it as the rock the demonstrates the threshold of God. This physical enthusiasm gives birth to spiritual vigor and love. The body performs circuits around that House and kisses the rock of the threshold, while the soul performs circuits around the True Beloved and kisses His spiritual threshold. There is no idolatry present in this. A person may kiss the letter of a beloved friend after reading it. No Muslim worships the Ka`bah…’ [xxi]
Though there are many tales as to the origin of the black stone, it should be remembered that it is merely a stone. Muslims do not worship the black stone, and all rites associated with it are purely symbolic. Hadhrat Umar (ra), the second Successor after the Prophet Muhammad (sa), once declared after kissing the stone, ‘No doubt, I know that you are a stone and can neither benefit anyone nor harm anyone. Had I not seen Allah’s Messenger (sa) kissing you, I would not have kissed you.’ [xxii]
The Construction of the Ka`bah and Beginning of the Hajj
After the reconstruction of the Ka`bah, Abraham (as) was told to maintain the Ka`bah pure and clean (22:26) [xxiii], and also announce to the world that all people should come to the Ka`bah to fulfil the obligation of pilgrimage to the House of God (The Holy Qur’an 22:28). [xxiv]
Thus, from the time of Abraham (as), believers have regularly been making the pilgrimage to the Ka`bah. The Bible provides an illuminating reference of this ancient practice. The prophet David (as) describes how there is a blessed house in the valley of Baka that is identified as the dwelling place of God. This house is a place where God is praised by the righteous and is a place of pilgrimage. [xxv] The Holy Qur’an identifies this ancient house of God (22:30), [xxvi] which has served as a blessing and means of guidance for mankind, as the Ka`bah. It names the valley in which it is situated as Bakkah (3:97). [xxvii]
All of these sacrifices of Abraham (as) and his family are what endeared him so much to Allah and made him a model for so many afterward. Despite their differences, Jews, Christians and Muslims all hold him in the highest regard. A large part of the world population today regards Abraham as a model of righteousness, with Muslims especially commemorating his life and sacrifices on a yearly basis.
The Hajj: A World Platform to Resolve Issues
The Holy Qur’an also advises Muslims to not overlook the social and temporal benefits that the Hajj furnishes (22:29).[xxviii] Being days where Muslims from all over the world gather together, the Hajj is a golden opportunity to discuss common issues and methods for their resolution. This benefit is not limited only to Muslims, rather the invitation to discuss world issues and their resolution extends to all peoples and nations. The Qur’an indicates that the Ka`bah has been made a source of peace and tranquility for all mankind (5:98) , and the Prophet Muhammad (sa) declared the area around the Ka`bah as a place of general amnesty and sanctuary.  Thus, the idea of a United Nations-like platform, which would convene regularly to discuss the problems of the world, was first proposed by Islam.
The Hajj is thus a practical manifestation of the harmonious union that Islam wishes to establish between all of mankind. The Promised Messiah (as) states:
‘God desires to join all of mankind as if into one single individual. This is called collective oneness, where many people, as a whole, are considered as being a single person…to the extent that even Hajj has been instituted for this purpose…for the unification of all mankind, one day is fixed during a lifetime that all people should gather in the area around Mecca. In this way, Allah has desired that mutual love and compassion flourish between mankind.’ 
The Hajj is thus an important act of worship in Islam. Many of its rites are in remembrance of the various sacrifices of Prophet Abraham (as) and his family. The rites are both symbolic and instructive, guiding believers to deeper spiritual understandings and emphasizing the importance and benefit of sincere devotion to God. Moreover, the Hajj also provides important social benefits for the betterment of all mankind.
About the Author: Azhar Goraya is currently serving as an Imam ofthe Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Mexico. He is also the Central American Coordinator for The Review of Religions en Español.
