Crowd control fails, again.

13 Jan, '06

“I heard screaming and … saw people jumping over each other,” said Egyptian Suad Abu Hamada, who was nearby when the stampede broke out.

“Police starting pulling out bodies. The bodies were piled up. I couldn’t count them, they were too many,” she said.

Afterward, bodies were lined up on the pavement nearby, covered with white sheets, and emergency workers rushed the injured away on stretchers.

Police cleared part of the site, but thousands of pilgrims continued the stoning ritual nearby.
GDN Victims ‘tripped over baggage’, and 345 Die

This is a recurrent saga of the annual pilgrimage; a rite required of every able Muslim to perform at least once in a lifetime and constitutes one of the five pillars of Islam.

The problem is; however, is that there are estimates of 1.2 billion Muslims around the world, some put that figure much higher. I’m not a statistician, but it’s not unthinkable that millions of these Muslims would want to complete their religion by performing the Hajj. And as this rite is not interpreted as optional, but simply left to the individual to decide whether he or she is able to perform the hajj, aided an abetted by local clerics, peer pressure and the huge prestige a person receives by completing the hajj and coming home, a lot of people are going to do all that is in their power, and then some, to perform that rite; even if that meant borrowing heavily to travel to Makkah.

The solution? It’s clear-cut I think but requires a lot of courage from the clerics and their fatwas:

    1. Make hajj optional, as it clearly should be.
    2. Only people between 30 and 40 are allowed to perform the hajj, and even then they have to satisfy other requirements, the most important of which is not allowing anyone to perform the hajj if that person has taken out a loan to do so, or has loans pending that money would be best employed to reduce those main loans rather than exacerbate his/her quality of life even further.
    3. Limit the number of pilgrims every year to not more than one million. It is abundantly clear from the last 17 years that any figure above that just cannot be handled because of the location, the preparations, the infrastructure and the government.
    4. Clerics should find other ways in which Muslims can be atoned of sins. Would sacrificing an animal suffice? How about sponsoring and/or adopting an orphan for life? Would that do?

I offer, once again, my condolences to those who perished, and I thank God that my brother has escaped the turmoil. I also fervently pray that some known and respected cleric would come out and contribute to a solution to these regular events which lead to loss of lives, rather than continue to insist on a rite that was designed 1,500 years ago with vastly reduced numbers of pilgrims.

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  1. anonymous says:

    Crowd control fails, again.

    Does the Hajj have to be done at a certain time of year? What about encouraging folks to go at other times?

    The age requirement of 30-40 was probably made in an era when the average lifespan was 40 and people over 50 were considered too elderly and infirm to go. That is no longer true.

    Aliandra

  2. anonymous says:

    Crowd control fails, again.

    Hello Mahmood,

    Lots of educated Muslims like you have many ideas that prevent such an accident; the problem is with the Muslim clerks who cannot think outside of the box. Traditional Imams & clerks always oppose logic resolutions. I think the only way to prevent deadly accidents in the Hajj is to reduce the number of pilgrimages to 1.5 millions and to create new laws, anyone who breaks the laws have to face very strong punishment.

  3. anonymous says:

    Crowd control fails, again.

    Another Hajj, another tragedy. Is there actually anything in Islam that says Hajj must be performed at this time? It would surely help on all kinds of levels if Hajj could be performed all through the year.

  4. anonymous says:

    Crowd control fails, again.

    You are right Mahmood but I think that all this is a result of lack of arrangement in Saudi Arabia and the other countries,, In Iran ppl have 2 list their names and maybe after 5 years they gave them the chance to do this rite,, while in Egypt and other countries we see that a huge number of ppl perform the hajj every year! which is not fair! each muslim should have 1 chance to do so ,, coz there are so many muslims who go to hajj to turn from their sins,, go back home and repeat making sins with the hope that they will go back to hajj again and ask Allah for forgiveness !

    Fa6oM
    http://fa6om.blogspot.com/

  5. anonymous says:

    Crowd control fails, again.

