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LANALLAH __Islamic BlogZine__
Sunday, January 16, 2005

A Short History of Hajj

Hajj literally means 'to set out for a place'. However, Islamically it refers to the annual pilgrimage that Muslims make to Makkah with the intention of performing certain religious rites. These rites are in accordance with the method prescribed by our Beloved Nabee Muhammad Sallallahoo Alayhi Wa Sallam.

Hajj and its rites were first ordained by Almighty Allah Jallah Wa'ala during the time of the Nabee lbrahim Alayhis Salaam [Abraham] and he was the one who was entrusted by Almighty Allah Azza Wajjal to build the Kaba'h - the House of Rabbul Ala'meen - along with his son Nabee Ismail Alayhis Salaam [Ishmael] at Makkah. Almighty Allah Tabaraka Wata'ala described the Kaba'h and its building as follows:

"And remember when We showed Ibrahim the site of the [Sacred] House [saying]":

"Associate not anything [in worship with Me and purify My House for those who ircumambulate it [i.e. perform tawaaf] and those who stand up for prayer and those who bow down and make prostration [in prayer etc.]."
[Surah Al-Hajj 22:26]


After building the Kaba'h, Nabee Ibrahim Alayhis Salaam would come to Makkah to perform Hajj every year, and after his death, this practice was continued by his son. However, gradually with the passage of time, both the form and the goal of the Hajj rites were changed. As idolatry spread throughout Arabia, the Kaba'h lost its purity and idols were placed inside it. Its walls became covered with poems and paintings, including one of Jesus and his mother Maryam and eventually over 360 idols came to be placed around the Kaba'h.

During the Hajj period itself, the atmosphere around the sacred precincts of the Kaba'h was like a circus. Men and women would go round the Kaba'h naked, arguing that they should present themselves before Almighty Allah in the same condition they were born. Their prayer became devoid of all sincere remembrance of the Most Glorious Creator and was instead reduced to a series of hand clapping, whistling and the blowing of horns. Even the Talbiyah was distorted by them with the following additions:

'No one is Your partner except one who is permitted by you.
You are his Master and the Master of what he possesses'.



Follow the Idol Breaker

One of the rituals of Hajj is the throwing of pebbles at the three pillars of temptation that symbolizes Shaytaan, when he tried to dissuade Nabee Ibrahim Alayhis Salaam from carrying out the command of Almighty Rabbul Ala'meen

The pile of broken umbrellas, huge rocks, and of course, rubber slip-ons of all hue piled around the pillars of temptation tell more than a story. The minor story of course is that some people come to Hajj unprepared and thus unaware what to hurl at Shaytaan. The major story is that why only small pebbles are needed. The questions, what to hurl and why only small pebbles are closely connected.

The completion of the rites of Hajj, as we know them, was executed by our Beloved Nabee Muhammad Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam after he removed all idols from the Kabah. The objects that needed major demolition equipment had been done away and what now remain are fresh idols that keep cropping up at all times. The need for heavy demolition equipment does exist, but the heavy-duty stuff that needs to be removed are not big rocks of idols, but the rocks of corruption, ego, greed, power, vanity, Fithnah and self-indulgence. The equipment needed to remove these rocks, are sincere doses of AllahConsciousness (Taqwa).

Nabee Ibrahim Alayhis Salaam (Abraham), perhaps, the foremost idol-breaker, launched a mission against idolatry when it was the absolute norm - he stood firm against the tide of idol worship and challenged this deep-rooted social norm. Today, we live amidst a tide of idols, however, these idols, although man-made like their predecessors, enjoy a form that is far more deceptive than the word idol usually conjures up for us. The modern day idols of the love for power, accumulation of earthly wealth or recognition is taking many forms, and most often these idols in the guise of current-day social norm are not only hurtful to the individual but indeed the
community.

Nabee Ibrahim Alayhis Salaam was confronted by the same psychological and emotional challenges that confront us: making and worshipping idols was the norm, and in his case the family's livelihood too. This is where his greatness lies that he was able to break from these barriers and demolish the idols. Yes, there was opposition, but none from within him. He felt no fear, no hesitancy in undoing his family's source of income. He was driven by a desire to break the shackles of idolatry and establish the worship of One true Creator - Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala.

The Jihad (struggle) of Nabee Ibrahim Alayhis Salaam is as relevant for us today, as it was thousands of years ago. Today, although it seems that no physical idols need be broken, but many idols confront us: there are still billions who are worshipping man-made idols, there are many who, drunk with power, are devastating human rights at will, and above all human beings live with false notions of wealth.

The popular ditty goes:
"What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."

Humanity is held in deception and awaiting Muslims to break psychological and emotional idols and free themselves and the rest from this temporal world. To accept the Din of Al-Islam, one accepts the role and duty of Almighty Allah's trustee on this Doonya. Therefore, he or she remains accountable to Almighty Allah Azza Wajjal for the fulfillment of his or her obligations, to make the word of the Glorious Creator and Sustainer supreme and to free men, all men, from the yoke of slavery of other men to the slavery and service of Almighty Allah Jallah Wa'ala.

"And those who strive hard for Us, We shall certainly guide them in Our Ways, and Allah is surely with the doers of good."
[Verse 69 Surah Al 'Ankabut].

"And if Allah is your helper, none will overcome you and if He withdraws His help, who then can help you? In Allah let the believers put their trust."
[Verse 16 Surah Al-Imran].

Hajj teaches us that Islam is the Din of Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala. The Din of Al Islam was, is, and will forever remain a movement of the liberation of man from all kinds of enslavements of mind and body, liberation from the worship of all false gods, earthly and heavenly, freedom from political, economic and religious despotisms.

Let us, therefore, take our guidance from the message of Islam, build our character as true, sincere, dedicated and confirmed Muslims and quicken our pace of spiritual progress until we attain our rightful place as the Vice-gerents of Almighty Allah Jallah Wa'ala on this Doonya.

Ameen!

Baarak Allaahu Feekum wa-Sal Allaahu wa-Sallam
'alaa Nabiyyinaa Muhammad Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam.

Was Salaamualaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu.

Abdul Hamid



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