Epigraph: And remember the time when We assigned to Abraham the site of the House and said, ‘Associate not anything with Me, and keep My House clean for those who perform the circuits, and those who stand up and those who bow down and fall prostrate in Prayers; And proclaim unto mankind the Pilgrimage. They will come to thee on foot, and on every lean camel, coming by every distant track.’ (Al Quran 22:27-28)
Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, in 2012
The Hajj (Arabic: حج Ḥaǧǧ “pilgrimage“) is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, and a mandatory religious duty for Muslims which must be carried out at least once in lifetime by every adult Muslim who is physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, and can support his family during his absence. It is one of thefive pillars of Islam. The gathering during Hajj is considered the largest annual gathering of people in the world.
Millions of pilgrims arrived this week in Mecca, called in the past as Becca, for Islam’s annual Hajj (pilgrimage), which officially started on Wednesday, October 24, 2012. Around four million were heading to Mina, where they will spend their night before heading to the Mount of Arafat in the early hours of Thursday. The dates of Hajj are determined by lunar calendar and therefore move by approximately ten days against the solar calendar, every year.
— The Muslim Times (@The_MuslimTimes) October 4, 2014
Many pilgrims began leaving for Mina on Tuesday night after circumambulating the Holy Kaaba, the first house of worship on Earth, built by the Prophet Adam. The Prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael rebuilt it some 4,000 years ago. Most Hajj rituals are related to the Prophet Abraham, his wife Hager and his son the Prophet Ishmael, and thus reflect the unity of humanity. Just by focusing on the Prophet Abraham, the Hajj symbolizes the unity and common origin of all the Abrahamic faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. When the Holy Quran talked about Kaaba, it did not label it as a blessing for the Muslims alone, but, called it a great blessing and a boon for the whole of mankind, thus symbolizing our Universal Brotherhood & Sisterhood. The Quran announced more than 1400 years ago:
Surely, the first House founded for mankind is that at Becca, abounding in blessings and a guidance for all peoples. (Al Quran 3:97)
As four million have converged on Mecca for the annual rituals of Hajj, this year, let us remember that Hajj is a very powerful symbol of Universal Brotherhood & Sisterhood. The Muslims and mankind at large, not only have to profess our common human heritage, but, live it in our daily lives. Remembering that actions speak much louder than words.
The Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani, came in India 120 years ago to unite all religions and mankind by emphasizing religious freedom for everyone and the fact that the founders of all religions, Confucius, Buddha, Tao, Krishna, Ram, Moses and Jesus were prophets of God. He initiated renaissance of Islam in keeping with the prophecies of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him. Ahmad also laid the foundation of a vibrant Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
The creed of Islam that “There is no God but Allah,” is not only a spiritual reality but becomes a moral and a social construct and paradigm. Allah wants mankind to live as one connected and loving community. So any activity personal or group leading away from this ideal like, lying, back biting, ridiculing are forbidden and discouraged. The picture of unity of mankind that Hajj demonstrates, is unparalleled, in any other religion and culture. People from all races and all countries and scores of different languages gather together and celebrate the rites of Hajj in the language of the Holy Quran.
The Messiah, peace be on him said:
Allah desires to make all mankind as if they were all one person. This could also be called a democratic singularity. Under this concept the diverse mankind could be considered as one individual. The purpose of religion is also that the human race be united in the form of the beads of a Tasbeeh (rosary) through one thread. The congregational prayers or Salat is also for such unification so that all the worshipers are counted as one. The reason why we are prescribed to stand shoulder to shoulder is so that who ever has greater wisdom or spiritual charisma is able to influence the weak.
It is hoped that spiritual influence of the wise will diffuse into the weak. The Hajj is also for the same plan. Allah started the plan of democratic singularity by instructing that all Muslims of a locality should say the five prayers in congregation in the local mosque. So that the moral qualities can be exchanged and the wisdom and light replaces weaknesses. By such interaction the Muslims are introduced to each other and develop affection for each other. Such introduction is very important as that leads to affection which is the basis of the unification. …
The second Divine instruction is that on Friday for the Friday prayer Muslims should gather in the main mosque of the township. It is hard for all the people of the town to get together on a daily basis.