    The Suadi Authority will never understand the logic of organization. I am so sorry to say that they are kind unwise in their calculation. For god sake, stop it!

    Hajj, unfortuentely, becames a place where people die in a big number everyday. How many times have they warned the Suadis????

    go educate yourself first and then organize Hajj.

  6. anonymous says:

    Crowd control fails, again.

    [b]”… Make hajj optional, as it clearly should be”[/b]
    LoooL, you are hillarious … and amazingly stupid
    Mohammed, Duality.qps-ballers.com

  7. anonymous says:

    Crowd control fails, again.

    Why the previous comment? It IS optional, given the resources and means to do it .. it all depends on how you define resources … could be energy, space, time, …

  8. anonymous says:

    Crowd control fails, again.

    As god is supposedly everywhere, I can’t see the logic in travelling to one particular place for ritual purposes. Perhaps it was the effort of the journey that mattered in the past but that effort no longer exists in this age of aeroplanes and cars.

    I don’t understand the importance of the Kabba either. Praying to a huge rock is a ritual that seems diametrically opposed to Islam’s anti-idolatry doctrine.

    Funny things, religions.

  9. kabourmi says:

    Crowd control fails, again.

    At this moment in time I am simply too angry to comment extensively. I’ll say this though; I hope one day the families of those who died will forgive us Saudis for letting such an incompetent government make a hash out of the safety and security of those who entrusted us to look after them and the Holy places.

    And for our clerics who hardly deserve that title, why don’t you learn something from those who you call “heretics” :

    [quote] Shiite Muslim clerics have issued religious edicts allowing pilgrims to start the ritual in the morning, and many Shiites from Iraq, Iran, Bahrain, Lebanon and Pakistan took advantage to go early in the day.

    “This is much better. We are now done with the stoning before the crowd gets larger,� an Iranian pilgrim, Azghar Meshadi, said hours before the stampede.

    But Saudi Arabia’s Sunni Muslim clerics, who follow the fundamentalist Wahhabi interpretation of Islam, encouraged pilgrims to stick to the midday rule. [i] MSNBC[/i]

    [/quote]

    Allah ye7amkum wa yesekkinkum jannata…

    A Saudi

  10. anonymous says:

    Crowd control fails, again.

    Mahmood, I agree with you 100%. However, even though I’ve said the same thing you have in the past to others, logic and reasoning sometimes does not go hand in hand with people who are determined that there are no faults in this pilgrimage ‘system’. They ignore death trends that occur on a yearly basis, whether if its a fire in the camps or a stampede during these near-pagan rituals (which is quite ironic). A few excuses for tragedies like this was that ‘they will all go to heaven’ because they were killed while performing their islamic duty. Bull sh!t!

  11. Dan says:

    Crowd control fails, again.

    I am not a religious person. Yet, I do realize that when large numbers of people mass together, it is difficult to maintain order. An example from my own life involves a Super Bowl parade I attended several years ago when I was living in Dallas, Texas.

    A friend told me not to attend because there would be too many people and something bad was bound to happen because of the sheer size of the crowd, which turned out to be about 400,000 people.

    As it turned out, some teenagers stole T-shirts from a vendor along the parade route and then ran along said route stealing from and molesting other vendors as the parade was going on. Police began chasing them. As the teenagers were black and the policemen were white, race riots broke out and the city fell into turmoil for the rest of the day. My friend laughed and said, “I told you so.”

    Once again, not being religious but respecting other people’s religions, there are simply too many people gathered together in one place to conduct a safe Hajj. The clerics need to realize and understand this. They should take this fact into consideration and advisement and make the necessary changes in this ritual to protect the practitioners of Islam. I agree with you totally.
    [Modified by: Citizen Quasar (Dan) on January 13, 2006 01:16 AM]

    [Modified by: Citizen Quasar (Dan) on January 13, 2006 01:31 AM]

  12. anonymous says:

    Re: Crowd control fails, again.

