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The Institute for a Just Socio-Economic Order

Alternative Understanding To Hajj II

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by Anwar Goins

There has been much written throughout history about what Muhammad, God bless him, did and said. However, to take all of these sayings as true would be as wrong-minded and misguided as taking all that is and has been said about other great figures of the past and even the present. We should know from experience that within one great figure's society, as well as among this society's descendants, there will be slander, lies, criticisms, eulogies and some truths told about that person. However, if any of these sayings are not either written by or authorized by this important figure, all that these sayings constitute is rumor. Rumor can be true, but the burden of proof is heavy if the "horse's mouth," so to speak, is not available. What is considered historically accurate or true, as it concerns rumor, is the consistently common aspects among all of the stories. However, one must always bear in mind that one is to take the most likely aspects of a rumor as the most possibly true, but not as the absolute truth. There is really no such thing as absolute truth for a human being because truth may change depending on what new and more trustworthy information one may come upon, having not been exposed to it before.

With that in light, let us consider God's message, popularly known as the Koran. It is more trustworthy than any of the post-hoc stories about Muhammad, coming about after it. This can even by attested by these post-hoc stories, as they consistently imply that the Koran existed prior to them. Furthermore, all of these post-hoc stories are the basis upon which later scholars started guessing about which verses or chapters were revealed first, and where they were revealed. Nevertheless, there is no Koran that is ordered the way these scholars say it originally was. Nor is there complete consensus on every verse's supposed chronological order or place of revelation. The only excuse given for why every compilation of the Koran is ordered the way it is, is again a post-hoc, hadeethic and extra-koranic (1) idea that Gabriel, God bless him, instructed Muhammad to arrange the book from its earlier order to how it is now arranged. In spite of this, the earliest copies of the Koran do not even differentiate verses (though they differentiate chapters). The differentiation of Koranic verses is definitely a post-koranic, early Islamic invention (very useful for referencing).

This evidence about the verse differentiation within the Koran being post-koranic totally smashes the Islamic opinion that the Koran, having had a different chronological order, was later arranged as it is now. This Islamic understanding about the order of the Koran's revelation, even when looking at the Koranic passages that might suggest this understanding, cannot and does not exist without very post hoc and therefore inappropriate hadeethic influences. The compilations of Ahadeeth are rumor and should not be used to interpret history, and especially the Koran, as freely as they are used.

Logically then, when it comes to understanding the Koran we must not illogically assume about it or use untrustworthy and inappropriate information to interpret it. We must use sound and appropriate evidence as it concerns what we are to believe about both the Koran and what it says. With that in mind, let us consider what the book can be saying without the influence of rumorous hadeeth. Let us take the most logical and appropriate of what it may say therein over anything that any post-hoc, post-Koranic source might say. Isn't this only just? So, now we will consider what the Koran has to say about pilgrimage and see whether it either confirms the rumor of the Islamic Ahadith or whether it brings forth a wholly new and distinct idea about this subject.

Let us first ask, what exactly is a pilgrimage? It certainly isn't limited to just the Islamic practice of pilgrimage. It is universal. All people who consider any place, or physical thing, sacred have made a pilgrimage to it if they've ever gone to visit it. The author of this article always thought that a pilgrimage entailed some long, hard or far traveling, but for those who live near a sacred place whether Hindu, Muslim, Christian or whatever, can't they also make a pilgrimage to these places? It would seem that indeed they can.

So obviously a pilgrimage has nothing to do with distance.

Webster says that a pilgrimage is:

1: a journey of a pilgrim; especially: one to a shrine or a sacred place

2: the course of life on earth

And journey is described as:

1: Travel or passage from one place to another: trip.

This is how the word hajj (2) is translated into English from the Early Classical Arabic sources (sharing the same language as the Koran). Therefore, this is how an early Classical Arab would have communicated what he also would have considered in his language 'hajj(un)' or 'a pilgrimage.'

But that would just mean that visits to any holy place or sanctuary, whether 5 times a day, everyday or once in a while are pilgrimages in themselves. (?)

