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Mina, 10th day of the holy month of Dhul Hijjah. Some 4,000 years ago, on that same sacred land, Abraham and his son, Ismael, were tested in their love of God. No deeds are dearer to God than those accomplished for His sake during those blessed days. Except for the “sacrifice” of one who goes in the way of God with all that one has, but neither one’s body nor one’s belongings returns from the journey. Such was the fate of thousands of pilgrims this year, tragically killed in Mina. They will not get back home free of all sins, as in the state in which they were born. They have returned to God. On the Day of Judgment, they will rise with their wounds and say “Labbayk”, meaning “God, I respond to Your call”. They have died falling in the way of God, for His sake, seeking His Love.

The sons of Abraham and Ismael have kept the keys of the Kaaba, served pilgrims water and provided them food from the beginning, for most of past history. Amongst them, the great-great-grand-father of the Prophet (saw) even introduced a levy on the notables of Makkah with the aim of supporting and honoring visiting pilgrims. The custody of the place has always been a sign of prestige, even at a time when the Kaaba was home to countless idols. Yet, probably with reference to the Prophet’s own uncle who had yet to embrace Islam, the following verse was revealed: “Do you consider the providing of water to the pilgrims and the maintenance of Holy Mosque as equal to the worth of those who believe in God and the Last Day, and strive hard in the way of God? They are not equal before God. And God guides not those people who are the wrong-doers. ( The Koran 9:19)

We pray that God admits in His mercy pilgrims who were killed and join them in the company of martyrs, prophets and good-doers. This does, in no way, absolve us from the collective responsibility of ensuring that safety is much improved in the future. Striving hard in the way of God implies, firstly, not fearing to express one’s concerns even if this may be displeasing to those who are in power or have vested interests.

We never say that those who are killed in the way of God that they are dead. They are living but we see them not. And their sacrifice is not in vain in this world, for us, if we critically draw lessons from what happened. We have the duty to investigate objectively into the matter, not because we look forward to a blame-game, but for we believe in God and the Last Day.

In this context, it is humbly proposed that independent enquiries are set up at national and international levels in view of constructively shedding light on the tragedy as well as on related matters, and doing whatever is humanly possible to avoid any repetition.

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