Upon wearing your Ihram garments and leaving Mecca, you will start traveling toward the
east (Arafat) where you must remain until the sunset of the ninth day. On your way back
you will make a brief stop in Mashar and then in Mina. Why? We will know shortly!
In contrast to what you were told previously - that is, to go gradually and in a
step-by-step manner - now you are to go restlessly and thirstily, like a true lover, all
the way to Arafat without a pausel From the morning of the tenth day until the twelfth day
(or thirteenth day if you wish) you must remain in Mina.
There are no signs to distinguish these three areas from each other. A narrow pass
about fifteen miles long joins the valley of Mecca. Along this strait, there are no
natural, historical or religious monuments nor indicators which separate one area from the
other The borders are only hypothetical stages of your actions.
Another important factor is the emphasis placed upon "staying" at these three
"stages". The reason for this recommendation is beyond a simple pause in Arafat
on all of the ninth day or remaining in Mashar only to collect seventy pebbles!
You must stay at Mina on the eleventh and twelfth days; these are the two days
following the day of sacrifice (the tenth day). Even though you are almost finished by
noon time of the tenth day after offering your sacrifice followed by the stoning of Satan
(Ramy: to throw or cast), yet you are to stay at Mina.
As you can see, it is not to remain to reside but it is a short stop on your way
traveling with the caravan. Along this pass, you stop when they stop and you start to move
when they go from one stage to the other. At every stage you enter, stop for a short
period and then move one stage! Since Mina is the last stage you will stay there for 3
days. Remember, it is NOT the destination! When do you finish this journey? Where is the
caravan's destination? Never! And, nowhere! So, where are you going? The answer is to
eternity, toward Allah! Allah is the Absolute; He is "the eternal". Therefore,
your journey is a movement toward the absolute beauty, the absolute knowledge, the
absolute power, eternity and perfection! It is a restless and eternal movement.
On this journey, Allah is not the "destination", but He is the
"direction". For man, everything is temporary, changing, perishing and dying;
yet, this eternal movement is continuous and the direction is always there!
Quran XXVIII: 88
Everything will perish save His countenance.
You started from Mecca and came directly to Arafat. Now you move from stage to stage
back to "Kaaba".
Quran Il: 56
Lo we are Allah's and Lo' unto Him we are returning.
All that is discussed is "movement", a going movement (turn) and a coming
movement (return). There is always a movement "toward" something and not
"in" something! This is why Hajj is an absolute move. It is not a journey since
every journey comes to an end. Hajj is an absolute goal and and external movement toward
that goal. Therefore, it is not a destination that one may reach, but a goal that one
tries to approach! This is why on your return from Arafat you are left in Mina behind the
wall of Kaaba and not inside the Kaaba. This is what "to approach" not "to
In returning to Allah, there are three stages (Arafat, Mashar, and Mina) through which
you must pass. They are NOT three places that you visit. It is important to be aware of
the emphasis placed upon the periods of stopping at each stage as well as the decision to
pursue these stages. What do these three stages signify? Allah Himself has already given
them their heavenly names:
Arafat means: "Knowledge" and "science"! Mashar means:
"Consciousness" and "understanding"! Mina means: "love" and
Go from Mecca to Arafat (Lo' we are Allah's) and then return from Arafat to Kaaba (Lo'
unto Him we are returning). Arafat represents the beginning of man's creation. In the
story of Adam (creation of mankind on earth), it is said: After Adam's descent onto earth,
he met Eve at Arafat, it was there that they were acquainted with each other". The
descent was when Adam was instructed to leave heaven (after he rebelled). That heaven was
not the one which is promised for the hereafter (paradise). It was the heaven on earth as
well as Adam's birthplace. Covered with shrubbery and trees, Adam ate drank, enjoyed
himself, lived without any responsibilities and had no Job obligations. He was quite
satisfied until Eblis, the angel who also rebelled by not prostrating to mankind, started
to inspire evil suggestions to him. Man inspired by Allah, both the righteous and
debauched, was persuaded by Eblis to transgress his "limitations", to rebel and
eat "the forbidden fruit". Eblis told man that by doing so he would live a
longer and more enlightened life.
"Wisdom" alone did not effect man; Adam refused to, eat the forbidden fruit.
Satan met with Eve who symbolized "love!" And then, Adam agreed to eat "the
forbidden fruit". Both "wisdom and love" influenced the Angel and converted
him into "Adam" !
Adam was the only Angel who could commit "sin" and then "repent".
He could "rebel" or "obey". In this case to "rebel" meant to
have freedom, it included the ability to make decisions contrary to Allah's will.
Concomitant with this liberty to decide was the notion of "responsibility" and
"consciousness . As a result, Adam's state of satisfaction, joy and comfort was
replaced by the land of "needs, greed and pains ... or DESCENT.
It was the beginning of a new life for the conscious, rebellious and responsible
individual (Adam) who was the victim of pains, needs and greeds. An exile and feeling
lonely, he was in the prison of this earth. Experiencing apprehension over the separation,
Adam expressed his complaints in the language of faith, knowledge gnosticism, art,
literature ... and life! He accepted the burden of rebelling, the "natural
apprehension of sin and the "instinctive desire for repentance" ... How does
Hajj relate to this? It is a living example of man's creation or his repentance. It
encompasses self consciousness which includes the feeling of being a stranger and exiled.
Consequently, what emerges is a decision to "return"!
