Verses from Surah Al-Hajj (No. 22) (25 -28)

[25] Surely, those who have disbelieved and avert (people) from Allah’s path, and from the Inviolable House of Worship,34which We have made equally (open) to (all) men, whether resident therein or one from outside35 – and whosoever intended therein a profanation in wrong, We shall give him a taste of a painful chastisement.36


34. There have been differences in the understanding of the textual term al-Masjid al-Haram, whether it refers to the Holy Mosque alone or to the entire area surrounding it.

The area surrounding the Ka`bah is, at present, about 22 acres in size (Au.).

Most commentators believe it applies to the entire Haram. Mawdudi expands it to include the entire “hill”. He writes “Now, it is quite evident that the performance of Hajj rites is not confined to the Holy Mosque. Instead, its rituals are performed at several places, such as, Safa, Marwah, Muzdalifah and `Arafat.”

However, Sufi Thanwi, who was also a Mufti of the Hanafiyy order, brings the fuqaha’s brilliance to fore. He writes that the subsequent passage, “which We have made equally (open) to (all) men, whether resident therein or visitor” offers the evidence that the whole of the Haram is included in the term, “Masjid al-Haram.” Allah said in this passage, “whether resident therein…” Obviously, the residents do not live inside the Holy Mosque.

35. Our translation of “baad” as “visitor” is based on the explanations offered by Mujahid, Qatadah, Ibn Zayd and others as in Ibn Jarir.

What exactly is the implication of the passage, “Which We have made equally (open) to (all) men, whether resident therein or visitor?” Ibn `Abbas said that it means that everyone, whether a Makkan or non-Makkan, should have equal access to the Holy House and have the right of residence in the town. This was also the opinion of Mujahid, Abu Salih, Zayd b. Aslam and a few others. The unanimous opinion is that the entire Haram area is a “waqf property” for Muslims of all parts of the world. In fact, in earlier times, quarters in Makkah (not houses within the quarters) did not have doors to them; nor individual houses had doors to their courtyards. In `Umar’s time someone installed a door because of increased theft. `Umar objected to it. The person involved said that he wished to secure people’s property. So `Umar kept quiet and other people began to add doors to their houses. However, `Umar had ordered that doors leading to every courtyard (or quarters) should be left open during the Hajj season in order to allow the Pilgrims alight wherever they wished. Imam Malik nevertheless ruled that the rule was applicable to the Grand Mosque alone, whereas the Makkan residents had the right to close the doors of their houses. Most scholars have accepted this and this is the practice till today (Qurtubi).

(Indeed, some have thought that properties in Makkah cannot be bought, sold, or rented out). In fact, Imam Shafe`i and Is-haq b. Rahwayh differed over this issue while they were in the Masjid al-Khayf (in Mina). Ibn Hanbal also happened to be there. Imam Shafe`i’s opinion was that Makkan property could be bought, sold, inherited, and rented out. In evidence he presented the hadith of the Sahihayn according to which Usama b. Zayd asked the Prophet, “Messenger of Allah! Shall we alight in your quarters in Makkah tomorrow?” He answered, “Has `Aqeel left us any property in Makkah?” (Aqeel had sold out his house in his absence). It is also reported that `Umar ibn al-Khattab had bought out Safwan b. Umayyah’s quarters in Makkah for 4000 Dirhams to convert it into a prison. However, Is-haq b. Rahwayh was of the opinion that Makkan property could not be inherited and could not be rented out. He presented a hadith in evidence (now in Ibn Majah) which says, “The Prophet, Abu Bakr and `Umar died, but no one claimed the Makkan properties except the (roaming) cattle. Whoever wished, settled in Makkah, and whoever did not, allow others do it. This happens to be the opinion of quite a few of the Salaf, Mujahid, and `Ata’ being noteworthy. `Abdullah ibn `Amr would not allow the sale of Makkan property or its renting. He reported, “Whoso devoured rents from Makkan property, devoured Fire.” Indeed, `Umar ibn al-Khattab had prohibited that the Makkan residential quarters be closed off with doors, preventing Pilgrims from alighting in any quarter. Imam Ahmad seemed to have taken the middle road when he said that the Makkan property maybe owned, inherited, but could not be rented out” (Ibn Kathir).

