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By Yusuf Abdullahi
…….Ideally, Hajj should be used to achieve socio-economic ends for the Ummah. On the contrary, millions of Muslims meet and disperse feeling predicament with no attempt for solution…….

In the name of Allah who states “We called out to him, O Abraham! Though hast already fulfilled the dream! Thus, indeed do We reward those who do right. For this was a clear trial. And we ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice” Q37: 100 – 104

Peace and blessings be upon our master Muhammad and his gifted progeny who demonstrated the greatest sacrifice in human history.
We are still in the sacred month of Zulhajj, in the first ten days popularly referred to as "the stated days" in which believers are encouraged to put more effort to acquire the pleasure of Allah through extra prayers, fasting, meditation, Qur’anic recitation and asking Allah’s blessing on the noble Prophet. A prominent tradition of the Prophet stated “none are the most beloved days for worship before Allah than the first ten days of Zulhajj”. Details on such prayers could be traced in books of supplication like MafaateehulJinaan. Beside the 40th day commemoration of Imam Husain’s martyrdom, Hajj is evidently the greatest gathering of millions of people on earth. Mecca was initially a barren land in the desert when Prophet Ibrahim first migrated with his wife Hajar and first son Isma’il (‘a). However, it became the prosperously stable centre attracting millions of people.
Allah stated “Remember Abraham said: O my Lord! Make this city one of peace and security and preserve me and my sons from worshipping idols” Q2: 35. The main Hajj activities commence from the eighth to tenth, in addition to two or three subsequent days popularly referred as Days of Tashriq. As a sign of humbleness, the pilgrims are dressed in simple unsown white cloth in a state of consecration circulating the Kaaba, hastening between Safa and Marwa, making sacrifice and stoning the pillars.
A remarkable activity in the pilgrimage is standing on the mount of Arafat on the ninth day of Zulhajj reading Imam Husain’s famous Arafat prayer. Millions of people from all walks of life gather on the wide plan celebrating Allah’s praise, seeking His forgiveness and mercy. "Behold! Safa and Marwa are among the symbols of Allah. So, if those who visit the house in the season or at other times should compass them round, it is no sin in them. And if anyone obeyeth his own impulse to Good, be sure that Allah is He who recogniseth and knowth” Q35 – 37
The famous prophetic farewell sermon was delivered at this plain. Muslims are highly encouraged to observe the best possible behaviors in this worship for attainment of Allah’s pleasure. They must avoid any form of anger or dispute and remain patient and humble throughout the ritual. Above all, they should fear Allah and exercise absolute self-control in atmosphere of brotherhood, friendliness and forgiveness, bearing the fact that whoever embarks on hajj in accordance with the demonstration of the noble messenger, he or she returns as the day was given birth to.
The lessons we must not neglect include unity “And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves” Q3:103. “Be not like those who are divided amongst themselves and fall into disputations after receiving clear sign; for them is a clear chastisement” Q3:105. Apparently, the enemies of Islam use division to destroy the Ummah with the help of misguided Muslims. That is why those committed to its true cause are devotedly concerned on the unity. Of blessed memory, Imam Khomeini maintained, those sowing discord along the Sunnah/shi’a are neither Ahlus-Sunnah nor Shiites. Sheikh Mahmud Shaltut has also played a very significant role in this direction.
Pilgrimage as advocated by Prophet Ibrahim (‘a) has clear meaning and purpose. As a politico-religious congress centre, Mecca should be a place for the oppressed to raise their voice in protest against the oppressors and infidel who perpetually brutalize believers and humanity in general. “And an announcement from Allah and His messenger, to the people (assembled) on the day of the great pilgrimage that Allah and His messenger dissolve (treaty) obligations with the pagans. If, then ye repent, it were best for you; but if ye turn away, know ye that ye cannot frustrate Allah, and proclaim a grievous chastisement to those who reject faith. Q9:3
Ideally, Hajj should be used to achieve socio-economic ends for the Ummah. On the contrary, millions of Muslims meet and disperse feeling predicament with no attempt for solution. On the other hand, Imam Khomeini said “O you Muslims who are busy praying by the house of Allah! Pray for the success of those who are standing up to America and other superpowers”
Whatiscommon with Eid-el-Adha or Eid-el-Kabir is the slaughter of precious animals as sacrifice for the sake of Allah. The pilgrims do the sacrifice at Mina after which they culminate the Hajj rite. Non-pilgrims offer the highly recommended sacrifice by the prophetic tradition. We may ask about the rationale and wisdom behind the slaughter? Whoever is opportuned to slaughter, he or she is expected to distribute the meat to the needy for the sake of Allah. “They ask thee what they should spend (in charity). Say whatever wealth Ye spend that is good, is for parents and kindred, And orphans, And those in want And for wayfarers. And whatever ye do That is good, Allah knoweth it all” Q2:216.
