Hudaibiyah: A turning point in the history of Islam

Hudaibiyah: A turning point in the history of Islam
Updated 13 November 2012

Hudaibiyah: A turning point in the history of Islam

Hudaibiyah: A turning point in the history of Islam

The incident of Hudaibiyah reserves in history a significant phase of Islam when Muslims got an opportunity to unexpectedly notch gains from the jaws of an apparent defeat.
It was the sixth year of Hijrah since the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his supporters had left the beloved city of Makkah. They were eager to visit the holy Kaaba and perform tawaf (circumambulation).
The pagans of Makkah had meanwhile confronted Muslims three times in the Battle of Badr, Battle of Uhud, and the Battle of Trench. And despite winning in at least two of the battles (in Uhud, they had to retreat), Muslims were still not strong enough to dare counter attack on the large force of the Makkan pagans.
The Hudaibiyah encounter occurred meanwhile that not only gave Muslims courage to go ahead with the mission, but it also tested their courage and faith in Islam.
Six years after Hijrah, in 628 CE, the holy Prophet (peace be upon him) dreamt that he and his followers were entering Makkah and performing tawaf. It was a good sign and hence he declared his plan to visit Makkah to perform Umrah.
Over 1,400 Muslims donned ihram with him from Madinah. They took 70 camels with them for sacrifice. As per the established practice, the Makkans were bound to allow pilgrims coming — but without arms — to perform Umrah. But, alarmed by the huge Muslim presence, the Quraish leaders decided not to allow them from entering the city and sent Khaled Bin Walid with 200 fighters to stop them defying the centuries-old Arab tradition.
The holy Prophet (peace be upon him) changed the route of Taneem to avoid confrontation and came to a lesser-known place called Hudaibiyah on the western edge of the city.
Determined not to allow Muslims enter the city, Makkans sent Urwah bin Masud to negotiate with the Prophet. Highly impressed with the scenes of Prophet’s love among his followers, Urwah said, “I have visited the royal courts of the Persians, Roman and Ethiopian kingdoms, but I have never seen the kind of respect and high esteem as the followers of Mohammad have for him. They have come only for worship. Let them enter the holy city.” But the Makkan leaders were bent upon preventing the Muslims.
The holy Prophet (peace be upon him) later sent Uthman bin Affan who had good contacts in Makkah but they detained him and spread a rumor to upset the Muslims that Uthman has been killed. This was a great challenge. Though 400 km away from his city and having no proper arms to fight, he prepared for a war like situation and called his followers to prepare for fight unto death. The people rushed to take an oath of allegiance on his pious hand and within short time the news reached Makkah that 1400 volunteers were ready to fight unto death. This broke their morale and Makkans agreed to discuss terms of peace with him.
They released Uthman and sent Sohayl bin Amr Al-Thaqafi to negotiate the terms of peace with the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Sohayl (later embraced Islam) was very tough in dealings. He reached the following terms:
In the name of Almighty Allah.
These are the conditions of peace between Muhammad, son of Abdullah, and Suhayl Ibn Amr the envoy of Makkah:
1. There will be an armistice between the two parties and no fighting for the next 10 years.
2. Any person or tribe who wishes to join Muhammad and to enter into any agreement with him is free to do so. Likewise any person or tribe who wishes to join the Quraish and to enter into any agreement with them is free to do so.
3. If any Makkan went to Madinah, then Muslims would return him to Makkah, but if any Muslim from Madinah went to Makkah, he would not be returned.
4. If any young man, or one whose father is alive, goes to Muhammad without permission from his father or guardian, will be returned to his father or guardian. But if anyone goes to the Quraish of Makkah, will not be returned.
5. This year the Muslims will go back without entering Makkah. But next year Muhammad and his followers can enter Makkah, spend three days and perform the Umrah.
Apparently, it was an agreement that went against the wishes of the Muslims, but later it turned out to be a great victory for Muslims.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) showed extreme patience by accepting all these terms as dictated. This treaty is known as the Treaty of Hudaibiyah. It was one of the most outstanding events and proved to be a turning point in the Islamic history.
Few of those present there could visualize the victory of the treaty based on the Prophet’s farsightedness. The first gain of the Treaty was that hostile Makkan leadership recognized Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) as a leader of the Madinah state. Secondly, the Treaty terminated the hostile behavior of Quraish against Muslims. Now they were allowed to move freely and talk openly about Islam. Thirdly, Muslims were equally allowed to make alliances with other tribes. Fourthly, 10 years armistice with Quraish provided a unique opportunity to preach Islam and to deal with their rivals in other parts of the peninsula. Very soon they conquered the Jewish stronghold of Khyber.
The most irritating conditions of the treaty were the clause Nos. 3 & 5; but the Prophet (peace be upon him) simplified them by saying that if a Muslim flees from us to Makkah we don’t need him and if a Makkan Muslim comes to us in Madinah we shall return him and he will preach Islam there. Regarding performing Umrah this year, Muslims received a written guarantee to perform it next year peacefully. The holy Prophet (peace be upon him) was determined to avoid bloodshed in the holy city and he succeeded fully in establishing it. Commenters have viewed the treaty as a masterpiece of his wisdom and farsightedness.
It was really a great triumph of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him). After the peaceful armistice at Hudaibiyah, Islam increased in leap and bounds. Muslims had full liberty to preach Islam. Three battles of Quraish against Muslims were lost.

