Hajj - Pagan Worship of a Black Stone or Moon-god?

Since 2008-07-01
Hajj - Pagan Worship of a Black Stone or Moon-god?

Written by Yusuf Estes
Saturday, 04 October 2008


How do I answer these questions (LIES) about worship in ISLAM?

Yusuf Estes provides answers to these
and many more "Lies Against Islam"

1. Why do Muslims pray to a black cube in the desert in Mecca!
2. Why do they kiss a black rock haning on the black cube!
3. How come they do a pilgrimage (Hajj) like some kind of pagan ritual!
4. Why do they pray to a "moon-god" idol - actually inside the cube building (ka'bah)!

Answer:
Begin by following the "Footsteps of Da'wah" by Yusuf Estes:

Be polite and kind and offer to sit together over tea or coffee to have a nice discussion about this subject. Then begin by saying,

1. "Thank you, for asking about my religion"

2. "Islam has two important points for providing answers to questions":
A. Truth - we are not permitted to lie, this means Hell Fire to us and is not something taken lightly by Muslims.
B. Proof - The evidence for Islam is in two parts:

Only the Quran in the original Arabic language
Only the authenticated teachings and sayings of the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, are considered as authorative references for answers to anything about Isalm.
Examine the samples of our evidence [Below]
Evidence #1 - The Quran is taken as the absolute Word of God in Arabic
Examples From Quran (Translated into English from Arabic)

About Shirk (worshipping gods along with Almighty God

The Quran forbids partners with Allah in worship: chapter 4, verse 48
{For sure, Allah does not forgive anyone who makes partners with Him in worship, but He forgives whatever is less than that for whoever He wills. And whoever makes partners with Allah in worship has certainly fabricated a tremendous sin}.

About Lies and Liars

The Quran says lies are a huge sin: chapter 4, verse 50
{Look how they invent about Allah untruth, and sufficient is that as a manifest sin}.

Evidence #2 - The Sayings and teachings of Muhammad are the explanation and clarification of the Quran.
Now here are some examples of the "Hadeeth" from our prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him:
"Whoever says; "There is none to worship but Allah" (sincerely), he will enter Paradise."

On the authority of Anas, who said, I heard the messenger of Allah (prophet Muhammad) say:
Allah the Almighty has said:
«O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as its» [related by Al-Tirmithi, who said that it was a good Hadith].

«Whoever is a liar - is not from among us» [Narreted By Al-Bukhary]

It is narrated on the authority of 'Abdur-Rahman b. Abu Bakra that his father said: We were in the company of the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) and he asked us:
Should I not inform you about the most grievous of the grave sins?
(The Holy Prophet) repeated it three times, and then he said:
Associating anyone with Allah, disobedience to parents, false testimony or false utterance.
The Holy Prophet was reclining, then he sat up, and he repeated it so many times we wished that he should become silent. (Bukhari)

"Allah will not even look at the one (on the Day of Judgment) who does not honor his parents."

{Your Sustainer has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in your lifetime, do not say to them a word of contempt nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor. And, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility and say: My Sustainer! Bestow on them Your mercy, even as they cherished me in childhood} [17:23-24].

3. "You see, everything in Islam has been accurately documented and preserved for over 1,400 years and preserved in the hearts and minds of those who have consistantly memorized it all, word for word and passed it on in the same manner."

4. "Even if someone tells a lie about Islam, or tries to change Islam in some way, it is easy enough to prove what Islam really teaches as we can refer to the original sources at any time, which we intend to demonstrate in our answers for you now.

5. There are some important facts, long established as part and parcel of Islam, without which a person could not be a Muslim. These essentials will help you in understanding the concept of Islam and the behavior of Muslims much better and could help you in providing answers to any questions about Islam.

Here are some important facts, established as part and parcel of Islam, without which a person cannot be a Muslim at all.

First, to enter Islam or be a Muslim, a person must say, "Ash-hadu an-laa elaha illallah, Laa sharikalah. Wa ash-hadu an-Muhammadar-Rasoolullah" meaning, "I bear witness, there is no deity worthy of worship, except for Allah, and He has no partners, and I bear witness Muhammad is His messenger."
After that Muslims must establish five daily ritual prayers called salat;
fast the month of Ramadan;
pay charity called "zakat" directly to the poor;
and preform the pilgrimage called "hajj".

