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Hajj Season: the Spiritual and Political Ascent

Hajj Season: the Spiritual and Political Ascent
Moinul Abu Hamza

Labbaika Allahumma labbaik!

Abdullah bin ‘Umar narrated that the Talbiya of Allah’s Messenger: “I respond to Your call O Allah, I respond to Your call, and I am obedient to Your orders, You have no partner, I respond to Your call All the praises and blessings are for You, All the sovereignty is for You, And You have no partners with you.” (Bukhari). The aim of this article is not to equip someone with the detailed Fiqh of Hajj but rather to explore the inclinations, mindset and outlook we gain from fulfilling the Hajj. Often we find Muslims performing the Hajj rites and coming back only to return to the same un-Islamic characteristics they left behind almost as fast as the hair grows back on their heads. Since this is for many Muslims a ‘once in a lifetime journey’ it is imperative that we avoid the ‘what happens in Makkah stays in Makkah’ attitude and rather we should exert our efforts in this month to change ourselves for the better in a lasting way. The aim should be to instil in us an Islamic personality that is fortified during Hajj and is moulded in such a way that we do not slip back into our old ways. How can so many people carry out the Hajj and return to committing clear cut Haram such as Riba based transactions, or sell alcohol in an off-licence to our Muslim Youth? These kinds of inconsistencies are easier to recognise, however other aspects of everyday life of a Muslim in the West involves a deeper study of the values of the society we live in. To begin with, the Deen of Islam is not only a list of do’s and don’ts; rather it is a way to view the world and your place within it. For that reason we should be careful not to merge ideas that are based on Islam and the ideas we pick up in society inadvertently. We will examine some of the overriding concepts of Islam that we can learn from Hajj that are at odds with the values of the west, so that the experience creates a comprehensive change in our thinking and outlook. Perhaps drawing such parallels will shed some light on our role as Muslims in this day and age so that we can answer Allah’s (SWT) call and be at His service in all aspects of our lives not just in the Talbiya of Hajj. “Oh you who believe, answer the call of Allah and the Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life”. [Al-Anfaal, 8:24]

 

In Sayyid Qutb’s Tafseer of this Ayah he says: “God’s Messenger also calls on them to implement a divine law that proclaims man’s freedom. In itself, this imparts a great honour to man because he will then believe in something that comes from God directly, and before which all human beings are equal. There is no room for the tyranny of a single person over a whole community, or a race or nation over another…This religion is a complete way of living, not a mere concept of belief. It is a practical method that allows life to flourish and prosper. Hence, it is a call to life in all its connotations, forms and aspects.” (In the Shade of the Quran Vol.7)

 

Practicing Islam is to be Holistic not the Holiest

Today we find a call to introspection that involves a study of our Aqliyah (mentality) and Nafsiyah (inclination) in isolation of the dominant thoughts and emotions in our society. How can we seriously attempt to understand the different hues of our Shakhsiyah if we ignore the broad brushstrokes that helped shape our personality (Shakhsiyah) via the daily dose we receive in our public interaction, education, media, entertainment and government propaganda and seriously believe that we can purify ourselves from the disease of our hearts without recognising the illnesses of our society? The values promoted in society by the political authority are sadly underestimated by Muslims instead we would rather concentrate on the individual and leave the prevailing ideas unchallenged; this was not the thinking of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). He (PBUH) said: “The example of the one who stands for the Hudood of Allah and the one who compromises the Hudood of Allah are like the people in a boat, some of whom occupy the upper deck and some occupy the lower deck. Whenever those in the lower deck need water, they have to go to the upper deck to retrieve it. So some of them said, ‘why don’t we make a hole in our deck so we do not harm the people of the upper deck?’ If the people do not stop them, they will all fall and be failures, but if they stop them they will all be saved. (Bukhari) The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Allah does not punish the individuals for the sins of the community until they see the evil spreading among themselves, and while they have the power to stop it, do not do so.” (Ahmad) Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said: “This is why those who are in authority are of two groups: the scholars and the rulers. If they are upright, the people will be upright; if they are corrupt, the people will be corrupt.” We are also affected by our daily interaction in the West, Prophet (PBUH) said: A good friend and a bad friend are like a perfume-seller and a blacksmith: The perfume-seller might give you some perfume as a gift, or you might buy some from him, or at least you might smell its fragrance. As for the blacksmith, he might singe your clothes, and at the very least you will breathe in the fumes of the furnace. In light of these Ahadith how can we on one hand study books about Aqidah that refute ideas that were falsely attached to Islam centuries ago and not do the same with ideas like secularism and freedom which dominate the atmosphere of the Muslims. How can we talk of Tawakkul ‘ala Allah (reliance on Allah) and then think that resuming the Islamic State is a dream? How can we study Ikhlas (sincerity) and then side with the government when it takes a stance against Islam and Muslims? Allah (SWT) says, “O you who believe! Take not my enemies and your enemies as friends and protectors, showing affection towards them, while they have disbelieved in what has come unto you of the Truth” [Al-Mumtahanah: 1]. The great Imam Abu Hanifah (RA) said, “If you see a scholar at the gates of a ruler, question him in his Deen”.

