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 How to Read and Understand Sūrat al-Ḥajj

استعرض الموضوع السابق استعرض الموضوع التالي اذهب الى الأسفل 
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مُساهمةموضوع: How to Read and Understand Sūrat al-Ḥajj   06/09/16, 01:35 am


How to Read and Understand Sūrat al-Ḥajj
For those who wish to perform Ḥajj with their heart and emotions
Author/ Sheikh: Esam bin Saleh al Owaid
God forgive him and his parents and to Muslims
========================================
God, in His Glory, has revealed in His Glorious Book two chapters that describe to mankind how Ḥajj, the pilgrimage, is to be performed to His Sanctified House. These two chapters are Sūrat al-Ḥajj and Sūrat al-Baqarah.

As for Sūrat al-Baqarah, the second of the two to be revealed, it is a chapter of commands and prohibitions. That is why emphasis is placed in it about statements, actions, and legislative rulings in regards to completing the performance of Ḥajj, as well as forbidden acts and their expiations.

The chapter starts its discussion of Ḥajj by speaking about the time of Ḥajj, [through the sighting of] the new moons, and concludes the passages about Ḥajj with the remembrance of God in specific, numbered days. It also brings forth attention to taqwā (the state of being mindful of God) to remind us all of the importance of this great principle.

As for Sūrat al-Ḥajj, it is a chapter related to the heart. Most of the verses in it are speaking about another aspect of Ḥajj which focuses on the presence of the heart, where the verses speak about the pilgrimage of the heart. God says, speaking of the sacrificial animals, “It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches God but your piety.” (Ḥajj: 37) “Anyone who honors the sacred ordinances of God will have good rewards from his Lord.” (Ḥajj: 30) He also says, “All this [is ordained by God]: those who honor God’s rites show the piety of their hearts.” (Ḥajj: 32).

Whoever can combine both of these facets in their Ḥajj has combined all forms of goodness.

And whoever has some type of deficiency in one of them or both, their Ḥajj will decrease in its quality and rewards in accordance to the degree of deficiency. In fact, if one analyzes the verses and texts in revelation, it clearly demonstrates that the degree of perfection or deficiency of Ḥajj of the heart is more important and has a greater effect upon whether one’s Ḥajj being accepted or rejected in comparison to the actions of the limbs even though both are important. Nevertheless, “God has set a due measure for everything.” (Ṭalāq: 3)

The perfection of the heart in glorifying God’s rites is not equivalent to the perfection in the recommended acts of Ṭawāf(1), Sa`ī (2), throwing pebbles [at the Jamarāt (3)], and so forth. Similarly, the deficiency in the pilgrims’ garment of sincerity, dedication and devotion to God is not equivalent to the deficiency in their garment of iḥrām (4). Cleansing the hearts from showing off, arrogance, and pride is not equivalent to purifying the tongue from idle talk, the body from filth and the clothing from dirt. Both concepts (the spiritual and physical) are a part of this religion that we worship God with.

Yet the former—the actions of the heart—is the very foundation while the latter—the actions of the body—is a branch of that foundation. There is a great correlation between these two (the spiritual and physical), except when one makes their external appearance upright whereas their internal condition is corrupted.
How excellent are the poet’s words when speaking of the path to God: Traveling a distance by hearts to Him is not equivalent to traveling physically.

A Profound Chapter Many scholars of the Qur’ān have agreed that Sūrat al-Ḥajj is one of the most profound chapters of the Qur’ān.

I have reflected over it for quite some time and have looked at the explanations of the scholars of the past and of latter days, and I have derived a unique description specifically for it: Chapter of Expert Scholars. Indeed, it is a chapter for those who are firm in knowledge because of its deep meanings, difficulty in correlating its different verses with each other and the various conflicting interpretations amongst the scholars.

Some of the Unique Characteristics of this Chapter:
1- There is no other chapter throughout the Qur’ān that combines between the Meccan revelation and the Medinan revelation, revelation during the day and night, revelation during travel and residence, revelation during war and peacetime, revelation of passages that are precise and those that are not specific, revelation in the wintertime and summertime, and revelation that was abrogated and abrogates except in this chapter.

2- The Companions differed as to whether the verses were revealed before or after the emigration of the Prophet, may God’s peace and blessings be upon him, to Medina.

3- No other chapter was named after the five pillars of Islām. It is not known by any other name.

4- No other chapter has two prostrations of recitation. One of the scholars narrated that `Umar said, “Sūrat al-Ḥajj has been made special with two prostrations [of recitation].”

1) The ritual act of circumambulation around the Ka`bah

2) The ritual act of walking between the al-Ṣafā and al-Marwah hills

3) The three stone pillars in Minā

4) The state of ritual purity and physical/mental preparation that every Muslim must enter before performing the pilgrimage to Mecca.

