Religion of Tuesday, 13 November 2012
The Holy Prophet PBUH, says whosoever performs hajj (by assuming Ihram), and refrains from sexual relations (with his wife) during the period of Ihram, nor commit sin, nor dispute unjustly during the hajj, returns like the day he was born – SINLESS or words to that effect.
With these good tidings, it behooves every returning Pilgrim to step back and ask himself, "what next". Not asking yourself this question means business as usual. But for a returnee from Hajj, it cannot be business as usual. The Hajj is a renewed covenant with the Almighty Allah, to be a truer and better Muslim. It means retooling yourself for the constant challenges to your faith in your daily life.
This Hajj you performed has been performed by all Prophets of God – starting from Abraham, Moses, Jesus , Mohammad to name but a few, Peace and blessings of Allah be upon them all.
As the final Prophet puts it, we Prophets are like brothers of same father but different mothers. Yes all the religions preached by the Prophets are the same but they have been corrupted by people for petty worldly gain. All of them have preached the warship of the ONLY one TRUE GOD and to ascribe no partners to him. This was what Jesus also preached, and there is no single unambiguous statement in the whole Bible where Jesus says I am God or where he says worship me. In john 14:28, Jesus says “MY FATHER IS GREATER THAN I”, Elsewhere In the English standard version, Jesus says: “I CAN DO NOTHING ON MY OWN. AS I HEAR, I JUDGE, AND MY JUDGMENT IS JUST, BECAUSE I SEEK NOT MY OWN WILL BUT THE WILL OF HIM WHO SENT ME.” The WILL of HIM WHO SENT ME – attesting to his faith as a Muslim and a Prophet sent by The Al-Mighty. Unfortunately, with all the clarification made by Jesus, his “followers” have committed excesses; and made him part of a trinity; a kindred of polytheism. We Muslims take exception to that.
The most important clause of this covenant with God The Almighty, is to entrench in your heart that “THERE IS NO BEING WORTHY OF WORSHIP EXCEPT ALLAH THE AL-MIGHTY”. By this, it is implied that you will not worship – implied or expressed, any being except the Al-Mighty. THANKS TO ALLAH, YOU BELONG TO THE ONLY FELLOWSHIP – ISLAM THAT TEACHES THE TRUE AND PURE MONOTHEISM. THIS HAS BEEN THE FELLOWSHIP OF ALL THE PROPHETS OF GOD, FROM ADAM, THROUGH NOAH, ABRAHAM, ISAAC, ISHMAEL, MOSES, JESUS AND FINALLY PERFECTED FOR MANKIND WITH PROPHET MOHAMMAD PEACE AND BLESSINGS OF ALLAH BE ON THEM ALL. In the last and final testament, The Creator says “This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed my favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion”
During the Haj, You stood where Abraham stood, where Jesus stood, where Mohammad stood, you saw the valley of Mina where Abraham was confronted by Satan; you emulated his action when he pelted the Devil with pebbles to dispel him from his presence and influence. You climaxed your rituals at the Plain of Arafat where the mountain of Mercy is situated, the mountain on which the Holy Prophet gave his last sermon. Like the followers of The Holy Prophet you listened to the sermon on that day. You listened to words that will help strengthen your faith. You prayed to The Almighty, seeking his mercy and forgiveness for your trespasses, you requested from his bounties, and are confident that your prayers are answered. Like your ancestor Abraham who sacrificed a ram in place of his son Ishmael, you sacrificed a ram as a testimony of your piety. By proxy, you fed the poor with the meat of what you sacrificed and put happiness in their hearts, and a smile on their faces. You prayed in the Holy Sanctuary that houses the first house of God – the Ka’ba, which was rebuilt by The Prophet Abraham, you saw the Station of Abraham, you witnessed the mountains of Safa and Marwa and did Sa ' yi (The going back and forth seven times between Safa and Marwah that is done during the hajj or the ' umrah) . It is done to symbolize Haajar ' s search for water for her son Ishmail when they were in the barren Makkah desert. You drank of the Holy water that sprang up to quench the thirst of Prophet Ishmael and his mother. This spring is still active to this day. You met your brothers from all over the World, all like you, testifying “There is none worthy of Warship except The One True God and Mohammad is his servant and Messenger”. In short, you did and saw what caused a surge in your faith. You came out born again, sinless like a new born baby. Congrats!
Your God-consciousness after the Hajj, is the barometer of the level at which your Hajj was accepted. This God consciousness or Taqwa is what determines the intensity of your warship and abhorrence of what has been forbidden by God, and it is the engine that drives you into doing what God loves.
There are four outcomes for those who perform the Hajj. There is the category of pilgrims, who looked back at their lives, and made sincere repentance where they felt they slipped and fell, and asked God to strengthen them to be better. They experienced an upsurge in their faith during and after the Hajj. They will become role model teachers, accountants, doctors, policemen, soldiers, judges, businessmen, husbands, wives, sisters and brothers. These will go on to become the right Ambassadors of their faith. These are those who fight moral degradation and corruption in the land. These are the good. They are the bearers of glad tidings from their Lord. Their communion with God is improved and gives them more strength in their faith. They are those describe in Al-Maraj 70: 23-35.
