While looking at the collective conscience of Muslims, the Ummah, one sometimes feels elated to notice life in it and at other moments one finds that although there is some life left in the Ummah but the vigour and warmth in it has become miserably weakened.
Instant disapproval and condemnation by a community of any degeneration and weakness taking place in it are the collective guarantee for its auto correction and long term survival. It is this very point that an assessment of which pushes one in a mood of depression. We have reached to a stage where no incident, no matter how significant it may be, does not shake us from our slumber and activate and motivate us. While some are content because of their insensitivity or ignorance; some others remain silent because their conscience is shackled by the chains of compromises and personal interests.
One such shocking example has recently come to light and that has shown us how much our collective conscience (as Muslims) has been degenerated and infected with weakness.
Saudi Government has formally introduced a fees on Hajj and Umrah. And it’s not a small amount! It’s about 40,000 Indian rupees.
If anyone wants to perform Umrah second times in his/her life then they will have to pay this as a visa fees. If this is not a ‘Masjid-al-Haram Tax’ then what it is? No concern has been expressed anywhere, neither in the Arab nor the non-Arab world. What can it be called except inaction, indifference and the weakness of the collective conscience. This does not bode well on the future of a community.
Every Muslim has the right to perform Hajj and Umrah. What right does anyone have to stop him from this or charge a tax from him for doing so? This is definitely an act of high handedness and the misuse of the authority on Masjid al-Haram. It can have dangerous consequences in this world and in the hereafter.
In the light of my academic and religious knowledge I can say with full responsibility that the money earned from such a tax is haram (forbidden). Any government imposing tax on anyone entering Masjid al-Haram should be fearful of the punishment from Allah SWT. I wish that the Saudi Ulema and politicians had come forward and made a sincere effort to stop their government from taking this action that is tantamount to inviting the wrath of Allah. I wish that people in various countries that have good relations with Saudi Government were seen trying to stop it from taking such a dangerous action.
Why those who are seen congratulating and praising Saudi Government even for petty actions are silent on this ‘taxing of Masjid al-Haram’? What explanation will they give in the Court of Almighty Allah?
Let’s not forget that the situation in Gulf countries is very volatile. All sorts of fears and doubts are in the air. This action can invite Allah’s wrath. I wish the Saudi Government was fearful of Allah’s punishment and there was someone to remind it of it.
[Maulana Yahya Nomani is a Lucknow based Islamic scholar and author of a large number of essays and various books. This post was originally posted in Urdu on Facebook post of Maulana Yahya Nomani and translated by Urdu Media Monitor. Reproduced here with permission from Urdu Media Monitor.]