Feeding the weak is commonly known as one of the highly recommended acts. The believers are mobilized to participate in this gesture to the best of their ability. At this juncture, it is good to remind brothers and sisters on the need to offer the skins of their animals to SHUHADA FOUNDATION, a Zaria – based orphanage that provides humanitarian services to children of our honourable martyrs. Some officials of the foundation could be consulted: Zaria – Ahmad Maiwada 0803 418 834; Kano – Ibrahim Sulaiman 08060538196; Kaduna – Ibrahim Sulaiman 0803 322 5997; Katsina – Ahmad Abbas 0803 625 1758; Bauchi – Muhammad Masi 0808 150 1618; Jos – Abubakar Sulaiman 0806 959 0882; Potiskum – Abdullahi AdamuSiminti 0806 486 0690; Sokoto – Abubakar Mai Nasara 0803 659 1833 or Alh. Farouq Mai Ahu 0803
Generally, the history of slaughter is related to Prophet Ibrahim when he clocked hundred years without a child. He prayed to Allah “O my Lord! Grant me a righteous (son)! So, We gave him good news of a forbearing son. Q37:100 – 102. The forbearing son was Isma’il, the ancestor of Arabs and grandfather of the Last Prophet. However, on a teenage age, Prophet Ibrahim was commanded to slaughter him. Having submitted to the will of Allah, he laid him prostrate on his forehead using sharp knife on his jugular vein but Allah miraculously ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice! As could be deduced this sacrifice is the greatest of all trials and the essence was to gain the pleasure of Allah by accepting the offering of our hearts as a symbol for sacrifice out of faith and sincerity.
Basically, it is not the slaughter of animals that is meant but the love of Allah and His preference. If not? With which kind of animals did Isma’il compare to Ibrahim (‘a)? How could you assume yourself under such a situation? Could you correlate his submission with your love towards your wife and children? It was neither a joke nor a dream, these prophets were tried by Allah and they excellently passed! The criteria considered were full submission, faith and preference of Allah not the nature of animal one slaughters at all. The question is how much do you love Allah and to what extent can you sacrifice in His name? If we may ask, can you sacrifice your son or yourself for the sake of Allah? What of your good office or selfish interest? This is the real logic behind the sacrifice!
Think of great sacrifice of Imam Husain, the grandson of the Great Prophet who said "if the religion of Muhammad could only stand at the expense of my dear life, let it be" while sacrificing his dear life in the cause of Islam! The band of his followers responded immediately “O our master! We are all ready to defend you and your Ahlul-bait and sacrifice our lives for the cause of Islam! The Imam was referred as the ransomed momentous sacrifice by some Qur’anic interpreters. For about fourteen centuries now, they are remembered with great respect and prayers not by believers in their faith alone, but all people with common sense of humanity.
The India’s political and spiritual leader, Mahatma Gandhi said about Imam Husain "I have carefully read the biography of Imam Hussein and have contemplated the events of Karbala. I am sure Indians must follow his ideas on the path to victory”. Mr. Edward Granville Browne, the Englishorientaliststated " Is there any heart not to bleed and grieve when told about Karbala? Even non-Muslims cannot deny the chastity of the soul manifested itself, in this war under the banner of Islam" while the EnglishPoet, Fredric James said "the lesson taken from Hussein or any other martyred hero is that there exist the perpetual principles of justice, mercy and affection in the world, which never change, and when one fights for this principles and insists on them, they will be immortal and will last forever"
In addition to sacrifices of animals based on capacity, the real sacrifice is determined by action in variance with guidance of Allah in this mortal world.
While praying for Allah’s acceptance, reward, forgiveness and mercy for the little we offer, I reiterate the need for the unconditional release of our leader, Sheikh Ibraheem el-Zakzaky (H) along with his disciples.