By:Sh. Mansour Leghaei
“Verily, the first House appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (Makkah), full of blessing, and guidance for all the worlds. In it are manifest, the Station of Ibrahim; whosoever enter it, he attains security. And Hajj to the House is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the journey to it, and whoever disbelieves then Allah stands not in need of any of the worlds.” [The Holy Quran 3:96-97]
The people of the world are usually aware of two kinds of journey. One journey is that which is made to earn livelihood which includes business, immigration and educational trips. The second one is that which is undertaken for pleasure and sightseeing and visiting family and friends.
In both of these journeys man is impelled to go abroad by his need and desire. He leaves home for the purpose of his own, he spends money or time for his own requirements. Therefore, no question of sacrifice or devotion arises in such a journey.
There is however a unique journey called ‘Hajj pilgrimage’ that is quite different from that of all other journeys.
A Hajj pilgrim leaves his family and business behind, bearing the rigors of the travel to a dessert country, spends money with no worldly expectation and compensation.
Such act is a proof of devotion to the Command of the Almighty God and that there is a fear of God and love for Him.
The term ‘Hajj’ literally means ‘intention for visit’ and in the Islamic law is the intention to visit the Sacred House of God in Mecca to observe and fulfill certain devotions for the sake of God.
The Almighty God has made certain acts obligatory in a way that a typical human can easily observe it. For “ Allah does not want to place you in difficulty, but He wants to purify you and to complete his Favour upon you that you may be grateful.” [5:6]
Thus, He has made 17 Rak’at daily prayer an obligation and one month in a year fasting while man could really offer more than that. Thus, there are many people who comfortably offer their daily obligation in addition to its recommended the total of which is 51 Rak’at. Similarly, there are some Muslims who at ease fast every Monday and Thursday in addition to the obligatory fasting of Ramadan.
Pilgrimage to Hajj is one of the pillars of Islam and hence is an obligatory worshipping though only once in a lifetime for those males or females who are mature and sane and can afford the journey.
Undoubtedly the obligation of Hajj pilgrimage was one of the last obligations in Islam. The late Allamah Tabatabaei the respected author of al-Mizan asserts that Hajj was made mandatory during ‘the Farewell Hajj (Hajjatul-Weda’) in the year 9 AH.
There is however another opinion that its obligation was proclaimed during ‘the Treaty of Hodaybiyeh’ in the year 6 AH. This opinion is supported by the Aya 196 in the Second Chapter of the Quran.
The obligation of Hajj can be deducted from many Ayat of Hajj and as well as numerous authentic Hadith and hence its obligation is unanimously agreed upon by all Muslims.
The first proclaiming of the obligation of Hajj was made by Prophet Ibrahim (a.s). The holy Quran states: “And proclaim to mankind the Hajj (pilgrimage).” [22:27]
According to some narrations Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) stood on the ‘Station of Ibrahim’ whilst raising his hands to his ears and cries loud: “O you people! Hajj to the Honoured House is prescribed to you, so comply with the command of your Lord.”
Another proof for the obligation of the Hajj rituals is the Ayah 196 in Chapter 2 in which the Almighty God states: “And perform properly the Hajj and Umrah for Allah.” The term ‘perform’ is a divine command and hence indicates an obligation.
Similarly in Chapter 3 the holy Quran introduces the Hajj pilgrimage ‘a duty that mankind owes to Allah’ denying which is equal to blasphemy. [The Holy Quran 3:97]
Thus, observing the obligatory Hajj is called: ‘Hajjatul-Islam’ meaning a Hajj which perfects and indicates the faith the pilgrim in Islam.
1. Imam Ali (a.s) in his final will to his sons (Imams) al-Hasan and al-Husain (a.s) declared: “Fear Allah and keep Allah in view in the matter of your Lord’s house (Ka’bah). Do not forsake it so long as you live, because if it is abandoned you will not be spared.”
Although the Will of Imam Ali (a.s) was not limited to his sons, in fulfilling his father’s will Imam al-Hasan (a.s) offered 25 pilgrimage on foot in his life.
