The Faith & the Filth: Performing Hajj in 1427

Suc50005 [UPDATE: Asma and I were interviewed for the NPR show Weekend America about our Hajj experiences. It aired this past Saturday 1/13. You can listen to the interview here.]

Ali Shariati, an Iranian intellectual and political activist, member of The Movement of God-worshipping Socialists, called the Hajj an “antithesis to aimlessness” (1994, p. 1), in the sense that it is a break in the routine of our daily lives and comforts, a physical dislocation from the familiarity of our surroundings intended to deliver a shock not only to the soul but to the body. For the Hajj is not only a spiritual but a social learning experience, a simulated migration involving masses of pilgrims converging in a small corner of the Arabian desert; a test of one’s devotion, empathy, patience… and immune system. There was nothing to prepare me for any of this, however, as I started my Hajj accompanied by my wife in December of 2006, or the month of Dhul-Hijjah in the year 1427 according to the Muslim calendar. What follows are some reflections on my experience.

Some exercises in spiritual renewal involve a retreat into the solitude of nature or the quietness of the inner self, and focus on the cleansing of the body and the mind. The Hajj, on the other hand, hits you with the sudden force of 3 million people from all corners of the world descending on the vicinity of Mecca (in Saudi Arabia) over a period of a week —probably the largest flash mob of our times. It is an awesome enactment of the unity and purposefulness of God’s creation. It is also an apocalyptic laboratory of pandemic viral outbreaks. The environment the pilgrims create is not what one would think of as being conducive to spiritual growth: they bring sickness, pollution, selfishness, prejudice, tiredness, and the bad temper these combined factors create. When you are stuck in a bus inhaling carbon monoxide for 12 hours (moving all of 6 kilometers during that time), hungry, tired, sleepy and in need to go to the bathroom, and you and everyone around you has some form of respiratory ailment or is in the process of getting one, what chance of realizing taqwa —consciousness of God— can possibly exist?

But the pilgrims also bring devotion, communal love, compassion, a predisposition to solidarity, and a thirst for knowledge. Perhaps it is the impact of the collective worshiping that facilitates an awareness of the divine amidst the grimy reality of the world. As a Muslim, you face a particular direction when praying, as does every other Muslim in the world. But when you actually reach the focal point of the prostration —the Ka’bah— and witness masses of people bowing down in synchronicity, the collectivity of the action takes over a certain part of the consciousness. Perhaps it is this mob mentality, increasingly associated with Muslims in the media, that scares the individualistic sensibilities of the West. (If I was still doing film theory, I would like to explore the connection between the re-emergence of the zombie genre film and post 9/11 Islamophobia…)

Some basics: For Muslims, performing Hajj at least once during a lifetime (if one has the financial means to afford it) is a requirement. Along with the belief in the unity of God, prayer, charity, and fasting during the month of Ramadan, Hajj is one of the fundamental pillars of Islam. Before the era of modern transportation, the journey to perform Hajj could take months, and it was dangerous enough that some people would’nt survive it. While air travel has made the trip easier, the explosion in attendance has introduced a new set of safety threats, mostly related to health issues and mass stampedes. The ritual involves, in short, visiting certain areas around the city of Mecca:

Arafat (9th of Dhul-Hijja, daytime), where God asked humanity to stand on this particular day and promised to forgive whatever one asks mercy for.

The scene is like the day of judgement [the two pieces of unstitched white cloth one wears during Hajj are the same style Muslims are buried in]. From one horizon to the other, a “flood of whites” appears. All the people are wearing the Kafan. No one can be recognized. The bodies were left in Miqat and the souls are motivated here. Names, races, nor social status make a difference in this great combination. An atmosphere of genuine unity prevails. It is a human show of Allah’s unity. (Shariati, 1994, p. 10)

Muzdalifah (9th of Dhul-Hijja, night), where one is supposed to spend the night in the open desert, praying and collecting pebbles with which to symbolically fight the devil the next day. In actuality, most of our time was spent looking for a place to park.

