| Setting aside the conventional methods, this book explores the humane dimension of Islamic ideology. It defies the notion that religion is a private affair between God and his creations, but gives a warm extension to all human relationships. Modeling on great personalities such as Khalifas, the author tries a different reading of Islam and its history which, of course, will attract the reader’s attention.
Hajj (Pilgrimage To Makkah)
Hajj is one of the most important forms of worship in Islam. Holy Ka'ba (in Mecca) is the central point of Hajj. The Ka’ba was built for people. God says that: “The first House (of worship) appointed for men was that at Bakka: Full of blessing and of guidance for all kinds of beings” (Alu’Imran 96). The beginning of the performance of Hajj is in Ihram. Ihram brings about uniformity in the cloth of the worshippers coming from different nations of the world. Once in Ihram, all have the same dress, same motto and the same objective. All are called the same - Al-Haj. There is no other event in which the human unity is so explicitly revealed.
The essential part of the Hajj is Thawaf. It is an endless flow of people around Ka'ba. The individual's identity melts away, and merges with the great flow of people. The caste and creed disappear; the individual has no place. Every one is the part of the great flow. 'Thawaf' is not an individual's lonely meditation. It is a worship in which people actively participate. It is a dynamic movement going on for ever. The voice of the people is heard echoing there; they rush forward. There the devotee is not silently meditating. He becomes a dynamic worshipper moving forward along with the great flow of the people. He is busy and vigilant. When one performs this worship for Allah, no fellow being should be harmed by word or deed. If anybody is harmed the dynamism of the worship will be lost. One who is deprived of social sense and human etiquettes will not have access to God.
The worshipper who kisses the Black Stone (Hajarul Aswad) reestablishes relation with the past generation. The feeling that his lips have touched a place where thousands of lips have already touched makes him emotionally poised. The worshipper who has just finished 'Thawaf' drinks a cup of Zamzam water attains a sense of emotional poise. It makes his heart throb with sense of history of thousands of servants of the past. All the acts of worship take him forward to the holy meeting of the generations of worshippers, of course crossing the boundaries of time.
Those who perform Hajj cannot forget Hajara, who was a black slave woman from abroad. Nobody will be able to successfully complete the performance of Hajj without following what she had done centuries ago. Whether the worshipper is one who keeps high official or administrative status (such as kings, prime ministers or presidents) he has to climb the Safa-Marwa, which have become the signs of God because Hajara had got up on these hills. He had to run from one hill to the other in remembrance of what Hajara had done in search of water for her son. The sense of equality and humility this brings about is ineffable.
There is no Hajj without Arafa. On the Arafa day thousands of worshippers assemble there. It becomes an epitome of the whole world. People from different nations of the world come together. Men and women from different countries of the world, with distinctive complexions, language, race, habits etc. get together in Arafa making it a model of the one world that Islam envisages. There is no enmity, clashes of ideas, envy, inequality or intolerance. Everybody’s heart is pure and innocent. There exists an emotional relation within the heart of the worshippers.
In the busy crowd the Hajjis have to be patient and tolerant even to carry out their daily routines. Even in such a situation they have to follow social principles and be tolerant. Argumentative behavior is not permitted during the performance of Hajj. God says:
“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 know 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.” (Al-Baqara 197)
The arguments or presentation of different view which may generate any sort of clash will adversely affect peaceful performance of Hajj. Where there is no existence of social sense, the worship becomes blunt. The material benefit of the worships is the development of social relations.