By Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam
6 September 2017
‘Fixation’ is understood to be a Freudian term, initially applied to sexual obsessions but later expanded to include broad human obsessions. Application of Reason for any fixation is not necessary.
Religious fixations too, to appease god(s) and/or to retreat in the spiritual lap of the mother church are so deeply engraved upon the devotees that no Reason is ever necessary to analyse their efficacy; questioning such fixations is strongly discouraged.
For the fixation of the venue for ‘Hajj in Makkah’, liberty is here taken to break the above rule.
- Gathering for Hajj in the context of Quran, assures Benefits for mankind. Accumulated knowledge, acknowledged history and common sense with a tinge of logic is essential therefore to determine its validity.
-The command of gathering for Hajj comes from various Quranic verses such as 2-196 onwards, 14-35 onwards and 22-26 onwards and others. There does not seem to be any direct naming of the city of Makkah, (or Bakka 3-96). But any evidence presented to the contrary will be appreciated.
-Quran, the source of Islam, confirms the teaching (10-37) of all Messengers of God, some named and others not named previous apostles to Muhammad of Arabia.
-In the Book and in the annals of history there is no reference where any of the previous Messengers came to Makkah to perform Hajj. Although the Book states that all these Messengers were given similar message and that none were differentiated and all are to be believed equally by the Believers 2-4, and that all Messengers had signed on the covenant with God, 33-7.
-The Quran does not suggest that Messenger Muhammad had adopted Jerusalem as the Qiblah/Focus prior to changing it towards Makkah/ Kaabah. God assures that He does not ‘change’ / ‘exchange’ His commands 17-77, 30-30, 35-43, 33-62. From the above the ‘fixation’ with any focus at all, Makkah or Jerusalem does not stack up.
-Allegedly, following in the “footprints” ( cast on a block, in the gilded cage) of Ibrahim who having travelled all the way there and “raised the foundation of the house” 2-127, of a stone and mortar Temple / Kaabah; having destroyed his father’s graven images in the temple back home, makes even less sense?
-The same ‘House’ today stands as the focus of the Muslim nation to circumambulate/ spin round it and other rituals, leaves one bewildered:
کعبہ اس چکر میں ہے کہ یہ کس چکر میں ہیں؟
The Kaabah is in a spin as to what ‘spin’ are they in?
-A black stone block in the wall of the Kaabah plays a pivotal role in the rites. Although the block has had a checkered history of being broken, defiled even and taken away by the Qarmatians who had kept it for over two decades before it was returned and reinstated! This notion of a stone, the building and other iconic objects to be revered ‘in the service of God’ and the huge gathering for that purpose must be questioned dispassionately in terms of benefits to the individuals let alone for mankind.
-The cubical window less structure Kaabah as it stands today has been damaged by floods, demolished, rebuilt and expanded often. If, as it is believed it is the physical “House of Almighty God”, He should have been able to protect it from these forces. After all God is all Powerful.
-The Book at many places, for example 32-3, 34-44, 36-6 and 62-2 affirms that that God sent a messenger to all nations who had NOT previously been warned and so a Messenger was sent to them to warn them against polytheism. That message was as a necessity given in their native tongues so that they could comprehend the message. For Arabs, therefore, Muhammad was the first Arabic speaking Messenger and not Ibrahim.
Therefore a Kaabah built by Ibrahim in far Eastern Iraq (Ur?) would be a real baitul-atiq, the ancient house 22-29.
-If Makkah was the Baladil Ameen – (balad is area/surrounds and madinah is city) assured of eternal peace -- God should have protected His Messenger Muhammad in Makkah where his life was threatened and destroyed his enemies there, instead of whisking him away at night (17-1) to a distant safe city later named Madinah Munawarah, where he passed the rest of his life!
-Muhammad’s only gathering of Hajj at Makkah in the pan-ultimate year of his death must be argued from the stand point of historic events of the time. Makkah was where his mission had started. From long ago it was a temple town and a market place, and well known for that reason. Here was where he had faced the strongest opposition to his mission. It was essential for his mission and “struggles” to succeed there (48-24) to establish God’s universal truth. He could not have suggested Timbuktu or any other place on earth to demolish the religion of idol-worshiping Quraysh, the elite of Makkah who wanted to persist with their ancestral ways (5-107).
Terms such as raising of the “foundation” , “House”, “station”, “spinning”, “toil” (… man can have nothing but what he strives for 53-39), “stoning the Devil” (See 24-22) etcetera do NOT have to be taken literally as tangible objects and physical performances of rituals. They could legitimately be taken as intellectually ‘embracing’, ‘encircling’ the philosophy, ‘belonging’ to its institution, making an ‘effort’, ‘restraining’ base desires and ‘entering’ the exalted space of the ideology.
The Book says Hajj is meant for the benefit of mankind. The planet earth as a whole was and is populated by mankind. To suggest that Makkah, the ‘city of peace’, ironically having been attacked often should be a center on the surface of the globe is to say the least insulting human intelligence and limiting the universality of the Creator. 2-177 dispels this fixation:
2-177, “It is not righteousness that you turn your attention to the East or the West but what is essential is that you believe in one God…” and the rest of the verse lists essential practical actions to be taken by human society for the benefit of mankind. It is worth noting that this suggests that it is not the ritual of facing any compass direction but a call for beneficial actions for the good of mankind.
From here, it is but a short step to conclude, as primarily required by the Book that in order to spread the practical benefits of Hajj: economic, educational, cultural, political, bonding and others; the Hajj-- a struggle of mankind in the service of God—should be rotated in various Muslim cities of the world for mankind to benefit from it; minus the graven images.
On practical level it means, to gather to resolve the problematic issues that beset Ibrahim’s millat, his nation.
3-97, ”In it are clear signs, it is the Space of Ibrahim. Whoever enters it (the baladil ameen) attains security- “aamina”- And pilgrimage to the “house”(institution) is a duty mankind owes to God. Those who can find their way to it; but if any reject faith, God stands not in need of any in the Universe ”. Almost every word there is weighed with an invitation to mankind to ponder and analyse intelligently and apply Reason to grasp the message of the Book.
One can hear the howls of vested interests: “perish the one who suggest this”; religious houses/churches putting ignorant masses into spin, the custodians of duality of two harams plundering the Muslim wealth and the Muslims fixated with every icon there joining in the chorus.
The Unitarianism with which Ibrahim nurtured his nation- Muslims, have been led to believe for all these centuries, that it was he who established for them the temple Kaabah, the ‘house of God’ in Makkah to satisfy their deeply engraved longings for tangible icons:
ہوئ ہے تربیت آغوشِ بیت اللہ میں تیری -- دلِ شوریدہ ہے صنم خانے کا سودائ
And also for the Arabs he established the highly profitable holy-cow. When two million visitors only for Hajj, spend say, a thousand dollars each, they pump two billion dollars there in just few days.
Are its custodians to be blamed? Why should they look under the udder of a gift cow?
As for all their struggles, the gullible Hajjis return with nothing more than a litre or two of diluted Zamzam, total reward for their sai’. A Jerri-can of fuel-oil instead would be more useful gift today!
But alas fixations with idols, temples and venues flourish! Monotheism ideology of Ibrahim, the other Apostles and Muhammad too has been finally and soundly defeated by the combined opposition in Makkah of State, Religion and Business enterprises!