Al-Hajj Al-Mabroor


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  • Al-Hajj Al-Mabroor


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    Chapter Four

    Stoning the Devil

    By arriving to Minâ [An
    area close to Mecca on the road to ‘Arafah where pilgrims spend the Tashreeq
    days. It is the place of throwing pebbles at Jamarat and ritual slaughter of
    the sacrificial animal]
    the hajjis
    have fulfilled half the Hajj duty. The Hajj has two cornerstones without them
    it would never be complete and no expiations or whatever compensations are
    sanctioned to atone for them.

    The first cornerstone is
    standing at ‘Arafât and the second is the Ifadah
    Tawâf
    [Pilgrims’ circumambulation of the Ka‘bah upon their return from Muzdalifah]
    . These are the two cornerstones of Hajj, in other
    than them it is permissible to make expiations and offer a sacrifice.

    When proceeding onward from
    Al-Mash‘ar Al-Haram (the Sacred Monument) to Minâ for stoning the devil
    we must keep in mind an important issue: the story of Ibrâhîm (Abraham, peace
    be upon him) and his son Ismâ‘îl (Ishmael, peace be upon him). The story of
    manifest trial to which Allah subjected Ibrâhîm, who saw in a dream that Allah
    is commanding him to slaughter his son, Ismâ‘îl. A severe affliction fated by
    Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, but why? Because Ibrâhîm was an old man,
    while his son Ismâ‘îl was in the prime of youth. At an age when the father
    usually feels that his son is the continuation of his life and becomes proud of
    him, a son that lends a hand in the hardships of life. But over and above, his
    wife, Sarah (may Allah be pleased with her), was barren.

    Which means the absence of
    causes to give Ibrâhîm another son, but surely the Originator of causes (The
    Causer Almighty Allah) is mightily able to give.

    Allah, all praise and glory
    be to Him, commanded Ibrâhîm to slaughter his son Ismâ‘îl. If He commanded him
    to kill his son it would have been easier, because he could have assigned some
    people to kill Ismâ‘îl away from him. It was also possible to take his son
    Ismâ‘îl to a mountaintop then push him to see nothing.

    But the command was to
    slaughter Ismâ‘îl, in plain words to seize the knife, take his son while
    looking at him, slaughter him with his own hands and the son sheds to death. A
    very painful experience even if he had many children. But how much harder would
    it be when having a lone son in the prime of youth on the one hand and being an
    old man with a barren wife on the other hand!! A deed not to be fulfilled
    except by someone whose love for Allah surpasses all that exists, a love higher
    than any kind of love. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant
    him peace) said:

    “None of you will have faith till I am
    dearer to him than his father, his children and all people.”

    That is the trial of faith
    undergone by Ibrâhîm in this specific point, which proved that Allah is dearer
    to him than anything else. Not by words but by deeds.

    Ibrâhîm took his son to
    slaughter him in fulfillment of the Command given by Allah. Ibrâhîm did not
    want to surprise Ismâ‘îl by taking him to the mount and shocking him by the
    knife and the slaughtering, but he wanted to tell him first.

    The Noble Qur’an relates
    that story in the Perfect Divine Revelation saying (what means):

    “And, when he (his son) was old enough to
    walk with him, he said: ‘O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am
    slaughtering you (offer you in sacrifice to Allâh), so look what you think!’”
    (As-Sâffât, 37: 102)

    Ibrâhîm wanted to inform
    his son Ismâ‘îl about what would happen. But how did Ismâ‘îl, the Prophet,
    receive the Trial decreed by Allah? He replied as the Noble Qur’an narrates to
    us (what means):

    “He said: ‘O my father! Do that which you
    are commanded, Inshâ' Allâh (if Allâh will), you shall find me of As-Sâbirin
    (the patient ones, etc.).’” (As-Sâffât, 37: 102)

    Ismâ‘îl loved Allah more
    than his life and soul. So, the old man and the youth hastened with the knife,
    but will the devil leave the obedience of Allah be fulfilled without spoiling
    it? Of course not, his mission is to ruin the obedience shown to Allah on
    earth.

    Satan came to Khalîl Allah
    (the close servant to Allah), Ibrâhîm, to ruin the summit of faith. He came to
    Ibrâhîm asking him:
    What do you intend to do to your son? What is the
    meaning of slaughtering him when you are an old man in need of him? How could
    you believe such a dream? It is a lie.

