وَأَذِّنْ في النَّاسِ بالحَجِّ يأْتُوكَ رِجَالاً وَعَلى كُلِّ ضَامِرٍ يأْتِينَ مِنْ كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيقٍ. لِيَشْهَدُوا مَنافِعَ لَهُمْ ويَذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللهِ في أيـّامٍ مَعْلوماتٍ
“And proclaim among men the pilgrimage; they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, coming from every remote path, that they may witness advantages for them and mention the Name of Allah during stated days. (The Holy Qur’an; 22:27)”
The word 'منافع - advantages' includes all virtues, both physically and spiritually, of the world and the Hereafter indicating that the great assembly of Muslim nations in a single forum is like a sea coming into existence as a result of joining of small and big rivers.
As a result of unity of opinion and unanimity arising from believing in one God and being the followers of one Book and one Prophet, all Muslims stand in a single rank facing Kiblah1 and go round a center with a single aim.
Such unity of ideology and act gives this assembly so much power that it can remove mountains, defeat the most formidable opposition powers, foil any treacherous plot, and generate a life full of happiness, dignity, and supremacy by performing heavenly injunctions and consolidating the pillars of social justice.
Beyond doubt, what can solve problems of life is social cooperation, which is materialized by creating understanding among nations. The most important factor behind understanding is the rightful teachings of a religion, which bridges the gaps, brings hearts together, creates a link between east and west, and makes the black and white, Arabs and non-Arabs, Turks and Hindus, feel sympathy for one another. In the Farewell Hajj on Mount Arafat, the Holy Prophet of Islam (saw) said:
أيُّها النّاسُ، إنَّ رَبَّكُم واحِدٌ وإنَّ أباكُم واحِدٌ، كُلُّكُم لآدَمَ وآدَمُ مِن تُرابٍ (إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللهِ أَتْقاكُمْ) ولَيْسَ لِعَرَبيٍّ عَلى أَعْجَمِيٍّ فَضْلٌ إلا بالتّقوى
O people, surely your Lord is One, the father of all of you is one, you all come from Adam and Adam from the earth. (surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful of his duty) Arab has no advantage over non-Arab except for piety.”2
Also in his Farewell Hajj in Mina, the Holy Prophet (saw) said:
المؤمنونَ إخوةٌ تتكَافى دِماؤهُمْ وَهُم يَدٌ عَلى مَنْ سِواهُمْ، يَسْعى بِذِمّتهِم أدناهم
“Believers are brethren. Their blood has equal value. They are a single hand and power against others. The promise of each of them is like that of all, hence binding.3”
The Holy Qur’an asks Prophet Ibrahim (as) to call people to Hajj, to come and see the Islamic unity in the House of Monotheism, and to notice the assembly of dispersed powers in a single forum so as to realize the amazing advantages of Hajj, including self-purification, regulation of a sound politico-economic affairs, and consolidation of the pillars of supremacy across the world as a result of the assembly, unity, and circumambulation of the Sacred House.
Spiritual journey and affinity with God are some of the advantages of Hajj. The light of God’s guidance illuminates susceptible hearts, making them detached from the earth and attached to God. By putting on Ihram, saying Labbayk, circumambulating the House, offering sacrifice, and doing other acts of worship, man’s heart goes through a spiritual stage.
Only does God know how many averted hearts have become fond of Him in this Sacred House and how many misled men have become pious and heavenly thanks to the blessings of this holy place. The Holy Qur’an supports this claim by saying:
(إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيْتٍ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِي ببَكَّةَ)مُبارَكاً وهدىً للعالمين.
“(The Holy House is) blessed and a guidance for the nations. (3:96)”
The Qur’anic Verse “They will come to you on foot or every lean camel, coming from every remote path,” is response to the Qur’anic Verse, “And proclaim among men the pilgrimage,” indicating that the divine call which was spread throughout the world by Prophet Ibrahim (as) and then reaffirmed by the ordainment of the Holy Prophet of Islam (saw) left such impact on the Kaaba that it attracted susceptible men from the remotest corners of the world with its magnetic property.
During Hajj season, amazing activity occurs in the corners of the world and large crowd of people pour into Mecca by land, sea, and air, while there is no force, allurement, propaganda, or any other urging factors. People go through all hardships so as to come to visit the Kaaba with love and as soon as their eyes fall on the House of their Beloved, they start prostrating themselves and forgetting all hardships. They will say lovingly:
“O Lord of the House, the House is Yours and the servant is Yours.”
Speaking about Hajj in the last part of sermon I of Nahjul Balagha, Imam ‘Ali (as) describes people as such:
يَرِدونهُ وُرودَ الأنعامِ ويألَهونَ إليهِ وُلوهَ الحَمامِ .
“... The people go to it as beasts or pigeons go towards spring water.”
Like thirsty camels reaching water or pigeons flying towards their chicks in the nest, the pilgrims rush towards the House of the Beloved so enthusiastically that one has the impression that they have lost their control.
By thinking about what the Holy Qur’an and Imam ‘Ali (as) have said, we will realize the fact that inclination towards the Kaaba (for those who are sound instinctively) is not ordinary inclination, rather there is a divine attraction in it. There is the same attraction towards the household of the Holy Prophet (saw) being the result of Prophet Ibrahim’s supplication and God’s answering him:
فَاجْعَلْ أفْئِدَةً مِنَ النّاسِ تَهوي إلَيْهِم.
