During this moment in history, the places of devil worship, venues of idolatry and buildings of promiscuity had filled the earth. The people of godlessness were very well served but the people of Tawhid didn’t have a place where they could meet to single out Allah in worship. Thus, Allah commands Ibrahim to build the first Masjid on earth and Ibrahim submits. Allah said,
ﺇِﻥَّ ﺃَﻭَّﻝَ ﺑَﻴْﺖٍ ﻭُﺿِﻊَ ﻟِﻠﻨَّﺎﺱِ ﻟَﻠَّﺬِﻱ ﺑِﺒَﻜَّﺔَ ﻣُﺒَﺎﺭَﻛًﺎ ﻭَﻫُﺪًﻯ ﻟِﻠْﻌَﺎﻟَﻤِﻴﻦ
“Indeed, the first House of worship established for mankind was that at Makkah – full of blessing and a guidance for the worlds.”
Here, both father and son work hand in hand as they transfer pieces of stone and raise its foundations until the humble structure of the Ka’ba was standing, ready to become the globe’s holiest site of worship. Allah commands Ibrahim to invite the world to it.
ﻭَﺃَﺫِّﻥْ ﻓِﻲ ﺍﻟﻨَّﺎﺱِ ﺑِﺎﻟْﺤَﺞِّ ﻳَﺄْﺗُﻮﻙَ ﺭِﺟَﺎﻟًﺎ ﻭَﻋَﻠَﻰ ﻛُﻞِّ ﺿَﺎﻣِﺮٍ ﻳَﺄْﺗِﻴﻦَ ﻣِﻦْ ﻛُﻞِّ ﻓَﺞٍّ ﻋَﻤِﻴﻖ
“And proclaim to the people the Hajj [pilgrimage]; they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every distant pass. That they may witness benefits for themselves.”
Ibrahim asks, “O Allah, how will they hear my voice?” He is told to make the call and Allah will deliver that call, and so Ibrahim submits.
He stands on Mount Abu Qubais and proclaims to the world using nothing other than his human voice, “Allah has prescribed Hajj upon you so perform Hajj!” And as promised, Allah delivered his call to all four corners of the globe, thus we see the Russian, Chinese, European, American, Arab and African responding to his call in droves and they will continue to do so until just before the end of times.
Having said this, we now realise that much of our worship during Hajj is in fact a re-enactment of the life of this great man and his family who’d raised the bar so high when it came to submission to Allah and freeing up one’s heart from everything except Him. Your doings in Hajj are a reminder of what it means to rise beyond customs, norms and ‘isms’, what it means to be steadfast as you tread the path of steadfastness all by yourself. These are key values in the life of every Muslim that are very prone to wear and tear, but following the footsteps of Ibrahim during Hajj guarantees their revival and resumption.
The Prophet Muhammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) would say,
ﻗﻔﻮﺍ ﻋﻠﻰ ﻣﺸﺎﻋﺮﻛﻢ، ﻓﺈﻧّﻜﻢ ﻋﻠﻰ ﺇﺭﺙٍ ﻣﻦ ﺇﺭﺙ ﺃﺑﻴﻜﻢ ﺇﺑﺮﺍﻫﻴﻢ
“Visit the sites, for you are following the heritage of your father Ibrahim.”
Consider Haajar’s running between the two Mounts of Safa and Marwa seven times, as she searched in desperation for any sign of life for her hungry child. Ibn ‘Abbas comments on this by saying,
ﻓَﺬَﻟِﻚَ ﺳَﻌْﻲُ ﺍﻟﻨَّﺎﺱِ ﺑَﻴْﻨَﻬُﻤَﺎ
“This is why the pilgrim do the exact same thing between the two Mounts.”
