Written by: Agha Shabbir Abbas
bismi-llāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīm
In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
The terms ‘Qalb’ (s) and ‘Qulūb’ (pl) are used multiple times in the Qur’an by the Almighty, to denote the heart. For the heart is the focal point of the being, physically and metaphorically. In regards to belief the Almighty has given a very important role to the heart. The heart of all humans contains the measurement of one’s intentions; a heart filled with malice and bad intentions is diseased.
Lā Yu’uākhidhukumu Allāhu Bil-Laghwi Fī ‘Aymānikum Wa Lak- inYu’uākhidhukum Bimā Kasabat Qulūbukum Wa Allāhu Ghafūru n Ĥalīmun
Allah will not call you to account for thoughtlessness in your oaths, but for the intention in your hearts; and He is Oft-forgiving, Most Forbearing. (2:225)
Fī Qulūbihim Marađun Fazādahumu Allāhu Marađāan Wa La- hum `Adhābun’Alīmun Bimā Kānū Yakdhibūna
In their hearts is a disease; and Allah has increased their disease: And grievous is the penalty they (incur), because they are false (to themselves). (2:10)
To ensure that the hearts of the believers remain spiritually clean, the Almighty has given us the ‘Taqwa’. The term ‘Taqwa’ means piety, which in the realm of Islam points towards devotion; devotion towards the Almighty and His religion, Islam. The Almighty has stated in the Qur’an how one can attain this piety.
Dhālika Wa Man Yu`ažžim Sha`ā’ira Allāhi Fa’innahā Min Taqwá Al-Qulūbi
That (shall be so); and whoever respects the signs of Allah, most surely is the piety of the heart. (22:32)
The Almighty says to have, ‘Taqwá Al-Qulūbi’, piety of the heart one must respect the ‘signs’ of Allah. The term ‘sign’ is ambigu- ous unless researched. The Almighty uses the Arabic word ‘Sha`ā’ir’ to designate ‘sign’ of the Almighty. To understand what this means one has to look at how this term has been used at other locations in the Qur’an.
‘Inna Aş-Şafā Wa Al-Marwata Min Sha`ā’iri Allāhi Faman Ĥajja Al-Bayta ‘AwA`tamara Falā Junāĥa `Alayhi ‘An Yaţţawwafa Bihimā Wa Man Taţawwa`aKhayrāan Fa’inna Allāha Shākirun `Alīmun
Surely the Safa and the Marwa are among the signs appointed by Allah; so whoever makes a pilgrimage to the House or pays a visit (to it), there is no blame on him if he goes round them both; and whoever does good spontaneously, then surely Allah is Grateful, Knowing. (2:158)
YYā ‘Ayyuhā Al-Ladhīna ‘Āmanū Lā Tuĥillū Sha`ā’ira Allāhi Wa Lā Ash-ShahraAl-Ĥarāma Wa Lā Al-Hadya Wa Lā Al-Qalā’ida Wa Lā ‘Āmmīna Al-Bayta Al-Ĥarāma Yabtaghūna Fađlāan Min Rabbihim Wa Riđwānāan Wa ‘Idhā ĤalaltumFāşţādū Wa Lā Yajrimannakum Shana’ānu Qawmin ‘An Şaddūkum `Ani Al- Masjidi Al-Ĥarāmi ‘An Ta`tadū Wa Ta`āwanū `Alá Al-Birri Wa At -Taqwá Wa Lā Ta`āwanū `Alá Al-‘Ithmi Wa Al-`Udwāni Wa Attaqū Allāha ‘Inna AllāhaShadīdu Al-`Iqābi
O you who believe! do not violate the signs appointed by Allah nor the sacred month, nor (interfere with) the offerings, nor the sacrificial animals with garlands/ropes, nor those going to the sa- cred house seeking the grace and pleasure of their Lord; and when you are free from the obligations of the pilgrimage, then hunt, and let not hatred of a people– because they hindered you from the Sacred Masjid– incite you to exceed the limits, and help one an- other in goodness and piety, and do not help one another in sin and aggression; and be careful of (your duty to) Allah; surely Al- lah is severe in requiting (evil). (5:2)
Therefore it is understood that these ‘signs’ are all in regards to
Hajj, with extreme importance to the sacrificing of animals. The sacrificial animals are themselves ‘signs’ of Allah, including the garlands and ropes that they are tied with. It is remarkable that the garlands and ropes are also ‘signs’ that we must respect. The Qur’an does not limit the ‘signs’ to just these but in fact extends it to all items of remembrance. The reason behind this is that all these items remind us of the sacrifice of Ibrahim (A) and his son Ismael (A). This sacrifice is detailed in the Qur’an.
Wa Fadaynāhu Bidhibĥin `Ažīmin
And We ransomed him[Ismael] with a momentous sacrifice (37:107)
Wa Taraknā `Alayhi Fī Al-‘Ākhirīna
And We left [this blessing] for Ibrahim among his generations [to come] in later times (37:108)
The Almighty has promised that this sacrifice will be repeated by a descendent of Ibrahim. Which, by the Ijmāʿ(consensus) of the scholars it is noted that this sacrifice ‘dhibĥin `Ažīm’ was re- peated as the sacrifice of the family of Muhammad (S) at Karbala, Muhammad (S) being a descendent of Ibrahim (A). At the battle of Karbala the grandson of Muhammad (S), named Hussain (A), sacrificed all that he had in the love of the Almighty. Thus all of the artifacts that create remembrance for this sacrifice are consid- ered ‘Sha`ā’ir’ ‘signs’ of Allah similar to that of Hajj. If sacrifice of Ibrahim (A) and Ismael (A) are remembered annually than Kar- bala too must be remembered annually. If the scanty ropes tied on the necks of sheep are ‘signs’ than the ropes tied on the flags and standards during Ashura processions, too are ‘signs’ of Allah.