Characteristics of the Ahl al-Bayt’s View of Hajj
By: Ayatullah Shaheed Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim
It seems proper to refer, yet briefly, to the Ahl al-Bayt’s view of the Hajj and their understanding of the role that this worship can play in the life of the Muslim nation in general and the virtuous community in particular. Hajj, in its capacity as a religious duty, unites the words of Muslims and expresses the concord and entity of the Muslim nation.
The following distinctive features can add to the general understanding of all Muslims regarding Hajj:
The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) took great interest in Hajj. They have discussed all the affairs and details of Hajj and given vivid explanations about its reality, history, excellence, value, role, and goals. They have also discussed in detail the laws appertaining to the rites and categories of Hajj and presented the various problems and their solutions in the light of the laws of Islam.
By making a simple and swift comparison between the traditions of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) about Hajj and the traditions that are reported from others, we can obviously notice the difference. Comparatively, the number of traditions in which the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) have discussed the questions of Hajj and transmitted, both directly and indirectly, the Holy Prophet’s words and deeds in this regard is quantitatively1 and qualitatively many times as much as the traditions that are reported from the other Muslim schools in the same field.
The following two samples will confirm this obvious truth: The tradition that the major Sunni reference books of Hadith report from Imam al-Baqir (‘a) on the authority of Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah al-Ansari presents many details about the Holy Prophet’s last Hajj (known as the Farewell Pilgrimage) that cannot be found in any other tradition mentioned in these reference books. This tradition represents a jurisprudential basis for all Muslim schools of jurisprudence in the field of the laws of Hajj.2
Shaykh al-Saduq, through a valid chain of authority, has reported that Zurarah ibn A’yun once said to Imam al-Sadiq (‘a), “May Allah accept me as ransom for you! I have been asking you about the laws of Hajj for forty years and you have always given me answers.”
The Imam (‘a) answered: A house to which pilgrimages were made two thousand years before the creation of Adam (‘a)—do you expect that you can learn all about it in forty years only?3
This answer obviously shows the wide-ranging scope of the Holy Imam’s practical interest in the topic of Hajj, just as they show their great interest in the historical aspect of this worship.
Comprehensiveness of the Devotional Content of Hajj
Not to speak of their vast concentration on Hajj, we notice that the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) also took much interest in the devotional contents of all of its rites and laws. We cannot find a performer of Hajj practicing any rite without a supplication or a litany before, during, or after it. More precisely, supplications and litanies accompany a performer of Hajj from the time he intends to perform Hajj until he returns home. Hundreds of traditions deal with this topic.4
In a coming chapter, we will discuss some details of the vast devotional contents of Hajj.
Visiting the Holy Prophet (S), the Holy Imams (‘a), and Places of Worship
Performers of Hajj complete this obligatory devotional act by visiting the Holy Prophet’s (S) tomb and mosque—an act common to all Muslims.5 However, the Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) have given this topic much more significance with regard to both quantity and quality.
With regard to quantity, they encourage their followers to visit the tombs of the Holy Imams (‘a) buried in the al-Baqi’ Cemetery: Imam Hasan ibn ‘Ali (al-Mujtaba), Imam ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn (Zayn al-’Abidin), Imam Muhammad ibn ‘Ali (al-Baqir), and Imam Ja’far ibn Muhammad (al-Sadiq), peace be upon them all.
They also recommend visiting the tomb of Lady Fatimah al-Zahra' (‘a)—the veracious and pure—the daughter of the Holy Prophet (S). She is said to have been buried in her house that is adjacent to the Holy Prophet’s Mosque.
In addition, the Holy Imams (‘a) have recommended visiting the tombs of the Holy Prophet’s wives, Lady Fatimah bint Asad (Imam ‘Ali’s mother), the other righteous companions of the Holy Prophet (S), and the martyrs of the Battle of Uhud, topping the list being Hamzah ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib, the Holy Prophet’s (S) uncle.
In addition to the previous, there is much interest in visiting mosques and other places where the Holy Prophet (S) offered prayers and said supplications and particular places where historical events or bestowing of divine gifts took place. The following mosques top this list:
• Mosque Qaba
• Mosque al-Fath
• Mosque al-Qiblatayn
• Mosque Uhud
• Imam ‘Ali Mosque
• Salman al-Farsi Mosque
• Lady Fatimah al-Zahra' Mosque
• Mosque al-Ghumamah (the cloud)
Other places the Holy Imams (‘a) have recommended visiting are:
• Ummu-Ibrahim’s Chamber (known as mashrabat ummi-ibrahim).