Exactly.

Before we move on to the next step of this analysis concerning what place God really commands us to make a pilgrimage to, we must consider the Cl. Arabic word, 'bait.' (3) In Cl. Arabic the word 'bait' can mean 'house' as well as 'family' or ' the household,' being a unit that is housed together in some way or under some common umbrella, roof or banner. Moreover, those in your household do not have to be your blood relatives as people who live with non-blood relatives or who have adopted children should already know.

So when one reads 2:124-125 and sees that Abraham prayed for his progeny (4), being his family (because he is the abu (5) or the origin of their emergence), it should be taken into consideration that Abraham could have been praying for his blood children or all those that have and will come under some unit attributable to him in any way. The Koran continues on reading, "Moreover, we made the family as a place of returning and a gathering place for humanity, a place of security. Take his stance as a blessed one and make his standing among you blessed (6)"

Does the Koran not state that Abraham is the father of God's loyalists, those who are pro-God, having submitted to and for Him? It does, indeed. Therefore, we are his children, of his progeny, from his seeding, of his family, of his house. We declare that we submit ourselves to and for God because of Abraham and his declaration. His house is one under which all humanity can gather for security and safety. Now onto the house that he built.

"And we took a promise with Abraham and Ishmael, saying "Make my house pure for those in it and around it, and for the worshippers, humbly kneeled or bowed."

So Abraham constructed God's house. But God's house is any place constructed in his name & devoted to Him where people may come to worship him. The use of the phrase God's house is widespread; having been in existence before and outside of just the Koran. I have certainly heard it used amidst Christians and Jews. God's house is used by Christians for every church, the Hebrew 'Beth'El' (whose equivalent in Cl. Arabic is baitullaahi) can be found in the Old Testament and even as the names and descriptions of synagogues today. In the Koran, never is pilgrimage to a house of Abraham commanded. This interpretation can only be possibly implied in 22:26-29 because of the word &ateeq(un) being mentioned in the last passage. This word is popularly understood as 'ancient,' but it has an alternative meaning of 'noble.' This allows for what may have been only understood, from lack of knowledge, as 'the ancient house' or 'ancient houses' in 22:29, to also be understood as 'the noble house' or 'noble houses.' This is a fitting description for God's houses, being holy houses and holy sanctuaries. The description of the house(s) mentioned in 22:29 as 'the noble house' or 'noble houses' certainly clears up that passage, simultaneously freeing the student of the Koran from the doubt of the existing rumor about the location of a house that Abraham built. It puts the passage properly in line with the pilgrimage that has been proclaimed earlier in the Koran. That is, to holy houses of worship6. So, I conclude the following about both Abraham's house and the pilgrimage that God's loyalists owe from the passages of the Koran:

Abraham's house is the family of those faithful to Abraham's religion, being Pro-God in every way, faithful, loyal and submissive to and for God, neither specifically Jewish, Christian or Muslim, taking shelter under the religion that Abraham established and considering him a common father, as God has him described in the Koran.

Never is pilgrimage to a house that Abraham built commanded. Rather it is pilgrimage to houses of God, holy places of worship (or holy sanctuaries) that is commanded. And such pilgrimages are mandatory during 4 holy months.

Al-masjidul-haraamu and Baitullahi are to be read in their collective senses. They mean holy places of worship and houses of God; of course established by people pro-God, taking Abraham's example when he raised the foundations of God's house.

Every sacred place of worship is to be the communal centerpiece (al-qiblatu) of any pro-God community. 7

The pilgrimage to God's houses, to holy sanctuaries, where Abraham's house, being all people pro-God, is to congregate together, has specific rites, and is to be mandatorily undertaken within the span of 4 certain months, limited to 2 days at the least.

