The Real Meaning of The Pilgrimage

Month of Hajj

Eid al-Adha or the Feast of Sacrifice is the most important feast of the Muslim calendar. It concludes the Pilgrimage to Mecca.

Eid al-Adha is a re-enactment of the traditions of the holy Prophet Abraham demonstrating his love for Allah by fulfilling a vision from God. The vision being that he should sacrifice his only son, Ishmael from his wife Hagar. The Merciful and Beloved Allah tests all of those who claim His Love and Supremacy in their lives by the dearest thing we cherish- life!
The Doors of Divine Mercy and Love were flung open by the willingness of the holy Prophet Abraham and the obedience of the holy Prophet Ishmael, at a tender young age, to fulfill the Divine vision. The Beloved Allah changed the course of humanity forever -in that moment Abraham became the friend of Allah and Ishmael became one of the greatest prophets, and his descendents, so honoured, that the last and final Prophet and Messenger for all creation, Muhammad Ibn AbdullahSalutations on The Prophet, was from their offspring.
The Holy Prophet MuhammadSalutations on The Prophet said I am the supplications of my father, Abraham.

And when Abraham and Ishmael were raising the foundations of the Ka'bah, [they prayed:]
"O our Sustainer! Accept Thou this from us: for verily, Thou alone art all-hearing, all-knowing!

"O our Sustainer! Make us surrender ourselves unto Thee, and make out of our offspring* a community that shall surrender itself unto Thee, and show us our ways of worship, and accept our repentance: for verily, Thou alone art the Acceptor of Repentance, the Dispenser of Grace!

""O our Sustainer! Raise up from the midst of our offspring an apostle from among themselves, who shall convey unto them Thy messages, and impart unto them revelation as well as wisdom, and cause them to grow in purity: for, verily, Thou alone art almighty, truly wise!"

And who, unless he be weak of mind, would want to abandon Abraham's creed, seeing that We have indeed raised him high in this world, and that, verily, in the life to come he shall be among the righteous?

Qur'an 2: 127- 130

*The expression 'our offspring" indicates Abraham's progeny through his first-born son, Ishmael, and is an indirect reference to the Prophet MuhammadSalutations on The Prophet, who descended from the latter.

The Beloved Allah wants us to live for His sake NOT die for His sake.

The animal sacrifice that is required is our animal self- our ego self, ignorant self, prejudiced self, stupid self- so that we may be free and Real love may fill our lives, inward and outward. That is the Real sacrifice- DIE BEFORE YOU DIE.

Have a blessed celebration if you are free from the domination of your ego self and your heart is FULL of the love of Allah.

Murshid F.A. Ali ElSenossi

The Virtues of Hajj

Sheikh Shibli interviews one of his murids who has just returned from the Pilgrimage

In the following dialogue, a seeker (murid) under the guidance of Sheikh Shibli has just returned from the sacred pilgrimage (Hajj) to the ancient House of God in Mecca (Ka'aba).

The pilgrimage is one of the five duties of all Muslims, and is obligatory, once, for all who are physically and financially able to complete it.
The Sheikh, who is the seeker's Spiritual Guide is asking the seeker some questions which, on the surface, relate to the seeker's conduct in Mecca, but which in reality also refer to the pilgrimage to that other House of God, the human heart.
The Sheikh's teaching provides an insight into what each of us can expect to experience as we go on this, the most important journey we can undertake in our earthly lifetime.

The seeker takes up the story:
'The Sheikh asked me: "Did you make a determined Declaration of Intention (niyya) for the pilgrimage?" I replied, "Yes, I made a firm intention to perform the pilgrimage". Then he said, 'Together with having made a firm intention to perform the pilgrimage, did you also have a firm intention of forever giving up doing all those things you did since you were born that are opposed to the spirit of the pilgrimage? I replied, "No, I did not. The Sheikh said: "In that case, you had no intention to perform the Pilgrimage".

The Sheikh then asked: "At the time of consecrating yourself and putting on the pilgrim's attire (ihraam), did you remove your clothing?" I replied, "Yes, I did". Then he said, "At that time, did you pledge to remove from you everything except Allah?" I replied, "No, I did not". The Sheikh then said: "In that case, you did not remove your clothing".
The Sheikh then asked: "Did you cleanse yourself with the greater and lesser cleansing rituals of ghusl and wudhu?' "Yes", I replied, I did cleanse myself in that manner". Then he said, "At that time, did you also become cleansed of all evil and faults?" "No", I replied, "that I cannot say". The Sheikh said: 1n that case, you did not cleanse yourself'.

The Sheikh then asked: "Did you recite the labbaik formula to Allah 'Here I am Lord, at Your service?' I replied, "Yes, I did". Then he said, "Did you at that time hear an answering labbaik response to you from Allah?" "No, I received no reply", I said. "In that case," said the Sheikh, "what kind of Labbaik did you recite?"

Then Sheikh asked me: "Did you enter the prohibited (haram) area around Mecca?" "Yes, I did", I replied. "Did you at that time pledge to leave aside every prohibited (haram) act for ever?" he asked. "No, I did not," I replied. "Then," he said, "you did not enter the area of the Noble Sanctuary (Haram Sharif) at all". (The Noble Sanctuary is the Holy Prophet Muhammad, to whom all lovers of Allah turn for protection).
"Did you visit Mecca?' he then asked. "Yes, I did," I replied. "When you did," he asked, "did you see the Hereafter?' "No", I replied, "I did not see anything". Then you did not see Mecca," he replied. (Mecca is a symbol of the innermost presence of Allah).

