Malcolm X About His Spiritual Experience - Hajj
Topic started by Path Finder (@ cache2-2.jed.isu.net.sa) on Thu Feb 6 04:27:07 .
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The Pilgrimage To Mecca:
By Al-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X)
When Al-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz was in Mecca, he wrote this letter:
Never have I witnessed such sincere hospitality and overwhelming spirit of true brotherhood as is practiced by people of all colors and races here in this ancient Holy Land, the home of Abraham, Muhammad and all the other Prophets of the Holy Scriptures. For the past week, I have been utterly speechless and spellbound by the graciousness I see displayed all around me by people of all colors.
I have been blessed to visit the Holy City of Mecca, I have made my seven circuits around the Kaâ'bah, led by a young Mutawaf named Muhammad. I drank water from the well of the Zam Zam. I ran seven times back and forth between the hills of Mt. Al-Safa and Al Marwah. I have prayed in the ancient city of Mina, and I have prayed on Mt. Arafat.
There were tens of thousands of pilgrims, from all over the world. They were of all colors, from blue-eyed blondes to black-skinned Africans. But we were all participating in the same ritual, displaying a spirit of unity and brotherhood that my experiences in America had led me to believe never could exist between the white and non-white.
America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem. Throughout my travels in the Muslim world, I have met, talked to, and even eaten with people who in America would have been considered white, but the white attitude was removed from their minds by the religion of Islam. I have never before seen sincere and true brotherhood practiced by all colors together, irrespective of their color.
You may be shocked by these words coming from me. But on this pilgrimage, what I have seen, and experienced, has forced me to rearrange much of my thought-patterns previously held, and to toss aside some of my previous conclusions. This was not too difficult for me. Despite my firm convictions, I have always been a man who tries to face facts, and to accept the reality of life as new experience and new knowledge unfolds it. I have always kept an open mind, which is necessary to the flexibility that must go hand in hand with every form of intelligent search for truth.
During the past eleven days here in the Muslim world, I have eaten from the same plate, drunk from the same glass, and slept on the same rug while praying to the same God with fellow Muslims, whose eyes were the bluest of blue, whose hair was the blondest of blond, and whose skin was the whitest of white. And in the words and in the deeds of the white Muslims, I felt the same sincerity that I felt among the black African Muslims of Nigeria, Sudan and Ghana.
We were truly all the same (brothers) because their belief in one God had removed the white from their minds, the white from their behavior, and the white from their attitude.
I could see from this, that perhaps if white Americans could accept the Oneness of God, then perhaps, too, they could accept in reality the Oneness of Man - and cease to measure, and hinder, and harm others in terms of their differences in color.
With racism plaguing America like an incurable cancer, the so-called
Christian white American heart should be more receptive to a proven solution to such a destructive problem. Perhaps it could be in time to save America from imminent disaster the same destruction brought upon Germany by racism that eventually destroyed the Germans themselves.
Each hour here in the Holy Land enables me to have greater spiritual insights into what is happening in America between black and white. The American Negro never can be blamed for his racial animosities; he is only reacting to four hundred years of the conscious racism of the American whites. But as racism leads America up the suicide path, I do believe, from the experiences that I have had with them, that the whites of the younger generation, in the colleges and universities, will see the handwriting on the walls and many of them will turn to the spiritual path of truth the only way left to America to ward off the disaster that racism inevitably must lead to.
Never have I been so highly honored. Never have I been made to feel more humble and unworthy. Who would believe the blessings that have been heaped upon an American Negro? A few nights ago, a man who would be called in America a white man, a United Nations diplomat, an ambassador, a companion of kings, gave me his hotel suite, his bed. Never would I have even thought of dreaming that I would ever be a recipient of such honors, honors that in America would be bestowed upon a king not a Negro.
'All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all the Worlds, only the mistakes have been mine.'
- From: Leela Jacinto (@ cache3-2.jed.isu.net.sa)
on: Fri Feb 14 03:05:14
Gathering of the Faithful
Security Systems on High Alert as Millions of Muslims Congregate for Hajj
By Leela Jacinto, email: email@example.com
Feb. 11 At sundown on Monday, they began their descent from the rocky slopes of Mount Arafat in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia a vast sea of humanity in pristine white robes collectively cleansed of its sins after completing a central ritual of the annual hajj pilgrimage.
Down from the holy mount, in the Mina Valley today, millions of Muslim pilgrims celebrate Eid ul-Adha the feast marking Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son at God's request slaughtering sheep in a symbolic commemoration of man's ultimate accedence to God's will.
It's just one in a detailed list of prescribed rituals that make up the hajj, an awesome display of faith that sees millions of Muslims of different racial, linguistic and cultural backgrounds from more than 70 countries gather together in an essentially egalitarian community, where all Muslims are brothers and sisters.