“.. Therefore, make the hearts of some people yearn towards them... (the Holy Qur’an; 14:37)”
When, carrying out God’s order, Prophet Ibrahim (as) brought his wife Hagar and the infant Ismaeel (Prophet Ishmael) to al-Hijaz desert and had to leave them alone there, raising his hands towards the sky, supplicated:
رَبّنا إني أَسْكَنْتُ مِنْ ذُرّيّتِي بِوادٍ غَيْرِ ذي زَرْعٍ عِنْدَ بَيْتِكَ المُحَرَّمِ رَبّنا لِيُقيموا الصّلاةَ فَاجْعَلْ أفْئِدَةً مِنَ النّاسِ تَهوي إلَيْهِمْ وَارْزُقْهُمْ مِنَ الثّمراتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَشْكُرونَ.
“O our Lord! Surely, I have settled a part of my offspring in a valley unproductive of fruit near They Sacred House, our Lord! That they may keep up prayer; therefore, make the hearts of some people yearn towards them and provide them with fruits; haply they may be grateful. (The Holy Qur’an; 14:37)”
Why should the offspring of Prophet Ibrahim (as) be settled in an uncultivated land far from civilization? What is the advisability? Is it because they are the guardians of the spirituality of human society, keeper of prayer, God’s remembrance, and secret of servitude in the world? Must their living environment be far from luxury, which makes man forget God, so as to be able to keep remembrance of God and the Hereafter alive in man’s heart? It is said:
الدّنيا والآخِرَةُ ضُرّتانِ؛ فَبِقَدَرِ ما تُرضِي إحْداهُما تُسخِط الأُخرى
The world and the Hereafter are like rival wives; when you please one, you will hurt the other.”415
Imam ‘Ali (as) says:
الدّنيا والآخِرَةُ عَدُوّانِ مُتَعادِيانِ وَسَبيلانِ مُختَلِفانِ، مَن أحَبَّ الدّنيا وَوالاهَا أبْغَضَ الآخِرَةَ وعاداهَا. مَثَلُهُما مَثَلُ المشْرِقِ والمغْرِبِ والماشِي بَينهُما لا يزْدادُ مِن أحَدِهِما قُرباً إلا ازْدادَ مِن الآخَرِ بُعْداً.
“The world and the Hereafter are two incompatible enemies and two roads in different directions. Whoever loves the world will naturally abandon the Hereafter. The world and the Hereafter are like east and west. The more you go towards the east you will take more distance from the west.”
A man of many desires will not be a man of God. A mammonist loses spiritual values and his guidance has no effect on human souls and hearts.
Therefore, the offspring of Ibrahim (as) and the spiritual leaders must live in an uncultivated land devoid of luxury and physical pleasures.
They must choose to live near the Sacred House and to think of God and remember Him all the time. Human hearts, too, have naturally an inclination towards their Lord hence move to His House and its guardians. Not only do they avoid sparing everything for this sake but also they sincerely offer their pure emotions and love for the House of God and the offspring of Ibrahim (as), the most honorable of whom is the Holy Prophet (saw) and the Imams (as).
Man’s attraction to the House of God and forum of monotheism, on the one hand, and the great assembly of the ummah in a single place for performing a series of common religious acts, extremely inspiring in creating understanding and unity of thoughts, on the other, is a great heavenly asset bestowed on Muslims by God. Moral virtues, the power to fight atheism, and a spiritual way of living both in the world and the Hereafter, are some of the advantages of Hajj.
جَعَلَ اللهُ الكَعْبَةَ البيْتَ الحَرامَ قِياماً لِلنَّاسِ وَالشَّهْرَ الحَرامَ والهَدْيَ والقَلائِدَ، ذلِكَ لِتَعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا في السَّمَاوَاتِ والأَرْضِ وَأَنَّ اللهَ بكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَليمٌ
“Allah has made the Kaaba, the Sacred House, a maintenance for the people, and the sacred month and the offsprings and the sacrificial animals with garlands; this is that you may know that Allah knows whatever is in the heavens and whatever in the earth and that Allah is the Knower of all things. (The Holy Qur’an; 5:97)”
In this Qur’anic Verse, the Kaaba, which has been described as the sacred house and maintenance for the people, and the month during which Muslims assemble in Mecca as the sacred month, and also the sacrificial animals with garlands indicate respect for the house. They all serve as security for human survival from annihilation and corruption.
The house, highly respected, is the Kiblah towards which Muslims all over the world perform their prayer, slaughter cows, sheep, and camels, and bury their dead. All deeds are accepted only when they are performed in the direction of the Kaaba. Muslims deem such respect for the Kaaba in the remotest and most hidden places. They are careful not to ease nature with their face or back towards it. The House is so sacred that sacrificial animals and precious assets are offered to it.
Beyond doubt, when the Sacred House is a common goal, it will guarantee the survival of the Ummah. It is a shelter for the oppressed and a source of tranquility for those who are in a state of panic. All these important effects come from the sanctity, which God has made about this house. God knows that the human society is in need for a single forum respected by all—a sanctuary where all people can join hands and hearts to solve problems and walk on the path to a happy life with the power of unity. Hence, he has made the Kaaba in such a strange place with sanctity. The same question is sufficient to make us understand that the philosophy behind whatever God has made and that He is the Knower of all things.
وَإِذْ جَعَلْنا البَيْتَ مَثَابَةً لِلنَّاسِ وَأَمْناً
“(And when) We made the House a pilgrimage for men and a (place of) security. (The Holy Qur’an; 2:125)”
The human society, when differences arise and violations arise, is in need for an internationally-recognized forum before which all people feel responsible so that if a wronged individual or nation appeals to it, all nations will rise up in support and take right from the oppressor.
