Saturday, May 19, 2007

Guest of the Beneficent

It was the happiest moment of my life a few years ago when Allah the Most Gracious finally gave me His permission to visit Him, at His House. I was in a daze. Though I talk to Allah everyday in my prayers and in my heart, visiting His house and practically answering His call is a totaly different experience. As the impact of this sublime opportunity dawned on me I set about making my preparations. I was about to visit a most beloved Friend and I needed to be prepared, body and soul. Hajj is not about just going on any trip, it's about total obedience, hope and ultimate submission. It's a test of one's Sincerity.

Hajj(pilgrimage to Mecca) is one of the five pillars of Islam and is to be performed at least once in a lifetime, if one is able to do so. Hajj is a spiritual experience, the ultimate submission, and no words can do justice to the feelings of joy one feels during the few days spent as an honored "Guest of the Beneficent". The Ka'bah, the Cube shaped structure in the middle of the Mosque is the first house of worship on the face of the earth. History has it that the black stone that's situated within the Ka'bah came down from Paradise and was brought by the Angel Jibril (Gebriel). The stone was initially white but the sins of the sons of Adam turned it into black. The Ka'bah's foundation was raised by the prophet Ibraham (Abraham) and his son Ismael (Ishmael). When the Muslim performs the Hajj he's simply following in the footsteps of the prophet Ibrahim. My intention is not to explain the Hajj rites, there are many Islamic sites on the net that can give the reader a learned explanation of what Hajj is all about: For those who are interested in finding out more about this religious experience I'll paste a couple of sites at the foot of the poem for their perusal.
The following poem merely reflects my own personal feeling of what this journey meant to this spiritual traveler. Some two million "Invitees" perform Hajj each year and the sheer numbers of devotees is an humbling experience for each "invitee". This is the House of God and the people who answer the call are called: "Guests of the Beneficent."...

Guest of the Beneficent
Is a bare-footed beggar
A poor thing invited by One Rich and Mighty
To answer the call of a lifetime,
a pledge made to God.
Guest of the Beneficent is a humble follower
Of a humble prophet, himself a follower
In the footsteps of his father Abraham,
For the first to make the call was Abraham
To this house of God and from him sprang
Prophets by the Beneficent blessed, chosen.
Guest of the Beneficent on the path
Of such a one blessed with modest walks
All pretense and ornaments shed
Eyes fixed heart trembling hands raised
A willing guest in tears drenched
The guest is a single entity in a sea of guests
Swimming in tears remorseful
For the flesh is weak and man given to haste…
Guest of the Beneficent is humbled
By feelings of smallness felt
Insignificant he's for once lost
In an ocean of devotees
he looks towards the Lord
With heart longing for freedom
From a self to blunders given.
Guests of the Beneficent are people
Pulled together by a Hand Powerful
Able to call whom He wills when He wills.
These beggars by the Door of the Merciful
In tongues diverse cry
In sizes and hues various appear
But in unison they answer this Call sublime
Joyful in a union at last made they chant
To the beat of a Truth long desired.
Hajj is a time of bonding
Beneath a sky open
The seeker learns and teaches
Equal are the guests of God
In attires easy and plain
Kings and penniless all Needy
Shoulder to shoulder before a King Mighty
This is a time of repentance
An occasion of release in an ocean of tears.
From the attachments to sin and wrong-doing
To the bonds of fellowship, hearts healing
These days of consoling, delivery
And elevated hopes
The guest of the Beneficent returns not home
But happy.

@ Safi Abdi, all rights reserved.

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