CHAPTER TWENTY THREE ISLAMIC WAY OF LIFE AND FIVE PILLARS ISLAMIC FAITH

In dealing with the fundamental belief in Islam, Muslim theologians distinguish between “beliefs” or iman (rendering secure through surrender) and “duties” or act of worship. The beliefs are summed up in five dogmas: (1) One God; (2) Apostles; (3) Revealed books; (4) Angels; (5) Day of Judgment/Heaven and Hell. True piety, however, does not consist in mere adherence to outward forms and rites. Just as piety cannot become effective without righteous action, individual righteousness cannot become really effective in the social sense unless there is agreement within the community as to the social rights and obligations of its members: in other words, as to the practical laws which should govern the behavior of the individual within the society and the society’s attitude towards the individual and his actions. This is the innermost reason why legislation plays so great a role within the ideology of Islam, and why the Quran consistently intertwines it’s moral and spiritual exhortation with ordinances relating to practical aspects of social life. (The translation of the Quran is presented in bold letters and the explanation in parentheses.) FIVE ARTICLES OF ISLAMIC FAITH (4:136) O you who have attained to faith! Hold fast unto your belief in God and His Apostle, and in the divine writ which He has bestowed from on high upon His Apostle, step by step, as well as in the revelation which He sent down aforetime: [What is meant here is belief in the fact of earlier revelation, and not in the earlier-revealed scriptures in their present form, which - as repeatedly stated in the Quran - is the outcome of far-reaching corruption of the original texts.] for he who denies God, and His angels, and His revelations, and His apostles, and the Last Day, has indeed gone far astray. [Since it is through the beings or forces described as angels that God conveys His revelations to the prophets, belief in angels is correlated with belief in revelation as such.] (4:150-152) Verily, those who deny God and His apostles by endeavoring to make a distinction between [belief in] God and [belief in] His apostles, and who say, “We believe in the one but we deny the other,” and want to pursue a path in-between - [Or: We believe in some and we deny the others - that is, they believe in God but not in His apostles. In Islam, the rejection of any or all of God’s apostles constitutes almost as grave a sin as a denial of God Himself.] it is they, they who are truly denying the truth: and for those who deny the truth We have readied shameful suffering. But as for those who believe in God and His apostles and make no distinction between any of them [I.e., in point of their being God’s message-bearers.] - Unto them, in time, will He grant their rewards [in full]. And God is indeed much forgiving, a dispenser of grace. EVER-TRUE FAITH - THE WAY OF ABRAHAM (6:122) Is then he who was dead [in spirit] and whom We thereupon gave life, and for whom We set up a light whereby he might see his way among men. [The expression “he who was dead” is metaphorical, and that it refers to people who become spiritually alive through faith and are thereupon able to pursue their way through life unerringly] (6:161-164) Say: “Behold, my Sustainer has guided me onto a straight way through an ever-true faith - the way of Abraham, who turned away from all that is false, and was not of those who ascribe divinity to aught beside Him.” Say: “Behold, my prayer, and [all] my acts of worship, and my living and my dying are for God [alone], the Sustainer of all the worlds, in whose divinity none has a share: for thus have I been bidden - and I shall [always] be foremost among those who surrender themselves unto Him.” Say: “Am I, then, to seek a sustainer other than God, when He is the Sustainer of all things?” FAITH INSCRIBED IN HEART (58:22) [As for the true believers,] it is they in whose hearts He has inscribed faith, and whom He has strengthened with inspiration

from Himself, and whom [in time] He will admit into gardens through which running waters flow, therein to abide. [For rendering of ruh as “inspiration” or, occasionally, as “divine inspiration”, see 16:2.] Well-pleased is God with them, and well-pleased are they with Him. They are God’s partisans: oh, verily, it is they, the partisans of God, who shall attain to a happy state! NO HARDSHIP PERTAINS TO ISLAM (22:78) Strive hard in God’s cause with all the striving that is due to Him: it is He who has elected you [to carry His message], and has laid no hardship on you in [anything that pertains] to religion, [The absence of any hardship in the religion of Islam is due to several factors: (1) it is free of any dogma or mystical proposition which might make the Quranic doctrine difficult to understand or might even conflict with man’s innate reason; (2) it avoids all complicated ritual or system of taboos which would impose undue restrictions on mans everyday life; (3) it rejects all self-mortification and exaggerated asceticism, which must unavoidably conflict with mans true nature (see 2:143); and (4) it takes fully into account the fact that “man has been created weak” (4:28).] [and made you follow] the creed of your forefather Abraham. [Abraham is designated here as “your forefather” not only because he was, in fact, an ancestor of the prophet Muhammad - to whose followers this passage is addressed - but also because he is the prototype (and thus, the spiritual forefather) of all who consciously “surrender themselves to God”.] It is He who has named you in bygone times as well as in this [divine writ] - “those who have surrendered themselves to God”, so that the Apostle might bear witness to the truth before you, and that you might bear witness to it before all mankind. [The term Muslim signifies “one who surrenders himself to God”; correspondingly, Islam denotes “selfsurrender to God”. Both these terms are applied in the Quran to all who believe in the One God and affirm this belief by an unequivocal acceptance of His revealed messages. Since, the Quran represents the final and most universal of these divine revelations, the believers are called upon in the sequence to follow the guidance of its Apostle and thus to become an example for all mankind (see 2:143).] Thus, be constant in prayer, and render the purifying dues, and hold fast unto God. He is your Lord Supreme: and how excellent is this Lord Supreme, and how excellent this Giver of Succor!

GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF ISLAMIC WAY OF LIFE
TRUE PIETY AND CONCEPT OF GOD-CONSCIOUSNESS (2:2-5) This Divine Writ - let there be no doubt about it - is [meant to be] a guidance for all the God-conscious [The conventional translation of muttaqi as “God-fearing” does not adequately render the positive content of this expression-namely, the awareness of His all presence and the desire to mould one's existence in the light of this awareness; while the interpretation adopted by some translators, “one who guards himself against evil” or “one who is careful of his duty”, does not give more than one particular aspect of the concept of Godconsciousness.] Who believe in [the existence of] that which is beyond the reach of human perception, [Al-ghayb is used in the Quran to denote all those sectors or phases of reality which lie beyond the range of human perception (see chapter on al-ghayb).] And are constant in prayer, and spend on others out of what we provide for them as sustenance; [Ar-rizq or “provision of sustenance” applies to all that may be of benefit to man, whether it be concrete (like food, property, offspring, etc.) or abstract (like knowledge, piety, etc.). The “spending on others” is mentioned here in one breath with God-consciousness and prayer because it is precisely in such selfless acts that true piety comes to its full fruition.] And who believe in that which has been bestowed from on high upon you, [O Prophet,] as well as in that which was bestowed before your time: for it is they who in their innermost are certain of the life to come! [This reference to “before your time” is one of the fundamental doctrines of the Quran: the doctrine of the historical continuity of divine revelation. Life so the Quran teaches us - is not a series of unconnected jumps but a continuous, organic process: and this law applies also to the life of the mind, of which man's religious experience (in its cumulative sense) is a part. Thus, the religion of the Quran can be properly understood only against the background of the great monotheistic faiths which preceded it, and which, according to Muslim belief, culminate and

achieve their final formulation in the faith of Islam.] It is they who follow the guidance [which comes] from their Sustainer; and it is they, they who shall attain to a happy state! (2:177) True piety does not consist in turning your faces towards the east or the west [The reference to the turning of one’s face in prayer in this or that direction. Thus, the Quran stresses the principle that mere compliance with outward forms does not fulfill the requirements of piety.] - but truly pious is he who believes in God, and the Last Day, and the angels, and revelation, [The term “revelation” carries a generic significance: it refers to the fact of divine revelation as such. As regards belief in angels, it is postulated here because it is through these spiritual beings or forces (belonging to the realm of al-ghayb, i.e., the reality which is beyond the reach of human perception) that God reveals His will to the prophets and, thus, to mankind at large.] and the prophets; and spends his substance - however much he himself may cherish it - upon his near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer, [The expression “son of the road” denotes any person who is far from his home, and especially one who, because of this circumstance, does not have sufficient means of livelihood at his disposal. In its wider sense it describes a person who, for any reason whatsoever, is unable to return home either temporarily or permanently: for instance, a political exile or refugee.] and the beggars, and for the freeing of human beings from bondage; and is constant in prayer, and renders the purifying dues; and [truly pious are] they who keep their promises whenever they promise, and are patient in misfortune and hardship and in time of peril: it is they that have proved themselves true, and it is they, they who are conscious of God. (2:189) However, piety does not consist in your entering houses from the rear, [as it were,] but truly pious is he who is conscious of God. Hence, enter houses through their doors, and remain conscious of God, so that you might attain to a happy state. [I.e., true piety does not consist in approaching questions of faith through a back door, as it were - that is, through mere observance of the forms and periods set for the performance of various religious duties (2:177). However important these forms and time-limits may be in themselves, they do not fulfill their real purpose unless every act is approached through its spiritual front door, that is, through God-consciousness. Since, metonymically, the word “door” signifies a means of access to, or of attainment of, a thing, the metaphor of “entering a house through its door” is often used in classical Arabic to denote a proper approach to a problem.] (2:207) But there is [also] a kind of man who would willingly sell his own self in order to please God: and God is most compassionate towards His servants. [I.e., would give up all his personal interests if compliance with God’s will were to demand it.] (2:285-286) The apostle, and the believers with him, believe in what has been bestowed upon him from on high by his Sustainer: they all believe in God, and His angels, and His revelations, and His apostles, making no distinction between any of His apostles; [All the apostles were true bearers of God’s messages, there is no distinction between them, albeit some of them have been endowed more highly than others (see 2:253).] and they say: “We have heard, and we pay heed. Grant us Thy forgiveness, O our Sustainer, for with Thee is all journeys’ end! “God does not burden any human being with more than he is well able to bear: in his favor shall be whatever good he does, and against him whatever evil he does. “O our Sustainer! Take us not to task if we forget or unwittingly do wrong! “O our Sustainer! Lay not upon us a burden such as Thou did lay upon those who lived before us! [A reference to the heavy burden of rituals imposed by the Law of Moses upon the children of Israel, as well as the world-renunciation recommended by Jesus to his followers.] O our Sustainer! Make us not bear burdens, which we have no strength to bear! “And efface Thou our sins, and grant us forgiveness, and bestow Thy mercy upon us! Thou art our Lord Supreme: succor us, then, against people who deny the truth!” (42:36-38) And [remember that] whatever you are given [now] is but for the [passing] enjoyment of life in this world - whereas that which is with God is far better and more enduring. [It shall be given] to all who attain to faith and in their Sustainer place their trust; and who shun the more heinous sins and abominations; and who, whenever they are moved to anger, readily forgive; and who respond to [the call of] their Sustainer and are constant in prayer; and whose rule [in all matters of common concern] is

consultation among themselves; and who spend on others out of what We provide for them as sustenance; [Following as it does immediately upon the call to communal unity and consultation, the “spending on others” bears here the general connotation of social justice.] HUMBLENESS (25:63) For, [true] servants of the Most Gracious are [only] they who walk gently on earth, and who, whenever the foolish address them, reply with [words of] peace; [With the aim to ridicule them or to argue against their beliefs.] (25:72) And [who], whenever they pass by [people engaged in] frivolity, pass on with dignity. MODERATION AS A WAY OF LIFE Most virtues fall at a mean between more extreme traits. For example, in response to fear, one should develop the virtue of courage which allows the person to be firm when facing danger. If one lacks enough courage, he will develop the disposition of cowardice, which is vice. Too much courage, on the other hand, lead to rashness which is also vice. Charity is a virtue but extreme traits of wastefulness and niggardliness are vices. Any form of extreme behavior is a vice such as excessive religiosity (asceticism), licentiousness, exulting in riches, hopelessness in adversity, wastefulness, niggardliness. It is through divine guidance and human reasoning that moderation between extreme character traits can be found. The broad principle which guides Islamic way of life can be summed up in often repeated call for moderation in all actions including religion. (2:143) And thus have We willed you to be a community of the middle way, [I.e., a community that keeps an equitable balance between extremes and is realistic in its appreciation of man’s nature and possibilities, rejecting both licentiousness and exaggerated asceticism. The oft-repeated call to moderation in every aspect of life, the Quran exhorts the believers not to place too great an emphasis on the physical and material aspects of their lives, but postulates, at the same time, that man’s urges and desires relating to this “life of the flesh” are God-willed and, therefore, legitimate. The expression “a community of the middle way” summarizes the Islamic attitude towards the problem of man’s existence as such: a denial of the view that there is an inherent conflict between the spirit and the flesh, and a bold affirmation of the natural, God-willed unity in this twofold aspect of human life. This balanced attitude, peculiar to Islam, flows directly from the concept of God’s oneness and, hence, of the unity of purpose underlying all His creation.] so that [with your lives] you might bear witness to the truth before all mankind, and that the Apostle might bear witness to it before you. [I.e., that your way of life be an example to all mankind, just as the Apostle is an example to you.] ENJOY GOOD THINGS OF LIFE BUT DO NOT WASTE (7:31-32) O children of Adam! Beautify yourselves for every act of worship, [Lit., “take to your adornment (zinah)”. The proper meaning of zinah is a beautifying thing that does not disgrace or render unseemly either in the present world or in that which is to come: thus, it signifies anything of beauty in both the physical and moral connotations of the word.] and eat and drink [freely], but do not waste: verily, He does not love the wasteful! Say: “Who is there to forbid the beauty which God has brought forth for His creatures, and the good things from among the means of sustenance?” Say: “They are [lawful] in the life of this world unto all who have attained to faith - to be theirs alone on Resurrection Day.” Thus clearly do We spell out these messages unto people of [innate] knowledge! [By declaring that all good and beautiful things of life - i.e., those which are not expressly prohibited - are lawful to the believers, the Quran condemns, by implication, all forms of life-denying asceticism, world-renunciation and self-mortification. While, in the life of this world, those good things are shared by believers and unbelievers alike, they will be denied to the latter in the hereafter.] PATIENCE IN ADVERSITY (64:11-13) No calamity can ever befall [man] unless it be by God’s leave: hence, whoever believes in God guides his [own] heart [towards this truth]; and God has full knowledge of everything. [I.e., towards self-surrender to God’s will and so towards gratitude in

