An Obligation

It is related by Ali radhiallahu anhu that the Apostle of God (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said : "Anyone whom God has given enough to perform the Haj. And he, also, has a conveyance which can take him to the House of God, if he still fails to do so then it does not matter whether he dies a Jew or a Christian, and it is so because God has said: Pilgrimage to the House (of Allah) is a duty men owe to God - those who can afford the journey."-Tirmidhi

Commentary: It imparts a most severe warning to those who do not perform the Haj despite the fact that they posses the means to undertake the Pilgrimage. To die in such a state, according to it, is similar to dying as a Jew or a Christian. It is comparable to the admonition which couples together the giving up of Namaz and Apostasy and Polytheism as of the same class of transgression. It is set forth, also, in the Quran: And establish Namaz (and by leaving it out) be not of those who ascribe partners unto Him.(XXX:31)

The Muslims who do not perform the Haj though they are religiously obliged to do so have been compared, in the tradition, to Jews and Christians and not to Polytheists because it was the peculiarity of the Jews and Christians that they did not perform the Haj while the Polytheists of Arabia did so but they did not offer Namaz, and hence, the habitual neglect of Namaz has been condemned as the characteristic of those who ascribe partners to God.

Again, in support of the stern warning given in the above tradition to those who do not carry out the Haj although they can afford the journey reference has been made to the verse of Surah-i-Aal-i-Imran in which the prescribing of the Haj as a duty has been proclaimed, i.e., Pilgrimage to the House (of Allah) is a duty men owe to God-those who can afford the journey, but it appears that the narrator stopped at reciting the first part of the verse while, in fact, the warning is based upon its latter part which reads, But if any deny faith (let him know that) God stands not in need of any of his creatures, (meaning that if, after this commandment, anyone adopts the attitude of the infidels and fails to perform the Haj even though he can afford the journey then God does not care. He is independent of all His creatures).

In it, those who possess the means and yet do not carry out the Haj have been condemned as the deniers of Faith and the admonition that God does not stand in need of his creatures has been administered to them which signifies that the Lord is supremely unconcerned with what such ungrateful and defiant people do and in whatever state they die.

Abdullah bin Omar radhiallahu anhu narrates that a person came to the Apostle of God sallallahu alaihi wa sallam and asked: "What makes the Haj obligatory?" "The wherewithal of the journey and the conveyance," replied the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam.

Commentary: In the Quran those who can afford the journey has been laid down as the condition that makes the Haj obligatory. The aim of the questioner, perhaps, was to seek an elucidation of the stipulation and the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) explained what it meant was, firstly, that a conveyance was available in which one could travel to Mecca, and secondly, that there was enough money to meet the expenses during the journey. The jurist have, also, included the maintenance of persons who are dependent for their needs on the intending pilgrim which is self-evident.

House Of Allah

Allah has given a position of privilege to the Ka’bah - it shall always remain a place where people will assemble from the four corners of the world, and would long to return to it again and again. Al-Qurtabi reports the great commentator Mujahid to have said that one never has enough of visiting the Ka’bah, but comes back every time with a greater longing to return and see it again. Certain scholars have remarked that one of the signs of one’s Hajj having been accepted by Allah Almighty is that on one’s return, one should find in ones heart a greater desire to present oneself in the House of Allah Almighty again. This is borne out by the experience of those who have the good fortune to be there - each visit, instead of slaking the thirst, rather increases it. Considering that Makkah has nothing to offer by way of a beautiful landscape or easy access or mundane conforts, yet, its power to draw millions of people to itself every year is nothing short of a miracle. The ‘House of Allah’ is meant for people to make tawaf of the Ka’bah, to do I’tikaf, and to offer their prayers. In the case of those who come from outside to perform Hajj, the Tawaf carries greater merit then offering prayers.

