What are the frequent questions about hajj?

What are the frequent questions about hajj?

Contents

What is hajj?

What is the Difference between Hajj and Umrah?

Why is hajj performed?

For whom is hajj fard?

What are the conditions of performing hajj?

Is it possible to give the poor the amount of money enough for hajj instead of going to hajj?

Is it appropriate to go to hajj by borrowing money?

What does ihram mean?

Can the animals that have to be sacrificed during hajj be slaughtered outside the Haram region?

Can women go to hajj alone, without any mahram men?

If a person becomes poor after hajj becomes fard for him, is it still fard for him to go to hajj?

What are the benefits of hajj?

What is the effect of hajj on man?

What is the virtue of hajj?

What are the terms regarding hajj?

What are the types of hajj?

 

What is Hajj?

Lexically, hajj means to direct toward a place, to visit. As a religious term, it means to stand on Arafat and to circumambulate the Kaaba, dressed in ihram, on certain days of the year (in the month of Dhul-Hijjah) in accordance with certain rules. A person who visits those holy places at certain times is called a hajji.  

What is the Difference between Hajj and Umrah?

Hajj is performed within the period of time which is called “Hajj months”. According to Hijri calendar, Hajj months are Shawwal, Dhu’l-qada and the first ten days of Dhu’l-hijjah. Hajj can be performed either with or without umrah within these months. Performing Hajj with or without umrah is called “ways of performing hajj.”

The statement of “The time of Hajj is the months Shawwal, Dhu’l-qada and Dhu’l-hijjah, which are called the months of Hajj” is the explanation of the Quranic verse “For Hajj are the months well known” (al-Baqarah, 2:197).

The duty of Hajj starts with entering the state of Ihram. The beginning of it is the month of Shawwal. Those months are called the months of Hajj because a person who enters the state of Ihram in Shawwal can complete the requirements of Hajj until the evening of the tenth (or thirteenth) day of the month Dhu’l-hijjah.

That is to say; the reason why these months are called the months of Hajj is that one is supposed to enter the state of Ihram, which is the first condition of Hajj, only in these months. It is makrooh (abominable) to enter the state of Ihram before these months according to the sects of Hanafi and Hanbali. The following hadith which Bukhari narrated from Ibn Abbas was influential on scholars’ view on this matter: “It is sunnah not to enter the state of Ihram outside the months of Hajj.” (see Zukhayli, al-Fiqh al-Islami, 3/64-65).

According to the sect of Shafii, entering the state of Ihram outside the months of Hajj is accepted for umrah, not for Hajj; because, the Quranic verse “For Hajj, are the months well-known” (al-Baqarah, 2:197) states that one cannot enter the state of Ihram in months other than the months of Hajj. (see ibid., Mughni muhtaj, 1/471, Muhadhdhab, 1/200).

Umrah is the worship which is performed independent of time by doing tawaf around the Kaa’ba after entering the state of Ihram in accordance with its rules and by fulfilling some other religious duties.

Why is hajj performed?

The aim of each believer is to obtain the consent and pleasure of Allah. One of the ways of obtaining the consent and pleasure of Allah is to fulfill His orders and to avoid His prohibitions conveyed through His prophets. The orders of Allah makes a man direct toward the good, the beautiful and the truth, and His prohibitions keeps man away from the evil. Thus, it makes man have high ethics and be happy.

Besides, we obtain the love of Allah by fulfilling His orders and we thank Him for the bounties He has given us because Allah is the only being that deserves love, respect and worshipping.  

Hajj, which is one of the five pillars of Islam, is a kind of worshipping that is carried out through money and the body. It is fard for wealthy people to go to hajj once in their lives. Allah states the following in the Quran: “pilgrimage thereto is a duty men owe to Allah―those who can afford the journey.” (Aal-i Imran, 3/97) Our Prophet (pbuh) mentioned hajj as one of the five principles of Islam and taught Muslims how to perform it by showing it to them.