23. Those who remain constant in their Salat (prayers); 24. And those in whose wealth there is a known right, 25. For the beggar who asks, and for the unlucky who has lost his property and wealth, (and his means of living has been straitened); 26. And those who believe in the Day of Recompense 27. And those who fear the torment of their Lord, 28. Verily! The torment of their Lord is that before which none can feel secure, 29. And those who guard their chastity (i.e. private parts from illegal sexual acts) .30. Except with their wives and with those the right hand posses, for (then) they are not to be blamed, 31. But whosoever seeks beyond that, they are the trespassers. 32. And those who keep their trusts (trusts as Ministers, as Directors, as Chiefs, as Teachers, as accountants, as policemen, as judges, as husbands,as wives etc) and covenants; 33. And those who stand firm in their testimonies; 34. And those who guard their Salat (prayers) well , 35. These are those who shall dwell in the Gardens (i.e. Paradise) honoured.
They maintain their faith actively by prayers, enjoining good acts, and condemning corruption, bad actions and immorality. Their active faith serves as a shield for them against all that is anti God and immoral. They bear with patience, and put their trust in The Almighty, knowing that Allah will reward them with the ultimate salvation. They are further promised of goodly reward and a protection against the Satan.:
(96) Whoever works righteousness, man or woman and has Faith, verily, to him will we give a life that is good and pure, and we will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions. (97)When thou dost read the Qur'an, seek Allah's protection from Satan the Rejected one. (98) No authority has he over those who believe and put their trust in their Lord. (99) His authority is over those only who take him as patron and who join partners with Allah.
For the more than 5000 Ghanaians who performed this year’s pilgrimage, if every individual among them becomes a role model and influences a single individual, what more do we need to be a better Ghana to be at peace with ourselves and our neighbours, reaping the blessings of the Almighty, devoid of corruption nepotism, tribalism and all the negative isms, stealing in all forms – petty stealing and sophisticated stealing in Government departments, armed robbery and tribal bigotry?
The bad. There are those who with a spiritual stagnation. A dysfunctional faith, no impact on themselves, their families or on society, for them, it is business as usual. Bereft of guidance, what they see around as immorality in conduct, dress, behavior and corruption all make no more impact on them before leaving than their return from Hajj. For them it has been more of a tourist experience than a spiritual journey. Even though they may still offer their prayers and fast, they have no justification for the money spent and the difficulties of Hajj.
The Ugly. Whilst The Hajj is the most worthwhile cause to put your money, this category of people turned out worst than they left. They are those who came back and involved themselves anyhow to accrue the material world. To them wealth is what matters and the end justifies the means. This is exactly what preoccupies them as they go through the Hajj rituals in the Holy Land. To them the Title Al-Hajj or Hajia is what matters.
The Sad category are those who, after having gained spiritually and experienced a surge in their faiths, only come to lose it the moment they step back in Ghana, falling to the environment instead of defeating it. These are those whose foot slips after it was firm. They are overtaken by the current and re-indulge in corruption, immorality and deception. Their actions hinder people from Islam because they failed to be role models. These fall into the parable of the mad woman in the Qur’aan who spins a yarn for cloth only to break them apart and start all over again. Allah mentions them in the Qur’aan as below.
An-Nahl, Chapter #16, Verse #92
“And be not like a woman who breaks into untwisted strands the yarn she has spun, after it has become strong. Nor take your oaths to practice deception between yourselves, lest one party should be more numerous than another: for Allah will test you by this; and on the Day of Judgment He will certainly make clear to you (the truth of) that wherein ye disagree. (92) If Allah so willed, He could make you all one people: but He leaves straying whom He pleases and He guides whom He pleases: but ye shall certainly be called to account for all your actions. (93) And take not your oaths to practice deception between yourselves, with the result that someone's foot may slip after it was firmly planted; and ye may have to taste the evil (consequences) of having hindered (men) from the path of Allah and a mighty Wrath descend on you. (94) Nor sell the covenant of Allah for a miserable price: for with Allah is (a prize) far better for you, if ye only knew”. I pray none of us is in this category or the two previous categories. Say Ameen.
All those who performed the hajj must maintain a good opinion of Allah, believing that no matter how sinful they were they have been forgiven and prepared to turn a new leaf and are in the good category. A bad opinion about God is the worst sin, and must be avoided by every Muslim. To maintain your revitalized faith, one must make it a point to perform your five times daily prayers at the right time, learn as much as you can about your religion for nothing is worst than ignorance; remember Allah always in all actions and inactions and give everybody his right focusing all your gaze on winning the pleasure of The Almighty.