A Muslim Ummah represented body should plan the Hajj

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Pilgrims on Mount Arafat 2022
(Picture: SPA)

The Ummah should be taking ownership of the organisation of the Hajj instead of allowing themselves to believe that that the holy pilgrimage belongs to a certain family or regime.

Head of the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds Professor Salman Sayyid says the Hajj should be organised in a way that is enabling, and inclusive for all Muslims across the globe. It should not distinguish between rich or poor, able or disable.

He notes that the cost of packages, the building of different grades of hotels that overlook the Kaaba and the designation of VIP pilgrims goes against the spirit of the Hajj.

“Could have used the Hajj as an occasion to practice Ummatic consciousness and Ummatic unity rather make Islam subordinate to one form of family rule or quasi-nationalist rule. There was certainly a missed opportunity but not really a missed opportunity in the sense that its by accident. It’s the lack of political will and in ability of Ummah to exercise that will in the name of something relatively minor and unproblematic to arrange. You are only talking about a specific period during the year, saying that we should have an organising committee which would have representations from across the Muslim Ummah who would have the ultimate responsibility for administrating the Hajj. It would provide a fulcrum for Muslim unity.”

This year Saudi authorities introduced what has been called a lottery system for those seeking to embark on the journey of a lifetime from Europe, Australia and the Americas. Pilgrims were chosen through a random draw. A process that left Muslims confused and uncomfortable.

The Saudi move to sell Hajj packages directly to people is a part of the kingdom’s tourism strategy – wanting to diversify its economy.

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