In a time when people are uniting in the name of language, ethnicity, race, economic status and many other titles, the fifth pillar of Islam, Hajj, comes one more time this year to remind Muslims that what unites them is their faith in Allah.

I remember the first night I spent in front of the Ka’bah in Makkah reading Quran softly to myself so as not to disturb others around me, when I saw the hand of an elderly man signaling for me to read louder! He wanted to hear the Quran being recited so I raised my voice enough for him to hear. Fajr athan was called and we prayed, but when I stood up to leave, he stood up and gave me a hug like he was saying goodbye to an old friend that he had known for years! With tears in his eyes he pointed to himself and said: “Turkey, Izmir, ziyara.” I knew he was trying to tell me that he was from Izmir in Turkey and that if I happen to visit there he would be my welcoming friend.

Subhanallah, I had only met him for two hours but it was Hajj that made us feel this sense of brotherhood in the most sacred place on earth. Even though I knew that I might never see him again in my life, I do still feel that I have a friend and a brother in a town called Izmir in Turkey.

Unfortunately, many Muslims are not able to see Hajj in the scope it is meant to be seen. We are now more than ever in desperate need to look at Hajj as the pillar of bringing Muslims together. All differences should melt and dissolve in the spirit of Hajj and especially on the Day of Arafah. If people are all in one place, wearing the same simple garments, saying the same words of Talbia, facing one direction toward the Kabah, and all asking one thing, then they should come back from that place feeling that they have performed their duty to Allah, connected to each other and united as Allah wanted them to be. Allah said: [Indeed, this ‘faith’ –community of yours is one community, and I am your lord, so worship Me.]

For Muslims living in the States, Hajj should help dissolve all social sensitivities between them. Many Muslims are feeling alienated on different levels. Immigrant Muslims feel detached from American born Muslims because they assume they know Islam better. American born Muslims feel detached from immigrant Muslims because they feel that immigrants don’t know how to relate to the culture here. Muslims living in affluent neighborhoods feel out of touch with Muslims living in the inner cities, and vice versa.

Stories of the Sahabah are not meant to be fairytale bedtime stories for our kids. We want the stories of Ansar and Muhajereen being brought together as brothers to be relived and enjoyed again between Middle Eastern, Indo-Pakistani, African-American and all other Muslims. We need to be united in responding to the call of Allah, united to be effective as a community and have one voice, united to purify ourselves from social diseases, united to feel the blessings of this great pillar in our Deen. I pray to Allah to unite us to serve Him the way it pleases Him, Ameen.

By Sh Kifah Mustapha