Thursday, November 8, 2007
THE SOUND OF LABBAYK!!!
Yesterday my family was chatting with a friend from California. The latter had been a student in the Holy city of Qum some years ago. One of the most inspiring statements she had made in her conversation was “This year I am planning to go to Hajj and our visas are ready.” "Wow!" I said to my self. "How fast was that!" One of the most common remarks many of us make when asked whether we would be going for Hajj is “The sound of labbayk has not yet come. When it comes, we will go.” After I came to realize that it is we who must respond to the Divine Call of Hajj by saying “labbayk” in the miqat [the place where we wear our ihram], I would disregard such statements and consider them as ignorance, until one day when I found the philosophy of this common statement, which is aptly expressed in the Holy Qur’an and our traditions and beautifully expounded in philosophical and mystical works as well. Mawlana Jalal al-Din Rumi in his poetical masterpiece Mathnawi illustrates the reality with a beautiful anecdote. He says that one night a person started doing dhikr and calling “Ya Allah” for a long time. Satan, finding the opportunity, came to him and reprimanded him saying “What is wrong with you? Your calling Allah is of no use, for you have done that for a long time, but have not heard even one “labbayk!” as an answer from Him." This greatly discouraged the person and he was overcome by grief. Then he went into a swoon and saw Khidhr (‘a), who said to him: “Why did you stop saying Ya Allah?” The man replied that he had not heard even one labbayk as an answer from Allah and felt that he was rejected by Him. Khidhr (‘a) said to him: “God is telling you, "The "Ya Allah" of yours is the "labbayk" (Here I am) of Ours, and that need, pain, and burning of yours is in fact Our message to you. Your fear and love are the lasso for Our Grace: under every "O Allah" of yours are (the prior responses of) "Here I am" (from Us). In simple words, Khidhr ('a) was trying to explain to the man that it is Allah who inspires, motivates, and enables one to begin to say "Ya Allah". Therefore, in reality He already has responded long before our call. What better response are we after? In the brilliant supplication of ‘Arafa of Imam al-Husayn (‘a), we cry to Allah, “Anta al-Dhakir qabla al-Dhakirin…” (You are the Rememberer before your rememberers). In other words “You remember them so that they may remember You”
Posted by Muhammad Khalfan (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 6:45 AM