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Halting Places

Halting Place 1: Miqat

The Miqat is the place of getting into the state of Ihram in Umrah and Tamattu’. The following five places serve as Miqat:

Masjid ash-Shajarah (also known as Thu’l-Hulayfah) is the Miqat for people of Medina who intend to go to Mecca.

Juhafah is the Miqat for those who head for Mecca through Damascus and Egypt.

Al-Aqiq is the Miqat for those who go to Mecca from Najd and Iraq.

Yalamlam is the Miqat for those who go to Mecca from Yemen.

Qarn al-Manaazil is the Miqat for people who go on Hajj through Ta’if.

All those who head for God’s House have to stop in the Miqat, take off their ordinary clothes, put on Ihram, and go to the Sacred Mosque while saying, ‘Labbayk’.

The Miqat is a station where a pilgrim waits for permission to enter God’s House and purification from all pollutions. Hence, performing Ghusl (ritual washing of the body) before putting on Ihram is a praiseworthy act for a pilgrim. After performing Ghusl, men wrap themselves with two pieces of unstitched white clothes instead of elegant clothes, which make people distinct from one another. They look like dead people in shroud, detached from the world and entering the realm of submission. A pilgrim takes off the robe of disobedience and puts on the garment of piety, prepared for saying:

لَبَّيْكَ اللّهُمَّ لَبّيكَ، لَبّيكَ لا شريكَ لكَ لبّيكَ، إنّ الحَمدَ والنّعمَةَ لكَ والمُلكَ، لا شَريكَ لكَ لَبّيكَ

“Yes, here I am, O Lord, here I am. Here I am, there is no partner for You, here I am. Surely, praise, grace, and kingship are Yours. There is no partner for you. Here I am.”

When a pilgrim gets into the state of Ihram, he enters into a sanctuary and is entitled to a special position, which he should really appreciate. For this reason, the prophets and Imams (as) looked pale, trembled, and in some cases became unconscious in the state of Ihram and in saying Labbayk.

Talbiyah (saying Labbayk) is the special words pronounced by the pilgrims of God’s House. It is a song of love chanted by the bird of Paradise in response to a heavenly and invisible call. Repetition of Talbiyah is a praiseworthy act of Ihram and a motto for Muhrim (one in state of Ihram).

إنّ رسولَ اللهِ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وآلِهِ لمّا أَحرَمَ أتاهُ جِبرئِيلُ عليهِ السلامُ فقالَ لهُ: مُرْ أصحَابَكَ بالعَجِّ والثَّجِّ – والعجُّ رفعُ الصّوتِ بالتّلبِيةِ، والثجُّ نحرُ البُدنِ.

“When the Messenger of Allah became Muhrim, Archangel Gabriel came to him saying: Tell your companions to say ‘Labbayk’ and sacrifice a camel.”187

The Holy Prophet (saw) is quoted by Imam Baqir (as) as saying:

مَن لَبَّى في إِحرامِهِ سَبعِينَ مَرَّةً إِيماناً واحْتِساباً أَشْهَدَ اللهُ ألْفَ ألفِ مَلَكٍ بِبرائَةٍ مَن النّارِ وبَرائَةٍ مِن النّفاقِ

“Whoever says Labbayk for seventy times out of faith and devotion, Allah will assign thousands of angels to witness him immunity from the Fire (of Hell) and schism.”288

The Talbiyah of Imam Sadiq (as) was as follows:

لَبَّيْكَ اللّهُمَّ لَبّيكَ، لَبّيكَ لا شريكَ لكَ لبّيكَ، إنّ الحَمدَ والنّعمَةَ لكَ والمُلكَ، لا شَريكَ لكَ لَبّيكَ، ذا المَعارِجِ لَبَّيْكَ لَبَّيْكَ، داعِياً إلى دارِ السّلامِ لَبَّيْكَ لَبَّيْكَ، غَفَّارَ الذّنوبِ لَبَّيْكَ لَبَّيْكَ، أهلَ التّلبِيةِ لَبَّيْكَ لَبَّيْكَ، ذا الجَلالِ والإكْرامِ لَبَّيْكَ لَبَّيْكَ، مرهوباً ومرغوباً إليك لَبَّيْكَ لَبَّيْكَ، تُبدئُ والمَعادُ إليكَ لَبَّيْكَ لَبَّيْكَ، كَشّافَ الكُرَبِ العِظامِ لَبَّيْكَ لَبَّيْكَ، عبدُكَ وابن عَبدَيكَ لَبَّيْكَ لَبَّيْكَ

“Yes, here I am, O Lord, here I am. Here I am, there is no partner for You, here I am. Surely, praise and blessings belong to You and the kingdom, too. There is no partner for You, here I am. The Lord of the ways of Ascent, her I am, here I am. You call to the dwelling of peace, here I am, here I am. O Forgiver of sins, here I am, here I am.

You are the worthiest of being answered, here I am, here I am. Lord of Glory and Honor, here I am, her I am. I am coming towards You fearfully and willingly, here I am, here I am. You are the Beginner and all the returns are towards You, here I am, here I am. Remover of all sorrows, here I am, here I am. I am Your servant and the son of Your two servants, here I am, her I am. O Generous One, here I am.”389

Holding of Tongue Important in State of Ihram

A pilgrim has to hold his tongue, for a great number of man’s sins results from his tongue. A man’s deeds can be ruined as a result of a slip of tongue. The Holy Prophet (saw) says:

وهَل يَكُبُّ الناسَ عَلى مَناخِرِهِم في النّارِ إلاّ حصائِدُ ألسِنَتِهِم؟ لا يَستَقيمُ اِيمانُ عَبدٍ حتّى يَستَقيمَ قَلبُهُ، ولا يَستَقيمُ قَلبُهُ حتّى يَستَقيمَ لِسانُهُ. رَحِمَ اللهُ عَبداً تَكَلّم خَيراً فَغَنِمَ أو سَكتَ عن سوءٍ فَسَلِم.مَن كانَ يؤمِنُ باللهِ واليَومِ الآخَرِ فليقُلْ خَيراً أو لِيسكُتْ.

“Has the people’s being thrown into the Fire (of hell) on their faces been for any reason other than their tongues? The faith of a servant of Allah will not become straight unless his heart is straight and his heart is not straight unless his tongue is straight. Allah may have mercy upon a servant who speaks good words and enjoys its blessings, refrains from speaking indecent words and is safe from its sinister consequence. He who believes in Allah and the Last Day must say good wording or keep silent.”490

Therefore, it is incumbent on the pilgrims to be careful about what they say and not to invalidate their great acts. They must refrain from telling lies, backbiting, swearing, taking oaths, self-praising, finding faults with others, mocking, joking, and vexing others.

اَلْحَجُّ أَشْهُرٌ مَعْلُومَاتٌ فَمَنْ فَرَضَ فِيهِنَّ الحَجَّ فَلا رَفَثَ وَلا فُسُوقَ وَلا جِدَالَ فِي الْحَجِّ.

“The pilgrimage is (performed in) the well‑known months; so whoever determines the performance of the pilgrimage therein, there shall be no intercourse nor fornication nor quarreling amongst one another. (The Holy Qur’an; 2:197)”

The Holy Prophet (saw) says:

إنَّ الرّجُلَ لَيَتكلّمُ بكَلِمةٍ فَيُضحِكُ بها جُلُسائَهُ يَهوِي بِها أَبعَدَ مِن الثُّـرَيّا.

“On many occasions, a man may say something to make his companions laugh but as a result of the same words he will go far from Allah’s mercy as much as the distance between the earth and the heavens.”591

مَن صَمَتَ نَجا

“Whoever keeps silent will be delivered.”692

Jesus Christ (as) is quoted as saying:

لا تُكثِروا الكَلامَ في غَيرِ ذِكْرِ اللهِ فإنّ الذِينَ يُكثِرونَ الكَلامَ في غَيرِ ذِكرِ اللهِ قاسِيةٌ قُلوبُهُم ولكِن لا يَعلَمونَ.

“Do not speak too much save in remembering Allah, for those who speak too much but do not remember Allah are hardhearted but they do not know.”793

Therefore, a pilgrim should keep on remembering God and pronouncing His Names. To be reckless in a state of Ihram, to let eyes, ears, and tongues free to do what they wish, to insult the cook, the courier, and the co-travelers means to dishonor the Host in His House. We seek refuge to God from ignorance.

O brethren of sincerity and God’s confidants, let us say Labbayk from the bottom of our hearts in unison: Yes, here I am, O Lord, here I am. Here I am, there is no partner for You, here I am.

Halting Place 2: Mataaf

وَلْيَطَّوَّفُوا بِالْبَيْتِ الْعَتِيقِ

“… And let them go round the Ancient House. (The Holy Qur’an; 22:29)”

We now enter the city of Mecca where the Messenger of God was born and the Holy Qur’an was revealed. It is the descending place of the revelation and the angels. It is a city of security. Its safety has covered both plants and animals. No one has the right to cut off a plant, to harm an animal even to scare away the birds form their nests.

For this reason, the birds of the Sacred Mosque are accustomed to bet people and fly here and there without being scared. This, by itself, shows the spread of overall justice in the world of Islam to the extent that even plants and animals are secure from aggression let alone the human beings who have superior rights.

Mecca, the Mother of cities, is the birthplace of the real civilizations of human beings, a civilization devoid of corruption, indecency, and plundering, a civilization that generates godly, trustworthy, truthful, faithful, and pious human beings. Such a civilization produced the Holy Qur’an that has its rise from the horizon of Mecca.

Therefore, Mecca is the mother of the cities where actual humanity lived. Mecca is the generator of a magnificent human civilization devoid of bestiality. Mecca is the city of monotheism, a sacred center, which houses the Ancient House, the ancient temple as well as the international Muslims’ Kiblah.

We now go through the streets of Mecca, though overcrowded but dignified and tranquillizing, and approach the Sacred Mosque. We see the flood of pilgrims pour into the magnificent Mosque and enthusiastically go towards the Kaaba through different gates opened to the guests of God. We, too, enter the Mosque and our eager look falls on the Kaaba, and edifice of glory and majesty having its head in heaven, casting its shade upon God’s servants and spreading its lap to give comfort to God’s guests who have come here from distant places with much trouble.

Like moths attracted to bright lights, the pilgrims, fascinated by the Kaaba, go round and embrace it as the dearest one, expressing their need to the One Who is free from want. They are deeply impressed by the scene. They start weeping and praising the House of God:

الحَمدُ للهِ الّذي عَظَّمكَ وشَرَّفَكَ وكَرَّمَكَ وجَعلكَ مَثابَةً للنّاسِ وأَمْناً، مُبارَكاً وهُدىً للعالمينَ.

“Praise is due to Allah Who gave you dignity and honor making you pilgrimage for men and place of security, blessed and guidance for the people of the world.”894

Yes, this is the House of the Lord of the heavens and the earth. It is a house whose magnificence makes the kings’ hearts sink and whose majesty and awe made the prophets prostrate themselves before it saying:

سائِلُكُ فَقيرُكَ مِسكينُكَ بِبابِكَ فَتَصَدّقْ عليهِ بالجَنّةِ

“O Lord, Your humble, poor, and needy servant has come to Your House. Do him favor by giving a portion of Paradise to him.”995

اللّهُمّ البيتُ بيتُكُ والحَرَمُ حَرَمُكَ والعَبدُ عَبدُكَ

“O Lord, the House is Yours, the Sanctuary is Yours, the servant too is Yours.”1096

Imam Baqir (as) by the side of the Kaaba

Aflah, the slave whom was set free by Imam Baqir (as) reports:

I was accompanying Imam Bqir (as) during Hajj. When he entered the Sacred Mosque and his look fell on the Kaaba, he was overwhelmed by weeping. I said, ‘My parents be ransoms for you, people are watching you, can you not lower your voice to a whisper?’ The Imam answered, ‘O Aflah, this is Allah’s House, why should I not be weeping? Perhaps He will look at me favorably making me delivered in the Hereafter.’

The Imam then circumambulated the Kaaba, performed the Tawaf Prayer in its proper place, and went into prostration. When he raised his head, I saw that his forehead was wet with tears.1197

Beware, This Is the Precinct of the Kaaba, and A Holy Place

This is the place before which all the prophets from Adam (as) to the seal of the prophets (saw) as well as the immaculate Imams were humble, made circumambulation, and prostrated themselves. Traditions say that after the descending of Adam (as) –from Paradise-, God made a dome of white pearl in the present place of the Kaaba for him to circumambulate it. The dome survived until the time of Noah’s flood when God took it to the heavens. Since then, the site of the Kaaba became a place for circumambulation for the prophets (as) until the time of Prophet Ibrahim (as) who was missioned by God to build the Kaaba.

وإِذْ بَوّأْنا لإِبراهِيمَ مَكانَ البَيتِ

“And when we assigned to Ibrahim the place of the House. (The Holy Qur’an; 22:26).

وَإِذْ يَرْفَعُ إِبَرَاهِيمُ القَواعِدَ مِنَ البَيْتِ وَإِسْمَاعِيلُ

“And when Ibrahim and Ismail raised the foundations of the House. (The Holy Qur’an; 2:127)”

With the passage of time, the Kaaba was sometimes completely or partially subject to changes. Yet it continued to survive with its majesty and glory and the ummah is enjoying its blessings.

Survival of the Kaaba, A Wonder

It is a wonder that all the royal palaces built throughout history have been demolished but the Kaaba, a house built of mud and stone about four thousand years ago by Prophet Ibrahim and his son Ismail (as) in a parched land is still upright and will continue to be loved by human beings until the Day of Judgment.

What is more wonderful is the attraction of this House. So many glorious and majestic buildings in the world are found in areas of good climate, but the Kaaba attracts people to itself without having means of entertainment or being satisfying people’s pleasure. The reason however is natural. It is God Himself Who has created this attraction in people’s hearts through Prophet Ibrahim’s supplication:

وَأَذِّنْ في النَّاسِ بالحَجِّ يأْتُوكَ رِجَالاً وَعَلى كُلِّ ضَامِرٍ يأْتِينَ مِنْ كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيقٍ.

“And proclaim among men the pilgrimage: they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, coming from every remote path. (The Holy Qur’an; 22:27)”

A quotation from Imam Sadiq (as) refers to the same secret:

لمّا أُمِرَ إبرَاهِيمُ وإسْماعِيلُ عَليهِما السّلامُ ببناءِ البَيتِ وتَمَّ بِناؤهُ قَعَدَ إِبراهيمُ عَلى رُكْنٍ ثُمّ نادَى: هَلُمّ الحَجَّ، هَلُمّ الحَجَّ... فَلَبّى النّاسُ في أصْلابِ الرّجالِ لَبَّيكَ دَاعِيَ اللهِ لَبّيكَ داعِيَ اللهِ عزّ وجَلّ. فَمَن لبّى عَشْراً يحِجَّ عَشراً ومَن لَبّى خمْساً يحِجَّ خمْساً ومَن لَبّى أكثَرَ مِن ذلكَ فَبِعَدَدِ ذلكَ ومَن لَبّى واحِداً حَجَّ واحِداً ومَن لم يُلَبِّ لم يحِجَّ.

“When Prophets Ibrahim and Ismail (as) were assigned to build the House and they completed it, Prophet Ibrahim (as) sat on a pillar calling people to Hajj. Then people in men’s loins gave a positive response to the call of Allah. Whoever said Labbayk for ten times performs ten times of Hajj, whoever said for five times performs five times of Hajj, whoever said more performs more, and whoever said Labbayk once performs only one time of Hajj and one who did not say Labbayk performs no Hajj.”1298

Importance of the Circumambulation of the Kaaba

Circumambulation means to go round something. This act shows the utmost degree of love to the extent that a lover wishes to sacrifice himself for the beloved. A real pilgrim who has thirst for meeting his Beloved has been detached from everything. By going round the House of the Beloved, he wishes to prove that he desires nothing but God.

The planets circumambulate the sun, for they take everything from it. Inside an atom, the electrons circumambulate the protons. The whole universe ranging from the invisible particles to the planets and galaxies circumambulate.

Man, being a part of the universe, should circumambulate, too, with the difference that the planets circumambulate in a compulsory way according to the laws of nature, but man, the rational being and possessor of free will, circumambulates with his logic and will a House God has appointed to honor human beings. Hence, it is natural for Muslims to offer their prayers, to sit, to stand, to recite the Holy Qur’an, to sleep, to lie down at the moment of death, to be put in grave, and finally to be in that direction during their lifetimes and death.

قُلْ إِنَّ صَلاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيايَ وَمَماتِي للهِ رَبِّ العَالَمِينَ

“Say: Surely my prayer and my sacrifice and my life and my death are all for Allah, the Lord of the worlds. (The Holy Qur’an; 6:162)”

The position of one who has the honor of circumambulation

As for one who has given a positive response to God’s call and has managed to attend His House, he is honorable guest received by the Honorable Host Who gives abundantly and freely:

يَا مَنْ يُعْطِي الكَثيرَ بِالقَليلِ

“O’ He Who gives much in return of very little deeds.”1399

Imam ‘Ali (as) was asked: What is the meaning of a pilgrim’s act when he restores to the Kaaba and catches hold of its curtains? He (as) answered:

مَثَلُهُ مَثَلُ رَجلٍ لهُ عِندَ آخَرَ جِنايَةٌ وذَنبٌ فَهو مُتَعَلِّقٌ بِثوبِهِ ويَتَضرَّعُ اِلَيهِ ويخْضَعُ لهُ أنْ يتَجافى عَن ذَنبِهِ

“His act is like one who has committed an offence against another person and now while regretting, he appeals to him, takes hold of his garment, and humbly asks for pardon.”14100

Under such circumstance, a magnanimous person is required to show favor and forgiveness. God Who is the most magnanimous will be certainly generous and forgiving towards His servant.

The following glad tidings reached us from the Holy Prophet (saw):

ما مِن طائِفٍ يَطوفُ بِهذا البَيْتِ حِينَ تَزولُ الشَّمسُ حاسِراً عَن رَأسِهِ حافِياً يُقارِبُ بَينَ خُطاهُ ويَغُضُّ بَصَرَهُ ويَستَلِمُ الحَجَرَ  في كُلِّ طَوافٍ مِن غَيرِ أنْ يُؤذِيَ أَحَداً ولا يَقطَعُ ذِكْرَ اللهِ عزّ وجلّ عَن لِسانِهِ إلاّ كَتَبَ اللهُ عزّ وجلّ لَهُ بِكُلِّ خُطوَةٍ سَبعينَ ألفَ حَسَنَةٍ ومحَى عنهُ سَبعينَ ألفَ سَيِّئَةٍ ورَفَعَ لهُ سَبعينَ ألفَ دَرَجَةٍ وأَعتَقَ عنهُ سبعِينَ ألفَ رَقَبَةٍ ثمَنُ كَلِّ رَقَبَةٍ عَشَرَةُ آلافِ دِرهَمٍ وشُفِّعَ في سَبعِينَ مِن أهلِ بَيتِهِ وقُضِيَتْ لهُ سَبعونَ ألفَ حاجَةٍ إنْ شاءَ فَعاجَلَهُ وإنْ شاءَ فَآجَلَهُ.

“For every pilgrim who circumambulates the Kaaba at noon bareheaded and bare-footed, takes short paces, lowers his eyes out of modesty, touches the Black Stone in every circumambulation, harms no one, and keeps on remembering Allah, Allah will write seventy thousand rewards for him, remove from him seventy thousand wrongdoings, promotes him seventy thousand ranks, sets free on his behalf seventy thousand slaves worth ten thousand dirhams each, give him the right of intercession for seventy persons of his relatives, and fulfill seventy thousand of his demands either immediately or later on.”15101

Imam Sadiq (as) says:

مَن نظَرَ الى الكَعبَةِ لم يَزَلْ تُكتَبُ لهُ حَسَنَةٌ وتُمحَى عنهُ سَيِّئَةٌ حَتّى يَنصَرفَ بَبَصَرِهِ عنهَا.

