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Hajj: The Legacy of Abraham

09-02-2015, 01:02 AM #1
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Hajj: the Legacy of Abraham

And [mention, O Muhammad], when We designated for Abraham the site of the House, [saying], "Do not associate anything with Me and purify My House for those who perform Tawaf (circumambulating) and those who stand [in prayer] and those who bow and prostrate.  * And proclaim to the people the Hajj [pilgrimage]; they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every distant pass. (Quran 22:26,27)

From the tafseer (exegesis) of the verse above:  It was said that Abraham said: "O Lord, how can I convey this to people when my voice will not reach them'' It was said: "Call them and We will convey it.'' So Abraham stood up and said, "O mankind! Your Lord has established a House so come on pilgrimage to it.''


It is now the season of Hajj (pilgrimage) and over 2 million Muslims have answered the call of Abraham and will be traveling from every continent to perform pilgrimage to Makkah – the heart of Islam - in the Arabian desert. 

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam (Declaration of faith, Prayer, Charity, Fasting, Pilgrimage).  It is a once in a lifetime obligation on every Muslim adult if they have the means to make the journey;

…a journey to the city of Makkah …in a physically and spiritually sacred state called Ihraam …during the months of Hajj (the Hijri calendar months of Shawwal, Dhul-Qa`dah and the (first) ten days of Dhul-Hijjah) …for the purpose of worshiping Almighty God …by performing specific religious rites in accordance with the Sunnah (way) of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

The Sunnah of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) includes many beautiful spiritual aspects and sacred rituals that the pilgrims perform.  But where did these rites and rituals come from? Many non-Muslims might be surprised to know that Hajj, as practiced by billions upon billions of Muslims since the dawn of Islam, is the legacy of Prophet Abraham (peace and blessings be upon him), his trusting wife Hagar and patient and dutiful son Ishmael. The Quran says of Abraham:

And [mention, O Muhammad], when Abraham was tried by his Lord with commands and he fulfilled them. [Allah] said, "Indeed, I will make you a leader for the people." [Quran 2:124]

This is similar to the Biblical account:

Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father's house, To the land which I will show you; * And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; (Genesis 12:1,2)

The True Story of Ishmael & his Mother

While the Bible does not give much detail regarding the momentous moment when Abraham took Hagar and Ishmael to Arabia, the information that it does provide is sometimes contradictory.    What follows is taken from: http://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/wh...slimsislam
Quote:Abraham's first born son by Hagar the Egyptian was Ishmael. It's in the Bible, the Torah, Genesis 16:15, RSV. “And Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram.”
Quote:Abraham was given a special promise that the descendants of Ishmael would start and become a great nation. It's in the Bible, the Torah, Genesis 17:20, RSV. “As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him and make him fruitful and multiply him exceedingly; he shall be the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.”
Quote:His name (Ishmael) was given by God through the angel, and stands as a perpetual reminder of God's mercy. Ishmael means “God hears” - and understands, and will respond in your times of need. It's in the Bible, the Torah, Genesis 16:7-11, RSV. “The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, "Hagar, maid of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?" She said, "I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai." The angel of the Lord said to her, "Return to your mistress, and submit to her." The angel of the Lord also said to her, "I will so greatly multiply your descendants that they cannot be numbered for multitude." And the angel of the Lord said to her, "Behold, you are with child, and shall bear a son; you shall call his name Ishmael; because the Lord has given heed to your affliction.”
Quote:Again when Hagar and Ishmael were moving to Arabia the angel appeared to her. It's in the Bible, the Torah, Genesis 21:17-21, RSV. “And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, "What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not; for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him fast with your hand; for I will make him a great nation." Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the lad a drink. And God was with the lad, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow. He lived in the wilderness of Paran; [northern Arabia] and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt.”

The glad tidings of a great nation was given to Abraham when he obeyed God and left everything that he knew, his country, his home, his father and relatives to follow God’s command.  He again received the promise of a great nation coming from his offspring when God told him that He would bless his son Ishmael.  Hagar was given these glad tidings as well.

The great nation that was promised to Abraham and Hagar to come from their offspring is none other than the great nation of Islam and the annual Hajj performed by millions of Muslims every year is a witness to this.  What follows is the true story of Abraham, Hagar and Ishmael and their unparalleled submission to the Lord of all that exists, as it comes in the authentic hadeeth:

Ibn `Abbaas said,
“The first lady to use a girdle was the mother of Ishmael. She used a girdle to hide her tracks from Sarah.  Abraham (peace be upon him) brought her and her son Ishmael while she was suckling him, to a place near the Kabah under a tree on the spot of Zam-Zam, at the highest place in the mosque.

