FROM MAULANA’S DESK
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, born in 1925, in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh, is an Islamic spiritual scholar who is well-versed in both classical Islamic learning and modern disciplines. The mission of his life has been the establishment of worldwide peace. He has received the Padma Bhushan, the Demiurgus Peace International Award and Sayyidina Imam Al Hassan Peace award for promoting peace in Muslim societies. He has been called ’Islam’s spiritual ambassador to the world’ and is recognized as one of its most influential Muslims . His books have been translated into sixteen languages and are part of university curricula in six countries. He is the founder of the Centre for Peace and Spirituality based in New Delhi.
HAJJ SHOULD INCULCATE LOVE FOR HUMANITY
IT is incumbent upon Muslims to perform Hajj, at least once in a lifetime, as long as they possess the means. As is clear from the following excerpts from the Quran and Hadith, Hajj is an important pillar among the five foundation pillars of Islam.
Pilgrimage to the House is a duty to God for anyone who is able to undertake it. (3: 97)
A true pilgrim cannot afford to differentiate between a Muslim and a person of another faith. He has to be a well-wisher to everyone.
The root meaning of the word Hajj is “to set out” or “to make pilgrimage.” Canonically, it has come to refer to a Muslim act of worship, performed annually, in which the worshipper circumambulates the House of God in Makkah, stays awhile in the plain of Arafat and performs other rites which together constitute Hajj—the act of pilgrimage.
To be a member of that huge congregation gathered from the four corners of the earth, on this sacred occasion and on the sacred spot, and to join with this mass of humanity, in all humility, in the glorification of God, is to have one’s consciousness impressed by full significance of the Islamic ideal. It is to be privileged to participate in one of the most soul-inspiring experiences that have ever been granted to human beings. To visit the birthplace of Islam, to re-live those memories and to tread the sacred ground of the Prophet’s struggle, during his mission to invite humanity to God, is to have one’s soul kindled by celestial fire of peace with God and His creatures.
Among all Muslim acts of worship, Hajj holds a prominent position. In one Hadith, the Prophet called it the supreme act of worship. But it is not just the rites of pilgrimage that constitute this importance; rather it is the spirit in which Hajj is performed that is of significance. In other words, it is not merely a matter of going to Makkah and returning.
There is much more to Hajj than that. Hajj has been prescribed so that it may inspire us with new religious fervour. To return from Hajj with one’s faith in God strengthened and rekindled—that is the hallmark of a true pilgrim.
Islam is based on two fundamental truths: (a) the oneness of God and (b) the brotherhood of Man, and is entirely free from any encumbrances of theological dogma. Above everything else, it is a positive faith.
The lesson learnt during Hajj has to manifest in terms of living peacefully in unity with the rest of the world.
The Hajj makes for unity among Muslims. If there is anything that unifies the scattered forces of Islam and imbues them with mutual sympathy, it is the pilgrimage. It provides them with a central point to which they rally from all corners of the earth. It creates for them annually an occasion to meet and know one another, to exchange views and compare experiences and unite their various efforts for the common good. Distances are annihilated.
Differences of sect are set aside. Divergences of race and colour cease to exist in this fraternity of faith that unites all Muslims in one great brotherhood and makes them conscious of the glorious heritage that is theirs.
This lesson of Hajj, which is aimed at inculcating unity among Muslims, should be extended to entire humanity. Once a pilgrim returns after performing Hajj, he is back into the world where he has to live alongside other people who belong to different faiths and beliefs. Here, the lesson learnt during Hajj has to manifest in terms of living peacefully in unity with the rest of the world. A true pilgrim cannot afford to differentiate between a Muslim and a person of another faith. He has to be a well-wisher to everyone. Whatever positive contribution he makes should have its effects for everyone around him. His goodness will not be confined to the people of his own community. In fact, he will consider the entire mankind as one community. He joins with the people of his community at the time of worship, but he certainly includes the well-being of all of mankind in his prayers to God.
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
Follow Maulana at speakingtree.in
Some people go to extremes in
their opposition to others by
turning aggressive. But in this
world that God has made, your
opponents too, have the freedom
to act, just like you do.
The best way to respond to others
is to clear your own way ahead by
exercising patience and wisdom
instead of becoming agitated by
others and reacting angrily.