Saudi imam reiterates Hajj is 'not for political slogans' in Arafah Day sermon

Saudi imam reiterates Hajj is 'not for political slogans' in Arafah Day sermon
Sheikh Maher Al Muaiqly reiterated the sentiment of the Saudi government, stating the Hajj pilgrimage is strictly for worship and not politics.
2 min read
15 June, 2024
Prospective pilgrims visit the Mount Arafat (Mountain of Mercy) as Muslims from all over the world continue their worship to fulfill the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on June 15, 2024. [Getty]

The imam of Mecca's Grand Mosque reiterated on Saturday that the Hajj pilgrimage is solely for worship, not for making political slogans during his sermon on the Islamic holy day of Arafah.

Sheikh Maher Al Muaiqly, who was appointed to deliver the sermon on the penultimate day of the Hajj, made the remark as the pilgrimage takes place in the shadow of Israel's war on Gaza

Israel's military offensive has killed at least 37,266 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, according to the territory's health ministry. 

"Hajj is a manifestation of showing sincerity in worshiping God and it is not a place for political slogans," Al Muaiqly said while addressing worshippers at Masjid al-Namirah.

This follows a similar statement from the Saudi government earlier this month, where it emphasised that the annual Islamic pilgrimage is strictly a religious event for worship, rather than a venue for political expression. 

Saudi Arabia's minister in charge of religious pilgrimages, Tawfiq al-Rabiah, warned  that "no political activity" would be tolerated during the Hajj. 

News agency AFP reported that at least one pilgrim was heard chanting in support of Palestinians who have endured more than eight months of incessant Israeli bombardment. 

"Pray for our brothers in Palestine, in Gaza... may God give victory to the Muslims," he shouted. 

However, Sheikh Al Muaiqly himself also called on pilgrims to pray for Palestinians suffering in the amidst of Israeli bombardment. 

"Pray for our brothers and sisters in Palestine who have been touched by harm and have suffered from harm," he said. 

"Their enemy is causing bloodshed, causing corruption in the country, and preventing them from receiving what they need of food, medicine, nourishment, and clothing," he continued.

Some 2,000 Palestinians are performing Hajj at the special invitation of Saudi King Salman, official media said. 

Hajj, one of the world's largest religious gatherings, is one of the five pillars of Islam and must be performed at least once by all Muslims who have the means and are healthy enough to do so. 

A 33-year-old Palestinian woman, Douaa al-Massarii, who survived the months-long war in Gaza and has since sought refuge in Egypt, said her joy was "indescribable" when she found out she was one of the 2,000 Palestinians invited by King Salman to perform Hajj. 

She told AFP that she is also grappling with grief after an Israeli strike killed her husband and children, stating "my happiness is incomplete without my children, without my husband."