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“The Divine and Mystical Dimensions of Hajj” by Imam Khomeini(ra)


Hajj is a divine fountain, a monotheist reality and a basic principle in Islam. This ritual, with its deep and wide dimensions and mystical rules is the most glorious religious ritual. Hajj in its iconic figure has formed especial rituals with an accurate social composition, along with its customs and special instructions; and beyond these customs and systematic motions lays a glorious manifestation of life lessons and secrets. Perhaps we could claim that Hajj with all these dimensions is the extract of Islam and in another word equal to Sharia (the moral code and religious law of Islam); as the holy prophet of Islam has counted Hajj as an equal to religion and Sharia, “And the fifth is Hajj which is the Sharia” (Wasayel al-Shia, vol. 1, p. 26). Hajj is as a little sample to the great Islam, and this is because that this general worship includes monotheism, resurrection, prophecy, Imamate, morality and spirituality, physical and financial worship, cooperation and devotion, interaction, unity, politics, economy and etc. Among the mentioned dimensions of Hajj one of its basic dimensions is its spiritual and divine dimension. Hajj is a gathering for all the lovers and devotees of God.
Imam Rida (A.S.) has also counted this as the first specification of Hajj and said: “Hajj is an obligation because it is as a journey towards God almighty.” (Wasayel al-Shia, vol. 8, p. 5) Regarding this issue Imam Khomeini has said: “Keep in mind that Hajj is not as a trade journey. It is a travel toward God. You are going to God’s House. Whatever you do must be divine. From the very start your journey begins toward God, the Almighty.” (Sahifeh-ye Imam, vol. 10, p. 126) This saying is based on a word by Imam Ali (A.S.) that has said: “Those who attend the Hajj and perform its rituals, are taking steps towards Allah, and indeed Allah shall greet them with kindness and forgiveness.” (Bahar ul-Anwar, vol. 96, p. 8)
The spiritual dimension of Hajj is more revealed when it’s compared to other worships. Hajj with its unique customs has specific aspects which help to self-purification and improving divine levels; these aspects include: leaving the country, traversing property, making an oath by being present at Mash’ar and leaving back all dreams and wishes and selfishness and etc. Imam Khomeini has noted the spiritual aspects of Hajj: “What is important is that the pilgrim should know where he/ she is going and whose invitation one is accepting. One should know who the guest is and what the etiquette of the invitation is? Beware that selfishness runs counter to God-seeking effort and migration towards God, resulting in deficient spiritual hajj.” (Sahifeh-ye Imam, vol. 19, p. 307)
Hajj is the school of self-purification and a field to confront the demons within and outside. All its rituals and customs are a step towards spirituality, tolerance and moral virtues, and we could say that Hajj is a moving from darkness towards light. Imam Mohammad Baqir (A.S) while Interpretation of a verse from the Holy Quran had said: “From darkness towards Hajj, run towards God, meaning that leave darkness and move to Hajj.” (Mustadrak al-Wasayel, vol. 8, p. 11)
The Holy Quran points to sacrificing as one the rituals of Hajj: “It is not their meat nor their blood, that reaches Allah: it is your piety that reaches Him” (The Holy Quran, 22:37)
The importance of Hajj’s spirituality in the Islamic narrations is somehow that without it Hajj has no meaning, and we cannot use the title “Haji” for the pilgrim who hasn’t considered this point of Hajj.
Imam Khomeini, the reviver of the Abrahamic Hajj in this era, emphasizes on acting exactly as the rituals of Hajj to gain all of its divine goals and says: “. Spiritual states of the hajj that is the eternal asset of life and takes man to the horizon of Tawhid (monotheism) and Tanzih (purification) will not be achieved unless the ideological instructions of the hajj are completely and meticulously performed.” (Sahifeh-ye Imam, vol.19, p. 22)
He also mentions that the attainment of the other aspects of Hajj such as its political and social aspects, rely on the attainment of its spiritual aspect and says: “The political and social dimensions of the hajj will not be accomplished unless its spiritual and divine dimension is fulfilled. Your Labbayks (Accepting a call) are response to the invitation of God. Make yourself Muhrim to arrive at the threshold of God Almighty and while reciting Labbayk (Accepting a call) negate from the idea of any partner to God in all stages and migrate from the” self”, that is the great source of shirk towards Him the Glorified and Exalted. It is hoped that the seekers of the eternal rest can achieve it after the migration and receive the reward of sincerity towards Allah Alone. If spiritual aspects are pushed into oblivion, do not think one can free oneself from the clutches of the Satan of the self. As long as you are bound in yourself and carnal passions, you cannot succeed in Jihad for God’s path and defend the sanctuary of Allah (Harimullah).” (Sahifeh-ye Imam, vol. 19, pp. 22-3)

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