5- No other chapter in the latter half of the Qur’ān starts off with the call “O people”.

6- In the Qur’ān there are more than sixty parables, none of which God says before presenting it, “So listen to it”(Ḥajj: 73), except in this chapter.

7- In this chapter, four types of hearts are mentioned: the blind heart, the sick heart, the rough heart, and the heart that is living, tranquil, and seeking God. These four types of hearts were only mentioned together in this chapter.

It has a verse that includes all forms of good where God says, “Believers, bow down, prostrate yourselves, worship your Lord, and do good so that you may succeed.” (Ḥajj: 77)

Thus, these eight unique characteristics distinguish this chapter from other chapters of the Qur’ān.

The Objective of this Chapter
The prominent scholar ibn Taymiyyah commented on the chapter’s objective by saying, “It includes the different stages in the path towards God all together.” This scholar’s statement verifies as to why this chapter was named al- Ḥajj. Linguistically, al-Ḥajj means “to seek something that is venerated” and verily, there is nothing that deserves more veneration than God, glorified be He.

Everybody is walking in their path towards The Great One in His Magnificence, His Beauty, His Mercy, and His Punishment, may He be exalted.

Thus, this chapter is full of guideposts and milestones for the one who is traversing this path in order to shed light upon questions such as: which path should one take? How should they walk? What is their provision? What should they be aware of?

The first of these signs is the proper etiquette in addressing others, even if they are disbelievers.

The address of “O people” is intended for polytheists/idolaters as mentioned by ibn `Abbās. This interpretation is very clear when we look at all the different types of addresses in the Qur’ān. The calls of “O you who have associated partners with God” or “O idol worshippers/idolaters” are never used.

There is, though, a verse that says “Say: O you who disbelieve” and another one that says, “You who disbelieve, make no excuses today: you are only being repaid for what you used to do.” However, the address that is consistent throughout the Qur’ān is “O you who believe” and that is mentioned 89 times.

Additionally, the calls of “O People of the Book” and “O Children of Israel” are mentioned many times as well. The Qur’ān is addressed to those who associate partners with God as well as others, yet the only call addressed towards them is “O people”. Certainly, this supports the statement of ibn `Abbās.

I have counted ten rules of thumb from merely the first page of this chapter for those who seek to walk towards their Lord: to be kind when addressing others… to be strong while doing so… to be more concerned about the heart first… to use and utilize fear from what is expected in the Hereafter… to explain that in detail… to warn against those perceived to be intelligent and clever with words when they argue, especially when they give beauty to falsehood through their intelligence and their eloquence because they are the followers of “every rebellious devil”(Ḥajj:3)… to have utmost conviction that removes the least of doubt about resurrection… to use the proof of
physical sight for insight… to mention the proofs of the strength of the Compeller in His Creation… and to mention the weakness of man in his physical makeup.. If one were to continue to reflect, they would find many other remarkable sources of guidance in this chapter.
Following that, God willing,


الرجوع الى أعلى الصفحة اذهب الى الأسفل
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مُساهمةموضوع: رد: How to Read and Understand Sūrat al-Ḥajj   06/09/16, 01:41 am

The Pilgrim and His/Her Relationship with this Chapter
The one who is performing the Ḥajj is seeking the Ka`bah. In their journey, they need signs that will guide them until they reach their final destination.

There are signs and evidences in the Qur’ān for the pilgrim throughout this chapter. So, I’m informing every pilgrim: how strange is the situation of the pilgrim who is seeking to perform Ḥajj yet has not reflected over this chapter!

This chapter combines between the journey of the pilgrim to the Ka`bah with their feet as well as their hearts. It combines between the talbiyah(1) of the heart as well as the talbiyah of the tongue. It combines between the throwing of pebbles with one’s hand as well as the internalization of that very rite.

Similarly, it combines between the sacrificing of the animal with one’s hand and the internalization of the rite of sacrifice.

So, if one were to ask: how can we perform Ḥajj physically with the presence of our hearts?

The answer—while all knowledge is with God—is that this whole chapter and its different verses revolve around the concept of reverence. Therefore, whoever wishes to achieve that must revere in their heart what God has ordered to be revered. This can be obtained through studying the verses and
pondering over the matters which this chapter orders for us to respect and revere. One has to struggle greatly to achieve this goal through patience and perseverance. Furthermore, days and nights must be spent in deep reflection and weeping in solitude until the doors of guidance are opened for them.



These are affairs of the heart that are unattainable except through constant spiritual struggle.

