Itís that time of the year, Muslims all over the world
are getting restless. Their Home in the heart of the planet beckons them. Itís
time to pay homage to the Beloved God in the House. Itís time to come Home.
Itís time to come Home to the Holy Sanctuary of Kaaba. Itís time to leave all
and follow Him. Itís time to abandon this illusory world and come to the House
of God. Itís time for Hajj--the Pilgrimage. Those who can go will head to Mecca, those who canít will join in the festivities of Homecoming wherever they may be by
celebrating the Eid of Sacrifice.
Hajj is a commemoration of love and celebration of
faith. We commemorate Abrahamís Supreme Sacrifice in love of his Beloved in
Mina. We celebrate his wife Hagarís display of unprecedented love for the
infant Ishmael and her unflinching trust in the Providence in the lonely desert
around Safa and Marwa. We venerate Godís Greatest Gift, the Quran by spending a
day in Arafat where the final revelation was sent. We celebrate faith by coming
face-to-face to the Qiblah of our prayers.
Hajj is also an act of renunciation. Muslims from every
corner of the globe don their coffins--two cotton sheets--to represent their
deaths to this life and head to their Primordial Home. They pay their debts,
ask forgiveness of everyone, bid farewell to one and all and prepare to die to
this world to live in Him. We are now ready for Hajj to the Kaaba very special
The Kaaba is a special place. It was the first house of
worship built by the first man. God commanded Adam to make a journey. He walked
umpteen months until he arrived guided by God to Mecca. Here, he was instructed
to build Him a House. This was mankindís first House of Worship. This is where
we first learned to mourn our separation from our Beloved. This is where Adam
shed countless tears to lament loss of paradisiacal glory. This is where we
sought to seek His nearness. This is where we sought to experience His
intimacy. This House is the Archetype which basks under another House situated
far beyond the realm of the Visible Universe and the prison of space and serial
time. This is the first act of reconciliation with our Paradisiacal Destiny in
the Home of our Beloved in spite of our terrestrial sojourn.
The Kaaba is a special place. It was once lost to us but
our Beloved led His Friend Abraham (may God shower him with praise) to this
Sanctuary and gave him the task of restoring this House. Our father recruited
his son Ishmael for the Holy Task. For months at end, father and son toiled
under the searing desert sun sustained only by their burning love for the
Eternal God. This choice was no random choice. Abraham was the man for the job.
Every year, when men and women were to come to this blessed House, they were to
come on 10th of the month of Dhul-Hijjah. This auspicious day God asked Abraham
to make the Supreme Sacrifice and Abraham delivered. Allah asked His Friend to
sacrifice his son Ishmael and he obliged.
Kaaba is a special place. Its foundations have been
fortified by love and faith of Abrahamís family. We go there to commemorate
love. We go there to celebrate faith. Abraham lived the true meaning of
Surrender. He loved God, his Friend, above all. God gave him a dream where he
saw himself sacrificing his son. Persistence of the dream convinced him that it
wasnít just a dream but an allusion from the Infinite. He intimated the dream
to his son who readily concurred. Once it was known to be Godís Will, the son
didnít offer any excuses. It was a foregone conclusion that His Will be done.
Father and son set off to the designated place. When they reached their
destination, son suggested that the father cover his eyes so his love does not
overwhelm him into disobeying His master. At the very moment that Abraham let
loose his knife, the son was substituted with a lamb. This time and this day
was made sacred. Every year, millions come this very day. Millions retrace the
steps of these two in the valley of Mina, they stop where they stopped, walk
where they walked and finally arrive where the Supreme Sacrifice was offered.
Here, everyone offers a sacrifice in His Love and then gives it to the
impoverished people of the land all the while marveling at Abrahamís burning
love and faith in God that he was willing to sacrifice his most precious love.
Those who canít be here, celebrate this wonderful sacrifice wherever they may
be in any part of the world. For indeed, the love of God must be celebrated.