The journey of Hajj is in fact a great migration; it is a divine journey.  Indeed it is a grand opportunity to construct and re-establish one’s morally through its holy war against desire. The rituals done in the pilgrimage to Mecca for Hajj, resembles the memories of Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH), his son: Ishmael (PBUH), and his wife: Hajar. If we neglect these memories, a greater part of Hajj will yet remain a mystery for us.   Yes, the answer to this mystery can be found in the quest of Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH).

Within this pilgrimage, when we reach the land of Mina, to our surprise we will see many animals that have been slaughtered. So many sacrifices! What are they for?  How can slaughtering an animal be a part of worship?!

However, when we remember the incident of Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH), and how he was about to sacrifice his son, his most beloved, to obey the command of Allah, the reason behind the tradition of sacrifice in Hajj becomes a bit clearer. Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) passed yet another test, and he was exempted from killing his son, instead Allah (SWT) sent an animal for Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH) to sacrifice in the way of Allah (SWT).  

Sacrifice is the secret of leaving everything in the way of the Lord. Sacrificing for Allah (SWT) represents the purifying of one’s heart from all else but the remembrance of Allah (SWT). And thus, we will be able to understand the depths of this act only when the relationship of this father and son with their Lord during the moment of sacrifice is presented in our souls.

When we reach Jamaraat (three large columns that pilgrims need to throw seven small stones at each rock) we may wonder about the point of such an act. What problem does this act resolve? A deeper look however, reminds us that these acts recall the memories of Ibraham (PBUH) when fighting against the Satan. It was when the Satan tried to stop Ibrahim (PBUH) from performing Allah’s (SWT) orders. The Satan revealed himself to Ibrahim (PBUH) three times to weaken him and create doubt in his heart. Ibrahim (PBUH) tried to keep Satan away by throwing stones at him. Once we bear these memories in mind, certainly then will we understand more about this part of Hajj.

This ritual is implying that everyone will confront evil throughout his life. The evil will not stay away from us unless we further it. If we expect to receive peace and blessings from Allah (SWT) as Prophet Ibrahim (PBUH), then we certainly must follow that path of Ibrahim and fight our desires till we defeat it and get it completely away from our souls.

When we go to “Safaa” and “Marwah” we see people walking from a small mountain to a smaller one for seven rounds. At a certain part some even jog and walk after a few moments. We may wonder to ourselves if these people are trying to accomplish a goal. The answer to our wonder can be found in the story of the pious Hajar. When Hajar was searching for water to feed her son, Ishmael (PBUH) in the middle of the desert, she ran around two mountains, Safaa and Marwah, yet she found no water. She however did not lose her hope from Allah (SWT), and that is when Allah (SWT) blessed Hajar by flowing a spring of water right under the baby’s foot. Hence, in Hajj when we see ourselves running with Hajar and walking in her footsteps. Through this we come to this realization that one can get anywhere in the path of Allah (SWT) only through significant efforts.

Consequently, we can realize that Hajj should be learned and practiced with the memories of Prophet Ibraham, Ishmael, and Hajar (PBUT). Every pilgrim should recall the history while performing the rituals. By doing this they will gain a deeper understanding of the philosophy moral effects of this great journey; otherwise the journey without such a knowledge is of less value.

(Reference: Tafseer Nemooneh, vol. 19, p. 125)

Congratulations to all Muslims upon the great feast of sacrifice, Eid al- Ad’ha, the purification of worldly dependency and the call of divine unity.