Misconceptions about some Hajj rituals
Fatwa No: 4406

Question

Since the beginning of the mission of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam (may Allaah exalt his mention), he came with the religion of Islam which nullified the worship of deities and idols of that time and the time to come. However, when Hajj was ordained, its rituals included circumambulation, kissing the black stone and casting pebbles.
My question is: Why should we do all this? What is the difference between the current rituals of pilgrimage, such as kissing the black stone and circumambulation, and the rituals of the pre-Islamic Arabs that they used to do in their pilgrimage, given that they performed them to bring them closer to Allaah The Almighty?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Upon its advent, Islam invalidated all deities and idols that were worshipped other than Allaah The Almighty and affirmed the oneness of divinity to Allaah The Almighty Alone. This is the meaning of our saying, "There is no god but Allaah," which means that “There is none worthy of worship except Allaah.” True servility means complete submissiveness and obedience to the command of the one being worshiped. In this regard, Allaah The Almighty Says (what means):

·        {Yes [on the contrary], whoever submits his face in Islam to Allaah while being a doer of good will have his reward with his Lord. And no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve.} [Quran 2: 112]

·        {And whatever the Messenger has given you - take; and what he has forbidden you - refrain from.} [Quran 59: 7]

·        {It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allaah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair.} [Quran 33: 36]

·        {But no, by your Lord, they will not [truly] believe until they make you, [O Muhammad], judge concerning that over which they dispute among themselves and then find within themselves no discomfort from what you have judged and submit in [full, willing] submission.} [Quran 4:65]

Therefore, whoever is satisfied as being one of the slaves of Allaah The Almighty is not permitted to forward a view, tendency or logic before the command of Allaah The Almighty who Says (what means): {O you who have believed, do not put [yourselves] before Allaah and His Messenger but fear Allaah . Indeed, Allaah is Hearing and Knowing.} [Quran 49: 1]

Religion in the pre-Islamic era included two false beliefs:

·        Worshiping other than Allaah The Almighty

·        Innovating a new religion that Allaah The Almighty did not ordain

The polytheists of that time believed in Allaah The Almighty and used to do some acts of worship that they had inherited from the religion of Ibraaheem (Abraham)  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention. However, they added, deleted, corrupted and altered Ibraaheem’s way of worship besides being polytheists and worshippers of other than Allaah The Almighty. They used to perform Pilgrimage, circumambulate the Ka‘bah, make Sa‘y (walking between Mounts Safa and Marwah), slaughter, shave their hair, and stand at Muzdalifah and ‘Arafah. However, from among the polytheists, the Quraysh made the innovation of discarding  the obligation of standing at ‘Arafah. Likewise, the polytheists including those of the Quraysh innovated their own Talbiyah which featured polytheism.

The obligation Hajj was ordained by Allaah The Almighty for the Ummah (nation) of Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and all other nations. Ibraaheem (Abraham), Ismaa‘eel (Ishmael), and before them Nooh (Noah), may Allaah exalt their mention, performed Pilgrimage. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said that ‘Eesa (Jesus) as well  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention will make Hajj to the Ka‘bah  after his descent at the end of time.

Therefore, there is nothing wrong with the similarity between some of the rituals of Muslims in pilgrimage and those of the polytheists, since the latter received them from Ibraaheem  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention.

On the other hand, testing the obedience of slaves to their Lord and showing servility before Allaah The Almighty may be part of the wisdom behind legislating kissing the black stone, circumambulation and casting pebbles, so that Muslims realize that they should not differ when Allaah The Almighty and His Messenger, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, have already issued a command. The One who forbade worshipping stones, trees, deities and forbade acts of worship to Allaah The Almighty that He did not prescribe, is the same One who commanded circumambulation of the Ka‘bah, kissing the black stone and casting the pebbles.

It was reported that ‘Umar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him addressed the black stone saying, “I know that you are a powerless stone that neither benefits nor harms. Had I not seen the Messenger, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, kiss you, I would not have kissed you.” [Al-Bukhari]

Beware of objecting to something that Allaah The Almighty has prescribed, and beware of feeling uneasy or dissatisfied with His ordinances. May Allaah The Almighty guide us all to what He likes and what pleases Him.

Allaah Knows best.

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