The people realized the eventual triumph of Islam. They entered the fold of Islam in thousands. The following year when the holy Prophet returned to perform Umrah, there were 2,000 pilgrims with him instead of 1400 earlier.
When the Prophet returned from Hudaibiya, he received the Divine revelation that Almighty Allah had put a seal of honor on this treaty and called it "Fatah Al-Mubeen" (Manifest Victory) in the Qur'an. (48:01) He also rewarded His pleasure to those who took oath of allegiance under a tree, which is called Bait Ridwan and termed that Allah’s protection was upon the hand of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
After concluding the treaty, the holy Prophet told the followers to slaughter sacrificial animals at the same place and get their head shaved to come out of ihram. But the people were so dejected that they delayed the compliance. The Prophet (peace be upon him) felt it and entered the tent and told his accompanying wife, Umm Salma, about people’s reluctance.
She politely advised, “The people are in shock to lose their Umrah and entry to the holy city. You do as planned. They will follow you.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) came out, slaughtered his camels and got his head shaved. Subsequently, the people followed him and they all set out towards Madinah. Thus the wisdom of Ummul Momenin, Umm Salma, solved a tedious problem.
When Sohail was signing the treaty, a young Muslim in chains appeared in the Muslim camp and cried for help and his release. Sohail recognized him. It was his own son known as Abu Jandal. Sohail cried, “Here is the test of this treaty you cannot take this man as per clause no. 4. You have to return it to me.” The holy Prophet agreed and consoled Abu Jandal, “We have just concluded a treaty with Quraish in the name of Allah and we honor it. Be patient and resign yourself to the will of Allah. He will provide you relief.” Abu Jandal was handed over to his father but he escaped from Makkah and after some time and stayed in desert.
Another Muslim, Utba, known as Abul Baseer, fled from Makkah and made his hiding in the Red Sea coast. Abu Jandal and many other runaways joined him and posed a threat to the passing trade caravans of the Quraish.
Ultimately the Quraish requested the Prophet (peace be upon him) to abrogate this clause and call these brave Muslims back to Madinah. The Prophet sent a letter to Abul Baseer, who was much delighted to receive it but he was on death bed and died there. However Abu Jandal and other 70 mujahedeen returned to Madinah praying for Abul Baseer who had provided a shelter to them.
The Hudaibiyah Treaty proved to be a prelude to the Conquest of Makkah. As per the agreement, Banu Bakr tribe joined Al-Quraish and Banu Khaza’a entered into alliance with the Prophet. But they both had long history of enmity between them. Just after 20 months, Banu Bakr attacked Banu Khaza’a in Sha'ban, 8AH. They killed many persons and their chief, Nofel, did not spare them even inside the holy city. The Quraish also supported them with men and arms. Amr bin Salem of Banu Khaza’a with 20 men rushed to Madinah and advised the holy Prophet with real situation. The Prophet (peace be upon him) again rose high to the challenge.
He sent a word to Quraish, pay ransom for the persons killed or terminate your alliance with Banu Bakr or treat the Hudaibiyah Treaty as abrogated. The Quraish arrogantly replied we shall neither pay ransom nor terminate our alliance with Banu Bakr but are ready to abrogate the treaty with you. The holy Prophet stood to the challenge. But he wanted to avoid bloodshed in Harem territory at every cost. He made a secret plan to surround Makkah in surprise with a large force so that Makkans could surrender without a fight. It was a super strategy. He declared war preparations without naming the destination. Muslim tribes rushed to Madinahh in Ramadhan (8AH). Various northern tribes had entered the fold of Islam in these 20 months after the conquest of Khyber and Taima. Muslim volunteers came in thousands. The famous tribes of Aslam, Sulaim, Ghifar, Muzaina, Ashjaa, and Juhaina joined the Islamic force. Muslim forces marched towards Makkah and camped at Marr Zahran. They surrounded the holy city on 7 Ramadhan. The Quraish were perplexed with this sudden attack. Muslims also sealed all the routes of escape. The holy Prophet declared a general amnesty and the whole city surrendered to him on 10 Ramadhan (6AH) without bloodshed (except a few by Khalid bin Waleed) This was a great gift of Hudaibiyah Treaty.
It was also a matter of great significance that great warriors and arch enemies of Islam realized the situation and embraced Islam after Hudaibiyah treaty and before the conquest of Makkah. These included Prophet's uncle Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib; Abu Sufyan the CNC of Quraish; Khalid bin Waleed, the great conqueror; and Amr ibn al Aas, the later conqueror of Egypt. Later, Ikrema bin Abu Jehal, Uteba bin Abi Lahab, Safwan bin Umayyah, Kaab bin Zuhair, Sohail bin Amr, Hakim bin Hizam, Wahshi the killer of Hamza and Hindah bint Rabia, the cruel lady embraced Islam. Practically there remained no enemy of Islam in Makkah. The Makkan leadership which banned his entry to the city in 6 AH welcomed him as their head within 22 months. This was a great achievement of Hudaibiyah.
Thus were the important events connected with an unknown place called Hudaibiyah near Makkah Al-Mukarramah. Later people visited this historical place and a mosque was erected at the place where holy Prophet (peace be upon him) offered prayers during his stay. This mosque near Shumaisi lies about 20 km away from Makkah on the old road leading to Jeddah. When you visit this place, think about the people who took an oath under an acacia tree to sacrifice their lives for the sake of Islam and pray for them.


