O’ Al-Hujjaj, what have you brought?

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*The legacy of Prophet Ibrahim

By ABU MUHAMMED

As flights carrying the Hujjaj arrive at at various airports,  the ‘arrival halls’are packed and crowded with loved ones, family members, friends eagerly awaiting to welcome the new Al-hujjaj.  Their eyes are glued, scanning, looking for their loved ones; and eventually,  greetings laced with smiles began to pour.  Returnees dressed in a thowb, head clean shaven, face glowing, further enhanced by the emulation of the blessed beard of the Noble Messenger of Allah (May peace be upon him) pushing a trolley atop which stands the containers bearing the blessed waters of Zam Zam flanked by his spouse who’s beauty now further enhanced by the donning of the Hijab; suddenly from nowhere children who had missed their parents emerge shouting, ‘Ummi, Ummi (Mummy), Abi, Abi (Daddy)’ as they run into the welcoming arms of their returning weary parents. Thereafter the elders from amongst family, friends and strangers wait to greet the Hujjaj and immediately request the dua (Supplication) of the Haji as per the directive of the Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace  be upon him)

‘When you meet a returning Haji (on his way home) then greet him, shake hands with him and ask him to beg forgiveness of Allah on your behalf before he enters his home, for his prayer for forgiveness is accepted since he is forgiven by Allah for his sins’ {as narrated by Abdullah ibn Umar (May Allah be pleased with him).

It is for this reason that it has always been the custom and habit of our predecessors to welcome the Hujaj, to walk with them and to ask them to pray on their behalf.

For all those of us who have been at the airport to receive a returning Haji, the picture painted above is a reflection of that experience, to which we can easily relate. Sadly though, besides this ‘cosmetic’ change that a Haaji undergoes, there is generally a lack of what the Haj of yesteryears held for a Haaji. (There are definitely exclusions)

Legacies of Prophet Ibrahim
Every valley, gulley, mountain and  paths that the Hujaj passed witnessed the Nur (Divine Radiance) that they carried with them into town, city, village. They remained unaffected with the legacy of the blessed Haramain Sharifain. The legacy of Makkah Mukarramah being the Tauhid of Allah (SWT), and that of Madinah Munawwarah, being that of Nubuwah (Prophethood) and Khatme Nubuwah (the seal of Prophethood)

In Makkah we have the Kaaba which is the symbol of Tawhid (Monotheism) established by Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) for the sole and exclusive worship of Allah (SWT). Prophet Ibrahim’s life (a.s) was characterised by total submission to his Creator and Sustainer and complete steadfastness in the face of great trials and tribulations like being ostracised by his own community including his father; and subsequently flung into the fire for his strict belief in Tawhid. As a manifestation of one of the greatest miracles, he was divinely protected by Allah (SWT) and the fire was made a place of peace and comfort for him from which he emerged unscathed. When this miracle failed to convince those   associating partners with Allah (SWT), Ibrahim migrated from the lands of his forefathers to become a stranger in the promised land of Shaam (Syria), where he continued with his mission and called to the light of Tawhid in the ocean of darkness, ignorance and polytheism.  As he grew older, his desire for a child grew stronger and he prayed to Allah (SWT) thus, ‘O Allah, grant me a righteous son?’ (Surah 37, Verse 100) Against all odds and against every expectation, Allah granted him a son at the ripe old age of 86 (Ibn Kathir)

Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) was then commanded by Allah (SWT) to leave the blessed land of Shaam  which represented land of material abundance and financial well-being and migrate to the barren desert land of Arabia in the valley of Makkah, devoid of any vegetation or habitation. There,  he was instructed by Allah (SWT) to leave his wife, Haajar (r.a) and his infant son, Ismaeel (a.s). He showed unflinching faith and allegiance to the command of his Creator and Sustainer as he never once questioned the commandment of Allah (SWT). Equally impressive was the response of his wife Haajar (r.a) who, after being told that this was the Command of Allah (SWT) responded, ‘If your leaving us here is on the command of Allah (SWT) then He will never forsake us!’

While her words are worth marveling at, it must be said that her faith was tested. After being left in this barren valley that had no sign of any habitation or vegetation her little provisions were soon exhausted and as scorching desert sun took its toll, her infant son began to writhe in hunger and thirst. She then ascended Mount Safa hoping to see someone or something to come to her assistance. Having scanned the pitiless horizon from this vantage point she hastily and frantically descended this mount and quickly made her way up Mount Marwa having the same hope of redemption. Not seeing anything, she once again descended into the valley and repeated her ascent up Safa. With every vain ascent and descent her hopes began to crumble while her desperation began to increase at the sight of her child crying uncontrollably due to hunger and thirst.

