By Parvez Ahmed
Muslims, Makkah, where the Ka’ba is located, is the epicenter of their faith
and Madinah, home of the Prophet’s mosque, their sanctuary for spiritual bliss.
These two cities happen to be in Saudi Arabia, which is once again in the news
for the most chilling of reasons, presenting Muslims with a difficult decision
week, we learned that the country likely killed one of its own citizens, in
cold blood, inside its own consulate, in a foreign land. While we do not have
incontrovertible proof, we know enough to be worried and concerned. How the
great powers on the global stage respond is beyond our control. But what we
choose to do as ordinary Muslims is not.
time to boycott Saudi Arabia. Stop visiting the country for umrah (optional
pilgrimage) and hajj (obligatory pilgrimage). Such a call is indeed draconian
and may even sound like contravening fundamental religious obligations. But the
Quranic ideal of justice commands Muslims to take a stand, even at great
discomfort to self-interest.
who believe! stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as
against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against)
rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your
hearts), lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice,
verily Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do. (Quran 4:135).
can we continue to provide tacit support to the House of Saud as the custodians
of the two holy mosques when they cannot be trusted as custodians of human life
not advocating indiscriminate Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), which
can hurt reformist voices inside Saudi Arabia, by making an already brutal
regime even more hardline. But a significant reduction in pilgrims will send a
powerful message to the House of Saud, who derive prestige from their
self-anointed status as the guardians of Islam.
Arabia officially estimates that it earns nearly $8.5 billion annually from
hajj alone, according to figures from 2014. About 70 percent of that
expenditure comes from overseas visitors. Nearly nine times as many people
perform umrah (19 million) than hajj (2.4 million). By 2022 experts estimate
Saudi Arabia’s revenues from hajj and umrah will exceed $150 billion. The
gruesome killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi ought to be the impetus that
puts an economic dent on the Kingdom’s facade.
Arabia bears culpability in destabilizing a region, imprisoning dissidents,
mercilessly extinguishing the lives of innocents and continuing to export an
intolerant and perverted version of Islam. But its Yemen entanglement is
significantly more insidious. While the crisis is well documented, it is not
well publicized and certainly not adequately addressed. The European Union has
described Yemen as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today. In total,
nearly 50,000 people have been killed, according to unofficial estimates from
ACLED, a group that studies global conflicts. The United Nation estimates that
22.2 million people in Yemen need assistance, 8.4 million people suffer from
severe food insecurity, and a further 10 million could fall under the same
category by the end of the year, if action is not urgently taken. Millions are
on the brink of starvation.
no mistake that this is a man-made crisis created by the very people claiming
to be custodians of holiness and funded in part by the U.S.
likely murder of Khashoggi is justifiably drawing a lot of attention. But, for
the past two years the plight of Yemenis has, for the most part, escaped our
collective consciousness. This gives credence to Stalin’s quote, “The death of
one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic.” But in this
instance, we have a chance to take the tragedy of one death to cast a light on
the tragedies faced by millions.
official American actions, in the form of cancellation of arms sale and
imposition of the Magnitsky Act sanctions against the Saudi elite, may have to
wait a change of regime in Washington (Trump seems to be looking the other
way), Muslims need not wait to fulfill their personal fidelity to justice by
taking a stand – silent no more.
clarity requires that those championing BDS against Israel also advocate for a
boycott of Saudi Arabia too. Under any objective standard, the behavior of the
Saudi regime is comparable to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in the other
they were young, my children used to watch a video about a person who gave up
the money he saved for Hajj to feed his hungry neighbor. The story illustrated
that the purpose of the pilgrimage is not a mere physical journey to the heart
of Islam, but more importantly a striving that is aimed at provoking a
spiritual awakening. The goal is to link thoughts and actions to the will of
the Divine by engendering compassion for humanity.
good is our pilgrimage if the host regime uses our money and the legitimacy
that our visit provides to not only engage in perpetrating the greatest
humanitarian crisis of our time but also to commit cold blooded murder of
journalists, for the ostensible purpose of squelching any dissent?
Parvez Ahmed is Professor of Finance at the
University of North Florida. You can read more about the author here.
Please find below a selection of some
old comments I searched for, more out of nostalgia than anything else. It
doesn't really make any difference if Saudi Arabia makes money out of Hajj or
not in present times. It certainly must have been the mainstay of their economy
at one time. The fear of its loss was probably one reason why the
powers-that-be opposed Islam tooth and nail. They couldn't imagine One God
could be as lucrative as 365.
"As regarding the income of Saudi
Arabia on account of Haj, I am not sure whether the government of Saudi Arabia
makes a profit. It certainly incurs huge expenditure but what is its income? I
am sure the government would be incurring only losses although for its
citizens, there is business to be done and profits to be made. If the same Haj
was to be performed in any other country, it would certainly be costlier for
By Naseer Ahmed - 7/14/2012 2:54:49 AM
... another was the discussion about if saudi arabia makes money out of the
hajj. while mr. naseer ahmed kept arguing that saudi arabia actually loses
money by hajj. it was touch and go util one mr. sadaf typed out a piece of his
mind for mr. naseer amed. that really made things hit the fan.
By hats off! - 9/10/2017 7:10:57 AM
a couple of gold and silver coins is no proof of innocence. arabic barbarians
use their hospitality just to put you in place. mr naseer ahmed must be the
three in a million along with his hindu colleagues who got the soft end of the
zillions have come violently in contact with the harder end.
By hats off! - 11/22/2012 12:11:24 AM
Like any colonizer, they have a way of fleecing your money. While you might
vehemently argue that the ks of a makes a net loss on account of the hajj,
every opinion in the world asserts the opposite. this year the total revenue
earned by the ks of a was around 15 billion dollars. so like all colonies, the
non hejazi Muslim colonies of Arabia are paying the empire. what is more - in
the design it says they will pay forever
I have other theses. but I will wait for your response before i put them before
you. By hats off! - 11/23/2012 12:31:56 PM
I thinks, I replied to your 3 problem and 3 solutions, Dear Mr. Naseer Ahmed
Sir. You have cut pasted the your points again and I too then perhaps have to
cut paste my reply.
Why don't you understand that it is not the people who treated you well we are
against. It is their ideology which we are against. Some of them promote their
ideology by force and some through the bribery of being well and showering you
in gold and silver.
By sadaf - 11/21/2012 11:02:09 PM