Section 4: Pilgrimage to the Sacred House
وَإِذْ بَوَّأْنَا لإِبْرَاهِيمَ مَكَانَ الْبَيْتِ أَن لاَّ تُشْرِكْ بِي شَيْئاً وَطَهّـِرْ بَيْتِيَ لِلطَّآئِفِينَ وَالْقَآئِمِينَ وَالرُّكَّعِ السُّجُودِ
26. “And (remember) when We prepare for Abraham the place of the (holy) House, (saying): ‘Do not associate with Me aught, and sanctify My House for those who make the round (thereof) and stand to pray and bow and prostrate themselves’.”
The event of Ka‘bah and Abraham is something which must not be forgotten.
In relation to the former discussion upon the previous verse concerning the Sacred Mosque and it’s pilgrimage, in this verse, the Qur’an refers to the history of the construction of Ka‘bah by ’Ibrahim (as).
At first, it begins from the reconstruction of Ka‘bah, where it says:
The Qur’anic word /baww’a/ is originally derived from /bawa’/ which means the act of making level the parts of a place and its being plain, then it has been applied to any kind of preparing a place for building.
According to the Islamic narrations recorded in some commentary books, the purpose of this Qur’anic sentence in the abovementioned holy verse, is that Allah showed Abraham the place of the Sacred Mosque which had been built at the time Adam (as) and had been ruined in the Flood of Noah and its signs had been effaced.
A wind blew and brought away the dust over it so that, the basis of the House were made manifest. Or a piece of cloud came and cast a shadow over there; or by any other means, Allah showed and prepared the main place of the House for Abraham. Then he (as), with the help of his son, Ishmael, rebuilt it.
Then the Qur’an adds implying that when the House was ready, Allah ordered Abraham to make the House a center of Monotheism and:
In fact, Abraham (as) was ordered to make clean the House of Ka‘bah and its surroundings from any apparent and spiritual pollutions, in order that the servants of Allah would not think of anything but Allah in that pure place, and they could perform the most important worship of that land, i.e. circumambulation and prayer in a circumstance free from any kind of pollution.
Through the abovementioned verse, the Qur’an points to only three essential elements of a prayer, which, in turn, are: standing, bowing, and prostration, because the rest of them are counted in the shade. Yet, some of the commentators have rendered the Qur’anic word /qa’imin/, here, into ‘the dwellers of Mecca’.
But regarding the rites of circumambulation, bowing, and prostration which have been mentioned before and after it, there is no doubt that the word ‘standing’, here, is in the sense of’ standing in prayer, and many of the Shi‘ah and Sunni commentators, have chosen this meaning, or they have narrated it as an interpretation for it.1
It should also be noted that the Arabic word /rukka‘a/ is the plural form of /raki‘/ (the one who bows), and the word /sujud/ is the plural form of /sajid/ (the one who prostrates), and that there has not been mentioned any linking letter, like /wa/, between them and it has been stated in the form of explanation, is because of nearness of these two worships to each other.
وَأَذِّن فِي النَّاسِ بِالْحَجِّ يَأْتُوكَ رِجَالاً وَعَلَي كُلِّ ضَامِرٍ يَأْتِينَ مِن كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيقٍ
27. “And proclaim among men the pilgrimage; they will come to you on foot and (mounted) on every lean beast, coming from every remote path.”
The present efforts of the saints of Allah will surely affect on behaviour of the coming generations.
After the time when the Sacred House of Ka‘bah was prepared for the worshippers, Allah commanded Abraham as follows:
The Qur’anic word /’aŏŏin/ is derived from /’aŏan/ meaning ‘proclaim’, and the Arabic word /rijal/ is the plural form of /rajil/ in the sense of ‘on foot’. The Arabic term /damir/ means ‘a thin animal’; and the term /fajj/ originally means ‘the distance between two mountains, and later it has been applied to vast roads, while the word /‘amiq/ here means ‘far’.
The narration which has been cited on the commentary of Ali-ibn-’Ibrahim indicates:
“When Abraham (as) received such a commandment, he said:
But Allah told him:
“You do proclaim and I will convey it to them (their ears).”
Then Abraham went up over the station (Maqam) and put his finger upon his ear and shouted loudly towards the East and the West, saying:
“O people! The pilgrim (Hajj) unto the Ancient House has been written (enjoined) for you; so accept the invitation of your Lord!”
Thus, Allah caused his voice to reach the ears of all men, even those who were in the back of fathers and in the womb of mothers; and they answered:
“Yes, we accept. O Allah! Yes, we accept.” And all those who will participate in the rites of Hajj pilgrimage until the Day of Resurrection are totally among those who have accepted the invitation of Abraham (as) on that day.2
Those who come on foot are mentioned in the verse before those who come riding on beast, because their rank before Allah is higher, since they suffer the toleration of this voyage more than the latter.
That is why a tradition narrated from the Prophet (S) indicates that he who goes to Hajj on foot will get seven hundred rewards for each step he takes, while those who are mounted on animals will get seventy rewards.3
Or it is for the sake that it defines the importance of the pilgrim of the Sacred House that they should come toward it by any possible means and not to be ever waiting for a mount.
Using the term /damir/ (a lean animal) in this verse, points to this fact that this path is a way which causes animals to become lean since they pass the hot, dry and grassless deserts, and this is a warning unto us for bearing the difficulties of this way.
Or that they take some animals which are clever, quick, and tolerating. The animals that have become thin in the field of practice and have strong muscles are more suitable while the fat animals are not.
The application of the Qur’anic phrase
refers to this fact that they come to this destination not only from near paths but also from far and remote paths. (The usage of the Arabic word /kull/ here does not mean induction and encompassment, but it means ‘multiplicity’.)
Abul-Futuh Razi, the well-known commentator, explains the interesting biography of a man named Abul-Qasim Bushr-ibn-Muhammad.
This man says:
“When circumambulating the Ka‘bah, I saw a man who was completely old and weak whose face indicated the toil of a traveling that he had suffered. He was walking by the help of a rod when I approached him and asked him: ‘Where do you come from?’
He answered: ‘I come from a very far distance. I have been paving the way for fifty years to come, and now I am here. I have become old and weak because of the toil of traveling’. I said: ‘By Allah this is a great hardship and, at the meantime, it is a good obedience and a sincere love at the presence of Allah.