A beginner's guide to Ramadan

A beginner's guide to Ramadan
El Mesaharty Hussien wakes up residents for their pre-dawn meals during the first day of Ramadan in Cairo, Egypt, on Monday. (REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
Updated 06 June 2016

A beginner's guide to Ramadan

A beginner's guide to Ramadan

Millions of Muslims around the world on Monday marked the start of Ramadan, a month of intense prayer, dawn-to-dusk fasting and nightly feasts. Others will begin fasting a day later, Tuesday, due to a moon-sighting methodology that can lead to different countries declaring the start of Ramadan a day or two apart.
Here are some questions and answers about Islam's holiest month:


WHY DO MUSLIMS FAST?

The fast is intended to bring the faithful closer to God and to remind them of the suffering of those less fortunate. Ramadan is a time to detach from worldly pleasures and focus on one's inner self.
 It's seen as a way to physically and spiritually purify, refraining from habits such as smoking and caffeine. Muslims often donate to charities during the month and feed the hungry. Many spend more time at mosques during Ramadan and use their downtime to recite the Quran.
 London's new Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, wrote in the Guardian that he plans to use Ramadan to "build bridges" and break bread with Muslims and non-Muslims around the city at synagogues, churches and mosques, though he acknowledged that 19-hour-long fasts during the longer summer days in Europe and forgoing coffee will be challenging.
Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with the Muslim declaration of faith, daily prayer, charity, and performing Haj.


HOW DO MUSLIMS FAST?

Muslims abstain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk for the entire month of Ramadan. A single sip of water or a puff of a cigarette is enough to invalidate the fast.
However, Muslim scholars say it's not enough to just avoid food and drinks during the day. Ramadan is also an exercise in self-restraint. Muslims are encouraged to avoid gossip and arguments. Sexual intercourse between spouses is also forbidden during the daytime fast.
Just before the fast, Muslims have a pre-dawn meal of power foods to get them through the day, the "suhoor." Egyptians eat mashed fava beans called "ful," spiced with cumin and olive oil, while in Lebanon and Syria, popular suhoor food is flatbread with thyme, cheese or yogurt. In Afghanistan, people eat dates and dumplings stuffed with potato and leeks, first steamed, then fried.