The Hanafiyy position, however, is that it is undesirable (makruh) to charge rent on the Makkan houses during the pilgrimage season. Otherwise, its property might be bought, sold, leased, inherited, and rented out (Alusi).

36. What is “ilhaad” therein? Literally, “ilhaad” is deviation from the right course. Mujahid said that the allusion is to declaring associates to Allah, in short, shirk. But Ibn `Abbas thought the reference is to treating Allah’s unlawful as lawful therein, such as, taking life without right. A few others – such as `Abdullah Ibn `Amr – have included all sins. Dahhak b. Muzahim, in fact, went a step further to say that whoever was not in Makkah, but wished to commit a sin therein (along with any other), would be counted a sinner even if he played no role in the sin committed (Ibn Jarir).

In other words, if one willed a sin but did not commit it, normally he will not have it written down against him in his Book of Deeds. But the rule is different in reference to Makkah, where, even if someone merely willed, although he did not execute his will, he will be sinning (Qurtubi).

Sa`id b. Jubayr, in fact, included such small matters as abusing one’s servant as violation of Makka’s sanctity. In a hadith preserved by Ibn Abi Hatim, the Prophet counted, “hoarding of grain in Makkah” as “disbelief.”

Haythami pointed out that one of the narrators have been treated trustworthy by Ibn Hibban, while others distrusted him (Au.).

There is another report in which the Prophet said, “An army will head towards Makkah (to subdue it). But when they are in the middle of the desert, the first and the last will be swallowed in. (Some scholars have said that the army will be after the newly appeared Mahdi: Au.).

Similar versions appear in several collections, one of which Albani treated as Sahih.

Accordingly, (when Ibn Zubayr had been besieged in Makkah by Hajjaj b. Yusuf’s troops), `Abdullah ibn `Umar went up to him and said, “I have heard the Prophet say, ‘A man from the Quraysh will make it lawful. If his sins are weighed against the sins of the two (Jinn and mankind), they will outweigh. So, see to it that you do not happen to be that person” (Ibn Kathir).

Haythami treated the above report as trustworthy (Au.).

In fact, `Abdullah ibn `Amr b. al-`Aas was so careful about not committing the slightest of sins in the Haram that he had two quarters in Makkah: one within the Haram area and another outside it, in the Hill area. He only reproached his family members or shouted at them in the Hill house but never in the Haram house (Qurtubi).

[26] And (recall) when We assigned to Ibrahim the site of the House,37 (saying), ‘Associate not aught with Me, and cleanse My House for those circumambulating (it), standing (in prayer) and those bowing and prostrating. 


37. Suddi has said that when Ibrahim and Isma`il arrived at Makkah, they did not know where to build the House of God. Then came a wind that curled around – snake like – forming a small dune indicating the spot for construction. (Bayt Allah, in fact, is not the name of the building, but rather, the spot over which the building stands: Shafi`). The reference by “bawwanaa” is to this pointing (Ibn Jarir). This is one meaning of the term. Another is to settle or establish (Qurtubi).

Abu Dharr’s following report is preserved in the Sahihayn. He inquired, “O Messenger of Allah! Which mosque was first to be built?” The Prophet replied, “The Sacred Mosque (at Makkah).” He asked, “Which one next?” He replied, “That at Jerusalem.” He asked, “How long was it between them?” He replied, “Forty years. At all events, whenever Salah catches on you, pray right there, that is the masjid” (Ibn Kathir).

This means the Mosque at Jerusalem was not built by Prophet Sulayman, as the Jews claim. It was built earlier and, perhaps, destroyed and rebuilt by Sulayman (Au.).

