Before I begin my presentation I would also like to exchange fealty with each one of you who made an effort to be here to exchange our internal thoughts on a devotion and a duty that we have to perform at least once in a lifetime if that is possible, viz. al Hajj (or) performing the pilgrimage to Makkah. There is a lot of things that can be said about this subject obviously. I was listening closely to the presentations that preceded mine and they were looking at the cup being half full. I’m going to take on the role of looking at the cup being half empty. Let me begin by saying that the Hajj that’s being perfomred nowadays in our generation is, (and I’m trying to be very careful with words), is an emasculated Hajj. The fervour, the motivation, the objectives, the practices, that are supposed to emanate from the Hajj and supposed to take their course like a ripple effect are practically non-existent in the world.
There are two aspects to every act of ‘ibadah in Islam: its physical (ritualistic) form, and its higher spiritual, communal, social, and moral purpose. The salah, for instance, is performed in a certain way but its true import lies in the fact that it is our direct link (sila) with Allah (swt).
An estimated two million Muslims from around the world will converge on Makkah this month for the annual pilgrimage of Hajj. There are many dimensions to this most challenging of ‘ibadaat. ZAFAR BANGASH, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought sheds light on some aspects that have been virtually forgotten as part of a deliberate policy to ritualize and therefore, trivialize Hajj.