An Inner Meanng of Hajj
Hagar as the Spiritual Founder of the Pilgrimage Site
by Khalil Green
The story of Hagar and Ishmael is symbolic of having true faith when God places us in harms way.
Hagar’s (wife of Abraham) story began when God told Abraham to leave her and their son Ishmael in the barren desert. Hagar asked Abraham if his lord told him to do it and he said yes. She stated that she understood. Upon Abraham’s departure she became frantic and began to run between the hills Safa and Marwa looking for water and food. At length she witnessed a well of water burst forth from the ground. Thus, was she provided for and was able to feed her son.
Faith in the Provisions of God
Hagar understood that whatever hardships one experiences in life it pales in comparison to faith in God. Faith in God and the provisions that are established is more important than what she believed would be her fate. She worshipped a God who is merciful. She did not consider her change in status as an unfortunate event wrought by God. She realized that for reasons unknown to her God had decided a change in her life. He placed her in what appears to be harm's way for a higher purpose.
Hagar realized that life is a total worship of God. Not relocated for Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Whether in the tent of a queen, or the most dismal of deserts God remains God, and humanity remains His servants.
Searching for Provisions
As Hagar began to run between the hills, fear grips her as she watches her son dwindle from life due to thirst and hunger. She searches and finds no food or water. To and fro back and forth she runs. Perhaps for hours as fear and dread grip her more firmly. Perhaps she thinks when will come God's help. Perhaps she answers her own question and realizes that the help of God is always near. At once a stream of water burst up from the sand where Ishmael lay. Thus, she finds provisions in the most unlikely of places.
Such is life. When the shadow of despair appears God reaches out with his light and touches the down trodden soul. God brings that soul provisions from sources which are not perceived. Patience is tested as the Quran states,
By Time, Verily Man is in loss, Except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth, and of Patience and Constancy. (Quran 103:1-3)
Seeking Provisions is a Necessity
This story further teaches that each soul must continue seeking its provisions even in the face of hopeless adversity and despair. It should have faith at each moment that God will provide.
The Muslim seeks the provisions of his lord this season during hajj. Continuously saying “here I am Lord". The pilgrim seeks the provisions that are generously bestowed from God. The Muslim seeks provisions for the mind, body, and soul. All three components of the human being need nourishment.
The pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca is the ultimate form of nourishment for all three components. Ten days of hardship that culminates into a blessed spiritual meeting with God at the House (Kaaba). The pilgrim begs for the forgiveness of sins. They are the wealthy, and the poor all wrapped in the same simple garment of two white sheets. They pray to their Lord who sees not wealth or status but only piety and intention to worship. The rich person does not ask for more money and the poor does not ask for his status to change. They do naught but praise and thank God for this opportunity to visit His house. They know God does not reside there but the simple thought of his symbolic presence drives them to tears.
“And (remember) when We prepared for Abraham the place of the (holy) House, saying: Ascribe thou no thing as partner unto Me, and purify My House for those who make the round (thereof) and those who stand and those who bow and make prostration. And proclaim unto mankind the pilgrimage… So shun the filth of idols, and shun lying speech, Turning unto Allah (only), not ascribing partners unto Him…And whoso magnifies the offerings consecrated to Allah, it surely is from devotion of the hearts.” (Quran 22:26)
When Comes the Help of God
So Hagar will serve her lord. She represents the sacrificing mother who gives of everything for her family. This is a lesson for all mankind. It is a lesson especially in these times of difficulties around the world. Hagar demonstrates the need to accept the changes one experiences in life. She never gave up the pursuit of something better, never tired of running through Safa and Marwa. For Hagar knew that provisions can come from the most unlikely source.
Khalil Green has obtained a Bachelors Degree with Departmental Honors in Religious Studies from Washburn University in Topeka Ks. He has held the Title of Imam for the State of Kansas as its first Muslim Chaplain in a correctional institution. His interests include Islamic Studies, the common thread that underlines the mystic traditions in all belief systems, and offering advice and support to the endeavors of his family comprising his wife and three boys