Hearing my words, he became happy and he showed a pleasant smile to me. Then he recited a poem for me, the content of which meant: visit whom you love, though your house is far away and curtains cause separation between you and him.
Verily the far distance of the way should never hinder you from pilgrimage, because a lover must go to visit his beloved in any case.
Of course, the attraction of the Sacred House is so much so that attracts the hearts full of Faith towards it from all far and near points of the world. Old and young, small and adult, far and near, from any race and tribe the individual may be, he amorously comes towards Him murmuring the holy phrase:
“Yes, I accept. O’ Lord! Yes, I accept’.
He comes to see, with his own eyes, the splendour and manifestations of His Pure Essence in that holy land and to feel His abundant Grace in his own soul.
لِيَشْهَدُوا مَنَافِعَ لَهُمْ وَيَذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللَّهِ فِي أَيَّامٍ مَعْلُومَاتٍ عَلَى مَا رَزَقَهُم مِن بَهِيمَةِ الاَنْعَامِ فَكُلُوا مِنْهَا وَأَطْعِمُوا الْبَآئِسَ الْفَقِيرَ
28. “That they may witness advantages for them and mention the name of Allah during the appointed days over what He has provided them of the cattle quadrupeds (for sacrifice), then eat of them and feed the wretched poor.”
The advantages of Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca are so much and important that if people come from the furthest points of the world it is still worthy.
Imam Sadiq (as) has said that the objective of the word /manafi‘/ (benefits), mentioned in this verse, is the benefits of both this world and Hereafter.4
In this verse, through a very short and expressive sentence, the Qur’an refers to the philosophies of Hajj, indicating that they come to this holy land to observe their benefits with their own eyes.
The verse says:
The explanation of the commentators upon the Qur’anic word /manafi‘/ (benefits) in this verse are abundant, while it is quietly clear that there is no limitation in this word. It envelops all the spiritual blessings and benefits, as well as the material advantages. It encompasses not only the individual and social interests, but also all of the political, economical, and ethical philosophies.
Yes, the Muslims of all the rigions of the world, and from all levels of people, should go there to witness these benefits. What a beautiful meaning! To witness them; that is what they have heard of, they may see it with their eyes.
A narration from Imam Sadiq (as), recorded in Kitab-ul-Kafi, denotes that once Rabi‘-ibn-Khuthiym asked him (as) about the commentary of this word, and he (as) answered:
“It envelops the benefits of both this world and the Hereafter.”5
These various benefits will be explained in details later when commenting on the verse, Allah Willing.
Then the holy Qur’an adds:
Since the main attention in the rites of Hajj is to the aspects which relate to Allah, and reflect the spirit of this great worship, then, in the abovementioned verse, among the whole ceremonies of sacrifice only the subject of ‘mentioning the name of Allah’, which is one of ritual conditions, has been stated.
This meaning refers to the fact that, at the time of sacrifice, their entire attention is wholly unto Allah (s.w.t.) and His acceptance, and the usage of its meat comes in the second degree.
To sacrifice animals, in fact, is a secret for preparation to be sacrificed in the cause of Allah, as we are acquainted with the story of Abraham (as) and his sacrifice, Ishmael (as). By their action, they announced that they were ready to donate everything in His cause, even for offering the soul.
However, by this statement, the noble Qur’an negates the blasphemous custom of idolaters who used to mention the names of their idols at the time of sacrifice, and who had polluted this theistic ceremony to polytheism.
At the end of the verse, the Holy Qur’an implies that you can both eat of the meat of the animals which you sacrifice and feed the distressed ones in want.
The verse says:
In the commentary upon the holly verse there is also this probability that the purpose of mentioning the name of Allah during the ‘appointed days’ is the act of saying “Allahu Akbar” and thanksgiving and praise of Allah during these days for His infinite blessings, especially for the cattle quadrupeds which He has provided as sustenance for human beings and that they benefit from all parts of their bodies in their life.
1. Hajj is a general mobilization and the parade of monotheists.
2. Hajj is the beautiful feature of love and devotion.
3. Hajj is the survival of the memories and services of some divine prophets, such as Abraham (as), Ishmael (as) and Muhammad (S).
4. Hajj is the international center of the crowds of the Muslims.
5. Hajj is the center of communication for exchanging the news and information of the world of Islam.
6. Hajj is the economical support for the Muslims and the place of supplying jobs for thousands of Muslim individuals.
7. Hajj is the best time and opportunity for the Islamic propaganda, the divulgence of plots, advocating the oppressed, acquittance from polytheists, and creating fear and terror in their hearts.
8. Hajj is the best chance for repentance the remembrance of death and Resurrection, being ceased from everything, observing the desert of ‘Arafat and Mash‘ar, and waiting for the Promised Mahdi (May Allah hasten his glad advent).
Note the following Points:
In the abovementioned verse, Allah (s.w.t.) commands us to remember Him during ‘the appointed days’. This Divine commandment has occurred in Surah Al-Baqarah, No. 2, verse 203 in another form; it says:
Upon the meaning of the phrase: ‘the appointed days’ and that whether this phrase has the same meaning which is mentioned in Surah Al-Baqarah or not, the commentators are divided and the Islamic narrations are also different in this regard.
According to some of the Islamic narrations, a group of the commentators believe that the purpose of ‘the appointed days’ is the beginning ten days of Zil-Hajjah, the days that enlighten all hearts.
But another group of them, according to some other Islamic narrations, have said that both of these two phrases refer to the days of ‘Tashriq’. They have taken such days as three days, and sometimes they also add the tenth day of the month to them, i.e. Feast of Sacrifice.
The Qur’anic sentence recited in Surah Al-Baqarah which says
shows that the days of ‘Tashriq’ are not more than three days, because hastening in them causes that one day decreases and they turn to become two days.
But, regarding to the fact that after mentioning the phrase: ‘the appointed days’ in the verse under discussion, the act of sacrifice has been referred to, and we know that offering in sacrifice is usually done on the tenth day, this matter is verified that ‘the appointed days’ are the beginning ten days of Zil-Hajjah which ends on the tenth day, the day of ‘Sacrifice’. Thus, the first interpretation, in which the duality of these two concepts is referred to, is strengthened.