For whom is hajj fard?

It is fard for a Muslim who can afford, that is, a wealthy and healthy Muslim, to perform hajj once in his life. The following conditions are necessary for hajj to be fard for a person:

It is fard for a Muslim, whether male or female, who has the necessary conditions, to perform hajj once in his/her life. Such a person has to perform hajj without delay. It is not religiously appropriate to procrastinate hajj to later ages due to some reasons. A person who delays hajj and then cannot do it himself has to send someone to perform hajj for him.    

To be responsible for hajj, a person must be a Muslim, sane, have reached the age of puberty, free, rich enough and have reached the time for hajj. A person who lacks one of those conditions does not have to perform hajj.

What are the conditions of performing hajj?

A person who is obliged to perform hajj must be healthy, must not be in prison, must have the right to travel abroad, and the road to hajj must be safe in order to perform hajj himself. If he is too old, weak or ill to perform hajj, he does not have to perform hajj himself. If he recovers or has the necessary conditions again, he has to perform hajj himself. 

Is it possible to give the poor the amount of money enough for hajj instead of going to hajj?

A person has to perform hajj if it is fard for him; giving the poor the amount of money for hajj does not eliminate that fard. Therefore, a person who gives the poor the amount of money for hajj is not regarded to have performed hajj.

Is it appropriate to go to hajj by borrowing money?

In order to be obliged to go to hajj, a Muslim must be healthy and wealthy, free, sane and have reached the age of puberty. Therefore, a person who is not wealthy enough does not have to go to hajj; however, if a person goes to hajj by borrowing money, his hajj is valid and he becomes free of the obligation of going to hajj. 

On the other hand, if a person has the necessary conditions for hajj but does not have enough money during the season of hajj, it will be better for him to borrow money if he can afford to pay it later and perform hajj as soon as possible.

What does ihram mean?

It means to make some acts and deeds that are normal at other times haram for himself until the hajj or umrah ends. Ihram has two parts: talbiyah and niyyah (intention).

Niyyah is the decision to perform hajj or umrah. It is mustahab (recommended) to utter the niyyah.

Talbiyah is to say, “Labbayk, Allahumma labbayk, labbayka la sharika laka labbayk. Inna’l-hamda wa’n-ni’mata laka wa’l-mulk la sharika lak,” (I respond to Your call, O Allah, I respond to Your call. I respond to Your call, You have no partner. I respond to Your call. Indeed, the praise and grace are yours as well as sovereignty. You have no partner.).

The prohibitions of ihram start with the niyyah and talbiyah. It is haram for a person who is in ihram to cut, pluck or shave the hairs on his head and the body, to trim his nails, to wear seamed clothes (for men), to wear perfume, to use oil, paint, and similar make-up to adorn oneself, to cover his head (for men), to cover her face (for women), to wear gloves, socks and shoes that cover the heels, to have sexual intercourse, to hunt and to pick up or cut the plants in the Haram region.

Can the animals that have to be sacrificed during hajj be slaughtered outside the Haram region?

The animals that are sacrificed in the Haram region during hajj or umrah and that are sacrificed as a gift for the Kaaba and the Haram region are called hady.

The sacrifices of hady are divided intwo two as wajib and nafilah (supererogatory). It is wajib for those who perform qiran and tamattu’ hajj to sacrifice hady; the sacrifices for punishment, the sacrifice of ihsar (interrupted hajj) and the sacrifices that are vowed to be slaughtered in the Haram region are also wajib. The sacrifices that are slaughtered during hajj or umrah but that are not obligatory are nafilah.

The sacrifices of hady are slaughtered in the Haram region whether they are wajib or nafilah. If they are not slaughtered in the Haram region, the sacrifices of hady that are wajib have to be slaughtered again in the Haram region. However, the nafilah ones do not have to be slaughtered again.

