The show begins at Miqat. At this point, the actor (mankind) must change his clothes. Why? Because one's attire covers the person as well as his character. In other words, an individual doesn't wear clothes, but rather, the clothes cover him!
Clothes symbolize, pattern, preference, status, and distinction. They create superficial "borders" which cause "separation" between people. In most cases, "separation" between people, gives birth to "discrimination". Furthermore the concept of "I" not "we" emerges! "I" is used in the context of my race, my class, my clan, my group, my position, my family, my values, and not "I" as a human being.
So many "borders" have been created in our lives. The descendants of Cain, the executioners and the cruel split Adam's family and mankind's unity into many parts and factions. What resulted were the following relationships:
master and servant, oppressor and oppressed, colonialist and colonialized, exploiter and exploited, strong and weak, rich and poor, nourished and malnourished, honored and dishonored, happy and unhappy, noble persons and lay persons, civilized and uncivilized, Eastern and Western, Arab and Ajam and etc.
Humanity is divided into races, nations, classes, subclasses, groups, and families. Each one has its own distinct status and values, names and honors. And-for what? All this just to show "ones-self-but under so much "make-up"!
Now take off your clothes. Leave them at Miqat. Wear the Kafan which consists of plain white material. You will be dressed like everyone else. See the uniformity appear! Be a particle and join the mass; as a drop, enter the ocean.
Don't be proud, you are not here to see somebody, but be humble. You will be seeing Allah. Be the one who realizes his mortality or a mortal who feels his existence.
At Miqat, regardless of your race or tribe, you must doff all the covers you wore in your daily life as:
- a wolf (symbolizing fierceness and oppression),
- a rat (symbolizing slyness),
- a fox (symbolizing craftiness),
- or a sheep (symbolizing slavery).
Leave all these in Miqat and assume your original shape as a "man" - just one "Adam" as you will be at the end, as one "dead"!
Wrap yourself in two pieces of cloth. One covers your shoulders and the other goes around your waist. No special style or material is used. It is made of very plain and simple fabric. Everyone is wearing the same outfit (Ihram). No distinctions in appearance are visible.
The caravans from all over the world which are traveling to Hajj will congregate at Miqat. They will meet at the same time and at the same place!
On his way to Allah, man is not just "to be" but he is "to become" what he should be!
And unto Allah is the journeying. Qur’an 24:42
How wonderful! Everything is moving - evolution, death and life, life and death, contradiction, change, and direction.
Everything will perish save His countenance. Qur’an 28:88
And Allah is the "absolute" - being, perfect, and eternal!
Every day He exerciseth (universal) power. Qur’an 55:29
Hajj is also a movement. Man decides to return toward Allah. All of his egos and selfish tendencies are buried at Miqat (Zu-halifa). He witnesses his own dead body and visits his own grave. Man is reminded of the final goal of his life. He experiences death at Miqat and resurrection after which he must continue his mission in the desert between Miqat and Miad.
The scene is like the Day of Judgment. From one horizon to the other, a "flood of whites" appears. All the people are wearing the Kafan. No one can be recognized. The bodies were left in Miqat and the souls are motivated here. Names, races, nor social status make a difference in this great combination. An atmosphere of genuine unity prevails. It is a human show of Allah's unity.
Fear and pleasure, excitement and charm, perplexity and rapture all appear as minute particles in a magnetic field. Allah is in its center (qibla')! Only man shows himself. He is situated in one direction which is toward Allah. In this desert all the nations and groups merge into one tribe. They face one Kaaba.
Once you remove your clothes and all the signs which distinguish "you" as an individual, you may enter into the heart of the crowd. In the state of Ihram', try to forget the things that remind you of your life.
Everyone "melts" himself and assumes a new form as a "mankind". The egos and individual traits are buried. The group becomes a "people" or an "Umma". All the I's have died in Miqat; what has evolved is "We".
By the time you leave Mina you should have integrated into the Umma. This is what Ibrahim did. You are also supposed to act like Ibrahim.
Lo Abraham was a nation obedient to Allah, by nature upright, and he was not of the idolaters. Qur’an 16:120
At last, one is all and all is one! Everyone is equal. The society of polytheism is converted into one of monotheism or Tawhid. This is the Umma or the society which is onto the right path. It should be a society which is perfect, active and led by Islamic leadership (Imamate).
Everyone performing Hajj has turned away from himself to face Allah. He has been endowed with the spirit of Allah. You have gone from an exile to the hereafter. You have been exposed to the absolute facts. You have overcome ignorance and oppression and have been enlightened by consciousness and justice. You have rejected polytheism and adopted monotheism.
Previous to the performance of Hajj, the people neglected their human quality. They were alienated by power, wealth, family, land, and race. Their life was only in the context of mere "existence". Finally, the experience of Hajj allowed them to achieve self-discovery. Now they perceived each other collectively as "one", and individually as a "man" NOTHING ELSE!.