Yet, with regard to the similarity of the phrases of these two verses, this matter is mostly understood that both of them refer to the same subject. The aim in both of them is the remembrance and mentioning the name of Allah during an appointed time which begins from the tenth of Zil-Hajjah and ends on the thirteenth day of the month.
One of the instances of the remembrance of the name of Allah, of course, is mentioning His sacred name at the time of sacrifice.
A lot of Islamic narrations indicate that the objective of mentioning Allah during these days is a special Takbir which is said after the noon prayer on the day of Feast Sacrifice, and it will be continued for fifteen ritual prayers (i.e. it will end after the morning prayer of the thirteenth day of the month. It is as follows:
/’Allahu ’akbaru ’Allahu ’akbar. la ’ilaha ’illallahu wallahu ’akbar. ’Allahu ’akbar wa lillahil hamd. ’Allahu ’akbaru ‘ala ma hadana, wallahu ’akbaru ‘ala ma razaqna min bahimatil ’an‘am/
By the way, some of the narrations clearly indicate that reciting Takbir in these fifteen times is particular to those who are in the land of Muna and during the days of Hajj, but those who are in other lands and cities will say these takbirat (magnifyings) only after ten ritual prayers.
(It begins after the noon prayer of Feast Sacrifice and ends after the morning prayer on the twelfth day of the month.
It is also noteworthy that the Islamic narrations concerning Takbir certify that the holy word /ŏikr/ mentioned in the above verse is general and is not particular to the mentioning Allah at the time of offering sacrifice, though this general concept envelops that aspect, too. (Be careful)
The rites of Hajj, as other worships, have a lot of blessings and effects upon individuals and the Islamic society. If they may be accomplished according to a proper program and beneficially used, they can annually be the source of a new transformation in the Islamic societies.
These great holy rites, in fact, contain four dimensions, each of which is more profound and more beneficial.
The most important philosophy of Hajj is its ethical transformation that comes into being within some human beings.
The rites of ‘the state of ritual consecration’ totally bring man out of the material ceremonies, apparent privileges, colorful clothings and ornamentations; and by means of forbidding some pleasures for the sake of paying to self-improvement, which is among the duties of the person who is clothed in a pilgrim state, it separates him from the world of matter and takes him into a world full of Light, Spirituality, and serenity.
It causes those who, in ordinary status, feel the heavy burden of illusory privileges, degrees, and prize-medals on their shoulders; to be suddenly in lightness, ease, and peace of mind.
Then, the rites of Hajj will be done one after another. These rites may strengthen the spiritual interests of man with his Lord more and more every moment, and make his relation with Him closer and stronger. They will separate him from his dark and sinful past and link him to a clear, bright, and peaceful future.
Specially that the rites of Hajj, in every step, in fact, remind the memorials of Abraham, the iconoclast, his son, Ishmael, and Hajar, Ishmael’s mother. They also illustrate their struggles, forbearances, and donations before the one’s eyes every now and then.
Also paying attention to the fact that the region of Mecca, in general, and the Sacred Mosque, Ka‘bah, and the place of circumambulation, in particular, remind the memorials of the Prophet of Islam (S), the great leaders of Islam, and the struggles of the Muslims in the advent of Islam, this ethical revolution seems to become deeper in him so that he spiritually sees the features of the Prophet (p.b.u.h), Ali (as) and other great leaders of Islam in every corner of the Sacred Mosque, and hears their voices by his heart.
Yes, all of these things with together prepare the ground of an ethical revolution in the receptive hearts, and indescribably change the face of the life of men in a manner that a new shape of living begins in his life.
It is not undue that some Islamic narrations denote that whoever performs the rites of Hajj completely comes out from his sins like the day when his mother brought him forth.
Yes, Hajj is a second birth for the Muslims; a birth that causes a new human life to begin.
Of course, it is not necessary to be mentioned that these blessings and effects, and those which will be referred to later, are not for those who suffice to the outward actions of Hajj and neglect the inward aspects of it; nor for those who have taken Hajj as a means of pleasure, traveling and sight-seeing, or for preference, hypocrisy, and supplying some personal material means, and have never been acquainted with the spirit of Hajj. Their share is merely that which they have obtained.
As the statement of one the great jurisprudents indicates, the rites of Hajj, which deliver the sincerest and deepest worships, can be the most effective means for the settlement of the political aims of Islam.
Attending to Allah is the spirit of worship, and attending to the servants of Allah is the spirit of politics. In Hajj pilgrimage, these two are so mingled into each other that they will be one thing, and besides that, Hajj is an effective factor to unite the rows of Muslims.
Hajj is an effective fitting factor for struggling against the national bigotries and racialism and being limited inside the geographical boundaries.
Hajj, indeed, is a means for breaking some oppressions and annihilating the cruel treatments of some systems governing in Islamic countries.
Hajj is a means of communication for transferring the political news of Islamic countries from one point to another point. And, finally, Hajj is an effective factor for breaking the chains of captivity and colonialism in some societies to make the Muslims free.
That was why when some cruel governors, such as Umayyads and Abbasides, were ruling over the holy lands of Islam and controlled all communications between the groups of Muslim people to crush any movement for freedom, the advent of Hajj season was a gate open to freedom and communication of the members of the Islamic great society with each other and, also, exchanging the different political problems.
So, when the first Imam, Amir-ul-Mu‘mineen Ali (as), was enumerating the philosophy of different worships, in relation to Hajj, he said that Allah legitimated the rites of Hajj (pilgrimage to the Sacred Mosque in Mecca) as a support for the religion of Islam.6
It is not undue that, one of the famous politicians who was non-Muslim, of course, in his lecture said:
“Woe to Muslims if they do not comprehend the meaning of Hajj, and woe to their enemies if they comprehend its meaning.”
Even in some Islamic narrations, Hajj has been considered as a Holy Struggle for the weak persons. It is a Holy Struggle in which, by their participation in its gathering, even the old men and feeble women can show the glory and grandeur of Islam, and cause the back of their enemies tremble by means of the rings of their prayer rows around Ka‘bah and showing their unity by the loud sound of Takbir.