Human society is in need for an international forum of security to the grievances of human beings and nations in fear. The same need has encouraged the modern man to form the United Nations Organization.
The success or failure of this organization is not to be discussed here. For this reason, in the world of Islam, this need has been taken into consideration and God has made the Kaaba a place of security in the world in addition to making it sacred so that the Ummah who esteem this house will not allow anyone to be wronged or oppressed.
In this way, not only will oppression or intimidation cease to exist among people but also Muslims will be known as reformers and guarantors of security at an international level. It is true then that the Kaaba is the guarantor of the world peace and security; therefore, man can live a happy life and enjoy blessing if the Kaaba is considered as maintenance for people and the Hajj rites will be performed with its perfect conditions.
If, God forbid, one day the Hajj rites are abandoned or become devoid of content, human society will collapse, blessings will depart man’s life, and oppression and insecurity will prevail.
One of the sinister events happening at the end of the world causing spread of oppression in the human societies is the closing of Hajj and the abandonment of the Kaaba. Speaking of the events happening before the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (may Allah expedite his reappearance), Imam Sadiq (as) has said:
ورَأَيتَ بيتَ اللهِ قَد عُطِّلَ ويُؤمَرُ بتَرْكِهِ... فكُنْ على حَذَرٍ واطْلبْ إلى اللهِ النّجاةَ واعْلَم أنّ الناسَ في سَخَطِ اللهِ عزّ وجلّ...
“(When) you see that Allah’s House is closed down and the Hajj rites are abandoned, beware you; supplicate to Allah to be safe from His punishment, for people are at this time subject to Allah’s wrath.”516
وَللهِ عَلى النّاسِ حِجُّ البَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطاعَ إِليهِ سَبيلاً؛ وَمَنْ كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللهَ غَنيٌّ عَنِ العَالَمِينَ
“… 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; and whoever disbelieves, then surely Allah is Self-Sufficient, above any need of the worlds (The Holy Qur’an; 3:97)”
This Qur’anic Verse reveals God’s right to men. In the same way that every benefactor has a right, and the person who has been favored tries to make up for his benefactor’s beneficence and pay a visit to his house to express his thanks, it is the duty of people to make pilgrimage to God’s House to offer their thanks to Him.
God Who is the true Benefactor is the One Who has favored human being infinitely. In this relation, the Holy Qur’an says:
وَإِنْ تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَةَ اللهِ لا تحُصُوهَا.
“… and if you count Allah’s favors, you will not be able to number them. (14:34)”
Showing God’s favor to man, the Holy Qur’an also says:
أَلم تَرَوا أَنَّ اللهَ سَخَّرَ لَكُمْ مَا في السَّماوَاتِ وَمَا في الأَرْضِ وَأَسْبَغَ عَلَيكُمْ نِعَمَهُ ظَاهِرَةً وبَاطِنَةً.
“Do you not see that Allah has made what is in the heavens and what is in the earth subservient to you, and made complete to you His favors outwardly and inwardly? (13:20)”
Does such a Benefactor not have right upon you to go to His House and offer Him gifts as much as you can for expressing thanks to Him?
For all benefactions, God only expects His servants to visit His House and to offer a sacrifice, that too, to the extent of each one’s financial capability.
Visitation of the Sacred House does not benefit God, for He is above what we think of Him. Rather it is a grace from the Almighty God. By call to Hajj, God has made man distinct from animals.
One of the advantages of human beings is the virtue of gratitude to the Benefactor though this quality exists to some extent in certain animals but it is not a necessary quality in them. Yet man cannot possibly do without it unless he has lost his human nature as a result of indulging in carnal desires and lusts and has become an animal. In this connection, the Holy Qur’an says:
اُولَئِكَ كَالأنعَامِ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ؛ اُولَئِكَ هُمُ الغَافِلُونَ
“They are as cattle, nay, they are in worse errors; these are the heedless ones. (7:179)”
Evidently, not only do such bestial ones refuse to thank their benefactor but also they will deny Him.
What grace it is from God to man to make him duty-bound to pray, to make pilgrimage to Mecca, and to do other religious acts that are somehow expressions of thanks by which man’s dignity is safeguarded. In this relation, Imam Sajjad (as) says:
والحمدُ للهِ الذي لَو حَبَسَ عن عَبادِهِ مَعرِفةَ حَمدِهِ على ما أبلاهُمْ مِن مِنَنِهِ المُتَتابِعَةِ وأسْبغَ عليهِم مِن نِعَمِهِ المُتَظاهِرَةِ لَتَصَرَّفوا في مِنَنِهِ فَلَم يحْمِدوهُ وتَوَسَّعوا في رِزْقِهِ فَلَم يَشْكُرُوهُ ولَوْ كَانُوا كَذَلِكَ لخَرَجُوا من حُدودِ الإنسَانِيّةِ الى حَدِّ البَهِيمِيَّةِ فَكانوا كَما وَصَفَ في محْكَمِ كِتابهِ: إِنْ هُمْ إِلا كَالأنعَامِ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ سَبيلاً.
Praise belongs to Allah, for had He withheld His servants the knowledge to praise Him for the uninterrupted kindnesses with which He has tried them and the manifest favors which he has lavished upon them, they would have moved about in His kindnesses without praising Him, and spread themselves out in His provision without thanking Him. Had such been the case, they would have left the bounds of humanity for that of beastliness and become as He has described in the firm text of His Book: ‘They are but as the cattle, nay, but they are further astray from the way 617
Lacking in intellect and being subject to its instincts, an animal does not ignore its natural forces nor does it deviate from its path, rather it acts as its Creator wills. In this relation, the Holy Qur’an says:
مَا مِنْ دَابَّةٍ إِلا هُوَ آخِذٌ بنَاصِيَتِها إِنَّ رَبِّي عَلى صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ.
