Friends have invited me to give a talk on Madinah, describing what I saw there, and I have readily agreed. As a Persian poet has said: “To talk of the beloved is no less pleasant than to meet him.”
I do not know when I first heard of Makkah and Madinah. Like all Muslim children, I was brought up in an environment in which Hijaz (Arabia) and Makkah and Madinah were household words. I, distinctly, remember people saying Makkah, Madinah together as if these were the same. When they took the name of one of them, they, generally, mentioned that of the other as well. I, thus, came to imagine that Makkah and Madinah were not two different places, but one, and learnt to appreciate the difference only as I grew up. It, then, became clear that these were two different towns separated from each other by over 300 kilometers.
For the inhabitants outside the boundaries of Miqat it is Wajib that at the time of their departure from Makkah they perform a parting Tawaf. (Tawaf-e-Wida). This is the last Wajib of Hajj and all three kinds of Hajj are like in this respect, as it is Wajib for one who performs any kind of Hajj. This Tawaf is not however Wajib for the people of Haram and the inhabitants of inside the boundaries of Miqat.
The Rami At Jamrat-Ul-Aqaba
Today on reaching Mina, the first thing to do is the Rami at Jamarat-ul-Aqaba which is Wajib on this very day. It may please be noted that there are three such places in Mina which are called as Jamarat. Seven pebbles are pelted on each of these Jamarat. The first Jamra is near the mosque of Mina i.e. Masjid-e-Khaif. It is called Jamrat-ul-‘Ola. The 2nd Jamra is next to the first and is called Jamrat-ul-Aqaba is situated at the end of Mina. Today on the 10th Zilhijja, you are to perform Rami with seven pebbles on Jamrat-ul-Aqaba only. Rami literally means pelting of stones or pebbles. This Rami is observed as a memorial of that approved action of Hazrat Ibrahim (Abraham) which he did at the time he took his son Hazrat Isma’il (Ishamel) for offering him as sacrifice and the satan tried to mislead him. At that time Hazrat Ibrahim repelled the satan by throwing pebbles at him.
Today you are to perform the most important fundamental of Hajj, without which Hajj does not stand performed. Today, when the sun rises a bit high you are to set out for Arafat from Mina. Outside the precincts of Haram and at a distance of 9 miles from Mecca, Arafat is that great open field where the Holy Prophet Hazrat Adam and Hazrat Hawwa were mutually acquainted and met together after their separation. This very acquaintance (ma’rifa or t’aruf) is said to be the root of the name of Arafat.
Today, after sunrise, all the pilgrims are to go to Mina in the state of Ihram. Mufrid whose Ihram is for Hajj only and Qarin whose Ihram is for Hajj and Umra collectively, both are already with Ihram. The Mutamatte who had taken off his Ihram after Umra as well as the inhabitants of Haram will today wear Ihram at first. They should take a bath in accordance with Sunnat and should come in Masjid-e-Haram after wearing Ihram. It is Mustahab for them to perform a Tawaf. After saying two Rak’ats of Tawaf they should say two more Rak’ats for Ihram. Then they should make up their mind for Hajj in this way :
It is noteworthy that for the Afaqi people Ihram is obligatory to be worn on Miqat or on the point confronting Miqat. It is not permissible to step forward towards Mecca without Ihram beyond Miqat or the point confronting Miqat. If anyone does so, he will be under obligation to offer Dam.
Yet it is not only permissible but also preferable to wear Ihram before Miqat or the point confronting Miqat.
Since the introduction of traveling by aeroplanes, there have been two routes for Pakistani and Indian travellers. One is the sea route and the other is the air route. There are separate rules of action regarding Ihram for both the routes.
There is a verse of the ‘Holy Quran’
“And pilgrimage to the house is a duty unto Allah for mankind, for him who can afford the journey thereunto. And whosever disbelieves (i.e. he does not come to the house despite his being able to do so) then (he does Harm only to himself) Allah stands not in need of any of his creatures.” (3 : 97)
To afford journey to that House (i.e. the Ka’ba) means that apart from one’s day-to-day necessities of life one has sufficient funds to meet all the expenses of journey to and from the house of Allah at Mecca as well as the Expenses during the period of one’s stay there. Moreover, one should be able to manage the Wajib (obligatory) maintenance of one’s dependants upto one’s return from the journey. There are severe warnings in the ‘Holy Quran’ and ‘Hadith’ for a man who does not perform the ‘Hajj’ Pilgrimage despite his being capable as mentioned above.
Hazrat Ibn Umar R.A. report that Rasulullah Sal’am said: “When you meet a Hajji (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.”
Another Hadith explains the same point. Rasulullah Sal’am is reported to have said: “The Mujaahid (fighter in the way of Allah) and the Hajji are members of Allah’s deputation. Whatever the beseech of Allah, is granted to them and whatever they beg of Him, they receive.”
“Hazrat Talhaa R.A. reports that Rasulullah (Salallaho Alaihi Wassallam) said: “Apart from the day of the battle of Bader there is no day on which the Shaytaan is seen more humiliated, more rejected. More depressed and more infuriated, than on the day of Arafaat, and indeed all that is only because of beholding the abundance of descending mercy (on that day) and Allah’s forgiveness of the great sins of the servants”. (Mishkaat)
Hazrat Aayesha R.A. reports that Rasulullah Sal’am said: “There is no day in which Allah sets free more souls from the fire of hell than on the day of Arafaat. And on that day Allah draws near to the earth and by way of exhibiting His pride remarks to the Angels: “What is the desire of these servants of mine.”
Note: As for the fact that ‘Allah draws near’ or ‘descends’ to the lowest heaven and similar phrases in Hadith literature, it should be borne in mind that Allah alone knows best the correct meaning. Allah is at all times near. He is not at all in need of the literal ascending or descending. When they come across such statements, the ulama explains it as referring to Allah’s special mercies that draw near.