A joyous holiday and a sad world
A joyous holiday and a sad world

Two million Muslims will be making the obligatory pilgrimage to Mecca, known as the Hajj, this month, as mandated by the Islamic calendar. The Hajj is one of the five basic pillars of Islam, a commandment that every Muslim must fulfill at least once in his lifetime.  Muslims from all over the Islamic world come to the Hajj, differing in appearance, skin color, language, dress, culture and customs, but all take part in rituals performed according to the stringent dictates originating in the Hannibal code of law as interpreted by the Wahhabi Saudi regime.

The Hajj symbolizes the ingathering of all Muslims to "The House of Allah," as well as the love and affection that are expected to reign between Muslims and the happiness that unites them in their joint dedication to the service of Allah. The robe worn by the pilgrims - the "ihram" - a white sheath without pockets – signifies the modesty that man must show when coming to the home of his Lord and the absence of pockets proves that all belongs to Allah, that man's property is worth nothing,  is temporary and perishable at best. The fact that the robes are identical and worn by all symbolizes that all are equal before Allah, rich and poor, king and servant, honored and despised. The pristine color of the ihram expresses the forgiveness for transgressions that takes place at the Hajj where every man who repents is cleansed of his sins. 

The Hajj is an wrenching emotional experience, the most massive assembly in the world.  The intensive and crowded meeting with Muslims from a myriad of different cultures, the religious rituals, the speeches and prayers, all turn the Hajj into an ecstatic experience that creates a feeling that believers cannot achieve in other places or occasions. Pilgrims return from the Hajj with glowing eyes, veins suffused with religious adrenaline, heightened religious fervor and renewed and intense loyalty to Allah.

For most of those who return from the Hajj, this heightened religious fervor is expressed in adherence to the behaviors that are central to Islam: five prayers a day, fasting during Ramadan charity to the poor, modest dress, proper behavior and speech, avoidance of sins and transgressions and better relations with family and surroundings. Some of those returning from the Hajj interpret their heightened religious intensity as a reason to turn to Jihad, not only against the evil inclination within man's soul but against infidels as well. And thus, not a small number of the Jihadists fighting in various areas were drawn in by representatives of terror groups who come to the Hajj in order to meet those most vulnerable to their efforts. 

A massive gathering in an average-sized city like Mecca causes acute safety dangers because of the extreme crowding due to the fact that everyone has to perform the same rites at the same time and on the same day. The Saudi royal household invests enormous sums to build an infrastructure that will allow the crowds to perform the rituals safely, and builds bridges, lanes, passages, sidewalks and roads that create a secure environment for the millions who come to the Hajj.

The Saudi king calls himself "Guardian of the Holy Sites" in order to bestow religious sanctity on himself and his regime. This is the reason he feels responsible for arranging the Hajj so that it is safe. The Saudis build thousands of air conditioned tents for the pilgrims, and provide them with tens of thousands of sheep so that they can celebrate "Id Al Adha" - the "festival of the offering" that follows the Hajj. Sometimes, however, there are slip-ups and misunderstandings, and when two groups, each consisting of tens of thousands of people march towards each other by mistake, the tragic result is that many of them lie trampled underfoot and that many lives are lost in the resulting stampede.

Last year a crane fell over and killed tens of people, but the worst part of the accident was the altercation between the Saudi police and the Iranian pilgrims which left many of the Iranians dead.  The pilgrims from Iran are Shiites and the Saudis suspect them of attempting to perform rituals according to Shiite tradition, in direct opposition to Sunni Islamic principles - and certainly to the Wahhabi version of those rites. In past years there were other altercations between Iranian pilgrims and Saudi police, so that this is nothing new.

This year the dispute between Iran and the Saudis started anew as they rehashed the arguments over the accidents that occurred in previous years until the anger of both sides reached such a frenzy that the Mufti of Saudi Arabia declared Khamenei - the Supreme Ayatollah of Shiite Iran -  an "Amgushi," that is, not a Muslim, a heretic, a follower of the pre-Islamic Persian religion disguised as a Muslim. There is no more insulting epithet in the Muslim dictionary than the word "Amgushi." As a result, Khamenei decided to move the Hajj this year from Mecca to Karbala, the Iraqi city closest to Mecca. In the year 680 C.E., Hussein Ibn Ali the leader of the Shiite rebels, was murdered and beheaded there by a military unit of the Sunni Umayyad Caliph Yazid ibn Muawiyah. 

The Iranian and Shiite response to the Saudi "Amgushi" was expressed by insulting and derogatory drawings that appeared on social media, such as the one below:

This drawing is based on a quote from the Koran that talks about a cursed tree and shows the tree with the words "The Family of Saud" on its trunk, while towards the bottom of the tree the following words appear: "Let the entire world know that the Family of Saud are the reason for the Arab and Islamic catastrophe ("Naqba"). The root of destruction and ruin in this world."

To the right of the tree are the words: "The Family of Saud – the tails of the Jews," expressing the Shiite rumor claiming that the Saud family are actually descendants of the Jews who lived in the Khyber Oasis until the 7th century and who pretend to be Muslims to this day but are really Jews in secret despite the Hadith that declares that "there are no two religions in the Arab Peninsula."

The leaves on the "cursed tree" are Wahhabism, explosive-filled vehicles, crime, slaughter, destruction, incitement, ethnicity, terror, explosions, "takhfir" (declaring Muslims to be heretics), Jabhat al Nusra, division, ISIS, al Qaeda, Boko Haram. On the left of the tree there is a green Saudi flag with a sword, but instead of the Shahada (the testimony – the Islamic creed that declares that there is no G-d but Allah and that Mohammed is his prophet) that is usually on the flag, it says "May Allah curse the House of Saud."

This rift over the Hajj is just another aspect of the war between the Saudis and the Iranians in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, and in my estimation we are approaching the day when rockets are going to be flying through the air from Iran to Saudi Arabia and vice versa. This will be a disastrous development for the entire world because these two powers have both called on the ultimate player to help them, Allah, and both sides claim they are fighting for him and in his name. This kind of situation leads to a frenzy with which the world cannot cope, because no earthly or human considerations can put an end to a war that Allah wages against the infidel.

Economic considerations, oil infrastructure, loss of lives and damage to other countries do not have the slightest effect on Allah and his armies, and if – Heaven forfend – a real war breaks out between Saudi Arabia and Iran it will be a war to the bitter end using  chemical and biological weapons. If one of the sides has atomic weapons, it is quite possible that they will be employed. I am stressing this point because both Saudi Arabia and Iran can get their hands on nuclear weapons, Iran has developed its own and the Saudis have acquired them from Pakistan.

World leaders, especially those who gave their support to easing the sanctions on Iran and allowed that country to advance its military nuclear projects and continue to develop its missile arsenal, will have to answer for the decisions they made that may bring the Middle East and possibly other parts of the world to the point of no return on the road leading straight to hell.

And that is how the Hajj, the holiday that is meant to bring humankind closer to God and to a life spent under his protective shadow, may bring the Saudis, Iranians and perhaps other countries to their deaths under the shadow  of a horrendous mushroom cloud. A culture whose concepts range from "cursed tree" to "Amgushi"  and which incorporates all-powerful Allah in its ranks, might find it perfectly acceptable to destroy a world that was built by mankind and for mankind, using concepts taken from the world of mankind.

Don't say you haven't been warned.