Muslims must believe in the follow six pillars of faith:
There is only One God, without any partners (details - www.GodAllah.com)

The Angels of Allah
The Books of Allah (The originals of the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Quran)
All the prophets of Allah
The Day of Resurrection (Judgment Day)
The Divine Predestiny of the Universe by Allah's Power (Qadr)

There are three additional items that we find are very effective in presenting answers and helping a non-Muslim to wake-up to the beauty of Islam:

1. Not all questions are really questions, are they? Sometimes people make a statement and put a question mark at the end of it. Consider this 'question' if it came to you; someone says to you, "Answer this question with a 'yes' or a 'no' answer: 'Is your mother out of jail yet?' - and what could you say? Either way you answer it implies your mother has been in jail.

2. I think we agree that we should look to the actual teachings of a religion to understand it, not the statements or actions of some people who claim to follow it without any reference for what they are saying or doing. Make sense?"

3. "Oh, and one finaly point we should agree on, we are all looking for the truth and whenever we come across something that is backed up by evidence or if we discover something we have is false, we should accept the truth and move on in that direction. Right?
So,If while you are listening to the answer to this question aboout Islam, you find that it is actually not what you had thought, and if fact, you like the principles and teachings as a way of life and you see clear proofs with no doubt, do you think you will be prepared to rethink your position on the topic and consider worshipping the One God of the universe?"

"O.K. Now I am ready to get started in answering your particular question about who Muslims worship and how they worship."

"As we have already seen from our discussion so far, Muslims only worship One God, without any gods beside Him. This is the same God of Abraham in the Bible, on the same terms as mentioned in the Book of Exodus and Deuteronomy in the Ten Commandments; "Thou shall not have any other gods besides Me."
[for more details you may refer to or give the link: www.GodAllah.com]

"Let's begin by taking a closer look at your questions. Go ahead, what would you like to ask?"

OK - So, how do you answer these questions?

1. What is the black cube-shapped building (Ka'bah) in the sanctuary in Makkah?
2. And what about the Black Stone (hajr aswad) mounted in the silver frame hanging on the corner of the building? Is this an idol?
3. Isn't the Hajj (pilgrimage) actually some kind of pagan ritual?

THE BLACK STONE IS MOUNTED ON THE KA'BAH - A CUBE SHAPPED BUILDING IN THE SANCTUARY OF MECCA

Let us examine closely the square-structured Ka'bah (The Holy House) at Mecca, in Arabia, wherein in its Eastern corner lies the Black Stone set up chest-high. Every pilgrim in Mecca would like to kiss it from the time they arrive there. This action marks the start of the act of Tawaf.

The word "Tawaf" is an Arabic infinitive noun which means to circle, compass or move around something. A pilgrim has to circle the Ka'bah seven times, to complete Tawaf. Each one of the seven rounds begins by kissing, if possible, or by simply pointing at the Black Stone.

The Black Stone thus, serves to mark the start of each round. Tawaf is one of the integral parts of Pilgrimage (Hajj), which is also performed, as a separate act of worship at any time. Thus we find the Ka'bah continually being circled by people day and night.

THE REAL IMPORTANCE OF TAWAF (walking around the Ka'bah)
Circumambulating or going around the Ka'bah (also known as Baytulallah or the House of Allah) and kissing the stone are in fact considered the Tawaf's outer aspects, apart from its inner significance. These resemble something like the standing, bowing, prostrating and sitting postures observed in the daily Islamic prayers. Yet, the prayer postures, as well as the circling around the Ka'bah coupled with kissing, both form the outward shell of the chaff, which preserves the grain. The grain of the Tawaf lies in the lofty meanings of the Pilgrim's recitation and prayers, in the soul-stirring emotions surging in his heart - such as his extreme love for Allah, his awe of Him, and his high hopes in Him.