times of ease, and patience in times of misfortune. It is also possible to understand the phrase in another sense, namely, if anyone believes in God, He [i.e., God] guides his heart. However, the former rendering seems to be preferable as it stresses the idea that conscious belief in God impels man’s reason to control and direct his emotions and inclinations in accordance with all that this belief implies.] Pay heed, then, unto God, and pay heed unto the Apostle; and if you turn away, [know that] Our Apostle’s only duty is a clear delivery of this message: God - there is no deity save Him! In God, then, let the believers place their trust. [The above construction of this passage makes it clear, firstly, that a realization of God’s existence, oneness and almightiness is the innermost purport - and, thus, the beginning and the end - of God s message to man; and, secondly, that His prophets can do no more than deliver and expound this message, leaving it to man’s reason and free choice to accept or reject it.] (16:96-97) And most certainly shall We grant unto those who are patient in adversity their reward in accordance with the best that they ever did. As for anyone - be it man or woman - who does righteous deeds, and is a believer withal - him shall We most certainly cause to live a good life; [This may relate either to life in this world inasmuch as a true believer invariably finds happiness in his God-consciousness - or to the happiness which awaits him in the hereafter, or to both.] and most certainly shall We grant unto such as these their reward in accordance with the best that they ever did. REWARDS FOR SELF-SURRENDER (33:35) Verily, for all men and women who have surrendered themselves unto God, and all believing men and believing women, and all truly devout men and truly devout women, and all men and women who are true to their word, and all men and women who are patient in adversity, and all men and women who humble themselves [before God], and all men and women who give in charity, and all self-denying men and self-denying women, [The term rendered as “fasting”, has here its primary connotation of one who abstains from anything or denies to himself anything.] and all men and women who are mindful of their chastity, [Lit., “the men who guard their private parts and the women who guard them”: see 24:30.] and all men and women who remember God unceasingly: for [all of] them has God readied forgiveness of sins and a mighty reward. EDUCATION A SACRED DUTY (58:11) God will exalt by [many] degrees those of you who have attained to faith and, [above all,] such as have been vouchsafed [true] knowledge: for God is fully aware of all that you do. [The saying of the Prophet: “The superiority of a learned man over a mere worshipper is like the superiority of the moon on the night when it is full over all other stars”. ] SCHOLARS EXEMPTED FROM WAR (9:122) It is not desirable that all of the believers take the field [in time of war]. From within every group in their midst, some shall refrain from going forth to war, and shall devote themselves [instead] to acquiring a deeper knowledge of the Faith, and [thus be able to] teach their home-coming brethren, so that these [too] might guard themselves against evil. [Although the above injunction mentions specifically religious knowledge, it has a positive bearing on every kind of knowledge - and this in view of the fact that the Quran does not draw any dividing-line between the spiritual and the worldly concerns of life but, rather, regards them as different aspects of one and the same reality. In many of its verses, the Quran calls upon the believer to observe all nature and to discern God’s creative activity in its manifold phenomena and laws, as well as to mediate upon the lessons of history with a view to gaining a deeper insight into man’s motivations and the innermost springs of his behavior; and, thus, the Quran itself is characterized as addressed to “those who think”. In short, intellectual activity as such is postulated as a valid way to a better understanding of God’s will and - if pursued with moral consciousness - as a valid method of worshipping God. This Quranic principle has been emphasized in many well-authenticated sayings of the Prophet, for instance, “Striving after knowledge is a sacred duty for every man and woman who has surrendered himself or herself to God”; or, “The superiority of a learned man over a (mere) worshipper i.e., one who merely prays, fasts, etc. is like the superiority of the full

moon over all the stars”. Consequently, the obligation of the believers to “devote themselves to acquiring a deeper knowledge of the Faith” and to impart its results to their fellow-believers relates to every branch of knowledge as well as to its practical application.] ACQUISITION OF KNOWLEDGE AND DIVINE REVELATION (87:6-8) We shall teach you, and you will not forget [aught of what you are taught], save what God may will [you to forget] [The above passage, though ostensibly addressed to the Prophet, is directed at man in general, and that it is closely related to an earlier Quranic revelation - namely, the first five verses of surah 96 (The Germ-Cell) and, in particular, verses 3-5, which speak of God’s having “taught man what he did not know”. This alludes to mankind’s cumulative acquisition of empirical and rational knowledge, handed down from generation to generation and from one civilization to another: and it is to this very phenomenon that the present passage, too, refers. We are told here that God, who has formed man in accordance with what he is meant to be and has promised to guide him, will enable him to acquire (and thus, as it were, “impart” to him) elements of knowledge which mankind will accumulate, record and collectively “remember” - except what God may cause man to “forget” (in another word, to abandon) as having become redundant by virtue of his new experiences and his acquisition of wider, more differentiated elements of knowledge, empirical as well as deductive or speculative, including more advanced, empirically acquired skills. However, the very next sentence makes it clear that all knowledge arrived at through our observation of the external world and through speculation, though necessary and most valuable, is definitely limited in scope and does not, therefore, in itself suffice to give us an insight into ultimate truths.] - for, verily, He [alone] knows all that is open to [man’s] perception as well as all that is hidden [from it] - [I.e., all that is intrinsically beyond the reach of human perception (al-ghayb): the implication being that, since human knowledge must forever remain imperfect, man cannot really find his way through life without the aid of divine revelation.] and [thus] shall We make easy for you the path towards [ultimate] ease. [I.e., towards an ease of the mind and peace of the spirit] IMPARTING RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE TO CHILDREN (conflict with younger generations) (46:17-20) But [there is many a one] who says to his parents [whenever they try to imbue him with faith in God]: “Fie upon both of you! Do you promise me that I shall be brought forth [from the dead], although [so many] generations have passed away before me?” [That is without any indication that anyone has been or will be resurrected. This parabolic dialogue is not only meant to illustrate the ever-recurring - and perhaps natural - conflict between older and younger generations, but also points to the transmission of religious ideas as the most important function of parenthood, and thus, in a wider sense, as the basic element of all social continuity.] And [while] they both pray for God’s help [and say], “Alas for you! For, behold, God’s promise always comes true!” - he but answers, “All this is nothing but fables of ancient times!” It is [such as] these upon whom the sentence [of doom] will fall due, together with the [other sinful] communities of invisible beings and humans that have passed away before their time. Verily, they will be lost: for, [in the life to come,] all shall have their degrees in accordance with whatever [good or evil] they did: and so, He will repay them in full for their doings, and none shall be wronged. And on the Day when those who were bent on denying the truth will be brought within sight of the fire, [they will be told:] “You have exhausted your [share of] good things in your worldly life, having enjoyed them [without any thought of the hereafter]: and so today you shall be requited with the suffering of humiliation for having gloried on earth in your arrogance, offending against all that is right, and for all your iniquitous doings!” [I.e., for having arrogantly, without any objective justification, asserted that there is no life after death.]

THE FIVE PILLARS OF ISLAM
THE STRAIGHT PATH GUIDED BY FIVE PILLARS (10:25) And [know that] God invites [man] unto the abode of peace, and guides him that wills [to be guided] onto a straight way. [Or: “guides whom He wills onto a straight way”. As regards the expression salam, rendered here and in many other places as “peace” and

elsewhere as “salvation”, see 5:16. It is obvious that the term “abode of peace” denotes not only the condition of ultimate happiness in the hereafter - alluded to in the allegory of paradise - but also the spiritual condition of a true believer in this world: namely, a state of inner security, of peace with God, with one’s natural environment, and within oneself.] If a Muslim were asked to summarize the way his religion counsels man to live, he might answer: Islam teaches man to walk the straight path. The phrase comes from the opening surah of the Quran itself which is recited by every Muslim five times each day: Praise belongs to God, Lord of the Worlds, The Compassionate, the Merciful. King of the Day of Judgment. Tis Thee we worship and Thee we ask for help. Guide us in the straight path, the path of those whom Thou hast favored, not the path of those who - incur Thine anger nor of those who go astray. Why the straight path? One meaning is obvious; a straight path is undevious, neither crooked nor corrupt. The phrase contains another meaning; however, which speaks to something distinctive in Islam. The straight path is one that is straightforward, direct and explicit. Compared with other religions, Islam spells out the way of life it proposes; it pinpoints it, nailing it down through explicit injunctions. The consequence is a definiteness about this religion that gives it a flavor all its own. A Muslim knows where he stands. He knows who he is and who God is. He knows what his obligations are and if he transgresses these he knows what to do about it. Islam has clarity, order, and precision which is in sharp contrast to the shifting relative, uncertain, at-sea quality of much of modern life. Muslims explicitly claim this as one of Islam’s strengths. God’s revelation to man, they say, has proceeded through four great stages. First, through Abraham God revealed the truth of monotheism, God’s oneness. Second, through Moses he revealed the Ten Commandments. Third, through Jesus he revealed the Golden Rule that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. All these men were authentic prophets; each nailed down indispensable planks in the platform of the God-directed life. One question only remained unanswered. How should we love our neighbor? What does the love of neighbor require in this complicated world in which human interests can cross and tangle? A final prophet was needed to answer that question and he was Muhammad. Because God answered this final question through him he deserves the title, the Seal of the Prophets. The glory of Islam consists in having embodied the beautiful sentiment of Jesus into definite laws. What, then, is the content of this straight path that spells out the duties of man? We shall divide our presentation into two parts. In this chapter we shall consider the Five Pillars of Islam, the principles that regulate on the whole the private life of Muslims in their direct relationships with God. In the later chapters we shall consider the Quran’s social teachings. The Quran, as Muhammad Iqbal, a great Pakistani philosoher, tells us, is a book which emphasizes deed rather than idea. The purpose of the five pillars of Islam is to keep man onto the right or straight path. It is to these deeds that we turn in the next. (1) THERE IS NO GOD BUT ALLAH AND MUHAMMAD IS HIS LAST PROPHET The first pillar is Islam’s creed. Every religion contains convictions that orient its adherents’ lives in some way. In some religions these premises are simply assumed; in most religions they are condensed and articulated in some sort of creed. The creed of Islam wastes no words. Brief, simple, explicit, it consists of a single sentence: “There is no God but Allah, and, Muhammad is His Prophet.” The two dogmas of God’s oneness and Muhammad messengership constitute the confession of faith or shahadah. The musical formula (la ilaha illa Allah Muhammandun rasulu Allah) that is “there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of God” does not occur as such in the Quran. They are repeated in the daily muezzin’s call to prayer and on innumerable other occasions. At least once during his lifetime a Muslim must say this creed correctly, slowly, thoughtfully, along, with full understanding, and with heartfelt conviction in its truth. In actuality, practicing Muslims repeat it many times each day, but at least once during one’s lifetime is mandatory. The mere pronouncement of the shahadah is an act of piety and is therefore almost constantly on believers’ lips. Such is the importance of this profession that if a non-Muslim accepts and reproduce it he becomes at least nominally a Muslim – but he should then proceed to the

performance of the remaining duties described under five pillars of Islam. The creed contains only two phrases. The first announces the cardinal principle of monotheism. Islam entered the world as a desert religion stretches of sand as far as the eye could reach, and above, only the blazing sun. The austerity of the setting as well as its purity carries over into theology. “There is no God but Allah.” There is no God but The God. More directly still there is no God but God - for the word is not a common noun embracing a class of objects; it is a proper name designating a unique being. In a single stroke, this affirmation demolishes forever God’s rivals for man’s loyalty. Once for all, it toppled the innumerable idols the Bedouin had worshipped since the dawn of history and in the Muslim’s view sounded toward Judaism and Christianity as well a recall from their-near-idolatry of the Torah and Christ. The second affirmation in Islam’s creed is that Muhammad is God’s prophet speaks at once to the Muslim’s faith in the authenticity of Muhammad and in the validity of the book he transmitted. So highly has the Prophet been regarded that his status has at times come near to threatening the monotheism he preached. When Muhammad died there were some who attempted to deify him, but his chosen successor, Abu Bakr killed the thought with one of the most famous speeches in religious history “If there are any among you who worshipped Muhammad, he is dead. But if it is God you worship, He lives forever.”