Mina (10th to 13th of Dhul-Hijja), where one spends these days waging battle with the devil (one’s own weaknesses), and where the Saudi government has set up a camp of thousands of tents which become a veritable slum during this time. On the 10th, after the first ‘stoning of Satan,’ this is also where men shave their heads, remove their white clothes, and where a sacrifice is offered (the sacrificial meat is meant to feed the pilgrims as well as the poor).

Mecca (10th to 13th of Dhul-Hijja), where the Holy Mosque, that houses the Ka’bah, is located. This one and the Prophet’s mosque in Medina are the two Holy Mosques of Islam, open only to Muslims (which I guess adds to their mystery in the eyes of non-Muslims).

Since information about the specifics of Hajj can be found elsewhere, I will instead offer some disjointed, non-chronological snapshots of my experience.

Muslims on a plane

The flight from JFK to Amman is packed with ‘Arab’-looking men reading the Qur’an. It occurs to me that had this been a regular flight with any non-Muslims on board, the national security threat level would have gone up a couple of notches.

Suc50025
Monolith

The Ka’bah is a recognizable icon: it is the black cube built by the prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) and his family to venerate the One God. It is not meant to be a representation of God —it is but a simple, empty black structure. Instead, it is meant to serve as an attractor or anchor which allows Muslims to express their belief in the unity of God. The act of circling the Ka’bah in counterclockwise direction seven times is called Tawaf. It is an awesome spectacle: a black smooth cubical structure exerting some sort of magnetic attraction which brings people from every corner of the world. All Muslims bow down in the direction of the Ka’bah at the prescribed prayer times, but to see the prostration of thousands of Muslims of all ethnicities converging on one single point, men side by side with women, gives a visual significance to that act that is unforgettable.

Ismail

Given that the Ka’bah was built by Ibrahim, his story plays a central role during Hajj. According to Shariati, Hajj is about each one of us identifying and sacrificing our Ismail.

… whatever weakens your faith, whatever stops you from “going”, whatever distracts you from accepting responsibilities, whatever causes you to be self-centered, whatever makes you unable to hear the message and confess the truth, whatever forces you to “escape”, whatever causes you to rationalize for the sake of convenience, whatever makes you blind and deaf… that is your Ismail!

God asked Ibrahim to sacrifice what was most precious to him in this world: his son Ismail. One cannot claim to follow monotheism and at the same time set partners with God (worship or love other things beside God). These false partners with God can take the form of material goods, or our bodies, lifestyles, desired fame, jobs, or our own families. God asked Ibrahim to sacrifice his son not because God is bloodthirsty, but because monotheism accepts no substitutions — there is no ontological ambiguity here: it is the death of the self, absolute submission to a will larger than our own.

Of course, once Ibrahim demonstrates that he is ready to carry out the sacrifice, God stops him. It was only a test. We are all tested in a similar manner throughout our lives, and most often fail. I know what my Ismail is, but will I have the strength to make the sacrifice?

Crush

There is that moment when you go from a theoretical to a practical understanding of what it means to be crushed by a mass of people. It is not any one individual’s fault. The mass acquires a will of its own. You find yourself surrounded by people on all sides, pushing in opposite directions. Telling the people next to you to stop pushing is futile, as they themselves are being pushed by somebody else, the source being somewhere far away. You are simply experiencing the accumulated aggregation of a thousand little pushes. No one can stop it. You move without necessarily using your feet. Bodies are jammed so close together that eventually there is no room for the lungs to expand. If the situation worsens, you realize you could asphixiate. Fortunately, this does not happen this time. The force finds other outlets.

