“And everyone has a goal to which he turns (himself), so vie with one another in good works. Wherever you are, Allah will bring you all together. Surely Allah is Possessor of power over all things. And from whatsoever place thou comest forth, turn thy face towards the Sacred Mosque. And surely it is the truth from thy Lord. And Allah is not heedless of what you do.” —Holy Qur’an 2:148-149
What is our goal in life and where do we seek the ability to fulfill our life’s purpose? If we reflect over the ancient rites presented in the actions of the Muslim Pilgrimage (Hajj), we are given Signs of Guidance that help us in the pilgrimage of self, family, and nation. In a singular devotional event, Hajj demonstrates creation, history, and a show of unity, unlike any other gathering in the world.
Hajj, is an Arabic word that means to undertake, contend, to intend to a target, aim at, and go on a pilgrimage. Hajj is a Pilgrimage to the Holy City Mecca, and one of five obligatory Islamic principles of action among Muslims to be performed at least once in one’s lifetime, if financially and physically able. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad stated in “Message to the Blackman in America,” that “The main principles of action in Islam: (are) keeping up prayer, spending in the cause of truth, fasting especially during the month of Ramadan, (and) pilgrimage to Mecca … ”
The rites of Hajj are a reenactment of some of the trials commanded by Allah (God) of Abraham, his wife Hagar (or Hajjar), and son Ishmael (Peace be upon them) and carries the name of the matriarch, Lady Hagar. According to Islamic scholars, Lady Hagar is buried at the northwestern wall of the Ka’aba near its third column which is marked by a semi-circle. This area extends from the Ka’aba wall and is known as the “skirt of Hagar,” where she is reported to have lived and reared her son Ishmael. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said, “the ideal pilgrim is the one who behaved like Hagar.”
The word ‘hijrah’ means migration and has its root in her name, as does the word “muhajir” (immigrant or migrant). Hijrah is what Lady Hagar did with her son, directed by her husband Prophet Abraham’s vision from Allah (God). In Hagar’s mother language, her name means “the city.” Why does the Hajj—named after a Divinely chosen Black woman that served as a slave in Egypt—point to civilization? We must reflect on the deplorable conditions that our women and families face in America, their critical role and their sacrifice in our journey in the rise of our people.
“By the dawn; By the ten nights (of Dhul Hijja)!”—Holy Qur’an, Chapter 89 Verses 1-2.
June 19th marked the first of the 10 days of Dhul Hijja, the Holy month of Hajj in which approximately three million Muslims worldwide—including more than 11,000 that make the Pilgrimage from America—to Mecca. Muslims that do not make the journey observe heightened devotional activities, such as fasting, prayer and charity, to deepen their relationship with Allah (God) in an effort to attain nearness to Him through personal and communal sacrifice.
Allah (God) gives us as a sign, the rise of the Sun at dawn and the example of the night. From the darkness of the four impediments of self; racism, sexism, nationalism, and materialism, we aim to rise into the Light of His Presence. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is reported to have said, “There are no days more loved to Allah for you to worship Him therein than the ten days of Dhul Hijja. Fasting any day during it is equivalent to fasting one year and to offer salatul tahajjud (Resurrection or late-night wake-up prayer) during one of its nights is like performing the late night prayer on the Night of Power. (i.e., Lailatul Qadr).”
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad writes in “Message to the Blackman in America,” on page 77, “Prayer is at sunrise, noon, mid-afternoon, sundown and before retiring. On awakening during the night, another prayer is made. In fact, two prayers should be said during the night, making a total of seven prayers a day. There is no worship of a Sunday or Sabbath in Islam. All the days are worship days.”
Allah, The Most High, has shown our unity can put an end to poverty, immorality, ignorance, and war. Let us embody unity and devotion as the Muslim world joins in worship these 10 days of Dhul Hijja. As Pilgrims in Mecca engage in sacred rites of Hajj, let us at home engage in the Resurrection of our people observing the Resurrection (salatul tahajjud) prayer, fasting, and struggling to defend against the oppression of the poor and weak by the tyranny of Satan and his systems. Our Work is not only in the masjid or mosque, church, and synagogue but in the streets among people in need of the life-giving Message of Allah (God).
“Surely Allah changes not the condition of a people, until they change their own condition.”
— Holy Qur’an, 13:11
The Prayer of Abraham states in part: “Surely, I have turned myself to Thee, O Allah, trying to be upright to Him Who originated the heavens and the earth and I am not of the polytheists. Surely my prayer and my sacrifices, my life and my death are all for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. No associate has He, and this am I commanded and I am of those who submit.”
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, reportedly said, “one of the best jihads is the Hajj.” This tells us that the Hajj is a struggle against the rebellion within ourselves and the evils of Satan’s world. To establish our willingness for self-sacrifice for human excellence and family in the cause of the Perfection of society.
“The very ritual of Hajj is a sign of what the world will be like in totality when The Mahdi establishes the Kingdom of Islam. In that day, there will be no racism to corrupt the Spirit of Islam. There will be no sexism, there will be no materialism and there will be no nationalism. All of the corrupters of the True Spirit of Islam will be completely destroyed.
I have been blessed to make that wonderful pilgrimage. But, when I made that pilgrimage, it was clear to me that the pilgrimage was nothing more than a sign of another journey; the journey of the sperm to its goal, which is not to meet in Mecca, but to meet with that which Mecca represents, that which the Ka’bah represents.
“When we get to Mecca, we say, ‘Labaika Allah umma labaika,’ ‘Here I am O Allah, in Your august Presence.’ When you are in the Presence of God, when you have met with God, you have performed the real pilgrimage. And that, each one of us is to perform in our lifetime. Our whole life is a struggle to meet with the Source of our life,” writes Minister Farrakhan in Study Guide 19, “Self-Improvement: The Basis For Community Development.”
(Sultan Rahman Muhammad serves as the Student National Imam of the Nation of Islam and resident Imam of Mosque Maryam National Center, Chicago. Visit NOIHajj.com, follow @ImamSultanM on IG, Twitter, or email: [email protected].)