HOW DO MUSLIMS BREAK THEIR FAST?

Muslims traditionally break their fast like Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did some 1,400 years ago, with a sip of water and some dates at sunset. That first sip of water is the most anticipated moment of the day.
After sunset prayers, a large feast known as "iftar" is shared with family and friends. Iftar is a social event as much as it is a gastronomical adventure. Across the Arab world, apricot juices are an iftar staple. In South Asia and Turkey, yogurt-based drinks are popular. 
Every night of Ramadan, mosques and aid organizations set up tents and tables for the public to have free iftar meals.

CAN MUSLIMS BE EXEMPTED FROM FASTING?

Yes. There are exceptions for children, the elderly, those who are ill, women who are pregnant, nursing or menstruating, and people traveling, which can include athletes during tournaments.
 Many Muslims, particularly those living in the United States and Europe, are accepting and welcoming of others around them who aren't observing Ramadan. 
However, non-Muslims or adult Muslims who eat in public during the day can be fined or even jailed in some Mideast countries.
In many predominantly Muslim countries like Indonesia, karaoke bars and nightclubs are closed across much of the country for the month. Restaurants there use curtains to conceal customers who eat during the day.
 And in Egypt, the Dar Al-Ifta, which is the main authority in charge of issuing religious edits, on Monday warned against eating in public, saying this is not an act of "personal freedom, but chaos — an assault on Islam."
 In China, minority Uighur Muslims complain of heavy restrictions by the Communist Party, such as bans on fasting by party members, civil servants, teachers and students during Ramadan, as well as generally enforced bans on children attending mosques, women wearing veils and young men growing beards.

WHAT ARE SOME RAMADAN TRADITIONS?

Typically, the start of the month is welcomed with the greeting of "Ramadan kareem!" Another hallmark of Ramadan is nightly prayer at the mosque among Muslims called "taraweeh. "
Egyptians have the tradition of Ramadan lanterns called the "fanoos," often the centerpiece at an iftar table or seen hanging in window shops and from balconies. In the Arabian Gulf countries, wealthy families hold "majlis" where they open their doors for people to pass by all hours of the night for food, tea, coffee and conversation.
 Increasingly common are Ramadan tents in five-star hotels that offer lavish and pricey meals from sunset to sunrise. While Ramadan is a boon for retailers in the Middle East and South Asia, critics say the holy month is increasingly becoming commercialized. Scholars have also been disturbed by the proliferation of evening television shows during Ramadan. In Pakistan, live game shows give away gifts promoting their sponsors. In the Arab world, month-long soap operas starring Egypt's top actors, rake in millions of dollars in advertising.



HOW DO MUSLIMS MARK THE END OF RAMADAN?

The end of Ramadan is marked by intense worship as Muslims seek to have their prayers answered during "Laylat al-Qadr" or "the Night of Destiny." It is on this night, which falls during the last 10 nights of Ramadan, that Muslims believe that God sent the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad and revealed the first versus of the Quran. 
The end of Ramadan is celebrated by a three-day holiday called Eid Al-Fitr. Children often receive new clothes, gifts and cash.
 Muslims attend early morning Eid prayers the day after Ramadan. Families usually spend the day at parks and eating — now during the day.


Texas teen arrested over homemade clock to visit UN and Makkah

Texas teen arrested over homemade clock to visit UN and Makkah
Updated 23 September 2015