    Bulleh Shah, a famous 17th century Punjabi poet, has a verse attributed to him that goes:

    That person needs not travel to Mecca, who fulfills his Hajj by seeing his Beloved

    He’s not trying to discourage people from performing the outward Hajj, but rather to make people aware of what the Real Hajj is, according to his view.

    — chan’ad

  13. Ibn says:

    Re: Crowd control fails, again.

    [quote]My issue is not with divine ordinance (which I don’t believe in in any event), but with an official putting the blame on the victim AND absolving the government/organiser of all responsibility by saying 345 deaths were pre-ordained by God[/quote]

    Nasrawi,

    That is right. This goes back to the Muslim world’s inherently [i]fatalistic[/i] view on life. In other words:

    [i]”Why should I care, or do anything about it? Afterall, god wanted it, so who am I to disagree?”[/i]

    First two adjectives that pop to mind: Humerous. Dangerous.

    -Ibn

  14. Ibn says:

    Crowd control fails, again.

    Mahmood,

    I think the answer is rather simple. Very simple. But from my experience, Imams and their ilk tend to have a very [i]fatalistic[/i] outlook on life, and not a pro-active [i]how-can-we-improve-this[/i] attitude. In fact this is partly the problem I see with them in so far as to why Islam has not been reformed: They stick to their traditions [b]no matter what[/b]. One wonders what happens when Islam begins to spread into outer space, how Muslim Earthlings and Martians would handle the situation, but oh well, thats another story. Here is my solution:

    As an engineer, the answer is simple:

    [i]Advance Tickets[/i].

    Step 1: Study the maximum safe capacity of all the major Hajj locations. Call this number [i]x[/i]
    Step 2: Every year, sell (or book) only [i]x[/i] tickets, on a first come first serve basis.
    Step 3: Welcome the Hajj ticket holders every year. 😀 No ticket, no entry.

    And to all of you who would object to having Hajj “ticketized”, I say this:

    1) No one needs to actually make money (sell) tickets, merely book individuals with specific numbers on those tickets.
    2) The fact that you have to “ticketize” this process shows the success of Islam, in so far that it has so many followers.

    -Ibn

  15. nasrawi says:

    Crowd control fails, again.

    The biggest issue I have is when an official like Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki, spokesman for the Interior Ministry says:

    “This was fate destined by God; some of the pilgrims were undisciplined and hasty to finish the ritual as soon as possible.”

    My issue is not with divine ordinance (which I don’t believe in in any event), but with an [b]official[/b] putting the blame on the victim [b]AND [/b]absolving the government/organiser of all responsibility by saying 345 deaths were pre-ordained by God.

  16. [deleted]0.95776700 1099323586.392 says:

    Crowd control fails, again.

    This seems to me to be a simple problem to solve, if you have the will to solve it. The problem seems to be that there are great open spaces on the approach to the the pillars at Mina where swelling crowds mill about in a dangerous fashion. You could break these crowds up into smaller cells, too small to stampede, and organize the route into a series of boxes and gates. You stage these cells through the route, controlling them with the gates, at a calculated pace.

    It would be something like controlling the number of people traversing a museum exhibit by allowing them to enter in groups at spaced times.

    There also should be multiple independent routes past the the pillars to move the foot traffic through so that a problem in one route does not propagate into another route. Perhaps the routes can be roofed and stair-stepped, side by side, so that one line of pilgrims can cast their stones over the heads of others.

    It seems like a production control problem.

    Steve

  17. anonymous says:

    Crowd control fails, again.

    All of my deepest sympathies goes to the families who are now grieving the loss of loved ones. No one would wish to face such loss, particularly in the fulfillement of religious duty and with you, I totally agree that such tragedies are very preventable if the will is there to amend traditions to fit the modern world exigencies. The Saudi govt. is guilty of criminal disregard of human life, this in terms of awful past experiences. Everybody now knows that going on the Haj is putting life at risk; your own and that of fellow pilgrims.
    I am quite relieved to hear that your brother escaped that horrid fate.