    It is narrated that the
    devil was personified to one of the worshippers as a lad who served him for
    long. Once the old man went to perform the Fajr (Dawn) Prayer on a rainy day
    and muddy ground. The incarnate devil held the lamp for the old man while
    rising and falling in the mud. The people wondered how that old man tortured
    thus the lad who accompanied him on such a rainy muddy night. Whereas the pious
    man simply told them to leave him suffer for the One Who decreed sufferance
    upon him is Allah. As though Allah has cast in the soul of that old man that
    this boy is a devil.

    The devil never gives up a
    trifle he may steal through. Even more, he tries by any means to force man to
    sin. Therefore, the devil left no possible way with Ibrâhîm, Ismâ‘îl and Hâjar
    without pursuing it, perchance he might ruin one of the highest and most
    rewarding obedience shown to Allah, that of Summit Faith.

    The moment Ibrâhîm and his
    son Ismâ‘îl (peace be upon them) left the house, the devil embarked on his
    mission murmuring to himself:
    It is a trial, a severe affliction and if I failed to
    seduce those people in such an adversity never will I be able to.

    He came to Hâjar and said
    to her,
    ‘Know you whereto Ibrâhîm has went with your son?’ She replied, ‘To perform some errands.’ The devil said to her, ‘He took him not for some errands
    but took him to slaughter him.’
    Hâjar
    asked
    , ‘Why slaughters him?
    The devil replied
    , ‘He claimed that his Lord commanded him to do so. Upon that she said, ‘Away from my face. As along as
    Allah has commanded, He must be obeyed.’

    The devil withdrew away from
    her disgraced and hurried to overtake Ibrâhîm and his son. He started with
    Ibrâhîm struggling to deter him from fulfilling the Command of Allah. He said
    to him,
    ‘Who told you that this dream is from Allah? Perhaps it was jumbled
    false dreams (chimeras), for what Allah would gain from slaughtering your son?
    Disobey the order; otherwise you would live to regret it. If you slaughtered
    him, the face of your son while dying would be enshrined in your memory. His
    face would forever remain before your eyes torturing you for the rest of your
    life. You are an eighty-four years old man and would never be blessed with a
    son after him.’
    And he kept
    tempting Ibrâhîm, but Ibrâhîm never listened to him.

     

    When the devil despaired of
    Ibrâhîm he went to Ismâ‘îl and said to him,
    ‘Your father would slaughter you.’ But Ismâ‘îl replied, ‘If Allah commanded him to do so,
    let him do what Allah willed.’
    Then,
    he tried to prevent Ibrâhîm and Ismâ‘îl from going to the place of
    slaughtering, known afterwards as Al-Kabsh Mount (The Ram Mount), for being the
    mount on which the sacrifice was sent down.

    The devil strived to impede
    the progress of Ibrâhîm at the Jamrat Al-‘Aqabah
    [The
    closest stone pillar to Mecca, known as Large Jamrat]
    in Minâ in order to fulfill the Command of Allah;
    thereupon Ibrâhîm seized seven pebbles and stoned the devil. But the devil and
    his offspring despaired not and chased Ibrâhîm and Ismâ‘îl, perchance they
    could hinder them from honoring the Command of Allah. So, Ibrâhîm and Ismâ‘îl
    stoned them to drive them away.

    This is the story of
    stoning, stoning the devil and we are commanded to stone the devil just as
    Ibrâhîm and Ismâ‘îl (peace be upon them) did.

    The
    moral of stoning the devil

    After standing at ‘Arafat
    and having our sins forgiven, Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, wants to
    instructs us by the story of Ibrâhîm and Ismâ‘îl with the devil to guard our
    penitence. We have to stone the devil within ourselves in a nonphysical sense,
    barring all his gateways to us. Whenever the devil attempts to approach us with
    his evil whispers we should not listen to him, but to stone him by our defiance
    to yield to his satanic temptations until he recedes and leaves us dispossessed
    of all power over us.

     

    Just listening to the devil
    is the first step taken in disobedience. He wants to entice you into listening
    to him. Do not give him that chance. Do not listen to his temptations, but
    stone him at once by defiance.

    Some people may wonder
    saying, ‘We are pelting a stone, so what is its connection with the devil? And
    does the devil exist in it?’

    Some religious scholars say
    that the devils are imprisoned in these stones during the days of Minâ.
    To them we say, ‘Whether this is true or false, it constitutes, as aforesaid, a
    trial of the strength of faith within the hearts.’ For the purpose behind the
    principles of faith lies not in understanding them or grasping the wisdom
    behind. But the purpose lies in their being enjoined by Allah, all praise and
    glory be to Him; we kiss a stone (the Black Stone) and pelt another. The reason
    is that Allah, Blessed and Exalted be He, has commanded us and we must obey the
    Ordinance without trying to philosophize matters based on our limited weak
    minds. Since Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, has commanded, there must
    be a wisdom that we may or may not know, because there are many secrets in the
    universe we know nothing about.