The specific words mentioned in the Koran that can confuse the Islamically oriented reader into thinking that a pilgrimage is due to Mecca/Makkah, Arabia will now be dealt with. Topping the list of these words are Asafaa and Al-marwatu (. These words, in Cl. Arabic, mean 'Stone' and 'Pebble.' Bearing these facts in mind, the author proposes that what is being said by "Asafaa wal-marwatu min sha&aairullaahi faman hajjal-baita laa junaaha &alaihi an yatawwafa bihimaa' can be both of the following:

"Stone and pebble are among God's signs (9). So whoever makes a pilgrimage to the house, there is no crime on him if he comes upon the two."

Or

"Stone and pebble will be part of God's places of worship. So whoever makes a pilgrimage to the house there is no crime on him if he comes upon the two."

Taking the two renderings into account, the author believes that this passage is to be understood to be implying that no one that performs a pilgrimage to houses of God, being holy places of worship, is to feel guilty of a crime for being in houses where they come upon elaborate stones and pebbles, simple stones and pebbles, or any stone and pebble in its construction.

Al-'Arafaatu, (10) mentioned in the Koran, stands for the familiarizations & approbations that are to go on during the pilgrimage. In the context of the passage where it is mentioned it is to be understood to be implying that we are to be making ourselves familiar, recognizing and approving of each other as an activity at the place of pilgrimage, the holy sanctuaries that are God's houses.

Al-'umratu (11) is all the activity to go on at the place of pilgrimage. Ka'bun is the masculine form of the word ka'batun, better known as ka'bah. To understand the feminine form we have to understand a few things about Cl. Arabic. Firstly, that the feminine form of the word ka'bun (12) carries the same meanings as the masculine form. In the case where it carries distinct meanings it is because it has been feminized to differentiate a very similar concept from some already established concept associated with the masculine form of the word. In addition to that, if you make the masculine form of a word feminine it gives strength to this word. For instance, 'Khaleefatun' is stronger than 'khaleefun', 'abbatee' stronger than 'abbee', and 'aarifatun,' stronger than 'aarifun.' (13)

The meanings of Ka'bun listed in Wehr's dictionary (14) are the following:

Knot, knob, node (of cane); joint, articulation, ankles, anklebone; heel (of foot or shoe) ferule; die; cube; high rank, fame, glory, honor.

Everything that the male of the form fa'lun (being the representation of the Cl. Arabic form in question, universally applied to all roots) can mean, so can the female (fa'latun or modernly and colloquially fa'lah), with the added meaning of emphasis that the feminization of the word gives; where it is clear that there could be intensification. The meaning that the dictionary gives for Ka'bah, as with Ka'bun, includes 'cube.' So then why cannot Ka'bah also share the meanings of: high rank, glory and honor, taking into account the possible intensification it can mean? This would render it: truly high rank, true/great glory and true/great honor. The author proposes that these meanings are the meanings that are meant in the Koran by Ka'bah. This word happens to also mean a cubic structure. But who's to say that this cubic structure is the famous one in the Hijaz area of Arabia, in a city popularly known as Mecca/Makkah? Why not some other cubic structure in another area of Arabia, or the world for that matter? The Koran doesn't say anything about any cubic structure being in any Arabia or in any city called Mecca/Makkah.

From reading the Koran we have no reason to believe that we should even be visiting the city of Mecca, Arabia other than in visiting some holy sanctuary, being a house of God if we can travel that distance. Otherwise the Koran does not speak of any Mecca/Makkah in regard to any pilgrimage. Nor has the Cl. Arabic meaning of Makkah (1, Notes) even been looked at as what the Koran may really mean when it uses this word. With the above in mind, the author proposes that 5:94's 'hadyan baalighul-ka'bati' means " A present that is truly honorable." (15)

It is also proposed here that 5:97's 'Ja'alallaahul-ka'bata albaital-haraama qiyaaman linaasi washah-ral haraama wal-hadya wal-qalaa'ida' means 'God has put in true honor and glory the holy houses, as upstanding things for the benefit of people. As well as the holy months with [its] directions, including the awarding of people with marks of honor." (16)

Al-mash-&ar(u) is defined in the dictionary as 'sense, feeling, sensation." So I take 'Adh-kuroo allaha &ainda mash&aril-haraami' as "Mind God with holy feeling/sensation."

