The Hajj is the supreme symbol of universal brotherhood, and it is the greatest annual congregation in the world. Every year in Mecca, over two million Muslims from diverse origins stand shoulder-to-shoulder, clad in the barest of materials (two pieces of white cloth) and perform the same rituals. Not one person can be distinguished from another on the basis of wealth, lineage, or power. The most powerful leaders are on the same level as the poorest of men. All artificial or human-imposed distinctions among mankind are lifted, and for the span of a few days, people have the opportunity to know each other solely as brothers and sisters in humanity.
The Hajj also develops the human soul. Every human being (whether aware of it or not) is traveling towards God, and the essential part of this spiritual development in life is to recognize the returning journey. The Hajj not only represents a physical journey, but it also compels the pilgrim to demonstrate one’s willingness to leave behind everything in his or her life for the sake of God.
God has made it known that one of the ways to approach Him for forgiveness is to journey to His emblematic house – the Kabah in Mecca.
Imam Ali was once was with a group of his followers in the vicinity of the Kabah when they saw a man holding the cloth cover of the Kabah while supplicating, “O Keeper of the House! This house is Your house, and this guest is Your guest. Each guest sees goodness from its host. Tonight, let Your goodness be the forgiving of my sins.” Imam Ali asked his followers, “Did you hear the words of this man?” They said, “Yes, we did.” Imam Ali replied, “Almighty God is more forgiving than to drive away His guests.”
The sense of equality and humanity that is present during the Hajj should be reflected in one’s own everyday life. A person who has experienced the Hajj should return home freed from the erroneous notions of race and class distinction that are prevalent in some societies.
Since the advent of Islam, the Hajj has been one of the major unifying cultural factors for Muslims, and for many Muslims, the Hajj serves as an enormous convention or conference in which information is exchanged and problems are solved. This is based on the fact that every year Muslim delegates from every civilization meet in one place to discuss and try to solve the challenges facing the Muslims throughout the world.