“Whoever looks at the Kaaba, as long as his eyes are on it, rewards are written for him and his wrongdoings are written off until he turns his look from it.”16102

إِنَّ للهِ تعَالى حَولَ الكَعبَةِ عِشرينَ ومِائَةَ رَحمَةً؛ منها سِتُّونَ للطّائِفِينَ وأَربَعونَ لِلمُصَلّينَ وعِشرونَ للنّاظِرينَ.

“There are a hundred and twenty kinds of Allah’s mercy in the precinct of the Kaaba; sixty of them are for those who circumambulate, forty for those who perform prayers there, and twenty for whose who look at it.”17103

Therefore, one must take care to obtain the highest degrees of divine profit with the easiest acts.

ذَلِكَ فَضْلُ اللهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ واللهُ ذُو الفَضْلِ العَظِيمِ.

“That is Allah’s grace; He grants it to whom He pleases, and Allah is the Lord of mighty grace. (The Holy Qur’an; 62:4)”

Halting Place 3: Mas’aa

Mas’aa18

إِنَّ الصَّفَا وَالمَرْوَةَ مِنْ شَعَائِرِ اللهِ.

“Surely, the Safa and the Marwa are among the signs appointed by Allah. (The Holy Qur’an; 2:158)”

After the completion of the circumambulating the Kaaba and the Tawaf Prayer, a pilgrim must perform Sa’y, that is, he has to walk between Mount Safa and Mount Marwa for seven times starting from Mount Safa and ending with Mount Marwa. By this cat, a pilgrim reveals his spiritual worry that he cannot abandon the Beloved’s House.

Hence, he leaves it and returns. Standing on the top of Mount Safa, he eagerly looks at the Kaaba and sheds tears, has communion with God and comes down for Mount Marwa with special sincerity, join the crowd whose supplication fills the Mas'a. He traverses this distance with Harwala (fast pace), which is praiseworthy act. Every time he goes forward and returns, he becomes more purified. Imam Sadiq (as) says:

مَا للهِ عزّ وجلّ مَنْسَكٌ أَحَبُ إلى اللهِ تبارَكَ وتَعالى مِن مَوضِعِ السَّعْيِ وذلكَ أَنَّه يَذِلُّ فيهِ كُلُّ جَبّارٍ عَنيدٍ.

“There is no position more honorable to Allah than the Mas’a, for every arrogant and disobedient become humble there.”19105

With this worrisome shuttle, a pilgrim is reminded of a worried mother who, four thousand years ago, shuttled seven times between Mount Safa and Mount Marwa in search of water for her thirsty infant, supplicating to God until her prayer was answered, according to the Holy Qur’anic Verse:

أَمَّنْ يُجِيبُ المُضْطَرَّ إِذَا دَعَاهُ وَيَكْشِفُ السُّوءَ

“… or who answers the distressed one when he calls upon Him and removes the evil? (27:62)”

Hence, limpid water gushed out of that dead land and gave new life to Hagar –the mother- and Ismail –the child. The wonder is that the same water is gushing out to this date from the well known as Zamzam, giving a spiritual life to the pilgrims. To drink from it and pour upon one’s head are praiseworthy acts.

اَللّهُمّ اجْعَلْهُ عِلماً نافِعاً وَرِزْقاً واسِعاً مِن كُلِّ داءٍ وسُقْمٍ.

“O Lord, make it useful knowledge, abundant subsistence, and healing for every disease.”20106

If man reflects a little bit on this holy place, he will most probably go through a spiritual change and realize how gates of God’s mercy are opened to the pure and devoted servants.

Supplication by a broken-hearted mother can cleave unshakable mountains causing gushing of water from dead land and opening the gates of favor and mercy from an invisible world.

فَإِنْ تَوَلَّوْا فَقُلْ حَسْبِيَ اللهُ لا إِلَهَ إِلاّ هُوَ عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَهُوَ رَبُّ العَرْشِ العَظِيمِ.

“But if they turn back, say: Allah is sufficient for me, there is no Allah but He; on Him do I rely and He is the Lord of mighty power. (The Holy Qur’an; 9:129)”

Man’s call upon God is answered only if such a call is from the bottom of the heart. A spiritual change makes dried trees green and fruitful, and causes water to gush out of a hot desert. Virgin Mary (as) who had the pangs of childbirth and was moaning to God saying:

فَأَجَاءَهَا الْمَخَاضُ إِلَىٰ جِذْعِ النَّخْلَةِ قَالَتْ يَا لَيْتَنِي مِتُّ قَبْلَ هَٰذَا وَكُنْتُ نَسْيًا مَنْسِيًّا

“Oh, would that I had died before this and had been a thing quite forgotten. (The Holy Qur’an; 19:23),”

heard God’s voice through her infant:

فَنَادَاهَا مِنْ تَحْتِهَا أَلَّا تَحْزَنِي قَدْ جَعَلَ رَبُّكِ تَحْتَكِ سَرِيًّا {24}

وَهُزِّي إِلَيْكِ بِجِذْعِ النَّخْلَةِ تُسَاقِطْ عَلَيْكِ رُطَبًا جَنِيًّا {25}

فَكُلِي وَاشْرَبِي وَقَرِّي عَيْنًا ۖ فَإِمَّا تَرَيِنَّ مِنَ الْبَشَرِ أَحَدًا فَقُولِي إِنِّي نَذَرْتُ لِلرَّحْمَٰنِ صَوْمًا فَلَنْ أُكَلِّمَ الْيَوْمَ إِنْسِيًّا {26}

“Then (the child) called out to her from beneath her: Grieve not, surely your Lord has made a stream to flow beneath you; and shake towards you the trunk of the palm tree, it will drop on you fresh ripe dates. So, eat and drink and refresh the eye. (The Holy Qur’an; 19:24-6)”

To defend his mother’s innocence, the infant Jesus (as) spoke,

قَالَ إِنِّي عَبْدُ اللَّهِ آتَانِيَ الْكِتَابَ وَجَعَلَنِي نَبِيًّا

“Surely, I am a servant of Allah; He has given me the Book and made me a prophet. (The Holy Qur’an; 19:30)”

Also, a Sura has taken the name of Virgin Mary so as to testify to her purity and innocence until the Day of Judgment.

Hagar, a faithful woman and wife of Prophet Ibrahim (as) who has been abandoned in a burning desert according to God’s order, relies on God alone and has set her hope in Him. What else can she do save supplicating to Him:

إِلهِي ورَبِّي مَن لي غَيرُكَ أسْألُهُ كَشْفَ ضُرّي والنَّظَرَ في أمْرِي.

“My Lord and Nourisher, have I anyone except You from Whom I can seek the dislodging of my evils and understanding of my problems?”21107

The result of Hagar’s supplication was that limpid water gushed out from under her infant’s feet:

وَمَنْ يَتَّقِ اللهَ يَجْعَلْ لَهُ مَخْرَجاً وَيَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لا يَحْتَسِبُ وَمَنْ يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ.

“… And whoever is careful of his duty to Allah, He will make for him an outlet and give him sustenance from whence he thinks not; and whoever trusts in Allah, He is sufficient for him. (The Holy Qur’an; 65:2-3)”

Hagar’s act, which is a symbol of monotheism, reliance on God, and detachment from what is not godly, has become one of the pillars of the Hajj rites and a duty for the Hajj pilgrims. The act of Sa’y must be performed with the presence of heart and effort must be made not to miss the spiritual opportunity.

Halting Place 4: Mount Arafat

The first days of Dhu’l-Hijja are full of tumult in Mecca. Like a kind mother, this holy city opens her arms to the pilgrims. Thanks to the blessing God has bestowed on Mecca, pilgrims are not in strait in terms of accommodations. They all feel comfortable and have peace of mind.

Those pilgrims who intend to perform Hajj at-Tamattu’ have to stay in Mecca to perform Umrah first. Those intending to perform Hajj al-Qiran and Hajj al-Ifrad and those whose Hajj precedes Umrah enter Mecca in groups so as to put on Ihram, to say Labbayk, and to leave Mecca for Arafat.

Umrah is an individual rite that does not need to be coordinated with others and can be performed on any day. However, Hajj, being a social event, must begin and end on a special day. Therefore, all those who intend to perform Hajj have to come to Mecca before the eighth of Dhu’l-Hijja and those who are late for an excuse have to join the pilgrims on the ninth of Dhu’l-Hijja before noon.

The huge caravan of the pilgrims moves towards Arafat in the afternoon of the eighth day. Heads are bare and bodies covered with two pieces of white unstitched clothes. Having with them provision for a few-day stay in the plain, and saying Labbayk whose spiritual echo is filling Mecca and the north-eastern plains, the pilgrims move in groups to gather in the plain of Arafat at noon of the ninth day.

Where Is Arafat?

Arafat is a smooth and flat plain about twenty-four kilometers away from Northern Mecca in the lap of Jabal ur-Rahmah (literally meaning, Mount of Mercy). Arafat is a holy place God has appointed to receive His guests. The banquet is in Mount Mercy so that all guests can enjoy God’s infinite blessings each according to his capacity.

Man will not become familiar with God as long as he is attached to the world

If man is left to himself, like children who have no power of distinction, he is attracted towards colorful toys. During Prophet Muhammad’s Midnight Ascension, God said to him:

يَا أَحمَدُ، إحْذَر أنْ تَكونَ مِثلَ هذا الصَّبِيِّ إذا نَظَر إلى الأخضَرِ والأصفَرِ وإِذا أُعطِيَ شَيئاً مِن الحُلوِ والحامِضِ اِغتَرَّ بهِ.

“O Ahmed, beware of being like a child who is deceived when looking at something green and yellow or tasting something sour and sweet.”22108

God’s address is aimed to make man aware of his grave position. In the plain of Arafat, a pilgrim is like a dead man who has been detached from everything and wearing a shroud and waiting for God’s mercy. It is in this state that man can have communion with God and say from the bottom of his heart:

عَمِيَتْ عَينٌ لا تَراكَ علَيها رَقِيباً وخَسِرَت صَفْقَةُ عَبدٍ لم تجعَلْ لهُ مِن حُبِّكَ نصِيباً

“Let those eyes which do not see You as Watching be blind and let the asset (life) of a servant who has no share of Your love lead to loss.”23109

The rite of staying in Arafat begins at the noon of the ninth of Dhu’l-Hijja and ends at the sunset of the same day. The time of this religious act is short but its divine blessings are great. Hearing a beggar asking people for something, Imam Sajjad (as) said:

وَيحَكَ، أغَيرَ اللهِ تسأَلُ في هَذا المقامِ؟ إنّه ليُرجَى لمِا في بُطونِ الجِبالِ في هذا اليَومِ أن يَكونَ سَعِيداً

“Woe to you! Are you asking people for help in this place while Allah’s mercy today is so comprehensive that what is in mountains is hoped to receive His general mercy and become prosperous.”24110

By ‘what is in mountains’ the Imam (as) perhaps meant plants growing on the mountains as a result of whose transformation a prosperous man would be born. A man in the Sacred Mosque asked Imam Sadiq (as): “Whose sin is greater than others?” The Imam (as) answered:

مَن يقِفْ بهَذَينِ المَوقِفَينِ؛ عَرَفَةَ والمُزدَلِفَةِ، وسَعى بَينَ هذَينِ الجَبَلَينِ ثمّ طَافَ بهذا البَيتِ وصَلّى خَلفَ مَقامِ إبْراهِيمَ ثُمّ قالَ في نَفْسِهِ أو ظَنَّ أنَّ الله لم يَغفِرْ لهُ فَهوَ مِن أعظَمِ الناسِ وِزراً

“He who stays in Arafat and al-Muzdelifa, performs the Sa’y between Mount Safa and Mount Marwa, circumambulates the Kaaba, performs prayer in the standing-place of Ibrahim, and after completing all these acts says to himself or has the impression that Allah has not forgiven him is the biggest sinner.”25111

Imam Baqir (as) says:


مَا يَقِفُ أحَدٌ على تِلكَ الجِبالِ بَرٌّ ولا فاجِرٌ إلا استَجابَ اللهُ لهُ. فأَمّا البَرُّ فيُستَجابُ لهُ في آخِرتِهِ ودُنياهُ، وأَمّا الفاجِرُ فَيُستَجابُ له في دُنياهُ.

“The duaas –supplications- of every pious or impious man who stays in Arafat and al-Mash’ar will be absolutely answered. The duaas of a pious man will be fulfilled in matters regarding this world and the Hereafter but the duaas of an impious man will be fulfilled only in matters regarding this world.”26112

Imam Sadiq (as) says:


مَا مِن رَجُلٍ مِن أهْلِ كُورَةٍ وقفَ بِعَرَفَةَ مِن المُؤمِنينَ إلا غَفَرَ اللهُ لأَهلِ تِلكَ الكُورَةِ مِن المُؤمِنينَ. ومَا مِن رَجُلٍ وقفَ بَعَرَفَةَ مِن أهْلِ بيتٍ مِن المُؤمِنينَ إلا غَفَرَ اللهُ لأهلِ ذلكَ البَيتِ مِن المُؤمِنينَ

“For a believing man of any village who stays in Arafat, Allah will forgive all the believing people of that village, and for a single man of a believing family who stays in Arafat, Allah will forgive all the believing members of that family.”27113

Day of Arafat Is the Day of Supplication To God

The Day of Arafat among all the days of the year has a special advantage for duaas—supplication to God. Duaas and asking for settlement of the needs of this world and the Hereafter are some of the most important acts of today. Fasting on such a day with all its virtues, if it leads to weakness in supplication will become blameworthy. Duaa opens the gates of God’s mercy to His servants.

Duaa Has Its Own Effect

The Immaculate Imams (as) say that there are two ways to win God’s mercy: deed and duaa. Those who practice good deeds enter through the gate of justice and are rewarded, but those who resort to duaa enter through the gate of grace and receive mercy.

Ibn-Fahd Hilli, in his book titled Oddatol Daee, quotes the prayer book of Muhammad ibn Saffar on the authority of the Holy Prophet (saw) as saying:


لَتَسْأَلُنَّ اللهَ أَو لَيُعْطِيَنَّ عَليكُم. إنَّ للهِ عِباداً يَعمَلونَ فَيُعْطيهِمْ وآخَرينَ يَسألونَهُ صادِقِينَ فَيُعطِيهِم ثُمّ يجمَعُهُم في الجَنَّةِ فيَقولُ الّذين عَمِلوا: رَبَّنا عَمِلْنا فَأعْطَيتَنا، فَبِما أَعطَيتَ هَؤلاءِ؟ فَيقولُ: عِبادِي أعطَيتُكُم أُجورَكُم ولم اَلِتْكُم مِن أعْمالِكُم شَيئاً وسَأَلَني هَؤلاءِ فَأَعطَيتُهُم وهُو فَضلِي أُوتِيهِ مَن أَشاءُ.

“Request from Allah so that He will grant. Allah bestows blessing upon a group of His servants in return for their deeds, and to another group in return for their sincere supplications. Then He will gather both groups in Paradise. The first will say: Our Lord, We were men of good deeds and You granted our requests but how about these people? Allah will say: My servants, I gave you your rewards fully. Those people too requested from Me and I gave them a share of My abundant Grace and Mercy. I will give to anyone I wish.”28114

Those who perform their religious duties and reach the highest degree of eternal prosperity enter Paradise through the gate of Deed according to the Qur’anic Verse:

جَزَاءً ِبمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ.

“(This is) a reward for what they used to do. (56:24)”

There is another gate by the name of Request or supplication. Not all people can enter through this gate. In the same way that practicing good deed is not easy, requesting from God is not easy either, for it requires a living heart, weeping eyes, and a spiritual state. God says:

اُدْعُونِي اَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ

“Call upon Me, I will answer you.(The Holy Qur’an; 40:60)”

Let us now become unison with Imam Sajjad (as) and say:

وَأنَا، يا إِلهِي، عَبدُكُ الذِي أَمَرتَهُ بِالدّعاءِ فَقالَ لَبّيكَ وسَعْدَيكَ، ها أنَا ذا يا رَبِّ مَطْروحٌ بَينَ يَديْكَ، أنا الّذِي أَوقَرَتِ الخَطايا ظَهرَهُ وأنا الّذي أفْنَتِ الذُّنوبُ عُمُرَهُ وأنا الّذي بجَهْلِهِ عَصاكَ ولم تَكُنْ أهْلاً مِنهُ لِذاكَ

“And I, my Allah, am Thy servant whom Thou commanded to supplicate and who said: I am at Thy service and disposal. Here I am, my Lord, thrown before Thee. I am he whose back offenses have weighed down! I am he whose lifetime sins have consumed! I am he who was disobedient in his ignorance, while Thou didst not deserve that from him!”29115

Muhammad ibn Hasan Saffar, in his book of supplication, quotes the Holy Prophet (saw) as saying:

يَدخُلُ الجَنَّةَ رَجُلانِ كَانا يَعمَلانِ عَمَلاً واحِداً، فَيَرى أَحَدُهُما صاحِبَهُ فَوقَهُ فَيقولُ: يا رَبِّ بمِا أَعطَيتَهُ وكَانَ عَمَلُنا واحِداً؟ فيقولُ اللهُ تَباركَ وتَعالى: سَأَلني ولم تَسألْنِي. (ثمّ قالَ رسولُ اللهِ صَلى اللهُ عليهِ وآلِهِ) إِسأَلوا اللهَ وأَجزِلوا فَإنّهُ لا يَتعاظَمُهُ شَيءٌ.

Two persons whose deeds were the same will enter Paradise. But one of the two will see the other superior. Hence, he will say: ‘My Lord, we have done the same deeds. What is his superior position for?’ Allah will say: ‘He requested from Me but you did not.’ (Then the Holy Prophet (saw) said:) “Request from Allah as much as you can, for your request is not great for Allah.”

Moyasser, a narrator, quotes Imam Sadiq (as) as saying:

يا مُيسّر، أُدْعُ ولا تَقُلْ إِنَّ الأمْرَ قَد فُرِغَ مِنهُ. إنَّ عِندَ اللهِ عَزّ وجَلّ مَنزِلَةٌ لا تُنالُ إِلا بمَسأَلَةٍ، ولَو أنَّ عَبداً سَدَّ فاهُ ولم يَسأَلْ لم يُعطَ شَيئاً، فَسَلْ تُعْطَ. يا مُيَسّر، إنّهُ لَيس مِن بابٍ يُقرَعُ إلا يوشَكُ أنْ يَنفَتِحَ لِصاحِبِه.

“O Moyasser, call upon Allah and do not say what is destined will happen. There is with Allah a position you will not attain save through supplication. If a servant shuts his mouth and does not request anything from Allah, he will be given nothing. Therefore, request so that you will be given. O Moyesser, every door that is knocked will be opened.”30116

Beware! Here Is Arafat

Here is the plain of Arafat, resembling the Day of Judgment. What a tumult! Millions of pilgrims from different nations have converged on this plain. Wearing shrouds and bareheaded, all the pilgrims have raised their hands in supplication in this hot plain. What incentive has brought them to this wasteland from their homes?

Have they come here under any force or allure of anything? They have come here to give positive response to God’s call. They have come here to enjoy the divine banquet to win God’s pleasure. It is the day of benefaction. O Lord, this edifice is the same place where Adam confessed his sin and was forgiven. It is the place where Ibrahim supplicated to God and won His favor.

All messengers of God prostrated themselves in this place. The Holy Prophet (saw), too, expressed his servitude to God here. Accompanied by his friends, Imam Husayn (as), too, raised his hands in supplication to God in this place. The sun on the day of Arafat set amidst the moaning and weeping of Imam Husayn (as) and his companions. Can a person not be moved to tears in this place where God does not withhold His generosity and forgiveness? It is said that the biggest sin belongs to one who returns from Arafat thinking that he has not been forgiven; that is, he is disappointed with God’s mercy.

