HAJJ, THE ASSEMBLY OF DISPERSED POWERS IN SINGLE FORUM
وَأَذِّنْ في النَّاسِ بالحَجِّ يأْتُوكَ رِجَالاً وَعَلى كُلِّ ضَامِرٍ يأْتِينَ مِنْ كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيقٍ. لِيَشْهَدُوا مَنافِعَ لَهُمْ ويَذْكُرُوا اسْمَ اللهِ في أيـّامٍ مَعْلوماتٍ.
“And proclaim among men the pilgrimage; they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, coming from every remote path, that they may witness advantages for them and mention the Name of Allah during stated days. (The Holy Quran; 22:27)
The word ‘منافع - advantages’ includes all virtues, both physically and spiritually, of the world and the Hereafter indicating that the great assembly of Muslim nations in a single forum is like a sea coming into existence as a result of joining of small and big rivers. As a result of unity of opinion and unanimity arising from believing in one God and being the followers of one Book and one Prophet, all Muslims stand in a single rank facing Kiblah and go round a center with a single aim. Such unity of ideology and act gives this assembly so much power that it can remove mountains, defeat the most formidable opposition powers, foil any treacherous plot, and generate a life full of happiness, dignity, and supremacy by performing heavenly injunctions and consolidating the pillars of social justice.
Beyond doubt, what can solve problems of life is social cooperation, which is materialized by creating understanding among nations. The most important factor behind understanding is the rightful teachings of a religion, which bridges the gaps, brings hearts together, creates a link between east and west, and makes the black and white, Arabs and non-Arabs, Turks and Hindus, feel sympathy for one another. In the Farewell Hajj on Mount Arafat, the Holy Prophet of Islam (saw) said:
أيُّها النّاسُ، إنَّ رَبَّكُم واحِدٌ وإنَّ أباكُم واحِدٌ، كُلُّكُم لآدَمَ وآدَمُ مِن تُرابٍ (إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللهِ أَتْقاكُمْ) ولَيْسَ لِعَرَبيٍّ عَلى أَعْجَمِيٍّ فَضْلٌ إلا بالتّقوى.
“O people, surely your Lord is One, the father of all of you is one, you all come from Adam and Adam from the earth. (surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful of his duty) Arab has no advantage over non-Arab except for piety.”
Also in his Farewell Hajj in Mina, the Holy Prophet (saw) said:
المؤمنونَ إخوةٌ تتكَافى دِماؤهُمْ وَهُم يَدٌ عَلى مَنْ سِواهُمْ، يَسْعى بِذِمّتهِم أدناهم.
“Believers are brethren. Their blood has equal value. They are a single hand and power against others. The promise of each of them is like that of all, hence binding.”
CALLING TO HAJJ IS CALLING TO UNITY OF POWER
The Holy Quran asks Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) to call people to Hajj, to come and see the Islamic unity in the House of Monotheism, and to notice the assembly of dispersed powers in a single forum so as to realize the amazing advantages of Hajj, including self-purification, regulation of a sound politico-economic affairs, and consolidation of the pillars of supremacy across the world as a result of the assembly, unity, and circumambulation of the Sacred House.
HAJJ, MAN’S ASCENSION TO HEAVEN
Spiritual journey and affinity with God are some of the advantages of Hajj. The light of God’s guidance illuminates susceptible hearts, making them detached from the earth and attached to God. By putting on Ihram, saying Labbayk, circumambulating the House, offering sacrifice, and doing other acts of worship, man’s heart goes through a spiritual stage. Only does God know how many averted hearts have become fond of Him in this Sacred House and how many misled men have become pious and heavenly thanks to the blessings of this holy place. The Holy Quran supports this claim by saying:
(إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيْتٍ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِي ببَكَّةَ)مُبارَكاً وهدىً للعالمين.
“(The Holy House is) blessed and a guidance for the nations. (3:96)”
THE KAABA’S WONDERFUL ATTRACTION
The Quranic Verse “They will come to you on foot or every lean camel, coming from every remote path,” is response to the Quranic Verse, “And proclaim among men the pilgrimage,” indicating that the divine call which was spread throughout the world by Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) and then reaffirmed by the ordainment of the Holy Prophet of Islam (saw) left such impact on the Kaaba that it attracted susceptible men from the remotest corners of the world with its magnetic property.
