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Social Impact Paper: Hajj assisting the poor

There are five pillars of Islam, we will engage with two of them: Hajj and Zakah. Ishaq Zahid describes the Hajj as “a pilgrimage to Mecca It is one of the five pillars of Islam. The Hajj was made obligatory in the 9th year of Hijra. The Holy Prophet sent off 300 Muslims under the leadership of Hazrat Abubakr Siddique (may Allah be pleased with him) to Mecca so that they could perform Hajj.” He further states,” This pilgrimage is an obligation only for those who are physically and financially able to do so. Nevertheless, over two million people go to Mecca each year from every corner of the globe providing a unique opportunity for those of different nations to meet one another.” Hajj has been made a pinnacle of worship in order that Muslims who gather to perform Hajj can praise their Lord and Master, be thankful for His blessings, and humbly pray to Him for the removal of their difficulties. Muslims living in various parts of the world get to know each other, lay the foundation of social culture, give advice to each other, and provide opportunity for collective struggle (Zahid). Next we will examine another pillar, Zakah. This is the is the compulsory giving of a set proportion of one's wealth to charity. It is regarded as a type of worship and of self-purification.
Zakah does not refer to charitable gifts given out of kindness or generosity, but to the systematic giving of 2.5% of one's wealth each year to benefit the poor. There are charitable associations that receive money from wealthy people to help those who are financially unable to perform Hajj. These associations hand out the money to those who deserve it and who have never performed Hajj before. Dr. Ugail An-Nashmi, Dean of Shari'ah faculty: University of Kuwait, states, “An important principle of Islam is that everything belongs to God, and that wealth is therefore held by human beings in trust.” He describes zakah as “ both "purification" and "growth." He further writes, “Our possessions are purified by setting aside a proportion for those in need and for the society in general. Each Muslim calculates his or her own zakah individually. This involves the annual payment of a fortieth of one's capital, excluding such items as primary residence, car and professional tools.” This pilgrimage, Hajj, has made a societal impact for the world’s largest religious function. The economic, cultural, and political importance of this major annual gathering of Muslims from around the world has further increased with the advent of telecommunications and transport technologies (Hajj). Modern technology has been employed to facilitate the Hajj. A sophisticated broadcasting network has been installed to cope with the requirements of the Hajj. The safety and comfort of the Hajjis has become a major concern for the authorities, necessitated by their sheer volume in recent years. The newly laid floor tiles were made of specially developed heat-resistant marble, and to further ensure the comfort of worshippers the whole structure is cooled by one of the world's largest air-conditioning units. To facilitate the movement of worshippers to the newly developed roof area of the Holy Mosque during the busiest seasons, additional escalators have been incorporated alongside a number of fixed stairways in the northern and southern sides of the building (Ministry of Hajj). In conclusion, Islam is a religion that is peaceful; it shows compassion and literally demonstrates the power of charity by making it a point of helping all those who lack the finances and those who have disabilities. This act is in addition to their regular alms giving. Lastly, I see a different face to Islam since our country’s war with them. The media circuit painted Islam-Muslims as evil people who want to destroy us. The information I have gathered concerning this matter leads me to believe Muslims are not evil.

Cited Works

"Hajj." Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th Edition (2011): 1. Academic Search Premier. Web. 26 Nov. 2011.
“Ministry of Hajj,” Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. n.d. Web. 27November2011.
Dr. An-Nashmi, Ugail. Dean of Shari'ah faculty, University of Kuwait. “Your Getway To Bab Al Umra.” n.d. Web. 27November2011.
Zahid, Ishaq. “Poster Exhibit of Discover Islam.” Five Pillars of Islam. n.d. Web. 27November2011.

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