To reiterate, pilgrimage is owed to holy sanctuaries, any holy sanctuary, being the houses of God, wherever they may be if we are able to visit them. This pilgrimage is obligatory during 4 discernable months. There is, however, compensation made for those who do not live close to such houses and are prevented. The 4 discernable months are the 4 months of pilgrimage mentioned in the Koran, they consist of 4 traditional holy months that can be best discerned of the Pre-Islamic Arabs. They are the 3 months of pilgrimage and the month of Muharram (17).

Whether Abraham really built a Holy place of worship or not, a house of God, could never be called Abraham's house because it then wouldn't be devoted to God. Furthermore, did he build it in Arabia like the Arabs have said or did he build it in the land of the Philistines and Canaan like the Israelites said? According to the Bible he built many houses for God all over the lands he traveled in. So should we accept the rumor of the Israelites or the rumor of the Arabs? Neither one. Why should we accept rumor when the passage that mentions the house that we should make pilgrimage to doesn't have to be read as any house that Abraham, God bless him, built or as any house particular to a certain location.

3:96-37 says 'inna awwala baitin wudi&a linaasi lalladhee bi bakkata mubaarakan wa hudan lil-&aalameena feehi ayaatun bayyinaatun maqaamu ibraheema wa man dakhalahu kaana aaminan wa lillahi &alaanaasi hijjul-baiti man istataa&a ilaahi sabeelan wa man kafara fa innallaaha ghaneeyun &anil-&aalameena"

This passage can be read as:

" Truly the best of any house that has been placed for people will be the one with much crowding, and in a ranking above the rest (1! It is blessed with certain guidance for the nations. In such a house are clarifying words and signs, the stance of Abraham. Whoever takes his stance will be secure. For God's sake people have the duty of pilgrimage to the house; whoever has the means for it. But as for whoever rejects it, God is not in need of the nations (19)." 3:96

Taking what the Koran can be telling us without the help of rumor frees us from the doubt of such rumor. It might be suggested once more that based on 22:26-22:29 pilgrimage to the house that Abraham built for God is necessary. But if Abraham was commanded passages 26-29 then there is a problem because the house was not ancient (&ateeq) when Abraham first built it. It could be that 28-29 are the words of the narrator of the Koran, or that 27 is a command to Muhammad, which helps the rest make more sense. But I still question the superior merit of one house of God over another house of God? Doesn't the reader, also?

It is not until 22 chapters into the compilation that pilgrimage to the house that Abraham built could be being commanded. The author can see the logic and merit of Abraham's declared religion, encompassing all the undeclared (but practiced) religions of the prophets of God, being submission to and for God being over any other religion. But a house dedicated to God that Abraham built being more important than any other house truly dedicated to God? That is not just estimation.

The author will admit that he cannot dictate to God what God finds important. Perhaps a pilgrimage should be made to this house? But again, which one? The one the Arabs claim to be Abraham's construction or the many ones to be found according to the Israelites' rumor in the Bible? The Koran states that God doesn't wish for us difficulty in our religion, culture, customs and ways. To make a pilgrimage to all the houses that Abraham built in dedication to the Lord would take many resources and would be difficult indeed. Furthermore, what of the houses that no longer stand, having been long forgotten? Are we to seek these houses out to make a pilgrimage to these houses also?

Consistency in interpreting God's message should be the standard, unless the language of the message disallows consistency. Then and only then are we to deal with a new or different implication. Therefore, the author believes that the pilgrimage mentioned in Chapter 22 is the same pilgrimage first mentioned in chapters 2, 3 and all the earlier chapters, being pilgrimages to holy houses of worship, any holy house of worship, being houses of God. These are under the umbrella of 'God's house(s)' and 'holy sanctuary/ies.'

