Dr. Ali Shariati
At Mina, the longest and last pause occurs! It signifies hope, aspiration, idealism and ... love! Love is the last stage it follows knowledge and consciousness (sense). Adhering to eastern Gnosticism, Dante, in his book Divine Comedy ..., recognizes only two stages - wisdom (Virgil) and love (Beatrice). However, during the "Divine Drama" of Hajj, three stages, knowledge, consciousness and love, exist!
The greatest moment of Hajj, the tenth day on which the 'Id of sacrifice falls, has arrived. The light of the rising sun in Mashar awakens the people from their slumber. Gradually, the clusters of soldiers from various corners join together and merge into a huge river. Having established a solid army, they prepare to leave Mashar and go on to their next stop in Mina.
The army of Tawheed has spent the entire night gathering arms, communicating with Allah and waiting for the sun to rise. These "worshippers" of Mashar are transformed into the "lions" of Mina! Wholeheartedly in love and overflowing with anger they rush toward Mina.
The army maneuvers toward the west to Mina, the land of Allah and Satan. The smile of the 'Id's sun has made everyone restless. As the soldiers pass through the strait of Mohassar, a very narrow strait, the lines become more solid. As the Commander in Chief, the sun orders the soldiers to "act", to "run" with "small and swift steps", to "stay together" and to "hurry"! Those who were in the state of intuition and tranquility in Mashar suddenly become nimble and restless, dashing to Mina. Abruptly, they halt as if they have encountered a huge non-penetrating dam! They sit back as if they can no longer proceed further. There are only a few movements at the very end of the crowd. What has happened??? Which dam in the world has such power as this roaring river??? Who can give such an absolute order to "stop" here??? The Sunrise!!! The Sun is the Commander.
Now, the army is in front of Mina. Millions of freedom-fighters who refuse to obey any power except Allah crowd the long lines. An imaginary line beyond which no one dares to step exists; this invisible wall separates Mashar from Mina. No one and no power can brake through the secure wall, not even Ibrahim (PBUH) or Mohammed (PBUH). Such a restriction is not a "rule" or a "contract", but a "tradition" . It is the order of that same system which governs the entire universe (Allah).
And THERE WILL BE NO ALTERATION OR ASSIMILATION IN HIS TRADITION.
Quran XXXV: 43
As the natural force of gravity prevails, as life and death are realities, here the sun is the Commander! Let it rise! It will penetrate the wall with its delicate beams and make way for the army to pass as simply as when a shadow disappears by light. The concrete wall which has halted the army will soon be destroyed by the "smile of the morning"! Behind the invisible wall the restless and well-armed soldiers have waited all night for the sun to rise and the command to pass! Although the night has terminated and sparks of light are scattered all over, there are still a few moments before the sun will appear in the east. Nowhere on this earth, at no given time and upon no nation has the "sunrise" had such authority! In a state of very deep and exciting silence, millions of eyes and hearts wait to receive the command (to see the sunrise). Some hear it sooner because of their desperation and restlessness! Why??? It is an order to the army which symbolizes the power of Tawheed on earth. Here you will find the only army in history that is governed by the sun and the only nation that has agreed to be ruled by the sun and by the morning!!
At Arafat, the sun is rising and coming up behind the mountains. The dawn has already demolished the tent of the evil of the darkness and splashed the blood of all those who were martyred by the oppressors or unbelievers in "the face of the 'Id". At this point, the sun is ordering the army of tawheed to revenge by attacking the roots of the three oppressors of history.
Such wonderful moments! The sun by its light, twilight by it's piercing beams and morning by its breeze have made everyone restless. These "holy signs of Allah" which characterize happiness, hope and faith are appearing to give the order to fight and the good tidings of victory. They are here to command you to destroy the idols. Today, Satan's largest base on earth will be annihilated Today, polytheism will be killed. Today, tawheed, love and devotion will reveal their glorious faces; in other words, they will manifest their true essence!
Suddenly, the sunrise illuminates the straight and the soldiers are ordered to pass. The clamor of happiness, the sun beams and the flood of people will unite and flow into the Strait of Mina. The crowd no longer consists of "the white birds of peace" but instead "the armed freedom-fighters". This is why the orders must be followed and discipline must be implemented.
