This time around, I had no intentions of contemporaneous blogging or even photographing elements of the pilgrimage. So here is the deferred blogging, along with some of the very few photographs I took.
We entered Saudi Arabia via Trinidad to London to Muscat to Medinah. Left on Monday evening, and reached Medinah in the early hours of Thursday morning. Reached the hotel in time for fajr salaat at the Prophet’s Mosque.
Customs & immigration were relatively quick, and there was little waiting to board the coach and depart for the hotel.
Of course, the sight and site of significance for most of our four days in Medinah is pictured below:
It has been some time since I posted. But here I am once again. Alhamdulillah, BH & I were blessed to undertake the pilgrimage to Mecca and perform the rites of Hajj this past Dhul Hajj (twelfth and final month in the Islamic lunar calendar, falling in the month of August according to the Gregorian calendar).
In Barbados, the starting point of our journey to Mecca, a friend gifted BH with an ihraam (two un-stitched pieces of white cloth mandatory for use by male pilgrims while performing the Hajj pilgrimage), and another loaned him the money belt and tawaf beads. We also took with us many du’as for a safe and accepted Hajj.
We joined the group of pilgrims that we were travelling with in Trinidad. Unlike the ……..almost unnoticed departure as pilgrims in Barbados, Trinidad’s muslims came out to the airport to see the pilgrims off. In addition to a Trinidad flag-colour branded drawstring bag and pins, the pictured bag of KC Confectionery (halaal sweet manufacturer brand in Trinidad), was given to each departing pilgrim. A must for every pilgrim who starts to cough in Mecca where this year, the typical temperatures were in the 40s degrees Celsius. BH & I each had a little pail full of various contingency medications – in case we got ill – cough syrup, antihistamine, fever & pain medication, unscented sunblock (which we forgot to take with us for the actual days of Hajj), Vicks chest rub, anti-chafing cream, disposable masks (which we never used).
There is a sister amongst us who has been having challenges with Islamic precepts & concepts. And ever so often, her queries compel me to read a little more.
During the first few days of Dhul Hajj, she posted a picture of verses from Genesis from a non-King James version of the Bible. In it, Ibrahim a.s. is commanded to sacrifice his son. Nowhere in the version which she posted did I see mention of that son’s name. Or whether he was firstborn or not. She interpreted it to mean the son of his ‘lawful’ wife. Various interpretations of the Bible speak to the son, Isaac, Mount Moriah, and one interpretation speaks to the firstborn son.
Surah 37 ayah 100 to 107 of Al Qur’an say:
100. Oh my Lord, grant me a righteous son.
101. So, We gave him the glad tidings of a forbearing boy.
102. 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. So look what you think!” He said: “O my father! Do that which you are commanded, if Allah wills, you shall find me of the patient.”
103. Then, when they had both submitted themselves, and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead;
104. We called out to him: “O Ibrahim!”
105. “You have fulfilled the dream!” Verily, thus do We reward the doers of good.
106. Verily, that indeed was a manifest trial.
107. And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice
(Surah 37 speaks of Nuha.s. and Ibrahim a.s.)
All of the faiths agree that Ismail a.s. was the firstborn son of Ibrahim a.s.
Some say that Mt. Moriah is in Jerusalem, others say the Moriah is Marwah in Mecca as in one of the hills Marwah to and from which Hajra r.a., mother of Ismail a.s., ran in her search for water for her babe.
Is the identity of the son whom Ibrahim a.s. believed he was to sacrifice important? It isn’t important for the lesson of obedience to Allah s.w.t., it isn’t important for the story of Ibrahim a.s., it isn’t important for the tenet that mankind shall be tested by our Lord, it isn’t important for us to understand the love and faith which Ibrahim a.s., the Friend of Allah s.w.t, held in his heart. There are many miracles in the life of Ibrahim a.s.
On another note, Islamic tradition holds that it is Ismail a.s., the firstborn son of Ibrahim a.s., who was placed on the sacrificial altar, and whom Allah s.w.t. ransomed with a ram which had grazed for 40 years in Paradise and whose horns were kept in the Kaabah.
Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “When the rituals were enjoined upon Ibrahim, peace be upon him, the Shaytan appeared to him at the Mas`a and raced with him, but Ibrahim got there first. Then Jibril, upon him be peace, took him to Jamrat Al-`Aqabah and the Shaytan appeared to him, so he stoned him with seven pebbles until he disappeared. Then he appeared him at Al-Jamrah Al-Wusta and he stoned him with seven pebbles.
It was reported that Ibn `Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “A ram which had grazed in Paradise for forty years.”
Imam Ahmad recorded that Safiyyah bint Shaybah said, “A woman from Bani Sulaym, who was the midwife of most of the people in our household, told me that the Messenger of Allah sent for `Uthman bin Talhah, may Allah be pleased with him.” On one occasion she said, “I asked `Uthman, `Why did the Prophet call you’ He said, `The Messenger of Allah said to me, “I saw the horns of the ram when I entered the House (i.e., the Ka`bah), and I forgot to tell you to cover them up; cover them up, for there should not be anything in the House which could distract the worshipper.” Sufyan said, “The horns of the ram remained hanging in the House until it was burned, and they were burned too.”
Most significantly, our Beloved Rasool s.a.w.s. performed both the Hajj and the qurbani during his lifetime and prophethood.
May Allah s.w.t. guide us and grant us beneficial knowledge.
So, we talked about things we didn’t know earlier. Do you know the source of the takbeer which it is recommended that we say after each fard salaat during the day of Arafat and days of Eid ul Adha? Moulana Ahmed shared this in his lecture:
There are three components of the takbeer:
- Allahu akbar Allahu akbar : Jibreel
- La ilaha illa la wallahu abar: Ibrahim
- Allahu akbar wa lilla il hamd: Ismail
This was said when the animal appeared and the test was deemed successful.
You attend lectures, and you sometimes sigh that you’ve heard all this before. But have you really heard all of it before? Were your ears really listening? Was your heart really engaged?
Moulana Ahmed gave a very stirring lecture to the intimate crowd that turned up to listen to him. We all know the story of Ibrahim saws and the test to sacrifice his beloved son Ismail saws.
But did we know:
- lease Whose daughter was Hajra r.a. (beloved mother of Ismail r.a.)? (Hint – that tribal leader to whom Ibrahim saws said that Saara r.a. was his sister in an attempt to protect against the man’s proclivities)
- That Satan approached each of Ibrahim saws, Ismail saws, and Hajra ra in futile attempts to misguide them from the path of Allah swt? (Why do we stone at three stations at Hajj? Aha – is it because of Ibrahim only, or the three members of his family mentioned here?) (Note – when NoS was asked by Moulana if he was told by his father that he was to sacrifice him, NoS’ response was that father would need to move to Black Rock (the colloquial reference to the ‘mad house’))
- Who was blindfolded – was it Ibrahim saws or Ismail saws?
- Whose shirt was Ismail saws wearing when he lay to be sacrificed? And why? (Hint – consideration for his beloved mother and the grief she would face. Please note that hadith says that he asked for the shirt to be removed so that he could be shrouded in it.)
- What destroyed Nimrod’s army? (Hint – chikV and dengue and malaria carrying little pests)
- What afflicted Nimrod and what gave him ease? (Hint – footwear hurling – is this the source of middle eastern insults?)
- Did Ibrahim saws curse his father or part from him in peace?
- Did the angels cool the fire into which Ibrahim saws was catapulted?