Reflection No. 6:37 on Q 22:32 – Venerating the Signs of Allah

ذَٰلِكَ وَمَنْ يُعَظِّمْ شَعَائِرَ اللَّهِ فَإِنَّهَا مِنْ تَقْوَى الْقُلُوبِ
Dhālika waman yu ‘azzim sha‘āirallh fa-innahā min taqwal-qulūb
Thus it is. And whoever venerates the sacraments of Allah that is from the piety of the hearts
(Sūratul Hajj, No.22, Āyat 32)

In this verse the word sha‘āir (plural of sha‘īrah) refers to those signs or marks that are a reminder of Allah and His religion.  It includes anything, event, action . . .  that is a remembrance of Allah and His code of laws for the human beings. These are the symbols that lead human beings to God.

This verse is part of a passage that discussed Hajj and specifically refers to the rites of Hajj as the sha‘āir of Allah. This is evident in verse 36 of the sūra where the sacrifice done during Hajj is mentioned as a sign of Allah. However it also applies to all that symbolizes and reminds of Allah and His religion. It is not just restricted to the rituals of Hajj. The sacrifice in verse 36 is mentioned as ‘from’ the signs of Allah, showing that there are other signs too. Verse 158 of the same sūra also mentions Safā and Marwa as two of the signs of Allah. Tafsīr Nūr gives the examples of Salātul Jumu‘ah and Salātul jamā‘ah (congregational prayers) as examples of sha‘āir of Allah. Other examples are masjid, adhān, majlis (religious gathering), etc.

To venerate these signs is to understand their significance and to elevate its sanctity in the mind and heart. It means to magnify it more than just its outer significance. Regarding the sacrifice, for example, it does not mean the sacrifice itself should be big. Rather the giving of the sacrifice should be done with humility and insight, remembering the true philosophy behind it and then applying it. There should be outer as well as inner respect for the animal that is sacrificed for it is a symbol of the human being’s sacrifice for God. Because it is connected to God it takes on a sanctified hue, and that is true for all that is connected to God.

When a person is God conscious he reveres that which is a symbol of Allah and His religion. Such reverence is a proof that there is taqwā in the heart. A person who loves someone will love all that connects to, and reminds him of, the loved one. These things carry sentimental value not because he loves them but because of who they are connected to. Similarly a person who loves and is consciously aware of God feels awe for all that is connected to God.

Recite this verse to remind yourself of the importance of respecting the signs of Allah. It is proof of God consciousness.

Sources:
Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī (ed.), Tafsīr-e Namūneh;
Agha Muhsin Qarā’atī, Tafsīr Nūr;
www.islamquest.net/fa/archive/question/fa12048