by Editor (Editorials, Crescent International Vol. 51, No. 5, Dhu al-Hijjah, 1443)
Hajj is one of the obligations Muslims must perform once in their lifetime if they have the means to do so. It is an arduous undertaking requiring travel from their place of abode (migration), going to a distant land and performing the various rituals required to complete the process of Hajj. True, modern means of transportation have made travel easy. Today, most pilgrims arrive by air. In the past, the most common means of transportation was on foot, or at best a boat or ship that docked at the port of Jeddah.
While the means of transportation may have made travel easy, the Saudis have introduced quite arbitrary rules that violate the very spirit of Hajj. Following two years of restrictions due to the pandemic, Muslims were looking forward to performing Hajj this year as some of the restrictions were eased. Even though the Saudis said only one million pilgrims will be allowed from outside the kingdom, that was still welcomed news.
As Muslims hastened to make bookings for Hajj through the usual avenues—travel agents—the Saudis threw another spanner in the process. They announced that Muslims residing in North America, Europe and Australia wishing to perform the pilgrimage must register through the Saudi Motawif portal. Further, that there will be a lottery to determine who gets to perform Hajj this year. Lottery is a form of gambling. It is haram (forbidden) in Islam.
While completely uncalled for and meant to merely gouge the well-off pilgrims because the prices the Motawifs charge are far higher than what the travel agents were charging, there was another bomb that was dropped. It was discovered that a Hindu fascist outfit was involved in the application process. How insulting that Hindus should decide which Muslims can perform the Hajj. Even the mushriks of Makkah did not impose such conditions despite their well-known practices of jahiliyyah.
There were other disasters awaiting prospective pilgrims. First, the Motawif portal crashed. Those that had managed to get through started to receive hundreds of junk emails. Their personal details were also given to Hindu fascists. Their hatred of Muslims needs no elaboration. They are attacking and murdering innocent Muslims in India and have made no secret of exterminating them. Why would the Saudis use a Hindu outfit, and a fascist one at that for processing Hajj applications? Couldn’t they find a Muslim company anywhere in the world to do the job?
We have on numerous occasions drawn attention to the fact that Hajj is the common heritage of the Muslim Ummah. Its affairs are also the common responsibility of the Ummah. Until 1957, the Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan used to pay £25 million annually to Saudi Arabia to cover the expenses of Hajj. The Saudis were quite happy to receive such a huge sum of money—in those days, £25 million was a lot of money—based on the clear understanding that the affairs of Hajj were the responsibility of the entire Ummah. The Saudis stopped receiving this money once oil revenues started to flow in huge quantities to fill their coffers.
Today, the administration of Hajj needs to be under the control of technically competent Muslims who can manage large crowds. Over the years, the Saudis have shown themselves to be completely incompetent. Almost every year there are horrors of pilgrims dying in stampedes. In recent years, the stampede at Mina in 2015 resulted in thousands of deaths. Many pilgrims’ bodies were dumped in mass graves.
Here is a short list of what is wrong with the Saudi management (or mismanagement) of Hajj.
What is to be done and who should do it?
It is the responsibility of the global Islamic movement to divest the Bani Saud’s control of the affairs of Hajj. A committee of senior muttaqi ulama (scholars) from all Schools of Thought should be constituted. This committee should issue a joint declaration demanding that the Bani Saud hand over the two holy cities of Makkah and al-Madinah (jointly called the Haramain) to the authority of these scholars. If the Bani Saud refuse, then their polluted presence must be physically removed from the holy cities.
Nothing less would do. Muslims must take note that there is a great danger to the Haramain falling under the control of the zionists. Their maps show Madinah as part of their of ‘greater’ Israel plan. The Bani Saud are mere facilitators of this diabolical plot.