Hajj the Khomeini way
Hajj and umrah for Saudi Arabia remain outside political disputes with any Muslim party
Hajj and umrah for Saudi Arabia remain outside political disputes with any Muslim party, regardless of what these conflicts are about. This is a Saudi principle. It is a special duty that the country bears before all Muslims. The kingdom has managed to remain loyal to this duty ever since it assumed it.
One of the clearest examples of that is how it has dealt with Iran. Despite the annual headache that Tehran’s propaganda machine causes every hajj season, and despite the security threats that have targeted Makkah and Medina under the cover of Iranian hajj missions, Saudi authorities have not held innocent Iranian pilgrims accountable for the acts of Iranian officers and agents.
In the past three decades, everyone saw how explosives and weapons were smuggled in the luggage of innocent elderly pilgrims. This in addition to the chaos and sabotage that Tehran has caused during hajj due to the heresy of performing the “repudiation of polytheist ceremony,” which has nothing to do with the hajj provisions in Shiite jurisprudence.
Tehran’s political immorality lies in depriving the Iranian people of the chance to perform hajj, while alleging that Saudi Arabia prevented them from doing so. This Iranian behavior has nothing to do with jurisprudential duties.
Tehran’s political immorality lies in depriving the Iranian people of the chance to perform hajj, while alleging that Saudi Arabia prevented them from doing soMshari al-Thaydi
Tehran’s exploitation of hajj aims to achieve certain goals. The first is to spread negative propaganda against Saudi Arabia, especially since Muslim countries condemned Iran during the recent Istanbul conference.
Another goal, as a Saudi expert noted, is that Iranian authorities are stealing pilgrims’ money by claiming that hajj costs were not returned to them. This exploitation of hajj and other religious affairs is typical of Tehran.
During a seminar for the Iranian opposition held a few days ago in Paris, Iranian cleric Ayatollah Jalal Ganjei said: “The mullahs’ regime has added to the hajj rituals a shameful phenomenon that it calls the repudiation of polytheist ceremony.
Those who are acquainted with Shiite jurisprudence know that when it comes to hajj rituals, it’s not any different from what the rest of the Muslims do.”
The disputes with Tehran, which have been ongoing for years, have not prevented Saudi Arabia from performing its duty of facilitating hajj for the entire Muslim people, including Iranians.
This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on June 6, 2016.
Saudi journalist Mshari Al Thaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Al Thaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists.