Chapter XXII (a)
The Uncovering of the Eighth Veil
Allah has said:
وَلِلّهِ عَلَى النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَيْتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَيْهِ سَبِيلاً
“Pilgrimage thereto is a duty men owe to Allah – those who can afford the journey;” (Q 3:97).
The Hajj (pilgrimage) is binding on every Muslim of sound mind who has the means to perform it and has reached manhood. The Hajj consists of:
- To make a vow of pilgrimage putting on the pilgrimage’s garb (ihram) at Miqat,
- stay at Arafat,
- circumambulating the Ka`ba,
- running (sahi) between Safah and Marwah.
One must not enter the sacred territory without being clad in ihram. The sacred territory (Haram) is so called because it contains the maqam (station) of Abraham (may blessings of Allah be on him) which is a place of peace. Abraham had two maqam (stations), the maqam of his body, namely Mecca, and the maqam of his soul, namely friendship. Whoever seeks his bodily station must renounce all lusts and pleasures and put on the pilgrim’s garb and refrain from hunting lawful game. He should be present at Arafat with all his senses under strict control. From there should go to Mudalifah and Mashar al-Haram, pick up pebbles and circumambulate the Kaba. Then he should visit Mina and stay there for three days and throw pebbles in the prescribed manner. Then get his hair cut and perform the sacrifice and put on his (ordinary) clothes.
But whoever seeks the spiritual station of Abraham must renounce familiar associations and bid farewell to pleasure and take no thought of other than Allah, for his looking towards the phenomenal world is prohibited.
Should stay at the Arafat of gnosis and from there set out for the Mudalifah of amity and from there occupy his heart to circumambulate the temple of Divine Purification and throw away the pebbles of passion and corrupt thoughts in Mina of peace, and sacrifice his lower soul on the altar of mortification and arrive at the station of friendship. By entering the bodily station of Abraham one gets peace from enemy and their weapons, whereas by entering the spiritual station one gets peace from heedlessness and separation from Allah.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
الحاج وفد الله يعطيهم ما سالوا ويستجيب لهم ما دعوا
“The pilgrims are the ambassadors of Allah. What they wish they get and their prayers are answered.”
The seekers of spiritual station, neither wish for anything nor do they pray, rather remain in satisfaction. As Abraham said (verse of Quran):
إِذْ قَالَ لَهُ رَبُّهُ أَسْلِمْ قَالَ أَسْلَمْتُ لِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
“Behold! His Lord said to him: `Bow (thy will to me):` He said: `I bow (my will) to the Lord and the Cherisher of the Universe.`”
When Abraham (may blessings of Allah be on him) attained the maqam of friendship and renounced all by making his soul independent from others (than Allah), Allah wished to have his splendor publicly manifested and Nimrod was selected for this task. He separated him from his parents, burnt the fire, Satan prepared the catapult. Abraham after wrapped in the cow skin was placed in the pan of the catapult. At that time Gabriel (may blessings of Allah be on him) appeared and asked Abraham if he could help him out. Abraham said that he did not need his help. Gabriel asked if he had any desire to be met by Allah. Abraham said:
“Allah is independent of my need, He knows my state. His will is my will. He knows that for His sake I am being thrown in the fire. When He is fully aware of my state, then why should I plead to Him.”
Muhammad b. al-Fadl says:
I wonder at those who seek His temple in this world but they do not seek contemplation of Him in their hearts? They may find His temple sometimes and may not find the other time, whereas contemplation is always attained. If they are bound to visit a stone, which is looked at only once a year, surely they are more bound to visit the temple of the heart, which is looked at three hundred and sixty times in a day and night. Mystic’s every step is a symbol of his journey to Mecca, and when he reaches at the sanctuary he wins a robe of honor for every step.
Abu Yazid says:
“If anyone’s recompense for worshipping Allah is deferred until the next day, it is as if he has not worshipped Allah today, for the recompense of every moment of worship and mortification is immediate.”
He also said:
“On my first pilgrimage I saw only the Kaba. The second time, I saw both the Kaba and the Lord of Kaba; and the third time I saw the Lord alone and Kaba was out of my sight.”
In short, the sanctuary is that where magnificence of contemplation is. The one who does not perceive the whole universe where he comes nigh unto the Truth and a retired chamber where he enjoys intimacy with Allah, he is still a stranger to Divine love, but when he has vision the whole universe is his sanctuary. The darkest thing in the world is the Beloved’s house without the Beloved. The actual thing in the abode of friendship is the contemplation of satisfaction of which sight of Kaba is a cause. The sight of Kaba is not the real object but every cause must retain its relation with the Causer, for we don’t know from which hidden place the providence of Allah may appear, and from where the desire of the seekers may be satisfied. Mystics find their object by traversing wilderness and deserts, not right in the safe sanctuary, for eyeing on Beloved’s sanctuary is unlawful. In their practices longing, eagerness, continuous anxiety and unease is the real thing.
Someone came to Junaid. He asked him from where he had come. He replied that he had been on pilgrimage. Junaid said: “When you started your journey from your home did you get freedom from your sins? He said: “No.”
Junaid said: “Then you have made no journey. At every stage where you halted for the night did you traverse a station on the way to Allah?” He said: “No.”
Junaid said: “Then you have not trodden the road stage by stage. When you put on the pilgrim’s garb at Miqat did you discard the attributes of humanity?” No, was the answer.
Junaid said: “Then you have not put on the pilgrim’s garb. When you stood at Arafat did you realize your presence in contemplation of Allah?” No, he replied.
Junaid said: “Then you have not stood at Arafat. When you went to Mudalifah and achieved your desire did you renounce all sensual desires?” The answer was no.
Junaid said: “Then you have not gone to Mudalifah. When your circumambulated the Kaba did you with your spiritual eyes observe the Magnificence of Allah in the abode of purification?”
No, he replied.
Junaid said: “Then you have not circumambulated the Kaba. When you ran between Safah and Marwah did you get conversant to the maqam (station) of purity and rank of virtue?” “No. was the reply”
Junaid said: “Then you have not run (performed sahi). When you came to Mina did all your wishes not cease?”
Junaid said: “Then you have not yet visited Mina. When you reached at the slaughtering place and offered sacrifice did you sacrifice the objects of sensual desire?”
He replied: “No.”
Junaid said: “Then you have not sacrificed. When you threw the pebbles did you throw away whatever sensual thoughts were accompanying you?”
No, was the answer.
Junaid said: “Then you have not yet thrown the stones, and you have not yet performed the pilgrimage. Return and perform the pilgrimage in the manner which I have described in order that you may arrive at the maqam (station) of Abraham.”
Fudayl b. Iyad said that at Arafat he saw a youth who with bowed head stood silent. All the pilgrims were praying but he was quite. He asked him to participate in prayer. The youth told him that he was under severe distress, because he had lost his spiritual state and had left with no face to pray. Fudayl told him to pray, for Allah might listen to his prayer through the blessing of this multitude. The youth was about to lift up his hands and pray, when suddenly he uttered a shriek and died at the spot.
Dhu al-Nun said that at Mina he saw a young man sitting quietly while the people were engaged in sacrifice. I looked at him to see who he was and what he intend doing. He cried:
“O Lord, all the people are offering sacrifice. I wish to sacrifice my lower soul to Thee; do Thou accept it.”
Having spoken, he pointed his forefinger to his throat and fell dead.
Pilgrimage has two aspects, i.e. in absence (from Allah) and in the presence (of Allah).
One who is absent (from Allah) even in the sanctuary of Kaba, is as if he is at his home, for absence is the same may it be from home or sanctuary of Kaba. One who is present with Allah in his own house is as he is present with the Truth in the sanctuary of Kaba, for presence in the Court of the Truth is presence everywhere. Pilgrimage is an act of mortification for revelation of contemplation. Mortification does not become the direct cause of contemplation, but is only a means to it and the cause does not have much effect in its meaning and reality. The true object of pilgrimage is not to visit the Kaba, but to obtain contemplation of Allah. Now I will render a discourse on contemplation which elucidates the same so that you might be benefited.