Interpretation of Sura Cow - Verses 198-199
198. " There shall be no sin for you to seek bounty from your Lord. Then when you hasten on (in multitude) from 'Arafat, remember Allah by the sacred Monument (Muzdalifah) , remember Him as He has guided you, although before that you were surely of those who went astray."
199. " Then hasten on from where the people hasten on, and seek forgiveness of Allah; verily Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. "
Economic Activities in Hajj Season
At the Age of Ignorance, people considered trading and taking passengers or baggages to different destinations during the Hajj season unlawful (haram) and a sin. They counted the Hajj performances of those who did such activities invalid. At the season of Hajj, Muslims were naturally expecting to know whether the ordinances of that Age were still valid or they were worthless from the view of Islam. Then, the above verse was revealed telling them:
" There shall be no sin for you to seek bounty from your Lord ..." The verse under discussion announces the aforementioned ordinance of the time of ignorance, which counted bargain at the time of Hajj a sin, is incorrent. It proclaims that trade and the like activities are no problem during the season of Hajj, and it does not matter that people enjoy of the blessings of Allah and gain profit from their work and activities.
As Islamic literature indicates about the philosophies of Hajj, in addition to the ethical, political and cultural philosophies, this verse points to the philosophy of economics, too. This idea says that the transportation of Muslims from different points of the world toward the Ka'bah and the formation of that great Islamic congress can be a good basis for a common movement due to economics in Islamic societies. In this great meeting, before or after the rites of Hajj, the thoughtful Muslim minds in economics can assemble, and, with cooperation and association of each other, establish a firm foundation for the economics of the Islamic societies. They can produce, by the help of correct commercial exchanges, for example, such a strong and fixed economy that they become independent and free from want from enemies and non-Muslims.
Therefore, these trades and commercial exchanges, themselves, are among the means of strengthening the Islamic nations against the enemies of Islam. The reason is that no nation will have complete independence without having a powerful economy. Yet, it is evident, of course, that the commercial activities should be set in a position after the ethical and worshipping aspects of Hajj, not prior and dominative to it. Fortunately, pilgrims have enough time for this job both before and after the rites of Hajj.
Husham-ibn-Hakam said that he asked Imam Sadiq (a.s.) about the reason that Allah enjoined people to circumambulate the House (Ka'bah) and perform Hajj.
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) replied:
" Verily Allah has created human beings ... and has enjoined them to do an action (Hajj) which contains the obedience of religion and is good for the affairs of their world. He assigned that (at the time of Hajj) , Muslims assemble from the east and west of the world in order to be acquainted with each other, and in order that every nation makes use (of the productions and) trades of other nations, and that the muleteers and cameleers make profit (in this journey by hiring out their vehicles to others), and that they become familiar with the effects (traditions) of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) (so that those traditions continue to survive by) remembering and not to be forgotten. If it were so that every nation spoke about only their own environment, and whatever there was therein, they would be destroyed and the cities would turn to ruin, and commercial profits would be wasted, and the traditions and signs of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) would be vanished. This is the philosophy of Hajj." 91
" ... Then when you hasten on (in multitude) from 'Arafat, remember Allah by the Sacred Monument (Muzdalifah) , ... " In this section of the verse, the Qur'an's command is due to this subject that after performing the rites that should be fulfilled in 'Arafat, they must move to Mash'ar-ul-Haram (the Sacred Monument) , which is located between Mina and 'Arafat, and remember Him therein.
" ... remember Him as He has guided you, Here, the speech of the verse remarks that for thanksgiving and being grateful for the guidance of Allah, remember Him (s.w.t.) in Mash'ar-ul-Haram, a remembrance appropriate to the guidance that He has given you.
At that time, Muslims could realize well the value of this great blessing, viz. guidance, because they were not so far from the time that the inhabitants of Arabian Peninsula had gone astray totally, and could see how Allah had saved them from all those aberrations and misfortunes by leading them to the blessing of this pure divine religion, Islam.
" ... although before that you were surely of those who went astray." Why 'Arafat' ? It is said that 'Arafat is a land about 24 kilometers away from the center of Mecca where pilgrims halt from noon until evening on the ninth of Zil-hajjah. The origin of this appellation has been differently described. One of them is that when the harbinger of revelation, Gabriel, showed Abraham (a.s.) the rites of Hajj therein, he (a.s.) responded: "I recognized," , " I recognized"('Araftu) . But it is probable that this appellation points to another fact, too. That land, from which the first steps of the performance of Hajj begins, is a very fitting place for the recognition of the Pure Essence of Allah. Verily, that spiritual attraction that man finds in him at the arrival of that indescribable land, is not comparable with that of any desert.