Addressing Jesus (as), God says:

يا عِيسى، كَم أُطِيلُ النَّظَرَ وأُحسِنُ الطَّلَب َوالقومُ  لا يَرجِعونَ!

“O Jesus, how long should I wait and show well wish for the people to turn to Me?”31117

A Hadith Qudsi says:

لو عَلِمَ المُدْبِرونَ عَنِّي كيفَ انتِظارِي بِهِم وشَوقِي إلى تَوبَتِهِم لمَاتوا شَوقاً إِليّ ولَتَفَرَّقَت أوصالُهُم

“If they who turn their backs to Me know how eager I am for their turning to Me, they will certainly die out of eagerness to Me and their body joints will fall apart.”32118

فَيا مَنْ هوَ عَلى المُقبِلينَ عليهَ مُقبِلٌ وبالعَطفِ عليهِم عائِدٌ مُفْضِلٌ وبالغافِلينَ عَن ذِكْرِهِ رَحيمٌ رَؤوفٌ  ويجذِبُهُم إلى بابهِ وَدودٌ عَطوفٌ

“O, He who comes toward those who come towards Him and grants gifts and bestows bounty upon them through tenderness! He is Compassionate and Clement toward those heedless of His remembrance and loving and tender in drawing them to His door!”33119

وَهُوَ الّذِي يَقْبَلُ التَّوْبَةَ عَنْ عِبادِهِ وَيَعْفُو عَنِ السَّيِّئاتِ

“And He it is Who accepts repentance from His servants and pardons the evil deeds. (The Holy Qur’an; 42:25)”

Calling upon God and saying, ‘O Lord’ from the bottom of heart is sufficient to be answered.

وإِنَّ الرَّاحِلَ إلَيكَ قَريبُ المَسافَةِ

“I know well that for the travelers who set out onto Thee, the destination is very near.”34120

Not only is God Forgiving but also,

إِلَّا مَنْ تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا فَأُولَٰئِكَ يُبَدِّلُ اللَّهُ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ حَسَنَاتٍ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا

“Allah changes the evil deeds to good ones. (The Holy Qur’an; 25:70)”

Imam Sajjad (as) words:

يا مُبدِّلَ السَّيِّئاتِ بأضْعافِها مِن الحَسَناتِ

“O’ He Who changes the evil deeds into manifold good deeds.”35121

Since repentance is good deed, it has a tenfold reward:

مَنْ جَاءَ بِالحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ عَشْرُ أَمْثالِها

“Whoever brings a good deed, he shall have ten like it. (The Holy Qur’an; 6:160)”

As long as we are in Arafat, we can do nothing except requesting from Him.

A mystic was asked, ‘What have you brought to this door?’ He answered: “A beggar who comes to the House of the King is not asked, what have you brought, rather he is asked: What do you need, beggar?”

It is said that a Dervish36 set out for a king’s palace. They said to him: Take off your tattered clothes and put on new ones, for they do not fit the occasion. The Dervish said: What shall I do, for I have no other clothes? There is no blame in going to the royal palace in tatters, but there is blame if one comes out of the palace in tatters.

Likewise, if a man with sins goes to God’s House, he is in no way to be blamed, but if he returns from His House with the same sins and ashamed of his sins, it is contrary to God’s dignity and expectation.

Good Tidings: Imam Mahdi (as) is present in Arafat

A great source of happiness and hope for forgiveness of those staying in Arafat is the presence of Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) in the plain of Arafat every Hajj season; hence, Arafat becomes dignified and descending place for the angels and a source of blessings for those staying there.

Ubaid ibn Zurara quotes Imam Sadiq (as) as saying:

يَفقِدُ الناسُ إمامَهُم فَيَشهَدُ المَوسِمَ فَيَراهُم ولا يَرَونَهُ

“People will miss their Imam, but he will witness every season of Hajj. Yet, he can see them but they cannot.”37123

واللهِ إنَّ صاحِبَ هذا الأمرِ يحضُرُ المَوسِمَ كُلَّ سَنةٍ فَيَرى الناسَ وَيعرِفُهُم ويَرَونَهُ ولا يَعرِفونهُ.

“By Allah I swear, Imam Mahdi witnesses the season of Hajj every year. He can see and know people and they can see him but cannot know him.”38124

O God, we, pilgrims, turn to You and raise our hands in begging through the grace of Imam Mahdi (as) who has blessed this plain and has raised his hands in duaa in front of our gathering. We are sure the Imam’s honor is so great that whoever turns to You under his shelter and raises his hand in supplication under the shelter of his hands will not be deprived of God’s mercy.

The Holy Prophet (saw) is quoted by Salman the Persian as saying:

إنّ اللهَ عزّ وجَلّ يقولُ: يا عِبادِي، أَوَلَيسَ مَن لهُ إلَيكُمْ حَوَائِجُ كِبارٌ ولا تجُودُونَ بِها إِلاّ أنْ يَحْتَمِلَ عَليكُم بِأحَبِّ الخَلقِ إليكُم تَقضُونَها كَرامَةً لِشَفيعِهِم؟ أَلا فَاعلَموا أنَّ اَكرَمَ الخَلقِ عَلَيَّ وأفْضَلَهُم لَدَيَّ محَمّدٌ وأَخوهُ عَلِيٌّ ومِن بَعدِهِمُ الأئِمَّةُ عَليهِم السلامُ الذِينَ همُ الوسائِلُ إِلَيَّ. ألا فَلْيَدْعُني مَن أَهَمَّتْهُ حاجَةٌ يُريدُ نَفعَها أوْ دَهَتْهُ داهِيَةٌ يُريدُ كَفَّ ضَرَرِها بمُحَمَّدٍ وآلِهِ الطّيّبينَ الطّاهِرينَ أَقْضِيها لهُ أَحسَنَ ما يَقضيها مَن تَستَشفِعونَ إليهِ بِأعَزِّ الخَلقِ عَليهِ.

“Allah says: O My servant, has it not happened that someone requests something great from you but you will not fulfill his desire unless he brings an intercessor who is dear to you? Let it be known to you that the most honorable and respectable men to Me are Muhammad (saw), his brother ‘Ali (as), and the Imams (as) who are the media of nearness to Me. Therefore, if you have a desire for a profit or removing of a loss, call Me through Muhammad (saw) and his pure household. Then I will fulfill the desire in the best manner.”39125

Take the Opportunity For Duaa

As requirements for duaa to be answered have been met and thousands of hands have been raised in supplication, the pilgrims in Arafat should speak to God with the supplications reached us from the Imams (as) in this relation, Imam Husayn’s Duaa recited on such a day in Arafat is the most comprehensive. Also, Duaa 47 of al-Sahifat al-Sajjadiyya, containing theme of servitude is extremely useful for those who do not know Arabic can simply talk to God in their own languages and confide their grievances with their Most Kind Creator and know that there is no better confidant for them than God Who has said:

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ، فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ.

“And when My servants ask you concerning Me, then surely I am very near; I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he calls on Me, so they should answer My call and believe in Me that they may walk in the right way. (The Holy Qur’an; 2:186)”

Considering the above-mentioned Qur’anic Verse, is there any fear or concern left in man’s heart? The answer is a definite ‘No,’ for God Himself says:

فَمَنْ يُؤْمِنُ بِرَبِّهِ فَلا يَخَافُ بَخْساً وَلا رَهَقاً

“So whoever believes in his Lord, he should neither fear loss nor being overtaken by disgrace. (The Holy Qur’an; 27:13)”

When there are no ears to listen to our grievances, it is God Who is to listen to our requests.

يا جَارِيَ اللّصِيقُ، يا رُكْنِيَ الوَثيقُ، يا صاحِبَ كلِّ غَريبٍ، يا مُؤْنِسَ كُلِّ وحيدٍ، يا مَلجَأَ كلِّ طَريدٍ، يا مأْوى كُلِّ شَريدٍ

“O my adjacent Neighbor, O my sturdy pillar, O companion of every stranger, o intimate of everyone alone, o refuge of every outcast, o shelter of every wanderer…”40

Duaa For Reappearance of Imam Mahdi (as)

The desire for the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (may our souls be ransoms for him) who is a cure of the physical and spiritual diseases of human society must be at the top of the list of our requests today. All social and individual misfortunes, ignorance, poverty, moral corruption, and maladies afflicting human beings will be removed with the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (as) and security and justice will prevail in the world in the light of his divine guidance. So, let us supplicate to God in unison and say:

أينَ المُعَدُّ لِقَطعِ دابِرِ الظَّلَمَةِ؟ أينَ المُنْتَظَرُ لإِقامَةِ الأَمْتِ والعِوَجِ؟ أينَ المُرْتَجى لإِزالَةِ الجَوْرِ والعُدْوانِ؟ أينَ المُدَّخَرُ لِتجديدِ الفَرائِضِ والسُّنَنِ؟ أينَ المُتَخَيَّرُ لإِعادَةِ المِلَّةِ والشَّريعَةِ؟ أينَ المُؤَمَّلُ لإِحْياءِ الكِتابِ وحُدودِهِ؟ أينَ محُيِي مَعالِمِ الدِّينِ وأَهلِهِ؟ أينَ قاصِمُ شَوكَةِ المُعتَدينَ؟ أينَ هادِمُ أبنِيَةِ الشِّرْكِ والنِّفاقِ؟ أينَ مُبيدُ أهلِ الفُسوقِ والعِصْيانِ والطُّغْيانِ؟ أينَ حاصِدُ فُروعِ الغَيِّ والشَّقاقِ؟ أينَ طامِسُ آثارِ الزَّيغِ والأهْواءِ؟ أينَ مُعِزُّ الأولِياءِ ومُذِلُّ الأَعْداءِ؟ أينَ الطّالِبُ بِذُحُولِ الأنبِياءِ وأبناءِ الأنبِياءِ؟ أينَ المُطالِبُ بِدَمِ المَذبوحِ بكَربَلاءَ؟ أينَ المَنصورُ عَلى مَنِ اعْتدَى وافْتَرى؟ هَل إلَيكَ يا بْنَ أحمَدَ سَبيلٌ فَتُلقى؟ هَل يَتَّصِلُ يومُنا مِنك بِغدِهِ فَنَحظى؟ مَتى نَرِدُ مَناهِلَكَ الرَّوِيَّةَ فَنُروى؟

“Where is the one prepared to annihilate the oppressors? Where is the one awaited for straightening the crookedness and dishonesty? Where is the one expected (Imam Mahdi) for abolishing oppression and transgression? Where is the one stored for reviving the obligatory command and Sunnah (of the Holy Prophet)? Where is the one selected for resuscitating the reality of the nation and the religion? Where is the one expected for enlivening the Book and the doctrinal provisions? Where is the enlivener of the facts of the religion and its adherents?

Where is the breaker of the might of the transgressors? Where is the demolisher of the edifices of polytheism and hypocrisy? Where is the destroyer of the followers of transgression, disobedience, and rebellion? Where is the eradicator of the branches of errors and dispute? Where is the destroyer of the signs of evil and egoistic tendencies? Where is the severer of the cords of falsehood and calumniation? Where is the destroyer of the vicious and disobedient people?

Where is the eradicator of the followers of obstinacy and misguidance and the renegade? Where is the one who honors the friends and debases the enemy? Where is the gate of Allah through which all should enter? Where is the countenance of Allah through which the friends attend towards him? Where is the means stretching from the earth to the heaven?

Where is the uniter of the companions of virtue and divine pleasure? Where is the avenger of the blood of the prophets and their children? Where is the seeker of revenge for the blood of the martyred ones of Karbala? Where is the triumphant one (who will overcome) over one who transgressed against him and maligned him? O son of Ahmed, is there a way through which you may be met? May our day (of separation) join the day of reappearance by which we enjoy? When shall we arrive at your streams to quench our thirst?”41

When we are said infinite oppression and grave injustice pave the way for the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (as), despair gives its place to hope in our hearts making waiting for you something pleasant. So, we tolerate all hardship in the hope of your reappearance and keep on supplicating.

فَأَغِثْ يا غِياثَ المُستَغيثِينَ عُبَيدَكَ المُبْتَلى وأَرِهِ سَيِّدَهُ يا شَديدَ القِوى وأَزِلْ عنهُ بهِ الأَسى والجَوى وبَرِّدْ غَليلَهُ يا مَن عَلى العَرشِ استَوى ومَن إلَيهِ الرُّجْعى

“So, help, O’ helper of those who seek help, your poor afflicted servant. And show him his Master: O severer of strength and through him (Imam Mahdi) remove his (Your servant’s) grief and sorrow. And cool the burning of his hurt, O You who are firm in the Heavenly Throne of power and towards Whom is the return and ultimate end.”42

Ask forgiveness for your parents, relatives, and all believers in Arafat

Now that we are blessed with this divine grace and our requests and desires are fulfilled, we should seek forgiveness for our parents, relatives, neighbors, all believers, and the deceased ones. Imam Sadiq (as) says:

دُعاءُ المَرءِ لأخِيهِ بِظَهْرِ الغَيبِ يَدُرُّ الرِّزقَ ويدفَعُ المَكروهَ

“A man’s supplication for his absent brother increases the sustenance and saves from evils.”43

Imam Kazim (as) says:

مَن دَعا لأخِيهِ بِظهرِ الغَيبِ نودِيَ مِن العَرشِ: ولَكَ مِائَةُ ألفِ ضَعفٍ. فَكَرِهتُ أنْ أَدَعَ مِائَةَ ألفِ ضَعفٍ مَضْمونَةً لِواحِدةٍ لا أدِري تُستَجابُ أمْ لا.

“Whoever supplicates for his absent brother in faith, a call from the Divine Throne will say: let one hundred thousand times more be for you. So, I thought it was not advisable to leave one hundred thousand supplications certainly answered for one that might or might not be answered.”44

What A Blessed Duaa!

Ibn Abi-Umeir reports the following on the authority of Zeid an-Nersi:

Muawieh ibn Wahab and I were in Arafat. He was reciting duaa while his eyes were full of tears. Listening carefully to him, I found out that he was not reciting a singly duaa for himself, rather he was supplicating for people from here and there mentioning their names and father’s names. When the pilgrims left Arafat, I said to him, ‘O uncle, I saw something strange about you.’ He asked, ‘what was strange?’

I answered, ‘In this holy place, you considered your brethren prior to yourself and recited duaa for them!’ He said, ‘O my nephew, do not be surprised, for I heard my master and master of every believing man and woman and master of the former and the coming generations after his immaculate fathers (as) (if I lie, let my ears become deaf, my eyes blind, and deprived of the Holy Prophet’s intercession) as saying:

“Whoever supplicates Allah for his absent brother in faith, an angel from heaven will call: ‘O servant of Allah, let a hundred thousand times more than it be for you.’ And an angel from the second heaven will call: ‘O servant of Allah, let there be two hundred thousand times more for you.’ And an angel from the third heaven will call: ‘O servant of Allah, let there be three hundred thousand times more for you.’

And an angel from the fourth heaven will call: ‘O servant of Allah, let there be four hundred thousand times for you.’ And an angel from the fifth heaven will call: ‘O servant of Allah, let there be five hundred thousand time more for you.’ And an angel from the sixth heaven will call: ‘O servant of Allah, let there be six hundred thousand times more for you.’ And an angel from the seventh heaven will call: ‘O servant of Allah, let there be seven hundred thousand times more for you.’ Then, Allah will say: ‘I am the Rich Who will never become poor. O servant of Allah, let there be a million times more for you.’”

‘O my nephew, which is better: to supplicate for oneself or for others?’45

Now, Supplication To God

O Lord, now that You like to hear Your servant’s duaa for others and fulfill them, we ask You through the affinity and love of Your most beloved creatures; Muhammad and his household (as) to hasten the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (as) and guide the human society on the right path of guidance. Also, make the ummah united to defend itself against atheism. Protect our youths against corruption. Do not separate our children and us from the Holy Qur’an and the household of the Holy Prophet (saw) in this world and the Hereafter. Fill our hearts with Your love and that of the Imams (as). Heal the patients all over the world very soon. Make our women chaste. Give a share of this reward to our parents, relatives, neighbors, friends, and the deceased. Keep us from the fire of Your wrath.

The Sun in Arafat Is Setting

The sun in Arafat is setting and God’s banquet is coming to an end. O my beloved, I know this much that this humble person was Your guest and You, the Lord of the heavens and the earth were my Generous Host. Then, I have the right to say:

إِلهَِي، مَن الّذي نَزَلَ بكَ مُلتَمِساً قِراكَ فَما قَرَيتَهُ؟ ومَن الّذي أناخَ بِبابِكَ مُرتجِياً نِداكَ فَما أولَيتَهُ؟ أيَحْسَنُ أنْ أرجِعَ عَن بابِكَ بالخَيبَةِ مَصروفاً ولَستُ أعْرِفُ سِواكَ مَولىً بالإحْسانِ مَوصوفاً؟

“My Allah, who is the one who has come before Thee seeking hospitability? Who is the one who has dismounted at Thy door hoping for magnanimity, and to who Thou hast not shown it? Is it good that I come back from Thy door, turned away in disappointment, while I know of no patron qualified by beneficence but Thee?”46

How proper it is to conclude the last moment of staying in Arafat with the prayer of Imam Husayn (as) on such a day. Here is a summarized translation of the prayer:

اَللّهُمّ إنّا نَتَوجَّهُ إلَيكَ في هَذهِ العَشِيَّةِ الّتي شَرَّفتَها وعَظَّمتَها بِمُحّمَدٍ نَبِيِّكَ ورَسولِكَ وخِيَرَتِكَ مِن خَلقِكَ وأمينِكَ عَلى وَحيِكَ البَشيرِ النّذيرِ السّراجِ المُنيرِ الّذي أَنعَمتَ بهِ عَلى المُسلِمينَ وجَعَلتَهُ رَحمَةً لِلعالمَينَ. اَللّهُمّ فَصَلِّ عَلى محَمَّدٍ وآلِ محَمّدٍ كَما محَمَّدٌ أهْلٌ لِذلِكَ مِنكَ يا عَظيمُ، فَصَلِّ عَليهِ وعَلى آلِهِ المُنْتَجَبِينَ الطَّيَِبِينَ الطّاهِرينَ أجمَعينَ وتَغَمّدْنا بعَفوِكَ عَنّا. فَإلَيكَ عَجَّتِ الأصْواتُ بِصُنوفِ اللّغاتِ، فَاجْعَلْ لَنا اللّهُمّ في هَذِهِ العَشِيَّةِ نَصيباً مِن كُلِّ خَيرٍ تَقسِمُهُ بَينَ عِبادِكَ ونورٍ تَهدي بهِ ورَحْمَةٍ تَنشُرُها وبَرَكَةٍ نُتزِلُها وعافِيَةٍ تُجَلِّلُها ورِزقٍ تبَسُطُه يا أرْحَمَ الرّاحِمينَ. اللّهمّ اقْلِبنا في هَذا الوَقتِ مُنجِحينَ مُفلِحينَ مَبرورِينَ غانِمينَ ولا تجْعَلنا مِن القانِطينَ ولا تجْعَلنا مِن رَحمَتِكَ محْرومينَ ولا لِفَضْلِ ما نُؤَمِّلُهُ مِن عَطائِكَ قانِطينَ ولا تَرُدَّنا خائِبينَ ولا مِن بابِكَ مطْرودينَ يا أجْوَدَ الأجوَدينَ وأكْرَمَ الأكْرَمينَ إلَيكَ أقْبَلنا موقِنينَ ولِبَيتِكَ الحَرامِ آمِّينَ قاصِدينَ

“O Allah, we are turning our faces to You in this evening that You glorified and honored by Muhammad— Your Prophet, Messenger, Chosen one among Your creatures, Keeper of Your revelation, bearer of Your good tidings and warnings, and the bright light with whom You have blessed the Muslims and whom You have made mercy from people. Bless him and his household— the chosen ones, the pure, and the immaculate, and include us by means of Your reprieve. To You, voices of different tongues have directed.