“… There is no living creature but He holds it by its forelock; surely, my Lord is on the right path. (11:56)”
Therefore, if an animal is not on human path and does not reach human perfection, it has not committed any sin nor has it done anything contrary to what is expected from it, rather it walks on the right path in reaching animal perfection and follows its own instinct which is its right path. However, man who has intellect, an advantage over animals, is duty-bound to recognize his Benefactor and to be thankful to Him.
Therefore, when this graceful human quality is missing, man will deviate from his natural path, which is God’s right path and he will become more astray than beasts hence subject to a great loss and punishment.
To sum it up, by inventing man to the acts of worship, especially visitation of His Sacred House, God has had grace on him by giving him dignity and preventing him from falling into the state of an animal.
The visitation of the Kaaba by the humble servant and his offering of an unworthy sacrifice is means by which God will shower with His double blessings of the world and the Hereafter.
The intention of Hajj opens the gates of God’s mercy. Imam Baqir (as) was quoted as saying:
إنَّ الحَاجَّ إذا أخَذَ في جِهازِهِ لم يَخطُ خُطْوَةً في شَيءٍ مِن جِهازِهِ إِلا كَتَبَ اللهُ عَزَّ وجَلَّ لهُ عَشْرَ حَسَناتٍ ومحَى عَنهُ عَشْرَ سَيّئاتٍ ورفعَ له عَشْرَ دَرَجَاتٍ حتّى يفْرُغَ مِن جِهازِهِ مَتى ما فَرَغ...
“When a man intends to go on Hajj, for every step he takes in preparing for his journey Allah will write ten good deeds for him and will write off ten of his wrongdoings and will elevate his ten scales until he completes his preparatory affairs.”718
Imam Sadiq (as) said:
الحُجَّاجُ يَصدُرونَ على ثَلاثةِ أصنافٍ؛ صِنفٌ يُعْتَقُ مِن النّارِ وَصِنْفٌ يَخْرُجُ من ذُنوبهِ كَهَيئَةِ يومِ وَلدَتهُ أُمُّهُ وصِنْفٌ يُحْفَظُ في أَهلِهِ ومَالِهِ، فَذلِكَ أَدْنى مَا يَرجِعُ به الحَاجُّ.
“The Hajj pilgrims who return home are three groups; one are rescued from the fire (of Hell), another are cleansed from their sins as if they have been just born, and the third group return home with their wealth and family secured. This is the least reward the Hajj pilgrims can obtain.”819
Evidently, the difference in reward is because of difference in intention –Niyyah-, the difference in cognition of the Lord of the House, and the difference in understanding the secret of the acts and the influence of the Hajj rites on the soul. One pilgrim goes there with the pure intention to please God, to ascend to heaven, and to loosen the chains of captivity of self so that he will not be trapped by Satan hence going to Hell. Such a man will be rescued from the fire (of Hell) forever.
Another pilgrim goes on Hajj solely to discharge his religious duty without paying attention to the spirit of the act or removing vices from his self and obtaining virtues. Thanks to Hajj, his sins will be forgiven but since he has not been purified, he has to be careful about his future so that Satanic temptations and his carnal desires will not push him to sins hence fire.
The third man goes on Hajj to escape people’s blame, to get the title of Hajji, and to gain business profits. The reward of such a man is only material and worldly. His family and wealth are secure until he comes back home.
Imam Baqir (as) said:
الحَجُّ والعُمرَةُ سوقَانِ من أسواقِ الآخِرَةِ؛ اللازِمُ لهُما مِن أضْيافِ اللهِ تعالى. إِنْ أبقَاهُ، أبقاهُ وَلا ذَنبَ لهُ، وإنْ أَماتَهُ، أَدخَلَهُ الجَنّةَ.
“Hajj and Umrah are two markets of the Hereafter. Those who enter into them are Allah’s guests. If Allah preserves his guest’s life, he will live free from sins and if He makes him die, he will be admitted into Paradise.”920
Imam Sadiq (as) said:
الحَاجُّ والمُعتمِرُ وِفدُ اللهِ؛ إِن سَأَلوهُ أَعطَاهُم وإِن دَعَوهُ أَجابَهُم وإِن شَفَعوا شَفَّعَهُم وإِن سَكَتوا ابتَدَأَهُم ويَعوَّضُونَ بالدِّرهَمِ الفَ الفِ دِرهَم.
“The performers of Hajj and umrah are Allah’s guests. If they ask, they will be given, if they pray, they will be answered, if they intercede, their intercession will be accepted, if they keep silent, they will be blessed, and they will be given a million dirhams for each one they have spent.”1021
Imam Sadiq (as) said:
مَن نظَرَ الى الكَعبَةِ لم يَزَلْ تُكتَبُ لهُ حَسَنَةٌ وتُمحَى عنهُ سَيِّئَةٌ حَتّى يَنصَرفَ بَبَصَرِهِ عنهَا
“Whoever looks at the Kaaba, rewards are written for him and his wrongdoings are written off until he takes his look away from it.”1122
The Imam (as) also said:
مَن نظَرَ الى الكَعبَةِ كُتِبَتْ لهُ حَسَنَةٌ ومحِيَت عنهُ عشرُ سيّئات.
