SECOND OPINION: Hajj: primal therefore satisfying —Khaled Ahmed Urdu Press Review
The status of ‘sunnat’ is less than ‘farz’, but it is strong enough to force a pilgrim to do penance if it is missed. However if ‘farz’ is missed then hajj is not done. The common man however is most focused on doing everything right. That is the beauty of the entire collective ritual
For Muslims, hajj is the big ritual. Because of its collective nature it has acquired almost the first status among the five ‘pillars’ of Islam, even though it is conditional upon one’s financial ability. It is however a ‘compulsory’ ritual like the other four. During hajj there are smaller rituals that are sunnat (obligatory).
Writing in Jang (January 19, 2005) Allama Tahirul Qadiri stated that only one act during hajj was compulsory (farz) and that was stay (wuquf) at the plain of Arafat. Hajj was complete even if one did not say one’s prayers (nafal) at Arafat. He said there was mystery in the act of going around (tawaf) Kaaba with uncut nails and long hair and wild steps. Arafat meant getting to know and this plain was where Adam and Eve got to know each other again after being sent down from Heaven. The pilgrim, among other non-compulsory rituals, has to kill the ram at Mina to commemorate the tradition of Abraham. Abdul Qadir Sheikh wrote in Nawa-e-Waqt that even if a man just once ran across Arafat his hajj was complete.
The status of sunnat is less than farz, but it is strong enough to force a pilgrim to do penance if it is missed. However if farz is missed then hajj is not done. The common man however is most focused on doing everything right. That is the beauty of the entire collective ritual.
Daily Nawa-e-Waqt (January 19, 2005) wrote that at Mina the hajis gather stones to throw at the jamaraat or the three devils, seven times each. Abraham was going to sacrifice his son when he was distracted by Satan. Allah asked the prophet to throw seven pebbles at him. The Satan appeared three times and was struck by seven stones each time. Now there are three pillars where the pilgrims throw stones as non-compulsory but obligatory sunnat. Jang reported that at least three hajis were killed and dozens injured while stoning the satans after Africans pilgrims brought in an ailing haji on their shoulders, which blocked the stream of hajis and caused a stampede.
The throwing of stones is the most dramatic of the hajj rituals. That is why the hajis do it with more intensity and that is why many get injured at the jamaraat. It seems that rami is included to satisfy the most primordial needs of the human mind.
Daily Khabrain (January 19, 2005) reported that Captain Hammad who was accused of raping a lady doctor at Sui in Balochistan had offered to submit himself to a DNA test, but the people of Sui were not convinced. They said the only way he could be exonerated was if he walked on fire without screaming and without getting blisters on his feet. Many people proved their innocence in this manner among the Baloch.
This is the most glaring example of how Pakistan has neglected Balochistan by keeping it as a tribal museum. This is straight out of African voodoo jungles.
Writing in daily Insaf (January 20, 2005) Abdullah Muntazir stated that during his long visit in India, Dr Israr Ahmad of Tanzim-e-Islami had said that the Muslims of India were doing much better than the Muslims of Pakistan and that even the IG Police of Andhra Pradesh was a Muslim. Dr Israr said that in Pakistan the maximum number of people at his lecture were 1,500 but in India they were 15,000, including 5,000 ladies. He then compared himself to the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and said that he was not valued in Mecca but was greatly prized in Madina where he migrated. (The writer asked him to migrate to India.) Dr Israr also said that the jihad in Kashmir was not fi-sabeel Allah (in the way of Allah) as allowed by the Quran because such a jihad had to be ordained by an Islamic state. He thought only the war of the Taliban against the Muslim Northern Alliance was jihad. Dr Israr’s negation of Kashmir jihad must have offended the families of 10,000 Pakistanis martyred in Held Kashmir.
Dr Israr has done other egotistical things in the past. In 1987 he wrote a book and compared himself to the Quaid-e-Azam and decided that he was a better Muslim than the Quaid. He also said that Pakistan was 40 and had now become mature. After that Pakistan mostly did immature things. But a cleric is forgiven, even having an ego like the Pharaoh’s.
Writing in Nawa-e-Waqt, (January 20, 2005) Irfan Siddiqi was offended with the fikri balishtiay (intellectual Lilliputians) who said that instead of trying to fight a war with the United States the Muslims should first build the muscle for war. Irfan Siddiqi stated that these blind men did not realise that while the Muslims prepared themselves, the United States would not sit still but will advance even further, thus negating the progress of the Muslims. Hence it was not preparation that the Muslims needed but ghairat (sense of honour) which can enable one for immediate war with rusted rifles and lathis (sticks).
Leave alone fighting the US with sticks and stones, the Chechen Muslims have been destroyed trying to fight the Russians with guns. The only thing to do now is that Pakistan’s top columnist should come out and make the last assault on America himself.
According to daily Pakistan (January 21, 2005) although the daughter of the ex-ISI chief Hameed Gul claimed that her father had only two squares of land, the paper referred to an investigative report which gave proof that he had acquired 15 squares of land along the Indian border at a time when he was serving as a major. He ousted a number of farmers from their land who then moved the High Court. When the court decided the matter in his favour by the year 1986 he had become corps commander and was well on his way to becoming the ISI chief and many plaintiffs had begun to stand down. The title of the investigative report was: General Hameed Gul nay sainkron aikar arazi kaisay banayi (How did General Hameed Gul acquire hundreds of acres of land). The land was in Shakargarh in three villages called Adha, Auliya and Bhopa.
Hameed Gul can do no wrong. His political alignments are good. His footwork with the army chiefs has been good, including with Musharraf. He has been powerful during jihad. The ISI has been split over him and may still be. *