One of the obligatory acts of Hajj in Mina is Ramy al-Jamarat or casting stones on columns named al-Jamarat al-Uola (First column), al-Jamarat al-Wusta Second column), and Jamarat al-Aqaba symbolizing Satan. On Eid ul-Adha, a pilgrim is duty-bound to perform the Ramy of Jamarat al-Aqaba and perform the all three the next two days.
According to a hadith, when Adam (a.s), carrying out God’s order, accompanied by Archangel Gabriel performed the Hajj rites and left Mina for the House, Satan appeared to him in the site of al-Jamara three times trying to prevent him from performing his duty with temptations. However, Adam with a hint from Gabriel by throwing seven pebbles at Satan in three sites, drove him away. Hence, this act became a tradition for the descendants of Adam. According to other hadiths, this happened to Prophet Ibrahim (a.s).
Ali ibn Jaafar asked his elder brother, Imam Kazim (a.s) about the philosophy of the Ramy al-Jamarat. The Imam answered:
لأنَّ إبْليسَ اللّعِينَ كانَ يَتَراءَى لإِبْراهِيمَ عليهِ السلامُ في مَوضِعِ الجَمارِ فَرَجَمَهُ إِبراهِيمُ، فَجَرَتِ السُّنَّةُ بِذلكَ.
“Since the cursed Satan appeared to Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) in the site of al-Jamarat and Ibrahim (a.s) threw stone at him, this act became tradition.”
It is also said that al-Jamarat is the site of stoning the death of three traitors who had colluded with the enemy of their own people.
Another version is that in the year of the birth of the Holy Prophet (saw) a great army from Yemen headed by Abraha left for Mecca to demolish the House of God. Three Meccans secretly colluded with them by giving facilities. However, the enemy failed and was punished and destroyed through birds that threw stones on them. The three traitors were stoned to death in the present site of al-Jamarat on charge of treason. This act was later on put among the Hajj rites as expression of hatred towards traitors. Therefore, Mina can be a sign of a scene of battle against the enemies of the religion of God and the columns symbols of atheists standing on the way of the ummah. Pebbles can be symbols of worldly riches thrown away for the sake of God. Pilgrims practice these symbolic and spiritual acts to ensure their victory, for God’s promise is truthful:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنْ تَنْصُرُوا اللهَ يَنْصُرْكُمْ وَيُثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَكُمْ.
“O you who believe, if you help the cause of Allah, He will help you and make firm your feet. (The Holy Quran; 47:7)”
It is recommended to put each pebble on the middle finger and throw it to al-Jamarat with the head of the forefinger. This act implies that if Muslims have power of faith, unity, patience, and firmness for God’s sake, the enemies will become so weak and humiliated that they will be defeated with a hint.
وَلَوْ قَاتَلَكُمُ الّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لَوَلَّوُا الأَدْبَارَ ثُمَّ لا يَجِدُونَ وَلِيّاً وَلا نَصِيراً
“And if those who disbelieve fight with you, they would certainly turn (their) backs, and then they would not find any protector or a helper. (The Holy Quran; 48:22)”
وَلا تَهِنُوا وَلا تَحْزَنُوا وَأَنْتُمُ الأعْلَوْنَ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ
“And be not infirm, and be not grieving, and you shall have the upper hand if you are believers. (The Holy Quran; 3:139)”
OFFERING ANIMAL SACRIFICE IN MINA AND ITS PHILOSOPHY
Another obligatory act in Mina following Ramy Jamarat al-Aqaba on Eid ul-Adha is sacrifice of an animal (camel, cow, or sheep) free from any defect and not thin. It is called ‘Qurban –offering-’, because this act of worship is aimed at getting close to God. Therefore, ‘qurban’ is any good deed by which man seeks God’s mercy. Since sacrifices are offered in the early hours of the day, it is also called Eid ul-Adha, and the animal sacrificed is called ‘dhahiyya’. Sacrifice is a symbol of devotion and offering one’s life in the way of the Beloved and the maximum degree of submission to God. Imam Ali read the following duaa upon offering the sacrifice:
بِسمِ اللهِ، وَجَّهتُ وَجهِيَ لِلذِي فَطَرَ السّماواتِ والأرْضَ حَنيفاً مُسلِماً وما أَنا مِن المُشرِكِين. إنَّ صَلاتي ونُسُكِي ومَحْيايَ وَممَاتي للهِ رَبِّ العالَمِينَ. اللّهُمّ مِنكَ ولَكَ.
