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How to Maintain the Peace and Unity of Hajj?

Reflecting on the meaning of Hajj or pilgrimage, a Muslim realizes that this is about a long journey to the most sacred place, Makkah.

Traveling to Hajj is more than just a physical journey, it is also a spiritual one. A pilgrim leaves home in one state of mind and over the course of their trip they ascend to a much higher one.

Some save up for years in order to make the Hajj. They give up many things, leave loved ones behind, give up so many attachments to make this once in a life time journey.

The person doing all this has only one thing in mind: seeking the pleasure of Allah and fulfilling an obligation ordained by Him.

{And proclaim to humankind the hajj (pilgrimage). They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, they will come from every deep and distant (wide) mountain highway (to perform hajj} (Quran 22:27)

The pilgrim may be of any sect of Islam. In fact, unless asked, no one knows who is walking next to them; rich, poor, Sunni, Shia, Sufi, etc.

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No one even cares much to know about the others’ identity. They are so engulfed in this spiritual and physical journey, that they are just happy to be among the rest and do their part of rituals.

Riding the Heart of Hatred

Although it may be unrealistic to expect that the Shia and Sunni sects can unite in their doctrines during the Hajj, it may not be so unrealistic to accept one another as brothers and sisters in Islam.

Millions of dollars are spent by each sect on negative propaganda against the other sect, only to encourage an unprecedented bloodshed and animosity that has fueled much of the Muslim world today with no sign of abating!

However, a person who goes through all kinds of sacrifices in order to make Hajj has an obligation to rid himself of hatred toward other Muslim brothers and sisters and instead focus on seeking the pleasure of Allah.

Allah is the Best Judge!

Many judge others based on their outer appearances and acts they perform. Unless we see something very obvious that is against the religion, it is not our job to condemn others for doing something we don’t understand its reason.

In fact, during Hajj, it is our obligation to extend peace and mercy to others and reach out with the message of kindness and brotherhood/sisterhood to all around us whom we do not know.

I remember when I was doing my tawaf around the Ka’bah, the crowd was so much that at one point I felt I was going to suffocate and faint. One brother noticed my condition. He asked another brother in front of him to walk slowly in front of him with me in the middle. He had his arms to the side to keep people away from me so I could walk comfortably. Then, he gently led me to the outer part of the circle so I could exit. He said salam and left.

I had no idea who he was, which sect or country. But thirteen years have gone by and I never forgot what this young man did for me. I made du’a for him as I remembered.

Unfortunately, the opposite is also true where people are so wrapped up to get their rites done, they may tromp over others to get to their destinations or use foul language when something unpleasant strikes them. Yet Allah reminds us:

{Hajj is (in) the well-known months, and whoever is minded to perform hajj therein (let him remember that) there is (to be) no lewdness nor abuse nor angry conversation in hajj. And whatsoever good you do Allah knows it. So make provision for yourselves (here after); for the best provision is to ward off evil. Therefore keep your duty unto Me, O men of understanding.} (2:197)

Unity Possible?

The Islamic nations have never seen animosity, hatred, bloodshed and wars between the Muslims themselves in the extent we see today.

Many blame the West for being responsible in igniting the fire for the West’s own benefit; for hoarding the natural resources of Muslims as well as selling billions of dollars on weaponry to these countries in order to facilitate bloodshed and wars on larger scale.

But let us ask ourselves: are we merely puppets, ready to dance by the song of those holding the string of our fate in their hands? The escalation of such wars will not abate unless we stop and take a drastic measure and defy the plots of Satan.

Hajj is the best time and place to accomplish this task. If we can see, show and take to heart that Muslims do gather to meet one another and demonstrate to the world that they are united, then why can’t we extend that after we return from Hajj?

Are they not united for the worship of One God? Allah informs us the purpose of knowing one another and the measurement for honor.

{O humankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable of you with God is that (believer) who has at-taqwa (piety, God consciousness). Verily, God is All-Knowing, All-Aware.} (49:13)

A majority of Muslims are aware that Islam is the religion of unity. Hajj epitomizes this unity. We see people from every race and color come together for one purpose. Does this not demonstrate a strong brotherhood? Allah says:

{The believers are nothing else but brothers (in Islam). So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear God, that you may receive mercy.} (49:10)

Is it not time to make reconciliation and join hands and effort in worship of Allah as we do in Hajj?

Who really benefits from our division?

Do we obey Allah in Hajj only or do we take heed to His commandments in the Quran?

{And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of God (this Quran), and be not divided among yourselves, and remember God’s favor on you, for you were enemies one to another but He joined your hearts together, so that, by His Grace, you became brethren (in Islam), and you were on the brink of a pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus God makes His signs clear to you, that you may be guided.} (3:103)

If the companions, some of whom were enemies of one another for years, were able to overcome their previous animosities and end up being the foundation of a great nation, why can’t we?

Hajj gives us a great opportunity to encourage ourselves and others to celebrate peace with God, peace with one’s own self and peace with one another.

People should know that anything that disturbs the peacefulness in Hajj is prohibited. But can we take with us the spirit of Hajj back to our countries and promote peaceful coexistence with our brothers and sisters of other sects?

Prophet Muhammad said:

“In their love, kindness, and compassion for each other, the believers are like a human body.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Jihad in Hajj Time

It would be very useful for Muslims to turn the spirit of Jihad against one another toward one own self. Self-Jihad is of greater value than killing other Muslims which in most cases is including killing non-combatants, elderly, women and children. Where is the reward here?

Some name the other side who believe in One God, and Muhammad as His Prophet, as non-believers and make the blood of all their people lawful and a key to Paradise!

Just imagine the three million pilgrims going back to their countries and spreading peace and reconciliation on such a scale! Surely there would be an impact!

There is a famous saying: “Peace begins with me!” Let us take the peaceful spirit of Hajj back to our countries!

High Spiritual Awareness

Hajj needs a high level of spiritual struggle. This takes attending the rituals with peace and serenity with oneself and others – but greater yet, is the inner connection with the Creator.

The feeling of equality in Hajj can accompany us upon our return.

Prophet Muhammad said:

“(The performance of) `Umrah is an expiation for the sins committed (between it and the previous one). And the reward of Hajj Mabrur (the one accepted by Allah) is nothing but Paradise.” (Al-Bukhari)

Is it possible to perform these blessed deeds and return with the heart of hatred, animosity and hostility toward other Muslims?

The Prophet said:

No doubt! Your blood, your properties, and your honor are sacred to one another like the sanctity of this day of yours, in this (sacred) town (Makkah) of yours, in this month of yours.‘ The Prophet repeated his statement again and again.

After that he raised his head and said, ‘O Allah! Haven’t I conveyed (Your Message) to them’. Haven’t I conveyed Your Message to them?‘ “Ibn `Abbas added, “By Him in Whose Hand my soul is, the following was his will (the Prophet’s will) to his followers:

“It is incumbent upon those who are present to convey this information to those who are absent. Beware don’t renegade (as) disbelievers (turn into infidels) after me, striking the necks (cutting the throats) of one another.'” (Al-Bukhari)

May Allah shower us with the blessing of performing Hajj, accept it from us and grant us tranquility, serenity, and peace so that we can spread it to all of humanity.