AL-GHAZALI THE SECRET OF PILGRIMAGE

AL-GHAZALI THE SECRET OF PILGRIMAGE

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Hajj is one of the pillars and foundations of Islam, the act of worship of a lifetime, the seal of all that is commanded, the perfection of Islam and the completion of religion. Such a worship deserves that much attention to be devoted to explaining it and to detailing its essential elements, its properties, its merits, and its mysteries. This little book is translated from Kitab Asrar al-Hajj, the seventh chapter of the celebrated 12th-century work, Ihya Ulum al-Din. Al-Ghazali invites readers to dwell on the subject of the hajj beyond its mechanics and rituals, and to pay attention to its true substance, purpose and philosophy.

And concerning it the Prophet the blessing of God be upon him said, 'Whoever dies without, having performed the Pilgrimage let him die, if he wish, either a Jew or a Christian.' How exalted is that act of worship without which religion is lacking in perfection, and the evader of which is equal in, waywardness to Jews and Christians: [Such a worship] deserves that much attention be devoted to explaining it and to detailing its essential elements (arkan), its proprieties, its merits, and its mysteries. All of this will be disclosed, by the grace of God the Most High, in three chapters:

1. The first chapter concerns its merits and the merits of Mecca and the Ancient House and its essential parts and the criteria [that determine] its obligatory character (Wujub).

2.The second chapter [deals with] its outward acts in [correct] order according to their order, from the beginning of the journey until the return.

3.The third chapter concerns its exact proprieties, its hidden mysteries and its inner (batina) acts