In 2:258 is the story of a man who challenged Abraham. The phrase used is Hajaa ibrohim. It should be clear that this does not mean that he sent Abraham on a pilgrimage to Mecca.
Many Muslims who have completed their pilgrimage to the stone idol in Mecca append the word Haji to their name (e.g. Haji Sulaiman or Haji Raheemudin) – a habit which Arabs find highly amusing.
Alam-tara-ilal-lazi Hajaa Ibrohim fi-rob-bi-hi (2:258)
Have you not considered the man who challenged Abraham about his Lord with it? (2:258)
Hajaa ibrohim has the same fundamental root as Haji i’mara-ta mas-jidil-Harami in 9:19 which refers to the people who take the challenge to promote the sanctions in the consented decree.
This study highlights how the semantic distortions against the Reading by the religionists have had a very damaging effect, and how – as soon as they twist one word – a chain reaction occurs because they then have to change the meanings of other words from the same root word to support the deception. Haj – as we have seen – has not been left unscathed in this regard.
The Arabic in the Reading is easy and perfect. Let us briefly remind ourselves how the Qur’anic Arabic renders nouns denoting people relating to the root-word concepts.
- The meaning of Sol-laa is commitment or obligation. A man who (singular) is committed is called a muSollan (2:125). If plural they are called muSollin (107:5).
- The meaning of Islam is peacefulness. A man who is at peace is said to be a Muslim (2:131). If plural, muslimin for men and Muslimat for women.
- The meaning of ihtada is to be truly guided. Many guided people are called muh-tadin (2:16)
- The meaning of azan is to announce. A man who makes the announcement is called a muazzinun (7:44).
Similarly the meaning of the word Haj is challenge. People who take the challenge are called Hajii (9:19). People who are involved in the challenge are called the muHajiirin (9:100).
The challenge is Haj. In 3:97 God says take the challenge (Hajuu) to His System if we can find our way to it. In 2:196 Take the challenge (Ha-jaa) to promote (u’mro-ta) the guidance (hadya) to the people until it is made acceptable (mahilla). They are the rightful people to promote (ya’muru) God’s consented decree (mas-jidil-lah) (9:18) who take the challenge (Hajii) (9:19) by promoting (i’marata) the sanctions in the consented decree.
It is the duty upon mankind towards God to take the challenge (Hajuu) to the system (bayta) for those who can find their way. (3:97)
For those who are convinced about God and want to observe His prescribed way of life, they must take the challenge Hajuu to His system ‘if they can find the way’. This is the challenge or Haj only for those who are willing to accept the responsibility to strive in the path of God with their money and lives in promoting the sanctions in the consented decree. They have only one common enemy – organised religions. Consciously or not – religion is the greatest enemy to humanity and its doctrine can wipe out the mountains. Religious promoters corrupt the earth by enslaving peoples’ mind, body and soul and teach them separation and intolerance in the name of God. Religious leaders and the shackled followers are term as idol-worshippers. In the Reading, there is no instruction for us to wage war against anyone except the idol-worshippers. Thus the biggest challenge (Hajii Akhbar 9:3) for mankind is to disown the idol-worshippers with stern reminder that they can never escape from God for lying in the name of God.
People who are not involved with the challenge may live in this world peacefully as normal human beings. They can be architects, scientists, doctors, firemen, engineers, soldiers, students, taxi or truck drivers, traders, teachers, or other professions that can benefit society and whole of mankind – whilst observing their commitments in doing the good deeds and good works without associating God with anything. That is all what is required of us on this earth.
The religionists say Haj is a pilgrimage culminating in reverence around the area where they built a square house in Mecca. This is the extent of their distortion.
We are not to put on the Roman togas, shave our head, throw stones at some brick pillars, kiss a black granite stone, walk in semi-circles around another stone structure crying, “I have come God, I have come” and then walk away feeling satisfied that we have fulfilled our commitments. Rather, we are actively and consciously to take the challenge or the Haj to move ourselves closer to living a way of life (deen) that is sanctioned by God. That is Haj is about.
3:97 states: ‘manis-tha-tha’a ilaihi sabiilaan’ which means ‘whoever can find his way there’. If pilgrimage were indeed a religious ritual to the Ka’aba in today’s Mecca in Saudi Arabia, or even the Mecca of 500 years ago, there would be no mystery in finding our way there. Even 500 years ago, people knew where Mecca was. One simply had to get on a camel or horse (or a jumbo jet today) in order to reach it. Where is the difficulty in finding it?
But we cannot get to God’s system by jumping on a jumbo jet or riding on a camel. We must take the challenge to get there. It is a test of our commitment. We definitely cannot get there by shaving our head, wearing a toga, throwing some stones at a stone pillar like a child, kissing a piece of black granite or walking in circles around another stone pillar. If we insist on doing these things, we become religious morons doing something without using our common sense and without having any knowledge of the Reading. It is not difficult for humans to take the challenge Hajuu to God’s system and be devoted to His System or humbly consenting to His system. His system is not a religion. Period.
Islam or ‘peacefulness’ is the universal way of life that can be observed by any human on earth. It requires no institution or organization. In many cases there are wise men like Luqman who did not received any consented decree from God, but he was endowed with wisdom.
Each and every person is responsible for whatever he does during his lifetime. Each will be judged as an individual. We have the freedom to believe or disbelieve.
Haj means an intellectual challenge or a response to a challenge and it does not mean pilgrimage in any shape or form. Similarly, hijr does not mean what the religionists say. It is not primarily about emigration. Its core meanings are related to leaving (i.e. shunning or leaving off) and in this sense it is connected to the essence with that of the purpose of Haj.
Indeed those who believe and take the challenge (ha-jaa-ru) to struggle with the money and lives in the path of God as well as those who shelter and lend support they are protector of each other. But those who believe but have not taken the challenge (yu-ha-jee-ru) you owe them no obligation to lend support to them from anything until they take the challenge (yu-ha-jee-ru). But if they seek your assistance in the way of life (deen) it is therefore your duty to support them unless there is among you made an agreement with them. God sees whatever you do. (8:72)
Here the word ha-jaa-ru and yu-ha-jee-ru refers to two types of believers. Both are staying in the same area. Both words were erroneously translated as emigrating by the religionists. A person who strives in the path of God is not required to emigrate from his hometown. The evidence can be found in 3:195.
Their Lord responds to these by saying, “I never neglect to reward any worker among you, male or female; you are equal to each other. Those among you who take the challenge (ha-jaa-ru) and get banished from your homes, I will certainly redeem all their wrongdoings and admit them into gardens with flowing streams”. Such is the reward from God. God possesses the best reward. (3:195)
If ha-jaa-ru means emigrating, then there is no way they can be banished from their home. Clearly this word refers to the activities of striving in the cause of God by taking the challenge which is the ha-jaa-ru or to take the challenge in the path of God ha-jee-ru-fi-sa-bi-lil-lah.
Abraham, for example, settled in a new place – implying that those who wished to follow him would have to establish their commitment to the sanctioned system. He did not emigrate to another town or country to strive in the path of God.
Moses remained in Egypt until he moved away because of oppression. Moses and his people were banished for striving in the path of God.
Shuaib remained in Midyan and Jacob remained in the desert until his son summoned him to the city. They never moved to a new town to promote God’s deen.
Jonah tried to flee from his people but was severely dealt with.
In spite of rejection, Jesus did not move to another place. On the other hand, we have a key example (see 2:61) of the Children of Israel who – having physically forsaken Egypt – remained essentially steeped in the things which Egypt had to offer. Was theirs a state of migrating at this point? It would seem not.