General Issues About Islam

Philosophy and Lessons of Hajj Rituals

Salman Ahmed Shaikh

Hajj is an important Ibadah in Islam. It is compulsory for every Muslim to perform Hajj once in a life. Below, we look at the philosophy of various rituals involved in Hajj and how they all exhibit a believer’s acceptance of Tawheed (oneness of God), his determination of following the commands of Allah and his vow to sacrifice his wealth, interests and time for Allah’s sake.

The ‘Ihram’ worn in Hajj symbolically represents that a pilgrim has withdrawn from the worldly affairs and its attractions. With two unstitched clothes and being bare-headed, the pilgrim shows resolve to prefer nearness to Allah over all his interests.

By reciting labbaik Allahumma labbaik”, a pilgrim is orally reiterating his resolve to choose Allah’s way and to reinvigorate his belief in Tawheed, i.e. there is no Allah, except one.

The ‘Istilam’ of the ‘hajar-e-aswad’ symbolizes the reinforcement of the pledge with Allah. ‘Hajar-e-aswad’, the stone, symbolically represents the hand of Allah and while touching one’s hand with ‘hajar-e-aswad’, a pilgrim revives his pledge with Allah and vows to follow Allah’s commands in all steps of life.

The ‘Rami’ symbolizes cursing ‘Iblis and waging war against him. A pilgrim swears to defeat ‘Iblis and to keep him away from corrupting actions.

Qurbani or animal sacrifice is synonymous with surrender. It symbolizes that the person performing Qurbani is willing to sacrifice everything dear to him for Allah. It symbolizes and strengthens the promise with Allah that the person performing Qurbani would be willing to obey all the commandments of Allah and will sacrifice his interests and belongings that come in the way of fulfilling Allah’s orders.

Shaving the head symbolizes that one is offering oneself as servant of Allah and surrendering his will before Him. In olden days, shaving head of the servants was common and this was a mark of identification of a slave. By shaving the head after offering animal sacrifice, a pilgrim determines to be a slave of none, but Allah, obedient of none, but Allah and to surrender before none, but Allah and His teachings.

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