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: