April 1997: Page 1, 2, 3, 4

Submitters Perspective

Page 3

Pilgrimage: Hajj and Umrah

God teaches us in the Quran that all religious practices came us through Abraham. The Contact Prayers (Salat), the obligatory charity (Zakat), fasting (Syaam), and pilgrimage (Hajj) were commanded by God to Abraham and his followers.

Say, “My Lord has guided me in a straight path—perfect religion of Abraham, monotheism. He never was an idol worshiper.” Say, “My Contact Prayers (Salat), my worship practices, my life and my death, are all devoted absolutely to God alone, the Lord of the universe.” (6:161-162)

Hajj pilgrimage is one of the pillars of Submission and is carried out by visiting the Sacred Mosque (Ka’aba) in Mecca, which was built by Abraham and Ismail.

As Abraham raised the foundations of the shrine, together with Ismail (they prayed): Our Lord, accept this from us. You are the Hearer the Omniscient.

Our Lord, make us submitters to You, and from our descendants let there be a community of submitters to You. Teach us the rites of our religion, and redeem us. You are the Redeemer, Most Merciful. (2:127-128)

Our Lord, I have settled part of my family in this plantless valley, at Your Sacred House. Our Lord, they are to observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), so let throngs of people converge upon them, and provide for them all kinds of fruits, that they may be appreciative. (14:37)

Hajj can be observed any time during the four Sacred months.

Hajj shall be observed in the specified months.... (2:197)

The count of months, as far as God is concerned, is twelve. This has been God’s law, since the day He created the heavens and the earth. Four of them are sacred. This is the

perfect religion; you shall not wrong your souls (by fighting) during the Sacred Months. However, you may declare all-out war against the idol worshipers (even during the Sacred Months), when they declare all-out war against you, and know that God is on the side of the righteous. (9:36)

Umrah is a shortened version of Hajj pilgrimage. It can be observed any time during the year. One of the major duties of the Messenger of the Covenant was to correct the Sacred months in which Hajj can be observed, since they were distorted, as pointed out in the Quran.

Altering the Sacred Months is a sign of excessive disbelief; it augments the straying of those who have disbelieved. They alternate the Sacred Months and the regular months, while preserving the number of months consecrated by God. They thus violate what God has consecrated. Their evil works are adorned in their eyes. God does not guide the disbelieving people. (9:37)

Note that the Sacred Months according to the corrupted Muslims are Rajab, Zul-Qe`dah, Zul-Hijjah, and Muharram (7th, 11th, 12th and 1st months of the Islamic Calendar). A careful study of the Quran, however, reveals that they should be Zul-Hijjah, Muharram, Safar, and Rabi I (12th, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd months).

The first step in pilgrimage is a state of sanctity called “Ihram” which is done by taking a shower and donning (wearing) the Ihram clothes. The men cover their bodies with seamless sheets of material (mostly white), while women may wear a modest comfortable dress.

The second step in pilgrimage is “Al-ttawaf” which is walking around the Ka’aba seven times while glorifying and praising God at the Sacred Mosque.

We have rendered the shrine (the Ka’aba) a focal point for the people, and a safe sanctuary. You may use

Abraham’s shrine as a prayer house. We commissioned Abraham and Ismail: “You shall purify My house for those who visit, those who live there, and those who bow and prostrate.” (2:125)

Pilgrims say specific words to commemorate God. These words are “Labbayka Allahumma Labbayk” (My Lord I have responded to You) and “Labbayka La Shareeka Laka Labbayk” (I have responded to You and proclaim that there is no god besides You, I have responded to you.)

The next step in pilgrimage is “Assa’ay” or walking between Safa and Marwah seven times. By doing these three steps, pilgrims finish Umrah.

The knolls of Safa and Marwah are among the rites decreed by God. Anyone who observes Hajj or Umrah commits no error by traversing the distance between them. If one volunteers more righteous works, then God is Appreciative, Omniscient. (2:158)

To complete Hajj pilgrimage, the pilgrims must glorify God at Arafaat.

You commit no error by seeking provisions from your Lord (through commerce). When you file from `Arafaat, you shall commemorate God at the Sacred Location (of Muzdalifah). You shall commemorate Him for guiding you; before this, you had gone astray. (2:198)

Pilgrims pray sunset at Arafaat and then go to Muzdalifah to observe the night prayer. They also pick up 21 pebbles for the stoning at Mena symbolizing the rejection of Satan’s polytheism. This is done by throwing seven pebbles at each of three stations of stoning.

He (God) said, “Therefore, you (Satan)

Continued on page 4