"Behold! We gave the site, to Abraham, of the (Sacred) House: "Associate not anything in worship with Me; and sanctify my House for those who compass it round, or stand up, or bow, or prostrate themselves therein in prayer. And proclaim the Pilgrimage among people; they will come to you on foot and mounted on every kind of camel, lean on account of journeys through deep and distant mountain highways. That they may witness the benefits provided for them, and celebrate the name of Allah, through the days appointed, over the cattle which he has provided for them for sacrifice: then eat thereof and feed the distressed ones in need. Then let them complete the rites prescribed for them, perform their vows, and again circumambulate the ancient House. Such is the Pilgrimage: whoever honors the sacred rites of Allah, for him it is good in the sight of his Lord" (22:26-30).
The above verse tells that pilgrimage is one of the five strong and finest pillars of Islam. According to some of the traditions of the holy prophet, the performance of Hajj is obligatory, at least once in a lifetime, upon every Muslim, male or female, who is mentally, financially and physically fit. The Muslim who is of responsible age, in fairly good health, and is financially capable and secure must make the Hajj at least once in his or her lifetime. The financial security here means that she/he should have enough to cover her/his own expenses and those of her/his dependents, and to pay all debts, if she/he is in debt, before taking the venture of Hajj.
Hajj is the largest annual convention of Faith where Muslims meet to know one another, study their common affairs and promote their general welfare. It is also the greatest regular conference of peace known in the history of mankind. In the course of Hajj peace is the dominant theme; peace with God and one’s soul, peace with one another and with animals, peace with birds and even with insects. To disturb the peace of anyone or any creatures in any shape or form is strictly prohibited.
It is a wholesome demonstration of the universality of Islam and the brotherhood and equality of the Muslims. From all walks of life, from all trades and classes, and from every corner of the globe the Muslims assemble at Mecca in response to the call of God. They dress in the same simple way, observe the same regulations, utter the same supplications at the same time in the same way, for the same end. There is no royalty, but loyalty of all to God. There is no aristocracy, but humility and devotion.
It is a reminder of the Grand Assembly on the day of Judgement when people will stand equal before God, waiting for their final destiny, and where no superiority of race or stock can be claimed. It is also a reminder of the fact that Mecca alone, in the whole existing world, was honored by God in being the center of monotheism since the time of Abraham, and that it will continue to be the center of Islam, the religion of pure monotheism, till the end of time.
It’s in light of the above that I always keep asking myself whether the highly politicized Hajj tickets issued to our people through the central government are really pure for a true Muslim. This is not the first time authorities of Social Welfare and some Islamic clerics in Sierra Leone are fighting for Hajj tickets. The irony is that most of those who are challenging the Social Welfare authorities for the Hajj tickets are Islamic scholars who spent decades studying Islam in the gulf region. So if the Arab man really wanted Imams and Islamic scholars to benefit from those tickets why he didn’t send it directly to them?
The Arabs teaches Islamic scholars to stay away from party politics and not to discuss it in the mosques, but they keep on sending 90% of their gifs, including Hajj tickets, to the politicians.
I worked for the Sierra Leone branch of Muslim World League/International Islamic Relief Organization for several years and there was no time I can remember the Arab man trusting and placing true confidence in their own students and regular associates. They normally trust and respect those who studied other doctrines. When they donate $1 through their own students and associates, they will attach to it countless number of objectively verifiable indicators to show that it reached the intended beneficiaries, but when they donate $1000 to a politician, a simple signature and backslap followed by a loud laughter would be enough.
Now here are Sheiks, Imams and Quranic PHDs shamelessly issuing a press release against one of the hard-working Ministers of President Koroma’s era, Hon. Minister Moijue Kaiakai, for not giving them Hajj tickets. The great irony is that the tickets are donated by the same Arab governments that taught and employed the clerics to serve as Imams.
Which part of the holy Quran did God ask Muslims to perform Hajj on political tickets? Is there any prove to show that the Imams handpicked by the Council of Imams are more Islamic that those chosen by the Ministry?
I do not have any personal relationship with the Minister of Social Welfare but I could read from his behaviors that he is a decent man. To unlawfully steal photographs from his facebook timeline and maliciously publish it in order to dent his image is tantamount to the miscarriage of judgment against an innocent litigant in a real court of law. This is not expected of a true Muslim. So let the clerics leave the Minister in peace for heavens sake.
As far as I am concerned, in as much as those tickets are sent through the central government, the Council of Imams should accept whatever they are given. Hajj should be performed in peace and NOT by Force