Jumuah khutbah delivered by Brother Bashier Rahim on 9 September 2016 at the Ahlul Bait (a.s) Islamic Centre, Ottery, Cape Town
We are in the sacred month of Thil Hijjah, a month wherein, among others, we commemorate the great institution of Hajj.
It’s an age old institution that has existed in various formats for centuries.
Central to the Hajj is the visitation and tawaaf or circumambulation of the Holy Ka’ba, the House of Allah which existed even before the existence of man on earth.
In Surah Aali Imraan Verse 96 it says:
إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيْتٍ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِي بِبَكَّةَ مُبَارَكًا وَهُدًى لِّلْعَالَمِين
“Verily the first House (of worship) set up for mankind the one at Bekka (Mecca), blessed and guidance for the worlds.”
Bakkah was the previous name for Makkah.
This great institution of Hajj is filled with symbolism and deep meaning – and it encapsulates the spiritual journey of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s).
The 6th Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) is reported to have said:
“Verily Allah (to Whom belong Might and Majesty) accepted Ibrahim as a servant before making him a prophet;
and verily Allah made him a prophet before appointing him as a messenger;
and verily Allah appointed him as a messenger before taking him as a friend;
and verily Allah took him as a friend before making him an Imam”.
With these spiritual achievements it is thus no coincidence that we see that the great moments of the spiritual journey of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) is weaved into the rituals of the Hajj so that we also have the opportunity to undertake that great journey to the Divine Nearness of Almighty Allah.
As Allamah Tabatabai says “all the devotional acts of the Hajj:
– the ihram,
– staying at ‘Arafat,
– staying overnight at Mash’ar,
– sacrificing an animal,
– throwing pebbles at the pillars,
– running between the Safa and Marwah,
– going around the Ka’bah,
– praying near the Standing place,
– all these acts commemorate the events that had happened to Prophet Ibrahim (a.s), and represent the stands taken by him and his family – and how admirable stands they were”.
We also see that in addition to the fact that the rituals of the Hajj being a reflection of the life of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s), Almighty Allah gave him the responsibility of calling people to Hajj…as Surah Hajj Verse 27 says:
وَأَذِّن فِي النَّاسِ بِالْحَجِّ
“And proclaim among men the pilgrimage”
This call of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) extends to the end of time.
Besides being given the responsibility of calling people to Hajj, in return Almighty Allah promised Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) that there will be a response to his call.
Verse 27 of Surah Hajj thus continues to say:
يَأْتُوكَ رِجَالاً وَعَلَي كُلِّ ضَامِرٍ يَأْتِينَ مِن كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيقٍ
“they will come to you on foot and (mounted) on every lean beast, coming from every remote path.”
Why will they come from every place?
Because there’s benefit in the Hajj for them.
And thus the verse says:
لِيَشْهَدُوا مَنَافِعَ لَهُمْ
“That they may witness advantages for them”
Human beings by nature seek those things which serve their own interest and from which they will benefit.
We don’t by nature walk around on this earth without purpose…We always seeking that which will bring us gain and avoid that which will cause us harm.
In fact that is one of the sound arguments which is presented in Theology in relation to the necessity for studying religion as religion offers something beneficial to the human being and teaches us about those things to avoid which will cause us harm.
Now the Hajji will come to perform the Hajj from all walks of life to witness the benefits of the Hajj which comes in every sublime form – from spiritual benefits to economic benefits to political benefits, etc.
ATTRACTION OF THE HOLY KA’BA
In considering the spiritual benefits, one of the compulsory rituals in the Hajj is the tawaaf around the Holy Ka’ba.
And this Holy Ka’ba around which man makes tawaaf, it is filled with so much benefit and symbolism besides all the other symbols of the Hajj.
The verse in Surah Aali Imraan which I earlier started reciting, it continues to describe the House of Allah as being:
مُبَارَكًا وَهُدًى لِّلْعَالَمِينَ
“blessed and guidance for the worlds”
فِيهِ آيَاتٌ بَيِّـنَاتٌ مَّقَامُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمَن دَخَلَهُ كَانَ آمِنًا
“Therein are clear signs, the standing place of Abraham, and whoever enters it is secure”.
The Ka’ba is blessed…without doubt untold blessings emanate from it.
By just looking at the Ka’ba you are rewarded.
By praying at the Ka’ba your prayers are answered as certain Angels are permanently stationed there to say “ameen” to all your prayers.
The Ka’ba itself is a living reality that provides guidance…it is not dead bricks and mortar!
The Ka’ba has in it eternal signs for those who contemplate.
The Ka’ba is a safe place…a sanctuary wherein even the plants, trees and insects are safe from harm in the broader Haram area.
The Ka’ba is a symbol of Islam and is a reflection of the spiritual health of the Ummah.
