Today, hundreds of thousands of people will be on the plains of Arafat. Dressed in white and bareheaded, they will all have the goal of praying to the Almighty, thanking Him, and beseeching Him for forgiveness, mercy and peace for all.
Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam and is incumbent upon all those who can perform it physically, mentally and financially.
It is a time to reflect, to review and ask soul-searching questions. In short, it is not a picnic. People from all over the world prepare for months, some for years, braving heavy odds to come here so that they can be in Arafat, on the 9th of Dhul Hijja which falls this year on October 14.
Even for those who are not in Arafat, this day is meaningful. Many observe a day of fasting, give alms to the needy and perform kind acts.
Let us then on this day pray to the Almighty for all humanity. In a world plagued by wars, disease and poverty, good faith and deeds and a commitment to bring about positive change and enhance the quality of human life on earth should be our goal.
Pray for the Arab world
The Arab world itself is passing through a bloody period. This is the result of long years of mismanagement and dictatorial rule. Deprivation, subjugation and suppression have broken up the fabric of society.
It is important too as we pray that we reflect on who and what we are, how we behave to our families and friends and whether we add value to our worldKhaled Almaeena
The occupation of Palestine has resulted in the defacing of its heritage, the demolishing of its towns, and the tearing apart of its farms. The Palestinian people have been subjected to the worst forms of humiliation, such as spraying sewage water on those who protest and flooding their neighborhoods, mosques and churches. Let us pray that salvation will come to them.
Let us pray for peace for the region where people of different faiths and ethnic groups can live together side by side and go to their places of worship without seeing them burned or destroyed. In addition to prayers, let us resolve to continue to work to defeat those with twisted minds who murder and maim with no regret.
Let us pray that those suffering from disease and other sickness all over the world will have access to medical help and can be cured.
No country even one calling itself the “only superpower in the world” is immune from natural or man-made disasters. Our prayers should go out to all who have suffered.
It is important too as we pray that we reflect on who and what we are, how we behave to our families and friends and whether we add value to our world. This is the true test of ourselves as Muslims. Are we givers or takers? Are we contributors or consumers? Will we be remembered when we depart or be forgotten as the last shovel of mud covers our graves?
The answer lies within us.
Let this day be a turning point in our lives.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Oct. 14, 2013.
Khaled Almaeena is a veteran Saudi journalist, commentator, businessman and the editor-in-chief of the Saudi Gazette. Almaeena has held a broad range of positions in Saudi media for over thirty years, including CEO of a PR firm, Saudi Television news anchor, talk show host, radio announcer, lecturer and journalist. As a journalist, Almaeena has represented Saudi media at Arab summits in Baghdad, Morocco and elsewhere. In 1990, he was one of four journalists to cover the historic resumption of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Russia. He also traveled to China as part of this diplomatic mission. Almaeena's political and social columns appear regularly in Gulf News, Asharq al-Aswat, al-Eqtisadiah, Arab News, Times of Oman, Asian Age and The China Post. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter: @KhaledAlmaeena
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