The topic of Hajj is such that if we discuss in details , the discussion can go over for several months. The primary source of understanding of every act of worship is the Holy Quran. And regarding the Holy Quran, the Holy Quran itself has mentioned and is also narrated through traditions of our Infallibles(a.s) and Prophet(s) that the Holy Quran has an exterior(Zaahir) and an inner essence(Baatin).And this inner essence again has another inner essence.And it is also mentioned in one of the narrations that this one inner essence has seventy more inner essence's. But this does not mean that the Holy Quran has one visible page and inside that visible page there are several other invisible pages. What it refers is to the verses of the Quran, the way we read and understand. Just like the way we talk amongst each other.
One part of the talks are the words we listen, that is the exterior. But another part of the words are the meainings and the purpose behind the words of our speech, which infact is the truth between these words.Another example could be of any Drink which is in front of of us. One is the visible aspect of the drink which we see, but we don't know from what is this drink made up of.We just look at the visible face of this drink. Sameway,every thing has an exterior or visible look and also an inner essence.And as i said earlier, same way the Holy Quran also has an exterior and an inner essence, in fact according to a narration it has seventy inner essence's.Hence the result of the exterior and the interior of the Quran will be that everything which is present or notified in the Holy Quran follows the same principle, which means has an exterior and an inner essence. Just like the order of Salaat(Prayers) mentioned in the Quran, it has an exterior and also an inner essence. Same way the order of Fasting(Sawm) is there in the Quran. Since Quran has an exterior and an inner essence, hence Fasting also has an exterior and also an inner essence. Imam (a.s) said that the exterior of Fasting is not to eat and remain hungry.Then there is one inner essence of Fasting, the purpose behind Fasting. Same way all other acts of worships like Zakat, Khums,Jehad for which the Holy Quran has ordered us, follow the same principle, that they have an exterior and another inner essence.And in fact our Infallible Imams(a.s) and even prior to them , Allah(s.w.t) has expressed both the aspects of these acts of worship in the Holy Quran.
The exterior aspect of these worships which are mentioned in the Quran are referred to as Practical Laws of Jurispudence(Ahkam e Fiqh). This basically means defining the starting method, procedure of performance,different elements and completion of the acts, all these laws are referred to as Practical Laws of Jurispudence. As an example it is obligatory to do Ablution(Wudhu) for Salaat(Prayers), and we see in the Books of Practical Laws that these laws are all mentioned by the Jurists.And these laws which are present in these books are derived by the Jurists from the Quran and the traditions of our Infallible Imam(a). The Quran has said and the Prophet(s) has also mentioned the need for Ablution for Salaat.Hence this has become a law for us that for Salat we need to do Ablution.In the same the Quran and our Infallibles(a) have mentioned that if you are successful in abiding by these exterior laws of worship, and are performing the acts of worship correctly as per these defined laws, then now you should start concentrating towards it's inner essence(Baatin),which is the soul of worship. From this we get a clear indication about the importance purpose of worship.
The Body and the Soul
It is analogous to us, we human beings. We also have an exterior and an inner essence. Our exterior is our looks and sometimes we ourselves say to others that "From the outside you look good but from inside we don't know".We even say sometimes when referring to some persons that "I only the outside of that person, i don't know his innerself, only Allah(s) knows". Hence whenever we talk about this concept of exterior and interior,we should imagine that the exterior is like the Body and the interior is the Soul. It is proven through narrations that the acts of worships are also similar to human beings having two parts, one Body and another Soul. Now if we see that a person is alive. We call a person to be alive when this Body is also showing some movement and there is also a soul inside, which means he/she is able to understand and can make others also understand. If only the Body is present and there is no sign of presence of Soul, then we don't call that person to be alive, that person is considered as dead (or a Corpse). We know that when our friends or relatives die, we call them dead, even though we see their bodies in front of us, their eyes,ears,heads and all organs are in the correct places, but still we call them dead. Though the body is the same , but now neither he is able to speak,listen or understand, all of which he/she was doing until yesterday. So what difference has occurred today, the soul is not present. Hence all those things which has a Body and Soul, and when the soul departs from its body, then that body is considered as dead.Now no benefits can be derived from this body.As an example if someone's father dies, if that person sits at the body and constantly hugs and embraces the body, we say that this is of no use, in fact you should bury the body as early as possible. Hence whenever the soul departs from any body, it is considered as a Corpse. And now these corpses can neither be benefited by us nor can they benefit us. Even if you want to apply some chemicals and preserve this body for 100 years, just like they do it with Mummies and keep them in museums. It is possible to preserve , but this Corpse is of no use, no matter how many years you keep it.This corpse can only become beneficial, when the soul comes inside it. Prophet Isa(Jesus) used to put the Soul back into the dead and make it alive, now the bodies used to stand up and were again speaking and listening.Hence it is the soul which makes the body useful. If there is no Soul then the body is useless.