2. Abdullah Ibn al-Fadl al-Hashemi said: “I said to Imam Sadiq (a.s) that I had a heavy debt and a big family and cannot make a pilgrimage to Hajj. I requested the Imam to teach me a supplication to help me have my debts paid. The Imam said: After every pray say: “O my Lord! Bless Muhammad and his pure progeny and pay for me my worldly debt as well as my hereafterly one.” I said: I know my worldly debts, but what is my hereafterly debt? The Imam said: the Hajj.”
3. Mo’awiyah Ibn Ammar said: “I asked Imam Sadiq (a.s) about a man who had money but did not make a pilgrimage to Hajj until he died. The Imam said: He is one of those about whom the Almighty God has said: And on the Day of Judgment We raise him blind [20:124]. I said: Glory to God! Blind?! The Imam continued: Allah has made him blind about the path of Truth.”
4. al-Kolayni in an authentic Hadith narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s) to have said: “If all people leave the Hajj pilgrimage the chastisement will fall on them.”
He also narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s): “Islam always stands up insofar as al-Ka’bah stands up.”
Therefore, pilgrimage to Hajj is alternatively the duty of all Muslims. That means every year there must be some groups of Muslims who observe this ritual so that the House of God is not closed. As mentioned in the Islamic law even if hypostatically speaking it so happens that one year none of the Muslims –may God forbid- can afford to go to Hajj, it is the duty of the Islamic state to pay for the expenses of some people to fulfill the Hajj pilgrimage.
Like other obligatory acts in Islam, pilgrimage to Hajj is also mandatory under certain conditions.
All Islamic duties are conditioned to puberty and sanity. Hence if a boy accompanies his parents to Hajj at the age of –say- 10 both him and his parents will have the reward of pilgrimage to Hajj but it will not suffice him of his obligatory Hajj (Hajjatul-Islam).
In addition to puberty and sanity the pilgrim must be also able to afford the journey. By affordability we mean the pilgrim must be healthy enough to travel and wealthy enough to pay for the necessity of his/her trip expenses as well as the expenses of his family during his absence. The road to Hajj should be also open to him/her. Thus, a wealthy and healthy Muslim –for some reasons- cannot obtain a visa for traveling to Mecca, pilgrimage to Hajj is not mandatory on him/her.
The pilgrimage to Hajj also becomes mandatory if someone is willing to pay for all your expenses of Hajj and you must accept it without any shyness. This type of Hajj will suffice you from obligatory Hajj (Hajjatul-Islam).
Al-Halabi said: I asked Imam Sadiq (a.s): If somebody offered to pay for the expenses of someone’s Hajj, yet he was too shy to accept it, would he be still amongst ‘those who can afford it’? the Imam replied: “ Yes, why does he have to be shy? Even if he had to ride on a maimed and mutilated donkey, or if he can afford to walk some of the way and have a ride for the rest of it, he shall go for the Hajj.”
If a person has the money to either spend on his Hajj or to get married, he should spend it for his Hajj if he meets other conditions of it. For pilgrimage to Hajj is a mandatory act whereas marriage is recommended. Nonetheless, if by deferring the marriage he seriously suspects that he may commit a mortal sin, then marriage is a first obligation on him.
Unfortunately, some Muslims deprive themselves from such a blessed obligation with some excuses such as studying, working or that I’m still too young, or I’m waiting to go with my friend, etc. these ignorant Muslims assume they are going on a holiday and thus even would wonder if they could go to Hajj during the Xmas holiday which would be more convenient for them!
It is narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s): “Whoever leaves Hajj for one of the worldly needs, he will see the shaved headed pilgrims (back home) whilst his worldly needs are not fulfilled yet.”
Sheikh al-Toosi in an authentic Hadith narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) in the interpretation of ‘And Hajj to the House is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the journey to it’ to have said: “This Aya is for he who has money and health. And if he postpones the Hajj for a business reason, then the person is not excused and if it happens that he dies in that status, he has died whilst he has forsaken one of the obligations of Islam, for he could afford it to go for Hajj.”