The conversion of the "Adam in heaven" to the Adam on this earth"
exemplified the character and behavior of mankind today. It was a portrayal of the
rebellious, aggressive and sinful man who was swayed by Satan and Eve. Although he was
expelled from heaven, exiled onto earth and subdued by nature, Adam nevertheless ate from
the fruit of "the forbidden tree" What was the outcome? Adam acquired the
wisdom, consciousness and insight of a rebel! Opening his eyes and finding himself naked,
Adam entered the state of "knowing" himself.
As was said previously, the descension from "Kaaba" to "Arafat"
represents the beginning of Man's creation. The time of man's creation was simultaneous to
the creation of "knowledge"! The first spark of love emitted during the meeting
of Adam and Eve promoted their mutual understanding of one another. It was the first sign
of knowledge! Adam knew his wife of the opposite sex who was of the same origin and nature
that he was from.
Consequently, from a philosophical point of view, man's existence was contemporaneous
with the existence of knowledge; from a scientific point of view, man's history started
How strange! During Hajj, the first move is initiated from "Arafat". The
"stop at Arafat" occurs in the daytime beginning at noon of the ninth day when
the sun is shining at its most. This time is designated so that you may gain
consciousness, insight, freedom, knowledge and love in the sunlight! At sunset, the stop
at Arafat is over. Nothing can be seen in the dark. As a result, neither acquaintances nor
knowledge prevail! With the setting of the sun in the plain of Arafat, people migrate to
the west along with the sun. They continue on until they reach Mashar, the land of
consciousness". They stop there too.
The stage following "knowledge" is that of "consciousness". How
strange, first "knowledge" and then "consciousness"?? People take it
for granted that consciousness precedes knowledge; but the creator of these two states of
mind demonstrates the opposite sequence! Adam met Eve (who was of the opposite sex). They
shared their views, communicated their thoughts and attained mutual understanding. Their
"individual" life was terminated by the establishment of a family (which
introduced social life) and the creation of a "conscious love"! Furthermore, the
unity of two human beings began with knowledge; the evolution of knowledge contributed to
man's consciousness. This gave birth to science which increased the understanding and in
turn, enhanced man's consciousness. Where did this lead? To more scientific progress!
When "objectivity" and the relation of an "idea" to the external
world is based on "reality", then wisdom will grow comprehension will improve
and man's spiritual power will flourish Mina (love)!
- It would have been theological and metaphysical idealism had Arafat (knowledge) been
preceded by Mashar (consciousness)!
- It would have been a materialistic and scientific life but idle with a spiritless
civilization and aimless progress had Arafat (knowledge) been the only stage!
- And, it would have meant the lack of our present under- standing of our faith had it
been only Mashar (consious- ness) and Mina (love) without Arafat (knowledge)!!!
But in this religion of Islam, man. a creature who was made of the meanest material of
earthand who came to power by being the trustee of Allah, commenced his actions with
knowledge. He comprehended the facts of this world by an objective method. Following this,
he gained his consciousness. During the last stage, he created love. These stages are
enacted by going from Arafat to Mashar and from there ascending to the peak of human
qualities and perfection (i.e. to Mina) or to ... Allah!
Realism? Yes, but as the principle not the aim! It is a foundation from which you
strive for the ideal and metaphysical! Since according to the Islamic concept man is made
partly from mud and partly from the spirit of Allah, YOUR will and decision help you to
migrate from "mud" to the "spirit of Allah". This is what you will
exercise when you pass the three stages of Arafat, Mashar and Mina!
In light of the concept which was just discussed, the meaning and beauty of the
following words may be expressed:
Faith: Way! Knowledge: Awareness! Prophecy: Guidance! Umma: A decided group! Imam:
Leader and guide! Shaheed and Shahid): The traffic signs! Ibadat: Acts of devotion or to
pound and smooth the way! Righteousness: To train yourself as a responsible rebel, to
avoid things that remind you of yourself and the causes of your stagnation! The way of
Allah: The way to sacrifice yourself and your world for the people! Prayer: To present
yourself to Allah, to call Him, to ask Him, to tell Him your needs, wishes, loves and
hates, to suqgest to yourself and the others Dikr: To bear in mind, to think Hajj: To
You have arrived at Arafat which is the farthest distance from Mecca. It is a dry plain
all covered by smooth sands. In its center you can view the small rocky hill of
Jabal-al-Rahmah from which the prophet Mohammad (PBUH) gave his last message (fareWell
speech) to his followers during his final journey to Mecca. Arafat is a wonderful city
which you visit for one day; it is gone with the wind after sunset prayers. There you will
encounter a society of all the races so united as one nation without borders. It is as if
the whole world is gathered at this plain under the whlte tents that extend from one
horizon to the other - where distinctions are minimum, aristocracy is too mean and man
made beauties are ugly!
You ask yourself - What am I supposed to see here? What am I supposed to see here? What
work is to be done? The answer - NOTHING! You are free to do whatever you want! You may
spend the day swimming in this great ocean of mankind or you may even sleep all day! But
"remember" that you are at Arafat! There is nothing to "see" here. As
Andre Gide' has said, "The glory should be in your look and not in what you are
looking at". Let your instincts and nature blossom under the clear sun of Arafat.
Lastly, in contrast to what man has done throughout history, do not run away from the
sunshine, the light, the freedom and the crowd. Always appear with the people ...
In the past, you lived under oppression and were kept ignorant as moss in stagnated
waters ...! Now, Oh "man", come out of your tent, draw yourself into this deep
ocean of people and let your "ego" burn under the glowing sun of Arafat! Only
for one day, Oh "man ', be as a candle, burning and illuminating the hearts of these
people! Do not be like wax and melt in the hands of the oppressors. Do not be a puppet.
In any case, you are entitled to spend this day as you wish. What you are
requested to do is only to stopand then leave the plain (Arafat) at sunset!