 

To make a holistic change on our return from Hajj we need to think about our current state as a Muslim who is part of an indivisible whole i.e. Ummah of Muhammad (PBUH) as this is part of the change that characterises the state of our Iman. Do we carry the Dawah or do we restrict Islam to just praying and fasting? Are we concerned about the affairs of the Muslims? Where is the inadequacy and agitation that the Quran is recited beautifully and loudly by so many, understood by so few, and implemented by none? Where is the appetite of ‘practicing Muslims’, ‘religious Muslims’, ‘students of knowledge’ to not only live by Islam (i.e. to pray and fast, and satisfying desires in an Islamic way) but to live for Islam which is to serve the aims of Islam, and to strive and sacrifice for it so that the Deen is implemented?

 

Mu’adh ibn Jabal (RA) once called the people of the town and said to them “Today the reciters of Qur’an are few but the implementers are many, what of the time when the reciters will be many and the implementers will be few.” Rasulullah (PBUH) also said: “Whosoever sees a munkar let him change it with his hand. If he is not able to do that then let him change it with his tongue, and if he is not able to do that then let him hate it with his heart. And that is the weakest of Imaan.” Who can deny that the biggest munkar that exists today is the absence of the implementation of Islam and the poverty, oppression and humiliation we face as a result of its absence.

 

Are the Ummah going to Hajj with a ‘spring’ in their step?

During this blessed month of Dhul-Hijjah we will see Muslims flooding the airports only hours away from embarking on that once in a lifetime journey. While some of us are waiting in the airport we should consider for a moment the definition of ‘submission’ and ‘obedience’ because the common understanding of many Muslims is often inaccurate. Let’s consider the following analogy: a brother would not jump on a plane and abandon his child at the airport in the frenzy to see his own mother. That would make him a failure as a son and a father. Think of those who shun the problems of this Ummah in the frenzy to pray and fast and ‘gain knowledge’, thinking they will be judged well and enter paradise. One can draw parallels to when the soul takes flight, from this Dunya to the Afterlife, with its deeds as its luggage. The questioning in the grave is comparable to Customs, which is why we must pack our deeds carefully and in order of priority. When asked ‘do you have anything to declare?’ you may be able to state the Shahadah but you may be held in customs under further inspection.

 

The Hajj season takes place in the month of Dhul-Hijjah, which is a month full of reward for the Muslims. In fact the very names of the twelve lunar months in the Hijri calendar are a source of history and motivation to us as Muslims. In reality all the months of the Islamic calendar carry a mission statement, a call and echoes of a struggle in our Islamic history that vociferates a ringing reminder and motivation to move. Dhul-Hijjah is the final month that marks the end of another year of spiritual and political struggle in our individual lives and as an integral part of an indivisible whole i.e. the Ummah of Muhammad (PBUH). It is the month we especially ask Allah (SWT) to forgive us for acts that displeases Him and also sins against our fellow man that displease Him, and so we aim to cleanse our hearts and minds by making preparations to do the Hajj within this precious month. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “The two months of Eid i.e. Ramadan and Dhul-Hijjah, do not decrease (in superiority).” (Sahih Bukhari). The political situation of the Muslims and the Hajj cannot be more connected as this is the first Hajj since the awakening of the Muslims in the ‘Middle East Uprisings’. There is a different atmosphere amongst the Hajji’s this year. As Muslims living in relative comfort, are we in sync with the rest of the body of this Ummah?

