Saturday, December 11, 2010

Hajj , what it meant for Pakistan?

I have a request before you begin, if you don’t have time to read this completely then don’t start it because you might draw wrong conclusion from it, thanks. Alhamdulillah I, along with approximately 150,000 Pakistanis performed Hajj this year. According to a rough estimate there were about 3,500,000 hajjis this year. This is probably an unprecedented number of human beings gathered at any place at any time in human history. It started me thinking as to what it is all about, particularly what is its outcome. This thought has become more acute ever since I have arrived back in Pakistan. The reason being, every one of my relatives/friends/acquaintances, except one (my teacher Mr Samad), asked me about my stay in Saudi Arabia. They were interested in knowing if I got proper accommodation or not, if I got sick or not etc. Other than Mr Samad, no one asked if it has produced any change in me. May be because of my black and white beard they wrongfully presumed me to be a pious person.

But this question of outcome is very bothersome for me, being a Pakistani I am more concerned with what it means for Pakistan. On average each Hajji spent about Rs 300,000/- which means that Rs 45,000,000,000/- was spent on Hajj this year. My question is this: as a nation, what did we get for 45 billion rupees? Some one can say that it is too early to look for results. Approximately same number of people performed hajj last year too, so we can discuss its outcome. Did it reduce corruption in our society? absolutely not, according to Transparency International corruption increased by six points. Did it reduce disparity between rich and poor? Look at the expensive cars on our roads, our posh housing societies and then at the desperation of people committing suicide due to poverty. Did it reduce violence in our society? you only need to take a look at the front pages of our newspapers.

Some people have argued with me that compared to our total population of approximately 180 million 150,000 is not even one percent, so expecting a change from such a miniscule segment is not logical. But this argument is fallacious, because this “miniscule segment” is the one which can afford this journey. They belong to the segment of our society with wealth and power (which like mass and energy in Einstein’s E=mc2 are inter-changeable). This segment consists of senior beaurocrats and army officers, politicians, businessmen, surgeons, professors etc. Peons and batmen cannot afford to go for hajj, neither can servants and factory workers, nor can nurses and primary school teachers. It is the powerful and wealthy who overwhelmingly perform this ritual.

The question that Mr Samad asked me is the question that we should all be asking ourselves daily. Did this Hajj produce any change in us? and I don’t mean change like growing a beard by men or wearing a scarf by women. Don’t get me wrong, growing a beard is Sunnah and as such is commendable, similarly if a woman starts wearing a hijab that is also very good.

But the real change is which makes a difference in our society. Did the beaurocrat change his attitude from a being a replacement of British ‘gora sahib’ to being a true helper of his fellow citizens? Did the doctor stop prescribing unnecessary medicines/tests and/or performing needless operations? Did the businessman stop hoarding and jacking up prices? Did the professor stop short changing his students? Did the politician change his attitude from a being a replacement of viceroy to being an imam of his people?

I am sorry, but I don’t see this happening. So what should we do? Stop doing Hajj? Definitely not, it is an obligation that those of us who can, should. I suggest a two steps :

1) It is stated that a hajji has a forty day “extension period” in which his supplications are accepted. We should use this period to sincerely pray to Allah that HE accepts our Hajj with all the mistakes we made in its performance.

2) Write down on a piece of paper, and I really mean write it, at least one significant action related to our profession, which will improve the lives of our fellow countrymen. Keep that paper in a place where we are reminded of it daily, and pray to Allah that HE helps us in our commitment.



Asif Shahzad said...

i see life as a unit. so one might think, what i am talking about is not the point you are trying to make ... but i see this issue as follow.
people has separated the ibadats from actions they do. they don't see life as a unit. they offer prayers/hajj, but do what they use to do in daily life.

about, why everyone didn't get pious after hajj ...?
those who use to do some good things after hajj (e.g. wearing cap, stoping abuses, getting beared etc.) is a temporary effect because of the emotional association with hajj like ibadat. u see, people who do so, just return to their routine after a month. these guys are motivated emotionally (just like someone get motivated by an emotional stimulus e.g. revenge, happiness, sadness, etc.) but all emotional motivations don't stay for long. it is only intellectual motivation that stay (and to whom Allah helps).

if u want to do an expriment that need 2000'c environment temperature, and u fail to provide that temperature, u just can't perform that expriment. in same way, if someone really want to be pious, but the system he is living-in do not allow (i am talking about workers and middle management only) ... he just can't do so. withdrawing and switching career ... is not possble for majoirty of people ... majority operates at average level of iman and have responsibilities that will not met if they did so.

yes, in this set, those people are still great, ... who do little bad because of the system although they hate it ... but do not get over benefit, don't make the curruption an agenda, and do great struggle to make it better, in whatever potential they have. but if someone is doing something wrong, and has not intention to make it good ... has no right to say that he is forced to do so ... and there is no way out).

i map hajj with jumma. in jumma prayer, our purpose is not only offering prayer but listening khutba too. is same way, hajj should have a really great set of khutbaas ... that describe what it means by iman on Allah, what we were, what we r, how we can revive ... etc. i think ... this element is missing in hajj.

