The Ka`bah is the First House of Worship
(Verily, the first House appointed for mankind) for all people, for their acts of worship and religious rituals. They go around the House in Tawaf, pray in its vicinity and remain in its area in I`tikaf.
(was that at Bakkah,) meaning, the Ka`bah that was built by Ibrahim Al-Khalil, whose religion the Jews and Christians claim they follow. However, they do not perform Hajj to the house that Ibrahim built by Allah’s command, and to which he invited the people to perform Hajj. Allah said next, i
(full of blessing), sanctified,
(and a guidance for Al-`Alamin.)
Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Dharr said; “I said, `O Allah’s Messenger! Which Masjid was the first to be built on the surface of the earth’ He said, `Al-Masjid Al-Haram (in Makkah).’ I said, `Which was built next’ He replied `Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa (in Jerusalem).’ I said, `What was the period of time between building the two’ He said, `Forty years.’ He added,
(Wherever (you may be, and) the prayer becomes due, perform the prayer there, for the whole earth was made a Masjid.)” Al-Bukhari and Muslim also collected this Hadith.
The Names of Makkah, Such As `Bakkah
(was that at Bakkah), where Bakkah is one of the names of Makkah. Bakkah means, `it brings Buka’ (crying, weeping) to the tyrants and arrogant, meaning they cry and become humble in its vicinity. It was also said that Makkah was called Bakkah because people do Buka next to it, meaning they gather around it. There are many names for Makkah, such as Bakkah, Al-Bayt Al-`Atiq (the Ancient House), Al-Bayt Al-Haram (the Sacred House), Al-Balad Al-Amin (the City of Safety) and Al-Ma’mun (Security). Makkah’s names include Umm Rahm (Mother of Mercy), Umm Al-Qura (Mother of the Towns), Salah, as well as others.
The Station of Ibrahim
(In it are manifest signs) 3:97, means, clear signs that Ibrahim built the Ka`bah and that Allah has honored and blessed it. Allah then said,
(the Maqam (station) of Ibrahim) When the building the Ka`bah was raised, Ibrahim stood on; the Maqam so that he could raise the walls higher, while his son Isma`il was handing the stones to him. We should mention that the Maqam used to be situated right next to the House. Later, and during his reign, `Umar bin Al-Khattab moved the Maqam farther to the east, so that those who go around the House in Tawaf are able to perform it easily, without disturbing those who pray next to the Maqam after finishing their Tawaf. Allah commanded us to pray next to the Maqam;
(And take you (people) the Maqam (station) of Ibrahim as a place of prayer) 2:125.
We mentioned the Hadiths about this subject before, and all the thanks are due to Allah. Al-`Awfi said that, Ibn `Abbas commented on Allah’s statement,
(In it are manifest signs, the Maqam of Ibrahim;)
“Such as the Maqam and Al-Mash`ar Al-Haram.” Mujahid said, “The impression of Ibrahim’s feet remains on the Maqam as a clear sign.” It was reported that `Umar bin `Abdul-`Aziz, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, As-Suddi, Muqatil bin Hayyan and others said similarly.
Al-Haram, the Sacred Area, is a Safe Area
(whosoever enters it, he attains security,) 3:97 meaning, the Haram of Makkah is a safe refuge for those in a state of fear. There in its vicinity, they will be safe, just as was the case during the time of Jahiliyyah. Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, “(During the time of Jahiliyyah) a man would commit murder, then wear a piece of wool around his neck and enter the Haram. And even when the son of the murdered person would meet him, he would not make a move against him, until he left the sanctuary.” Allah said,
(Have they not seen that We have made (Makkah) a secure sanctuary, while men are being snatched away from all around them) 29:67, and,
(So let them worship (Allah) the Lord of this House (the Ka`bah). (He) Who has fed them against hunger, and has made them safe from fear) 106:3-4.
It is not allowed for anyone to hunt in the Haram or to drive game out of its den to be hunted, or cut the trees in its vicinity, or pick its grass, as the Hadiths of the Prophet and the statements of the Companions testify. The Two Sahihs recorded (this being the wording of Muslim) that Ibn `Abbas said, “On the day of the conquest of Makkah, the Messenger of Allah said,
(There is no more Hijrah (migration to Makkah), only Jihad and good intention. If you were mobilized, then march forth.)
He also said on the day of the conquest of Makkah,
(Beware! Allah made this town (Makkah) a sanctuary when He created the heavens and earth, and it is sacred by Allah’s decree until the Day of Resurrection. Fighting in Makkah was not permitted for anyone before me, and it was made legal for me for only a few hours or so on that day. No doubt it is at this moment a sanctuary by Allah’s decree until the Day of Resurrection. It is not allowed to uproot its thorny shrubs, hunt its game, pick up its lost objects, except by announcing it, or to uproot its trees.)