جَعَلَ اللَّهُ الْكَعْبَةَ الْبَيْتَ الْحَرَامَ قِيَامًا لِّلنَّاسِ وَالشَّهْرَ الْحَرَامَ وَالْهَدْيَ وَالْقَلَائِدَ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ لِتَعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ
[5:98] ‘Allah has made the Ka‘bah, the inviolable House, as a means of support and uplift for mankind, as also the Sacred Month and the offerings and the animals with collars. That is so that you may know that Allah knows what is in the heavens and what is in the earth, and that Allah knows all things well’.
إِنَّ هَذَا الْبَلَدَ حَرَّمَهُ اللَّهُ، لاَ يُعْضَدُ شَوْكُهُ، وَلاَ يُنَفَّرُ صَيْدُهُ، وَلاَ يَلْتَقِطُ لُقَطَتَهُ إِلاَّ مَنْ عَرَّفَهَا (صحیح البخاری، کتاب الحج، باب فَضْلِ الْحَرَمِ حدیث ۱۵۸۷)
‘Allah has made this town a sanctuary. Its thorny bushes should not be cut, its game should not be chased, and its fallen things should not be picked up except by one who would announce it publicly.’ (Sahih Al-Bukhari, the Book of Hajj, Chapter on the Superiority of the Haram, Hadith #1587)
خدا تعالی کا یہ منشاء ہے کہ تمام انسانوں کوایک نفسِ واحد کی طرح بنا دے۔ اس کا نام وحدتِ جمہوری ہے جس سے بہت سے انسان بحالتِ مجموعی ایک انسان کے حکم میں سمجھا جاتا ہے۔۔۔حتّٰی کہ حج بھی اسی لئے ہے۔۔۔ تمام دنیا کے اجتماع کے لیے ایک دن عمر بھر میں مقرر کر دیا کہ مکّہ کے میدان میں سب جمع ہوں۔ غرضیکہ اس طرح سے اللہ تعالی نے چاہا ہے کہ آپس میں اُلفت اور اُنس ترقی کرے۔
(ملفوظات جلد ۴، صفحہ ۱۰۱)
(Malfuzat, vol. 4, pg. 101)
The Adventures of Ibn-e-Battuta: A Muslim Traveler of the Fourteenth Century, Ross E. Dunn, pg. 27
‘Three times a year all your men must appear before the Lord your God at the place he will choose: at the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Tabernacles. No one should appear before the Lord empty-handed’, (Deuteronomy 16:16)
Three Pilgrimage Festivals. https://www.aish.com/atr/Three_Pilgrimage_Festivals.html. Accessed June 8 2020.
فِيهِ آيَاتٌ بَيِّنَاتٌ مَّقَامُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ ۖ وَمَن دَخَلَهُ كَانَ آمِنًا ۗ وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلًا ۚ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ عَنِ الْعَالَمِينَ
[3:98] ‘In it are manifest Signs; it is the place of Abraham; and whoso enters it, enters peace. And pilgrimage to the House is a duty which men — those who can find a way thither — owe to Allah. And whoever disbelieves, let him remember that Allah is surely independent of all creatures’.
الْحَجُّ أَشْهُرٌ مَّعْلُومَاتٌ ۚ فَمَن فَرَضَ فِيهِنَّ الْحَجَّ فَلَا رَفَثَ وَلَا فُسُوقَ وَلَا جِدَالَ فِي الْحَجِّ ۗوَمَا تَفْعَلُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ يَعْلَمْهُ اللَّهُ ۗ وَتَزَوَّدُوا فَإِنَّ خَيْرَ الزَّادِ التَّقْوَىٰ ۚ وَاتَّقُونِ يَا أُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ
[2:198] ‘The months of the Hajj are well known; so whoever determines to perform the Pilgrimage in these months, should remember that there is to be no foul talk, nor any transgression, nor any quarrelling during the Pilgrimage. And whatever good you do, Allah knows it. And furnish yourselves with necessary provisions, and surely, the best provision is righteousness. And fear Me alone, O men of understanding’.