    Allah, all praise and glory
    be to Him, wants us to keep in mind that since we have completed the Hajj,
    which is paid for from lawful money and performed for the Sake of Allah and
    therefore is surely accepted and is Mabrûr
    [Hajj performed in accordance
    with the Prophet’s tradition and is accepted by Allah]
    , the devil would never leave us in peace once our sins
    are forgiven. He would push us hard to err and sin anew. The moment we return
    from Hajj he would contrive to ruin our allegiance to Allah and cast
    disobedience within ourselves.

     

    The Almighty wants us to
    learn that in the Hajj we have conquered the devil by forbearing from all what
    He has forbidden. Not only a forbearance that involves the constant
    prohibitions but it extended further to include some of the lawful acts. Thus,
    the forbiddance intensified, but despite that we won through and completed the
    Hajj rituals while engaged in the Remembrance of Allah and solely occupied with
    worship and supplication. Meaning, not only are we able to obey the doctrine
    but also are able to do higher and greater acts of obedience.

    If we remember well this
    wisdom we will firmly adhere to the Fear of Allah after performing the Hajj
    rituals and inwardly we will realize that we are capable to show far more
    obedience and abide by it. Therefore, The Truth, all praise and glory be to
    Him, says (what means):

    “So when you have accomplished your Manasik
    [(i.e. Ihrâm, Tawâf of the Ka'bah and As-Safâ and Al-Marwah), stay at 'Arafât,
    Muzdalifah and Mina, Ramy of J amarât, (stoning of the specified pillars in
    Mina) slaughtering of Hady (animal, etc.)]. Remember Allâh as you remember your
    forefathers or with a far more remembrance. But of mankind there are some who
    say: ‘Our Lord! Give us (Your Bounties) in this world!" and for such there
    will be no portion in the Hereafter.” (Al-Baqarah, 2: 200)

    In order not to go astray
    or err, Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, wants us to always remember Him
    as we remember our fathers when away from us. To remember Allah, all praise and
    glory be to Him, because that is the gathering where all desires and
    affiliations no longer exist.

    The Truth, Blessed and
    Exalted be He, wants to approach to the minds of His creatures the concept that
    makes their movement work together and not against one another. Our Remembrance
    of Allah should be far more than that of our parents.

    Because no matter how long
    they live in the end they will die. But Allah is Eternal, never to die. If
    parents are the immediate cause of our coming into existence, Allah, all praise
    and glory be to Him, is the One Who originated and created us from nothing. The
    creatures are ascribed to The Creator; we are mere causes. Thus, we must
    remember the Origin in coming to be, The One Who originated things out of
    nothing far more than just remembering the causes.

    After the triumph of
    Ibrâhîm, Ismâ‘îl and Hâjar (peace be upon them) and their firm stand in the adversity,
    the sacrifice was offered as the Noble Qur’an relates (what means):

    ‘“And We ransomed him with a great
    sacrifice (i.e. a ram); And We left for him (a goodly remembrance) among
    generations (to come) in later times. Salâmun (peace) be upon Ibrâhim
    (Abraham)!’ Thus indeed do We reward the Muhsinûn (good-doers - see V.2:112).
    Verily, he was one of Our believing slaves. And We gave him the glad tidings of
    Ishâque (Isaac, peace be upon him) a Prophet from the righteous.” (As-Sâffât,
    37: 107-112)

    When Allah ordered Ibrâhîm
    to slaughter his son he had no other children beside Ismâ‘îl, and then he was
    given the glad tidings of Ishâque (Isaac, peace be upon him). Despite
    the severity of the trial Ibrâhîm and Ismâ‘îl resigned themselves to Allah and
    they complied with His Order. Therefore, Ibrâhîm was described in the Noble
    Qur’an as forbearing and ever oft-returning in repentance to Allah.

