History of Hajj
Prophet Ibraheem’s (AS) Legacy
Hajj demonstrates the essence of Islaam which is belief in ONE GOD. Allaah (SWT), ALONE. All the ceremonies a pilgrim performs, all the places through which he goes during Hajj reminds him of a great deal of history of this belief, Tawheed (Islamic Monotheism).
An inherent part of the history of Tawheed is the story of Prophet Ibraheem (AS) who rebuilt the first House of Allaah (SWT), the Ka’baah, as the focal point for the worship of Allaah ALONE.
The story of Prophet Ibraheem (AS) is a long story of great sacrifices and complete submission to Allaah (SWT). Coming through tremendous trials and sacrifices for the sake of Allaah (SWT), he was elevated to the leadership of mankind.
- – Allaah (SWT) says: “And (remember) when the Lord of Abraham (Allaah) tried him with (certain) Commands, which he fulfilled.
- – He (Allaah) said (to him), “Verily, I am going to make you a leader (Prophet) of mankind.”
- – (Abraham) said, “And of my offspring (to make leaders).”
- – (Allaah) said, “My Covenant (Prophethood) includes not Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers).” (Al-Baqarah 2:124 )
When Ibraheem (AS) stood up to call people to the way of Allaah (SWT), a series of trials and mountains of calamities fell on him. He was deported from his home, abandoned by his parents, relatives and friends, thrown in the fire meant to burn him alive, and, at last, exiled by the king of the country.
Ibraheem (AS) survived all these trials and stood as firm as a rock for the sake of truth. While in exile he wandered in the parts of the known world at that time calling to the path of Allaah (SWT). But still he had to face another trial from His Lord. He was blessed with a son at old age after having completely despaired of it. Allaah (SWT) wanted to test him through this son too as a final test, and ordered him to sacrifice his beloved son. Ibraheem (AS) was successful in this test too. He took his son, Isma’eel (AS) to a mount called Marwah near the Ka’baah and laid him prostrate, face down, to slaughter him with his own hands. Satisfied with Ibraheem’s (AS) complete submission and profound love, Allaah (SWT) ransomed Isma’eel (AS) with a sacrificial animal. Nahr. (It is in commemoration of this very event that animals are sacrificed during Hajj and by Muslims all over the world on the occasion of Eid al-Adha).
In this manner, leadership of humanity was entrusted to Ibraheem (AS) and he became the pioneer of the universal Islamic movement. Now in order to give a driving force to this movement, he felt the need of men who would settle down in different areas and operate from there as his deputies.
Thus he appointed his elder son Isma’eel (AS), younger son Ishaq [Isaac (AS)] and nephew Lut [Lot (AS)] in various parts of the known world of that time. Isma’eel (AS) was kept in Arabia at Makkah and Ibraheem (AS) himself stayed with him for a long time to spread the teaching of Islamic Monotheism in all parts of Arabia.
- – They said: “Burn him and help your aliha (gods), if you will be doing. We (Allaah) said: “O fire! Be you coolness and safety for Ibrahim (Abraham)!” (Al-Anbiya 21:68,69)
- – Allaah (SWT) says: “They said: “Build for him a building (it is said that the building was like a furnace) and throw him into the blazing fire!
- So they plotted a plot against him, but We made them the lowest.
- – And he said (after his rescue from the fire): “Verily, I am going to my Lord. He will guide me!”
- ‘My Lord! Grant me (offspring) from the righteous.’
- So We gave him the glad tidings of a forbearing boy.
- – 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 Allaah), so look what you think!” He said: “O my father! Do that which you are commanded, Insha-Allaah (if Allaah wills), you shall find me of the patient.
- Then, when they had both submitted themselves (to the Will of Allaah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (or on the side of his forehead for slaughtering);
- – And We called out to him: ‘O Abraham!
- You have fulfilled the dream (vision)!’ Verily! Thus do We reward the Muhsinun (good-doers, who perform good deeds totally for Allaah’s sake only, without any shoe off or to gain praise or fame, etc. and do them in accordance to Allaah’s Orders).
- Verily, that indeed was a manifest trial –
- And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice (i.e. a ram);
- And We left for him (a goodly remembrance) among the later generations (to come) in later times.
- ‘Salamun (peace) be upon Ibrahim (Abraham)!’” (As-Saffat 37:97-109)
Construction of the Ka’baah
At this place both father and son constructed the focal point of Tawheed which is distinguished all over the world today, as the Ka’baah. Allaah (SWT) himself selected this center and suggested its site. The full details of how this center was erected, with what sentiments and prayers both father and son raised its walls and how Hajj was initiated are given thus in the Holy Qur’ân. Allaah (SWT) says:
- – “And (remember) when Abraham and (his son) Ishmael were raising the foundations of the House (the Ka’baah at Makkah), (saying), ‘Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us. Verily! You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.’