Clash

Upon entering Mecca, we are handed a Guide to Hajj, Umra, and Visiting the Prophet’s Mosque, written by the “Agency Of Islamic Enlightenment in Hajj, approved by The Permanent Committee of Islamic Research and Fatwa and Shaikh Muhammad Bin Saleh Al-Uthaimin (May Allah have mercy on him).” It is a gift from “Your Highness Prince King Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud.” It contains some useful information, but I am particularly intrigued by a section called The Things That Nullify Iman (a sort of “you know you are no longer a believer if…” kind of list). This is where State ideology meets religious practice. Apart from the usual stuff (setting up equals to God), Article 4 states:

Anyone who believes that some guidance other than the Prophet’s guidance is more perfect, or a judgement other than the prophet’s judgment is better, has become an unbeliever. This applies to those who prefer the rule of the Evil One (Taghut) over the Prophet’s rule. Some examples are:

(a) To believe that systems and laws made by human beings are better than the Shari’ah of Islam, for example:

(i) That the Islamic system is not suitable for application in the twentieth century.

(ii) Or that the Islamic system is the cause of backwardness of muslims.

(iii) Or that Islam is only a relationship between a man (sic) and His Lord, and does not have any relations with other aspects of life.

(b) To say that working with the judgments of Allah in enforcing the punishments prescribed by Allah, such as cutting off the hand of a thief, or stoning an adulterer is not suitable in this day and age.

(c) To believe that it is permissible to rule by a law other than what Allah has revealed in Islamic transactions or matters of criminal justice and similar affairs, even if he does not believe that such rulings are superior to the Shari’ah. This is because by doing so he would be declaring as permissible something which Allah made impermissible, such as adultery, drinking alcohol, or usury, and similar things whose prohibition is common knowledge to all, such a person has become an unbeliever according to the consensus of all muslims.

In short, anyone living outside of Saudi Arabia is an unbeliever. But by the way, isn’t the Shari’ah made and modified by (a select group of) human beings? And should a judgment which authorities claim is derived from the practice of the Prophet be taken as valid even if it contradicts the Qur’an? And where in the Qur’an exactly does it say that the punishment for adultery is stoning to death? And… oh, forget it. The only comforting thing about inhaling gas fumes is that they are a reminder that oil kingdoms will one day go up in smoke.

Voiceless

Entering Mina, you cannot believe your eyes. It is a city —or more accurately, a slum— of thousands of identical tents. There are 3 million people living here, but not all of them can afford a tent. All the roads and sidewalks are crammed with poor people’s make-shift camps. It’s hard to walk without having to step over some family sleeping on the ground, or cooking, or going to the bathroom. It is filthy. Bulldozers push piles of trash to clear the roads. Police cars constantly patrol the area and force people sleeping on the roads to move in order to clear the roads so that cars transporting more people and provisions can go through. There are ‘sections’ for different nationalities: Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Turkey, Iraq, Indonesia, and on and on. It is a microcosm of the world. Of course, the European and American camps are surrounded by a fence and the tents are considered ‘upgraded’, although you wouldn’t know it by looking at the bathroom stalls which double as showers, and which are perpetually flooded.

By the time we reach our camp, I am sick as a dog. My cold has gone from viral to bacterial, a doctor traveling with our group informs me. I completely lose my voice, which I take as a positive step towards the death of the self. The doctor says I should start taking antibiotics. We brought one course for my wife, which she took when she began her cold almost as soon as we reached Saudi Arabia (she is quite susceptible to respiratory problems). A Muslim brother, who overhears our conversation (I mostly communicate by grunts and signs) offers me his medication. I say I feel bad taking the antibiotics —what if he needs them later? He insists. He says, with a smile, that I should allow him to earn the reward of a good deed. In our tent, people are sharing their medication and food, and looking out for each other. It is only a spontaneous and momentary show of communal solidarity, but it’s genuine and touching. One forgets the value of such moments in restoring one’s faith in humanity. My wife, however, informs me that in the sisters’ tent the good will is not as abundant.

