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This paper intends to investigate the practices of Hajj undertaken by previous Prophets. It also attempts to extract the historical elements contained in Hajj. Prophet Ibrahim and his family (Hajar and Prophet Ismail) were the first to perform Hajj, filled with hardship and harsh conditions the Ibrahimi family successfully built the Kaaba and summoned all the people from across the globe to perform Hajj in Mecca. Today, some would say that the rapid development in Mecca that helps pilgrims to perform Hajj easier with less effort and hardship is considered the best practice for Hajj, but history might disagree with the statement. This will then become the base of the construction of the real meaning of Hajj best practices. Hence, this paper contributes in developing a standard for the meaning of Hajj best practices by analyzing the history of Hajj based on what is written in the Quran and Hadith related to previous prophets. This paper will be of assistance to recognize the meaning of Hajj best practices and introducing a benchmark of Hajj for all Muslims.
Keywords: Hajj, Spirituality, History
INTRODUCTION: CONTEMPORARY MEANING OF HAJJ BEST PRACTICES
For centuries, the biggest difficulty to pilgrimage was the long journey. According to Bianchi (2004), the distance multiplied the duration and expense of the journey while maximizing dangers such as shipwreck, disease, and exhaustion. In addition, pilgrims from far away regions were regarded as earners of extra blessings due to the added sacrifice. It is during the month of Zulhijja when pilgrims come to Mecca every year from every corner of the world. Most of them do not speak the same language but they are still able to exchange a few words in Arabic and English. According to Long (1979), administrating the pilgrims are one of the toughest problems. The Hajjis must be supplied with sufficient food, water, shelter, health, and sanitation facilities plus transportation for several weeks or more. Besides the materially things such as food and shelter, one of the most important thing to have during Hajj is sincerity. It means to perform Hajj just for the sake of Allah s.w.t. As stated by Faysal Al-Badani (2008), sincerity is one of the important acts of a man’s heart during Hajj. He further stated that according to Ibn al-Qayyim; whoever studies the aims of Islam will know the connection between the body and heart. At the same time he will also understand that without the actions of the heart, the actions of the body are worthless.
Nowadays most people think that the meaning of contemporary Hajj is about the comfort level of health and security during Hajj. One might say that public health and security is vital to ensure the success of mass gatherings during Hajj. Because Hajj presents an annual public health challenge due to its unexpected scenarios such as the various environments and the diverse background of the pilgrims. Researchers like Qanta (2009) believe the importance to improve the level of the comfort for health and to examine the potential opportunities to apply International guidelines for health reasons in Hajj’s environment. He said Hajj-related findings and outcome measurements will generally be valuable due to its supportive data. The technology in modern day Hajj is without doubt very important and without applying health and security based technologies and guidelines, Hajj would be seen as incomplete. Similar to the above mentioned research is Abdulaziz’s (2009) research on the “respiratory tract infection” during Hajj. This research is more concern on the level of comfort related to health of the pilgrims in Mecca. According to this research, the infection of respiratory tract is indeed a common illness and is responsible for many admissions in hospitals during Hajj. The disease is easily spread by close contacts among the pilgrims, as well as the crowding. This is a big problem for the pilgrims and for the people organizing the Hajj. He further stated, to ensure a better performance and a fresher feature during Hajj there is a need for future studies that concentrates on prevention and mitigation of these infections. Researchers like Abdulaziz (2009) and Qanta (2009) have high interests in improving Hajj based on technicalities and material aspects. They believe that the perfect Hajj is based on the exterior part rather than the inner part of the soul.
It is in no doubt that security and health measurements should be counted in when performing the pilgrimage in Mecca, but the arisen question; is it only these things (security and health) accountable in Hajj or is there more to it than what meets the eye or to be more specific are these the only things accountable to Allah swt? Similar to the above mentioned researchers, a group of Hajj researchers lead by Shuja Shafi (2008) has also high concerns for health problems; he wrote and highlighted in his paper about the potential spread of disease and further stated that the potential of infectious disease (flu and cough) to spread in mass gatherings (Hajj) is well recognized. Hajj, as mentioned above is the unique annual mass gathering of over 2 million Muslims from all over the world. In order to ensure a perfect and well performed Hajj, The Hajj authority have a comprehensive program to ensure that all aspects of Hajj rituals are conducted safely and without major incident. The team further stated; on-going disease surveillance and data analysis is necessary to better understand health risks. The benefits from such measures go beyond the Hajj to protect health and reduce inequalities. It is well understood from the above section that Hajj researchers have more concern on material aspects of Hajj than the spiritual aspects of Hajj. Yet the goal of Hajj is to develop and build the human body and spirituality towards the submission of Almighty Allah swt.
- Quote paper
- Taha Omar (Author), 2013, On the best Practices of Hajj. A historical Analysis, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/267904