Friday, March 30, 2007

The Price of Progress

Someone sent me this article today. It oulines plans on building a shopping mall right next to the Ka'bah in Makkah. I find this to be disheartening and quite sad. Setting aside the Islamic rulings and such, I think it's so disrespectful and in some ways, defeats the objectives of Hajj.

Hajj is meant to be a journey of self-realization, to become closer to God, and to overcome materialism. I have never gone for hajj, but I can imagine: you're constantly shoulder-to-shoulder with people from all over the world, from completely different walks of life - the rich and the poor. At this time you must realize your inherent insignificance and come to a sense of humility - the world is bigger than just you. This is a time where we eat and drink and sleep with other Muslims we have never met, and probably will never see again. We are all equal in the sight of God.

And now, they are introducing huge shopping malls with familiar brand name stores. Instead of going to Makkah to get away from extremist-materialist ideologies, it seems that now we'll just be falling into the same clutches. I don't have a problem with businesses making money off of pilgrims per se, but building a huge hunk of materialism that overlooks the ka'bah and that people will go to after they've circulated the ka'bah seven times, it's just not right.

But I could be wrong, what do you think?


Anonymous said...

i agree with you...they shouldn't be doing this...

Anonymous said...

It saddens me that arabs assume "progression" means one has to resort to western ways.. There are malls all over the world, but only one Kaaba.Whats even sadder is that more people will turn up to go to the mall than to the mosque..

shajara said...

Assalamu aleikum,

I was convinced this was a bad April Fool's joke. I couldn't, wouldn't believe it, even though it was in the New York Times, and tried to assure myself it couldn't possibly be so - until I found the website. I don't know whether to cry, or be sick. I am severely depressed; I can't comment on this properly now. Ya Allah, ilayka nashkoo, sahhil 3alayna

Umar said...

"Hey, let's go to Makkah to see the new shopping mall. And while we're there, we'll stop by the Kaaba if we have time."

How utterly sad and what a dissapointment.

'liya said...

I heard about this awhile ago and thought it was a joke :(

Anonymous said...

"extremist-materialist ideologies"...a good way to put it.
This is very depressing. Kheir Inshallah.


Faraz said...

It really is sad. One of the characteristics of the pre-Islamic Quraish household was their exploitation of the pilgrims who came to worship the idols that surrounded the Ka'bah. Today, things aren't much different unfortunately.

I remember there was a lady in my Hajj group who was so ecstatic about the quality of the shopping malls around the Ka'bah that she hardly spent much time in the masjid. I pray Allah accepts her regardless, but it always offended me that people have been granted such an amazing honour to visit these cities, and yet they take so little advantage of that honour. Allahu'alim.

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