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Hajj (Pilgrimage)
Part 8

Dr. Ali Shariati


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The time for staying in Mina is over and the ceremonies end near the border of Mecca. There is one more Tawaf and Sa'y that you can do anytime toward the end of Zul-Hijjah and if necessary you can do it before leaving for Arafat. Hajj ceremonies are over and this is all you are supposed to do.

Oh Hajj who is leaving Mina, the last stage of Hajj - you accepted Ibrahim's invitation. You escaped the vicious cycle of your individual life. You came on time to Miqat; you listened to the revelation; you took off your clothing and put on the white Kafan. You left your home and homeland and came as a guest to the house of God and the land of Jihad. You made a promise to God by shaking his right hand. You entered the Tawaf circle and were lost amongst the people of Taef. You denied self-centeredness. You purified yourself. You tried your best to search for "water" on top of the mountains. Then you descended to Arafat from Mecca and from stage after stage (going to Mashar and Mina), you returned to Allah (returned to Mecca). You gained "consciousness" in the sunshine of Arafat. You collected your arms in the darkness of Mashar. Simultaneously, with others you passed the border of Mina. Satan was defeated by your first attack. You became free and saved the land of faith and love. You held the position of Ibrahim and ascended to the peak of honor - the stage beyond Shahadat.

Finally, you sacrificed a sheep at the end of this effort!

Where do you arrive at the end of this greatest holy trip and highest degree of human ascension after going through the most dangerous and fearful passages of creation - Tawheed (unity), EiSar, Jihad (struggle), Shahadat (martyrdom), fighting with Eblis (Satan) and conquering the land of love? What do you do? Sacrifice: kill a "lamb"! Why? What is its philosophy? What is the mystery? What does killing a lamb at the end of Hajj mean? I can not say! Let Allah himself answer this question:

Quran XXII: 36

Eat thereof and feed the beggar and the suppliant.

He repeats again:

Quran XXII: 28

Then eat thereof and feed there with the unfortunate poor (i.e. To fight with poverty. At the end of this trip, give a piece of what you eat to relieve a hungry man and help an oppressed person. That's all!)

Oh Hajj - where are you going now? Back home to your life and to your world? Are you returning from Hajj the same way you came? Never! Never! You played the "role of Ibrahim" in this symbolic show! A good actor is he whose personality is fully impressed by the character of the individual who is playing his role. If he does well, the show will be over but his work is not done yet. There have been many actors who did not survive the act they played and died!

You played the role of Ibrahim, not just to play but to worship and to love. Do not return to play your role after playing the role of Ibrahim! Do not leave the house of people. Do not isolate yourself. Do not replace your Ihram with your previous clothing.2 Leave Mina for Mecca and take your Ismail with you!

You are like Ibrahim who in the history of mankind was a great fighter against idolatry. He was the founder of unity in this world and had the responsibility of leading his people. He was a rebellious leader whose soul was suffering, whose heart was loving, whose thoughts were enlightening and ...

The axe was in his hand! Faith was raised in the hearts of the Kofr and monotheism flourished in the midst of polytheism. Ibrahim, the fighter of idolatry, came out of the house of "Azar", the idol-maker of his tribe. He broke the idols; he broke Nimrod. He fought against ignorance, oppression and passiveness. He rebelled against the tranquility of suffering and the security established by persecution. He was a guide for his tribe and the founder of his movement, life, direction, hope, goal and faith of unity.

You are like Ibrahim! Fight the fire, the fire of oppression and ignorance so that you may save your people. The fire is in the fate of every responsible individual; it is your duty to guide and save. But ... Allah makes the fireplace of Nimrod and his followers a rose garden for Ibrahim and his followers. You will not burn or turn into ashes. This teaches you to be ready to jump into the fire for Jihad (Struggle)! And

...to teach, let yourself into the fire in order to prevent the people from burning. ... to the more painful stage of Shahadat.

You are like Ibrahim! Sacrifice your Ismail. Put the knife to his throat with your hands...Save the throat of the people from being cut the people are always sacrificed at the doors of palaces of power, and temples of torture.


But ... Allah will pay the ransom of your Ismail. You do not kill and do not lose your Ismail.

THIS IS TO TEACH YOU THAT YOU SHOULD BE READY TO SACRIFICE YOUR ISMAIL (LOVE) IN YOUR OWN HANDS FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR FAITH!..."to the more painful stage of Shahadat"! And now, Oh Hajj who is returning from circumambulating love, you are in the position of Ibrahim. You have reached the point where he did.

