Circumambulation means to go round something. This act shows the utmost degree of love to the extent that a lover wishes to sacrifice himself for the beloved. A real pilgrim who has thirst for meeting his Beloved has been detached from everything. By going round the House of the Beloved, he wishes to prove that he desires nothing but God. The planets circumambulate the sun, for they take everything from it. Inside an atom, the electrons circumambulate the protons. The whole universe ranging from the invisible particles to the planets and galaxies circumambulate. Man, being a part of the universe, should circumambulate, too, with the difference that the planets circumambulate in a compulsory way according to the laws of nature, but man, the rational being and possessor of free will, circumambulates with his logic and will a House God has appointed to honor human beings. Hence, it is natural for Muslims to offer their prayers, to sit, to stand, to recite the Holy Quran, to sleep, to lie down at the moment of death, to be put in grave, and finally to be in that direction during their lifetimes and death.
قُلْ إِنَّ صَلاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيايَ وَمَماتِي للهِ رَبِّ العَالَمِينَ
“Say: Surely my prayer and my sacrifice and my life and my death are all for Allah, the Lord of the worlds. (The Holy Quran; 6:162)”
THE POSITION OF ONE WHO HAS THE HONOR OF CIRCUMAMBULATION
As for one who has given a positive response to God’s call and has managed to attend His House, he is honorable guest received by the Honorable Host Who gives abundantly and freely:
يَا مَنْ يُعْطِي الكَثيرَ بِالقَليلِ
“O’ He Who gives much in return of very little deeds.”
Imam Ali (a.s) was asked: What is the meaning of a pilgrim’s act when he restores to the Kaaba and catches hold of its curtains? He (a.s) answered:
مَثَلُهُ مَثَلُ رَجلٍ لهُ عِندَ آخَرَ جِنايَةٌ وذَنبٌ فَهو مُتَعَلِّقٌ بِثوبِهِ ويَتَضرَّعُ اِلَيهِ ويخْضَعُ لهُ أنْ يتَجافى عَن ذَنبِهِ
“His act is like one who has committed an offence against another person and now while regretting, he appeals to him, takes hold of his garment, and humbly asks for pardon.”
Under such circumstance, a magnanimous person is required to show favor and forgiveness. God Who is the most magnanimous will be certainly generous and forgiving towards His servant.
The following glad tidings reached us from the Holy Prophet (saw):
ما مِن طائِفٍ يَطوفُ بِهذا البَيْتِ حِينَ تَزولُ الشَّمسُ حاسِراً عَن رَأسِهِ حافِياً يُقارِبُ بَينَ خُطاهُ ويَغُضُّ بَصَرَهُ ويَستَلِمُ الحَجَرَ في كُلِّ طَوافٍ مِن غَيرِ أنْ يُؤذِيَ أَحَداً ولا يَقطَعُ ذِكْرَ اللهِ عزّ وجلّ عَن لِسانِهِ إلاّ كَتَبَ اللهُ عزّ وجلّ لَهُ بِكُلِّ خُطوَةٍ سَبعينَ ألفَ حَسَنَةٍ ومحَى عنهُ سَبعينَ ألفَ سَيِّئَةٍ ورَفَعَ لهُ سَبعينَ ألفَ دَرَجَةٍ وأَعتَقَ عنهُ سبعِينَ ألفَ رَقَبَةٍ ثمَنُ كَلِّ رَقَبَةٍ عَشَرَةُ آلافِ دِرهَمٍ وشُفِّعَ في سَبعِينَ مِن أهلِ بَيتِهِ وقُضِيَتْ لهُ سَبعونَ ألفَ حاجَةٍ إنْ شاءَ فَعاجَلَهُ وإنْ شاءَ فَآجَلَهُ.
“For every pilgrim who circumambulates the Kaaba at noon bareheaded and bare-footed, takes short paces, lowers his eyes out of modesty, touches the Black Stone in every circumambulation, harms no one, and keeps on remembering Allah, Allah will write seventy thousand rewards for him, remove from him seventy thousand wrongdoings, promotes him seventy thousand ranks, sets free on his behalf seventy thousand slaves worth ten thousand dirhams each, give him the right of intercession for seventy persons of his relatives, and fulfill seventy thousand of his demands either immediately or later on.”
Imam Sadiq (a.s) says:
مَن نظَرَ الى الكَعبَةِ لم يَزَلْ تُكتَبُ لهُ حَسَنَةٌ وتُمحَى عنهُ سَيِّئَةٌ حَتّى يَنصَرفَ بَبَصَرِهِ عنهَا.
“Whoever looks at the Kaaba, as long as his eyes are on it, rewards are written for him and his wrongdoings are written off until he turns his look from it.”
إِنَّ للهِ تعَالى حَولَ الكَعبَةِ عِشرينَ ومِائَةَ رَحمَةً؛ منها سِتُّونَ للطّائِفِينَ وأَربَعونَ لِلمُصَلّينَ وعِشرونَ للنّاظِرينَ.
“There are a hundred and twenty kinds of Allah’s mercy in the precinct of the Kaaba; sixty of them are for those who circumambulate, forty for those who perform prayers there, and twenty for whose who look at it.”
Therefore, one must take care to obtain the highest degrees of divine profit with the easiest acts.
ذَلِكَ فَضْلُ اللهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ واللهُ ذُو الفَضْلِ العَظِيمِ.