If a person who is in hajj wants to sacrifice an animal other than hady due to eid al-adha, it is better for him to have it slaughtered in his own country by appointing someone as a deputy.

Can women go to hajj alone, without any mahram men?

To be responsible for hajj, a person must be a Muslim, sane, have reached the age of puberty, free, afford to do it. To afford to means to have enough money and to be safe. Therefore, a Muslim must have enough money for himself to go hajj and come back and enough money for his family’s sustenance until he returns; if he has an illness or disability that prevents him from traveling or if the road is not open and safe (if there is a vital danger), he does not have to perform hajj.  

Besides, a woman must be accompanied by a mahram man (a male relative or her husband). If a woman has all the other conditions but cannot find such a person to accompany her and if she wants to perform hajj, she can perform hajj together with a group of reliable women; there is no need for false marriages to go to hajj.

If a person becomes poor after hajj becomes fard for him, is it still fard for him to go to hajj?

Hajj is not fard for those who do not have the necessary conditions. If those who have not performed hajj although they have the necessary conditions lose some conditions, they still become obliged to perform hajj. For instance, if a rich person catches a permanent illness after the season for hajj passes, he has to send someone to hajj as a deputy for him. Therefore, a Muslim must perform hajj as soon as he has the opportunity to do it. 

What are the benefits of hajj?

There are many material and spiritual benefits of hajj. Some of them are as follows:

- A Muslim who goes to hajj is regarded to have thanked Allah for the bounties like health and wealth that Allah has given him.

- Muslims coming from different countries meet one another, exchange ideas and has commercial relations.

- Hajj causes the sins of a person except for the violation of other people’s rights. Therefore, believers pray to Allah for the forgiveness of their sins. They promise Allah not to commit a bad deed again and to be honest and good mannered.

- Hajj helps people from Islamic countries make friends with one another. It is understood better in hajj that Islam is a religion of unity and solidarity. 

- During the hajj season, the Kaaba is like the gathering place (mahshar). A Muslim who fulfils hajj understands how pointless and meaningless the good deeds committed for the interests regarding this world are.

- We know that traveling is useful for man’s health. People are advised to travel in order to get rid of psychological problems. In the Quran, Allah advises us to travel. Those who go to hajj are regarded to have fulfilled the order of travel naturally. 

- The fact that all candidates of hajj wear the same type of white ihram without making any discrimination of color, race and job helps settle the idea of equality.

- Besides, hajj is a kind of worshipping with universal dimensions because it leads to the improvement of the feelings of introducing, getting close, unity, solidarity and fraternity. 

- In short, the belief of the people who go to hajj is renewed. Their enthusiasm to serve humanity increases. Their feeling of assistance develops. They realize that all human beings are equal and are brothers. Thus, friendship, love and peace are achieved.

What is the effect of hajj on man?

A Muslim who goes to hajj will have thanked Allah for the bounties like health and wealth that He has granted. Muslims who go to hajj from all around the world return home with numerous spiritual benefits. They find out what the Muslims in the other Islamic countries need, and establish commercial, social and cultural connections with them. From this point of view, hajj is like an international congress.

Muslims find out about the needs and problems of one another and try to meet and solve them. Muslims coming from all over the world know each other. People with different languages and colors try to realize the principle of unity and fraternity of Islam through living it. They leave aside the differences of race, language and color that discriminate people and enjoy the feeling of equality. They strengthen their unity and solidarity with the same feeling and excitement. Thus, they renew and strengthen their belief.

Our Prophet (pbuh) said, “The reward for an accepted hajj is Paradise.” When people from all levels of life wear the same garment while performing hajj, it reminds us the day when we come together in the presence of Allah after death. Man who takes off his worldly clothes by entering ihram will shed his sins and will try not to commit any sins; he will pray Allah and try to be a perfect Muslim.  