    The act emphasizes that if
    we receive every Decree of Allah with contentment we will win the reward of
    obeying the Command of Allah. At the same time, Allah, all praise and glory be
    to Him, arrests fate, and that is exactly what happened with Ibrâhîm and
    Ismâ‘îl (peace be upon them). Allah, be ever gloried His Majesty and Might,
    says (what means):

    “Then, when they had both submitted
    themselves (to the Will of Allâh), and he had laid him prostrate on his
    forehead (or on the side of his forehead for slaughtering).” (As-Sâffât, 37:
    107-112)

    Meaning, Ibrâhîm actually
    began the execution and seized the knife to slaughter his son. But the knife
    slaughtered not, because a knife does not cut voluntarily but by the Command of
    Allah. Just as Allah, Blessed and Exalted be He, commanded the fire into which
    Ibrâhîm was cast by saying (what means):

    “We (Allâh) said: ‘O fire! Be you coolness
    and safety for Ibrâhim (Abraham)!’” (Al-Anbiyâ’, 21: 69)

    And the fire complied and
    did not burn him. Similarly, Allah ordered the knife not to slaughter and it
    complied. At the moment of fulfilling the Command, Almighty Allah called
    Ibrâhîm as narrates the Noble Qur’an (what means):

    “And We called out to him: ‘O Abraham! You
    have fulfilled the dream (vision)!’” (As-Sâffât, 37: 104-105)

    Allah, all praise and glory
    be to Him, wants His creatures to believe in the wisdom of His Commands and
    proceed to their fulfillment with contentment. If you proceed to execute the
    Command with contentment, Allah raises His Decree. Therefore, memorize well
    this noble Qur’anic verse and remember it while in Minâ to realize that in all
    life incidents man lives through, Allah only raises His Decree when the
    afflicted person is contented with it. If you see a doom that lasted on an
    afflicted person, as a cureless disease in spite of all the applied remedies,
    or a hardship experienced either in children or property, and he was not freed
    from it despite the passage of a long time learn that the sufferer is not
    contented with the Fate of Allah and is complaining. The moment he feels
    contented and accepts the wisdom of Fate, he will be relieved from it.

    Ibrâhîm fulfilled the
    vision and since he fulfilled it out of absolute contentment, willingness and
    submissiveness to the Wisdom of Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, in what
    He commanded, the doom was arrested and it was said to him, ‘Do not kill your son.’
    Then a ram offered as a sacrifice descended from heaven. As if Allah, Blessed
    and Exalted be He, Himself ransomed Ismâ‘îl with that ram. Not only that, but
    instead of taking Ibrâhîm’s sole son, Ismâ‘îl, Almighty Allah gave him the glad
    tidings of a second son, Ishâque.

    As a rule, anyone who
    proceeds to fulfill the Divine Commands, still within the veils of the Unseen,
    though blind to their wisdom but out of trusting the Divine Omniscience, will
    surely receive a great reward. The further steps the Decree beyond the power of
    imagination, the stronger the faith enclosed in the hearts. There are people
    who refuse to abide by the prohibitions set by The Creator for missing the
    wisdom behind, when the wisdom is unveiled and the harm that befalls man because
    of them becomes evident, they start to forbear. But their forbearance does not
    arise from belief in the Command of Allah, but out of belief in medicine,
    science or others.

    We have to know that there
    is a difference between the duty man assigns to another and the duty The
    Creator enjoins upon His creatures. In the former, we have to know the wisdom
    behind it to fulfill it, but in the latter we fulfill it out of belief in the
    absolute Wisdom of Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, in whatever He
    legislated. Everything judged by Allah and our minds stand powerless to
    understand, we fulfill out of belief in the Omniscience of The Legislator.

     

    When Imam ‘Ali (may Allah
    be pleased with him) discussed wiping over footwear (when performing ablution),
    he said,
    ‘If the matter submits to reasoning power, wiping the
    underside of the foot would be more deserving than its outside. Because the
    underside of the foot is the part subjected to dirt. But the way lies in
    adapting the soul to approach A Lord Who wants you to approach Him with
    obedience, and never dare allow yourself to come near Allah with whatever sort
    of argument. For Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, cannot be questioned as
    to what He does or commands.’

    When you come to stone the
    devil, you actually want to block the gateways through which he may steal into
    your soul, whether to attack the acme of your faith thus you stone the supreme
    devil, or the branches of your faith thus you stone the subservient devils. You
    stone the devil seven times. All is a physical matter that agrees with your
    corporality. But there is wisdom behind the Command that should not pass
    unnoticed; Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, wants us after performing the
    Hajj rituals to fully accept His Ordained Destiny with contentment no matter
    how it seemed to us. To be certain that whatever Allah has judged is surely the
    best.

    Obedience
    and reasoning

    During the Hajj the
    dialogue exchanged between the mind and obedience is continuous. Acts of
    obedience that bend the heads in mediation while performing the Hajj rituals as
    Tawâf [The devotional act of circumambulating (i.e.
    walking around) the Ka‘bah seven times while reciting prayers and supplication.
    Tawâf should begin and end at the Black Stone],
    Sa‘y [The devotional act of walking seven times between the knolls of
    As-Safâ and Al-Marwah which are located some distance from the Ka‘bah inside
    Al-Masjidul-Haram]
    , kissing
    the Black Stone and stoning another, beside other rites.