There may be many who believe their houses to be houses of God, being holy sanctuaries to them. But how can a house be a house of God when God is made equal with other things or persons, is lied about, degraded, defamed, dishonored or wholly betrayed in these houses? They are the sanctuaries of God's betrayers. Furthermore, why would God's loyal consider such houses to be sacred, or God's houses? Such houses along with the company to found within them are to be avoided. God's message instructs about the places that his loyalists are to consider sanctuaries, and the company therein. These are the houses God approves of as God's houses.

"God will authorize and choose certain houses because his name is honored and minded in them. Within such houses, glorifying God at the beginnings of daylight and at its endings, are persons that neither any transaction, nor any trade distracts from minding God, through upholding prayer to Him, supporting and upholding blessings for his sake, and being in compliance with all things that better for his sake. They will be afraid on the day when all hearts, minds and visions will not be stable; all in order that God may reward them for the excellence that they affect and increase them in his grace. God provides for whoever he wishes without limit." 24:36-37

May God bless His loyalists, those who are pro-God in every way. May He bless them with absolute success and with absolute protection from all harm in this earthly life and in their final lives, after their physical death, a death that God has communicated that all will taste. But may He protect them from absolute death, being the inanimation associated with loss and great pain, the opposite of experience and prosperity.

End notes:

1 Hadeethic: Of the Hadeeth also known as Ahadith. They are the post-hoc, post-quranic, rumorous narrations, having been compiled by Muslims, about what Muhammad and his contemporaries, supposedly did or said. To the author's knowledge all the histories about Muhammad are based on such rumor, there being no direct sources from Muhammad (other than the Quran) or any eye-witnessing contemporaries about what he did and said outside of the Quran. Some of them also claim to have recorded what God revealed to Muhammad, extra-quranically. These hadeeth also claim that Muhammad was illiterate, but the Quran implies that Muhammad copied aktataba (God's message, 25:5) the Quran himself. Extra-quranic: Outside of the Quran. Post-hoc: After the fact, or after the passing of an event. Post-Quranic: After the Quran.

2 Al-Hajj(u), and its indefinite, Hajj(un) can also be understood as debate but we are not dealing with the Quranic passages that logically offer this as a meaning.

3 Properly 'baitun' or its definite (also being the collective) form 'al-baitu.'

4 Dhurriyatihi: Those having emerged from/because of him.

5 Anything that is the cause of a certain result is its abu: parent or father. The result or the product is al-ibnu: child, member or son.

6 Maqaam(un) can mean 'stance or position' as in opinion or belief, maqaamu-ahadin is the opinion of someone (being the thing that one stands for) or the opinion of the about someone. Ittakadha is reflexive and means for ' someone to take into possession/consider something in relation to himself.' Musallan from sallaa can mean blessed. As in, for instance, sallaa allahu &alaihi meaning '(May) God bless him.'

6 Al-masjidul-haraamu can be understood in its collective sense as 'holy houses of worship' or 'holy sanctuaries.'

7 As Hajj is mentioned in the Quran as a pre-Islamic concept, when the father of the woman that Moses (God bless him) married in Midian says that he must work for him through 8 pilgrimages (hijajun), so also is the concept of al-qiblat(u) mentioned, outside of the Islamic context when Moses' people are told to make their households their communal center-pieces or qiblat(un), while they are in Egypt. (God's message, 10:87)

8 In Islamic tradition these two words are associated with two particular places in Saudi Arabia. Marwun/Marwat(un) can mean a flintstone and a pebble, pebble being the all inclusive definition, and therefore the most preferable interpretation.

9 In understanding the Arabic word sha&aa-ir as 'signs,' sha&aa-ir is being taken as the plural of shi&aar(n) (paralleling 'fi&aal(un)) which is the masculine of the form fi&aalat(un); paralleling the forms of tilaawatun and qilaadat. Sha&aa-ir(u) can also mean 'places of worship' as well as 'altars.' As the reader can see the author believes 'places of worship' and 'signs' to be the all-inclusive and more logical meanings.

