A journey to Hajj that changed Islam in America

A rare picture of Malcolm X meeting with then Crown Prince Faisal Al-Saud in Jeddah in April, 1964.
Updated 20 August 2018
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A journey to Hajj that changed Islam in America

  • “I don’t believe that motion picture cameras ever have filmed a human spectacle more colorful than my eyes took in”
  • “During the past 11 days here in the Muslim world, I have eaten from the same plate, drunk from the same glass, and slept on the same rug — while praying to the same God — with fellow Muslims”

MAKKAH: Malcolm X was an American Muslim minister and human rights activist. To his admirers he was a courageous advocate for the rights of blacks, a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans. But his detractors accused him of preaching racism and violence.
He has been called one of the greatest and most influential African Americans in history. Malcolm was a member of the Nation of Islam, an African American politico-religious movement founded by Wallace D. Fard Muhammad in the 1930s.Their goals were to improve the spiritual, mental, social, and economic conditions of African Americans in the US. Critics have described the organization as black supremacist.
Malcolm formally left the organization and made a Muslim pilgrimage to Makkah, where he was profoundly affected by the lack of racial discord among orthodox Muslims. He returned to America as Al-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz and founded the Organization of Afro-American Unity, which advocated black identity and held that racism, not the white race, was the greatest foe of the African American. Malcolm’s new movement steadily gained followers, and his more moderate philosophy became increasingly influential in the civil rights movement, especially among the leaders of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. This organization was founded after Malcolm’s awakening from his pilgrimage to Makkah.

 

“Never have I witnessed such sincere hospitality and overwhelming spirit of true brotherhood as is practiced by people of all colors and races here in this ancient Holy Land, the home of Abraham, Mohammad and all the other Prophets of the Holy Scriptures,” Malcolm X wrote in his letter from Makkah, a letter that he spent the night duplicating while staying there. He sent a copy to his wife and his older sister Ella. He also asked for a copy to be sent to the press in the US.
He also wrote: “During the past 11 days here in the Muslim world, I have eaten from the same plate, drunk from the same glass, and slept on the same rug — while praying to the same God — with fellow Muslims.” He ends his letter: “Never have I been so highly honored. Never have I been made to feel more humble and unworthy.”
He signed his name with his new title Al-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. “Al-Hajj” is a title given to those who performed the pilgrimage.
When Malcolm first arrived at Jeddah Airport, he noticed that the people there were pilgrims from Ghana, Indonesia, Japan and Russia. He then explained in his biography: “I don’t believe that motion picture cameras ever have filmed a human spectacle more colorful than my eyes took in.” He concluded “Chinese, Indonesians, Afghans. Many, not yet changed into the Ihram garb, still wore their international dresses. It was like pages out of the National Geographic magazine.”
On Feb. 21, 1965, one week after his home was firebombed, Malcolm X was shot dead by Nation of Islam members while speaking at a rally of his organization in New York City.

Decoder

Al-Hajj

is a title given to those who performed the pilgrimage.


First group of Sri Lankan Muslims begin Hajj journey

Updated 17 July 2019
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First group of Sri Lankan Muslims begin Hajj journey

  • 4,000 to partake in this year’s pilgrimage after Saudi Arabia increased quota

COLOMBO: Nearly 180 Sri Lankan Hajj pilgrims left for Saudi Arabia on Monday night, but not before thanking the Kingdom for the comprehensive facilities offered to them.

Mohamed Hashim Mohamed Haleem, Sri Lanka’s minister of postal services and Muslim religious affairs, said that this year’s issuing of Hajj visas was smooth due to the new e-Hajj services introduced by the Saudi government. 

“We were able to process all 4,000 Hajj visas efficiently. All of them were issued well in time,” Haleem said.

He added that officials from his ministry will be available at the airport to assist the pilgrims with their departures.

The minister said the flights of pilgrims this year will be ferried by both Saudi Arabian Airlines and Sri Lankan Airlines. Haleem, who intends to participate in this year’s Hajj, said that the last flight of Sri Lankan pilgrims will leave Colombo on Aug. 7.

Sajjath Mohammed, a journalist from Madawala News, praised the e-Hajj service, saying: “The biometric services for the visas were available to pilgrims in Kandy and Batticaloa in addition to Colombo, the capital of the island.”

Rizmi Reyal, president of the International Airline Ticketing Academy in Sri Lanka, said that this year the Hajj services from Colombo have been enhanced to give a better experience to the pilgrims. He thanked the Saudi government, the Muslim Religious Affairs Ministry in Colombo, the Saudi Embassy in Colombo and the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh for playing their part in these improvements.

The Sri Lankan government will also send a medical team to attend to any urgent needs of the pilgrims before they are taken to the nearest medical facilities in the two holy cities.