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Hajj pilgrimage demonstrates the power of the Islamic Ummah but Saudi is misusing it

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For more than 14 centuries, Hajj has been a sacred religious ritual that unites more than two million Muslims, in spite of their sectarian and political differences. However, some governments have attempted to exploit this symbolic gathering to score political points. King Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia, annexing Mecca and Medina became a turning point in Islamic history and the history of modern state in the region. In 1924, the formation of the Saudi state, that governs Islam’s holiest sites, coincided with the end of the Islamic caliphate in Turkey.

Each and every able-bodied Muslim, male or female, is required to complete the religious trip at least once in their lifetime if they also have the sufficient financial capacity to do so. The nearly month-long pilgrimage features various rites, including stoning a column representing the devil, sacrificing sheep in remembrance of Prophet Abraham’s offered sacrifice, and Tawaf, which consists of walking and praying around the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Mecca.

The gathering is also seen as a symbol of Muslim unity, with all participants required to wear a simple and identical outfit during the processions. The clothing consists of a two-piece white seamless garment for men, and a loose cover-all dress for women. Muslim scholars have pointed that the simple attire, along with other aspects of the pilgrimage, are meant to express unity and the humility of the Muslim Ummah the Muslim people as a whole towards God. The pilgrimage ends with the start of Eid al-Adha, also known as the “Festival of Sacrifice”.

Sheikh Cheriff Mballo board member of Al Harmain Watch from Senegal says the annual Hajj pilgrimage demonstrates the power of the Islamic Ummah and boosts contacts among Muslims but unfortunately Saudi Arabia is using the whole process for his personal benefit. He also strongly criticized extensive destruction of Islamic monuments like those, which are attributed to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and companions.

“While various countries carefully protect their historical monuments and sometimes even fake certain artifacts to show off their history and their past, many Islamic monuments have been so far destroyed in Mecca and Medina,” the Mballo said.

Mufti Khalid Ayyub Misbahi (President of Tahreek Ulema E Hind) and board member from India said that that Hajj as a religious obligation should not be mixed with politics but unfortunately Saudi did this, Saudi continuously politicizing religious rituals and using [Hajj] to achieve political gains.

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