From the Islamic point of view if one who could financially afford it to go to Hajj, missed his obligation until he dies, it is the duty of the executors of his will to hire someone to make the pilgrimage on his behalf and the expenses of his trip must be deducted from his total wealth not the one third.
Hajj is one of the most important worshipping acts in Islam and its blessings are numerous. One of the Sura of the Quran (Chapter 22) is named after this obligation. Out of all obligations in Islam, it is only the obligation of Hajj which the Almighty God has directly related it to Himself. “And to Allah the Hajj of the House is a duty that man owes.” [3:97]
Hajj is a window to life after death through which a pilgrim will be satisfied with a unique spiritual experience in his life. He will find his lost self and gain the most important provisions for his life in here and in hereafter; i.e. Taqwa and self-restraint.
Hajj is the arrival of a mortal being to an Eternal One, visiting His Sacred and Secure House and being His guest of honour. It is quoted from Imam Sadiq (a.s) to have said, “The pilgrim is the guest of God; He grants once He is asked, approves once He is called, and He will compensate a thousand times for every unit spent.”
Hajj is a spiritual purification. Once it is performed correctly it cleanses the soul of the pilgrim from all types of sins which makes him/her like a new born baby. The reward of Hajj is so abundant that every time the Imams of Ahlul-Bait (a.s) meant to express the significance of a good deed, they would compare it with Hajj. There is no reward for a correct Hajj pilgrimage less than Paradise. Once a pilgrim has accomplished his Hajj he becomes so pure like a new born baby.
Hajj is a demonstration of sacrifice. The process of Hajj requires sacrifice of time, sacrifice of money, sacrifice of comfort, sacrifice of several worldly relations and attachments and many corporeal desires and pleasures. All for the sake of Allah with no selfish end. At every step on that sacred land a pilgrim witnesses the footsteps of those who sacrificed everything they possessed in servitude and obedience of Allah. From a father who attempt in slaughtering his only son, to those fought against pagan Arabs and suffered and tortured to death, but ultimately did raise aloft the Word of Allah.
Hajj is such a blessed worshipping in Islam that when Imam Baqir (a.s) was asked as why the name of ‘Hajj’ is chosen for this ritual, his answer was: “He observed ‘Hajj’ means he is prosperous.”
Abdul-Khaliq al-Sayqal said: I asked Imam Sadiq (a.s) about the Aya “And whoever entered it is secure” [3:97]. The Imam replied: Indeed you asked me about something that no one else has asked me about it, except whoever Allah wills it. He then added: Whoever aims at (visiting) this House whilst he knows it’s the House that Allah has ordained for it and also he knows about us (ahlul-Bait) a true knowledge, then he will be secure in here and in hereafter.”
It is also narrated from the Prophet of Islam (saww) about the abundant rewards of the pilgrims: “They do not pull up a step but a reward will be recorded for them, and will not put down a step but a sin will be deleted from their file. When their devotions come to an end it will be said to them: You’ve built a construction, now do not demolish it, you are excused about your past, so make sure you only do good deeds in your future.”
It is also narrated from Imam Sajjad (a.s): “Whoever finishes the recitation of the entire Quran in Makka he will not die until he sees the Messenger of Allah (saww) and he will see his status in Paradise. A glorification (Tasbeeh) in Makka is equal to donating the entire income of Iraqain (the two cities of Kufa and Basrah) for the cause of Allah. Whoever offers seventy Rak’at pray in Makkah reciting in each Rak’at once Sura 114, Sura 97, Ayat 54-56 of Sura 7, and Ayatol-Korsi (Sura 2 Aya 255) he will not die but a martyr. The one who is eating in Makkah is like the one who is fasting elsewhere, and one day fasting in Makkah is equal to one year of fasting elsewhere and the one walking in Makkah is worshipping the Almighty Allah.”