The soul of worships
As we mentioned earlier that the Quran also has an exterior and an inner essence. The exterior examples of Quran are beautiful recitation in soothing voice, meomorizing all the verses of the Quran.It is very often seen that even after doing these things, this person is not good, he does not posses good values, he does forbidden things, speak lies, though is a Memorizer of Quran (Hafiz-e-Quran). You see this in History also that those who laid the foundations of false religions or sects, it was not that they did not knew the Quran, they were well versed with the memorizing of Quran.But they did not received any guidance from the Quran, in fact reverse happened they were misguided. This was because what they took from the Quran was only its exterior, they took the words of the Quran, but they got nothing from the inner essence of the Quran. If someone only takes the exterior and leaves the soul, then he does not get benefit.Today there are numerous people available who are so deeply attached with the exterior of the Quran, they have made big schools for learning Quran. But still we see that a real truthful guided person is not coming out from these Quranic Schools. This is the same correlation with worship also, it has an exterior and a soul. As it is mentioned for Salaat(Prayers), that "AS Salaat O Tanha Anil Fahshahe Wal Munkar" means Salaat(Prayers) protects us from Evil and Forbidden acts.But we see so many people who do Salaat(Prayers) ,are also indulged into evils and forbidden acts.They do Prayers and also do backbiting, they do prayers and also eat interests, they do prayers and also speak lies, they do prayers and also weigh less and do frauds, they do prayers and also spread discords and mischiefs, they do prayers and are indulged in all sort of incorrect acts. How is this possible that this Salaat(Prayers) which Allah(s) has made to protect us from Evils and forbidden acts, then both of the contradictory aspects are found together in the same person. Answer is very simple. The answer is like that of a Father who stops his children from evils. This is the Father who is alive. A Father whose dead body is present in the house, cannot protect his children from evil.An alive father who has love and attraction towards his children will protect them. A dead or an unconscious father ,does not stop anyone.Hence Dead Salaat(Prayers) does not protects anyone from evils, it is the lively Salaat(Prayers) which protects us.And Salaat(Prayers) becomes alive by it's soul. You did an excellent Ablution, applied perfume, used a nice praying mat and then did our Prayers. You have made a very nice exterior of Salaat, but this is not the inner essence. This kind of Salaat, even if you apply good perform, read loudly in beautiful accent, read big Chapters of Quran, will not protect you from evils. The Salaat(Prayers) which will protect you are the lively prayers. The Lively Prayers even though it might just be two units, will never allow you to go towards Evils.100 units might not give any benefit, but 2 units of Lively Prayers might protect you from evils.
The exterior structure of Hajj
Now let us come to the act of worship which is our topic, that is Hajj (Pilgrimage). Hajj is a very comprehensive act of worship. It is available in narrations that whatever specialities are present in all other individual acts of worship, Allah(s) has collected all of them in Hajj. There is a nice poem in the praise of Prophet Mohammed(s) in Persian, the meaning of that is "Allah has distributed different magnificeince in all Prophets, to Prophet Yusuf(a) beauty was given, to Propet Isa the miracle of bringing dead to live, Prophet Moosa was given other Miracles, to all Prophets Allah(s) gifted them with different miracles and magnificience. But for Holy Prophet Mohammed(s), Allah(s) gifted him all the specialities and magnificience together" . Same way is Hajj also. Allah(s) has given some special attribute to Salaat, some other attribute to Fasting, some other to Jehad, some to Zakat, to all obligatory and supperagatory acts of worship,Allah(s) has bestowed them with speciaal attributes indifferent to others. Every such act of worship is kept separately and a collection of all these special attributes from all of these individual acts of worship are kept in Hajj. In Hajj, there is the magnificience of Salaat , Fasting. Hajj is a collection of all obligatory acts of other worship.It is a complete comprehensive worship. The one who performs Hajj can achieve the specialities and magnificience of all other acts of worship.Just mentioned earlier, Hajj also has an exterior and an inner essence. Let me briefly first explain the exterior or the structure or the body of Hajj, then i will give you indications about it's inner essence, so that we know when this body of Hajj becomes alive.
The structure of the Hajj starts with the first stage that the one who wants to do Hajj should have the necessary resouces available and he/she should also be a sane and mature person.The necessary resources over here applies to the money and other means to do the Hajj and also ensure that his family also survives when he is doing Hajj and also after his return. It should not happen that he returns from Hajj and now he is a beggar. Even after returning from Hajj he should be able to live a respected life as before.Now this person who has the resources, travels for Hajj in the specific month of Hajj. He reaches a place outside the Haram which is called Miqat.Miqat is the place before the boundaries of the Haram after which all the laws of Hajj applies.Now at this Miqat , he should remove all his clothes and put on the Ihram (two pieces of white unstitched cloth).Now after putting on the Ihram, certain things which were permissible to him/her before now becomes forbidden.Not all but some 24 things like looking into mirror, hunting, applying perfurme, sitting in shade,taking oath, pulling out trees,hurting our body, like this he has to avoid certain things which were permissible before.