Hajj increases the feeling of thanking in man. It increases the belief of oneness and religious feelings. Hajj enables man to consider his situation spiritually. It increases the knowledge of man. Hajj saves man from being stingy and makes him get used to generosity since it makes man spend the money that he loves a lot for hajj. It also makes him modest. Hajj strengthens the feeling of living together in the society. Hajj makes a person, after returning his country, undertake some responsibilities that he has to fulfill for himself, his family and the society he lives in. It makes man acquire consciousness of living properly and in a disciplined way. He tries not to distress others with his attitudes and deeds. He respects other people’s rights. Hajj makes a person get rid of the excessive acts that he used to have before hajj.

Hajj makes man have a harmonious lifestyle. It makes man more patient. It makes man treat creatures more affectionately. Thus, man acquires important characteristics that will contribute to the solidarity of the society. 

Hajj causes believers to turn toward Allah sincerely, making their repentance accepted and their sins forgiven by Allah. To see holy places gives man spiritual excitement and strengthens his religious feelings. It gives man the joy of worshipping Allah. It also helps spiritual cleaning by giving up harmful habits. It makes a person someone to be taken as an example. Hajj also helps a person mature ethically, reach the good and makes the society reach peace.  

What is the virtue of hajj?

Hajj, which is a turning point in terms of worldly and otherworldly life, makes a Muslim free of major-minor sins when it is fulfilled sincerely; it also elevates his level in the presence of Allah, becomes a means of achieving Paradise and makes a person mature ethically.

The virtue of this worshipping, which is fard for every Muslim who can afford it once in his/her lifetime, is really great. The prayers and repentance performed in hajj are accepted by Allah. Thus, those who perform this worshipping return to life with a new vitality and consciousness.

During hajj, material and spiritual dirt are continuously cleaned. Both the bodily dirt and the dirt of sins are completely cleaned. Our Prophet (pbuh) informs us through the narration of Abu Hurayra that hajj will eliminate the rust in the heart and will be a means of forgiveness for all sins, whether major or minor: “Whoever performs hajj for Allah's pleasure and does not have sexual relations with his wife, and does not do evil or sins then he will return after hajj free from all sins as if he were born anew.” (Bukhari, Hajj: 4; Muslim, Hajj: 79; Tirmidhi, Hajj: 2) That statement is related to the fact that hajj is a great purification in all aspects. That hadith is enough to express how virtuous hajj is.

Hajj eliminates all of the major-minor sins committed before it. Amr b. As (may Allah be pleased with him) wanted to lay it as a condition to be forgiven by Allah when he was about to pay homage to the Prophet (pbuh). The Prophet said,

"Know it well that becoming a Muslim eliminates all of the previous sins, whether major or minor. Hijrah (migration for the sake of Allah) eliminates all of the previous sins, whether major or minor. Hajj eliminates all of the previous sins, whether major or minor.” (Muslim; Iman: 121)

It is certain that hajj must be performed for Allah. That is, there must not be any worldly interest, fame, hypocrisy, etc in hajj. Many people perform hajj for fame. They lose the effort and money that they spend and the troubles that they suffer in terms of thawabs (rewards). As a matter of fact, the fard hajj is fulfilled when a person performs hajj like that. However, if a person performs hajj with the intention of pleasing Allah, he will fulfill the fard hajj and earn a lot of rewards. It is a great loss to lose so many rewards for the sake of seeming as an important or great person in the eyes of others.

The value of those who perform hajj is very high in the presence of Allah. Therefore, Allah will not reject their sincere prayers. According to what Abu Hurayra (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, 

“Those who go to the House of Allah for hajj and umrah are the representatives of Allah sent by Muslims and the guests of Allah. When they pray, Allah answers their prayers; when they ask for forgiveness, Allah forgives them.” (Ibn Majah; Manasik: 5; Nasai; Hajj: 4)

What are the terms regarding hajj?

