DATE: June 8, 2022
In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful
All praise is due to God, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master Muhammad, and upon his pure Progeny, especially the one remaining with God on earth (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake)
You are very welcome, dear brothers, dear sisters, officials of the great divine and Islamic movement of Hajj. It was really good news to know that after two years, God the Exalted opened this gate again to Iranian pilgrims and lovers of Hajj and to the other brothers who live in other countries.
It is the divine invitation that opens gates and paths. This is not a favor from anyone’s part. This is in fact God accepting your love and that of the honorable pilgrims. I hope that you will have a good Hajj and that you will return safe and sound while your prayers have been answered by God and while you have attained divine blessings. I thank the two dear brothers who spoke. The actions that have been taken that they mentioned are valuable actions.
I wish to raise brief points about Hajj. Hajj is an intelligent divine plan. All divine plans are surely intelligent, but this is particularly intelligent because of its special qualities and aspects. This shows the complete mastery of God over humanity’s existence, heart and needs, and not just those of one person, rather human society in general, not those of one generation, rather all generations of people in history.
This mastery has led to God the Exalted presenting such a plan which is in line with the diverse needs of humanity. He gives this opportunity to human beings so that they benefit from it. Hajj is such a plan. That is why after mentioning the obligations of Hajj, God the Exalted says in Sura al-Maedah, “All this so you may know that God knows whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth, and that He has perfect knowledge of everything” [The Holy Quran, 5: 97].
The things that We have made obligatory – Ka’bah, sacrificial animals and garlands – are for the sake of letting you know about God’s mastery and knowledge so that how familiar God is with the secrets and details of your life according to which He imposes rules and regulations.
How do we gain knowledge of God’s mastery? By deliberating. It is not the case that as soon as we look, we know everything. No, we must think and deliberate, acquire knowledge so that we understand the effect of the animals for the offering, the tawaf that is performed, the wuquf that are done in Arafat or Mash’ar.
Hajj is a detailed and comprehensive plan that God the Exalted has formulated for humanity by considering the various aspects of human needs. And this is a continuous plan. It is not the case that it only exists for one, two years. No, this plans exists every year and it will continue for eternity, God willing. If we manage to think carefully, then we will understand how beneficial Hajj is to humanity and what a great scope of human life it encompasses.
In a short sentence, the Holy Quran clarifies the rationale behind Hajj. If we think on it and benefit from the viewpoints of the infallible Imams and from deliberating on the Quran, we can learn a lot from this very short sentence. In Sura al-Maedah, God says, “God made the Ka’ba, the Sacred House, an asylum of security for men.” Of course, the obligations are not limited to Ka’bah. The ayah continues to say, “as also the Sacred Months, the animals for offerings, and the garlands that mark them.” [The Holy Quran, 5: 97].
These obligations are about the entire Hajj, not just about Holy Ka’bah. What is the purpose of all these obligations? Providing an asylum of security for men. The Arabic word “qiam” is not an infinitive here. Lexicographers and interpreters define “qiam” as a pillar and foundation. A structure rests on pillars. They call this a qiam. God the Exalted says that Hajj is the pillar of human life. This is very important.
The purpose of Hajj is the provision of a pillar for people. It belongs to all people, not just you and I and a few other people, generations, crowds and groups of people. It belongs to all people, to humanity. It is a pillar for humanity.
The word “qiam” has been used two times in the Quran. One is about national wealth: “Do not entrust the incapable among your dependents with your wealth which God has made a means of support for you” [4: 5]. God the Exalted has made property and wealth a means of support for society. And this is the truth of the matter. Society cannot surely move without property and wealth. It needs wealth and property. Humanity needs it for its worldly concerns. Another use of the term is in Sura al-Maedah: “God made the Ka’ba, the Sacred House, an asylum of security for men.” Hajj is also a source of support.
Here, “qiam” does not only have a worldly aspect to it. Of course, there is surely a worldly aspect to it too: “so they may obtain the benefits in store for them” [22: 28]. These benefits are of a worldly aspect as well, but more importantly, the benefits are spiritual, behavioral, moral and related to lifestyle. Hajj is this. What you perform in Hajj pilgrimage – the Hajj obligations – teach you and consecutive and interconnected generations how to choose one’s actions in life. Sometimes, one must move and sometimes one must pause. Sometimes, one must avoid doing certain things and sometimes, it teaches coexistence.
In Hajj, one of the most important issues is coexistence. People who do not know each other at all – people from different cultures, countries, ethnicities and languages – must live together here, “Let them stay away from intimate relations, foul language, and arguments during Hajj.” [Holy Quran, 2: 197] This means that we don’t have the right to fight with each other or argue during Hajj. This is coexistence. This very issue, coexistence, is very important in itself. Where do our problems in the world – human beings’ problems, not just the Muslims – stem from now? It’s because we don’t know how to live together. People act aggressively toward one another, talk badly to one another, bother each other and inflict harm on one another. Hajj teaches us how to live together. During a limited time, it teaches us an example of coexistence. It tells us that we should live like this.
Another example is that Hajj teaches us a simple lifestyle. “Ihram” is a manifestation of living simply. In “Ihram” nothing is extra. Clothes are only as much as needed to cover your body. This is living simply. Of course, it is not necessary for us to dress like this our entire lives and to wear the Ihram clothes. But Hajj wants us to learn this way of life. We must learn to live a simple life and a simple lifestyle must be promoted. This is similar to the previous issue, coexistence. If you look, you will see that many miseries and problems in the world stem from greed, aristocratic lifestyles, luxurious living and the like. A large amount of the world’s wealth is being spent on such things everywhere, unfortunately including in our country. Although in other places, people spend tens and hundreds of times more on these things. Living simply is important. In Hajj, we are obliged to live simply. Hajj is such that when it wants to teach something, it teaches us like this. In other words, we must have a simple lifestyle these few days. This is a lesson about lifestyle.
The next point is to practice avoidance. We must avoid certain things in life. Human beings are greedy and do not know how to avoid. In Hajj, there is lesson about avoidance. We must avoid doing the forbidden things in ihram. All the things that one must avoid in ihram are ordinary things, but one must avoid them anyway. We must learn not to harm an insect if it settles on our body. This is very difficult. We must get used to not looking at the mirror to improve our appearance. We must learn this. This is an act of avoidance that is not forbidden at normal times, but this is teaching people to practice avoidance. You should learn to avoid. We should learn to avoid certain things in life. We should practice this. This practice exists in Hajj. Notice that these are important matters in humanity’s life. Coexistence, simplicity and avoidance are the practices that exist in Hajj.
Another thing that needs to be practiced is learning how to not use the things that are available to you. Some of us are like this that we have certain limitations for ourselves and we do not touch other people’s belongings and the like. But sometimes something that is public property is entrusted to us and we make an excuse to use a part of it somehow using some justification. For example, something has been given to us and we use it for ourselves, but we did not use such a thing when we did not have it. This is a plight. One of the plights of human life is that when something is entrusted to people, it becomes difficult for them to confront their personal desires and to avoid misusing it.
There are various examples of this, such as in dealing with people who are not of your immediate family, in sexual matters and the like. Something is available to you. You must learn that this does not mean that using it is permissible. The Qur’an teaches us this in Hajj, “O believers! God will surely test you with game that is within reach of your hands and spears to distinguish those who fear Him in secret.” [5:94] Since hunting on land is forbidden during the time of Hajj, animals become easily accessible to you because they know they will not be hunted. If you wanted to hunt a deer or a mountain goat at other times, it would be very difficult, but not during Hajj. Now you have access to them and your spears can easily hunt them, but you must avoid doing this, “God will surely test you.” God, the Exalted, will test you “with game that is within reach of your hands…” Of course, the issue is about hunting game that has not been forbidden. Otherwise, some kinds of game are forbidden even at normal times. This is referring to the animals that are not ordinarily not forbidden but which are forbidden when you are wearing “Ihram” (the clothes for Hajj). God tests you like this. This means practicing not to stretch out your hands toward something that is within reach just because no one is watching you. Of course, these are only some examples. There are many other such examples.
