It is the dawn of the Islamic sacred month of Hajj and, as usual, hundreds of thousands of Muslims are already converging on Islam’s holiest city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia for this year’s Hajj (pilgrimage) operations.
Again, in the next few days, the pilgrims will join processions of over two million people and perform a series of Hajj rites: they will circumambulate (Tawaf) the Ka’ba seven times, run (Sa’y) back and forth between the hills of Safa and Marwah, drink from the Zamzam Well, go to Mina, and further, to the plains of Mount Arafat to stand in vigil, spend a night in the plain of Muzdalifa, and perform symbolic stoning of the devil by throwing stones at three pillars. After the sacrifice of their animal, they will shave their heads. Then they will celebrate the three-day global festival of Eid al-Adha. Returning to Mecca, they will perform the farewell circumambulation of the Ka’ba.
Sociological Utility of the Hajj
From a utilitarian perspective, the Holy Quran aptly spells out the sociological utility of the Hajj to the Muslim world when it declares: “And proclaim unto mankind the Pilgrimage. They will come to thee on foot, and on every lean camel, coming by every distant track, that they may witness its benefits for them and may mention the Name of Allah, during the appointed days…..” (Quran, Surah al-Hajj, 22:28-29)
As far back as the 1940s, the Second Supreme Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim community, Hadhrat Mirza Bashirud-din Mahmud Ahmad (ra), in his characteristic insight and foresight, succinctly enlightened the Muslim world about the sociological importance of the Islamic Pilgrimage. He declared in his commentary on the foregoing Quranic verses thus:
“Hajj provides pilgrims of different lands and diverse nationalities with an excellent opportunity to cultivate an acquaintance with one another and discuss matters of common interest”. “Apart from the spiritual good that the pilgrimage does to a Muslim, it possesses great social and political significance. It has great potentialities for welding different Muslim countries into one strong international brotherhood of Islam. Muslims from all parts of the world who meet at Mecca once a year can exchange views on all sorts of matters of international importance, renew old and establish new contacts. They have opportunities to acquaint themselves with the problems that confront their brethren in Faith in other countries, to copy one another’s good points and profit by one another experience and also co-operate with one another in many other ways. Mecca being God’s appointed center of Islam, the Pilgrimage can serve as a sort of United Nations Organisation for the whole Muslim world. All other religions have failed to produce such a forum for the exchange of international ideas and programmes. But it is regretted that Muslims have not yet awakened to the realization of Mecca being an international capital for the whole Muslim world. These are some of the material benefits and advantages to which reference has been made in the words, ‘that they may witness its benefits;’ and the words ‘and mention the Name of Allah,’ refer to the great spiritual benefits which Muslim can and should derive from the Pilgrimage to Mecca.”
What an expressive, eye-opening and scintillating demystification of the sociology of Hajj uncovered by this divine voice articulate! Again, what a pragmatic idealization of the essence of the annual Islamic global assembly, if only it can be transformed into reality!
Can the Current Mainstream Muslim World Movements and Leaders Walk the Talk?… read more at source.