"Stay in Mashar all night"! "Enter Mina on the tenth day"!
At dawn, you should be at the border of Mina. To join and pass this boundary, you must view the sun of the tenth day. Mina is toward the west while Arafat is toward the east. The army faces Mina; the sun rises behind the soldiers; the sun passes the mountains of Arafat; and the sun enters the Strait of Mina. THEREFORE, THE SUN IS ALSO PERFORMING HAJJ; IT RISES IN ARAFAT, PASSES FROM MASHAR AND ENTERS MINA.
The army of love is ready for Jihad. Those freedom fighters who came from Arafat, spent the night in Mashar, collected their arms and strengthened their faith have to wait at the gate of Mina. Where? At the border of a city that is the center of martyrdom and simultaneously the battlefield! Wait and obey the sun! How?
- Prepare yourself - collect your arms at night! - Do not enter Mina before sunrise since the night it the appointed time for the pause in Mashar. - Do not remain in Mashar after sunrise since the daytime is the prime time to be in Mina. - Start your attack at sunrise. - The rise of which sun? That of the tenth day of Zul-Hijja. - When it is time to attack, the order of the "sun" is the order of "time". - Obey this order. - Listen only to the sun. - And look for the sun of the tenth day, the sun of 'Id.
Oh Allah! There is quite a distance from the border of Mina to the bases of the Satans. The battlefield is far from the entrance of Mina. Nevertheless, naturally the 'Id should be celebrated after you have defeated the devils by shooting them and achieving victory. But ... look at the nation of Tawheed and its tradition The 'Id has been celebrated even before the battle commences.
This means: You are victorious once you "make your decision"! This means: You have won the battle once you enter the border of Mina!
And ... What is being said? Oh God! How difficult it is to understand this simple nation? How complicated are these easy-going people?!
This means: You will be victorious if it is the time. When is the time? If you come from Arafat. "If" you have stayed in Mashar - contemplating and gathering the weapons for the morning of the 'Id ...
No, No! The most important "ifs" have not been mentioned! Hajj is like nature; it is a genuine portrait of Islam - Islam not in "words" but in "action"! It is a "symbol". The deeper you dive in this sea, the farther you are from the end; it is endless! It means as much as "you understand". Only one can claim that he understands it all, he who understands none!
The most important "ifs" have been omitted:
- If you come during the Hajj season. - If you have gone to Miqat. - If you are dressed in Ihram.
What is being said?
Who are YOU? Who am I?
"One can do nothing"! The holy Quran speaks of "people" not "one" person. What a beautiful word, "people", is used. It is plural and has no singular form!
Allah's hand supports the Community.
Movement, perfection, representation of Allah in this world, victory and ... are all written in the "fate of the people". Allah's constant tradition is to help the community and the society at large. The "fate of history" is toward the confirmation of Allah's tradition in the creation of mankind. What "you" and "I" can do is to discover this tradition and make the right selection from the written fate, the fate of history, the will of God at a given time, the outcome of man's life and the end of the continuous revolution for universal peace!
Since this is the Allah of Ibrahim and the Creator of Mankind who says in the
And He is the one who promises:
"Defenselessness", which includes whatever weakens and alienates mankind, will destroy all human morals and physical powers. This is the word that describes all of the ways and means employed by the enemies of mankind, colonialism, exploitation, banishment or any other term which may be used in the future. Let them say what pleases them! Regardless, Allah promises that He will rescue and liberate the victims of oppression. Furthermore, He renders the pledge of the future leadership of human society. The class of people who were always and everywhere deprived of their human right will inherit the palaces of power, the treasuries of wealth and the fortunes of education! What a similarity between the words ("the oppressed people of the world") and ("the wretched of the earth")' which is the title of a book by Frantz Fanon. "On the day of judgment, God's officials will divide people into two groups - those saved who will go to heaven and those damned who will go to hell". Even in this world those commissioned by Satan have separated people into two groups - the heavenly ones and the tormented ones. As Sartre says in the beginning of his book, From Two Billion Population of the Earth, colonialists believe that five-hundred million people are "human" while one and a half billion are "natives" or the under privileged people who constitute the third world!
