The Wisdom behind legislating Sa`i between As-Safa and Al-Marwah
Muslim recorded a long Hadith in his Sahih from Jabir, in which Allah's Messenger finished the Tawaf around the House, and then went back to the Rukn (pillar, i.e., the Black Stone) and kissed it. He then went out from the door near As-Safa while reciting:
[إِنَّ الصَّفَا وَالْمَرْوَةَ مِن شَعَآئِرِ اللَّهِ]
(Verily, As-Safa and Al-Marwah are of the symbols of Allah.) The Prophet then said, (I start with what Allah has commanded me to start with [meaning start the Sa`i (i.e., fast walking) from the As-Safa]). In another narration of An-Nasa'i, the Prophet said, (Start with what Allah has started with (i.e., As-Safa).)
Imam Ahmad reported that Habibah bint Abu Tajrah said, "I saw Allah's Messenger performing Tawaf between As-Safa and Al-Marwah, while the people were in front of him and he was behind them walking in Sa`i. I saw his garment twisted around his knees because of the fast walking in Sa`i (he was performing) and he was reciting:
«اسْعَوْا فَإِنَّ اللهَ كَتَبَ عَلَيْكُمُ السَّعْي».
(Perform Sa`i, for Allah has prescribed Sa`i on you.)'''
This Hadith was used as a proof for the fact that Sa`i is a Rukn of Hajj. It was also said that Sa`i is Wajib, and not a Rukn of Hajj and that if one does not perform it by mistake or by intention, he could expiate the shortcoming with Damm. Allah has stated that Tawaf between As-Safa and Al-Marwah is among the symbols of Allah, meaning, among the acts that Allah legislated during the Hajj for Prophet Ibrahim.
Earlier we mentioned the Hadith by Ibn `Abbas that the origin of Tawaf comes from the Tawaf of Hajar (Prophet Ibrahim's wife), between As-Safa and Al-Marwah seeking water for her son (Isma`il) Ibrahim had left them in Makkah, where there was no habitation for her. When Hajar feared that her son would die, she stood up and begged Allah for His help and kept going back and forth in that blessed area between As-Safa and Al-Marwah. She was humble, fearful, frightened and meek before Allah. Allah answered her prayers, relieved her of her loneliness, ended her dilemma and made the well of Zamzam bring forth its water for her, which is:
«طَعَامُ طُعْمٍ،وَشِفَاءُ سُقْم»
(A tasty (or nutritional) food and a remedy for the illness.)
Therefore, whoever performs Sa`i between As-Safa and Al-Marwah should remember his meekness, humbleness and need for Allah to guide his heart, lead his affairs to success and forgive his sins. He should also want Allah to eliminate his shortcomings and errors and to guide him to the straight path. He should ask Allah to keep him firm on this path until he meets death, and to change his situation from that of sin and errors to that of perfection and being forgiven, --- the same providence which was provided to Hajar.
Allah then states:
[وَمَن تَطَوَّعَ خَيْرًا]
(And whoever does good voluntarily.)
It was said that the Ayah describes performing Tawaf more than seven times, it was also said that it refers to voluntary `Umrah or Hajj. It was also said that it means volunteering to do good works in general, as Ar-Razi has stated. The third opinion was attributed to Al-Hasan Al-Basri. Allah knows best.
[فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ شَاكِرٌ عَلِيمٌ]
(...then verily, Allah is All-Recognizer, All-Knower.) meaning, Allah's reward is immense for the little deed, and He knows about the sufficiency of the reward. Hence, He will not award insufficient rewards to anyone. Indeed:
[إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يَظْلِمُ مِثْقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ وَإِن تَكُ حَسَنَةً يُضَـعِفْهَا وَيُؤْتِ مِن لَّدُنْهُ أَجْراً عَظِيماً ]
(Surely, Allah wrongs not even of the weight of an atom, but if there is any good (done), He doubles it, and gives from Him a great reward.) (4:40)
[إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَكْتُمُونَ مَآ أَنزَلْنَا مِنَ الْبَيِّنَـتِ وَالْهُدَى مِن بَعْدِ مَا بَيَّنَّـهُ لِلنَّاسِ فِي الْكِتَابِ أُولَـئِكَ يَلْعَنُهُمُ اللَّهُ وَيَلْعَنُهُمُ اللَّـعِنُونَ - إِلاَّ الَّذِينَ تَابُواْ وَأَصْلَحُواْ وَبَيَّنُواْ فَأُوْلَـئِكَ أَتُوبُ عَلَيْهِمْ وَأَنَا التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ - إِن الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ وَمَاتُواْ وَهُمْ كُفَّارٌ أُولَـئِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ لَعْنَةُ اللَّهِ وَالْمَلـئِكَةِ وَالنَّاسِ أَجْمَعِينَ - خَـلِدِينَ فِيهَا لاَ يُخَفَّفُ عَنْهُمُ الْعَذَابُ وَلاَ هُمْ يُنظَرُونَ ]
(159. Verily, those who conceal the clear proofs, evidences and the guidance, which We have sent down, after We have made it clear for the People in the Book, they are the ones cursed by Allah and cursed by the cursers.) (160. Except those who repent and do righteous deeds, and openly declare (the truth which they concealed). These, I will accept their repentance. And I am the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.) (161. Verily, those who disbelieve, and die while they are disbelievers, it is they on whom is the curse of Allah and of the angels and of mankind, combined.) (162. They will abide therein (under the curse in Hell), their punishment will neither be lightened nor will they be reprieved).