Hajj: The Delay in Mina

To accommodate the pilgrims who stay in Mina over multiple nights in the month of Dhul-Hijjah, more than 100,000 tents have been built in the area, giving Mina the nickname "City of Tents." With a capacity of up to 3 million people, Mina has been called the largest tent city in the world.

There is a two day stay over in Mina to think about your ideology and what you have done. On the Eid day and after the sacrifice, the ceremonies are over. You must stay two more days or even three more days, if you can, in Mina.

You are not supposed to leave Mina in these days - not even to return to Mecca! Why? Satan is defeated, sacrifice is offered, Ihram is removed and Eid is celebrated! Why should more than a million people remain in this valley for two or three more days! This time allows them to think about Hajj and understand what they have done. They can discuss their problems with people from other parts of the world who have the same faith, love, needs and ideology.

Muslim thinkers and intellectuals who gather here and those who fight colonialism, oppression, poverty, ignorance and corruption in their homelands, get to know each other, discuss their problems, find solutions and ask for each other's help. Muslims from all over are supposed to study the dangers and conspiracies of the oppressive powers and their agents who have infiltrated Muslim nations. They should make resolutions to struggle against brainwashing, propaganda, disunity, heresy, false religions ... and many other diseases threatening the "unity" of Muslim nations. They should offer a common and worldwide struggle to introduce Islamic facts and support the cause of freedom and those Muslim minorities who are under torture of regimes as well as prejudiced groups. Through a system of cooperation and understanding and an exchange of views and feelings, the Muslim communities would be strengthened in their struggle against their common enemy. A better understanding of true Islamic doctrine can be brought about by solving some of the theological differences that exist among Muslim religious groups!

More than a million Muslims from all over the world remain three more days in Mina, the arid valley, where there is no place of interest to see, nothing to do, nowhere to shop and not even a park to walk in! It is so uninhabitable that the prophet (PBUH) said "not to build a building in Mina". At this moment, through the training of Hajj, everyone is free from all dependencies and gains the strong will and personality of Ibrahim.

All fears, needs and greeds are defeated at the peak of one's willpower and sense of responsibility. Hearts are filled with victory in Miqat, Tawaf, Sa'y, Arafat, Mashar and Mina - sacrificing and celebrating Eid with great sincerity. Yes, at this time and in this land, more than a million Muslims do not end their Hajj to disperse and continue their individual lives. NO THEY HAVE TO SIT DOWN AND DISCUSS THEIR PROBLEMS!

Hajj is to come here on time and perform these actions with people. Otherwise, you may go to Miqat, from there to Mina, Arafat Mashar and Mina at any other time or without anyone else. That is not Hajj; it is a useless action or it may be considered a tour. This is the time that you are surrounded by a spiritual atmosphere tomorrow when everybody leaves; Mina is like any other land with the exception of being dry and uninhabitable.

You are here to learn that without people, searching for heaven (paradise) is the ugly selfish attitude of a monk. A PROMISED (ON CREDIT) MATERIALISM IS WORSE THAN THE ONE NOW AVAILABLE! This greedy attitude postpones its gluttony and enjoyment to the hereafter. In other words, it is like a bourgeoisie who prefers credit to cash! A devotee is as selfish as a materialist; the latter chooses the technique as a tool while the former uses the faith! A materialist uses science to enjoy his life and a devotee uses God for this purpose. Both are searching for the same goal, but one for the present and the other for the hereafter! The Islam of Ibrahim and the prophet Muhammad (S) teaches us that Almighty Allah hates these selfish devotees.

Prophet Muhammad (S)

If one has ended the day and hasn't thought of the welfare of his society or not made any attempt, he is not a Muslim.

It is true that you performed Hajj and ascended to Ibrahim's position by sacrificing your Ismail, but this is not the end of it; rather, it is the beginning of your duty. All these ceremonies were for you to ignore "self-service" and begin "to serve others", and not to buy fame but to do it for God's sake! This is why you are asked to come during the Hajj season while everyone else is there. To come here alone is not considered a Hajj.