    A Salaam.
    northern shewolf

  18. anonymous says:

    Crowd control fails, again.

    i agree with your ideas totally but the truth is imams and other religious muslim leaders, in my opinion, dont think logically and like to stick to tradition and specially in saudi.

    also your point 2. the part about loans i have heard (on islam tv the other day) and i am quite sure that you are not allowed to do a Hajj if u have any outstanding loans or if you owe money to some body. and even then, you are only allowed to go so that upon your return to where ever you live you or your family will not face financial diffculties.

    pls excuse the spelling mistakes.

  19. anonymous says:

    Re: Crowd control fails, again.

    The ticketing system is being used for many years now.

  20. anonymous says:

    Re: Crowd control fails, again.

    [quote]Everybody now knows that going on the Haj is putting life at risk; your own and that of fellow pilgrims.[/quote]
    Same when you drive a car, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t drive.

  21. anonymous says:

    Crowd control fails, again.

    There’s an interesting letter on this subject in today’s Independent newspaper (UK). I’ve pasted it below:

    Sir: The horrific deaths of people at the annual pilgrimage to Islam’s holy places are truly tragic. Several score pilgrims died at the beginning of the Haj, while several hundred perished at the end. The Saudi government conveniently places the blame on pilgrims for both disasters.

    However, during the past 15 years, hardly a year has gone by without some preventable loss of life. It is clear that an inept and corrupt Saudi ruling class should not be assigned the continued task of organising the biggest annual assembly of humanity, because they have repeatedly failed in this sacred duty.

    The haramayn (Makkah and Madinah) are the collective patrimony of the worldwide Muslim community and not the exclusive fiefdom of a repressive monarchy. It is time to place Islam’s holiest sites under proper international jurisdiction, so they can be run by efficient, elected and responsible administrators. The latest catastrophes make the internationalisation of the haramayn an imperative.

    The creation of an independent state (comprising Makkah and Madinah) would bring about better management of the Haj and also consign the writ of extremist Wahhabi ideology to its origins in the primitive Arabian hinterland. The establishment of this new sovereign entity will be liberating for all Muslims.

    DR T HARGEY

    CHAIRMAN, MUSLIM EDUCATIONAL CENTRE, OXFORD

  22. anonymous says:

    Crowd control fails, again.

    The problem that I saw during Hajj several years ago is the lack of education for some pilgrims. Many insist on following rigid timing schedule which usually cause all the problems, although most clerics approved more relaxed timing.

  23. anonymous says:

    Crowd control fails, again.

    I haveto agree with Mohammed, Duality.qps-ballers.com.

    Sometimes Mahmood shows just how truely detached from mainstream muslims.

    You attack the extremists & pretend your mainstream when infact your an ultraliberal & dont even have a clue how to think about things as a mainstream muslim.

  24. mahmood says:

    Re: Crowd control fails, again.

    Thank you for your input. I appreciate your view of me that obviously has taken both you and Mohammed just two seconds to formulate and even less to believe as the gospel truth! While I do not want to be facetious, I shall; however, dispense some much needed, yet completely gratis advice, to both your respected self and that of Mo: “Get a life” for goodness sake! Please do!

    Detached? How can anyone living here be detached even marginally? My dear dear good child, I am as attached as an umbilical cord on a newborn, and if you don’t like my opinion nor my solutions, then be completely free to discuss your views here by all means; however, do understand that I am not obliged to partake of them, nor use them to sand the cat litter box.

    My views do sound extreme to those whom I regard as extremists; and that view is well discussed at length in various posts herein… My religion is logic, to which neither you, nor your friend Mo subscribe to. That is really fine by me, it is no skin off my nose if you decide to live without questioning basic deductions of faith. You can live in a cave and grow mushrooms for all I care; however, let me make your life easier by stating as a fact that I shall continue to question what you take as gospel in the hope of growing a better, more integrated generation, that neither you nor your friend Mo would feel comfortable in… simply because, of course, because of the fact that this generation I espouse actually uses logic to ascertain truths!

  25. smiley says:

    Crowd control fails, again.