(2) PRAYER
The second pillar of Islam is prayer in which -the Quran adjures the faithful to “be constant.” (29:45). If we ask why the Muslim is admonished to be constant in prayer; the basic reason implied by all the Quran’s direct statements is to keep man’s life in perspective. The most important and difficult lesson man must learn and continually relearn; the Quran assumes is that he is not God. Creature-rather than creator, man has nevertheless an inveterate tendency to place himself the center of his universe and live as a law to himself. When he does so, however, when he tries to play God, everything goes wrong. Man is creature; his life slips into place and stays in proper perspective only when he recognizes this fact. When one asks, therefore, why the Muslim prays, a partial answer is doubtless in response to the natural yearning of the human heart to pour forth its love and gratitude toward its Creator. But accompanying this desire is a need to keep his life in its proper perspective; to see in its objective setting; to acknowledge that he is created before his creator, and to submit himself to the will of God as rightfully sovereign over his life. KABAH AS QIBLAH (direction of prayer) Before his call to prophethood, and during the early Meccan period of his ministry, the Prophet - and his community with him - used to turn in prayer towards the Kabah. This was not prompted by any specific revelation, but was due to the fact that the Kabah - although it had in the meantime been filled with various idols to which the pre-Islamic Arabs paid homage - was always regarded as the first temple ever dedicated to the One God (3:96). Since he was aware of the sanctity of Jerusalem - the other holy center of the Unitarian faith - the Prophet prayed, as a rule, before the southern wall of the Kabah, towards the north, so as to face both the Kabah and Jerusalem. After the exodus to Medina he continued to pray northwards, with only Jerusalem as his qiblah (direction of prayer). About sixteen months after his arrival at Medina, however, he received a revelation (2:142-150), which definitively established the Kabah as the qiblah of the followers of the Quran. This change of qiblah was a declaration of independence. By turning away from Jerusalem to Kabah, which had no connection with Judaism and Christianity, Muslims tacitly demonstrated that they were reverting to the original pure monotheism of Abraham, who had lived before the revelation of either Torah or the Gospel and therefore, before the religion of one God had been split into warring factions. The “abandonment” of Jerusalem obviously displeased the Jews of Medina, who must have felt gratified when they saw the Muslims praying towards their holy city; and it is to them that the opening sentence of this passage refers below. If one considers the matter from the historical point of view, there had never been any change in the divine commandments relating to the qiblah: there had simply been no

ordinance whatever in this respect before verses 2:142-150 were revealed. (2:142-152) The weak-minded among people will say, “What has turned them away from the direction of prayer which they have hitherto observed?” Say: “God’s is the east and the west; He guides whom He wills onto a straight way.” [Or: He guides onto a straight way him that wills to be guided] And it is only to the end that We might make a clear distinction between those who follow the Apostle and those who turn about on their heels that We have appointed [for this community] the direction of prayer which you [O Prophet] have formerly observed: for this was indeed a hard test for all but those whom God has guided aright? But God will surely not lose sight of your faith - for, behold, God is most compassionate towards man, a dispenser of grace. [The “hard test” consisted in the fact that ever since their exodus to Medina the Muslims had become accustomed to praying towards Jerusalem - associated in their minds with the teachings of most of the earlier prophets mentioned in the Quran - and were now called upon to turn in their prayers towards the Kabah, which at that time (in the second year after the hijrah) was still used by the pagan Quraysh as a shrine dedicated to the worship of their numerous idols. As against this, the Quran states that true believers would not find it difficult to adopt the Kabah once again as their qiblah: they would instinctively realize the divine wisdom underlying this commandment which established Abraham’s Temple as a symbol of God’s oneness and a focal point of the ideological unity of Islam.] We have seen you [O Prophet] often turn your face towards heaven [for guidance]: and now We shall indeed make you turn in prayer in a direction which will fulfill your desire. Turn, then, your face towards the Inviolable House of Worship; and wherever you all may be, turn your faces towards it [in prayer]. And, verily, those who have been vouchsafed revelation aforetime know well that this [commandment] comes in truth from their Sustainer; and God is not unaware of what they do. And yet, even if you were to place all evidence [I.e., of its being a revealed commandment.] before those who have been vouchsafed earlier revelation, they would not follow your direction of prayer; and neither you may follow their direction of prayer, nor even do they follow one another’s direction. And if you should follow their errant views after all the knowledge that has come unto you, you would surely be among the evildoers. They unto whom We have vouchsafed revelation aforetime know it as they know their own children: but, behold, some of them knowingly suppress the truth the truth from thy Sustainer! Be not, then, among the doubters: [This refers to the fact that the Kabah was Abraham’s qiblah, as well as to the Biblical prophecies relating to Ishmael as the progenitor of a great nation (Genesis xxi, 13 and 18) from whom a prophet “like unto Moses” would one day arise: for it was through Ishmael’s descendant, the Arabian Prophet, that the commandment relating to the qiblah was revealed. (Regarding the still more explicit predictions of the future advent of the Prophet Muhammad, forthcoming from the canonical Gospels, see 61:6.)] for, every community faces a direction of its own, of which He is the focal point. Vie, therefore, with one another in doing good works. Wherever you may be, God will gather you all unto Himself: for, verily, God has the power to will anything. [This is a reference to the various religious communities and their different modes of “turning towards God” in worship. Ibn Kathir, in his commentary on this verse, stresses its inner resemblance to the phrase occurring in 5:48: “unto every one of you have We appointed a different law and way of life”. The statement that “every community faces a direction of its own” in its endeavor to express its submission to God implies, firstly, that at various times and in various circumstances man’s desire to approach God in prayer has taken different forms (e.g., Abraham’s choice of the Kabah as his qiblah, the Jewish concentration on Jerusalem, the eastward orientation of the early Christian churches, and the Quranic commandment relating to the Kabah); and, secondly, that the direction of prayer - however important its symbolic significance may be - does not represent the essence of faith as such: for, as the Quran says, “true piety does not consist in turning your faces towards the east or the west” (2:177), and, “God’s is the east and the west” (2:115 and 142). Consequently, the revelation which established the Kabah as the qiblah of the Muslims should not be a matter of contention for people of other faiths, or a cause of their disbelief in the truth of the Quranic revelation as such.] Thus, from wherever you may come forth, turn your face [in prayer] towards

the Inviolable House of Worship - for, behold, this [commandment] comes in truth from thy Sustainer; and God is not unaware of what you do. Hence, from wherever you may come forth, turn your face [in prayer] towards the Inviolable House of Worship; and wherever you all may be, turn your faces towards it, so that people should have no argument against you unless they are bent upon wrongdoing. [The Quran stresses repeatedly that the Muslims are true followers of Abraham. This claim, however, might have been open to objection so long as they prayed in a direction other than Abraham’s qiblah, the Kabah. The establishment of the latter as the qiblah of the followers of the Quran would invalidate any such argument and would leave it only to “those who are bent upon wrongdoing” (in this case, distorting the truth) to challenge the message of the Quran on these grounds.] And hold not them in awe, but stand in awe of Me, and [obey Me,] so that I might bestow upon you the full measure of My blessings, and that you might follow the right path. Even as We have sent unto you an apostle from among yourselves to convey unto you Our messages, and to cause you to grow in purity, and to impart unto you revelation and wisdom, and to teach you that which you knew not: so remember Me, and I shall remember you; and be grateful unto Me, and deny Me not. ALL TRUE INVOCATION DUE TO GOD ALONE (13:14-16) Unto Him [alone] is due all prayer aiming at the Ultimate Truth [Or: to Him alone is due all true invocation. The term alhaqq (the Truth) is one of the Quranic attributes of God, signifying the Ultimate Reality or Primal Cause of all that exists (the Urgrund in German philosophical terminology): consequently, the expression da wat al-haqq may be understood in the sense of “prayer directed towards Him who is the Ultimate Reality”, implying - as the sequence clearly states - that the invocation of any other being, power or principle is eo ispo wrong and futile.] since those [other beings or powers] whom men invoke instead of God [Or: side by side with God] cannot respond to them in any way – [so that he who invokes them is] but like one who stretches his open hands towards water [hoping] that it will reach his mouth, the while it never reaches him. Hence, the prayer of those who deny the truth amounts to no more than losing oneself in grievous error. And before God prostrate themselves, willingly or unwillingly, all [things and beings] that are in the heavens and on earth [The expression “prostrates himself” or “prostrate themselves” is a metonym for complete submission to His will, that, is, to the natural laws decreed by Him with regard to everything that exists. Those who submit to God willingly (i.e., consciously) are the angels and the believers, whereas the deniers of the truth, who are not willing to submit to Him, are nevertheless, without being conscious of it, subject to His will. However, in view of the subsequent reference to “shadows”, it also relates to not merely to conscious beings but also to all other physical objects, whether animate or inanimate - i.e., to “all things and beings that are in the heavens and on earth”. (See 6:48-49 and 22:18.)] as do their shadows in the mornings and the evenings. [I.e., the varying lengths of the shadow projected by any material object depend on the position of the sun in relation to the earth; and since the earth’s rotation around the sun is - as everything else in the universe - an outcome of God’s creative will, the greater length of a shadow in the morning and evening and its contraction towards noon visibly expresses the shadow’s subjection to Him.] Say: “Who is the Sustainer of the heavens and the earth?” Say: “[It is] God.” Say: “[Why,] then, do you take for your protectors, instead of Him, such as have it not within their power to bring benefit to, or avert harm from, themselves?” Say: “Can the blind and the seeing be deemed equal? - or can the depths of darkness and the light be deemed equal?” INVISIBLE BEINGS AND MEN CREATED TO WORSHIP GOD (51:56-58) And [tell them that] I have not created the invisible beings [For a full discussion of the term jinn (invisible beings), see chapter al-ghayb. As pointed out by most of the philologists this term includes also the angels, since they, too, are beings or forces concealed from man’s senses.] and men to any end other than that they may [know and] worship Me. [Thus, the innermost purpose of the creation of all rational beings is their cognition of the existence of God and, hence, their conscious willingness to conform their own

existence to whatever they may perceive of His will and plan: and it is this twofold concept of cognition and willingness that gives the deepest meaning to what the Quran describes as “worship” (ibadah). As the next verse shows, this spiritual call does not arise from any supposed need on the part of the Creator, who is self-sufficient and infinite in His power, but is designed as an instrument for the inner development of the worshipper, who, by the act of his conscious self-surrender to the all-pervading Creative Will, may hope to come closer to an understanding of that Will and, thus, closer to God Himself.] [But withal,] no sustenance do I ever demand of them, nor do I demand that they feed Me: for, verily, God Himself is the Provider of all sustenance, the Lord of all might, the Eternal! ALL CREATURES EXTOL GOD’S GLORY (24:36-37) In the houses [of worship] which God has allowed to be raised so that His name be remembered in them, there [are such as] extol His limitless glory at morn and evening - [Implying, as the sequence shows, that the spiritual purpose of those houses of worship is fulfilled only by some, and not all, of the people who are wont to congregate in them out of habit.] people whom neither [worldly] commerce nor striving after gain [lit., “buying and selling” - a metonym for anything that might bring worldly gain.] can divert from the remembrance of God, and from constancy in prayer, and from charity: (24:41-42) Are you not aware that it is God whose limitless glory all [creatures] that are in the heavens and on earth extol, even the birds as they spread out their wings? Each [of them] knows indeed how to pray unto Him and to glorify Him; and God has full knowledge of all that they do: for, God’s is the dominion over the heavens and the earth, and with God is all journeys’ end. BENEFITS OF PRAYER (restraint from evil) (20:132) And bid your people to pray, and persevere therein. [But remember:] We do not ask you to provide sustenance [for Us]: it is We who provide sustenance for you. And the future belongs to the God-conscious. [God makes it clear that He has enjoined prayer upon men for their own benefit alone, as He Himself is sublimely exalted above any need of benefits. In other words, prayer must not be conceived as a kind of tribute to a jealous God - as the Old Testament, in its present corrupted form, frequently describes Him - but solely as a spiritual benefit for the person who prays.] (29:45) Convey [unto others] whatever of this divine writ has been revealed unto you, [If we assume that verses 45-46 are addressed not merely to the Prophet but to believers in general (an assumption which is strengthened by the plural form of address in the last clause of verse 45 and throughout verse 46), the above phrase may be taken to mean “whatever of the divine writ has revealed itself to your understanding”.] and be constant in prayer: for, behold, prayer restrains [man] from loathsome deeds and from all that runs counter to reason; and remembrance of God is indeed the greatest [good]. And God knows all that you do. [For the concept of almunkar, see 16:90.] ACT OF PRAYER A GOOD DEED (39:9-10) Or [do you deem yourself equal to] one who devoutly worships [God] throughout the night, prostrating himself or standing [in prayer], ever-mindful of the life to come, and hoping for his Sustainer’s grace?” [Alternatively, the above verse could be rendered thus: “Is, perchance, he who worships hoping for his Sustainer’s grace, equal to one who denies the truth?”] Say: “Can they who know and they who do not know be deemed equal?” [But] only they who are endowed with insight keep this in mind! Say: “[Thus speaks God:] [This interpolation is justified by the fact that the possessive pronoun in the subsequent phrase “servants of Mine” obviously relates to God.] ‘O you servants of Mine who have attained to faith! Be conscious of your Sustainer! Ultimate good awaits those who persevere in doing good in this world. WHY GOD DOES NOT ANSWER SOME PRAYERS? (17:11) As it is, man [often] prays for things that are bad as if he were praying for something that is good: for man is prone to be

