Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Heart is the Haram of Allah (Part 1)

All the branches of religion are runways of spiritual ascension to the Divine. Hajj is no exception. Rather its very literal meaning conveys its profound reality. Hajj in the Arabic means ‘qasd’ (to intend). From the Islamic legal point of view, however, it refers to ‘intending the House of Allah’ for rites that are obligatory on all the human beings. The Holy Qur’an says: “And escape to Allah…” [51:50]. Commenting on this phrase, Imam al-Baqir (‘a) says that it means Hujju ila Allah’ (Perform hajj [and journey] to Allah) [al-Kulayni, Al-Kafi, v.4, p.256]. In other words, the reality of performing hajj is to escape to Allah. And escaping to Allah means to adopt His Beautiful Attributes. In a well-known prophetic tradition we are told, “Takhallaqu bi Akhlaaqillah" (and adopt the character traits of Allah). Obviously this does not imply any sort of deification. Whereas Allah’s Attributes are Infinite, the human being is only able to reflect them according to the mirror of his capacity. Such reflection also is utterly by Allah. The Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) in their traditions clearly allude to the fact that Allah has tested the pilgrims with mere stones in the holy precincts. They should, however, reflect on the kernel and migrate to the same. The stones symbolize realities that can cause an inner revolution and totally overhaul us. In a well-known tradition, Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (‘a) explains to a devout pilgrim called Shibli about the subtle realities of every rite in hajj thus informing him that there is a meaning to every obligation that we perform. We should therefore not to limit ourselves to the periphery but embrace the center as well. If we have to journey to the house of a beloved, circumambulate around it seven times, but finally depart without meeting and seeing Him, every sound human being would wonder in astonishment. The verse we just quoted above does not say Fa firru ila baytillah…" (And escape to Allah’s House), but says “ila Allah…” (to Allah…) thus clearly and distinctly informing us about that the main aim and goal of every aspirant of hajj is Allah Himself. Obviously, visiting the House of Allah must prepare us for the real ascent, and cannot be divorced from its kernel. It is interesting to note that the insightful scholars who expound the secrets of Hajj say that the purified human heart is the House of Allah. The hajj of the wayfarers is to spiritually emigrate and attain a level of comprehension of his unsullied and pure heart which can really serve as a haram of Allah (swt). Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) is reported to have said: ‘Al-qalbu haramullah, fala tuskin haramallah ghayrallah’ (the heart is the sanctuary of Allah, therefore to do not let other than Allah inhabit in it). Perhaps the following brilliant dictum of Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) would increase our vision and understanding: 'Nahnu Ka’batullah, nahnu Qiblatullah…' (We are the Ka’ba of Allah, we are the qibla of Allah) [Allama Majlisi, Bihaar al-Anwaar,v.24, p. 303]. And in another brilliant tradition from Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) we read, ‘Nahnu Haramullah al-Akbar' (And we are the greatest sanctuary of Allah) [Al-Kulayni, Al-Kafi, v.1, p. 221]


  1. What did you mean when you said that the heart is the haram of Allah?

  2. It is translated to mean that the unsullied pure heart of a perfect human being is a receptacle of comprehending Allah. However, comprehension is according to one’s capacity. None can claim to behold the infinite essence, because a finite entity obviously cannot contain the infinite One. It is also translated to mean that the unsullied heart of the perfect human being comprehends that in reality there is no existing being save Allah. This is because an infinite entity cannot accept a second. Hence whatever perfection is beheld in the realm of the seeming otherness is nothing but the manifestation of Allah’s Name(s).