Ihram: It is one of the frads of hajj. For men, “ihram” consists of a piece of towel wrapped around the waist covering the lower part of the body and another piece of towel put on the back. Women do not wear ihram; they wear a long dress.

Waqfa: Waqfa means to stand. As a religious term, it means to be on Arafat on the day of Arafah (one day before the Eid al-Adha). People worship and pray there.

Tawaf (Circumambulation): It is fard to circumambulate the Kaaba on the first three days of Eid al-Adha. Turning around the Kaaba seven times by saying prayers is called tawaf. Turning around once is called shawt.  

Sa’y: It means going to and coming back between the hills of Safa and Marwa, which are near the Kaaba. Sa’y is completed when a person goes to Marwa from Safa four times and from Safa to Marwa three times, totally seven times.

Places related to Hajj and Umrah

The Kaaba: It is a rectangular building, whose corners face the four cardinal directions, in the middle of Masjid al-Haram. There are three wooden columns that support the ceiling and stairs to walk up to the ceiling in the Kaaba. The inner walls of the Kaaba are covered in marble. The top part and the outer walls of the Kaaba are covered by a black cloth with verses of the Quran embroidered on every year in the season of hajj. There is a black stone (Hajar al-Aswad), indicating the beginning point of circumambulation, in one corner of the Kaaba. After the Kaaba was built, that place was called Masjid al-Haram, that is, the place where one can worship safely.  

Hazrat Ibrahim (pbuh) built the Kaaba upon the order he received from Allah. Hazrat Ismail, his son, helped build it. After Hazrat Ibrahim (pbuh) completed the construction of the Kaaba, Allah ordered him, “Now call people to come here”; and he fulfilled that order. During hajj, Muslims recall the acts of Hazrat Ibrahim (pbuh) and live them again. Makkah and the Kaabah have maintained their sacredness throughout centuries since Hazrat Ibrahim (pbuh). Allah ordered our Prophet as follows with the advent of Islam: “And proclaim the Pilgrimage among men: they will come to thee on foot and (mounted) on every kind of camel, lean on account of journeys through deep and distant mountain highways.” (Hajj, 22/27) Muslims perform the worshipping of hajj based on that order.

Masjid al-Haram consists of the large area that surrounds the Kaaba and that is used for performing prayers, circumambulating and saying prayers. It is also called “Haram ash-Sharif”. That area, whose floor is covered by colored marble, is surrounded by walls; it has many gates and seven minarets.  

Makkah: The Kaaba has been regarded as a sacred place since Hazrat Ibrahim. People who settled there in the course of time founded the city of Makkah. Makkah is mentioned as the mother of the cities in the Quran. The Quran states that the first mosque built in order to worship Allah was built in Makkah. The verse regarding the issue is as follows:  “The first House (of worship) appointed for men was that at Bakka: full of blessing and of guidance for all kinds of beings.” (Aal-i Imran, 3/96)

Safa and Marwa: They are two hills in the east of the Kaaba that are about 350 meters away from one another. The hill in the south is Safa and the one in the north is Marwa. Sa’y is performed between these two hills. 

MountArafat: It is a place in the east of Makkah; it is about 25 km away from Makkah; hajjis gather there on the eve of Eid al-Adha. The waqfa of Arafat, which is one of the fards of hajj, is performed there.(al-Baqara, 2/198) Saying, “Hajj is Arafat” our Prophet (pbuh) stated the importance of the Waqfa of Arafat.

Arafat is the place where our beloved Prophet (pbuh) asked Allah to forgive his ummah and received the glad tidings that his ummah would be forgiven. Our Prophet (pbuh) delivered the Farewell Sermon to more than one hundred thousand Muslims in 632 when he performed the Farewell Hajj with his Companions on Arafat, too.

Muzdalifa: It is the name of the region between Mount Arafat and Mina. While returning from Arafat, hajjis perform waqfa in Muzdalifa.

