At this moment, more than two million Muslims from every corner of the earth are gathering at Mecca for the Hajj, and three of them are GW students. This is the Hajj season in the Muslim calendar, and it is a time of excited anticipation on the part of all Muslims who have the chance to perform the Hajj, as well as those who can’t perform it but know someone that has gotten the chance.
Hajj is the greatest yearly gathering of humans that occurs on Earth. It is an annual trip that more than two million people take to the city of Mecca. They come to fulfill the fifth pillar of Islam, the greater pilgrimage. It is a show of the true spirit of humanity and Islam, a spirit of brotherhood and equality. During this great convention, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children, from Africa to China to Moscow to Paris to Washington, D.C. gather together in this most ancient city of worship, Mecca. Here, men of all ages, races and nationalities stand dressed in the same simple white dress, symbolizing their equality before God and remembering their true purpose on Earth. They remember the role of our father, Abraham, in the rebuilding of the Ka’ba and his call to all humanity to come forth for the Hajj. They remember the role of our mother, Hager, centuries ago, running back and forth in the empty desert land of Mecca searching for water for her son, Ishamel. They remember the role of the Prophet Muhammed in renewing this ancient rite and teaching us of it. They remember all this and hope for God’s mercy and reward.
The Hajj is a once in a lifetime trip that every mature, sane, able Muslim must take to fulfill the five pillars of Islam. This is a journey of complete surrender to God, where a person gives up the comforts of his everyday life, from beautiful clothes, to air conditioning, to rest and proceeds to God saying: Labayka Allahuma Labayk; Here I am, O Allah, Here I am answering Your Call. It is a time of complete removal from this world and all its concerns and a time of Return to God and total awareness of Him. It is a time for the cleansing of our spirits and the rejuvenation of our souls.
At the same time, it is a time for meeting Muslims from all over the world, from the villages of Bangladesh to the cities of Japan and strengthening our ties with them, remembering that the world is truly a global village, and we are truly one people, one humanity. We wish the best for all the pilgrims, especially our GW friends, and ask God to accept this Hajj from all and to make it a true learning experience for the whole world.
-The writer, a senior, is a member of the Muslim Students Association.