I have explained to you in my previous lecture how Hajj originated and what was its purpose. I have also stated that Abraham had made Mecca the centre of the Islamic movement and had settled there his eldest son, Isma'il to carry on this movement after him.
God knows better how long after Isma'il his descendants continued to adhere to the Deen which he had left for them to follow. However, in a few centuries these people forgot all the teachings and the way of their elders and gradually adopted all those wrong practices which were rampant among the other ignorant communities. Hundreds of idols were installed in that very Ka'ba which was built as a centre of preaching and exhortation for the worship of one God, and, ironically enough, idols were made of Abraham and Isma'il themselves whose whole lives were spent in exterminating the practice of idol-worship. The descendants of Abraham, the upright, made idols called Lat, Manat, Hubal, Nasr, Yaghus, Uzza, Isaaf, Naela and God knows what others, and worshipped them. They also worshipped Moon, Neptune, Venus, Saturn and so many other stars. They further worshipped jinns, ghosts, angels as well as the spirits of their dead ancestors. Benightedness rose to such a high pitch that if the family idol was not available to them while emerging from their house, they worshipped on the way any glossy stone they came across and, should no stone be available, they made a round ball from clay with a sprinkle of goat-milk over it, and this lifeless mound became a god of them. That very Mahantism and Pandithood re-entered their houses against which Abraham had fought in Iraq. They turned Ka'ba into a sort of Hardware or Benaras, and settled down there as its Mahant. They transformed Hajj into a Teerath Yatra and started preaching idol-worship in a house which was constructed to propagate the belief of oneness of God. Adopting all the tricks of Pujarees they began accepting gifts and offerings from Yatrees flocking from the four corners of Arabia. In this way all the work done by Abraham and Isma'il was destroyed and the purpose for which they had introduced the system of Hajj was superseded by a different type of objective.
How Hajj was mutilated in that period of ignorance can be gauged from the fact that it was turned into a fair which used to be held from year to year. Many big tribes with their gangs used to come to Mecca and encamp there separately. Poets and clowns of every tribe waxed eloquent in fantastically praising the bravery, renown, dignity, strength and generosity of their fellow-tribesmen and tried to excel others in bragging about them ultimately resulting in the satire of others.
Then a competition in generosity used to be staged. The chief of every tribe in order to assert his superiority, installed huge cauldrons, and, to run down others, slaughtered camels upon camels to cook the flesh therein. The only object of this prodigality was that their name should be exalted in the whole of Arabia and that it should be publicized that this person slaughtered so many camels and that person gave food to so many people. Singing, revelry, drinking, adultery and every kind of ribaldry were pompously indulged in and the thought of God scarcely occurred to anybody.
There used to be circumambulation of Ka'ba but how ? Women and men all went round and round stark naked and said : " We shall go before God in the same condition in which our mothers gave birth to us." 'Ibadat was performed in the mosque of Abraham but how ? By clapping of hands, by whistling and by blowing horns. The name of God was proclaimed but with what gusto? They said: " Here I am present, My Lord. I am present. No one is your partner except the one who by being yours is by Thee. You are his master for and the master of what he possesses."
They made sacrifices in the name of God but with what indecency? The blood of the animals was spilt on the walls of Ka'ba and the flesh thrown at its door with the idea that, (may God forgive) Allah demands flesh.
Abraham had declared four months of Hajj as scared and had directed that no warfare should be waged in these months. These people paid regard to this sanctity to some extent but when they wanted to fight they arrogantly turned a sacred month in one year into a violable one and compensated for it in the next year.
Then even those who were good-intentioned in religion had contrived strange ways due to ignorance. Some people used to set out for Hajj without any provision for journey and travelled begging food from here and there. They considered this as an act of piety. They claimed that they were mutawakkil (those having full trust in God), and were proceeding towards the House of God and so needed no worldly material. Doing business or working for livelihood during journeying for Hajj were generally considered unlawful. Many other people used to give up food and water during Hajj, and regarded this abstention as a part of 'Ibadat. Some people, while setting out for Hajj, stopped talking. Its means has Hajj-e-Musmit, i.e. dumb Hajj. There were countless other customs of this type by describing which I do not want to waste your time.