- – ‘Our Lord! And make us submissive unto You and show us of our offspring a nation submissive unto You, and show us our Manasik (all the ceremonies of pilgrimage – Hajj and ‘Umrah, etc.), and accept our repentance. Truly, You are the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.’
- – ‘Our Lord! Send amongst them a Messenger of their own [and indeed Allaah answered their invocation by sending Muhammad (SAW)], who shall recite unto them Your Verses and instruct them in the Book (this Qur’ân) and Al-Hikmah (full knowledge of the Islamic laws and jurisprudence or wisdom or Prophethood, etc.), and purify them. Verily! You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.’” (Al-Baqarah 2:127-129)
Allaah (SWT) also says:
- – “Verily, the first House (of worship) appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (Makkah), full of blessing, and a guidance for Al-‘Alamin (mankind and jinns).
- – In it are manifest signs (for example), the Maqam (place) of Abraham; whosoever enters it, he attains security. And Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Ka’baah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allaah, those who can afford the expenses (for one’s conveyance, provision and residence); and whoever disbelieves [i.e. denies Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah), then he is a disbeliever of Allaah], then Allaah stands not in need of any of the ‘Alamîn (mankind and jinns).” (Al-‘Imran 3:96-97)
Allaah (SWT) says:
- – “And (remember) when Abraham said: ‘O my Lord! Make this city (Makkah) one of peace and security, and keep me and my sons away from worshipping idols.’
- – ‘O my Lord! They have indeed led astray many among mankind. But whoso follows me, he verily is of me. And whoso disobeys me, – still You are indeed Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.’
- – ‘O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in a land with no cultivation, by Your Sacred House (the Ka’baah at Makkah); in order, O our Lord, that they may offer prayers perfectly (Iqamat-as-Salat), so fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allaah) provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks.’” (Ibrahim 14:35-37)
Allaah (SWT) also says:
- – “And (remember) when We showed Abraham the site of the (Sacred) House (the Ka’baah at Makkah) (saying): “Associate not anything (in worship) with Me, [La ilaha ill-Allaah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allaah) – Islamic Monotheism], and sanctify My House for those who circumambulate it, and those who stand up for prayer, and those who bow (submit themselves with humility and obedience to Allaah), and make prostration (in prayer, etc.);”
- – And proclaim to mankind the Hajj (pilgrimage). They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, they will come from every deep and distant (wide) mountain highway (to perform Hajj).” (Al-Hajj 22:26-27)
This House was not meant merely for the purpose of worshipping; on the contrary from the very first day it was made the Headquarters of the universal Islaamic mission. Its purpose was that believers in Allaah (SWT), drawn from all parts of the world, should assemble here each year, perform Ibadat (worship) collectively and go back to their countries carrying with them the message of Islam.
Realization of Ibraheem’s (AS) Prayer
In the course of history, descendants of Ibraheem (AS) and Isma’eel (AS) went astray from the path of Tawheed, and gradually adopted all those bad practices which were rampant among the other ignorant communities. Hundreds of idols were installed in that very Ka’baah which was built as a center of preaching and exhortation for the worship of one God. Ironically enough, idols were made of Ibraaheem (AS) and Ismaa’eel (AS) themselves whose lives were spent in exterminating the practice of idol-worship.
Then the time came for granting the prayer of Ibraaheem (AS) and Ismaa’eel (AS) which they had invoked while raising the walls of the Ka’baah:
- – “’Our Lord! Send amongst them a Messenger of their own [and indeed Allaah answered their invocation by sending Muhammad (SAW)], who shall recite unto them Your Verses and instruct them in the Book (this Qur’ân) and Al-Hikmah (full knowledge of the Islamic laws and jurisprudence or wisdom or Prophethood, etc.), and purify them. Verily! You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.’” (Al-Baqarah 2:129)
A perfect man rose from the progeny of Ibraheem (AS) whose name was Muhammad ibn Abdullah (SAW). He (SAW) revived the genuine and pure religion of Islamic Monotheism. He (SAW) purified the Ka’baah of idols and revived Tawheed in its purity. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) exterminated all the shameful and brutal practices of Jahiliyya (ignorance) which Arabs were accustomed to — idol worship, spattering the blood and flesh of sacrificed animals on the walls of the Ka’baah, obscene behavior, indecency, wrangling, circumambulation of the Ka’baah in the state of nudity and other evil customs. Thus the Ka’baah regained its real position as the focus of Tawheed and Hajj was re-established in its real meaning and content.