Texas teen arrested over homemade clock to visit UN and Makkah

Texas teen arrested over homemade clock to visit UN and Makkah
CHICAGO: A Muslim teenager who became an overnight sensation after a Texas teacher mistook his homemade clock for a bomb has been withdrawn from his school, local media reported Tuesday. Ahmed Mohamed, 14, won invitations to the White House, Google and Facebook last week amid a surge of public support for the aspiring inventor who was taken away from school in handcuffs. "Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great," Obama tweeted hours after the story broke. Mohamed's father told the Dallas Morning News that all three of the family's children are being withdrawn from the Irving Independent School District. "These kids aren't going to be happy there," Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed told the paper. The sudden attention, while welcome, has been overwhelming for the family and Ahmed hasn't been eating or sleeping well, his father said. "It's torn the family, and makes us very confused," Mohamed said. Plenty of schools have offered to take Ahmed, but his father thinks a bit of a break is in order. The family will be flying to New York on Wednesday after receiving invitations to meet with dignitaries at the United Nations. They are also trying to get visas to take Ahmed on a pilgrimage to Makkah. "I ask Allah to bless this time," Mohamed said. "After that, we'll see." The son of Sudanese immigrants who live in a Dallas suburb, the young robotics fan brought in a home-made clock to impress a new teacher at MacArthur High School. "It was really sad that she took the wrong impression of it and I got arrested," he told reporters last week. Local police insisted that Mohammed's ethnicity had nothing to do with the decision to arrest him on suspicion of bringing a hoax bomb to school. No charges were laid after it was determined the teen had no malicious intent. Along with the invitation to astronomy night at the White House next month, Mohamed also got a scholarship to NASA's Space Camp invitations to drive NASA's Opportunity rover, tour MIT and intern at Twitter. He posted a picture of himself visiting "amazing projects and people" at Google's science fair on his Twitter account, @IStandWithAhmed, Monday.

Standing in prayer valid anywhere in Arafat

Standing in prayer valid anywhere in Arafat
Updated 03 October 2014

Standing in prayer valid anywhere in Arafat

Standing in prayer valid anywhere in Arafat

A large number of pilgrims climb Jabal Al-Rahma in Arafat to pray standing on the mount, following in the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It is the most famous place in Arafat after the Namira Mosque. Located between the seventh and eighth roads east of Arafat, Jabal Al-Rahma is 300 meters long and seven meters high. Some pilgrims wrongly believe that their Haj would not be complete without standing on this mount. During his farewell sermon, the Prophet said: “I stood here and all other places in Arafat are valid for the stand in prayer ritual” during the peak of the pilgrimage.

Human rights
Bandar Al-Aiban, president of the Human Rights Commission, has called on Muslims to get inspired from the message of Haj as well as from the last sermon of the Prophet (pbuh) that contained important principles for the protection of human rights. “What was mentioned in the last sermon represents the first comprehensive document for human rights,” Al-Aiban said. “We have to follow the Prophet’s instructions in that speech including protection of women, respect for blood and honor and fulfillment of trust.”

Sacrificial meat
The Kingdom’s Sacrificial Meat Utilization Project, which is managed by the Islamic Development Bank, enables pilgrims to perform their sacrifices easily during Haj and make use of the meat of sacrificial animals. Since its inception in 1983, the project has utilized and distributed meat of more than 17 million livestock among the poor in Saudi Arabia and 27 other countries. IDB is offering Adhahi coupons this year for SR490 ($131 or 98 euros), which could be purchased from Saudi Post offices,  Al-Rajhi Bank branches,  Al-Amoudi Foreign Exchange, the Association of Charity Gift for Pilgrims, and the Way for Retail Techniques Company.

Violators fined
The Passport Department has imposed fines worth SR6.6 million on violators during this Haj season. It also detained them for a total of 900 days and impounded 31 vehicles, an official statement said Thursday. On Wednesday alone it took punitive action against 40 Saudis and four expatriates for not carrying Haj permits. “The administrative panel will continue its meetings to make spot decisions on violators of Haj regulations,” it added.


