An Article by Shaykha Fariha
"My intimate friend, exhort those who become pilgrims to leave behind from that moment all carelessness." - Heart of the Koran
What is 'Arafah?
The Islamic pilgrimage, Hajj, to the holy shrines of Mecca, Medina, and Mount 'Arafah takes place in the first ten days of the month of Dhul Hijja. The pilgrimage culminates with the great gathering on the plain or "Mount" of 'Arafah north of Mecca on the ninth day. This event embodies the essential spirit of Hajj, as the Prophet stated "'Arafah is the Hajj."
Islamic tradition reports that Hazreti Adam and Hazreti Eve were separated and lost when they decended from Paradise into earthly space and time. They found each other again at 'Arafah and prayed together, asking for forgiveness from Allah. Their prayer was accepted. Another noble tradition states that their earthly wedding was performed here by the archangel Gabriel.
The Prophet Muhammad gave his last khutba here, standing upon the Mt. of Mercy (Jabal Rahma), the hill rising from high plain which we call Mt. 'Arafah. In the midst of this sermon, he received the last Qur'anic revelation from his Lord: "This day I (Allah) have perfected your religion and fulfilled My favor unto you (Qur'an 5.3)."
'Arafah is indicated to be the place where humanity will reawaken on the Last Day in the Divine Mercy which will reveal and evaluate the goodness in their lives.
'Arafah represents the placeless place where, when Allah asked "Am I not your Lord?" and all souls without exception cried "Yes!"
In his khutba on the Day of 'Arafah, 1994, Shaykh Nur al-Jerrahi, was inspired to say:
"'Arafah represents the highest time of contemplation and the highest point of examination of conscience. We will actually enter into the state of 'Arafah, tasting it directly. It is a state in which all limits disappear. It is a state of complete immersing in Allah. Only after this, is one able truly to make tawaaf, to circumambulate the Kaaba as the angels whirl around the Divine Throne. Only then are we completely empty. Everything has gone. There is not even any separate sense of being a vessel. The brightness of Mount 'Arafah burns everything away and reveals the true human being, which is the mirror of the Divine Attributes. This is the Insan Kamil, the formless form that mercifully and miraculously manifests through a form of biological evolution, a form that Allah has made from the dust and clay of the earth. This biological form can become transparent to the formless form of perfect humanity. This occurs on Mount 'Arafah during the Hajj, as it does in the Juma prayer."
What is the Day of 'Arafah?
After the sun has passed noon, the pilgrims on this year's Hajj will have gathered upon and around Jabal Rahma. This is precisely the day of the month and the time of day that the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace, gave his last khutba. The pilgrims stand, ritually waiting (waqafa) all afternoon for sunset. The millions gathered here from all nations is a vivid representation all of humanity gathering at the End of Time. All are repenting, supplicating with hands held high, and chanting a special revealed litany received by the Prophet Muhammad from the Archangel Gabriel:
Labayk Allahumma labayk
Here I am, O Allah; here I am!
Labayka la sharika laka, labayk
Here I am ready to serve you,
there is nothing besides You; here I am
Truly all praise is Yours alone,
And all Blessing comes from You alone,
Laka wa-l-Mulk, La sharika Lak
And all the heavenly and earthly realms with all their inhabitants belong to You alone;
There is nothing apart from You!
Commemorating the Day of 'Arafah
A traditional form of partaking of the light of 'Arafah is to fast from pre-dawn until sunset on that day. The pilgrims who are physically gathering on 'Arafah don't fast-they are instructed by beloved Quran, 'It is perfectly legitimate and wonderful to partake of the abundance of the Lord while upon Mount 'Arafah.'
Another way of participating directly in the spiritual event was initiated by the founder of our lineage, Hazreti Pir Nureddin Jerrahi. On the day of 'Arafah, Nureddin Jerrahi and his dervishes would gather outside the walls of the city of Istanbul and offer the afternoon prayer together. Through the spiritual power of the Pir they would all be transported to the plain of 'Arafah, where they praised Allah in the company of the pilgrims. Then they would return again to their own city within the same cycle of prayer.