فَإنَّك إِذا خرجت من بَيْتك تؤم الْبَيْت الْحَرَام لَا تضع نَاقَتك خفا وَلَا ترفعه إِلَّا كتب الله لَك بِهِ حَسَنَة ومحا عَنْك خَطِيئَة وَأما ركعتاك بعد الطّواف كعتق رَقَبَة من بني إِسْمَاعِيل عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام وَأما طوافك بالصفا والمروة كعتق سبعين رَقَبَة وَأما وقوفك عَشِيَّة عَرَفَة فَإِن الله يهْبط إِلَى سَمَاء الدُّنْيَا فيباهي بكم الْمَلَائِكَة يَقُول عبَادي جاؤوني شعثا من كل فج عميق يرجون جنتي فَلَو كَانَت ذنوبكم كعدد الرمل أَو كقطر الْمَطَر أَو كزبد الْبَحْر لغفرتها أفيضوا عبَادي مغفورا لكم وَلمن شفعتم لَهُ وَأما رميك الْجمار فلك بِكُل حَصَاة رميتها تَكْفِير كَبِيرَة من الموبقات وَأما نحرك فمذخور لَك عِنْد رَبك وَأما حلاقك رَأسك فلك بِكُل شَعْرَة حلقتها حَسَنَة ويمحى عَنْك بهَا خَطِيئَة وَأما طوافك بِالْبَيْتِ بعد ذَلِك فَإنَّك تَطوف وَلَا ذَنْب لَك يَأْتِي ملك حَتَّى يضع يَدَيْهِ بَين كتفيك فَيَقُول اعْمَلْ فِيمَا تسْتَقْبل فقد غفر لَك مَا مضى
(مسند البزار، مسند ابن عباس رضی االلہ عنھما، حدیث ۶۱۷۷)
(Masnad Al-Bazzar, Masnad Ibn-e-Abbas, Hadith #6177)
حج میں محبت کے سارے ارکان پائے جاتے ہیں۔ بعض وقت شدّتِ محبّت میں کپڑے کی بھی حاجت نہیں رہیتی۔ عشق بھی ایک جنون ہوتا ہے۔ کپڑوں کو سنوار کر رکھنا یہ عشق میں نہیں رہتا۔ سیالکوٹ میں ایک عورت ایک درزی پر عاشق تھی۔ اسے بہتیرا پکڑ کر رکھتے تھے۔ وہ کپڑے بھاڑ کی چلی آتی تھی۔ غرض یہ نمونہ جو انتہائے محبت کے لباس میں ہوتا ہے۔ وہ حج میں موجود ہے۔ سر منڈایا جاتا ہے۔ دوڑتے ہیں۔ محبّت کا بوسہ رہ گیا وہ بھی ہے۔ جو خدا کی ساری شریعتوں میں تصویری زبان میں چلا آیا ہے۔ پھر قربانی میں بھی کمال عشق دکھایا ہے۔
(ملفوظات، جلد ۲، صفحہ ۲۲۵)
Malfuzat vol. 2 pg. 225. Eng. Trans. So Said the Promised Messiah, pg. 167.
إِذْ جَعَلْنَا الْبَيْتَ مَثَابَةً لِّلنَّاسِ وَأَمْنًا وَاتَّخِذُوا مِن مَّقَامِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ مُصَلًّى ۖ وَعَهِدْنَا إِلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ أَن طَهِّرَا بَيْتِيَ لِلطَّائِفِينَ وَالْعَاكِفِينَ وَالرُّكَّعِ السُّجُودِ
[2:126] ‘And remember the time when We made the House a resort for mankind and a place of security; and take ye the station of Abraham as a place of Prayer. And We commanded Abraham and Ishmael, saying, ‘Purify My House for those who perform the circuit and those who remain therein for devotion and those who bow down and fall prostrate in Prayer.’’
For the story of Abraham leaving Hagar in the desert, see Sahih Al-Bukhari, The Book of the Stories of the Prophets.
