Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Call of Prophet Ibrahim to Hajj

Muhammad Ash-Sharif

When Prophet Ibrahim, alaihis salam [AS], completed the structure of the Ka’abah, Allah SWT commanded him to call the people to Hajj. Prophet Ibrahim AS, pleaded, “O Allah! How shall my voice reach all of those people?” Allah SWT told him that his duty was only call and it was Allah to make it reach the people. Prophet Ibrahim AS, then climbed Mount `Arafat and called out in his loudest voice, “O People! Verily Allah has prescribed upon you Hajj, so perform Hajj.”

Allah SWT revealed in the Qur’an: “And proclaim the Hajj among mankind. They will come to thee on foot and (mounted) on every camel, lean on account of journeys through deep and distant mountain highways” (Surah Al-Hajj, Ayat 28).

To this very day millions upon millions of Muslims continue to answer the call of Prophet Ibrahim, peace and blessings be upon him. Perhaps this year many more shall be amongst those who answer the call.

`Amr Ibn Al-`As narrated, “When Islam entered my heart, I went to the Messenger of Allah and said, ‘Give me your hand so that I may pledge allegiance to you.’ The Prophet spread his hand, but I withdrew mine. He said, ‘What is wrong `Amr?’ I said, ‘I want to make a condition.’ ‘And what is that?’ he said. I said, ‘That Allah will forgive me.’ Then the Messenger of Allah said, ‘Did you not know that Islam wipes out what came before it, and that Hijrah wipes out what came before it and that Hajj wipes out what came before it!” (Sahih Muslim)

Hajj is the fifth pillar upon which Islam stands. Allah SAW made it compulsory upon every able Muslim male and female to perform it, at least once in a lifetime. Allah revealed: “Hajj thereto is a duty mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the journey, but if any deny faith, Allah stands not in need of any of His creatures” (Surah Al `Imran, Ayat 97).

Performance of the Hajj washes away all sins. Abu Hurairah narrates: I heard the Prophet SAW say, “Whoever performs Hajj and does not commit any Rafath (obscenity) or Fusuuq (transgression), he returns (free from sin) as the day his mother bore him” (Sahih Bukhari).

Hajj is one of the greatest deeds one can accomplish in his or her lifetime. Abu Hurairah narrates: The Prophet SAW was asked, “What deed is the best?” He said, “Iman in Allah and His Messenger.” “Then what?” “Jihad in the sake of Allah.” “Then what?” “Hajj Mabrur, a Hajj accepted by Allah SWT.”

Abu Sha`tha’ said, “I contemplated the good deeds that a person does. I found that solah as well as fasting are a jihad of the body. And that Sadaqah is a jihad of someone’s wealth. But Hajj is a jihad of both body and wealth.”

Hajj is the greatest Jihad. `Aishah, RA, asked the Prophet SAW, “We find that jihad is the best deed, shouldn’t we (women) do Jihad?” The Prophet SAW replied, “Rather the best jihad is a Hajj Mabrur!” `Aishah later said, “I’ll never cease performing Hajj after I heard that from Rasul Allah”

The Du`a of the one who performed Hajj shall be accepted. The Prophet SAW said, “The soldier in the path of Allah and the one who performs Hajj and the one who performs `Umrah, all are the delegation of Allah! He called them and they answered. And they asked Him, and He shall grant them (what they ask for)!” (Ibn Majah and Ibn Hibban)

It was narrated that on the day of `Arafat, a man from Turkmenistan stood on the plains of `Arafat in Hajj. To his left all he could see was Muslims crying and praying to Allah SWT. To his right all he could see was Muslims crying and praying to Allah SWT. Because of his native tongue, he could not imitate the lengthy prayers of the others. At this realization everything blurred in front of him. His face reddened, his eyes poured tears as he raised his hands, “O Allah! Grant me everything that they are asking for! Grant me everything that they are asking for!” And Allah SWT accepted his Du`a’.

There is not a single day that the sun has come up on more beloved to Allah SWT than the Day of `Arafat. The Prophet SAW said, “There is no day on which Allah frees more of His slaves from Fire than the Day of `Arafat, and He verily draws near, then boasts of them before the angles, saying: ‘What do they seek?’” (Sahih Muslim).

And in another Hadith: “Verily Allah boasts of the people of `Arafat before the people of Heaven (angels) saying: ‘Look to my servants who have come to Me disheveled and dusty.’”

`Abdullah Ibn Al-Mubarak narrates: I went to Sufian Ibn `Uyaynah as the day of `Arafat was setting. He sat on his knees, his hands raised to the Heavens, and tears moistened his cheeks and beard. He turned and looked at me, so I asked him, “Amongst the people who have gathered here for Hajj, who is in the worst state?” Sufian Ibn `Uyaynah said, “He who thinks that Allah will not forgive him.”

`Aishah, May Allah be pleased with her, would see the Prophet SAW standing in prayer at night so much so that his feet would crack. She would ask him, “Why do you do this when Allah has forgiven all your sins, the past and anything you may do in the future?” And he would reply, “Shouldn’t I be a thankful slave?”

With this example of the Prophet SAW, what should our attitude be when we hear of Paradise and forgiveness of sin for those who perform Hajj? Does it mean that after Hajj we fall back into all the disobedience that we went to Hajj with? Does it mean that we are promised Jannah no matter what sin we do after Hajj? Many people think this to be the case and it is a very dangerous presumption.

You will find in many of the Hadith regarding the virtue of Hajj the term Hajj Mabrur. Do you know what Mabrur means? It means an accepted Hajj. A Mabrur Hajj is one in which Allah SWT is not disobeyed during or after. Others have said that a Hajj Mabrur is one that is accepted, and the sign of its acceptance is that a person will go back in a better state then when he came, and that he will discontinue the sins that were between him and Allah SWT.

Ibn Umar was on his deathbed and his son reminded him of all the good deeds that he did with the Prophet SAW and the companions. He told him, “Quiet! Don’t you know whom Allah accepts from? Verily Allah only accepts from the God-Fearing (Al-Muttaqun).”

When `Ali Ibn Al-Husain, may Allah be pleased with him, wore his Ihram towels and sat upright on his camel in preparation for the journey to Makkah, his face changed color, his skin shivered and he cried, unable to say the Talbiyah, Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik. Someone asked him, “What’s wrong?” And he replied, “I’m afraid that when I say it, it shall be replied, ‘La Labbaika wa La Sa’daik’ (May you never have come and may you not have happiness).”

With that spirit, let us march forward in the search of the Mercy of Allah SWT and His forgiveness, to the first house of Allah SWT on earth, to Hajj.

The Prophet SAW said, “And there is no reward for an accepted Hajj…except Jannah!”


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