Rhythm

When you have the opportunity to pray at one of the two holy mosques, you try to take advantage, despite the crowds. Sometimes you can’t even make it inside, and have to pray in the courtyard, or even on the dirty streets. The azzan, or call to prayer, sets the rhythm of your life: you sleep little, eat little, and try to spend as much time as possible in the mosque.

Cell phone

Yes, even in the holiest place and at the holiest time you will not escape the curse of the ringtone, and someone saying in a foreign language what I imagine to be something like: “Hey, what’s up? Nothing, just going around the Ka’bah…” They receive some disapproving stares and maybe a chastising comment, but this does not seem to dissuade them one bit.

Patience

When the bureaucracy of the Saudi government is coupled with the ineptitude of the Hajj guides, you are constantly reminded that part of the purpose of Hajj is to learn patience. At first you are insulted at the insinuation that you are a bad pilgrim, but eventually you realize you have no options. Things will unfold completely outside your control.

Aunties

After a while, you become one with the shoving and the pushing, and you learn to incorporate them into your own movements. Except for the pushing of the Aunties. These little frail old ladies from the Sub Continent have a way of poking you and shoving you aside with their bony hands that leaves bruises afterwards. I call it the Auntie Vulcan Maneuver.

Comfort

After performing our farewell Tawaf on the last day, we board our bus to Jeddah, sick and exhausted. I get some local cough mixture for my wife and myself before leaving. It is dark, and I don’t have the energy to read the directions, so we end up inadvertently taking four times the recommended dosage. That, and the exhaustion, knocks us out completely. My sleep in the bus is so deep, that the next thing I know my wife is shaking me, telling me that we have arrived at the Sheraton in Jeddah. In a daze, we go up to our room. It is sometime in the wee hours of the morning. The cleanliness and the comfort comes as shock, considering what we have endured the past few days. No more standing in long lines for food, or to use the messy bathrooms. No more sleeping toe-to-toe in tents with 50 snoring men. The luxury of the hotel feels familiar; it is what I am accustomed to in my privileged life. I feel sad, and wonder if the comfort will erase some of the lessons of Hajj too quickly. I don’t want it to. I don’t want to be like the person admonished in Naser Khosrow’s poem: “You spend your money to buy the hardships of the desert.”

Suc50022Foot

It is considered bad manners to cross right in front of someone praying, but in a Mosque with thousands of people moving about, it is impossible to avoid this sometimes. I am praying at the Holy Mosque of the Prophet in Medina, before Hajj begins. I am immersed in meditation, and feel particularly attuned to my prayers. I’m on the floor, about to bow down and place my forehead on the floor as part of the prayer. As I am about to prostrate, a foot plants itself right in front of me, on the spot where my forehead is supposed to touch the floor. It is no ordinary foot. It is the most disgusting foot I have ever seen, verging on leprosy. The skin is scaly and replete with oozing sores… the sole is cracked, with bloody lines as deeps as canyons… there is stuff growing on the “nails” that is straight out of a horror film. My first reaction is extreme repulsion. My second reaction is extreme anger: I feel like violently removing this foot from my prayer space. But the foot moves away soon enough, leaving the space free for me to place my forehead where it was just standing. Needless to say, my concentration is broken. Only later does it occur to me that none of my initial reactions was of compassion for the owner of such a limb. Surely, it could not have been comfortable to perform Hajj under such conditions (I doubt this person was traveling First Class). Did my personal outrage outweigh his discomfort, and justify my lack of compassion? My experience of the Hajj begins to change at the moment of that realization.

Arafat gives you a blank slate, an opportunity to change the direction of your life, but your old self awaits you back in Mina, where evil must be faced. In between, you will partake of the unity of creation by circling the Ka’bah and running between the hills of Safa and Marwah. That is the Hajj, a reminder that we are nomads, immigrants, ceaselessly going back and forth —simultaneously losing and finding ourselves in the crowd.

Reference:
Shariati, A. (1994). Hajj: Reflection on its rituals. Houston, TX: Islamic Publications International.