hasty [in his judgments]. [See 2:216 - “it may well be that you hate a thing the while it is good for you, and it may well be that you love a thing the while it is bad for you: and God knows, whereas you do not know”: In other words, divine guidance is the only objective criterion as to what is good and what is bad.] HUMBLE YOURSELF IN PRAYERS (7:55-56) Call unto your Sustainer humbly, and in the secrecy of your hearts. Verily, He loves not those who transgress the bounds of what is right: hence, do not spread corruption on earth after it has been so well ordered. And call unto Him with fear and longing: verily, God’s grace is ever near unto the doers of good! (23:1-4) Truly, to a happy state shall attain the believers: those who humble themselves in their prayer, and who turn away from all that is frivolous, and who are intent on inner purity. [Working for or active in behalf of inner purity, which is the meaning of zakah in this context.] (23:9) and who guard their prayers [from all worldly intent]. (25:64-66) And who remember their Sustainer far into the night, prostrating themselves and standing. And who pray: “O our Sustainer, avert from us the suffering of hell - for, verily, the suffering caused by it is bound to be a torment dire: verily, how evil an abode and a station!” (33:41-44) O you who have attained to faith! Remember God with unceasing remembrance, and extol His limitless glory from morn to evening. [I.e., at all times] He it is who bestows His blessings upon you, with His angels [echoing Him], so that He might take you out of the depths of darkness into the light. And, indeed, a dispenser of grace is He unto the believers. On the Day when they meet Him, they will be welcomed with the greeting, “Peace”; and He will have readied for them a most excellent reward. (70:22-23) Those who consciously turn towards God in prayer, [and] who incessantly persevere in their prayer. [This does not relate here to the mere ritual of prayer but, rather, to the attitude of mind and the spiritual need underlying it. Since man is born with a restless disposition which, when rightly used, leads him towards conscious spiritual growth, as well as to freedom from all self-pity and selfishness.] EXTOL GOD’S LIMITLESS GLORY AT MORN AND EVENING (76:24-28) Await, then, in all patience thy Sustainer’s judgment, [This connects with the preceding mention of the life to come, in which the righteous will meet with bliss, and the evildoers with suffering.] and pay no heed to any of them who is a willful sinner or an ingrate; and bear in mind thy Sustainer’s name at morn and evening [I.e., His “attributes” as they manifest themselves in His creation - since the human mind can grasp only the fact of His existence and the manifestation of those “attributes”, but never the “how” of His Reality.] and during some of the night, [I.e., at all times of wakefulness.] and prostrate yourself before Him, and extol His limitless glory throughout the long night. [I.e., whenever unhappiness oppresses you and all seems dark around you.] Behold, they [who are unmindful of God] love this fleeting life, and leave behind them [all thought of] a grief-laden Day. [They will not admit to themselves that] it is We who have created them and strengthened their make [I.e., endowed their bodies and minds with the ability to enjoy “this fleeting life”.] - and [that], if it be Our will, We can replace them entirely with others of their kind. [I.e., with other human beings who would have the same powers of body and mind, but would put them to better use.] BE CONSTANT IN PRAYING (good deeds drive away evil) (11:114-115) And be constant in praying at the beginning and the end of the day, as well as during the early watches of the night: for, verily, good deeds drive away evil deeds: this is a reminder to all who bear [God] in mind. And be patient in adversity: for, verily, God does not fail to requite the doers of good! [This injunction circumscribes all the obligatory prayers without specifying either their form or the exact times of their performance, both of which are clearly laid down in the sunnah (i.e., the authenticated sayings and the

practice) of the Prophet: namely, at dawn (fajr), shortly after mid-day (zuhr), in the afternoon (asr), immediately after sunset (maghrib), and in the first part of the night (isha). The above verse stresses the paramount importance of prayer in general, it is safe to assume that it refers not merely to the five obligatory prayers but to a remembrance of God at all times of one’s wakeful life.] FIVE DAILY PRAYERS When should a Muslim pray? Five times daily-upon rising, afternoon, in mid-afternoon, after sunset, and before retiring. The schedule is not absolutely binding. The Quran says explicitly, for example, that “When ye journey about the earth it is no crime to you that ye come short in prayer if ye fear that those that disbelieve will set upon you.” Under normal conditions, however, the five-fold pattern should be maintained. The exact answer to where the Muslim should pray, however, is anywhere. “It is one of the glories of Islam,” writes an Englishman, “that its temple are not made with hands and that its ceremonies can be performed anywhere on upon God’s earth or under his heaven.” Every corner of God’s earth being equally pure, the faithfuls are encouraged to spread their prayer rugs wherever they find themselves at the appointed hour. (17:78-80) Be constant in [your] prayer from the time when the sun has passed its zenith till the darkness of night, and [be ever mindful of its] recitation at dawn: [As is evidenced by the practice (sunnah) of the Prophet, this verse fully circumscribes the five daily prayers laid down in Islam as obligatory for every adult man and woman: at dawn (fajr), shortly after the sun passes its zenith (zuhr), in the middle of the afternoon (asr), immediately after sunset (maghrib), and after the night has fully set in (isha). Although parts of the Quran should be recited in every prayer, the early Morning Prayer is metonymically singled out as the “recitation (Quran) at dawn” because the Prophet, under divine inspiration, used to lengthen his recitation while praying at that time, thus stressing the special significance of this particular prayer.] for, behold, the recitation [of prayer] at dawn is indeed witnessed [by all that is holy]. [This may means “witnessed by the angels of night as well as those of day”, since dawn is the time between night and day. Razi, however, is of the opinion that the “witness” to which the Quran refers here is the spark of God-given illumination to man’s own soul - the heightening of his inner perception at the time when the darkness and stillness of night begins to give way to the life-giving light of day, so that prayer becomes a means of attaining to deeper insight into the realm of spiritual truths and, thus, of achieving communion with all that is holy.] And rise from your sleep and pray during part of the night [as well], as a free offering from you, [I.e., in addition to the five obligatory prayers. Hence, the above is not an injunction but a recommendation, although the Prophet himself invariably spent the greater part of the night in prayer.] and thy Sustainer may well raise you to a glorious station [in the life to come]. And say [in your prayer]: “O my Sustainer! Cause me to enter [upon whatever I may do] in a manner true and sincere, and cause me to leave [it] in a manner true and sincere, and grant me, out of Thy grace, sustaining strength!” (17:110) And [pray unto Him; yet] be not too loud in thy prayer nor speak it in too low a voice, but follow a way in-between; (30:17-18) Extol, then, God’s limitless glory when you enter upon the evening hours, and when you rise at morn; and [seeing that] unto Him is due all praise in the heavens and on earth, [glorify Him] in the afternoon as well, and when you enter upon the hour of noon. [I.e., “remember God at all times”. Apart from this general exhortation, the hours mentioned above circumscribe the times of the five daily prayers incumbent upon a Muslim. The “evening hours” indicate the prayer after sunset (maghrib) as well as that after nightfall (isha).] THE NOBLEST KIND OF PRAYER (2:238) Be ever mindful of prayers, and of praying in the most excellent way; and stand before God in devout obedience. [Lit., “the midmost” or “the most excellent” prayer”. It is generally assumed that this refers to the mid-afternoon (asr) prayer, although some authorities believe that it denotes the prayer at dawn (fajr). Muhammad Abduh, however, advances the view that it may mean the noblest

kind of prayer - that is, a prayer from the fullness of the heart, with the whole mind turned towards God, inspired by awe of Him, and reflecting upon His word.] PRAYERS FOR FORGIVENESS (3:15-17) And God sees all that is in [the hearts of] His servants - those who say, “O our Sustainer! Behold, we believe [in Thee]; forgive us, then, our sins, and keep us safe from suffering through the fire”-: those who are patient in adversity, and true to their word, and truly devout, and who spend [in God’s way], and pray for forgiveness from their innermost hearts. [The word sahar undoubtedly denotes “the time before daybreak”; it also signifies “the core of the heart”. This is in agreement with the Prophet’s recommendation to his followers (forthcoming from several authentic Traditions) to devote the latter part of the night, and particularly the time shortly before dawn, to intensive prayer. In the context of the above Quran-verse - as well as of 51:18 - this latter rendering is preferable to the conventional one: for, although the value of praying before daybreak has undoubtedly been stressed by the Prophet, it is not very plausible that the Quran should have tied the prayer for forgiveness to a particular time of day.] OBLIGATORY CONGREGATIONAL PRAYER ON FRIDAY While in Islam no day of the week is as sharply set apart from others as is the Sabbath for the Jews or Sunday for the Christians, Friday most nearly approximates a holy day. Formality is not a pronounced features in Islam but the closest that Muslims come to a formal service of worship is when they gather on Fridays for noon prayers an collective recital of the Quran These gatherings are usually in mosques, and visitors to Muslim lands testify, that one of the most impressive sights in the religions of man occurs when, in a dimly lighted mosque, hundreds of men stands shoulder to shoulder, then kneel and prostrate themselves toward Mecca. (62:9-11) O you who have attained to faith! When the call to prayer is sounded on the day of congregation, [I.e., on Friday, when the congregational prayer at noon is obligatory. Nevertheless, as the sequence shows, Friday is not a day of compulsory rest in Islamic Law.] hasten to the remembrance of God, and leave all worldly commerce: this is for your own good, if you but knew it. And when the prayer is ended, disperse freely on earth and seek to obtain [something] of God’s bounty; [I.e., you may devote yourselves to worldly pursuits] but remember God often, so that you might attain to a happy state! Yet [it does happen that] when people become aware of [an occasion for] worldly gain [Lit., “trade” or “a bargain”.] or a passing delight, they rush headlong towards it, and leave you standing [and preaching]. Say: “That which is with God is far better than all passing delight and all gain! And God is the best of providers!” [This alludes to an historical incident, when most of the congregation, on hearing that a long expected trade caravan had come from Syria, rushed out of the mosque in the midst of the Prophet’s Friday sermon. In a wider, timeless sense, the above verse contains an allusion to an all-too-human weakness against which even true believers are not always immune: namely, the tendency to overlook religious obligations for the sake of a transitory, worldly advantage.] SHORTENING OF PRAYER DURING WAR AND TRAVELING (2:239) But if you are in danger, [pray] walking or riding; and when you are again secure, bear God in mind since it is He who taught you what you did not previously know. [This relates to any dangerous situation - for instance, in war - where remaining for any length of time at one place would only increase the peril: in such an event, the obligatory prayers may be offered in any way that is feasible, even without consideration of the qiblah.] (4:101-103) And when you go forth [to war] on earth, you will incur no sin by shortening your prayers [A reference to the five obligatory daily prayers - at dawn, noon, afternoon, after sunset and late in the evening - which may be shortened and combined (the noon prayer with that of the afternoon, and the sunset prayer with that of the late evening) if one is traveling or in actual danger. While the extension of this permission to peaceful travel has been authorized by the Prophet’s Sunnah, the Quran mentions it only in connection with