But what difference does it make if the fate of history and Allah's determination grant victory to the "victims of oppression", "the helpless ones of the earth" or "the children of Abel" ?!! Allah's determination will not be altered; this is the fate of history!
And you, as a "phenomenon", are to discover this fate and choose your fate! Just as nature and history have their own destiny, you have a destiny!
"You" are an inmate in the big four "prisons" of "nature", "history", "society" and "yourself". Consciously, you should discover the fate of nature by learning the sciences and accordingly free yourself from its prison. Consciously, you should discover history (by learning philosophy and historical sciences) and accordingly change your history. Consciously, you should discover your society (by learning sociology) and become acquainted with how to apply its rules in order to free yourself. To escape these three prisons you need "knowledge". But, what about the fourth one, the prison of human instincts??? It is internal and carried by you! Science is unable to liberate you from this jail since it is inside you. It is in your knowledgeable self! You require a special knowledge to introduce "you" to "yourself" and to help you discover yourself. You require a certain power to enable you to overcome your weaknesses and to rebel against yourself.
You require a strong hand to help you and to change you. In this case, knowledge is not a remedy; rather, it is a prisoner of the learned by itself. However, wisdom, consciousness and faith (the lights that were kindled on earth by the prophets) are the types of knowledge that will facilitate your self-discovery and identification of your internal prisoner. The power that will release you from self-centeredness is not the "servant of science" but is the "art of love"! It will enable you to yield your "life" by Shahadat if you feel it is your prisoner. And, with your own hands, you will sacrifice your Ismail, something beyond Shahadat, if you think he is in your way. It may be concluded that you can free yourself from the fourth jail through "love"! This knowledge endows you with such a degree of consciousness and creativity that allows you to build yourself up to the will of Allah and not to be merely a servant of nature!
Man is a creature who descended upon this earth and was left alone. Therefore, you are only an existing phenomenon and must construct your own nature. You are a Zero or a nothing who may become everything! You are a "doubt" or a "possibility" who may acquire the shape of a man. If you choose to be human and consciously discover your nature (faith), you will be able to liberate yourself. You will be able to find the fate of history and realize that history is the fate of man through the ages as well as an evolution from zero toward Allah. From one nothing you begin to know man and his values and so you adopt humanity. This is an everlasting "river"; it is an eternal current. The sovereignty of the night of Mashar and the oppression of the three oppressors in Mina will not change or divert the progressive course of this fate. This is the "fate" of Allah!
THE TEXT OF YOUR FATE WILL BE WRITTEN BY OTHERS IF YOU "DO NOT KNOW"; BUT YOU WILL WRITE IT IF YOU "KNOW"!!! And you, Oh "Zero", who are now "conscious" and "free", if you come to Miqat on time and know and follow your natural way (fate of Adam), you will be on the right path (i.e. going from home to Kaaba) or from "mud" to "Allah")!
The world is under the authority of "Allah's will" and ruled by scientific determination. Standing at the bank of this "river" you are free and entitled to decide either to remain in the bank and die OR to enter the river of people and move! (Now, one may realize what Imam Sadegh said, "It is neither free-will nor predestination but in between the two or a combination of both". It is a freedom to choose the fate. "Submission + Obedience = Islam.")
This flood of people overflows the border of Mina and conquers the land of Eblis. While Satan is defeated, the sun of the tenth day raises the flag of victory. With its first smile, the sun gives the signal to pass. It renders the order to begin the battle and attack; simultaneously, the sun announces the victory and the completion of the task!
This is the fate of history and Allah's will for the people - all in the hands of mankind and being left up to you! So - what is the most important "If"??? That you be victorious "if you have joined this flood of people". The people who have decided to approach Allah! The nation! The everlasting and moving society! The roaring river that will penetrate through any rock or dam and inevitably reach the sea ...! Yes, if you do not stop on your way to Mina from Mashar, if you do not go the wrong way nor your way but join the people, you will reach Mina, defeat the Satans and sacrifice your Ismail. This is the clear order of Allah to all those who go to Hajj.
Fully armed and determined, the army of Tawheed enters the valley of Mina, Mina the battlefield.
The Battle Front
The three Satans, situated along the King's Street, are about one hundred meters apart from each other. Each represents a "monument", a "statue" or an "idol". Every year their faces are painted white!