Al-`Abbas said, `Except the lemon grass, O Allah’s Messenger, as they use it in their houses and graves.’ The Prophet said:
The Two Sahihs also recorded that Abu Shurayh Al-`Adawi said that he said to `Amr bin Sa`id while he was sending the troops to Makkah (to fight `Abdullah bin Az-Zubayr), “O Commander! Allow me to tell you what Allah’s Messenger said on the day following the conquest of Makkah. My ears heard it and my heart memorized it thoroughly, and I saw the Prophet with my own eyes when he, after glorifying and praising Allah, said,
(Allah, not the people, made Makkah a sanctuary. Therefore, anybody who has belief in Allah and the Last Day, should neither shed blood in it nor cut down its trees. If anybody argues that fighting in it is permissible on the basis that Allah’s Messenger fought in Makkah, say to him, `Allah allowed His Messenger and did not allow you.’ Allah allowed me only for a few hours on that day (of the conquest), and today its sanctity is as valid as it was before. So, those who are present, should inform those who are absent of this fact.).”
Abu Shurayh was asked, “What did `Amr reply” He said that `Amr said, “O Abu Shurayh! I know better than you in this respect; Makkah does not give protection to a sinner, a murderer or a thief.”
Jabir bin `Abdullah said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah saying,
(None of you is allowed to carry a weapon in Makkah.) Muslim recorded this Hadith.
`Abdullah bin `Adi bin Al-Hamra’ Az-Zuhri said that he heard the Messenger of Allah say while standing at Al-Hazwarah in the marketplace of Makkah,
(By Allah! You are the best of Allah’s land and the most beloved land to Allah. Had it not been for the fact that I was driven out of you, I would not have left you.)
Imam Ahmad collected this Hadith and this is his wording. At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah also collected it. At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Sahih.”
The Necessity of Performing Hajj
(And Hajj to the House is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, for those who are able to undertake the journey) 3:97.
This Ayah established the obligation of performing Hajj. There are many Hadiths that mention it as one of the pillars and fundamentals of Islam, and this is agreed upon by the Muslims. According to texts and the consensus of the scholars, it is only obligatory for the adult Muslim to perform it once during his lifetime. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah once gave a speech in which he said,
(O people! Hajj has been enjoined on you, therefore, perform Hajj.)
A man asked, “Is it every year, O Allah’s Messenger” The Prophet remained silent until the man repeated the question three times and he then said,
(Had I said yes, it would have become an obligation and you would not have been able to fulfill it.) He said next,
(Leave me as I leave you, those before you were destroyed because of their many questions and disputing with their Prophets. If I command you with something, perform it as much as you can. If I forbid something for you, then refrain from it.) Muslim recorded similarly.
Meaning of `Afford’ in the Ayah
There are several categories of “the ability to under take the journey”. There is the physical ability of the person himself and the ability that is related to other things as mentioned in the books of jurisprudence. Abu `Isa At-Tirmidhi recorded that Ibn `Umar said, “A man stood up and asked the Messenger of Allah , `O Messenger of Allah! Who is the pilgrim’ He said, `He who has untidy hair and clothes.’ Another man asked, `Which Hajj is better, O Messenger of Allah’ He said, `The noisy (with supplication to Allah) and bloody (with sacrifice).’ Another man asked, `What is the ability to undertake the journey, O Messenger of Allah’ He said, `Having provision and a means of transportation.”‘ This is the narration that Ibn Majah collected. Al-Hakim narrated that Anas said that the Messenger of Allah was asked about Allah’s statement,
(for those who are able to undertake the journey;) 3:97 “What does `able to undertake the journey’ mean” The Prophet answered, “Having sufficient provision and a means of transportation.” Al-Hakim stated that this Hadith’s chain of narration is authentic, following the guidelines of Muslim in his Sahih, but the Two Sahihs did not collect it. Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Abbas said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Whoever intends to perform Hajj, let him rush to perform it.) Abu Dawud also collected this Hadith.
The One who Denies the Necessity of Hajj Becomes a Disbeliever
(…and whoever disbelieves, then Allah stands not in need of any of the `Alamin) 3:97.
Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and several others commented on this Ayah, “Whoever denies the necessity of Hajj becomes disbeliever, and Allah is far Richer than to need him.” Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr Al-Isma`ili recorded that `Umar bin Al-Khattab said, “Whoever can afford Hajj but did not perform it, there is no difference in his case if he dies while Jew or Christian.” This has an authentic chain of narration leading to `Umar.