The Road from Makkah
obligatory once in a lifetime on those who can afford it, but it benefits the
entire Ummah. Islam's acts of worship have multiple dimensions and they are
organized at multiple layers. Daily Salat, for example, provides occasion for
gathering in the neighborhood Masjid five times a day. The Friday Salat
provides a larger weekly gathering and also includes a Khutbah to give this
gathering a direction and purpose. The twice-a-year Eid Salats provide a
gathering for the entire city. Hajj is the last in this sequence; an annual
world wide gathering of the entire Ummah at the most sacred of all places.
Its role is that of the heart and liver in the human body. The heart sucks in
the tired blood, which is then filtered and rejuvenated by the liver, and sent
again to all parts of the body by the heart. Similarly, Hajj brings in members
of this Ummah, rejuvenates their faith, spiritual energy, and commitment, and
sends them back to their communities to spread the blessings far and wide.
Its most powerful message is about Tauheed (monotheism) and Akhirat (the
hereafter), two of the pillars of faith. If Hajj is a form of Jihad, as some
ahadith mention, its battle cry is "Labbaik Allahumma Labaik" "I
am here Oh Allah, I am here. There is no partner unto You. All praise and
blessings and sovereignty belong to you. There is no partner unto You."
From the moment the pilgrim dons his Ihram, he profusely makes this
pronouncement during all waking hours until he has stoned the Shaytan on the
10th of Zul-Hijjah.
As for the Hereafter, Hajj is itself a replay of our death and resurrection.
The Ihram, the two unstitched pieces of white cloth that replace dress for men,
reminds us of the burial shroud. The gathering on the plain of Arafat reminds
us of the time when everyone will be resurrected in the Hereafter to stand
before Allah and give account of their deeds.
Built on these twin foundations of faith is the example of Sayyidna Ibrahim,
alayhis-salam, that is reflected in many of the rites of Hajj. That example can
be summarized in two words: love and obedience. Unwavering love for Allah;
unfailing obedience to Him. This also is the message of Hajj.
Hajj is at once an intensely personal and a superbly collective act of worship.
Today its role in our collective life has been severely watered down by the
rulers over the land of Hajj and by an Ummah that has lost touch with its
mission. Today, upon arrival the pilgrims are sorted out on the basis of their
passports and are reminded at every turn that they are members of a
nation-state and not the one Ummah. Today, every expression that aims at
mobilizing this Ummah to stand up collectively to the challenges it faces is
brutally suppressed during Hajj. Today the landscape of Makkah and Madinah has
also been changed beyond recognition, through obscene attempts at emulating
Europe, thereby producing a historic disconnect for the holy land. Today
pilgrims have been separated from each other as well as from their glorious
So it may be helpful to remind ourselves that Hajj is associated with major
turning points and milestones in Islamic History. In fact the history of the
Islamic state begins with Hajj. It was here in the 11th year of Prophethood
(July 620 C.E) that the first pledge of Aqaba took place, followed two years
later by the second pledge that was the basis for Hijrah and the establishment
of the Islamic state in Madinah. Just a decade later, it was here that the
mission of the Prophet Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam reached its peak when
124,000 companions performed Hajj with the Prophet Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam
in 10 AH.
The Khutbah of the Prophet Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam delivered during the
Last Hajj is the most important historical document for the entire humanity. It
proclaimed: "There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab, nor for
the white over the black nor for the black over the white except through Taqwa
It declared the sanctity of life, honor, and property: "Oh people! Verily
your blood, your property and your honor are sacred and inviolable until you
appear before your Lord, just as the sacred inviolability of this day of yours,
this month of yours and this town of yours."
It set down a fundamental principle of justice: "Beware! No one is
responsible for a crime but the person who committed it. Neither the child is
responsible for the crime of the father, nor is the father responsible for the
crime of his child."
Other celebrated declarations like the Magna-Carta and the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights pale in comparison to this proclamation made fourteen
centuries ago. For a world submerged in total darkness, this new proclamation
would have to be spread through the Ummah that was produced out of the Jahilya
society through twenty three years of hard work, sacrifice, and perseverance by
the Prophet, Salla-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. To them it reminded: "Every
Muslim is the brother of another Muslim and all the Muslims form one
brotherhood… Take heed not to go astray after me and strike one another's
necks." And for the generations to come it also pointed out the way to
safeguard this greatest of all revolutions: "I am leaving two things with
you such that if you hold on fast to them you will not go astray: the Book of
Allah and my Sunnah."
Those standing that day at the plain of Arafat were the best of humanity. They
took the torch and spread the light in four corners of the world, ushering in a
new era of peace and justice. They liberated mankind from servitude to false
gods and turned it to only the service to the Creator.
With the passage of time, their followers gradually became weak in their faith
and corrupt in their practices. Darkness returned to the world. Today the world
is such a dark place where Zionism and racism flourish and the strong devour
the weak because "Might is right".
The road from Makkah is full of returning pilgrims who bring back Zamzam,
dates, and many souvenirs. These are all great. But what we need the most is
the message that was proclaimed there by the Prophet Muhammad Sall-Allahu
alayhi wa sallam 1414 years ago.
This entry was
posted by Waheed Miah on Wednesday, January 9. 2008 at
12:26. and is filed under Islam. The author does not allow comments to this
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