For the Saudi authorities, guardians of Islam's holiest sites, the hajj is at once a gala public relations event and a massive logistical headache.
In a conservative country, where at normal times a potential influx of outsiders is kept firmly in check by a strict entry visa policy, the hajj sees an estimated 1.3 million non-Saudi citizens make their way into the oil-rich kingdom.
"It's a real organizational challenge," says Sandra Mackey, Middle East expert and author of the book The Saudis: Inside the Desert Kingdom. "Millions of people enter the country during a short period of time and millions of people have to be in the same place at the same time."
Logistical issues such as crowd control, sanitation and security during the hajj have dogged the ruling House of Saud ever since the kingdom of Saudi Arabia was formed in the early 1930s. But every decade seems to throw up a different set of challenges for the authorities.
David Hawa, a 29-year-old graphics designer from Washington, D.C., currently making the hajj in Mecca. "I just don't like this linkage between terrorism and Islam. If anyone came here and saw this, they would see the beauty of Islam, the beauty of so many people coming together."
Along with his 25-year-old brother, Basim, and three of their childhood friends from California, Hawa said he came to Mecca to "actually see" the Kaaba, the large cube-shaped stone structure that Muslims around the world face during their prayers.
Despite the tenuous position the House of Saud enjoys in the hearts and minds of many Muslims due to its track record of corruption, the strict controls it exercises over the Saudi people, and dissatisfaction over its decision to allow the continued presence of U.S. troops on Saudi soil experts say the post-1987 Saudi attempt to divide politics and religion during the hajj enjoys widespread Muslim support.
"I think the House of Saud really won that PR war," says Mackey. "Basically, the hajj is seen as religious obligation, and for most Muslims it's a once-in-a-lifetime chance to actually do it. I think the idea of going to Mecca is a largely nonpolitical one."
Biometrics and Religion
Nevertheless, Mackey who lived in Saudi Arabia for four years, when she clandestinely wrote about the secretive Islamic kingdom acknowledges that the hajj throws up some thorny issues for the royal family.
"It really is a dilemma for them," she says. "On the one hand, they do not want to deny visas for the hajj, on the other, they do not want to see the political excesses that were displayed in the past."
Following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Saudi authorities installed eye-scanning and fingerprinting devices at King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah, the Red Sea port city that sees the largest number of hajjis entering the country.
More than 90 percent of overseas pilgrims arrive by air, 4 percent arrive by sea and 3 percent by land, according to Saudi estimates.
Machines were also installed to detect false passports and visas, a common problem for Saudi security, according to Nail Al-Jubeir, a spokesman for the Saudi Embassy in Washington.
"We have to be careful about forged visas with 1.3 million people coming into the country in a short period," he says. "But our security at the airport checks to ensure the validity of visas and passport and to make sure they are turned back."
According to Al-Jubeir, most of the cases of fake visa result from mostly poor and illiterate hajjis being duped by unlicensed travel agents and con men, a fate he calls "tragic."
Creating a Stir in Mecca
But hajj security, says Al-Jubeir, depends on coordination with a number of governments.
"You can't do it yourself. You have to coordinate with other governments," says Al-Jubeir. "We don't chose who comes to do the hajj; those decisions are make by other countries. Saudi missions overseas get a list of people selected and will ensure the passport matches the list given by governments. We don't think governments will provide us with a list of known terrorists or people on wanted lists."
For Hawa, the idea of terrorists lurking among the hajjis he has met in Mecca strikes him as absurd.
"You should just see the people here," he says during a phone interview with ABNEWS.com from his hotel in Mecca. "I met this Bangladeshi hajji and then an Indonesian man. I couldn't communicate with them really, we had no language in common, but we just smiled. It's astonishing how many smiling people there are here."
With his brother and their three friends, all in their 20s, Hawa says his group has been creating quite a stir in Mecca.
"Firstly, we're young. People want to know why didn't we wait until we get older and can pile up our sins," he says with a chuckle. "Then, we're American. The first question I'm asked after I say I'm American is, 'Do they let you practice your religion?' I'm surprised how much in the dark people are about Muslims in America."
For Hawa, the 29-year-old son of Palestinian immigrant parents who came to the United States from Jerusalem in the 1960s, the hajj has been an experience he will never forget.
"It was about 2:30 in the morning when we arrived in Mecca and immediately set out to start the umrah (a minor version of the hajj, which can be done at any time). That's when I saw the Kaaba for the first time. Just seeing something I've been praying toward all my life ... I couldn't hold it in, I was crying. I put my hand over my face so people couldn't see me crying. My friend was next to me and although I couldn't see him, I could tell he was crying, too. It was such an emotional moment, I will never forget it."
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