Hajj and Prophets Before Muhammad - Haji Murad

Haji Murad

Introductory note: I will try to explicate the noncompliance of Islamic prophets (apart from Abraham and Muhammad) who never made it to Ka'ba on pilgrimage is a serious breach of prophetic etiquettes.

To begin with, I have a request to all here to tolerate my arrogance, because the plight necessitates bringing some Quranic verses and their commentary in Arabic. However, I will endeavor it to the extreme in turning those pieces more diaphanous for all readers for an easy digestion.

We witness to the phenomena of reinterpretation of Quranic verses by Modern Ulemas and Sheikhs. The very reason; that often daunts me from choosing Quran as the basis of my arguments. Whenever we pull out a verse or verses from this outdated book to bring about an argument, Muslims are in flames to rush on spot with the kind of anomalistic narratives. Redacting or re-scripting verses, and finally wrapping up a rather hazy reinterpretation. All fallacious tactics been used opportunely. The matter is so serious that even a intellect in the caliber of Imran Aijaz failed to halt this viciousness.

Turning back to the official commentators should have to solve the problem to some extent, but the jury is still out in the case. Many modern day Muslims are aware of the dangers posited in these traditional materials. Hence they keep their eyes wide open to dispose objectionable accounts even at the cost of distorting their own tradition. Therefore uncertainty is to sustain despite all daring bids made. Nevertheless my attempt is to construct arguments accrediting Islam’s well-known and recognized Mufassirs (Quran Commentators) I am sure both conventionalist and apologist Muslims will have their own versions to counter this.

Abraham under his lord’s command; called upon the whole of mankind to the house of Ka’ba which he purified and prepared for faithful to use for worshipping their lord. Since Abraham was commanding on behalf of his god; Allah, it was the decree of god to the currents of this great patriarch and generations to come.

To endorse the above statement, I will quote from Quran:

وَإِذْ بَوَّأْنَا لِإِبْرَاهِيمَ مَكَانَ الْبَيْتِ أَن لَّا تُشْرِكْ بِي شَيْئًا وَطَهِّرْ بَيْتِيَ لِلطَّائِفِينَ وَالْقَائِمِينَ وَالرُّكَّعِ السُّجُودِ

And (remember) when We showed Ibrâhim the site of the (Sacred) House (the Ka'bah at Makkah) (saying): "Associate not anything (in worship) with Me and sanctify My House for those who circumambulate it, and those who stand up for prayer, and those who bow (submit themselves with humility and obedience to Allâh), and make prostration (in prayer, etc.) (Al-Hajj 22:26)

The core of the above verse is the spirit of God’s command to Abraham. God asks Abraham to purify his house to set it up ready for worshippers to come and do their veneration therein. Be attentive to this point. What does it mean purifying Ka’ba? Does it mean Ka’ba had crumbled in Abraham’s time and he had to rebuild it? Most certainly NO. Three infamous Mufassirs Ibn Kathir, Jalalain and Qurtubi recognize purify refers to cleansing Ka’ba off idols.

From Tafsir Jalalain:

"وَ" اُذْكُرْ "إِذْ بَوَّأْنَا" بَيْتًا "لِإِبْرَاهِيم مَكَان الْبَيْت" لِيَبْنِيَهُ وَكَانَ قَدْ رُفِعَ زَمَن الطُّوفَان وَأَمَرْنَاهُ "أَنْ لَا تُشْرِك بِي شَيْئًا وَطَهِّرْ بَيْتِيَ" مِنْ الْأَوْثَان "لِلطَّائِفِينَ وَالْقَائِمِينَ" الْمُقِيمِينَ بِهِ "وَالرُّكَّع السُّجُود" جَمْع رَاكِع وَسَاجِد: الْمُصَلِّينَ

FromTafsir Qurtubi:

وَأَمَرَ بِتَطْهِيرِ الْبَيْت وَالْأَذَان بِالْحَجِّ . وَالْجُمْهُور عَلَى أَنَّ ذَلِكَ لِإِبْرَاهِيمَ ; وَهُوَ الْأَصَحّ . وَتَطْهِير الْبَيْت عَامّ فِي الْكُفْر وَالْبِدَع وَجَمِيع الْأَنْجَاس وَالدِّمَاء . وَقِيلَ : عَنَى بِهِ التَّطْهِير عَنْ الْأَوْثَان ; وَذَلِكَ أَنَّ جُرْهُمًا وَالْعَمَالِقَة كَانَتْ لَهُمْ أَصْنَام فِي مَحَلّ الْبَيْت وَحَوْله قَبْل أَنْ يَبْنِيه إِبْرَاهِيم عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام . وَقِيلَ : الْمَعْنَى نَزِّهْ بَيْتِي عَنْ أَنْ يُعْبَد فِيهِ صَنَم.

FromTafsir Ibn Kathir:

وَعَهِدْنَا إِلَى إِبْرَاهِيم وَإِسْمَاعِيل أَنْ طَهِّرَا بَيْتِيَ لِلطَّائِفِينَ وَالْعَاكِفِينَ وَالرُّكَّع السُّجُود" وَقَدْ قَدَّمْنَا ذِكْر مَا وَرَدَ فِي بِنَاء الْبَيْت مِنْ الصِّحَاح وَالْآثَار بِمَا أَغْنَى عَنْ إِعَادَته هَهُنَا وَقَالَ تَعَالَى هَهُنَا" أَنْ لَا تُشْرِك بِي شَيْئًا أَيْ اِبْنِهِ عَلَى اِسْمِي وَحْدِي" وَطَهِّرْ بَيْتِيَ " قَالَ قَتَادَة وَمُجَاهِد مِنْ الشِّرْك "

These are the authentic commentaries of the verse 22: 26 in Arabic. I have quoted only relevant parts of their commentaries to cut it short. Again, I will be more constricted to only translate the noteworthy portions.

The highlighted portion in the Jalalain version can be transliterated as "Wa Thwahhaer baithee minal outhan". Which literally means “purify my house off idols” So, Allah’s aim was to obliterate imperious idols from Ka’ba, not to rebuild it. It tells us, there were idols in the Ka’ba at Abraham’s times too. The presence of idols testifies the fact there were reverential activities performed within Ka’aba, even before Abraham allegedly put his feet there.

Both Qurtubi’s, and Ibn Kathir’s version correspond to this. They are united in suggesting “Purifying the house” does mean cleansing the remnants of polytheism off Ka’ba.

From the original verses and commentaries, it becomes clear Ka’ba was an old shrine where people venerated within during the time Abraham. But the purity of the shrine was tainted with idols and pagan practices. Therefore god commands Abraham to purify it. This purification or sanctification work doesn’t confine to mere lifeless objects such as Ka’ba or the temple therein. In a broader sense Abraham had to do with sensual beings too to help them shed their polytheistic beliefs and practices. Still not enough, God demands more:

وَأَذِّن فِي النَّاسِ بِالْحَجِّ يَأْتُوكَ رِجَالًا وَعَلَى كُلِّ ضَامِرٍ يَأْتِينَ مِن كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيق

And proclaim to mankind the Hajj (pilgrimage). They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, they will come from every deep and distant (wide) mountain highway (to perform Hajj). (Al-Hajj 22:27)

The verse starts as “Wa Azzin Fi-nnasi bil hajji” meaning herald to mankind the Hajj. Using of "NAS" should get more attention since it explicitly denotes the whole of mankind. This command of god is appendage to the verse 22:26, hence both verses requires collective reading. Doing so, it reveals god’s protracted plans on preparing his house for worshipping. God wasn’t simply targeting a small audience under the patronage of Abraham, rather his vision encompassed the future generations too. Again, I would quote those magnificent three commenting on the above verse.

