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Islamic Society (26 Sep 2015 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Reflections on Annual Pilgrimage to Mecca Named as Hajj

By Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam

26 September 2015

Muslim world is literally being bled on all fronts today. But economically and religiously it is being destroyed from within!

Economically: The Pilgrimage annually to Mecca by the millions, contribute billions of dollars to just one country, Saudi Arabia, not counting the additional all-round the year income from the lesser rituals for which many well-to-do go there now for additional spiritual reward.

The concomitant slaughter and waste of millions of animals, for commercial gains, all around the Muslim world as sacrifice to God is an immeasurable waste of animal life and drain on the poor Muslims ‘meagre resources.

The airlines ferrying pilgrims consume staggering amount of Arab oil adding further to the kingdom’s coffers.

As there is no accountability in monarchy, estimates of income vary widely as being between ten to fifteen billion dollars from these rituals to the already very rich monarchy.

All this causes huge foreign exchange loss to poor Muslim countries and on gullible individuals ‘lifesavings adding to their woes of poverty.

There is a flow-on effect though on the international commercial community.

From the West mainly: the food suppliers, cattle ranchers shipping live animals and the traders in hides and skins enjoy the bonanza. Prayer rugs, skull caps and trinkets inscribed in Arabic are merrily traded as holy items, though made in China, Japan and Korea etc.

The economic impact of this can only be commented upon by economists, by providing data and its detail analyses. But for anybody to suggest this lucrative holy “business” should be curtailed in order to eliminate a bit of third-world poverty, would be courting condemnation if not outright danger.

On Quranic basis: it calls for thoughtful investigation as the rituals are in the name of Islam: that which is derived from its source Book.

Although, the hajjis ordained for Huda Llil-Naas--for guidance of humanity and for its Falaah-benefit (22-27, 28) it is has now a ritual restricted to Muslims only; where cleansed of all sins their passage to paradise’s assured to them. Islam has thus become a confessional religion.

Hajj- an intellectual challenge, is traditionally based on Apostle Abraham/Ibrahim’s visit to Mecca and him erecting a temple there for worshipers of God. Abraham is the spiritual father of the nation of ‘People of the Book’.

With reference to Quran therefore, which claims that there are no ambiguities in it (2-2), the whole issue of traditional hajj as practiced, is confusing and questionable on the following basis!

16-123says.…follow the ways of Abraham the true in faith, and he joined not gods with God. …For “gods” come in many different forms!

Iqbal, in his poem Laa Ilaaha-Illallaah translates this as:

‘Yeh Doar Apne Brahim Ki Talaash May Hai--Sanam-Kadah hai Jahan, Laa Ilaaha-Illallaah’

This is the age where search is on for its Abraham-- where there is a Temple of idols, Laa Ilaaha-Illallaah!

The following few verses are of interest. It needs scholars, linguists, archaeologists and historians to give answers to the doubts raised with regard to the rituals which appear as throwback from pagan practices.

36-5, It is a revelation sent down by Him (God), the exalted in might, the most merciful.

36-6…in order that you (Muhammad) may warn a people, whose forefathers had received NO warning and who therefore, paid no attention to it.

It seems his forefathers have had NO divine messenger sent to them previous to Muhammad.

34-44says: But we had Not given them books which they could study, NOR sent Apostles to them before you (Muhammad) as warners.

32-3, few steps back: that you (Muhammad) may warn a people to whom NO warner has come before you in order that they may receive guidance.

Confirms that Abraham had NOT visited Mecca

28-47, if calamity had befallen them……The people (of Moses) might have said “why did you (God) NOT send us an Apostle?”Affirmation that God always sends an Apostle to those who had not had one sent previously. So Muhammad was the first one sent to Arabia.

The above therefore establishes that NO Apostle had previously visited Arabia and built the Ka’abah in Mecca.

Then who built it?

Hajj, a Quranic obligation to the first house 3-96,97should not therefore be pegged atone geographic place.