When eventually, on her seventh ascent (her fourth on Safa), the pendulum of her hopes shifted totally off creation and only onto her Creator, Allah (SWT), the spring of Zam Zam began bubbling beneath the feet of her infant son, Prophet Ismaeel (a.s). The water of Zam Zam which, from that time until today, flows forth in abundance and quenches both the physical and spiritual thirst of the millions visiting the Haramain as well as those that anxiously visit the returning Hujaaj/Umaraa at their homes having hope of being honoured with the good fortune of being offered a drink of this blessed water can be said to be the product of the great sacrifice of the family of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s). Once this water began to gush forth the valley of Makkah began its growth as a habitation with the settling of the Jurhum tribe from Yemen that would today become the most visited and revered place in the whole world.  Prophet Ismaeel (a.s) grew up amongst the Jurhum tribe who loved him dearly and it was amongst them that he learnt the Arabic language.

When Prophet Ismaeel (a.s) reached the age of puberty, the age wherein a father begins to see the continuation of his generations, Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) was commanded by Allah (SWT), in a dream, to sacrifice his only son (at that time) – that same son granted to him at such an old age and in whom, like every father, he had great love for and as well as hopes for his future. In a sense, Prophet Ismaeel (a.s) was his whole world. That same Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) who had spent almost a hundred years totally devoted towards the mission of Tawhid and passing test after test was now to be tested the ultimate test! As in his fulfilling of his Creator’s commands before, Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) did not for a moment hesitate to fulfill the command of his Creator neither did he question the logic and reasoning behind such a command. The response of Prophet Ismaeel (a.s) when his father communicated this command of Allah (SWT), is worthy of admiration. He told his father: ‘O my father! Do as you have been commanded! You will find me, if Allah so wills, one of the patient (steadfast) ones!’ Surah 37, Verse 102

Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) then proceeded towards Mount Arafah with Ismaeel (a.s) in order to fulfill the command of Allah (SWT). On route, at Mina, the devil appeared on three occasions to thwart the commitment of brahim (a.s) towards fulfilling the command of Allah (SWT). However both father and son remained steadfast and proceeded to fulfill the command of their Creator. It was when both had firmly resolved to fulfill the command of their Creator that Allah (SWT) presented the ram from paradise to be sacrificed as a ransom for Ismail (a.s).

Sheikh Lawal charges Muslims on goodness
As Muslims Ummah marks 1434 A.H. Hijrah (Islamic New Year) which began on Thursday November 15, 2012 (Yaomal Ahad 1st Muharram, 1434 A.H.), an international Islamic preacher and Imam, Sheikh Abdul-Rahman Adegboyega-Lawal has called on muslim Ummah and Nigerians to stand for truth, by the truth and do the will of Allah, in all their acts and deeds, for Nigeria to be on the right course among the country of nations.

Sheikh Rahman-Lawal who is the National President, Islamic Progressive Association of Nigeria (IPAN) and National Co-ordinator, AS-SALAM Praying Centre, Nigeria, noted that Hijrah was a turning point towards the right axis of governance, thus called for Allah’s guidance on Nigeria and Nigerians.

Lawal further urged Muslims to be more pious and righteous in this new Hijrah 1434 A.H. and should move closer to the creator by obeying His rules,  as well as being good and fair to fellow human beings.

The leader of IPAN & AS-SALAM Praying Centre, Nigeria also enjoined Muslims and believers to follow Islamic monotheism with all sincerity, by attributing to the creator all that He deserves, and doing Jihad and Dawaah.  “We must also respect all the prophets and believe their divine messages, revive and follow the Sunnah of prophet Muhammed (SAW), for our lives would be peaceful and orderly,” he stated.

The Islamic leader who is also a member of NACOMYO, Oyo State, tasked Muslims to reflect on the past so as to strengthen their faith in the new 1434 A.H  and to intensify on their salats with humility, submission, concentration and fear of the torment of the Day of Judgment, pay our zakat, as at when due, be sincere and truthful to others.

Sheikh Lawal charged the federal government to address-corruption at all levels, insufficiency of basic and effective social amenities, lack of security and unemployment crisis with a view to moving Nigeria forward, while also urging the politicians to emulate the character of the Prophet, who as a statesman ruled with the fear of God.

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