Therefore we see that Imam Sadiq (as) says:
“As long as the Kaaba is upright, the religion will not perish.”
Abraha tried to destroy the Ka’ba. He perished instead…this is a sign which the Ka’ba offers for those who reflect.
Yazid tried to destroy the Ka’ba. He even managed to have it burnt down to the ground. But the Ka’ba was rebuilt. And Yazid perished instead. This is another sign which the Ka’ba offers for those who reflect.
The source of this attraction to the Ka’ba is Allah Himself who placed that attraction in it.
And therefore no matter what an insane person does, the House of Allah will prevail as it’s prevailed since the beginning of time.
In examining aspects of the spiritual journey in the life of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) and in the light of the great spiritual guidance that the Ka’ba provides, there are interesting lessons to be learnt.
Almighty Allah chose the Ka’ba to be His House and placed an attraction in it that nobody can deny.
Our mere witnessing of over one and a half billion Muslims praying in the direction of the Ka’ba every moment of the day from different parts of the world is testimony to the reality of this attraction.
DUA FOR PEOPLE TO BE ATTRACTED TO THE AHLUL BAIT (A.S)
So in the spiritual journey of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s), we see that he settles his family in the very vicinity of this House of Allah – to benefit from that guidance that this House provides due to it being connected to Almighty Allah.
“رَبَّنَآ إِنّـِي أَسْكَنتُ مِن ذُرِّيَّتِي بِوَادٍ غَيْرِ ذِي زَرْعٍ عِندَ بَيْتِكَ الْمُـحَرَّمِ
“O our Lord! Surely, I have settled a part of my offspring/progeny in a valley unproductive of fruit near They Sacred House…” (Surah Ibrahim Verse 37)
He settled them there in a barren place purely due to its proximity to the Holy House of Allah…that House which is a guidance, a blessing, and has many signs in it and which has an attraction that Almighty Allah placed in it.
Now in this spiritual journey of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) we find that at many significant moments in his journey, that he seeks to secure the achievement of that spiritual status for a very specific group of people.
Who are these people?
His “thurriyyah” or “progeny”.
Not his children, but his progeny…these are certain specific people in his descendants.
That is why he says in the above-mentioned dua:
رَبَّنَآ إِنّـِي أَسْكَنتُ مِن ذُرِّيَّتِي
“O our Lord! Surely, I have settled a part of my offspring/progeny.”
This is a critical point to understand and digest.
My children and my progeny have 2 different meanings.
My children means my biological son and daughter.
But when you refer to your progeny, then you referring to the generations after you in your descendants.
Now Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) says he settled a part of his progeny at the Sacred House…remember that House which has an eternal attraction placed in it by Almighty Allah Himself.
Who was this progeny?
It was Prophet Ismail (a.s).
Now in relation to this specific progeny….of Prophet Ismail (a.s), Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) made a very special prayer after settling them near the Ka’ba.
In that prayer he says:
فَاجْعَلْ أَفْئِدَةً مِنَ النَّاسِ تَهْوِي إِلَيْهِمْ
.. Therefore, make the hearts of some people yearn towards them…” (Surah Ibrahim Verse 37
Just as the Ka’ba has an eternal God given attraction, so Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) prayers for an eternal attraction to be placed in the hearts of some people towards his thurriyya or progeny or descendants – those descendants are Prophet Muhammad (sawa) and the Ahlul Bait (a.s) as they are the progeny that Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) was praying for.
And that’s why in a famous undeniable Hadith we read that Prophet Muhammad (sawa) said “I am the Dua of my father Ibrahim”…
Again we see in the words of the Prophet Muhammad (sawa) that he does not refer to his biological father but his direct ancestor Prophet Ibrahim (a.s).
So the Ka’ba was burned down, but it did not lose its attraction in the hearts of the believers.
And the Ahlul Bait (a.s) were mowed down in Karbala, but they did not lose their attraction in the hearts of the believers while their killers perished instead…due to the Dua of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s):
فَاجْعَلْ أَفْئِدَةً مِنَ النَّاسِ تَهْوِي إِلَيْهِمْ
.. Therefore, make the hearts of some people yearn towards them..”. (Surah Ibrahim Verse 37)
And Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) is quoted in the Quran to ask for certain spiritual statuses for his progeny on more than one occasion.
DUA FOR THE DIVINE PROTECTION (ISMA) OF THE AHLUL BAIT (A.S)
So the above-mentioned dua occured when Prophet Ismail (a.s) was settled near the Sacred House while he was a baby.
Later on, after becoming a grown up person, Prophet Ismail (a.s) assisted his father Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) to raise the existing foundations and build the Ka’ba.