1) A response and supplication that a Muslim recites throughout Ḥajj
This Chapter Emphasizes Having Reverence for Three Matters:
Firstly: to have reverence of God as a Lord and as the only deity worthy of worship; to be sincerely dedicated to Him and to trust in Him completely without any deficiency in this trust.

We must reflect over certain verses that were mentioned in the chapter such as:
• “People, be mindful of your Lord, for the earthquake of the Last Hour will be a mighty thing.” (Ḥajj:1)

• “This is because God is the Truth; He brings the dead back to life; He has power over everything.” (Ḥajj:6)

• “Do you not realize [Prophet] that everything in the heavens and earth submits to God: the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the trees, and the animals? So do many human beings, though for many others punishment is well deserved. Anyone disgraced by God will have no one to honor him: God does whatever He will.” (Ḥajj:18)

• “Devote yourselves to God and assign Him no partners, for the person who does so is like someone who has been hurled down from the skies and snatched up by the birds or flung to a distant place by the wind.” (Ḥajj:31)

• “So it will be, because it is God alone who is the Truth, and whatever else they invoke is sheer falsehood: it is God who is the Most High, the Most Great.” (Ḥajj:62)

• “Are you [Prophet] not aware that God knows all that is in the heavens and earth? All this is written in a Record; this is easy for God. Yet beside God they serve that for which He has sent no authority and of which they have no knowledge the evildoers will have no one to help them.” (Ḥajj:70-71)

And in the conclusion of this chapter is a remarkable analogy where God says, “People, here is an illustration, so listen carefully: those you call on beside God could not, even if they combined all their forces, create a fly, and if a fly took something away from them, they would not be able to retrieve it.

How feeble are the petitioners and how feeble are those they petition! They have no grasp of God’s true measure: God is truly most strong and mighty.” (Ḥajj:73-74) The aforementioned petitioners include those who call upon other than God as well as those who ask a fly to return what it took from them. As for those they petition, it includes those being called upon other than God as well as the fly itself.

Thus, even if the petitioner or those they petition were an angel, a messenger, or a king, or anyone else, verily they are all weak in comparison to the Mighty and the Dominant, glorified be He.

I remember that in a past pilgrimage season, there was a lady pilgrim who was stuck at the Black Stone so she was afraid for herself, and she shouted and screamed loudly. While there were only a few inches between her and the House of God, she was shouting, “O Badawī, save me! O Badawī, save me! O Badawī*, save me!” Has this woman not read in the chapter of Ḥajj where God says, “Instead of God, they call upon what can neither harm nor help them– that is straying far away” (Ḥajj:12)?

Some people call upon God right in front of the Ka`bah, in between al-Ṣafā and al-Marwah, in `Arafah, Muzdalifah, and Minā.

These individuals are, in reality, testing their Lord as they do not trust Him and they have no certainty in God responding to anyone calling Him.

This chapter addresses these people by saying:
• “There are also some who serve God with unsteady faith: if something good comes their way, they are satisfied, but if they are tested, they revert to their old ways, losing both this world and the next– that is the clearest loss.” (Ḥajj:11)

Secondly: to have reverence of the Hereafter. The verses of this chapter cause the heart to tremble severely. In the beginning of it God says, “People, be mindful of your Lord, for the earthquake of the Last Hour will be a mighty thing: on the Day you see it, every nursing mother will think no more of her baby, every pregnant female will miscarry, you will think people are drunk when they are not, so severe will be God’s torment.” (Ḥajj:1-2)

The nursing mother here is currently nursing her child, but she will throw him as he is suckling. Glorified is He, a tree that is not going to be judged, a mosquito that is not going to be questioned, an ant that will not be weighed, a cat that will not be given the option of Paradise or Hell—why would all these things miscarry what they were pregnant of? “Every pregnant female will miscarry”(Ḥajj:2) is inclusive of every female in the creation.

In the middle of this chapter God says, “These two kinds of people disagree about their Lord.

Garments of fire will be tailored for those who disbelieve; scalding water will be poured over their heads, melting their insides as well as their skins; there will be iron crooks to restrain them.” (Ḥajj:19-21)

One should ponder as to why God put forth the punishment of the bellies before the skin. The righteous predecessors, may God be pleased with them, explained this. It was narrated by ibn Abī Ḥātim, on the authority of al-Suddī that he said, “The angel will come to him carrying with him a container of a fiery drink. When he brings it close to his face, the individual will show hatred towards it. (The angel) would then take out an iron crook and strike his head causing for his brains to explode. Then, the angel would empty the container into his brain and it would enter into his stomach straight from his brain.”

Thus, the fiery drink will reach the stomach before it reaches the skin. We seek God’s refuge from such a fate.

