Hajj begins but sans mass gathering
Perhaps it will for the first time in Islamic history that the holy pilgrimage of Hajj begins but scaled down to the level of participation by a mere thousand people. The massive curtailment of people in this year’s Hajj has happened because of the world wide pandemic.
The hajj is one of Islam’s most important and profound requirements, performed once in a lifetime by believing Muslims. It follows a route the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) walked nearly 1,400 years ago and is believed to ultimately trace the footsteps of the prophets Ibrahim (RA)and Ismail (RA).
However, this year there will no massive prayers for forgiveness, solace and betterment of the Muslim Ummah as the pilgrimage has been kept restricted to participation by few thousand people that too who are residing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The year pilgrims, donning face masks and moving in small groups after days in isolation, began arriving to Islam’s holiest site in Mecca on Wednesday for the start of a pilgrimage.
Hajj, which is both physically and spiritually demanding, is intended to bring about greater humility and unity among Muslims. The collective worship at the Islamic holy sites ensures equality before God. People of all hues come together and seek forgiveness with tears rolling down their faces.
But rather than standing and praying shoulder-to-shoulder in a sea of people from different walks of life, pilgrims this year are social distancing standing apart and moving in small groups of 20 to limit exposure and the potential transmission of the coronavirus.
The communal feeling of more than 2.5 million people from around the world Shiite, Sunni and other Muslim sects praying together, eating together and repenting together has long been part of what makes hajj both a challenging and rewarding experience like none other.
But this year all these experiences won’t be lived by those selected few who will be performing the pilgrimage and seeking forgiveness and peace for the Muslims across the globe.
This year’s Hajj is very special because the pandemic that has hit the world has touched our lives so deeply that only a divine intervention can help the human race to survive and live thorough this nightmare.
This year’s Hajj also reminds us of our obligation to submit ourselves to the one true God and live our lives in a pious way observing highest regard and respect for our fellow beings. This year’s Hajj also reminds us the loss of humility among us that has led us to a situation of disaster and pain.
Let us all ascertain our wrong doings and bend ourselves in humility and offer prayers seeking collective forgiveness during these pious days. Let us hang our heads for the wrong doings we have been involved in and seek blessings from the All compassionate Almighty Allah. May he listen to our prayers and bless us with a cure to this pandemic.