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Al HAJJ The Journey

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#1 [Permalink] Posted on 8th August 2019 10:51

Long ago, about 4000 years ago, in a faraway place called Ur in Iraq, a childwas born whose name was Ibrahim (AS)or Abraham. He was so gracious, tenderhearted and pure in faith that Allah gavehim wisdom when he was still a child.Allah (SWT) was so pleased with him thathe made him His best friend.When Ibrahim (AS) grew up, he became agreat Prophet and preached the truthand Allah's message in his country. Laterhe travelled to Syria, Palestine and Egypt.When a beautiful son was born to hiswife Hagar (AS), Ibrahim (AS) wasordered by Allah (SWT) to travel towardswhat we now know as Makkah alongwith his wife and the little child, whosename was Ismail (AS) or Ishmael. They alltravelled for a long time till they reacheda lonely, barren valley, near two smallhills called Safa and Marwa.Ibrahim (AS) asked his wife to stay nearone of the hills along with the little Ismail(AS), and started to go away. His wifeprotested, "Why are you leaving us alonehere? Are you leaving us here to die?"But Ibrahim (AS) replied, "My Lord hascommanded me to do this." Then Hagar(AS), breathing a sigh of relief, said: "IfAllah has ordered you to do so, then Hewill not let us die."When Ibrahim (AS) was born, the peopleworshipped stones and statues.Even when Ibrahim was still a child hewondered why. When he asked hisfather, Azar, it only angered him. Oneday, when Azar and the othertownspeople were away, Ibrahim (AS)took an axe and broke all the idols in thepublic temple except for the biggest one.When the people discovered this, theyasked Ibrahim (AS), "Who has done this?""Ask the biggest idol," Ibrahim (AS)replied calmly. "Why do you worshipthings which cannot even talk, move orunderstand?" The people were speechless, but the urge to do what they foundtheir fathers doing was so strongly implanted in them that they could notunderstand Ibrahim's message. Theybecame furious and tried to kill him.Ibrahim's desire to find the truth grew.One night, while observing the sky,Ibrahim (AS) noticed a particularly brightstar. "This is my Lord," he said. But whenit set, he said: "I do not love that whichfades." After the same experience withthe moon and the sun, Ibrahim (AS)announced: "I will turn my face to Himwho has created the heavens and theearth, and live a righteous life; I am noidolater." (Surah al-Anam, 6:75-79).The Miracle of ZamzamAfter a while, baby Ismail began to cry forwater. But there was not a single drop ofwater to drink. Hagar ran helplessly fromone hill to another, but there was nowater, nor any human being to give herwater. As the baby was cryingdesperately with thirst and the motherwas running from one mountain to another, Allah (SWT) caused a miracle—aspring gushed forth beneath the feet ofIsmail (AS). When Hagar (AS) saw thisfrom a distance, she shouted, "Zamzam"the sound made by rushing water in theBabylonian language. Hagar came running and gave some fresh spring water tothe thirsty child to drink. And so his lifewas saved. This spring, later on becamefamous as Zamzam.Ismail (AS) and his mother began to livein the valley and, because of the Zamzamspring, more people gradually came tosettle there, slowly building up a smalltown, which was later called Makkah.From time to time Ibrahim (AS) wouldvisit Makkah to meet his family, especially to see his young Ismail growing up inthe beautiful surroundings.Signs of Allah (SWT)The two small hills, Safa and Marwa,symbolise patience and perseverance.One of the pilgrim's most importantactivities is the say’i — walking swiftlybetween them seven times. Say’i meansto struggle, or to do strenuous exercise.It makes us remember the struggle ofHagar (AS) in the desert, rushinganxiously from hill to hill, trying to catch the sight of a caravan that would have waterfor her dying child, and how suddenlyfrom one hill she saw a spring gush forthnear