"God is Great", how meaningful! The army has arrived; all have arms (pebbles) in their hands and are ready to fire. When you reach the first idol, do not shoot - but pass by. When you reach the second idol, do not shoot but pass by. When you reach the third idol, do not pass by, but shoot! Why? Those wise and experienced teachers usually tell us to quietly and gradually take turns in a sequential way but here Ibrahim is the Commander and orders:
"SHOOT THE LAST ONE IN YOUR FIRST ATTACK"! "DID YOU SHOOT?" "YES" "HOW MANY TIMES?" "SEVEN!" "ARE YOU SURE THEY HIT THE TARGET?" "I AM SURE." "DID YOU HIT THE BELLY OR THE LEGS?" "NONE!" "DID YOU HIT HIS BACK?" "NO." "DID YOU HIT HIS HEAD AND FACE?" "YES, I DID." "WELL DONE!"
The fight is over. When the last idol falls, the first and second ones can not resist. The last idol supports the other two. After leaving the front, you have nothing more to do except make the sacrifice Then you may announce and celebrate your victory! Take off your ihram put on your desired clothing, cut your hair, use perfume if you want and embrace your spouse. You are free now! You are a man! Mina is conquered by you and Satan is defeated. What am I saying? You are Ibrahim now! You are in the position to sacrifice your Ismail for Him.
After you have shot the last idol, offer the sacrifice immediately since these three idols are the statues of trinity and the symbols of three, Satanic stages. Always be conscious of your intention and do not forget its meaning! Know what you are doing and why? The rituals should not mislead you to overlook your purpose. All these are "hints", so be careful to view what you are supposed to see. Procedures and techniques should not confuse you, the meanings should be understood and not the formalities.
During Hajj every action depends on and is proceeded by your intention. Any action without it is not accepted. Intention is obligatory for fasting too; if you forget to say it, you will somehow feel it. The same is true during the Holy War if you do not declare the intention you are still a fighting soldier At Hajj, your acts are useless without the intention since these ceremonies are "hints", "signs" and "symbols". A person only physically touches his forehead on the ground if he does not understand the meaning of prostration. He who does not realize the essence of Hajj only brings back from Mecca a suitcase full of souvenirs and an empty mind.
During Hajj you are to:
- Declare monotheism by TAWAF. - Exercise the struggle of Hajar by Sa'y. - Show the dissension of Adam by going to Arafat from the Kaaba. - Show the philosophy of man's creation, the evolution of thoughts from pure science to pure love and the ascension of the spirit from mud to God by going from Arafat to Mina.
The last stage of evolution and idealism, absolute freedom with- absolute submission ... or the stage of IBRAHIM, is in Mina. Now, you are about to act as Ibrahim. He brought his son Ismail to sacrifice Who is your Ismail or what is it? - Your position? Your honor? Profession? Money? House? Farm? Car? Love? Family? Knowledge? Social class? Art? Dress? Name? Your life? Your youth? Your beauty ... ? How do I know? But you know it yourself Whoever and whatever, you should have brought it with you to sacrifice here. I can not tell you which one, but I can give you some clues to help - whatever weakens your faith, whatever stops you from "going", whatever distracts you from accepting responsibilities, whatever causes you to be self-centered, whatever makes you unable to hear the message and confess the truth whatever forces you to "escape", whatever causes you to rationalize for the sake of convenience, whatever makes you blind and deaf ... You are in the position of Ibrahim whose weakness was in his love for Ismail (his son). He was teased by Satan. Imagine yourself at the peak of honor, full of pride and there is only ONE THING for which you can give up everything and sacrifice any other love for its love. THAT IS YOUR ISMAIL! Your Ismail can be a person, an object, a rank, a position or even a "weakness"! But - for Ibrahim it was his son!
Toward the end of his life, Ibrahim witnessed a century of struggle, movement, homelessness, fighting in Holy Wars confrontation with the ignorance of his tribe, oppression of nimrod and the fanaticism of idol worshippers. While intelligent and rebellious, he spent his youth in the house of a fanatic idol-worshipper and idol-maker (Azar). His barren wife Sara was a fanatic aristocrat.
