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The Great Pilgrimage - al-Hajj al-Akbar

In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate

The Great Pilgrimage - where the lovers meet at the door of the Sacred Mosque and reunite in the still center after turning and turning and turning around the Throne of the Most High


Majnun meets Laila in the course of his Journey around the Holy House. She has always been with him, but only in this Station, in the midst of his unveiling, does he realize Her nearness and the intimacy of Her discourse. The dialogue of Love is the mystery of Her revelation within him.

As he circumambulates the Reality and becomes more and more effaced in It, as one by one he surrenders the veils of his separateness, Her presence, the still center, the open heart around which he turns, becomes more and more revealed within him until no other existence remains.

So many are the veils to be burnt in the holy Hajj, and hidden within every ritual act is the annihilating flame. First he circumambulates the Ka'bah seven times and in this turning he walks through the stations of the self. Laila is his Shaykh now to take him through every station. She is a message, she can only be what she is.

He must travel through all his trials and doubts, his anger and depression, his joys, his yearnings, his tests. "What is the meaning of this? Why are we going in circles?"

She is the Patience to carry him through every station of his Journey. Her eyes which never lose sight of him are Mercy and Compassion. And yet She kills him with the Sword of al-Haqq which is her Essence. He penetrates every veil and annihilates himself simply by being the Essence of the Truth as he travels so intimately with her around the Holy House. 

At the end of his first seven circumambulations, he kisses the foundation stone of the Ka'bah which Adam brought from the Garden and which Ibrahim built the Ka'bah around. Here he prays two rakah where Abraham, peace be upon him, prayed. In this he drinks from the wine of the Prophets and sends the love which they carried to every side.

Then she leads him to the well, her deep secret spring. This is Zam Zam, where the Mercy of Allah sprang forth in the desert for Hajar and Isma'il and all the believers who have walked in their footsteps, in the form of living water. Once he has drunk from the well of mercy, Majnun goes walking in the way of his mother, Hajar, between the station of Safa'a, symbolizing the purity and Jamal illahee (Divine Beauty) and Marwa, symbolizing Jelal illahee (Divine Majesty). Seven times he walks between these poles; from the Beauty of God where Hajar was with her son in peace and purity to the Severity of God where she was alone in the desert with the deepest fatigue. In his travels, Laila leads Majnun through the even stations of the heart. In every passage She gives him another color behind the light and another dimension of the Essence of Love. At the end when She sees the depth of his surrender and the ripeness of his soul, She leads him to the holy mountain of Arafat, where Abraham offered Ismail and took the last veil; killed the sense of separation.

Laila's Last Veil

Now Majnun, in the way of Ismail, stops to pray on the road where Abraham, peace and blessing be upon him, prayed, to ask for help and then he ascends Mount Arafat, the mountain of knowing, to offer himself as Ismail was offered, giving everything to the Unity, to Tawhid.

Then Laila gives him holy and more holy dresses from Her dress, until his existence (wujud) is only His existence. And then he begins to send Her voice from his tongue as Abrham called into the desert. He sings, "La ilaha illa 'Llah." She speaks through him because there is no he.

When Majnun is inside Laila in Ma'rifa (the Mount of Arafat), She says to him, "On this day I complete your religion, your path, your deen. You come to know me as I know you. Now I can say, you are my Beloved, the source of every secret is from you, for you I created everything. Know me in everything, to send what I give you, in the holy Marriage on the Mountain of Knowing. From this Knowing your soul is broken. Now you are Laila, not another."

To complete the holy Hajj, Majnun, immersed in Laila (Laila immersed in Majnun), walks from Arafat to the place where pilgrims throw stones at the satan. There he throws stones and hits his satan seven times and later seven times and then again seven times in the first day. The second day he repeats this and the third day he repeats, until all together he has thrown sixty-three stones, these represent all the veils. Every veil he throws is La ilaha illa Allah.

His satan surrenders to him and make sajdah under his foot, the fallen angel returning to the truth he know in the beginning. 

Then Majnun who is Laila, kisses the foundation stone of Ka'bah to renew his bayah with his father Adam and circumambulates the Ka'bah seven final times to journey through the stations of the soul. In every turning around the holy house he realizes the station of a prophet; he holds a passport and this passport is a mirror. If his mirror is clean, when any prophet looks into the mirror, his image is reflected purely, without distortion; and the Majnun passes on. 

First he realizes haqiqat or reality, truth in Adam, then hikmah or wisdom in Enoch (Idris), sabr or patience in Noah, islam or surrender in Abraham, kalima or word of God, mind of God in Moses, Essence of Deep Secret Love in Jesus (Isa) and Complete Effacement in the Reality in Muhammad, may Allah's peace and blessings be upon them all. In this station of the seventh killing, he takes off all his clothes (symbolizing everything that veils him from his primordial form) and while he can see everyone, no one can see him.

Final Sajdah

In this station he makes his final sajdah at the door of the sacred mosque and from this sajdah he does not lift up his head again, because there is no head to lift up. The Ka'bah is Laila's last veil. Majnun has made the Great Pilgrimage and come to the shore of the Great Sea.

 Now he stands on the edge of a cliff overlooking the boundless vastness of his unity with all that he has sought and yearned for. Laila has led him by the hand through all the stations, through all the turns, through the burning of veils and the annihilation of all that separate from Allah; to be done with everything, to make the perfect sajdah and pass through the ritual act, through the manifestation of Her hand, beyond the circumambulations, beyond the apparent wall of the Ka'bah, to truly enter the sacred mosque of His own Reality.

He goes into the stone to find the hidden treasure within it and when he sees himself face to face in the mirror of Her Essence, he starts to fly and to circumambulate the throne through the seven levels of Her sky. The Ka'bah is Laila's last veil; the black stone is Laila's night. But the Essence of the holy Rock is pure and boundless Light. And when Majnun is completely inside the heart of the soul of his love, he sees that her light has absorbed all the dark, like a hand that fits in a glove; but behind the obscuring veils of her form the Light of the Reality is so intense, that no one could enter the Garden of her Soul without penetrating the fence. No rocks or bricks can break through this wall but only the depth of Surrender; and only when Majnun is naughted by his love, does Laila permit him to enter.

~ Sufi Teachings by Sh. Muhammad al-Jamal ash-Shadhili ~


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Technology of the Heart: The Great Pilgrimage - al-Hajj al-Akbar
The Great Pilgrimage - al-Hajj al-Akbar
The Great Pilgrimage - al-Hajj al-Akbar from the Teachings of Shaykh Muhammad al-Jamal. Quoted fro his book, Music of the Soul
Technology of the Heart
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