O Allah, give us in this evening a share of the blessings that you give to Your servants, light of guidance, mercy that You spread, blessings that You reveal, wellbeing that You extend, and abundant sustenance; You are certainly the Most Merciful of the merciful ones. O Allah, in this very time, include us with the successful, the thriving, the blessed, and the winning, and do not deprive us of Your mercy and of that for which we hope, and do not refute us with disappointment, and do not reject us from Your door. You are certainly the Most Generous of the generous ones and the Most Munificent of the munificent. We are directing towards You with full confidence and towards yours Sacred House with full intentions”47

The sun in Arafat set amid tears, moaning, and lamentations of Imam Husayn (as) and his companions who then set out for al-Mash’ar al-Haram.

Good Tidings

Imam Sajjad (as) says:

إنّهُ لمّا وَقَفَ بِعَرَفَةَ وهَمَّتِ الشّمْسُ أنْ تَغيبَ، قالَ رسولُ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وآلِهِ: يا بلالُ، قُل لِلناّسِ فَليُنصِتوا. فَلمّا نَصَتوا قَالَ رسولُ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وآلِهِ: إنَّ رَبّكُم تَطَوَّلَ عَليكُم في هذا اليَومِ فَغَفَرَ لِمُحسِنِكُم وَشَفَّعَ مُحسِنَكُم في مُسيئِكُم، فَاَفيضوا مَغْفوراً لَكُم.

“During the Farewell Hajj, the pilgrims’ stay in Arafat was completed, the Holy Prophet (saw) said: “O Bilal, tell people to keep silent.” When they did, he (saw) said: “Today, Allah has favored you. He has forgiven the good ones among you and bestowed upon you the right of intercession for the bad ones. Hence, He forgave the bad ones with the intercession of the good ones. Now, set out and all of you have been forgiven by Allah’s mercy.”48

Obviously the question of people’s rights is another topic in a way that the consent and satisfaction of the owner of a right is prerequisite for God’s forgiveness. Hence, all were forgiven “save those who violate people’s rights, for God in Just and will take the right of the oppressed from the oppressors.”49

Halting Place 5: Al-Mash’ar Al-Haram

فَإِذَا أَفَضْتُمْ مِنْ عَرَفَاتٍ فَاذْكُرُوا اللهَ عِنْدَ المَشْعَرِ الحَرامِ

“So, when you hasten on from Arafat, then remember Allah near the Holy Monument— Al-Mash’ar al-Haram. (The Holy Qur’an; 2:198)”

Day of Arafat and staying in the plain of Arafat has come to an end and it is now the eve of the Eid ul-Adha.50 The pilgrims are prepared to move towards al-Mash’ar al-Haram. With the light of God’s cognition upon all hearts, we now depart from Mount Mercy to stay overnight in al-Mash’ar al-Haram and attend another banquet of God.

It is praiseworthy to delay the Maghrib –evening- and Eshaa –night- (obligatory) Prayers to be performed in al-Mash’ar al-Haram, but because of too many pilgrims, slow traffic and the fear of default, the Maghrib and Eshaa Prayers are performed in Arafat. After having a light dinner, the pilgrims set out for al-Mash’ar.

There is a tumult among the crowd, for every pilgrim is busy taking away the tent, packing his personal effects, and getting on into buses. So, great care is needed not to be distracted. Under such circumstances, Satan tries to keep man preoccupied so as to deprive him of his spiritual state. The pilgrims might get angry at getting a seat in front or back of the bus, the quantity of food, or carriage of the effects. Hence, they should be as tolerant, soft, and good-tempered as possible, for God says:

وَمَا تَفْعَلُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ يَعْلَمْهُ اللهُ، وَتَزَوَّدُوا فَإِنَّ خَيْرَ الزَّادِ التَّقْوَى

“Whatever good you do, Allah knows it; and make provision, for surely the provision is the guardian of oneself, and be careful of your duty to Me, O men of understanding. (The Holy Qur’an; 2:197)”

Restrain Your Anger

Imam Sadiq (as) says:

مَا مِن عَبدٍ كَظَمَ غَيظاً إلا زادَهُ اللهُ عَزّ وجلّ عِزاً في الدّنيا والآخِرَةِ. وقَد قالَ اللهُ عزّ وجَلّ: وَالْكَاظِمِينَ الغَيْظَ وَالْعَافِينَ عَنِ النَّاسِ وَاللهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ.

“Whoever restrains his anger Allah will increase his honor in this world and the Hereafter. Allah says: Those who restrain their anger and pardon men; and Allah loves the doers of good to others. (The Holy Qur’an; 3:134)51

Al-Mash’ar or The Meeting Place of God’s Lovers

Al-Mash’ar is also called ‘al-Muzdalifah—the near place-’ since it is very near to Mecca. There is a consensus among the Islamic scholars that the Maghrib and Eshaa Prayers should be offered together in al-Mash’ar. It is derived from the Arabic root ‘sh-a-r’ meaning ‘motto’ or ‘sign’. It is a place for those seeking God, for no sign of mammonism or egotism is there.

Al-Mash’ar is a dark plain with pebbles on it, which has accommodated over one million pilgrims who have taken refuge in God and supplications under the dim light of stars of a mysterious sky. It is truly Mash’ar –sign-, for nothing but God-seeking mottos can be heard. Eyes cannot see anywhere but the echo of supplications soothes man’s soul.

What A Blessed Place and What An Auspicious Night!

This night has no equal in man’s life. It is dark but brighter than any day for men of heart. It is a night when the breeze of God’s mercy is blowing and rain of His forgiveness is falling. It is a night when the doors of God’s favor are opened to man. It is the even of the festival of sacrifice and the time of the King’s public audience.

Imam Sadiq (as) says:

وإنِ استَطَعتَ أنْ تحيِيَ تلكَ الليلةِ فافْعلْ، فَإنّه بَلَغَنا أنَّ أبوابَ السّماءِ لا تُغلقُ تلكَ الليلةَ لأَصواتِ المؤمِنينَ لهُم دَوِيٌّ كَدَويِّ النّحلِ. يقولُ اللهُ جلّ ثناؤهُ: أَنا رَبُّكُم وأَنتُم عِبادِي أدَّيتُم حَقِّي وحقٌّ عَلَيَّ أن اَستَجيبَ لكُم. فَيَحُطُّ اللهُ تلكَ الليلةَ عّمَّن أرادَ أنْ يحُطَّ ذُنوبَهُ ويغْفِرُ لمَن أرادَ أن يغفرَ لهُ

“If you can keep vigil tonight, do it, for it has been reported to us that the gates of heaven are not closed to the believers tonight. Allah says: ‘I am Your Lord and you are My servants. You have paid my due. Hence, it is incumbent on Me to answer your prayer.’ Therefore, He removes the sins of whomever He wishes and forgives whom He wills.”52

Night, Time of Communion With God

Men of heart and insight know that night is opportune time for communion with God. Among blessings God has bestowed upon man is the blessing of night:

وَجَعَلْنَا اللّيْلَ لِباساً

“And We made the night to be a covering. (The Holy Qur’an; 78:10)”

وَاللّيْلِ إِذَا يَغْشَى

“I swear by the night when it draws a veil. (The Holy Qur’an; 92:1)”

Should the child-like playful man be left to himself, he is so much in love with the playing called the world and its ornaments that he will ruin himself. But like a loving mother who puts her playful child to sleep so that the child’s energy will not go into waste, God puts a covering on man so that his eyes will not see all these toys and will be quieted down.

Unfortunately, this playful man has turned nights into days with artificial lights and spends his precious life on love for the world making himself physically and mentally exhausted and deprived of the aim of creation. In this world where most people are dead-hearted “and most of them do not understand,”53 there are men of heart who are source of human dignity and living evidence of man’s superiority over animals, people who work during the day and keep vigil at night.

وَأمّا النَّهارُ فَحُلَماءُ عُلَماءُ، بَرَرَةٌ أتْقِياءُ، قَدْ بَراهُمُ الخَوْفُ فَهُمْ أمْثالُ القِداحِ يَنظُرُ إلَيهِمُ النّاظِرُ فَيَحْسَبُهُم مَرْضى وَما بِالقَوْمِ مِن مَرَضٍ ، أو يَقولُ : قَدْ خولِطُوا، فَقَدْ خالَطَ القَومَ أمْرٌ عَظيمٌ.

أمّا اللَّيلُ فَصافُّونَ أَقْدامَهُم تالِينَ لأَجْزاءِ القُرْآنِ يُرَتِّلونَهُ تَرْتيلاً، يُحْزِنونَ بهِ أنفُسَهُم، وَيَسْتَبشِرونَ بهِ، وتَهيجُ أحْزانُهُم بُكاءً عَلى ذُنوبِهِم وَوَجَعِ كُلومِ جَوانحِهِم ، فَإذا مَرُّوا بآيَةٍ فيها تَخويفٌ أصْغَوا إلَيها بمَسامِعِ قُلوبِهِم وَأبْصارِهِم، فَاقْشَعَرَّتْ مِنها جُلودُهُم، وَوَجِلَت مِنها قُلوبُهُم، وَظَنّوا أنَّ صَهيلَ جَهَنَّمَ وَزَفيرَها وشَهِيقَها في اُصُولِ آذانِهِم، وَإِذا مَرُّوا بِآيَةٍ فِيها تَشْويقٌ رَكَنوا إلَيها طَمَعاً ، وَتَطَلّعَتْ أنفُسُهُم إلَيها شَوقاً، فَظَنُّوا أنَّها نُصْبَ أعْيُنِهِم، جاثِينَ عَلى أوساطِهِم يمَجِّدونَ جَبّاراً عَظيماً، مُفتَرِشينَ جِباهَهُم وَأَكُفَّهُم وأطْرافَ أقْدامِهِم وَرُكَبِهِم، تجَرِي دُمُوعُهُم عَلى خُدودِهِم، يَجْأَرونَ إلى اللهِ في فِكاكِ رِقابِهِم.

“During the day they are enduring, learned, virtuous, and God-fearing. Fear of Allah has made them thin like arrows, if anyone looks at them he believes they are sick, although they are not sick, and he says that they have gone mad. In fact, great concern has made them mad. During the night they are upstanding on their feet reading portions of the Qur’an and reciting it in a well-measured way, creating through it grief for themselves and seeking by it the care for their ailments.

If they come across a verse creating eagerness for Paradise they pursue it avidly, and their spirit turns towards it eagerly, and they feel as if it is in from of them. And when they come across a verse which contains fear of Hell, they bend the ears of their hearts towards it, and feel as though the sound of Hell and its cries are reaching their ears. They bend themselves from their backs, prostrate themselves on their foreheads, their palms, their knees, and their toes, and beseech Allah, the Sublime for their deliverance.”54

Imam ‘Ali (as) longed for the nights to come so that he could have communion with God. During his supplication, he would always say:

آهٍ آهٍ مِن قِلَّةِ الزّاد وطُولِ الطّريقِ وبُعدِ السّفَر

“Alas! The provision is little, the way is long, the journey is far and the goal is hard to reach.”55

Now It Is Night, the Even of Feast of Sacrifice in Al-Mash’ar Al-Haram

The eve of Eid ul-Adha is among four blessed nights along with the Laylat ul-Qadr –the Grand Night- for keeping vigil. Imam ‘Ali (as) says:

“I like to see myself free during four nights to engage in prayer: the eve of month of Rajab, the eve of mid-Shaban, the eve of Eid ul-Fitr (feast of breaking the fast), and the even of Eid ul-Adha.”56

The pilgrims should reduce their sleep and food and instead engage in prayer, for the hours and days spent in the Hajj rites are very important. God introduces them as numbered and stated days:

وَاذْكُرُوا اللهَ في أَيَّامٍ مَعْدُودَاتٍ

“And laud Allah during the numbered days. (The Holy Qur’an; 2:203)”

وَاذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللهَ في أَيَّامٍ مَعْدُودَاتٍ

“And mention the name of Allah in stated days. (The Holy Qur’an; 22:28)”

To sum it up, the pilgrims must take advantage of these transient heavenly hours during which they are God’s guests and He has declared His readiness to fulfill the requests of His guests:

وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ اُدْعُونِي اَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ

“And your Lord says: Call upon Me, I will answer you. (The Holy Qur’an; 40:60)”

If a beggar asks for something, it is not strange, but when a generous one is looking for a beggar, it is something unusual. A hadith says:

إِنَّهُ إِذا كَانَ آخِرُ اللَّيْلِ يَقولُ اللهُ تباركَ وتَعالى هَل مِن داعٍ أُجيبُهُ؟ هَل مِن سائِلٍ فَأُعْطيهِ سُؤالَهُ؟ هَل مِن مُستَغفِرٍ فَأغفِرُ لهُ؟ هَل مِن تائبٍ فَأتوبُ عليهِ؟

“When night comes to an end, Allah will say: Is there anyone calling upon Me so that I will answer him? Is there anyone asking Me so that I will fulfill his request? Is there anyone to ask forgiveness so that I will forgive him? Is there any repentant so that I will accept his repentance?”57

How can God possibly reject His servants’ calls and begging when He Himself says:

وَأَمَّا السَّائِلَ فَلا تَنْهَرْ

“And as for him who asks, do not chide (him). (The Holy Qur’an; 93:10)”

As everything is prepared for our duaas to be answered, we first pray for the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (as), confess our wrongdoings, and supplicate in this way:

فَما كُلُّ ما نَطَقتُ بهِ عَن جَهلٍ مِنّي بِسوءِ أَثَري ولا نِسيانٍ لمِا سَبَقَ مِن ذَميمِ فِعلي لكِنْ لِتسمَعَ سماؤكَ ومَن فيها وأرضُكَ ومَن عَليها ما أظْهَرتُ لكَ مِن النّدمِ ولجأتُ إليكَ فيهِ من التّوبةِ، فَلَعلَّ بعضَهُم بِرحمتِكَ يَرحمُني لِسوءِ موقِفي أو تُدرِكُهُ الرِّقّةُ عليَّ لِسوءِ حالي فيَنالُني منهُ بِدعوَةٍ هيَ أسمَعُ لدَيكَ مِن دُعائي أو شَفاعَةٍ أَوْكَدَ عِندكَ مِن شَفاعَتي تكونُ بِها نجَاتي مِن غَضَبِك وفَوزَتي بِرضاكَ.

“Now all that I have said rise up from my ignorance of my evil footsteps or forgetfulness of my blameworthy acts in the past, but in order that Thy heaven and those within it and Thy earth and those upon it may hear the remorse which I have professed to Thee and the repentance through which I have sought asylum with Thee. Then perhaps one of them, through Thy mercy, may show mercy upon my evil situation or be seized by tenderness for my evil state. There may come from him for my sake a supplication to which Thou givest ear more than to my supplication or an intercession surer with Thee than my intercession through which I may be delivered from Thy wrath and attain to Thy good pleasure.”58

Reflect For An Hour

Amid all acts of worship, reflecting on the philosophy of the Hajj rites, staying in al-Mash’ar al-Haram and the praiseworthy act of gathering pebbles and the mysterious acts in Mina as well as reflecting on all these acts is a superior act of worship. The Holy Prophet (saw) says:

فِكْرَةُ ساعَةٍ خَيرٌ مِن عِبادَةِ سَنَةٍ.

“An hour of reflection is better than a year of worship.”59

Imam Ridha’ (as) says:

ليسَ العِبادَةُ كَثْرَةٌ الصّيامِ والصّلاةِ وإنمّا العِبادةُ كَثْرَةُ التَّفَكُّرِ في أمْرِ اللهِ

“Worship is not an excess of praying and fasting, rather it is reflection on Allah’s creation.”146

Night in Al-Mash’ar Al-Haram and Reflection

Night in al-Mash’ar al-Haram is opportune time for reflection. The sky there with the radiance of its stars creates a heavenly and spiritual state in man and takes to a world above other worlds.

The Philosophy of Staying Overnight in Al-Mash’ar

Let us reflect on the philosophy of staying overnight in al-Mash’ar, perhaps a door of God’s mystery will be opened to us. We have come to al-Mash’ar to have full cognition of God and to renew our covenant with Him. Let us follow the duaa of Imam Husayn made on the day of Arafat:

أَيَكُونُ لِغَيرِكَ مِن الظُّهورِ ما لَيسَ لكَ حَتّى يكونَ هو المَظهَرَ لك؟ مَتى غِبتَ حتى تحَتاجَ إلى دَليلٍ يَدُلُّ عليكَ؟ ومتى بَعُدتَ حتى تَكونَ الآثارُ هِي الّتي تُوصِلُ إليكَ؟ عَمِيَتْ عَينٌ لا تَراكَ علَيها رَقِيباً وخَسِرَت صَفْقَةُ عَبدٍ لم تجعَلْ لهُ مِن حُبِّكَ نصِيباً

“Is there any being more bright than You in whose light to find You? When have You been hidden to seek You under guidance? When have You been far away to turn to You through a sign? Let those eyes not seeing You watchful be blind and let the servant who has no love of You suffer losses and gain nothing.”60

Al-Mash’ar al-Haram is the manifestation of God-seeking motto.

فَإِذَا أَفَضْتُمْ مِنُ عَرَفَاتٍ فَاذْكُرُوا اللهَ عِنْدَ المَشْعَرِ الحَرَامِ

“So, when you hasten on from Arafat, then remember Allah near the Holy Monument— Al-Mash’ar al-Haram. (The Holy Qur’an; 2:198)”

Al-Mash’ar al-Haram is dark and nothing but God prevails it. The light of God’s cognition has filled a pilgrim’s heart so much so that everything is effected in its light:

عَظُمَ الخالِقُ في أنفُسِهِم فَصَغُر ما دونَهُ في أعيُنِهِم

“The greatness of the Creator is seated in their hearts, and so, everything else appears small in their eyes.”61

وَكانَت دُنياهُم أقَلَّ عِندَهم ممّا يَطَؤونَهُ بِأرجُلِهِم

“The world of the mammonists is worthless than what trodden on.”62

Praiseworthiness of Picking Up Pebbles in Al-Mash’ar

A pilgrim’s recommended act in al-Mash’ar is to pick up pebbles as many as seventy to take them to Mina to be thrown at the symbolic Satan. This act, yet not much pleasant, is a sign of man’s obedience to God’s command.

Al-Mash’ar Al-Haram, A Sign of Islamic Education

The educational school of Islam displays the world and its pleasures to the eyes of a Muslim as worthless as pebbles, for all crimes and corruptions in the world are the result of love of the world in a way the Holy Prophet (saw) says:

حُبُّ الدّنيا رَأْسُ كلِّ خَطيئَةٍ

“Love for this world is the source of all wrongdoings.”63

On the other hand, if a man is destitute, the desires which are inherent in his being and have not been properly satisfied will overflow making him rebel and disobedient especially if he lives in an environment with injustice and class differences. Imam ‘Ali (as) says to his son Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah:

يا بُنيّ، إنّي أَخافُ عَليكَ الفَقْرَ فَاستَعِذْ باللهِ منهُ. فَإن الفَقْرَ مَنقَصَةٌ لِلدّينِ، مَدهَشَةٌ لِلعَقلِ، داعِيَةٌ للمَقْتِ.

