Ritual Worship in Islam is decreed to develop righteousness in Muslims so that they can do good deed for their own welfare and the welfare of the humanity. Hajj is one of the five fundamental worships in Islam. In this article we will discuss the contribution of Hajj for the welfare of humanity).
The pilgrimage to the ‘House of Allah’ in the city of Makkah by the believers is known as Hajj. Every year it takes place in the last month of the lunar calendar.
Prophet Abraham (a w) built the House of Allah for His Worship and established Hajj first. In course of time people deviated from worship one God and the spirit of Hajj . Finally, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh ) reinstated Worship of only one God, Allah and the Spirit of Hajj in the footstep of Prophet Abraham ( a w) by the Order of Allah : “ Call people for Hajj” ( Quran 22:27), “Complete the Hajj and Umrah in the obedience of Allah “ ( Quran 2 : 196 ).
Philosophy of Hajj :
God has created human being as His vicegerent for managing the universe : “ He ( Allah ) has created you as His vicegerent upon earth” ( Quran 6 :165). Human beings is given a choice to do it either by obeying or disobeying the Order of Allah.
Muslims has opted to work as obedient vicegerent of Allah. To act as vicegerent of Allah globally, Allah has provided the Muslim nation Ideology( Islam), global leadership, followers, and a center to plan and manage the universe for the welfare of humanity. Rituals of Hajj contributes to utilize these four factors effectively for the welfare of humanity.
To understand the effectiveness of Hajj in utilizing these four factors for the welfare of mankind and get benefit , it is necessary to focus on the following :
Muslims need to think deeply on the purpose, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) used Hajj program in his only Hajj.
Then compare with it, the purpose for what Hajj is performed in the contemporary world.
Finally, revert to the purpose for what Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) used the Hajj Program.
We will briefly analyze here key functions of Hajj that the Prophet(pbuh) and his companions performed , capitalizing it for the welfare of mankind:
Visit to the House of Allah in Makkah:
Allah has established Kabah ( The House of Allah) in Makkah as a center for Muslim Nation for promoting welfare of mankind through His Worship. For understanding about the status of Kabah we are referring here few verses from the Quran :
“ Indeed, the First House established for mankind was that at Makkah, blessed and a Guidance for all people” ( Quran 3:96 ).
“ Allah has made the Kabah – the Sacred House a shelter for all people” ( Quran 5 :97 ).
“ Do not associate anything with Me ( Allah) and purify My House for those who perform Tawaf and those who stand , bow, and prostate ” ( Quran 22:26).
“ Believers, know that the idolaters are certainly impure. So let them not come near to the sacred Mosque after this year is ended” ( Quran 9:28).
“So, whenever you go out ( for prayer ) turn your face towards Al Masjid al Haram” ( Quran 2:189 ).
The above verses confirms that Kabah was built as a center for achieving blessings of Allah through His Worship and following His guidance in every affair of life. After the death of the Prophets, people deviated from the guidance of Allah and brought in impurities by worshiping imaginary false gods. Finally, Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) freed the House of Allah from impurities of false faith and worship. He ordered Umar (RA) to remove all idols and images from Kabah and then entered Kabah ( Ref. Sunan Abu Dawood ).
Thus, Muhammad (pbuh) reestablished Kabah as the center of Guidance and Worship on the principal of Quran and then implemented prayer, Hajj, and Umrah in Kabah as Worship of Allah. He declared : “The pilgrims performing Hajj and Umrah are the guest of Allah” ( Nasaii 2464). He taught Muslims, the basic qualities that they need to demonstrate with respect to faith in Allah through their declaration while coming to His House, which is : “ O Allah! Here I am, O Allah, here I am, here I am. You have no partner. Here I am. Verily all praise and blessings are yours. All Sovereignty is Yours, you have no partner” ( Muslim2137).
Early Muslims were true in this declaration. They uphold Sovereignty of Allah in their real-life activities by Obeying His Law and Legislations in every affair before and after Hajj. Unfortunately, the situation nowadays is different. Many pilgrims are not aware of what they are declaring and their responsibility before and after Hajj with respect to this declaration about ‘Sovereignty of Allah’. Muslims need to work to establish ‘Sovereignty of Allah’ and free people from unjust man-made law and legislation. By doing so they will make great contributions to the welfare of mankind.