    Mahmood, this is one of the few times when I disagree with your views almost entirely. Haj can never be made an option and can never be limited in the ways you propose. As a muslim haj is mandatory to all those who can afford it both financially and physically, and haj can never be moved to another time of the year or be done in phases. It cannot be limited to people between 30 and 40. Most people in that part of their lives are busy building their families, houses, businesses, savings, etc. It’s only once you are financially capable or secure that you think of going to haj. I’ve been working 10 years in a good job and I only estimate I might be able to go to haj in 2 or 3 years.

    Having said that, there are so many things that the Saudi government can do to improve the safety of pilgrims during haj. Crowd control can be improved, bottlenecks can be removed, the religious policemen who shout and hit people and treat them like cattle can be changed. It’s a miracle that every year millions of people go to haj and only a few hundred die when things there are as chaotic as they are under Saudi control. Quotas should be used fairly on all countries instead of putting strict quotas on one country and almost free quotas on others. Is there a quota on the number of Saudis who can attend haj? Also, Allah never said that those who can afford haj should go every year. I know people who’ve been 4 or 5 times and still want to go again. If you’ve been there once you shouldn’t be allowed to go again.

    Most importantly, as someone else already mentioned, they should allow ijtihad to be used to alleviate some of the bottlenecks like what the shi3a do. My father told me when he went to haj a few years ago he was told that there was a shi3a ijtihad that the throwing of the stones can be done even in the dark so they want in the pre-dawn hours and were done with it before the crowds started to come in the daylight.

    Saudi Arabia should also take advice from other countries that also have mass scale pilgrimages to see how they can improve their situation in haj. And for God’s sake they should stop blaming the victims. Isn’t it bad enough that they’ve died such ugly deaths. Even if it was partially their faults there’s no need to simply put the blame on the victims and immediately absolve the organizers without an investigation.

  26. anonymous says:

    Re(1): Crowd control fails, again.

    That fatalistic view is VERY selectively applied, as well. When bad leaders kill Muslims through neglect or bad polity, it’s Allah’s will.

    But when the Islamic world falls behind the rest of the world in science and mathematics, social mores and humanity, then it’s a conspiracy.

    I tend to think it’s the othre way around, myself.

    –Ethan

  27. anonymous says:

    Crowd control fails, again.

    Mahmood, I always like what you say, but now you’re just pushing it. Hajj can NEVER be optional it’s mandatory for every Muslim adult. Now before you attack me or insult me for being a defender of my religion and label me with those salafi idiots, I must say I am a “normal” Muslim where I do think it’s a religion of logic and common sense, but there are things that should never be changed. Hajj is one of the 5 MAIN pillars of Islam. Now it IS actually based on the rituals originally brought by the prophet Abraham PBUH, so it’s nothing from only 1,500 years.

    There is one thing that I could think as a solution to limit the number, and this does need the verification and support of leading muslim scholars.

    [img]http://islamicity.com/mosque/arabicscript/Ayat/2/2_197.gif[/img]
    (2:197 For Hajj are the months well known. If any one undertakes that duty therein, Let there be no obscenity, nor wickedness, nor wrangling in the Hajj. And whatever good ye do, (be sure) Allah knoweth it. And take a provision (With you) for the journey, but the best of provisions is right conduct. So fear Me, o ye that are wise.)

    Now it’s crystal clear from the ayah here that hajj is several “known” months not just one, so why not make them during those months and limit the number of people who will perform Hajj?

    This is where common sense plays a role, not just attacking the ritual or question what we’re obliged to do?

  28. anonymous says:

    Re: Crowd control fails, again.

    That’s true, Al-Saud have invaded Makkah and Madinah. The Imam of the Masjid Al-Haraam in Makkah used to be Shafei, after Al-Idiots came they changed the imam and installed their own Wahhabi puppet.

    Al-hijaz should have been an independent muslim state.

  29. anonymous says:

    Re: Crowd control fails, again.

    That’s true, Al-Saud have invaded Makkah and Madinah. The Imam of the Masjid Al-Haraam in Makkah used to be Shafei, after Al-Idiots came they changed the imam and installed their own Wahhabi puppet.