Now in this state of Ihram he enters into the premises of Holy Kaaba and performs cicumbulation(Tawaaf) of the Holy Kaaba , which are seven rounds around the Kaaba, then he needs to perform two untis of Prayers.Then after this he should go and do SAAE, which means 7 trips between the mountains of Safa and Marwa. After completing this SAAE, he performs the act of Taqseer which is cutting some hairs or nails (this is for Umrah-e-Tamattu).Now he can remove the Ihram and wear his normal dress. Now he has completed his Umrah-e-Tamattu.Now he should wait and on 9th Zilhajj, he should proceed towards Arafa (a plain desert). He should sit in Arafat until the time of Maghrib. After sunset he should then proceed towards Muzdalefa. Arafa and Muzdalefa are just plain deserts with some small hills, though Muzadela is not as severe a plain as Arafat. So he should spend the night in Muzdalefa and collect pebbles. After sunrise(on 10th Zilhajj) he should go to Mina, and there hit seven pebbles to a pillar after which he needs to sacrifice an animal.Then after this he can do Taqseer(shave this head) and remove his Ihram. Then after this he/she needs to spend three days in Mina and also perform the essential worship rites of Hajj-e-Tammattu like Circumbulation, SAAE. Then after this he performs Tawaaf-un-Nisa and then his Hajj is completed. These are the elements of Hajj. Just like our body has different parts like eyes, ears,head, hands,legs etc, these acts are also the parts of the body of Hajj. The one who performs these rituals correctly, this means he has constructed the structure of Hajj. He has made the body of Hajj. Even making this structure is also not easy, these are very precise acts, and even to perform these outward acts of Hajj are not an easy task. Even if someone is focussing on the structure, it is difficult to ensure that no mistake happens, since for every mistake there is a penalty, which is sacrificing a sheep. In fact certain mistakes even make the Hajj void. If the person is not familiar with the rites properly, like by incorrect intention, incorrect timings or incorrect process, he can even nullify his complete Hajj.
Why No benefit from Hajj?
Despite of this, a person takes extreme care and performs all the rites of Hajj correctly, so now his Hajj is completed and he has become a Haji(Pilgrim).There are around 2.5 Millions Pilgrims who go for Hajj and in fact most of them take care and perform the rituals correctly. We can take a guess and say that aroudnd 80% of the pilgrims perform the rituals correctly, maybe reamining 20% end in nullifying or get penalized for their rituals.So we can say that every year 2.5 Million Muslims perform Hajj, and it is narrated regarding Hajj that after performing Hajj a person becomes like a new born baby. This is the effect of Hajj that he is born today, which means completely purified and clean, no sins are left in his book of deeds. A Pilgrim is completed washed of his sins in this way in Hajj.Now talking logically over here, if from the city of karachi in one year if 2.5 Million people are purified, then within 4 to 5 years the entire city would be cleansed and purified of their sins. Is'nt it shoud be this way? But what we see is different, in fact we also see that these same pilgrims in many a cases become more dirty and adulterated after their pilgrims.This is a fact which we see, that too we see with those who are AL-Hajj, means the one who has performed multiple Hajj, 7 times , 9 times. There is infact a humourous comment about these persons that "First they were bitter groud and now they have been marinated with another bitter juice". It is said that first this persons used to weigh less (in their shops) now he weighs much lesser. These kind of perceptions have been established in common muslims mind, that people go to Hajj and Hajj does not gives them any benefits.
Despite of performing the rituals correctly why these worships don't meet their purpose, they don't give us the benefits.We do Salaat(prayers) regularly but it has no effect on our soul. We are fasting from the age of puberty but still no effects of Fasting are seen in us . Why? . From the time we have become mature, we are contigously involved in purity, we perform ablution 5 times a day, but why there are no changes. We are now talking and referring to those believers who are Pious and religous, we are not talking about those who take worships lighty, for that category, the outward or inner essence makes no difference.We are not talking about sinners and transgressors. We are raising a question as to why these acts of worship do not benefit the pious ones. The reason is that these are just the exterior acts of worship which we are doing. The effects of these worships will only get manifested when the soul of worship comes into it. Hence it is necessary for us to understand that soul of worship. Otherwise these acts of worships are just the body, a structure , corpse. Unless the sould is not inside , these acts of worship will not benefit us.We see that in many homes, people are frustrated with worshipping members of the family. They thank God when this person leaves home and goes to prayer, they feel relaxed.Then when the time for his return to home comes, the family members are again tense with this Mr. Pilgrim. He neither has a good relationship with this wife, nor with this children. Salaat(Prayers) does not teach this to us. Salaat teaches us good ethics with others, repsect of others, helping others, softening our hearts. What kind of a Praying man he is ? from whom his own family members seek refuge.