Mina: It is the region on the foot of the mountains in the east of Makkah between Muzdalifa and Makkah. During hajj, the slaughtering of the animals, and stoning the devil take place in Mina.

What are the types of hajj?

1. Hajj al-Ifrad: A person who performs this kind of hajj is called a mufrid. A mufrid is a person who intends to perform hajj only while entering ihram. Those who live in Makkah become mufrid only.

2. Hajj al-Qiran: A person who performs this kind of hajj is called a qarin. A qarin is a person who intends to perform both hajj and umrah while entering ihram. A qarin first performs tawaf and sa’y for umrah and then without exiting ihram and having a haircut, he performs tawaf and sa’y again for hajj on the days of hajj.  

3. Hajj at-Tamattu’: A person who performs this kind of hajj is called a mutamatti. A mutamatti enters ihram for umrah, performs tawaf and sa’y for umrah and exits ihram after having a haircut during the months of hajj, that is, Shawwal, Dhul Qada and the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. He does not return to his hometown; he enters ihram on the day of tarwiyah (two days before the first day of Eid al-Adha) or before for hajj and performs hajj like a mufrid. However, he also performs sa’y after the tawaf of ziyarah.  

It is wajib for qarins and mutamattis to slaughter a sacrifice of shukr (thanking). If qarins and mutamattis cannot slaughter an animal because of the lack of animals to be sacrificed or not being able to buy one have to perform fasting during hajj for three days and after hajj for seven days, totally for ten days. It is compulsory to fast the first three days after entering ihram during the months of hajj and before the first day of Eid al-Adha in Makkah. It is better to delay performing fasting until the last three days, that is, the 7th, 8th, 9th days of the month of Dhul Hijjah with the hope of finding a way of sacrificing an animal.

A mutamatti can perform fasting before entering ihram for hajj, after the ihram of umrah.

What is the Wisdom Behind Stoning the Devil?

As it is known, during the hajj season the devil is stoned in three places called Jamratul-Aqaba, Jamratus-Sughra and Jamratul-Wusta in Mina on the first, second and third days of Eid al-Adha. It is wajib. The acts carried out there are among the essentials of hajj. It is done to recall a nice reminiscence. The devil, who is the common enemy of the humankind, is stoned and damned.   

Stoning is carried out in thee places that were determined allegorically. That worshipping dates back to Hazrat Ibrahim (pbuh).

There are two narrations regarding the issue. One of them as follows:

While Hazrat Ibrahim was taking Hazrat Ismail to a place to sacrifice based on the order of Allah, the devil appears before them. He wants to dissuade Hazrat Ibrahim by trying to exploit his paternal compassion. However, the devil is rejected. Then, he tries to dissuade Hazrat Ismail. He tells Ismail that his father misunderstood the order of God Almighty and that he left his mother in tears, and asks him not to obey that order. Hazrat Ismail does not heed the misgivings of the devil; he dismisses the devil and throws seven stones at him. Hajjis throw stones at jamras to recall and relive that reminiscence.

The narration of Ibn Abbas regarding the issue is as follows:

When Hazrat Ibrahim came to perform hajj, the devil appeared near Jamratul-Aqaba. Then, Hazrat Ibrahim threw seven stones at him. The devil sank into the ground. Then, he appeared again near Jamratul-Wusta. Hazrat Ibrahim threw seven stones at him. The devil sank into the ground. Then, he appeared again near Jamratul-Wusta. Hazrat Ibrahim threw seven stones at him again. The devil slumped.  

Then, Ibn Abbas added,

“You only stone the devil and follow the way of Hazrat Ibrahim (pbuh), your ancestor.”

That kind of worshipping means not to approve the wish of the devil, who has been the enemy of man since Hazrat Adam, not to heed his misgivings, to curse the devil again within the circle of faith and to make him sink into the ground. That stoning is a display of fitness against the evil forces, symbolization of the determination to overcome all kinds of evil and the application of the spiritual treaty made with our Lord.