During Hajj season, amazing activity occurs in the corners of the world and large crowd of people pour into Mecca by land, sea, and air, while there is no force, allurement, propaganda, or any other urging factors. People go through all hardships so as to come to visit the Kaaba with love and as soon as their eyes fall on the House of their Beloved, they start prostrating themselves and forgetting all hardships. They will say lovingly:
يا رَبَّ البيتِ، البيتُ بيتُكَ والعبدُ عبدُكَ.
“O Lord of the House, the House is Yours and the servant is Yours.”
HOW LOVINGLY PILGRIMS CIRCUMAMBULATE THE KAABA
Speaking about Hajj in the last part of sermon I of Nahjul Balagha, Imam Ali (a.s) describes people as such:
يَرِدونهُ وُرودَ الأنعامِ ويألَهونَ إليهِ وُلوهَ الحَمامِ.
“... The people go to it as beasts or pigeons go towards spring water.”
Like thirsty camels reaching water or pigeons flying towards their chicks in the nest, the pilgrims rush towards the House of the Beloved so enthusiastically that one has the impression that they have lost their control.
PEOPLE’S INCLINATION TOWARDS THE KAABA, UNUSUAL
By thinking about what the Holy Quran and Imam Ali (a.s) have said, we will realize the fact that inclination towards the Kaaba (for those who are sound instinctively) is not ordinary inclination, rather there is a divine attraction in it. There is the same attraction towards the household of the Holy Prophet (saw) being the result of Prophet Ibrahim’s supplication and God’s answering him:
فَاجْعَلْ أفْئِدَةً مِنَ النّاسِ تَهوي إلَيْهِم.
“.. Therefore, make the hearts of some people yearn towards them... (the Holy Quran; 14:37)”
When, carrying out God’s order, Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) brought his wife Hagar and the infant Ismaeel (Prophet Ishmael) to al-Hijaz desert and had to leave them alone there, raising his hands towards the sky, supplicated:
رَبّنا إني أَسْكَنْتُ مِنْ ذُرّيّتِي بِوادٍ غَيْرِ ذي زَرْعٍ عِنْدَ بَيْتِكَ المُحَرَّمِ رَبّنا لِيُقيموا الصّلاةَ فَاجْعَلْ أفْئِدَةً مِنَ النّاسِ تَهوي إلَيْهِمْ وَارْزُقْهُمْ مِنَ الثّمراتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَشْكُرونَ.
“O our Lord! Surely, I have settled a part of my offspring in a valley unproductive of fruit near They Sacred House, our Lord! That they may keep up prayer; therefore, make the hearts of some people yearn towards them and provide them with fruits; haply they may be grateful. (The Holy Quran; 14:37)
WHY SHOULD GUARDIANS OF SPIRITUALITY BE SETTLED IN A DESERT
Why should the offspring of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) be settled in an uncultivated land far from civilization? What is the advisability? Is it because they are the guardians of the spirituality of human society, keeper of prayer, God’s remembrance, and secret of servitude in the world? Must their living environment be far from luxury, which makes man forget God, so as to be able to keep remembrance of God and the Hereafter alive in man’s heart? It is said:
الدّنيا والآخِرَةُ ضُرّتانِ؛ فَبِقَدَرِ ما تُرضِي إحْداهُما تُسخِط الأُخرى.
“The world and the Hereafter are like rival wives; when you please one, you will hurt the other.”
Imam Ali (a.s) says:
الدّنيا والآخِرَةُ عَدُوّانِ مُتَعادِيانِ وَسَبيلانِ مُختَلِفانِ، مَن أحَبَّ الدّنيا وَوالاهَا أبْغَضَ الآخِرَةَ وعاداهَا. مَثَلُهُما مَثَلُ المشْرِقِ والمغْرِبِ والماشِي بَينهُما لا يزْدادُ مِن أحَدِهِما قُرباً إلا ازْدادَ مِن الآخَرِ بُعْداً.
“The world and the Hereafter are two incompatible enemies and two roads in different directions. Whoever loves the world will naturally abandon the Hereafter. The world and the Hereafter are like east and west. The more you go towards the east you will take more distance from the west.”
A man of many desires will not be a man of God. A mammonist loses spiritual values and his guidance has no effect on human souls and hearts.
Therefore, the offspring of Ibrahim (a.s) and the spiritual leaders must live in an uncultivated land devoid of luxury and physical pleasures.
They must choose to live near the Sacred House and to think of God and remember Him all the time. Human hearts, too, have naturally an inclination towards their Lord hence move to His House and its guardians. Not only do they avoid sparing everything for this sake but also they sincerely offer their pure emotions and love for the House of God and the offspring of Ibrahim (a.s), the most honorable of whom is the Holy Prophet (saw) and the Imams (a.s).