Vision: The Climax of Hajj


By Sheikh Muhammad Khalfan

When Prophet Musa (‘a) went to Mount Sinai and had a secret mutual conversation with Allah for thirty nights [Wa waa‘adna Musa thalathina laylatan (and And We made an appointment with Moses for thirty nights- Qur’an 7:142], they actually were the thirty nights of the holy month of Dhu al-Qa’da[1], a month when those who aspire to meet the Beloved, and not merely His house (ka’ba), engage in spiritual pursuits in preparation for the fundamental vertical (spiritual) journey to the Beloved. Then Allah says “wa atmamnaahu bi ‘ashr” (And we completed them with ten [more days]-Qur’an, 7:142). Almighty Allah confers ten more days to Musa (‘a) for munajat. And these ten days are the very first ten days of the holy month of Dhu al-Hijja when the hajis are busy in their spiritual excursion. Having undergone specific stages of spiritual change through the help of his Lord, Musa (‘a) finally asks for vision. He says, “Rabbi arini anzuru ilayk” (My Lord, show [Yourself] to me, that I may look at You!’- Qur’an, 7:143). Insightful scholars like Imam Khumayni say that Musa (‘a) did not aspire for vision through the physical eye, free from such kind of thinking are the Prophets of Allah[2]. He yearned to see the Beloved through the heart. Such vision obviously is not “complete comprehension” which presumes the comprehending one to encompass the object of comprehension. It rather is a limited comprehension of the Divine Attributes according to the capacity of the beholder. And this can only be achieved through self-purification, whose fundamental stages according to authoritative divine sages are as follows:

1) Al-Tajliya (Strictly adhering to the apparent Islamic laws and refraining from whatever Islam has prohibited)
2) Al-Takhliya (Cleaning oneself through the water of repentance and tawba)
3) Al-Tahliya (Beautifying oneself with the perfections of the Absolutely Beautiful according to one’s capacity)
4) Al-Fana (Dissolution in the Beloved, such that one visions that no identity exists save that of Allah)

Aspirants of hajj should try to journey through these stages, so that on the 10th of Dhu al-Hijja they deserve to put on the Ihram of Musa (‘a) and sincerely yearn for the vision of the Only Beloved.

What is so captivating is to behold the Musa of Karbala, who in the Mount Sinai[3] of Ghadhiriyya (another name for Karbala), is reported to have said:

I left the entire creation in Your Desire
And made my family orphans so that I may see You
So even if you cut me into pieces in my love for You
My heart would not incline to other than You

This peerless Musa of history was so intensely sacrificing, that the Beloved bestowed him with peerless bestowals, one of which is:

Al-sujud ‘ala turbat al-Husayn (‘a) yakhriqu al-hujub al-sab‘ (prostrating on the clay of al-Husayn severs the seven veils)[4]. A probably meaning of the seven veils is ‘the seven levels of existence’, the highest of which is in the close proximity of the All-Beloved.

But the Beloved’s love is so special for this Moses of Karbala. According to a tradition narrated from Imam al-Sadiq (‘a)[5] Allah on the day of ‘Arafa begins with the visitors of the grave of al-Husayn first, and then the lovers stationed in the sacred plains of ‘Arafa.

We pray to Almighty Allah to enable us to comprehend the secrets of Hajj better as we cross the stations of our transient life.

[1] Ref: ‘Allama Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, v.13, pp. 213-214

[2] Ref: Imam Khumayni, Notes on Nubuwwat, p. 352

[3] Bihar al-Anwar, v.98, pp. 108-109

[4] Ref: Allama Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, v.82, pp. 153

[5] Ref: ‘Allama Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, v.98, pp. 87

This writing was first published on November 7th, 2008 by Sheikh Muhammad Khalfan on his blog and has been republished with his permission.

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