her child's feet. Allah (SWT) hadprovided for her and her sonThe Sacred Zamzam.Zamzam is the name of the well in thecourtyard of the Great Mosque inMakkah. Pilgrims to Makkah drink thewater of Zamzam which has a specialsacredness; some believe it has healingproperties. The Zamzam water is a symbolfor the basic truth, that when all seemslost, Allah (SWT) is still present, withhealing and life for the soul. After theexertion of the tawaf and say’i most pilgrims drink Zamzam and relax at thenearby Zamzam area. Today, Zamzamwater is pumped out in channels and provided through taps fitted in the Zamzamarea, which is accessible in undergroundgalleries reached by a flight of steps nearthe Kabah.A Special DreamOne night, Ibrahim (AS) dreamt that hewas sacrificing his son, Ismail (AS). Thiswas an order from his Lord. Ismail (AS)was still a child, but Ibrahim told himabout his dream. Ismail was a brave boy.He was ready to obey the command ofAllah (SWT), who had created him. So,without hesitating, he said to his father,"Do what you are commanded, father.God willing, you will find me one of thesteadfast."Ibrahim (AS) took his son away tosacrifice him. As he reached a place,which is now known as Mina—a valleynear Makkah—Satan appeared and triedto dissuade him. Ibrahim (AS) picked up afew small stones and threw them atSatan. As Ibrahim (AS) took a knife tosacrifice Ismail, Allah (SWT) sent theangel Jibril (Gabriel) (AS) with a ram."Sacrifice this ram. Do not sacrificeIsmail," said Jibril (AS) to Ibrahim (AS).Allah was so pleased with the readinessof Ibrahim (AS) to sacrifice his belovedson, that Allah (SWT) commanded thebelievers to observe this day asEid al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice.Every year Muslims sacrifice an animal inremembrance of Ibrahim's (AS) trust inAllah. Building the KabahIsmail (AS) grew up a strong and lovingyouth. Ibrahim (AS) and Ismail (AS) wereordered by Allah (SWT) to build theHouse of Allah—the Kabah in Makkah.They took stones from the nearby hills andstarted to work.For this sacred land, Ibrahim (AS) prayed,"My Lord, make this land secure, andprovide its people with fruits, such ofthem as believe in Allah and the LastDay."As Ibrahim (AS) and Ismail (AS) laid thefoundation, they prayed,"Our Lord, accept this from us! You arethe All-hearing, the All-seeing."They further prayed, "Our Lord, make ussubmissive to You, and make our offspring a nation submissive to You andshow us our ways of worship." They alsoprayed for a prophet to be born in theirfamily, who would teach wisdom to thepeople and purify their faith. Their prayerwas answered many years later, when theProphet Muhammad (SAW) was born totheir descendants.The Sacred HouseFollowing the words of the Quran: "Turnyour faces towards the Holy Mosque,wherever you be, turn your face towardsit" (2:144), over a quarter of the world'spopulation from around the globe orientthemselves towards the Kabah in prayer. Itwas the first shrine built for the worship ofthe One God.Neither the Kabah nor the Black Stone areobjects of worship: they are symbols(shaairullah) providing a focal point for theunity of all Muslims. The Quran also calls ital-Bayt al-Atiq (the Ancient House), al-Baytal-Haram and al-Bayt al-Muharram (bothmeaning the Sacred House).The First Call to HajjIbrahim (AS) was ordered by Allah (SWT)to clean the Kabah for those who camethere to pray, and to call people to Hajj:"Call all people to make the Pilgrimage.They shall come to you on foot and on thebacks of swift camels; they shall comefrom every deep ravine." And so Allah(SWT) made it obligatory for every Muslimmale and female to go for Hajj once in alifetime, provided their means and healthpermitted. Believers from every part ofthe world go to perform Hajj from the 8thto the 13th of the Islamic month ofDhul-Hijjah. They go to fulfil the commandof their Lord and to remember the greatacts of the Prophet Ibrahim (AS).Architecture of the KabahMade of grey stone taken from the surrounding hills