The above Hadiths are only a few out of many narrations about the merits of pilgrimage to Hajj. I really wonder those who forsake this ritual with some worldly excuses, how can they afford to miss all these promised rewards, or is it that they have better compensation for their time and wealth?!
One should however bear in mind that all the above rewards are subject to the Welayat and the sincere love for Ahlul-Bait whose love the Almighty Allah has made mandatory for the reward of the entire prophetic mission of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saww).
Abu-Hamzah al-Thumali said: Imam Sajjad (a.s) asked me if I knew which part of the world would be the optimum. I said: Allah, His messenger and the children of His messenger know best. The Imam then said: The best place is what is between al-Rokn and al-Maqam (which means beneath the location of Ka’bah and a short radiation around it where Tawaaf takes place). Indeed if someone is given the life that Prophet Noah was given to stay with his people for 950 years and spends all of it to fast in such a most sacred place during the days and stands in prayer at night, then he meets the Almighty Allah without our Welayat it will benefit him nothing.”
From the time a person decides to go and prepares himself for Hajj to the time of returning home, Hajj produces a great effect in his heart and mind.
1) Taqwaa: One of the most important benefits of all different types of worshipping is to gain Taqwa which means self-restraint, guarding the self against evil and piety. In term of practicality of Islam there is no issue so significant in Islam as ‘Taqwa’ to the effect that those who depart this world without the provision of Taqwa are in manifest loss. According to the holy Quran every human has to enter the hellfire and only one group will step out of it safe and sound and that is exclusively the pious ones (al-Mottaqeen). “There is not one of you but shall come to it (Hell); this is an unavoidable decree of your Lord. And We will deliver those who are pious (Mottaqeem), and We will leave the unjust therein on their knees.” [ The holy Quran 19:71-72]
Taqwa is a fundamental benefit of pilgrimage to Hajj as introduced in the Quran. The virtue of Taqwa is frequently repeated amidst the rules of Hajj. The Sura of Hajj (Chapter 22) of the Quran begins with recommendation about Taqwa. “O mankind! Fear (the punishment of) your Lord and be dutiful to Him (Taqwa).”
From the Islamic point of view the life on this melting planet is short and temporary and the main purpose of man’s life on earth is to gain a provision for his eternal life in hereafter. The best provision in Islam is Taqwa. This fact is mentioned only once in the Quran and that is in relation to the Hajj pilgrimage. “ The Hajj is (to be performed in) the well-known months; so whoever determines the performance of the pilgrimage therein, there shall be no intercourse nor fornication nor quarrelling amongst one another; and whatever good you do, Allah knows it; and make provision, for surely the best provision is Taqwa, and fear Me (Taqwa), O men of understanding.” [2:197]
The rituals of Hajj are regarded as the Signs of Allah God (Sha’aer). “Surely the Safa and the Marwa are among the signs of Allah.” [2:158] and respecting the Signs of Allah is the observation of the highest level of Taqwa which is the piety of the heart. “That (shall be so); and whoever respects the signs of Allah, this surely is (the outcome) of the piety of hearts.” [22:32]
Therefore, as the rituals of Hajj are the signs of piety, the physical performance of those rituals is not what which would reach the Almighty God. The purpose of Hajj is not merely to walk around the sacred Ka’bah or slaughter a ship for sacrifice but to gain Taqwa over them. “There does not reach Allah their flesh nor their blood (of the sacrifice in Mena), but to Him is acceptable your guarding against evil (Taqwa).” [22:37]
In collusion, the most important benefit and the wisdom behind the Hajj pilgrimage is to make a spiritual and moral change within the self. A pilgrimage to Hajj is a training camp of detachment from all worldly pleasures and desires. Hajj is a detachment from all discriminatory rights and assumptions. By abstaining from corporeal desires and pleasures, the pilgrim elevates himself or herself to the realm of spirituality and light. Hajj therefore is a rebirth for the pilgrims to start a new and different life based on piety. Thus, Imam Sadiq (a.s) said: “al-Haajj (the pilgrim)… will exit from his sins like the day that his mother gave birth to him.”
