Hajj 1427 is Completed: Alhamdulillah

    For over four thousand years humanity has continued a tradition that at the time when it was first proclaimed looked like a difficult task even to begin. Allâh ordered Ibrahim to build the Ka’bah and then summoned humanity to circumambulate it thus: “And proclaim the Pilgrimage among men: they will come to thee on foot and (mounted) on every kind of camel, lean on account of journeys through deep and distant mountain highways; That they may witness the benefits (provided) for them and celebrate the name of Allâh  through the Days appointed over the cattle which He has provided for them (for sacrifice): then eat ye thereof and feed the distressed ones in want. Then let them complete the rites prescribed for them, perform their vows and (again) circumambulate the Ancient House. Such (is the Pilgrimage): whoever honors the sacred rites of Allâh  for him it is good in the sight of his Lord. Lawful to you (for food in pilgrimage) are cattle except those mentioned to you (as exceptions): but shun the abomination of idols and shun the word that is false. Being true in faith to Allâh and never assigning partners to Him: if anyone assigns partners to Allâh he is as if he had fallen from heaven and been snatched up by birds or the wind had swooped (like a bird on its prey) and thrown him into a far-distant place. Such (is his state): and whoever holds in honor the Symbols of Allâh (in the sacrifice of animals) such (honor) should come truly from piety of heart. [Al-Hajj, 22:27-32]

    Any wondering on the part of Ibrahim  was answered by Allâh even before it became a question, assuring him that all you have to do is call and people will come. At the time there were only three people who were around to circumambulate the Ka’bah, Ibrahim , Ismael  and Hajera Bibi. But the trust in Allâh that Ibrahim displayed justifies the honor that Allâh  has bestowed upon him. “And remember that Ibrahim was tried by his Lord with certain commands which he fulfilled; He said: “I will make thee an Imam (leader) to the nations.” He pleaded: “And also (Imams) from my offspring!”  He answered: “But my promise is not within the reach of evil-doers.”’

    So the Ka’bah was built and sanctified, “Remember We made the house a place of assembly for men and a place of safety; and take ye the station of Ibrahim  as a place of prayer; and We covenanted with Ibrahim and Isma`il that they should sanctify My House for those who circumambulate it or use it as a retreat or bow or prostrate themselves (therein in prayer).”

    That was more than four thousand years ago.

    Anyone who doubts that Allâh keeps His promise only needed to have been there to see the fulfillment of the promise, “how they will come to thee on foot and (mounted) on every kind of camel”. Close to three million human beings of all color, caste and national origin were there. There was no exception of male or female, young or old, rich or poor, learned or illiterate, healthy or sick. All human differences seemed so insignificant. They were there as sons and daughters of Adam and Hawwa . Nothing else mattered. They were all there, all proclaiming in one voice, “Here I am, O’ Allâh here I am, there is none to be Your partner, here I am; all praise, and favor is Yours and all sovereignty is Yours, there is none to be Your partner”.

    They circumambulated the Ka’bah shoulder to shoulder, they ran between Safa and Marwa shoulder to shoulder, they spent days in Mina, sleeping on the ground shoulder to shoulder, they spent a day in Arafat, standing shoulder to shoulder, they were at the Jamaraat throwing pebbles, shoulder to shoulder, and worshiped during the night in Muzdalifah on bare ground shoulder to shoulder. None worried about the language of the person next to him and, in spite to the heroic efforts by the security officials in Haram, none worried about the sex of the person next to him. All men dressed in two white sheets and no other garments, bare feet and bare head, fulfilling the promise Allâh  had made to Ibrahim . They were overwhelmingly Sunnis but there were also Shias and other minor groups. No color of the Islamic rainbow was missing. All colors were there in their correct proportion, the display was wondrous and the relationship was absolutely clear, “O mankind! We created you from a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other).  Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allâh  is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allâh  has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).”

    The rest of the world did not exist for most of them during the days of the Hajj. Some could not live without cell phones, but their impact on the pilgrims was minimal. Many of them, for example did not know about the execution of Saddam Hussein until they had come out of the ihram. The murderous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were as remote as if they were taking place on Mars. This remoteness did not, however, make them forget humanity while they were asking their Lord for peace and tranquility. They asked Allâh for the wellbeing of the near and dear ones and those that were not so near and not so dear. They asked Allâh for the spiritual wellbeing of those who are alive, those that have passed away and those who are still to come. They asked Allâh for the wellbeing of Africans, Americans, Chinese, Australians, Argentineans and everyone in between. No one was left out. No one is left out from the mercy of Allâh but those that are most rebellious.

    Millions of people, living under such basic conditions, with so little comfort, should have been drawn into innumerable disputes and arguments. Men and women so intermingled in the crowd should result in lustfulness. Strong-willed people in close quarters should become quarrelsome. Yet the order of their Lord was supreme in the mind whenever they were tested. “The pilgrimage is (in) the well-known months, and whoever is minded to perform the pilgrimage therein (let him remember that) there is (to be) no lewdness nor abuse nor angry conversation on the pilgrimage. And whatsoever good ye do Allâh knoweth it. And take a provision (with you) for the journey but the best of provisions is taqwa (right conduct, piety). Therefore keep your duty unto Me, O men of understanding.” [Al-Baqara, 2:197]

    We need to reproduce this peace and tranquility and contentment in our masajid, in our communities, in Muslim lands and in the world.

Published: February 2007