English - Ma'ariful Qur'an - Mufti Shafi Usmani RA - Vol - 1
Surah Al-Baqarah - 2 : Verses 196 - 203
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The emphasis on remembering Allah in Mina
In the last of the eight verses relating to injunctions about Hajj, that is, (And recite the name of Allah in the given number of days), the Hajj pilgrims have been asked to engage themselves in the remembrance of Allah so that their Hajj meets a perfect ending and their post-Hajj life becomes correct and fruitful.
These 'given number of days' refer to : (ayyam al-tashriq) during which it is necessary (wajib) to say takbir (which is, ).
Immediately following is a clarification of the duration of stay at Mina and the deadline for throwing pebbles at the three Pillars. This was an issue debated by the people of Jahiliyyah. Some thought it was necessary to stay at Mina upto the 13th of Dhul-Hijjah and throw pebbles at the three Pillars. According to them, to come back from Mini, on the 12th was impermissible and those who did so were sinners. Similarly, others regarded coming back on the 12th necessary, and staying there through the 13th, a sin. Both were corrected in this verse by saying: : 'Then whoever is early (in leaving) after two days there is no sin on him and whoever remains behind, there is no sin on him ...' thereby proving that both parties calling each other sinners are involved in excess and error.
The correct position is that Hajj pilgrims have the option of acting on either of the two permissions. However, it is better and preferable to stay there through the third day (that is, 13th of Dhul-Hijjah). Jurists say that one who leaves Mina before sunset on the second day (i.e. 12th of Dhui-Hijjah), it is not necessary for him to do his ramy (throwing of pebbles on the three Pillars) for the third day. But, should the sun set while he is still in Mina, it does not remain anymore permissible for him to leave Mina until he has done his ramy for the third day. However, the ramy for the third day has a special concession that it can also be done between the post-morning and pre-noon hours.
If we look at the manner in which the choice of returning from Mina has been given to the Hujjaj - no sin if they return on the second day and no sin if they return on the third day - we shall realize that all this is for the convenience of one who fears Allah and obeys His commands, for he really deserves the Hajj, as said elsewhere in the Holy Qur'an: which means that Allah Almighty accepts (acts of prayer and worship) only from those who are God-fearing and obedient. Now, one who has been involved in sins much before Hajj, continued being negligent even during the Hajj and was callous enough not to abstain from sins even after Hajj, his Hajj is certainly not going to be of any good to him, although, the formal obligation has been validly fulfilled, releasing him from the possible crime of not having performed the Hajj.
Closing this eight-verse unit, it was said: (And fear Allah and be sure that you are going to be gathered before Him), where He shall make you account for all your open and hidden deeds and give you the reward and punishment for these. This last line is really the essence of all Hajj injunctions given in these verses. It means that one should keep fearing Allah during the special days of the Hajj guarding oneself from any shortcoming in the prescribed acts of Hajj, as he should keep fearing Allah after the Hajj guarding himself against any pride of performance, and keep abstaining from sins because, on the day human deeds shall be weighed on the Balance, his sins will eat away his good deeds, that is, they will nullify the effect and weight of those good deeds. In a hadith about the great 'ibadah of Hajj, it has been said that one who returns after having accomplished his Hajj, is so cleansed of his sins as if he was born on that day. This is why those performing Hajj have been instructed to maintain the quality of Taqwa, (that vital sense of responsibility before Allah). Being one who has been purified from sins, it is necessary to take all possible precautions against what tempts man to fall into sin so that one can earn the best of both the worlds, the dunya and the akhirah. If this is not done and the performer of Hajj goes back to a life of sin, even after such a cathartic experience, he shall find that the elimination of his past sins by forgiveness is not going to be of any use to him. Contrary to this, the 'ulama' have said that one who returns from his Hajj with his heart free from the love of dunya and attracted to the concern for the akhirah, his Hajj is accepted and his sins are forgiven and his prayers are answered. From place to place during the Hajj, people pledge their obedience to Allah before His House, how can these pledges be thoughtlessly broken after the Hajj? If those who are lucky to perform their Hajj are a little more mindful of this factor, they might stay by their solemn pledge later on.
A pious elder said: 'When I returned from Hajj, it was by chance that a suggestion of sin crept int" my heart whereupon I heard a voice from the Unseen: Didn't you perform the Hajj? Didn't you perform the Hajj? This voice became a wall between me and that sin. Allah Almighty protected me.'
As against this, there is the case of another pious man from Turkey, who was a disciple of the famous Maulana Jami. He was in such an unusual state of spiritual excellence in his normal life that he used to observe a halo of radiance over his head. He went to perform his Hajj, but after his return he discovered that he has lost that unusual state totally. He talked about it to his master, Maulana Jami. He said: 'Before your Hajj, you had the gift of humbleness, you wept before Allah thinking of yourself as a sinner. After your Hajj, you became proud and picked up the airs of someone righteous, spiritually elevated. Therefore, this very Hajj of yours became the cause of your pride and that is why you lost that state of radiance.'
The emphasis on Taqwa (the fear of Allah) towards the conclusion of Hajj injunctions has yet another secret. It goes without saying that Hajj is a great act of 'ibadah. Once it has been accomplished, that eternal adversary of man, the Satan, generally injects into man's heart the thought of self-righteousness which simply ruins all his deeds. Therefore, the final word said was about the need to fear Allah and the necessity to obey Him, not only before the Hajj and during the Hajj, but also after the Hajj when one must become much more particular in fearing Allah and alert in abstaining from sins by conscious effort, lest all that one has done in the form of the 'ibadah of Hajj goes waste.
O Allah, give us the ability to do what You love and are pleased with - in word, deed and intention.
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