Page 77 - Islam In Focus

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Sacred Shrine, destroyed all the idols and images that were there, and completed the
rites of pilgrimage
This interpretation is enlightened by some unusual experiences of extraordinary
people. For example, a famous Hungarian writer fled his invaded country and took
with him a handful of earth. Literary annals tell that the writer found his greatest
comfort and deepest joy in that handful of earth. It was his source of inspiration and
symbol of hope that he would return to a free homeland at last. (I read this account
during the fifties and very much to my regret, cannot locate the exact source or
remember the writer’ s name)
Similarly, a documentary called “ The Palestinians” was prepared by CBS and
televized on Saturday June 15, 1974. In it, a wealthy businessman, who fled the
Zionist terror in Palestine, was interviewed at his extremely fashionable home in
Beirut. When he was reminded of his good fortune in exile he smiled, pointing to a
small bottle half-full of earth. To make his point, he added that he brought it with him
from Jerusalem when he fled; that it is more valuable to him than anything he
possesses; and that he would give up all his possessions to return to Palestine, his
homeland. What is more significant about this interview is that the man’ s family was
more emphatic and expressed stronger feelings. It will not be at all surprising if it
turns out that this man represents many others like him and if that small “ earth
treasure” becomes a very special, even a sacred, thing in the years to come
In a more tangible sense, the Associated Press reported on October 14, 1973, that “ the
Last Israeli strong points on the eastern bank of the Suez Canal surrendered … and 37
tired and bedraggled Israeli troops were paddled in dinghies across the waterway to
captivity. … Some of the Egyptian troops, carried away with the emotion of finally
liberating this last stronghold (the Bar-Lev line), grabbed handfuls of sand and put it
in their mouths. Others kissed the ground.” (Dispatch Observer, p. 2A)
More recently, the same news agency, reporting on the returning Syrian prisoners of
war, said that the first man off the plane “ sat upright on a stretcher on the stumps of
his amputated legs . . . ‘Legs are nothing. We are ready to give our soul . . .’ he
shouted. He then insisted on being lifted from his stretcher and placed on the ground
so that he could bend down to kiss the soil.” ( Dispatch Observer, June 2, 1974, p. 3A)
It is in this human perspective that the Black Stone story should be viewed. And it is
in the light of such human experiences under extraordinary circumstances that it is
best understood
Concluding Remarks about the Hajj
The visit of to the tomb of Prophet Muhammad at Medina (Madeenah) is not an
essential obligation in making the Hajj valid and complete. But it is always advisable
and strongly recommended that whoever can reach Medina should visit the Prophet’ s
tomb to pay his respect to the greatest teacher that humanity has ever known
It should be remembered that the climax of Hajj is marked by offering a sacrifice, an
oblation in the way of God, to celebrate the completion of this devotional course and
feed the poor so that they may feel the universal joy of the ‘Eed Day. This duty is not
undertaken by pilgrims only but by all Muslims with means in every corner of the