Mehmood Ul Hassan Khan
Religion is a sacred binding. Religion is above any worldly wishful list of prosperity, corporate benefits or human services. It is pure and very simple to follow because it discourages any kind of bargain, blackmailing or black wishes. Politics always deviates human beings from the path of righteousness and peace. It pollutes ethic, faiths, feelings and above all religion and just fulfill vested interests. Iran always connects politics to religion whether it is case of Umrah, Hajj or OIC.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the spiritual center of all the Muslim living around the globe for specific reasons. It is always ready to welcome all the people (pilgrims) to perform Umrah and Hajj. Its services and levels of hospitality associated with Umrah and Hajj are blended with a religion mission of comfort, accommodation, better facilities, peace and above all brotherhood. It has been following and implemented these kinds of services and facilitations since time immortal for all the Muslims belonging to different nationalities, faiths, sects and religious associations.
Previously, Iranian delegation refused to sign an agreement with Saudi’s authorities to perform Hajj 2016. Western Media and especially Iranian mass media projected its refusal as it rejection of Saudi Arabia and tried to mislead the people and Muslim all over the world. It was totally baseless accusations.
Saudi Arabia requested to sign an agreement for the Hajj 2016 which guaranteed certain rules and regulations. Despite its utmost efforts, Iranian delegation bluntly refused to sign. Agreements included proper mechanism of issuance of visas, civil aviation arrangements (previously division of pilgrims between Iran Air carrier and Saudi Air carrier, a standardized international practice) and grant of permission to perform their rituals but in a systematic manners because their such gatherings hinder movements for the rest of the pilgrims from other Islamic World. Iranian delegation left the country without signing the agreement.
Moreover, Ministry of Hajj and Umrah welcomed and facilitated Iranian pilgrims on-line visas. Its authorities did not prevent at all coming of Iranian pilgrims. The leadership of Saudi Arabia, government and people always welcome all pilgrims and visitors from around the world belonging to different faiths, nationalities, and religious associations. Moreover, it does not prevent any Muslim to visit Holy Places to practice religion rituals as long as they are within the parameters of rules and regulations with no discrimination.
Now, again an Iranian delegation is due to sign the pact in Saudi Arabia. The decision will allow Iranian citizens to perform the pilgrimage this year.
Hameed Mohammadi, assistant chairman of the Iranian Haj organization, said: “The Saudi authorities sent the invitation to the organization with regard to arrangements for Haj 201.
According to an official Iranian online statement, an Iranian Haj delegation led by its director Said Awhadi to complete what it described as “the second round of talks about the Haj season.”
The talks follow the refusal of the Iranian delegation last week to sign a Haj agreement with the Kingdom that is mandatory for all countries sending pilgrims this year. The Kingdom accused the Iranian government of playing politics and said it was responsible for blocking its own pilgrims in the eyes of Allah and its people.
The Saudi Council of Ministers also accused Iran of attempting to politicize Haj by refusing to sign the agreement with the Saudi Haj and Umrah Ministry. It stated that there were no attempts made to block Iranian pilgrims.
Among the points of contention between Ministry of Umrah and Hajj and Iranian delegation the Iranians demanded to be able to hold their own rituals and controversial protests. Saudi Arabia contented that these protests were not in the spirit of Haj. Moreover, it creates serious security issues.
Iran by nature created a “lie” that the Saudi Arabia had prevented Iranian pilgrims from performing Haj. The agreement that the Iranian government’s Haj delegation had to sign last week was mandatory for all nations. It was not an act of discrimination. Iran must behave and does not use religious occasions to incite tension.
Hajj is a religious duty and obligation which needs to be performed without any bias, prejudice, difference and division. It is a sign of universality which must not be used for sabotage. It is icon of brotherhood which should not be utilized for disunity. It is symbol of unity, peace and harmony which must not be spoiled for vested political interests because when Muslims travel to this holy country as pilgrims they represent their unity and forget their differences. They recognize that the holy lands are not fields to address their differences and settle scores. Iran should not exploit the pilgrimage to divert attention from the suffering” in their own country.
Apparently Iran wants to take advantage of the Hajj season and the gathering of Muslims and the holy sites for political mileage, to wreak havoc and cause chaos, and that leads to divisions and sowing of discord.