Pauses with the verses of pilgrimage
By Sheikh Saud bin Ibrahim Al-Shuraim
The Sacred Mosque
In what is to follow: I advise you, O people, and myself to fear Allah Almighty, so fear Him in secret as well as in the open, anger and contentment, joy and sorrow. So, do fear Allah, O those that are endued with understanding that you may prosper.
O Muslims, in these days the souls of Muslims in general look forward to the coming of the holy month of Dhul-Hijjah, and their hearts aspire to the emergence of its newborn crescent, and the swarms of pilgrims began flocking to the ancient house to perform the rites of the fifth pillar of Islam. They come to it with paces of obedience and response to the command of Allah Almighty to his Friend Abraham, peace be upon him, saying: And proclaim the Pilgrimage among men: they will come to you on foot and (mounted) on every kind of camel, lean on account of journeys through deep and distant mountain highways [Al-Hajj: 27]. They come to it to witness the benefits provided for them and celebrate the name of Allah, Exalted in Status, while their souls at the same time are full of love to get to know the meanings of pilgrimage, its aphorisms and its secrets through the ambiences of rituals and the movement within the precincts of the holy sites.
Servants of Allah, short pauses with the verses of pilgrimage in the Book of Allah is enough to reveal some of the secrets of pilgrimage and its aphorisms, and what they contain in terms of meanings of complementation and refinement, and the principles of renouncement which are conducive to sweetness.
These pauses are represented in the greatest of maxims and purposes for this great ritual; it is the pause with the Oneness of Allah Almighty, for Whom the ancient house was built and made a destination for people, from around the globe, to revive the ritual of unity of worship, and its exclusiveness for Allah Almighty without a partner to Him. Behold! We gave the site, to Abraham, of the (Sacred) House, (saying): "Associate not anything (in worship) with Me and sanctify My House for those who compass it round, or stand up, or bow, or prostrate themselves (therein in prayer). [Al-Hajj: 26].
Pure monotheism is the pillar of succession rights of man on earth, which is the best that one can ask for, the greatest that one can desire and noblest that one can relate to. A mighty kingdom is only built on the pillars of Oneness, and does not disappear and fade away but by its obliteration. No state for Islam did prosper but through its propagation, nor has it been humiliated or demeaned but through its obsolescence.
It is pure monotheism that helps people to the mainland of safety and protection from the tempests of joining in worship others with Allah in His divinity and Lordship, and profanity in His names and attributes. It is monotheism that hinges hope in Allah, fear from Him, seeking help and assistance from Him, and that none rules on earth but by what Allah Almighty legislated. It is monotheism that fills the hearts of Muslims with absolute certainty, and for which pilgrimage has been legislated, where the Almighty Maker says: Being true in faith to Allah, and never assigning partners to Him: if anyone assigns partners to Allah, is as if he had fallen from heaven and been snatched up by birds, or the wind had swooped (like a bird on its prey) and thrown him into a far-distant place. [Al-Hajj: 31].
That is why Allah consecrated the Kaabah, the Sacred House, as an asylum of security for people, and the black stone is but the place of beginning and the point of distinction in this blessed building. There isn’t for blessings and seeking blessings a place with stones apart from following the Prophet, when he kissed it and circumambulation of the shrine. Al-Faruq (Omar), may Allah be pleased with him, illustrated this good understanding by saying: (I know you are but a stone, which does not harm or benefit, and had I not seen the Messenger of Allah kissing you, I would not have kissed you) .
The Muslim should know for certain when circumambulating the shrine, kissing the black stone and touching the Yemeni corner, that the Beneficial and Harmful is Allah alone, and that any breach of this concept leads to falling in the clutches of joining others in worship with Allah, which the ancient shrine has been set up to banish and eliminate it. That is why the Prophet sent Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, on the ninth year in pilgrimage, to call the people on the Day of Sacrifice that, (no polytheist shall perform pilgrimage after this year, and no naked people shall circumambulate the shrine) narrated by Bukhari and Muslim . Such (is the Pilgrimage): whoever honours the sacred rites of Allah, for him it is good in the Sight of his Lord. Lawful to you (for food in Pilgrimage) are cattle, except those mentioned to you (as exception): but shun the abomination of idols, and shun that which is of false statements [Al-Hajj: 30].
And another pause, O servants of Allah, with the verses of pilgrimage, where Allah Almighty shows its rulings and etiquettes in order to teach people what they should know in those precincts, and what Allah's commands have in terms of veneration, compliance and warning about dereliction in them, showing laziness about them or taking any of them lightly; as worship is not subject to tampering nor dereliction in any way. Hence the words of the Almighty Maker came indicative of the threat to the defaulter in them and the one complacent about them, where He, Almighty, says after elucidating some of the regulations of pilgrimage: This is for those whose household is not in (the precincts of) the Sacred Mosque. And fear Allah, and know that Allah is strict in punishment [Al-Baqarah: 196], and did not say: and know that Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Oft-Merciful. And that in order to emphasize the sanctity of pilgrimage and the good performance to the fullest; because it falls within the boundaries of Allah Almighty that He decrees, and He is the One who said: if any do transgress the limits ordained by Allah, such persons wrong (themselves as well as others). [Al-Baqarah: 229]. And for the soul of the believer to take notice that punishment is in return for complacency.