“In the Name of Allah. I have turned myself, being upright, wholly to Him Who originated the heavens and the earth, and I am not of the polytheists. Surely, my prayers, my sacrifice, my life, and my death belong to Allah the Lord of the worlds. O Allah, whatever I have comes from and is for You.”
The offering of animal sacrifice on Eid ul-Adha enlivens the memory of Prophet Ibrahim and his son Ismaeel (a.s). The father says, “O my son, surely I have seen in a dream that I should sacrifice you. (The Holy Quran; 37:102)” The young son, too, without having any fear, says, “O my father, do what you are commanded; if Allah please, you will find me one of the patient ones. (The Holy Quran; 37:102)”
This is the utmost degree of devotion, which is worthy of God’s saying, “And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice. (The Holy Quran; 37:107)”
It was so destined that this great act of devotion to become part of the Hajj rites and to be repeated every year in the Hajj seasons. Prophet Ibrahim’s act of devotion became source of pride for human beings before the angels who had said to God:
أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَنْ يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَنَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ
“Wilt Thou place in it such as shall make mischief in it and shed blood, and we celebrate Thy praise and extol Thy holiness? (The Holy Quran; 2:30)”
The angels should know that among the same human beings there are those whose devotion is to the extent that God praises:
فَلَمَّا أَسْلَمَا وَتَلَّهُ لِلْجَبِينِ. وَنَادَيْنَاهُ أَنْ يَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ. قَدْ صَدَّقْتَ الرُّؤْيَا
“So when they both submitted and he threw him down upon his forehead. And We called out to him saying: O Ibrahim! You have indeed shown the truth of the vision. (The Holy Quran; 37:103-5)”
Therefore, Eid ul-Adha is the feast to celebrate the dignity of human beings, a day when man exchanged little provision of this world for the gardens wherein lasing blessings shall be his.
PAYING HOMAGE TO THE MASTER OF MARTYRS (a.s)
It is unfair not to mention the name of the great leader of the devotees, the endeared grandson of the Holy Prophet (saw), the light of the eyes of Imam Ali (a.s), the beloved of Fatima (a.s), and the master of martyrs; Imam Hussein (a.s) here. If Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) offered one sacrifice in Mina and the sacrifice was ransomed, Imam Hussein (a.s) offered seventy-two sacrifices in Karbala on a single day and none of them was ransomed. Imam Hussein (a.s) offered to God his friends and endeared ones including nursing infants and elderly men, beheaded and dismembered. Holding his blood-soaked swaddled infant on his arms and sprinkling towards the sky, the blood gushing from the throat of his nursing infant, the Imam said:
هَوَّنَ عَلَيَّ مَا نَزَلَ بِي أَنَّهُ بِعَينِ اللهِ
“What alleviates all that which I am suffering is their being under Allah’s sight.”
Then we should salute Imam Hussein (a.s) by saying:
السَّلامُ عَليكَ يا أبا عبدِاللهِ وعَلى الأرْواحِ التي حَلَّتْ بِفِنائِكَ، عَليك مِني سَلامُ اللهِ أبَداً ما بَقِيتُ وبَقِيَ الليلُ والنّهارُ.
“Peace be on you, O Abu-Abdullah, and on those souls who came to your camp to put themselves at your disposal. So fat I am alive and the days and nights follow each other, I invoke Allah to send blessings on you for ever and ever.”
