Hajj is about Humility

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One should enjoy acquiring wealth and spending it, it creates jobs, economic activity and raises the material standards of every one. One must earn and spend as much as they are capable. 

The trip to Kaaba* (the black cube) in Harm e Sharif (The Mosque complex) in the city of Mecca is for Pilgrimage and spiritual enlightenment. But if your intent is shopping, you can go 
to New York, London, Paris, Mumbai, Dubai, Dallas or wherever you can spend, buy the best that there is and enjoy the fruits of your hard earned income.  

The Kaaba (cube) in Harm e Sharif (mosque complex)

My reason for writing this note is to ponder about the value of Hajj.

The hotel room with a view of Kaaba is $7000/night. It beats the purpose of Hajj, which was to bring Muslim communities from around the world, to learn and realize that we are all a tiny minuscule of a speck in the large universe of people. Our distinctions of being a scholar or an illiterate,  Rich or poor, man or woman, senior or a child are to fade and bring humility in us to feel equal, sort of one vote for one person.  Socially, humility builds bridges and arrogance creates conflicts. No wonder God was absolutely clear in his guidance in Quraan – the best among is you is the one who is not arrogant.

Indeed, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in his last sermon delivered this message, “All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.”

So what do we hear? The tall glamorous buildings, big clock that can be seen from afar, gold stores, shopping and shopping.

If Kaaba is a good travel and a shopping destination to brag about, go ahead and go there. But if it is a spiritual journey to feel a part of the ocean, unique but a small speck of it, shouldn’t you feel that? What do you get out of Hajj, if it does not make you a better humble human? Should going to Hajj be a private thing or a public thing to subtly brag about?  

Super structures overpowering the Kaaba… the black cube on the right

I just read a piece about Saudis bulldozing historical places of Islamic heritage and building opulent 7 star hotels and fancy shopping centers around Haram Shariff, the Kaaba (cube) in Mecca. They have erased three small hillocks,  erased Prophet Muhammad’s house and built a library, erased Hazrat Khadija (Prophet’s wife) house and built public lavatories… it is repulsive and disgusting what the Saudi’s are doing. Now, apparently they are bulldozing Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq and Hazrat Umar’s (1st and 2nd rightly guided Caliph) tombs to expand the Masjid e Nabwi (Prophet’s first Mosque) and accommodate 1.6 Million worshipers at one time. The worlds 2nd tallest building looms over Kaaba. This is another issue demanding a separate note. 

I read many notes boycotting Saudis.. not sure what they mean, but I was able to express my sentiments in short sentences.

to feel on par with fellow humans,
to fell the class, race and gender barriers,

to jell with every human without distinction

what people should boycott is opulence
what people should boycott is 7 star hotels
what people should boycott is shops
what people should boycott is expensive food
what people should boycott is multiple Hajj
what people should boycott is Hajj products
The experience of feeling human should not be missed, Hajj should be what it is, and not a shopping spree or a chest thumping, bragging event.

* Kaaba is not a secretive sacred item that Muslims worship. It is simply a cubular building that has a small stone plastered into one one of its walls.The stone is valued as precious thing that dropped from heaven, many Muslims touch it, some kiss it and some don’t see the need for that. I took my mother to Hajj in 1978, she touched it, I did not.  The value of Hajj is in feeling spiritual and humble and not touching material things.  By the way, my intention was to fulfill my mothers wish and and not perform a Hajj for me.

The precious stone encase in steel on NE Wall of the cube

The only purpose of Kaaba is to provide a sense of direction towards which all Muslims can turn to. It is like sitting in a church, synagogue or a temple facing the pulpit – a unifying sense of direction rather than sit facing different walls. The idea is extended to building Mosques that face Kaaba, it is no more than an unifying experience.

Mike Ghouse
Muslims together for humility

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