According to the tradition which continues today in Istanbul, we will gather our tekkes on the afternoon of Day of 'Arafah to chant Labbayk (above) and be mystically transported to 'Arafah, inshallah. This is an opportunity to participate in the Hajj in a vivid way.
Shaykh Muzaffer considers the night between the Day of 'Arafah and the Eid ul-Adha (the Feast of Sacrifice) one of the five most important nights during the year, when prayers are clearly answered. We may stay up late together and possibly offer dhikrullah on that night.
The Eid ul-Adha
The Eid ul-Adha actualizes the light of the sacrifice of Ishmael, upon him be peace. In the morning we make Eid prayers in the same way as at the end of Ramadan. At this time, the pilgrims on Hajj have come down from 'Arafah to the city of Muzdalifah, where they make an animal sacrifice to Allah, saying:
In the name of Allah; Allah is beyond all conception. O Allah, this is from You and for You. Accept it from me just as You accepted it from your friend, Ibrahim!
This is the qurban offering. Qurban means to bring close-we are called to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of realizing our intimacy with the Source. Hazreti Ishmael was of course called to submit his own life. Hazreti Abraham was called to sacrifice to Allah his precious Prophetic son, also implying the lineage of Prophets which would flow from Ishmael, which would include the eventual culmination of the principle of Prophesy embodied in the Beloved Muhammad, upon him be peace.
"Abraham received revelation from his Lord to sacrifice his most precious-we cannot say possession-his most precious expression, his divinely granted son. The noble Prophet had no ego, no self. There was nothing more to offer, nothing more within him to sacrifice. The noble Abraham, upon him be peace, did not look upon this boy as his son; he looked upon him as the next Prophet, as the promise of Allah to continue the Prophetic line. It was not as simple as offering his own son. He was offering to Allah what was basically the future of the Prophetic lineage. He was saying to Allah: "You can raise up Prophets out of stones if You want to. Even though You have given me this sacred child, through a holy, miraculous birth, and even though this is the only way that the Prophetic Light can enter into the next generation, I am willing to give him up, because You are the One who manifests the Prophetic Light, and You can take it away." The sacrifice asked of the noble Abraham was an offering of the limited human notion of religion itself as something that we have to do, instead of something that Allah is doing. It was a sacrifice of the religious ego of humanity.
Allah inspired the noble Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace, to base the pilgrimage on the experience of the noble Abraham, this transcending of the religious ego. This is what the pilgrims do when they go to Mecca. They are reliving that intense sacrifice asked of Abraham. The Valley of Mina near Mecca is the very place where Abraham, with the firewood for the sacrifice loaded upon his pack animal, took his son by the hand and walked humbly. No one can camp in that valley without shedding tears. (With these words, Shaykh Nur weeps, but after a few seconds, he continues speaking…) But these are not ordinary, emotional tears caused by thinking, "How terrible, how awful-he had to offer his son." They are gnostic tears. They are tears caused by contemplating the vastness of Allah's Mercy and Power. The Lord did not wish humanity to conceive of the universal religion as limited to any person, as needing any person."
- Shaykh Nur al-Jerrahi
The spiritual victory comes at the last moment-Abraham's knife is poised above Ishmael's neck. Allah's Presence, in the form of the Archangel Gabriel, comes close to let Abraham know that his call to sacrifice has already been fulfilled. A ram materializes for the sacrifice. Individual dervish circles may participate in the spirit of Abraham's sacrifice by themselves sacrificing a lamb, or if they prefer, donating money or food to the hungry on this day.
