The Hajj

The Hajj
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Hundreds of thousands of Muslims are in the process of and about to converge in the holiest sites of Islam, Mecca and even Medina for the mandatory, annual pilgrimage, the Hajj. The pilgrimage is one of the five pillars of Islam, obligatory for adult Muslims, who are financially, physically and economically able to perform it. The hajj has both a spiritual and a “worldly” dimension to it. At a more fundamental spiritual level, the hajj reorients a Haji( the person performing the pilgrimage) to the Divine through vigorous spiritual exercises and harks to the essential Unity of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala. In terms of the pilgrimage’s worldly dimensions, the Hajj testifies to and validates the essential unity of Muslims. Both aspects are then sync with each other. The processes of the Hajj all testify , to repeat, the Unity of God and Muslims. So vigorous and intense are the processes and practices associated with the performance of the Hajj that these fundamentally transform the outlook and spiritual orientation of a person. But, key here is that this transformed outlook should not be ephemeral; it should be long lasting and longue duree. This happens and occurs with most people who perform this holy pilgrimage but some get so much caught up in the affairs of the world after the pilgrimage that the effect softens with the passage of time. All this is not to suggest that haji’s , in particular, and Muslims, in general, should withdraw from the world. No. Not at all. A Muslim is enjoined and urged to be engaged with the affairs of the world, albeit with moral, ethical vigor determined by the values of Islam and also be spiritually engaged. The carry over of the fundamentally transformed outlook and spiritual bearing of those who perform the Hajj should have a tangible effect and impact on society through not only piety and a pious nature thereof. The nature of the impact should be such that it should be inspirational for others. The Haji must be a beacon for society and he or she must help the vulnerable sections of society, the needy and the poor, and set such benchmarks(moral and ethical) that others must follow them. The Hajj, in the final analysis, besides being mandatory, is an aspiration and an inspiration for Muslims. Let the Hajj performed by Muslims be accepted by Allah and let it inspire others to perform it, with full spiritual vigor.

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