As you can see by my slowly diminishing miles, I am making progress on my walk to Mecca. But what am I walking towards? If you notice the current picture at the top of my blog, you will see a vintage photo of Mecca. It shows the Kaaba as it was in the 30’s or 40’s. Just below, you will find a copy of the original photo that I “adjusted” for the alloted space.
If you look at the photo, you can see the Kaaba, the people who are praying, a building that is probably the “royal” pavilion for “special” guests, and on the hills surrounding the enclosure, the homes of many of the common people who lived in Mecca. But the dominant building is the Kaaba.
In Islam, we are to submit to God. When we go to Mecca on Pilgrimage, we are seeking an understanding of submission to what is right, it is not about what WE want. Malcolm X truly became a Muslim when he went on Hajj and found out that Islam wasn’t about race or color, it was about Heart. When he came back to America with what he had learned and began teaching the truth, he was murdered. But his message of Islam, not racism, lives on.
But I wonder… Is the Mecca that the Prophet (PBUH) went to Hajj at, the one where Malcolm X learned that ALL Muslims (those who submit) are truly brothers and sisters, the Mecca where millions of people have gathered every year for over 15 century’s, the same place of peace, reflection, re dedication, and renewed commitment to God, that was first given to Hagar and her son Ishmael?
Abraham (PBUH), the father of Ishmael (PBUH) at one point had to abandon both Mother (His WIFE, Hagar) and Son in the desert. As she was running back and forth between the hills of Safa and Marwa to find water, God revealed water at the site where she had left her son. This is the same son that Abraham was ordered to sacrifice – his ONLY Son (as per both the Bible and the Quran) (Remember, Issac was his Second Son, Hey, I didn’t write the Bible…). Later, Father and Son built the Kaaba at the site of the Well of Zamzam and the town that grew up from this holy site became Mecca.
When Mohammad (PBUH) went on the first Pilgrimage, he and his group of believers all dressed the same, ate the same and worshiped the same way. The practices established then, are the ones we follow now. But there is a difference. Look at the following photo and then compare it with the one above.
Is this a place of worship? Maybe if you worship at DISNEYLAND! The houses of the people are gone, replaced by the apartments and hotels of the wealthy. The tent encampments of the poor are moved further and further away, but hey, buses are provided! If you want a room with a view of the Masjid-al-Haram, pull out your wallet…it will cost you. And you can always know what time it is by looking up from your prayers at a grotesque travesty of an engorged quasi replica of “Big Ben”. But it is “Islamified” by having the word “Allah” painted on the top.
Did I say “Islamified”? That would indicate that I thought that this monstrosity had something to do with Islam. There is nothing submissive to the will of God in this UN-holy edifice. How much of the wealth that God gave in Oil beneath the sands went into building this luxury hotel/residential apartment/shopping resort? Islam teaches that there is nothing wrong with being wealthy but that it is an Amana, a Trust from God. And that you are responsible for what you do with your money. You can treat yourself to luxuries, but you are not to waste it in vain compititions seeking fame and glory. What if the money had been spent in educating Muslims who don’t know their Islam, or providing programs so that they could feed themselves without relying on handouts from dubious organizations?
Muslims believe in the day of Judgement. One of the signs is that people will compete to build taller and taller buildings. I wonder if this could be considered a sign.
I have many miles to go before I get to Mecca. Maybe “Big Ben” won’t be there when I arrive. Maybe Muslims will have learned better by then. I will trust in Allah…but tie my camel AND I will try to help educate the ones who don’t always follow their Islam.