After commitment to Obey only the Law and Legislation of Sovereign Allah, pilgrims try to come closer to Allah by prayer, Tawaf, Saai and praising Him again and again at His House. This helps to develop spirituality, fear of accountability to Allah , love for Allah and righteousness . Only righteous people can do welfare for people. This is indeed a great contribution of Hajj.
Another important aspect is, Muslims coming from all over the world to Makkah, walk around the House of Allah and pray together side by side without any discrimination of race, region, language, color, rich or poor. It teaches to preserve unity of Muslim nation globally by following the Quran and thus fulfills the Order of Allah : “Hold firmly the Rope of Allah ( which is the Quran) and be not divided among yourselves” ( Quran 3 : 103). This spirit of Hajj was taught by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and maintained by the rightly guided Caliphs after him. Nowadays, the same is followed during Hajj but after Hajj this teaching is not followed. As a result, we see many divisions in the contemporary Muslim world. Muslims need to work for unity as they demonstrate it in Hajj.
Stay at Mina during Hajj:
Allah has ordered pilgrims to stay at Mina for several days and night and perform rituals with an aim to praise Allah, fear Allah and think about accountability to Allah after death : “ commemorate Allah in the prescribed days ( at Mina). Then whoever departs in two days, there is no sin upon him and whoever delays, there is no blame on him if his aim is to do right. Then fear Allah and know that before him you will be raised after death” ( Quran 2 : 203 ). Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) used to remember Allah in all of his condition in Mina . He said : “ The days of Mina are days of eating , drinking and remembering Allah” ( recorded by Imam Muslim). This means except for the need of food, drink and natural call , entire time shall be dedicated for remembering Allah. This helps to develop the habit of remembering Allah and obeying His Order in real- life activities after Hajj . Allah orders : “ After you complete the act of your Hajj, remember Allah as you remember your fathers or with more remembrance”( Quran 2 : 200 ). Early Muslims adopted righteous life by continuing to remember Allah after Hajj. These righteous people contributed a lot to the welfare of mankind. The same contribution is possible in the contemporary world through Hajj. Only need to continue to remember Allah and lead righteous life after Hajj.
Stoning devil at Jamarat in Mina :
Stoning Devil at Jamarat in Mina is a big ritual of Hajj. Pilgrims need to hit the devil forty-nine times by stone at three locations for minimum three days. Qudamah ibn Abdullah (RA) reported : “ I saw the Prophet (pbuh), stoning the Jamarat at Hajj while he was on his camel”( sunan al- Tirmidhi 903).
For understanding the purpose of stoning devil, it is necessary to refer to the history of stoning devil by Prophet Abraham (AW). Allah Ordered Prophet Abraham to sacrifice his son, Ismail. Father and son both were ready to comply with the Order. At the place of Jamarat Devil whispered to him not to obey the Order of Allah. He hit Devil with stone for this. Submitting to this difficult order is recognized by Allah and presented in the Quran for the Muslims to follow it as a model in obeying the Order of Allah : “ Abraham was indeed a model. Devoutly obedient to Allah” ( Quran 16 : 20 ).
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) introduced stoning devil in Hajj rituals so that they hate devil and refuse to do any wrong in real-life activities that may arise by the Whisper of devil. By doing this ritual, believers reject the Devil and continue to obey the order of Allah after Hajj. Thus, Hajj helps to contain evil that Devil whispers to do.
Only by acting after hajj as above, pilgrims can take the benefit of this ritual to people. Otherwise, this ritual will end after Hajj without any effect on life.
