Seeking Gods Mercy – Hajj to Mecca
Monday, October 14, over 4 million Muslim pilgrims, representing the world’s alleged figure of 1.7 billion Muslims worldwide, will be standing on Mount Arafah, also known as the Mount of Mercy. The granite hill lies just east of Mecca, the religious capital of Saudi Arabia. The hajj to Mecca is one of the five pillars of Islam, together with uttering the confession of faith, daily prayers, fasting during the holy month of Ramadan and Zakat (paying money to the poor).
Mount Arafah is where multitudes of Muslim pilgrims will end their “Hajj” (pilgrimage) at the most sacred location a Muslim can reach to stand before Allah. Committed Muslim’s are expected to pilgrimage at least once in his/her lifetime, setting aside part of their income, postpone essential family needs, and even sell parts of their own lands or possessions, in order to go. The hope is to visit the tomb of the prophet Mohammed and somehow get, according to their belief, as close as possible to Allah and seek his forgiveness as it is believed that this is the place where the prophet Mohammad stood and delivered his ‘farewell sermon’ to his followers who had accompanied him for the Hajj towards the end of his life.
Muslim men wear simple white garments while woman wear a simple white dress and headscarf. Both symbolize cleanliness and purity so at the end of the rituals they may be granted forgiveness for sins they committed throughout their lives as they spend each day, supplicating to Allah asking for forgiveness of sins.
During the pilgrimage Muslims are reminded of the story of Abraham and how he obeyed to offer his only son Ismail (as the Quran account reads), not Isaac, as a sacrifice. Muslims who can afford it “redeem” their homes and families by slaughtering sheep or cows, in the early morning right after dawn prayers on Tuesday, October 15.
An undisclosed source says, “As I watch those millions of Muslims on Mount Arafah, crying out for forgiveness to an Allah who seems very distant from them and their daily lives, deeply breaks my heart! As I see those multitudes moving around the Black Stone in massive numbers, in the largest religious gathering on earth, my heart aches, and many times I can’t hold back my tears!”
The source adds a few challenging questions for us to consider:
- How quickly do we switch off the news reports about the Hajj, changing TV channels or ignoring any reports about Muslims, without even sending a quick prayer for them to the Father? Are we claiming that praying for Muslims during their special season is not really our business?
- How many of us are broken before the Lord for millions of Muslims who are seeking God’s mercy and forgiveness on a physical mountain, instead of at the foot of the Cross?
- How do we feel when we stop, think and realize that about 1.7 billion Muslims around the word will live their entire lives and eventually die with no guaranteed salvation and redemption – simply because we Christians are so reluctant, so afraid, so busy, that we fail to reflect the light of Jesus to them?
- Is there anything I can do to help my Muslim friends, neighbors and colleagues to one day realize that all they need to do is to receive the free gift of Jesus’ salvation, by grace and for no cost, by accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, and enjoy an eternal life!
- Join with me in praying this prayer:
Father, my heart is broken for the millions of Muslims who are seeking your face in the wrong place!
I’m deeply devastated that so many people are not able yet to find the everlasting peace and joy that I have found, as well as the restoration of their broken lives in Jesus. Year after year, I see millions of Muslims, paying and working their way to stand on that mount; but they go home empty handed and empty hearted! Father, I join my worldwide redeemed family and pray for Muslims today…
…may You show Yourself to them in dreams and visions…
…may You speak to their hearts and show them the way…
… may You speak to them through my own life, word and behavior…
…may You fill my heart with true love and compassion, that of Jesus, so I may learn to pour out myself in prayer for them…
…may Muslims join me on that cloud, when the time would come for the church to meet Jesus up there in the heavenly realms…
…may I maintain a heart of true discernment so neither I, my family nor Christians in my country will close our hearts to Muslims, even though some of them will continue to persecute us…
…may I learn to ask forgiveness for them, just as Jesus did, a little while before He died on the cross for every one of us!
Nothing is impossible for You!