2) Social Benefits of Hajj
The excellence of Islam is that there is a full wisdom and multi-benefits behind all its teachings. It is so ordained by the Omniscient God that by one stroke it achieves not only two but countless purposes. When the Almighty God ordered Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) to proclaim the Hajj pilgrimage, the reasons behind this obligation was ‘that they may witness things that are of benefits to them.” [22:28]
The ‘benefits’ mentioned in the above Aya would include any type of benefits for Muslims, be it for this world or the hereafter.
Although the Hajj pilgrimage is a pure and profound devotion and worshipping, it is the most effect tool of enhancing a global solidarity amongst Muslims in their social, economic and cultural affairs. Thus, the benefits of Hajj is not limited to individual spirituality.
If every person would be allowed to observe the Hajj singly at any time of the year (similar to Umrah Mofradah), still it would bring a reformation in his life, but the fact that all Muslims of the world must observe the Hajj at one time, reflects the limitless degrees of this blessed worshipping, and marks it like many other Islamic obligations, a social worshipping too.
Thus, Hajj is the axis of unity amongst Muslims. It is the crystallization of eradication of all types of national and racial discriminations and limitations.
Hisham Ibn Hakam asked Imam Sadiq (a.s) about the reasons because of which the Almighty Allah has made Hajj compulsory on people. The Imam gave him a comprehensive answer. A part of that answer reads: “God associated people from the east and west to get to now each other and benefit from their transactions from a country to another, and even those who hire the transports benefit from it… and if people of every state would only speak about their local affairs, they perish as well as the cities, and the commercial benefits would drop too.”
Hajj is a global assembly of Muslims to share their news and views with one another and to make tremendous decisions for the benefits of the international community of Muslims.
Historically Hajj has been the unique opportunity for oppressed Muslims to express and convey their opposition to the then tyrant rulers. The story of Karbala and the fact that Imam Husain (a.s) chose Makka the first city to go to and his stay therein until when the Hajj season arrived gave him a golden opportunity in enlightening Muslims who had arrived in Makka from every part and walk of life. Thus, Hajj is also introduced in the holy words of the Prophet of Islam (saww) as “the Jihad of every weak person.”
In spite of all the grounds for the multi-benefits of Hajj, the present practice of Hajj is quite disappointing. Unfortunately there is no major if any resolution in such fascinating international congress of Muslims to benefit the welfare of Muslims world wide. Muslims still die and suffer from famine and starvation whilst giant incorporate western companies make megabucks during the Muslim pilgrimage to Makka! It cannot be any more shameful then serving the pilgrims with American Coca Cola and Pepsi under the tents in the holy land of Mena.
Among all the worshipping acts, Hajj is undoubtedly the most symbolic one. On a facial observation, one would really wonder how could walking back and forth seven times between two rocky hillocks, al-Safa & al-Marwah, or mere spending at least some hours on a plain desert called al-Arafah and camping one night in a barren land named al-Mash’ar be all regarded worshipping!
Nonetheless, after a close look and deeper reflection on Hajj devotions we discover a marvelous experience in this world to remind us of the life after death. Stages of Hajj worshipping are the most resembling act to the Day of Resurrection. Hajj is the demonstration of the great gathering on the Day of Judgment.
Imam Sadiq (a.s) in disclosing the secrete behind the Hajj pilgrimage said:
“The Messenger of Allah did not established any Halal or Haram act or any devotions but for preparation of the intellectuals and people of understanding and indication of death, grave and the Day of Judgment and a distinction between those who enter heaven and those entering hell through observation of Hajj devotions from its very beginning to the end.”
The essence of the above Hadith is that Hajj is a small Resurrection Day. The following is a quick review of similarity between the Hajj pilgrimage and the pilgrimage to hereafter.
1. Preparation for the journey
Hajj is a trip and like any other trip there is a chance that you may never come back home again. Thus, it is strongly recommended to write down your final will, settle your financial debts and farewell your friends and relatives assuming you may not see them again. You ought to be strict with yourself and make sure if you have slandered your friends or ever spoke ill about them, or in any form or shape have been unfair to them, make sure you satisfy them. Finally you must repent to God from all your sins.