“That is Allah’s grace; He grants it to whom He pleases, and Allah is the Lord of mighty grace. (The Holy Quran; 62:4)”
HALTING PLACE III: MAS’AA
إِنَّ الصَّفَا وَالمَرْوَةَ مِنْ شَعَائِرِ اللهِ.
“Surely, the Safa and the Marwa are among the signs appointed by Allah. (The Holy Quran; 2:158)”
After the completion of the circumambulating the Kaaba and the Tawaf Prayer, a pilgrim must perform Sa’y, that is, he has to walk between Mount Safa and Mount Marwa for seven times starting from Mount Safa and ending with Mount Marwa. By this cat, a pilgrim reveals his spiritual worry that he cannot abandon the Beloved’s House. Hence, he leaves it and returns. Standing on the top of Mount Safa, he eagerly looks at the Kaaba and sheds tears, has communion with God and comes down for Mount Marwa with special sincerity, join the crowd whose supplication fills the Mas'a. He traverses this distance with Harwala (fast pace), which is praiseworthy act. Every time he goes forward and returns, he becomes more purified. Imam Sadiq (a.s) says:
مَا للهِ عزّ وجلّ مَنْسَكٌ أَحَبَُ إلى اللهِ تبارَكَ وتَعالى مِن مَوضِعِ السَّعْيِ وذلكَ أَنَّه يَذِلُّ فيهِ كُلُّ جَبّارٍ عَنيدٍ.
“There is no position more honorable to Allah than the Mas’a, for every arrogant and disobedient become humble there.”
With this worrisome shuttle, a pilgrim is reminded of a worried mother who, four thousand years ago, shuttled seven times between Mount Safa and Mount Marwa in search of water for her thirsty infant, supplicating to God until her prayer was answered, according to the Holy Quranic Verse:
أَمَّنْ يُجِيبُ المُضْطَرَّ إِذَا دَعَاهُ وَيَكْشِفُ السُّوءَ
“… or who answers the distressed one when he calls upon Him and removes the evil? (27:62)”
Hence, limpid water gushed out of that dead land and gave new life to Hagar –the mother- and Ismail –the child. The wonder is that the same water is gushing out to this date from the well known as Zamzam, giving a spiritual life to the pilgrims. To drink from it and pour upon one’s head are praiseworthy acts.
اَللّهُمّ اجْعَلْهُ عِلماً نافِعاً وَرِزْقاً واسِعاً مِن كُلِّ داءٍ وسُقْمٍ.
“O Lord, make it useful knowledge, abundant subsistence, and healing for every disease.”
If man reflects a little bit on this holy place, he will most probably go through a spiritual change and realize how gates of God’s mercy are opened to the pure and devoted servants.
Supplication by a broken-hearted mother can cleave unshakable mountains causing gushing of water from dead land and opening the gates of favor and mercy from an invisible world.
فَإِنْ تَوَلَّوْا فَقُلْ حَسْبِيَ اللهُ لا إِلَهَ إِلاّ هُوَ عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَهُوَ رَبُّ العَرْشِ العَظِيمِ.
“But if they turn back, say: Allah is sufficient for me, there is no Allah but He; on Him do I rely and He is the Lord of mighty power. (The Holy Quran; 9:129)”
Man’s call upon God is answered only if such a call is from the bottom of the heart. A spiritual change makes dried trees green and fruitful, and causes water to gush out of a hot desert. Virgin Mary (a.s) who had the pangs of childbirth and was moaning to God saying: “Oh, would that I had died before this and had been a thing quite forgotten. (The Holy Quran; 19:23),” heard God’s voice through her infant: “Then (the child) called out to her from beneath her: Grieve not, surely your Lord has made a stream to flow beneath you; and shake towards you the trunk of the palm tree, it will drop on you fresh ripe dates. So, eat and drink and refresh the eye. (The Holy Quran; 19:24-6)” To defend his mother’s innocence, the infant Jesus (a.s) spoke, “Surely, I am a servant of Allah; He has given me the Book and made me a prophet. (The Holy Quran; 19:30)”
Also, a Sura has taken the name of Virgin Mary so as to testify to her purity and innocence until the Day of Judgment.
Hagar, a faithful woman and wife of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) who has been abandoned in a burning desert according to God’s order, relies on God alone and has set her hope in Him. What else can she do save supplicating to Him:
إِلهَِي ورَبِّي مَن لي غَيرُكَ أسْألُهُ كَشْفَ ضُرّي والنَّظَرَ في أمْرِي.
“My Lord and Nourisher, have I anyone except You from Whom I can seek the dislodging of my evils and understanding of my problems?”
The result of Hagar’s supplication was that limpid water gushed out from under her infant’s feet:
وَمَنْ يَتَّقِ اللهَ يَجْعَلْ لَهُ مَخْرَجاً وَيَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لا يَحْتَسِبُ وَمَنْ يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ.
“… And whoever is careful of his duty to Allah, He will make for him an outlet and give him sustenance from whence he thinks not; and whoever trusts in Allah, He is sufficient for him. (The Holy Quran; 65:2-3)”
Hagar’s act, which is a symbol of monotheism, reliance on God, and detachment from what is not godly, has become one of the pillars of the Hajj rites and a duty for the Hajj pilgrims. The act of Sa’y must be performed with the presence of heart and effort must be made not to miss the spiritual opportunity.