Saturday, 19 July 2008


The following is the text of a TV program. The answers were given by Dr. Waffie

All true believers will like to perform the Hajj at least once in a life time; what does the term Hajj mean?

The term "Hajj" means:
· To set out for a place
· To go on a pilgrimage
· In Islam, it refers to the annual Pilgrimage to Makkah. It is performed in the last month of the Islamic year, called Zil Hajj. It is performed on the prescribed days.

When Hajj was first performed?

It started with Abraham, upon the completion of the rebuilding of the Holy Kaba. Allah ordained that this rite should be observed every year. He says:

And proclaim the pilgrimage among men; they will come to thee on foot and on every kind of camel (transport) lean on account of journeys through steep and distant mountain highways. (22:27)

Allah told Prophet Abraham to perform the Hajj; but how did he know what to do?

Allah guided him as to what he should do during the days of Hajj. He records it in the Holy Qur'an as follows:

Behold, We gave the site to Abraham of the Sacred House, saying; do not associate anything with Me, and sanctify My House for those who go around it, or stand up or bow down or prostrate themselves (22:26)

Then let them complete the rites prescribed. (22:29)

But Abraham built the Kaba in the wilderness where there was a very small human population; how did the Hajj become a universal institution, attracting pilgrims from all over the world?

Firstly, Abraham used to go every year to perform the Hajj, even though he was living in the Promised Land with Sarah. After him the people used to gather there every year as a festival. When they stopped following the way of Abraham, they used to go around the Kaba naked and make their sacrifices just like in his time; however they used to dedicate the meat and the blood to their idol gods that they had placed in the Kaba.

They used to keep up the occasion as a great time of festivity with competitions such as poetry, etc.

With the advent of Prophet Muhammad (pboh) the Hajj was again re-established, but this time as a fundamental principle of Islam.

Do you think that Abraham was aware that the people would have done other than what he taught them?

Abraham wanted that Allah's religion be practiced in the Holy Land. From the very beginning when he was leaving Hagar and Ishmael there he prayed as follows:

Our Lord, I have settled part of my offspring in a valley unproductive of fruits; near Your Sacred House. Our Lord, that they may keep up prayer; so make the hearts of some people yearn towards them, and provide them with fruits, so that they may be grateful. (14:37)

Later on he prayed as follows:

Our Lord, send amongst them a Messenger from among themselves, who shall recite unto them Your verses and instruct them in the Book and Wisdom and sanctify them (2:129)

So Abraham wanted the Lord to guide the people to the "upright way". He was aware that the nations and tribes from all over the place were misguided people as wherever he travelled he met the same inclination of the people worshipping idols.

Perhaps that is why he prayed to Allah to raise up from among a person who would preach to them. In other words he would be sure that they would not have inherited some kind of contaminated form of worship etc.

You mentioned that Allah guided the Prophet (pboh) as to the method of performing the Hajj, can you tell us a little more about it?

Allah gave the Prophet (pboh) details of the performance of the Hajj in Chapter 2 of the Holy Qur'an from verse 196 to verse 203. He also specified the purpose of the sacrifice etc. in Surah Hajj, i.e. Chapter 22.

Some very outstanding eye openers are that:
· Hajj and Umrah should be done solely for the sake of Allah. He says:
And complete the Hajj and Umrah for Allah. (2:196)

Prophet Muhammad (pboh) is reported to have said:

Pilgrimage to the House is a duty man owes to Allah, those who can afford it.

· Also it should be treated as Sacred. In this connection Allah says:

Let there be no obscenity, or wickedness nor wrangling in the Hajj. (2:197)

Prophet Muhammad (pboh) is reported to have said:
Pilgrimage wipes out the previous misdeeds.

Prophet Muhammad (pboh) is reported to have said:

Those who perform Hajj and Umrah are people who have come to visit Allah. If they make supplications to Him He will respond and if they ask for forgiveness He will forgive them.

It is normally said that Hajj is an experience of a lifetime; can you give some reasons why people say like this?

There is no doubt about the fact that Hajj is a unique experience. Some of the reasons are:

· We read about the Kaba in the Holy Qur'an and Traditions, and when the intended pilgrim reaches Makkah and sees the Kaba for the first time; and that moment he or she becomes overwhelmed. The person forgets everything about world and looks in wonder at the grandeur of the Sacred House, shocked to know that he or she was blessed with this opportunity. In nearly every case it is difficult to prevent the tears from flowing, especially when the "talbiyah" is sounded in the ear from the thousands that are around.

· Especially during the performance of Hajj or Umrah, the person loses his identity, as he has to wear two pieces of unstitched cloth and mingle among the millions that have come from all over the world.

· The person is exposed to the culture, custom, dress, language and even some type of dishes from numerous countries and they all find it most interesting that they met some nice Muslims from unknown countries, and they were able to interact lovingly.

· They are happy to be in the place toward which they turn five times every day to worship.

· The person realises that material things have limitations, and at some point it is only Allah that is important as it is only He that can really help.

· The pilgrim is forced to join will others from all over the world to sleep one night under the open sky, to camp for three days in tents in another place, to look towards the direction of the setting sun and like the millions around to pour out his or her heart to the Lord, humbly.

· To admire the courage and faith of Father Abraham and his family.

· To realise the true lesson of submission, both because of his or own experience and also by seeing how the thousands of animals are submitting to the slaughterer.

· To cast out the devil from inside of him or her by symbolically pelting the Satan and was done by Abraham and Ishmael.

· To praise and glorify the Lord of the universe and His Holy House, thereby connecting himself spiritually with Adam downwards as they all did the same thing from the very beginning.
· To experience the mystery of the Zam Zam well.

· To be able to communicated with Allah in a special environment with no distraction.

The Hajj is indeed a sacrifice, what does the pilgrim hope to achieve by its performance?

Prophet Muhammad (pboh) is reported to have said:

An accepted pilgrimage has no reward except Paradise.

The Pilgrim realises that:

· Material things can take you up to a point in life, just like how because of some material blessings that prospective pilgrim was able to proceed to the Holy Land, but after that it is you and your Lord alone.
· It gives an insight as to how the Day of Assembly will be upon resurrection.
· It shows the pilgrim the benefits of reliance on Allah and the ways of submission.It teaches patience

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