بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
وَإِذْ جَعَلْنَا الْبَيْتَ مَثَابَةً لِّلنَّاسِ وَأَمْنًا
And we appointed the House –the Ka‘ba – to be a place of visitation for the people, and a sanctuary…
(Surat al-Baqara: 125)
As stated in the verse above, Allah Ta’ala established the Ka‘ba as a place of worship and as a sanctuary. It is focal point of all Muslim prayer. It is the center of the Muslim world. It is a sanctuary from bloodshed – hence the name Masjid-e-Haraam, where bloodshed is haram and forbidden.
Those who have had the good fortune to travel to Makkah Mukarrama for Hajj or Umrah understand that the majesty of Baitullah is something difficult to describe in words. In this world, it is the closest one can get to the feeling of standing in front of the Almighty. May Allah Ta‘ala grant us the sharaf and opportunity for Umrah and Hajj in the near future. May He also grant us the opportunity of the ziarat of Rasulullah SA in Madina Munawwara.
In an inspiring qasida, Syedna al-Mu’ayyad al-Shirazi, the Bab-ul-Abwaab of Imam Mustansir billah SA declares:
أبيت من الاحجار اعظم حرمة ، ام المصطفى الهادي الذي نصب البيت
Is a Ka'ba made of stones greater in hurmat and sanctity, or the guide Mohammad al-Mustafa who appointed and established the Ka'ba?
Syedna al-Mu’ayyad also explains in one of his Majalis, that just as Allah Ta’ala appointed the Ka‘ba, a physical House made of stone, as the qibla of our physical bodies, Allah Ta’ala appointed an Imam, who the Ka‘ba symbolizes, as the qibla of our souls.
It is in this context that the Imam – and the Dai in his seclusion – is the true Ka‘ba. It is to the Imam and his Dai we face with our souls just as we face the Ka’ba in each prayer.
Just as the Ka‘ba is a sanctuary and safe haven from bodily harm, the Dawat of the Imam is a sanctuary for our souls from the ills of this world.
Just as Hajj is an obligation on each and every able Muslim and Mumin, it is an obligation on every Mumin to journey towards the Sahibuz-zaman – the Imam and Dai in his seclusion. To face the Imam and Dai with our souls is to follow their example in becoming better human beings, and if we follow their path it will make us angelic beings.
As millions of Muslims converge on the plain of Arafaat and the Mount of Rahmat on the 9th of Zil Hijja, the Day of ‘Arafa, may we offer thanks to Allah Ta’ala that we stand today on the plain of ma’rifah – of recognition of the Imam and his Dai. On ‘Arafa, all Hajj pilgrims stand clad only in two pieces of white cloth and the plain dress resembles the image of the Day of Judgment in which people stand before God with nothing but their kafan and their deeds. It is a stark reminder that one day all of us will face the Almighty. Let us remember that this day will befall all of us, and ensure that when we are bare of our worldly belongings that we are worthy to stand before Allah Ta’ala.
In his Doa for the Day of Arafa Syedna al-Mu’ayyad implores:
“In this hour pilgrims are standing before you in ‘Arafa, they have come to your door from every corner with different tongues and colors, dusty and ruffled as if they are standing on the day of resurrection, covered in cloths that are like the shrouds (kafan) of the dead, they are beseeching you O lord of the worlds, in fear and greed for dunya and deen, and they seek your mercy O most merciful Lord.
O Allah – and we are your servants, and though we are far away from that maqaam – from ‘Arafa – with our bodies, we are present there with our souls and our beliefs.
So pray salawaat on Mohammed and aale Mohammed and look upon us with the same eye of benevolence with which you look upon those who are in ‘Arafa.”