Arafat represents the beginning of man’s creation. In the story of Adam (creation of mankind on earth), it is said: After Adam’s descent onto earth, he met Eve at Arafat, it was there that they were acquainted with each other”. The descent was when Adam was instructed to leave heaven (after he rebelled). That heaven was not the one which is promised for the hereafter (paradise). It was the heaven on earth as well as Adam’s birthplace. Covered with shrubbery and trees, Adam ate drank, enjoyed himself, lived without any responsibilities and had no Job obligations. He was quite satisfied until Eblis, the angel who also rebelled by not prostrating to mankind, started to inspire evil suggestions to him. Man inspired by Allah, both the righteous and debauched, was persuaded by Eblis to transgress his “limitations”, to rebel and eat “the forbidden fruit”. Eblis told man that by doing so he would live a longer and more enlightened life.
“Wisdom” alone did not affect man; Adam refused to, eat the forbidden fruit. Satan met with Eve who symbolized “love!” And then, Adam agreed to eat “the forbidden fruit”. Both “wisdom and love” influenced the Angel and converted him into “Adam”!
Adam was the only Angel who could commit “sin” and then “repent”. He could “rebel” or “obey”. In this case to “rebel” meant to have freedom, it included the ability to make decisions contrary to Allah’s will. Concomitant with this liberty to decide was the notion of “responsibility” and “consciousness”. As a result, Adam’s state of satisfaction, joy and comfort was replaced by the land of “needs, greed and pains … or DESCENT.
It was the beginning of a new life for the conscious, rebellious and responsible individual (Adam) who was the victim of pains, needs and greed. An exile and feeling lonely, he was in the prison of this earth. Experiencing apprehension over the separation, Adam expressed his complaints in the language of faith, knowledge Gnosticism, art, literature … and life! He accepted the burden of rebelling, the “natural apprehension of sin and the “instinctive desire for repentance” … How does Hajj relate to this? It is a living example of man’s creation or his repentance. It encompasses self consciousness which includes the feeling of being a stranger and exiled. Consequently, what emerges is a decision to “return”!
The conversion of the “Adam in heaven” to the Adam on this earth” exemplified the character and behavior of mankind today. It was a portrayal of the rebellious, aggressive and sinful man who was swayed by Satan and Eve. Although he was expelled from heaven, exiled onto earth and subdued by nature, Adam nevertheless ate from the fruit of “the forbidden tree” What was the outcome? Adam acquired the wisdom, consciousness and insight of a rebel! Opening his eyes and finding himself naked, Adam entered the state of “knowing” himself.
As was said previously, the descent from “Kaaba” to “Arafat” represents the beginning of Man’s creation. The time of man’s creation was simultaneous to the creation of “knowledge”! The first spark of love emitted during the meeting of Adam and Eve promoted their mutual understanding of one another. It was the first sign of knowledge! Adam knew his wife of the opposite sex who was of the same origin and nature that he was from.
Consequently, from a philosophical point of view, man’s existence was contemporaneous with the existence of knowledge; from a scientific point of view, man’s history started with knowledge! How strange! During Hajj, the first move is initiated from “Arafat”. The “stop at Arafat” occurs in the daytime beginning at noon of the ninth day when the sun is shining at its most. This time is designated so that you may gain consciousness, insight, freedom, knowledge and love in the sunlight! At sunset, the stop at Arafat is over. Nothing can be seen in the dark. As a result, neither acquaintances nor knowledge prevail! With the setting of the sun in the plain of Arafat, people migrate to the west along with the sun. They continue on until they reach Mashar, the land of consciousness”.
*From the book Hajj(The Pilgrimage) by Dr Ali Shariati
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