رَّبَّنَا إِنِّي أَسْكَنتُ مِن ذُرِّيَّتِي بِوَادٍ غَيْرِ ذِي زَرْعٍ عِندَ بَيْتِكَ الْمُحَرَّمِ رَبَّنَا لِيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ فَاجْعَلْ أَفْئِدَةً مِّنَ النَّاسِ تَهْوِي إِلَيْهِمْ وَارْزُقْهُم مِّنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَشْكُرُونَ
[14:38] ‘Our Lord, I have settled some of my children in an uncultivable valley near Thy Sacred House — our Lord — that they may observe Prayer. So make men’s hearts incline towards them and provide them with fruits, that they may be thankful’.
فَلَمَّا بَلَغَ مَعَهُ السَّعْيَ قَالَ يَا بُنَيَّ إِنِّي أَرَىٰ فِي الْمَنَامِ أَنِّي أَذْبَحُكَ فَانظُرْ مَاذَا تَرَىٰ ۚ قَالَ يَا أَبَتِ افْعَلْ مَا تُؤْمَرُ ۖ سَتَجِدُنِي إِن شَاءَ اللَّهُ مِنَ الصَّابِرِينَ
[37:103] ‘And when he was old enough to work with him, he said, ‘O my dear son, I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering thee. So consider, what thou thinkest of it!’ He replied, ‘O my father, do as thou art commanded; thou wilt find me, if Allah please, of those who are patient.’
The History of Al-Tabari, Vol. 2, Prophets and Patriarchs, pgs. 92-93
فَلَمَّا أَسْلَمَا وَتَلَّهُ لِلْجَبِينِ  وَنَادَيْنَاهُ أَن يَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ  قَدْ صَدَّقْتَ الرُّؤْيَا ۚ إِنَّا كَذَٰلِكَ نَجْزِي الْمُحْسِنِينَ  إِنَّ هَٰذَا لَهُوَ الْبَلَاءُ الْمُبِينُ  وَفَدَيْنَاهُ بِذِبْحٍ عَظِيمٍ
[37:104] ‘And when they both submitted to the Will of God, and he had thrown him down on his forehead,
[37:105] We called to him: ‘O Abraham,
[37:106] ‘Thou hast indeed fulfilled the dream.’ Thus indeed do We reward those who do good.
[37:107] That surely was a manifest trial.
[37:108] And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice.’
لَن يَنَالَ اللَّهَ لُحُومُهَا وَلَا دِمَاؤُهَا وَلَٰكِن يَنَالُهُ التَّقْوَىٰ مِنكُمْ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ سَخَّرَهَا لَكُمْ لِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَاكُمْ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
لِّيَشْهَدُوا مَنَافِعَ لَهُمْ وَيَذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللَّهِ فِي أَيَّامٍ مَّعْلُومَاتٍ عَلَىٰ مَا رَزَقَهُم مِّن بَهِيمَةِ الْأَنْعَامِ ۖ فَكُلُوا مِنْهَا وَأَطْعِمُوا الْبَائِسَ الْفَقِيرَ
[22:29] ‘That they may witness its benefits for them and may mention the name of Allah, during the appointed days, over the quadrupeds of the class of cattle that He has provided for them. Then eat ye thereof and feed the distressed, the needy‘.