The Sheikh then asked me: "Did you enter the Holy Mosque (Masjid)?' "Yes, I did," I replied. "Did you then, on entering, feel the nearness of Allah?' "No, I did not" I replied. "Then you never actually entered the Masjid."
The Sheikh next asked me: "Were you present at the House of God (Ka'aba)?" "Yes," I replied, I was". "Did you then see that entity because of which the House of God is visited?" "No," I replied, I saw nothing". "Then," he said, "you never saw the House of God".

The Sheikh then asked me: "Did you perform the running action (ramal) at the time of walking around (tawaf) the House of God". "Yes," I replied, "I did". "Did you," he asked, "at that time flee from this world in such a manner that you felt you were completely out of this world?" "No", I replied. "In that case," he said, "you did not perform the running action".

Then he asked me: "Did you place your hands on the black stone and kiss it?" "Yes, I did," I replied. The Sheikh then became very pale and greatly frightened, so much so that a cry escaped from him, and he said: "Woe unto you: the Holy Prophet saidSalutations on The Prophet: "Whoever places his hands on the black stone is like him who actually shakes hands with Allah; and whoever shakes the hand of Allah shall in every way remain safe from all things. Did you feel anything of that security?" he asked. "No, I did not," I replied. "Then," he said, "you did not touch the black stone".
"Did you perform two cycles of prayer at the Station of Abraham" he then asked me. "Yes, I did," I replied. He said to me: "You were at that particular time placed on a high rank by Allah. Did you carry out what is due for that high rank, for which you stood there?" "No," I replied, "I did nothing". In that case," he said, "you did not perform prayer at the Station of Abraham".

He next asked me: "Did you perform running between the hills of Safaa and Marwah? "Yes," I said. "And at the time you were running," he asked, "did you feel yourself running away from everything else apart from Allah, and reaching Him?' (The question is a reference to the verse in the Qur'an, in Surah Shu'ra: "And I fled from You when I feared You". Allah also says in another place: "And flee towards Allah"). "No." I replied. "Then you never ran," he said.

And did you ascend Marwah?' "Yes," I said. "And what did you do there?" he asked. "I recited 'God is great' three times," I said, "and prayed to Allah to accept my pilgrimage," I replied. "Did the angels also recite the takbir (Allahu Akbar) with you?" he asked. "And did you have any knowledge of the significance of you own recitation?' he asked. "No," I replied. "Then you did not actually recite 'Allahu Akbar'," he replied."While you were on Marwa, did you acquire a great inner calmness and peace, that descended on you?" "No', I answered. "Then you never ascended Marwa," he said.

"Did you ascend Safaa?' he asked me. "Yes," I replied. "When you descended," he asked, "did you feel all evil and every weakness departing from you, and inner cleanliness entering you?" "No," I replied. "Then you never ascended Safaa," he said.

Then the Sheikh said to me: "Tell me, did you proceed to Mina?' "Yes," I replied, "I did". "While you were there," he asked, "did you attain such hopes in Allah that have nothing to do with evil?" "No," I replied. "Then you never went to Mina," he said.

"Did you visit Masjid ul-Khawf? (the Mosque of Fear)" he asked. "Yes," I replied. "And did you then experience such a fear of Allah that you had never ever experienced before?' he asked. "No," I replied. "Then you never entered Masjid ul-Khaif," he said.

The Sheikh then asked me: "Did you reach the plain of Arafaat?' "Yes," I replied. "And on the plain of Arafaat, did you recognise the cause of your coming into this world, what you are doing here, and where you will go afterwards? And did you recognise the thing that points towards these things?" "No," I said. "Then you never visited Arafaat," he said.

"Did you visit Muzdalifah?" he then asked me. "Yes," I said. "And did you remember Allah there, so much so that everything else was forgotten, as Allah had mentioned?" (The Sheikh is referring to the verse in the Qur'an: "And remember Allah at the Mash'arul Haraam plain of Muzdalifah"). "No," I replied. in that case," he said, "you never reached Muzdalifah".
He then asked me: "Did you perform a sacrifice at Mina?' "Yes," I replied. "Did you then sacrifice your own self" he asked. "No," I replied. "Then you performed no sacrifice," he said.
"Did you perform the ceremony of pelting the Shaytaan with stones (rami)?" he asked. "Yes," I replied. "With every stone you threw, did you feel yourself shaking off you every form of ignorance and feel your knowledge increasing?" "No," I replied. "Then you did not actually perform rami," said the Sheikh.
Then he asked me: "Did you perform the circumambulation of visitation of the House of God?' "Yes," I replied. "Did you experience any spiritual enlightenment at that time? And did honour and respect descend on you from Allah? For the Holy ProphetSalutations on The Prophet said: 'Anyone who performs the greater pilgrimage (hajj) or anyone who performs the lesser pilgrimage (umra) is Allah's guest, and when anyone visits someone, it is only right that they should be honoured. I replied: "No, I experienced nothing". "Then," said the Sheikh, "you never actually performed the circumambulation of visitation.
"Did you then release yourself from the state of consecration (ihram)?" "Yes," I replied. "Did you at that time promise to adhere strictly to ritually pure earnings at all times?" "No," I replied. "In that case," he replied, "you did not become halaal (pure)" (released from ihraam).
Then finally he asked: "Did you perform the farewell circumambulation?" "Yes," I replied. "Did you then say a complete farewell to your whole self, your desires and your passions?" "No," I replied. "Then you did not perform the farewell circumambulation," he said.

"Go back and perform the pilgrimage again. And this time perform it in the manner I have described to you".'
The seeker then concludes with the observation: "I have related this lengthy conversation to illustrate what type of hajj the saintly ones perform. May Allah in His infinite grace and mercy grant us all this type of hajj. Ameen."