I have said this in another place also, a very useful point to remember. When we enter mosques for prayers, we use some praying tools like a cap, tasbeeh, Turbah, praying mat, Quran, Supplication books. We take these things from their respective places and then after completing the prayers we keep them back at their places. We don't take with us any of these tools back to our homes, we leave them inside the mosque and return home. The fact is that we don't just leave these tools, we also leave the Prayer(Salaat) inside the mosque and return home. Why ? because if Salaat (Prayer) comes outside the mosque, then it is "Tanha Anil Fahsha wal Munkar", which means it will protect us from evils. Same way when we return from Hajj, we leave everything over there, we don't bring anything back, it does not untie any of our knots. It is a narration that "The Religion which cannot improvise the world of a human being, cannot improvize his Hereafter". This means the Salaat(Prayers) which does not help us in this world, will also not help us in the Hereafter. Hence that Salaat(Prayer) which does not protect me from evils in this world, cannot take me to paradise.The meaning of Hajj is to be washed, to become totally clean and pure (from sins). The Hajj which could not purify me on this land of god, that Hajj will not take me anywhere in the hereafter. First the religion should be useful in this world and then hereafter.So we should able to see the effects of these worships in this world. We will defiinitely get the rewards for these acts over there in the hereafter, who says we will not be rewarded. But what kind of Salaat's(Prayers) will be rewarded?. Someone asked Imam(a.s) that "We do Salaat(Prayers), but we don't know whethere it was accepted or not?". Sometimes we have high hopes that it will be accepted and sometimes we have slight feelings of acceptance.Imam(a.s) then replied that don't worry, You will come know the answer with this method. If you don't commit any sin between two prayers then your Prayer was accepted.This means after reading Morning prayers, you yourself know what you did upto Afternoon prayers, hence you know whether your Salaat(Prayers) was accepted or not.Don't just sit with a hope that whether it was accepted or not, this is the scale of finding it out.
Hajj also in the same way, people say we have done Hajj but we don't know whether it was accepted or not. How do you find out whether it was accepted or not by Allah(s). Your work ,deeds and your talks reveal the truth. Hence we should get inside the soul of Hajj, so that we do a lively Hajj, a Hajj of Ibrahim(a.s), Hajj of Prophets. That Hajj which also remains alive, that Hajj which really purifies us. It should get us back to the same state as a new born, completely free from all sins.We know that it is necessary to go and meet a Pligrim who returns from Hajj, because he has been reborn, he is the one free from all evils and sins.But for which Pilgrim this applies, the one who has done a lively Hajj.
The confusing aspects of Hajj Rituals
As i mentioned earlier about the structure of Hajj, it is very strange and complicated. Someone can ask what are these rituals you are doing.
Why do you undress yourself ? . The first step in the rituals is to undress our clothes, remove our shoes and wear two pieces of unstitched clothes. Why ? what is so special in these two pieces of clothes, why can't i wear any other comfortable dress, the one which suits me and pleases other.The answer is no, whatever type of dress may it be, even it is expensive, very attactive, you have to remove it and just wear these two pieces. But Why? what is the problem with other dresses, they are also pure, halaal, clean, suits my body , then why should i remove this dress.
Fine now i have agreed to do this. Next step , now start saying Labbaik(I have come) and walk. But don't walk in shade. This means walk in the heat, walk in rains and storms and go to Mecca.
Then what should i do? Now there is a house made of simple stones and starting take rounds around that. But what is the need for making circles around this stone house. Where will i reach? No you will not reach anywhere. You start from a Line and after completing the circles you come back again to that same line. This is not a straight movement. In a straight movement you start from one point and reach another point after walking for 30 mins. But this is a circular movement, in this your starting point and ending point are both same. How many times should i do this? Seven times! , do this circular movement seven times and reach the same place seven times. Then when this is completed , face that same simple old stoned house and offer prayers.
Then what? Now come in between two mountains and run. Why should i run? What is the benefit? Is it some sort of fitness exercise? Will i reach somewhere? Am i getting late?. The answer is No!!, you will not reach anywhere, you are not getting late.No just run in the same undressed state with those two pieces of towel wrapped around your body. But what is the reason? what is there at the other end? Is there any scene to be viewed, or any creatures or animals to be seen on the other end. No!! there is nothing, once you reach the other mountain, come back again to the first mountain. Then what? once you have completed these rituals, now dress again in your normal dress.
And when 9th Zilhajj comes, again undress and put back those towels, and go out into the deserts(Arafah) and just sit over there. But Why? what should i do in that deserted place, do i need to any farming work? No !! just go there and sit. But i can't understand! what is this? We are wasting a full day of 2.5 Million people by just making them sit in a desert. Now it is time for Maghrib, so leave this desert and go into another deserted area(Muzdalifa) and spend the night over there. There is no work just sit, and wait for Sunrise. The moment sun comes out ,now leave this place and go into another valley(Mina). What should i do over there? Go there and hit seven pebbles to a pillar. Why? What is the use of this, what sin has this pillar committed? Why should i hit pebbles on this?. If you just stand on the road and starting throwing stones on a tree, the people around will say that you have gone crazy! No but here, just do this. Then what? now sacrifice an animal. Why? Do i need to eat the meat? .No !!. What crime has this poor animal done? It has been fed and bought up and now we, that too 2.5 Million people sacrificing 2.5 milliion animals!! Why? No just sacrifice them. And now once you have sacrificed the animal, come and shave your head. Why? Have i done anything wrong. I have beautiful hairs, they are my pride. By my shaving of head, what is the use? Will you use it to make ropes, or use it in some textile mills? No just shave it. Now come back again and repeat the process of seven circles around the house of stones, run between the mountains, doTaqseer again. And now you are certified as a Pilgrim (Haji).
Now these acts from it's exterior are not possible to understand, as to why we are doing these things. We are undressing ourselves, putting on towels, taking circles, running between mountains. If we look at the exterior it really makes us think that why we are doing all these, from its outward perception it looks like all these acts are useless, they why am i asked to do this? Both are worried, the one who is doing this and the one who is watching them, what is this going on.It is very strange, in the day he was sitting in one desert, then at night he was sitting in another desert. What did you do? You just wasted your time in the desert, someone could say, look at us, we utilized our time in our business, made money and you were just sitting in a desert, or running between mountains. What is this so called Hajj? This is what is the structure of Hajj, very confusing and difficult to understand.
