By Arab News
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah yesterday urged the United Nations to adopt a resolution condemning those states and groups that abuse divine religions and Prophets (peace be upon them).
Addressing a reception given to prominent personalities and heads of foreign Haj missions at Mina Palace, he urged Muslims to strengthen their unity. “Haj is a symbol of Islamic unity and solidarity,” he said.
“From the vicinity of Grand Mosque in Makkah, I demand a UN resolution that condemns any country or group that insults religions and prophets,” he said. “It is our duty and that of every Muslim to protect Islam and defend the Prophets.”
The king’s statement comes after a low-budget film produced in the US, “Innocence of Muslims,” triggered a wave of deadly anti-American violence last month across the Muslim world targeting US symbols ranging from embassies and schools to fast-food chains.
He highlighted the importance of a center for dialogue between Muslim sects (madahib), which he proposed during the emergency Islamic summit in Makkah last Ramadan.
“This center (in Riyadh) is not necessarily for reaching an agreement on matters related to the Islamic faith but for finding solutions for the division and achieve coexistence among the various sects without any intrigues,” he said.
King Abdullah stressed that such a center initiating dialogue between Muslim sects would benefit the Ummah, strengthening its unity.
The annual royal reception was attended by Malaysian King Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah, President Professor Alpha Conde of Guinea; Indonesian Vice President Dr. Bodiono; Iraq’s Vice President Tareq Al-Hashemi, Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and Djibouti Prime Minister Dileita Mohamed Dileita.
Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Interior Minister Prince Ahmed, chairman of Supreme Haj Committee, Professor Ekemeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Dr. Abdullatif Al-Zayani, secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council attended the ceremony.
In his keynote speech, King Abdullah highlighted the significance of Haj as a manifestation of Islamic unity as Muslim pilgrims from all over the world assemble in the holy sites, unifying their ranks and getting rid of their divisions.
The Saudi leader said the importance of dialogue between Muslims in order to strengthen moderation and end reasons of conflict and extremism. He called upon Muslim scholars and organizations to work for unity, without losing hope in God.
Later in a detailed message to the Islamic Ummah on the occasion of Haj, King Abdullah said Saudi Arabia would continue its efforts in the service of pilgrims to help them perform their religious rituals with ease.
He quoted a Hadith from the Prophet (peace be upon him) that “He who performs Haj, without committing obscenity, nor wickedness, will return home free of sins such as on the day he was born.”
King Abdullah congratulated Muslims all over the world on Eid Al-Adha. “From the holy sites of Mina and Arafat … I congratulate you and all of the Islamic nation, praying to Allah to accept Haj from all who came to this sacred House, and forgive all their sins, and to return them safely to their homelands, after Allah Almighty has honored them with the performance of the fifth pillar of Islam and the honor of standing in these sacred places, holding firmly to the guidance of the Holy Qur’an and Prophet’s Sunnah.”
The message continued: “Contemplating on the Haj and the pilgrims’ movement, makes me think deeply about the purpose of this rite and its meaning. On this blessed land where pilgrims repeats Talbiya and the praises of God, the meaning of monotheism is clearly manifested, as if Allah kept this sacred land to let the faithful renew their pledge toward Him, century after century, generation after generation, and year after year. Whenever the humanity deviates from the guidance of its Lord, we find in these sacred places, what makes humanity return to the right path.
“That makes the pilgrim forget everything in the mundane life, and respond to the Great Qur’anic call: “And proclaim to mankind the Haj. They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, they will come from every deep and distant (wide) mountain highway (to perform Haj).” (22:27) Soon the pilgrims responded to the call and arrived saying Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik.