(Only Allah knows the reality and I wish he guide us all in right path and grant us true knowledge that lighten our paths and remove our doubts and complete our iman.)

Husnain said...

If a Muslim performs Hajj e Mabroor(A Hajj with all the obligations having no element of gunah e sagheera o kbeera at any stage),all of his previous misdeeds are forgiven and he is just like a newly born baby while returning home(Bukhari Shareef)

The above quoted hadith having all in it but there are numerous questions raised in the mind after reading it.The foremost one is,is it possible for a person, as human being, to perform hajj e mabroor?if yes,then who are the blessed people those perform this hajj and what is the proportion of those to the total no people performing hajj every year?and if the above mentioned hajj is performed by someone what is the probability of change in this person as compared to other hajjaj?

Its not only the case with pakistanis but the people coming from each n every part of the world to perform hajj are suffering the same problem.It is embarrassing to note a fact in the Transparency International report that top five most populated Muslim countries, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria and Egypt, fell under the miserable range of 2.0 to 3.9. A huge amount of people from all these countries go as well to perform hajj but the corruption factor is multiplying with every passing day.There might also be a fraction of those who have been discussed in above hadith.

Hajj is not infect the only thing that can be thought of a cause to change the way of life.Every pillar of the Islamic Building does serve this purpose.Namaz should also bring a change in ones personality and same is true for Roza and Zakat as well but the point to ponder is again "where is the change in our society in spite of doing everything?"

Non believers neither go for offering hajj nor offer prayers but the corruption rate is low as compared to even many muslim countries in the world that implies rituals and traditions of a country do decide the extent up to which one should be honest or corrupt and these rituals are not adopted by others but are settled by the countrymen.

We have decided our life styles and complying any religious obligation can not enforce us changing that life style.As one of the stage dancer said while returning back to the stage after performing hajj
"That was my obligation, being a muslim and this is my profession."

We take Islam as "a cap to put on the head while praying in the masque".When one leaves the masque,he leaves everything related to islam and perhaps think,islam has nothing to do with our daily lives but a religion we "just believe on".

concluding all,We did not even understand the basic philosophy of what we are and what we believe on. There are numerous factors, that can not be explained here for shortage of time, why have we fallen to such extent but the main to do is recognizing the fact "what are we" and "what is islam to us".That is the only way to enjoy the real blessings of God Almighty that HE has declared for those whome HE has bestowed with His extreme favor and that is the way of evaluating all of ibadah that how much influenced are we by what we do five times a day.

Husnain said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RAHEELA said...

I am in a hurry but i have read the whole blog , the question is why i need to do hajj to make this commitment to myself? anybody can make this commitment of improving one's self.why at hajj only.

Camped said...

There need not be any communal benefit intended from Hajj, some duties can simply be private affairs between the Creator and his servant.

uT said...

Salam! According to me, whole Islamic system is based on communal benefits. What can be reason of strict instructions about wastage of water? what can be reason of this instruction that there should not be gap between people during 'jamat'? what be reason of this saying that "that person is better who has better AKHLAQ"??? I think (again its totally my observation) for almost every good deed in Islam, there is communal benefit...

The question is not that why we need Hajj to be good, the question is that why we are still numb as before hajj... we are praying but on the same time we are "preying" our own nation(even brothers)!!! we are fake (perhaps MUNAFIQ) and following self defined Islam... someone is going to attend so called Islamic meetings even he totally ignores "Fajar" and "Isha" (perhaps all!!!) we are ready to fight for so called Islamic issues but can't avoid lies, the mother of every sin... In short, what we like, we dress it up in Islam and vice versa!!!
May Allah Show us right path, amen...

Tariq Fayyaz said...

This article does reflect the thoughts of any sensible and motivated person to improve the moral conditions of the society.
We can work on the improvement of society as individuals as well as groups, sharing good thoughts and reminding people of Respect and Care of others.
I think if someone performs Hajj, offers namaz,observe Fast,etc and still doesn't feel any change in him then its a question mark as to was his ibadat being accepted by Allah (S.W.T).
Constant struggle and hunger for improvement as well as self assessment should be always there to make one's life and others a better place to live.

Last but not least, No one can help/force/push us to become a better human being in particular and Nation in general unless we feel it ourselves.

May Allah (S.W.T) guide and show us the right path and make it easy for us to follow.