Hajj, Symbol of Obedience to God (6)
In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-compassionate, welcome to the 6th episode of an interesting account of the Hajj pilgrimage – a spiritual journey which is obligator once in a lifetime for every able-bodied person who has the financial means to undertake it without become a pauper in doing so.
The caravan of Hajj pilgrimage reached Medina, where it rested for a few days, paid respects at the holy shrine of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), and then set out for Mecca. On the way, when the pilgrims rested, a man approached the leader of the caravan, who seemed to recognize him. A conversation started between two, when the newcomer noticed a person enthusiastically serving the pilgrims. The man looked at the luminous face of the person busy doing ordinary chores to help the pilgrims, and it was evident he was righteous man. Suddenly, he recognized him, and said: My God, what have these caravan members done?
The man turned to the caravan leader and said: Do you know who is serving you and doing your work?
They said: No, we do not know him. This man joined our caravan in Medina. He seems to be a righteous and honest person. He is very hardworking and sincerely carrying out all duties. As a matter of fact, we did not want him to do anything for us, but he himself volunteered to help us.
The man told them: It is obvious that you do not know him, because if you knew, you would not have been so disrespectful and would not allow him to serve you.
The caravan leader asked: Who is he?
The visitor said: He is Imam Ali Zain al-Abedin (AS), the son of Imam Husain (AS) the Martyr of Karbala. He is the great-grandson of Messenger of God Prophet Mohammad (SAWA).
On hearing this, people got up from their places and rushed towards the Imam in a state of remorse and seeking forgiveness. They said: O son of the Messenger of God, we are ashamed. Why did not you introduce yourself? We seek forgiveness for any disrespect that we might have committed to you out of ignorance.
Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS) said in a calm and composed tone: I deliberately chose your caravan and became your companion incognito. Whenever I travel with a caravan whose members know me, they show utmost respect for me and never allow me to serve them or do anything for them. For this reason, I decided to travel in a caravan whose leader and members do not know me, nor do I have to introduce myself to them; so that I can happily serve the pilgrims and avail myself of the rewards reserved by God Almighty.
Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) has said: Blessed is he whose morals are good, and he does not hesitate to help the people.
Before bidding you goodbye, here is a beautiful statement about pilgrimage from Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), who in his lifetime performed the Hajj pilgrimage at least 25 times physically:
“The right of the Hajj is that you know it is an arrival before your Lord and a flight to Him from your sins; through it your repentance is accepted and you perform an obligation made incumbent upon you by God.”