By Mohamed Okasha
Almighty Allah commanded Ibrahim (Abraham, peace be upon him) to proclaim unto people the pilgrimage to Makkah (Surah Al-Hajj 22:27). He (peace be upon him) submitted to the command of Allah and called out people to come to the blessed House of Allah, the Ka`bah, and perform the worship of Hajj. Ibrahim abode by the order and Allah undertake the dissemination of his call to people everywhere.
In Islam, Hajj is the fifth pillar of the religion of Islam. It wipes out the sins and renews one’s relation with Allah. Moreover, it is a manifestation of the Islamic equity and unity, as all Muslims wear the same dress, repeat the same dhikr (remembrance of Allah), perform the same rites, and supplicate the same God and follow the same Prophet (peace be upon him).
Those people are truly blessed, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “For an accepted Hajj there is no reward but Paradise.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) There are a lot of other hadiths talking about the great rewards of Hajj.
However, after performing Hajj, visiting the most sacred places on the earth –for us as Muslims-, standing at `Arafat, circumambulating the Ka`bah, and visiting the mosque and grave of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
In the following lines, we will share the lessons that we all learn from Hajj.
First: The Message of Monotheism
Muslim, as some may wrongly believe, do not leave to Mecca in order to show more glorification to the Ka`bah, the black stone or the grave of the Prophet Muhammad. They have come to glorify the One and Only God, Allah the Almighty. You can glimpse this from the supplication repeated by all pilgrims, that is: “Here I am, O Allah, here I am. Here I am. You have no partner, here I am. Verily all praise and blessings are Yours, and all sovereignty. You have no partner.” So, the purpose of the worship of Hajj is simply to implant in the heart that Allah is the Only God Who has no partner by repeating these words for a lot of time that instills in the heart of the believer that Allah is the Only One worthy of worship and other gods are nothing.
Second: The Message of Following the Prophet
The great masses of people, who move in millions to Mecca, are actually following the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). They follow the Prophet’s statement, “Take your rites (of Hajj) from me.” (Muslim) Each pilgrim does their best to keep as much as possible to the very way that the Prophet (peace be upon him) performed Hajj.In a similar statement the Prophet said regarding Prayer, “Pray as you have seen me pray.” (Al-Bukhari) In this manner, the whole acts of worship should be offered, i.e. the very way offered by the Prophet.
Third: The Message of Good Manners
In the context of Hajj, the Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said, “Whoever performs Hajj and does not utter obscenities or commit sin, will come back as on the day when his mother bore him (i.e. with his sins forgiven).” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) Also, Almighty Allah says,
The pilgrimage is (in) the well-known months, and whoever is minded to perform the pilgrimage therein (let him remember that) there is (to be) no lewdness nor abuse nor angry conversation in the pilgrimage. (Al-Baqarah2:197)
In the midst of crowds and in spite of the heat of the sun, you are commanded to keep to good morals and Islamic ethics.
Fourth: The Message of Sacrifice
The Prophet Ibrahim was ordered by Allah to slaughter his only son Isma`il(Ishmael) (peace be upon them both). He decided to carry out the order of Allah and asked his son Isma`il to help him perform that order. The Qur’an relates that story in the following verses:
And when he reached with him [the age of] exertion, he said, “O my son, indeed I have seen in a dream that I [must] sacrifice you, so see what you think.” He said, “O my father, do as you are commanded. You will find me, if Allah wills, of the steadfast.” And when they had both submitted and he put him down upon his forehead, We called to him, “O Abraham, You have fulfilled the vision.” Indeed, We thus reward the doers of good. Indeed, this was the clear trial. And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice. (Al-Saffat37:102-107)
Prophet Ibrahim gave precedence to the Command of Allah upon every command, and both of them were ready to sacrifice; Prophet Ibrahim was ready to sacrifice his son, and Isma`il was ready to sacrifice himself.
Islam Abolished Human Sacrifice
The story of the Prophet Ibrahim and his son Isma`il (peace be upon them) has many great meanings and important lessons as were indicated in the above-mentioned verses. It gives a unique example of obeying the father by a son; rather, the story presents the highest and loftiest meaning of obedience of a son to his father. As well as, the story denotes that every test by Allah (Glory be Him) is followed by some great rewards specially when a person becomes true and sincere in his devotion, dedication and love and passes the trial as was stated in the story of the Prophet Ibrahim( peace be upon him) in the Glorious Qur’an and the blessed Sunnah. Thus, Allah (Glory be Him) sent a ram that was sacrificed instead of Isma`il. As Allah (Glory be Him) knows everything and He knew that the Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) and his faithful and obedient son were the true lovers of Allah who can sacrifice for the sake of Allah everything including the life itself that is the most beloved thing to every living being. In fact, Allah (Glory be Him) through this test intended to show entire mankind the greatness of a resolute and true Prophet and his dedication and submission to the order of Allah. The test was described by the Glorious Qur’an as the clear trial.
Therefore, Islamic Shari`ah regards animal sacrifice as a due Sunnah for those who can afford. However, human sacrifice is a prohibited act in Islam. The story of Ibrahim and Isma`il is based on the intention of mere trial and a test by Allah that finally ended on the slaughter of an animal that appeared to him as a favor from Allah the Almighty.
However, Islam has abolished the norm of human sacrifice, rather, the human life was exalted in Islam to the highest degree of importance and value.
Allah (Glory be to Him) says:
Whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely, and whoever saves one, it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. (Al-Ma’idah5:32)
However, we read in newspapers here and there even nowadays that human sacrifice was practiced in Hindu society in so and so city to appease some Hindu deities. In fact, human sacrifice has been regarded in Islamic Shari`ah as an act of pure killing that entails severe punishments. That is why no incident of human sacrifice takes place in the Muslim society in general.
Taken from: www.the-faith.com with modification.