Rafed English

Hajj - An Important Worship for Human Development

Hajj - An Important Worship for Human Development

The journey for hajj is a divine one and, in reality, a great migration; an expansive field for self-development, self-rectification and the Greatest Battle (Jihad-e-Akbar).

The hajj rituals collectively are an act of worship profoundly associated with the struggle of Ibrahim (peace be upon him), his son Ismaai’l (peace be upon him) and his wife Haajar and if we were to remain heedless of this aspect while studying the secrets and objectives of hajj, many of its rites and rituals would only float before us as enigmas; the solution to this lies in keeping this deep association within our sights during the course of the study.

When we come to the sacrificial grounds in Mina, the innumerable sacrifices performed there leave us amazed and perplexed; basically, is it possible for animal-sacrifice to be a part of the rituals associated with an act of worship?

But when we bring to mind the incident of Ibrahim (peace be upon him), when he sincerely endeavoured to sacrifice his nearest and dearest one in the path of God subsequent to which the sacrifice at Mina came into existence in the form of a custom, we comprehend the philosophy lying behind it.

Offering sacrifice, in reality, implies one’s total disregard for everything else when striving in the way of God and is a demonstration of cleansing one’s heart from everything other than God. 

The reformative and educative effects of these rites can be derived in sufficient measure only when the entire scenario of the sacrifice of Ismaai’l (peace be upon him) and the spiritual state of the father and the son leading up to the sacrifice is incarnated before man’s eyes and this spiritual state casts its influence upon him.

When we proceed towards Jamaraat (three stone pillars, which the Pilgrims strike with pebbles - each one to be struck with seven pebbles – in a special ritual of hajj), the rituals there appear enigmatic and inexplicable to us and we are given to wonder as to what could be the idea behind stoning a lifeless stone pillar and what problem could such an act possibly solve? 

However, when we bring to mind the struggle of Ibrahim (peace be upon him) - the champion of monotheism - against the whisperings of the Satan, who appeared before him on three occasions - each time seeking to weaken his resolve and distract him from the Jihad-e-Akbar (The Greatest Battle) - and on each occasion Ibrahim (peace be upon him) repelled him by means of stones, these rites appear more meaningful and comprehensible to us.

These rituals convey the meaning that:  All of you too, all throughout your lives, are in confrontation with the whisperings of the Satans during the Jihad-e-Akbar (Greatest Battle), and till the time you do not stone them and drive them away, you shall never be victorious.

And if you desire that God, just as He had sent His salutations upon Ibrahim (peace be upon him) and made his name and doctrine eternal, should also cast His look of grace and favour upon you, then you must follow his (peace be upon him) path too.

Or when we arrive at Safa  and Marwah and observe the people repeatedly moving to and fro between one small mountain and an another even smaller one without coming to possess anything -  at times walking and at times running - we are surely overtaken by astonishment as to what kind of going-on is this and what could it possibly mean and signify?

But then, when we bring to mind the striving and efforts of Haajar for saving the life of her suckling child in that hot and scorching desert, and how God, after her sincere efforts, granted her wish by making the water of Zamzam to flow from beneath the foot of her new-born child, the clock suddenly turns back for us, the curtains tend to get lifted and we find ourselves near Haajar, accompanying her in her quest and efforts; this is so since, in the path of God, one cannot hope to attain any rank and status without exertion and effort!

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