"Summoning Gabriel from Paradise, Allah had created a ram as a substitute sacrifice for Ishmael, then commanded Gabriel to take it to Abraham. The angel had now appeared in the heavens, bearing that ram and proclaiming the Supreme Greatness of God. When Abraham heard the voice of Gabriel calling "Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar," he realized that his trial was over, and in grateful response, he glorified and extolled his Lord with the words, "La ilaha illa-Llahu wa-Llahu Akbar." The venerable Ishmael lay there listening to these utterances, and he also realized that the Mercy of the All-Compassionate and Beneficent had come overflowing. Crying, "Allahu Akbar wa li-Llahi-l-Hamd," he joined in the glorification and praise…" - Shaykh Muzaffer Efendi, Irshad
This is the story of the "Hudara Takbir" which we often chant in the dhikr:
Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar La ilaha illa-Llahu
Allah is Greater! Allah is Greater! There is no one but Allah!
Wa-Llahu Akbar Allahu Akbar wa li-Llahi-l-Hamd
Allah is Greater, Allah is Infinitely Greater,
and to Allah flows all Praise!
From the dawn prayer on the Day of 'Arafah, through the afternoon prayer on the following day, this takbir is chanted after each salat.
The Eid Prayers
The Eid prayers are celebrated in the following way:
It is a sunna of the Prophet Muhammad to make full ablution in the morning, to dress beautifully, to put on perfume, and to eat something before going to the place of prayer. On the way to the tekke, one could chant the takbir above.
Also as dervishes gather before the prayers begin, this takbir may be chanted repeatedly as a group.
To begin the prayer (there is no adhan), the imam says Allahu Akbar as usual, but before reciting Quran, there are three (3) extra Allahu Akbars. The same is done in the second rakat. This is the tradition of the Hanafi school, which the Jerrahi tariqat follows. Other opinions or schools of Islam may call for a greater number of recitations of Allahu Akbar before chanting Quran. All the schools are accepted as sunna.
There are two rakats, both with Quran chanted out loud. It is a sunna to give a khutba after the Eid prayers are performed.
After the khutba is the traditional time for making an animal sacrifice and distributing the meat to the poor. For those who are unable to do so, or who are vegetarians, it is recommended to make an offering of charity. Practitioners often use this day to make a special offering of their presence, by calling or visiting family members, the elderly or the sick.
The tremendous light and uplift of this festival actually lasts three or four days.
A Blessed Feast
The following is the prayer of Hazreti 'Ali, radhiyallahu anhu. It is recomended that one recite it during the first ten days of the month of Hajj.
La ilaha ilallahu as many times as the number of days and nights following each other!
La ilaha ilalahu adada al layali wa dhuhr
La ilaha ilallahu as many as the number of waves in all the oceans!
La ilaha ilalahu adada amwaj al buhur
La ilaha ilallahu wa Rahmatuhu is better than all that might be gathered in this world!
La ilaha ilalahu wa rahmatuhu khayrun mima yajma'un
La ilaha ilallahu as many as the number of thorns and trees!
La ilaha ilalahu adada shawkah wa shajar
La ilaha ilallahu as much as there is hair flowing from human heads, and as much as the fur on all the creatures!
La ilaha ilalahu adada sha'rah wal wabar
La ilaha ilallahu as many as the number of stones and pebbles in the universe!
La ilaha ilalahu adadal hajarah wal madar
La ilaha ilallahu as many as the number of times that eyes have blinked!
La ilaha ilalahu adada lamha al uyun
La ilaha ilallahu through the night as it dissipates and the dawn as it breathes away the darkness!
La ilaha ilalahu fi layli idha asass wa subha idha tanaffass
La ilaha ilallahu as many as the winds blowing through the deserts and cliffs!
La ilaha ilalahu adadar riyaha fil barari wa sukhur
La ilaha ilallahu from now until the Day on which the trumpet resounds!
La ilaha ilalahu minal yawm illa yawmi yunfakhu fassur
The above prayer was made known to us by our sister and brother, Ehsaneh and Hamed from the Washington D.C. circle.
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