• Al-Abtuh in the holy city of Makkah where there are the tombs of Lady Khadijah (‘a) (the Mother of the Believers: the Holy Prophet’s first wife and Lady Fatimah al-Zahra'‘s mother), Abu-Talib (‘a), and other righteous personalities of the early age of Islam.
• Abu-Talib’s Col (where the Holy Prophet (S), along with his relatives from the Hashemites, were put under a harsh siege by the polytheists of Makkah at the beginning of his promulgation of Islam).
• Hira' Cave (where the Holy Prophet (S) used to worship Almighty Allah secretly before he received the divine revelation).
• Al-Arqam House (where the first group of Muslims, led by the Holy Prophet (S) met secretly to discuss the affairs of Islam).
• Dar al-Nidwah (the place where the chiefs of Quraysh would meet to discuss the latest issues).
The Holy Imams (‘a) also recommended visiting all sites that were connected with the history of Islam and reminded Muslims of the dignity, honor, sacrifices, and difficulties that faced the divine mission of promulgating Islam to establish a good link between them and the great history of their religion. They hoped this would arouse their spirit of determination and renaissance, and create the qualities of independence, and self-respect in them.6
With regard to quality, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) look at visiting the Holy Prophet (S) and Imams (‘a) as perfection and completion of the ritual Hajj. Many traditions declare and confirm this fact openly. In this connection, Imam al-Ridha (‘a) is reported to have said%%%: The disciples and followers of every Imam (‘a) are connected to him with a binding covenant that they must fulfill. Among the items of an excellent fulfillment of these covenants is indeed the visiting of the Imams’ (‘a) tombs. Hence, if one visits their tombs willingly and with the intention of accomplishing their desire, the Imams (‘a) will intercede for that person on the Day of Resurrection.7
Isma’il ibn Mahran has reported Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) as saying: Any one of you who goes on Hajj must conclude his Hajj by visiting us because this is the finalization of Hajj.8
Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the Faithful (‘a), is reported to have said: When you go on pilgrimage to the House of Allah, finalize your Hajj by visiting the Messenger of Allah (S) because to avoid doing this is a type of alienation from him, while you are ordered to avoid alienating yourself. Also, finalize your Hajj by visiting the tombs that Almighty Allah has ordered you to visit and to carry out your duties towards them. Seek sustenance at these tombs.9
In al-Kafi, Shaykh al-Kulayni has reported Imam al-Baqir (‘a) as saying The acme of Hajj is to visit the Imam (‘a).10
1. - For instance, the author of Jami` Ahadiih al-Shi`ah has cited eight hundred and thirty one traditions about the history, excellence, and general affairs of the Hajj.
2. - Mansur `Ali Nasif, al-Taj al-Jami` lil-Usul 2:153 as quoted from Sahih Muslim and Sunan Abi-Dawud.
3. - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi`ah 8:7, H. 12 as quoted from Shaykh al-Saduq’s man-la-yahdhuruhul-faqih.
4. - For instance, al-Hurr al-`Amili, in Wasa’il al-Shi`ah 8:248-338 have dedicated sixty eight sections of his book to discussing the details of the Hajj.
5. - Exceptions are the Wahhabis who deem forbidden preparing for visiting the Holy Prophet’s tomb. However, they deem it acceptable for those who are present at al-Madinah. According to their laws, it is lawful to prepare oneself for visiting the Holy Prophet’s Mosque at Madinah and then visiting the Holy Prophet’s tomb may come in the margin of visiting his mosque.
6. - About the burial place of Lady Fatimah al-Zahra' (‘a), there are many probabilities, the most apparent of which is that she was buried in her house. However, there is another probability that she was buried in al-Baqi` Cemetery. The disagreement about the burial place of this veracious and pure lady resulted from the historical fact that she, owing to certain political reasons, willed her burial place to be unknown to people and specifically asked Imam `Ali (‘a), her husband, not to allow Abu-Bakr and `Umar to participate in her funeral ceremony because she died without forgiving them. This fact has been reported by all Muslims.
7. - Unfortunately, it can be noticed that there is currently an attempt through well-organized campaigns to eradicate these traces and cast screens upon them. The perpetrators hope that by attracting attention away from these places they will succeed in making the pilgrims forget them.
8. - `Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 97:116, H. 1.
9. - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi`ah 14:324, H. 1.
10. - `Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 97:139, H. 2.
11. - Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 4:549, H. 2.