Sacrifice of animal ( Udhiya, Qurbani):
Sacrificing a livestock on tenth Zulhajj in Mina by pilgrims or any where in the world is a duty for those Muslims who can afford. It is a symbolic sacrifice to commemorate the readiness for supreme sacrifice to Obey the Order of Allah as done by Prophet Abraham (AW). By seeing the readiness to sacrifice son , Allah sent to him a livestock to sacrifice instead of his son. To prepare for sacrifice for the cause of Allah and Obey His Order, Muslims remember this day by sacrificing a livestock. The spirit of animal sacrifice is reflected in the Order of Allah : “ Say: verily my prayers, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are all for Allah, the Lord of the Universe. He has no partner. Thus, I have been commanded, and I shall be the first of those who surrender to Him” ( Quran 6 : 162, 163 ). Therefore, Muslims not only obey the Order of Allah in prayer and qurbani, but also should surrender to the Order of Allah in the activities of entire life till death. This is the spirit that Prophet Abraham (AW), and Muhammad (pbuh) and his companions followed. The same shall be the attitude of contemporary Muslims and their leaders while sacrificing a livestock. Muslims need to think what is the Order of Allah in everything and then obey. Otherwise, qurbani will end with eating and distributing meat without achieving its goal. Allah says : “ It is not their meat nor their blood, that reaches Allah. It is your devotion that reaches Him. He has made subservient to you the sacrificial animals so that you may glorify Allah because He has guided you aright and give good news to the righteous people” ( Quran 22 : 37 ).
Hajj rituals at Mount Arafa :
Staying at Mount Arafa on the tenth Zulhajj is obligatory for Hajj. Failing to spend time at Arafat in the afternoon makes Hajj invalid. Prophet (pbuh) said: “ The Hajj is Arafat” (Nasai 3016 ).
On the day of Arafat, Muslims from all over the world assemble at Arafat for hajj rituals unitedly under one leader, demonstrating unity of Muslim nation.
On this day at Arafat, every pilgrim tries to come closer to Allah and achieve spirituality by prayer and supplication. Prophet (pbuh) said : “ The best of supplicate is the supplication on the Day of Arafat, and the best that I and the Prophets before me said is : “ There is no god but Allah alone, with no partner or associate, He is the domain, to him be praise, and He has power over all things” ( Tirmidhi ).
Collectively, they pray Zuhr and Asr prayer under the leadership of one Imam and listen to his sermon. This is the greatest congress of Muslim Nation under one leadership, established by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). He demonstrated the key objectives of such Congress of Muslim Nation by delivering his ‘Model Sermon’ at Arafat in his only Hajj. Here he guided the nation on issues that matters all people and recorded in the book of Hadith as ‘Farewell sermon’. This sermon covered issues like man’s relation with God and His right, Human right, Justice, rights of woman, rights of dependents, security of life, property and dignity, Family life, Finance and rights of poors, importance to follow Quran and Sunnah, propagate Islam, promote virtues, and stop evil etc.
By following the above guidance, the leader of Muslim nation should discuss contemporary issues that Muslim nation facing worldwide and give solution to these in his sermon at Arafat during Hajj.
Unfortunately, the Sermon at Hajj in the contemporary world is very different. There is no consensus Muslim leader to guide the nation to solve the issues that the Muslim World is facing today. The Imam appointed by Saudi king leads the prayer and deliver sermon without any effective plan to solve the problems of Muslim nation. Many non- Arab pilgrims does not understand the sermon. As a result, Muslim Nation is deprived from the benefit that this Great Annual Congress is designed to deliver.
We have discussed above a few important rituals of Hajj that explain the benefit that Hajj delivered in the past and can deliver the same in our time. To achieve the goal of Hajj , actions needed can be summarized as follows :
Every Muslim should think on what Allah wants and how His Prophet achieved that from Hajj. Then , he should work throughout life to implement the objective of Hajj. Focus shall be for achieving spirituality, self-reform and follow Islam as complete way of life after returning from Hajj. Remember ! Allah declared Islam as the complete way of life on the day of Arafat during the ‘Farewell Hajj’ by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) : “ This day, I have completed My favor upon you by perfecting your religion for you and by approving ‘Islam’ as complete way of life for you” ( Quran 5 : 3).
Invest time and wealth for making Islam victorious.
Support Muslims anywhere in the world during their need in the spirit of national brotherhood established in Hajj.
Pursue Muslim organizations, leaders, Head of Muslim states to make common platform and elect one National Leader to lead Muslim Nation as was during Rightly Guided caliphs.
Avoid grouping based on differences. Work together as you did hajj together under one Imam.
Syed Jalal Uddin