Thursday, December 28, 2006

Message for Friday - Hajj: From Adam, Abraham to Muhammad (Peace be upon them)

إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيْتٍ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِي بِبَكَّةَ مُبَارَكًا وَهُدًى لِلْعَالَمِينَ
G’d (عزّ و جلّ) says (3:96):
Surely the first house set for humanity is the one in Bakkah, blessed and guidance for all systems of knowledge.

The season of Hajj (5 days of ritual pilgrimage) in the City of Makkah (Mecca) is a reminder for mankind to reflect upon the oneness of the Creator and the intrinsic equality of man. The first house for the worship of the One G’d, as believed by Muslims, was built in the City of Bakkah, later renamed Makkah. Some commentators of the Qur’an relate that this first house was constructed by Prophet Abraham and his son, Prophet Ishmael and that Prophet Abraham was the first to call humanity towards pilgrimage to Makkah. Other commentators, however, relate that the first pilgrimage to Makkah was performed by Adam, the father of mankind and that Abraham reinstituted worship for all monotheists there.

الحجر الأسود من الجنة
The Prophet Muhammad (صلى اللّه عليه و آله و سلّم ) stated:
The Black Stone is from the Paradise.

There are traditions, which related that when Adam and his spouse slipped from Paradise, the Black Stone, which is the cornerstone of the Sacred House in Makkah, was one of the items that descended with them. While Eve descended to an area close to Makkah, Adam descended to the land of Al-Hind, modern day India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and was summoned to make pilgrimage.

إِنَّ الصَّفَا وَالْمَرْوَةَ مِنْ شَعَائِرِ اللَّهِ
G’d (عزّ و جلّ) says (2:158):
Surely As-Safaa and Al-Marwah are from the Signs of G’d.

During Hajj, the ritual called Sa’iy, which reenacts Hagar running back and forth between two mountains looking for water for her and her son, Ishmael, is also believed by some commentators as also originating in significance with Adam and Eve. One mountain called As-Safaa is believed to have been named by Adam (عليه السلام), and Al-Marwah was believed to have been named by Eve. As-Safaa is related to the word صفى – meaning pure/cloudless and being a best friend. Al-Marwah is related to the word امرأة- meaning woman and/or wife.

الحج عرفة
The Prophet Muhammad stated:
The [essence] of Hajj is `Arafat.

The most important day of Hajj is on the 2nd day of rituals called the Day of `Arafat. The area where pilgrims supplicate to G’d and listen to religious talks was the location that Prophet Muhammad gave his last sermon to his followers. Some commentators also believe that the significance of the ritual also started with Adam and Eve. The root word of `Arafat means to recognize, and the land of Mt. `Arafat is believed to have been the area where Eve first recognized Adam after their slip.

At dusk, which starts the 3rd day of Hajj, pilgrims depart `Arafat for an area called Muzdalifah, where they sleep outside without tents. Muzdalifah is related to the root word – ز- ل- ف - meaning to draw near to and – ازدلف – meaning to flatter.
Commentators have mentioned that this area next to Mt. `Arafat is the area where Eve drew near to Adam.

Glorifications and supplications of the prophets at pilgrimage:

لبيك اللهم لبيك ، لبيك لا شريك لك لبيك إن الحمد والنعمة لك والملك لا شريك لك
Here I am Oh G’d; here I am! No partners have you, here I am. Surely the praise and the blessings are from you and the dominion. No partners have you!

اللهم أنت السلام ومنك السلام فحينا ربنا بالسلام
(Said when seeing the Ka`bah – Sacred House)
Oh G’d! You are peace, and from you is peace. So have us live our Lord in peace.

ربنا آتنا في الدنيا حسنة وفي الآخرة حسنة وقنا عذاب النار
(Most said supplication of Prophet Muhammad)
Our Lord! Grant us excellence in this life and excellence in the next life and spare us from the punishment of the fire.

‏ربنا ظلمنا أنفسنا وإن لم تغفر لنا وترحمنا لنكونن من الخاسرين‏
(Prayer of Adam and Eve before slipping out of Paradise)
Our Lord! We have wronged our own souls. And if you do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, certainly we will be from the losers.

And surely G’d speaks the truth.

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