The huge gathering of Hajj has the potential to greatly benefit the Islamic nation and even the world. However, like many other great phenomenon the Islamic-Abrahamic Hajj ceremony has been now and then subject to some deviation from its genuine path.
It is usually said that Chapter Al-Fatiha (The Opening), the first chapter of the Holy Qur’an, epitomizes this Holy Scripture. It reads, “Oh Allah we ask you help, and we serve thee. Please guide us to the right path” (1:5-6). This is an integral part of all prayers by Muslims even the time that it is performed by an individual when there is nobody else. The individual asks God’s grace on behalf of all other people who belong to all religions, all races, all cultures and all geographical areas. The one who performs and upholds prayer asks God to guide all to the right path including he himself or she herself.
Guidance is the highest manifestation of God’s benevolence in comparison with His all other bounties and blessings. Since human beings are in essence souls belonging to God, coming from Him and returning to Him and since He Himself is the highest blessing as absolute beauty, absolute calmness, and absolute love, reaching Him needs guidance. However, God Himself emphasized the social aspect of this guidance. That is why Muslims uphold their prayers in group. For five times in a day beginning from the dawn to the beginning of darkness at night they perform prayer, and it is highly recommended to perform prayers congregationally. It is not just a physical gathering. Although people gather together to ask for God’s blessings, they consider this gathering also as a great opportunity to communicate with each other.
From the time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) these gatherings were opportunities. Prophet (pbuh) in these gatherings discussed the social and political issues of their own society and the world. He paid attention to the poor people and tried to improve their condition with the help of the other people as their sisters and brothers either in faith or in creation. People in these acts of charity went beyond selfish and egoistic types of spirituality which is confined to personal spiritual elevation without having concern for other creatures of God. In Islam the difficulties and problems of other people belonging to other houses, tribes, cultures, races, nations and religions are not their own businesses. A Muslim could not be a Muslim if he or she is indifferent towards the calamity and disaster which afflict another human being.
As mentioned above, in Chapter Al-Fatiha Muslims asks help in group and serve God in group. They ask God to guide them to the right path and help them to avoid the path of the people who were afflicted with His wrath or the people who were deviated from the right path as the people who were lost. Chapter Al-Fatiha as the epitome of the Qur’an has a social nature. Guidance up to a great extent is the issue of all people. A person who is indifferent to worldly life of the poor, the sick and oppressed people is not guided to the right path. Also a person who is not on guard against the oppressors of the poor people is not guided. Having at least heart sympathy towards the oppressed ones and having heartfelt anger against the oppressors equals loving God. That is loving God and His creatures and hating the ones who oppress His creatures physically, mentally or spiritually is the essence of guidance.
The guided person is always struggling against everything which creates a distance between him or her and God. These obstacles could be individual or social, but the individual is not separated from the social and social is related to the individual. If someone wants to test her or his purity and devotion to God, the person should see how far he or she can communicate with the bad temper of the family, colleagues, townspeople, countrymen, or people from other nations, races and cultures. In Islam, without spiritual self-discipline, without individual and personal fighting against the spirit of arrogance, without avoiding disobedience before/to God, one cannot have a purely guided behavior and intention in a social scale.
In the like manner, without sacrificing all individual idols, gods, Pharaohs and oppressors who enslave man’s soul in one’s heart, one cannot fight against social enslaving oppressors or Pharaohs. This is a struggle against enslaving oppressors or polytheism which takes place simultaneously at two levels: individual and social.
Hajj pilgrimage is a glorious manifestation of this fighting against polytheism at two levels of social and individual in a global scale. All believers from all over the world from all nations, all races, all cultures, all ages and all genders come to such a magnificent gathering. It is a unique opportunity to communicate about all social and global problems in the manner of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). It is in the spirit of the Prophet and the Holy Qur’an to express love in a global scale. All believers express their unity in their unlimited and unbounded love for God. At the same time, all believers express their hatred against all oppressive and enslaving Pharaohs in all times who want to put human beings in physical and spiritual bondage.
This glorious spirit which was directed against colonization and all forms of oppression was made still, passive and inactive for many decades especially after the rise of British and American imperialism. These pharaohs or enslaving oppressors very carefully watched over against such a glorious spirit in the Muslim world and prevented it by some colonized versions of Islam. Nonetheless the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran under the leadership of Imam Khomeini as the leader of the people broke this imperialist spell. Under his guidance many Muslims, inspired by his revolt against imperialism, in the Hajj ceremony were reminded and realized the collective, social and political concerns inherent in Islam and as a result declared their anger against the Pharaohs of their time, namely the satanic imperil-colonial American and other western states. So in a sense, the symbolic “stoning of the devil” (as a ritual in the Hajj ceremony) was realized and concretized via outspokenly expressing anger, protest and dissatisfaction at imperialist and colonialist states as fake gods of their time as the manifestations of Satan.
Hajj in a non-colonized and genuine sense denounces the satanic imperialism and its servants who drop atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, use chemical weapons against the innocent civilians in Iraq and Iran, impose war, poverty, insecurity, death and mass dislocation on the oppressed people of Palestine, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Vietnam, and African countries; it rises against those who conduct coup d’état against democratically elected governments in Chile, Nicaragua, Algeria, Egypt and impose poverty on the black people in America and Africa as well as Asia; against those who exploit Ireland, physically and culturally colonize poor indigenous Canadian school children and tyrannize Latin American countries as their own colonized backyard.
Abrahamic Hajj by definition is in conflict with the ideology (and the states that nourish and propagate this ideology) that corrupts nations through sex, drug and gun industry. Indeed, the real Islamic Hajj recognizes the just mentioned instances as the manifestations of Satan, and therefore, urges all Muslims and even all free truth-seeking individuals to stand against them. However, the satanic imperialism tries to present a colonized version of Islam and Hajj which is totally indifferent towards the Satan and Pharaoh of our time. It encourages a Hajj pilgrimage confined to some rituals which stops at the surface level and takes distance from the revolutionary and purifying movement of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) whose prophethood was in line with the movement of Prophet Moses and Prophet Jesus (pbut) as well as other holy prophets of God.
Imam Khamenei, the present Leader of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, like Imam Khomeini emphasized the active and vibrant Hajj in contrast to a colonized, passive Hajj. In his annual messages to the Hajj ceremony, he stresses on many issues; while among these issues two have always been present: first, the unity of Islamic nation, second, avoiding and condemning the false gods of our time in theory and practice. In this regard, in his message on 2019, Imam Khamenei described Hajj ceremony as the time for “refusing every instance of mercilessness, cruelty, wrongdoing and corruption of the tyrants of any time, and rising against intimidation and extortion by the arrogant throughout history…”, he further added, “Today, repudiating the front of shirk [polytheism] and kufr [disbelief] made up of the arrogant powers—the foremost of them being the U.S.—equals refusing the killing of the oppressed, and waging wars. It equals condemning the sources of terrorism, including ISIS and the American Black Water.”
In Prophet Muhammad’s tradition, love of God without fighting against polytheism could be empty beautiful words. That is why the most important Islamic slogan and prayer is: first, there are no gods; second, there is only one God. La ilaha illallah! This initial negation is so important for a believer that before the beginning of every action, a believer must first take refuge to God from the mischief of Satan, who is stoned, and then exactly in the Name of Allah who is benevolent and merciful embark on the action.