 

A Month of Spiritual & Political Rebirth

A crucial part of the Hajj preparation requires us to contact friends and family and ask for their forgiveness because we are aware that Allah (SWA) has a right over us, also the people we know and as well as the entire Ummah have rights over us, within different capacities but nonetheless the obligation exists. Our Prophet (PBUH) reminds us that “The Muslims are like one man, if his eyes complains then the whole of him complains, and if his head complains then the whole of him complains” (Muslim). It is a month where we as Muslims are reminded of sacrifice, struggle and spiritual rebirth. Which begs the question, since the historic Middle East uprisings this year, are these ‘birth pangs of a new Middle East’ the political rebirth of Islam i.e. an emerging Islamic State? The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Whoever performs hajj to this Ka’ba and does not approach his wife for sexual relations nor commit sins (while performing hajj), he will come out as sinless as a new-born child, (just delivered by his mother).” (Sahih Bukhari) The Prophet (PBUH) worked tirelessly not only to exemplify the peak of Akhlaaq (morality) and Adaab (manners) and individual ibadaat (ritual worship) but also carried the light of Islam to humanity to solve issues that pertain to being human beings so that we may ascend the base beliefs, practices, customs, traditions and the oppressive man made systems of law that invariably reduces the potential of mankind to that of an animal when utter submission to the commandments of Allah (SWT) in individual and societal life are abandoned. He (PBUH) came with an Aqidah and a Sharia that was at odds with the prevalent Deen of the society. Allah (SWT) says in Surah As-Saff “He it is, Who sent His messenger with His guidance and the true religion so that He renders it dominant over all other religions, though these polytheists detest it.” So the mission of Islam was to spread the Deen of Islam which composed of testifying that no belief, system of law, or idol is worthy of worship or obedience other than Allah (SWT) and that he Muhammad (PBUH) was the messenger of Allah (SWT). Therefore when we look at the struggle we face in Hajj, there are broader Islamic concepts we can derive from the symbolic, figurative and even literal connections to what we do in our lives so that we can avoid going through the motions unquestioningly. For example, the circumambulation of the Ka’bah symbolises the centrality of Islam and how our lives should revolve around submission to Allah, The Powerful Maintainer (Al-Muqeet).

 

In fact Hajj has always been connected to the Ummah, Politics and the Implementation of the Deen. Allah (SWT) states in various Surahs that He intended for the Deen of Islam, sent to Muhammad (PBUH) to be a ‘Deen of truth’, that dominates all other Deens on Earth; this is mentioned in Surah As-Saf and Surah At-Tauba. This commandment is also mentioned in Surah Al-Fath in relation to performing the Hajj and Umrah, intertwined with politics and strategy that led to the Treaty of Hudaibiya. The Surah discusses the treaty of Hudaibiya which revolves around the fulfilment of the Hajj and Umrah, making the strong link between the ritual of worship and the politics of struggling to make ‘Allah’s Deen dominant’. Allah (SWT) says in Surah Al-Fath: “Indeed Allah shall fulfill the true vision which He showed to His Messenger in very truth. Certainly, you shall enter Al-Masjid Al-Haram, if Allah wills, secure, (some) having your heads shaved, and (some) having your hair cut short, having no fear. He knew what you knew not, and He granted besides that a near victory. He it is Who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth, that He may make it superior to all religions. And All-Sufficient is Allah as a Witness.)

 

The Tawaf, Symbols of submission & Brotherhood

The Tawaf is a beautiful image of synchronicity, unity and mutual love for the creator of the heavens and the earth. Indeed, everything must submit to the universal law of Allah and the Tawaf is a symbol of how we are meant to be united in submission, much like the angels who do Tawaf around Allah’s throne. Allah says in the Quran:“The seven heavens and the Earth and all that is therein, glorify Him and there is not a thing but glorifies His praise. But you understand not their glorification. Truly, He is Ever-Forbearing, Oft-Forgiving.” (Surah Bani Israa’il) “And indeed We bestowed grace on Dawud from Us (saying): “O you mountains! Glorify with him! And you birds (also)!” (Surah Saba’)

 