Our Prophet (pbuh) stated the following:

“To circumambulate around the House of Allah, to go to and come back between Safa and Marwa, to stone the devil are performed in order to keep alive the signs of Allah.”

Believers show their servitude to their Lord by performing those acts of worshipping during the season of hajj. They enjoy the pleasure of being a servant to Him and being addressed by Him.

What is the wisdom behind circumambulating the Kaaba seven times? What is the meaning of tawaf (circumambulation)

Circumambulating the Kaaba represents the idea of oneness. Its meaning regarding the social life is not to leave unity and to try to maintain this unity. Its meaning regarding individual life contains deep truths. The sky has seven layers; man has seven souls. Each turning around the Kaaba represents a phase, a stage; man covers a phase and is elevated up to the seventh sky, above the material realm. Besides, it means to rise from the lowest step of the soul, which has seven steps, to the highest one. That is, from nafs al-ammarah (soul commanding the evil) to nafs al-mutmainnah (tranquil self); from the animal life to the spiritual life. Circumambulating the Kaaba is a kind of worshipping taken from the order of the universe. The planets rotate around the sun, the electrons around the nucleus, the moth around the candle; rotating around such a center means allegiance with love.    

God Almighty states the following in the Quran: "The seven heavens and the earth, and all beings therein, declare His glory: there not a thing but celebrates His praise; and yet ye understand not how they declare His glory...". (al-Isra, 44) The advancement in science as helped explain that verse. As a matter of fact, including the beings that had been thought to be lifeless, everything was found to consist of atoms. The electrons around the nuclei of the atoms rotate continuously and regularly around the nucleus; it was expressed as declaring the glory of Allah in the Quran. Therefore, to rotate around the Kaaba, which is the symbol of Islam, means to love Islam, to rotate around it like a moth and to attach oneself to Allah.

Worshipping; is fulfilling the duties like takbir, hamd, shukr by a slave for Allah in the way that He orders. Therefore, the fulfilling of the duties by each being can be said to be their worshipping and glorifying Allah

Understanding Tawaf: Lexically, tawaf means to turn, walk, etc around something. Everything in the universe, from the tiny atoms to huge galaxies, is in a state of tawaf. In the atom, electrons turn around the nucleus, which is like the heart, with a dizzying speed; in the galaxy, billions of stars rotate around the center of the galaxy with an incredible speed. They rotate as if they worship the Creator that created them. As it is stated in the Quran, each swims along in an orbit. (Yasin, 40)

The view formed by tens of thousands of Muslims walking around the Kaaba is like the view of a galaxy turning together with billions of stars. Therefore, it is necessary to let oneself be on the orbit in order to get full spiritual pleasure in tawaf. A Muslim who can enter this orbit lets himself be controlled by that spiritual flow and gets the pleasure of becoming a drop in the sea of the believers. The circumambulation around the Kaaba is regarded to be the symbol of the summary of the universe and creation, and surrendering to the divine pre-ordainment.  

The formidable walk by men during the first three shawts of tawaf is called ‘ramal’ and leaving the right shoulder uncovered is called ‘iztiba’. 

The historical meaning of the three acts done was a display of power and intimidating the opponents. When Makkan Muslims migrated to Madinah, the climate of Madinah affected them they became a bit weak. When they went to Makkah again after seven years for umrah, they explained the situation to the Prophet. Thereupon, he told his Companions to seem powerful to polytheists and to walk formidably when they passed in front of them; and the Companions walked like that.

Doubtlessly, their walking formidably was enough to show that they were powerful that day. What about today? How will hajjis show that they are powerful today? Material power, spiritual power, moral power… What did we lose, where and how? How will we recover them? We definitely should think about them during hajj.