I say existing foundations as narrations state that the Ka’ba was there from the time of Prophet Adam (a.s) but the walls were destroyed in the flood during the time of Prophet Nuh (a.s).
Now after having accomplished this great achievement of building the Ka’ba, Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) again made certain duas. One of those Duas which is recorded in Surah Baqarah Verse 128 we read:
رَبَّنَا وَاجْعَلْنَا مُسْلِمَيْنِ
“Our Lord, make us submissive (Muslims) to You…”
He was at an advanced stage of his life, in old age, having gone through so many tests and developed to such great spiritual heights and completed the building of Allah’s Sacred House.
At this point he made dua for him and Prophet Ismail (a.s) to be Muslim.
What is this Islam?
How could he have done everything he did in his whole life without being Muslim?
This Islam he prayed for clearly was the most sublime level of submission to Allah and not the nominal Islam that we achieve by proclaiming the shahadah with our tongue.
That is why, to understand the level of Islam he asks for, we see in another Dua of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) which is found in Verse 35 of Surah Ibrahim which says:
وإِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ رَبِّ اجْعَلْ هَذَا الْبَلَدَ ءَامِناً وَاجْنُبْنِي وَبَنِيَّ أَن نَّعْبُدَ الاَصْنَامَ
“And (remember) when Abraham said: ‘My Lord, make this city secure and distance me and my sons from worshipping the idols.”
Allamah Tabatabai says that this Divine Protection that Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) was seeking for himself and his sons specifically in this Dua – from being far from worshiping idols – is the protection of Isma or infallibility or sinlessness.
So when praying for this sublime level of Islam, again his focus turns to his progeny. Thus the Dua continues:
وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِنَا أُمَّةً مُّسْلِمَةً لَّكَ
“and of our progeny an Ummah (a nation) submissive to You…”
This Ummah is not the people who followed Prophet Muhammad (sawa) from all walks of life….
Why do we say that?
Because this Ummah that he prays for is a selection group of people – it’s an Ummah from his very own progeny – it’s an Ummah from his descendants that will have the same level of Islam – that level of complete submission to Almighty Allah in every way – that Islam which encompasses their Isma.
This special Ummah from his progeny who would be “Muslim” are Prophet Muhammad (sawa) and his Holy Household.
And therefore Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) prays for the Messenger to be raised from among them…who is them?
It’s the Ummah from his progeny who will have the sublime level of Islam in them.
REQUEST FOR IMAMAH OF THE AHLUL BAIT (A.S)
After this great spiritual journey from station to station, towards the end of the life on earth of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) and to crown him with having reached the highest station, Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) was given the Imamah.
We should all be familiar with the Verse 124 of Surah Baqarah which says:
وَإِذِ ابْتَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ رَبُّهُ بِكَلِمَاتٍ فَأَتَمَّهُنَّ قَالَ إِنِّي جَاعِلُكَ لِلنَّاسِ إِمَامً
“And (remember) when his Lord tested Abraham with words (of command) which he fulfilled. He said: “Verily, I am appointing you an Imam (leader) for mankind.””
This epic journey – if I can call it that – ended with Almighty Allah appointing Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) an Imam for mankind.
On being given this highest status, his immediate response is to enquire about his progeny – his descendants:
قَالَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِي قَالَ لاَ يَنَالُ عَهْدِي الظَّالِمِينَ
“(Abraham) pleaded: ‘And of my offspring/progeny (as well)? , He, (Allah) said: ‘My covenant does not include the unjust’.”
Allah does not turn down his request but restricts it to a certain group who are not unjust…
That group is Prophet Muhammad (sawa) and the Imams of the Ahlul Bait (a.s).
The Ahlul Bait (a.s) are thus central to this institution of Hajj and have a history of performing the Hajj in the most sublime manner….walking from Madina to Mecca.
Islam will not perish while Ka’ba is around.
And this universe will not perish while the wali of the time, Imam Mahdi (a.s) is around.
In the Institution of Hajj, we benefit from the life of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s).
How is it that we don’t realise that we also benefit from the lives of the Ahlul Bait (a.s)?
When we remember the sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) in Mina, why don’t we remember the sacrifice of Imam Hussain (a.s) during the Hajj too as he was the ransom of Prophet Ismail (a.s)?
When we remember the Duas of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) in the Hajj, why don’t we remember and benefit from the Dua taught by Imam Hussain (a.s) on Arafah for example?
When we renew our pledge of allegiance to Allah at the Black Stone, why don’t we renew our pledge of allegiance to Imam Mahdi (a.s) who stands at the Ka’ba and observes our tawaaf and who is the heartbeat of the Hajj?
Yes, the Ummah of Islam will go through testing times, but will never destroyed.
But even if most people don’t give due respect to the Ahlul Bait (a.s) , it does not mean all people don’t do it because the source of the attraction to Ahlul Bait (a.s) is Almighty Allah himself.
