Articles & Newsletters
Reality: Verse One
Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The Parable of His Light is as if there were a Niche and within it a Lamp: the Lamp enclosed in Glass: the glass as it were a brilliant star: Lit from a blessed Tree, an Olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil is well-nigh luminous, though fire scarce touched it: Light upon Light! Allah doth guide whom He will to His Light: Allah doth set forth Parables for men: and Allah doth know all things. 24:35
The Pilgrimage of Revealed Law
The pilgrimage at this level is to go to the Sacred House of Allah to carry out the prescribed rituals which are to be performed at specific times. Pilgrimage consists of both obligatory actions and voluntary actions.
The Obligatory Actions are of two types: absolute and restricted (to certain circumstances). The absolute is that the pilgrimage should be the Pilgrimage of Islam, which is fulfilled when the following conditions are met: maturity, sound mind, freedom, health, easy availability of provisions and means of transport, sufficient funds and the existence of a means of obtaining one’s livelihood, the emptying of the innermost distractions (great fears, attachments etc.) and the possibility of making the journey.
The Lesser Pilgrimage or `Umrah & the Ka`bah
This is the voluntary visit to the Ka`bah at other times of the year. The word `umrah is from the Arabic three letter root `AMR, which means to construct, build and inhabit, implying ‘flourishing, inhabiting, giving life to, populating, and building’. Thus, `umrah means to cause to flourish and to be enlivened by one’s presence at the Ka`bah.
The Ka`bah is a metaphor for divine impenetrability and for this reason there is no fear for the one who is present there. It is the Fortress of Eternal Truth – everlasting and perfect. Whoever performs the `Umrah is not obliged to perform the Pause at `Arafah, but only the Tawāf and the Hastening Between Stations, and does not leave Makkah before visiting the House many times. This represents the passion for Allah’s Names and Attributes which encompass the universe and the Ka`bah is its centre.
1. The Stoning of Shaytan
The casting of seven stones is symbolic of repudiating the deceptions of Shaytan. The act of casting a stone implies courage and determination to be spared of Shaytan’s evils. Thus, if you stone him he will fear you rather than you fear him. You should fear Allah, as He has said:
# ... so do not fear them [friends of Shaytan] but fear Me if you are people of faith. [3:175]
Otherwise, beware because:
# ... and no one feels secure from the plot of Allah except the people who shall perish. [7:99]
In summary, the state of the Master is not steady until he reaches the House which is referred to as ‘Oneness’, and that is the station of Abraham:
# ... and whoever enters it is secure. [3:97]
For this reason it is said: Go to the House, make the tawāf and salāt in this manner. Outside this fortress there is no security. ‘Fortress’ is the Presence of Lā ilāha illa’Llāh, of which Allah has spoken in a hadith qudsi, saying:
~ Lā ilāha illa’Llāh is My Fortress and whoever enters My Fortress is secure from My chastisement.