Notice that we are told that Ishmael was still a suckling infant.  This is in line with his description given in the Genesis story, (placed on his mother’s shoulder…placed under a bush so as not to see her child die …) Though the redactors attempted to alter the account and make it seem that Hagar and Ishmael were “cast out’ due to Ishmael supposedly mocking Isaac, the truth is that they were brought to Makkah while Ishmael was still an infant, before Isaac was even born.  Islamic scholars state that after Hagar gave birth to Ishmael, Sarah felt jealous and asked Abraham to send them away from her so God revealed to Abraham that he should take Hagar and Ishmael to Makkah…

During those days, there was nobody in Makkah, nor was there any water. He made them sit there and placed near them a leather bag containing some dates, and a small water-skin containing some water, and then set out on his journey homewards. Ishmael’s mother followed him saying, ‘O Abraham! Where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is no person whose company we may enjoy, nor is there anything.’  She repeated this to him many times, but he did not look back (nor reply to her). Then she asked him, ‘Did Allaah order you to do this?’  He said, ‘Yes.’  She said, ‘Then Allaah will not neglect us.’ She returned to where Abraham left her while he proceeded onwards until he reached the Thaniya (valley) where they could not see him. He then faced the (direction of the) Kabah, raised both hands invoking Allaah, the Almighty saying: Our Lord, I have settled some of my descendants in an uncultivated valley near Your sacred House, our Lord, that they may establish prayer. So make hearts among the people incline toward them and provide for them from the fruits that they might be grateful. [Quran 14:37] 

Notice Hagar’s implicit trust in Almighty God and in her husband.  Notice Abraham’s absolute obedience to the command of God.  He left his only child and second wife, Hagar in a barren land with only a small amount of food and water.  Consider his invocation to Almighty God - the first thing he asked God for them was to make them of those who establish the prayer. And then he asked that God provide for them, companionship and food not so that they would be happy and nourished but so that they would be grateful! 

Ibn Abbaas's narration continued: "Ishmael's mother went on suckling Ishmael and drinking from the water (she had). When the water in the water-skin had all been used up, she became thirsty and her child also became thirsty. She started looking at him (i.e. Ishmael) tossing in agony. She left him, for she could not endure looking at him, and found that the mountain of As-Safa was the nearest mountain to her on that land. She stood on it and started looking at the valley keenly so that she might see somebody, but she could not see anybody. Then she descended from As-Safa and when she reached the valley, she tucked up her robe and ran in the valley like a person in distress and trouble, till she crossed the valley and reached the mountain of Al-Marwa. There she stood and started looking, expecting to see somebody, but she could not see anybody. She repeated that (running between Safa and Marwa) seven times."   The Prophet Muhammad said: 'This is the source of the tradition of the Sa'y (One of the rituals of the hajj, or pilgrimage) the going of people between them (i.e. As-Safa and Al-Marwa). When she reached Al- Marwa (for the last time) she heard a voice and she asked herself to be quiet and listened attentively. She heard the voice again and said: 'O, (whoever you may be)! You have made me hear your voice; have you got something to help me?' And behold! She saw an angel at the place of Zam-zam, digging the earth with his heel (or his wing) till water flowed from that place. She started to make something like a basin around it, using her hand in this way, and started filling her water-skin with water with her hands, and the water was flowing out after she had scooped some of it."   The Prophet added: "May Allah bestow mercy on Ishmael's mother! Had she let the Zam-zam (flow without trying to control it or had she not scooped from that water to fill her water-skin), Zam-zam would have been a stream flowing on the surface of the earth."

Compare this with the Genesis story: And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, "What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not; for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him fast with your hand; for I will make him a great nation." Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the lad a drink.   This well is the well of Zam Zam in Makkah near the Kabah.  It is still flowing to this very day -  it is  blessed water and the miraculous stories of Zam Zam water deserve another thread because they are plenty and amazing.