I have spoken at length about tawaf, wuquf and other obligations in previous years. Other people too have spoken more and better than me about these issues. I only wish to raise some brief points. “An asylum of security for men” means this. Life depends on Hajj. Many major and fundamental areas of life are resolved for you in Hajj. In other words, by thinking carefully about and paying attention to Hajj, you can learn how to live. And this is not confined to the present generation, rather it is related to all generations. This has existed for 1,400 years-plus and it will continue to exist for thousands of years and for eternity, by God’s favor. Hajj is like this. God the Exalted has explained this in a short sentence: “God made the Ka’ba, the Sacred House, an asylum of security for men.”
Well, I would like to offer some recommendations to dear Hajj pilgrims and Hajj officials. First of all, you Hajj officials must appreciate the value of this vocation very much. Each of you must do so in different ways. The representatives, the Hajj management, Hajj organization, the divisions that cooperate, the health division, the security division, the Hilal Ahmar division, the divisions in charge of promotion – the IRIB and others – must know that they are doing an important job.
In other words, they are all cooperating on an important issue: “Cooperate with one another in goodness and righteousness” [The Holy Quran, 5: 2]. This is really cooperation in goodness and righteousness. You must appreciate the value of this job. What does it mean to appreciate its value? It means that you must do your job well. What does it mean to do it well? Primarily, you must do it with the intention of getting close to God. Because God the Exalted has wanted it, you must do it. Secondly, you must try to do the job in the best way possible and in a solid and innovative manner. You must appreciate the value of this job because it is really valuable. Your job is really valuable.
The next recommendation is addressed to the honorable Hajj pilgrims: They must prepare themselves for benefitting from this spiritual environment. One is not always ready. When we want to perform daily prayers, we are told to first perform wudhu, say adhan and iqamah, but none of these are parts of daily prayers. Their function is to prepare us for entering the holy condition of daily prayers. They soften our hearts. One must be ready. A Hajj pilgrimage that is done without any preparation might turn out to be of little value. There are some references to this in certain Hajj obligations.
For example, in the first pilgrimage to Hajj, you must cut your hair. This is obligatory. It is even mustahab not to cut your hair some time before Hajj so that it will grow really long. Then, you should cut it there. This is an act of preparing oneself for Hajj. When one’s hair grows, one’s appearance becomes nicer and better. So, letting go of it will have more rewards. You must prepare yourselves for this environment by reciting the Quran, reading the ayahs on Hajj, paying attention to Hajj concepts and by being enthusiastic to visit Ka’bah, the Holy Shrine of the Holy Prophet and the graves of the infallible Imams which complement Hajj pilgrimage. So, this is one point: preparing oneself and one’s heart for entering the holy environment of Hajj.
Another recommendation is that you must appreciate the value of every moment at this pilgrimage. I have frequently said before that roaming the markets there is wrong. No matter what your intention is, shopping and going to the markets is wrong. For example, we might make an excuse by saying that we definitely need such and such a thing, but it is not necessary. Instead of spending time in those problematic markets – I do not want to use stronger words, but there is really room for stronger words – and instead of shopping and searching the markets, you could say two rakats of daily prayers at Masjid al-Haram for a person for whom you want to buy a souvenir.
You could equally perform a tawaf, pray for them and read half a page of the Quran for them. This is the real souvenir. The things that you buy there are more expensive than their domestic counterparts. The domestic counterparts are much better in many cases. They are both better and cheaper. So, you can buy those things in the country. If you want to buy a gift for someone, which is good and alright, buy it here. Why would you buy it there? Who do you want to help by doing so? At what price? What is the spiritual price, apart from the worldly price? This is another recommendation.
