The Meaning Of Haj
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HAJ is an impressive scene by any standard. It is a congregation of millions of people that can only be witnessed once a year in Makkah.

Nowhere else on earth is it possible to see so many people come from all over the world, all dressed similarly without the image tagging we are so used to, seeking one thing only: spiritual purification.

The trip goes beyond the actual days of Haj into a once in a lifetime lesson in sublimity. There are many activities to be done before Haj to attain spirituality and the actual Haj is the highlight. Those intending to perform Haj have to prepare for these special days in advance; sometimes, way in advance. They have to give back all debts, financial or otherwise, to write their will, to remove all injustices they have done to others and if this is not possible, to ask for forgiveness, and it is very crucial that the money used for Haj is pure and clean.

Pilgrims should also refrain from hurting others verbally or physically, from pushing in crowds, from backbiting and lying in any way, from arguing to win, as well as from pretensions including the pretension of knowing, which makes us vehemently argue with others about things that we do not know. In short, one has to work seriously on one’s moral code including choosing one’s travel companions because the people pilgrims stay with can either support their efforts for purification or discourage them.

Words that are usually associated with the pilgrim’s moral code are patience, forgiveness, compassion, kindness, tolerance, broadmindedness, justice, mercy, generosity, loyalty, leniency and being considerate.

This may seem like a dream list that does not belong in today’s world, yet it makes us question today’s values that justify injustice and unfairness.

The measure of a good moral code is simple: want for others what we want for ourselves and treat others as we wish to be ideally treated.

The attained moral code should be maintained after Haj; yet if this is so, why do we have so much misery? The answer to this is that maybe we have to rediscover the code of good behavior and the way to reach God.

One of the things that may raise a lot of questions especially from non-Muslims is the throwing of stones in Mina. How does this relate to the creation of the new human being?

I believe it is a symbolic act of remembrance and rooting; an act of memory resurrection to remember Ibrahim and Ismail (peace be upon them) and their unique situation.

The immense power of Haj can only be truly felt by those who have performed it. They are able to sense the purifying energy that spreads around to make Haj the most memorable experience, a unique mental and physical space which is out of this world yet part of it.

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