 [27] And proclaim among the people the Pilgrimage;38 they will come to you39 on foot and on every lean camel, coming from every distant ravine.’ 


38. Ibn `Abbas has said that when Ibrahim had finished the construction, he was told to proclaim the pilgrimage. He said, “My Lord. How far will my voice go?” He was told, “Proclaim. Upon me is the conveyance.” So Ibrahim proclaimed, “People! Pilgrimage to the Bayt al-`Ateeq has been written on you, so come down in pilgrimage.” His words were heard in the heavens and the earth. And none of the mankind, the jinnkind, trees, animals and mountains heard him but responded, “Here we are, O Allah! “Don’t you see”, Ibn `Abbas added, “how people come to it from far off places? However, Ibn `Abbas seemed to have had the Muslims in mind (Ibn Jarir, Qurtubi). This is how Mujahid, `Ikrimah, Ibn Jubayr and many of the Salaf explained the verse (Ibn Kathir).

Majid adds: “And it is to this proclamation made by Abraham thousands of years ago – before the era of press, the post, the telegraph, the wireless, the radio and other such paraphernalia of modern publicity and propaganda – that mankind has been responding during all these centuries, by performing the pilgrimage in their tens and hundreds of thousands every year.”

39. Note that Allah did not say, “They will come”, but rather, “They will come to you.” That is, whoever came after that would be considered as having responded to Ibrahim’s call (Qurtubi).

[28] That they may witness (its) benefits for them40 and mention the name of Allah through the appointed days41 over what He provided them of the beastly cattle.’42 So eat thereof and feed the distressed ones in want.43


40. Ibn `Abbas, Abu Razin and Sa`id b. Jubayr have said that the allusion is to the benefits accruing from the trade fairs held during the Hajj season. Others have thought that the allusion is to spiritual benefits, and both could be correct (Ibn Jarir). In fact, according to other reports, Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and others have also said that the allusion is both to the benefits of this world as well as the Next (Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir).

In Asad’s words, “… 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 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.”

It is miraculous, adds Mufti Shafi’, that although people so often go broke after such ceremonies as marriage, house construction, etc., it is common observation that a man of small means spends off the savings of his life-time on Hajj, but does not go broke for that reason.

41. That is, the days of tashriq (Ibn Jarir from Ibn `Abbas and Dahhak. (See Surah al-Baqarah verse 203 for notes).

Ibn `Abbas thought that they were the day of Sacrifice, plus three following days (i.e., 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th of Dhu al-Hijjah). This also happens to be the opinion of Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Ibrahim Nakha`i, (in their second opinion), as also that of Ibn `Umar (Ibn Kathir).

Ibn Kathir writes: But others, such as Abu Musa al-Ash`ari, Mujahid, Qatadah, `Ataa’, Sa`id b. Jubayr, Hasan, Dahhak, `Ata’ al-Khurasani, Ibrahim Nakha`i, and including Ibn `Abbas, the allusion is to the first ten days of Dhu al-Hijjah. Imam Shafe`i and Ahmad ibn Hanbal were of the same opinion. These are also the most important of days in Islam. The Prophet has said in a narrative preserved by Bukhari: “There is no deed of other days better than those performed in these days.” He was asked, “Not even Jihad in the way of Allah?” He replied, “Not even Jihad in the way of Allah, except that a man should go out with his body and his wealth, and return with nothing on.”

Another hadith encourages that Tahlil, Takbir and Tahmid be said often in these days. Hence, Bukhari reports, Ibn `Umar and Abu Hurayrah would go out into the markets during these ten days and say aloud the Takbir. The people would join them in saying the words.

Hence, Ibn Kathir continues, some have thought that these ten days are of greater importance than those of the last ten days of Ramadan, although some have said that those of Ramadan are of greater importance since the Night of Power falls in them. A third opinion is that the first ten days of Dhu al-Hijjah are the greatest, while the nights of the last ten of Ramadan are the greatest.

