Al-Hajj Verse (Arabic: آية الحج) is the verse ninety seven of Qur'an 3, which legislates the obligation of hajj for people who have istita'a. Maqam Ibrahim (a) and the safety of the Ka'ba are referred to as clear signs of the House of God.
Text and Translation
فِیهِ آیاتٌ بَینَاتٌ مَّقَامُ إِبْرَاهِیمَ وَمَن دَخَلَهُ کانَ آمِنًا وَلِلّهِ عَلَی النَّاسِ حِجُّ الْبَیتِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ إِلَیهِ سَبِیلًا وَمَن کفَرَ فَإِنَّ الله غَنِی عَنِ الْعَالَمِینَ
In it are manifest signs [and] Abraham's Station, and whoever enters it shall be secure. And it is the duty of mankind toward Allah to make pilgrimage to the House—for those who can afford the journey to it—and should anyone renege [on his obligation], Allah is indeed without need of the creatures.
|— Quran 3: 97|
The main content of the verse is the legislation of the obligation of hajj. Moreover, the verse refers to clear signs of the House of God, including Maqam Ibrahim (a). The verse also points to the safety of the House of God, the only condition for the obligation of hajj, and the significance of hajj the abandonment of which amounts to disbelief.
Clear Signs of the House of God
According to some Quranic exegetes, the phrase, "ayat bayyinat" (manifest signs [of the Ka'ba]), together with its preceding verse, is a response to Jews who had characterized Jerusalem as more glorious than the Ka'ba. In response, the Qur'an refers to superiority of the Ka'ba in the preceding verse, and in this verse, to its clear signs. According to the al-Hajj Verse, clear signs of the House of God include Maqam Ibrahim (a), safety for people entering it, and the obligation of hajj for mustati' people.
Maqam Ibrahim (a)
- Main article: Maqam Ibrahim (a)
Maqam Ibrahim (a) is the place on which the prophet Abraham (a) stood in order to build the Ka'ba, or to perform hajj rituals, or to call the public to perform such rituals. There is a disagreement among Quranic exegetes as to what is exactly meant by the Maqam. Some people take it to be the stone on which Abraham (a) stood and left his footprints, which is presently located besides the Ka'ba. Some others believe that it means the entirety of al-Haram al-Makki or all stations of hajj. However, there is a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a), cited in al-Kafi, in which the former alternative is mentioned.
Safety of Mecca
In Islam, the Ka'ba is known as a refuge in which all humans and even animals are safe and any battle or bloodshed is forbidden. In addition to these Islamic laws, however, some people believe that the phrase, "whoever enters it shall be safe," is God's response to Ibrahim's (a) prayer. When Abraham (a) built the Ka'ba, he asked God: "My Lord, make this city [ Mecca ] secure."
Legislation of the Obligation of Hajj
The main theme of the verse is the legislation of the obligation of hajj. In this verse, all people are commanded to perform hajj rituals. The obligation is referred to as something people are indebted to God. The rituals of the pilgrimage of the Ka'ba were first officially performed in the period of the prophet Abraham (a), and then continued as a tradition even in the period of Jahiliyya in Arabia. It was then legislated in Islam in a more comprehensive way, free from superstitions of the period of Jahiliyya.
There is no consensus among Quranic exegetes as to exactly when hajj was legislated. Some of them believe that the Qura'n 3 was Makki, and thus the legislation of hajj occurred before Hijra in Mecca. Others believe that the verse was revealed in 3/624, and since the Prophet (s) performed hajj in 10/631, they conclude that although hajj is obligatory for mustati' people, it does not need to be immediately performed. However, it is implied by some hadiths that the obligation of hajj was first legislated in Islam in 10/631, although the Prophet (s) and a number of Muslims had performed 'Umra rituals before that.
The Only Condition of Obligation
According to the al-Hajj Verse, the only condition of the obligation of hajj is istita'a (ability). According to the phrase, "for those who can afford the journey to it," one counts as mustati' if they have the ability to go to the Ka'ba. However, in hadiths and Islamic jurisprudential books, istita'a is interpreted as the possession of sufficient provision for the travel and a vehicle, having physical ability, the way to the Ka'ba being open, and the ability to make a living upon return from the hajj. However, all these conditions are implied by the verse as well, because "istita'a" literally means ability, which includes all the above instances.
Significance of Hajj
Hajj is so significant that its abandonment is regarded in the Hajj Verse as equal to disbelief. Some people take "kufr" (disbelief) in the verse to mean an exit from Islam just in case one denies the obligation of hajj. However, it is believed by others that the abandonment of hajj is an exit from Islam even if it is not accompanied with the denial of the obligation of hajj. Still others believe that the term, "kufr", literally means to cover or conceal, and it has a wide notion as a religious term, including any opposition to the truth. In other words, there are degrees of both kufr (that is, opposition to the truth) and iman (that is, being directed at the truth), each of which has its own consequences.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from آیه حج in Farsi WikiShia.