This is a follow up to Personal Reflections on Hajj- Part 1. However, if you have no experience with Hajj, you are better off reading Part 2 first and then moving on to Part 1 as this is written for a general audience.
It is my belief that Hajj is a symbol to hidden and manifest spiritual truths ready to be discovered and guide.
The Symbol of Circle of Life
The Hajj begins at the Kaaba, a place of worship believed to have been built by Prophet Ibrahim and his son Ishmael- commonly known as the House of God. All are dressed in unstitched white clothes. The Muslims are required to circle the Kaaba anti-clockwise
It is symbolic that the journey begins with God at the House of God. Why then depart from it only to return to it after days of journeying away from it? To journey away from the House of God to God Himself.
This is symbolic to me of “Adam and Eve” beginning their journey with God. What is also symbolic is that the approach to the House of God is in circles- I began at the outer edge of the circle slowly making my way towards the House of God.
You need very little- you can carry only very little
Your journeying away from the House of God to God requires you to carry only as much as you can carry. You carry what you need and you figure out how little you need. If you carry more than what you need it becomes a burden to you because the journey is long and tiring through the heat of the dessert sun and its cold nights. Since my Hajj in 2007, I have often wondered whether I have applied this beautiful lesson in my life. How much do I own that ends up owning my “soul”?
Letting go of vanity- a movement to your true self
During Hajj you are not allowed to look at yourself in the mirror. And by the end of the Hajj, when you have walked under the dessert sun, slept with fellow Muslims under a tent, and rested wherever you can, you “forget” yourself and ironically find your true self-you realize how unimportant your looks are and how much you need to look at yourself as both you and other human beings see you-not the cosmetic you, but the real you. This is one of the great blessings of Hajj.
The next stop is at Mount Arafat- the mountain where Adam and Eve received God’s “forgiveness” for approaching the “forbidden tree”. It is also known as the Mountain of Knowledge. What is interesting is that in the Holy Quran, the tree is linked to Adam and Eve becoming conscious of their nakedness and covering themselves with leaves! This is very interesting- 1) it links self-consciousness of the body to a lower state of being (may be this is a connection in not being allowed to look into the mirror) and 2) unconscious nakedness as a higher state.
Part 3 will be written soon- God Willing.