Now at the end of this performance, all those who have defeated Satan as Ibrahim did, sacrifice their selfishness and celebrate their victory. Before returning to Mecca for a farewell, they have to fulfill two other duties - to establish a scientific and theological seminary where anyone may attend and to establish an international social convention. The two extra days are to summarize the Hajj in these conventions. The conventions are not held behind locked doors and in illuminated halls but in the open air of this valley. They are not held in low ceiling rooms but under the blue sky where there are no walls, no doors, no barriers, no guards and no ceremonies!

These conventions are not assembled by heads of states or their representatives, diplomats or political leaders, members of parliament, cabinets, senators, university professors, scientists, intellectuals or spiritual leaders. No! No!

Proclaim the Pilgrimage to all people. They will come to you on foot and on every kind of swift mount, emerging from every deep mountain pass. Quran 22:27

As Aime Cesaire says, "No one has the right to be the guardian of others." Professor Shandel said, "In the absence of the people to talk about them is a lie; it is a shame since only Almighty God has the right to decide for the people because the people are His representative on this earth!" This is the reason for the convention in Mina where God Almighty is the director of the people who have gathered by His invitation.

After defeating Satan and returning from the place of sacrifice Allah requests everyone to attend this meeting to renew their promise with Ibrahim, to have God as their witness that they will do their best to strengthen the faith of monotheism, to destroy all existing idols in the world and to establish a peaceful and secure society. Like the true followers of the prophet Muhammad (S) who made conscious and intellectual people responsible for carrying his message, they are to establish an "exemplary society" based on monotheism and to support the cause of knowledge, leadership and justice in human life.

Mina is the land of love, struggle, and martyrdom. It is the land where people make their promises to God. As a united community they promise to participate in good deeds and to fight the evils of man s life. They promise to respond to the calls of the prophet Muhammad (S), the prophet who had the Holy Book in one hand and the sword in the other and to make the right decision in confronting "stubborn enemies" and dealing with friends.

In this yearly convention, assembled far from the borders of blood shedding countries, Muslims from all spheres of the world and different political systems are invited by the Guardian, the King and the God of the people to gather under the sky of these mountains to have a free talk to help overcome their problems.

And a scientific convention, but not in the auditoriums of academicians, the assembly of university professors or the meeting of scientists and super-specialists. No, rather it is a two-day theological and ideological seminar where every literate or illiterate, professor or factory worker, famous spiritual leader or simple farmer can participate and has the right to speak openly. All ranks, positions degrees and colors are left behind in Miqat. Here all represent ONE - Man and all have the same degree - Hajj. That is all!

There is no higher rank for mankind than reaching Ibrahim's position and here everyone has been asked to play his role. At the of these ceremonies, before you return to your homelands, you must stay two more days after the Eid to sit down and ask yourselves this unanimous question of all ages -- "What should we do for the community?" And to find the answer. Just sit down and think about what you have done during Hajj!

Let us sum up what these codes are. We must realize the essence of what was done during Hajj.

Sufism: Starts in Mina and remains there forever without going through Arafat and Mashar.
Philosophy: Comes to Mashar but does not reach Mina.
Civilization: Remains in Arafat not going to Mashar and Mina.

Islam: Starts from Arafat and goes to Mashar (a passage full of responsibility and movement), reaches Mina (the stage of ideals and love, and surprisingly meets with Allah and Satan)!

Here they are talking about "you" and your fate and not about worldly matters. To God belongs whatever exists in this world. Here they are talking about "man" in whom Allah and Satan exist together. This duality is within man and not in nature. Mina is the land of love, faith and future. It is there where Allah and Satan are struggling within you for your Ismail. Mina is the land of all your hopes and needs.

Even to your surprise, the day of "victory" is the "bloody Eid". Instead of a "birthday party" there is a "sacrifice party" for the son; "The Eid of Sacrifice"

Look at this nation's tradition, history and honors! It does not care about its blood relations or homeland, but about its faith and freedom. The nation of monotheism the people who have the responsibility of the freedom of mankind from Adam to the hereafter, the those who even fight their own natures, those who have extended the "battle front" from Badr to Mina - these are the slaves who have so deeply realized the meaning of "freedom". They free themselves not only from the Pharaoh, but their Ismail too and not only their enemies, but their relatives too!

Excerpted from a section of the book "Hajj" by Dr. Ali Shariati and translated by Dr. Ali A. Behzadnia.

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