All photographs: Creative Commons 2007 Ulises A. Mejias

15 thoughts on “The Faith & the Filth: Performing Hajj in 1427

  1. Soraya

    Asalamu’alaikum brother Ulises Ali Mejias.

    My parents went to hajj this year and I was telling that to my teacher. One day my teacher told me that she heard an interview on KPBS about hajj and that I should check it out. She also said that there was a blog mentioned in the interview and that I should check that out as well. I listened to the interview, which was good mashallah, and I read you blog, which I did not like. Brother, you made hajj sound like a joke with all the “disgusting foot I have ever seen, verging on leprosy. The skin is scaly and replete with oozing sores…”. I mean brother you are a Muslim, alhumdulilah, but you were making hajj sound like a very disgusting obstacle that every Muslim has to perform. A lot of non-Muslims will read your blog and I am sure they will get very disgsting images of hajj and most likely Muslims and Islam as well.

    You did do a great job when it came to explaining hajj and every obstacle and what they mean in Islam. I really liked that. Especially when you were talking about Ismael. What I didn’t like was that you were constantly casting aside hajj as a whole, making it sound like, ” oh I have to do this cause I can afford and I am rich, but I really don’t want to”. Anyways what you should remember is that non-Muslims also read you blogs and lots of them are going to get a bad idea about hajj. Now my parents went to hajj too and all they talked about was the positive things there. Yeah there were bad things to like people forgeting their manners and not being patient and etc. But in general hajj is a lesson and you made it sound like a joke, something not serious.

    Take care inshallah. I hope that you are not offended, but I am your sister and I want to help my brother see his flaws so he will be ok on the day of judgement. Asalamu’alaikum

  2. Ulises

    Dear Sister Soraya,

    Asalamu’alaikum. Thank you for your comments. Your honesty is not offensive, but much valued. On the whole, I feel performing Hajj was a blessing and a wonderful experience. However, in deciding how to talk about it, I was confronted with the following personal challenge: To gloss over the difficult and upsetting aspects of the trip, focusing exclusively on the positive, OR to try to provide a balanced, realistic view of my experience (reflecting, obviosly, my own biases and sensibilities).

    I felt that the first approach would be somewhat dishonest. Sure, I would be presenting non-Muslims with a romanticized version of the ritual, and validating Muslim’s ideals about what the Hajj should be. But I would also be being less than truthful to myself.

    I considered the second approach much more meaningful, specially since —as I tried to evoke in my writing, perhaps unsuccessfully— the difficult and painful experiences were, personally, what allowed me to arrive at a deeper understanding of the Hajj. For instance, I could omit the passage about the foot which so disturbed you, but that experience and the others like it were instrumental in helping me realize the meaning of Hajj. It is the struggling that ultimately made the Hajj worthwhile for me, the encounter with the filth that led to the faith. At no point did I intend to make the Hajj sound like a joke, so I am a bit shocked that you read it that way. I am glad to hear your parents were able to process their experiences in a much more positive way. Perhaps that means they are better Muslims than I am. But would you deny me the opportunity to come to terms with my religion on my own?

    I think as Muslims, living in this age when people are so quick to critique us, we tend to be too sensitive whenever anything connected to our religion is discussed in a negative light. I do hope that that concern does not lead us to be unrealistic about the challenges that we face. Besides, as you can see from the first comment above by James (a non-Muslim), your concern about what non-Muslims might think when reading my post is misplaced; honesty is probably more appreciated than propaganda.

    That said, I do hope that people seeking information about the Hajj read more than just my opinion, and I wish that more perspectives —such as your parents’ or yours when you perform Hajj insha Allah— are made public.

    As far as your concerns about my flaws and salvation, those are much appreciated and reciprocated. Wa aleikum as salam.

    Your brother in Islam.

