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Hajj 2009

'Suicide operations have become a curse of Muslim lands'

Friday, November 27, 2009 08:26:51 AM, Staff Reporter

Faithfuls near the Namira Mosqu in Arafat. Over 2.5 Million Muslims converge at Aaraft to perform this year's Hajj.

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Malegaon: Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh exhorted Muslims the world over to adhere to the true principles of Islam in his address on the Arafat plain and warned them against becoming tools in the hands of their enemies.


“The most serious problem the Muslim community is facing lately is from deviant ideology. The deviants have abandoned the right principles of Islam and adopted a wrong creed. Therefore adherence to the right creed is one of the most important duties of a Muslim,” Al-Asheikh said while addressing over 2.5 million Muslims from all across the world gathered at Arafat for this year's Hajj.


Al-Asheikh was delivering the customary Hajj Sermon before leading the faithfuls the noon prayer at the Namira Mosque in Arafat.


Since early morning pilgrims were trying to get a place inside the packed 110,000-square meter mosque. The standing at Arafat, which is the most essential ritual in Haj, starts with noon prayers at the mosque.


Al-Asheikh condemned terrorism and suicide operations in unequivocal terms. “Suicide operations have become a curse of Muslim lands. Innocent men, women and children are killed and their installations wrecked,” he said.


Al-Asheikh also warned Muslims not to become tools in the hands of their enemies. “Terror is the most dangerous challenge that the Muslims and the rest of the world are facing. It has taken different shapes and forms. There are people who use it to promote their interests,” he said.


“Muslims through history have been facing challenges and conspiracies against it but Islam has come out victorious against all challenges as it is the religion of God established on the truth and designed to suit human nature,” Al-Asheikh said. “The enemies of Islam in the modern times are not different from their enemies in the past. The only difference is that they changed their strategies to suit the changing times.”


Referring to people who attempt to politicize the Haj, the mufti said: “Ignorant people attempt to politicize the Haj aiming to disrupt its safety and create chaos in the land. But Allah will not allow it to happen and the believers will not (accept it). The country is in safe and strong hands that will not tolerate any attempt to destroy this country and shatter its safety.”


Al-Asheikh warned the faithful against the enemies of Islam who are trying to distort the meaning of Islamic texts. “They have been trying to distort the meaning of the Holy Qur’an and traditions arguing that they are viewing the text from a different angle,” the scholar said.


The world is waiting for a savior and there is no savior but Islam, the sheikh said. He stressed the role of the Islamic economic system in rescuing the world from the woes of the current economic system. He urged Muslim industrialists to create an industrial environment that provides help to the poor Muslim communities to improve their lives.


Alsheikh called upon Muslim leaders to implement Shariah system in their countries and guarantee stability and security in their countries. He appealed the world leaders to desist from arms race and instead save money to end poverty.


After spending the day at the spiritual highpoint of meditation and prayers in Arafat, millions of pilgrims moved after sunset to Muzdalifah to spend the night there before they proceed at daybreak to Mina. The pilgrims prayed in Arafat, a ritual that forms the spiritual climax of the Haj. The “Wuquf” they performed there symbolizes man’s wait for the Day of Judgment.


Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah arrived in Mina on Thursday to see the arrangements made for Haj.


Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh, in his sermon in Arafat, warned Muslims against deviant ideology.


Muslims from around the world had converged on the plains of Arafat on Thursday hoping for a safe Haj. They kept on reciting Qura’nic verses and prayed to Allah for mercy and acceptance of their pilgrimage.


It is obligatory for all Muslims to undertake the pilgrimage at least once in a lifetime, if they are physically and financially able. The weather was pleasant and very favorable for the daylong exercise.

The cold breeze, which was troubling the pilgrims in Mina, particularly the old and the infirm, stopped blowing and the sun shone above their heads, providing an umbrella of warmth and happiness to the praying masses.


Though most of the pilgrims were sitting in a state of meditation in their camps, some ventured out to get a feel of the plains while thousands of others scaled Jabal Al-Rahmah, where the Prophet (peace be upon him) had delivered his last sermon more than 1,400 years ago. One of the major themes of that sermon was equality between the rich and the poor.


The white seamless garb of the pilgrims, called “ihram,” symbolizes purity and equality of mankind and erases all signs of class and culture. “Here nobody is rich or poor, big or small. All are equal on these plains. God will reward them on the basis of their deeds, not social, political or economic status,” said Rizwan Ahmad, a senior Indian journalist.


“I performed Haj today and Allah has promised those performing Haj that all their previous sins will be pardoned,” said Sami Al-Kotubi, an Omani national. “I vow not to indulge in any wrongdoing in future and will lead the rest of my life as per the Qur’an and the Sunnah.”


A Saudi pilgrim, Kamel Al-Bander from the bordering region of Jazan said that he prayed for the welfare, peace and tranquility of friends and relatives in Jazan. “I prayed to the Almighty to give our security personnel courage to fight back enemies and to defeat them in their nefarious designs,” he said. “We will not allow sectarian tensions to destroy us.”


Pilgrims also prayed for the peace to return in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Sudan. “Every Muslim is duty-bound to pray for fellow Muslims. I prayed for our brethren in Iraq, in Palestine and in Sudan. There are people dying there,” said Ala Al-Marghoubi from Sudan.

Some were optimistic that the condition of Muslims will improve everywhere. “I’m sure that Allah will give us back the lost glory and prestige,” said Alauddin Khan Sherzai, a pilgrim from Swat region of Pakistan.


“If we start concentrating on education and development, we can catch up very soon with others. I prayed that Allah provide us courage and means to take our community to new heights. I also prayed for peace in our beautiful region.” The scene at Arafat electrified Afrin Jabeen and her husband Arshad Ahmad from Doha. “This is amazing. It is only at Arafat that one realizes the true potential of the Ummah,” said Afrin.


“We, the followers of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), have nobody to fear except God. The Prophet gave us a complete religion. We will protect it with our blood. By coming here we want to seek God’s mercy and to let everybody know about our love for our most dearest Prophet, peace be upon him.”


At sunset, the pilgrims began marching toward Muzdalifah Valley, several kilometers from Arafat, to spend the night. There they will spend the night in prayer, asking for Allah’s forgiveness.


This morning, the faithful return to the valley of Mina for the last part of the Haj — the ritual that involves throwing stones at the Jamrat Al-Aqaba representing Satan.


At Mina, the pilgrims will later sacrifice animals, shave their heads and proceed to Makkah to circumambulate the Kaaba.



Kaaba gets new kiswa

The Kaaba was dressed in its new kiswa (the black cloth cover) early Thursday during a ceremony attended by officials from the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques Affairs, the kiswa factory and a number of Saudi and foreign residents of the holy city.


The new cover was pulled up about three meters above the ground so that pilgrims cannot reach the fabric.


The dress, prepared in a special factory built in Makkah by King Abdulaziz more than 70 years ago, is made of pure silk which is dyed black and stitched with gold and silver threads at a cost of SR20 million ($5 million).


The Kaaba is dressed twice every year during the months of Shaaban (the month before Ramadan) and Dhul Hijja, the month of pilgrimage. It is also washed twice every year from inside by Zamzam water and perfumed with oud.


The dress is 658 square meters in size and consists of 47 pieces each 14 meters long and 95 centimeters wide, is made with 670 kilograms of silk and 150 kg of gold and silver used to engrave Qur’anic verses on the cloth.


It also includes a special dress for the Kaaba door known as the burqa (face cover) that is 6.5 meters long and three meters wide with verses of Qur’an engraved on it.


(With inputs from Arab News)







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