This condition lasted for more or less than two and a half thousand years. No Arab prophet was born during this long period nor did any prophet's genuine teaching reach the people of Arabia. Ultimately the time arrived for granting the 'Dua' of Abraham which he had invoked while raising the walls of Ka'ba, i.e. " O Lord ! raise up in their midst a messenger from among them who shall recite unto them Thy revelations, and shall instruct them in the Scripture and in wisdom and shall reform their morals". (Al-Qur'an 2:129) Consequently, a perfect man rose from the progeny of Abraham whose holy name was Muhammad bin Abdullah (peace be upon him). Just as Abraham was born in the family of Pandits and Mahants, likewise Muhammad (peace be upon him) was born in a family which had been for centuries Mahant of the teerath of Ka'ba. Just as Abraham struck a blow with his hands to the Mahantism of his family, likewise Muhammad (peace be upon him) struck a blow to it, and, more than that, actually exterminated it for good. Again, just as Abraham strove to extirpate the godhood of false deities and prevalence of spurious beliefs and tried to popularise servitude to one God, actually the same work was done by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who revived the same genuine and pure Deen which was introduced by Abraham. When in the course of 21 years he completed all this work, he again, with God's command, declared Ka'ba as the centre of God-worshippers of the world and sounded the same call to the people to come to this centre from all sides for Hajj. " And pilgrimage to the House is a duty unto Allah for mankind, for him who can find a way thither. As for him who disbelieveth (i.e., fails to come in spite of ability let him know that) lo ! Allah is independent of (all) creatures." (Al-Qur'an 3:97)
In this manner, along with the renewal of Hajj, all the customs of the time of ignorance which, had become rampant during the last two and a half thousand years, were completely exterminated.
All the idols in Ka'ba were smashed. The worshipping of objects other than Allah being done there was completely stopped. All rituals were wiped out. All fairs and carnivals were closed down and it was ordered that Allah's Ibadat must be carried out in the prescribed manner. " Remember Him as He hath guided you, although before ye were of those astray." (Al-Qur'an 2:198)
All indecent acts were strictly banned. " There is to be no lewdness nor ribaldry nor wrangles during Hajj." (Al-Qur'an 2:197)
Competitions among poets, exaltations of forefather's achievements, contests in satire and sycophancy were all stopped. " And when you have completed your devotions, then remember Allah as you remember your fathers or with a more lively remembrance." (Al-Qur'an 2:200)
All competitions in generosity which were meant solely for ostentation and fame were terminated and in their place was revived the system of Abraham's days to slaughter animals exclusively in the name of Allah in order that by the sacrifice made by the well-to-do people, the poor Hajis may get a chance to eat the meat. " Eat and drink, but be not prodigal. Lo! He loveth not the prodigals." (Al-Qur'an 7:31) " So mention the name of Allah over these animals when they are drawn up in lines. Then when their flanks fall (dead), eat thereof and feed the beggar and the suppliant. " (Al-Qur'an 22:36)
The practice of spattering the blood of the sacrificed animals on the walls of Ka'ba and throwing of their flesh there was stopped, and it was said : " Their flesh and their blood reach not Allah, but the devotion from you reacheth Him." (Al-Qur'an 22:37)
Circumambulation in the state of nudity was strictly prohibited, and it was said : " Say; who has forbidden the adornment of Allah (i.e. dress) which He has brought forth for His bondmen". (Al-Qur'an 7:32) " Say ; (O Prophet) Allah, verily enjoineth not lewdness." (Al-Qur'an 7:29) " O Children of Adam! Look to your adornment (i.e., dress) at every place of worship." (Al-Qur'an 7:31)
It was strictly prohibited to interchange the months of Hajj so as to turn the Haram month into Halal ones for purposes of battle. " Postponement (of a sacred month) is only an excess of disbelief whereby those who disbelieve are misled. They allow it one year and forbid it (another) year, that they may make up the number of the months which Allah hath allowed, so that they allow that which Allah hath forbidden." (Al-Qur'an 9:37)
It was prohibited to start for Hajj without taking provision, and it was said : " You must take provision for the journey because (not to take provision for a journey in the world does not mean taking provision for the Hereafter) the best provision for the Hereafter is piety." (Al-Qur'an 2:197)
It was formerly considered an act of piety not to make any earning during Hajj because it was regarded unlawful in this condition to utilize sources of livelihood. This concept was refuted. " It is no sin for you that ye seek the bounty of your Lord (by trading)." (Al-Qur'an 2:189)
The system of dumb Hajj and hungry and thirsty Hajj was also ended. After abolishing all other customs of Jahiliya, Hajj was made a model of piety, fear of God, purity, simplicity and austerity. The Hajj were ordered that when they set out from their homes they must purify themselves of all worldly pollution, abandon sexual desire, suspend during that period carnal relations with their wives, and abstain from filthy language and indecent acts.