The sincere relation of different groups of people and levels during the days of Hajj pilgrimage can be the most effective factor of cultural exchange and communicating thoughts.
The great crowd of Hajj is, in particular, the natural and real representative of the different groups of Muslim peoples of the world. (There is no artificial factor effective in the decision of the pilgrims of the Ka‘bah to go towards it, and the pilgrims gathered in Mecca are from all groups and races of Muslims who speak in different languages.)
Therefore, some Islamic narrations indicate that one of the privileges of Hajj is the distribution of the news and signs of the Messenger of Allah unto all parts of the world.
Husham-ibn-Hakam, one of the knowledgeable companions of Imam Sadiq (as) says that once he asked him about the philosophy of Hajj and the circumambulation of Ka‘bah and he (as) said:
“Verily Allah created the people… and commanded them something for the obedience of the religion and their affairs of the world, and enjoined them of the gathering of the people of the east and west (in the rites of the Hajj) in order that they (the Muslims) know each other well (being acquainted with their state) and that every nation may use capital for merchant from one city to another… and for the purpose that the effects of the Messenger of Allah (S) and his news should be acknowledged and in order that people might mention them and do and they never forget them.”7
For this very reason, in the periods of the tyrannical rulers, when the cruel Caliphs and the kings did not let the Muslims introduce and spread these ordinances, by taking benefit from this opportunity, they could solve their difficulties and, by contacting with the Imam (as) and the great scholars of Islam, they would unveil the Islamic laws and the Prophet’s rules.
On the other side, Hajj can be turned into a great cultural gathering, and the wise and learned men of the world of Islam, during the time when they are in Mecca, can come together and exhibit their thoughts and originative faculties.
In principle, one of the great misfortunes is that the boundaries of the Islamic countries are one of the causes of their culture separation. The Muslim people of every country think only of themselves. In this case the connected Islamic society tears into pieces and then will be annihilated. Yes, Hajj can hinder this inauspicious fate to happen.
How interesting the statement of Imam Sadiq (as) is, at the end of the narration of Husham-ibn-Hakam, where he (as) says:
“If every nation speak only about its own country and cities and only think about the things therein, they will meet destruction and those countries will turn into ruins, their interests will fall and the true righteous persons will remain unknown.”8
In spite of what a group may think, utilizing the great gathering of Hajj for strengthening the economic foundations of Islamic countries, not only does not contrast the spirit of Hajj, but also, according to the Islamic narrations, it forms one of its philosophies.
What may hinder Muslims that they lay the foundation of a great Islamic common Market in that great assembly? They can prepare the grounds of common commercial exchanges among themselves in a way that neither their rightful benefits be devoured by their enemies nor does their economy depend on foreigners, and this behaviour is not mamonism, but it is just a worship and Holy Struggle.
Therefore, Husham-ibn-Hakam in the same narration from Imam Sadiq (as), among the philosophies of Hajj, explicitly refers to this fact that one of the goals of Hajj was enforcing the commerce of the Muslims and preparing the facilities of economic relations.
In another tradition from the same Imam (as), upon the commentary of the abovementioned verse, he (as) says:
“The purpose of the verse which says:
is obtaining sustenance.
Then when one comes out of the state of ritual consecration and fulfils the rites of Hajj in the same period of Hajj, he can sell and buy (things), (and this action not only is not a sin but also deserves rewards).”10
This very meaning has been narrated in a tradition from Ali-ibn-Musar-Rida (as) upon the philosophies of Hajj, at the end of which there has been said:
“That they may witness advantages for them.”11
This statement denotes that this Qur’anic phrase envelops both the spiritual advantages and material advantages, all of which from one viewpoint are totally spiritual.
Shortly, if this magnificent worship be practiced correctly and completely, and in that period, when the pilgrims activity attend that holy land and their hearts are receptive, they utilize this grand opportunity for solving the different problems of the Islamic society by the formation of various gatherings for political, cultural and economical affairs, this worship can be useful from any point of view. And, perhaps, it is for the same reason that Imam Sadiq (as) says:
“As long as the Ka‘bah exists the religion (of Islam) exists.”12
Also Ali (as) said:
“(fear) Allah (and) keep Allah in view in the matter of your Lord’s House (Ka‘bah). Do not leave it empty so long as you live, because if it is abandoned you will not be spared.”13
And, again, it is because of this matter that there has been introduced a large chapter in the Islamic narrations under this title, indicating that if it happens that Muslims decide to stop going to Hajj pilgrimage for one year, it is obligatory to the Islamic government to send some of them to Mecca by force.14
It is clearly understood from the abovementioned verses that the purpose of offering sacrifice, in addition to the spiritual aspects and to be nigh to the presence of Allah, is that the meat of sacrifice should be used in necessary places of usage: a part of it may be used by the one who has offered the sacrifice, and the rest of it should be given to the needy poor people to use.
On the other side, the banning of immoderation is not some-thing to be concealed to anybody, since both the Qur’an, and Islamic narrations, and the reason of wisdom have proved it.
Thus, it can be conclude from all these statements that Muslims are not allowed to waste the meat of sacrifices in the land of Muna or let it be putrid or berried in the ground; and surely the obligation of offering sacrifice for the pilgrims to Mecca cannot be an evidence for such an action.
Therefore, if there is not any needy poor person in that day and in that locality, the meat of sacrifices can be carried to some other regions to be consumed.
Some Islamic narrations indicate that it is forbidden to take the meat of sacrifice out of the land of Muna or the sacred territory of Mecca. This idea relates to the times when there were enough consumers therein.15
That is why a tradition narrated from Imam Sadiq (as) indicates that once one of the companions of the Imam, regarding this matter, asked him and he (as) said:
“We used to say that nothing of it should be brought out (from Muna) because people were in need of it, but today, that the people (and their sacrifices) have been increased, taking it out does not matter.”16
But, fortunately, at the present time, as a result of the awareness of the Muslims and their appropriate action in this regard, there have been supplied some modern means and they receive the available sacrifices irrespective of sheep, cow and camel, after that they are killed legitimately.
They will pack them hygienically in an excellent form, and maintain them in some equipped refrigerators to give them for the use of the poor and needy weak people.