“O my son, I fear lest destitution overtakes you. So, you should seek Allah’s protection from it, because destitution is deficiency of religious belief, perplexity of intelligence, and it is conductive to hatred of obstinate people.”64

The Holy Prophet (saw) says:

كادَ الفَقْرُ أنْ يَكونَ كُفْراً

“Destitution is very close to the boundary of disbelief.”65

Today, material manifestations have become criteria of supremacy. If the ummah do not care about material manifestations, they will be undermined. In addition, since some Muslims do not enjoy sound religious training and they are not people who

“shall not fear the censure of any censurer (The Holy Qur’an; 5:44),”

they should not only promote their moral and spiritual virtues, but they should have enough wealth to preserve their supremacy in the world and honor and prosperity in the Hereafter. The Holy Qur’an says:

وَأَعِدُّوا لَهُمْ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ مِنْ قُوَّةٍ وَمِنْ رِباطِ الخَيْلِ تُرْهِبُونَ بِهِ عَدُوَّ اللهِ وَعَدُوَّكُمْ

“And prepare against them what force you can and horses tied at the frontier, to frighten thereby the enemy of Allah and your enemy. (8:60)”

Imam Kazim (as) says:

إنّكُم قَومٌ أعداؤكُم كَثيرةٌ، يا مَعاشِرَ الشّيعَةِ، إنّكُم قَد عاداكُمُ الخَلقُ فَتَزيَّنوا لهُم بما قَدِرتُم عليهِ

“O Shiites, you have lots of enemies looking for a pretext to attack and humiliate you. So, be prepared against them as much as you can.”66

Halting Place 6: Mina, the Place of Sacrifice

Thanks to God, we have completed staying in al-Mash’ar al-Haram. We now move to Mina after sunrise of Eid ul-Adha, with a heart full of God’s love and ready for offering our sacrifices. We are going to display in Mina what we have gained spiritually in Arafat and al-Mash’ar. Mina is the place of sacrifice. We intend to sacrifice the world for the satisfaction of God. Our wealth, position, reputation, and even our children have to be sacrificed for God. Mina displays the world people spiritual assets of perfect men who represent prophets. It is the manifestation of God’s special favor to men of heart:

فَاخْلَعْ نَعْلَيْكَ إِنَّكَ بِالوَادِ المُقَدَّسِ طُوى

“Therefore, put off your shoes; surely you are in the sacred valley, Tuwa. (The Holy Qur’an; 20:12)”

You have been so honored that you are qualified to stand before God! Imam Sadiq (as) says:

إذا أَخَذَ الناسُ مَنازِلهُم بمِنَى نادَى مُنادٍ: يا مِنَى قدْ جاءَ أهْلُكِ فَاتَّسِعي في فِجاجِكِ واتْرَعي في مَثابِكِ، ومنادٍ يُنادي: لو تَدرون بمَن حَلَلتُم لأيقَنتُم بِالخَلفِ بَعدَ المَغفِرَة.

“When people arrive in Mina, a herald will call out: ‘O Mina, your dwellers have come! Open your arms and fill your pools with water!’ Another herald will call out: ‘If you know before Whom you have come, you will gain certitude about forgiveness and compensation of what you have spent.”67

This is certainly a reference to the Qur’anic Verse:

وَمَا أَنْفَقْتُمْ مِنْ شَيءٍ فَهُوَ ُيخْلِفُهُ

“Whatever thing you spend, He exceeds it in reward. (34:39)”

Although Mina is no more than a small valley, it extraordinarily accommodates a crowd several times its capacity and the abundance of food, welfare, and comfort in this place comes from invisible source. In this relation, Ibn Abbas says:

إنَّ مِنى يَتَّسِعُ لأَهلِهِ كَما يتَّسِعُ الرَّحِمُ لِلوَلَدِ

Mina is extended for its dwellers in the same way that a mother’s womb is extended for the fetus.68

Ramy Al-Jamarat in Mina and Its Philosophy

One of the obligatory acts of Hajj in Mina is Ramy al-Jamarat or casting stones on columns named al-Jamarat al-Uola (First column), al-Jamarat al-Wusta Second column), and Jamarat al-Aqaba symbolizing Satan. On Eid ul-Adha, a pilgrim is duty-bound to perform the Ramy of Jamarat al-Aqaba and perform the all three the next two days.

According to a hadith, when Adam (as), carrying out God’s order, accompanied by Archangel Gabriel performed the Hajj rites and left Mina for the House, Satan appeared to him in the site of al-Jamara three times trying to prevent him from performing his duty with temptations. However, Adam with a hint from Gabriel by throwing seven pebbles at Satan in three sites, drove him away. Hence, this act became a tradition for the descendants of Adam. According to other hadiths, this happened to Prophet Ibrahim (as).

‘Ali ibn Jaafar asked his elder brother, Imam Kazim (as) about the philosophy of the Ramy al-Jamarat. The Imam answered:

لأنَّ إبْليسَ اللّعِينَ كانَ يَتَراءَى لإِبْراهِيمَ عليهِ السلامُ في مَوضِعِ الجَمارِ فَرَجَمَهُ إِبراهِيمُ، فَجَرَتِ السُّنَّةُ بِذلكَ.

“Since the cursed Satan appeared to Prophet Ibrahim (as) in the site of al-Jamarat and Ibrahim (as) threw stone at him, this act became tradition.”69

It is also said that al-Jamarat is the site of stoning the death of three traitors who had colluded with the enemy of their own people.

Another version is that in the year of the birth of the Holy Prophet (saw) a great army from Yemen headed by Abraha left for Mecca to demolish the House of God. Three Meccans secretly colluded with them by giving facilities. However, the enemy failed and was punished and destroyed through birds that threw stones on them. The three traitors were stoned to death in the present site of al-Jamarat on charge of treason.

This act was later on put among the Hajj rites as expression of hatred towards traitors. Therefore, Mina can be a sign of a scene of battle against the enemies of the religion of God and the columns symbols of atheists standing on the way of the ummah. Pebbles can be symbols of worldly riches thrown away for the sake of God. Pilgrims practice these symbolic and spiritual acts to ensure their victory, for God’s promise is truthful:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنْ تَنْصُرُوا اللهَ يَنْصُرْكُمْ وَيُثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَكُمْ.

“O you who believe, if you help the cause of Allah, He will help you and make firm your feet. (The Holy Qur’an; 47:7)”

It is recommended to put each pebble on the middle finger and throw it to al-Jamarat with the head of the forefinger. This act implies that if Muslims have power of faith, unity, patience, and firmness for God’s sake, the enemies will become so weak and humiliated that they will be defeated with a hint.

وَلَوْ قَاتَلَكُمُ الّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَوَلَّوُا الأَدْبَارَ ثُمَّ لا يَجِدُونَ وَلِيّاً وَلا نَصِيراً

“And if those who disbelieve fight with you, they would certainly turn (their) backs, and then they would not find any protector or a helper. (The Holy Qur’an; 48:22)”

وَلا تَهِنُوا وَلا تَحْزَنُوا وَأَنْتُمُ الأعْلَوْنَ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ

“And be not infirm, and be not grieving, and you shall have the upper hand if you are believers. (The Holy Qur’an; 3:139)”

Offering Animal Sacrifice in Mina and Its Philosophy

Another obligatory act in Mina following Ramy Jamarat al-Aqaba on Eid ul-Adha is sacrifice of an animal (camel, cow, or sheep) free from any defect and not thin. It is called ‘Qurban –offering-’, because this act of worship is aimed at getting close to God.

Therefore, ‘qurban’ is any good deed by which man seeks God’s mercy. Since sacrifices are offered in the early hours of the day, it is also called Eid ul-Adha, and the animal sacrificed is called ‘dhahiyya’. Sacrifice is a symbol of devotion and offering one’s life in the way of the Beloved and the maximum degree of submission to God. Imam ‘Ali read the following duaa upon offering the sacrifice:

بِسمِ اللهِ، وَجَّهتُ وَجهِيَ لِلذِي فَطَرَ السّماواتِ والأرْضَ حَنيفاً مُسلِماً وما أَنا مِن المُشرِكِين. إنَّ صَلاتي ونُسُكِي ومَحْيايَ وَممَاتي للهِ رَبِّ العالَمِينَ. اللّهُمّ مِنكَ ولَكَ.

“In the Name of Allah. I have turned myself, being upright, wholly to Him Who originated the heavens and the earth, and I am not of the polytheists. Surely, my prayers, my sacrifice, my life, and my death belong to Allah the Lord of the worlds. O Allah, whatever I have comes from and is for You.”70
The offering of animal sacrifice on Eid ul-Adha enlivens the memory of Prophet Ibrahim and his son Ismaeel (as). The father says,

فَلَمَّا بَلَغَ مَعَهُ السَّعْيَ قَالَ يَا بُنَيَّ إِنِّي أَرَىٰ فِي الْمَنَامِ أَنِّي أَذْبَحُكَ فَانْظُرْ مَاذَا تَرَىٰ ۚ قَالَ يَا أَبَتِ افْعَلْ مَا تُؤْمَرُ ۖ سَتَجِدُنِي إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ مِنَ الصَّابِرِينَ

“O my son, surely I have seen in a dream that I should sacrifice you. (The Holy Qur’an; 37:102)”

The young son, too, without having any fear, says,

“O my father, do what you are commanded; if Allah please, you will find me one of the patient ones. (The Holy Qur’an; 37:102)”

This is the utmost degree of devotion, which is worthy of God’s saying,

وَفَدَيْنَاهُ بِذِبْحٍ عَظِيمٍ

“And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice. (The Holy Qur’an; 37:107)”

It was so destined that this great act of devotion to become part of the Hajj rites and to be repeated every year in the Hajj seasons. Prophet Ibrahim’s act of devotion became source of pride for human beings before the angels who had said to God:

أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَنْ يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَنَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ

“Wilt Thou place in it such as shall make mischief in it and shed blood, and we celebrate Thy praise and extol Thy holiness? (The Holy Qur’an; 2:30)”

The angels should know that among the same human beings there are those whose devotion is to the extent that God praises:

فَلَمَّا أَسْلَمَا وَتَلَّهُ لِلْجَبِينِ. وَنَادَيْنَاهُ أَنْ يَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ. قَدْ صَدَّقْتَ الرُّؤْيَا

“So when they both submitted and he threw him down upon his forehead. And We called out to him saying: O Ibrahim! You have indeed shown the truth of the vision. (The Holy Qur’an; 37:103-5)”

Therefore, Eid ul-Adha is the feast to celebrate the dignity of human beings, a day when man exchanged little provision of this world for the gardens wherein lasing blessings shall be his.

Paying Homage To the Master of Martyrs (as)

It is unfair not to mention the name of the great leader of the devotees, the endeared grandson of the Holy Prophet (saw), the light of the eyes of Imam ‘Ali (as), the beloved of Fatima (as), and the master of martyrs; Imam Husayn (as) here. If Prophet Ibrahim (as) offered one sacrifice in Mina and the sacrifice was ransomed, Imam Husayn (as) offered seventy-two sacrifices in Karbala on a single day and none of them was ransomed. Imam Husayn (as) offered to God his friends and endeared ones including nursing infants and elderly men, beheaded and dismembered. Holding his blood-soaked swaddled infant on his arms and sprinkling towards the sky, the blood gushing from the throat of his nursing infant, the Imam said:

هَوَّنَ عَلَيَّ مَا نَزَلَ بِي أَنَّهُ بِعَينِ اللهِ

“What alleviates all that which I am suffering is their being under Allah’s sight.”

Then we should salute Imam Husayn (as) by saying:

السَّلامُ عَليكَ يا أبا عبدِاللهِ وعَلى الأرْواحِ التي حَلَّتْ بِفِنائِكَ، عَليك مِني سَلامُ اللهِ أبَداً ما بَقِيتُ وبَقِيَ الليلُ والنّهارُ.

“Peace be on you, O Abu-Abdullah, and on those souls who came to your camp to put themselves at your disposal. So fat I am alive and the days and nights follow each other, I invoke Allah to send blessings on you for ever and ever.”71

Islam Has Two Official Feasts

There are two historic days in Islam called ‘Eids – feasts-’ celebrated by Muslim. One is Eid ul-Fitr marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, a month during which Muslims practice self-restraint and abstention from wrongdoing. They engage in spiritual state and nightly supplications.

يا أيّها الّذينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيامُ كَما كُتِبَ عَلى الّذينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقونَ.

“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard (against evil). (The Holy Qur’an; 2: 138)”

The other feast is Eid ul-Adha, which is held following performance of the Hajj rites, stay in Arafat, cognition of God, then the overnight stay in al-Mash’ar, detachment from the world, and annihilation in God’s love. On these two occasions, Muslims are duty-bound to get together, and by performing the Eid Prayer and delivering speeches displays the heavenly glory of Islam and creates awe in the hearts of the atheists.

Social Aspect of Sacrifice in Mina

By discussing the socio-mental philosophy of sacrifice we have answered the questions posed by certain people who would say: Is it not better for pilgrims to offer their sacrifices at home and give to the poor and the neighbors when they return from Mecca instead of letting all the sacrifices go waste and suffer sunburn in Mina? Or is it not better for pilgrims to assign a deputy at home to sacrifice the animal on their behalf and have the flesh distributed among the poor?

These questions arise either from lack of knowledge about the sublime goal of this heavenly commandment or prejudice aimed at undermining the Hajj rites. We should note that the socio-mental aspects of the Hajj rites are extremely important. Staying in Arafat, al-Mash’ar, and Mina, Ramy al-Jamarat, performing the Eid Prayer, and delivering sermons are aimed to gather Muslims in a single place and time so as to display the glory of ummah to the world people and to make the oppressors and colonialists shaky with Muslims’ ideological unity.

Drawing the attentions of Muslims to the vital role of the Hajj rites in restoring the entity of the ummah, their dignity and independence, the Holy Qur’an says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُحِلُّوا شَعَائِرَ اللَّهِ وَلَا الشَّهْرَ الْحَرَامَ وَلَا الْهَدْيَ وَلَا الْقَلَائِدَ وَلَا آمِّينَ الْبَيْتَ الْحَرَامَ يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلًا مِنْ رَبِّهِمْ وَرِضْوَانًا ۚ وَإِذَا حَلَلْتُمْ فَاصْطَادُوا ۚ وَلَا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ أَنْ صَدُّوكُمْ عَنِ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ أَنْ تَعْتَدُوا ۘ وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَىٰ ۖ وَلَا تَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ

“O you who believe! Do not violate the signs appointed by Allah nor the sacred month, nor interfere with the offerings, nor the sacrificial animals with garlands, nor those going to the sacred house seeking the grace and pleasure of their Lord; and when you are free from the obligations of the pilgrimage, then hunt, and let not hatred of a people‑‑ because they hindered you from the Sacred Masjid‑‑ incite you to exceed the limits, and help one another in goodness and piety, and do not help one another in sin and aggression; and be careful of your duty to Allah; surely Allah is severe in requiting evil. (5:2)”

According to the Holy Qur’an, offering sacrifice is as important as the Kaaba:

جَعَلَ اللهُ الكَعْبَةَ البيْتَ الحَرامَ قِياماً لِلنَّاسِ وَالشَّهْرَ الحَرامَ والهَدْيَ والقَلائِدَ

“Allah has made the Kaaba, the sacred house, maintenance for the people, and the sacred month and the offerings and the sacrificial animals with garlands. (The Holy Qur’an; 5:97)”

That is to say, in the same way that the Kaaba serves as factor to bring Muslims together until the Day of Judgment, offering sacrifice too is an inviolable tradition, which must exist until the Day of Judgment to show not only the spirit of submission to God but also to display the wrath of Muslim nations against the enemies of Islam. The Kaaba represents love and compassion and sacrifice depicts wrath as stipulated by the Holy Qur’an:

مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ اللهِ، وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ أَشَدَّاءُ عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَاءُ بَيْنَهُمْ

“Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah, and those with him are firm of heart against the unbelievers, compassionate among themselves. (48:29)”

A Living Religion Needs Both Mosque and Sacrifice

The life-giving religion of Islam emphasizes both worship and sacrifice. Offering one’s life in the way of the religion can safeguard its survival. A true Muslim, while being man of prayer, is man of fighting against the enemies of God. In the same way that God has made the Kaaba a place of security,

وَإِذْ جَعَلْنَا الْبَيْتَ مَثَابَةً لِلنَّاسِ وَأَمْنًا وَاتَّخِذُوا مِنْ مَقَامِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ مُصَلًّى ۖ وَعَهِدْنَا إِلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ أَنْ طَهِّرَا بَيْتِيَ لِلطَّائِفِينَ وَالْعَاكِفِينَ وَالرُّكَّعِ السُّجُودِ

“(And when) We made the House a pilgrimage for men and a (place of) security. (The Holy Qur’an; 2:125),”

He had made sacrifice a source of blessing for human beings,

وَالْبُدْنَ جَعَلْنَاهَا لَكُمْ مِنْ شَعَائِرِ اللَّهِ لَكُمْ فِيهَا خَيْرٌ ۖ فَاذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهَا صَوَافَّ ۖ فَإِذَا وَجَبَتْ جُنُوبُهَا فَكُلُوا مِنْهَا وَأَطْعِمُوا الْقَانِعَ وَالْمُعْتَرَّ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ سَخَّرْنَاهَا لَكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

“And (as for) the camels, We have made them of the signs of the religion of Allah for you; for you therein is much good. (The Holy Qur’an; 22:36)”

God has mentioned camels because they are the most expensive among the animals offered for sacrifice implying that we should sacrifice the dearest thing for the sake of God.

Sacrifice, Existed Among Former Nations

The Holy Qur’an shows that the Kaaba was the first place of worship in the world before the advent of Islam:

إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيْتٍ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِي ببَكَّةَ مُبارَكاً وهدىً للعالمين.

“Most surely the first house appointed for men is the one at Bekka, blessed and guidance for the nations. (The Holy Qur’an; 3:96)”

Nevertheless, the question of sacrifice does not solely belong to Islam; rather former nations too were duty-bound to discharge this divine order:

وَلِكُلِّ أُمَّةٍ جَعَلْنَا مَنْسَكاً لِيَذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللهِ عَلَى مَا رَزَقَهُمْ مِنْ بَهِيمَةِ الأَنْعَامِ

“And to every nation We appointed acts of devotion that they may mention the name of Allah on what He has given them of the cattle quadrupeds. (The Holy Qur’an; 22:34)”

The offering of sacrifice by sons of Adam, the first kind of itself is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an:

وَاتْلُ عَلَيْهِمْ نَبَأَ ابْنَيْ آدَمَ بِالْحَقِّ إِذْ قَرَّبَا قُرْبَانَاً فَتُقُبِّلَ مِنْ أَحَدِهَمَا وَلَمْ يُتَقَبَّلْ مِنَ الآخَرِ

“And relate to them the story of the two sons of Adam with truth when they both offered an offering, but it was accepted from one of them and was not accepted from the other. (5:27)”

To sum it up, in the same way that Islam emphasizes the value of the congregation in Mecca and the tight ranks of Muslim worshippers in prayer,

تَرَاهُمْ رُكَّعًا سُجَّدًا يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلًا مِنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانًا

“you will see them bowing down, prostrating themselves, seeking grace from Allah and pleasure, (The Holy Qur’an; 48:29),”

it stresses sacrifice as symbol of courage, freedom, and fighting in defence of truth. Therefore, Eid ul-Adha (feast of sacrifice) in Mina represents both the spirit of devotion and submission of the Muslim nations to God and dazzles the eyes of the atheists before faith, unity, resolution, and self-sacrifice of Muslims.

Since God’s commandments are poly-dimensional, in the study of the Islamic precepts certain aspects must be ignored while other aspects and advisability must be taken into consideration. For instance, the Holy Qur’an expressly makes ensuring the social life conditional upon execution of murderers and the carrying out of law of retribution,

وَلَكُمْ فِي الْقِصَاصِ حَيَاةٌ يَا أُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

“And there is life for you in (the law of) retaliation, O men of understanding. (2:179),”

or the Qur’anic ruling on an adulterer,

الزَّانِيَةُ وَالزَّانِي فَاجْلِدُوا كُلَّ وَاحِدٍ مِنْهُمَا مِائَةَ جَلْدَةٍ ۖ وَلَا تَأْخُذْكُمْ بِهِمَا رَأْفَةٌ فِي دِينِ اللَّهِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ۖ وَلْيَشْهَدْ عَذَابَهُمَا طَائِفَةٌ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

“(As for) the fornicatress and the fornicator, flog each of them, (giving) a hundred stripes, and let not pity for them detain you in the matter of obedience to Allah, if you believe in Allah and the last day, and let a party of believers witness their chastisement. (24:2),”

we see that pity for a fornicator has been prohibited, for it is tantamount to disbelief in Allah and the Day of Judgment. The reason a party of believers should witness the chastisement of the committers of fornication is to set an example for others and to ensure the chastity and purity of the society. The Holy Qur’an regards the dignity and soundness of the society above those of individuals.