The Tradition of Imam Sajjad(a) to Shibli
Now in this session, we don't have time to go into the specifics of every ritual and look at its inner essence. What i will do is just present one tradition from Imam Sajjad(a.s). There is one very well known companion of Imam(a.s) by the name of Shibli. This tradition has reached us through Shibli. When Shibli returned after Hajj to Medina. Imam(a.s) went to meet him. Imam started the conversation with him.
Imam(a) asked him How was your Hajj? How did you perform the rituals
Shibli replies that O My Master! I accomplished all the rituals . I put on my Ihram, then went to Mecca, then did Tawaf, Saae, then went to Arafah, Muzadelafa,Mina, did the sacrifice, did the Taqseer. Shibla told to Imam(a) about all the rituals he did.
Now Imam(a) was assured that Shibli has performed the exterior or the outward Hajj correctly. Now there was a need to ask whether he perfomed a lively Hajj or a dead Hajj.Imam(a) wanted to know whether he has built up the skeleton structure of the Hajj, has he only perfomed the rituals in a way in which neither he himself understood what he was doing nor others, just as the same way i have imposed certain confusing questions about the rituals earlier. Let us see now what was Imam's wisdom behind this question.
Ihram - Undressing and Dressing up
In this tradition Imam(a.s) asked Shibli , that when you reached Miqat,and when you were removing your clothes and wearing those two towels, what Niyyah(intention) you did? Shibli replied the common intention which normally do that is "I am wearing Ihram for Umra Tammattu for the Pleasure of Allah(s)". Imam(a) reconfirmed,that this was the Niyyah(intention) you did. Shibli replied in affirmative.
Imam(a) then asked "Did you not had this intention in your heart that O My Lord! this is the dress of my love of world which i have worn throughout my life, i have stitched it myself and made others to stitch for me.My entire life has been spent in this dress of impurities and sins. Now i am throwing away this dress of impurities, sins, ignorance, illiteracy,disobedience,misunderstanding and wearing the dress of your obedience. Did you do this Niyyah?" Shibli replied No My Master , i did not do this Niyyah. Imam(a) replied that Shibli then you have not completed your Hajj.
Now let us see and understand, first we were not able to understand why we should remove our dress. Why? This is a symbolic, exterior act, by virtue of which you are removing your dress and showing that you are also removing the dress of your innerself. Two dresses are there for a human being, one which we wear on our bodies, and the other one on our soul. On our body we are wearing this dress of cloth, and on our soul we are wearing the dress of our deeds. In the outward appearance we remove the dress of our body, but in the innerside we are removing the dress of our soul, we are making a pledge with Allah(s) that this the outward presentation of my act of removing the dress of my soul.I have truthfully come in your presence after leaving my family, my beloveds,my country.
What is meant by I have left and come? This does not mean that i ionly have a physical distance, but still i am mentally attached to them. Leaving them means that now there is no one in my heart except you, only essence which remains in my heart now is that of yours my Lord.Now since i am present in your essence, then all those dresses which i have made now i am removing them all and presenting myself to you. I am wearing the dress of your obedience. Same as what Allah(s) told to Prophet Moosa(a) when he went to the Mountain Tur "that O Moosa remove your shoes". Do you think that Moosa(a) shoes were impure, neither the Mountain Tur was a mosque. You can even go inside a mosque with clean shoes , it is a Makrooh act and not a forbidden one (but with a condition that it is not done with an intention of insulting the mosque, then it becomes forbidden). Then why was Prophet Moosa(a) asked to remove his shoes? . The answer which Allah(s) gave that "You are entering a Holy valley". What is this valley? This is not the Mountain Tur, this is the courtyard of the respected Lord. So now when you have come in the court of Allah(s), then first remove everything and then come. Allah(s) does not want your wealth, nothing he needs. It is possible that you have made big properties, workshops etc. No, Allah(s) does not want anything. Allah(s) only wants that you should come alone, leave everything aside, i just need you, your soul.Hence the philosophy of undressing our clothers and wearing an Ihram means, whatever i have woven around myself, i need to remove everything and then come in the presence of Allah(s). Undressing of clothes is just symbolic representation of my removal of everything associated with me, except myself, my soul.By doing this i am going into the presence of my Lord alone. It's only me and my Lord , with no one in between. Now after removing all the wordly dresses and by wearing this dress of solidarity with Allah(s), now you are capable of saying Labbaik(I have come). If you would have said Labbaik , before undressing, it woud be a lie.
Labbaik- The Response to the call
Now Imam(a) asked Shibli "How did you recite the Talbiyyah?". He replied " I said , Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik, ( I have come, O Allah! I have come)". Imam(a) asked "When you said Labbaik, you and your Lord were the only ones,and there was nothing in between?" . Shibli replied "No! My Master, I was reciting Labbaik as per Arabic grammar and pronounciation very loudly". Imam(a) then replied "Then you were not even capable of saying Labbaik. Labbaik is said by the one who hears a call" .
