The Hajj Season (2)

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Some of the scholars said ‘enter houses by the gates’ is a euphemism for having intercourse with women through the right entrance or opening, and not through the posterior opening of the alimentary canal.

Some said, the meaning of ‘enter houses by the gates’ is when you ask question concerning religion, you should seek the opinion of Muslim scholars, the Ulemaa, and not the ignorant among people.

The scholars have said a lot,  on the meaning of this part of the verse, even though a  clear meaning is discernible from the context of the entire verse.

Hajj is the prince of devotion as it encompasses all forms of worship. In it is sallah, offering,  avoiding angry conversation, and fasting of one without sacrificial animal. In Hajj is zikr, du’aa; bodily, financial and spiritual worship are all embodied in Hajj.

Allah has made Hajj obligatory from the time of Adam (AS). Adam had done tawaaf round the Ka’bah, the first House raised for that purpose. And the prophets and messengers that came after him followed in his footsteps in going round the Ka’bah for tawaaf, as did the seal of the prophets (SAW).

Out of Allah’s mercy, He made Hajj compulsory once in a lifetime for those able to undertake the journey.

Perform the pilgrimage and the visit (to Makka) for Allah. And if ye are prevented, then send such gifts as can be obtained with ease, and shave not your heads until the gifts have reached their destination. And whoever among you is sick or hath an ailment of the head must pay a ransom of fasting or almsgiving or offering. And if ye are in safety, then whosoever contenteth himself with the visit for the pilgrimage (shall give) such gifts as can be had with ease. And whosoever cannot find (such gifts), then a fast of three days while on the pilgrimage, and of seven when ye have returned; that is, ten in all. That is for him whose folk are not present at the Inviolable Place of Worship. Observe your duty to Allah, and know that Allah is severe in punishment. (Al Baqarah, 2:196)

To complete Hajj and Umrah is to assume ihraam for either of them and make intention at the meeqaat; to observe the rites wholly without diminishing anything; to undertake the journey with halal funds; and to avoid whatever will vitiate Hajj or umrah.

Perform the pilgrimage and the visit (to Makka) for Allah…hajja wal umarahta… this reading makes both umrah and hajj obligatory. Then it means umrah is fused into hajj, becoming mandatory on every Muslim, until the Day of Judgement.

But there is another reading, …wal umrahtu lillah; with this difference in  raf’ah vocalisation umrah becomes an emphatic sunnah and not an obligatory act. This is Imam Malik’s opinion and some other scholars who followed this path.

The opinion of the majority is that umrah is obligatory once in a lifetime just as Hajj is obligatory on Muslims once in a lifetime.

Perform the pilgrimage and the visit (to Makka) for Allah….. is a divine command on people to complete the Hajj and umrah rites for Allah’s countenance, because during the period of Jaahiliyyah people were performing pilgrimage for idols. And what is the difference between what idolators were doing and what some people are doing today of performing Hajj and umrah for show. He hardly feeds his family but even in this condition he must be seen in umrah or he will deem it a great humiliation, because his friends may think that he is a difficult financial condition. He’s been on umrah for the past 20 years, how can he be absent this year? His aim is not to have the reward of umrah, but to prove a point among his friends and colleagues.

The same could be said concerning Hajj. Many people undertake the journey not for Allah’s reward but for people to see them as having gone for Hajj. They put themselves in great difficulty in order to repeat the feat annually. They want to be called every-year hajjis, so they must go by all means.

To some people Hajj and umrah create avenue for them to perfect business deals. They use the seasons to meet top government officials, heads of agencies and ministers to click business proposals and get contracts. The aim has never been for Allah or the reward of the devotion.

Using Hajj and umrah to make business is not altogether frowned at as Allah has made trade on pilgrimage lawful. What is wrong is going for Hajj and umrah mainly for seeking business opportunities.

For some of our mothers and sisters, Hajj and umrah provide opportunity to change their old stock of gold and diamonds with the new release from Bahrain, Dubai and Saudi Arabia. She is eager to travel there because her husband will only give this amount of dollars during Hajj and umrah. She knows that without Hajj and umrah the chance of getting dollars from her husband is slim. Therefore, what she thinks more of during these holy pilgrimages is the dollars she will get and not Allah’s pleasure and reward. Her gold and diamond stock must increase and be up to date courtesy to hajj and umrah.

Perform the pilgrimage and the visit (to Makka) for Allah also means, according to some other scholars, that in Hajj and umrah, the intention is not mixed with anything.

And if ye are prevented, then send such gifts as can be obtained with ease, … This has connection with what I mentioned earlier when the Mushriks prevented the Prophet (SAW) and his companions from performing umrah in the sixth year after Hijrah during the month of Zul Qi’dah. So, if after making intention for Hajj or umrah, you are prevented from reaching the Ka’bah, then send the Hady, translated here as gifts, but actually it means the sacrificial animals we slaughter during Hajj. That prevention may occur due to illness or other unforeseen reasons. Therefore, when one is prevented from completing their rites for Hajj or umrah, after making their intention, they have to make offering in form of sacrifice before they can have tahallul, meaning go out of the state of ihraam, and return to their country.

During this aborted pilgrimage of the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) and his companions, they had their sacrificial animals with them. That was the practice until relatively recently when it was no longer convenient to travel with animals in our modern form of transport. But before now pilgrims traveled with their sacrificial animals for Hajj and umrah. Such animals were garlanded with a sign to show that they were consecrated to Allah. Ironically, now we the pilgrims are garlanded and not the animals. Every pilgrim wears a garland in the form of identity cards hanging on their necks, bearing their names, pictures and passport details.

And if ye are prevented, then send such gifts as can be obtained with ease, since the Prophet had his garlanded hady, sacrificial animal, he offered it as a gift to the Ka’bah after he was prevented from completing the pilgrimage rites.

So, on this the scholars said whoever travels and makes intention for pilgrimage with his hady, and is prevented from reaching the Ka’bah for any reason, such a person should sacrifice their hady before they can have tahallul, and be free of the restrictions of ihraam. And there is nothing on those who travel without their hady; meaning now that it is not possible for us to travel with our hady on airplanes, even where we are prevented from completing our Hajj rites, we are not to offer any animal for sacrifice.

Where will the sacrifice be made? Some of the scholars said the sacrifice must be made in Makkah. While others said the hady is offered at the point of prevention. A better position in this regard is that of a third group of scholars who said that since Allah said, can be obtained with ease,  then hady could be in Makkah if one is able to offer it there, otherwise they can do so at the place they are prevented from completing the rites.

…and shave not your heads until the gifts have reached their destination. This refers to the one prevented from completing the rites of pilgrimage, according  to an opinion, or is applicable to all pilgrims in general, according to other scholars.

Shave not your heads represents tahallul because it is one of those things that pilgrims are permitted to do or not to do to signify tahallul or lack of it.

…and shave not your heads until the gifts have reached their destination. The destination could be a place or time according to two opinions among the scholars. If we take it to mean a place, then the pilgrims cannot shave their heads until their hady reaches Makkah. So, if you are prevented from reaching the Ka’bah, you send someone with your hady, and shave your head if the hady reaches Makkah and is sacrificed on yaumun-nahr, the Day of Sacrifice. Others said you can sacrifice your hady at the point you are prevented from entering Makkah and shave your head.

But the scholars who interpreted destination to be time, said it means  yaumun-nahr. It is not allowed to offer any hady before the Day of Sacrifice.

…and shave not your heads until the gifts have reached their destination. Does it refer to one prevented from completing the rites of pilgrimage? Yes, some scholars said so.  Or does it cover all pilgrims? Yes, according to some of the scholars, it does.

And whoever among you is sick or hath an ailment of the head must pay a ransom of fasting or almsgiving or offering. Meaning whoever shaves his head due to sickness or ailment of the head must pay ransom.

The verse was revealed in respect of a companion on pilgrimage with the Messenger of Allah, Ka’b Ibn Ujrah, who sat in the sun and lice were creeping down his forehead. The Messenger of Allah who was sitting behind him asked, ‘Are you harmed by your vermin’?

‘Yes, Oh Allah’s Messenger’, he answered.

The Messenger of Allah said to him, ‘Then shave your head, and fast for three days, feed 60 indigents or slaughter an offering.’

From this incident the verse was revealed to explain this law.

And whoever among you is sick or hath an ailment of the head must pay a ransom of fasting or almsgiving or offering. When is he to make the ransom, before or after shaving? An opinion said he should make the ransom first, then shave. Another said, he is to shave his head and then make the ransom.

What is the ransom? The verse gives three options – fasting of 3 days, or almsgiving by feeding 60 poor people, or offering, i.e slaughtering of an animal.

…and when ye are in peaceful conditions (again), if any one wishes to continue the ‘umrah on to the hajj, He must make an offering, such as he can afford.