MOUNT ARAFAT, Saudi Arabia: Delivering the Haj sermon from Masjid-e-Nimra, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz on Monday said Islam was a religion of peace and condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
“Hell is the final abode for those spilling the blood of innocent human beings. Islam doesn’t allow terrorism at any cost. Islam condemns violence and terrorism plaguing the world today. Muslims should demonstrate love for peace and unity,” the Grand Mufti said.
He said Muslims throughout the world were going through difficult times and stressed that the global economic crisis could be controlled if the Islamic economic system was adopted. “Muslims should support the community by investing in their businesses,” he urged.
According to the Grand Mufti, Muslims were facing problems because they had forgotten the teachings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). He said the life of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) carried a solution to every problem. He called upon the Muslims to remain united, as success lay in their unity.
The Grand Mufti said: “The Holy Quran is the ultimate guidance for the entire humanity which should be implemented and acted upon.”“Oh Muslims be God-fearing, adopt taqwa (fear of Allah), shun earning money through un-Islamic means, hold fast to the rope of Allah and don’t divide into diverse schools of thought, get united against injustice,” the chief mufti urged hundreds of thousands of pilgrims.
Regarding the prevailing world economic crisis, he said Islam had given a comprehensive system of economy and urged the international community to strictly follow the Islamic economic system to resolve the crisis.
The Grand Mufti asked the leaders of the Muslim world to do their duties efficiently in line with Islamic teachings and spend all their resources on the welfare of their nations. He also urged the Muslim states to strengthen their military institutions. — INP
AFP adds: Some 1.5 million pilgrims thronged Mount Arafat in Saudi Arabia on Monday for the high point of the annual Haj, praying for an end to disputes and bloodshed.Helicopters hovered overhead and thousands of troops stood guard to organise roads flooded with men, women and children.
Chanting “Labbaik Allahuma Labaik” (I am responding to your call, God), many of them camped in small colourful tents and took shelter undertrees to escape temperatures of around 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit). Special sprinklers were set up to help cool the pilgrims.
In his annual sermon, top Saudi cleric Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh urged Muslims to avoid divisions, chaos and sectarianism, without explicitly speaking of the turmoil unleashed by the Arab Spring.
“Your nation is a trust with you. You must safeguard its security, stability and resources,” the cleric, who heads Saudi Arabia’s highest religious body, said in an address to the Muslim world.
“You should know that you are targeted by your enemy... who wants to spread chaos among you ... It’s time to confront this.”Attendance is sharply down from last year, due to fears linked to the MERS virus and to multi-billion-dollar expansion work at the Grand Mosque to almost double its capacity to around 2.2 million worshippers.
Governor of Mecca province and head of the central Haj committee Prince Khaled al-Faisal said 1.38 million pilgrims had arrived from outside of the kingdom while only 117,000 permits were issued for domestic pilgrims.
This puts the total number of pilgrims this year at almost 1.5 million, less than half of last year’s 3.2 million, after Riyadh slashed Haj quotas.
Prince Khaled told the official SPA news agency late Sunday that authorities had ousted 70,000 nationals and expatriates for not carrying legal permits and had arrested 38,000 others for performing Haj without a permit.
Authorities have also seized as many as 138,000 vehicles for violating the Haj rules, and owners will be penalised, the prince said.Saudi health authorities have stressed that no cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus have been detected so far this pilgrimage.
The disease has killed 60 people worldwide, 51 of them in Saudi Arabia.The pilgrims arrived at Arafat from nearby Mina where most of them spent the night following the traditions of the Prophet Mohammed, who performed the rituals 14 centuries ago.
They had moved to Mina on Sunday from the holy city of Mecca, home to the Grand Mosque, Islam’s holiest place of worship, which houses the cube-shaped Kaaba towards which all Muslims pray five times daily.
On reaching Arafat, they crowded onto the hill and the vast plain surrounding it to pray until sunset, when they are due to set off for Muzdalifah for a ritual on Monday symbolising the stoning of the devil.
‘End to disputes and bloodshed’“I will pray the whole day for God to improve the situation for Muslims worldwide and an end to disputes and bloodshed in Arab countries,” 61-year-old Algerian pensioner Saeed Dherari said.
“I hope that God will grace all Muslims with security and stability,” said 75-year-old Ahmad Khader, who hails from the southern Syrian province of Daraa.
“The regime is tyrannical and I pray for God to help the oppressed people,” he said, referring to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s embattled government.
Egyptian Ahmad Ali, who is performing Haj for the first time, prayed for peace after hundreds were killed in recent months in fighting between the security forces and the supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.
“I pray for Egypt to enjoy security and stability and for the people to reach understanding and reconciliation,” Ali told AFP.The Haj, which officially ends on Friday, is one of the five pillars of Islam that every capable Muslim must perform at least once.