In 'Arafat, originally everywhere is the same, everything contains a harmony, all pilgrims behave alike in that desert. They have relieved themselves from the noise of the cities and from the tumult and dazzling glare of the material world, busy contemplating therein, under the blue sky, in the clean fresh air clear from sin, where the harbinger of revelation has stretched wings, where accompanied with its breeze the murmur of Gabriel and the manly sound of Abraham (a.s.) strengthened with the delightful voice of the Prophet of Islam (p.b.u.h.) and the true believers of early Islam, are spiritually heard. In this remindful land where as if a window had been opened to the supernatural world, not only man can be drowned in the emanation of gnosis of Allah and may follow the common praising murmur of the whole creation but also he might find himself indise his own ego, the which he has lost for a lifetime and has been looking for. If so, he will also become gnostic to his own rank and will comprehend that he is not the one who works hard day and night and greedily pokes about here and there to earn a living and whatever more he obtains the less his thirst of greed is quenched. He finds out that there is another diamond-like nobility in his soul that he is, in fact, the same worthy existence.
Yes, this very land is called 'Arafat, the site of recognition. What an interesting and appropriate appellation!
The statements cited about the appellation used for Sacred Monument as 'Mash'ar-ul-Haram ' denote that the place is a center for the 'mottoes of Hajj', and it is a sign for its great glorious divine concerning rites. However, it must not be neglected that the Arabic term / mash'ar / is derived from / shu'ur / which means : 'sense, consciousness or awareness '.
In that exciting unique night, i.e., the night before the tenth of Zil-hajjah, when the pilgrims, after passing their training course in 'Arafat, have moved into Muzdalifah to spend a night long until after sunrise there, lying over the smooth sands under the starry sky, find themselves among a crowd which seems as a small pattern of the Great Resurrection in the Hereafter. This shakening scene, with that pure serenity that the surroundings has, makes the pilgrims, being covered in those innocently plain clothes of 'Ihram, feel a special new spring of thought, understanding and awareness inside their own entity, so that, if they contemplate, they can clearly hear the fall of that consciousness in the depth of their hearts. That is why that venerable place is called 'Mash'ar'.
" Then hasten on from where the people hasten on, ..." By this verse, the Providence has notified the privileges that the Quraish had considered for themselves. The Quraish used to call themselves 'Humus' (those who are firm in religion) and, counting themselves the offsprings of Abraham and custodians of Ka'bah, imagined themselves superior to the people of other Arab tribes. Hence, they stayed to avoid joining the other pilgrims in proceeding to the plain of 'Arafat under the pretext that it was out of the limits of Mecca, though they knew that it was among the rites of Hajj and a part of the creed of Abraham.
In the above verse, the Qur'an tells Muslims that they all must halt in one place ('Arafat) and from there all should go towards Mash'ar from which they totally move to Mina. Thus, that wrong privilege of the Quraish passed off. " ... and seek forgiveness of Allah; verily Allah is Forgiving, Merciful."
It adds that they ought to avoid those wrong ideas of the age of ignorance and seek forgiveness of Allah because Hajj, or Islam, does not recognize any such distinctions and had already levelled every such difference and distinction. Then, it remarks that Allah is forgiving and merciful.
In addition to the aforementioned descriptions about the Pilgrimage, cited in the commentary upon verse No. 196 under the title of ' The Rites of Pilgrimage ', there are some detailed explanations given at the beginning of an English translation of the Qur'an, by S. V. Mir Ahmed Ali, which are exactly adopted here, as follows:
" It is incumbent on every Muslim who has the necessary means to do it, to visit, on Pilgrimage, the Holy Mosque, the Ka'bah, in Mecca once in his life. The carrying out of this ordinance is subject to the condition that the individual has the means to do it. The main conditions are:
1. The individual must be a major and not a minor.
2. He must have the means to meet the expense of the journey, without detriment to his ability to continue his business or the means of his living.
3. The health of the individual should permit the journey.
4. There should be no risk of life in the journey. (For exact details refer to 'Fiqh')
The essential formality of Hajj is the Ehram, i.e., the male should remove his stitched clothes and get himself wrapped with two pieces of unstitched, clean cloth, one covering his body from his neck to his loins and another from his waist to his feet. A female should wrap these two pieces over and above her usual clothes.
The Ehram cloth should have been lawfully acquired and it should not be silken or transparent. The moment the individual puts on the Ehram, i.e., the garb of a Pilgrim, (i.e., a Haji) , he becomes responding exclusively to the call of the Lord which was issued to mankind through the great Prophet Abraham:-
" And (remember O' Our Apostle Muhammad!) when We fixed for Abraham the place for the House, (saying) : ' Associate thou not with Me aught, and cleanse My House for those who make the circuits and stand in prayer, and bow and prostrate themselves (unto Me) ." " And proclaim thou unto the people the Pilgrimage (Hajj) ! They will come unto thee on foot and on lean camel, coming from every remote (high) way! " 22:26, 27
Putting on the Ehram, the pilgrim in response to the call of the Lord issued through Abraham, calls:-
' Labbaik, Allahomma Labbaik! ' ' La Sharika laka Labbaik '
Yes, here I am O' Lord, here I am. There is no partner for thee. Yes, here I am.
