Hajj: A Symbol of Unity and a Message for Humanity
When Allah (swt) proclaimed the Hajj, He did so for the whole of mankind declaring that people would travel from far and wide to worship Him at the Sacred House in Makkah.
“And proclaim the Pilgrimage among men: they will come to thee on foot and (mounted) on every kind of camel, lean on account of journeys through deep and distant mountain highways” [Surah Hajj 22:27]
This week millions have followed this divine command and congregated in obedience to Him ‘Azza wa Jal in Makkah, Mina and the Plain of Arafat -to fulfil the rites of the fifth pillar of Islam. We ask that Allah accept all the good deeds from the Hujjaj and from all the Muslims in this sacred month.
Hajj is a symbol of our Unity as an Ummah. Less than 100 years ago pilgrims were united under one leader – the Ameer ul–Mumineen (the leader of the Believers) – the Khaleefah of the Muslims – and not divided by artificial nationalities, passports and flags. We pray that before long, that will be the case again.
Yet still today, millions of men and women -young and old, of different colours, languages and means – still face the same Qibla in orderly lines, wearing the same simple pilgrim dress, all of which symbolises the way that only Islam can bring unite and bring order in the Muslim world.
Indeed, it was at the time of Hajj at the time of the Prophet (saw) that Allah (swt) told us this Deen -combining beliefs, worships and values, as well as political, economic, social and judicial systems for society -was the perfect way for humanity to live together in order and harmony, when He ‘Azza wa Jal said:
“Today the Unbelievers have despaired of overcoming your Deen. So do not fear them, fear Me. This day, I have perfected your Deen for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your Deen” [Surah Maida 5:3]
The ayah was revealed on a Friday, the ninth day of Dhul Hijjah, during the Hajj of the year 9 A.H. (632 C.E.) – after the Prophet (saw) had completed his farewell Khutbah. Regarding this verse, Sayyiduna Umar ibn Al Khattab (ra) said “By Allah! I know when and where this verse was revealed to Allah’s Messenger; it was the evening on the Day of Arafat on a Friday” [Ahmad] In this Khutbah he (saw) addressed people after praising and thanking Allah. He (saw) reminded people of the trust of the sanctity of life and property saying:
“O People, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you.”
He (saw) reinforced the command of Allah that banned riba saying:
“Allah has forbidden you to take usury (interest), therefore all interest obligation shall henceforth be waived.”
He (saw) reminded the believing men of their duties to women:
“O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under a trust from Allah and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”
He (saw) reminded people to remember Allah and our accountability saying:
“Remember that you will indeed meet your Lord, and that He will indeed reckon your deeds.”
“Remember, one day you will appear before Allah and answer for your deeds.”
And their worships saying:
“…Worship God, perform your five daily prayers, fast during the month of Ramadan, and offer Zakat. Perform Hajj if you have the means.”
He (saw) reminded people of their humanity, the abhorrence of racism and tribalism saying:
“All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab; white has no superiority over black, nor does a black have any superiority over white; [none have superiority over another] except by piety and good action.”
He (saw) reminded us of our brotherhood saying:
“Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood.”
He (saw) reminded us that he is the final prophet who brought the final message saying:
“…No prophet or apostle will come after me, and no new faith will be born.”
He (saw) told us to hold fast to the texts of Islam saying:
“I leave behind me two things, the Quran and my example, the Sunnah, and if you follow these you will never go astray.”
This Khutbah summarises beautifully and eloquently why the Messenger of Allah (saw) is the greatest of all prophets, rulers, orators, soldiers and husbands; why he is the most wise, sincere and pure carrier of a message -who inspired millions of lives throughout the world. It explains in part why Allah ‘Azza wa Jal says “We have not sent you (Muhammad (saw)) except as a mercy for all the peoples” [Surah Anbiyaa 21:107]
Brothers and Sisters: Today we live in a world without his (saw) mercy.
The Muslim world is in darkness, chaos and oppression. The blood of our brothers and sisters in Syria flows daily, as Assad’s killing machine continues to try to crush the uprising against his rule which is calling for the Islam that the Prophet (saw) established in Madinah, and which the Rightly Guided Khulafah continued after him. The chaos in Pakistan, the occupation and repression in Palestine, Kashmir and Afghanistan, the brutality against the Rohingya Muslims in Burma – all of this and more continues unabated without the justice of the Islamic system which the Messenger of Allah brought as a mercy for humanity.
But this mercy -this perfect Deen, this message – was not meant for Muslims alone. It was meant for humanity and humanity suffers due to the lack of Islam in the world. In Europe, the cruelty of global capitalism and IMF reforms – which Muslim countries and other developing countries have suffered for decade – is biting hard. People are losing their jobs, their homes, and their dignity – whilst banks and big business are getting richer. The riba which Allah and His Messenger made haram is the basis of this capitalist system. And increasing numbers of those who have plenty suffer with depression and general dissatisfaction under a secular system that removes Allah and spiritual matters from life’s affairs. The racism and prejudice which Allah and His Messenger made haram is on the rise, with the growth of far right groups. The exploitation of women as commodities has become part of everyday life, in contrast to honour Allah and His Messenger ordered for her.
As we celebrate Eid al Adha, we should remind ourselves that this Deen of Islam came as a complete way of life for all of life’s affairs – and whilst we work for its return in the Muslim world, we can show people in Britain – who only hear the negative propaganda – the superiority and perfection of this Deen chosen by Allah for humanity.
In his final Khutbah, the Messenger (saw) told us to convey this message saying:
“All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and it may be that the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly.”
If we take up that responsibility, then too, we might echo the words of Allah’ Messenger (saw) when he ended his Khutbah saying “Be my witness, O Allah, that I have conveyed your message to your people.”
We wish all in this Ummah, Eid Mubarak!
6 Dhul Hijjah 1433 / 22 October 2012