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HAJJ & UMRAH - Kaaba & Twafhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10gvT0AC-cs
Text Version http://brotherpete.com/hajj_umrah.htm#abraham_travelsTHE HAJJ & UMRAH
Performing the Hajj is obligatory for all Muslims. This "pilgrimage" or "major pilgrimage" is to be performed at least once in a Muslim's lifetime and requires travel to Saudi Arabia. The dates for the Hajj vary from year to year because the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar which is about 11 days shorter than the solar calendar. Hajj is conducted on the 7th to the 13th day of the 12th month of the Islamic calendar. The Umra, or small Hajj, may be performed at any time of year.
The rituals of Hajj and Umrah include such things as ablution or ritual washing, repetitive prayer, walking around the Kaaba
seven times while kissing the black stone or at least pointing to it on each round, running between Safa and Marwah seven times, drinking from the well of Zamzam, sacrificing animals, visiting the hills of Arafa and Mina, crying out loud, throwing stones at the devil, and cutting hair or shaving heads.
Since about two million pilgrims showed up in 2009, the affair does not go without incident, and so even the Saudi Kingdom's website pleads
"Be peaceful, orderly and kind. No crushing."
In Islamic tradition Abraham was ordered by Allah to leave Hagar and Ishmael alone in the desert. The story goes that Ishmael was dying of thirst and so Hagar ran frantically back and forth between the hills of Al-Safa and Al-Marwah in search of water. Then Ishmael was supposed to have cried out, and hit the ground with his foot (some variations on that that involve Gabriel), and water sprang forth from the ground. This is how the source of the well that is known as Zamzam is said to have appeared, from which Hagar was able to give Ishmael water.
While scripture indicates
that Abraham did indeed send his wife Sarah's Egyptian handmaiden Hagar, and Hagar's son Ishmael away, and that Ishmael did nearly die of thirst, the first difficulty with the tradition as taught in Islam arises when we consider the geographical location of Abraham's home, and where Hagar and Ishmael wandered, once they were sent out.
)Genesis 21:14 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave [it] unto Hagar, putting [it] on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. 15 And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.
To suggest that Hagar and Ishmael wandered their way from Beersheba to what eventually became Mecca, would require them to have crossed a thousand kilometers of - at that time - unpopulated, uncharted, unknown, barren, desolate desert, on a single skin of water. The nearest location that anybody has placed Mt. Sinai to Mecca is not within a thousand kilometers across barren desert.
)<br />Further, when we consider Abraham's travels, we find that they remained within the fertile crescent, and specifically not in the harsh Arabian desert.
An additional difficulty with the tradition as taught in Islam, is that there is not a single shred of archaeological
evidence, that suggests that Mecca ever existed before the 4th century AD when immigrants of the Yemeni tribe of Khuzaa'h settled it, or that the Kaaba
existed before it was built by Asa’d Abu Karb in the early 5th century A.D. Please see the "Mecca" page
for more on this history.(link
)So where did the Islamic traditions of the Hajj and Umrah come from?
Much of the following is credited to the 20 year full-time study of Islam accomplished by Dr. Rafat Amari, that is expounded in his book, "Islam: In Light of History
". His website is available at the third link on this video.
The Hadith records that pagans controlled the Kaaba before Mohammed started his religion, and that the Kaaba contained 360 idols. After Mohammed returned to Mecca from Medina and broke the "Truce of Hudaybiyyah" he had made with his own tribe the Quraish, he then removed all the idols ..... except one. The black stone that remains to this day is the same that pre-Islamic pagans went on pilgrimage to and circumambulated, in Arabian moon god and Star Family worship.
Making the pilgrimage to that black stone is one of the five pillars of Islam and thus is obligatory for all Muslims to perform at least once in their lifetime. This of course places a severe financial burden on poor Muslims that live in other parts of the world, and even though it's a requirement of Mohammed's religion, millions of Muslims die before they are ever able to afford to travel to Mecca. However from pre-Islamic pagan times unto today, the Hajj has provided a bonanza of imported wealth transferred to Mecca, from elsewhere. So the question arises, would a good God impose such a tremendous physical and financial burden, that falls most heavily on the poorest, and least able, among his followers?
The Hadith indicates that performing the Hajj may provide remission from sin.
Sahih Bukhari Volume 2, Book 26, Number 596: Narrated Abu Huraira:The Prophet (p.b.u.h) said, "Whoever performs Hajj for Allah's pleasure and does not have sexual relations with his wife, and does not do evil or sins then he will return (after Hajj free from all sins) as if he were born anew.
So Muslims are taught that walking around the Kaaba seven times, kissing the black stone, traveling from hill to hill near Mecca, casting stones and cutting their hair may provide remission of sin, while at the same time they are taught to reject the shed blood of Jesus Christ that saves everyone from sin - rich or poor - who have faith in His shed blood.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Sahih Muslim Book 007, Number 3078: Ai'sha (Allah be pleased with her) reported: Allah's Messenger may peace be upon him) said to me: Had your people not been unbelievers in the recent past (had they not quite recently accepted Islam), I would have demolished the Ka'ba and would have rebuilt it on the foundation (laid) by Ibrahim; for when the Quraish had built the Ka'ba, they reduced its (area), and I would also have built (a door) in the rear.
So Mohammed credited the Quraish with building the Kaaba from the ground up. However as mentioned in the "History of Mecca" video the history of Arabia suggests that the Kaaba was built by the leader of the Yemeni tribe of the Khuzaa'h, Abu Karb Asa’d, in the early 5th century AD for Arabian Star Family worship. (more
)Twaf - Circulambulation of the Kaaba and the black stone
Circumambulating Kaabas, kissing stone idols, and going on pilgrimages to religious sites were pagan rituals that preceded Mohammed by centuries. Besides that bequeathed to us through the actual historical record of Arabia, the Hadith indicates that Muslims went on Hajj right alongside the pagans, until the year before Mohammed's last Hajj, when the pagans were finally expelled from their own ritual.
Sahih Bukhari Volume 2, Book 26, Number 689: Narrated Abu Huraira: In the year prior to the last Hajj of the Prophet when Allahs Apostle made Abu Bakr the leader of the pilgrims, the latter (Abu Bakr) sent me in the company of a group of people to make a public announcement: "No pagan is allowed to perform Hajj after this year, and no naked person is allowed to perform Tawaf of the Kaba."
Sahih Bukhari Volume 1, Book 8, Number 365: Narrated Abu Huraira:<br /> On the Day of Nahr (10th of Dhul-Hijja, in the year prior to the last Hajj of the Prophet when Abu Bakr was the leader of the pilgrims in that Hajj) Abu Bakr sent me along with other announcers to Mina to make a public announcement: "No pagan is allowed to perform Hajj after this year and no naked person is allowed to perform the Tawaf around the Ka'ba. Then Allah's Apostle sent "All to read out the Surat Bara'a (At-Tauba) to the people; so he made the announcement along with us on the day of Nahr in Mina: "No pagan is allowed to perform Hajj after this year and no naked person is allowed to perform the Tawaf around the Ka'ba."
Can you imagine a bunch of naked pagans and Muslims circumambulating the Kaaba? The details of "Twaf around the Kaaba" are further discussed on the "Mecca" page