Challenging the Qur’anic Verse,

وَالسَّارِقُ وَالسَّارِقَةُ فَاقْطَعُوا أَيْدِيَهُمَا جَزَاءً بِمَا كَسَبَا نَكَالًا مِنَ اللَّهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ

“And (as for) the man who steals and the woman who steals, cut off their hands, (5:38)”

a biased person asked, “How is it that a hand the worth of which (blood money) is five hundred mitigals of gold has to be cut off for a stolen object worth quarter a dinar?” A witty scholar responded, “Honesty has made those hands worthy while theft and dishonesty have made the same hands worthless.”

We should comprehend the philosophy of God’s commandment. In the above-mentioned ruling, too, the interests of individuals have been sacrificed for those of society so that people will live in sound society.

The Spiritual Philosophy of Offering Sacrifice

A believer who, due to staying in Arafat and al-Mash’ar, has come to the position of fully getting to know God and has undermined his carnal desires will not naturally hesitate to sacrifice whatever exists on his way in order to get close to his Beloved even if that being is his endeared son, life, and desires.

Nevertheless, the Beloved, out of kindness and in consideration of His servant’s weakness, is content with the sacrifice of an animal and accepts it as symbol of self-sacrifice in His way provided that the servant, by sacrificing this animal, sacrifices his bestial inclinations such as greed, jealousy, love of position and fame, mischief, pessimism, and other vices, saying with firmness:

وَجَّهتُ وَجهِيَ لِلذِي فَطَرَ السّماواتِ والأرْضَ.

“Surely I have turned myself, being upright, wholly to Him Who originated the heavens and the earth. (The Holy Qur’an; 6:79)”

While doing this, he should remember the Qur’anic Verse:

لَنْ يَنَالَ اللهَ لُحُومُهَا وَلا دِمَاؤُهَا وَلَكِنْ يَنَالُهُ التَّقْوَى مِنْكُمْ

“There does not reach Allah their flesh nor their blood, but to Him is acceptable the guarding (against evil) on your part. (22:37)”

God truly seeks His servant’s piety and this virtue cannot be obtained save by killing carnal desires and Satanic temptations.

وَأَمَّا مَنْ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّهِ وَنَهَى النَّفْسَ عَنِ الهَوَى فَإِنَّ الجَنَّةَ هِيَ المَأْوَى

“And as for him who fears to stand in the presence of his Lord and forbids the soul from low desires, 41. Then surely the garden‑‑ that is the abode. (The Holy Qur’an; 79:40-1)”

وَأُزْلِفَتِ الْجَنَّةُ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ

“And the garden shall be brought near for those who guard against evil. (The Holy Qur’an; 26:90)”

Imam Sajjad (as) posed the following questions to a man who had just returned from Mecca on the philosophy of Hajj:

فعِندَما ذَبحتَ هَدْيَكَ نَوَيتَ أنكَ ذبحتَ حَنجَرَة َالطَّمعِ بما تمسّكْتَ بهِ مِن حقيقةِ الوَرَعِ وأنكَ اتّبعتَ سُنَّةَ إبراهيمَ عليهِ السّلامُ بِذَبْحِ وَلَدِهِ وثمرَةِ فُؤادِهِ وريحانِ قلبِهِ.

“When offering sacrifice, did you intend to sacrifice greed by restoring to piety? Did you pay attention to the fact that you were following Prophet Ibrahim (as) who took his endeared son to the sacrifice place for Allah’s satisfaction?”72

Describing the pious, Imam ‘Ali (as) says:

ميِّتةً شَهوتُهُ مَكظوماً غَيظُهُ، الخَيرُ منهُ مأمولٌ والشرُّ مِنه مأمونٌ.

“… His desires deed and his anger suppressed. Good alone is expected from him. Evil from him in not to be feared.”73

The same people, on the Day of Judgment when only the pure heart counts, will be honored by God.

يَوْمَ لاَ يَنْفَعُ مَالٌ وَلاَ بَنُونَ, ِإلاّ مَنْ أَتَى اللهَ بِقَلْبٍ سَلِيمٍ

“The day on which property will not avail, nor sons except him who comes to Allah with a heart free from evil. (The Holy Qur’an; 26:88-9)”

Actually, Prophet Ibrahim (as) was not asked to sacrifice his son, but to have a pure heart:

وَإِنَّ مِنْ شِيعَتِهِ لإِبْرَاهِيمَ. إِذْ جَاءَ رَبَّهُ بِقَلْبٍ سَلِيمٍ

“And most surely Ibrahim followed his way when he came to his Lord with a free heart. (The Holy Qur’an; 37:83-4)”

Since sacrificing an animal indicates spiritual state and free heart, it has become an act of worship among the Hajj rites:

ذَلِكَ وَمَنْ يُعَظِّمْ شَعَائِرَ اللهِ فَإِنَّهَا مِنْ تَقْوَى الْقُلُوبِ

“That (shall be so); and whoever respects the signs of Allah, this surely is (the outcome) of the piety of hearts.(The Holy Qur’an; 22:32)”

Economic Profits in Sacrifice

Everyone familiar with the Islamic precepts knows well that charity and helping the poor are indisputable duties of Muslims who have to allocate part of their wealth to special classes of people under Khums (one-fifth levy) and zakat (religious tax on such items as wheat, barley, raisin, etc.) In addition to obligatory charity in Islam, there are other recommended rules for helping the poor aimed at creating love among people form different classes.

Islam’s social programs automatically bring the rich and the poor close to each other. Friday and congregational Prayers in Hajj and everyday life bring the rich and the poor together side by side and in a single rank. Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha are two occasions on which Muslims perform both congregational Prayer and pay alms.

On Eid ul-Fitr, every Muslim is duty-bound to pay ‘fitriyah’ as much as three kilos of food prevailing in the city to the needy. On Eid ul-Adha, too, it is obligatory on those in Mina and recommended for those in other countries to sacrifice an animal and give its meat to the poor. The Holy Qur’an says:

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَنْ تَزَكَّى. وَذَكَرَ اسْمَ رَبِّهِ فَصَلَّى

“He indeed shall be successful who purifies himself, and magnifies the name of his Lord and prays. (The Holy Qur’an; 87:14-5)”

In this Verse, purification of wealth precedes prayer, though purification also implies cleansing oneself of the filth of worldly attachments. We should note that prayer consolidates man’s relation with God and zakat creates love among individuals of society. Both are necessary for the happy life of society.

Offering sacrifice has a double aim—to get close to God and to receive His mercy, and secondly by distributing meat among the poor, one can win hearts of the needy and be worthy of their duaa.

How to use the meat of a sacrificed animal according to the Holy Qur’an and traditions

وَالْبُدْنَ جَعَلْنَاهَا لَكُمْ مِنْ شَعَائِرِ اللهِ، لَكُمْ فِيهَا خَيْرٌ، فَاذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللهِ عَلَيْهَا صَوَافَّ، فَإِذَا وَجَبَتْ جُنُوبُهَا فَكُلُوا مِنْهَا وَأَطْعِمُوا الْقَانِعَ وَالْمُعْتَرَّ، كَذَلِكَ سَخَّرْنَاهَا لَكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونِ.

“And (as for) the camels, We have made them of the signs of the religion of Allah for you; for you therein is much good; therefore mention the name of Allah on them as they stand in a row, then when they fall down eat of them and feed the poor man who is contented and the beggar; thus have We made them subservient to you, that you may be grateful. (The Holy Qur’an; 22:36)”

فَكُلُوا مِنْهَا وَأَطْعِمُوا الْبَائِسَ الْفَقِيرَ

“Then eat of them and feed the distressed one, the needy.(The Holy Qur’an; 22:28)”

Abu-Sabbah Kanani says: I asked the opinion of Imam Sadiq (as) about the meat of sacrifice animal, he (as) said:

كانَ عَلِيُّ بنَ الحُسينِ وأبو جَعفَرٍ عليهِما السلامُ يَتَصَدَّقانِ بِثُلُثٍ عَلى جيرانِهِم وثُلُثٍ على السُّؤّالِ وثُلُثٍ يُمسِكونَهُ لأهلِ البيتِ.

“Imam Sajjad and Imam Baqir (as) used to give a third of it to neighbors, another third to beggars, and the remaining third was for the family members.”

It is therefore incumbent upon the heads of the Islamic nations to create well-equipped organizations for distributing the meat of sacrificed animals among the needy on an international level, by getting permission from the religious authorities in order to realize both the Qur’anic ruling and to display to the world people an example of the sublime Islamic teachings.

Muhammad ibn Muslim says: I asked Imam Sadiq (as) whether it is permissible to take the meat of the sacrificed animals out of Mina. He (as) answered:

كُنّا نقولُ لا يخرُجُ مِنها شيءٌ لِحاجَةِ الناسِ إليهِ، فأمّا اليومَ فَقَد كَثُرَ الناسُ فَلا بأسَ بِإخراجِهِ

“Formerly, people of Mecca were in need for them, but today because of too many pilgrims and sacrifices, their being taken out of Mina is no problem.”74

Under the present circumstances and due to lack of well-equipped organizations, part of the sacrificed animals is unfortunately buried. Nevertheless, this loss has to be tolerated, for the sublime goal of presenting the socio-political aspect of Hajj will be ensured. That is to say, the financial aspect of the event has to be sacrificed for its socio-political aspect.

Halq and Taqsir in Mina and the Philosophy

Following the completion of sacrifice, a pilgrim’s duty is Halq and Taqsir. Halq means to shave one’s head, and Taqsir is to shorten the nail or hair. Women must clip their nails and cut some locks of their hair while men have the choice to shave their heads or shorten. According to certain religious decrees, Halq is obligatory for men. The Qur’anic Verse on this religious duty is,

ثُمَّ لْيَقْضُوا تَفَثَهُمْ وَلْيُوفُوا نُذُورَهُمْ وَلْيَطَّوَّفُوا بِالْبَيْتِ الْعَتِيقِ

“Then let them accomplish their needful acts of shaving and cleansing. (22:29)”

Imam Ridha’ (as) says:

التَّفَثُ تَقليمُ الأظافِرِ وطَرحُ الوسَخِ وطَرحُ الإحرامِ عنه

“The Arabic word ‘tafath –mentioned in the Holy Qur’an-’ means to clip the nails, to remove dirt, and to come out of the state of Ihram.”75

Evidently, this is the surface meaning, but the in-depth meaning is purification of soul from filth of vices.

Imam Sadiq (as) says:

واحلِقِ العُيوبَ الظّاهِرةَ والباطِنةَ بحَلقِ شَعرِكَ

“By shaving your head, remove all inward and outward flaws.”76

Imam Sajjad (as) posed the following questions to a man who had returned from Mecca:

فَعِندَما حَلقْتَ رَأسَكَ، نَوَيتَ أنكَ تَطَهّرتَ مِن الأدناسِ ومِن تَبِعَةِ بني آدمَ وخَرَجتَ مِن الذّنوبِ كما وَلدتكَ أُمُّكَ

“Did you have the intention to cleanse yourself from all pollutions and violations of rights of people and do without wrongdoings as if you were born of your mother when shaving your head in Mina?”77

According to other hadiths, the word ‘tafath’ means to meet the Imam.

Thareeh asked Imam Sadiq (as) about the meaning of the above-mentioned Qur’anic Verse to which the Imam said:

التّفَثُ لِقاءُ الإمامِ

“’tafath’ means to meet the Imam.”78

By meeting Imam Mahdi (as), darkness of ignorance turns into light of knowledge, virtues replace vices, and an inner purification comes about. About such people the Holy Qur’an says:

اَلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الْصَّاِلحَاتِ طُوبَى لَهُمْ وَحُسْنُ مَآبٍ

“(As for) those who believe and do good, a good final state shall be theirs and a goodly return. (The Holy Qur’an; 13:29)”

مَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحاً مِنْ ذَكَرٍ أَو أُنْثَى وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَلَنُحْيِيَنَّهُ حَيَاةً طّيَِبَةً

“Whoever does good whether male or female and he is a believer, We will most certainly make him live a happy life. (The Holy Qur’an; 16:97)”

Hence, the Imam (as) drew people’s attention to their duties by saying:

اِبدَؤوا بمَكَّةَ واخْتِموا بِنا

“Begin your Hajj from Mecca and complete it with our visitation.”79

By visitation, it is meant to renew one’s pledge with the Imam and to follow him. Failing to feel the presence of the Imam, they will look like a flock without shepherd, dispersed and exposed to wolves’ attack. Hence, the only benefit to Halq and Taqsir in Mina is a physical purification and nothing more. Even their Eid will lost its true meaning and the sorrows of men of understanding will increase. In this relation, Abdullah ibn Dinar quotes Imam Baqir (as) as saying:

ما مِنْ عيدٍ للمُسلمِينَ أضحى ولا فِطْرٍ إلاّ وهُو يَتَجدّدُ فيهِ لآلِ محَمَّدٍ صلّى الله عليهِ وآلهِ حُزنٌ... لأِنّهم يَرَونَ حَقَّهم في يدِ غيرِهِم.

“There is no single Eid ul-Fitr or Eid ul-Adha in which Muslims do not renew their sorrows for the household of the Holy Prophet —the Ahl ul-Bayt (as)… because they see their rights in the hands of others.”80

On the Eid days when Muslims congregate, the Imam (as) as an ‘axis’ round whom all should turn must be present. The worshippers must perform prayer under his leadership, sermons have to be delivered, and the boundaries of the religion have to be defended by him. Nevertheless, regrettably, they miss the Imam in all these positions. To whatever direction they go, they do not see any sign of their guardian.

When they go for Ramy al-Jamarat, they do not have a commander; when they go to the place of sacrifice, they have no leader; when they perform Halq and Taqsir, and there is no sign of the true Reformer and Purifier.

The Imam, too, is sad about the disorderly situation of his followers. The Shiite Muslims who miss their master start lamenting. It is for this reason that one of the recommended duties or Shiite Muslims on Eid ul-Fitr, Eid ul-Adha, Eid ul-Ghadir, and Fridays is to read Duaa an-Nudba. ‘Nudba’ means lamenting in separation from an endeared one, relating a beloved’s description, and shedding tears for his absence. Hence, as long as the Shiites are separate from their Imam, they keep on lamenting especially on the said occasions when their sorrows are renewed. A part of Duaa un-Nudba says:

فَعَلى الأطائِبِ مِن أهلِ بيتِ محمَّدٍوعَلِيٍّ (صَلى اللهُ عَليهِما وآلهِما) فَليَبْكِ الباكونَ، وإيّاهُم فَلينْدِبِ النّادِبونَ، ولِمِثلِهِم فَلتُذرَفِ الدّموعُ ولْيصْرَخِ الصّارِخونَ ويضِجَّ الضّاجُّونَ ويعِجَّ العاجّونَ. أينَ الحسنُ أينَ الحُسينِ، أين أبناءُ الحُسينِ صالحٌ بعدَ صالحٍ وصادِقٌ بعدَ صادِقٍ. أينَ السبيلُ بعدَ السبيل،ِ أين الخِيَرَةُ بعدَ الخِيَرَةِ، أين الشّموسُ الطّالِعَةُ، أين الأقمارُ المُنيرةُ، أين الأنجُمُ الزّاهِرةُ، أين أعلامُ الدّينِ وقَواعِدُ العلمِ، أين بقِيّة ُاللهِ التي لا تخَلو مِن العترة الهادية.

For the purified ones of the progeny of Muhammad and ‘Ali (may peace be upon both of them and their progeny); the bewailers should cry and the wailers should wail. And for their likes tears should be shed and clamorers should clamor and mourners should mourn in a heart-rending manner: where is Hasan?

Where is Husayn? Where are the children of Husayn— the whole righteous and whole truthful? Where is the path after the path of righteousness? Where are the virtuous people after virtuous people? Where are the rising suns? Where are the luminous moons? Where are the emblems of faith and basis of knowledge? Where is Baqiyyatullah that the world cannot be devoid from the presence of guided progeny?”

The Eid of Shiite Muslims will come a day when they see on their heads the shade of the Imam (as) who will hoist the banner of monotheism, will put the world on the path of God under the light of his guidance, and will fill the world with security.

اَللّهُمَ أرِني الطّلعَةَ الرّشيدَةَ والغِرَّةَ الحَميدَةَ وأَكْحِل ناظِري بِنظرَةٍ مِني إلَيهِ وعَجِّلْ فَرَجَهُ وَسَهِّلْ مَخْرَجَهُ وَأَوْسِعْ مَنْهَجَهُ وَاسْلُكْ بي مَحَجَّتَهُ وأَنفِذْ أَمْرَهُ وَاشْدُدْ أَزْرَهُ

“O Allah, show me that illustrious countenance, and that illuminated forehead, enlighten my eyes with his visit, hasten his reappearance, facilitate his exit, widen his path, take me on his path, make his influence pervasive, and support him.”81

Summary

Both Halq and Taqsir in Mina have hygienic as well as spiritual benefits, a symbol of moral purification from arrogance, jealousy, avarice, and egotism. They have social implications; that is, the meeting of the ummah with their Imam and leader. Unity is the outcome of such meeting, which in its turn leads to the removal of vices and corruption from the society.

Staying Overnight in Mina

Staying overnight in Mina is obligatory upon pilgrims. Staying in Mina on the 11th, 12th, and 13th of Dhu’l-Hijja is also obligatory upon those pilgrims who, in the state of Ihram, have not abstained from hunting or having intercourse with women and for those who have delayed their departure from Mina in the afternoon of the 12th of Dhu’l-Hijja until night. During Tashriq period—the three days following Eid ul-Adha, Ramy ul-Jamarat is obligatory. This topic has been mentioned in the Holy Qur’an:

وَاذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللهَ في أَيَّامٍ مَعْدُودَاتٍ فَمَنْ تَعَجَّلَ فِي يَوْمَيْنِ فَلا إِثْمَ عَلَيْهِ وَمَنْ َتأَخَّرَ فَلا إِثْمَ عَلَيْهِ لِمَنِ اتَّقَى

“And laud Allah during the numbered days; then whoever hastens off in two days, there is no blame on him and whoever remains behind, there is no blame on him, this is for him who guards against evil. (2:203)”

Imam Sadiq (as) is quoted as saying that the ‘numbered days’ are the same as Tashriq period. During these days, pilgrims who have performed the major parts of the Hajj acts have more free time for becoming familiar with Muslims from other countries.

Understanding Among the Ummah in Mina

One of the important duties of pilgrims in Mina is to create understanding with brethren in faith from other Islamic sects and to remove any misunderstanding, which has been created among Muslims as a result of negative propaganda by the aliens.

يُخْرِبُونَ بُيُوتَهُمْ بِأَيْدِيهِمْ فَاعْتَبِرُوا يَا أُولِي الأَبْصَارِ

“They demolished their houses with their own hands. (The Holy Qur’an; 58:2)”

The enemy is looking for every chance to create division among Muslims and by using the policy of ‘divide to rule’ strengthens its own power. The enemy knows that a nation that says ‘there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger’, that is neither attracted by the ornaments of the world nor fears death (martyrdom), that, according to the Holy Qur’an, is “ranks as if they were a firm and compact wall,”82 will foil the enemy’s plot with its individuals’ unity and solidarity.

Unfortunately, one billion Muslims believing in One God, one prophet, one Book, and Kiblah and standing side by side in congregational prayer and Hajj ranks are poled apart. This is the same danger the Holy Prophet (saw) expressed in his Farewell Hajj:

فلا تَرجِعُنَّ بعدي كُفّاراً يضرِبُ بَعضُكُم رِقابَ بعضٍ، فإنّي قد تَركتُ فيكُم ما إنْ أخَذتم بهِ لن تَضِلوا: كتابَ اللهِ وعِترتي أهلَ بَيتي. ألا هَل بلّغتُ؟ اللّهُمَّ فَاشْهَدْ.

