Social, Spiritual, and Political Effects of Hajj
In the words of Imam Khomeini: “Regrettably, many Muslims, have become oblivious of the political dimension of this exalted worship, due to their own deviation, or, misunderstanding of some individuals or conspiracies by some self-seeking functionaries.” He also said: “The Hajj obligation which entails saying ‘Labbayk’ to Allah and departure from the ego towards the Supreme Being, by the blessed guidance of Abraham and Muhammad, in fact this is a station for negation of all idols and the tyrants of the time, and the devils and the devil breed…”
Hajj is the life and blood of the concept of Tawheed. Hajj is the most vivid manifestation of belief in Tawheed. Hajj is the open and defying negation of all false gods. Hajj is refutation of all false parameters of greatness made and maintained by ignorance and arrogance. Hajj is the most evident and effective lesson of equality and brotherhood to mankind. Hajj is the foundation stone of unity in one belief and faith in One God. Hajj destroys racism, murders casteism, eradicates regionalism, eliminates nationalism, and systematically annihilates polytheism from the minds of worshipers gathered in His house under His watch to submit before His will.
Hajj is the most complete worship and the most comprehensive act of submission before the Lord of the Worlds. Hajj is hope for humanity wounded by materialism and robbed by polytheism. Hajj disciplines the human, teaches Tawheed, purifies the soul, creates unity with other fellow believers without arrogance, prepares the mind for death, ushers in a feeling of humbleness, and – most importantly – strengthens the faith of a true believer in Him.
Imam Ali (peace be upon him) says: “Allah has made obligatory upon you…the pilgrimage, for it consolidates the faith.” (Nahj al-Balagha)
Social Philosophy of Hajj
Hajj is the symbol of unity and universality. Of all the rites of Islam, the Hajj is the greatest in manifestation of unity and Tawheed
The Hajj: Foundation of Unity
The problems of life can be solved by social cooperation, which is dependent on understanding among nations.The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) said on the mount of Arafat:
“O people, surely your 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.” (Tuhaf al-Uqool)
The Hajj is the most vivid manifestation and lesson of this equality: all dress in similar kind of clothes, all bow before One Lord, all are in the search of one Beloved, all seek one destination, all acknowledge the One Power and all deny all false gods.
The Ka’ba: Sanctuary for Peace
Our Lord says in the Qur’an: “And when We made the House a pilgrimage for men and a (place of) security.” (2:125)
Our Merciful Lord appointed the Ka’ba as the forum where we all can assemble and feel at home, with surety that no harm or oppression would be done to any creation of Allah. The Ka’ba is a secure place for all human beings against the fear of oppression and injustice. Allah has made the Ka’ba so sacred that even in the most remote parts of the earth Muslims show respect towards it. It is also secure and a place full of justice that all differences of wealth, might, race, caste and other statuses are nullified by making all people wear similar clothing, creating respect between all the creations of Allah as everyone follows the same course.
The Ka’ba: Emblem of Islam
In traditions, the Holy Ka’ba has been regarded as the emblem of Islam. Imam Ali says: “Allah the Glorified has made it (the Sacred House) an emblem for Islam.” (Nahj al-Balagha)
The pilgrimage represents the essence and spirit of Islam. Allah has made the Ka’ba an emblem for Islam so that those who err in recognizing the truth of this religion and its deductive programs may reflect upon the Hajj rites and its spiritual effects on Muslims, and thereby find the true nature of Islam – the religion of purity and sincerity, away from polytheism and what is ungodly. The Hajj reflects the essence of Islam: complete devotion towards Him, self-sacrifice, equality, and no discrimination on the basis of colour, race, caste, wealth or might.
Spiritual Effects Of Hajj
The external acts of Hajj symbolize the spiritual stages of the Prophets and Imams. Hajj is the display of the spiritual journey of His devotees and the stages of servitude. The essence of worship is the journey towards Allah, and the external acts of Hajj – if devoid of presence of the heart – are not considered as worship. The Holy Prophet said: “The daily prayer, Hajj, circumambulation, and other rites are aimed at remembering Allah. But when there is no remembrance of Him in your heart, what value will your oral remembrance have?” (Jaami’us-Sa’aadat)
Worship is the journey of the soul and a continued spiritual life in divine light. A true Hajj is the evolution of one’s soul.The Hajj has deep and wonderful influences on the spiritual life of Hajjis. It gives them a new life and a new direction; most of the Hajjis, after returning back after completing the Hajj, are full of determination. We must take care that after returning from Hajj, we should not go back to committing sins.The purpose of the Hajj is purification of soul and refinement of faith. The rites of Hajj are particularly unappealing to human mood – staying in the open, walking bare-foot, throwing of stones at Satan, facing sun and cold of night, and many other such rites which would not appeal so much to us in other situations. But the purpose behind all such rites is to make man humble and submissive in entirety before His Lord.
Political Effects of Hajj
Hajj is a grand international assembly and forum of Muslims. It has great political aspects. This is the right season and the right place to protest against the arrogant oppressors of the world. This is the place where big haughty superpowers should be made to know that Muslims are the servants of none except the Almighty Allah.
In the words of Imam Khomeini: “Regrettably, many Muslims, have become oblivious of the political dimension of this exalted worship, due to their own deviation, or, misunderstanding of some individuals or conspiracies by some self-seeking functionaries.”
He also said: “The Hajj obligation which entails saying ‘Labbayk‘ to Allah and departure from the ego towards the Supreme Being, by the blessed guidance of Abraham and Muhammad, in fact this is a station for negation of all idols and the tyrants of the time, and the devils and the devil breed…”
Hajj: Focus of Strife Against Arrogance
At this sacred place, tyranny must be opposed and the struggle of Muslims against arrogant superpowers must be brought into focus.
Imam Khomeini said: “Sacrifice yourselves and your dear ones in order to enact and promote Allah’s religion and divine justice. He taught us all, that Mecca and Mina are alters of the attached devotees, and the sites for promoting monotheism and negating polytheism, as, attachment to one’s life and dear ones, is also counted polytheism.”
It would be most appropriate to quote Imam Khomeini’s statement at this place describing the philosophy of rites performed during Hajj: “While repeating ‘Labbayk‘, say ‘no’ to all idols and cry out ‘no’ to all the princes of the devils and the prince kins of the devils; and while circumambulating Allah’s sanctuary which denotes your love to Allah, disengage your hearts from the rest, and purge your soul from phobias of other than Allah. And along with your love to Allah, divulge your hatred of the little and big idols and the devils and their affiliates, as the Exalted Allah and His friends have expressed hatred of them, and all the liberated people of the world do hate them.
“And while touching the Black Stone, pledge to Allah to turn into an enemy against the enemies of Allah, His Messengers, the liberated and pious men and never yield to them, no matter who and where they might be. And wipe away phobia and inferiority from your hearts, for Allah’s enemies – and above them all, the arch Satan – are themselves helpless, though being superior in committing homicide and suppression and the implementation of crimes…”
Dislike of Paganism
Hajj, the biggest manifestation of Tawheed, must be an occasion for making obvious our hatred for pagan beliefs.
On this topic, Imam Khomeini said: “Airing disgust at the pagans, being a pillar of monotheism and political necessity of Hajj, must be performed with as much grandeur and dignity as possible.”