Procedure of Hajj and Umrah:Part-02

1.The ‘Black stone’ 
All throughout the Quran God commands us to stay away from stone and alters, yet during the visit to the Ka’bah, and at one of its corners, Muslims from all over the world push and shove their way ferociously to get to what is called ‘the black stone’ in order to touch it and kiss it, believing that the stone has the power to heal them, save them or bless them!!! If this is not idolatry I do not know what is!! Not surprisingly, this ritual has no sustenance in the Quran whatsoever, but originates instead from a corrupt ‘hadith’ stating that this stone was descended from heaven since the time of Abraham, and that it is thus sacred, and that the prophet used to kiss it! One is left wondering ‘have they not read the Quran?’ The Quran informs us that Abraham destroyed all the stone that his people were worshipping and said: 
"Do you then worship beside God what possesses no power to benefit you or harm you?" 21:66 
How could anyone in their proper sense of mind accept a dubious saying that is in total violation of the Quran! How could anyone believe that the prophet could have ever kissed, and thus idolized, a stone that has no power to "benefit" or "harm"anybody? But that is not all, some flagrant hadith claim that the black stone will come to life on Judgement day and then develop two eyes and a tongue and will testify in favour of those who touched it in sincerity! Needless to say, there is no mention whatsoever in the Quran about a blessed stone that has descended from heaven, nor that we should touch a stone in sincerity or that a stone can actually erase people's sins. If these millions of misguided Muslims would only believe the Quran they would know that stones dont have any power to harm us or benefit us (21:66). 

It is also a sad sight today at the Kaaba to see hundreds of people adhering their bodies to the walls of the Kaaba, thinking that the walls of the Kaaba will bless them! The scenes at the location of the ‘black stone’ are abhorrent. In front of the ‘black stone’ there is a line drawn on the ground. This line is intended as a marker from which people could keep count of each lap they have completed, however it is indeed a truly sad sight to see the people raising their hands in awe in the direction of the ‘black stone’ every time they passed the line! Some were even praying on the line itself in total awe of the ‘black stone’! Once again, have they not read the Quran? 
"Say ‘Would you worship besides God what can neither harm you, nor benefit you?" 5:76 also see 10:18 and 25:55
The following are some of the outrageous hadith which form the basis for such an idolatrous ritual: 
1."Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "The Black Stone came down from Jannah (Paradise)." 
(At-Tirmidhi, Sunan, hadith no. 877, and classified as authentic hadith by Sheikh Al-Albaani in his book Sahih At-Tirmidthi, hadith no. 695
2."Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "When the Black Stone came down from Paradise, it was whiter than milk, but the sins of the sons of Adam made it black." (At-Tirmidhi, Sunan) 
3."Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) related that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “By Allah, Allah will bring it forth on the Day of Judgment, and it will have two eyes with which it will see and a tongue with which it will speak, and it will testify in favor of those who touched it in sincerity." 
(At-Tirmidhi, Sunan) 
4."Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) quoted the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as saying: “Touching them both [the Black Stone and Ar-Rukn Al-Yamani] is an expiation for one’s sins." 
(At-Tirmidhi, Sunan, hadith no. 959. This hadith is classified as hasan by At-Tirmidhi and as Sahih by Al-Hakim (1/664), and Adh-Dhahabi agreed with him.) 
5."Narrated 'Abis bin Rabia: 'Umar came near the Black Stone and kissed it and said "No doubt, I know that you are a stone and can neither benefit anyone nor harm anyone. Had I not seen Allah's Apostle kissing you I would not have kissed you." 
Sahih Bukhari 2:26:667, also Sahih Bukhari 2:26:657 and Sahih Muslim 7:2912-2915 

2.The water of ‘Zamzam’ 
The idolatry does not stop there, the devil has indeed instilled in the human being the worship of objects that cannot benefit him nor harm him. A further idolatrous superstition is connected to the water of ‘Zamzam’ which can be obtained in the Kaaba and which Muslims believe it to be sacred and to cure one’s ailments! 