Your debts to people, whether financial or any rights they have on you are like a chain stopping you from your traveling. Once you intend the pilgrimage to Hajj, remember the cry of all creditors who are asking for their rights. Their unique message for you is: Where are you going? Are you going to visit the House of God, whilst you do not respect Him in your house?! Are you not ashamed to arrive at Him and He will address you as an oppressor?
Thus, once you are traveling towards His House with your body, you shall consider your soul traveling towards the Lord of the House.
For every journey you need provisions covering all your needs during the trip. Traveling to Hajj also requires its own provisions such as valuable and enough currency for the whole trip, suitable clothes, etc. In general, you do not take unnecessary items with you. Similarly, for the journey to hereafter you need a valuable currency which lasts for ever, i.e. TAQWAA.
Both the Hajj trip and the trip to hereafter require transportation. The transportation of Hajj is usually airplane or bus on which you voluntarily board. Whereas the transportation of hereafter is your coffin in which you will be placed and will be carried out on your friends’ shoulders. Thus, once you get onto your airplane, remember your transport to your journey to the hereafter and acknowledge the fact that your transport to Hajj could be your coffin too.
4. Al-Miqaat (Time & Place of Visit)
Al-Miqaat is a prescribed location at a fixed time from which the devotions of Hajj begins. Once you get there you shall remember the starting point on the Day of Judgment which is also called ‘al-Miqaat’ where all humans are gathered together to be judged upon. “Verily, the Day of Distinguishing is Miqaat ( the time appointed) for all of them.” 40:40
5. Clothes of Ehraam
Ehraam is a plain garment made of two seamless and unsown white sheets or towels symoblising purity and equality.
The clothes of Ehraam should remind you of your clothing to the Hereafter; i.e. your shroud. Notice the similarity between the two as your Ehraam is plain white, so is your shroud. Your Ehraam has no stitches in it and so is your shroud. Nevertheless, the difference is that you put your Ehraam on, but your shroud will be put on for you.
During the devotions of Hajj, millions of people from different walks of life, irrespective of their colour, nationality, social status and other humanely made differences come along with exactly the same dressing; i.e. two plain white towels. Such a huge gathering of white dressed humans is one of the most fascinating parts of Hajj and the most remembering of the Day of Resurrection when all souls join their bodies and rise up in their shrouds proceeding towards the Divine Court of Justice.
Al-Talbiya is the declaration of ‘Labbayk’ which menas ‘at Your service’. Thus, make sure you are serious in your words and be fearful if the Almighty God does not accept your declaration.
It is quoted from Imam Sajjad (a.s) that prior to announcing the Talbiya, his whole body used to shiver wondering whether God is going to accept his Talbiya or not.
This should remind you also of another occasion in the Hereafter when people are calling upon God wondering whether their request is going to be accepted or not.
7. Entering Makka
Once you get to the border of Makka, you should find yourself at the presence of God entering His Kingdom hoping you enter the most secure place. “Whoever enters it attains security.” 3:97
al-Tawaaf means to walk seven times around the Ka’bah in an anti-clock wise. According to our Ahadith, Tawaaf is like Salaat and Salaat is the ascension of the believers. When doing the Tawaaf around the Ka’abh on the most sacred peace of the earth, pray to god to open your inner sight and then “you will see the angels surrounding the Throne (of Allah) from all round glorifying the praises of their Lord.” [39:75]
The Sa’y (or walking hard) commemorates Hager’s search for water to quench Ishmael’s thirst. She ran back and forth seven times between two rocky hillocks; al-Safa and al-Marwa. As you walk between the two hills it should remind you of your struggle in hereafter between the two ends of hope and fear wondering whether you will be forgiven or punished, or your two pans of your actions; i.e. good deeds and the bad ones.
The Arafat literally means to know and insight. The Arafat is a plain desert in the outskirt of Makkah. Stay there is another duty during the Hajj pilgrimage.
