Hajj: The Symbol of Unity
Hajj is, indeed, the symbol of unity and monotheism! Praise be to Allah who has guided us to this. Never could we have found guidance, had it not been for the guidance of Allah.
Unity is vividly observed in the great pillar of Hajj, which is repeated every year and for which millions of Muslims gather from all over the world. They represent the Muslim ummah with all its different races, countries, colors, and languages. They gather in one place, at the same time, wearing the same garment and performing the same rites. They make one stand in the same monument. They proclaim the oneness of the Lord of the worlds, submit themselves to His law, and show their unity under His banner. They announce to the whole world that they are one nation although they come form different countries and homes. They perform the rites and stand in the open areas of Makkah, where bodies become close to each other, faces meet, hands shake, greetings exchange, tongues communicate, and hearts reconcile. They meet for the same purpose and intention.
What unity is deeper than that one of the pilgrims when they stand at the mountain of ‘Arafat with bare heads and simple white clothes? There is no difference between the rich and the poor, the ruler and the subject, men and women, Arabs and non-Arabs. All of them are the same, like the teeth of the hair comb. They direct themselves towards Allah, humble and submissive.
“They hope for His Mercy and fear His Wrath” [Al-Isra’, 17:57]
This is their description when they make tawaf (circumambulation around the Ka’bah) and sa’y (going between the mountains of As-Safa and Al-Marwah), stay over night at Muzdalifah and Mina, sacrifice animals, and throw stones. Similarly, this is their description when they perform the congregational prayer at the open areas or at the Holy Mosque. They pray behind one man (i.e. the imam) and supplicate to one God (i.e. Allah). They read one Book, the Qur’an, and direct themselves to one Qiblah, the Ka’bah, at the Holy Mosque. They perform the same rites of standing, sitting, bowing down, and prostration.
It is a kind of unity that penetrates the hearts, and not only external appearances. This is unity in aim and direction, in sayings and deeds, an internal and external unity, through which they could feel the essence of the verse:
“The believers are but a single brotherhood.” [Al-Hujurat, 49:10].
Differences in social class, wealth, race, and color vanish within these feelings and rites. A pure and solemn atmosphere of brotherhood, serenity, affection, and love prevails. In a world engulfed in dispute and division, it is a great blessing for a person to have the ability to enjoy this atmosphere of complete peace. In a world where discrepancy is the prevailing system, they (pilgrims) enjoy an atmosphere of equality. In the face of the world’s grudges, hatred, and disputation-feelings all too characteristics of the modern life-pilgrims experience a feeling of love and harmony.
Allah has imposed pilgrimage upon Muslims in a specific time each year, in one place, and in the same manner. Thus, they perform it in gatherings and not in scattered groups. They feel and see unity and brotherhood before their very eyes. Allah made their Hajj in the purest point, in the most sacred place, and in the best days, namely, the first ten days of the month of Dhul Hijjah. Accordingly, they experience the sacredness of the place, time, and situation. Hence, they know their position among other nations and feel Allah’s blessing, as He granted them this straight and sound religion. He favored Muslims by bringing familiarity among their hearts and making them loving brothers and sisters.
Hajj is a valuable opportunity for the public to meet the righteous scholars, so that they would benefit from their knowledge and be guided by their juristic opinions. It is also an occasion for Muslim scholars to meet with each other, so that they would know each other, discuss issues of theology, acquire jurisprudence in religion, and study the affairs of Muslims and provide solutions to their problems. It is a great chance for Muslim leaders, thinkers, and politicians to meet, to consult and to co-operate for the welfare of Islam and Muslims.