ISLAM HAS TWO OFFICIAL FEASTS
There are two historic days in Islam called ‘Eids – feasts-’ celebrated by Muslim. One is Eid ul-Fitr marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, a month during which Muslims practice self-restraint and abstention from wrongdoing. They engage in spiritual state and nightly supplications.
يا أيّها الّذينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيامُ كَما كُتِبَ عَلى الّذينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقونَ.
“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard (against evil). (The Holy Quran; 2: 138)”
The other feast is Eid ul-Adha, which is held following performance of the Hajj rites, stay in Arafat, cognition of God, then the overnight stay in al-Mash’ar, detachment from the world, and annihilation in God’s love. On these two occasions, Muslims are duty-bound to get together, and by performing the Eid Prayer and delivering speeches displays the heavenly glory of Islam and creates awe in the hearts of the atheists.
SOCIAL ASPECT OF SACRIFICE IN MINA
By discussing the socio-mental philosophy of sacrifice we have answered the questions posed by certain people who would say: Is it not better for pilgrims to offer their sacrifices at home and give to the poor and the neighbors when they return from Mecca instead of letting all the sacrifices go waste and suffer sunburn in Mina? Or is it not better for pilgrims to assign a deputy at home to sacrifice the animal on their behalf and have the flesh distributed among the poor?
These questions arise either from lack of knowledge about the sublime goal of this heavenly commandment or prejudice aimed at undermining the Hajj rites. We should note that the socio-mental aspects of the Hajj rites are extremely important. Staying in Arafat, al-Mash’ar, and Mina, Ramy al-Jamarat, performing the Eid Prayer, and delivering sermons are aimed to gather Muslims in a single place and time so as to display the glory of ummah to the world people and to make the oppressors and colonialists shaky with Muslims’ ideological unity.
Drawing the attentions of Muslims to the vital role of the Hajj rites in restoring the entity of the ummah, their dignity and independence, the Holy Quran says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لا تُحِلُّوا شَعَائِرَ اللهِ وَلا الشَّهْرَ الْحَرَامَ وَلا الْهَدْيَ وَلا الْقَلائِدَ وَلا آمِّينَ الْبَيْتَ الْحَرَامَ يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلاً مِنْ رَبِّهِمْ وَرِضْوَاناً.
“O you who believe! Do not violate the signs appointed by Allah nor the sacred month, nor interfere with the offerings, nor the sacrificial animals with garlands, nor those going to the sacred house seeking the grace and pleasure of their Lord; and when you are free from the obligations of the pilgrimage, then hunt, and let not hatred of a people‑‑ because they hindered you from the Sacred Masjid‑‑ incite you to exceed the limits, and help one another in goodness and piety, and do not help one another in sin and aggression; and be careful of your duty to Allah; surely Allah is severe in requiting evil. (5:2)”
According to the Holy Quran, offering sacrifice is as important as the Kaaba:
جَعَلَ اللهُ الكَعْبَةَ البيْتَ الحَرامَ قِياماً لِلنَّاسِ وَالشَّهْرَ الحَرامَ والهَدْيَ والقَلائِدَ
“Allah has made the Kaaba, the sacred house, maintenance for the people, and the sacred month and the offerings and the sacrificial animals with garlands. (The Holy Quran; 5:97)”
That is to say, in the same way that the Kaaba serves as factor to bring Muslims together until the Day of Judgment, offering sacrifice too is an inviolable tradition, which must exist until the Day of Judgment to show not only the spirit of submission to God but also to display the wrath of Muslim nations against the enemies of Islam. The Kaaba represents love and compassion and sacrifice depicts wrath as stipulated by the Holy Quran:
مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ اللهِ، وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ أَشَدَّاءُ عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَاءُ بَيْنَهُمْ
“Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah, and those with him are firm of heart against the unbelievers, compassionate among themselves. (48:29)”