What has the experience of Hajj taught me? First one must ask - what does Hajj mean? In essence, Hajj is man's evolution toward Allah. It is a symbolic demonstration of the philosophy of Creation of Adam. To further illustrate this, it may be stated that the performance of Hajj is a simultaneous show of many things; it is a "show of creation", a "show of history", a "show of unity", a "show of the Islamic ideology" and a show of the Ummah.
The following conditions prevail in this "show". Allah (God) is the stage manager. The theme portrayed is the actions of the people involved. Adam, Ibrahim, Hajar, and Satan are the main characters. The scenes are Masjid-ul Haram, the Haram area, Masa, Arafat, Mashars and Mina. Important symbols are the Kaaba, Safa, Marwa, day, night, sunshine, sunset, idols and ritual of sacrifice. The clothing and make up are Ihram, Halgh and Taqseer. Lastly, the player of the roles in this "show" is only one; and that is YOU!
Regardless of whether you are a man or a woman, young or old, black or white, you are the main feature of the performance. The role of Adam, Ibrahim and Hajar in the confrontation between "Allah and Satan" is played by you. As a result, you, individually, are the hero of the "show".
Annually, Muslims from all over the world are encouraged to participate in this great "show" (Hajj). Everyone is considered equal. No discrimination on the basis of race, sex, or social status is made. In accordance to the teachings of Islam, ALL ARE ONE AND ONE IS ALL.
The one who restores somebody's life, has restored the life of all and the one who kills one, has killed all.
Yet the enemies of Islam continue to deliberately wage a campaign against Islam. They attack it by denying that Islam recognizes the human being as an individual endowed with special rights and values. In terms of the concept of Hajj, it is relegated to the status of a duty which has very little significance. As Imam Ali, the son of Kaaba says:
As if Islam is a lamb fur-coat that is put on inside out.
What have I personally learned from Hajj-me being so "little" and Hajj being so "great" in meaning? How far and what could I see from this experience? The following pages are the product of my humble efforts to answer these questions. My purpose is not to inform the reader what must be done during Hajj. This can be attained by referring to the book of rituals. Instead, I want to share with you my perceptions of the significance of Hajj. They should help you to understand why it is incumbent upon Muslims to perform this duty, or at least motivate you to think about Hajj.
Dr. Ali Shariati