    Al-hijaz should have been an independent muslim state.

  30. anonymous says:

    Crowd control fails, again.

    Where does this fit?

    From a Who concert we learned what not do, more then 20 years ago.

    “Moderate Sunni Muslims may be recognized in person by asking a simple question: “what do you think of Wahhabism, the state Islamic sect of Saudi Arabia?â€? Every Muslim in the world knows about Wahhabism, and knows that it is embodied in al-Qaida. If a Sunni Muslim is asked about Wahhabism and states that it is a controversial, extreme doctrine that causes many problems because of Saudi money, the respondent is probably moderate. Denouncing the Saudis alone is not enough; radicals criticize the Saudi monarchy for insufficiently enforcing Wahhabi beliefs. The root cause of Sunni terror is Wahhabism, not the monarchy.”

    http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=011106D

    Riz Wyman

  31. anonymous says:

    Crowd control fails, again.

    Well, it just occurred to me that maybe these religious notions against interest and loans may have came about by the experience of being a deadbeat owing money to people of Jewish extraction.

    “If Mohamed can’t go to the mountain; the mountain will go to Mohamed.” It’s a spiritual thing.

    Boy, oh boy some of the children of God are very primitive.

    RW

  32. anonymous says:

    Crowd control fails, again.

    Hmmm, I think this is a very amusing topic, the pilgrimage. It’s strange that to prove your love of God and your devotion to Islam that you are obliged to go to a square building called the Kabbah. What does it have to do with God? Because, as Islam suggests, God is everywhere, so why go to one single spot that’s supposedly holier than anywhere else? I agree with the anonymous person who posted that doing this little ritual and circling around the Kabbah seems to be a tad bit like idolatry. Also, and I don’t mean every Muslim, but many who go on this pilgrimage are blinded so much with performing this pillar of Islam that they tend to lose common sense. I mean, come on, you have people throwing rocks so passionately at what it supposed to symbolize the devil, that they end up pummeling people on the other side! People start trampling each other and it’s like they don’t give a second thought, they’re there for only one reason, to complete their Hajj.

    I remember seeing one man on the National Geographic channel who was there and he wouldn’t let his son go up this one hill (It was a where I guess you have to climb to the top, although I’m not too sure as to why). But he wouldn’t let him go up because he knew how dangerous it was and how fanatical some of these pilgrims get trying to complete some of these rituals. I feel bad that some people who were killed where no doubt innocent, but I mean come on people need to think about some things before they act on it. People think that just because something includes God’s name on it that it is the greatest thing ever. Well, I don’t think that people getting themselves killed in his name is exactly what I would call “great”. What good does it do for the world by going to Mecca? I think you could be doing better things with your time. And as for the Saudi government, do you really think they’re going to reduce the number of pilgrims? Think of all the income they’d be losing out on.

    I agree with you Mahmood that the Hajj should be optional, but I think that many Muslims (as some have suggested by posting here) have been so engrained with the thought of performing the Hajj that they won’t be likely to pass it up; perhaps the clerics can suggest (as you said) other ways to be forgived of their sins, but again, I think it would be highly unlikely.

    Too bad, I guess more people are going to die in the future, but hey, at least they get a free ticket to heaven. 😉

    It is good to know that there are many Muslims such as yourself that are actively speaking out trying to improve certain situations such as this one.

    -Ash
    [url]http://ashleysthoughts89.blogspot.com/[/url]

  33. anonymous says:

    Crowd control fails, again.

    Mahmood,

    For once you are off the track which is both bemusing and a little bit irritating!

    First the Haj is one of the 5 pillars of Islam and not something that was designed 1,500 years ago. Second, the Haj is permissable if one is able both physically and financially. This conditionality therefore makes your points on making it optional and related to one’s debts irrelevant. Your third point is laughable as it belittles the Haj by suggesting that clerics find other ways to atone and implying therefore that once these are found, the Haj or the stone throwing ritual may be opted out . There are many ways to atone but the Haj is one of the 5 obligatory pillars of Islam and the two are different!!!

