Friday Sermon: Facing Mount Arafat: Pilgrimage of the Hypocrites

By Babatunde Jose

In 630 AD, Holy Prophet Muhammad and his nascent Islamic group conquered the city of Mecca and his Quraish adversaries. It turned out to be an anti-climax as it was a bloodless war, despite the age long animosity of the Quraish to the young Islamic organization and its forced exile to Medina Munawara ten years earlier. The first port of call of the Prophet and his party was the Ka’aba, the ancient citadel of monotheism which had been serially desecrated and made to house over three hundred idols that were being worshipped by the Arab dwellers. It was even reported that the circumambulation of that building known from ancient times as the Tawaf, was sometimes performed naked, presumably accompanied by an orgy of spiritual nature by the pagan Arab tribes.

The Ka’aba which was allegedly built by ‘father’ Abraham and his son Isma’il as a monument to their God, 2000 years earlier, required spiritual and physical cleansing which the prophet carried out personally with his followers.

With the cleansing and institution of modern Hajj rites, it was never envisaged that impure people, people of doubtful religious piety, people of questionable faith, people of dubious religious persuasion, people with atavistic penchant for corruption and proclivity for political, social and economic crimes would turn the holy pilgrimage into a faith laundering annual exercise. This is exactly what our leaders have turned the Hajj into. But, they forget that you cannot mock God.

This year again, they are going to Mecca in droves to face Mount Arafat on the 9thday of the Islamic month of Dhu’l Hijjah; a day for the atonement of sins, confession and supplication for Allah’s forgiveness. They will face Mount Arafat chanting the talbiyah:“Labbayka Allaahumma labbayk, labbayka laa shareeka laka labbayk. Inna al-hamd wa’l-ni’mata laka wa’l-mulk, laa shareeka lak (Here I am, O Allah, here I am. Here I am, You have no partner, here I am. Verily all praise and blessings are Yours, and all sovereignty, You have no partner).” 

Which God are they reciting Talbiyah to? A God whose injunctions they have serially flouted and abused, or His people whom they have abandoned and sentenced to a life of poverty and tattered penury. The concepts of justice, equity and fairness enjoined on them are being operated in the breach.  These are three interrelated concepts that combine to make a spiritual whole. Justice is the sum-total, in a sense, of all recognized rights and duties, as it often consists of nothing more than a balanced implementation of rights and duties, and of due regard for equality and fairness. The Qur’an is emphatic on the objectivity of justice, so much so that it defies any level of relativity and compromise in its basic conception. A perusal of the Quranic evidence on justice leaves one in no doubt that justice is integral to the basic outlook and philosophy of Islam. But, are our leaders just?

The injustice being perpetrated by our leaders is being witnessed daily in our clime, where our rights are denied and trampled upon; no potable water, no roads, no electricity for the vast majority who have had to live like cavemen in the 21st Century, no education for their children, no future for those that are educated not to talk of the teeming population of uneducated, no employment and where they are employed, no salaries. Yet our leaders have dusted their jalabiya and ihrams in anticipation of hoodwinking Allah. But He will not be deceived by these vile men who have refused to carry out the job which they were elected to do.

Allah in Surah Al-Nahl:

. . . .Commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you that ye may receive admonition. (Quran 16:90)

In Surah Al Ma’idah, Ayah 9, it is said that we should stand firmly for Allah as witness to fairness:

O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: That is next to Piety: And fear Allah. For Allah is well acquainted with all that ye do. (Quran 5:9) 

Narrow dictionary equivalents for Justice and Equity are the words Insaaf, ‘Adl and Qist.  But the words are more comprehensive in their meaning and application.   The root meanings of the word ‘Adl include the sense of Justice, Equity, Fairness, Non- Discrimination, Counter-Balance, to Rectify, Put in Order, Evenness, Proportion and the like.  When Prophet Muhammad, Peace Be upon Him, said “help the oppressor and the oppressed”, he was stressing this same concept.  The Companions responded that they understood what “helping the oppressed” meant, but what did he mean by “helping the oppressor”?  He replied, “By preventing the oppressor from oppressing others”.  The root meanings of the word Qist include Equity, Fairness, Justice, Fair Distribution, Correctness, Balance, and Scale. See Surah Al Nisa’, Quran 4:135

It has been said, that the issues of injustice, unfairness and inequitable dispensation of resources is an all pervasive malaise. From the flinching tramp by the roadside, the woman who sells her body for money, the rich with their insatiable thirst for more, to the legislator, who is the sole beneficiary of his legislations and the executive who corners the people’s commonwealth to feather their own nests, are all guilty. When justice, equity and fairness depart from a society, that society is finished. We are reminded when Allah said:

“And O my people! Give just measure and weight, nor withhold from the people the things that are their due: Commit not evil in the land with intent to do mischief.  (Quran 11:85)

But Allah said in Surah Taha that He would punish the transgressors saying:

. . . . . .And those on whom descends My Wrath do perish indeed!” (Quran 20:81)

However, for the genuine pilgrims who are intent on turning a new leaf, changing and mending their ways and returning to the path of righteousness; we wish them a rewarding Hajj. And to them we say “Hajj Mabrur!

May Allah’s condemnation never fall on us, Amin!

Barka Juma’at and Barka de Salah



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