of Makkah, the Kabah is arectangular building, forty feet in lengthand thirty five feet in width. Its walls areabout fifty feet high and it is raised on aone foot high marble base calledshadharwan. Its comers are known asarkan. The eastern corner is called al-ruknal-aswad, after the Black Stone, fixed onthis corner. The other three corners arenamed after the countries they face. Thesouthern corner, facing Yemen, is called alrukn al-Yamani; the northern corner, facing Iraq, is called al-rukn al-lraqi; and thewestern corner, facing Syria, is called alrukn al-Shaami. Inside the Kabah there aresome wooden pillars which support theroof. The walls and the floor are coveredwith marble.A thick semi-circular wall of white marbleabout three feet highruns from the north tothe west corner of theKabah without beingconnected to it. This isknown as Al-Hatim. Atsome time in the pastthis semi-circular spacewas a part of the Kabah,hence it enjoys a veryspecial status. Peoplepray two rakah inside it,as if they were praying inside the kabah.Here I Am, O Allah! Here I Am!After travelling for nine days, the Prophet(SAW) reached Makkah on 4 Dhul Hijjah.He first went to the Sacred Mosque. Onseeing the Kabah, he said: "O Allah!increase the greatness and sublimity ofYour House." And further added,"O Allah, You are peace, with You ispeace. Our Lord, keep us alive withpeace."Afterwards he performed tawaf—goinground the Kabah seven times. This is toshow how our lives should revolve aroundour Lord. As he did this, he kept callingupon God: "Our Lord, give us goodness inthis world and goodness in the Hereafter,and keep us safe from the fire of Hell."When he had finished going round theKabah, he prayed two rakat at the MaqamIbrahim the Station of Abraham, and wenttowards the Black Stone and kissed it.Then he moved towards Safa, saying thatSafa and Marwa were signs of Allah. Hewent up the Safa hill, till he could see theKabah. The Prophet (SWA) walked brisklybetween the two hills seven times andended the walk at Marwa. Some of theseven laps he did on camel-back. Perhapshe did this so that people could see himfrom a distance.The Prophet was staying in Makkah at aplace called al-Bath. After staying there forfour days, he moved to Mina on 8 DhulHijjah and the next morning, he moved offtowards Arafat.Talbiyah-The Pilgrim's Prayer:Labbayk Allahuma labbayk. Labbaykla sharika laka labbayk. Inn al-hamdawan ni'mata laka, wal mulk,la sharika lak.Here I am, O Allah! Here I am! Here Iam. You have no partner, here I am.Surely Yours is all praise, all goodnessand all sovereignty and You have nopartner.This prayer is said over and over again bythe pilgrims as they enter Makkah andthroughout the Hajj. It is the pilgrim'sanswer to Allah's call to Hajj. To stand inthe midst of hundreds and thousands ofpeople and feel that you are important toAllah, that He has seen you arrive, is anawesome experience that makes you feelhumble and happy, sometimes so happythat you cry!HAJJ (THE PILGRIMAGE)Hajj (pilgrimage) is the fifth and last pillarof Islam. The meaning of the word "Hajj"is: to set out to a sacred place out of devotion and seeking reward. It is obligatory toperform Hajj at least once in a life time fora Muslim who can physically and financially afford the journey. For a Muslim woman, the journey of Hajj requires her to beaccompanied by a male relative who is herhusband or her mahram (i.e. someone sheis forbidden to marry such as her father,brother, son or uncle). Allah Almightyhas said in the Holy Qur'an:Translation: The pilgrimage is (in) the wellknown months, and whoever is minded toperform the pilgrimage therein (let himremember that) there is (to be) no lewdness nor abuse nor angry conversation onthe pilgrimage. And whatsoever good youdo Allah knows it. So make provision foryourselves (Hereafter); for the bestprovision is to ward off evil. Thereforekeep your duty to Me, O men of understanding. (Surah Al-Baqarah: 197) 

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