Hajj and Arafat
In the Blessed Name of Allah, infinite Compassion and Love
O Lovers, In these powerful days of the Hajj leading up to the day of Arafat, let us drop all inner preoccupation with other affairs, and turn our whole being to the one affair that is life giving and essential, the existence of Allah Exalted and Noble, and the existence of our being as the light of Allah. We have the opportunity in the beginning of this holy month to contemplate our entire life as a pilgrimage, from the Source returning into the Source. It is a pilgrimage that takes us from the light of the pre-eternity of souls into the seven layers of darkness of creation, where the spirit dwells as a seed in the ground or as the seven sleepers in the cave. Into this dreamlike cave of creation, Allah’s loving mercy and grace enters to awaken and inspire our hearts. Allah’s love takes the form of the light of Rasulallah, may the most exalted peace shower upon him and upon all the Messengers bearing this light, the same light which shines thru the hearts of our Pirs, our shaykhs and our community. Guided by this light, we begin the inner journey, the conscious pilgrimage, thru the holy land of the heart, passing thru all the way stations of the divine Names which constitute the heart. We return to our Beloved, together with all the pilgrims of the world who have engaged in the holy way of life. So let us take these days of the Hajj to envision ourselves following the footsteps of the Prophet of Allah, peace be upon his noble being, as he journeys thru the vast immensity of the heart into the Essence of the heart. Let us follow in the way of the blessed Abraham, Ishmael, and Hajjar, may they be embraced in sublime peace. Let us follow the way of all noble Prophets and Mothers of the Faithful living in this world as pilgrims who pause for a moment under the shade of a tree, as travelers who know the true destination and are not fooled by the shadow.
Let us imbue ourselves with the powerful fragrance of the Prophets and Mothers of the Faithful, their hearts like the desert, no overgrowth of earthly concerns, dry of all but Allah’s abounding grace which fills the oases of sacred knowledge and pours as rainfall from the heavens in sudden flashes of compassion, their hearts open to the sky of divine names shining in the darkness of Essence, their hearts as vast tents welcoming the saintly travelers who have come to join the caravan of return into eternal love.
Imbued with the sacred spirit of the Prophets, let us take the most direct way to join with them on this holy pilgrimage. And that way is to actualize with our whole being the meaning of La ilahe ilallah Muhammadun rasulallah, from chanting it on our tongue to realizing it on all levels of our self, culminating in the seventh level where Allah alone is chanting it thru all the seven levels. Let us intone this tasbih constantly in these holy days and for the remainder of our lives. La ilahe takes us from the illusion of creation, ilallah takes us to the Reality, Muhammad Rasulallah takes us from the Real into the divine creation which is the light of the Real. Let us chant with our whole being the holy name of Allah, which contains all the Names, and the blessed name Hu, the Essence. The journey thru these names comprises the true Hajj.
Let us contemplate for a moment how our spiritual life is embodied in the steps of the Umra and Hajj. The longing which stirs us to seek our Source is symbolized in the quest of Hajjar for help in the desert as she ran back and forth between the two hills, Safa and Marwa. The response of Allah to our longing and the discovery of the Source within our own heart is mirrored by the child Ishmael as he stomps his blessed foot on the ground releasing the life giving water of Zem Zem. Ignited by love, we are driven by the desire to offer our lives and what is most precious to us in sacrifice to our Beloved. This is manifested in sublime Abraham, peace be upon him, as he willingly prepares to offer his most precious son, Ishmael (Isaac for the Jewish nation) to his Beloved. And as Shaykh Nur, may his soul be blest, has commented, this is not just an immense, almost inconceivable personal sacrifice, it is the offering back to the Source of the very lineage of prophecy which sustains humanity. This is the affirmation of La ilahe ilallah in all of its depth. According to Muzaffer Effendi, rahmetullah aleyhi, the command of Allah to sacrifice his son came in the eighth night of the Hajj month. The next day is called the Day of Contemplation because the blessed Abraham fell into deep contemplation on that day after the dream, remembering that he had himself vowed to offer his son to Allah if he would be granted one. So let us also contemplate together with the Prophet Abraham on this day, remembering our nothingness and realizing that everything we have and are is from Allah’s infinite generosity. Let us contemplate on the greatness of the heart of Abraham, whose sacrifice sheltered humanity from its own erring and guided humanity to the light of the One. Let us ask ourselves if we can make the smallest sacrifice which is to offer our ego, our personal sense of self, to our Beloved. By the end of the day, Abraham concluded that he would respond to the divine command by sacrificing a hundred camels, praying for them to be accepted in the place of his son, and also because he was uncertain whether the command was literal or symbolic. The following night, the night before the Day of Arafat, came the command “Fulfill your vow O Abraham!” The next morning on the Day of Arafat, Abraham again sacrificed a hundred camels as an offering to be taken instead of his son. At this point let us pause and recall that this is the passing day of Pir Nureddin al Jerrahi, may Allah sanctify his soul. We begin to realize the greatness of his passing on this day as we understand it as a sacrifice to Allah for all humanity, and for modern humanity following in his wake. Returning to the account of the blessed Abraham, it is in the night between the 9th and the 10th, the night before the Day of the Feast (the Eid), that the command came a third time, “Fulfill your vow O Abraham!”. At this third request, the noble Prophet fully understood and accepted that he must offer his actual son as a living sacrifice to his Beloved. So, on the day of the 10th, the Eid, he, Ishmael and Hajjar set out for the place of sacrifice….
Insha’allah to be continued.
In Allah’s great love, Fariha