    The solution rather lies in the title of your piece and in your 4th point. This is a simple case of crowd control. Ban the luggage. Enforce per country quotas. Curtail local popultion inflows who make at least a third of the total Haj piligrims. Follow best practice from London and New York airports whose terminals handle greater numbers per space instead of home-grown solutions who lack real-life experience. Take a cue from the Safa and Marwa passage rite in the Makka sector of the Haj where siimilar crowds are smoothed by constant mobility. A recent suggestion worth considering is to have controlled multi-entry points 2 km away from the ritual area that can be opened and closed and exit points that are far from the entry points on the other side. This will avoid two masses moving in opposite directions and converging! The problem is not the ritual or the religion but in the management!

    Jamac
    Riyadh

  34. mahmood says:

    Re: Crowd control fails, again.

    Yeah, whatever.

    A recent suggestion worth considering is to have controlled multi-entry points 2 km away from the ritual area that can be opened and closed and exit points that are far from the entry points on the other side.

    and who’s going to control the gates and under what criteria? If the a certain sect of Islam allows the stoning of the devil before noon or at night for instance, will the authorities controling these entry/exit points allow those people to pass through or will they insist that it’s not the right time yet?

    The control my friend goes well beyond crowd control. Other aspects like politics etc come into it. And as to the pilgrimage being design 1,500 years ago, wasn’t it? Were there as many muslims to contend with during pilgrimage then as there are now?

  35. chalk66x says:

    Crowd control fails, again.

    If you want to stone the devil, stone the real devils those who encourage violence and hate.

    billT

  36. anonymous says:

    Re: Crowd control fails, again.

    [i]Mahmood, I always like what you say, but now you’re just pushing it. Hajj can NEVER be optional it’s mandatory for every Muslim adult.[/i]

    Well, “never” is a very long time indeed. We have about 10 billion years
    between now and the death of the sun, for example. I’m sure we can
    expect a few changes … :^)

    Meanwhile, back in our reality, the world population of Muslims continues
    to rise. We’ve seen what the Hajj looks like now. What about in 10 years
    time? What about when the number of Muslims in the world doubles? Triples?

    Something’s gotta give eventually …

    Scott

  37. mahmood says:

    Re: Crowd control fails, again.

    Muscati, I see more points of agreement than disagreements in your reply! I do submit though that I might have not made myself clear enough.

    The basic idea – which is the main base of contention in this article – is the optionality of Hajj. To my way of thinking, as the conditions that mandates a person to go to Hajj are so elastic and open to interpretation, make the decision to perform the Hajj optional!

    I know, it sounds like negative logic, so let me explain some more: The Hajj is mandatory on all those who are able-bodied and can afford it. Those two conditions have very wide interpretation and I doubt if you would get the same clarification from two scholars. Therefore, a person can quite legitimately decide that s/he cannot perform Hajj this year because (pick a legitimate excuse; as in: must service a loan, building a house, in-between jobs, training session, holiday with the kids, cold/flue, bad knee, etc.) and it’s done, that person will not perform the Hajj. Is there anyone that could force him/her to perform it this particular time? Of course not. And there is always: Inshallah next year, if Allah gives me health and wealth.

    As for the timing of the Hajj:

    (2:197 For Hajj are the months well known. If any one undertakes that duty therein, Let there be no obscenity, nor wickedness, nor wrangling in the Hajj. And whatever good ye do, (be sure) Allah knoweth it. And take a provision (With you) for the journey, but the best of provisions is right conduct. So fear Me, o ye that are wise.)

    As referenced in this comment below

    should suffice in exhibiting that Hajj was indeed designed to be performed during “months well known” rather than a particular month.

    You’re right as far as Ijtihad is concerned. I personally think that Ijtihad, and good scientifically influenced Ijtihad, is the only thing that will save Islam in the very long term. And we should start seeking this right now if we are to succeed in guarding our religion.

  38. mahmood says:

    Re: Crowd control fails, again.

