Hajj Pilgrimage, Manifestation of Islamic Ethics

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Salaam, friends, and welcome to a special feature titled Hajj Pilgrimage, Manifestation of Divine Tradition and Ethics.


The performance of Hajj rituals creates spiritual developments in the pilgrims, as well as in those eagerly observing it far and near. These are the auspicious days and the best time for self-purification, as the annual pilgrimage is underway in Mecca, with the pilgrims circumambulating the Symbolic House of God, the holy Ka'ba. It is the time for self reformation since the Hajj rituals are constructive and leads to proper development of thoughts and behaviour in society. The pilgrim to the House of God ought to observe ethical values before everything.

One should first fill his heart with peace and sincerity, and then promotes this high conduct in the society. The Hajj requires wearing the garment of servitude. The observance of a series of moral principles prior to and during the Hajj is proof of the importance of this great obligation. In Islamic teachings, special observances have been mentioned for this journey. The main goal of the Hajj rituals is attaining proximity to God and obtaining His satisfaction, and this is not possible except by purifying hearts.

Imam Jafar Sadeq (AS) the 6th Infallible Successor of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), regarding this purification of hearts and acquisition of sincerity says: Whenever you intend to go to Hajj, before your departure cleanse your heart from all occupations and obstacles and make it sincere solely for God Almighty. Resign yourself to the Will of the Creator in all affairs and rely on Him with complete submission. Rid yourself from the world and strive to respect the rights of people. Don't rely on your friends, your power and wealth and manhood, since these might become your enemies. Thus one cannot seek shelter except in God Almighty.

The main point of the words of Imam Sadeq (AS), is observing the letter and spirit of the Hajj rituals, that is, intention for attaining the proximity to God, which is not possible except with sincere intention. Intention is the soul of every act of worship. Performance of any act of worship without intention is like a soulless body. After sincere intention, the pilgrim to the House of God should purify his heart from hatred and enmity towards others. If some are discontent, the pilgrim should strive to gain their contents before the Hajj journey, through politeness, pleasing manners, and seeking of forgiveness. These are the ethical aspects of the Hajj pilgrimage.

Thus, saying proper farewell to friends, family, and acquaintances, while seeking forgiveness for past misdeeds, are among the ethical aspects that one should observe before starting the journey for the Hajj pilgrimage. The good manners of a pilgrim departing for the House of God not just removes grudge and enmity, but encourages others to perform this obligatory act of worship as well.

The pilgrim, before starting the Hajj journey should pay to the need the Khoms (or one fifth of the year's surplus) and Zakat (or alms). The pilgrims should also repay debts before undertaking the Hajj journey, and should write his/her will. Writing the will has been highly recommended in Islamic teachings. The other ethical aspect of the Hajj journey is separation from worldly attachments.

The late Iranian philosopher and Exegete of the holy Qur'an, Allammah Seyyed Mohammad Hussain Tabatabaei, says in this regard: Whenever we review the account of Prophet Abraham (AS) and his descent on the then desolate land of Mecca with his wife Hajar and little son, Ishmael, in order to settle them in this obscure and parched land, learns valuable lessons on the importance of the Hajj ritual.

These also include Abraham's obeying of the command of God to offer son Ishmael as a sacrifice, which God replaced at the last moment with a ram sent from heaven since Abraham's sincerity of intention was tested. Another aspect is the commandment of God to Abraham to rebuild the Ka'ba along with his son, Ishmael. These are all acts of sincere servitude and pointer to the severance of all worldly attachments for the sake of God. Thus, the Hajj is the supreme symbol of the ethics of Islam, which also include the proper ways of performing prayers and supplications.

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