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Karbala: The True Hajj - Part 2

We learn from Imam Hussein that there was a more important goal for him to accomplish than completing the rituals of Hajj and risking bloodshed in the Haram. Actually, it would be an erroneous statement to say that the Imam skipped or cancelled his Hajj that year! In fact, Imam Hussein abandoned the ritualistic Hajj to perform the true essence of Hajj, which is embodied in his sacrifice and bloodshed on the plains of Karbala! Quite frankly, many of the ritualistic acts of Hajj symbolize the tragedy of Karbala, most notably the slaughter on xthe day of Eid al-Adha. Even though we celebrate that day out of gratitude that Allah spared the grief of father and son – Prophets Ibrahim and Isma'il (peace be upon them) – from the slaughter ordered by Him, our moment of joy doesn't last long because it is soon replaced by the Great Slaughter (Dhibh 'Adheem, as mentioned in 37:104-108 of the Qur'an) which is personified in Hussein ibn Ali. The grief we feel is further intensified as we remember the pain of separation between Imam Hussein and his son Ali Akbar, which was not spared like that of Isma'il and his father. The 10th of Dhil-Hijjah is only a few weeks away from the 10th of Muharram, reminding us of the true sacrifice that was offered in Karbala one month later!
When we think of Lady Hajra's plight in fetching water for her son Isma'il, we are reminded of Imam Hussein's pain of watching his youngest son, Ali Asghar, die out of thirst as he tries his best to seek water from the enemy by raising his infant in his arms in the hopes of moving their hearts and quenching his son's thirst. Unlike Hajra, whose heart was solaced when a spring of water erupted to save her son's life, Imam Hussein found nothing but a tri-headed arrow to pierce the neck of Ali Asghar! It is narrated that when Lady Hajra saw with her own eyes the marks of the knife on her son's neck, she fainted from that scene; one can only imagine what overwhelming emotions Lady Fatima experienced when she witnessed her son's headless body trampled by the hoofs of the horses after dying in a state of extreme thirst!

When we walk the distance between Safa and Marwa, we are reminded that it is the same distance as that between the holy shrine of Hazrat Abbas ibn Ali and his brother, Imam Hussein. This exact match in distance is certainly not a coincidence, and it reminds us of the challenge which Hazrat Abbas underwent as he sought to bring water to the thirsty children who had all their hopes pinned on him.

As the pilgrims rush to attain the blessings of the holy water of Zamzam, they are to be reminded of that water which Imam Hussein was denied until he died in the state of thirst, when even animals are given a last sip before being slaughtered!

The pilgrims in Hajj wear their clothes of Ehraam for the sake of Allah, and Imam Hussein also wore his clothes of Ehraam for His sake while abandoning the pleasures of this life – only for these "Ehraam" clothes to be drenched in his own pure blood to irrigate the tree of Islam!
The pilgrims stone the symbols of Shaytan numerous times to expel the whisperings of the devil which we are all prone to every second of every day. Hurr ibn Yazid al-Riyahi and Umar ibn Sa'd also experienced whisperings from Shaytan to attain the glory of power. However, Hurr stoned the whisperings of Shaytan and made the right decision to join Imam Hussein, while Umar followed the whisperings and became a Shaytan himself!

When the pilgrims go to Mina where the final sacrifice is given, this stage of Hajj symbolizes our intention to sacrifice everything beloved to us for Allah just like the Imam did, and the tents are a reminder of his family's tents which were burned down and destroyed in Karbala after the Great Slaughter!

When the pilgrims visit the Holy Kaba and circumambulate it, they are reminded of the honor Allah gave Prophet Ibrahim in rebuilding this sacred House of God. They are also to be reminded of the rebuilding of the pure Mohammadan Islam by Imam Hussein when he offered his pure blood to give a jump-start to this Deen, which was on its way to corruption and deviation.

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