Let us examine, for instance, the words of God's Oneness, which the pilgrim mentions all throughout his Hajj and especially while going around the ka'bah (we will use English letters for transliteration of the Arabic):

Labbaik Allah humma labbaik - (Here I am O Lord!)

Labbaik Allah humma labbaik
Labbaik la sharika laka labbaik
Innal hamda
Wan-ni'mata
Laka walmulk
Laa sharika lak.

O my Lord, here I am at Your service, here I am.
There is no partner with You. Here I am.
Truly the praise and the provisions are Yours,
and so is the Dominion and Sovereignty.
You have no partners with You.

It is the same step at the beginning eof his tawaf (going around the building) to say,
"In the Name of Allah, Most Great, believing in You, confirming Your Book, fulfilling Your Command and following the way of Your prophet Muhammad!", In this way the tawaf is done only for the sake of the Supreme God of the universe (Allah), and never in the name of any other god, nor for the black stone, as some people claim. The action of the tawaf is in obedience to the promise a pilgrim has with his Lord. He is doing this as a believer in the One Only God of Abraham and Adam and Moses and Jesus and Muhammad, peace be upon all of them.

Worship in Islam can only be for Allah and nothing else. The act of kissing the stone or pointing toward it while going aorund the ka'bah is nothing more than following the tradition of the prophet himself, who explained it was not the stone or the moon or anything else that was to be worshipped, but rather all of our worship, devotion and thanksgiving must be only for Almighty God (Allah).

GLORIFYING THE ONE GOD
Find out, how the pilgrim goes on glorifying Allah the most High, while performing the rounds, with these beautiful sayings: "Glory be to Allah! All Praise be to Allah! There is no deity save God. Allah is Most Great! There is no might, nor power, except by Allah's Help."

A Monotheist (believer in one god) holds these sublime prayers far more valuable than the earth's entire riches. With these, he praises his One and Only Lord, as he circles a spot made Holy by the presence of His House. Is there any remotest trace of Polytheism (multi-god worship) or Idolatry in such an act?

A SELECT PRAYER As he has left all his worldly affairs behind, the pilgrim, besides praising Allah, also goes on praying for his worldly betterment, in between. Here is his all-embracing prayer to Allah, the Benevolent: "O Allah! make me content with my appointed lot, and bless me therein. And make good to me all, my losses and needs."

THE TWO-WORLD PRAYER
Unlike unbelievers, the pilgrim has a living faith in the coming, eternal hereafter. He does not fail here, therefore, to say the best possible prayer man could ever ask. It is from the Quran itself, and combines both the good of this world and the world to come in his supplication as follows:

{Our Lord! Grant us the good of this life and the good of the Next Life and save us from the punishment of the Fire} [Quran chapter 12, verse 201].

COULD A STONE BE GOD?
Even though the black stone is mounted on one side of the building of the ka'bah, and is sometimes kissed, touched or just pointed to while going around the building, it is not worshipped nor is there any belief associated with it concerning any good fortune or luck or protection against evil as a result of the stone.

Consider this, when the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, finally gained access to his homeland after being forced out for over a decade, the first and only thing he did was to remove and destroy the 360 idols and statues that had dominated the area for centuries. After destroying all of these fake 'gods' the prophet and his companions made sure to communicate to the next generations after them, to worship only the One God who cannot be contained in a box or a stone or for that matter, anywhere in the universe. This is similiar to what we still find today in the Bible for both Jews and Christians, when King Solomon dedicated his temple to God, saying "The heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain you, how much less this house we have built with human hands?"

There is no graven image for the pilgrims to worship in the ka'bah, or in the haram (sanctuary) nor anywhere on this earth. Muslims only worship God, as One. Worshipping anything or anyone other than Allah - is the most heinous and blasphemous crime in Islam.

In light of what the Quran has stated, worshipping anything instead of Almighty God, or making partners in worship by praying through something like a rock, a stick, a stone, a bone or anything else in the universe, would be the last thing any One-God worshipper (Muslim) could ever imagine.

A stone is just a mere rock after all. It has no power whatsoever to do good or inflict harm to any one, apart from Allah, the Sole Deity of mankind. That is a thing cherished either knowingly, ignorantly or figuratively - by those who take to stone-worship instead of God-worship, a belief and practice as unholy as it is senseless.