What is more, Ka’abah is not named as the focus/Qiblah for the Muslim nation that prays facing it ( 2-142 to145).This is logical because Ka’abah after all was a tribal polytheist Temple and not acceptable to others 2-145.

What is more, Quran proclaims “…To God belongs Easts and Wests“2-115 to177, 9-116”.

Could then the “my house “referred to in Quran is not the man-made temple on earth for God but a “Primal House”-these menial institution for mankind? Or else why did an Apostle exclaim in desperation, after fruitless search for God in other entities:

6-79,…“for me, I have turned my attention as sincere Muslim towards Him who is the primal Creator of heavens and earth, and I am not among the polytheists”.

Why would he then build an iconic House for God in Arabia, after reputedly having destroyed the one in his own town in Mesopotamia?

Of all Apostles’- their message was that God is the only Lord of the universe, Rabbil-A’lameen; of the heavens and earth and everything in between.

Therefore, to confine Him to a manmade cubical, and a black stone embedded in one corner as additional icon, makes Islam an iconolatry religion as well.  Yet Muslims recite the above verse 6-79, facing Mecca five times daily in prayers.

How is then Abraham’s monotheism different to polytheisms of other religions where the worship to God is associated with manmade objects, clearly contradicting Laa Tushrik Bihi 22-26, 31-13?

“The greatest number of houses in this world is for God Who has no need of a house”. Saut ul Haq of September 2015 summed it up.

The fact that Apostle Muhammad was born there, adds to Mecca’s marketing value, but alas on false premises, for:-

-The Messenger escaped from Masjid al-Haraam where he had found no peace, to take refuge in a distant city the surrounds of which were blessed17-1.

-For more than a decade, till the end of his life he lived in Madinah and established a viable city State.

-In the penultimate year of his life he visited Mecca once and that too to subdue the warmongers.

-Gave his last sermon emphasising the Deen/ the Code of Islam, and returned to Madinah, thus obeying the command of chapter 109 “your Deen with you and mine with me”.

-He died and is buried in Madinah. Hence his tomb there which conveniently serves as the ‘second Haram’ that pilgrims are compelled to visit as part of Hajj.

But, Mecca, Ka’abah, Masjid ul-Haraam, Hajar-Aswad, Zam-Zam, Madinah etc. are now the Church’s, the Muslim Vatican’s holy shrines and icons.

To question what seems to be confusing and conflicting, is mankind’s God given right. Quran commands human beings to use their intelligence and questioning capacity:

25-73, those who when they are warned with the signs of their Lord, do not droop down in acceptance as deaf and blind.

Socrates?, is supposed to have said that he does not believe that the one who had given him intelligence would not then want him to use it!

To many in the environment of 25-73 it would obviously be considered lunacy (Junoon) to claim that this religion is huge conspiracy against Islam instituted for commercial gains!

As a result, just as the illiterate fanatics Taliban and IS destroyed maliciously mankind’s historic heritage elsewhere; the Custodians are demolishing ancient important historic places in Mecca to construct mega hotels. It therefore lends credence to the above statement.

The rule of supply and demand comes into play, for it is the gullible Muslims in increasing numbers demand these facilities there. The traders are obliged and happy to provide for which the visitors who pay a heavy price often in life as well! Conspiracy or not, that is the nature of “commerce”.

Others as well took the risk of saying so in very scholarly way.

Bulleh Shah said: “Tired of studying Vedas, Quran--Bruised foreheads in prostrations--God is neither in Tirath nor in Mecca”.

Also refer. - ‘Arab Conspiracies against Islam’: ISBN 0-953422/ 9 780953 422500, published by Bodensee Logistic-UK’.

Mankind is supposed to have advanced intellectually beyond the prop of reverential tangible objects and to attempt to please God by offering Him blood and flesh 22-37 like the pagans of the old.

The only requirement to please Him is service to mankind. The Book teaches that all goodly human deeds- a’millus-salihati should be beneficial to humanity as a whole…in this world and hereafter (2-201).