عبادت جو آخرت کے خسارہ سے نجات دیتی ہے وہ اس نفس امارہ کا ذبح کرنا ہے کہ جو بُرے کاموں کیلئے زیادہ سے زیادہ جوش رکھتا ہے اور ایسا حاکم ہے کہ ہر وقت بدی کا حکم دیتا رہتا ہےپس نجات اس میں ہے کہ اس بُرا حکم دینے والے کو انقطاع الی اللہ کے کاردوں سے ذبح کر دیا جائے اور خلقت سے قطع تعلق کر کےخدا تعالیٰ کو اپنا مونس اور آرام جان قرار دیا جائے اور اسکے ساتھ انواع اقسام کی تلخیوں کی برداشت بھی کی جائے تا نفس غفلتکی موت سے نجات پاوے اور یہی اسلام کے معنے ہیں اور یہی کامل اطاعت کی حقیقت ہےور مسلمان وہ ہے جس نے اپنا منہ ذبح ہونے کیلئے خدا تعالیٰ کے آگے رکھ دیا ہو۔ اوراپنے نفس کی اونٹنی کو اس کے لئے قربان کر دیا ہو اور ذبح کے لئے پیشانی کے بل اسکو گرا دیا ہو اور موت سےایک دم غافل نہ ہو پس حاصل کلام یہ ہے کہ ذبیحہ اور قربانیاں جو اسلام میں مرّوج ہیںوہ سب اسی مقصود کے لئے جو بذل نفس ہے بطور یاددہانی ہیں اوراس مقام کے حاصل کرنے کے لئے ایک ترغیب ہے اور اس حقیقت کے لئے جو سلوک تام کے بعدحاصل ہوتی ہے ایک ارہاص ہے ۔
(روحانی خزائن، جلد ۱۶، خطبہ الہامیہ، صفحہ ۳۵ تا ۳۶)
(Ruhani Khazain, vol. 16, Khutba Ilhamiya, pg. 35-36)
مَنْ حَجَّ لِلَّهِ فَلَمْ يَرْفُثْ وَلَمْ يَفْسُقْ رَجَعَ كَيَوْمِ وَلَدَتْهُ أُمُّهُ
(صحیح البخاری، کتاب الحج، اب فَضْلِ الْحَجِّ الْمَبْرُورِ، حدیث ۱۵۲۱)
‘Whoever performs Hajj for Allah’s pleasure and does not have sexual relations with his wife, and does not do evil or sins then he will return (after Hajj free from all sins) as if he were born anew.’ (Sahih Al-Bukhari, the Book of Hajj, Chapter on the Superiority of Hajj-e-Mabrur, Hadith #1521)
وَإِذْ يَرْفَعُ إِبْرَاهِيمُ الْقَوَاعِدَ مِنَ الْبَيْتِ وَإِسْمَاعِيلُ رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ رَبَّنَا وَاجْعَلْنَا مُسْلِمَيْنِ لَكَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِنَا أُمَّةً مُّسْلِمَةً لَّكَ وَأَرِنَا مَنَاسِكَنَا وَتُبْ عَلَيْنَا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ رَبَّنَا وَابْعَثْ فِيهِمْ رَسُولًا مِّنْهُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِكَ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ ۚ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
[2:128] ‘And remember the time when Abraham and Ishmael raised the foundations of the House, praying, ‘Our Lord, accept this from us; for Thou art All-Hearing, All-Knowing.’
[2:129] ‘Our Lord, make us submissive to Thee and make of our offspring a people submissive to Thee. And show us our ways of worship, and turn to us with mercy; for Thou art Oft-Returning with compassion and Merciful.’
[2:130] ‘And, our Lord, raise up among them a Messenger from among themselves, who may recite to them Thy Signs and teach them the Book and Wisdom and may purify them; surely, Thou art the Mighty, the Wise.’