war situations; and this justifies the interpolation, in the opening sentence, of the words “to war”. The prayer described in the next verse with the congregation praying in shifts - is called salat al-khawf (prayer in danger).] if you have reason to fear that those who are bent on denying the truth might suddenly fall upon you: [Implying a sudden attack] for, verily, those who deny the truth are your open foes. Thus, when you are among the believers [The “you” in this sentence refers, primarily, to the Prophet and, by implication, to the leader of every group of believers at war with those who deny the truth.] and about to lead them in prayer, let [only] part of them stand up with you, retaining their arms. Then, after they have finished their prayer, let them provide you cover while another group, who have not yet prayed, shall come forward and pray with you, being fully prepared against danger and retaining their arms: [Lit., “when they have prostrated themselves, let them (i.e., the other group) be behind you”. This idiomatic expression is not to be taken literally: in classical Arabic usage, the phrase “he was behind you” signifies he protected you or (in military parlance) he covered you, and is not meant to describe the physical relative position of the two persons or groups.] [for] those who are bent on denying the truth would love to see you oblivious of your arms and your equipment, so that they might fall upon you in a surprise attack. But it shall not be wrong for you to lay down your arms [while you pray] if you are troubled by rain or if you are ill; but [always] be fully prepared against danger. [I.e., if there is a risk of their weapons being damaged by exposure to unfavorable weather conditions, the warriors are exempted from the obligation of keeping their arms with them while praying. This exemption applies, of course, only to such of the soldiers as are in charge of particularly sensitive weapons; and the same applies to the individual cases of illness mentioned in the sequence. It must, however, be remembered that the term “rain” is often used in the Quran to denote an affliction: and if we adopt this meaning, the above phrase could be rendered as if you suffer from an affliction - thus allowing for a wide range of possible emergencies.] Verily, God has readied shameful suffering for all who deny the truth! And when you have finished your prayer, remember God standing and sitting and lying down; and when you are once again secure, observe your prayers [fully]. Verily, for all believers prayer is indeed a sacred duty linked to particular times [of day]. EXEMPTION FROM PRAYER (drunkenness, traveling, illness) (4:43) O you who have attained to faith! Do not attempt to pray while you are in a state of drunkenness, [but wait] until you know what you are saying. [The reference to prayer at this place arises from the mention, in the preceding verses, of the Day of Judgment, when man will have to answer before God for what he did during his life in this world: for it is in prayer that man faces God, spiritually, during his earthly life, and reminds himself of his responsibility towards the Creator. As regards the prohibition of attempting to pray while in a state of drunkenness, some of the commentators assume that this ordinance represented the first stage of the total prohibition of intoxicants, and has been, consequently, abrogated by the promulgation of the law of total abstinence from all intoxicants (5:90). However, quite apart from the fact that the doctrine of abrogation is entirely untenable (see under ten principles behind interpreting the Quran), there is no warrant whatever for regarding the above verse as a first step which has become redundant, as it were, after total prohibition was ordained. It is, of course, true that the Quran forbids the use of intoxicants at all times, and not merely at the time of prayer; but since “man has been created weak” (4:28), his lapse from the way of virtue is always a possibility: and it is to prevent him from adding the sin of praying while in a state of drunkenness to the sin of using intoxicants as such that the above verse was promulgated. Moreover, the expression “while you are in a state of drunkenness” does not apply exclusively to alcoholic intoxication, since the term sukr, in its wider connotation, signifies any state of mental disequilibrium which prevents man from making full use of his intellectual faculties: that is to say, it can apply also to a temporary clouding of the intellect by drugs or giddiness or passion, as well as to the state metaphorically described as “drunk with sleep”in brief, to any condition in which normal judgment is confused or suspended. And because the Quran insists throughout on consciousness as an indispensable element in every act of worship, prayer is permitted only when man is in full possession of his mental faculties and

knows what he is saying.] nor yet [you are] in a state requiring total ablution, until you have bathed [I.e., after sexual intercourse requiring total ablution or bath.] - except if you are traveling [and are unable to do so]. But if you are ill, or are traveling, or have just satisfied a want of nature, or have cohabited with a woman, and can find no water - then take resort to pure dust, passing [therewith] lightly over your face and your hands. Behold, God is indeed an absolver of sins, much-forgiving. [This symbolic ablution, called tayammum, consists in touching the earth, or anything supposed to contain dust, with the palms of one's hands and then passing them lightly over face and hands. Whenever water is not within reach the tayammum takes the place of both the total ablution after sexual intercourse (ghusl or bath) and the partial ablution before prayers (wudu).] CALL TO PRAYER Read these words any hour of the day or night and somewhere from minaret a muezzin will be calling to prayer: GOD IS MOST GREAT I TESTIFY THAT THERE IS NO GOD BUT ALLAH I TESTIFY THAT MUHAMMAD IS THE APOSTLE OF ALLAH RISE UP TO PRAYER RISE UP TO SALVATION GOD IS GREAT THERE IS NO GOD BUT ALLAH ABLUTION (WADU) BEFORE PRAYER OR TAYAMMUM (exceptions to the rule) Before saying prayers it is necessary to wash with water those parts of the body which generally remain exposed. The worshipper’s clothes and body must be clean. He washes his hands three times; rinse mouth three times; rinse nostrils three times; wash face three times; wash right arm to elbow three times and then repeat the same for left arm; run moistened hands over the head once; wash right feet up to ankle three times and repeat the same for left feet. (5:6-7) O you who have attained to faith! When you are about to pray, wash your face, and your hands and arms up to the elbows, and pass your [wet] hands lightly over your head, and [wash] your feet up to the ankles. And if you are in a state requiring total ablution, purify yourselves. But if you are ill, or are traveling, or have just satisfied a want of nature, or have cohabited with a woman, and can find no water - then take resort to pure dust, passing therewith lightly over your face and your hands. God does not want to impose any hardship on you, but wants to make you pure, and to bestow upon you the full measure of His blessings, so that you might have cause to be grateful. And [always] remember the blessings which God has bestowed upon you, and the solemn pledge by which He bound you to Himself when you said, “We have heard, and we pay heed.” Hence, remain conscious of God: verily, God has full knowledge of what is in the hearts [of men]. [Lit., “His solemn pledge by which He bound you”. Since this pledge is given by the believers to God and not by Him to them, the personal pronoun in “His pledge” can have only one meaning: namely, God’s binding thereby the believers to Himself.] HOW TO PRAY As to how the Muslim is to pray, the Quran mentions almost nothing in the way of specifics. Muhammad’s teachings and practices, however, have crystallized into traditions that in keeping with Islam’s explicitness on almost every point, moves in to structure the void. To keep alive the memory of the glorious center where Islam first entered the world in its fullness, Muhammad directed that Muslims should face pray facing Mecca. The realization that his brothers are doing likewise creates sense of participating in a world-wide fellowship even when the Muslim is physically isolated. THE CONTENT OF MUSLIM PRAYER

This brings us to the content of Muslim prayer. Its two great themes are the expression of praise and gratitude on the one hand, and supplication (to ask for humbly and earnestly) on the other. There is a Muslim saying that every time a bird drinks a drop of water it lifts its eyes in gratitude toward heaven. “All who are in the heavens and the earth celebrate His praises, and the birds, too, spreading out their wings; each one knows its prayer and its praise.” Ideally every micro-second of man’s life should also be lifted to God in gratitude. In point of fact we repeatedly fall away from this grateful attitude. Five times a day, however, we should bring ourselves back to it. Below is a typical prayer through which the Muslim attempts to do so. INTENTION TO PRAY: Standing erect, the believer says to himself that he intends to offer this prayer or Salah (fajr, zuhr, asr, maghrib or isha). With hands open on either side of his face and his thumbs touching the lobes of his ears, he recites, “Allah Akbar” (God is most great). Still standing he recites the opening surah of the Quran (Al-Fatihah) BISMILLAH IR RAHMA NIR RAHIM (In the name of God, the most gracious, the Dispenser of grace) ALHAMDU LIL-LAHI RAB-BIL ALAMIN (All praise is due to God alone, the Sustainer of all the worlds) AR-RAHMA-NIR RAHIM (The Most gracious, the Dispenser of grace) MALIKI YAU-MID-DIN (Master of the Day of Judgment) IYYA-KA NABUDU WA-IYYAKA NASTAIN (Thee alone do we worship and thee alone we turn for aid) IHDI-NAS-SIRA-TAL MUSTAQIM (Guide us in the straight path) SIRA TAL-LADHINA AN-AMTA ALAHIM (The way of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed Thy blessings) GHAIR-IL MAGHDUBI ALAHIM (Not of those who have been condemned [by Thee]) WALAD-DA-LIN (AMIN) (Nor of those who go astray!) After reciting surah Al-Fatihah is followed by other optional selections. The most commonly recited is the hundred-twelfth surah Al-Ikhlas (The declaration of God’s perfection). As reported in a great number of authentic Traditions, the Prophet described this surah as “equivalent to one-third of the whole Quran”. BISMILLAH IR RAHMA NIR RAHIM (In the name of God, the most gracious, the dispenser of grace) QUL HU-WAL-LAHO AHAD (Say: Allah is the one and the only God) ALLA-HUS-SAMAD (God the eternal, the uncaused cause of all that exists) LAM YALID WALAM YULAD

(He begets not, and neither is He begotten) WALAM YAKUL-LAHU KUFU-WAN AHAD (And there is nothing that could be compared with Him) ALLAH AKBAR Bowing from his hips and placing his hands on his knees, he says thrice SUBHANA RAB-BI-YALAZIM (Glory to my Lord the Great) While returning to upright position, he says SAMI ALLA HULIMAN HAMIDAH RAB-BANA LAKAL HAMAD (Allah has heard all who praise him. Our Lord praise be to Thee) ALLAH AKBAR Gliding gently to his knees, he prostrates by places his hands and his face to the ground and repeats these words three times: SUBHANA RAB-BI-YAL AALA (Glory to my Lord, the most high) ALLAH AKBAR He rises to his knees, sits on his heels, and again returns his hands and his face to the ground in second prostration saying: ALLAH AKBAR And again repeats these words three times: SUBHANA RAB-BI-YAL AALA (Glory to my Lord, the most high) The prostrations were designed to counter the hard arrogance and self-sufficiency that was growing apace in Mecca. The postures of their bodies would re-educate the Muslims to lay aside their pride and selfishness and recall that before God they are nothing. This completes one rakaat of Salah. The second rakaat is said in the same way except that after the second prostration, he sits back and silently says these words: ATTA HIYATU LILAHI WASALA WATU WATAYIBATU (All prayers and worship through words, action and sanctity are for Allah alone) ASSALAMU ALAIKA AYUHA N-NABIYU WA RAHMATUL LAHI WABARAKATU (Peace be upon you, O Prophet and mercy of Allah and his blessing) ASSALAMU ALAYNA WA ALA IBADILA HIS-SALAIHIN (Peace be on us and on those who are righteous servants of Allah) ASHADU ALA ILAHA ILA LAHU (I bear witness to the fact that there is no deity but Allah) WAAS HADU ANNA MUHAMMADAN ABDUHU WA RASULAH (I bear witness to the fact that Muhammad is His servant and Apostle) In the three rakaat (Magrib) or four rakaat (Zhur,Asr, and Isha) Salah, the believer stand up for the remaining rakaat. On the other hand, if it is two rakaat (Fajr) Salah, he keeps sitting and recite Darud (blessing for the Prophet) in these words: ALLA HUMMA SALLIALA MUHAMMAD WA ALA AALI MUHAMMAD

(O Allah, exalt Muhammad and the followers of Muhammad) KAMA SALAYATA ALA IBRAHIMA WA AALI IBRAHIMA (As Thou did exalt Ibrahim and his followers) IN-NAKA HAMIDUM MAJID (Thou art the praised, the glorious) At this point, the worshipper asks God for all the prosperity of this worldly life and the life to come. He terminates his prayer by turning his face to the right saying: ASSALAMU ALAIKUM WA RAHMATU ALLAH and to the left saying this salutation which means: peace and mercy of Allah be on you. The entire routine is designed to give form to the prayer while allowing ample scope for the most heartfelt outpouring of devotion before the Almighty Presence. (3) CHARITY (See under economic regulations) (4) FASTING The fourth pillar of Islam is the observance of Ramadan. Ramadan is a month in the Arabian calendar, Islam’s holy month because during it Muhammad received his initial commission as a prophet and ten years later made his historic Hijrah from Mecca to Medina. To commemorate these two great occasions, able-bodied Muslims not involved in crises like war or unavoidable journey fast during Ramadan. From daybreak to the setting of the sun neither food nor drink passes their lips; after sundown they may partake in moderation. Sexual intercourse is also prohibited during fast. Being a month in a lunar calendar, Ramadan rotates around the year. When it falls in the winter its demands are not excessive. When, on the other hand, it falls during the scorching summers, to remain active during the long days without so much as a drop of water is an ordeal. Why, then, does the Quran require it? For one thing, fasting makes one think, as every Jew who has watched through the long fasts of Yom Kippur will testify. For another thing, fasting teaches self-discipline; he who can endure its demands will have less difficulty controlling his appetites and sexual desires at other times. Fasting underscores man’s dependence upon God. Man, says the Quran, is as frail as the rose petal; nevertheless he assumes airs and pretensions. Fasting reminds him vividly of his essential frailty and dependence. Finally, fasting sensitizes compassion. Only those who have been hungry can know what hunger means. If a man has himself fasted for thirty days within the year he will be apt to listen more carefully the next time he is approached by someone in need. At the end of Ramadan commence the festival of Id Al-Fitr: The three days celebration starting from the first day Shawwal, the month that follows Ramadan immediately. Fitr literally means ‘breaking the fast’ FASTING DURING RAMADAN (2:183-187) O you who have attained to faith! Fasting is ordained for you as it was ordained for those before you, so that you might remain conscious of God: [fasting] during a certain number of days? [I.e., during the twenty-nine or thirty days of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar (see next verse). It consists of a total abstention from food, drink and sexual intercourse from dawn until sunset. As the Quran points out, fasting has been widely practiced at all times of man’s religious history. The extreme rigor and the long duration of the Islamic fast - which is incumbent on every healthy adult, man or woman - fulfils, in addition to the general aim of spiritual purification, a threefold purpose: (1) to commemorate the beginning of the Quranic revelation, which took place in the month of Ramadan about thirteen years before the Prophet's exodus to Medina; (2) to provide an exacting exercise of self-discipline; and (3) to make everyone realize, through his or her own experience, how it feels to be hungry and thirsty, and thus to gain a true appreciation of the needs of the poor.] But whoever of you is ill, or on a journey, [shall fast instead for the same] number of other days; and [in such cases] it

is incumbent upon those who can afford it to make sacrifice by feeding a needy person. [I.e., those who can afford to feed a needy person.] And whoever does more good than he is bound to do, does good unto himself thereby; for to fast is to do good unto yourselves - if you but knew it. [This refers to a voluntary feeding of more than one needy person, or to feeding the needy for more than the number of days required by the above ordinance. Since, however, the remaining part of the sentence speaks of the benefits of fasting as such, it is more probable that “doing more good than one is bound to do” refers, in this context, to supererogatory fasting (such as the Prophet sometimes undertook) apart from the obligatory one during the month of Ramadan.] It was the month of Ramadan in which the Quran was [first] bestowed from on high as guidance unto man and a self-evident proof of that guidance, and as the standard by which to discern the true from the false. Hence, whoever of you lives to see this month shall fast throughout it; but he that is ill, or on a journey, [shall fast instead for the same] number of other days. God wills that you shall have ease, and does not will you to suffer hardship; but [He desires] that you complete the number [of days required], and that you extol God for His having guided you aright, and that you render your thanks [unto Him]. And if My servants ask you about Me - behold, I am near; I respond to the call of him who calls, whenever he calls unto Me: let them, then, respond unto Me, and believe in Me, so that they might follow the right way. It is lawful for you to go in unto your wives during the night preceding the [day’s] fast: they are as a garment for you, and you are as a garment for them. God is aware that you would have deprived yourselves of this right, [An allusion to the idea prevalent among the early Muslims, before the revelation of this verse, that during the period of fasting all sexual intercourse should be avoided, even at night-time, when eating and drinking are allowed. The above verse removed this misconception.] and so He has turned unto you in His mercy and removed this hardship from you. Now, then, may lie with them skin to skin, and avail yourselves of that which God has ordained for you, [An obvious stress on the God-willed nature of sexual life.] and eat and drink until you can discern the white streak of dawn against the blackness of night, [According to all Arab philologists, the “black line” signifies the blackness of night; and the expression “the two lines” or “streaks” denote day and night.] and then resume fasting until nightfall; but do not lie with them skin to skin when you are about to abide in meditation in houses of worship. [It was the practice of the Prophet to spend several days and nights during Ramadan - and occasionally also at other times - in the mosque, devoting himself to prayer and meditation to the exclusion of all worldly activities; and since he advised his followers as well to do this from time to time, seclusion in a mosque for the sake of meditation, called itikaf, has become a recognized - though optional - mode of devotion among Muslims, especially during the last ten days of Ramadan.] These are the bounds set by God: do not, then, offend against them - [for] it is thus that God makes clear His messages unto mankind, so that they might remain conscious of Him. LUNAR CALENDAR TO OBSERVE FASTING AND HAJJ (2:189) They will ask you about the new moons. Say: “They indicate the periods for [various doings of] mankind, including the pilgrimage.” [The reference to lunar months arises from the fact that the observance of several of the religious obligations instituted by Islam - like the fast of Ramadan, or the pilgrimage to Mecca (which is dealt with in verses 196-203) - is based on the lunar calendar, in which the months rotate through the seasons of the solar year. This fixation on the lunar calendar results in a continuous variation of the seasonal circumstances in which those religious observances are performed (e.g., the length of the fasting-period between dawn and sunset, heat or cold at the time of the fast or the pilgrimage), and thus in a corresponding, periodical increase or decrease of the hardship involved. In addition to this, reckoning by lunar months has a bearing on the tide and ebb of the oceans, as well as on human physiology (e.g., a woman’s monthly courses).] FOUR SACRED MONTHS (9:36-37) Behold, the number of months, in the sight of God, is twelve months, [laid down] in God’s decree on the day when He

created the heavens and the earth; [and] out of these, four are sacred: this is the ever-true law [of God]. [The months spoken of here are lunar months, progressively rotating through the seasons of the solar year (see 2:189 above). The twelve months in the Muslim calendar are as follows: (1) Muharram, (2) Safar, (3) Rabi-ul-Awwal, (4) Rabi-ul-Akhir, (5) Jamadi-ul-Awwal, (6) Jamadi-ul-Akhir, (7) Rajab, (8) Shaban, (9) Ramadan, (10) Shawwal, (11) Dhul-Qadah, (12) Dhul-Hijja. Since reckoning by the easily observable lunar months is more natural than by the arbitrarily fixed months of the solar year, it is described in this passage as “the ever-true law of God”. The four “sacred months” during which warfare was considered blasphemous in pre-Islamic Arabia - a view which was later confirmed by Islam are Muharram, Rajab, Dhul-Qadah and Dhul-Hijja.] Do not, then, sin against yourselves with regard to these [months]. [In their endeavor to obviate certain disadvantages for their trade caused by the seasonal rotation of the lunar months, the pagan Arabs used to intercalate a thirteenth month in the third, sixth and eighth year of every eight-year period, with a view to making the lunar calendar more or less stationary, and thus roughly corresponding to the solar year. An acceptance of this unwarranted intercalation by the Muslims would have tied the Mecca pilgrimage as well as the fast of Ramadan to fixed seasons, and would thus have made, permanently, the performance of these religious duties either too exacting or too easy; and in either case the believers would have been offending against the spiritual purpose underlying these duties - which is the meaning of the words “do not sin against yourselves with regard to these months”: i.e., by following, without any warrant from God, a custom devised by those who ascribe divinity to aught beside Him, to whom the sequence refers.] The intercalation [of months] is but one more instance of [their] refusal to acknowledge the truth - [a means] by which those who are bent on denying the truth are led astray. [The term “intercalation”, may also be translated as postponement - i.e., the postponement of lunar months by means of the periodical intercalation of a thirteenth month, as practiced by the pre-Islamic Arabs with a view to bringing the traditional lunar calendar, for purely worldly reasons, into accord with the solar year. The Quran describes this practice as an additional instance of disbelief because it contravenes God’s declared will as regards the observance of the lunar calendar in respect of various religious duties (see 2:189).] They declare this [intercalation] to be permissible in one year and forbidden in [another] year, [An allusion to the arbitrary manner in which the pre-Islamic Arabs intercalated a thirteenth month in the third, sixth and eighth year of every eight-year period.] in order to conform [outwardly] to the number of months which God has hallowed: and thus they make allowable what God has forbidden. [By means of the intercalation spoken of above, the pagan Arabs did in most years keep the number of months to twelve; but by divorcing the four “sacred months” (Muharram, Rajab, Dhul-Qadah and Dhul-Hijjah), from their proper lunar context they obviously profaned and perverted the natural law.] Goodly seems unto them the evil of their own doings, since God does not grace with His guidance people who refuse to acknowledge the truth.

(5) HAJJ
Islam’s fifth pillar is pilgrimage. Muslims – and only Muslims - are allowed to visit Mecca each year to carry out one of the most sacred duties of their lives: the pilgrimage, known in Arabic as the Hajj. The first call to make the Hajj came thousands of years ago when Prophet Abraham built Kabah to worship God. Once during his lifetime every Muslim who is physically and economically in a position to do so is expected to journey to Mecca where God’s climactic revelation was first disclosed to Prophet Muhammad. The basic purpose of the pilgrimage is to heighten the pilgrim’s devotion to God and to his revealed will, but the practice has some beneficial ancillary effects as well. It is, for example, a reminder of the equality between man and man. Pilgrimage also provides a useful service in international relations. It brings together people from various countries demonstrating that they have in common a loyalty that transcends the loyalties of the warring kingdoms of man. Pilgrims pick up information about their brothers in other lands and return to their own with better understanding of one another. (22:27-28) Hence, [O Muhammad,] you proclaim unto all people the [duty of] pilgrimage: [I.e., the believers. Regarding the annual

pilgrimage to Mecca, as instituted in Islam, see 2:196-203.] they will come unto you on foot and on every [kind of] fast mount, coming from every far-away point [on earth], [Lit., “lean mount” - an expression which denotes “a camel, horse or (any fast conveyance) that has become lean on account of a long and fatiguing journey”.] so that they might experience much that shall be of benefit to them. [I.e., increased consciousness of God through facing the first temple ever dedicated to Him, as well as the consciousness of being part of a brotherhood embracing all believers. Apart from these spiritual benefits, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca provides an opportunity for believers from all parts of the world to become acquainted with the many social and political problems that confront the various geographically separated sectors of the community.]

IHRAM
Upon reaching boundary of Mecca pilgrims take a bath and remove their usual clothes, which tend to carry clear indications of their social status, and don two simple sheet-like garments. Two sheets of unstitched clothes will be the only clothes one will wear, izar: worn below waist and rida: worn around the upper part of the body. Everyone as he nears Islam’s earthly focus wears the same thing. All distinctions of rank and hierarchy are removed; prince and pauper stand before God in their undivided humanity. Women pilgrims do not put on ihram and can perform the pilgrimage in their ordinary clothes, preferably white. Men must not cover their head and women must not cover their faces. PLACES WHERE IHRAM IS WORN (MIQAT) Ihram is put on at places called miqat. These are the boundary lines of forbidden (haram) areas and no pilgrim can go beyond miqat lines without ihram. The following places are designated for putting on ihram (miqat); (1) Dhul Hulaifa for the people of Medina, (2) Al-Juhfa for Syrians, (3) Qarn al-Manazil for the people of Najd, (4) Yalamlam for Yemenites, (5) Dhatulrq for Iraqies, and (6) people who go to pilgrimage by air put on ihram at Jeddah. STATE OF IHRAM A state of ihram is in which one is prohibited to practice certain deeds that are lawful at other times. It is a state of complete peace, self denial and submission to God. There should not be any fighting, rudeness or even arguments during the state of ihram. These evils are condemned under all circumstances, but the severity of these sins increases during the state of ihram. Killing and hunting of animals is also not allowed. Pilgrims must not shave, trim their hair or nails, or have marital relations. The Hajj and Umrah are performed during such state. (2:197-198) And whoever undertakes the pilgrimage in those [months] shall, while on pilgrimage, abstain from lewd speech, from all wicked conduct, and from quarrelling; and whatever good you may do, God is aware of it. And make provision for yourselves but, verily, the best of all provisions is God-consciousness: remain, then, conscious of Me, O you who are endowed with insight! [However,] you will be committing no sin if [during the pilgrimage] you seek to obtain any bounty from your Sustainer. [I.e., by trading while in the state of ihram. The endeavor “to obtain any bounty from your Sustainer” implies God-consciousness and, therefore, constitutes a kind of worship - provided, of course, that this endeavor does not conflict with any other, more prominent religious requirement.] PROHIBITION OF HUNTING DURING PILGRIMAGE (5:1) You are not allowed to hunt while you are in the state of pilgrimage. Behold, God ordains in accordance with His will. [I.e., in accordance with a plan of which He alone has full knowledge.] (5:94-95) O you who have attained to faith! Most certainly God will try you by means of the game which may come within the reach of your hands and your weapons [while you are on pilgrimage], so that God might mark out those who fear Him although He is beyond the reach of human perception. [With this verse, the Quran returns to