Now let me explain this, Labbaik is an Arabic sentence which is a reply to call. If someone calls then you replt that "I have come". But if someone has not heard any call, and then also he is saying "I have come", you will say he has lost his senses. This is what Imam(a) asked him, that when you detached yourself from the worldly attire, when you disconnected yourself from everything made by yourself, and you alone presented yourself to Allah(s), did you hear any call from Allah(s). If not, then to whom were you saying Labbaik(I have come) to? You just made a shout in the Desert!. You are the guest of Allah(s). This recitation of "Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik" ,this means O Lord i have heard your call. You invited me and I have come to you. I am present on your call. This implies that when you say Labbaik, you need to first hear the call, then say Labbaik. " YA AYYATUHAN NAFSUL MUTMAINATU-AR-JAYI ILARABBEKA RAZIYATUM MARZIYA WADKHULI FEE IBADI WADKHULI JANNATI" (O soul that art at rest! Return to your Lord, well-pleased(with him), well-pleasing(Him), So enter among my Servants, And enter into my garden).Did you hear this call? You did not hear this, because you did not remove your worldly attire, you just removed your wollen dress. You will not hear the call unless you remove your worldly attire, this dress of love of world. Review the journey of 30 -40 years of your life span. Remember whatever you did. Start thinking and removing each and every such wordly act. Up to now you have molten glass filled in your ears, so how will you hear the call? If I put fingers in my ears, and then starting saying Labbaik , Labbaik , people will laugh at me, because to whom am i saying "I am coming", when i cannot hear any call. First open your ears. Your ears are closed with the love of world, with the sins you did. First remove these, then you will hear the call to which you respond with Labbaik. Then when your master says Come! O my servant! , then you respond , " I am coming". Now throughout the journey keep on saying Labbaik( I have come), now your concentration should not be on anyone else. It should not happen that you have removed the dress of worldy attire, have worn the dress of Obedience to Allah(a), but during the journey you again loose track, it should be continous Labbaik. Now you keep on walking, and reach the Haram(vicinity of Kaaba). Now stop saying Labbaik, Why? Because you have reached the destination, you have reached the physical location from where the call was coming from.Now who is in your vision, what should you do now? It just myself and you (my lord).
Tawaaf - Circling around your purpose
Now when you have come, you see this house of stones. This is a house of stones in its outward look. It is the center of Divine unity on this earth. You have left everything behind, bid farewell to everything , your families and then you have come to this house. You have come after removing the wordly attire and wearing the dress of obedience. Now perform some visible actions, but these actions are just for outward exhibition, but innner essence of these acts means you make a pledge. That now i am going around this house , i am starting this action in the name of Allah(s), my starting point is Allah(s), doing this act for Allah(a) and i will return back to Allah(s).Now after this, the life which i am going to spend, the focal point of this upcoming life will be the essence of Allah(s) ,it will be on the will of Allah(s). Now after this the entire circle of my life will be for Allah(s) only. How will this life be from now on? This life will be such that the starting point of all my actions and the ending point will be the same(Allah(s)). It will not be that i start my life from somewhere and reach somewhere else , or for someone and end for someone else. Being more explicit, from now it will not be that if i do any deed it will be for people, to get praises from people, to show off , it will only be for Allah(s). Not even for Paradise and Hell.Those things which are for Allah(s)only, and if a person does with the intention of Paradise, then the starting point is Allah(s), but ending point is not Allah(s) it is Paradise. Hence the human being should never leave this target. He should do everything for Allah(s) with the starting point also Allah(s) and ending point also Allah(s). You see the character of our Infallibles(a.s). That last instance of Imam Hussain(a), when his head was in last prostration, at that time the last sentence which he said was "ILAHI REZAN BE QAZAEKA , TASLIMAN LE AMREK, LA RABBA SIWAK, LA SHAREEKLAKA". This is the height. He did not say O Lord! I have reached Paradise, and it is a great achievement. What is Paradise for me? I need your essence. There is no partner to you only your essence. This means what he said that my life's movement started in your name and today it is ending in your name. Now you see, we were not able to previosly understand what this circumbulation was. So we have now found that behind this outward action of circular movement there is an inner essence.
Maqaam-e-Ibrahim - The start of journey
Now we have become capable and done this circumbulation, we should now come and stand behind Maqaam-e-Ibrahim (Status of Ibrahim(a.s)). The entire premises is holy, i can read Salaat anywhere, but the answer is no, you need to read behind Maqaam-e-Ibrahim, Why? Because Ibrahim(a) is Khaleelullah (Friend of Allah). Prophet Ibrahim(a) had a position and also a status. Standing at the position of Ibrahim(a) is different from stepping on the footsteps of Ibrahim(a). This sign of Allah(s) is a Stone on which there is an imprint of the feets (of Ibrahim(a)). Go and stand behind these two feets. Now you are following the footsteps of Ibrahim(a). Why? because who was Ibrahim(a)? Ibrahim was the one whom when Allah(s) called , he said Labbaik. That is he sacrficed everything in the way of Allah(s) and remained alone in his presence. So it is a call of Allah(s) that from Miqat remove the dress of worldly love, by getting away from all worldly attachments , now when you have come close to me, you step on the footsteps of Ibrahim(a). Before this you were not suitable for Ibrahim(a). This does not mean that you are standing in the position of Ibrahim(a), you have become capable on stepping on the footsteps of Ibrahim(a).
