By Abdul Hamid
The call of Ebrahim Alayhis Salatu Wasallam marks the beginning of a new chapter in the history of our nation. It draws a line of separation between one current of history and another. The whole of mankind gets divided into two opposing camps that remain permanently in a state of war with each other. With it the old era ends and the new era begins. Ebrahim Alayhis Salatu Wasallam was favoured by Almighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata'ala with an eternal call and an everlasting Ummah. It was ordained for all times that the Ummah of Nabee Ebrahim Alayhis Salatu Wasallam will shoulder the responsibility of carrying out the struggle against the forces of evil and perform the task of preaching and the propagation of faith.
The Divine duty of guiding humanity to its ultimate destination to the Path of Seerathal Mustaqeem and protecting the light of faith against the onslaughts of darkness and sensuality was now going to be the Divine duty of the Ummah of Allah’s Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam. During the Islamic era and the ministry of our Beloved Nabee – Rahmatul Liel Ala' meen, the House of Almighty Allah Rabbul Ala'meen (The Baitullah in Makkah) became the permanent home of religious guidance and true spirituality for so declares Almighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata'ala in verse 97 of Surah Al-Ma'ida:
"Allah made the Ka'ba, the Sacred House, a means of support for mankind, as also the Sacred Months, and the animals for offerings, and the garlands that mark them: That you may know that Allah has knowledge of what is in the heavens and on earth, and Allah is Knower of all things."
Here the cold cellar of the heart is warmed up again, and the World of Islam rallies to it, year after year, to pay the tribute of Muhabbat and complete submission and give a marvelous demonstration of its attachment to this wonderful pillar of faith. The greatest of rulers, plutocrats, scholars, commoners and divines perform theirTawaf around it in an exalted state of feeling but not unbounded by reason and awareness. They furnish a practical proof of the fact that they are united in spite of the things that apparently divide them. Though the Muslims are scattered all over the world and divided into various races and nationalities, they become one at a particular point where all their differences disappear and they are moulded into a compact whole.
The life of the Hujjaj during the Hajj consists totally of faith, belief, worship, Tawaf and Sa'ee, and their only halts are at Mina, Arafat and Muzdallifah where the rites of the Hajj are performed. They are constantly on the move, advancing towards their goal, meeting new people, traversing new paths and discovering new dimensions. The journey within a journey continues till the day they depart from this Doonya to meet their Supreme Maker. Hajj plays a vital role in the protection of the spiritual roots of the Muslim Ummah. Nothing is more precious then keeping the Islamic faith safe from pollution, confusion and distortion than this Glorious annual congregation that we undertake exclusively for the Pleasure of none other than Allmighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata'ala.
The annual Hajj to the House of Allmighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata'ala is like a throbbing, pulsating heart which is incessantly supplying new blood to the veins and arteries of the Ummah of Allah's beloved Nabee Muhammad Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam. Hajj affords an excellent opportunity of soul-searching and self-examination to the Muslim Ummah. They can test themselves on the anvil of Nabee Ebrahim Alayhis Salatu Wasallam and the Muslim leaders and reformers can take advantage of this unique combination of circumstances to purge them of the corrupting influence of the hypocrites and deceivers.
Through it the Ummah can safeguard its religious, cultural and intellectual identity and ward off the challenges of narrow nationalism that is hostile to the fundamental spirit of Islam and destructive of the organic unity of the spiritual heairs and successors of our beloved father Nabee Ebrahim Alayhis Salatu Wasallam as we are reminded in verse 242 of Surah Al-Baqara:
“Thus doth Allah make clear His Signs to you, in order that you may understand.”
Muslims today live under different conditions in different parts of the world including the Muslim world. They pass through diverse phases of existence like activity and stagnation, affluence and want, peace and turmoil and ease and difficulty. Sometimes, they are plagued with problems relating to culture and civilisation, and, sometimes, greed, wealth, power, political and material considerations put them on trial. At one place the government under which they live is progressive and benevolent, at another it is oppressive and repressive. But whatever the circumstances, the need is always there for the spark of Imaan in them to be stirred, the sentiment of Muhabbat to be aroused and the lesson of total unity, equality, brotherhood and self-sacrifice to be imparted.
Almighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata’ala has made the Hajj a springtime in which the ever-green tree of the Ummah sends forth new blossoms and the universal fraternity of Islam re-asserts itself. Since the Hajj is an occasion on which people come together from every corner of the world it serves as an effective protection against sinful customs and practices. The Hajj is like a fair or exhibition of Muslims in which a display of their Imaan and glory is made, their energies are pooled together and the name of the Ummah shines throughout the world as we are reminded in verse 125 of Surah Al-Baqara:
“Remember We made the Ka’aba a place of assembly and a place of safety for mankind; and take ye the Station of Ebrahim as a place of prayer.”
It is the Will of Almighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata’ala that the Hajj will never be without the presence of Nabee Adam and Bibi Hawa Alayhis Salatu Wasallam, Sayyidina Ebrahim, Sayyidatina Hajira, and their obedient and loving son Sayyidina Ismail Alayhis Salatu Wasallam and our Beloved Nabee Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam. It is on account of their participation that the atmosphere surrounding the Hajj gets so overwhelmingly charged with radiance and spirituality that even the hardest of hearts melt, the rebels and renegades are inclined to be repentent, the eyes that had never been moist with love or the fear of Almighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata’ala are flooded with tears, the cold furnaces of the hearts are lit up once again, the Rahma’h of Almighty Allah descends from the heavens, the feeling of peace and tranquillity permeates the entire congregation and Shaytaan Lanatullahi Alay finds no place to hide.
It is stated in a hadith of our beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam that: “Shaytaan has never been more humiliated and has never been seen to be more miserable, angry and down-cast than on the Day of Arafat because he sees with his own eyes that the Muhabbat and Mercy of Almighty Allah is descending upon the Doonya and that grevious sins are been forgiven.” The Hajj is a tremendous victory for the Ummah of our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam over racial, linguistic or territorial nationalism for which a large number of Muslim countries have unfortunately fallen prey to. It is a proclamation as well as a most impressive manifestation of a true unadulterated Islam.
On reaching Makkah all Hujjaj cast away their national garments which differentiate them from one another and put on the national robe of Islam, called the Ihram, and they all sing the same praises of humbleness and submission. The rulers and the ruled, the masters and the slaves, the rich and the poor, the high and the low – all become one. The distinctions of class, race and geography lose their validity in their midst. The nationality of Al-Islam transcends their whole existence. It is apparent from their apparel as well as their watchword. It is the same with all the other formalities, prayers and rituals of the Hajj in which people belonging to different lands and nationalities join one another and all things that separate the near from the remote, the Arab from the non-Arab, disappear into oblivion at a single stroke
They run together between the two hills of Safa and Marwa, travel together to Mina, betake themselves together to Arafat, pray together at Jabbal-Rahmat and spend the night together at Muzdalifah. They stay at Mina in a body and together they perform the rites of Naher (sacrificing of animals), Halq (shaving of the head for males), Rami pelting the Shaytaan at the three Jamarat i.e. Jamaratul Kubra, Wusta and Ula. They move together,pray together, halt together and come back together in each others company forever following the injunctions of Almighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata’ala as shown to us in verse 199 of Surah Al-Baqara:
“Then hasten onward from the place whence the multitude hastened onward, and ask for Allah’s forgiveness. For Allah is oft-forgiving and Merciful.”
As long as the Hajj endures (and Insha’Allah Bie Idd’nillah it will endure till the end of time) the cult of nationalism and other un-Islamic movements shall never succeed in swallowing up the Muslim Ummah. The Qiblah shall forever remain one to which Muslims of the East and West will turn their faces. So too will The Baitullah – The House of Allmighty Allah Subahanahoo Wata’ala be forever one to which Muslim will be coming for the Hajj year after year.
And Almighty Allah knows best.