The ramal (formidable walking), which was performed in order to show the strength of Muslims to the Qurayshis according to what Ibn Abbas says, became a sunnah when Hazrat Prophet walked like that during the first three shawts of the Farewell Hajj. Hazrat Umar had said, after commenting on Hajar al-Aswad, “Why do we still maintain ramal? We did it in order to be seem powerful in the eyes of polytheists, who said we were weak. As a matter of fact, Allah destroyed them.” (Bukhari, Hajj, 57) Although Umar thought that the reason for ramal did not exist any more, he did not want to abandon something that Hazrat Prophet did and thus he continued the same application. Ramal may have continued because Muslims always need to be powerful and because they should never forget it. 

A person starts tawaf leaving the Kaaba on his left. It has a symbolic meaning. The heart of man, which is the place where Allah looks, faces the House of Allah in tawaf. Allah looks at the heart of man, not his shape, appearance, money and property. In this sense, there is an interesting relation between the Kaaba and the heart of man. Therefore, the heart of man faces the Kaaba during tawaf. It also indicates that tawaf should be performed heartily.  

A person enjoys the pleasure of being a believer around the Kaaba. It is very difficult to taste that pleasure, which takes place so vividly and enthusiastically in any other place. The feeling of closeness experienced in that holy place makes hajjis feel at home. Hajjis feel as if they are at home because the face of the Kaaba seems so familiar, its scent feels so acquainted and its coziness feels so comprehensive that no other love can be so attractive for a believer.

There is no difference among people who perform a prayer in congregation; similarly, there is no difference among people who circumambulate the Kaaba. All believers are equal there. There is no sign that differentiates a person from others. There exists unity, which is the symbol of oneness. It is necessary to be lost in the sea of believers and to melt in the congregation.

To turn around somebody and to rotate like a moth around him is an act that shows hearty allegiance and that one can sacrifice everything for that person. In this sense, circumambulating the Kaaba is an indication of turning toward the Exalted Creator, bowing down only in the presence of Him and worshipping none but Him.

During circumambulation, the hajji should have a respect worthy of Him and a love between fear and hope. While circumambulating, the haji should build the house of belief, that is, his heart, just as Hazrat Ibrahim and Hazrat Ismail, his son, built the House of Allah by turning around it. The Kaaba is His house and the heart is the place where He looks at. The hajji continuously looks at the Kaaba, observes it and watches its loftiness; similarly, Allah watches the heart of His slave and pays attention to it. As Hazrat Prophet expressed concisely, “Allah does not look at your shape, appearance or property but at your hearts and deeds. (Muslim, 1, 33) It is like that both in the world and in the hereafter. As it is expressed based on the 88th verse of the chapter ash-Shuara, on the Day of Judgment, when nothing will be of any use, Allah does not want gold or silver but a sound heart. “Oh hajji! Do not think that they want gold or silver from you. They want a sound heart on the day when wealth and sons are not beneficial.” As a matter of fact, in our culture, the sufis use all of the adjectives that are used to describe the Kaaba for the heart and call the heart the House of Allah. Or, they call it bayt al-haram (the honorable house) and they use the same expression for the heart because the heart is the house of Allah and it is haram (forbidden) for anybody but the beloved to enter there. As a matter of fact, the following hadith that the Messenger of Allah stated while circumambulating the Kaaba confirms it. “(O Kaaba!) You are so nice; your smell is so beautiful. Your fame and honor are so high. However, I swear by Allah, in whose hand is my life, that the honor and immunity of a believer with his property and life is greater than your honor.” (Ibn Majah, Fitan 2)

References:

1- Kur'ân'ın Getirdiği - Emin IŞIK.

2- Kurban Kesmenin Psikolojik Temelleri - Doç Dr. Ali Murat DARYAL.

3- Kur'ân-ı Kerîm ve Açıklamalı Meâli - Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı.

4- Diyanet İslâm İlmihali.

5- Hac Rehberi - İrfan YÜCEL - Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı.

6- Diyanet yayınları (haccı anlamak)

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