Journeys in Holy Lands: The Evolution of the Abraham-Ishmael Legends in Islamic Exegesis

By Reuven Firestone | Go to book overview

Chapter 12

THE PILGRIMAGE

One of the Five Pillars of Islam (al-arkān al-khamsa), the annual pilgrimage to
Mecca and its environs during the month of dhū al-ḥijja, is known as the Ḥajj
and is a requirement for all Muslims who are able (Q.3:97). 1 Traditions refer
ring to Abraham's Pilgrimage are organized around either of two narrative
foci: one is Abraham's response to the divine command in Qur'ān 22:27 2 to
summon all humanity to perform the Ḥaij; the other is Abraham's own actions
during his first and divinely guided Pilgrimage. Some traditions include both
these events. The Pilgrimage traditions do not display the same kind of con
sistency noted in many of the earlier sections, nor do they exhibit the kind of
literary consistency among traditions grouped according to the names of the
ultimate authorities of their records of authentication. Only a few are descrip
tive narratives, while most are simple non-narrative comments.

Of thirty-six traditions treating the topic, eleven are attributed to Ibn 'Abbās 3 and six are attributed to Mujāhid. 4 Both groups of authoritative traditions consist mostly of brief statements, and only one rendition in each could be considered a narrative. 5 These as well as other narratives examined in this chapter are actually descriptive accounts of Abraham's act of calling humanity to take part in the Pilgrimage or his ritual activities on his own Pilgrimage. Of the nineteen traditions not attributed to Ibn 'Abbās or Mujāhid, twelve are narratives 6 and seven are brief comments. 7


THE SETTING FOR THE PILGRIMAGE

The chronological setting for the Pilgrimage traditions in the histories and story collections is immediately after Abraham's construction of the Ka'ba. In the Qur'ān commentaries the traditions center on two Qur'ān verses. One series focuses on the meaning of manāsik or "ritual stations" 8 in Qur'ān 2:128: OUR LORD, MAKE US MUSLIMS TO YOU AND A MUSLIM PEOPLE OF OUR PROGENY.

-94-

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Journeys in Holy Lands: The Evolution of the Abraham-Ishmael Legends in Islamic Exegesis
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Transliterations xiii
  • Abbreviations xv
  • Chapter 1 - Biblicists and Arabs 3
  • Chapter 2 - The Nature of the Literature Islamic Interpretive Literature 11
  • Part Two - The Syrian Prologue 23
  • Chapter 3 - Abraham's Emmigration 25
  • Chapter 4 - The Tyrant 31
  • Chapter 5 - The Birth of Ishmael 39
  • Chapter 6 - Beersheba 48
  • Chapter 7 - The Angels Visit 52
  • Part Three - The Meccan Sequence 61
  • Chapter 8 - The Transfer to Mecca 63
  • Chapter 9 - The Jurhum 72
  • Chapter 10 - Abraham's Visits 76
  • Chapter 11 - Building the Ka'Ba 80
  • Chapter 12 - The Pilgrimage 94
  • Part Four - The Sacrifice 105
  • Chapter 13 - Prelude to Sacrifice 107
  • Chapter 14 - The Sacrificial Act 116
  • Chapter 15 - The Redemption 129
  • Chapter 16 - Isaac or Ishmael? 135
  • Conclusion 153
  • Part Five - Appendices 161
  • Appendix 1 - The Exegetes and Their Sources Ibn Sa'D, KitĀb Al-TabaqĀt Al-KabĪr 163
  • Appendix 2 - Traditionists Naming Isaac or Ishmael as the Intended Sacrificial Victim 170
  • Notes 179
  • Selected Bibliography 245
  • Index 259
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