    We say that such matters
    are beyond the bounds of reason, for having to do with discipline in obeying
    Allah and accustoming the human soul to yield to the highest Command. For
    Allah, glory be to Him, did not just enjoin duties immoderately but based on
    Perfect Wisdom.

    While stoning the devil you
    have to remember that he never leaves a question of faith without striving to
    ruin it. The devil pursued our master Ibrâhîm (peace be upon him), and every
    time Ibrâhîm drove him away he returned to him once again. By casting the
    stones we first obey the Command of Allah and revive the tradition of our
    father Ibrâhîm, out of faithfulness to the one who fulfilled all and named us
    Muslims before the revelation of the Noble Qur’an, about whom Allah, Blessed
    and Exalted be He, said in His Noble Qur’an (what means):

    “And of Ibrâhim (Abraham) who fulfilled (or
    conveyed) all that (what Allâh ordered him to do or convey).” (An-Najm, 53: 37)

    When we stone Iblis (the
    devil) in the Hajj we should be resolute not to obey him after returning home
    and we must feel that we have conquered him. That victory must subsist after
    the Hajj, because despite his conspiracies and evil insinuations to make us
    disbelieve we believed in Allah. Despite his struggles to make us join others
    in worship with Allah, we joined none. Then, we came to the Hajj and performed
    the rituals and thus transcended in obedience.

    Stoning here symbolizes our
    victory over the devil on a day of damnation and manifest loss to the devils.
    The devil is accursed by Almighty Allah, the angels and the believers. The
    Curse of Allah on him is unseen to us but it exits and is continuous. Also, the
    angels’ curse on him is unseen to us but it exits and is continuous.

    As for us we curse him in a
    physical sense; that is casting stones at him in Minâ. On that day the
    devil is seen in his most abject and contemptible state.

    It is the day of revenge
    and retaliation against the devil that tempted you. It is the day of victory
    over your bitterest enemy, who must remain your archenemy. At the same time you
    have been taught a lesson to avail you in the rest of your life. Never lose
    sight of the devil nor give him the chance to conquer you ever again. Accept
    the Commands of Allah and His Prohibitions with love and be contented with His
    Ordained Destiny. If you seal all the devil’s passes, he will have no power
    over you. Not any trial Allah inflicts on you means an incurred anger because
    you do not see what Allah hides in His Decreed Fate. Perhaps, The Almighty has
    tried you because He wants you to earn a greater reward for your obedience and
    a higher compensation for not falling into sin, or to exalt you in Paradisal
    degrees. Surely, Allah, The All-Knower, knows the sincerity of your sought path
    and your heartily contentment with whatever destinies bring, so as to grant you
    the best of rewards for your sincerity and contentment.

    After casting the pebbles
    of the Jamrat Al-‘Aqabah or Al-Jamrah Al-Kubrâ
    [The
    closest stone pillar to Mecca, known as the Large Jamrah or Jamrah of the
    supreme devil],
    you perform the Minor
    Ending of Ihrâm
    [This comes after concluding two of the three
    following rituals: Throwing the pebbles, Ifâdah Circumambulation or having
    one’s hair cut or shortened]
    then you
    must head for Mecca to perform the Ifâdah Tawâf
    [Pilgrims’
    circumambulation of the Ka‘bah upon their return from Muzdalifah]
    , which is the last cornerstone of Hajj. Afterwards,
    comes the Major Ending of Ihrâm
    [This comes after concluding
    three rituals: Throwing the pebbles, Ifâdah Circumambulation and having one’s
    hair cut or shortened. Then a pilgrim may act freely even to have conjugal
    relations],
    which sanctions to you
    the performance of all the acts that were forbidden during the Hajj.

    If you have performed the Sa‘y
    between the knolls of As-Safâ and Al-Marwah during
    the Tawâf of Hajj you do not have to perform it in the Ifâdah Tawâf.
    But if you have not performed it yet, perform Sa‘y after the Ifâdah
    Tawâf
    .

    There is voluntary Tawâf and Sa‘y to whoever
    craved a higher reward and compensation. Truly, nothing is dearer to Almighty
    Allah than performing additional acts like those He enjoined upon us: as
    offering Voluntary Prayers, fasting, giving charity or sacrificing animals.
    Because such deeds betoken that we not only perform what Allah has enjoined
    upon us but also perform beyond them voluntary acts, as a warm expression and a
    deep love of our servility to Allah, Whose Majesty reigns supreme
    .

     

     

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