It is enough for the importance of this station to remember the words of wisdom from holy Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.w) who said, “Hajj is Arafah” , meaning; the major spirituality of Hajj shall be achieved in Arafah. For the major philosophy of Hajj is to achieve ‘vision’ and to ‘see the reality of existence as it is’ (Irfan). During Hajj, pilgrims put on their Ehram to travel from Miqaat to Makkah where the Holy Mosque is, and then from Makkah to Al-Arafat with the assumption that they at first (when the soul of the pilgrim was not fully ready) the pilgrim visits the House of God and then after getting some strength then s/he travels from the House of Lord to the Lord of House at Al-Arafat.
During your stay in Arafat pray to God to bless you with visiting your Present Imam Zaman (a.f) for according to Imam Baqir (a.s) “the completion of Hajj is visiting the Imam (a.s).”
11. Sacred Mash’ar
Mash’ar literally means ‘the place and the time of common sense or awareness’. Mash’ar is again a plain desert far from human civilization where pilgrims spend ought to spend one whole night therein for the sake of God. For many Muslims specially those who are used to the western luxurious lifestyle, that night in Mas’ar is the most significant part of Hajj devotion. Imagine you have worn your clothes of Ehram which is similar to your shroud in the middle of a desert at night. Similar to your grave in that night your pillow is the rocks of the land and your mattress the sand far from the luxury of your bedroom.
Spending one night in the desert far from your family, your business and all your worldly attachments should provide you a great opportunity to find yourself, your God and the purpose of your life and wakes you up in ‘Al-Mash’ar’ (the place of awakening). And this is what the Ayah is referring to by saying: “Then when you pour down from Arafat, remember God at the Sacred Mash’ar.” 2:198
After spending one night in Mash’ar, the pilgrims should be ready to fight Satan. Therefore, on the following day as soon as the sun rises the pilgrims depart from Mash’ar heading towards the next station named Mena (Desire) in which the main battle with self desire shall take place.
Ramy Al-Jimaar is the first field of this battle. Ramy literally means shooting and casting and Jimaar are three pillars resembling Satan in three different approaches. At Ramy Al-Jimaar the pilgrims cast pebbles at the last pillar seven times. In each shooting you should also throw away some of your evil habits.
Qorbani is the second step of the duties in Mena. Qorbani literally means sacrificing. In Mena, all pilgrims must sacrifice a sheep, goat, cow or camel. Cutting the throat of the animal resembles cutting the throat of selfish desire in order to achieve piety. The holy Quran describing this step says: “It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him.” 22:37
13. Tawaaf of Nisa
One of the major duties of Hajj that I would like to draw your attention to is the Tawaaf of Nisa. Tawaaf as I mentioned earlier means walking around the Ka’ba, and Nisa simply means ‘women’. This Tawaaf, which according to Shia is compulsory, resembles an oath from the pilgrim promising loyalty and kinness to his or her spouse in the presence of God at His Holy House in the most Sacred Land. Thus, the Prophet of Islam (saww) ordered Muslims in his farewell Hajj: “I recommend you to be kind you your women for indeed they are under you supervision and you received them as a trust of God and in the name of God sexual intercourse with them was made permissible for you. Indeed the best of you is the best of you to their wives.”
I would like to bring my words into an end with a supplication recommended by Imam Baqir and Imam Sadiq (peace be upon them) to be recited after every Salaat during the days of the blessed month of Ramadan.
“O my Lord! Grant me the means for pilgrimage to Your House, this year and every year till you make me live in ease and comfort with abundant sustenance, and do not deny me of visiting those venerable places and honorable sights and visiting the shrine of your Prophet may Your peace and mercy be upon him and his pure progeny. O my Lord! Be for me in the matter of all the needs of this world and the hereafter. O Allah! I request You in the matter of Your decisive and irrevocable decision in the Night of Qadr to include me amongst the pilgrims of Your sacred House whose Hajj is approved and their effort is appreciated and their sins are forgiven and their mistakes are concealed.”