The First House, Farewell Sermon, Allah is Greatest
Issue 658 » November 4, 2011 - Dhul-Hijja 8, 1432
The First House
Al Imran (The House of Imran) - Chapter 3: Verses 96-97
"The first House [of worship] ever set up for mankind was indeed the one at Bakkah: rich in blessing, and a source of guidance to all the worlds, full of clear messages. It is the place whereon Abraham once stood; and whoever enters it finds inner peace. Pilgrimage to this House is a duty owed to God by all people who are able to undertake it. As for those who disbelieve, God does not stand in need of anything in all the worlds."
It was in Makka (Bakkah) that Abraham (Ibrahim) and his son built the Holy Kaba, the centre of the Islamic movement, on a site chosen by Allah himself. This building was not intended for worship only, as mosques are; its purpose was to act as the centre for spreading the universal movement of Islam, a world-wide gathering point for believers in the One God to assemble to worship Allah in congregation and go back to their respective countries carrying with them the message of Islam. This was the assembly which was named Hajj.
Peace always reigned in and around the Kaba, when all around it were rampant plunder, murder, devastation, conflict, and warfare - such was its sanctity that even the Bedouins who respected no law, if they detected in its precincts the murderer of even their father, did not dare to touch him.
These verses establish the obligation of performing Hajj. There are many Hadiths that mention it as one of the pillars of Islam and this is agreed upon by the Muslims. Pilgrimage is a personal obligation on every individual once in a lifetime, and it becomes due when the conditions of ability are fulfilled, including physical health, ability to travel and safe passage.
Pilgrimage is the Muslims' annual general assembly which is held at the House from which their message was given to them for the first time, and which witnessed the birth of the pure faith of Abraham, their first father, and which was the first House God has set up on earth for His own worship. Pilgrimage is, therefore, an assembly of great significance. Its historical associations centre around the noble concept of faith, which highlights the link between man and his Creator. It is a worthy concept to form the basis for human unity. Hence, it is appropriate that people should assemble every year at the Sacred Place which witnessed the birth of this call to mankind to unite on pure faith.
On the ninth day of Dhul-Hijja in the tenth year of hijrah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) addressed 144,000 pilgrims on the Mount of Mercy (Jabal ar-Rahmah). He spoke in short portions, and men around him repeated his words so that everyone throughout the valley could hear his speech.
The content of the message was powerful and intense, and the Prophet began by stating that he did not know whether he would again meet the pilgrims "in this place after this year." Then he reminded them of the sacred character of the place and month, as well as of that of their lives, their honour, and their belongings. He explained that the period of ignorance had come to an end, and so had its practices, its rivalries, and its conflicts based on power and profit. Henceforth, all Muslims were united by faith, fraternity, and love, which were to transform them into witnesses of Islam's message. They must under no circumstances accept being "either oppressors or oppressed." They were to learn of the equality of all people in front of God and the necessary humility because "you all descend from Adam and Adam was created from dirt. The most noble in the sight of God is the most pious. No Arab is superior to a non-Arab, except by their intimate consciousness of God [piety]." The Prophet reminded all the Muslims to treat their wives gently and added: "Be intimately conscious of God as regards women, and strive to be good to them." Then he added, as if to show the Way and its conditions to all the faithful present and all those who were to follow his teachings through the ages: "I have left among you what will, if you keep to it firmly, preserve you from error: clear guidance, the Book of God and His Prophet's tradition." After each teaching he reminded them of, the Prophet added: "Have I conveyed the Message? O God, be my witness!" At the end of the sermon, the pilgrims answered: "We bear witness that you have faithfully conveyed the message, that you have fulfilled your mission, and that you have given your community good advice." Then the Prophet concluded: "O God, be my witness! ... And let whoever is present convey this message to whoever is absent."
The Prophet was indeed a witness in front of the spiritual community of Muslims. In communion with them, at the heart of the pilgrimage - which itself requires simplicity and the unity of human beings before their Creator - the Messenger recalled the essential point in the One's message: the absolute equality of human beings before God, regardless of race, social class, or gender, for the only thing that distinguishes them lies in what they do with themselves, with their intelligence, their qualities, and most of all their heart. Wherever they come from, whether they are Arabs or not; whatever their color, black, white, or any other; whatever their social status, rich or poor; whether they are men or women, human beings stand out by the attention they show their heart, their spiritual education, the control of the ego, and the blossoming of faith, dignity, goodness, nobleness of soul, and, for coherence's sake, commitment among their fellow human beings in the name of their principles.
"In The Footsteps of The Prophet" - Tariq Ramadan, pp.196, 197
Allah is Greatest
llahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, la il Llaha il Allah!
Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, wa li Llah il-Hamd!
Allah is Greatest, Allah is Greatest! This is neither in vain nor in jest, but it is meant to implant in the hearts of the believers the essence of this religion: the fact that Allah is One, Eternally Supreme, and He is Above anything else!
Allah is Greatest! His Might is above all psychological crises that overwhelm people, no matter how extensive these woes and crises are. Even if they become mountainous to the extent of encompassing the whole earth and engulfing all souls, and no matter how overwhelming people's calamities are, nothing can relieve them of these crises except faith in "Allahu Akbar!"
Allah is Greatest! He is Greater than all temporal lusts that disseminate mischief in the earth, spread chaos in society, and tear apart people's friendship, cooperation, and solidarity. Nothing can curb these lusts except the belief in "Allahu Akbar!"
Allah is Greatest! He is Greater than all tyrants who enslave the helpless people and infringe upon their rights, for they are weak and powerless. Nothing can set these affairs in order except the belief in "Allahu Akbar!"
O you Muslims who declare in your prayers, your 'Eids, and your calls to heaven your true belief in "Allahu Akbar"! Never faint, nor grieve, nor despair, nor weaken, nor give in. Surely, the earth is Allah's, it does not belong to anyone. He, Almighty, gives it for an inheritance to whom He wills amongst His servants, and the best end is for those who keep their duty to Him, not for the traitors, nor for the aggressors, nor for the tyrants, nor for the oppressors. Be confident in the fulfillment of Allah's promise, for He never breaks His promise.
"Allahu Akbar" - Hasan al-Banna