What has the experience of Hajj taught me? First one must ask - what does Hajj mean? In
essence, Hajj is man's evolution toward Allah. It is a symbolic demonstration of the
philosophy of Creation of Adam. To further illustrate this, it may be stated that the
performance of Hajj is a simultaneous show of many things; it is a "show of
creation", a "show of history", a "show of unity", a "show
of the Islamic ideology" and a show of the Ummah.
The following conditions prevail in this "show". Allah (God) is the stage
manager. The theme portrayed is the actions of the people involved. Adam, Ibrahim,
and Satan are the main characters. The scenes are Masjid-ul Haram, the Haram area,
Arafat, Mashars and Mina. Important symbols are the Kaaba, Safa, Marwa, day, night,
sunshine, sunset, idols and ritual of sacrifice. The clothing and make up are Ihram, Halgh
and Taqseer. Lastly, the player of the roles in this "show" is only one; and
that is YOU!
Regardless of whether you are a man or a woman, young or old, black or white, you are
the main feature of the performance. The role of Adam, Ibrahim and Hajar in the
confrontation between "Allah and Satan" is played by you. As a result, you,
individually, are the hero of the "show".
Annually, Muslims from all over the world are encouraged to participate in this great
"show" (Hajj). Everyone is considered equal. No discrimination on the basis of
race, sex, or social status is made. In accordance to the teachings of Islam, ALL ARE ONE
AND ONE IS ALL.
The one who restores somebody's life, has restored the life of all and the one who
kills one, has killed all.
Yet the enemies of Islam continue to deliberately wage a campaign against Islam. They
attack it by denying that Islam recognizes the human being as an individual endowed with
special rights and values. In terms of the concept of Hajj, it is relegated to the status
of a duty which has very little significance. As Imam Ali, the son of Kaaba says:
As if Islam is a lamb fur-coat that is put on inside out.
What have I personally learned from Hajj-me being so "little"
and Hajj being so "great" in meaning? How far and what could I see from this
experience? The following pages are the product of my humble efforts to answer these
questions. My purpose is not to inform the reader what must be done during Hajj. This can
be attained by referring to the book of rituals. Instead, I want to share with you my
perceptions of the significance of Hajj. They should help you to understand why it is
incumbent upon Muslims to perform this duty, or at least motivate you to think about Hajj.
Dr. Ali Shariati