As for the Believers, they have a great promise awaiting them as God says, “But God will admit those who believe and do good deeds to Gardens graced with flowing streams; there they will be adorned with golden bracelets and pearls; there they will have silken garments.” (Ḥajj:23)

There are so many of these types of verses throughout the chapter.

Thirdly: to give reverence to that which God expects us to revere, which are His rites as well as the pillars of action of the religion such as the prayer, the obligatory charity, Ḥajj, the struggle in spreading/defending Islām, etc.

This has been repeated in this chapter to remind us of the reverence that we must have in regards to the rites of Ḥajj itself.
Following that, God willing,


الرجوع الى أعلى الصفحة اذهب الى الأسفل
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مُساهمةموضوع: رد: How to Read and Understand Sūrat al-Ḥajj   06/09/16, 01:50 am


The Pilgrim and His/Her Relationship with this Chapter
The one who is performing the Ḥajj is seeking the Ka`bah. In their journey, they need signs that will guide them until they reach their final destination.

There are signs and evidences in the Qur’ān for the pilgrim throughout this chapter. So, I’m informing every pilgrim: how strange is the situation of the pilgrim who is seeking to perform Ḥajj yet has not reflected over this chapter!

This chapter combines between the journey of the pilgrim to the Ka`bah with their feet as well as their hearts. It combines between the talbiyah(1) of the heart as well as the talbiyah of the tongue. It combines between the throwing of pebbles with one’s hand as well as the internalization of that very rite.

Similarly, it combines between the sacrificing of the animal with one’s hand and the internalization of the rite of sacrifice.

So, if one were to ask: how can we perform Ḥajj physically with the presence of our hearts?

The answer—while all knowledge is with God—is that this whole chapter and its different verses revolve around the concept of reverence. Therefore, whoever wishes to achieve that must revere in their heart what God has ordered to be revered. This can be obtained through studying the verses and
pondering over the matters which this chapter orders for us to respect and revere. One has to struggle greatly to achieve this goal through patience and perseverance. Furthermore, days and nights must be spent in deep reflection and weeping in solitude until the doors of guidance are opened for them.

These are affairs of the heart that are unattainable except through constant spiritual struggle.

1) A response and supplication that a Muslim recites throughout Ḥajj
This Chapter Emphasizes Having Reverence for Three Matters:
Firstly: to have reverence of God as a Lord and as the only deity worthy of worship; to be sincerely dedicated to Him and to trust in Him completely without any deficiency in this trust.

We must reflect over certain verses that were mentioned in the chapter such as:
• “People, be mindful of your Lord, for the earthquake of the Last Hour will be a mighty thing.” (Ḥajj:1)

• “This is because God is the Truth; He brings the dead back to life; He has power over everything.” (Ḥajj:6)

• “Do you not realize [Prophet] that everything in the heavens and earth submits to God: the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the trees, and the animals? So do many human beings, though for many others punishment is well deserved. Anyone disgraced by God will have no one to honor him: God does whatever He will.” (Ḥajj:18)

• “Devote yourselves to God and assign Him no partners, for the person who does so is like someone who has been hurled down from the skies and snatched up by the birds or flung to a distant place by the wind.” (Ḥajj:31)

• “So it will be, because it is God alone who is the Truth, and whatever else they invoke is sheer falsehood: it is God who is the Most High, the Most Great.” (Ḥajj:62)

• “Are you [Prophet] not aware that God knows all that is in the heavens and earth? All this is written in a Record; this is easy for God. Yet beside God they serve that for which He has sent no authority and of which they have no knowledge the evildoers will have no one to help them.” (Ḥajj:70-71)

And in the conclusion of this chapter is a remarkable analogy where God says, “People, here is an illustration, so listen carefully: those you call on beside God could not, even if they combined all their forces, create a fly, and if a fly took something away from them, they would not be able to retrieve it.

How feeble are the petitioners and how feeble are those they petition! They have no grasp of God’s true measure: God is truly most strong and mighty.” (Ḥajj:73-74) The aforementioned petitioners include those who call upon other than God as well as those who ask a fly to return what it took from them. As for those they petition, it includes those being called upon other than God as well as the fly itself.

Thus, even if the petitioner or those they petition were an angel, a messenger, or a king, or anyone else, verily they are all weak in comparison to the Mighty and the Dominant, glorified be He.

I remember that in a past pilgrimage season, there was a lady pilgrim who was stuck at the Black Stone so she was afraid for herself, and she shouted and screamed loudly. While there were only a few inches between her and the House of God, she was shouting, “O Badawī, save me! O Badawī, save me! O Badawī*, save me!” Has this woman not read in the chapter of Ḥaj