“Whoever looks at the Kaaba, a reward is written for him and ten of his wrongdoings are written off.”
The precinct of the Kaaba is showered with mercy and blessings.
Imam Sadiq (as) says:
إِنَّ للهِ تعَالى حَولَ الكَعبَةِ عِشرينَ ومِائَةَ رَحمَةً؛ منها سِتُّونَ للطّائِفِينَ وأَربَعونَ لِلمُصَلّينَ وعِشرونَ للنّاظِرينَ.
“Allah sends down one hundred and twenty blessings in the precinct of the Kaaba; sixty for those who circumambulate, forty for those who worship, and twenty for those who look at it.”1223
What blessed act the circumambulation of God’s house is!
قَدِمَ رجُلٌ على أبي الحسَن (الإمام الكاظِم) عليه السلام فقال: قَدِمتَ حَاجاً؟
فقال: تدري ما للحَاجِّ؟
قال: مَن قدِمَ حَاجّاً وطافَ بالبَيتِ وصَلّى رَكْعتَينِ كَتَبَ اللهُ لهُ سَبعين ألفَ حسنةً ومحَا عنهُ سَبعين ألفَ سيّئةً ورفعَ لهُ سَبعينَ ألفَ دَرَجَةً وشَفَّعَهُ في سَبعينَ ألفَ أهل بيتٍ وقضَى لهُ سَبعين ألف حاجةً وكتب له عِتقَ سبعين ألفَ رقبةً قيمةُ كلِّ رقبةٍ عَشَرَةُ آلاف دِرهَم.
A man came to Imam Kazim (as):
‘Are going on Hajj?’ the Imam asked.
‘Yes,’ said the man.
‘Do you know the rewards of Hajj?’ asked the Imam.
‘No,’ answered the man.
Then the Imam said:
‘Whoever comes to Mecca, circumambulates the Kaaba, and performs two Rak’at13 of prayer, Allah will write seventy thousand rewards for him and write off seventy thousand of his wrongdoings, elevate him seventh thousand scales, accept his intercession for seventy thousand families, fulfill seventy thousand of his needs, and write for him the reward of setting free seventy thousand slaves worth ten thousand dirhams each.
As we have previously mentioned, the visitation of God’s House is a sign of man’s thankfulness to his Benefactor, a prerequisite for courtesy, man’s human quality, a cause of distinction from animals, and a means to win God’s favor and obtain all blessings in the world and the Hereafter. How inhuman it would be then for a man not to consider himself duty-bound to visit his Benefactor and to offer his thanks to Him! What is more inhuman is that God invites man to His House but man ignores such an invitation! Such heedlessness arises from the inner unbelief of one who
فِيهِ آيَاتٌ بَيِّنَاتٌ مَقَامُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ ۖ وَمَنْ دَخَلَهُ كَانَ آمِنًا ۗ وَلِلَّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلًا ۚ وَمَنْ كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ عَنِ الْعَالَمِينَ
“disbelieves, then surely Allah is Self-Sufficient above any need of the worlds. (The Holy Qur’an; 3:97)”
It is worth mentioning that according to the Holy Qur’an and traditions, unbelief has different stages one of which is disbelief in the secondary precepts. This kind of disbelief does not lead to abiding in Hell forever unless it arises from disbelief in the fundamentals of the religion. Such disbelief is equal to atheism and subject to abiding in Hell forever.
It is related that Imam Kazim (as), as was asked about the forsaker of Hajj, said:
قَال: قُلتُ فَمَن لم يَحُجَّ منّا فقدْ كَفَرَ؟ قال: لا، ولَكِنْ مَن قَالَ ليسَ هَذا هَكَذا فَقدْ كَفَرَ.
“The forsaker of Hajj is not unbeliever, but if a man denies that Hajj is obligatory, he is then unbeliever.”1425
The late Faiz says: “The forsaker of Hajj is not unbeliever, for unbelief is related to ideology and not practice.”
He also says:
وإنمَّا يمُوتُ يهودِياً أَو نصرَانِياً لأنَّهُ لوِ اعتَقَدَها لأتَى بِها مَع عَدَمِ المانِعِ والاستِطاعَةِ وتَوَقُّعِ الفَوتِ بالمَوتِ.
“One who forsakes Hajj without having an excuse will die as a Jew or Christian because he would have performed Hajj had he believed in its obligation taking in consideration that he is able to do it and that he should have expected he might die at any moment before being able to perform it.”1526
Forsakers of Hajj, on the day of judgment, are with Jews or Christians.
Addressing Imam ‘Ali (as), the Holy Prophet (saw) says:
يا عليّ ، تارك الحجّ وهو مستطيع كافر ، يقول الله تبارك وتعالى : (وَلِلّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إلَيْهِ سَبِيلاً وَمَنْ كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ اللهَ غَنِيٌّ عَنِ الْعَالَمِينَ
“O ‘Ali, one who forsakes Hajj while having the means (to perform it) is unbeliever, for Allah Himself has said: ‘And pilgrimage to the House (Hajj) is incumbent upon men for the sake of Allah, upon everyone who is able to undertake the journey to it; and whoever disbelieves then surely Allah is Self-Sufficient above any need of the worlds.’
يا عليّ ، مَن سوّف الحجّ حتّى يموت ، بعثه الله يوم القيامة يهوديّاً أو نصرانيّاً.
