|Hajj and Islamic Brotherhood
Hajj and Islamic Brotherhood
Allah, the Most Exalted and Creator of the universe, asked Prophet Ibrahim (AS) to call people to His House and accordingly, he called out. People's response to the call took the shape ofHajj from time immemorial.This is the genesis of Hajj, pilgrimage to Kaa'ba in Makkah. In Hajj all the Hajjis gather at Kaaba to absolve themselves of sins and to seek salvation in the life Hereafter. All Muslims believing in one Allah and being the followers of one Book and one Prophet, stand in a single rank facing Qiblah and go round the Kaaba with a single aim. Such unity of ideology and act gives this assembly so much power that it can overcome all kinds of obstacle against it.
Man's attraction to the House of Cod and forum of monotheism, on the one hand, and the great assembly of the Ummah in a single place for performing a series of common religious acts, on the other, is a great heavenly asset bestowed on Muslims by God. Moral virtues, the power to fight atheism, and a spiritual way of living both in the world and the Hereafter, are some of the advantages of Hajj.
In the Farewell Hajj on Mount Arafat, the Holy Prophet of Islam (saw) said:"O people, surelyyour Lord is One, the father of all of you is one, you all come from Adam and Adam from the earth. (surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful of his duty) Arab has no advantage over non-Arab except for piety." Also in his Farewell Address in Mina, the Holy Prophet (saw) said:"Believers are brethren.Their blood has equal value. They are a single hand and power against others. The promise of each of them is like that of all, hence binding."Thus, the sermon of the Prophet
(saw) in his farewell Hajj revealed the universal fraternity of the Ummah.
The Holy Qur'an also said that "The Believers are but a single Brotherhood." tAl-Hujurat 49:10] One of Prophet (saw)'s Hadiths said: 'A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. He does not oppress him, nor does he leave him at the mercy of others." [Sahih Muslim] The Islamic brotherhood is not based on economic interests, race, or colour. It is based on something infinitely superior: Rejection of falsehood and acceptance of the Truth as revealed by the One True God.
Not only is this brotherhood based on faith, it is also a part of that faith.The Prophet (saw) said:"You cannot enter paradise unless you become a total believer and you would not become a total believer unless you love each other."
Obviously, faith and community are inseparable in the faith community produced by lslam.That might be the source from where the concept of Islamic brotherhood would be derived. Islam is primarily a religion of congregation and collectivism. Most acts of worship in Islam have a collective form.The five daily prayers are best performed in congregation, that being twenty-seven times more valuable than the individual prayer. The special Friday prayer cannot be offered individually at all. Hajj, likewise, enforces unity in both time and place, bringing the believers together in the plains of Arafat in their remembrance of Allah.
Those who jpin in the worship of Allah produce a brotherhood that embodies the best moral values of the faith: mercy, compassion, fear of Allah, piety, and justice. It is a solid cemented structure [As-Sag 61:41, a tremendous force in the service of right and against wrong. Its members are to help each other in righteousness and piety but not in sin and rancour [AI-Maida 5:2]. They are to be "strong against unbelievers but c~nipassionate amongst each other [Al-Fat-h 48:2~f Theydo not do injustice to others nor do they~~ lerate any injustice to themselves. In their love ahd concern for each other, all members of this Brotherhood are one body: when any part of the body .st~#fers, the whole body feels the pain [Sahih Musy ml.
This brotherhood was established in the most unlikely place: Arabia, where before Islam internecine wat was a way of life. At both social and political Iev~ Is, this was one of the greatest achievements of IsI~'m. We can imagine the sensitivity of the Shariah abput it by reflecting on its teachings regarding th~ relations between believers. It is forbidden, for example, for two Muslims to start a whispering conversation in the presence of the third. This might offend the one left out and weaken the Brotherhood. It is not permissible for a Muslim to sever relations with his brother for more than three days. "It is
sufficient evil for a Muslim that he should look down upon his brother. The life, wealth,and honour of a Muslim are inviolable by another Muslim." [Sahih Muslim]. The books of hadith are full of such teachings.