Therefore, it was suggested that all the citizens of a town should at least weekly get acquainted with each other and promote unity. By such a scheme, eventually, all of them will unite in one body or singularity. Then on an annual basis Allah has prescribed that the Eid prayers be said at a regional level so that acquaintance and affection grows wider and helps in the process of democratic singularity.
In the same theme, for the unity of the whole world, Allah has prescribed, to perform Hajj at least once in one’s lifetime so that representatives of all people assemble together in the expanse of Mecca. In summary this is Allah’s desire that affection and love among mankind progresses. (Malfoozat, volume 4/5, p 100-101)
Paigham-e-Sulh (A Message of Peace) was the last written work of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. He wrote:
A religion which does not inculcate universal compassion is no religion at all. Similarly, a human being without the faculty of compassion is no human at all. Our God has never discriminated between one people and another. This is illustrated by the fact that all the potentials and capabilities which have been granted to the Aryans have also been granted to the races inhabiting Arabia, Persia, Syria, China, Japan, Europe and America. The earth created by God provides a common floor for all people alike, and His sun and moon and many stars are a source of radiance and provide many other benefits to all alike. Likewise, all peoples benefit from the elements created by Him, such as air, water, fire and earth, and similarly from other products created by Him like grain, fruit, and healing agents, etc. These attributes of God teach us the lesson that we, too, should behave magnanimously and kindly towards our fellow human beings and should not be petty of heart and illiberal.
For the complete text of the book click here.
Let me now introduce a devout follower of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani, who was a prolific writer on both religious and secular subjects, Sir Zafrulla Khan. Encylopaedia Britannica states about Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan:
Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan was a Pakistani politician, diplomat, and international jurist, known particularly for his representation of Pakistan at the United Nations (UN).
The son of the leading attorney of his native city, Zafrulla Khan studied at Government College in Lahore and received his LL.B. from King’s College, London University, in 1914. He practiced law in Sialkot and Lahore, became a member of the Punjab Legislative Council in 1926, and was a delegate in 1930, 1931, and 1932 to the Round Table Conferences on Indian reforms in London. In 1931–32 he was president of the All-India Muslim League (later the Muslim League), and he sat on the British viceroy’s executive council as its Muslim member from 1935 to 1941. He led the Indian delegation to the League of Nations in 1939, and from 1941 to 1947 he served as a judge of the Federal Court of India.
Prior to the partition of India in 1947, Zafrulla Khan presented the Muslim League’s view of the future boundaries of Pakistan to Sir Cyril Radcliffe, the man designated to decide the boundaries between India and Pakistan. Upon the independence of Pakistan, Zafrulla Khan became the new country’s minister of foreign affairs and served concurrently as leader of Pakistan’s delegation to the UN (1947–54). From 1954 to 1961 he served as a member of the International Court of Justice at The Hague. He again represented Pakistan at the UN in 1961–64 and served as president of the UN General Assembly in 1962–63. Returning to the International Court of Justice in 1964, he served as the court’s president from 1970 to 1973.
He was knighted in 1935. He is the author of Islam: Its Meaning for Modern Man (1962) and wrote a translation of the Qur’an (1970).
Hajj is a form of worship and is an Islamic institution to establish Universal Brotherhood under one God. The book Islam: Its Meaning for Modern Man (1962) by Sir Zafrulla Khan has a chapter devoted to Hajj. He writes:
The pilgrimage draws Muslims together at Mecca from the ends of the earth. It should be a truly representative gathering of the whole Islamic world. In effect, it should be the World Assembly of Islam gathered together in spiritual association for the glorification of God and the promotion of human welfare.
One can download the whole book by Zafrulla Khan free, from the library section of Alislam.org.
We find that what was revealed to the Prophet Abraham, in 1800 BC, as noted in the verses quoted in the epigraph, and documented in the Holy Quran 1400 years ago, continues to be precisely true centuries later, with millions coming for Hajj from distant lands on variety of transports.
This gives the Muslims every confidence that if they properly understand any of the prophecies of the Holy Quran, there is every reason to believe that they will precisely come true.
Their confidence in the ideals of Universal Brotherhood, justice and human compassion, as highlighted in the Quranic teachings, should bring them together towards betterment of human condition and human rights, including women rights, in our Global Village.
Alislam-eGazette Archives regarding Universal Brotherhood and Hajj