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