Universal brotherhood: The Holy Quran aims at removing all differertces of mankind and created a universal brotherhood, Thus it is said: "Mankind was one unified community" and "Then they differed" (10:19). In these verses it has been explained that to begin with mankind was a single brotherhood; afterwards they created differences amongst themselves. (2:213).
In case of the mutual (reciprocal) relations of individuals in the society it is stated in the Qur'an that "The believers are but a single brotherhood, so reconcile between your two contending brothers. While doing so, do not forget that both of them are your brethren and your decision should be according to the Divine Laws, without any favour or bias. This shall enable your society to become worthy of Allah's favours." (49:10). If at anytime, conflict between any two factions of the Mumineen reaches a stage of actual fighting, even then make peace amongst them, and if one commits excesses, call him to account.
l-Iajj consolidates faith.~ Imam All (a.s) says:"Allah. has made obligatory upon you,.. the pilgrimage (Hajj), for it consolidates faith." Religion, too, which is the source of happiness for man in this world and the Hereafter, might be weakened as a result of the negative propaganda of the foreigners from outside and excess of lusts from within as well as temptations for committing sins in a way that Muslims' faith will be undermined. The call to Hajj certainly blows a new spirit into the body of the Ummah.The survival of the religion in the Ummah depends on the survival of the Kaaba and revival of the Hajj rites. In this relation, Imam Sadiq (a.s) says:
"As long as the Kaaba is upright, the religion will not perish."
Problems to ensure sustainable Islamic brotherhood:
Two unfortunate developments in this century have impaired this Islamic brotherhood.The first was the destruction of Khilafah and the emergence of independent nation-states in the Muslim world. This made it possible for "national interests" to be declared that are at cross-purposes to the interests of the brotherhood. Not only that, it destroyed the means for both defining and defending the brotherhood interests. The second development was the emergence of the United Nations Organization and the participation of individual Muslim nation-states in it, solely at its terms. The U.N. was and remains an organization of unequal powers, designed to perpetuate that inequality. Its purpose was to establish hegemony of the Western alliance over the rest of the world--- not for any higher moral purpose but solely for economic exploitation. Its very structure (with real decision making in the hands of a few in the Security Council guaranteed the disenfranchisement of the weak, and the entire Muslim world found itself in that category at the end of colonialism. While the U.N. has failed miserably in its declared goals, it has been tremendously successful in the real ones. While it promised peace and justice, it has delivered death and destruction, exploitation and oppression. It provided legal cover for the first U.S.- Iraq war in 1991.
It facilitated the carnage in Bosnia by tying the hands of the victims. It has perpetuated genocide in Iraq through the imposition of the most brutal economic sanctions in the history of the world, resulting in death of a million people through starvation and disease.
When giving commands regarding the Islamic brotherhood, the Quran uses a beautiful style with a profound message. Instead of saying, "greet each other" it says, "greet yourself." [An-Nur 24:61]. Instead of saying, "do not defame each other," it says, "do not defame yourself." [AI-Hujurat 49:111. Instead ofsaying,"do not kill each other," itsays,"donot kill yourself." [An-Nisaa 4:29]. The message is clear:
Whatever is happening to others in the brotherhood, is actually happening to yourself. Any aggression against any part of the Brotherhood is an aggression against all of it.We must free the Brotherhood from the servitude to the ideology of nation-states and the unjust international organizations so we can stop killing ourselves.
Hajj and klamic brotherhood: All the afore-mentioned benefits are some of the life-giving effects of Hajj on the society.Yet this great assembly is held every year but Muslim nations face one another with suspicion, fear one another, and depart without having created any kind of understanding, getting to know one another, and without becoming aware of the treacherous conspiracies hatched for them from outside. It is really surprising that the power of the religion can hold such great assembly in a single time and place of the ummah but the foreigners' negative propaganda and destructive colonialist plots cause such dispersion among the ummah that they are dispersed while being together. Such an outlook saddened the Holy Prophet (saw) fourteen centuries ago so much that he expressed his worries about the future of the ummah in the Sacred House and warned Muslims against it among other bitter events.