As Muslims from all over the world embark on Hajj (Holy journey to Makkah and Madina), I would like to share a few thoughts regarding this very important annual Islamic ritual performed in the Islamic month of Dhul-Hijjah.

As we may all be aware, Hajj or Pilgrimage is the fifth pillar of Islam and in the Holy Quran (2:197), Allah says; “For Hajj – Are the months well-known. If anyone undertakes that duty therein, let there be no obscenity – Nor wickedness – Nor wrangling in the Hajj. And whatever good ye do, (be sure) Allah knoweth it. And take a provision (with you) for the journey; but the best of provisions is right conduct. So fear Me, O ye that are wise.”

Hajj is not a luxury or business trip, it is a holy journey which comes with lots of blessings and rewards to those who rightfully undertake it.

Whoever is undertaking this holy journey or plans to do so, should remember to abide by what Allah has said in the Ayat or Quranic verse quoted above.

Pilgrims are urged to keep away from obscenity and wickedness during the journey and while in the Holy Cities.

The more a pilgrim is aware of the essence, spirit and rationales behind the Pilgrimageas well as the purposes for which it was prescribed, his or her Hajj will be more likely accepted and greatly rewarded.

A pilgrim, who does not adhere to the provision of right conduct, ought to worry that his/her Hajj may amount to no more than a mixture of tourism and tiredness.

Hajj is a cleansing journey and all those who perform it are required to abandon all evil acts during and after the experience. It is therefore absurd and shameful for any Muslim to engage in obscene acts like abusive language, fornication and many others sins after performing Hajj. My advice to such people is; Do not waste your money and effort.

Hajj climaxes on Eid Aduha day with prayers and sacrifices during which pilgrims fulfill Prophet Ibrahim’s (A.S) tradition of slaughtering animals to thank Allah for His sustenance.

This is another act of worship which carries lots of rewards to those who rightfully fulfill it. It should be remembered that rewards are bestowed upon those who slaughter animals during this festival.

I therefore expect Muslims to invest more resources and energy in finding animals to slaughter and donate, rather than receiving from those who have slaughtered.

It is quite absurd especially here in Uganda to see people struggling to get free meat from animals slaughtered by others yet many of them are in position to buy animals and slaughter.

If one cannot get an animal to slaughter on Eid Adhuha day, there is a provision to slaughter with in the following three days. This is all aimed at giving Muslims a chance to reap the rewards of slaughtering during this annual Islamic festival.

The animals that are prescribed for slaughtering are; camels, cows, goats and sheep, and these must be in the best physical shape – free from any form of sickness of deformity.

It should also be noted that this particular Islamic sacrifice in not about appeasing an ‘Angry God’ or ‘angry gods’ as it is the case in un-Islamic settings.

“It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah: It is your piety that reaches Him. He thus made them subject to you that ye may glorify Allah for His guidance to you” Quran 22:37.

In Islam, all that is demanded as a sacrifice is one’s personal willingness to submit one’s ego and individual will to Allah.

In conclusion, I remind fellow Muslims, especially those who are heading to the Holy Cities to pray for our leaders and our country at large.

Eid Mubarak