And another pause with the verses of the pilgrimage, O servants of Allah, is reflected in making pilgrimage an object of cooperation, giving in charity and feeling for others, and meeting people's needs even in the places of worship. The verse comes in the context of mentioning pilgrimage, indicating the magnitude of cooperation and the need for compassion for the poor and the hungry and fill their depravity, Allah Almighty says: That they may witness the benefits (provided) for them, and celebrate the name of Allah, through the Days appointed, over the cattle which He has provided for them (for sacrifice): then eat ye thereof and feed the distressed ones in want [Al-Hajj: 28], and in another verse He says: when they are down on their sides (after slaughter), do eat thereof, and feed such as (beg not but) live in contentment, and such as beg with due humility: thus have We made animals subject to you, that you may be grateful. [Al-Hajj: 36]; the contended is the one who does not ask people importunately despite his hunger and destitution, and the poor miserable who begs sustenance from people.
And a fourth pause, O servants of Allah, is represented in the value of piety and its great effect, and that it is the scales by which deeds and people are weighed. Therefore, advice about piety in the verses of pilgrimage abounded. The Almighty said: And fear Allah, and know that Allah is strict in punishment [Al-Baqarah: 196], and also said: And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best of provisions is right conduct. So fear Me, O you that are wise [Al-Baqarah: 197], and the Almighty said: But if any one hastens to leave in two days, there is no blame on him, and if any one stays on, there is no blame on him, if his aim is to do right [Al-Baqarah: 203], and also said: Such (is his state): and whoever holds in honour the symbols of Allah, (in the sacrifice of animals), such (honour) should come truly from piety of heart [Al-Hajj: 32], and the Almighty said: It is not their meat nor their blood, that reaches Allah: it is your piety that reaches Him [Al-Hajj: 37]. It is piety, Servants of Allah, which is the resultant of all goodness.
You are, O Muslim, if you worship Allah on evidence clear from Allah, seeking the reward of Allah and forsaking the prohibitions of Allah on evidence from Allah, fearing Allah's punishment, you have achieved the pinnacle of piety in the reality of your life, through which you fulfill the prerogatives vested on you towards your Creator and towards your brothers in faith.
All the manifestations of pilgrimage, O servants of Allah, are indicative of this purpose. All the Muslims are like the one body, and are like a structure; parts of which support other parts. The Muslims within the precincts of the blessed pilgrimage live moments, in which are embodies the meanings of piety behind the basis of close brotherly bonds that form between Muslims of different colors and tongues. When pilgrims exchange their usual costumes for the uniformed dress of pilgrimage, they all then assume a single look, addressing one Lord with one single answer (of the call of Allah). They drop thus all sorts of patriotic cheers and every mobilizing slogan. They circumambulate around one shrine, and perform one ritual.
This living image is considered as one of the ripe fruits of piety that suggests to people, that there are no reasonable grounds to make them live disregarding and discordant, from the right and from the left in crowds. There are no reasons to warrant arrogance from the arrogant and tyranny from the tyrants, and there are no grounds to boast about one’s cast, parentage and titles. But, rather, when piety is instilled in the heart of a believer, it makes it conjure intuitively that Allah Almighty had rendered the parentage of people and their races to two parents; to make from the womb of Eve welcoming concourse, where relationships overlap and links are tightly-bound, "O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other” [Al-Hujurat: 13].
It is acquaintance, harmony and cooperation, and there isn’t for color, tongue or title a place among them. Neither the language, nor the sex or the homeland have any reckoning in the scales of Allah, but there is only one scale by which values are determined and the virtues of people known: Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you [Al-Hujurat: 13].
With piety, O servants of Allah, one is elevated and honored, as Suheib was elevated and Salman, may Allah be pleased with them, was honored; and with its demise, humiliation and shame are attained. Allah makes lowly the one who abandons it as He did with Abu Lahab for false worship and disbelief. “O children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover your shame, as well as to be an adornment to you. But the raiment of righteousness, that is the best. Such are among the Signs of Allah, that they may receive admonition [Al A’raf: 26].
 Narrated by Bukhari in Pilgrimage (1597, 1610), and Muslim in Pilgrimage (1270).
 Narrated by Bukhari in Pilgrimage (1622), and Muslim in Pilgrimage (1347). According to Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, that Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, sent him during the pilgrimage when the Messenger of Allah delegated it to him, before the Farewell Pilgrimage, on the day of Sacrifice in an elite group crying in people: no idolater shall perform pilgrimage after this year, an no naked person shall circumambulate the shrine.
The Second Sermon
Praise be to Allah alone, and peace and blessings be upon the one after whom there is no Prophet.
