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Go to Madinah for Hajj rites not to trade in narcotics

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2016 Hajj

2016 Hajj

In the name of the Almighty, the Beneficent, the Merciful

“The Hajj (pilgrimage) is (in) the well-known (lunar year) months (So whosoever intends to perform Hajj therein by assuming Ihram), then he should not have sexual relations (with his wife), nor commit sin, nor dispute unjustly during the Hajj. And whatever good you do, (be sure) the Almighty knows it. And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best provision is At-Taqwa (piety, righteousness, etc.). So fear Me, O men of understanding!” (Quran 2: 197)

Brethren, the news we expect to see and hear of from Hajjis and Hajjas as they board the airplane on their way to one of the holiest sites in Muslim world, (the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah), is a salutary one. The news that Nigeria and Nigerians deserve particularly during this season of change is that of my compatriots who comport themselves in the most noble and honourable way. It is our expectation that pilgrims from this country would abide by the rules governing the Hajj exercise: in hajj, there should be no disputations; on hajj there should be no fornication or adultery. While on hajj, there should be no flirtations, no act of indecency particularly under any garb. Every pilgrim is expected to show fidelity and respect to the laws which hold the Saudi society together.

The legal foundations of the Saudi society, bear this in mind my brother, are largely premised on the irreducible instruments enshrined in the Islamic law. There you have a law, which recognizes neither status nor race. Within the judiciary in Saudi Arabia, there are no Senior Advocates be they that of falsehood or righteousness. Once you run foul of the law, particularly the heinous ones such as drug trafficking in hard drugs or robbery, you already have an appointment with the hangman.

But it appears some of my compatriots actually thought the law in Saudi is a big net, full of gaps and spaces that are big enough for criminals to seek an escape. Or how else do we engage the story just a couple of days ago that some pilgrims from the central region of this country were caught with narcotics at the point of entry to Madinah.

Before they left the shores of this country, these pilgrims-turned-hard-drugs-pushers were told to avoid narcotics; they were told not to bring Kolanuts to the Kingdom, they were told to put all drugs, even those recommended by medical practitioners in their wardrobes in Nigeria. If the whole essence of Hajj is to seek union with the Almighty, of what use therefore is our attempt to ‘run’ away from Him. Some people go on Hajj with the desire to achieve martyrdom in the course of Hajj rites. It appears some people equally go on Hajj with the intention to widen the ’empire’ of Shaytan. It is my assumption that those caught in Madinah with hard-drugs could not have had any other intention other than to become priests in the cathedral of the devil.

They probably saw the city of Madinah as an opportunity to ‘get’ into the world – the world of riches, the world of material plenitude and comfort. But brethren, presently, those people would have by now regretted the moment they agreed to go into this abyss. Of what benefit is that decision to stake it all for this world only to be caught in the act and end up in the gulag.

Dear sister, I had actually thought that today would be dedicated to some reflections on the City of the Prophet (Madinat al-Rasul) before the above story nearly succeeded in distracting my attention. Dear Brother, you would agree with me, particularly if you have had the opportunity of making this journey before, that unlike visits to other countries in the world, be it in the “East” or the “West”, each time a Muslim boards the plane on the way to Saudi Arabia, he/she experiences an inexplicable excitement. He feels he is embarking on a journey to the source, the origin, the fountain. To embark on a journey to Saudi Arabia therefore is to be prepared to experience the past in the present; to see sights and images of Islamic history, to become a witness to how ‘yesterday’ came to structure our ‘today’. This is probably the reason the Almighty says going on hajj is an obligation humanity owes to Him (Q2: 196). Thus I propose that he who dies as a Muslim without visiting the holy sanctuary in Madinah particularly when he has the means to do so and for noble reasons, dies as an invalid; that is spiritually.

Brethren, the last time I made that journey was probably the first time I would travel in company of “those who matter”- ordinary Nigerians, young and old, who had never ridden in an airplane before. It was probably the first time I would be a co-passenger with men and women, majority of whom had moderate ambition; those who bother less about terrestrial mansions and focus more on eternal redemption. They were Muslims who had prayed for months and probably years, to witness that particular day.

Before heading to the tarmac, supplications were made to the Almighty at the hajj camp. Moments thereafter, we were all airborne heading towards Madinah.

Brethren, soon after the plane was brought by the Almighty to the recommended altitude, all the pilgrims relapsed into some revelry. There was excitement everywhere. The pilgrims were all happy, one with another. Soon, another prayer was said for journey mercies. This was followed by a short sermon in which the pilgrims were reminded that not all travellers usually reach their destinations; that life is a journey of departures and arrivals; that life is a journey in which not all departures usually culminate in arrivals.

Brethren, since it was their first time, most of the pilgrims could not but wonder about the ‘miracle’ of the airplane. Peeping through the window of the aircraft, one of them whispered querulously into my ear: “My brother, are we moving on or we are rooted to the same spot? Are we above the heavens or in-between two skies? Are we moving northwards or eastward? Isn’t this a miracle?” I paused a moment in order to ponder my brother’s questions. Indeed once an airplane is in the skies, it would take a very perceptive looker with zero knowledge about aeronautics to track its movements. But I thought the questions provided an opportunity, particularly for the thinker, to derive “sense” from “nonsense”. I therefore queried in response: of what value is the big airplane without an engine to propel it into the skies? Of what value is the human soul without the strong faith with which it would ascend to the highest regions beyond the capacity of the best space shuttle on earth?


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