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Hajj Reenactments 25 January 2007

Posted by mecca in ABUSHARIF, Spirituality.
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We make seven circular walks around the tall cube-shaped Ka‘ba, the first man-made building put into the service of reminding people of their servitude to God. Later we walk seven times between two hillocks, the course that Abraham’s wife, Hagar, took in her desperate search for water, only to be guided to the very spot of the great well of Zamzam, which to this day offers drink to thirsty travelers from all corners of the earth. The walk between the two hillocks is called sa‘î, which means striving, and it is an essential rite of the Hajj. But as we walk Hagar’s path, we ourselves are not desperate, nor are we out of water.

If we tire, we can stop for rest, sip some water, and then resume without the peril that Hagar faced. It’s not like revealed religion to waste people’s time. There must be important value in reenacting Hagar’s walk, however symbolic it may be. We may fairly conclude that the materials and strict rationality of the dunya (the world) are poor ushers in the sacred climb. Instead, we are advised that the invisible realm of sincerity, intention, and symbolism are required accoutrements for the piercing of the materialistic veil. So we make circuits around the Ancient House, walk a path between two hills, and, in Mina (a few kilometers away), toss seven pebbles at three pillars that mark the spots where Satan tried to tempt Abraham away from God’s obedience. These are rites of worship filled with symbolism meant to quicken our spiritual selves.

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