O ‘Ali, anyone who delays Hajj until he dies, Allah will raise him as Jew or Christian on the Day of Judgment.”1627
Imam Sadiq (as) says:
مَن مَاتَ وَلم يحِجَّ حِجَّةَ الإسلامِ؛ لم يمْنَعْهُ مِن ذَلِك حاجَةٌ تُجحِفُ بهِ أَو مَرضٌ لا يُطيقُ فيهِ الحَجَّ أَو سُلطانٌ يمنعُهُ فَلْيمُتْ يَهودِيّاً أو نَصرانِياً.
“He who dies before he performs the obligatory Hajj while he was not too needy, too ill, or too persecuted to perform it will die as non-Muslim (i.e. Jewish or Christian).”1728
فَأَعظِمْ بعِبادَةٍ يَعدِمُ الدينُ لِفَقدِها الكمالَ ويُساوي تاركُها اليهودَ والنّصارى في الضلالِ وذلِك هو الجهلُ المبينُ والخِزيُ الفَضيحُ.
“How excellent is the worship (of Hajj) by the lack of which the religion lacks perfection and the neglector of which becomes as same as Jews or Christians in terms of deviation—this is surely the evident ignorance and the scandalous infamy.”1829
Forsaker of Hajj will be blind on the day of judgment.
.. قَال: سَألتُ أبا الحَسنِ ( الإِمامَ الرِّضا) عليه السلام عن قَولِ اللهِ تعَالى "وَمَنْ كَانَ في هَذِهِ أَعْمَى فَهُوَ في الآخِرَةِ أَعْمَى وَأَضَلُّ سَبِيلاً" فقَالَ: نزَلتْ فِيمَن سَوَّفَ الحَجَّ حِجَّةَ الإِسلامِ وعِندَهُ ما يحِجُّ بهِ فقَالَ اَلعَامَ أَحِجُّ، اَلعَامَ أَحِجُّ، حتَّى يمُوتَ قَبلَ أنْ يحِجَّ.
…I asked Imam Ridha’ (as) about the Qur’anic Verse,
‘And whoever is blind in this (world), he shall also be blind in the Hereafter; and more erring from the way. (17:71).’
The Imam (as) said:
This Qur’anic Verse is about one who delays Hajj despite having the means (to perform it) and keeps on saying, I will go on Hajj this year, but does not do until he dies.’1930
Hajj consolidates faith.
Imam ‘Ali (as) says:
فَرضَ اللهُ ... والحَجَّ تقوِيةً للدِّينِ.
“Allah has made obligatory upon you… the pilgrimage (Hajj), for it consolidates faith.”2031
Evidently, any institution that is weakened by the nature of this world is in need for factors to make up for the weakness and to consolidate. Religion, too, which is the source of happiness for man in this world and the Hereafter, might be weakened as a result of the negative propaganda of the foreigners from outside and excess of lusts from within as well as temptations for committing sins in a way that Muslims’ faith will be undermined.
The call to Hajj will certainly blow a new spirit into the body of the Ummah. Once again, Mecca, the mother of cities, opens her arms embracing the believers coming from the remotest parts of the world and enlivens the good memory of obedience to God and servitude by displaying a scene full of life and activity within a few limited days.
It reminds everyone of the worthless worldly life, the horrible stages of purgatory, and Hell as well as all the prophets and the Imams’ sufferings for the consolidation or the religion. Mecca removes the veils of ignorance before people’s eyes, revealing the light of faith, devotion to God, and the Last Judgment and satiates the believers spiritually. From this cause, it is admitted that the survival of the religion in the Ummah depends on the survival of the Kaaba and revival of the Hajj rites. In this relation, Imam Sadiq (as) says:
لا يَزالُ الدِّينُ قائِماً ما قَامتِ الكَعبَةُ.
“As long as the Kaaba is upright, the religion will not perish.”2132
He (as) also says:
إِنَّ للهِ حُرُمَاتٍ ثلاثاً لَيسَ مِثْلَهُنَّ شَيٌء؛ كِتابُهُ—وهُو نُورُهُ وحِكْمَتُهُ، وبَيتُهُ الّذِي جُعِل للنّاسِ قِبلَةً لا يقبَلُ اللهُ مِن أَحَدٍ تَوَجُّهاً الى غَيرِهِ، وعِترَةُ نَبيِّكُم محَمَّدٍ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وآلهِ.
“Three things are sacred for Allah; His Book that is full of light and wisdom, His House that is the Kiblah towards which people offer their prayers –and Allah does not accept from him who directs towards any other direction save the House-and the Household the Holy Prophet (saw).”2233
Imam ‘Ali (as) says:
جَعَلهُ (البيتَ الحرامَ) سُبحانهُ وتعَالى لِلإسْلامِ عَلَماً.
“Allah the Glorified has made it (the Sacred House) an emblem for Islam.”2334
In the same way that there are certain marks on the road to guide people, God has made the Kaaba an emblem for Islam so that those who err in recognizing the truth of this religion and its deductive programs reflect on the Hajj rites and its spiritual effects on Muslims and find the true nature of Islam—the religion of pure sincerity, away from polytheism and what is ungodly. Islam is the religion of intellectual development of shedding the childish splendor of the world and of affinity with the Creator of the universe.
Moreover, it is the propagator of equality between the poor and the rich, man and woman before the law of truth and justice. It is based on unity of faith, which is the strongest factor among human beings; so, Islam is a dynamic faith and constant movement towards supremacy in cultural, economic, and military fields.
And, finally, Islam is the religion of jihad (holy war), of fighting against all satanic powers, of self-sacrifice, of being upright to Him Who originated the heavens and the earth, and of reaching perfection. This is the essence of Islam. Hajj pilgrimage represents such an essence and spirit.