“When pilgrims come to this holy land and circumambulate the Kaaba, make Saei between Safa and Marwa in the Holy House, ascend to Mina, stand on Arafat, and then move from Arafat to Muzdalifa and Mina, in a unique view of faith, leaving behind them their families, wealth, homes and their accustomed types of life, they pledge to Allah Almighty- the unity of faith, repeating the word of the unity of the creator: “Say: truly my prayer, And my service of sacrifice, My life and my death, Are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the worlds’. No partner hath He: This am I commanded, And I am the first of those who submit to his will.” (6:162-163)
King Abdullah said: “Dear brothers and sisters, during Haj, the values of brotherhood and tolerance and the rejection of rancor appear clearly, since Allah wished the Muslim to lead a life which is an example of purity, and Haj reflects the above mentioned values, in submission to Allah’s Almighty saying in His Holy Qur’an:
“For Haj are the months well known. If any one undertakes that duty therein, Let there be no obscenity, nor wickedness, nor wrangling in the Haj (2:197). Then come forgiveness and tolerance.
“All the atmosphere surrounding the pilgrims makes them feel that the mission of the true Muslim is to spread security and peace, not only with the human being, but also with birds, trees and stones. This ultimate aim to which a Muslim yearns, is to contribute to the reform of the earth and populate it.
On this blessed site, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) whom Allah sent as a mercy to mankind stood preaching pilgrims, explaining to them the sanctity of souls and property, and laid down the highest sense of brotherhood, saying:
“Oh people: Your blood and wealth are sacred to you such as the sanctity of this day of yours, in this month of yours, in this country of yours. I have informed you and my lord stands as witness.”
King Abdullah continued: “Dear brothers and sisters, Haj has many lessons to consider, and many aims. And that provides a chance for the pilgrims who came from remote areas to devote themselves to Allah in order for them to return back home free of sins such as on the day they were born, and have been given a new chance to reform themselves and be useful members of their societies.
During Haj pilgrims show feelings of love and brotherhood. There is no difference between one language and another, nor between one race and another. The rich help the poor, and the strong help the weak. All hearts are united on one call to Allah, and the unity of the nation is achieved, so that the sublime social purpose, which Islam sought will be fulfilled:
“O mankind! We created You from a single (pair), Of a male and a female, And made you into Nations and tribes that Ye may know each other, Not that ye may despise, (Each other). Verily, The most honored of you, In the sight of Allah, Is (he who is) the most, Righteous of you, And Allah has full knowledge, And is well acquainted, (with all things) (49:13).
King Abdullah emphasized the importance of Islamic solidarity. “We are in dire need of true solidarity which maintains the unity of the nation, protects it from fragmentation, division, and prohibits the bloodletting which Allah has made sacred.
“Indeed this is the message of Haj which calls for unity of ranks and the rejection of fragmentation. We beseech Allah Almighty to help leaders of Muslim states for the good of our homeland and societies. We also call on Muslim leaders to fear Allah while dealing with their peoples and countries. We are responsible before Allah for our peoples and nation,” the king said.
“As renaissance and progress are achieved through prosperity and security, we Muslims, nowadays, are in dire need of dialogue with the others and ourselves, in order to put an end to dissent, ignorance, extremism and injustice which threaten the aspirations of Muslims.
Out of this vision, Saudi Arabia is still calling for dialogue between religions and cultures. It is following this path for the good of the Islamic nation and humanity as a whole.
The Kingdom, which Allah has honored to serve the two holy mosques, pilgrims and visitors, feels the great responsibility bestowed upon its shoulders and exerts every effort to achieve this mission to enable pilgrims to perform Haj in ease and comfort.
“Dear brothers and sisters, We pray to Allah Almighty to accept your righteous deeds, Haj, forgive your sins and to return you safely to your homelands. Once again, I renew congratulations to you on the blessed Eid Al-Adha and pray to Allah that it would bring greater progress, prosperity, security and stability to the Islamic nation.”
Haj Minister Bandar Hajjar spoke about the gigantic projects being implemented by the Saudi government to improve services to the millions of pilgrims who come for Haj and Umrah, including the massive expansions of the two holy mosques.
Muslim World League Secretary-General Dr. Abdullah Al-Turki commended the king for launching the largest expansion of the Prophet’s Mosque, adding that it would increase the mosque’s capacity to three million worshippers.
Yemeni Minister of Endowments and Guidance Hamoud Muhammad Abbad, who spoke on behalf of the delegates, thanked Saudi Arabia for its services to pilgrims.