Ibrahim undertook the difficult task of being a prophet of monotheism within an oppressive system. In that age of darkness, he tolerated a century of torture and created an awareness and love for freedom in a people who were so used to oppression.
Ibrahim got old and lonely. At the height of his prophecy he remained a "man", yet, as any other human being, he wished to have a son. His wife was infertile and he was more than a hundred years old. He was wishful, but not hopeful. Allah rewarded the old man for the time he spent and the suffering he experienced while propagating, "His message". He blessed him with a son (Ismail) from his maid, Hajar. She was a black woman who was not "honorable" enough to create jealousy in the heart of his first wife, Sara.
Ismail was not only a son for his father. He was the result of a whole life's expectation, the reward for a life full of struggle. The only son of an old father, he was the most dear after all those miserable years. For Ibrahim, Ismail was his son, but your Ismail may be "you", your family, your job, your wealth, your fame...How do I know? For Ibrahim, it was his son; such a son for such a father.
In front of his eyes - eyes that were shaded by white eyebrows and glittered with happiness - Ismail grew and received the best care and love from his father whose soul was so firmly devoted to the life of his son. His father saw him as an only sibling growing in the barren desert life of an old farmer. "Every moment of the last days of his life had to be enjoyed". He enjoyed it by having Ismail! Ismail differed from an ordinary child:
- because his father yearned for him for a hundred years! - because he was unexpectedly born to the surprise of his father!
Ismail, the boy, grew as a strong tree. He brought youth and happiness to Ibrahim's life. He was his father's hope, love and kin
The message was revealed - "Ibrahim put the knife to the throat of your son and sacrifice him with your hands!" How can one describe Ibrahim's fear by the shock of this message? Even if we were there as witnesses, we couldn't feel it. The degree of his pain is beyond tolerance or imagination! Ibrahim, the most humble servant of God and the famous rebel of human history, started to shake as if he were falling apart and the great invincible of history was breaking to pieces. He was terribly shocked by the message, but the command was the order of Allah.
War, the great war, was fighting one's self. The victorious hero of the greatest war in history was broken, weak fearful, amazed and hopeless! Ibrahim was confronted with an internal conflict to choose between Allah and Ismail. What a difficult decision to make? Which one would you choose? Allah or yourself? Interest or value? Dependence or freedom? Policy or fact? To stop or to go? Happiness or perfection? To enjoy or to tolerate the pain of responsibility? To live just to live or to live for your goal? Peace and love or belief and struggle? To follow your nature or your conscious will? To serve your feeling or to serve your faith? To be a father or the prophet? To care for relatives or to carry the message. And ...? Finally Allah or your Ismail? Ibrahim, choose one!
After a hundred years of prophecy among the people, a life of leadership struggling with idol worshippers, ignorant and oppressors, being victorious on all fronts and successful in delivering your responsibilities, no where and never having any doubts in your way, disregarding any personal interest, getting as close to God as is possible for a man, establishing the nation of tawheed passing all the exams and ... Do not feel impetuous, do not rest, do not think you are hero, irresistible and having no weakness. Victories of those hundred years should not mislead you or deceive you; do not think you are "innocent". Do not feel so secure and protected from Satanic temptations. You are not always immune from those invisible powers that surround mankind. There are so many beams of artificial glories that may make you blind. He (Allah) knows you better than yourself. He knows you are still vulnerable. He knows there is still a point from where you can see the world and worldly matters. Then He severs any narrow contact you may have with this world!
Oh Ibrahim, the victorious hero of the greatest battle of history, with your high spirit and irresistibility! Oh prominent prophet of God! - Do not think we are finished with you. The distance between man and God is not very far - God is closer to you than your jugular vein.
AS A PROPHET, YOU REACHED THE CLIMAX OF PERFECTION, BUT IN "OBEDIENCE", YOU ARE NOT YET "PERFECT". Oh friend of Allah, founder of monotheism, constructor of the road of Moses, Jesus and Mohammed (PBUH)! Oh symbol of Man s glory, dignity and perfection! - You are Ibrahim, but to be "obedient" is much more difficult. You have to be "absolutely free". Do not be so confident and proud of yourself since there is always the possibility of "falling" at any "peak". The fall of those at the highest peak is most
disastrous and tragic!