ثُمَّ لْيَقْضُوا تَفَثَهُمْ وَلْيُوفُوا نُذُورَهُمْ وَلْيَطَّوَّفُوا بِالْبَيْتِ الْعَتِيقِ
29. “Then let them get cleaned (smarten themselves) and fulfil their rows, and let them circumambulate the Ancient House (the Ka‘bah).”
In some worships, like prayer, hygiene and cleanliness is the condition to begin them, and in some others, like Hajj, it is a part of them, while in some instances, like studying or recitation of the Qur’an as well as while one keeps to the mosques, it is counted as the condition of its perfection.
However, the practice of cleaning off dirt and removing filth is a severe command, not a mere recommendation, as the verse implies that the pilgrims of the Sacred Mosque when they have offered sacrifice on the day of sacrifice they should get cleaned and smarten themselves.
By the way, the dirt and filth is from the person himself, but the advantages of Hajj are from the grace of Allah which He has appointed for him.
However, following the statements about the rites of Hajj, which were dealt with through the former verses, this holy verse refers to another part of the rites of Hajj.
At first, it says:
After that, they must circumambulate the Ka‘bah, the House which Allah has made secure from the evil of accidents and has made it free.
The verse continues saying:
The Arabic word /tafth/, as many of the philologists and famous commentators have said, means: dirt and the extra things of the body, like nail and some of its hair. Some other commentators said: it is originally called to the dirt under the nail, and the like.17
In some Islamic narrations, this phrase has repeatedly been rendered into: ‘paring the nails, cleaning the body, laying aside the pilgrim garment’. In other words, this phrase refers to the act of ‘hair cut’ which is one of the rites of Hajj. In some narrations, it has also been rendered into ‘shaving the head’ which is one of the way of ‘hair cut’.
In Kanz-ul-‘Irfan, Ibn-‘Abbas has been narrated that upon the commentary of this verse, he said:
“The purpose of it is the accomplishment of all the rites of Hajj.”18
Thus, on the day of Feast Sacrifice and in the ground of Muna, beside Mecca, there are three obligatory acts for the pilgrims:
1. Throwing seven small pebbles toward the rank of Satan, this is called: “Stone-throwing”.
2. The act of sacrifice, which was formerly referred to in the explanation of the previous holy verse.
3. Shaving the head or cutting hair and nail, which have been mentioned in this holy verse as obligatory, and after that putting an end to wearing the pilgrim garment, on that day or the days follow, there comes the turn of fulfilment the circumambulation of pilgrimage in the Sacred Mosque and its prayer, and running between Safa and Marwah mountains, Nisa’ circumambulation (circumambulating of Ka‘bah) and its circumambulation prayer, all of which must be performed.
Some have narrated, of course, that the objective of the last phrase of the abovementioned verse is Nisa’ circumambulation after which the sexual intercourse with wives will become allowed.
This ritual circumambulation is done after the Hajj circumambulation, because after the Hajj circumambulation everything will become permissible except one’s wife, and after the performance of Nisa’ circumambulation one’s wife will become permissible, too.
It is interesting that in a tradition narrated from Imam Sadiq (as) he commented on the beginning phrase of this verse as ‘meeting Imam’; and when he (as) was asked for more explanation about that subject and on the commentary of the abovementioned verse in connection with paring the nails and the like, the Imam (as) added:
“The Qur’an has an exterior and an interior.”
That is, the question of ‘meeting Imam’, here, relates to the interior of the verse.19
This tradition may refer to a delicate point, indicating that pilgrim of the Sacred Mosque, as he cleanses the dirt of the body after performing the rites of Hajj, similarly he must remove the pollution of his soul and mind by meeting the Imam (as) who is his leader, in particular that during some long periods, the tyrannical Caliphs, in ordinary conditions, did not allow people to have such a meeting. Thus, the best opportunity for reaching this aim could be obtained in the rites of Hajj.
Concerning this subject, Imam Baqir (as), in a tradition, said:
“The completion of Hajj (for a person) is meeting the Imam.”20
In fact, both of them are of the kinds of cleanliness: one is purification of outside from dirt and pollutions, and the other is purification of interior from the dirt of negligence and ethical ungodliness.
The purpose of the phrase ‘fulfil their vows’ is that, at the advent of Islam, a great deal of people used to make a vow with the intention that if they succeeded to go to Mecca, in addition to the rites of Hajj, they would offer some extra sacrifices, and give some alms, or do some benevolence; and sometimes it happened that they forgot their vows when they reached home. The Qur’an emphasizes that none should ever neglect to fulfil one’s vows.
The Arabic word /’atiq/ is derived from /rataqa/ which means to become free from the bond of captivity. The usage of this word for Ka‘bah may be for this view that the Ka‘bah is free from the bond of ownership of the mortals and in no time it had a possessor, save Allah, and it had ever been free from the domination of the tyrants, like ’Abraham.
Concerning Ka‘bah, Imam Baqir (as) said:
“It has neither a dweller nor a possessor, but it is a Free House.”21
One of the meanings of /‘atiq/ is ‘honored’ and ‘worthy’. This concept is clearly seen in the House of Ka‘bah, too.
Another meaning of /‘atiq/ is ‘ancient’; as Raqib cites in Mufradat:
“‘Atiq is something which is prior from the point of time, or place, or rank.”
This is also clear that the Sacred Mosque is the oldest center of Monotheism, and as the Qur’an says, it is the first House which was set up for human beings as a guidance.
However, it is possible that this word used for the Sacred House is because of all these privileges that it has, though every one of the commentators has pointed to a part of them, or in each of different narrations some particular points have been referred to separately.
Upon the objective of the Arabic term /tawaf/, mentioned in the last sentence of the abovementioned verse, the opinions of the commentators are divided.
(We know that after the performance of sacrifice in Mecca, pilgrims must accomplish two circumambulations, one of which is usually known as the circumambulation of Hajj (pilgrimage), and the second one is called Nisa’ circumambulation.)
Some of the jurisprudents and commentators believe that since there is no condition mentioned in the text of the verse, then its concept is general and envelops both the circumambulation of Hajj (pilgrimage) and Nisa’ circumambulations and the circumambulation of ‘Umrah (lesser pilgrimage)22
It is in the case that some others believe that the objective of it is only the circumambulation of pilgrimage (Hajj) which will be obligatory after coming out from the pilgrim garment.