    I didn’t do any New Year resolutions this year because I started to believe “rolling resolutions” are much more practical; therefore, here’s the first in the year: I shall refrain from insulting my readers, especially if their comments comes with a clear proviso that they are not Wahabi nor are they their sympathisers.

    How’s that? 😉

    On the serious side, I am sorry that you feel that I would go into a “fit” just because someone opposes my views. I recognise that sometimes I do fly off the handle, but fortunately those (I would like to believe) are few and very far between.

    Now to the crux of the matter, my answer to Muscati above answers the question posed here, and how I arrived at the notion that Hajj is indeed optional. Do you not agree with my premise?

    I’m not sure where you got the notion that I have attacked the ritual of Hajj. I didn’t and wasn’t. I submit – once again – that the article is poorly worded (no, that’s not an escape of responsibility, but a recognition of fact,) however my intention was never to attack the largest gathering of humanity, barring none.

    And thank you for providing me with the reference that Hajj should indeed be performed not in a single month period, but rather can be spread over several known months. What we need now is a cleric to put his Ijtihad in gear and come up with a resolution to problems like these.

  39. anonymous says:

    Crowd control fails, again.

    Not once in any of the comments here did any of you mention that the Hajj is only supposed to be performed [b]ONCE IN A LIFETIME![/b]

    There are thousands of repeat visitors every year who selfishly go as if on a picnic, not caring about their fellow Muslims who obviously need the space to move comfortably.

    There should be a fatwa banning more than one Hajj in a lifetime, but I wouldn’t hold my breath

    Zaydoun

  40. mahmood says:

    Re: Crowd control fails, again.

    Sorry to hear of your inability to express yourself Mo. Maybe another time?

    Allah ma3ak.

  41. mahmood says:

    Re: Crowd control fails, again.

    Hey Z!

    That fact was actually mentioned several times in the comments previous to yours. And I totally agree with you on this point.

  42. anonymous says:

    Crowd control fails, again.

    [b]”I appreciate your view of me that obviously has taken both you and Mohammed just two seconds to formulate”[/b]

    [b]”to both your respected self and that of Mo: “Get a life” for goodness sake! Please do!”[/b]

    Do not leave room for discussion if you choose not to dicuss, Other people have other opnions that differ from your own, and if you don’t respect that then it contradicts with the logic and integration you speak of.

    [b]My views do sound extreme to those whom I regard as extremists; and that view is well discussed at length in various posts herein… My religion is logic, to which neither you, nor your friend Mo subscribe to. That is really fine by me, it is no skin off my nose if you decide to live without questioning basic deductions of faith. You can live in a cave and grow mushrooms for all I care; however, let me make your life easier by stating as a fact that I shall continue to question what you take as gospel in the hope of growing a better, more integrated generation, that neither you nor your friend Mo would feel comfortable in… simply because, of course, because of the fact that this generation I espouse actually uses logic to ascertain truths![/b]
    I’m really to tired to comment on that, but I’ll ask you this is hope of a ‘shit-free’ answer … What is there in Islam that complys with this logic and integrity you speak of that Christianity, Judism or Aethism that doesn’t ?

    Mo[b]hammed[/b],

  43. mahmood says:

    Re: Crowd control fails, again.

    Sorry, I don’t understand what you’re getting at. Honestly. Can you explain?

  44. anonymous says:

    Re(1): Crowd control fails, again.

    I think I have expressed myself quite well … The apology is to the level of your stupidity .. Which part didn’t you quite get .. The your not worth anything ? or the finger ache part ? …

  45. anonymous says:

    Crowd control fails, again.

    You’re not worth the finger ache … In other words .. ‘3eeb

  46. anonymous says:

    Re(1): Crowd control fails, again.

    ^^ agree ^^

  47. anonymous says:

    Crowd control fails, again.

    Surely people of closed minds interpret their ritualistic books (Q’uran, Bible, etc.) as the last word.

    Knowing God is not a foolish God and the religion is not dead, God has given us minds to use to help figure out what to do. I am sure God’s religion is a living religion that adapts to the progression of the children.

    RW

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