Arafat: Merits of the day

Arafat: Merits of the day
Updated 03 October 2014

Arafat: Merits of the day

Arafat: Merits of the day
Allah the Almighty preferred some months to others, some days to others and some nights to others and selected specific times in the year to be seasons of worship and righteous deeds, and in these blessed times the reward for righteous deeds is multiplied and sins are forgiven. One of these blessed times is the Day of Arafat which is the 9th of the month of Dul-Hijjah (the 12th lunar month in the Islamic calendar).
As pilgrims gather in Arafat today for their most important ritual, it is worthwhile to talk about the merits of this blessed day and what we should do on this day to get the great reward from Allah.
The Day of Arafat is one of the days of the month of Dul-Hijjah, which is one of the four sacred months in the Islamic calendar. Allah the Almighty says in the Noble Qur’an: “Verily, the number of the months with Allah is twelve months (in a year), so was it ordained by Allah on the day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are sacred.” (Qur’an, 9:36)
The four sacred months in the Islamic calendar are Dul Qada, Dul Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab, and they are the 11th, 12th, 1st and 7th months respectively.
The Day of Arafat is a day in one of the months of Haj as Allah The Almighty says in the Noble Qur’an: “Haj (pilgrimage) is (in) the well-known (lunar year) months” (2:197). The months of Haj (pilgrimage) are Shawwal, Dul Qada and Dul Hijjah.
The Day of Arafat is one of the well-known days that Allah the Almighty praised in the Noble Qur’an: “That they may witness things that are of benefit to them, and mention the Name of Allah on appointed days.” (Qur’an, 22:28)
Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said that those appointed days are the first 10 days of the month of Dul Hijjah.
The Day of Arafat is one of the ten days that Allah The Almighty swore by in the Noble Qur’an, Allah The Almighty says in the Noble Qur’an:” By the ten nights” (Al-Fajr: 2). Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the ten nights mean the first ten days of the month of Dul Hijjah.
The Day of Arafat is one of first ten days of the month of Dul Hijjah, and these 10 days are the best days ever in the whole year as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “No other days, in which righteous deeds are beloved by Allah, are better than these days. The Prophet’s companions asked: “Are they even better than jihad in the cause of Allah?” The Prophet replied: ‘Yes, they are, except a man who takes his properties and goes out for jihad and sacrifices his soul and properties for the sake of Allah.”
The day of Arafat is one of the first nine days of the month of Dul Hijjah on which the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) urged us to observe fasting, and some of the prophet’s wives narrated that he used to observe fasting during the first nine days of the month of Dul Hijjah. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) also urged us to observe fasting on the day of Arafat in particular, and when he was asked about fasting on the day of Arafat, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Fasting on the day of Arafat is an expiation for the sins committed in the previous year and the sins will be committed in the next year.” Yet, for those who are performing Haj, they are not recommended to observe fasting on the Day of Arafat.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) also urged us to supplicate to Allah on the Day of Arafat as he said: “The best supplication is the supplication on the Day of Arafat.” This of course manifests the great status of the Day of Arafat.
The aforementioned are some of the merits of the day of Arafat. We ask Allah The Almighty to assist us all to avail of the great opportunity of the day of Arafat, forgive our sins and guide us all to his right path.

Courtesy: douralquran.com

Haj exemplifies equality before God

Haj exemplifies equality before God
Updated 03 October 2014

Haj exemplifies equality before God

Haj exemplifies equality before God
Every year, Muslims from all over the world take part in the largest gathering on Earth, the Haj, or pilgrimage to Makkah.
The Haj is a religious obligation that every Muslim must fulfill, if financially and physically able, at least once in his or her lifetime.
During these historic days, white, brown and black people, rich and poor, kings and peasants, men and women, old and young will all stand before God; all brothers and sisters, at the holiest of shrines in the center of the Muslim world, where all will call upon God to accept their good deeds and forgive them. These days represent the zenith of every Muslim’s lifetime.
The Haj resembles the re-enactment of the experiences of the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him), whose selfless sacrifice has no parallel in the history of humankind.
The Haj symbolizes the lessons taught by the final Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who stood on the plain of Arafat, proclaimed the completion of his mission and announced the proclamation of God: “This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed my favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam, or submission to God, as your religion.” (Qur’an, 5:3)
This great annual convention of faith demonstrates the concept of equality of mankind, the most profound message of Islam, which allows no superiority on the basis of race, gender or social status. The only preference in the eyes of God is piety as stated in the Qur’an: “The best amongst you in the eyes of God is most righteous.”
During the days of the Haj, Muslims dress in the same simple way, observe the same regulations and say the same prayers at the same time in the same manner, for the same end. There is no royalty and aristocracy, but humility and devotion. These times confirm the commitment of Muslims, all Muslims, to God. It affirms their readiness to leave the material interest for his sake.
The Haj is a reminder of the Grand Assembly on the Day of Judgment when people will stand equal before God waiting for their final destiny, and as the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “God does not judge according to your bodies and appearances, but he scans your hearts and looks into your deeds.”
The Qur’an states these ideals really nicely (Qur’an, 49:13): “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other)). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).”
While Malcolm X was in Makkah performing his pilgrimage, he wrote to his assistants: “They asked me what about the Haj had impressed me the most... I said, ‘The brotherhood! The people of all races, colors, from all over the world coming together as one! It has proved to me the power of the One God.’ All ate as one, and slept as one. Everything about the pilgrimage atmosphere accented the oneness of man under one God.”
This is what the Haj is all about.

Courtesy: islam.about.com