But as it was pointed out before, in the numerous holy narrations quoted from the Ahl-ul-Bayt (as), there has been declared that the purpose of it is ‘Nisa’ circumambulation’.
Imam Sadiq (as) upon the commentary of the Qur’anic sentence which says:
“The purpose is Nisa’ circumambulation”.23
And this very meaning has been narrated from Imam Ali-ibn-Mus-ar-Rida (as), too24. This is the same circumambulation which the Sunnites called in Arabic /Tawaf-i-Wida‘/ (Farewell circumambulation).
However, according to the Islamic narrations, the last commentary seems stronger, specially that from the first phrase of the verse this may also understood that besides purifying the body from dirt and extra hairs, to complete it, some perfume should be used too.
And we know that using perfume in Hajj is allowed only after circumambulation running and pilgrimage; and naturally there remains no other obligatory circumambulation, in this situation, except Nisa’ circumambulation.
ذَلِكَ وَمَن يُعَظّـِمْ حُرُمَاتِ اللَّهِ فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّهُ عِندَ رَبّـِهِ وَاُحِلَّتْ لَكُمُ الاَنْعَامُ إِلاَّ مَا يُتْلَي عَلَيْكُمْ فَاجْتَنِبُوا الرِّجْسَ مِنَ الاَوْثَانِ وَاجْتَنِبُوا قَوْلَ الزُّورِ
30. “Such (is the pilgrimage); and whoever magnifies the sacred things of Allah, it is better for him with his Lord; and the cattle are made lawful for you save that which has been recited to you, therefore avoid the filth of the idols and avoid false speech.”
There have been cited many aspects for the Qur’anic Phrase /qaul-az-zur/(false speech) mentioned in the above verse, some of these denotation expansions are as lie, perjured witness and unlawful songs.
There have been mentioned some examples for the sanctities of Allah, such as: the law of Allah, the Book of Allah, and Ahl-ul-Bayt of the Messenger of Allah (as), the reverence of which is necessary to be kept.25
The act of perjured witness has been mentioned in the row of polytheism or disbelief in Allah, and the action of ‘false speech’ is one of the major sins.26 A Tradition from Imam Sadiq (as) denotes that the objective of ‘false speech’ is unlawful singing.27
However, in this holy verse, as a conclusion, the Qur’an, pointing the former holy verses, implies that the program of Hajj and its rites are the same things which were mentioned before.28
Then, in order to emphasize the importance of the duties which were stated, the Qur’an adds implying that whoever takes the Divine programs magnificent and protects their reverence, it will be better for him with his Lord.
The above verse says:
It is clear that the Qur’anic term /hurumat/, here, refers to the deeds and rites of Hajj. It is possible that the respect of the House of Ka‘bah, in particular, and the sacred premises of Mecca, in general, may also be added to them.
Therefore, the interpretation of it into /muharramat/ which means whatever has been prohibited of, in general, or all of the obligations, contrast the apparent of the verse.
By the way, this is noteworthy that the Arabic word /hurumat/ is the plural form of the /hurmah/ which originally means something the respect of which must be kept and no disgrace should be shown to it.
Then, appropriating to the divine ordinances of pilgrim garment, the Qur’an refers to the lawfulness of the cattle, such as: camel, cow, and sheep.
The verse says:
may refer to the prohibition of hunting in the Sacred Zone which has been mentioned in Surah Al-Ma’idah, No. 5, verse 95 that was revealed later, and says:
Also, it may refer to the last sentence of the verse under discussion concerning the obligation of the sacrifices which used to be killed for idols, since we know the lawfulness of the animals is only when the name of Allah is recited to them at the moment of sacrifice, not the name of idols, nor any other names.
At the end of this verse, two more commandments have been stated in relation to the rites of Hajj and struggle against the traditions of the Age of Ignorance.
The Arabic term /’auan/ is the plural form of /waan/ in the sense of the stones which were worshipped by the people in the Age of Ignorance. Here, the word /’auan/ is the qualification of the word /rijs/ (filth) which has occurred before it. Thus it says that ‘filth’ is the same as idols.
This matter is also noteworthy that the idol worshippers of the Age of Ignorance used to pour the blood of the animals they sacrificed over the heads and faces of their idols. This action caused the idols to get a very ugly, disgraceful and hateful scenery, and the abovementioned meaning may refer to that either.
The second commandment is that ‘false speech’ should be avoided of.
The verse says:
Some commentators believe that it refers to the quality of the manner of the polytheists in the rites of Hajj in the Age of Ignorance when they were to recite /labbayk/, because they had distorted /labbayk/, which is the full reflection of Monotheism and worshipping God, so sharply that it included the most hideous and blasphemous meanings.
They used to say:
“Yes, we accepted Your invitation and came toward You. O, Lord! You have not any partner save the partner who is Yours. You are the possessor of him and what he possesses.”29
This speech has certainly been a futile and vain statement and it is the extension of ‘False Speech’ which originally means a ‘False Speech’, and it is out of the limit of moderation.
Yet, the attention of the verse to the deeds of polytheists in the rites of Hajj in the Age of Ignorance does not hinder the generality of its concept which is avoiding of any kind of idol in any shape and form, and avoiding any false speech in any sort and quality.
So, in some of the Islamic narrations the Arabic term /’auan/ has been rendered into chess (a kind of gambling), and the phrase ‘False Speech’ has been rendered into ‘unlawful singing’ and ‘perjured witness’, that, in fact, as some commentators have said, this is general, not in the particular concept about these affairs.
A tradition from the Prophet of Islam (S) indicates that one day it happened that he stood up and made a sermon among people, in which he said:
“False witness is equal to associating something with Allah.”
Then he (S) recited this holy verse:
This tradition is a hint to the vastness of the scope of the meaning of this holy verse.