Hajj is a manifestation of the unity of the Islamic nation. Try to not disrupt this unity. Try to not disrupt this unity. The Imams (pbut) would go and participate in the congregational prayers led by someone else in Masjid al-Haram. Imam Sadiq would go and participate. He insisted in participating in them and people seeing this. What was the reason? Why do we keep forgetting these things? We keep repeating these things hundreds of times, but then someone speaks up from over there about Shi’a and Sunnis and their differences and rifts. Why do they do this? Why do they work to the advantage of the enemy? Don’t they know that the English are skilled at creating discord? One of the things the English have always used to create discord has been the rifts between the Shi’a and the Sunnis. Others have gradually learned this from them too. See how the Americans discuss these matters in their think tanks and political think tanks. In their analyses, they say these people and countries are Shi’a and there they are Sunnis. This Shi’a – Sunni issue has reached them too. Don’t do this! Don’t do this! Live together like brothers. Yes, there are differences in opinions and differences in beliefs, but there are also common points. We have so many common points. We should not disregard them and focus on the differences instead. Don’t let this happen. Imam (may God bestow paradise) banned performing mass prayers inside the caravans. He said, “Do not do that. Go there and say daily prayers at the mosque.” This was for the sake of unity. You must strengthen this unity as much as you can.
One of the things that can bring about unity is to make good contacts. Making contact is good. One of the things that can lead to unity is benefitting from our honorable reciters of the Quran. I have heard that a number of reciters are thankfully going on the pilgrimage this year. This is very good. These honorable reciters must go and let the audiences enjoy. I too really enjoy their recitation whenever I hear it. This is something that creates unity. The Quran is a source of unity between Muslims. There are similar things that you can do to create unity.
Another issue is about the Zionists. Today, Zionism is an immediate, obvious plague for the world of Islam. The Zionists have always been a plague, even before establishing the fraudulent Zionist regime. Even then, Zionist capitalists were a plague for the whole world. Now they’re a plague especially for the world of Islam. This must be exposed and clarified for people in whatever way you can.
The Arab governments which shook hands with the Zionists, welcomed them warmly, and held meetings with them won’t benefit from this at all, not at all. This will only be to their loss. First of all, their nations are opposed to this, Arab and non-Arab nations. As I said previously, Arab nations and some non-Arab nations have done this. Their nations are opposed to this. They sit and drink coffee together, but their nations clench their fists and chant slogans against them on the streets. So this is to their disadvantage. In addition, the Zionist regime will fleece them. It will exploit them, but they are not conscious of this. They don’t understand, but of course, they will realize it later. I hope it will not be too late then.
The only thing that forces these governments into doing this is the wishes of the US government. They want to act according to the wishes of the US. Because this is what the US wants, they are doing it. Because the US is pressuring them, they are doing this. Otherwise, this truly will have no benefit for them.
Another point is about the responsibility of the host government. Heavy duties fall on them. Makkah does not belong to them. Makkah belongs to all people: “Surely the first House of worship established for humanity” [The Holy Quran, 3: 96]. It has been established for all people: “Residents and visitors alike” [22: 25]. Those who reside there and those who come from the outside are all equals. It belongs to all the people. It does not belong to this government.
Well, a government has been established, taking the matters in its hands. So, it must act according to the interests of the world of Islam, not according to its own interests. The things that were mentioned about an increase in the prices of certain things should be reconsidered. Besides, they must ensure the safety of the pilgrims. I seriously demand that they ensure the safety of all the pilgrims in the world of Islam, in particular that of Iranian pilgrims. They are responsible for ensuring their safety and prevent the previous disasters from taking place again.
The last point is that you Hajj officials must see if you can shorten the pilgrimage. This is really an important matter. Currently, the pilgrimage lasts 20-plus days. You should see if you can do anything in this regard. There is nothing that cannot be resolved. One must only find the way. You must find the way and see if it is possible to shorten the pilgrimage. Of course, if you manage to shorten it, some people may want to stay longer. Well, they can do so, but if some people decide to return sooner, they should be able to do so. You should pursue the matter. Of course, it is not an easy task. It is difficult and I know it, but you can pursue the matter nonetheless.
I hope that God the Exalted will bestow success on all of you and help you carry out this great, important and sensitive duty in the best way possible.
Greetings be upon you and God’s mercy and blessings