This is why the Black Stone becomes a mystery to such people, and so, some out of ignorance openly lie by saying Muhammad (Peace be upon him) broke every Idol in Islam except one - meaning the Ka'bah, or the Black Stone. Even some unwitting Muslims got confused about the Black Stone. It was then when 'Umar the second Caliph, removed any doubt from their minds.

Umar made it clear to everyone about the black stone, while going around the ka'bah, he came up to the corner where the black stone is mounted and leaned down toward it and said: "Undoubtly, I know you are nothing but a stone and you can not harm nor benefit anyone. If I had not seen the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, kiss you, I would not kiss you" [Narrated by 'Abis bin Rabi'a in Sahih Al Bukhari, page 396, no. 808 - Summarized version in English].

So when he came to kiss the Stone, he cried out publicly to it: Narrated 'Abis bin Rabi'a: 'Umar (May Allah be
pleased

TRUE STORY OF THE BLACK STONE
More than five thousand years ago today, the father of the Prophets, Prophet Ibrahim (Peace be upon him) the Upright (Hanif), had built the present structure of the Ka'bah under Allah's own orders. He (Peace be upon him) had built it along with his youthful son, Ishmael (Peace be upon him), forefather of the Arabs. This is how the Quran describes their building it together:
{And (remember) when Ibrahim (Abraham) and (his son) Isma'il (Ishmael) were raising the foundations of the House (the Ka'bah) at Mecca, ( saying), 'Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us. Verily! You are the All-Hearer, all Knower} [Quran chapter 2, verse 127].

The father and the son, true believers in the One God and submitting to Him on His terms (Muslims), were in this way raising the foundations with trembling hearts, for the Muslims are Allah's most devoted servants, ever fearful of his displeasure. While building the Ka'bah, therefore, both of them were afraid that Allah may not accept their humble service, hence that prayer of theirs. How touching of such fidelity, how moving of such humility towards Allah the Great! It is the essence of Monotheism, the ideal pattern of Faith and Actions great and small for all Muslims to follow. When raised to a certain height, Ibrahim (Peace be upon him) ordered his son to choose a piece of stone to mark the main cornerpoint. Even as the lad was searching for it, the Archangel Gabriel appeared with the Black Stone from Heaven.

Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said: «The Black stone descended from heaven, when it was whiter than Milk, but people's sins have blackened it» [collected in the sayings of prophet Muhammad, by Imam Tirmidhi, Kitab Al-Hajj, the Black stone].

Abraham (Peace be upon him) took up the black stone and fitted it in, and there it stands up to this day. It is a heavenly stone, then, and not an earthly one. It was selected by Allah for His Holy House (the Ka'bah).

TEACHING THE PILGRIMAGE RITES
The building thus finished, this is how Ibrahim and Ishmael (Peace be upon them) went on further praying to Allah, in the next Verse:
{Our Lord! And make us submissive unto you and of our offspring a nation submissive unto You, and show us our Manasik (all the ceremonies of Pilgrimage - Hajj and Umrah etc.) and accept our repentance. Truly, You are the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful} [Quran chapter 12, verse 128].

Thereupon Allah taught them through revelation the pilgrimage rites, which includes the Tawaf.

IS KISSING ESSENTIAL?
We know the procedure for doing tawaf, it consists of circling around the Ka'bah seven times. Each circle begins at the corner of the ka'bah where the stone is mounted. This is can be quickly identified by any visitor to the Haram (sanctuary) even if it is the first time.

Keep in mind thousands, hundreds of thousands and even sometimes millions of people are all going around the ka'bah at the same time. Not only is unlikely for a person to kiss or touch the stone, in many cases you can not even see the stone due to the distance away from the ka'bah. This is very normal and when this is the case, a simple gesture toward the direction of the northeast corner of the building with the outstretched palm of the hand is sufficient.

The pilgrim begins at this corner and can kiss or touch the stone if the crowd is not too heavy, otherwise he can simply point toward it and say, "Bismillah, Allahu Akbar!" (In the Name of Allah! Allah is Greatest!"