Most importantly, Abraham the apostle stands falsely accused of having abrogated his apostolic duty by keeping the people there ignorant! No apostle, once charged with this duty abrogates it, says the Book.

So it was left to Muhammad to give the message of monotheism:

37-37: Nay! He (Muhammad) has come with the very truth, and he confirms the message of the previous Apostles—all apostles, not just Abraham.

When Mecca’s economy was threatened by Muhammad’s message and the Temple lost its trading importance, the change was resisted with full force of arms. After all, historically Mecca’s economy was heavily dependent upon the pagan rites of the ancient temple.

So the Divine threat2-79: Then, woe to those who write the books with their own hands and then say “This is from God” to traffic with it for miserable price. Woe to them for what their hands write (or translate!)And the gains they make from it…, was overcome later with cleaver and different marketing strategy all together.

It seems that soon after Muhammad the Muslim Nation not only was lulled into 25-73 condition, but also was convinced to adopt the old practices of their forefathers 2-170,171 but this time in the name of Islam.

The confusion is not just theological to resolve but of history, linguist, ideological and more. Issues, such as economic benefits to the Muslims, maintenance of brotherhood, unity of mankind, difference between Haram and Haraam, which or what is Balad Ul Ameen-city of sanctuary, Bakkah, Makkah and so on should be put under the microscope.

Unlike the iconic Big Mac’s burger king’s budget of millions for advertisement; the Custodian kings, with manipulative skills have marketed successfully the iconic spiritual city ‘‘Big Mec’’ without spending a cent on advertising their product.

Many a tour operator issue a certificate in appreciation of the custom the tourist give them. Not so the Custodians of Two Harams. Although there is only ONE in the Book and that is the universal Bakkah, the seminal institution Masjid un Ussisa, whose foundation was laid from the very first day for observance of duty 3-96, 9-108.

Hajjis, welcome back from the sacrificial spirituality to the commercial reality of religion.

Foot Note. The above does not in any way suggest that the place should not be visited. That would be in contradiction to Quran which highly commands “Travel in the world to gain knowledge22-46”. 

A regular contributor to New Age Islam, Rashid Samnakay is a (Retd.) Engineer

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-society/rashid-samnakay,-new-age-islam/reflections-on-annual-pilgrimage-to-mecca-named-as-hajj/d/104714


  • Mr Rashid,  just one example should be enough to prove the point. You ask  "then  who built the Kaba" for which you have a direct answer in verse 2:127 cited in my comment. It does not require any interpretation (classic, literal or fanciful). It tells you directly who built it.
    The incorrect inferences that lead you to ask that question has also been covered.

    By Nasser Ahmed - 9/29/2015 9:42:55 AM

  • Mr Naseer Ahmad,

    “…omitting those that directly provide an answer to the questions and doubts that you have raised.”

    Now I am really confused! Would not the long article been even longer then?

    What answers? The classic interpretations you gave in your even longer comment was the one that always raised the questions and doubts in the first place.

    By Rashid Samnakay - 9/29/2015 8:31:58 AM

  • Mr Rashid,  I understand your attitude to Hajj very well. You could have stated it in the few words that you used in your comment rather than write a long article on the subject quoting verses that are irrelevant to the subject and omitting those that directly provide an answer to the questions and doubts that you have raised.
    By Naseer Ahmed - 9/29/2015 2:09:12 AM

  • I sincerely appreciate your effort to answer some of my doubts. Please do not take it as flippant response.

    I respond to the first one by saying that if we could curtail or cap the Custodians’ Big Mec’s spiritual outlets, the poor Muslim countries will have some consumer protection and then they may be able to spend the savings for the betterment of all at home.

    The second major issues you delved into, to me are the same literal interpretations which sit very uncomfortably with me. I do not for example accept the requirement of brick and mortar monuments etc. built by a prophet even if he had been there, for mankind to approach ‘Almighty the Creator of universe’, with closed eyes.