Consider the political dimensions of the same point with regards to unity. How would the Muhrim respond if the Ka’bah was attacked? Do we hold the feeling of ‘religiosity’ too be superior to the shedding of Muslim blood? Can ritual acts of worship alone justify we hide behind so that we can hide in the Masjid and in our homes? being Do we do Tawaf (circumambulation) with our Iraqi, Pakistani, Afghani, or Palestinian brothers in Islam and then come back to the UK and then elect a party to power that is in connivance with puppet rulers, who sell arms to military dictators and who occupy Muslim lands, displace Muslims from their homes, humiliate, torture and kill these same brothers. For what? Is this in exchange for our desire to have better schools, better housing, and a more comfortable life? How can we exchange the survival of one Muslim for the comfort of another? Why do we witness the beauty of spiritual unity and at the same time remain content with the political disunity and even participate in that division? Why do we look at issues based on nationality and race, and inflict harm on the ‘one body’ of the Muslim Ummah by labelling ourselves with identities like ‘British Muslim’ and ‘European Muslim’ which gives rise to a British and European version of Islam, which is not Islam. Ask yourself; is there a British version or a European version of Hajj? The Prophet (PBUH) said, “One drop of a Muslim blood is worth more than the Ka’bah and it’s surroundings” (Bukhari and Muslim) In this Hadith we learn that the blood of a single believer is worth more to Allah (SWT) than the Ka’bah, and in fact more than the whole Earth and what is in it. Consequently, it is upon the Muslims to place the same priority upon the blood of their brothers and sisters, and treat the violation of that sanctity as worse than open aggression against the Ka’bah. Someone should inform those Imams in the absurd position of leading the Jummah prayers for Muslim-British soldiers, who finish their prayer and then occupy their brother’s land by force in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Prophet (PBUH) says, “Insulting a Muslim is transgression, and fighting him is Kufr”.

 

In another Hadith al-Bukhari narrated from Ibn Abi Nu’m: A person asked Abdullah Ibn Umar whether a Muslim could kill flies. I heard him saying (in reply): “The people of Iraq are asking about the killing of flies while they themselves murdered the son of the daughter of Allah’s Apostle. The Prophet said, ‘They (i.e. Hassan and Hussein) are my two sweet basils in this world.’” This narration does not mean that Muslims shouldn’t pay attention to the Ahkam of Hajj; these were asked back then and naturally will be asked today also. Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) is addressing a similar mentality that has crept into our community where our thinking is attached to some aspects of Islam and not others. The fact that many Muslims today look at brotherhood as a one-off charitable act indicates that there is a split between how they view Muslims in Hajj and how they view Muslims outside of Hajj. The disjointed and conflicted understanding of being in a state of Ihram and the state of our Shaksiyyah (personality) outside of Hajj results in Muslims thinking brotherhood is a choice and not an obligation.

 

Another issue being pointed out is excessiveness in one aspect of the Deen and neglect in other aspects. For example in one Hadith where a group of three men came to the house of the wives of the Prophet and one of them said, “I will offer the prayer throughout the night forever.” The other said, “I will fast throughout the year and will not break my fast.” The third said, “I will keep away from the women and will not marry forever.” Allah’s Apostle (PBUH) came to them and said, “Are you the same people who said so-and-so? By Allah, I am more submissive to Allah and more afraid of Him than you; yet I fast and break my fast, I do sleep and I also marry women. So he who does not follow my tradition in religion, is not from me (not one of my followers).” With this example in mind we as Muslims should observe the correct mentality towards Ibadah and realise that to go to excesses on the ritual acts and to shun the political acts of enjoining Maruf (good) and forbidding Munkar (evil), working to establish Islam, and accounting the rulers is reprehensible, and a dereliction of our duty as Muslims. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “The Muslim Ummah is a unique Ummah among the whole of mankind: Their Land is ONE, their War is ONE, their Peace is ONE, their Honour is ONE and their Trust is ONE.” (Ahmed) The Prophet (PBUH) also said: “You will not enter paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I not guide you to something which if you carry out you will love one another? Spread Salaam amongst yourselves.” [Muslim]

 