This would signify the beginnig of the first of the seven rounds, and each time he passes by he may either kiss, touch or just signal toward it with his hand.

HISTORY UNFOLDS A RARE ASPECT
Assuming that the Black Stone is missing for one reason or another, does it render the Tawaf and Pilgrimage invalid and void on such account? Absolutely not. This is exactly what has already happened in the history of Islam. The Karamathians (Arabic: al-Qaramitah), the most un-Islamic sect in Islam, had removed the Black Stone during their mad merrymaking in the year 317 AH/980 AD. They carried it away with them to their territory in Al-Ahsa (in the Arabian Gulf).

After keeping it there for twenty years, they had returned it back to Mecca in the year 339 AH (see shorter Encyclopedia Leiden 1953, P. 219). In such an event, the Shari'ah (Law) maintains that the pilgrim shall perform his Tawaf without the Black stone. Instead of the Black Stone, the pilgrim shall touch its place at the corner of the Ka'bah, or point at its spot, and continue his Tawaf. Thus the total absence of the Stone itself makes no difference in the validity of the Tawaf and the Pilgrimage. This shows how tiny a part is being played by this stone. How ignorant of others and how childish, therefore, sounds the charge that it is the "most Precious Idol preserved by Islam"!

DOES KISSING MEAN WORSHIPPING?
Kissing a stone is not a sign of its worship at all. Kissing the Black Stone cannot be twisted into an idol worship, for the stone is no image, just as mere kissing is not worshipping by a mere imagination. Anyone might allege that Muslims do worship a certain 'idol'. But the fact remains that they do not worship anything save God, the One.

The idol and its worship simply do not exist. The Bible is kissed in law courts; does that mean then that it is worshipped? Moreover, parents kiss their children lovingly, without any trace of worship in it at all.

A big question-mark that should come to one's mind are the pre-Islamic Arab idolaters who had held the Ka'bah under their control. With all their polytheism and idolatry, they too used to circle the Ka'bah and kiss the Black Stone. Had their kissing been an act of idol- worship, why then was there still a need for them-despite the presence of the "almighty" Black Stone-to install three hundred and sixty idols therein? This proves beyond a shadow of doubt that it is one thing to kiss the Black Stone under Divine Orders, and quite another to worship a stone or an idol. Most notable, perhaps, is the fact that One-God worshippers do nothing beyond simply kissing the Black Stone. They neither venerate it with folded hands, nor kneel down, nor prostrate themselves, nor squat before it. For all these is done only by idol-worshippers before their idols.

IS THE PILGRIMAGE A PAGAN RITE?
Some non-Muslims think or are made to believe that the Pilgrimage to Ka'bah is purely a pagan rite or one form of idol-worship. They falsely claim it was being practiced by the Arab idolaters before Islam, and that Islam borrowed it from them. This assumption is further aided by the fact that the Ka'bah itself had been a temple housing no less than three hundred and sixty idols. Nevertheless, this is a pure conjecture belying facts and figures. For it was not the idolaters of Mecca, but Prophet Abraham (Peace be upon him), who had initiated and established the holy Pilgrimage thereof, ages ago. On the contrary, it was these very idolaters, the degenerate descendants of Abraham and Ishmael (Peace be upon them), who had defiled Allah's Holy Ka'bah into a huge pantheon.

It was these rank idolaters who had injected pagan rites into the purely Islamic Pilgrimage laid down by Prophet Abraham (Peace be upon him), one of the greatest worshippers of God. All honor is due to Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), the seal of the Prophets and the last of Abraham's (Peace be upon him) line of Prophethood, who first swept clean the Holy Ka'bah from its heathen idols. It was he again who restored the original pilgrimage to its pristine purity.

The Muslims, are in fact the true followers of the Religion of Prophet Abraham (Peace be upon him), the grand-father of Prophet Muhammad(Peace be upon him), where pilgrimage to Mecca is a notable heritage as well as an important fixture of the religion. How different could these facts be from the Non-Muslims' random conjecture?