Ibrahim's life was filled with struggle when he reached this point- breaking the idols, fighting with Nimrod, tolerating his fire, struggling with Eblis, sacrificing his Ismail, migration, homelessness, loneliness torture, passage from the stage of prophecy to the stage of leadership (Imamat), going from "individuality" to "collectivity" and belong from "the house of "Azar" to being "the builder of the house of unity" (Kaaba)!

At the end of his life, gray-haired and old, Ibrahim built the house of Allah and laid down the black stone. His helper Ismail carried the rocks and handed them to his father. How wonderful! Ibrahim and Ismail built the Kaaba. Ibrahim and Ismail, one was saved from the fire and one saved from being sacrificed. Both were representatives of Allah and were responsible to the people. They were the architects of the oldest temple of "unity" on this earth, and the first house of the people." The "free house," the house of love and worship (Haram), is a symbol of "heavenly privacy".

You are in "Ibrahim's position" - right where he stood. The very last step of his ascension, in MeRaaj, is the shortest distance toward Allah.

You, the builder of Kaaba, the architect of the "house of freedom", the founder of unity, the enemy of idolatry, the tribal leader, the fighter against oppression, ignorance and disbelief - now you build a house, not for yourself, not even a shelter for your son, not a house for "the people". It is a shelter for those homeless people who are wounded, tortured or victims of oppression and have no place to go. Nimrod is following them everywhere ... The Harem becomes a torch in the middle of this dark night and a cry amidst this damn oppression! It is secure, clean and free for mankind, the family of God. Everywhere else is insecure and shameful. The earth has become a huge polluted house of prostitution.

It is a slaughterhouse where everything but aggression and discrimination are forbidden.

Now that you are standing in Ibrahim's position and are going to play his role, live like him, be the architect of the Kaaba of your faith. Rescue your people form the lagoon of their life. Re-breathe life into their bodies that are numb and dead from the suffering of oppression and the darkness of ignorance. Encourage them to stand on their feet and give them direction. Call upon them to come to Hajj, to Tawaf (circumambulating). After entering Tawaf, denying selfishness and purifying yourself to adopt the characteristics of Ibrahim, you have promised God to follow his path. Allah is your witness.

- Make your land a secure land, since you are in a safe area.

- Change your time to a respectful time, as if you are always in the state of Ihram.

- Make the earth a sacred mosque, since you are in the holy mosque.

- Since the earth is the "mosque of Allah".

- And you see "that it is not"!

A More Important Lesson

The fact that Imam Hussein left Mecca for Karbala where he was martyred before completing his Hajj duties taught us a more important lesson than Shahadat.

Hajj was a duty that all his ancestors struggled for. Blood was shed to vitalize this tradition. He did not finish the ceremonies and decided to leave and become a Shaheed!

He did not complete his Hajj in order to teach the Hajj makers those who pray and have faith in Ibrahim's tradition, that if there is no Imamat and there is not true leadership, if there is no goal, if "Hussein" is not there and "Yazid" is there, making Tawaf (Circumambulating) around the house of Allah is equal to making Tawaf around the idol-house. The people who continued their Tawaf while he went to Karbala were no better than those who were circumambulating around the green palace of Muawiyah.

"Hajj", the tradition of the idol-fighter Ibrahim, in "God's house" or the "house of the people"what is the difference? What is happening this year? A warm whirlpool of people are busy circumambulating. All the faces are eager with interest. All the hearts are burning with love. All the people are answering Allah's invitation. The love of faith, the glory of Islam, the fear of God and punishment of the day of judgment and the desire for worship are pushing the chosen people of the community to circumambulate around the Kaaba.

Among these faces were: the companions of the Prophet (PBUH), some very early Muslims, the heroes of the Jihads, the conquerors of the lands of the unbelievers, those who destroyed the houses of idols on the earth, whose who lived by the Quran and followed the tradition and spiritual leaders. They were all discarding all worldly matters. Fully in love with God, they saw paradise dancing in front of their eyes, Hooris twinkling at their righteous faces and angels calling upon them from the sky. While Gabriel had his wings under their feet, they were busy circumambulating!

