Hajj: How the true face of Islam in unity is reflected in this once-in-a-lifetime journey

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Young Asian Muslim man in ihram clothes with prayer beads. (Shutterstock)
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A father and his little son pray with the rosary at home. (Social media/Shutterstock)
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Two brothers among thousands of pilgrims perform the Tawaf. (Social media/Shutterstock)
Updated 13 August 2018
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Hajj: How the true face of Islam in unity is reflected in this once-in-a-lifetime journey

  • ‘Whoever performs Hajj and does not commit sin, nor disputes unjustly (during Hajj), then he returns from Hajj as pure and free from sins as on the day on which his mother gave birth to him’
  • The rites of Hajj are performed from the 8th to the 12th of Dul Hijjah

RIYADH: Hajj is an epic experience that can truly change a person through a spiritual cleansing that is profound. Islam came to eliminate racism and tribalism, and in due process slavery. Hajj reflects the true face of Islam in unity, as all Muslims, regardless of their nationality or status, wear the same cloth before Allah.
This is reflected in the extremely simple clothing: Men wear two white cloths that cover their bodies, while women wear a long robe with and headscarf. (The face should be bare when performing Hajj.)
One of the aspects of Hajj is to cleanse our souls from all earthly possessions and luxuries that cling to one’s heart, reminding us that we shall return to the ground from which we were created.
A vast sea of people can be witnessed walking in unison to perform the rituals. It is a place free of discrimination and filled with appreciation.
In a small spot in Makkah, close to 3 million stand in prayer before Allah, to repent from sins and gather blessings from the Almighty. At that moment when they stand together atop Arafat Mountain, it really does feel like it’s a small world after all.

Togetherness, humility
Many have described their Hajj experience as life-changing. It is not easy to perform, but after completing it, it leaves you spiritually charged and more actively aware.
Hussam bin Ahmed, an organizer for one of the Hajj campaigns, speaks about how there’s a sense of togetherness and humility that unites pilgrims. “The company I work with serves 150 pilgrims yearly, and this is an honor and responsibility I take seriously,” he told Arab News.
“Every year we receive a large number of Hajj pilgrims, some quite famous, and every year, they surprise us with their humbleness and servitude. Many people perform Hajj (to get) spiritually close to Allah, but also to serve the pilgrims. Hajj is a time that shows the true face of Islam, where people come together and help one another. Pilgrims stand hand in hand and help one another in brotherly affection.”
“It’s beautiful when you see pilgrims from all over the world, who don’t even speak the same language, communicate through kindness. All during Hajj we see the true face of Islam, the higher purpose of us in life in its humanitarian aspect,” said Bin Ahmed.
In Hajj, the societal image of Islam is reflected in the inherited traditions since the time of Prophet Ibrahim. All forms of racism dissolved in those rituals.
The claims and the rituals were limited to words, deeds and even intentions. The chiefs did not wear clothing that distinguished them from their soldiers. Performing Hajj is a religious and moral message to the world.
Taking time to reflect on Hajj, Sheikh Adel Al-Kalbani told Arab News: “The millions of pilgrims send a message to the whole world in their discipline and in the ethics of their gathering throughout the days and nights.
A small spot that attracts millions of all the nationalities of the world. Not only that, but greetings of peace are said to one another, and if one is need, then others are hastily at their aid.”
He continued, saying: “These huge masses that have good intentions and are determined to repent: It is the greater good of communities, when millions travel each year for the greatest intent, which is ‘self-forgiveness.’ The forgiveness of the past and reconciliation in the future.”
“Hajj season is the greatest channel Muslims have to raise awareness and show the tolerance of Islam and show a different picture than that which is shown of extremism. After Hajj, Muslims from all countries in the world return to their homes and are determined to resume a new life of coexistence with others.”
Moreover, Al-Kalbani says: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘Whoever performs Hajj and does not commit sin, nor disputes unjustly (during Hajj), then he returns from Hajj as pure and free from sins as on the day on which his mother gave birth to him’.”

In the service of Islam
The Hajj security officers are quite exceptional, going above and beyond to make sure that pilgrims from all over the world are safe and comfortable, putting them and their needs before their own. During the 11th Hajj Is Worship and Civilized Behavior campaign, Prince Khaled Al-Faisal said: “I’ve been watching the security’s performance during Hajj season since I was appointed the governor of Makkah, and I grow prouder each year of what they do to serve Islam, Saudi Arabia and humanity.”
Performing Hajj reminds us of our humanitarian duties toward one another: That we are all one. After completing this spiritual cleansing, pilgrims continue this belief throughout their lives, as it has been engrained in them for the better.


FaceOf: renowned Saudi poet Ibrahim Khafaji

Updated 3 min ago
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FaceOf: renowned Saudi poet Ibrahim Khafaji

  • Khafaji composed several national and lyrical poems that were sung by prominent artists throughout the Arab world
  • Aside from being a poet, he also worked in government in various capacities

JEDDAH:  Born in Makkah in 1926, Saudi poet Ibrahim Khafaji is famous for writing the lyrics of the Saudi national anthem in 1984. Before that date, it was music without lyrics. 

He wrote and composed several national and lyrical poems that were sung by prominent artists throughout Saudi Arabia and the Arab world, such as Sabah, Talal Maddah, and Mohammad Abdu.

Khafaji served in several jobs in the public sector. He worked in the news section of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, then moved to the radio section. He also worked at the accounting department in the Ministry of Health. He later became head of the department and then the financial administration secretary.

Eventually he became the central inspector of the Ministry of Agriculture in the western region.

Khafaji said in an interview on Rotana channel that the story behind the Saudi national anthem goes back to when King Khalid was on a visit to Egypt and was received by President Anwar Sadat. King Khalid was impressed with the Egyptian national anthem and asked the officials to work on lyrics for the national anthem of Saudi Arabia which was composed by the Egyptian composer Abdul-Rahman Al-Khateeb, and gifted to Saudi Arabia upon the orders of King Farouq of Egypt. 

Kafaji was chosen as the Saudi poet to work on the national anthem lyrics. He worked on it for six months. 

The Saudi public was first introduced to the national anthem lyrics on the first day of Eid Al-Fitr in 1984. It was broadcast by the Kingdom’s radio and television during King Fahd’s time. 

Khafaji died at 91 in November 2017 and he was buried in Makkah.