The Fifth Pillar of Islam - 8
by Sheikh Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi (Raheemullahalayh)
Demonstration of Islamic Equality and Fraternity
The Haj is a victory for Islamic nationalism over racial, linguistic Or territorial nationalism for which a large number of Muslim countries also have, unfortunately, fallen. It is a proclamation as well as a most impressive manifestation of Islamic nationalism. On reaching there the Muslims cast away their national or local garments which differentiate them from one another and to which some of them have become attached to the extent of being clannish and parochial, and put on the national robe of Islam, called Ihram, and they all sing the same song of humbleness and submission.
O God ! Here I am! Here I am in Thy presence! Thou hast no partner! Here I am! All praise is far Thee and from Thee are all blessings! To Thee alone belongs Power and Rule! Thou art without partner!
The rulers and the ruled, the masters and the slaves, the rich and the poor, the high and the low-all become one. The distinctions of class, race and geography lose their validity in their midst. The nationality of Islam transcends their whole existence. It is apparent from their apparel as well as their watchword. It is the same with all the other formalities, prayers and rituals of the Haj in which people belonging to different lands and nationalities join one another and all the things that separate the near from the remote, the Arab from the non-Arab, disappear at a single stroke into oblivion. They run together between the two hills of Safa and Marwa, travel together to Mina, betake themselves together to Arafat, pray together at Jabal-i-Rahmat (the Mount of Mery) and spend the night together at Muzdalifa.
They come back together, move together and halt together.
They stay at Mina in a body and perform the rites of Naher (sacrificing of animals), Halq (shaving of the head) and Rami (throwing of pebbles) in each other's company.
As long as the Haj endures (and Insha Allah it will endure till the end of time) the cult of nationalism and other un-Islamic movements shall not succeed in swallowing up the Muslims. The Muslims will never give in to them, and in their countries (to which they are naturally attached) no other Ka`aba will, at any time, be set up which took the place of the Haj and became the centre of attraction for the whole of Muslims. The Qibla shall always remain one to which the Muslims of the East and the West will turn their faces. So also will the House of Allah be forever one to which the Indian and the Afghan and the European and the American Muslims will be coming for the Haj Pilgrimage year after year.
The Haj has many other benefits, some of which are known to us and some are not. Perhaps the benefits we do not know are more numerous than those we know. Eminent scholars of Islam have drawn attention to the benefits of the Haj that are hidden from our view. A verse of Sura-i-Hajj of the Qu'aan reads:
Here the word Manafe (of benefit) has been used in a general sense, ostensibily with the object of indicating the abundance of the advantages accruing from the Haj and their different categories and phases at different periods of time.