A good example of how Muslims can fall into error is when some ‘practicing brothers’ with what can only be described as an unholy relationship with Ilm (knowledge) go out of their way to tell Muslims ‘Don’t try to change others, change yourself ‘. This statement is not only baseless in Islam and dangerous to Muslims, it is also inherently flawed in its logic, and if the person saying this believed this, he/she would not be acting on it and not contradicting it by telling others to change themselves. Look how the Prophet (PBUH) emphasised the importance of caring about this Ummah: “The wiping away of the World means less to Allah than a Believer to be killed unjustly” (Ibn Majah) Ibn Majah also narrated on the authority of Abu Saeed that the Messenger (PBUH) said: “Let not one of you scorn himself”. They said: O Messenger of Allah, how will one of us scorn himself? He (PBUH) said: “He sees a person whom Allah blamed, then he does not say about him what Allah has said about him. Allah (SWT) will say to him: What prevented you from saying about this person so and so? He says: the fear from people. Allah says: Come, come to me, I am the one deserved to be feared” Ahmad and Tabarani narrated on the authority of Udai ibn Umairah that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “Allah does not punish the general public because of the wrong doing of specific people until they see the evil (committed) among them while able to stop it and they do not. If they do that, Allah will punish the specific people and the general public.” These Ahadith are sufficient in refuting such a westernised, secular and individualistic call to focus on ‘change yourself’ while allowing those who oppress Muslims to do as they wish.

 

Another example of the political links within our Hajj is the Ramal, where in the first three circuits of Tawaf it is Sunnah (for men only) to walk hastily, take shorter steps, lifting the legs forcefully, keeping the chest out and moving the shoulders simultaneously and uncovering the shoulders. One could argue that such posturing and running is against the ‘spirit’ of submission if Islam was an apolitical and ritualistic Deen, as some would have you believe but thankfully Islam is a spiritual and political Deen that is relevant to life. Consider the following narration by Abdullah bin `Abbas on the purpose of the Ramal, “When Allah’s Messenger and his Companions came to Makkah, the fever of Yathrib (Al-Madinah) had weakened and bothered them. The idolaters circulated the news that a group of people were coming to them and that they had been weakened and bothered by the fever of Yathrib (Al-Madinah). The idolaters sat in the area close to Al- Hijr. Allah conveyed to His Prophet what the idolaters said, so he ordered his Companions to do Ramal in the first three rounds, so that the idolaters witness their strength.” (Tafsir ibn Kathir) How many Muslims do the Ramal in Tawaf and know the significance of their actions?

 

Should we not carry the mindset of the Ramal and march on in life’s journey in the same spirit to work to make this Deen dominant, rushing to serve Allah by submitting to Him (SWA) and by directing people to Allah and demonstrate a path for this world out of the darkness and into the light? Without His (SWT) mercy we will be in the dark when we are most in need of His light, and face His scorching heat on the day of reckoning when we are most in need of his shade. Let us come back from Hajj with an Iman tempered out of Taqwa and Tawakkul and a sincere readiness to take upon our shoulders the duty to work for this Deen. How can we go to Hajj leaving a life which revolves around materialistic aims and return to practise a ‘Islamic life’ that revolves around our materialistic aims? This kind of individualism and selfishness based on the thinking it is only Islamic rituals that revolve around our lives. Islam is not like Christianity or Judaism which are beliefs that produce some morals and ritual worships for the individual whilst remaining ineffective in addressing society as some ‘religious excuse’ to be idle and isolate ourselves. Our concern for this Ummah and our ability to go out there and interact and take responsibility is pivotal for our progression as believers. This is best expressed by Dr Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips: But just as it is only in the heat of the blast furnace that gold ore is separated from its impurities; likewise, it is only in the crush of bodies, customs and emotions during Hajj that the striving soul of the pilgrim is purified and elevated. One cannot hope to attain the spiritual heights of Hajj Mabroor by seclusion and the avoidance of crowds, because Hajj is contact with Allah through contact with mankind. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) clearly pointed out the superiority of social interaction over isolation as follows. Ibn ‘Umar reported that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “The believer who mixes with people and endures their injury is better than the person who does not mix with people nor endure their injury.”