Do you know that where you are standing, what this Ibrahim(a) did. If some king leaves his representative in his position, then this representative has to accomplish all the responsibilities of the king like defending the nation,helping the people, managing the affairs of the nation. Don't be happy that you have acquired the status of Ibrahima(a), in fact now all those responsibilities of Ibrahim(a) are on your shoulders. Walking on the footsteps of Ibrahim(a) means that now you have to break the idols also. Now you have to challenge Namrood also. You have to construct the House of God also. You have to sacrifice Ismail also. Now you have to take your beloved ones and leave them in the deserts. All these were done by Prophet Ibrahim(a). And the most important point is that now you have become so capable that if in this struggle, the tyrannic forces of Namrood, if they plan to throw you in blazing fire, you would be ready for that, because now you are standing on the footsteps of Ibrahim(a). So now think first, the position where you are standing, are you capable or not?
SAAE- The Struggle to reach the peaks
Now after doing this what should i do next. See these two mountains as the mountains of Value.On one side you have Divine Values and other side are Satanic values. First the human being needs to go towards Divine values. Like hatred,enemity,jealosy,cheating are Satanic values, and against this generosity, forbearance are divine values. Now come and see that there are two mountains of Divine Values. Climbing on mountains is not easy as compared to walking on plain land.Now you have to climb on Safa and Marwah. By it's outward looks, Safa and Marwah are two mountains, but in reality these are two peaks of human and divine values. Allah has given a body (or a look) to its divine values. You need to climb to these peaks, Marwa is peak of Murrawat(Valour), and Safa is the peak of Taharat(Purity). You would have seen how much practice and efforts are required by mountaineers to reach the peak of mountains like Everest, Himalaya etc. This means conquering mountain peaks makes a human being a hero. But in fact conquering mountain peaks is not that difficult as compared to conquering the peaks of human values.If true human values gets developed in someone, that is a big achievementl. It is very easy to acquire the attributes of a beast. The beastful values are there in everyone Grazing, barking, biting, kicking, these are the beastly attributes. But reaching human values is analogous to reaching a very high peak of a mountain.
So now you have to conquer the peaks of Purity(Safa) and Valour(Marwah), because you want to walk on the footsteps of a Prophet. You have stepped on the footsteps of Ibrahim(a). Do you know where you are? These peaks were conquered by Prophets. By reciting Two units of Prayers behind Maqam-e-Ibrahim, you have said that "O Allah! I want to walk on the footsteps of the Prophets" . So now Allah(s) has invited you to show you the path of the Prophets, that is SAEE. That Path is Safa and Marwah, so now you run. This is the SAAE of Hajar(wife of Prophet Ibrahim). Hajar did not do the SAAE(struggle) just to get water for her son, but she did the struggle for humanity and the status of Hajar reached the human values.She reached the status of Prophets. So now if you also have come for the sake of Allah(s), if you have unveiled the dress of unconsciousness, if you are in the presence of Allah(s), then let us see. These are the two peaks, if you can cover them, then this means you can continue the path of Prophets(a). It's not that these values can be obtained in a day. If i speak something nice today, i will speak nice things everyday. This struggle of obtaining human values is a lifelong ongoing process. Throughout the life, the human being needs to struggle to cover these two peaks, this means reaching the human and divine values. Hence SAAE is the name used, which means Struggle. Spend your entire life in this struggle. It is not like that for 10 years of your life you do Salaat, then remaining 10 years you commit sins. No, you need to do Salaat throughout your life. From the day you were born to the day you will leave this world, there has to be constant struggle, then only a human being can achieve a certain status. Human Values are not such that within few days you can acquire it..
Arafah- The Valley of Awareness
Now you have done the struggle between Human and Divine values, and you have succeeded in this limited struggle. So now you are capable of saying Labbaik again , now come to the deserted value of Arafah. By it's outward look, the valley of Arafah is a rocky desert. But in reality it is a valley of Awareness(Maarefat). This is the valley of gnosis. Now you are capable to step into the valley of Awareness of your Lord.Everyone cannot get the Awareness of their Lord. The plains of Arafah is the first step in the valley of Awareness of Allah(s). What should i do sitting over there? By sitting there i am present in the mid-period of my life, which means the period after Zohr of my life. This is the reason behind staying in Arafah being mandatory between Zohr and Maghrib. So the time of Zohr has elapsed, and very limited time is left for sunset. You have gone to Hajj after passing 40 years of your life, the Zohr of your life. But even if you make sincere intention at the Zohr of your life to return towards your Lord, still there is enough time for return before sunset.Now also the doors of Allah(s) are open for you to come. This is place (Arafah) where he starts getting lessons of monothiesm(Tauheed). When a person enters into the valley of Arafah, he does no possess that much Awareness(maarefat), when he/she leaves the plains of Arafah , now this person has filled his/her heart with the awareness of Allah(s), he is rich with this Awareness(maarfat) now.
