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Hajj 2012
By Tajamul Hussain
Given the fact that the Hajj is a high maintenance journey, every time I get to see some ‘Hajj-return’ I get shudders. ‘Will this nouvaeu-Hajji really be able to save his Hajj?’ Avalanched by the worldly comforts/luxuries, money and property, ostentatious displays, office and business, promotion, children's education, career and the like when a Hajji Sahib fails in his dealings with people (haqooq-ul-ibad) you find bubbling enthusiasm and attendant excitement of the poor fellow simply and quickly run out of steam. Having treated the holy pilgrimage as any other journey, rejection of evil (malice, boguz, haq-talfi and hatred, for example) in thought, words and deeds connected with the Hajj doesn’t at all happen. Hajji Sahib does say salah five times. He of course recites Quran and Dhikr religiously and also performs most of the Haqooq-ullah kind of tasks. But then ironically this is when his behaviour also tends to smack that of the anecdotal fellow that was begged of alms by a blind man. The former handed him over the red-hot earthen piece (katt’r) from within the fire pot. The knee-jerk reaction to the action was the reply received from the blind man. 'Are you a Hajji Sahib?' Imagine the notoriety/stigma attached to the persona of the holy man.

The population of the Hajjis for some years has been on an arithmetic (if not geometrical) progression. Anyone (and everyone) around you seems to have performed hajj/Umra, not once but several times….there are people who go for Umra every year. As if the persona of the Hajji Sahiban is transfigured in to the kind of godly men…… without the slightest doubt about being ‘new born’, sins washed away…..the assumption of the social influence and respect gives the pampered lot a feeling as if of some powers were rubbed off by God on them. As if cleansing of sins and emerging like a newborn were a rarity, what many of these hapless fellows do not know is that during Hajj the handful virtues (like penitence and humility) that they’re in possession of before leaving for the holy pilgrimage were in fact cleansed. Imagine the irony of this unfortunate lot (of Hajji Sahiban) that carries the cargo of sins along with for cleansing and unfortunately fetches it home with accretions.

While living life in the aftermath of Hajj is not a cake walk, interestingly those who bestow honour on a Hajji Sahib also layout boundaries, mark peripheries and watch his Post-Hajj actions/dealings keenly. They wouldn’t even hesitate to treat his conduct as also the acquired title beneath contempt. The way Hajji Sahib talks and deals with people, suggests his performance during Hajj…… Hajj involves toil and sacrifice and not just practicing thanday-thanday deen-----reading nawafil, reciting Quran, quoting Hadith, sharah and posing sanctimoniously pietistic……..kind of holier-than-thou. It means that the believer will make all attempts to purify himself and throw stones symbolically on all the devilish tendencies. His thought is directed from physical to spiritual, the best of the provisions for which would be the right conduct, which perhaps is the same as the fear of Allah, or in other words Taqwa.

People have a passion to perform pilgrimage (for reasons best known to them) without much knowing about the ‘whys and the wherefores’………as to how to emerge ‘cleansed of sins’ and ‘live life hereafter innocent of devilish tendencies’. Swept on to a precipitate reaction without much knowledge, thought and application of mind, most of us seem to be caught in a torrent of impulse and emotions. Largely obsessed with the desire to touch, feel and live the holy sites, walk and live where Prophet Mohammad (saw) and his followers once lived and places that witnessed Islamic events rather than understanding the whys and wherefores. On top of it when the emphasis is laid mainly on the Hajj rituals (Manasik-e-hajj), people mostly return home with nothing but the ‘title’. Contingents of hajjis on way back to home, in the frenzy of conjuring visions of warm welcome and a higher (divine) status simply err. Imagine on return home after completing the holy pilgrimage when the Hajji Sahib panics into using tricks (even telling lies) to evade payment of excess baggage and custom duty on the airport. The frenzied soul may choose to surrender the ZamZam water can as excess baggage. In the plane many of these men of God don’t feel like gathering desire to thumb through the pages of the holy Quran (gifted away to them by the Saudi authorities at the airport). Some would even forget to offer Fajr.

Conjuring visions all along of being received with grand welcome and joy, they those keen as mustard to be titled as ‘Hajji’, dress themselves outlandishly conspicuous and soon express their obsession in their name plates, certificates, tablets on graves, documentation of day to day life etc and are all eyes, expecting and demanding respect from people. As a result of extremism in regard to ritualism and legalism, when people tend to grow very particular about lip reverence/worship/devotion (nimaz five times in masjid, parroting/quoting Koran and Hadith, chanting Darood, growing beard, wearing skull cap) they tend to be least caring about their dealing (for example, courtesy, decency, politeness, truthfulness, honesty, halal and haram, sin and virtue, care, sacrifice, tolerance, selflessness, compassion etc). Discussion about sharah and travails etc replace primary focus on the basics that help people develop proper attitude, perspective, behaviour, God-consciousness, honesty, trustworthiness, human empathy, fairness, kindness, and freedom.

Hajj is no picnic. It’s a highly demanding pilgrimage fraught with great risk. It can make you and unmake you. Pilgrimage to these high profile places calls for assessment of the abilities of the prospective pilgrims, be it the comprehension, reasoning, faith, conviction and devotion, to understand the essence of Hajj. The latter is a high maintenance journey that involves great efforts and caution. The right conduct, the fear of Allah (Taqwa), is the ultimate purpose of Hajj….. Note of caution; pilgrims shall now on live life free of devilish tendencies and ensure that their dealings (Haqooq-ul-ibaad) are in tune with the Quran and Hadith.

(Feedback; hoosyn50@gmail.com/GossipByTaj)

News Updated at : Sunday, November 18, 2012
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