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Hajj, the ultimate act of devotion

By Bayynat editor

For more than 350 days a year, Hejaz, west Saudi Arabia, is a dreary desolate landscape. But over the next couple of weeks, the unforgiving desert of Hejaz would receive more than 3 million pilgrims from all corners of the world.

 Under the scorching sun and in the fierce winds lies the site of mankind’s greatest religious gathering: The Kaaba. For more than 1400 years, The Kaaba has been not only the “Qibla” of a 1.6 billion Muslims, but also the destination of several tens of thousands of Muslims yearly. Muslims, all around the world, all stand in one direction facing the Kaaba five times a day. They would embark upon this epic journey to Holy Mecca once a year in an ultimate act of devotion: The Hajj.

The rituals of Hajj, which would be all performed in 5 days include Ihram (consecration), during which man abstains from all actions that he performs habitually and daily such as engaging in any sexual act, trimming one’s nails and hair, hunting animals and killing insects, and even wearing any ornaments and perfumes. The significance of Ihram is that man is expected to break his daily habits and follow a style of life different from the one he usually follows in ordinary times.

In  Tawaf (circumambulation), man confesses ultimate submission to Allah explaining that he is coming to His house to circumambulate around it; and thus, rejecting all other houses of tyrants, oppressors, and non-believers. The Talbiya chanted during Tawaf reaffirms the concept of oneness, adherence to the path of righteousness, and submission to Allah’s will.

In the act of Sa’y, walking between the two hills of Safa and Marwa, Muslims emulate the Sa’y of Hajar between the two hills in her quest for water for her son, Ismail. It embodies man’s journey in life that must be accompanied by the search of the favor Allah and His gratification. Whatever step man makes should be in quest of Allah.

Afterwards, all Muslims join together in a stand of pondering and contemplation on Arafah plain and in Mina. It is a moment of intellectual and emotional privacy with one’s Creator, during which he recollects his past actions, ask for forgiveness, and imagines what he aspires to be in the future. Man is given the opportunity to restore principles and values he has lost in the struggle of life.

At Al-Jamarat, man performs a symbolic rejection of the devil. The stoning reminds us of our struggle with our evil dispositions. It is an attempt to conquer one’s fears, and defy his own inclinations, and defeat  persisting sins.

And finally Al-Hady; the act of sacrificing an animal referring to the story of Prophet Abraham (a.s.) and his son, Ismail. Al-Hady further emphasizes how important it is to base your life on giving, scarifying, and providing for the poor.

Hajj is the most profound spiritual experience. It is an event that binds one fifth of the human race with common belief and common prayer. All Muslims, men and women, black and white, rich and poor, young and old, all engage in one unifying ritual. They all live together in true brotherhood, eat from the same plate, and drink from the same glass where there is no place for segregation.

Comments

Name: Mohammed Oury Bah
Subject: Difference between sahia and sunni hajj
Comment: Dear Sir, thank for giving me the opportunity to ask about the difference between the hajj perform by shia person and the sunnist? I am a shia practitioner in Libera and hopping to go to hajj this year. please answer me it is very important to me sir, wasalam!
Answer: There are some differences in some details, such as Tawaf-un-Nisa' which is obligatory in the Shiite sect and not in the Sunni sect. For further details contact : bayynat@bayynat.org.lb

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