Who is the man who so decisively and angrily comes out of the crowded whirlpool of Muslims and leaves behind the city of "holiness, security and love"? Now that all the Muslims are facing toward the Kaaba, where is he going? Why does he not turn around to see this moving circle where people are circumambulating the house of Ibrahim to the music of Nimrod and running between Safa and Marwa as a show of their useless efforts. From Arafat, which is the beginning of history, the stage of the first visit of Adam and Eve on earth, they are taken to Mashar in the darkness. In this land of consciousness where these slaves of ignorance should not be, they are asked to sleep all night and by dawn they are moved like the flock of a beast to the land of Mina. The three evils of trinity are located here. As a joke with Ibrahim and a trick to Allah, they throw a few tiny pebbles to the well made-up faces of the three Gods whom they have been worshipping all their lives. They kill the sheep as a symbol of their miserable fate.

They are like beasts and these three gods, taking advantage of the meat, skin mild and wool of this animal, have come to power and decorated their table! These poor people have always been sacrificed upon the demand of these gods and their red blood is shed and poured into the vessels of the green palace, the Zarar Mosque, and the commonwealth of Croesus. At the end, to show their obedience to these gods they should shave their heads!

Oppressors use ignorance as their tools. These are the conservative people whose hands lie soaked in the blood of facts. In the "absence of these people", in any generation and at anytime there will be ground for "man's martyrdom". Evil is hiding itself behind the masks of holiness and righteousness. These are the same Hajj performers who whispered by the idols and sacrificed Ismail in front of Nimrod with their own hands. Then they celebrated the day of "human sacrifice" or "the sacrifice of the Ismail of their time." They turn their backs to the Kaaba and face Q ibla of their miserable life, saying to themselves "the hell with this world", let's work for the "paradise of the hereafter"! Feeling happy with the joy of the life after death, they are sound asleep on the warm ashes of the master's kitchen floor and enjoy the left overs of the plunderer's table!!!

Epilogue Poem by Naser Khosrow

The pilgrims returned with reverence. They were thankful to the Merciful God.

On their way to Mecca from Arafat, They repeatedly said "Labbaika" with great respect.

While tired of experiencing the hardships of the desert of They rejoiced that they are saved from the torture and the fire.

They have performed the Hajj and completed the Umra. Now, they safely return to their homelands.

I took time to go and welcome them back, Although men of my class did not normally do this.

But among the crowd of this caravan, I had a dear and very sincere friend.

I asked him how he accomplished? This very difficult and fearful trip!

I informed him that since he had departed and left me alone All I could feel was regret-fullness and sadness.

Now, I am happy that you performed the Hajj, And you are the only Hajj in our homeland.

Now, tell me, how was your performance? How did you respect that holy territory?

When you were about to remove your clothes and wear the Ihram What was your "intention" during those exciting moments?

Did you absolutely avoid all the things that must be avoided And whatever is inferior to Almighty Allah?

He replied NO!

I asked him: If he said "labbaika" With full knowledge and great respect? If he heard the command of Allah? Or, if he obeyed as Ibrahim did?

He replied NO!

I asked him: While he was in Arafat, While he stood so close to Almighty God, Did he have a chance to know Him? Was he not eager to learn a bit of the knowledge?

He replied NO!

I asked him: When he entered the Kaaba As the family of "Kahf and Raquim" had done, Did he deny his self-centeredness? Did he fear the punishment of the hereafter?

He replied NO!

I asked him: When he shot the idols, Did he think of them as evil? Did he then avoid wrong deeds?

He replied NO!

I asked him: When he offered the sacrifice, To feed a hungry person or an orphan, Did he first think of Allah? And, did he then kill his selfishness?

He replied NO!

I asked him: When he stood in Ibrahim's position, Did he rely absolutely on God? Sincerely and with strong faith?

He said NO!

I asked him: While he circumambulated, When he made the Tawaf of Kaaba, Was he reminded of all the angels, Who constantly circumambulate this world?

He said No!

I asked him: During his Sa'y, While he was running between Safa and Marwa. Was he sanctified and purified?

He said NO!

I asked him: Now that he had returned from Mecca, And felt home-sick for the Kaaba Did he bury his "self" there? Was he impatient to go back?

He said NO!

"Of whatever you have asked me so far, I have understood nothing!!!"

I said: Oh friend, you have not performed the Hajj! And, you have not obeyed God!

You went to Mecca and visited the Kaaba! You spent your money to buy the hardships of the desert!

If you do decide to go to Hajj again, Try to perform it as I have instructed you!


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