In what is to follow: O you people, we have a fifth pause with the verses of pilgrimage in the book of Allah. Allah reminds the Muslims through these verses of the favor of Islam and the guidance that Allah bestowed upon them; since He rescued them from subservience to others than Allah, to submission to Him alone, and from the oppression of other religions to the justice of Islam, and from the constraints of life to the ampleness of the hereafter.
He, Glorified and Exalted, reminds them that they are in the midst of rituals roaming, and for the mercy of their Lord hoping: Then when ye pour down from (Mount) Arafat, celebrate the praises of Allah at the Sacred Monument and celebrate His praises as He has directed you; even though, before this, ye went astray. [Al-Baqarah: 198], and also said: It is not their meat nor their blood, that reaches Allah: it is your piety that reaches Him: He has thus made them subject to you, that you may glorify Allah for His Guidance to you and proclaim the good news to all who do right. [Al-Hajj: 37].
It is a blessing, guidance to the religion, o servants of Allah! It is the exit from darkness into light and from death into life. Can he who was dead, to whom We gave life, and a light whereby he can walk amongst men, be like him who is in the depths of darkness, from which he can never come out? Thus to those without faith their own deeds seem pleasing. [Al An’am: 122].
The stability of the individual and societies cannot be achieved but through commitment to religion and adherence to Islam like the drowning man does cling to a lifeline. The blessed pilgrimage season pulls people to the religion, and reminds them of the right of Allah. It raises in the modest souls the degree of readiness to change what is in itself, so that Allah changes what befalls them. Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls). [Ar-Ra’d: 11].
Allah reminds them in the verses of pilgrimage with the necessity of this religion for them, and that every nation which neglects its religious charge and suspends the legislation of its Lord, or undermines it, or takes it timidly or out of weakness, it is thus neglecting its greatest potential and the grounds of splendor in it, and holding up the reasons of its success in this life and in the Hereafter. Every nation in which religiosity in its society is lost, or the banners of decline rise among its ranks, gets inevitably turbulent, surging like waves on one another, and Allah turns its splendor into humiliation and its security into fear. If it turns back (from the Path), Allah will substitute in their stead another people; then they would not be like them.
The society that does not feel the need for commitment to religion is a society lacking faith, far removed from the Merciful, because the Prophet says: ((Whoever possesses the following three qualities will have the sweetness (delight) of faith; the one to whom Allah and His Apostle are dearer than anything else, and that he loves a person only for the sake of Allah, and that he hates to revert to disbelief, after Allah saved him from it, as he hates to be thrown into the fire)) Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim .
It is indeed most uneasy for Allah that a nation where religiosity touched the cover of its heart and reached the hearings and sights of its children, then it is decreasing, wavering and falling into diminution following increase and weakness following strength. Verily, the guidance of Allah to His religion is not attained by everyone, but it is a favor from Allah and a mercy. Those who are meted with it, ought to bite firmly on it by the tips of their teeth, whether individually or in groups, and that there should not be to the whims and the claims of the malicious an avenue in weakening the elements of religion in the souls, or heed the echo to the voices of croakers calling for retreat from the religion on claims of liberation, reformation or other masqueraded techniques. The real baptism is that of Allah. (Our religion is) the Baptism of Allah: And who can baptize better than Allah? And it is He Whom we worship [Al-Baqarah: 138].
As to those hostile, the malicious, the robbers of letters who hated what Allah has revealed, they are the ills of sedition and those that puncture the sailing ship. If Allah had found in them any good, He would indeed have made them listen: (As it is), if He had made them listen, they would but have turned back and declined (Faith) [Al Anfal: 23]. But those who believe and work righteousness, no burden do We place on any soul, but that which it can bear. They will be Companions of the Garden, therein to dwell (forever). And We shall remove from their hearts any lurking sense of injury; beneath them will be rivers flowing; and they shall say: "Praise be to Allah, who has guided us to this (felicity): never could we have found guidance, had it not been for the guidance of Allah: indeed it was the truth, that the apostles of our Lord brought unto us." And they shall hear the cry: "Behold! The garden before you! You have been made its inheritors, for your deeds (of righteousness)" [Al A’raf: 42, 43].
(Having said) this; do send you blessings, may Allah have mercy on you, on the best of creation and the purest of mankind, Mohammed the son of Abdullah, son of Abdul Muttalib, the owner of the Cistern and the intercession, for Allah has given you an order, in which He began with Himself, seconding with His angels, who continuously glorify His holiness, and called upon you, O believers. Thus the Almighty said: Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet: O you who believe! Send your blessings on him, and salute him with all respect. [Al Ahzab: 56].
O Allah, bless Mohammed and the family of Mohammed as You blessed Abraham and the family of Abraham, You are the Praiseworthy, the Most Glorious.
 The Saheeh of Bukhari: Book of Faith (16.21), the Saheeh of Muslim: Book of Faith (43) according to Anas, may Allah be pleased with him.