“Hajj is a show of creation, a show of history, a show of unity, a show of Islamic idealogy, and a show of Ummah,” – Dr. Ali Shari’ati in his book The Hajj.
“There were ten thousands of pilgrims, from all over the world. They were of all colors, from blue-eyed blondes to black-skinned Africans. But we were all participating in the same ritual, displaying a spirit of unity and brotherhood that my experiences in America had led me to believe never could exist between the White and non-White,” – Malcolm X.
It is the begining of the last month of the Islamic Calendar, Dhul-Hijjah – the month when Muslims around the world assembled in the sacred city of Makkah (Saudi Arabia) to perform the annual Hajj (pilgrimage).
The word Hajj means “to make a resolve to visit a sacred place; visiting the House of Allah (Ka’aba) in Makkah is, therefore, called Hajj. Hajj is obligatory, once in life-time, on every adult Believer in good health and who has the financial means to travel. Ironically, half of the people who perform Hajj each year – this could be their second, third, fourth or tenth Hajj – which is pure waste of money. These tens of millions of dollars not only could be used for many other important acts of goodness, such as, helping refugees (60% of world’s refugees happen to be Muslims, according to UN); providing financial support to widows and orphans, and building Universities, hospitals, power-generating plants, potable water facilities, libraries, etc. etc.
Like the other pillars of Islamic Faith, Salaat, Zakah, and Fasting – Hajj too has much deeper purpose than being just religious ritual as in other religions. All these pillars of Islam are not just to please Allah by mere their outward observance. In fact all of them were ordained to prepare the Believers for a greater purpose and the ultimate duty – to create the conditions, which would abolish lordship of man over man and bring humanity under the rule of the Creator of this Universe (Allah). A Believer must be prepared to use the power of his/her pen (knowledge), money and if needed to sacrify his/her life (Jihad).
Brother Zafar Bangash, the director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT) in an article wrote:
“Hajj is the grand annual assembly of Ummah, unmatched by any other event in the contemporary history. It’s meant to reflect the unity of Ummah. While Muslims gather from all over the world, the vast majority come and go quite oblivious of their fellow Muslims. This is great opportunity wasted. Allah wants us to know each other; Hajj provides a perfect occasion to do so and yet most Muslims perform Hajj in the company of million of fellow Muslims while remaining quite oblivios of their problems or well-being.”
Hajj should be used as a platform to inform the Ummah and generate moral and financial support for Muslim resistance groups fighting against their foreign or local Muslim or non-Muslim oppressors – such as Kashmir, Palestine, Chechnya, Philippines, Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Bosnia, etc. etc. Islamic history is full of examples that many of such Islamic resistances began during the Hajj.