“O Muslims, do not convert to atheism after me by killing each other, for I have left with you two things—if you resort to them you will never go astray; the Book of Allah and my household. Have I conveyed? O Allah, be the witness.”83

To sum it up, Islam has set the grounds for gathering of Muslims under various situations so as to bring their hearts together in a bid to foil the aliens’ conspiracies. Staying in Mina makes Muslims from all over the world get to know one another, to feel that they are brethren:

وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللهِ جَمِيعاً وَلا تَفَرَّقُوا، وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ اللهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنْتُمْ أَعْدَاءً فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُمْ بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَاناً وَكُنْتُمْ عَلَى شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِنَ النَّارِ فَأَنْقَذَكُمْ مِنْهَا، كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ.

“And hold fast by the covenant of Allah all together and be not disunited, and remember the favor of Allah on you when you were enemies, then He united your hearts so by His favor you became brethren; and you were on the brink of a pit of fire, then He saved you from it, thus does Allah make clear to you His communications that you may follow the right way. (The Holy Qur’an; 3:103)”

وَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِهِمْ، لَو أَنْفَقْتَ مَا فِي الأَرْضِ جَمِيعاً مَا أَلَّفْتَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِهِمْ وَلَكِنَّ اللهَ أَلَّفَ بَيْنَهُمْ إِنَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ

“…And united their hearts; had you spent all that is in the earth, you could not have united their hearts, but Allah united them; surely He is Mighty, Wise.(The Holy Qur’an; 8:63)”

Perhaps, the philosophy of staying overnight in Mina and engaging in Ramy al-Jamarat during the day is that the hands of the Islamic states should consult and exchange views and struggle against the agents of Satan.

Nights in Mina and Communion With God

Another recommended act in Mina is communion with God in the heart of nights and under the sky of Mina, a chance that might rarely occur in one’s lifetime. Here is the warning of Imam ‘Ali (as):

عِبادِ اللهِ، الآنِ فاعْمَلوا والألْسُنُ مُطلَقَةٌ والأبدانُ صَحيحَةٌ والأَعضاءُ لَدِنةٌ والمُنقَلَبُ فَسيحٌ والمجَالُ عَريضٌ قَبلَ إرْهاقِ الفَوتِ وحُلولِ المَوتِ فَحَقِّقوا عَليكُم نُزولَهُ ولا تَنتَظِروا قُدومَهُ.

“O creatures of Allah, you should know now that you have to perform (good) acts, because (at present) your tongues are free, your bodies are healthy, your limbs have movement, the area of your coming is wide; before the loss of opportunity or the approach of death. Take death’s approach as an accomplished fact and do not think it will come hereafter.”84

Imam Sadiq (as) used to go to the cemetery at night saying:

يا أَهْلَ القُبُورِ، ما لي إذا دَعَوتُكُم لا تُجِيبونَ؟

“O you who are in graves, how is it that I call you but you do not answer?”

Then the Imam (as) would say:

حِيلَ واللهِ بينَهُم وبَينَ الجَوابِ، وكَأَنّي أكُونُ مِثلَهُم

“By Allah, there is a wall between them and answer making then unable to answer, I will be like them, too.”

Then, the Imam (as) would stand facing Kiblah and had communion with God until dawn.85

Here is another sermon of Imam ‘Ali (as):

تَجَهَّزوا رَحِمَكُمُ اللهُ، فَقدْ نُودِيَ فيكُم بالرَّحيلِ. وأَقِلّوا العُرجَةَ عَلى الدّنيا وانْقَلِبوا بِصالِحِ ما بِحَضْرَتِكُم مِن الزّادِ، فإنَّ أمامَكُم عَقَبَةً كَؤوداً ومَنَازِلَ مَخوفَةً مَهولَةً لا بُدَّ مِن الورودِ عَليها والوُقوفِ عِندَها. واعلَموا أنَّ مَلاحِظَ المَنِيَّةِ نحوَكُم دائِبَةٌ وكَأَنَّكُم بمَخالِبِها وقَدْ نَشَبَتْ فيكم وقَدْ دَهَمَتْكُم فيها مُقَطِّعاتُ الأُمورِ ومُعضِلاتُ المحَذور فَقَطِّعوا عَلائِقَ الدّنيا واستَظْهِروا بِزادِ التَّقوى.

“May Allah have mercy on you, provide yourselves for the journey because the call for departure has been announced. Regard your stay in the world as very short, and return (to Allah) with the best provision that is with you, because surely in front of you lies a valley, difficult to climb, and places of stay full of fear and dangers. You have to reach there and stay in them. And know that the eyes of death are approaching towards you. It is as though you are (already) in its talons and it has struck itself against you. Difficult affairs and distressing dangers have crushed you into it. You should therefore cut away all the attachments of this world and assist yourselves with the provision of Allah’s fear.”86

The Holy Qur’an, too, recommends night communion with God:

كَانُوا قَلِيلاً مِنَ اللَّيْلِ مَا يَهْجَعُونَ. وَبِالأَسْحَارِ هُمْ يَسْتَغْفِرُونَ.

“They used to sleep but little in the night and in the morning they asked forgiveness. (51:17-8)”

Therefore, pilgrims should rise up and have communion with God during these nights, which are replete with God’s mercy. Muhammad ibn Sinan quotes Imam Ridha’ (as) as saying:

... العِلَّةُ التي مِن أجْلِها سُمِّيَتْ مِنَى مِنَىً أنَّ جِبرائِيلَ عَليهِ السلامُ قالَ هَناكَ: يا إِبراهِيمُ، تَمَنَّ عَلى رَبِّكَ ما شِئْتَ.

“The reason Mina87 is called so is that in this place Angel Gabriel told Prophet Ibrahim: Desire what you wish from your Lord.”88

Pilgrims should prepare themselves here to be given the permission to move towards God’s House.

It is narrated that Imam Sadiq (as), when was asked about the philosophy of the pilgrims’ staying in al-Mash’ar and Mina before visiting God’s house, said:

لأنَّ الكَعبةَ بَيتُ اللهِ والحَرَمَ حِجابُهُ والمَشعَرَ بابُهُ، فَلمّا أنْ قَصَدَهُ الزّائِرونَ وَقَفَهُم بِالبابِ حتّى أَذِنَ لهُم بالدُّخولِ. ثمَّ وَقَفَهُم بِالحِجابِ الثّاني وَهوَ مُزْدَلِفَةُ، فَلمَّا نَظَرَ إلى طُولِ تَضَرُّعِهِم أَمَرَهُمْ بِتقْريبِ قُربانِهِم. فَلمَّا قَرَّبوا قُربانَهم وقَضَوا تَفَثَهُم وتَطَهَّروا مِن الذّنوبِ الّتي كَانتْ لهُم حِجاباً دونَهُ أَمَرَهُم بِالزِّيارَةِ عَلى طَهارَةٍ.

“This is because the Kaaba is Allah’s House, the Sacred Mosque His veil, and al-Mash’ar His gate. When pilgrims intend to visit Allah’s House, they are ordered to stop outside in order to be given permission to enter. There is the second veil, which is Muzdalifah, and pilgrims have to stop there. Since Allah has witnessed their supplication, He orders them to offer sacrifice. When they offer their sacrifices and are purified from filth and sins, which are veils between them and Allah, they are ordered to visit His sacred House.”

The Imam (as) also answered the one who asked why it is blameworthy to fast on days of Tashriq:

لأَنَّ القَومَ زُوّارُ اللهِ وهُم أضْيافُهُ وفي ضِيافَتِهِ، ولا يَنبَغي لِلضَّيفِ أنْ يَصومَ عِندَ مَن زارَهُ وأَضافَهُ.

“Since all pilgrims are Allah’s guests and attend His feast, the guest should not fast in the House of the Host Who has invited him to His banquet.”89

Kheif Mosque in Mina

One of the holy places in Mina is Kheif Mosque, which is said to be the worship place of the prophets (as) and the place of sacrifice of Ismaeel (as). Performing prayer, reciting the Holy Qur’an, and supplications are recommended in this place.

Halting Place 7: Visitation of the Kaaba and Kissing the Black Stone

Thanks to God, we have gone through the six fold Halting places and in each a veil between us and God is removed, and by offering sacrifice and removing vices, we are purified both physically and spiritually to visit God’s House and kiss the Black Stone. We leave Mina for the Sacred House to once again perform circumambulation, Sa’y between Safa and Marwa, which we had already done as umrah but this time as Tamattu’. We intend to attain the highest degree of human dignity by kissing and caressing the Black Stone, which is symbol of shaking hands of servitude with God and renewing the pledge of servitude.

Those pilgrims who, during their stay in Mina, have had time and come to Mecca for circumambulation, Sa’y and Tawaf un-Nissa, are now free, but those who have delayed their acts in Mecca, go for circumambulation and Sa’y after returning from Mina.

The Black Stone, God’s Hand On the Earth

The Black Stone installed in the eastern corner of the Kaaba—the start point of circumambulation is described by the Holy Prophet (saw) as God’s Hand and shrine for all prophets and Imams throughout history.

Imam Sadiq (as) quotes the Holy Prophet (saw) as saying:

طُوفوا بالبَيتِ واسْتَلِموا الرُّكْنَ فَإنَّهُ يَمينُ اللهِ في أَرضِهِ (يَصافِحُ بها خَلْقَهُ مُصافَحَةَ العَبدِ أو الدَّخيلِ ويَشهَدُ لمَن استَلَمَهُ بالمُوافاةِ.

“Circumambulate the House and caress the Corner, for it is Allah’s right hand on the earth by which He shakes hand with His servants in the same way as a slave or seeker of refuge shake hands (with masters). The Corner also will testify for him who caress it of accomplishment of the duty.”90

The Black Stone Is of Heavenly Essence and God’s Trustee among Servants

Many questions have been made on the nature of the Black Stone, the reason it has been installed on the eastern corner of the Kaaba, and the philosophy of kissing and caressing it. Sheikh Saduq, in Vol. 2 of Ilal ush-Sharai’e, and Faiz, in vol. 2 of al-Wafi, write that Bakr ibn Ayun reported that he asked Imam Sadiq (as) about the Black Stone, its position, and the reason why it is kissed. He (as) answered: “You have posed a difficult question out of curiosity. Now listen carefully to understand what I say, Allah willing. Do you know what the Black Stone was?” I answered, “No.” The Imam (as) said:

“The Black Stone used to be an angel. When Allah took pledge from the angels (about the divinity of Allah, the prophethood of Muhammad (saw), and the Imamate of ‘Ali (as)) it was the first angel who believed and confessed to it. Hence, Allah made him a trustee of his people and entrusted to him the pledge He had taken from other creatures making them duty-bound to come to him every year and renew their allegiance.

Then, Allah made that angel Adam’s friend to remind him of his pledge and to confess to it again until Adam abandoned what was a superior order and was expelled from Paradise. On the earth, Adam was wandering without having anyone as friend but when his repentance was accepted, Allah sent the same angel to him in the form of a white pearl. Adam rejoiced at seeing it but did not recognize it.

Therefore, it turned into the former shape introducing himself to Adam and reminding him of his covenant. Recognizing him, Adam began to weep, kissed him, and renewed his allegiance. Once again, Allah turned him into white pearl. Since then, Adam carried it on his shoulder respectfully and renewed his pledge every year until the Kaaba was built and, on Allah’s order, it was installed on the eastern corner of the House. It was the same place where Allah took pledge from the children of Adam and men’s pledge was entrusted to that angel. It is from the same pillar that Archangel Gabriel will descend to Imam Mahdi (as) expressing his allegiance to him. It is also the same position on which Imam Mahdi will lean and speak.

The reason Allah has entrusted the covenant to that angel is that when Allah asked the angels to confess of His divinity, Muhammad’s prophethood, and ‘Ali’s Imamate, a kind of worry was created in them due to the heavy task but not to that angel. No angel is equal to him in terms of love for Muhammad and his household. Allah chose him from among the angels and entrusted the creatures’ covenant to him.

On the Day of Judgment, this angel will witness with his eyes and tongue in favor of everyone who has come to this place, renewed his pledge, and has been faithful. As for kissing the Black Stone and behaving humbly there, they are aimed at renewing the pledge and allegiance with Allah. Do you not realize that when kissing the Black Stone, you say, I performed my duty and kept my promise so that you will testify to my faithfulness.

By Allah, no one can give and keep this pledge save our followers. It is our followers who, when coming to the Black Stone, will be recognized and affirmed but others will be denied because they have not kept the pledge. Therefore, by Allah, the Black Stone will testify in your favor and against them for the breach of promise and disbelief. He is the Perfect proof of Allah on them. He will come in his former shape, with a tongue to speak and eyes to see. People know him. He will testify in favor of those who have been faithful and have renewed their pledge and testify against those who have denied him and breached the promise.”

Note

Every fair-minded, by reflecting on Islam, the Holy Qur’an, and hadiths of the immaculate Imams (as) admits that the extraordinary and supernatural events in the lives of the prophets and saints cannot be denied nor can any individual believing in the Holy Qur’an have the least doubt about them. The Holy Qur’an, this heavenly living evidence testifies that the rod of Moses turned into a serpent,

فَأَلْقَىٰ عَصَاهُ فَإِذَا هِيَ ثُعْبَانٌ مُبِينٌ

“So he threw his rod, then lo! It was a clear serpent. (The Holy Qur’an; 7:107),”

and the fire became cool for Ibrahim (as):

, قُلْنَا يَا نَارُ كُونِي بَرْدًا وَسَلَامًا عَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ

“We said: O fire, be a comfort peace to Ibrahim. (The Holy Qur’an; 21:69),”

or Jesus’ ability to bring the dead to life,

وَرَسُولًا إِلَىٰ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَنِّي قَدْ جِئْتُكُمْ بِآيَةٍ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ ۖ أَنِّي أَخْلُقُ لَكُمْ مِنَ الطِّينِ كَهَيْئَةِ الطَّيْرِ فَأَنْفُخُ فِيهِ فَيَكُونُ طَيْرًا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۖ وَأُبْرِئُ الْأَكْمَهَ وَالْأَبْرَصَ وَأُحْيِي الْمَوْتَىٰ بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۖ وَأُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا تَأْكُلُونَ وَمَا تَدَّخِرُونَ فِي بُيُوتِكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَةً لَكُمْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ

“That I have come to you with a sign from your Lord… and bring the dead to life. (The Holy Qur’an; 3:49)”

Evidently, all these extraordinary events have taken place with God’s permission. Therefore, if we are given certain hadiths about miracles in the lives of the prophets, Imams, or about the Kaaba, the Black Stone, and the Standing-place of Ibrahim, and they are not contrary to indisputable Qur’anic principles, it would be unfair to have doubt about them, for all the miracles and extraordinary events which the Holy Qur’an has expressly confirmed are outside the logic of natural sciences.

We now acknowledge the truthfulness and heavenly nature of the Holy Qur’an, under its guidance, admit that beyond this material world there is a world full of mysteries and lights which we cannot see. The relation between the material and spiritual worlds is exactly the relation between body and soul. All phenomena of this world are defective examples of the original truths and realities of that world. In this relation, the Holy Qur’an says:

وَإِنْ مِنْ شَيْءٍ إلاّ عِنْدَنَا خَزَائِنُهُ وَمَا ننَزِّلُهُ إلاّ بِقَدَرٍ مَعْلُومٍ.

“There is not a thing but with us are the treasures of it; and We do not send it down but in a known measure. (15:21)”

This Qur’anic verse indicates that all things have, beyond this world, infinite existence but when coming to this world, they are limited to certain measure. About the Holy Qur’an itself, God says:

إِنَّهُ لَقُرْآنٌ كَرِيمٌ. فِي كِتَابٍ مَكْنُونٍ. لا يَمَسُّهُ إِلاّ الْمُطّهَّرُونَ. تَنْزِيلٌ مِنْ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ.

“Most surely, it is an honored Qur’an, in a book that is protected –hidden- none shall touch it save the purified ones. (The Holy Qur’an; 77:80)”

This Qur’anic Verse considers a world beyond this one and a form beyond the tangible form, for the truth of the Holy Qur’an. Elsewhere, the Holy Qur’an says:

بَلْ كَذَّبُوا بِمَا لَمْ يُحِيطُوا بِعِلْمِهِ وَلَمَّا يَأْتِهِمْ تَأْوِيلُهُ

“Nay, they reject that of which they have no comprehensive knowledge and the final sequel of it has not yet come to them. (10:39)”

The day of sequel is on the Day of Judgment:

لَقَدْ كُنْتَ فِي غَفْلَةٍ مِنْ هَذَا فَكَشَفْنَا عَنْكَ غِطَاؤُكَ فَبَصَرُكَ الْيَوْمَ حَدِيدٌ.

“Certainly, you were heedless of it, but now We have removed from you your veil, so your sight today is sharp. (50:22)”

Many hadiths confirm the truthfulness of the Qur’anic Verses, the sequel, and face to which all beings return. One of these hadiths is related to the Holy Qur’an itself. Jaber quotes Imam Baqir (as) as saying:

يجِيءُ القُرآنُ يومَ القِيامةِ في أحسَنِ مَنظورٍ إليهِ صورَةً فَيَمُرُّ بالمُسلمِينَ فيقولونَ: هذا الرّجُلُ منّا، فيُجاوِزُهُم إلى النّبيِّينَ فَيقولونَ: هو مِنّا، فيُجاوِزُهُم إلى المَلائِكَةِ المُقرَبِينَ فَيقولونَ: هُوَ منّا، حتّى ينتهِيَ إلى رَبِّ العِزة ِعزّ وجلّ فيقولُ: يا رَبُّ، فُلانُ بنُ فلانٍ أظمأتُ هواجِرَه وأسْهَرتُ ليلَهُ في دارِ الدّنيا، وفلانُ بنُ فلانٍ لم أظمأْ هَواجِرَهُ ولم أسْهَر ليلَه. فيقولُ تباركَ وتَعالى: أَدخِلهُم الجَنَّةَ على مَنازِلهِم، فَيَقومُ فَيتّبِعونَهُ فَيقولُ للمُؤمِنِ: إقْرأْ وارْقَ. (قال) فِيقرَأُ ويَرقى حتّى يبلُغَ كُلُّ رجُلٍ مِنهُم مَنزِلَتَهُ التي هِيَ له فَيَنْزِلهُا.

“On the Day of Judgment, the Holy Qur’an turning into the most handsome man will pass by Muslims. They will say: This man is ours. He then will pass by the prophets and they will say: He is ours. He then will pass by the angels.

They will say: he is ours. Finally, he will stand before Allah saying: O Lord, I encouraged such and such person to fast on hot days while he was thirsty and encouraged him to keep vigil but I did not keep such and such person thirsty on hot days nor did I make him keep vigil. Then, Allah will say: Make the former one enter Paradise and settle them in suitable houses.

Then, the Holy Qur’an will move forward and those loving the Holy Qur’an will follow him, He will say to the believing man: Read and ascend. The believing man will read and ascend until he reaches his special station and will settle there.”91

This hadith shows the sequel of the Holy Qur’an as the most handsome man whose glory and majesty impress even the angels and prophets. He is eventually missioned by God to make the believers settle in their heavenly houses.

All Beings in the World Have Two Features

Those having foresight believe that all beings have two features, one towards the world and the other towards the heaven. Their features, which are related to the world is quite and dead but their features, which are related to heaven is stormy and living.

Superficial observers who see the worldly features cannot possibly accept that a rod can turn into a serpent, a tree or stone speak, a mountain gives birth of a camel, or the Black Stone turns into a seeing and speaking man who witnesses people’s deeds both in the world and the Hereafter, and testify to their belief and disbelief.