  3. Soraya

    Asalamu’alaikum Brother Ulises Ali Mejias,

    I was quite shocked and pleased that you answered my letter and I want to thank you for taking the time to write to a frantic and confused sister. I am a person who loves to read and research blogs written by Muslim brothers or sisters, and I have found a lot that are written by Muslims and non-Muslims that are exceptionally well and explain Islam exactly as it is with no falsehood. I have also found many written by confused Muslims and non-Muslims, writing things that are not true, trying to dishonor Islam and our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him). When I was reading your blog, I thought it was fine at first, until my over protective side started to jump to conclusions and my paranoia of someone trying to dishonor Islam clouded my thoughts. I fully blame myself and yet at the same time I don’t because of the biased blogs I have been reading about Islam. I blame myself because I have wrongly accused my brother, you, and I am truly sorry. Inshallah next time I read things off of your blog, I will read it with clarity and understanding.

    As for your statement, “I am glad to hear your parents were able to process their experiences in a much more positive way. Perhaps that means they are better Muslims than I am.”, only Allah knows that. He is the ultimate judge and The King of All Hearts, and only he can judge who is the better Muslim.

    Once again brother Ulises Ali Mejias, thank you for clearing my biased thoughts, it was a huge relief to tell you the truth. My previouse letter was written hastily due to the fact that I was in my school library and the bell was about to ring, so if it was a bit harsh, forgive me.

    As for your proposal of removing certain things in your blog for my convenience, I wouldn’t want you to change anything in your blog. I understand that the “foot thing” was a point of realization and understanging which is a lesson in its self, and I wouldn’t want to be the reason of a removal of such a personel acknowledgment. Perhaps I was too concerned at the vivid description of it than its actual point.

    Take care inshallah,
    Asalamu’alaikum Wa Rahmatulahi wa barakatuhu

    Your Sister,

    Soraya

  4. n

    Dear Brother,
    I saw you in the ccr reading – I was moved and so appreciative. You lent your voice to one who was denied his…….. So when my husband brought home the podcast of ‘an interesting interview’ the other day I was so excited that I ‘knew’ who you were! I remember a PBS program a few years back which shadowed different Muslims from around the world on their hajj. One thing I remember was being surprised to learn that there were a lot of shopping for souveneir opportunities. I was really surprised and I guess it initially lessened my expectations of what the reality of hajj includes. Hearing your story did the same. But hearing your analysis really helped me put yours and the shopping story into perspective. In fact, as you touch on in your above comment, being real might be painful for us to hear but the result was a real lesson that one can/should try to apply to other situations. It sounds like you lived the ‘try to find the silver lining around every cloud’ saying – something I struggle with on a daily basis! I thank you for your honesty and for sharing this painful but valuable lesson. You help me see that faith and hope are a state of mind.

  5. n

    Center for Constitutional Rights – the Gitmo Reading at giac.
    Perhaps it wasnt you on stage – but I thought I recognized your voice and unique bio!

  6. Dave F.

    Ulises,

    Thank you from one non-Muslim whose view of Islam is enlightened, not diminished, by your post. The spiritual gifts aren’t taken away by the gritty reality; rather, the gritty reality challenges the believes (in any faith) to transform belief into action.

    My guess is that for you, Mecca is a sacred place, but you also know that God is present wherever you happen to be. An Orthodox Jew I know explains that for him, adhering to all the commandments in the Torah, even the obscure ones like not mixing wool and linen in clothing, is a form of mindfulness. Throughout his day, what he does and what he eats and what he wears all remind him of his faith.

    Perhaps a similar concept is one of the reasons behind the daily times for prayer.

    Another thought is that everyone’s life involves similar contrasts. Even Paul the apostle worked as a tentmaker. The Jewish sage Hillel was a woodcutter. Someone has to wash the dishes and clean the bathrooms at a monastery. Pilgrims to Jerusalem or Rome or Mecca need transportation, food, drink, lodging… and probably a little peace and quiet as well.