حُنَفَآءَ لِلَّهِ غَيْرَ مُشْرِكِينَ بِهِ وَمَن يُشْرِكْ بِاللَّهِ فَكَاَنَّمَا خَرَّ مِنَ السَّمآءِ فَتَخْطَفُهُ الطَّيْرُ أَوْ تَهْوي بِهِ الرِّيحُ فِي مَكَانٍ سَحِيقٍ
31. “(Fulfil the rites of Hajj while) being true in Faith for Allah, not associating (anything) with Him, and whoever associates with Allah (anything), it is as though he had fallen from heaven and the birds snatch him away, or the wind carries him off to a far distant place.”
Pure Monotheism causes everything to be worthy while polytheism often causes the best beings to become worthless.
Hoopoe, which believed in the Lord of the world, became the factor of the guidance of the people an area because of the eager and interest that it had for the guidance of the idolaters,31 but a human may fall, because of polytheism, so that he becomes the food of some animals.
Therefore, the end of attaching any power, except the power of Allah, is perdition, even that of the most powerful government.
In the discussions through the former verses, the emphasis was laid on the subject of monotheism and avoiding any kind of idol and idolatry.
The verses under discussion pursue the same important matter, where it says:
“(Fulfil the rites of Hajj while) being true in Faith for Allah, not associating (anything) with Him…”
The Qur’anic word /hunafa’/ is the plural form of /hanif/ which means a person who, avoiding aberration and deviation, tends to the straight forwardness and equilibrium and, in other words he paves the Straight Path, since the Arabic word /hanaf/ means ‘incline’ and incline from any aberration leads man to going on the straight path.
Thus, the abovementioned verse refers to the subject of sincerity and intention with divine motive as the main motive in Hajj and worships in general, because the spirit of worship is sincerity and sincerity is that fact in which there is no motive of polytheism and things other than Allah.
Imam Baqir (as), upon the commentary of the Qur’anic word /hanif/ in a tradition, said:
“Hanif is the same nature on which people are created, and there is no change in the creation of Allah.”
Then he (as) added, saying:
“Allah has set Monotheism in the nature of man.”32
The commentary mentioned in this tradition, in fact, is a hint to the main root of sincerity, i.e. the monotheistic nature, from which the intention with divine motive originates.
Then the Qur’an demonstrates the condition of polytheists very clearly and expressively which shows their fall, misery, and annihilation.
It continues saying:
In fact, heaven is an implicit declaration for ‘monotheism’ and polytheism causes the fall from this heaven. It is natural that the stars glow in this heaven and the Moon and the Sun illuminate therein. So happy is who is at least like a bright star in this heaven, if he is not like the Sun or the Moon.
When a person falls from this height, he will be involved in one of these two painful fates: either he will be the prey to the carrion-kite birds in the middle of the way; or, in other words, by losing this assured station, he will be captured in the claws of low desires and restive passions each of which snatches and destroys a part of his entity; or if he could escape from them safely, he will be taken by a fatal storm which throws him far away in a corner so harshly that his body will be scattered and every particle of it will be thrown here and there.
This storm seems to be indirectly Satan who always lies in ambush.
Admittedly, he who falls from heaven with the increasing speed his body naturally loses the ability of making decision and every moment he approaches annihilation and at last will perish.
Yes, he who loses the station of the heaven of the monotheism, will not be able to take therein of his Fate, and the further he goes forth, the more his speed of falling increases, and finally he loses his whole capital of his humanity.
Truly, there will not be found a parable more clear and lively than this parable for polytheism.
This matter is also noteworthy that it has been proved today that, in free falling (drop), man has no weight, and that is why for the space travelers to practice the state of weightlessness usually freefalling is applied. The state of extraordinary anxiety that a person feels at the time of falling, is because of this very weightlessness.
Yes, the person who goes from Faith toward Polytheism, and loses his firm support, will be left in such a state of weightlessness inside his own soul and, consequently, an extraordinary anxiety and worry illuminates his entity.
ذَلِكَ وَمَن يُعَظّـِمْ شَعَآئِرَ اللَّهِ فَإِنَّهَا مِن تَقْوَي الْقُلُوبِ
32. “That (is the command); and whoever holds in honour the rites of Allah, verily it is (the reflection) of the piety of the hearts.”
In other verses the Qur’an has explicitly considered two rites of the rites of Hajj among the symbols of Allah. One is Safa and Marwah, and the other is the camel of sacrifice, but the symbols of Allah are not confined to these two, because all the processional worships, such as Friday prayer, congregation prayer, and the whole rites of Hajj are symbols of Allah.
Virtue is of the spiritual states, the existence of which can be recognized by some effects and signs, since there is not so much difference between sin and reward in the apparent affairs.
For instance, often apparently the sincere prayer and hypocritical prayer seem the same; and the thing which causes one person to be valuable and the other worthless, is that spirit and the innate of the matter which relate to the hearts.
Thus, the interior piety must have some exterior effects, too. Whoever is heedless to slogans, in fact, his heartily piety is little, and whoever magnifies the slogans of Allah and respects the signs of Divine religion and the flags of His obedience, this matter in him originates from ‘the piety of the hearts’.
The verse says:
The Qur’anic word /ša‘a’ir/ is the plural form of /ša‘irah/ which means (symbol). Thus, the phrase /ša‘a’ir allah/ means the symbols of Allah which consist of the tittles of the Divine religion, general programs, and whatever is outstanding at the first facing with this religion, among which are the rites of Hajj which cause man to remember Allah (s.w.t.).
No doubt, the rites of Hajj are among the slogans that had been meant in this holy verse, specially the act of offering sacrifice which has explicitly been counted as a part of slogans in verse 36 of the current Surah.
But it is clear that the generality of the concept of the verse due to all Islamic symbols are still valid, and there is no evidence for the specialization of it to only sacrifice or the whole rites of Hajj, in particular that the Qur’an, concerning the sacrifice of Hajj with the help of /min/, which is used for distinction, reiterates that the sacrifice is one of those symbols, as Surah Al-Baqarah, No. 2, verse 158, indicates that Safa and Marwah are from symbols of Allah (s.w.t.), where it says:
Shortly speaking, all of what have been recorded in the religious programs and cause man to remember Allah and His religion are symbols of Allah and dignifying them is the sign of piety of the hearts.