Tafsir Jalalain:

"وَأَذِّنْ" نَادِ "فِي النَّاس بِالْحَجِّ" فَنَادَى عَلَى جَبَل أَبِي قُبَيْس : يَا أَيّهَا النَّاس إنَّ رَبّكُمْ بَنَى بَيْتًا وَأَوْجَبَ عَلَيْكُمْ الْحَجّ إلَيْهِ فَأَجِيبُوا رَبّكُمْ وَالْتَفَتَ بِوَجْهِهِ يَمِينًا وَشِمَالًا وَشَرْقًا وَغَرْبًا فَأَجَابَهُ كُلّ مَنْ كَتَبَ لَهُ أَنْ يَحُجّ مِنْ أَصْلَاب الرِّجَال وَأَرْحَام الْأُمَّهَات : لَبَّيْكَ اللَّهُمَّ لَبَّيْكَ وَجَوَاب الْأَمْر "يَأْتُوك رِجَالًا" مُشَاة جَمْع رَاجِل كَقَائِمٍ وَقِيَام "وَعَلَى كُلّ ضَامِر" رُكْبَانًا أَيْ بَعِير مَهْزُول وَهُوَ يُطْلَق عَلَى الذَّكَر وَالْأُنْثَى "يَأْتِينَ" أَيْ الضَّوَامِر حَمْلًا عَلَى الْمَعْنَى "مِنْ كُلّ فَجّ عَمِيق" طَرِيق بَعِيد

Commenting on the verses 22:27 Imam Mahalli and Suyuti (Jalalain)recognizes when Abraham heralded his lord’s command, all those prescribed with Hajj responding to his call. It goes to such a length that even those in their mother’s wombs responded. Both these reckonings gain the utmost importance here. If all those required to pilgrimage had responded to Abraham’s call, he was undoubtedly addressing the humanity as a whole. This consists those reigned in his time and those yet to place their feet over the planet. More importantly, when those in their mother’s womb too partake in this rejoinder, it broadcasts to an overt symbolization. Here it is an illustrative of future generation’s compliance to god’s command, though most Muslims would be pretty comfortable in counting this as one of many so-called prodigious incidents.

Moving on to Ibn Kathir, it starts to grow even clearer.

Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
وَقَالَ : يَا أَيّهَا النَّاس إِنَّ رَبّكُمْ قَدْ اِتَّخَذَ بَيْتًا فَحُجُّوهُ فَيُقَال إِنَّ الْجِبَال تَوَاضَعَتْ حَتَّى بَلَغَ الصَّوْت أَرْجَاء الْأَرْض وَأَسْمَعَ مَنْ فِي الْأَرْحَام وَالْأَصْلَاب وَأَجَابَهُ كُلّ شَيْء سَمِعَهُ مِنْ حَجَر وَمَدَر وَشَجَر وَمَنْ كَتَبَ اللَّه أَنَّهُ يَحُجّ إِلَى يَوْم الْقِيَامَة

Ibn Kathir acknowledges trees and mountains prostrating in answer of Abraham’s call. According to his version, mankind; supposed to prevail until the day of resurrection responded to Abraham. The highlighted parts can be translated as: He (Abraham) heard it from everything that ranges from trees, stones and from a vast magnitude of people lengthening to the Day of Judgment.

Qurtubi’s account is rather lengthy, but essentially similar to that of Ibn Kathir. He too acknowledges the rejoinders of unborn souls, essentially metaphorical of future generations.

Original Quran verses and commentaries added to the same confirm the fact Islam’s god commanded (through Abraham, the great patriarch) the whole of mankind to perform Hajj. When Abraham was assigned to invite people to the house of his lord, he addressed the whole of his concurrent and forthcoming people.

God’s revealed his command through Abraham to cause it perpetually relevant. Yet, there isn’t any account in either Quran or other Muslim traditional materials to attest any prophets other than Abraham and more lately Muhammad complying with god’s diktat. It would always be mysterious as Islam itself why the prominent prophets like Moses and Jesus failed to conform to god’s edict and remained prophets of the same god they disobeyed.


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