The Maqam-e- Ibrahim

The "Station of Ibrahim" is a place of offering one’s prayers. The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) has explained it through his own words and actions on the occasion of his last Hajj. After completing the tawaf, when he reached the "Station of Ibrahim", placed some yards away from the Ka’bah, he offered two rakaats on the other side of this stone, with his face turned towards the Ka’bah. The Fuqaha inferred from this the rule that if one does not get the room to stand close to "the Station of Ibrahim", one may, while offering prayers, validly stand at any distance from it that one can, so long as the Ka’bah, as well as the "Station of Ibrihim" is in front of him.

The offering of two rakaats after tawaaf of the Ka’bah is wajib, but to offer these prayers specifically behind the "Station of Ibrahim" is a Sunnah. There is, however, no bar on offering these prayers at any other spot within the Haram, for the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) himself has been reported to have offered them near the gate of the "House of Allah". If one is not for some reason able to offer these prayers behind the "Station of Ibrahin", as required by the Sunnah, he may validly offer them anywhere possible within the Haram or outside.

 Id ul Adha

The 10th of Zul Hijjah is the historic day on which the founder and progenitor of Ummat-i-Muslima, Hazrat Ibrahim (alaihis salaam) had given glorious proof of submission and self abnegation by placing the knife on the throat of his son, Ismail (alaihis salaam), and offering him as a sacrifice to Allah (SWT) on receiving the inspiration, according to his lights, from the Lord. The Lord, on His side, had declared Ibrahim (alaihis salaam) successful in the supreme test of love and sacrifice, and keeping Ismail (alaihis salaam) safe and unharmed, accepted the offering of an animal in his place. He had placed the crown of the religious and spiritual leadership of the entire mankind on Hazrat Ibrahim’s (alaihis salaam) head and proclaimed the simulation of this act of his to be the ritual of love till the end of time. Thus, if a special day was to be appointed for celebration for the Muslim community, which was the rightful successor to the community of Ibrahim (alaihis salaam) and representative of the way of the Friend of Allah, to honour the memory of the wonderful episode, it could only be the 10th of Zul Hijjah. This day was thus fixed as the second Eid. The annual congregation of the Haj of the whole of the Muslim world with its rituals like the sacrifice of animals in the barren land in which the heroic event of Hazrat Ibrahim’s (alaihis salaam) sacrifice had taken place marks the true and foremost commemoration of it while the ceremonies of Eid-ul-Azha like salah and Qurbani that are observed in all the places where the Muslims constitute its re-enactment and commemoration in the second grade.

Last Ashura

It is related on the authority of Abdullah bin Abbas (RA) that when the Apostle of God (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) made it his principle and custom to observe the fast of Aashura, and also bade the Muslims to do the same, some Companions said to him: "O Apostle of God! (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) The Jews and Christians celebrate this day as a festival (and in a way, it has become their national and religious characteristic and when we keep fast on that particular day a resemblance is created between us and them. Can no alteration, then be made in it so that the question of resemblance did not arise)?" The Holy Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) replied: "God willing, when the next year comes we will fast on the 9th." "But", adds Abdullah bin Abbas, "The Apostle of God (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) died before (the arrival of) the month of Muharram of the next year."

Commentary: The decision to make a change in the date of the fast of Aashura could not be acted upon in the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) lifetime, but the Ummah received the guidance from it that such a similitude and association should preferably be avoided.

The resolve to keep a fast on the 9th of Muharram could mean two things, both of which have been explained by the commentators. Firstly, that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) and with him, the Ummah will observe the fast on the 9th instead of the 10th of Muharram, and secondly, that they will fast on the 9th in addition to the 10th of Muharram and thus their conduct will become different from that of the Jews and Christians. A majority of theologists, however, have preferred the latter view and held that, in addition to the day of Aashura, fast should also be kept on the 9th of Muharram, and if it may not be possible due to some reason to fast on the 9th of Muharram then it should be done on the 11th.


Taken from Meaning and Message of the Traditions
by Maulana Mohammad Manzoor Nomani.

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