This matter is also notable that the purpose of ‘to dignify’, according to what some of the commentators have said, is not the physical bigness of the sacrifice and the like, but the reality of its veneration is meant which can promote the rank and situation of these divine symbols in the thoughts and minds, outwardly and inwardly, and fulfil what is fit for their respect and glorification.
The relation of this deed with the piety of the hearts is also clear, because, besides that glorification is a part of what we intend, it happens frequently that ‘the pretending persons’ or hypocrites pretend to the glorification of the symbols, but since it does not originate from the piety of their hearts, it is worthless.
The true glorification belongs to those who possess the piety of the hearts, and we know that piety and the soul of virtuousness and responsibility in the face of the Divine commandments is something that the center of which is heart, and from it is that the body is affected.
Therefore, it can be said that the reverence and glorification of the Divine symbols are from the signs of the piety of the hearts.
A tradition from the Prophet of Islam (S) denotes that once he pointed to his chest and said:
“The reality of piety is here.”
لَكُمْ فِيهَا مَنَافِعُ إِلَي أَجَلٍ مُسَمًّي ثُمَّ مَحِلُّهَآ إِلَي الْبَيْتِ الْعَتِيقِ
33. “You have benefits in them till an appointed time, then their place of sacrifice is by the Ancient House, (the ka‘bah).”
Some Islamic narrations indicate that a group of people believed that when they appointed a camel, or one of other animals, as a sacrifice, and they brought it with them from a near or far distance toward the place of virtual consecration and from there toward Mecca, they should not ride on it, nor use its milk. They used to think that the animal was entirely separated from them.
The noble Qur’an negated this superstitious thought, where it implies that there are benefits in these animals of sacrifice for you until when the day of sacrifice comes.
The holy verse says:
In an Islamic tradition we read that once, on the way to Mecca, the holy Prophet (S) passed by a man who was walking with much difficulty while he was leading a camel and no one was riding on it. The Prophet (S) told him to ride on it, and he answered the Messenger of Allah (S) that the camel was for sacrifice.
The Prophet (S) said:
“woe on you, ride on it!”33
In some narrations, which have been quoted from Ahl-ul-Bayt (as), this meaning has also been emphasized on.
For example, Abubasir narrates from Imam Sadiq (as) who upon the commentary of this holy verse said:
“If (the owner of the animal) needs its riding, he can ride on it, but he must not put it in trouble, and if it (the animal) has milk, he can milk it, but not extremely.”34
In fact, the abovementioned order is a moderate style which is between two excessive manners. On one side, some pilgrims did not observe the respect of the animals of sacrifice at all, and sometimes they killed them in their city and used their meat, which has been referred to in Surah Al-Ma’idah, No. 5, verse 2, which says:
And, on the other side, some others treated so excessively that as soon as the name of sacrifice was called to an animal, they neither used its milk, nor did they ride on it, even though they were coming from a far place to Mecca. This situation has been counted permissible in the above verse.
However, at the end of the verse, regarding the fate of the sacrifice, the Qur’an says:
Thus, before that the sacrificial animal reaches the place of sacrifice, it can be taken benefit of, such as milking and riding, and after reaching there the duty of sacrificing must be done upon the animal.
According to what the jurisprudents have said, based on the Islamic evidences, if the sacrificial animal relates to Hajj, it must be slaughtered in Muna, but if it is for ‘single minor Hajj’ the animal must be slaughtered in Mecca.
So, since the verses under discussion are about the rites of Hajj, the Qur’anic phrase /bayt-ul-‘atiq/ (the House of Ka‘bah), here, must mean in the vast scope of the concept of the word, which envelops the suburb of Mecca (Muna), too.
- 1. The Commentaries: Al-Mizan, Fi Zilal, Tibyan, Majma‘-ul-Bayan, and Fakhr-i-Razi.
- 2. Extracted from Tafsir, by Ali-ibn-‘Ibrahim according to the quotation of Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, vol. 3, P. 488
- 3. Commentaries: Ruh-ul-Ma‘ani, Majma‘-ul-Bayan, and fakhr-i-Razi
- 4. Kitab-ul-Kafi
- 5. Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, vol. 3, P. 488
- 6. Nahjul-Balaqah, saying No. 252
- 7. Wasa’l-ush-Shi‘ah, vol. 8, P. 9
- 8. Ibid
- 9. Surah Al-Baqarah, No. 2, verse 198
- 10. Tafsir Al-Mizan, vol. 2, P. 85 taken from Tafsir-i-‘Ayyashi
- 11. Bihar-ul-’Anwar, vol. 99, P. 32
- 12. Wasa’il-ush-Shi‘ah, vol. 8, P. 14
- 13. Nahjul-Balaqah, Letter (will) 47
- 14. Wasa’il-ush-Shi‘ah, vol. 8, P. 15
- 15. But some Islamic outstanding scholars have said: since this mater is not of the kind of consensus, it is better, as a caution, this action to be done well.
- 16. Wasa’il-ush-Shi‘ah, vol. 10, P. 150
- 17. Adapted from Qamus-ul-Luqat, Kanzul-‘Irfan, and Majma‘ul-Bayan the commentary
- 18. Kanz-ul-‘Irfan, vol. 1, P. 270
- 19. Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, vol. 3, Part 92
- 20. Wasa’il-ush-Shi‘ah, vol. 10, P. 255
- 21. Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, the commentary.
- 22. Kanz-ul-‘Irfan, vol. 1, P. 271
- 23. wassa’il-ush-Shi‘ah, vol. 9, P. 390
- 24. wassa’il-ush-Shi‘ah, vol. 9, P. 390
- 25. The commentary of Kanz-ud-Daqayiq
- 26. Nur-uth-Thaqalayn; and Bihar, vol. 47, P. 216
- 27. Kafi, Vol. 6, P. 433
- 28. Wasa’il-ush-Shi‘ah, vol. 9, P. 390
- 29. Majma‘-ul-Bayan, and Tafsir-us-Safi
- 30. Tafsir-us-Safi, Majma‘-ul-Bayan
- 31. Surah Naml, No. 27, verse 28
- 32. Tauhid-i-Saduq, according to the quotation of Tafsir-us-Safi
- 33. Tafsir-i-Kabir, by Fakhr-i-Razi, vol. 23, P. 33
- 34. Nur-uth-Thaqalayn, vol. 3, P. 497