Imam ‘Ali (as) says:
وحجُّ البيتِ واعتِمارُهُ فإِنّهُما يَنفَيانِ الفَقرَ ويَرخَصانِ الذّنبَ.
“Hajj and Umrah remove poverty and cleanse sins.”2435
The words ‘poverty’ and ‘sins’ in the above-mentioned sermon indicate that Hajj brings about absolute independence and purification for Ummah in a way that they feel no need for alien nations’ help and feel independent in cultural, economic, military, and administrative affairs. We hope that theft, indecency, bribery, hoarding, and injustice will leave the society to change it into a purified, rich one.
In view of the vital effects of Hajj on the ummah’s supremacy, if the Islamic governments ignore this important religious duty, or if Hajj becomes devoid of its content, its spiritual power will diminish in the ummah in view of the propaganda spread by the enemies of Islam. Imam Sadiq (as) says:
لو عَطَّلَ النّاسُ الحَجَّ لَوَجَبَ على الإمَامِ أَنْ يُجبِرَهُم عَلى الحَجِّ، إِنْ شاءُوا وإِن أَبَوا، فَإنَّ هذا البَيتَ وُضِعَ لِلحَجِّ.
“If people ignore Hajj, it is incumbent upon the statesmen to encourage people to go on it whether they are willing or unwilling, for the House has been made for pilgrimage.”2536
لَو أَنّ النّاسَ تَرَكُوا الحَجَّ لَكانَ علَى الوالِي أَنْ يجبِرَهُم على ذَلك… فَإِنْ لم يكُن لهم أموالٌ أَنفَقَ عليهِم من بيتِ مَالِ الُمسلِمينَ.
“If people neglect Hajj, it becomes obligatory upon the leaders to force them to perform it… and if they need money to go on Hajj, the leaders will be required to supply them with such money from the public treasury.”2637
لو تَركَ النّاسُ الحَجَّ لَما نوظِروا العذابَ (أو قال: أُنزِلَ عليهِمُ العَذابُ
“If people quit Hajj, they will be given no respite from punishment.”2738
Addressing to Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn, Imam ‘Ali (as) says:
اللهَ اللهَ في بَيتِ ربِّكُم؛ لا تُخَلُّوهُ ما بَقِيتُم فَإِنهُ إِنْ تُرِكَ لم تُناظَروا.
“(Fear) Allah (and) keep Allah in mind in the matter of your Lord’s House; the Kaaba. Do not forsake it so long as you live, because if it is abandoned, you will not be respited.”2839
Imam Sadiq (as) says:
وَإِنَّ اللهَ لَيَدفَعُ بمَنْ يحِجُّ مِن شِيعَتِنا عَمَّن لا يحِجُّ منهُم، ولَو أَجمَعوا عَلى ترْكِ الحَجِّ لهلَكُوا.
“Thanks to our Shiite pilgrims, Allah removes disaster from the Shiites who do not perform it, but if all agree to forsake Hajj, they will perish.”2940
Since Hajj plays an important role in safeguarding the religion and being a main pillar of Islam and a factor for reviving the ummah, it must not be abandoned or weakened under any conditions. According to traditions, no charity can replace it.
... قال: قلتُ لأبي عبدِاللهِ عليه السلامُ أنَّ أُناساً مِن هَؤلاءِ القُصّاصِ يقُولونَ إِذا حَجَّ رَجُلٌ ثُم تصَدّقَ ووصَلَ كانَ خَيراً لهُ، فقَال: كَذِبوا، لو فَعَل هذا النّاسُ لَعُطِّلَ هذا البيتُ. إنّ اللهَ عزَّ وجَلَّ جعَلَ هذا البيتَ قِياماً للنّاسِ.
… I said to Imam Sadiq (as) that some jurisprudents remark that if a man performs the Hajj rites once, he would better give charity instead of going on Hajj again. The Imam (as) commented:
“They are lying, for if they do so, the Kaaba will be forsaken whereas Allah has made this House maintenance for people.”3041
لمّا أفاضَ رسُولُ اللهِ صلّى اللهُ عليهِ وآلِهِ تَلَقّاهُ أَعرابيٌّ بالأبطحِ فقال: يا رسولَ اللهِ، إنّي خَرجْتُ أُريدُ الحَجَّ فعَاقَني وأَنا رَجُلٌ مَيِّلٌ (يعني كَثيرَ المَالِ) فَمُرْني أَصنَعْ في مَالي ما أَبلُغُ بهِ ما يبلُغُ به الحَاجُّ. (قال) فَالتَفَتَ رسُولُ اللهِ الى أبي قُبَيسٍ فقال:لو أَنّ أبا قُبَيسٍ لكَ زِنَتُهُ ذَهَبَةٌ حَمراءُ أَنفَقتَهُ في سبيلِ اللهِ ما بَلَغتَ ما بَلَغَ الحَاجُّ.
The Holy Prophet has just completed the Hajj rites when a Bedouin came to him saying, ‘O Messenger of Allah, I left home for Hajj but because of an obstacle I failed to perform its rites. I am a wealth man. Kindly give me an instruction by which I get the reward of Hajj.’ The Holy Prophet (saw) turned his look at Mount Abu-Qubais and said: ‘If you have red gold as much as this mountain and spend it for Allah’s sake, the reward of such deed will not be as much as that of the Hajj pilgrimage.”3142
Abu Bassir quoted Imam Sadiq (as) as saying:
دِرهَمٌ في الحَجِّ أَفضَلُ مِن أَلفَيْ أَلفٍ في ما سِوى ذلِكَ من سَبيلِ اللهِ.
