Monday, February 27, 2017

Hajj e Azeem

A guest visiting a house is sure to be disappointed if he finds it empty. No one would like to visit an empty house just to stare at plain walls and the floor, for anyone it’s the people of the house who are more important than the house itself.
Also, it remains a fact that the reputation of any area or a mohalla is based on the reputation of its people staying there. If noble people leave the area and people of a bad reputation enter it, the image and reputation of the area would deteriorate accordingly. Similarly, the honour of a house depends on the honour of its inmates.    
Kaaba is ‘House of Allah’ but Allah (SWT) is not an Entity which can be confined to one place. He (SWT) says in the verses of Surah-e-Baqra (2:142 & 2:115) that East and the West belong to Him. He (SWT) is Omnipresent.  So the assumption of Kaaba being House of Allah (SWT) because Allah (SWT) is in Kaaba would be a wrong assumption. Allah (SWT) is present everywhere in every mosque or in a park or anyplace as much as He (SWT) is present in Kaaba. Then why only Kaaba  and no other mosque, has got the distinction of being known as ‘Baitullah – The House of Allah?’
è In this article we will try to find a suitable answer to this question and we will further contemplate on few verses to identify the noble people of Allah (SWT) who brought honour to the Kaaba and have the same rank and distinction as the House of Allah (SWT) .
We will begin with the verses of Quran praising Kaaba. The following verse is from Surah-e-Aale Imran:
  •  “(Indeed the first house that was appointed as a place of worship for mankind, is the one at Mecca (the Holy Ka’aba), blessed and a guidance to the whole world)” – (Surah-e-Aale Imran, ayah 96)
Kaaba has the privilege to be appointed as the first house of worship for the mankind. It is also a guidance to the whole world.
  • “Allah has made the Kaaba, the Sacred House, an asylum of security for mankind...” – (Surah-e-Maida, ayah 97)
It is not only the first place of worship and the guidance but it is also an asylum of security for the mankind.
The Quran further says about Kaaba in the following ayah:

·     وَ لِلّه عَلَى النّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَیْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطاعَ اِلَیْهِ سَبیلاً.
  • “It is on people for the sake of Allah to perform Hajj of his House, anyone who is able to undertake the journey to Him.” – (Surah-e-Baqra, ayah 196)
Kaaba is a guidance to the whole world, an asylum of security for the mankind and it has also got the privilege to be considered as – Baitullah, the House of Allah (SWT), since it is the first house of worship for the mankind.
It is mandatory for every financially capable Muslim to visit Kaaba once in his life time to perform Hajj. A hadith of Imam Sadiq (as) glorifying Hajj and its benefits for a Muslim is mentioned as under:
  • “Persons who perform Hajj and Umrah are guests of Allah. He (SWT) will grant them their wishes and any prayer that they recite will be accepted. And if they pray for intercession about a person it will be accepted … and if they die in this way Allah (SWT) will forgive all of their sins”.
In the following two ahadith the Imam (as) has also said that:
·      اِنَّ الْحَجَّ المَبْرُورَ لا یَعْدِلُهُ شَىءٌ وَ لا جَزاءَلَهُ اِلاَّ الجَنَّة.
  • “Nothing compares with the accepted Hajj and it has no reward other than heaven!”
  • وَ اَنَّ الْحاجَّ یَکُونُ کَیَوم وَلَدَتْهُ اُمُّه.
  • “A Person who performs Hajj purifies himself from sins like the day that he was born”.
(Ref: The above ahadith are quoted by Mohaghegh Yazdi in ‘Al-Urwat Al Wusqa’ and also in ‘Wasael al Shia’ by Sheikh Hurr Ameli and other scholars.)
è  Kaaba – the first house of worship, is the House of Allah (SWT). Allah (SWT) fulfills our wishes and forgives all our sins if we visit Kaaba. Visiting Kaaba during Hajj purifies us and rewards us with a place in Heaven.
Keeping all the above merits of Kaaba in mind we can infer that there is no other place worthier than Kaaba to be a Qibla . But it is also a fact that Kaaba was not the original Qibla for Muslims. It got the distinction of becoming Qibla later on.  For the first 17 months after the Hijrat, the Qibla of the Muslims for prayers was Bait-ul-Muqaddas (they faced Bait-ul-Muqaddas while offering namaz). Later on the holy Prophet (Pbuh&hp) got the following revelation to change the Qibla from Bait-ul-Muqaddas to Kaaba:
  • (“Indeed We see the turning of your face to heaven, so We shall surely turn you to a qiblah which you shall like; turn then your face towards the Sacred Mosque, and wherever you are, turn your face towards it, and those who have been given the Book most surely know that it is the truth from their Lord; and Allah is not at all headless of what they do.”)  – (Surah-e-Baqra, ayah 144)
The changing of Qibla from Bait-ul-Muqaddas to Kaaba  has been done for a purpose. And Allah (SWT) has explained this in the following ayah:
  • (“We decreed the qiblah which you faced before that We may know who follow the Apostle and who turn away in haste.”) – (Surah-eBaqra, ayah 143)
The Qibla for Muslims was changed from Bait-ul-Muqaddas to Kaaba as desired by our beloved Prophet (pbuh&hp). Thus the change of Qibla was Prophet (pbuh&hp)’s wish which Allah (SWT) grantedThe purpose for doing this was to differentiate the true followers of the holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) from the disobedient ones.

