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Hajj & Oneness of God, Humanity

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    Hajj pilgrimage reinforces oneness of God, humanity Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi The Detroit News December 4, 2007
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 4, 2007
      Hajj pilgrimage reinforces oneness of God, humanity
      Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi
      The Detroit News
      December 4, 2007

      More than two million Muslims are on their way to Mecca for the annual
      hajj pilgrimage. Hajj is one of the pillars of the Islamic faith and
      an obligation for every Muslim who can physically and financially
      afford it.

      The goal of hajj is to replace our secular culture with the culture of
      total submission to the will of God. It reinforces a message of
      universal brotherhood under God that could save our planet.

      The city of Mecca is in a desert area surrounded by mountains in Saudi
      Arabia. According to Islam, Abraham's descendants fell away from
      monotheism but continued to make pilgrimage to Mecca for thousands of
      years. The Prophet Mohammad cleaned the pagan idols out of the Ka'bah
      -- the world's oldest house of worship, which the Prophet Abraham
      constructed in 2000 B.C. -- and established the Muslim hajj, which has
      continued for more than 1,400 years.

      Male pilgrims wear the ihram, consisting of two sheets of seamless
      white cloth and a pair of sandals. Women may wear any style of modest
      clothing, but they cannot veil their face. All signs of selfishness or
      class superiority are prohibited, as are other distractions including
      cosmetics, perfume, sex, swearing, quarreling and even looking at a
      mirror during the ritual.

      In Mina, the pilgrims re-enact the story of Abraham on Mount
      Al-Jamarat by throwing pebbles against the Devil who tried to stop
      Abraham from fulfilling the Divine command.

      When Abraham passed God's test, God sent a ram as a ransom to be
      slaughtered in place of his son. In commemoration, more than 2 million
      animals are slaughtered at hajj, and their meat is packed for charity
      in poor nations.

      The most central part of the hajj is the Tawaf or circling the sacred
      house seven times. The pilgrims walk seven times between the mountains
      Safa and Marwa to commemorate the desperation of Hagar, a black
      Ethiopian slave who became the wife of Prophet Abraham and mother of
      Prophet Ishmael, to find water for her son in the desert. This is how
      Islam honors a righteous and responsible woman.

      Then, pilgrims drink from the spring of Zam-Zam, which is the water
      that miraculously appeared when the angel told the thirsty child,
      Ishmael, to kick the sand with his feet.

      At his first and last hajj in March 632, Prophet Mohammad said: "You
      are one brotherhood! Protect people's life, property and honor. Don't
      oppress and don't be oppressed!"

      After Malcolm X made hajj to Mecca in 1964, he changed his name to
      Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. He wrote in a letter from Mecca to his folks in
      Harlem: "I have never before seen sincere and true brotherhood
      practiced by all colors together, irrespective of their color."

      He concluded that if Americans could accept the Oneness of God, they
      too could accept the Oneness of Man.

      It's time for Muslims, Christians, Jews and other faith communities to
      unify our voices, stop the warmongers and terrorists from hijacking
      our religious traditions and work together for a world free of
      injustice, racism, war and poverty.

      Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi heads the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn
      Heights. E-mail: letters@....



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