We are all pilgrims. All kinds of pilgrims we are - a wanderer, a traveller, a wayfarer, towards a distant place which is purer, holier, a more promising and tranquil place; towards a clearer consciousness of our existence and that of our Creator's. As we make the journey we walk alongside many other pilgrims. As selfish as we may become in taking steps toward our destination we cannot deny the other equation of life. It is not just about our relationship with the object of our journey, our Creator, there is also the other aspect of our relationship with fellow creatures. Can a pilgrim so self-centered and focused on getting a better view of the Light trample upon others along the way? No, one cannot simply push people aside and hurt them, no one, not anyone from any sections of the society, especially if he has some degree of knowledge above others.
I wish to expose a story of a pilgrim who was in Madinah last Ramadhan. He supposedly have mingled with renowned shuyukh because he himself is a 'sheikh'. This learned 'sheikh' while in Madinah had approached a handful of women on the internet with the intention to marry. But Allah knows best his true intention. Picture this: a good looking 30-something bearded Caucasian male, with blue eyes, wearing white jubbah and imamah and carrying a stick, so very sunnah in outer appearance, wandering about the world meeting other 'shuyukh' and 'mureed' while actively pursuing women on the internet only to mislead and cheat them.
Imagine if your sister were to cross path with such a pilgrim? One who claimed to be living on constant consultation with his guru - a Qadiri Tariqa guru based in Chechnya, a guru who emphatised with his obedient mureed thus 'allowed' the lonely mureed to sleep with woman prior to nikah. Imagine the pilgrimage of such a 'guru'? Allah Hu Allah. Imagine the many kinds of pilgrims of life! Sisters around the world, especially those in England, beware! If he was a true 'sheikh' the other shuyukh in the U.K would surely know him, but unfortunately no.
In the lesser pilgrimages I was privileged to make, the pilgrims who had touched my heart didn't appear overly religious at all. I cherished an old Indian lady pilgrim who prayed next to me, who out of the blue leaned over to kiss my cheek. I cherished a Bangladeshi woman who patted on my head like I was her daughter. I cherished a Malaysian brother who conversed with me very politely and we have remained friends for 6 years now. Al-Hamdu lillah.
In this blissful season of hajj, let's ask ourselves what sort of pilgrims are we? Do we put a smile on people's face or do we plant a thorn in their hearts?
May Allah let us mingle with beautiful men and women. May Allah protect us from evil pilgrims.