' Innal-Hamd laka wan-Ne'mata laka ' ' Wal Mulka laka Labbaik '
Verily, the Praise and the bounties are Thine. And the Dominion is Thine. Yes, I am here, O Lord! "
The above mentioned response of Haji is cited in the aforementioned book. But the exact words that they actually recite now is as follows: Labbayk, Allahumma Labbayk! Labbayka la Sharika Laka Labbayk! Innal-Hamda wan-Ni'mata Laka wal-Mulk, la Sharika Laka Labbayk! It is worth noting that the call of the Lord to mankind, issued through Abraham thousands of years ago has been made to ring and resound into the ears of men through Islam and today the Holy House of the Lord, the Ka'bah, is visited regularly and punctually every year on the fixed dates in the month of Zilhaj, the last month of the Islamic Calendar year.
After putting on the Ehram, the Haji or the pilgrim has to do the following:-
1. 'Tawaf', i.e., circumambulation, i.e., going seven times round the Ka'bah.
2. After the ' Tawaf ' is completed, a prayer (salat) of two Rak'ats, like that of the Morning Prayers, must be performed.
3. After the prayer, the pilgrim has to cut the nails (or the hair) . These formalities are performed immediately as the pilgrim arrives in the city of Mecca for the pilgrimage and this is called 'Umrah and the cutting of the nails (or the hair) is called 'Taqseer'. This could be performed from the first of the lunar month Shawwal to the 8th of Zilhaj.
On the 8th Zilhaj the pilgrim should put on the Ehram.
On the 9th Zilhaj the pilgrim should go to the plain of Arafat and stay there until sunset.
After the sunset the pilgrim should proceed to the place called Mash'ar and stay there at night.
On the morning of 10th Zilhaj the pilgrim should go to the plain of Mina, offer sacrifice and effect the 'Taqseer' (shaving his head clean) .
After this, the pilgrim should put off the Ehram but must remain in Mina for two or three nights.
During the day the pilgrim goes to Mecca to perform 'Tawaf' and offer two Rak'at prayer.
After completing the 'Tawaf' the pilgrim should perform the Sa'i between the two hillocks Safa and Marwa.
After completing the Sa'i, the pilgrim should conclude the performace by repeating the 'Tawaf' called the 'Tawaf-i-Nisa'.
(Caution : Be it known’? the above note about the performace of Hajj, is only a bare skeleton just to give an idea of pilgrimage in Shia'ism ? For the exact details one should refer to ' Fiqh ') .
This completes the pilgrimage and the Haji now returns to Mecca. After the Hajj, the pilgrim proceeds to Medina to visit the shrine of the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) and the graves of the Four Holy Imams (a.s.) in the Cemetry 'Jannatul-Baqi' viz.
1. The Second Holy Imam Hasan Ibne Ali Al-Mujtaba.
2. The Fourth Holy Imam Ali ibnul Husain Az-Zainul'abideen.
3. The Fifth Holy Imam Muhammad ibne Ali Al-Baqir.
4. The Sixth Holy Imam Ja'far ibne Muhammad As-Sadiq.
The Mausoleums over graves of the above Holy ones have been demolished and the pilgrims are not allowed by the Saudi Rule to offer any prayers like Fatiha or the recitation of any salutation to the Holy Souls. Every sincere Muslim loyal to the Holy family of the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) ; the Ahlul-Bait (a.s.) , particularly the Shi'as, feel for the ruined condition of the holy graves and the unwarranted and unreasonable ban on the recitation of either the Holy Qur'an or offering any salutation to the Holy Souls, and earnestly prays to God for the restoration of the freedom to offer the Salutation etc., on the Holy Shrines as it was before, and for the removal of the Un-Islamic ban.
A Few of the Qur'anic Verses on Hajj
" Verily, the First House made for mankind is the one at Mecca, Blessed and a Guidance for the worlds." " In it are clear signs; the standing place of Abraham; and whoever entereth it is secure; and (purely) for God, is incumbent upon mankind, the pilgrimage to the House, for those who can afford to journey thither; And whosoever denieth then Verily, God is Self-sufficiently independent of the Worlds." 3: 95,96
The Time for the Pilgrimage and the Discipline Therein
' The pilgrimage ' is performed in the known months; so whosoever determines the performance of the pilgrimage therein, there shall be then no foul speech nor abusing nor disputing in the pilgrimage, and whatever good you do, God knoweth it and maketh provision. 'Verily the best of provision is the piety of oneself and fear Me, O' men of understanding '.