(Essence of Islam, vol. 2, pg. 317)
محبت کے عالم میں انسانی روح ہر وقت اپنے محبوب کے گرد گھومتی ہے اور اس کے آستانہ کو بوسہ دیتی ہے۔ ایسا ہی خانہ کعبہ جسمانی طور پر محبان صادق کے لئے ایک نمونہ دیا گیا ہے اور خدا نے فرمایا کہ دیکھو یہ میرا گھر ہے اور یہ حجرِ اسود میرے آستانہ کا پتھر* ہے اور ایسا حکم اِس لئے دیا کہ تا انسان جسمانی طور پر اپنے ولولہ عشق اور محبت کو ظاہر کردے سو حج کرنے والے حج کے مقام میں جسمانی طور پر اُس گھر کے گرد گھومتے ہیں ایسی صورتیں بناکر کہ گویا خدا کی محبت میں دیوانہ اور مست ہیں۔زینت دُور کردیتے ہیں سر منڈوا دیتے ہیں اور مجذوبوں کی شکل بناکراس کے گھر کے گرد عاشقانہ طواف کرتے ہیں اور اس پتھر کو خدا کے آستانہ کا پتھر تصور کرکے بوسہ دیتے ہیں اور یہ جسمانی ولولہ رُوحانی تپش اور محبت کو پیدا کر دیتا ہے اور جسم اس گھر کے گرد طواف کرتا ہے اور سنگ آستانہ کو چومتا ہے اور رُوح اُس وقت محبوب حقیقی کے گرد طواف کرتی ہے اور اس کے رُوحانی آستانہ کو چومتی ہے اور اس طریق میں کوئی شرک نہیں ایک دوست ایک دوست جانی کا خط پاکر بھی اُس کو چومتا ہے کوئی مسلمان خانہ کعبہ کی پرستش نہیں کرتا اور نہ حجر اسودنفع دے سکتا ہے نہ نقصان۔ مگر اُس محبوب کے ہاتھ کا ہے جس نے اُس کو اپنے آستانہ کا نمونہ ٹھہرایا۔
(روحانی خزائن، جلد ۲۳، صفحہ ۱۰۰ تا ۱۰۱)
(Ruhani Khazain, vol. 23, Chashma-e-Ma’rifat, pgs. 100-101)
أَنَّهُ جَاءَ إِلَى الْحَجَرِ الأَسْوَدِ فَقَبَّلَهُ، فَقَالَ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ أَنَّكَ حَجَرٌ لاَ تَضُرُّ وَلاَ تَنْفَعُ، وَلَوْلاَ أَنِّي رَأَيْتُ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يُقَبِّلُكَ مَا قَبَّلْتُكَ (صحیح البخاری، کتاب الحج، باب مَا ذُكِرَ فِي الْحَجَرِ الأَسْوَدِ، حدیث ۱۵۹۷)
(Sahih Al-Bukhari, the Book of Hajj, Chapter: What is said regarding the Black Stone, Hadith #1597)
وَإِذْ بَوَّأْنَا لِإِبْرَاهِيمَ مَكَانَ الْبَيْتِ أَن لَّا تُشْرِكْ بِي شَيْئًا وَطَهِّرْ بَيْتِيَ لِلطَّائِفِينَ وَالْقَائِمِينَ وَالرُّكَّعِ السُّجُودِ
[22:26] ‘And remember the time when We assigned to Abraham the site of the House and said, ‘Associate not anything with Me, and keep My House clean for those who perform the circuits, and those who stand up and those who bow down and fall prostrate in Prayers;’
وَأَذِّن فِي النَّاسِ بِالْحَجِّ يَأْتُوكَ رِجَالًا وَعَلَىٰ كُلِّ ضَامِرٍ يَأْتِينَ مِن كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيقٍ
[22:28] ‘And proclaim unto mankind the Pilgrimage. They will come to thee on foot, and on every lean camel, coming by every distant track’
1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
2 My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
3 Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.
5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
ثُمَّ لْيَقْضُوا تَفَثَهُمْ وَلْيُوفُوا نُذُورَهُمْ وَلْيَطَّوَّفُوا بِالْبَيْتِ الْعَتِيقِ
[22:30] ‘Then let them accomplish their needful acts of cleansing, and fulfill their vows, and go around the Ancient House.’
اِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيْتٍ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِي بِبَكَّةَ مُبَارَكًا وَهُدًى لِّلْعَالَمِينَ
[3:97] ‘Surely, the first House founded for mankind is that at Becca, abounding in blessings and a guidance for all peoples’.
لِّيَشْهَدُوا مَنَافِعَ لَهُمْ وَيَذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللَّهِ فِي أَيَّامٍ مَّعْلُومَاتٍ عَلَىٰ مَا رَزَقَهُم مِّن بَهِيمَةِ الْأَنْعَامِ ۖ فَكُلُوا مِنْهَا وَأَطْعِمُوا الْبَائِسَ الْفَقِيرَ
[22:29] ‘That they may witness its benefits for them and may mention the name of Allah, during the appointed days, over the quadrupeds of the class of cattle that He has provided for them. Then eat ye thereof and feed the distressed, the needy’.