But years before Kaaba became Qibla, one of the most prominent event of the history of Islam took place in Kaaba. It was the birth[1] of our beloved first Imam – Hazrat Ali (as). The wall of Kaaba opened up for lady Fatema binte Asad (sa) - Mother of Imam Ali (as) - and she, as if by some unseen force, went inside the Kaaba and the wall closed. She stayed there for 3 days. On Friday the 13th Rajab of 30 Aamulfeel  Imam Ali (as) was born in Kaaba.

 (Ref: Muhammad ibn Talha el-Shafei in Matalib-us-saool, page 11, Hakim in Mustadrak, page 483, Vol. III, El-Umari in Sharh Ainia, page 15, Halabi in Sira, page 165, Vol. I, Sibt ibn al-Jauzi in Tadhkera Khawasil Ummah, page 7, Ibn Sabbagh Maleki in Fusoolul Mohimma, page 14, Muhammad bin Yousuf Shafei in Kifayet al-Talib, page 261, Shablanji in Nurul Absar, page 76, Ibn Zahra in Ghiyathul Ikhtisar, page 97, Edvi in Nafhatul Qudsia, page 41, Mohaddith-e-Dehlvi in ‘Izalatul Kholafa’)

Most scholars accept the fact that Imam Ali (as) was the only man in history to be born in Kaaba. Hakim ibn Hazm in his Mustadrak and Nuru'd-din Bin Sabbagh Maliki in Fusulu'l- Muhimma, Fasl I, p. 14, say: “No one before Ali (as) was born in the Kaaba. This was a distinction given to Ali (as) in order to enhance his honor, rank, and dignity.

ü  We can thus infer that though Kaaba was the first house appointed for worship for mankind, Allah (SWT) and the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) did not elevate it to the rank of Qibla for Muslims till the birth of Imam Ali (as) took place in it. 

In the first section of this article we have gone through the ayah 96 of Surah-e-Aale Imran, which says that the Kaaba is the guidance to the whole world. Now let us see the following ayah:
  • "(O Prophet, surely, you are a warner and for every people there is a guide)". (Surah-e-Ra’ad, ayah 7)
The above ayah says that Allah (SWT) has appointed a guide for the mankind. Sa`labi writes in his tafseer on the authority of Abdullah ibn Abbas that when this verse was revealed, the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) said that through Ali (as), Muslims will be guided. It has also been recorded by various authentic sources in other prominent books (Ref: Durr-e-Mansoor, Mulla Jalaluddin Suyuti, Vol 4 Page 45, Ibn-e-Asakir)

ü  So while Kaaba – Baitullah is the guidance to the whole world, Imam Ali (as) and the Imams from the Ahlulbait (as) are the appointed guide for the mankind by Allah (SWT).

ü  Kaaba is the first house of worship for the mankind, Imam Ali (as) is the first Imam of the entire Kaynat.
In the following verse of Surah-e-Aale Imran, Allah (SWT) praises His chosen people for their nobility and conduct:

·      “You are the best of the nations raised up for (the benefit of) men; you enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong and believe in Allah. – (Surah-e-Aale Imran, ayah 110)

In the verse 97 of Surah-e-Maida, which we have seen in the first section of this article, Allah (SWT) has said that the Kaaba is the asylum of security for the mankind. While in the above ayah of Surah-e-Aale Imran, Allah (SWT) addresses and praises His chosen people who are raised for the benefit of mankind. They guide the mankind to the right path. They are equal to Kaaba in the eyes of Allah (SWT) in that sense.