    Bishop Tutu is attributed with the saying that ‘they (the missionaries) came and taught us to pray to god with closed eyes and when we opened them, they had taken our land’!

    By Rashid Samnakay - 9/28/2015 7:59:01 PM

  • Rashid Samankay says: "But for anybody to suggest this lucrative holy “business” should be curtailed in order to eliminate a bit of third-world poverty, would be courting condemnation if not outright danger."

    All economic activity is a cure for poverty. How can curtailing any economic activity help eliminate poverty?

    Third world poverty will not disappear by curtailing some other economic activity. The problem will disappear only when the problem is addressed directly.

    Rashid Samankay quotes verses that say that no messenger was previously sent to the people of Mecca before on account of which they remained heedless to conclude: "Confirms that Abraham had NOT visited Mecca"!!!

    Is a prophetic mission after  which a people may be held accountable for their disbelief a mere visit by a Prophet? The answer is an obvious no. So the verses cited by him do not prove that Ibrahim (AS) did not visit Mecca. The verses only prove that he was not sent to the people of Mecca/Arabia as a messenger. 

    How come Mr Rashid has missed direct evidence in the Quran of Abraham not only having visited Mecca but building and sanctifying the holy mosque for prayer and proclaiming the pilgrimage? 

    (2:125) Remember We made the House a place of assembly for men and a place of safety; and take ye the station of Abraham as a place of prayer; and We covenanted with Abraham and Isma´il, that they should sanctify My House for those who compass it round, or use it as a retreat, or bow, or prostrate themselves (therein in prayer). (126) And remember Abraham said: "My Lord, make this a City of Peace, and feed its people with fruits,-such of them as believe in Allah and the Last Day." He said: "(Yea), and such as reject Faith,-for a while will I grant them their pleasure, but will soon drive them to the torment of Fire,- an evil destination (indeed)!"

    (127) And remember Abraham and Isma´il raised the foundations of the House (With this prayer): "Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us: For Thou art the All-Hearing, the All-knowing.

    (128) "Our Lord! make of us Muslims, bowing to Thy (Will), and of our progeny a people Muslim, bowing to Thy (will); and show us our place for the celebration of (due) rites; and turn unto us (in Mercy); for Thou art the Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. 

    Also see verses from Surah Hajj (22:26 to 30)

    The rites of Hajj restated for Muhammad (pbuh):

    The parts in bold italics refer to pagan practices some of which continued unchanged from the time of Abraham and some of which were corrupted and therefore corrected.


    (2:196) And complete the Hajj or ´umra in the service of Allah. But if ye are prevented (From completing it), send an offering for sacrifice, such as ye may find, and do not shave your heads until the offering reaches the place of sacrifice. And if any of you is ill, or has an ailment in his scalp, (Necessitating shaving), (He should) in compensation either fast, or feed the poor, or offer sacrifice; and when ye are in peaceful conditions (again), if any one wishes to continue the ´umra on to the hajj, He must make an offering, such as he can afford, but if he cannot afford it, He should fast three days during the hajj and seven days on his return, Making ten days in all. This is for those whose household is not in (the precincts of) the Sacred Mosque. And fear Allah, and know that Allah Is strict in punishment.

    (197) For Hajj are the months well known. If any one undertakes that duty therein, Let there be no obscenity, nor wickedness, nor wrangling in the Hajj. And whatever good ye do, (be sure) Allah knoweth it. And take a provision (With you) for the journey, but the best of provisions is right conduct. So fear Me, o ye that are wise.

    (198) It is no crime in you if ye seek of the bounty of your Lord (during pilgrimage). Then when ye pour down from (Mount) Arafat, celebrate the praises of Allah at the Sacred Monument, and celebrate His praises as He has directed you, even though, before this, ye went astray.

