Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘tawaf

A mystic trip or voyage of pilgrims to sacred destinations requires a long preparation.  For Moslems, to be eligible for undertaking the haj to Mecca and Medina, he must have paid off all his debts; he must have reconciled with his neighbors; he must have put in order his relationship with the members of his family and business. 

A Moslem must have satisfied his civic duties; for example, be married and preferably with children, and earning a good living: not many people can afford going to pray at Al Kaaba.  If the neighbor or a member of the family is in distress then, it is sufficient cause to postponing the haj.

Before going on haj, a Moslem must have memorized all the required prayers during the 13 days of haj, have exercised the proper ways to the “zikr” or how to focus and meditate repeating the words and sentences “There is but one God Allah”, bismillah Allahu akbar, soubhan Allah for over an hour.  The goal is that on reaching the 10th level of zikr you should be thinking of God with every breath you take and go on with business as usual while God is present in your dealings.

The haj purifies you of all sins committed, but it does not necessarily render you a better person:  If you go to the haj a hypocrite, you return a hypocrite; if you go a scoundrel you return a scoundrel unless you prepared well for the haj.  The haj is not a goal in itself: a haj done with bad preparation and without proper piety is worse than not going to the haj.

A Moslem, regardless of genders, going to the haj must leave enough money to his family and leave no debts:  Thus, only the well-to-do can afford the expensive trip to Mecca.  When you board the plane, you are already dressed in the “ihram”; the ihram is a two-piece of white cloth with no sewing; one piece is wrapped around the loins and the other covering the left shoulder.  The ihram could be used to covering the dead body.  Many Moslem friends ask you to think of them in your prayers:  Prayers done on behalf of others (the sick and elderly) are more efficient for people in distress.

The most repeated chant is:

“Labbayka la homma labbayk (Here I am facing you my Lord)

“Labbayka la charika laka labbayk (You have no associate)

“Inna le hamda wa niaamata laka wal molk (To you praise, grace and sovereignity)

“La charika lak (You have no associates)

The first day of the 13 days of haj starts by the “tawaf” or walking around the Al Kaaba seven times and then drinking from the well Zamzam.  This is the mini-haj.  The greater haj is done in the desert to Mina, Muzdalifa, Mount Arafat, dilapidation of Satan with stones (and the consequent deaths by trampling), and then back to Mecca for more tawaf.  Many resume their trip to Medina,which requires more control to getting into that first city-state of Islam.  (The next part will describe in more details the haj).

When I hear people going on pilgrimage to a “sacred location” I assume that they know the consequences of being trampled and submitted to all kinds of humiliations in foreign lands.  It is normal human behavior to snap in a “sacred environment”, for example a football field, believing that whatever you do during the ceremony is holy and sins are forgiven.  When amid a crowd of million, there is high probability that many will snap, stab, rob, hurt, or trample people.

I prefer that every Moslem State build its own local copy of Al Kaaba for the pilgrims not able to afford this expensive and long pilgrimage to Mecca.  The local cube Kaaba will be shrouded with the black veil without the gold strings and tents erected all around the kaaba for an overnight sleep, at most.  Thus, the poorer Moslems and citizens of other religious denominations will be walking around the local kaaba, pray in their tents facing the Kaaba, and not having to stone any columns representing satan.  Since no sandals should be lost then, no sandal merchants should be allowed in the vicinity.

The only requirement for pilgrims is to sign an affidavit that, on returning from this mini-haj, they should return the favor to those kind-hearted people who were of service to them, instead of hating them.  If they insists on being called “haji” then, a certificate of “national haj” could be delivered, at no cost to the tax payers.




January 2023

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