There is no blame on you in seeking bounty from your Lord, so when ye hasten on from 'Arafat then remember God near the Holy Mash'ar, Monument, and remember Him as He hath guided you, though before that ye were certainly of those gone astray. " Then hasten on from where the people hasten on, and seek forgiveness of Allah; Verily, God is Forgiving, Merciful." So when ye have performed your devotions, then laud God as ye lauded your fathers, rather a greater lauding. But there are some people who say, ' Our Lord give us in this world, and they shall have no portion in the hereafter.
" Hajj is the months well-known, whosoever then undertaketh the pilgrimage therein, then let there be no intercourse, nor bad language, nor quarrelling during the pilgrimage; and whatever of good ye do, God knoweth it; so make provision (for your journey) and verily the best provision is piety; and fear Me O' ye people of understanding."
" It shall be no guilt on your part if ye seek bounty from your Lord (in trade during pilgrimage) ; then when ye march from 'Arafat remember God near the Holy Monument, and remember Him as He hath guided you, although ye were surely before this, of those who had gone astray. " Then march ye on from whence the other people march on and seek pardon of God; verily God is Forgiving, Merciful. " And among them there are some who say Our Lord! give us good in this world and good in the hereafter and save us from the torment of the (Hell) Fire.
" These shall have a portion of what they have earned; verily, God is quick in reckoning. " And remember ye God on the numbered days; and whosoever hasteneth off in two days it will be no sin on him, and whoso tarrieth (there) , on him (also) there will be no sin and this is for him who guardeth (against evil) so take ye shelter in God and know ye (that) unto Him ye shall (all) be gathered." 2: 197-203
Disciplinary Restrictions of Amnesty during the Hajj Period
" O' ye who believe! kill ye not (any) game while ye are in the pilgrim garb; and whoever among you killeth it intentionally, the compensation (of it) is the like of what he killed from the cattle, as adjudged by two just men from among you, as an offering to be brought to the Ka'bah or the expiation (of it) is the feeding of the poor or the equivalent of it in fasting, that he may taste the heinousness of his deed; God hath pardoned what is gone by; and whoever returneth (to it) ; then will God exact penalty from him, and God is Mighty, Lord of Retribution." 5: 95
The Lawful Game during the Pilgrimage
" Allowed unto you is the game of the sea and eating thereof a provision for you and for the travellers; and forbidden unto you is the game of the land so long as ye are in the pilgrim garb; and fear ye God unto Whom ye shall be gathered." 5: 96 The Sanctity of the Holy Ka'bah and the Month and the Offerings " God hath made the Ka'bah, the Sacred House, a Sanctuary (Place of stay in peace) for mankind and the Sacred Month and the Offerings and the (animals with the) garlands; this is that ye may know that God knoweth whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth, and that God is the Knower of all things." 5: 97 (For details refer to 'Fiqh').
The Disciplinary Conduct to be followed during the Pilgrimage
In the case of Ehram for Hajj, the repetition of the Talbiah should stop at noon on the day of 'Arafa. The Haji during Ehram should abstain from the following:-
1. Hunting or helping in any form and utilizing a hunted animal.
2. All sexual enjoyments, even witnessing a marriage contract.
3. Any deliberate action causing discharge of sperm.
4. Use of any incense or perfume.
5. Any kind of mischief or uttering a lie, or falsehood.
6. Any kind of dispute or quarrel, particularly it is associated with any kind of swearing by God.
7. Killing even any insect on the body.
8. Removal of hair on the body, by any means.
9. Covering the head and the top of the foot. The head should not be even submerged in the water.
10. Sheltering under moving shelters, like umbrellas, hooded cars or carts or aeroplanes. No harm in remaining inside stationary shelters like rooms etc.
11. Cutting of nails, trees, plants and herbs.
12. Use of cosmetics decorations and ornaments.
13. Wearing of weapons unless necessary.
14. Rubbing or scratching the body. (RF.)
After entering Mecca, one should not leave it before Hajj is over
Wear the Ehram after one of the daily compulsory prayers.
Recite Talbiah when wearing the Ehram.
Take off the Ehram when the 'Umrah is over, but no shaving to be done.
Remove hair before wearing the Ehram.
Take the Gusle Ehram and Wudu for prayers.
After completing the Sa'y of 'Umrah cut hair or nails.
There are two Tawafs:-
(a) For 'Umrah.
(b) In Zilhaj.
At Mina on the 10th.
Stone the three Satans.
Shave head and offer the sacrifice.
After giving the sacrifice come out of Ehram.
On the 11th and 12th also perform the other rites and stoning at Mina.
For the exact details do consult ' Fiqh '.
91. Wasa'il-ush-Shi'ah, vol. 11, p. 14
Adapted from the book: "The Light of The Quran - Interpretation of Sura Al-Baqarah (The Cow)" by: "Sayyid Kamal Faghih Imani and A Group of Muslim Scholars"
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