Hajj will continue after crane collapse

2015-09-13 19:31

The images of spilt blood, dead bodies and injured pilgrims in Makkah filled most social networking sights from Friday evening.

While no South African pilgrims were among the injured or dead, the Muslim community in South Africa are shocked at the scenes which unfolded after the crane fell on the Grand Mosque in Makkah due to inclement weather.

In this regard, I would like to offer my prayers and condolences to the families of the injured victims and the blessed Martyrs.

May Almighty bestow His forgiveness and mercy upon the souls of the deceased and accept them as martyrs in Paradise, and I also pray for a speedy recovery for the injured.

My deepest sympathies and condolences to the families and friends of those affected by the Makkah Crane Crash.

The annual Muslim Haj pilgrimage will definitely continue and this incident would not deter pilgrims from attending the pilgrimage and completing their rituals. As Muslims we believe it is a test of our faith in Almighty and as believers we should face the trial with increased prayers, repentance, charities, good deeds and other acts of virtues.

Haj the journey to the house of Almighty in Makkah, is one of the pillars of Islam; the others being Shahadah (Testimony of faith), Salah (five daily Prayer), Saum (Fasting in the month of Ramadan) and Zakah (giving charity).

Almighty mentions in the Quran: “And proclaim the Pilgrimage Among men: they will come to thee on foot and (mounted) on every camel”.

All Muslims are required to perform Haj once in their life, if health and finances permit this. It is not only the largest annual gathering of Muslims, but the largest pilgrimage in the world.

The pilgrimage takes place each year between the 8th and the 12th or 13 of Dhu al-Hijjah, the twelfth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. The dates change annually because the lunar calendar is 11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar that we all use.

The Hajj is associated with the life of Prophet Muhammed, Prophet Ibrahim, his wife Hajar and their son Ishmael. The rituals or worship are designed to advance the bonds of Islamic unity and sacrifice.

The Haj inculcates a sense of belonging to one community (Ummah) as Muslims of different countries, races, cultures, traditions and nationalities; sleep, eat, pray, go around the Ka’ba and recite the Labbayk: “Here I am O God, here I am at your service, and you have no partner. Here I am. All praise, grace, and dominion belong to you. You have no partner”, together in large numbers.

All artificial walls and borders are broken. To quote Malcolm X: “Never have I witnessed such sincere hospitality and overwhelming spirit of true brotherhood as is practiced by people of all colours and races here in this ancient Holy Land, the home of Abraham, Muhammad and all the other Prophets of the Holy Scriptures. For the past week, I have been utterly speechless and spellbound by the graciousness I see displayed all around me by people of all colours. I have eaten from the same plate, drunk from the same glass, and slept on the same rug - while praying to the same God - with fellow Muslims, whose eyes were the bluest of blue, whose hair was the blondest of blond, and whose skin was the whitest of white. And in the words and in the deeds of the white Muslims, I felt the same sincerity that I felt among the black African Muslims of Nigeria, Sudan and Ghana”.

The symbolism is in the heart and in the mind-set - a readiness to make sacrifices in our lives in order to stay on the Straight Path - Siraate Mustaqeem. Each one of us makes sacrifices in our life- small and big ones, giving up things that are enjoyable or important to us. A true Muslim, one who submits his or herself completely to the Almighty, is willing to follow Almighty’s commands completely and obediently. It is this strength of heart, purity in faith, and willing obedience that Almighty desires from every believer.

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