the prohibition of hunting during pilgrimage enunciated in verse 1 of this surah. The trial arises from the fact that hunting, although lawful in itself (and therefore included among the things which the believer may normally partake of), is prohibited in the state of pilgrimage.] And as for him who, after all this, transgresses the bounds of what is right - grievous suffering awaits him! O you who have attained to faith! Kill no game while you are in the state of pilgrimage. And whoever of you kills it intentionally, [The intentional killing referred to here is only an isolated incident (or a first offence) and not a willful, persistent transgressing of the bounds of what is right, which the preceding verse condemns so severely. The term “game” relates in this context only to edible animals: for, according to several authentic Traditions, the killing of a dangerous or highly obnoxious animal - for instance, a snake, a scorpion, a rabid dog, etc. is permitted even in the state of pilgrimage.] [shall make] amends in cattle equivalent to what he has killed - with two persons of probity giving their judgment thereon - to be brought as an offering to the Kabah; [I.e., for distribution among the poor. In this context, the Kabah signifies, metonymically, the sacred precincts of Mecca, and not only the sanctuary itself. The “two persons of probity” are supposed to determine the approximate flesh value of the wild animal which has been killed, and to decide on this basis as to what domestic animal should be offered in compensation.] or else he may atone for his sin by feeding the needy, or by the equivalent thereof in fasting: [These two alternatives are open to a pilgrim who is too poor to provide a head or heads of cattle corresponding in value to the game which he has killed, or - in the last-named alternative - too poor even to feed other poor people. Since neither the Quran nor any authentic Tradition specifies the number of poor to be fed or the number of days of fasting, these details are obviously left to the conscience of the person concerned.] [this,] in order that he taste the full gravity of his deed, [while] God shall have effaced the past. But whoever does it again, God will inflict His retribution on him: for God is almighty, an avenger of evil. FRESH WATER-GAME AND SEAFOOD LEGAL DURING PILGRIMAGE (5:96) Lawful to you is all water-game, and what the sea brings forth, [The above ordinance comprises all water-game, whether derived from seas, rivers, lakes or ponds such as fish and other marine animals which may have been cast forth by the waves onto the shore. All kinds of water-game are lawful to a believer during the state of pilgrimage whereas hunting on land is forbidden to the pilgrim.] as a provision for you [who are settled] as well as for travelers, although you are forbidden to hunt on land while you are in the state of pilgrimage. And be conscious of God, unto whom you shall be gathered. TALBIYA After ihram, the intention to perform the pilgrimage may be expressed in these words: “O Allah! I intend to perform the pilgrimage and I have put ihram. Make it easy for me and accept it.” Then two-rakat prayer is offered before starting the journey to Mecca. Miqat is also called muhill which means a place of raising voices with talbiya. On entering into the state of ihram at the appointed miqat, the pilgrims raise their voices with talbiya in the tradition of Prophet Muhammad. Talbiyah consists in reciting the following words aloud: LABBAIKA, ALLAH HUMMAH, LABBAIKA (Here am I, O God. Here am I in Your Presence). LA SHARIKA LAK LABBAIKA (You have no partner, here I am). INN AL HAMADA WAL NIAMATA LAK (Surely all praise and grace is for you). WAL MULKA LA SHARIKA LAK (And the Kingdom is yours, You have no partners). These words of Talbiyah are often recited again and again during pilgrimage.

CIRCUMAMBULATION (TAWAF) OF THE KABAH
On reaching Mecca, pilgrims visit the grand Mosque and the Kabah sits in the center of the mosque. When they enter the building, they recite the following verse: “O Allah. You are peace and peace comes from you. So greet us, O Allah with peace.” Tawaf or going around the Kabah is the first act of the pilgrims on reaching Mecca and also their last act before leaving. The pilgrims go straight to the Black Stone (Hajr-i-Aswad) and kiss it or touch it, unless prevented by the crowds, in which case, they raise their hands facing in the direction of the Kabah and say aloud : “Allahu Akhbar” (God is Great). Tawaf begins from the Black Stone or from its corner. The pilgrims go round the Kabah marching counter clock-wise seven times, starting and finishing each round at the corner of the Black Stone, saying , ‘Allahu Akbar’. The pilgrims go to near the station of Abraham (Muqam-i-Abraham) and offer two-rakaat prayers. It is a place where Abraham and Ishmael prayed (3:97 and 2:125). After this pilgrims drink water from the well of Zamzam. KABAH AS FIRST SYMBOL OF GOD’S ONENESS The noun Kabah by which, owing to its shape, the sanctuary has always been known denotes any “cubical building”. It would seem that he who first built the Kabah (for, since the time of Abraham, it has been rebuilt several times, always in the same shape) consciously chose the simplest three-dimensional form imaginable - a cube - as a parable of man’s humility and awe before the idea of God, whose glory is beyond anything that man could conceive by way of architectural beauty. The Black Stone (Hajr-i-Aswad) is probably a meteorite, which was laid by Prophet Abraham in south-eastern corner of Kabah. Pilgrims kiss Hajr-i-Aswad following the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad but do not worship it. Umar ibn Khattab once said after kissing the stone, “I know for sure that you are a stone which can neither benefit nor harm, and had I not seen Allah’s messenger kissing you I would not have kissed you.” (For the history of Kabah, see under ISHMAEL.) (22:26) For, when We assigned unto Abraham the site of this Temple, [I.e., the Kabah] [We said unto him:] “Do not ascribe divinity to aught beside Me!” [In view of the oft-repeated Quranic statement that Abraham was beyond all temptation to ascribe divinity to anything but God, it seems that the above injunction has a specific import, namely, “Do not allow this Temple to become an object of worship, but make it clear that it is holy only by virtue of its being the first temple ever dedicated to the worship of the One God” (see 3:96).] - and: “Purify My Temple for those who will walk around it, and those who will stand before it [in meditation], and those who will bow down and prostrate themselves [in prayer].”

SAI (HASTENING)
After completing tawaf, pilgrims perform sai or running between Safa and Marwah seven times. Safa and Marwah are two low outcrop of rocks connected by a marble hallway in the vicinity of Kabah. AS-SAFA AND AL-MARWAH AS SYMBOL OF FAITH AND PATIENCE IN ADVERSITY (2:158) [Hence,] behold, As-Safa and Al-Marwah are among the symbols set up by God; [The space between the two low outcrops of rock called As-Safa and Al-Marwah, situated in Mecca in the immediate vicinity of the Kabah, is said to have been the scene of Hagar’s suffering when Abraham, following God’s command, abandoned her and their son Ishmael in the desert. Distraught with thirst and fearing for the life of her child, Hagar ran to and fro between the two rocks and fervently prayed to God for succor: and, finally, her reliance on God and her patience were rewarded by the discovery of a spring - existing to this day and known as the Well of Zamzam - which saved the two from death through thirst. It was in remembrance of Hagar’s extreme trial, and of her trust in God, that As-safa and Al-Marwah had come to be regarded, even in pre-Islamic times, as symbols of faith and patience in adversity: and this explains their mention in the context of the passages which deal with the virtues of patience and trust in God.] and thus, no wrong does he who, having come to the Temple on pilgrimage or on a pious visit, strides to and fro between these two: [It is in commemoration of Hagar’s running in distress between

As-Safa and Al-Marwah that the Mecca pilgrims are expected to walk, at a fast pace, seven times between these two hillocks. Because of the fact that in pre-Islamic times certain idols had been standing there, some of the early Muslims were reluctant to perform a rite which seemed to them to be associated with recent idolatry. The above verse served to reassure them on this score by pointing out that this symbolic act of remembrance was much older than the idolatry practiced by the pagan Quraysh.] for, if one does more good than he is bound to do - behold, God is responsive to gratitude, all-knowing. [Some of the great Islamic scholars - e.g., Imam Abu Hanifah conclude that the walking to and fro between As-Safa and Al-Marwah is not one of the obligatory rites of pilgrimage but rather a supererogatory act of piety. Most scholars, however, hold the view that it is an integral part of the pilgrimage.] After the completion of ceremonies at Safa and Marwah, whether pilgrims come out of the state of ihram or not depend on whether the person intends to do Umrah, interrupted pilgrimage, or the Hajj. (A) UMRAH (minor pilgrimage): Any Muslim who visits the Kabah any time of the year other than the month of Dhul Hijja performs umrah or minor pilgrimage. This consists of all ceremonies described above. After completing the ceremonies at Safa and Marwah, pilgrim performing Umrah may shave his head or have a hair cut and then come out of the state of ihram. (B) INTERRUPTED PILGRIMAGE (Hajj at-tammattu): If a pilgrim comes before the month of Dhul Hijja, or even a few days before the date of the pilgrimage, he may perform umrah only and then come out of the state of ihram. He can put on ihram again along with other pilgrims on the specified date, i.e., 8th of Dhul Hijja. This is called Hajj at-tammattu and it consists of combining Umrah and the Pilgrimage. The pilgrim who takes advantage of this facility is obliged to sacrifice an animal (see 2:196) at the termination of the pilgrimage or, alternatively, to fast for ten days. (2:196-197) And perform the pilgrimage and the pious visit [to Mecca] in honor of God; and if you are held back, give instead whatever offering you can easily afford. [The Mecca pilgrimage (hajj) takes place once a year, in the month of Dhul-Hijja, whereas a pious visit (umrah) may be performed at any time. In both hajj and umrah, the pilgrims are required to walk seven times around the Kabah and seven times between As-Safa and Al-Marwah (see 158 above); in the course of the hajj, they must, in addition, attend the gathering on the plain of Arafat on the 9th of Dhul-Hijja (see 2:198 below). Once pilgrimage is undertaken, it must be completed. If one is held back or obliged to break his journey to Kabah, a symbolic completion can be made by offering a sacrifice. Irrespective of whether they are performing a full hajj or only an umrah, the pilgrims must refrain from cutting or even trimming the hair on their heads from the time they enter the state of pilgrimage (ihram) until the end of the pilgrimage.] And if you are hale and secure, [Lit., “when you are safe” refers here to safety both from external dangers (e.g., war) and from illness, and is, therefore, best rendered as hale and secure - the implication being that the person concerned is in a position, and intends, to participate in the pilgrimage.] then he who takes advantage of a pious visit before the [time of] pilgrimage shall give whatever offering he can easily afford; [Those who arrived in Mecca before hajj season began; having performed umrah and they stayed on for formal hajj. Above verse relates to an interruption, for the sake of personal comfort, of the state of pilgrimage (ihram) during the time intervening between the completion of an umrah and the performance of the hajj. The pilgrim who takes advantage of this facility is obliged to sacrifice an animal (see verse 196 above) at the termination of the pilgrimage or, alternatively, to fast for ten days.] whereas he who cannot afford it shall fast for three days during the pilgrimage and for seven days after your return: that is, ten full [days]. All this relates to him who does not live near the Inviolable House of Worship. [Lit., “whose people are not present at the Inviolable House of Worship” - i.e., do not permanently reside there for, obviously, the inhabitants of Mecca cannot remain permanently in the state of ihram.] And remain conscious of God, and know that God is severe in retribution. [This refers not merely to a possible violation of the sanctity of the pilgrimage but also, in a more general way, to all deliberate violations of God’s ordinances.] The pilgrimage shall take place in the months appointed for it. [Since the hajj culminates in one particular month (namely, Dhu1-Hijja), the plural apparently refers to its annual