“One dirham spent on Hajj is better than two million dirhams to be given for Allah’s sake.”3243
Imam Baqir (as) says:
مَا مِن عَبدٍ يُؤثِرُ عَلى الحَجِّ حاجَةً مِن حَوائِجِ الدّنيا إِلا نَظَرَ الى المحَلَّقِينَ قدِ انصَرَفوا قَبلَ أنْ تُقضَى له تِلكَ الحاجَةُ.
“One who prefers a worldly affair to going on Hajj will realize that all the Hajj pilgrims have returned home with their heads shaven but his needs have not been fulfilled yet.3344
Imam Sadiq (as) says:
لِيَحذَرْ أَحَدُكُم أَنْ يُعَوِّقَ أَخاهُ عَن الحَجِّ فَتُصيبَهُ فِتنَةٌ في دُنياهُ مَعَ ما يُدَّخَرُ لهُ في الآخِرةِ.
“Beware of delaying the Hajj of your brother, for not only will you be punished in the Hereafter but also you will be afflicted with tribulation in this world.”3445
Is’haq ibn Ammar reported:
قُلتُ لأبي عَبدِاللهِ عليهِ السلامُ أنَّ رجُلاً استَشارَ في الحَجِّ وكَانَ ضَعيفَ الحالِ فَأَشَرتُ عَليهِ أَنْ لا يحِجَّ.
فقال (الإمام): ما أَخلَقَكَ أنْ تمْرِضَ سَنَةً.
قال (الراوي): فَمرِضتُ سَنَةً.
I said to Imam Sadiq (as) that a man consulted me on going on Hajj but since he was needy, I dissuaded him. The Imam (as) said:
“You will become ill for one year for what you have said.”
“For one year, I became ill.”3546
While elaborating on the philosophy of Hajj, Imam Ridha’ (as) said:
ومَا في ذلِكَ لجَمِيعِ الخَلقِ مِن المَنافِعِ... ومَنفَعةِ مَن في المَشرِقِ والمَغرِبِ ومَن في البَرِّ والبَحرِ ممَّن يحِجُّ وممِّن لا يحِجُّ من تاجِرٍ وجالبٍ وبائعٍ ومُشتَرٍ وكاسِبٍ ومِسكينٍ وقَضاءِ حوائِجِ أهلِ الأطرافِ...
“The benefits of Hajj cover both east and west; those who perform the Hajj rites and those who do not whether they are businessmen, shopkeepers, or poor. People from all classes of societies are blessed with the benefits of Hajj.”3647
During the season of Hajj, the leaders of the Islamic countries converge a forum based on the unity of ideology, compassion, love, purity, and sincerity. So their resolution for implementing laws, dispensing social justice, and safeguarding the human rights, with no aim other than obeying God’s instructions and pleasing Him will benefit all.
By gaining power and supremacy as a result of unity, the Islamic countries can establish good commercial and cultural ties with other nations and gradually make them familiar with the heavenly teachings of Islam. Because of the universal benefits of Hajj, the Holy Qur’an and the traditions so emphatically call people to Hajj.
All the afore-mentioned benefits are some of the life-giving effects of Hajj on the society. Yet this great assembly is held every year but Muslim nations face one another with suspicion, fear one another, and depart without having created any kind of understanding, getting to know one another, and without becoming aware of the treacherous conspiracies hatched for them from outside.
It is really surprising that the power of the religion can hold such great assembly in a single time and place of the ummah but the foreigners’ negative propaganda and destructive colonialist plots cause such dispersion among the ummah that they are dispersed while being together. Such an outlook saddened the Holy Prophet (saw) fourteen centuries ago so much that he expressed his worries about the future of the ummah in the Sacred House and warned Muslims against it among other bitter events.
Abdullah ibn Abbas is quoted as saying:
I was with the Holy Prophet (saw) in the Farewell Hajj. He took the gate of the Kaaba with the hand and while addressing to people, he spoke of the future events. On Hajj, the Holy Prophet said:
يحِجُّ أغنِياءُ أُمّتي لِلنَّزهَةِ ويحِجُّ أَوسَاطُها لِلتّجارَةِ ويحِجُّ فُقَراؤُهُم لِلرّياءِ والسُّمعَةِ، فعِندَها يكُونُ أَقوامٌ يَتَعلّمُونَ القُرآنَ لِغيرِ اللهِ ويَتّخِذُونهُ مَزامِيرَ، ويكونُ أَقوامٌ يَتفقَّهونَ لِغيرِ اللهِ.
“The rich will go to Mecca for amusement, the middle-class for business, and the poor for showing off and fame. At that time, people will learn the Holy Qur’an for purposes other than Allah, recite it as song, and engage in learning (Islamic) jurisprudence for worldly benefits.”3748
We have to confess this bitter fact and admit that the reason of this weakness and decadence among Muslims despite having such sublime program is our failure to understand the spirit and essence of the heavenly teachings of Islam.
As a matter of fact, we have not understood the essence of Islam, accepted it whole-heartedly, or introduced the attractive image of it to the world. Yes, we have to admit this fact humbly. Perhaps God will forgive us for our confession. We are called Muslims while our individual or social ways of living do not conform to the true essence of Islam.
Beyond doubt, the responsibility of us, Muslims, before God, Islam, and the Holy Qur’an is extremely great. Presenting a distorted image of Islam and introducing Hajj as useless are sins subjected to punishment.