10 The author is using both ' and & to stand for the Arabic letter ayn/ain) &Arafaat(un) is the plural of &Arafat(un) being the feminine or the intensified form of &Arfun or &Aarifun, derived from the first from &Arafa. It could be equal in meaning to the feminine or intensified meanings of &Irfaan(u/un), &Araaf(un) and &urf(un). As all of this can mean the same thing, namely, "One that makes familiar or familiarization"

11 The informational noun of the root &amara, and the feminine (implying intensification) of &umrun &umratun. It can mean "(much/true) activity, (much/true) busy-ness, (great/true) life, (much/true) population/peopling, (true) civilization, (true) construction or (great/true) age/long life.'

12 From the form 'fa&lun'

13 For those readers who do not know Cl. Arabic very well, you can see that the addition of 'at' before the 'un' (the 'un' possibly being substituted with 'in', 'an' , 'a', 'u' or 'i' depending on the grammatical role of the word) makes the word feminine. Khaleef can mean corrupt(ed) or replacement, Abee means 'my father' and &Aarif means 'one who recognizes/approves/is familiar or familiarizes'

14 Again I admit that I don't have this is not the most appropriate dictionary because Wehr is subject to include strictly Islamic or Modern definitions in the definitions that it gives.

15 Literally, "A gift/present/supply reaching true honor."

16 Qalaa-id(u) is from qilaawat(un), which is equal to tilaawat(un) in form and derived from the first form as well as the 3rd form. Qalada can mean from 'adorning with a neckless, or a gird (also to gird),' to 'the conference of rank, honoring with decorations(marks of honor) or giving of authority and power to someone or something.' This would obviously be part of &Arafaatun, mentioned earlier. Hady(un) comes fom hadaa which can mean 'to guide, lead, direct, show, present, supply, bring or to procure' which explains the use of hady(un) as a 'present(gift) or a from of supplies(supplement)."

17 There is another set of traditional Arabic dedicated to non-violence, which includes the three standardized months of pilgrimage and the month of Rajab. However, Muharram (meaning 'made holy or restricted') demonstrates the discernable theme of holiness by its name. As it concerns the 4 holy months this above-mentioned theme is what is given more importance in the Quran than the theme of months for non-violence. So I reject Rajab as a holy month.

18 Bakkata I take to be the intensification of bakkatun, having the same meaning as its masculine form bakkun, from the root ba, kaf, kaf.(taken from the Cl. Arabic lexicons Lisaanul-&Arabi and Mu&jami Matnil-Lughati, under the root ba, kaf, kaf ) To see online, visit: http://www.peopleprogod.org/files/Bakkatun.pdf

In English the root's meanings translate as: Pounding or crushing (al-&unuqa: (on) the neck) (daqqul-&unuqa), distinguishing/ranking above others (farraqahu, kharaqahu), jostling, pressing or crowding(crowds:zahm), any crowding(or crowds), competition. (izdihaam) heaping/piling together/amassing (taraakib), super-imposition of things on top of other things (taraakim), a man/male having or the trying to have sex with a female, denial or rejection a thing or person's dignity, to humiliate, cancellation/dissolution/breaking, being in need or being stout, muscular or rough, from activity.

19 al-&aalameena can also be read as "any thing" based on its meaning of 'every class/race of people and thing.'

Additional Notes:

1. Makkah (also carrying the mood of intensification) can mean 'Destruction, Diminishing, Crowding, Sucking (out, up), Absorption, Casting aside/away or Pelting." Sources are "Mu'jam Matnil-Lughati" & "Lisaanul-'Arabi".

2.The author used the two Classical Arabic Lexicons "Mu'jam Matnil-Lughati" and "Lisaanul-'Arabi" when available, namely for the word bakkat(un). Also used (for the rest of the Cl. Arabic words) was "Wehr's Arabic-English dictionary" (an adequate but disadvantaged dictionary because it addresses Modern Standard Arabic mainly, though it includes particular Classical Arabic usages). "A Grammar of the Arabic language" by W. Right, 3rd addition was also used in interpreting the grammatical implications of the Arabic words used in the Koran.

http://www.peopleprogod.org/pilgrimage.html