Another opinion about the days in question is that of Ibn `Umar, Suddi and Imam Malik. Ibn `Umar said that the ayyam al-ma`lumaat and ayyam al-ma`dudaat put together covered only four days. Of them, the day of Sacrifice and the next two days (10th-12th of Dhu al-Hijjah) are the ayyam al-ma`lumat, while the last three days after the day of Sacrifice (11th-13th) are the ayyam al-ma`dudat.

Majid quotes and comments on other aspects: “No fetch of religious genius could have conceived a better expedient for impressing upon the minds of the faithful a sense of their common life and of their brotherhood in the bounds of faith. Here is a supreme act of common worship, the Negro of the west coast of Africa meets with the Chinaman from the distant east; the courtly and polished Ottomon recognizes his brother Muslim in the wild islander from the farthest end of the Malayan Sea.’ (Arnold, Preaching of Islam, p. 415) ‘The institution of Hadj does not represent for the Moslems merely a sacred institution but also a League of Nations, an International Academy of Art and Science, and an International Chamber of Commerce all in one. Professor Snouk Hurgronje says: The idea of a league of human races has indeed been approached by Islam more nearly than by any other; for the League of Nations founded on the basis of Muhammad’s religion takes the principle of the equality of all human races so seriously as to put other communities to shame.’ (Lady Cabbold, Intro, pp. XVII-XVIII).”

Fiqh Points

1. A city dweller may not slaughter his sacrificial animal before the `Eid Prayers; a countryside dweller could.

2. According to Imam Shafe`i and the Hanafiyy school, days of sacrifice are four: 10th-13th.

3. Most scholars say that the slaughtering should be carried out during the days of these dates and not nights. Although Imam Abu Hanifah has allowed it during the nights also. (But of course, on 13th the time ends with Maghrib: Au.).

4. It is not wajib, but only preferable that he who sacrifices partakes of the meat of his sacrificed animal. Here, the words ‘eat of it’ have been added because in pre-Islamic days some of the pagans would not eat out of their sacrificed animals.

5. But one may not eat out of what he sacrifices as expiation or against vows.

6. The sacrificed meat cannot be sold off either, nor its skin, or any other part.

7. The division into parts for oneself, friends, and for the poor, is not obligatory, although it has been the practice of some of the Salaf.

8. Imam Abu Haneefah and Nakha`i have disagreed with other Imams and have said that sacrifice is not obligatory on a traveler. Abu Bakr, `Umar and some of the Salaf were also of the same opinion, i.e., sacrifice is not obligatory on a traveler (Qurtubi and others).

42. Asad quotes Pickthall: “The repeated Qur’anic insistence on pronouncing the name of God whenever one slaughters an animal is meant to make the believers ‘realize the awfulness of taking a life, and the solemn nature of the trust which God has conferred upon them in the permission to eat the flesh of animals’ (Marmaduke Pickthall, The Meaning of the Glorious Qur’an).”

43. Asad comments, “.. they (the sacrifices) are meant to commemorate Abraham’s readiness to sacrifice his first-born son after he dreamt that God demanded of him this supreme sacrifice…; 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 (as stressed by Razi), they are to be the symbols of each believer’s readiness to sacrifice himself in the cause of truth.”

On the practical side, Mufti Shafi` has the following to add: Of the animals slaughtered, there are several kinds. For example, one offered in expiation against an animal hunted down in the Haram, (or in Ihram), in expiation of certain acts committed while in the state of Ihram, which might sometimes require a camel, a cow, or maybe just a sheep; etc. Now, it might be noted that out of the animals slaughtered in expiation of the second kind mentioned above, their meat is prohibited to the one who is supposed to expiate his sin through slaughter. There is no disagreement between the four Fuqaha’ over this issue. Such meat is entirely for the poor. In fact, a rich person cannot be gifted thereof either. As regards other kinds of slaughtered animals, such as those of Hajj, their meat may be consumed by the one who offers the sacrifice. To divide into three parts: one for self, one for relatives and friends, and a third for the poor, is only desirable (mustahab).

(To be continued)