While explaining the above ayah Ibn-e-Abi Hakim has quoted Hazrat Abu Ja’far that they are the Ahlulbait (as) of the holy Prophet (pbuh&hp). (Ref: Tafseer-e-Suyuti, Vol 2, P 64)

There is a prominent hadith of the holy lady Fatema (sa) on the rank and importance of Ahlulbait (as). She (sa) has said:

·       "Verily, Allah made obeying us (Ahlulbait) - the regulation of the nation and our (Ahlulbait’s) leadership - the safeguard from disunity. (Ref: Al-Ihtijaj vol.1 p.97, Bihar Al-Anwar vol.29 p.223)

ü  Thus Kaaba is the asylum of security for the mankind, the Ahulbait (as) are the best of the nations raised for the benefit of mankind.

ü  Kaaba is the asylum of security for the mankind, the leadership of Ahulbait is the safeguard from disunity for their followers.

Comparing the rank of Imam Ali (as) with Kaaba our beloved Prophet (pbuh&hp) has said in the following  two ahadith that:
  • Ali (as), the pride of your place is like that of House of Allah. People of themselves go to House of Allah; the House of Allah does not go after the people. So when I am no more, if these people of themselves, elect you as their Caliph, do become their Caliph. If they don’t approach you, never go to them so long as they themselves do not come up to you. ” (Ref: Usd-ul-Ghaba Vol 4 P 31, Kunooz-ul-Haqaique P 173)
  •  Ali (as) holds the position of the Kaaba. (Ref:  Mustadrak Al-Sahihain of Al-Hakim Al-Nisabori, 3/122; Musnad Ahmad, 3/82; Al-Tabarani, 6/155; Kenz Al-Omal)

Imam Sadiq (as) in the following hadith has explained why the Ahlulbait (as) are called ‘Alay-Allah’ – the family of Allah (SWT):
  • Upon being asked about awarding the Quraish with glorified status, among the Arabs, and (the reason for calling) some as ‘آل الله’ the family of Allah (SWT), the most Exalted the most Majestic.  Imam Abu Abdullah Al-Sadiq (as)  replied: They are called ‘آل الله’ the family of Allah because they are in the Holy House of Allah(Ref:  Aamali-e-Sadooq.Page-285: Bihar.Vol-15, Page-257: Rawzatul Wayazeen.Vol-1,Page-66)

And for the love of Imam Ali (as) our beloved Prophet (pbuh&hp) has said that:
  •  Love for Ali (A.S) is faith, and hatred for Ali is hypocrisy.” (Ref: Ibn Al-Maghazeli, 67; Al-Khawarizmi, 236; Fara’id Al-Samateen; Yanabi^ Al-Mawda.)

