Khutbah – The Role of Non-Pilgrims in the Hajj
We have reached the final week of the eleventh hijri month of Dhu al-Qa`ida 1437 AH. At this time our hujjaj (pilgrims) are eagerly anticipating the beginning of the final lunar month of Dhu al-Hijja. For it is during the days of the lunar month of Dhu al-Hijja that the key manasik or rites of the hajj take place.
Insha-Allah, this coming Thursday 1 September 2016, at 11:03 am South African time the moon will complete its cycle around the earth, marking what is technically known as Astronomical New Moon. At sunset in South Africa on Thursday 1 September the new crescent moon, known in Islamic parlance as the hilal, will be around seven and a half hours young. The earliest recorded sighting of the crescent moon (hilal) with the naked eye is around fifteen and a half hours and some lunar experts claim that it is closer to seventeen hours. This means that it is scientifically impossible to see the crescent moon (hilal) with the naked anywhere in South Africa at sunset on Thursday 1 September 2016.
Basing its rulings on sightings of the hilal with the naked eye (ru’yat al-hilal), the local South African lunar hakim or authority will thus declare Saturday 3 September as corresponding to the 1st day of the lunar month Dhu al-Hijjah. This means that `Id al-Adha in South Africa will be celebrated on Monday 12 September 2016.
If, however, the hajj authorities in Saudi Arabia were to accept hisab al-falaki (i.e. astronomical calculations) as a legitimate shar`iah convention for determining the beginning of the lunar month, then since the moon will have completed its cycle around the earth and the hilal is more than seven hours old they will declare Friday 2 September as corresponding to the 1st day of Dhul Hijja.
If this happens then the Day of Wuquf al `Arafah (the most important day of the hajj when the pilgrims pause and gather on the plains of `Arafat) will occur on Saturday 10 September and `Id al-Adha will be celebrated in Makkah on Sunday 11 September 2016.
For those of us who are convinced that `Id al-Adha is inextricably linked to the hajj and in contemporary times, when it is possible to view the entire hajj via satellite television we will synchronize our `Id al-Adha celebrations with the hujjaj in Makkah. This position is supported by many contemporary Muslim scholars, including the late Shaykh Jad al-Haq `Ali Jad al-Haq (d.1996), the former rector of the Al-Azhar University in Cairo. In response to a fatwa on the issue requested by the Muslim Judicial Council in 1989, Shaykh Jad al-Haq responded as follows:
“… it is the duty of all Muslims no matter where they are on the earth of Allah to coincide with the Hujjaj on ‘Arafat in their standing and their celebration of `Id. Since this is so it is incumbent on all Muslims of South Africa and others to celebrate the blessed `Id al-Adha with all the hujjaj in Makkah, in spite of the different time factors …” (Sunday Times, 2 July 1989)
Celebrating `Id al-Adha with Makkah is also the official position of Egypt, the view of the European Council of Fatwa and Research and the Fiqh Council of North America. For further information on this fiqh mas`alah or question, I would encourage you to read the research done by Dr. Rafiq Ali Shah on why is `Id al-Adha the Day after Wuquf al-`Arafah. I also encourage you to watch our masjid noticeboard, website and Facebook pages by next Friday.
Insha-Allah, we should be able to confirm the day of `Id al-Adha in Makkah by our next jumu`ah service as either Sunday 11 September or Monday 12 September 2016.
As we anticipate the lunar month of Dhu al-Hijja it might be useful to remind ourselves about our role as non-pilgrims during this time of hajj.
Our responsibilities as non-pilgrims do not end with bidding our hujjaj farewell. Rather, non-pilgrims are expected to observe the sacredness of the season of hajj and particularly the ayyam-al-hajj. The specific five days during which the hajj takes place are the following days of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 8th day known as Yawm al-Tarwiya, the 9th Day known as Yawm al-`Arafah, the 10th day known as Yawm al-Nahr, and the 11th, 12th , and 13th days known as the Ayyam al-Tashriq. Non-pilgrims are expected to observe the sacredness of these days and participate in the hajj indirectly in five significant ways.
First, we have promised our relatives and friends who have been blessed with the great opportunity to perform the hajj that we will make prayer (du’a) for them. We need to fulfil our promises and try to make du’a for them after every salah. There are many recommended supplications that can be recited and I would like to recommend the following well-known du`a:
اَللّٰهُمَّ اجْعَلْنَا حَجًّا مَّبْرُوْرًا ،
O Allah! Grant our pilgrims an accepted hajj
وَسَعْيًا مَشْكُوْرًا ،
And let their strivings and endeavours be rewarded
And forgive them their sins and trespassers
وَعَمَلًا صَالِحًا مَّقْبُوْلًا ،
And accept their good deeds
وَتِجَارَةً لَّنْ تَبُوْرَ ،
And let not their assets perish
يَا نُوْرَ النُّوْرَ ،
O Light upon Light
يَا عَالِمَ مَا فِى الصُّدُوْرِ ،
O Knower of all that is in our hearts
اَخْرِجْنَا يَا اَللّٰهُ مِنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ اِلَى النُّوْرِ ،
Lead us forth from Darkness unto Light
Second, it is a social obligation (fard kifaya) on us as a community to inquire about the welfare of the children, parents and other relatives which the pilgrims may have left behind and offer our assistance wherever we can. By fulfilling this social obligation we not only provide peace of mind to the hujjaj but also share in the great blessings of the hajj.