The Prophet continued: 'Then she drank (water) and suckled her child. The angel said to her: 'Don't be afraid of being neglected, for this is the House of Allah which will be built by this boy and his father, and Allah never neglects His people.' The House (i.e. Kabah) at that time was on a high place resembling a hillock, and when torrents came, they flowed to its right and left. She lived in that way till some people from the tribe of Jurhum or a family from Jurhum passed by her and her child, as they (i.e. the Jurhum people) were coming through the way of Kada'. They landed in the lower part of Makkah where they saw a bird that had the habit of flying around water and not leaving it. They said: 'This bird must be flying around water, though we know that there is no water in this valley.' They sent one or two messengers who discovered the source of water and returned to inform them of the water. So, they all came (towards the water). Ishmael's mother was sitting near the water. They asked her: 'Do you allow us to stay with you?' She replied: 'Yes, but you will have no right to possess the water.' They agreed to that. Ishmael's mother was pleased with the whole situation, as she used to love to enjoy the company of the people. So, they settled there, and later on they sent for their families, who came and settled with them so that some families became permanent residents there. The child (i.e. Ishmael) grew up and learned Arabic from them and (his virtues) caused them to love and admire him as he grew up, and when he reached the age of puberty they made him marry a woman from amongst them.

Ishmael married a woman from the Jurhum tribe and not an Egyptian woman as the Bible narrates.  The hadeeth goes on to recount a time when Abraham came to visit Ishmael (Abraham used to travel between Palestine and Makkah often) and the advice he gave regarding Ishmael’s marriage.  It then tells of a third time when Abraham visited Ishmael in Makkah…
"Then Abraham stayed away from them for a period as long as Allah wished and called on them afterwards. He saw Ishmael under a tree near Zam-Zam, sharpening his arrows. When he saw Abraham, he rose up to welcome him (and they greeted each other as a father does with his son or a son does with his father). Abraham said: 'O Ishmael! Allah has given me an order.' Ishmael said: 'Do what your Lord has ordered you to do.' Abraham asked: 'Will you help me?' Ishmael said: 'I will help you.' Abraham said: 'Allah has ordered me to build a house here,' pointing to a hillock higher than the land surrounding it. "Then they raised the foundations of the House (i.e. the Kabah). Ishmael brought the stones while Abraham built, and when the walls became high, Ishmael brought this stone and put it for Abraham, who stood over it and carried on building. While Ishmael was handing him the stones, and both of them were saying: "O our Lord! Accept (this service) from us, verily, You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.”  (Quran 2: 127)
And so the Kabah was built by Abraham and Ishmael they who fully submitted to the Will of Almighty God while supplicating to Him and saying:   

Our Lord, and make us Muslims [in submission] to You and from our descendants a Muslim nation [in submission] to You. And show us our rites and accept our repentance. Indeed, You are the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful."  (Quran 2: 128)
  Abraham, Ishmael and all the prophets of God were Muslims in that they submitted to the Will of God in compliance with His commands.    I will end this by saying what Almighty God has said:
Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was one inclining toward truth, a Muslim [submitting to Allah]. And he was not of the polytheists. (Quran 3:67)
And who would be averse to the religion of Abraham except one who makes a fool of himself. And We had chosen him in this world, and indeed he, in the Hereafter, will be among the righteous. *  When his Lord said to him, "Submit", he said "I have submitted [in Islam] to the Lord of the worlds." *  And Abraham instructed his sons [to do the same] and [so did] Jacob, [saying], "O my sons, indeed Allah has chosen for you this religion, so do not die except while you are Muslims." *  Or were you witnesses when death approached Jacob, when he said to his sons, "What will you worship after me?" They said, "We will worship your God and the God of your fathers, Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac - one God. And we are Muslims [in submission] to Him."  [Quran 2:130-133]

And God knows best.

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09-02-2015, 03:00 AM #2
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Genesis 16:11-12

09-02-2015, 03:06 AM #3
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Malcolm X:

"Never have I witnessed such sincere hospitality and the overwhelming spirit of true brotherhood as is practiced by people of all colors and races here in this ancient Holy Land, the home of Abraham, Muhammad, and all the other prophets of the Holy Scriptures. For the past week, I have been utterly speechless and spellbound by the graciousness I see displayed all around me by people of all colors."

Cassius Clay, now Muhammed Ali:

"(The Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca) was an exhilarating experience to see people belonging to different colors, races and nationalities, kings, heads of states and ordinary men from very poor countries all clad in two simple white sheets praying to God without any sense of either pride or inferiority. It was a practical manifestation of the concept of equally in Islam."
This post was last modified: 09-02-2015, 08:40 AM by Tarikko.

“The lies (Western slander) which well-meaning zeal has heaped round this man (Muhammad) are disgraceful to ourselves only.”

― Thomas Carlyle, On Heroes, Hero Worship and the Heroic in History

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  • khadeejah, Scimitar