This superstition takes its origin from the Biblical story of ‘Hager’, Abraham’s slave wife who was sent away to the wilderness of the desert with her child Ishmael. In desperation and fear of dying of thirst, it is said that she ran back and forth between two hill tops in search of water, at which point God mercifully produced for her a gushing well from which she and Ishmael drank (The Bible, Genesis 21:14-21). The Quran has no account of such a sequence of events relating to Ismail or his mother. 

Moreover, when we read the Biblical story of this event we find that it took place in the wilderness of Beer-Sheba. The town of Beer-Sheba which is south of Jerusalem, between Gaza and the Dead Sea, is nowhere near Mecca where the water of Zamzam is extracted! This, wide disparity of locations, together with the fact that there is no Quranic evidence whatsoever to substantiate or invalidate this story, adds a great deal of uncertainty about the truth of the water of Zamzam! 

One thing is for certain; there is nothing in the Quran that says that we should idolize and hold sacred any object, whether it is the water of ‘Zamzam’ or the ‘black stone’, thinking that either could benefit us in any way. On the contrary, doing so is in direct violation of 5:76, 21:66 and other verses as referred to before. 

Editor"s note: One of my aunts did around 14 Umrah’s along the years and at the end of every journey she used to return home from Mecca with a good supply of water from ‘Zamzam’ in the belief that it will cure her from various illness’. She used to fill little bottles with the water and distribute them among each member of the family! Till she died, all the water she brought back never cured her nor any one in the family of any illness! 
3.The Stoning ritual 
Another issue that is considered by Muslims to be an integral ritual of the Hajj is the stoning of Satan. Not only is this ritual not mentioned in the Quran, but in actual fact there is ample evidence in the Quran to suggest that the stoning is an act done by the idol worshippers (11:91, 18:20, 19:46, 36:18). All the correct rituals of Hajj are mentioned in the Quran, yet the stoning is not a Quranic ritual of Hajj. 
The origin of the stoning ritual comes from a corrupted interpretation of the word ‘Rajeem’ in the following verse: 
"He (God) said, ‘Therefore, you (Satan) must be exiled, you will be ‘rajeem’(banished)" 38:77. These words also appear in 15:34. 
The word ‘rajeem’ which means banished, has been corrupted to mean stoned, hence it is claimed that the stoning ritual during ‘Hajj’ is a Quranic command!! 
In support of such claim, the reference is made to some of the most ridiculous fabricated ‘hadith’, one of which claims that every time a stone is thrown at any of the three Satanic stations, that Satan in fact feels pain and groans in agony!! Believe that and you will believe anything! In actual fact the devil, and who is obviously not sitting at those silly alters waiting to be aimed at, is probably laughing his head off and rejoicing for succeeding in deviating the millions of idol worshippers from the sole aim of Hajj, which is to ‘Praise and commemorate God’. In reality Satan has taken up two or three days of their valuable Hajj days to utter his name!! The fact that they are stoning him and cursing his name and not singing his praises is totally insignificant, simply because of the following: 

1.The devil is made of fire and thus cannot be touched by physical matter (stones). 
2.The devil is not sitting in these silly holes waiting to be stoned! 
3.No human has the power or ability to see the devil or to be able to inflict him with any harm. 
"O children of Adam, do not let the devil dupe you as he did when he caused the eviction of your parents from Paradise……………………He and his tribe see you, while you do not see them" 7:27 
4.Every precious hour and day of the Hajj should be spent in commemorating the name of God Almighty alone, and not to utter the name of Satan. The Quran emphasises that the only duty of believers in the Hajj is to commemorate the name of God. The various verses that speak of Hajj in the Quran constantly emphasises this sole purpose of Hajj: 
"And proclaim that the people shall observe Hajj pilgrimage …………… they shall commemorate God’s name during the specified days for providing them with the livestock" 22:27-28 
"You shall commemorate God for a number of days" 2:203 
"While you file from ‘Arafat’ you shall commemorate God………." 2:198 
"As you complete your rites, you shall continue to commemorate God……" 2:200
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