The third way in which we can participate indirectly in the hajj is to fast in solidarity with the pilgrims on the day of ‘Arafah, the most important day of the hajj. Fasting on the day of `Arafah, is a highly recommended sunnah. According to the companion of the Prophet (pbuh), Abu Qatadah (may Allah be pleased with him), the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
Fasting on the day of ‘Arafah is expiation for two years of sins, the preceding year and the year following it. (Sahih Muslim)
In order to underscore the precise meaning and significance of fasting on the day of `Arafah one of the illustrious female companions by the name of Umm al-Fadl (may Allah be pleased with her) reports the following hadith:
People were in doubt over whether the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was fasting on the day of ‘Arafah, and so I sent him some milk, while he was delivering his farewell sermon at `Arafah, and he (the Prophet) took it and drank it. (Bukhari and Muslim)
On the basis of the above hadith we can conclude that fasting on the day of `Arafah is not intended for pilgrims who are gathered on the sacred plains of `Arafat. Rather, fasting on the day of `Arafah is a way for non-pilgrims to participate in the blessings of hajj. Fasting on the day of `Arafah spiritually links the non-pilgrim with the pilgrims who are gathered at `Arafat.
Celebrating `Id al-Adha is a fourth way in which non-pilgrims participate vicariously in the hajj. `Id al-Adha is a celebration of the achievement of millions of pilgrims (hujjaj) who were present on the sacred plains of ‘Arafat, in compliance with the most important symbolic rite pertaining to the hajj. For the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s everlasting peace and blessings be upon him) has declared in an authentic prophetic tradition:
“The Pilgrimage (Hajj) is `Arafah.”
(Reported from `Abdurrahman bin Ya`mur and recorded in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad)
By celebrating ‘Id-al-Adha in solidarity and in unison with the hujjaj who have freshly returned from standing on the sacred plains of ‘Arafat (wuquf al-‘arafat), we are giving this great day of happiness and joy its true meaning and significance. For it is only within the context of the hajj that the real meaning and true significance of our celebrations and joyful festivities on this blessed day of ‘Id-ul-Adha can be correctly understood and appreciated.
The animal sacrifice (udhiya or qurban) on the day of `Id al-Adha and the subsequent three days of tashriq, is yet another opportunity for the non-pilgrim to vicariously and indirectly participate in one of the final and culminating rites of the hajj.
The evidence for this proposition comes from the most primary source of Islam, the Glorious Qur’an. In Surah al-Hajj, chapter 22, verse 29, Allah, the Sublime, explicitly identifies the udhiya (animal sacrifice) as the culminating rite of the hajj:
ثُمَّ لْيَقْضُوا تَفَثَهُمْ وَلْيُوفُوا نُذُورَهُمْ وَلْيَطَّوَّفُوا بِالْبَيْتِ الْعَتِيقِ
After you have sacrificed your animals, bring to an end your state of self-denial [consecration or ihram] and circumambulate the ancient house.
Commentators of the Qur’an understand the rare Qur’anic term tafath employed in the above verse to mean the “restrictions of ihram”. From the above verse it is therefore clear that animal sacrifice is a culminating rite of the hajj. After having sacrificed an animal the pilgrim may exit from his/her ihram (state of consecration). For the non-pilgrim, sacrificing an animal is another way of spiritually linking them with the hujjaj. The animal sacrifice by non-pilgrims on ‘Id al-Adha and the subsequent days of tashriq is intended to make Muslim hearts beat in unison with the hearts of the hujjaj gathered at the sacred places in Makkah.
These then are five ways in which non-pilgrims can observe the sacredness of this season of hajj and participate indirectly and vicariously in the blessing of the hajj.
In conclusion, one of the great contemporary Indian scholars of Islam, Maulana Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi (may Allah bless his soul) used to call the season of hajj as:
“Rabi’ al-Hubb wa al-Hanan” (the season of love and affection).
Let us embrace and celebrate this season of hajj, as a season of love, peace, unity and piety for all Muslims and indeed all of humanity.
We make du’a and pray that Allah, the Hearer of all supplications, grants all hujjaj an accepted hajj mabrur, forgiveness of their sins allows them to return to their homelands as true ambassadors of Islam., insha-Allah.