ü  Just the way Kaaba is a differentiator between a true follower of the holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) with a kafir – as inferred from the above-mentioned ayah (Surah-e-Baqra, ayah 143); the love for our beloved Imam Ali (as) is a differentiator between a true believer with a munafiq.
è Thus by contemplating on the event of the birth of Imam Ali (as) in Kaaba , the above-mentioned verses and the above-quoted ahadith of the Prophet (pbuh&hp) and Masoomin (as) we can infer that:
ü  The rank and the position of the Imam (as) from Ahlulbait is equivalent to Kaaba Baitullah  in the eyes of Allah (SWT)
ü  The importance of Imamat of the Ahlulbait is at par with the Qibla of Islam
Let us go a little further in identifying the similarity between the Baitullah and the Ahlulbait in this section. In the previous section we saw that it was the desire of our beloved Prophet (pbuh&hp) that the Kaaba becomes Qibla for Muslims. Keeping this fact in mind let us ponder upon the following ayah from Surah-e-Maida.
  • (“O Apostle! deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people; surely Allah will not guide the unbelieving people.”) – (Surah-e-Maida, ayah 67)
In the above ayah Allah (SWT) has ordered the holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) to deliver His message which was revealed to the Prophet (pbuh&hp) earlier. Allah (SWT) further explains the importance of the message to the holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) by saying that if the Prophet (pbuh&hp) did not deliver the message it would be considered as if he (pbuh&hp) has not delivered any message of Allah (SWT). This explains two things:
  1. It was Allah (SWT)’s desire that the message should be delivered.
  2. It was such an important message that Allah (SWT) equated the deliverance of this message with the hard-work of 23 years of our beloved Prophet (pbuh&hp).
The above ayah was revealed in Ghadeer-e-Khum when the holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) was returning to Medina after offering his last Hajj. After the revelation of this ayah he (pbuh&hp) called all the pilgrims and in front of them he declared Mawla Ali (as) as his successor and announced Man Kunto Mawla fa hazaa Ali un-Mawla”.
(Ref: Tafseer al Kabir by Fakhr al Din Mohammed ibn Umar al razi (1357/1938), Umdatul Qari fi Sharh Sahih al Bukhari - by Al Ayni, Tafsir al Nisaboori, v6 P194, Sahih Tirmizi, V2, P298, Bukhari, V5, Book 59)
ü  It was the Prophet (pbuh&hp)’s desire that the Kaaba gets the distinction of becoming a Qibla while it was Allah (SWT)’s desire that Maula Ali (as) gets the distinction of becoming an Imam and the successor of the holy Prophet (pbuh&hp).
ü  The importance of Imamat of Imam Ali (as) is equal to the hard-work and perseverance of 23 years of the Prophethood of our beloved Prophet (pbuh&hp).
KaabaBaitullah was purified for the pilgrims by Prophets Ibrahim and Ismail (pbut) as mentioned in the following ayah from Surah-e-Baqra:
  • “And we enjoined Ibrahim and Ismail saying : Purify My House for those who visit (it) and those who abide (in it) for devotion and those who bow down (and) those who prostrate themselves.” – (Surah-e-Baqra, ayah 125)
For the purification of the Ahlulbait (as), Quran says:
  • “Verily, Verily Allah intendeth but to keep off from you (every kind of) uncleanliness, O Ahlulbait, and purify you with a thorough purification.” – (Surah-e-Ahzab, ayah 33)
Thus it is Allah’s Will that the people of household – the Ahlulbait (as) remain purified from all kind of uncleanliness and thus they are ofcourse infallible as per the above ayah. (Ref: Tafseer Durr-e- Mansoor, Mulla Jalaluddin Suyuti, Vol 5, P 198-199)
ü  Allah (SWT) ordered Ibrahim (as) and Ismail (as) to purify Kaaba while Allah (SWT) Himself purified Ahlulbait with a thorough purification and made them infallible.
è Kaaba is Baitullah – House of Allah (SWT) and Mohammed (pbuh) wa Aale Mohammed (pbut) are the AhulbaitThe Chosen people of the Household. Honouring Kaaba and showing respect to it without knowing the rank and position of the Ahlulbait (as) is similar to respecting a house without respecting the people associated with that house.
During Hajj there are two mandatory things which Muslims do without which Hajj remains incomplete:

1.     The first is called Sa’y, here a pilgrim shuttles between Safa and Marwah for 7 times. This is to remember the shuttling of Lady Hajra (as) in search of water for her thirsty infant son – Ismail (as) between these two hills.

2.     The second important thing is offering an animal as a sacrifice in Mena on the day of Eid (10th of Dhu’l Hijjah). This is to commemorate the willingness of Ismail (as) to sacrifice himself on the Command of Allah (SWT). In the following ayah Allah (SWT) appreciates this trial of Ismail (as):

·       “(Most surely this is a manifest trial. And We rescued him in exchange of a Great Sacrifice (Zibhe Azeem). And We perpetuated (praise) to him among the later generations)” - (Surah-e-Sa’afat, ayah 106-107-108)

