1.5 million arrive in Saudi for the hajj

@kpisgod (994)
December 26, 2006 8:56am CST
janana 12/25/2006 8:19 PM 1.5 million arrive in Saudi for the hajj More than 1.5 million Muslims have arrived in Saudi Arabia from all over the world including Usa and Europe for the annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca which begins on Thursday. The official SPA news agency on Monday quoted the Hajj Commission as saying 1,526,603 people had arrived in the kingdom by Sunday to take part in this year's pilgrimage. The hajj will begin on Thursday, with the faithful assembling in the arid valley of Mina near Mecca. At dawn on Friday, they will begin moving towards Mt Arafat where they will spend the day praying and asking for God's forgiveness at the summit, in a symbolic waiting for the last judgment. The Universal Lessons of Hajj Malcolm X understood that in order to truly learn from the Hajj, its inherent spiritual lessons must extend beyond the fraternal ties of Muslims to forging a common humanity with others, says Faisal Kutty. Hajj literally means, "to continuously strive to reach one's goal." It is the last of the five pillars of Islam (the others include a declaration of faith in one God, five daily prayers, offering regular charity, and fasting during the month of Ramadan). Pilgrimage is a once-in-a-lifetime obligation for those who have the physical and financial ability to undertake the journey The current state of affairs -- both within and outside the Muslim world -- greatly increases the relevance of some of the spiritual and universal messages inherent in the Hajj. As Islamic scholar Ebrahim Moosa asks rhetorically: “after paying homage to the two women Eve and Hagar in the rites of pilgrimage, how can some Muslims still violate the rights and dignity of women in the name of Islam? Is this not a contradiction?” Indeed, the Qur’an teaches: "I shall not lose sight of the labor of any of you who labors in my way, be it man or woman; each of you is equal to the other.” (3:195) Clearly, the white sea of men and women side by side performing tawaf (circling) around the Kaaba (the stone building Muslims believe was originally built The fact that millions of Muslims transcending geographical, linguistic, level of practice, cultural, ethnic, color, economic and social barriers converge in unison on Mecca, attests to the universality of the Hajj. It plants the seed to celebrate the diversity of our common humanity. Pilgrims return home enriched by this more pluralistic and holistic outlook and with a new appreciation for their own origins. The most celebrated North American Hajji (one who has completed the Hajj) is none other than African-Ameican civil rights leader El-Hajj Malik El Shabbaz, more commonly known as Malcolm X. The man who was renowned for preaching that whites were "devils" -- especially the blond, blue-eyed ones -- profoundly reassessed these views during the Hajj. This transformation, of course, sealed his break with the Black nationalist movement of the Nation of Islam. Contrary to the teachings of the Nation, he concluded that Islam encompassed all of humanity and transcended race and culture. Malcolm X later said, "In my 39 years on this Earth, the holy city of Mecca had been the first time I had ever stood before the Creator of all and felt like a complete human." The Qur’an says regarding Hajj: A duty owed to Allah by all men is the pilgrimage to the House, if he is able to make his way there. And as for the disbeliever God is all-sufficient, needing nothing from all the worlds (Ale-Imran 3:97). MAY GOD ACCEPTS THEIR HAJJ
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