Consider Ibrahim’s stoning of Shaytan as he tried to dissuade him from carrying out Allah’s command. Ibnu ‘Abbas comments on this by saying:
ﺍﻟﺸﻴﻄﺎﻥ ﺗﺮﺟﻤﻮﻥ، ﻭﻣﻠﺔ ﺃﺑﻴﻜﻢ ﺇﺑﺮﺍﻫﻴﻢ ﺗﺘﺒﻌﻮﻥ
“During your Hajj you also pelt the devil, following the way of your father Ibrahim”
Consider Ibrahim’s intent on slaughtering his son, Shaykh AbdurRahman As-Sa’di said about one’s sacrifice of the animal during Hajj:
ﻫﻮ ﺍﻗﺘﺪﺍﺀ ﺑﺎﻟﺨﻠﻴﻞ ﺻﻠﻰ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ ﻭﺳﻠﻢ ﺣﻴﺚ ﻓﺪﻯ ﺍﺑﻨﻪ ﺇﺳﻤﺎﻋﻴﻞ ﺑﺬﺑﺢ ﻋﻈﻴﻢ
“It is following the steps of Ibrahim when his son was ransomed from being slaughtered.”
Notice how the footsteps of Ibrahim’s (ʿalayhi al-Salām) family have become an act of worship which the intellectuals of the world, the philosophers, scientists and noble prize winners are obligated to emulate should they wish to enter Jannah. Indeed, just as our messenger (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said, “Visit the sites, for you are following the heritage of your father Ibrahim.”
This is a heritage that would be later imitated by Prophets Musa and Yunus. Ibn ‘Abbas said that
“The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) passed through the valley known as Al-Azraq. He asked, ﺃﻱّ ﻭﺍﺩٍ ﻫﺬﺍ؟ “Which valley is this?” They said, “This is the valley of Al-Azraq” To which he said,
ﻛﺄﻧِّﻲ ﺃﻧﻈﺮ ﺇﻟﻰ ﻣﻮﺳﻰ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ ﺍﻟﺴﻼﻡ ﻫﺎﺑﻄًﺎ ﻣﻦ ﺍﻟﺜﻨﻴَّﺔ ﻭﻟﻪ ﺟﺆﺍﺭٌ ﺇﻟﻰ ﺍﻟﻠﻪ ﺑﺎﻟﺘﻠﺒﻴﺔ
“It is as if I can see Musa (ʿalayhi al-Salām) coming down from the mountain track, as he calls loudly upon Allah saying,
Then the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) arrived at the mountain track of Harsha. He asked, ﺃﻱُّ ﺛﻨﻴﺔ ﻫﺬﺍ؟ “Which mountain track is this?” They said, “The mountain track of Harsha” He said,
ﻛَﺄَﻧِّﻲ ﺃَﻧْﻈُﺮُ ﺇِﻟَﻰ ﻳُﻮﻧُﺲَ ﺑْﻦِ ﻣَﺘَّﻰ ﻋَﻠَﻴْﻪِ ﺍﻟﺴَّﻠَﺎﻡُ ﻋَﻠَﻰ ﻧَﺎﻗَﺔٍ ﺣَﻤْﺮَﺍﺀَ ﺟَﻌْﺪَﺓٍ ﻋَﻠَﻴْﻪِ ﺟُﺒَّﺔٌ ﻣِﻦْ ﺻُﻮﻑٍ ﺧِﻄَﺎﻡُ ﻧَﺎﻗَﺘِﻪِ ﺧُﻠْﺒَﺔٌ ﻭَﻫُﻮَ ﻳُﻠَﺒِّﻲ
It is as if I am seeing Yunus (ʿalayhi al-Salām) riding a well-built red camel, wearing a cloak of wool around him and the rein of his camel made of the fibres of date-palm, as he calls upon Allah saying, LabaykAllahumma labayk!”
In fact, Prophet ‘Isa will make Hajj upon his return to this world. The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said,
ﻭﺍﻟﺬﻱ ﻧﻔﺴﻲ ﺑﻴﺪﻩ ﻟﻴُﻬﻠﻦّ ﺍﺑﻦ ﻣﺮﻳﻢ ﺑﻔﺞِّ ﺍﻟﺮّﻭﺣﺎﺀ ﺣﺎﺟًّﺎ ﺃﻭ ﻣﻌﺘﻤﺮًﺍ، ﺃﻭ ﻟﻴﺜﻨﻴﻨﻬﻤﺎ
“I swear by the One who possesses my soul, the son of Mary (Jesus) will make Talbiya (required declaration) for performing Hajj or for Umrah or for both in the valley of Rawhaa.”