BUILDING THE HOUSE AND PROCLAIMING THE HAJJ
This is how Allah declared to Prophet Abraham (Peace be upon him) regarding his Sacred House after showing him the site thereof:
{And Remember when We showed Ibrahim (Abraham) the site of the Holy House (the Ka'bah) at Mecca saying : Associate not anything in worship with Me, [La Ilaha ill-Allah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah - Islamic Monotheism], and sanctify My House for those who circumambulate it, and those who stand up for prayer, and those who bow and submit themselves with humility and obedience to Allah), and make prostration in prayer} [Quran chapter 22:26].

Abraham (Peace be upon him) is being himself ordained in this verse to keep perfectly away from idolatry. He is being told, as well, to sanctify the House of God from all kinds of impurities, especially from that of idol-worship. Then follows the two-fold purpose for which that House was being built. First, is its being the center of Tawaf for those who compass it round, and its being the prayer-place for those who pray therein their daily Prayers second. This is as much as to say that the Tawaf and the Pilgrimage do depend upon the house of God, as much as do the prayers. For this reason all those who pray all the world over do turn in the one direction of the Ka'bah at Mecca. After being ordained to build and sanctify God's Ka'bah, Prophet Abraham (Peace be upon him) receives in the next verse the command to proclaim the Pilgrimage to the Ka'bah, in this manner:
{And proclaim to mankind the Hajj. 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 Hajj} [Quran chapter 22, verse 27].

That definitely proves that it was Abraham (Peace be upon him) who built the Ka'bah, and that it was also he who proclaimed the Pilgrimage, facts that should equally refute the oft-repeated allegation put forth that pilgrimage was some pagan rite invented by the heathen idolaters, and retained by Islam.

HIGHLIGHT OF PILGRIMAGE
Initiated by Abraham (Peace be upon him), and reflected by the Seal of the Prophets, Pilgrimage to the House of God is a unique experience to every true Muslim. For a "Muslim" is essentially the one who shifts from the false to the true Religion - from disbelief to Belief in God, and from multi-god to One-God worship. This trait made Abraham (Peace be upon him) a "Perfect" Muslim when he entered the Pantheon at Babylon, and smashed the idols therein to pieces. Allah entrusted him with building His House at Mecca, and tasked him to proclaim the Pilgrimage to it.

Henceforth, Pilgrimage to the House of God becomes the most predominant trait of being a Muslim. A haven of absolute freedom, and a sanctuary of perfect peace and security, this Holy Mosque is the only spot on earth set up by Allah for one and all the people alike, without any distinction. It is the House of God wherein all men are equal, none being entitled to own it exclusively. This is told in these words of Allah:
{And from Al-Masjid-al-Haram at Mecca which We have made open to all men, the dweller in it and the visitor from the country} [Quran 22:25].

The message of this Surah named "The Pilgrimage" (Chapter 22, verses 26-27) itself, is describing the construction of the Ka'bah and its sanctification, it being the focal point of Tawaf as well as the center of Prayers. Thus, the incumbency of Pilgrimage to this "first house of One-God worship", etc. Verses 28-37, do contain the basic elements of the Monotheistic religion of Prophet Abraham (Peace be upon him), wherein one of the main objectives emphasized is the need to celebrate the Name of Allah Alone over the animal-whether ordinarily slaughtered, or offered as sacrifices to Allah, as against those offered to the idolaters' idols, as evidenced particularly by verses 28, 30, 34, 36 and 37. "Avoiding the abomination of idols", and "neglecting the word that is false" (telling and witnessing falsehood), these two cardinal sins, have been specially prohibited in Verse 30.

The crowning message of unparalleled importance is the commandment: "Hunafa' Lillah (i.e. to worship none but Allah), not associating partners (in worship, etc.) unto Him...", which is the soul and the heart of Monotheism (one-God worship), and the annihilator of all Polytheism (multi-god worship).

This last, but not the least message, is the essence of Pilgrimage, as also the topmost concern and happiness of every Muslim. The Meccan idolaters too, used to perform the Pilgrimage, calling themselves thereby as "Hanifs" (followers of Abraham).