Hence, they deny all the miracles and extraordinary events. They do not know that the same dead land and dry wood behind their dead features have living features, which they will show when ordered by God the Ever living the Self-Subsistence:

وَإِنْ مِنْ شَيْءٍ إِلاّ يُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِهِ وِلَكِنْ لاَ تَفْقَهُونَ تَسْبِيحَهُمْ.

“And there is not a single thing but glorifies Him with His praise, but you do not understand their glorification. (The Holy Qur’an; 17:44)”

فَسُبْحَانَ الَّذِي بِيَدِهِ مَلَكُوتُ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ

“Therefore glory be to Him in Whose hand is the kingdom of all things, and to Him you shall be brought back. (The Holy Qur’an; 36:83)”

The two Qur’anic Verses show that the heavenly features of every being control its earthly features.

Summary

In view of what we have discussed so far it was made clear that all the traditions about the Kaaba and the Black Stone are against common sense and are in line with indisputable Qur’anic precepts, and due to their frequent narration and their compatibility with the Qur’anic criteria of miracles and extraordinary events, their truthfulness has been confirmed by sources of revelation.

Some Notes

Kissing and Caressing the Black Stone by Causing Inconvenience to Others

Evidently, caressing the Black Stone during circumambulation is a recommended act provided that the site is not overcrowded. But if such an act causes inconvenience to the pilgrims it should be avoided and waving of hand to it is sufficient.

Seif Tammar narrated: I said to Imam Sadiq (as): “I went towards the Black Stone and found a huge crowd. I came across a Shiite Muslim and asked him about my duty. He said, ‘You have no option but to caress the Black Stone.’” The Imam (as) said:

إنْ وَجدتَهُ خالِياً وإلا فَسَلِّم مِن بَعيدٍ

“Caress the Black Stone if there is empty space otherwise greet it from afar.”92

Imam Ridha’ (as) was asked: Do pilgrims have to fight with one another over caressing the Black Stone when there is huge crowds?” The Imam (as) answered:

إنْ كانَ كذلكَ فَأَومِ إليهِ إيمَاءً بِيدِكَ

“When it is such, wave hand to it.”93

Avoid Dropping Pebbles Round the Kaaba

Some pilgrims in order to forget the rounds of circumambulation, drop small pebbles round the Kaaba. Not only does this act make the floor of the Sacred Mosque dirty but also it causes inconvenience to others. Hence, it should be avoided.

Take Part in the Congregational Prayer and Do Not Leave the Mosque

It is sometimes seen that some Shiite Muslims due to lack of knowledge of their religious orders and without understanding the sublime objective of Islam in holding this international congress of Muslims, leave the Mosque when hearing the call to prayer. Those who are preparing for the congregational prayer in the Mosque ask themselves the following questions: Who are these people? Do they not believe in prayer? If so, what are they doing here? Why have they come to Mecca and what is their relation with the Holy Prophet?

Hence, Shiite pilgrims must be careful not to do something disgraceful.

Ishaq ibn Ammar narrated that Imam Sadiq (as) asked him, ‘O Ishaq, do you pray with the Sunni Muslims in mosques?’ ‘Yes, I do,’ answered I. The Imam (as) then said:

صَلِّ مَعَهُم، فَإنَّ المُصَلّي مَعَهم في الصَّفِّ الأوَّلِ كالشَّاهِرِ سَيفَهُ في سبيلِ الله.

‘Pray with them, for whoever prays with them in the first rank (of the congregational prayer) is like a soldier who fights in the way of Allah.’94

Hammad ibn Uthman quotes Imam Sadiq (as) as saying:

مَنْ صَلّى مَعَهُم في الصَّفِّ الأَوَّلِ كانَ كَمَنْ صَلّى خَلفَ رَسولِ اللهِ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وآلهِ في الصَّفِّ الأوَّلِ

“He who performs prayer with them (the other Muslim sects) in the first rank –of the Congregational Prayer- is as if he participates in a congregational prayer led by the Messenger of Allah (saw) in the first rank.”95

Shahham quotes Imam Sadiq (as) as saying:

يا زَيدُ، خالِقوا النّاسَ بأخْلاقِهِم؛ صَلُّوا في مَساجِدِهِم وعُودُوا مَرْضَاهُم وَاشْهَدوا جَنائِزَهُم، وإِنِ اسْتَطَعْتُم أنْ تَكونوا الأئِمَّةَ والمُؤَذِّنينَ فَافعَلوا، فَإنَّكُم إذا فَعَلتُم ذلكَ قالوا هَؤلاءِ الجَعْفَرِيَّةُ رَحِمَ اللهُ جَعفَراً، ما كانَ أحْسَنَ ما يُؤَدِّبُ أصحابَهُ. وإذا تَرَكْتُم ذلكَ قالوا هَؤلاءِ الجَعْفَرِيَّةُ، فَعَلَ اللهُ بجَعْفَرٍ ما كانَ أسْوَأَ ما يُؤَدِّبُ أصحابَهُ.

O Zeid, show good behavior towards them. Perform prayer in their mosques, visit their patients, take part in their funerals, and assume the position of one who calls to prayer and leads the congregational prayer. If you do so, people will refer to you in good words, and since you are Jafarites –followers of Jafar-, people will praise Jafar for the good moral standards that he taught his companions. But if you neglect so, people will refer to you in bad manner and will not praise Jafar for his companions’ bad manners.96

Do Not Miss the Opportunity of Performing Circumambulation and Prayer in the Sacred Mosque and Reading the Holy Qur’an

You stay a few days and nights in Mecca between umrah and Tamattu’ in the vicinity of God’s House. It is excellent opportunity to acquire happiness of the Hereafter during this period. Therefore, we should take a provision for the Day of Judgment.

كَلاّ إِذَا دُكَّتِ الأَرْضُ دَكّاً دَكّاً. وَجَاءَ رَبُّكَ وَالْمَلَكُ صَفّاً صَفّاً. وَجِيءَ يَوْمَئِذٍ بِجَهَنَّمَ يَوْمَئِذٍ يَتَذَكَّرُ الإِنْسَانُ وَأَنَّى لَهُ الذِّكْرَى. يَقُولُ يَا لَيْتَنِي قَدَّمْتُ لِحَيَاتِي.

“Nay! When the earth is made to crumble to pieces and your Lord comes and also the angels in ranks and hell are made to appear on that day. On that day shall man be mindful, and what shall being mindful then avail him? He shall say: O! Would that I had sent before for this my life! (The Holy Qur’an; 89:21-4)”

أَفَحَسِبْتُمْ أَنمَّا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ عَبَثاً وَأَنَّكُمْ إِلَيْنَا لا تُرْجَعُونَ.

“What! Did you then think that We had created you in vain and that you shall not be returned to Us?(The Holy Qur’an; 23:115)”

What is impossible for the pilgrims is to perform in any place of the world and on any day or night and its loss will be regretted is the circumambulation of the Kaaba, caressing the Black Stone, prayer in the standing-place of Ibrahim and the Hijr Ismaeel.

The Holy Prophet of Islam (saw) says:

اِستَكثِروا مِن الطّوافِ، فإنّهُ أقَلُّ شَيءٍ يوجَدُ في صَحائِفِكم يومَ القِيامَةِ.

“Circumambulate the Kaaba too much, for it is the least in the book of your deeds on the Day of Judgment.”97

إنَّ اللهَ لَيُباهي بالطّائِفين.

“Allah is proud of those who circumambulate the Kaaba.”98

Imam Ridha’ (as) says:

يُستَحَبُّ أنْ يَطوفَ الرَّجُلُ مُقامَهُ بمَكَّةَ بِعَدِدِ أيّامِ السَّنَةِ ثَلاَثمِائَةٍ وَسِتِّينَ عَدَدَ أيّامِ السَّنَةِ، فَإنْ لم تَسْتَطِعْ فَثَلاَثمِائَةِ شَوطاً فَإنْ لم تَستَطِع فَأَكثِر مِن الطّوافِ ما أَقَمتَ بمَكَّةَ.

“As long as one stays in Mecca, it is recommended to circumambulate as many as days of a year. If this is impossible, make it three hundred times, and if this is also impossible, make it as many as possible.”

The Virtue of Prayer in the Sacred Mosque

Imam Ridha’ (as) quotes his honorable ancestors and Imam Baqir as saying:

صَلاةٌ في المَسجِدِ الحَرامِ أفضَلُ مِن مِائَةِ ألفِ صَلاةٍ في غَيرِهِ مِن المَساجِدِ.

“One Rakat of prayer in the Sacred Mosque is better than a hundred thousand Rakat of prayer in other mosques.”99

The Virtue of Reading the Whole Qur’an in Mecca

Imam Baqir (as) says:

مَن خَتَمَ القُرآنَ بمَكّةَ مِن جُمُعَةٍ إلى جُمُعَةٍ وأقَلَّ مِن ذلكَ وأكثَرَ وخَتَمَهُ في يَومِ الجُمعَةِ كَتَبَ اللهُ لهُ مِن الأجْرِ والحَسناتِ مِن أوّلِ جمُعَةٍ كانتْ في الدُّنيا إلى آخِرِ جمُعَةٍ تكونُ فِيها، وإنْ خَتَمهُ في سائِرِ الأيّامِ فكَذلكَ.

“Whoever reads the whole Qur’an in Mecca within a week, less or more, and finishes it on Friday, Allah will write for him as many rewards as Fridays in this world. If he reads the whole Qur’an on other days, the same rewards will be written for him.”100

Do Not Miss the Umrah Mufradah

In addition to circumambulating, offering prayers, and reciting the Holy Qur’an, one must not miss performing the umrah mufradah so long as he is in Mecca.

Ibn-Uzaina reports that he asked Imam Sadiq (as) some questions and the Imam himself wrote down the answers:

سَألْتُهُ عَن قَولِ الله عزّ وجلّ: وَللهِ عَلى النّاسِ حِجُّ البَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطاعَ إِليهِ سَبيلاً، (قال الإمامُ) يَعني بِهِ الحَجَّ والعُمرَةَ جَميعاً لأنَّهُما مَفروضانِ. وَسَألتُهُ عَن قولِ اللهِ عزّ وجَلّ: وَأَتِمُّوا الحَجَّ والعُمْرَةَ للهِ، قالَ (الإمامُ) يَعني بِتَمامِهِما أَدائَهُما وَاتِّقاءَ ما يَتَّقِي المُحْرِمُ فيهِما. وسَأَلتُهُ عَن قَولِ اللهِ عزّ وجَلّ: اَلْحَجُّ الأَكْبَرُ، فَقالَ: الحَجُّ الأكْبَرُ الوقُوفُ بِعَرَفَةَ ورَمْيُ الجِمارِ، والحَجُّ الأصْغَرُ العُمْرَةُ.

“I asked him about God’s saying,

‘and pilgrimage to the House is incumbent upon men for the sake of Allah, (upon) every one who is able to undertake the journey to it, (The Holy Qur’an; 3:97)’

and he (as) answered, ‘This indicates to both Hajj and umrah since they both are incumbent.’ I also asked him about God’s saying,

‘And accomplish the pilgrimage (Hajj) and the visit(umrah) for Allah, (The Holy Qur’an; 2:196)’

and he (as) answered, ‘This means that they both must be accomplished completely and that every act that is forbidden for the Muhrim to do is also forbidden to be done during periods of Hajj and Urmah.’ I also asked him about God’s saying,

‘the day of the greater pilgrimage –Hajj-… (The Holy Qur’an; 9:3)’

and he (as) answered, ‘the greater Hajj is halting in Arafat and throwing the pebbles, and the minor Hajj is the Umrah.’”101

To mention the parents, brethren, and neighbors during the performance of acts of Hajj is praiseworthy and recommended.

Ibn-Ammar narrates that he asked Imam Sadiq (as) whether it is acceptable to include his parents and brothers with his performance of Hajj though they all performed Hajj. The Imam (as) answered:

إِجْعِلهُم مَعَكَ، فَإنَّ اللهَ تَعالى جَاعِلٌ لهُم حَجّاً وَلكَ حَجّاً ولَكَ أَجْراً بِصِلَتِكَ إياهُم. يَدخُلُ عَلى المَيِّتِ في قَبرِهِ الصّلاةُ والصَّومُ والحَجُّ والصّدَقَةُ والعِتْقُ.

“Include them with your Hajj, for Allah the Exalted will write to them and you the rewards of performance of Hajj and, additionally, you will exclusively obtain the reward of regarding your relatives. The rewards of prayers, fasting, Hajj, almsgiving, and manumission (of slaves) that are offered for the death reach them while they are in their graves.”102

  • 1. See al-Kafi; Vol. 4 p.336 hadith 5
  • 2. See al-Kafi; Vol. 4 p.337 hadith 8
  • 3. See al-Kafi; Vol. 4 p.335 hadith 3
  • 4. See Jami’us-Sa’aadat; Vol. 2
  • 5. See Jami’us-Sa’aadat; Vol. 2 p.285
  • 6. See Jami’us-Sa’aadat; Vol. 2 p.339
  • 7. See Jami’us-Sa’aadat; Vol. 2 p. 340
  • 8. See al-Mahajjat ul-Beidhaa; vol. 5 p.169
  • 9. See al-Mahajjat ul-Beidhaa; vol. 5 p.170
  • 10. See al-Mahajjatol Beizaa; vol. 5
  • 11. See al-Mahajjat ul-Beidhaa; vol. 4 p.243
  • 12. See al-Kafi; Vol. 4 p.206 hadith 6
  • 13. This is a statement of the Du’aa –supplication- of month of Rajab.
  • 14. See Qadi Saeed Qummi’s Asrar ul-Ibadat, p. 230
  • 15. See al-Kafi; Vol. 4 p.412 hadith 3
  • 16. See al-Kafi; Vol. 4 p. 240 hadith 4
  • 17. See al-Kafi; Vol. 4 p240 hadith 2
  • 18. Mas’aa is the place of Sa’y
  • 19. See Ilal ush-Shara’ie; vol. 2 p.118 hadith 1
  • 20. See al-Wafi; vol. 2
  • 21. This statement is quoted from Du’aa –the supplication of- Kumayl.
  • 22. See Ad-Deilami’s Irshad ul-Quloub; hadith: Mi’raj
  • 23. This statement is part of Imam al-Husayn’s Du’aa on the Day of Arafat; the ninth of Dhu’l-Hijja.
  • 24. See al-Wafi; vol. 2 Section: Hajj p.42
  • 25. See al-Wafi; vol. 2 Section: Hajj p.42
  • 26. See al-Kafi; Vol. 4 p. 262 hadith 38
  • 27. See al-Wafi; vol. 2 Section: Hajj p.42
  • 28. See Sharhu Nahjil-Balagha; vol. 4 p.263 and Oddat ud-Daee; p.28
  • 29. See as-Sahifat al-Kamilat al-Sajjadiyya, Supplication 16
  • 30. See al-Kafi; Vol. 2 p.466 hadith 3
  • 31. See al-Muraqabaat; the introduction p.6
  • 32. See al-Muraqabaat; the introduction p.6
  • 33. See as-Sahifat al-Kamilat al-Sajjadiyya
  • 34. Du’aa of Abu-Hamza Thamali
  • 35. See as-Sahifat al-Kamilat al-Sajjadiyya; 2nd Duaa
  • 36. Dervish is any member of an Islamic mystic fraternity
  • 37. See Kemal ud-Din; p. 346 hadith 33
  • 38. See Mahdi Mau’ood; p. 750
  • 39. See Collection of Waram; vol. 2 p. 100 and Oddatol Daee; p. 122
  • 40. Du’aa al-Mashloul (Supplication of the Lame Man)
  • 41. A part of Du’aa an-Nudba
  • 42. A part of Du’aa an-Nudba
  • 43. See al-Kafi; Vol. 2 p. 507 hadith 2
  • 44. See Usoul al-Kafi; vol. 2 p. 507 hadith 6 and Oddatol Daee; 136
  • 45. See Oddatol Daee p.136
  • 46. See as-Sahifat al-Kamilat al-Sajjadiyya, The whispered prayer of the hopeful
  • 47. Part of Duaa of Imam Husayn on Day of Arafat
  • 48. See al-Kafi; Vol. 4 p.258 hadith 24
  • 49. This statement is quoted from al-Kafi; Vol. 4 p. 258 hadith 24
  • 50. Eid ul-Adha —feast of sacrifice— is a festival marking the culmination of the annual pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca.
  • 51. See Usoul al-Kafi; vol. 2 p. 110 hadith 5
  • 52. See al-Kafi; Vol. 4 p. 469 hadith 1
  • 53. The Holy Qur’an; 5:103
  • 54. See Nahjul Balagha; sermon 193: Qualities of the God-fearing
  • 55. See Nahjul Balagha; maxim 77
  • 56. See al-Muraqabaat; the introduction
  • 57. See Ad-Deilami’s Irshad ul-Quloub chapter 13 p.92
  • 58. See as-Sahifat al-Kamilat al-Sajjadiyya, Supplication 31
  • 59. See Jami’us-Sa’aadat; Vol. 1 p 165
  • 60. Part of Duaa of Imam Husayn (as) on Day of Arafat
  • 61. See Nahjul Balagha, sermon 184 Qualities of the God-fearing
  • 62. See Rawdhat ul-Kafi; p. 247 H.347
  • 63. See Collection of Waraam; vol. 1 p.128
  • 64. See Nahjul Balagha, p. 1228 saying 311
  • 65. See Collection of Waraam; vol. 1
  • 66. See al-Fussoul ul-Muhimma; chapter 41 p. 161
  • 67. See al-Kafi; vol. 4 p. 256 hadith 20
  • 68. See Tareekh Mekka; p. 179
  • 69. See Ilal ush-Sharayie; vol. 2 p. 122
  • 70. See al-Wafi; vol. 2 section: Hajj p. 169
  • 71. This statement is a part of Ziyarat Ashuraa
  • 72. See al-Mustadrak; vol. 2 p. 184 section 17 hadith 5
  • 73. See Nahjul Balagha; sermon 193 –About the Pious-
  • 74. See al-Kafi; vol. 4 p. 500 hadith 7
  • 75. See al-Wafi; vol. 2 Kitab al-Hajj
  • 76. See Misbah ush-Shari’a; chapter 21
  • 77. See Mustadrak ul-Wasaail; vol. 2
  • 78. See al-Wafi; vol. 2 Ziyarat
  • 79. See al-Wafi; vol. 2 Ziyarat
  • 80. See Ilal ush-Shara’ie; vol. 2
  • 81. This statement is a part of Duaa al-Ahd
  • 82. The Holy Qur’an; 61:4
  • 83. See Tuhaf al-Uqoul; p. 30
  • 84. See Nahjul Balagha; sermon 187
  • 85. See Collection of Waraam; vol. 1 p.284
  • 86. See Nahjul Balagha; sermon 195
  • 87. The Arabic ‘mina’ is very close to the Arabic ‘muna’ which means ‘wish’
  • 88. See Ilal ush-Sharai’e; vol. 2 p. 120
  • 89. See Ilal ush-Shara’ie; vol. 2 p.128
  • 90. See Ilal ush-Shara’ie; vol. 2 p. 109 hadith 3
  • 91. See Ussoul al-Kafi; vol. 2 p. 601 hadith 11
  • 92. See al-Kafi; vol. 4 p. 405 hadith 3
  • 93. Ibid
  • 94. See Al-Wafi; vol. 2
  • 95. See al-Wafi; vol. 2 p.182
  • 96. See al-Wafi; vol. 2 p.182
  • 97. See al-Mustadrak; vol. 2 p. 147
  • 98. See al-Mustadrak; vol. 2 p. 147
  • 99. See Thawab ul-Aamal; p. 49
  • 100. See Thawab ul-Aamal; p. 50
  • 101. See al-Wafi; vol. 2 section: Hajj p. 47
  • 102. See al-Wafi; vol. 2 section: Hajj p. 57

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