    (199) Then pass on at a quick pace from the place whence it is usual for the multitude so to do, and ask for Allah´s forgiveness. For Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

    (200) So when ye have accomplished your holy rites, celebrate the praises of Allah, as ye used to celebrate the praises of your fathers,- yea, with far more Heart and soul. There are men who say: "Our Lord! Give us (Thy bounties) in this world!" but they will have no portion in the Hereafter.

    (201) And there are men who say: "Our Lord! Give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and defend us from the torment of the Fire!"

    (202) To these will be allotted what they have earned; and Allah is quick in account.

    (203) Celebrate the praises of Allah during the Appointed Days. But if any one hastens to leave in two days, there is no blame on him, and if any one stays on, there is no blame on him, if his aim is to do right. Then fear Allah, and know that ye will surely be gathered unto Him.

    While it is true that Ibraham (AS) spent very little time in Mecca and mostly in Canaan, Ismail (AS) who was also a nabi and rasul  appears to have spent his lifetime there. 

    (19:55) He used to enjoin on his people Prayer and Charity, and he was most acceptable in the sight of his Lord.

    He helped his father build the Sacred mosque after which his mission was perhaps limited to looking after the sacred mosque and the pilgrims and the rituals of Hajj. Very clearly neither the mission of Abraham or Ismail was as messenger to the people of Mecca/Arabia (From secondary sources, Mecca had no local population in the time of Ismail). This is clear from verse:

    (2:129) "Our Lord! send amongst them a Messenger of their own, who shall rehearse Thy Signs to them and instruct them in scripture and wisdom, and sanctify them: For Thou art the Exalted in Might, the Wise."

    Verse 129 clearly indicates that the mission of Ismail (AS) and Abraham (AS) was limited and did not include that of being a messenger to the people of Arabia.

    Since Mr Rashid has questioned the veracity of  the Quran itself, let me cite biblical sources to support that Ismail (AS) very much lived in Mecca.



    By Naseer Ahmed - 9/28/2015 3:44:18 AM

  • Animal life was never important in abrahmic relegions, it was not in Hindu and many other culture and relegions belifs as well but Hindus moved in ideology and some Christians are also moving towards this ideology as well, so in Christian world you can find vegans.
    With Muslims it never be mass movement, it remain personal choice like APJ Abdul kalam was vegetarian, 

    By Aayina - 9/27/2015 5:58:54 AM

  • The meaning of verse 25:73
    (25:73) Those who, when they are admonished with the Signs of their Lord, droop not down at them as if they were deaf or blind;
    Those who heed the admonishment are obviously not the deaf or blind.
    Those who droop down at them or those who are unaffected by the admonishment are as though they are deaf or blind.
    The muttaqi celebrate Ibrahim (AS) extraordinary devotion to God year after year by celebrating Bakrid in an appropriate manner. They fast on the day of Arafat (9th Dhul Hijjah) and pray for forgiveness just like the Hajis do on this day). They sacrifice an animal the next day just as the Hajis do and distribute the meat among the poor, their neighbours and relatives and eat part of it. 

    They go to Mecca to perform  Hajj Pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime since this  is  a duty people owe to Allah if they  can afford the journey. However, for those who do not perform Haj although it is obligatory on them, then Allah makes it known that He does not stand in need of any of His creatures. 
    (3:96) The first House (of worship) appointed for men was that at Bakka: Full of blessing and of guidance for all kinds of beings:

    (97) In it are Signs Manifest; (for example), the Station of Abraham; whoever enters it attains security; Pilgrimage thereto is a duty men owe to Allah,- those who can afford the journey; but if any deny faith, Allah stands not in need of any of His creatures.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 9/27/2015 1:21:20 AM

  • "To question what seems to be confusing and conflicting, is mankind’s God given right. Quran commands human beings to use their intelligence and questioning capacity:

    25-73, those who when they are warned with the signs of their Lord, do not droop down in acceptance as deaf and blind." . . . .

    We must stop being deaf and blind. There is no reason why we cannot celebrate Ibrahim's extraordinary devotion to God in our own cities. We do not need to go to Mecca for that.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 9/26/2015 1:34:35 PM

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