SAUDIS NOT FIT FOR CUSTODIANSHIP OF HARAMAIN
The Hajj is an institution that also reflects the spiritual health of the Ummah.
When the guardianship of the Hajj is in the hands of God Fearing Servants of Allah, then the Ummah will be strong.
But when the guardianship of the Institution of Hajj and the custodianship of the Two Holy Mosques is in the hands of an evil monarchy, then the spiritual health of the Ummah will be weak.
That was the state of the Ummah when Yazid was in power and that is the state of the Ummah today.
Under those conditions we found that in history, while Hujjaj made their way to Arafah on 9th of Thil Hijjah, Imam Hussain (a.s) was making his way to Karbala.
In Ayatullah Khamenei’s Hajj message this year he beautifully says:
“for Muslims, the Hajj season is a period of honor and glory in the eyes of [all] human beings, and a period for the illumination of hearts and humility and supplication before the Creator….”
But…”Saudi rulers, who have obstructed the path to Allah and the Masjid al-Haram this year and blocked the way of the fervent and faithful Iranian pilgrims to the House of the Beloved, are disgraced misguided people, who tie their survival on the throne of [their] oppressive power to defending global arrogant powers….and they do not shy away from any act of treason to that end.”
“About one year has passed since the horrible Mina incidents in which several thousand people, on the day of Eid and dressed in the Ihram [garment], lost their lives tragically under the [searing] sun and with thirsty lips.
A short while before that at the Grand Mosque, a group [of pilgrims] were killed while they were in worship and circumambulation and [saying] prayers.”
“The Saudi rulers are to blame in both incidents; this is something on which all attendants [in Hajj] and observers and technical analysts agree, and some experts [even] speculated the intentionality of the incident.”
“Negligence in saving the half-alive injured people whose enchanted souls and eager hearts were busy with dhikr [mention of God] and whispering the divine verses [of the Quran] on [the day of] Eid al-Adha are also definite and proven facts.
The ruthless and criminal Saudi men locked them up along with the dead in tightly closed containers and martyred them instead of providing treatment to them and assisting them or even supplying water to their thirsty lips.”
“Muslim Brethren and Sisters! This year, the eager and devoted Iranian pilgrims are missed in the Hajj ritual, but they are in attendance with their hearts and they are standing along Hajj pilgrims from across the globe and are concerned about them and pray for them to be spared any harm from the accursed tree of tyrants.
Remember your Iranian brethren and sisters in your prayers and acts of worship and invocation, and pray for the Muslim communities to get rid of their troubles…”
In response to this tough worded message of Ayatullah Khamenei, one of the main blind Saudi muftis simply responded to say the Iranians are not Muslim.
A mufti who is literally blind in this world and seems blind in the next too.
So Iranians are not Muslim (as the blind man says), but it’s ok for their lords, the Saudi rulers to again bomb Yemen this week? Thousands have been killed by Saudi military in Yemen and over 300000 children are starving…but that’s ok?
And all this while their ideological progeny continue to kill and blow up innocent people in Iraq and other countries.
MARTYRDOM OF IMAM BAQIR (A.S)
In the month of Thil Hijjah we also remember the martyrdom of the 5th Imam Baqir (a.s) on 7th Zilhijja 114 Hijri at the age of 57 years whose period of Imamate was 19 years.
Due to political turmoil in the early years of Islam, there was confusion created regarding who the appointed Imams were.
And we find that the first sect of Shia from the mainstream perspective breaks off after the 4th Imam.
But on the evidence of the authentic Hadith narrated by Sunni and Shia historians, one of the companions of the Holy Prophet, Jabir Ibn Abdallah Ansari was in the presence of the Holy Prophet. He asked the Prophet about the names of descendants from his daughter Hazrat Fatima and ‘Ali (a.s) . The Prophet (sawa) told him:
“O Jabir, you will have a long life, and although you will go blind, but you will meet the 5th in line of my descendants whose name will be my name, who will walk like me and who will be the 5th Imam of the time. When you will meet him, give my salaams to him”.
And the Prophet Muhammad (sawa) went further to give him the full list of names of the 12 Imams.
And historical narrations state that Jabir actually did meet the 5th Imam Baqir (a.s) who then introduced him to his followers and gave then independent corroboration from someone who was a great companion of Prophet Muhammad (sawa) regarding who the 12 Imams are.
In conclusion, this weekend on Sunday is the 9th Thil Hijjah or Day of Arafah. It’s highly recommended to fast on that day.
Insha’Allah we will also gather here at the Ahlul Bait (a.s) Islamic Centre to jointly read the beautiful Dua Arafah of Imam Hussain (a.s) from 4.45pm until magrieb.
Please join us….