Bismillah Ir Rahman Ir Rahim
Salam alaikum pilgrims of the Path. Sidi Muhammad, may Allah sanctify his secret, writes in his book The Deeper Meaning Behind the Pillars of Islam on Al-Hajj, the Pilgrimage, which begins tomorrow. The Mother Center will be hosting its annual Hajj retreat, and will complete it with its annual Eid al-Adha celebration. Everyone is welcome.
Sidi begins the chapter writing,
"The linguistic meaning in Arabic of the Pilgrimage is the complete intention, which also has a meaning of the journey to Mecca and to Al-Madina which, for the Folk of Allah, is the absolute intention for, and attentiveness to this station. For the Pilgrimage has a station above which there is no other, and because of that there is no way in which to speak about its hidden meaning and its Reality. And there are no words that can help us to express exactly what it is."
So, as the days of Hajj approach and are only hours away, and the magnificent month has already begun, let us turn to two brothers and a sister on the way who have completed their Hajj by Allah, and can express some of what they tasted after setting their intention for Al-Hajj, inshallah.
Dr. Nur Hrabko shares:
1. Please describe Hajj with 4-6 qualities.
"I think it was the most amazing thing I have ever done, certainly the most amazing trip. Aziz, Quddus, Majid, Dhul Jalali wa-l-Ikram, Jami, Ghaffar"
2. How can beloveds best prepare for the day of Arafat?
"It is the day to ask Allah for forgiveness and fast. Having been to Arafat and praying with so many others who were also asking for forgiveness was both humbling and unifying."
3. How did attending Hajj change your life, walking and relationship to Allah, and to the creation?
"I felt I was part of the Muslim world for the first time and not just a student of Sufism. I have become much more committed to the tenets of the religion as well as wanting to acquire more knowledge."
4. How did you experience God's unity while on Hajj?
"There were so many people from everywhere all doing exactly the same rituals, and everyone I met was my true brother or sister who was there for me just as I was there for them. Someone gave me water when I had none and someone saw me picking up stones and gave me a bottle full of stones they had gathered."
5. Please describe al-Medina in 1-3 sentences.
"Incredibly beautiful; the visit to the Prophet’s (saws) tomb was the highlight. We went to the tomb one night with the Imam of our group and made two rakas next to the tomb on a green carpet that is considered to be in Paradise. It was quite the experience because while incredibly crowded the men made space for each other by locking arms and creating a blockade. When someone was finished, another took his place. We also toured Medina, attended Jummah in the Prophet’s (saws) mosque, as well as other prayers. We visited Medina before going to Mecca which I recommend. "
6. Is there anything else you'd like to share with the beloveds for this next week of Hajj, for their lives, their hearts and walking?
"I think it helps complete all the teachings we have had over the years. For example, you can read about dhikr but you have to do it to benefit from it. It’s not as hard and scary as you have heard although it is not easy at times; you will get tired but there is time to rest. I would recommend walking or some aerobic conditioning before going to help with stamina. You will do a lot of walking, and some jogging! It deepened my walking, gave me a huge glimpse at the diversity within Islam and really appreciated the people I was with in my tour group. We all helped each other constantly. The leaders of the group were excellent servants, they were experienced and it showed."
Abd al-Haqq and Jannah Godlas reflect:
"The best way to prepare for the Hajj is to let go of your attachment to the expectation that it’s going to be a spiritual experience. Personally I had moments of spiritual jewels here and there, but overall I was busy containing myself under the stress of the outer ordeal.” (AH)
Wahid 3 million believers, from all walks of life and from all over the world, all worshipping together
Zahir manifest outward
Batin unmanifest hidden
Tawwab accepter of repentance
Sabur patient one who knows the right time
Jami gatherer of souls for Day of Judgment
Preparation for the Day of Arafat
I imagined that I was there when the Prophet, pbuh, gave his farewell sermon. I also imagined that I was standing with all of humanity on the Day of Judgment.
How did Hajj change my life? The biggest take-away was the realization that I was born into a life of privilege and ease. Therefore I had a greater responsibility to use my comfortable circumstances to give more and to work for humanity. Out of 3 million people, the majority may have never owned a pair of good fitting shoes, or may have never seen a dentist.
I can’t say that I experienced God’s unity during the Hajj, or ever.
Medina is soft and Mecca is hard. I had my deepest spiritual experience near the tomb of the Prophet, pbuh. Being in Medina was easier because we did not have the stress of having to perform the rites according to the complicated schedule and geographic complexities of the Hajj. I felt freer to settle into “just being there”. I felt assured that the Prophet, pbuh, knew that I was there at his tomb.
After the Day of Arafat, we were supposed to go to Muzdalifah and spend the night. There were 60,000 busses arranged to take the 2,800,000 pilgrims from Arafat to Muzdalifah. This is a logistical impossibility. When the traffic gets backed up, the police simply close the roads. We were stuck on a bus for 14 hours in the middle of the desert. We did not get to Muzdalifah until after fajr the next morning. Some people on the bus were upset because we didn’t do it right and they were worried that their Hajj would not be accepted. I was not concerned because this is what Allah had made for us. The ability to get there on time was taken completely out of our hands. This experience helps me to have mercy for myself when I don’t do it right. Whatever has passed is what Allah made for me. If I made a mistake then I can stand on the Mount of Arafat again at any moment.."
Jannah Godlas shares, "As Abd al-Haqq reminds me, the First and the Last Day are not in the past or in the future; they are the ongoing creation. With every inhalation Allah is asking us “Am I not your Lord Sustainer?” and with every exhalation we are in the Day of Judgment."
All praise is to Allah, the Lord of all the Worlds!
-Compiled by Elise Salam Guillot