    Perhaps when they accept the paradox of dirt and discomfort along with personal growth, they’re more open to the idea that other people, following other beliefs, can also accept reality and can also grow as they reach toward better understanding.

    If we’re following the road that seems best to us, we can perhaps allow others to follow the one that seems best to them.

  7. Tato Sugiarto

    Dear Brother,

    The HAJJ is a paradox – the basics and the advance teaching of ISLAM (the foundation and the roof). Simple in performance, but sophisticated in meanings. It is the extract off all religions, and also the basic theory of existance. Understanding the Hajj, it should be supported by metaphysics and parapsychology, at least, men have knowledge in basic physics and psychology as well. Speculation in the making of concept, or implemntation on trial and error basis should be avoided.

    I am so sorry, the Hajj has not been studied seriously. So, Moslems societies are still standing on weak foundation.

  8. Mohammad Wasim

    LABBAIK ALLAH UMMA LABBAIK
    LABBAIK LAA SHAREEKA LAKA LABBAIK INNAL HAMDA WAN-NI’MATA LAKA WAL MULK LAA SHAREEKA LAK

    Respectable Hajj Pilgrims

    As’Salâm Alaikum Wa’Rahmatullâhi Wa’Barakâtuh

    By the grace of Almighty Allah you shall soon be traveling for performing Hajj. Surely you shall take care of the sacredness of Harmain Shareefain (Makkah Al Mukarama and Madina Al Munawara). In this regard we request you to remove Musical Ring Tones from your mobile phones before departure and during Hajj try to keep your mobile phones on Vibrators/Silent. By this you shall be avoiding any disturbance to your worship as well as to the worships of other pilgrims and furthermore the sacredness of Harmain Shareefain shall not be harmed. We hope that you shall put heed to this request and shall convey this message to other pilgrims as well. May Allah Subhanawatallah accept your Hajj. Ameen

    Was’Salâm Alaikum

  9. Riaz Haq

    With Allah’s blessing, I had the opportunity to perform Hajj in 1999. In spite of the efforts of the tour operator to provide good food, comfortable hotels, air conditioned transportation and other worldly amenities to our group, things generally did not go as planned. Tremendous delays at every point along the way, long waits, heavy traffic, pollution from the vehicles stuck in traffic and man-made pollution and bodily risks of all kind, I felt the inspirational and joyful experience from walking on the sacred land that our beloved Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) walked on and visit sites frequented by him made the entire effort well worth it.

    I would highly recommend it to anyone with the means and the desire to undertake this great spiritual journey.

  10. Mohsin beg

    Aslaam Alkium

    Interesting opinons, I havent done Hajj, yet or Ummrah, but inshallah some-day.

    The lack of patience, lack of manners etc during Hajj, actually reflects the state of our Global Ummah. Education and practical implementation of the Quran is severely lacking.

    Most Muslims come supposedly come from third world countries, and the mentality is that, the only way to complete your Hajj is by “aggressively” pushing etc. Again, when you travell into third world muslim countries, you witness those ills, and then people from those societies carry the ills with them, and hence to Mecca.

    We cant blame others, we should only blame ourselves. If you see fault in something which you sincerely care about, then make it a journey in your life, to offer remedy to those problems.

    If you Live in the West, then their are plenty of tools, which can help you make some positive difference in the Ummah via education, charity, etc.

    Im a Scottish Muslim and in society here manners are extremely important. I guess its going to be a Physical Challenge, when inshallah, the day comes for me to Hajj, inshallah. Nevertheless, I look forward to all the challenges in view of performing Hajj

    Waslaam

    Mohsin beg

  11. Athar Rafiq

    Found you on researching valuable information for Hajj. You must be really disconnected from the real world….. and certainly, like most of us, extremely judgemental. Of course, I am judging about you judging the experience at Hajj.

    I disagree with any attempt to dishonor the experience of Hajj and the real mission here. Of course it is going to be filthy!

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