Therefore, Muslims are being told to perform the Pilgrimage, and call themselves as "Hanifs" but with this difference: "Being true in faith to Allah, and never assigning partners to Him". Thus the sublime Truths, the essence of the creed: "There is no deity save God", seem to be beyond the comprehension of idol-worshippers, all over the world, and in all ages.

THE FIVE-TIME PRAYERS
This performance of the Pilgrimage --- a colossal feat of Monotheism, is closely knit around the Ka'bah and its surrounding environment. It occurs only once a year, but far more important and surpassing is the performance of prayers in Islam, which are equally connected with the Ka'bah.

Prayers are an obligatory duty upon every Muslim. This is why every Muslim anywhere around the world turns towards Allah, facing in the direction of the Ka'bah five times daily. Of course, the Ka'bah is for outward direction to face in one's prayers, though inwardly, one faces his entire heart, to the Lord of the Worlds Himself. In this manner, Muslims are so intimately related to the Ka'bah through their Pilgrimage and Prayers, till the last moment of their lives. Not only this, but every Muslim is made to face the direction of the Ka'bah when breathing his last. Nay, even after death he is buried in his last resting place, i.e. in the grave, so that he faces the same direction of the Ka'bah.

PRAYERS AND SACRIFICE
Both the Pilgrimage and the Prayers are equally connected with the Ka'bah. And offering an animal and the Prayers are major Hajj ceremonies, where both the Prayer and sacrifice are special tokens of the single worship of Allah, with both being jointly dedicated to Him. It is a most sublime dedication the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was asked to offer in the following words:
{Say, "Indeed, my Lord has guided me to a straight path - a correct religion - the way of Abraham, inclining toward truth. And he was not among those who associated others with Allah} [Quran 6:161].

{Say, " Surely, my salat (prayers), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds} [Quran 6:162].

{He has no partner, and this is what I have been commanded, and I am the first of the Muslims (Submission to the One God)} [Quran 6:163].

{Say, "Is it other than Allah I should desire as a lord while He is the Lord of all things? And every soul earns not [blame] except against itself, and no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. Then to your Lord is your return, and He will inform you concerning that over which you used to differ} [Quran 6:164].

And this forms the only straight path, that is the religion of our father Abraham, peace be upon him, as referred to in verse 161.

INTERNATIONAL GATHERING
On the whole, the Hajj is a unique annual gathering of its own kind. Herein, true Muslims from all over the world come together on the basis of one-God worship, that is pure Monotheism and true Islam. Forgetting their mutual differences of caste, color and social status, they assemble in this international city of Mecca to glorify the One Lord of all creation. Incidentally, they get a rare opportunity here to discuss together all sorts of communal, religious, economic, social and political problems on an all-world scale, after which no better or more beneficial gathering could be imagined. Such a high, all-embracing congregation has been held every year in the House of Allah for thousands of years now. All these manifold benefits are hinted at in the words:
{That they may witness benefits for themselves and mention the name of Allah on known days, over what He has provided for them of [sacrificial] animals. So eat of them and feed the miserable and poor} [Quran chapter 22, verse 28].

The Hajj (pilgrimage) we see, is not a pagan ritual for Muslims, rather it is the fulfillment of an incumbent duty regarding the worship of the One and Only God (Allah).

WHAT ABOUT THE 'MOON-GOD'?
This is not even a topic of consideration for Muslims. This is a ridiculous claim of a few self-styled "experts" on Islam who know what they are claiming is outlandish and far away from the truth. Read the details for yourself and remember, "Muslims can't lie - or they go to Hell."
GodAllah.com/moon_god.php

INVITATION TO NON-MUSLIMS
This is the legacy left behind by Prophet Ibrahim (Peace be upon him) for all posterity to accept and follow, and no people of any country or nation, are an exception to that posterity.

So, instead of regarding the Hajj (pilgrimage) duty as a pagan rite, why not consider their own age-old idolatry, and accept and follow the religion of our father Abraham?

The time has arrived for these very people to proclaim of their own free will, "There is no God Worthy of worship except Almighty God!"

And we pray to Almighty God, asking Him to guide them and let them preform the Hajj (pilgrimage) to the House of God at Mecca! And offer their prayers regularly facing towards that same House!

Ameen.

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