 

The Day of Arafah: Forgiveness & Leadership

When we imagine the hundreds of white specks scattered around the vast mountainous landscapes of Arafah we seek Allah’s forgiveness thinking of the renewal of ourselves as Muslims and the pledges we make to Allah to not harm ourselves with disobedience to Him again. We should also supplicate for the renewal of this Ummah of ours, as on this day a verse was revealed to Muhammad (PBUH) that proved that Islam came to guide us in prayer and in politics and therefore our state as a Muslim has a direct link with our state as an Ummah. Allah says in Surah Al-Mae’dah “Today, I have completed your Deen, and have completed my favour upon you and accepted for you Islam as your Deen.”

 

If Lailatul Qadr was marked the beginning of the revelation that came gradually to Muhammad (PBUH) to demonstrate the solutions from the Deen of Allah (SWA) to different realities and therefore to deal with all of life’s affairs. Then what was revealed on the Day of Arafah signifies the completion of Islam and that no other source should be or is required to be used as a reference point that resolves issues in our lives in all aspects. The significance of this day is not just that the revelation to Muhammad (PBUH) was complete and the sense of sadness we feel knowing that Allah’s transmission to Muhammad (PBUH) specifically and to mankind in general has ended. If we were to ask ourselves why does Allah say in Surah Al-Imran: “”The Deen before Allah (accepted by Allah) is Islam”. So what is Deen and what is Islam? Aren’t they the same thing? Allah also says in Surah Al-Imran, “Whosoever seeks a Deen, other than Islam, it will not be accepted from him and he, in the Hereafter, is among the losers.” This means that the ‘way of life’ Allah has chosen for us to live by is comprehensive and the source for all actions in life i.e. the Qur’an and Sunnah addresses from Salah and Hajj to Social System, economics and ruling in fact they have always been intertwined. We will find in any classical Fiqh book on Hajj the inextricable link with the Khilafah and Salah, Zakah or Hajj in this case, where it is expected that the Khalifah or his delegate will give four Khutba’s to address the Hujjaj that are an integral part of our Hajj. For example, in Imam Nawawi’s book Manasik Al-Hajj wal Umrah. It is therefore a remarkable feat of Islamic political and historical amnesia that the West has implanted within us, that we can have a luxury ‘all inclusive’ hajj package that does not include the Khalifah and it is not at all strange to us!

 

Shayateen al ins wal jinn: Stoning & electing Shaitaan

It was narrated from ‘Abd-Allah (may Allah be pleased with him) that he came to the largest Jamrah and put the House on his left and Mina on his right and stoned it with seven (pebbles), and he said: This is how the one to whom Surat al-Baqarah was revealed (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) stoned it. (Narrated by al-Bukhari & Muslim)

 

The revulsion and stoning of the Shaitaan is again a concept for life and not just one of the practices in Hajj. How can we stone the Shaitaan with all the revulsion in our hearts but then only to come back home and embrace the Shaitaan, support the Shaitaan, remain silent about the Shaitaan, some even embrace the Shaitaan and others even vote for the Shaitaan. The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Satan circulates in the human being as blood circulates in the body, and I was afraid lest Satan might insert an evil thought in your minds.” (Sahih Bukhari)

 

Without question it is the prevalent secular mode of thinking that makes us separate Deen from Dunya and deludes us into thinking the objective to turn mankind away from Allah (SWT) is restricted to distractions in prayer and fasting and not in politics, ideas, propaganda and war. Who deluded us into thinking that enemies of Islam cannot be politicians, governments and the media? Indeed not every Shaitaan is a Jin, “Thus have We made, for every Prophet, an enemy, the Shayateen of mankind and jinn, inspiring one another with flowery discourses by way of deception.” (Al-An`aam) Rasulullah (PBUH) mentions in a Hadith that “Islam is always higher and nothing goes above it.” Meaning nothing can overpower Islam.

 

You will find today western born Islamic scholars who view the political work to unify the Ummah and the work to resume the Islamic state as a stain on ones ‘spirituality’ and view the political work as materialistic and empty. Yet you find these same scholars calling for ‘British Islam’ and ‘American Islam’ as proposed political identities for the Muslims. Also you find the praising of the British and American soldiers, its constitution and laws whilst they are deafeningly silent or in support of western governments in an almost religious fervour. If you are still not convinced of the importance of involving oneself in the collective and political work to establish Islam, and Islam’s foundational link with politics, here are some aspects of hajj which are directly linked with politics.

 

It is only when the “Belief of the Muslim”, is in complete harmony with the “system” that is implemented over them, that there is a productive synergy, and an ignition of dynamism, within the Ummah. Ibn Taymiyyah states the main purpose of the Prophet (PBUH), was to establish a certain Social Order; that it is one of the greatest obligations of the Deen. “The aim and objective of politics is to seek nearness to Allah (SWT). A Muslim adopts politics only to establish the Deen which guarantees such a nearness by providing a suitable psychological and spiritual climate in which man achieves a spiritual perfection and, hence, the Divine Nearness.”

 

The Farewell Hajj and Return to the West

Returning from Hajj is not like returning from anywhere else in the world though invariably most of us have to return back to the Western environment with the hope that the effect of Hajj has had a lasting impression on us, and therefore the plight of this Ummah, and striving for our Deen should be at the forefront of our minds. The Prophet (PBUH) said: “None of you shall be a believer unless his disposition is in accordance with what I brought (to you),” and he (PBUH) also said, “None of you shall be a believer unless I am the intellect with which he comprehends.’ One of the main characteristics of this correct mindset is the Prophet‘s (PBUH) attitude to the prioritisation of the Deen. As Muslims we are not allowed to base our priorities based on our personal preference i.e. not to choose Sadaqah when Zakah is due, and not choose Tasbih and Tahajjud when Jihad is required nor can we give money to charity and believe the Prophetic work of calling people to Allah is no longer obligatory. What have we learned from Hajj if we have not learned to not only to submit to Allah’s commandments but also to submit to the order of priority in accordance with Allah’s commands? If we begin to pick and choose after we return from Hajj, what have we gained? Furthermore, not only should we understand that a nafilah (optional act) can never override an obligatory act. Similarly one obligation is not a substitute for another obligation i.e. we cannot pray in exchange for abstaining from fasting, or do Hajj, and not pray our Salah. Therefore we cannot substitute prayer or any other obligation for the duty on all Muslims (whether it is popular or not) to work to resume the Islamic way of life. Put simply, the obligation of Dawa today is to work towards implementing the Quran in life via a State as a Deen, and not just in a Masjid like a religion. In our efforts to practice Islam in the West we should not allow our minds to sink into the western mindset of judging matters based on whether it effects our material benefit or not. Rather if we are required to earn a little less, see our families a little less and sleep a little less, then this is what must be sacrificed. Do we not sacrifice an animal every Eid ul Adha to remember when Ibrahim (AS) accepted to slaughter his his son Ismail (AS) in true submission to Allah, and then Allah replaced it with a sheep? Today, we must consider what we need to sacrifice, the idea of a comfortable life, and praying in glossy Masjids, and eating Halal meat is not the whole of Islam. Your Ismail i.e. your sacrifice could be your wealth, your job, your rank, your power, your lust, your greed, your spouse and your children.

 

Living in the West, we should be wary of the ‘modern’ individualistic and secular version of Islam which is basically caring solely about our personal worship and neglecting our duty to the Ummah. As Muslims we should have the confidence in our understanding of the Deen so that we do not seek our solutions via secularism, democracy and freedom which led to the abandonment of the honorable work of calling people to the true solution from Islam. We should have reliance on Allah in working for the Islamic solution and avoid relying on the begging bowl of man-made systems that work against Islam and its objectives. Making a change in ourselves does not mean we should become inward looking. Sometimes establishing change within ourselves is by changing the condition within ourselves. Other times it is changing the condition outside us to establish a change within ourselves, we must do both for the sake of Allah, the Highest. The evidence for prioritising the obligatory act such as prayer and working for Khilafah over nafilah acts are numerous. When Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq (RA) was on his deathbed he called ‘Umar (RA) and said: “Fear Allah O ‘Umar, and know that Allah has deeds to be done for Him in the day which He will not accept if done at night, and He has deeds to be done for Him at night which He will not accept if done during the day. He will not accept extra (nafilah) deeds unless you fulfil the obligatory deeds.” Imam Abu Hanifah said, “We distinguish the fard (obligatory) and the Sunnah (recommended) by order and sequence.” Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal said, “The fard is better than the nawaafil.” Imam as-Sarkhasi said, “The obligation precedes the recommendation.”Ibn Qudaamah al-Maqdisi in his Rawdat un-Nazeer said, “The fard (obligation) cannot be lifted by any nafilah (voluntary act) or any other sufficient obligation (fard kifaayah).”