On all reads leading to Ka'ba, marks were fixed from scores of miles away to indicate that before proceeding beyond these limits all pilgrims must put on the mendicant-like dress of Ihram so that the rich and the poor may become equal, distinctions of different nationalities may be eliminated and all of them may appear in the Court of Allah in a state of oneness as suppliants full of humility.
It was made haram, with Ihram on, to kill any animal, not to speak of killing a human being. The object was to create an atmosphere of peace, and to make the minds of the pilgrims spiritualised. The four months of Hajj were made sacred so that no battle takes place during this period, peace reigns on all roads leading to Ka'ba, and no pilgrim is molested en route. When the Hajis reach Ka'ba in this manner, there will be no festival or carnival, fun and games, frolic and revelry. There is remembrance of God at every step. There are prayers, 'Ibadaat, sacrifices and circumambulation of Ka'ba. If there is any clamour, it is this :
" Here I am present, My Allah! I am present, I am present. There is no partner unto You, I am present. Verily all praise is due to Thee. All boons are Yours. Thine is the entire sovereignty." The Holy Prophet (may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has said about such a neat and clean, selfless and sincere Hajj : " Whosoever performs Hajj solely for Allah and, in the course of it, abstains from sensual and ribald acts, he returns from there as immaculate as a child just born."
Before I describe to you the benefits of Hajj, I should point out what kind of Fard this Hajj is. Allah says in the Holy Qur'an : " And pilgrimage to the House is a duty unto Allah for mankind, for him who can find a way thither. As for one who disbelieves, (let him know that) Lo ! Allah is Independent of (all) creatures." (Al-Qur'an 3:97) In this verse, failure to perform Hajj, in spite of possessing means to undertake it, is interpreted as Kufr and its elucidation is found in two Ahadith of the Holy Prophet : 1. " Whosoever possesses provisions and conveyance for a journey to the House of God and in spite of this does not perform Hajj, then his death in this condition and the death of a Jew and a Christian are both similar." 2. " Whosoever, not prevented from proceeding for Hajj by any clear preoccupation of his, or by an order of an oppressive ruler, or due to any deterrent disease, fails to perform the Hajj and dies in this condition, it is his volition either to die as a Jew or as a Christian." Elucidating this very Hadith, Hadrat 'Umar said : " I wish to impose Jizyah (tax) on those who do not perform Hajj in spite of possessing the required means. They are not Muslims. They are not Muslims." From the commandments of Allah and from its elucidation by the Holy Prophet and his caliph (peace be on them), you must have judged that this Fard (obligatory act) is not such as may be fulfilled or neglected as you like, but it is one which is obligatory once in a lifetime on every such Muslim who can defray the expenses of making journey to and from Ka'ba and is not physically incapable, no matter in which part of the world he resides and whatever may be his responsibility in regard to maintaining his family and his business or service. Those who, despite the necessary means, avoid Hajj and put it off year after year on the pretext of thousand and one preoccupation should be mindful of their Iman. As for those who never care to think for once in their whole life that there is such an obligatory duty as Hajj, and go about travelling throughout the world, and pass by the coast of Hejaz, which is at a few hours' distance from Mecca, in the course of their frequent trips to Europe, their beloved country, they are certainly not Muslims. They lie if they call themselves Muslims, and that person who considers them Muslims is ignorant of the Qur'an. They may pose that their heart ache for the Muslims. In any case, their hearts are devoid of any feeling for obedience to God and they are bereft of faith in His Commandments.