recurrence. It should, however, be noted that some commentators understand it as referring to the last three months of the lunar year.] (C) HAJJ AL-QIRAN: Qiran literally means uniting. It consists of entering into the state of ihram with intention of performing both Umrah and Hajj together without leaving the state of ihram after umrah, during the month of Dhul Hijja. LEAVING MECCA TO MINA (8th of Dhul Hijja) All pilgrims continue their journey on 8th of Dhul Hijja to Mina, the next step in the performance of the pilgrimage. Mina is located about 3 miles from Mecca. The pilgrims have to reach Mina before noon and offer their prayers and sleep in Mina and offer Morning Prayer on the 9th of Dhul Hijja. HALTING (WAQUF) AT ARAFAT (9th of Dhul Hijja) On the 9th of Dhul Hijja, all pilgrims leave Mina after sunrise and reach Arafat by noon. The Arafat plain is a valley surrounded by dry and barren mountains. It is located 6 miles from Mina and nine miles from Mecca. Staying in the plain of Arafat is the essential part of the pilgrimage. Any pilgrim who fails to reach Arafat has not performed the pilgrimage. NIGHT AT MUZDALIFAH After sunset, on the 9th of Dhul Hijja, all pilgrims set out to Muzdalifah, a place between Arafat and Mina. Muzdalifah is a narrow valley between two mountains and according to the legend, the armies of Abrahah, Abyssinian governor of Yemen, who invaded Mecca, were destroyed. (2:197) And when you surge downward in multitudes from Arafat, [The gathering of all pilgrims on the plain of Arafat, east of Mecca, takes place on the 9th of Dhu1-Hijja and constitutes the climax of the pilgrimage. The pilgrims are required to remain until sunset on that plain, below the hillock known as Jabal ar-Rahmah (“the Mount of Grace”) - a symbolic act meant to bring to mind that ultimate gathering on Resurrection Day, when every soul will await God’s judgment. Immediately after sunset, the multitudes of pilgrims move back in the direction of Mecca, stopping overnight at a place called Muzdalifah, the “holy place” referred to in the next clause of this sentence.] remember God at the holy place, and remember Him as the One who guided you after you had indeed been lost on your way [Lit., “and remember Him as He has guided you, although before that you had indeed been among those who go astray”.] (2:199-202) and surge onward together with the multitude of all the other people who surge onward, [Thus the pilgrims are called upon to submerge their individualities, at that supreme moment of the pilgrimage, in the consciousness of belonging to a community of people who are all equal before God, with no barrier of race or class or social status separating one person from another.] and ask God to forgive you your sins: for, verily, God is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace. And when you have performed your acts of worship, [continue to] bear God in mind as you would bear your own fathers in mind - nay, with a yet keener remembrance! [This may be a reference to the custom of the pre-Islamic Arabs to extol, on the occasion of various gatherings, the greatness and the supposed virtues of their ancestors. Some of the earliest Islamic scholars, however are of the opinion that what is meant here are actual fathers (or, by implication, both parents), whom a child usually considers to be the embodiment of all that is good and powerful.] For there are people who [merely] pray, “O our Sustainer! Give us in this world” - and such shall not partake in the blessings of the life to come. But there are among them such as pray, “O our Sustainer! Grant us good in this world and good in the life to come, and keep us safe from suffering through the fire”: it is these that shall have their portion [of happiness] in return for what they have earned. And God is swift in reckoning. RETURN TO MINA - THE DAY OF SACRIFICE (10th of Dhul-Hijja) The pilgrims leave Muzdalifah for Mina after the Morning Prayer on the 10 th of Dhul Hijja. On reaching Mina they throw stones at three pillars representing the devil. After ceremony of stones, pilgrims offer their sacrifice. It is the day which is celebrated as Id-Adha throughout the Muslim world and animals are sacrificed in commemoration of the great sacrifice of Ishmael by his father Abraham. Id Al-

Adha is a four days festival starting on the tenth day of Dhul-Hijja. (22:28) They might extol the name of God on the days appointed [for sacrifice], over whatever heads of cattle He may have provided for them [to this end]: [The repeated Quranic insistence on pronouncing the name of God whenever one slaughters an animal is meant to make the believers realize the awfulness of taking life, and the solemn nature of the trust which God has conferred upon them in the permission to eat the flesh of animals. As regards the “days appointed” spoken of above, they apparently denote the Festival of Sacrifices (Id Al-Adha), which falls on the 10th of the lunar month of Dhul-Hijja, as well as the next three days, marking the end of the pilgrimage.] eat, then, thereof, and feed the unfortunate poor. [Whereas the pilgrims are merely permitted to eat some of the flesh of the animals which they have sacrificed, the feeding of the poor is mandatory and constitutes thus, the primary objective of these sacrifices. Apart from this, they are meant to commemorate Abraham’s readiness to sacrifice his first-born son (Ishmael) after he dreamt that God demanded of him this supreme sacrifice (see 37:102-107); furthermore, they are a reminder that God is the Provider of all sustenance and the One who gives life and deals death, and that all must return to Him; and lastly, they are to be symbols of each believer’s readiness to sacrifice himself in the cause of truth.] (22:30-31) All this [is ordained by God]; and if one honors God’s sacred commandments, it will redound to his own good in his Sustainer’s sight. And all [kinds of] cattle have been made lawful to you [for sacrifice and food], save what is mentioned to you [as forbidden]. [See 5:3. Once again, the Quran stresses the principle that everything that has not been explicitly forbidden is per se lawful.] Shun, then, [all that God has forbidden and, most of all,] the loathsome evil of idolatrous beliefs and practices; and shun every word that is untrue, [Lit., “idols”, denotes not merely actual, concrete images of false deities but also, in its widest sense, everything that is associated with false beliefs and practices or with a tendency to worship false values: hence the subsequent injunction to shun every word that is untrue.] [inclining] towards God, [and] turning away from all that is false, [For an explanation of the term hunafa (sing. hanif ), see 2:135.] without ascribing divine qualities to aught beside Him: for he who ascribes divinity to aught but God is like one who is hurtling down from the skies - whereupon the birds carry him off, or the wind blows him away onto a far-off place. (22:34-38) And [thus it is:] unto every community [that has ever believed in Us] have We appointed [sacrifice as] an act of worship, so that they might extol the name of God over whatever heads of cattle He may have provided for them [to this end]. [I.e., as a conscious, selfless offering in His name of something that one cherishes as necessary and valuable, and not as an attempt to “propitiate” Him who is far above anything that resembles human emotion. (See also verse 36 below.)] And [always bear in mind:] your God is the One and Only God: hence, surrender yourselves unto Him. And you give the glad tiding [of God’s acceptance] unto all who are humble - all whose hearts tremble with awe whenever God is mentioned, and all who patiently bear whatever ill befalls them, and all who are constant in prayer and spend on others out of what We provide for them as sustenance. [See 2:3.] And as for the sacrifice of cattle, We have ordained it for you as one of the symbols set up by God, [See verse 32 above.] in which there is [much] good for you. Hence, extol the name of God over them when they are lined up [for sacrifice]; and after they have fallen lifeless to the ground, eat of their flesh, and feed the poor who is contented with his lot [and does not beg], as well as him who is forced to beg. It is to this end that We have made them [I.e., the sacrificial animal.] subservient to your needs, so that you might have cause to be grateful. [But bear in mind:] never does their flesh reach God, and neither their blood: it is only your Godconsciousness that reaches Him. It is to this end that We have made them subservient to your needs, so that you might glorify God for all the guidance with which He has graced you. And you give this glad tiding unto the doers of good: Verily, God will ward off [all evil] from those who attain to faith; [and,] verily, God does not love anyone who betrays his trust and is bereft of gratitude. [See 4:106.] (2:196) And do not shave your heads until the offering has been sacrificed; [Lit., "until the offering has reached its destination" - i.e., in

time or in place; according to Razi, the time of sacrifice is meant here, namely, the conclusion of the pilgrimage, when those who participate in the hajj are expected - provided they can afford it - to sacrifice a sheep, a goat, or the like, and to distribute most of its flesh in charity.] but he from among you who is ill or suffers from an ailment of the head shall redeem himself by fasting, or alms, or [any other] act of worship. [Persons who are ill or suffer from an ailment which necessitates the cutting or shaving of one’s hair are exempted from this prohibition.] TAWAF AL-IFADA IN MECCA After the sacrifice, pilgrims come out of the state of ihram and proceed to Mecca for tawaf al-Ifada on that day and go round the Kabah seven times and then walk between Safa and Marwah. (22:29) Thereafter let them bring to an end their state of self-denial, [In Tabari’s opinion, the above phrase signifies “then let them complete the acts of worship incumbent on them by virtue of their pilgrimage”. Other commentators, however, understand the prohibition of enjoying, while in the actual state of pilgrimage, certain bodily comforts like cutting or shaving one’s hair (see 2:196), wearing any clothing but the simple, unsewn pilgrim’s garb (ihram), indulging in sexual intercourse (2:197), etc. Consequently, they explain the above phrase as meaning “let them bring to an end the condition of self-denial which was incumbent on them during pilgrimage”.] and let them fulfill the vows which they [may] have made, and let them walk [once again] around the Most Ancient Temple. [I.e., around the Kabah (see 2:125), thus completing the pilgrimage.] AYYAM AT-TASHRIQ IN MINA (11TH, 12TH AND 13TH OF DHUL HIJJA) The pilgrims come back to Mina again after tawaf al-Ifada and remain there for 2-3 days known as Ayyam al-Tashriq and complete the remaining ceremonies of throwing stones during these days. (2:203) And bear God in mind during the appointed days; [These are the days following the “Festival of Sacrifices” (Id al-adha), which takes place on the 10th of Dhu1-Hijja. The pilgrims are obliged to spend at least two of these days in the valley of Mina, about half-way between Arafat and Mecca.] but he who hurries away within two days shall incur no sin, and he who tarries longer shall incur no sin, provided that he is conscious of God. Hence, remain conscious of God, and know that unto Him you shall be gathered. RETURN TO MECCA (TAWAF AL-WIDA) After staying in Mina for 2-3 days, the pilgrims return to Mecca on the 12 th or 13th day of Dhul-Hijja and perform farewell (wida) tawaf of the Kabah seven times before leaving home. Visit to Medina after pilgrimage is recommended but is not part of the rites of pilgrimage. RITES OF PILGRIMAGE AND THEIR SYMBOLIC MEANING (22:32-33) This is [to be borne in mind]. And anyone who honors the symbols set up by God [shall know that] verily, these [symbols derive their value] from the God-consciousness in the [believers’] hearts. [Lit., “God’s symbols”, which in this context refers to the rites of pilgrimage (see 5:2). This stress on the symbolic character of all the rites connected with the pilgrimage is meant to draw the believer’s attention to the spiritual meaning of those rites, and thus to warn him against making, unthinkingly, a sort of fetish of them. The symbols referred to here relate not only to the sacrificial animals, but comprise all the rites, actions and places connected with the pilgrimage, all of which have symbolic meaning.] In that [God-consciousness] you shall find benefits until a term set [by Him is fulfilled], [I.e., until the end of your lives.] and [you shall know that] its goal and end is the Most Ancient Temple. [It is the realization of God’s oneness and uniqueness - symbolized by the Kabah (the Most Ancient Temple) - is the goal and end of all true Godconsciousness.] OFFEND NOT AGAINST THE SYMBOLS SET UP BY GOD (5:2) O you who have attained to faith! Offend not against the symbols set up by God, nor against the sacred month [of pilgrimage],

nor against the garlanded offerings, [This is a reference to the animals which are brought to Mecca at the time of pilgrimage, to be sacrificed there in the name of God and most of their flesh distributed among the poor. In order to mark out such animals, and to prevent their being inadvertently used for profane (e.g., commercial) ends, garlands are customarily hung around their necks. See also 2:196. - The term “God’s symbols”, occurring earlier in this sentence, denotes the places reserved for particular religious rites (e.g., the Kabah) as well as the religious rites themselves. See 2:158, where As-Safa and Al-Marwah are described as symbols set up by God. In the above context, the rites of pilgrimage, in particular, are alluded to.] nor against those who flock to the Inviolable Temple, seeking favor with their Sustainer and His goodly acceptance; and [only] after your pilgrimage is over are you free to hunt. KABAH AS GOD’S SYMBOLS FOR MANKIND (5:97-100) God has laid down that the Kabah, the Inviolable Temple, shall be a symbol for all mankind; [All hunting, whether by pilgrims or non-pilgrims, is prohibited in the vicinity of the Kabah - i.e., within the precincts of Mecca and its environs - because it is a sanctuary (see 2:125) for all living beings.] and [so, too,] the sacred month [of pilgrimage] and the garlanded offerings [are symbols] meant to make you aware that God is aware of all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth, and that God has full knowledge of everything. [The garlanded offerings are a reference to the sacrificial animals. Thus, the pilgrimage and the rites connected with it are stated to be a symbol of man’s self-surrender to God.] Know that God is severe in retribution - and that God is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace. No more is the Apostle bound to do than deliver the message [entrusted to him]: and God knows all that you do openly, and all that you would conceal. Say: “There is no comparison between the bad things and the good things, even though very many of the bad things may please you greatly. Be, then, conscious of God, O you who are endowed with insight, so that you might attain to a happy state!” “O ye men! harken unto my words and take ye them to heart! Know ye that every Muslim is a brother to every other Muslim, and that ye are now one brotherhood.” These notable words, spoken by the Prophet during his “farewell pilgrimage” to Mecca shortly before his death, epitomize one of Islam’s loftiest ideals and strongest emphases. The brotherhood of Islam is a reality. All the elements of Islam – the sacrifice, the prayer, the individual connection to God, the equality between races and nationalities – come together when the pilgrims perform Hajj. The essential meaning of this rite is brought out well by the late Iranian philosopher Ali Shariati: “As you circumambulate and move closer to Kabah, you feel like a small stream merging with a big river. Carried by a wave you lose touch with the ground. Suddenly, you are floating, carried on by the flood. As you approach the center, the pressure of the crowd squeezes you so hard that you are given a new life. You are now part of the people; you are now a man, alive and eternal. The Kabah is the world’s sun whose face attracts you into its orbit. You have become part of this universal system. Circumambulating around Allah, you will soon forget yourself. You have been transformed into a particle that is gradually melting and disappearing. This is absolute love at its peak.”

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