The ayah says it was indeed a manifest trial of Ismail (as). Allah (SWT) honoured the willingness of Ismail (as) to sacrifice himself but exchanged it with a Zibhe Azeem.
This Zibhe Azeem – The Great Sacrifice mentioned in the above ayah is the martyrdom of Imam Husain (A.S) and his household at the battlefield of Karbala. (Ref: Merajjunnabuwat, P 35)
Allah (SWT) appreciated the self-less gesture of Lady Hajra (as) of running around in search of water for her thirsty child so much that He (SWT) made Sa’y an integral part of Hajj. But Ismail (as) did not have to remain thirsty as his thirst was quenched by the fresh stream of Zam Zam water.
The intent of Ismail (as) to sacrifice himself on the Command of Allah (SWT) had been liked by the Almighty Allah and it is also an important part of Hajj. On 10th of Dhu’l Hijjah Muslims across the world sacrifice an animal to commemorate this act. His sacrifice too did not take place in reality as Allah (SWT) replaced him with an animal.
While on the other hand at Karbala the thirsty household of Imam Hussain (as) was martyred. Ali Asghar (as) - the 6 month old thirsty son of Imam Hussain (as) – was brutally martyred at Karbala when Imam Hussain (as) took him along to the battlefield seeking water to quench his thirst but instead of giving him water, the enemies martyred him. The thirst of Ismail (as) was quenched by Zam Zam water while Ali Asghar (as) remained thirsty as he was being martyred.
Imam Hussain (as) was martyred while in prostration on 10th Moharram at Karbala. His head was mercilessly severed by the enemy. On 10th Dhu’l Hijjah at Mena Ismail (as) was saved by Allah (SWT) when He (SWT) replaced Ismail (as) with an animal during the sacrifice.
ü  In my belief Allah (SWT) made the Sa’y of Safa and Marwah and Qurbani of animal mandatory in Hajj so that we ponder upon the above point and remember the thirst and Zibhe Azeem of Imam Hussain (as)’s household whenever we perform Hajj, drink Zam Zam or sacrifice an animal during Eid.
While Allah (SWT), all Merciful liked the gesture of Lady Hajra (as) and the intent of Ismail (as) so much the depth of love and appreciation that Allah (SWT) would be holding for Imam Hussain (as) and his  brutally martyred, thirsty household which lost everything for the sake of Islam cannot be imagined. In order to understand this, we need to understand the merits and benefits of visiting Karbala.
 In the first section of this article we have gone through the verse on importance of Hajj and discussed the ahadith of Imam Sadiq (as) on the merits of performing this ritual. Let us now see the merits and benefits of visiting the shrine of Imam Hussain (as) for a Ziyarat. Few of the ahadith of our beloved Imam Sadiq (as) on the Ziyarat of Imam Hussain (as) are mentioned as under:
v  A tradition is narrated by Raff'ah from Imam Sadiq (a.s.): “When a lover of Imam Hussain (as) knows Imam Husain's (a.s.) right over the people and leaves his house for Imam's (a.s.) Ziyarat in this condition, without any pride and conceit, then a 1000 angels accompany him from the right, with another 1000 angels on the left. And he will be rewarded as if he has performed 1000 Hajj and 1000 Umrah with a prophet or with the successor of a prophet.” (Ref: BiharulAnwar, vol 101, pg 91, tradition 33)
v  Imam Sadiq (as) narrates, “Allah has appointed some angels at Imam Husain's grave. When the lover of Imam Hussain (as) makes the intention for Imam Husain's (a.s.) Ziyarat, Allah forgives all his sins. When he takes a step to go for Ziyarat, he erases his sins. His virtues multiply and they increase till the time he becomes worthy of Paradise”. (Ref: Wasailul Mohibbeen, pg. 280)
v Imam Sadiq (as) has said: “From every drop of perspiration on the body of Imam Hussain’s (as) visitor (in the course of Ziyarat) Allah creates 70,000 angels who glorify and seek forgiveness for Imam's (a.s.) visitors till the Day of Judgement.(Ref: Mustadrak vol 2, pg 204)

Hajj is the first step towards guidance. When we perform Hajj we go to the house of guidance but when we perform Ziyarat we go to the duly appointed Guides. Visiting Kaaba and performing the ritual there during Dhu’l Hijjah is Hajj. Visiting Karbala during Moharram to understand the Zibhe Azeem of Imam Hussain (as) and his pious household is Hajj e Azeem.
è Thus we may conclude by saying;  
ü  Kaaba is the House of Allah (SWT) – Baitullah, while Mohammed (pbuh) wa Aale Mohammed (pbut) are the Chosen People of the Household – Ahlulbait (as).
ü  Kaaba is guidance to the whole world, the Ahlulbait are the appointed guides.
ü  Kaaba is Qibla of Islam, while the love of Ahlulbait is Qibla of Imaan.
ü  Kaaba is a differentiator between a Muslim and a Kaafir, the love for Ahlulbait (as) is the differentiator between a Momin and a Munafiq.
So let us pray that may Allah (SWT) guide us to perform Hajj of Baitullah and Ziyarat of Ahlulbait (as) so that each of us remains steadfast as a true Muslim and becomes a devout Momin. 

[1] The light of Ahlulbait (as) was revealed much before Adam (as) was born and this Kaynat was created. Here, the word ‘birth’ is used to mention a historical event of ‘physical’ revelation of Imam Ali (as) in Kaaba. Since every reference mentions it I had to use it in this context.