 

In conclusion, we should mould our personality in a way that our Aqliyah (mentality) is used to understand the Deen correctly from an Islamic perspective and to ensure we don’t bend meanings to suit out inclinations (nafsiyah) to want to live a comfortable life. Here is a good example: Abu ‘Abdullah Jabir bin ‘Abdullah al-Ansari (RA), reported that a man questioned the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), saying: “Do you see, if I pray the prescribed (obligatory prayers), fast during Ramadhan, treat the lawful as permissible and treat the forbidden as prohibited, but do nothing more than that, shall I enter Paradise?” He, the Prophet (PBUH) answered: “Yes.” Without the correct Islamic personality we could read into this Hadith and say ‘”so long as I pray and fast, I don’t need to work for Khilafah”. The important thing that we notice about the Hadith is that Hajj and Zakah are not mentioned even though they make up the five Pillars of Islam, does that mean we do not need to perform Hajj? According to some scholars, the person who asked the question passed away (in the Battle of Uhud) before Hajj was made an obligation. As for Zakah, it is possible that it also was not yet made an obligation; alternatively, the person questioning was not a person of wealth and therefore was not required to pay Zakah. This Hadith indicates that as long as we abstain from what Allah has forbidden and fulfil ALL our obligations, whether they are mentioned in this Hadith or not, or whether the obligation arises from different circumstances and challenges we as an Ummah face in our time; then Jannah is ours insha-Allah.

 

The work for Khilafah is taken more seriously by those who suffer due to the absence of it and those who face hardship in the struggle in working for it, and it is ignored and mocked by those who live in the comfort of the country that perpetrates crimes against Muslims. Consider your position on this matter, as the personality is the lens from which you can colour all things good and bad, and in this case viewing nafilah superior to fara’id (obligatory acts) due to the temptation of having an easy life. Allah said: “Know that the life of this world (dunya) is only play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children… the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment.” (57:20) and Allah says “Verily, the Promise of Allah is true, let not then this (worldly) present life deceive you, nor let the chief deceiver (Satan) deceive you about Allâh.” (Surah Luqman) and Rasulullah (PBUH) said: “Love of the world is the root of all evil.” To fulfill the obligation of Hajj before we leave this world is an obligation, this principle also applies to many other obligations like Salah and the obligation to work for Khilafah. Our Prophet (PBUH) said: “Whosoever dies without a bay’ah (to a Khalifah) on his neck dies the death of Jahiliyyah.”

 

The main argument put to you by this article is best expressed by the great Imam referred to as “the scholar of the heart” Ibn Qayyim Al Jawziyah:, “The Shaitan has misled most people by beautifying for them the performance of certain voluntary acts of worship such as voluntary prayers and voluntary fasting while neglecting other obligatory acts of worship such as enjoining the good and eradicating the evil, to the extent that they do not even make the intention of performing them….For the essence of our religion is to perform what Allah ordered us to do. The one who does not perform his obligations is actually worse than the one who performs sins. Anyone having some knowledge about the revelation of Allah, the guidance of the Prophet (PBUH) and the life of the companions would see that those who are pointed at today as the most pious people are in fact the least pious… Indeed, what Deen and what good is there in a person who witnesses the sanctities of Allah being violated, His Hudood not applied, His religion abandoned, the Sunnah of His Messenger (SAW) shunned, and yet remains still with a cold heart and a silent tongue – a dumb Shaitan. In the same way the one who talks falsehood is a speaking Shaitan. Isn’t the misfortune of Islam due only to those who whenever their food and positions are secure, would not care about what happens to the religion? The best among them would offer a sorry face. But if there was a shortcoming in one of the things their heart is attached to like their rank or money, they would sacrifice and strive and strain and struggle and use the three levels of prevention (their hands, tongues and hearts, as mentioned in another Hadith) according to their capability. These people, besides deserving the anger of Allah, are afflicted with the greatest calamity without even knowing it: They have a dead heart. Indeed the more alive a person’s heart is, the stronger its anger for the sake of Allah and the more complete his support to Islam and Muslims” (Imam Ibn Qayyim, a’alaam al-Muwaqi’een)

 

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