Hajj: Some Forgotten Qur’anic Injunctions

Developing Just Leadership

Zafar Bangash

Dhu al-Qa'dah 12, 1444 2023-06-01


by Zafar Bangash (Opinion, Crescent International Vol. 53, No. 4, Dhu al-Qa'dah, 1444)

Of all the ibadaat (religious observances) in Islam, Hajj is perhaps the most arduous. Pilgrims have to travel from their place of abode to Makkah. It is like performing the hijrah (migration) even if it is for a limited time period. The manasik (sequence of steps undertaken to complete the performance of Hajj) are quite arduous and require patience and perseverance.

It is also rich in symbolism. Muslims perform Hajj in fulfillment of the Sunnah of Ibrahim (as) and Ismail (as) as well as Ismail’s mother Hajar (as). It represents their submission to Allah’s commands that outwardly appeared to be extremely challenging. Ordinary human beings would find them virtually impossible to perform were they asked to undertake them. But they were not ordinary human beings. Both the father and son were prophets of Allah. Hajar was the wife of one prophet and the mother of another. By any reckoning, they were all extraordinary human beings.

For their sacrifices and submission to Allah, their acts became compulsory parts of our ibadat. Thus, Hajj is among the ibadaat that every Muslim with the means must perform once in a lifetime. The means refer to both financial and health. Thus, a person in poor health should not undertake this arduous journey. A poor man who cannot fulfill his daily needs is not required to perform Hajj.

Muslims throughout the world save for this once in a lifetime experience. How this obligation is performed and whether Muslims are missing out on certain important aspects of Hajj need to be considered.

It is safe to say that if asked, an average Muslim would rattle off the steps that are needed to complete the performance of Hajj. These include the tawaf (circumambulation of the Ka‘aba seven times), running between the hills of Safa and Marwa seven times, and partaking of water from the well of Zam Zam which would complete what is referred to as Umrah.

On the eighth of Dhul Hijjah the pilgrims, wearing ihram (two pieces of unstitched cloth) head out from Makkah to Mina for the night. Early next morning, they go to Arafat to spend the day there. The afternoon Khutbah at Masjid al-Nimra is part of the Hajj rituals. Pilgrims also stand on Jabal ar-Rahmah (the Mount of Mercy) to pray for forgiveness, following the Sunnah of the noble Messenger (pbuh).

Before sunset, the pilgrims set out for Mizdalifah, a barren valley to perform their Maghrib and Isha Salats together. They are required to sleep under the open sky. This is the toughest part of Hajj. If there is wind, it blows sand into one’s nose and mouth. Small pebbles are collected at Muzdalifah for the stoning of the devils during the next three days when they arrive back in Mina.

Most Muslims are familiar with these rituals. These are drummed into their heads by the guide, often an Imam. The emphasis on rituals is deliberate. The Qur’anic commands that relate to open declaration of dissociation from the powers of shirk at the time of Hajj are seldom, if ever mentioned. Committed Muslims that try to draw attention to these Qur’anic injunctions are accused of “politicizing” it. Those in control of the affairs of Hajj insist that Muslims must perform the Hajj as they are told by the occupiers of the Haramayn, not what the Qur’an says (nastaghfirullah).

Let us remind ourselves of the divine words in the majestic Qur’an that challenge the Saudi-style dumbing down of Hajj: “And a proclamation from Allah and His Apostle [is herewith made] to all mankind on this day of the Greatest Pilgrimage [Hajj], ‘Allah disavows all who attribute divinity/authority to any beside Him, and [so does] His Apostle…’” (9:03).

Allah (swt) commands Muslims to proclaim their dissociation from mushrik powers, especially at the time of Hajj; yet the Saudi occupiers of the Hijaz and the Arabian Peninsula insist that Muslims must not bring up such matters during Hajj. Perhaps they fear that Muslims coming of age may indict the felonious khadims as being mushriks themselves.

Under what Islamic injunction do the illegitimate rulers and their court ‘ulama make such pronouncements? Are Muslims required to fulfill their obligations according to the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the noble Messenger (pbuh) or abide by the oppressive policies of the Bani Saud?

The Muslim world faces numerous challenges, imperialism and zionism being the most serious. The annual assembly of Hajj, the largest gathering of Muslims anywhere in the world, offers a great opportunity to discuss these burning issues and to try and seek solutions to them. Before the Najdi Bedouins were installed in power by the British colonialists, Muslims from all parts of the world would gather at Hajj to hold discussions about the challenges they faced in their respective locales. Many Islamic movements gained strength from such discussions.

Today, unfortunately, such discussions are forbidden. If Muslims cannot raise these issues at the time of Hajj, where else should they turn to plead their case with Allah (swt)? Why should the policy preferences of Bani Saud take precedence over the teachings of the Qur’an?

Muslims must rise up against such restrictions and liberate the Haramayn from the clutches of the Bedouins from the backwaters of the Arabian Peninsula. They must not be swayed by the recent changes introduced by the Bani Saud. Determined resistance to their inhumane policies forced them to change course, even if they may abandon them again.

If similar effort is made regarding the liberation of Makkah and Madinah from their clutches, there is a good chance that Hajj will be restored to its divinely-prescribed path. Liberation of the Haramayn must, therefore, become an urgent priority of the global Islamic movement.

Related Articles

Reflections from Hajj

Mustafa Ali
Muharram 04, 1430 2009-01-01

Who should Administer the Affairs of Hajj?

Dhu al-Hijjah 02, 1443 2022-07-01

Hajj (Pilgrimage)

Ali Shariati
Sha'ban 11, 1426 2005-09-15
Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Use
Copyrights © 1436 AH
Sign In
Forgot Password?
Not a Member? Signup