Mashar - The Test in Darkness
Now you leave Arafah and at night time go and halt in the plains of Mashar. Why, because now there is a very vast valley(Mina) in front of you. In this valley not everyone can enter. Hence you have to wait. The Valley of Mashar is like a waiting room.We will weigh your journey until this point and see whether you are capable for the next station or not. Just sit over here, and what should you do. Just collect pebbles to hit the Satan. We will see you until morning. If until morning you become upset and sit, then it is known that you are not capable for the morning in front of you , you are not capable to enter into the valley of Mina. But if in the darkness of the night, you did not made the darkness an excuse. In fact despite of the darkness, at midnight , with open eyes, to fight against the enemy forces if you prepared yourself then you are capable of entering the next valley. You did not made an excuse and said to that Allah(s) that you could not do anything because it was dark, i could not see or understand anything. If you made this excuse , then Allah's reply will be that he also knew that it was darkness. And that's the reason you were send in the darkness and asked to search for pebbles.Search for the weapons in the darkness. The next valley(Mina) is very a tough valley. If you overcome that darkness and reach that morning, then you have the permission that you, the one who was successful in the darkness also, when the first ray of sun appears, you will be more successful in daylight. Now in this sunlight we invite you to enter into the valley of Mina
Mina - The Valley of Desires
The valley of Mina , means Munaya, the valley of desires. Throughout your life you had desires, now that valley has come. The desire which every angel, prophet and human has , that valley of desires is very close now.For example you had the desire to go somewhere, then suddenly someone gave you the ticket to go there, you immediately say that your desire has been fulfilled. Now what should you do. All those things which are against Allah(s), all those evil forces, all those forces which prevents you from Allah(s),whethere they are your own or strangers, whether they are beneficial or not, make a collective monument out of them. Then say Taqbeer (Allah is Great!) and hit this monument with the stroke of your ego. This Pillar (in Mina) is just an exterior symbol which you are hitting with pebbles, but in reality what are you hitting? You are hitting everything which stands agaisnt the will of Allah(s).
The Sacrifice of the most beloved
Now when you have stoned all these evils, come to the slaughter house. The wordly attire was pulled down by Miqat. The pledge of walking on the path of Allah(s) was done during Tawaaf. You stepped on the footsteps of Prophet Ibrahim(a) on Maqam-e-Ibrahim. To reach the human and divine values you had Safa and Marwah. The Awareness of Allah was acquired in Arafat. And the stage of waiting you covered in Mashar. Then you stoned all the powers against Allah(s). So now is the time to sacrifice the most beloved. What did Ibrahim(a) did? During his life, he kept the knife on the neck of his most beloved thing, his son. This is not just a beast which you are making it lie on the ground. Infact the most beloved thing you have in your life, is the one you are now making it lie on the ground. Anything other then God, which we like we are making it lie down for sacrifce. We have already traversed through the stages where we have undressed and stoned the forces against Allah(s). Those forces which used to stop us before, we have already removed them and stoned them. Now there is no force left to stop us and prevent us, So what we are doing now. We are sacrificing our most beloved thing after God, and we can do it easily because we have already demolished all the forces which would stop me. Now make your beloved lie down, and with your own hands slit apart its throat. A Pilgrim when he takes the knife , on whose neck is he moving the knife?. Imam(a) asked Shibli, when you were holding the knife what was your imagination, was it this one or not. On whose neck were you running the knife Shibli? Shibli replied "O my Master, it was on the beast". Imam(a) replied "Shibli your Hajj is incomplete".
This tradition is very detailed, i have made it very brief.Now when Shibli heard all this, he asked Imam(a), what should he do, because the season of Hajj has passed away. Should i sacrifice all my wealth in the name of Allah(s) and now can i acheive the same benefits of Hajj. Imam(a) pointed out towards a mountain in front, and said Shibli if this full mountain was of gold and was owned by you, and if you sacrificed everything in the way of Allah(s) the also you will not be able to get those benefits of Hajj which you left out over there. This cannot be compared with anything. This can only achieved with another Hajj only. Then Shibli asked Imam(a), that " O My Master! then just pray for me that , May Allah(s) give me one more year of life so that i can perform Hajj in the same manner you have mentioned now".
This is what is the soul of Hajj. Now if someone returns after doing this kind of Hajj, then he/she is reborn. He has a new birth. A Sinner went and returned as an Angel. An ignorant went and returned as a gnostic. A transgressor went and returned as obedient servant. This is what is a live Hajj, with a soul inside. As i mentioned this was a just briefing. There are so many other rituals and stations in Hajj, then the superagatory acts, then the Ziarat of Aimmah(a), after the Hajj. What we should do before Hajj, what we should do after Hajj. If a person performs Hajj with its soul, then that Hajj is a new life for that person. In reality he is washed in a way that no water in the world can purify him in the same manner if this kind of Hajj is done by the will of Allah(s).
May Allah(s) bless us all with this kind of Hajj, the way it is the willof Allah, the way the infallibles have told us, with awareness.
At every instance Imam Sajjad(a) was asking Shibli about these intentions of inner essence of these rituals. And Shibli replied in negative. Then Imam(a) said Shibli your Hajj is not completed.