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A Hajj without renunciation is not a true Hajj

During his meeting with Iranian officials in charge of conducting and organizing the Hajj pilgrimage on May 6, 2024, Imam Khamenei, while discussing the social aspect of Hajj, and how Hajj should resemble Prophet Abraham’s (pbuh) firm stance against enemies of God, called this year’s Hajj to be “a Hajj of renunciation” against those who show hostility and animosity toward Muslims, namely the Zionists and their supporters. In this interview, Sayyid Ahmad Suli, Muslim scholar and preacher, provides Quranic, historical and political basis for this statement.

1. Considering that Hajj provides one of the largest platforms for solidarity and unity among the Islamic Ummah, how can this immense capacity [of Hajj] be best utilized to resolve the problems of the Islamic world?

First of all, I would like to extend my congratulations to those who were blessed with the call to Hajj al-Akbar [the greater Hajj], and whose caravans, after their supplications were answered in the blessed month of Ramadan, took them to the destination of their hearts, allowing them to perform Hajj in Masjid al-Haram this year. We ask Almighty God to grant the conditions of ability and remove obstacles for all Muslims so that they can be among the pilgrims of the Bayt Al-Atiq [Ka’aba] and visitors to the shrine of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the upcoming years, God willing.

As a matter of fact, the multitude of Muslim pilgrims who come from all corners of the Islamic world hold their annual gathering in Mecca, a gathering that embodies a significant point: establishing connections and fostering intellectual, cultural, and media enrichment among Muslims worldwide. The primary goal is for them to engage in discussions among themselves about the news and conditions of their nations, the obstacles they face, and their future prospects, as well as to gain knowledge about what is happening in different countries.

This annual meeting, as Imam Khomeini (ra) stated, is a grand religious and political gathering. Unfortunately, today we are losing the opportunity that Islam has provided for us. Hajj, which should serve as a gathering where scholars, thinkers, intellectuals, and other Muslims of the Islamic Ummah come together to discuss the political, economic, and social conditions of their nations, the current and future challenges, and strategies to solve and overcome obstacles, has been turned into empty rituals and ceremonies devoid of their sublime content, and are held in an unproductive and useless manner.

As a matter of fact, the attempt to remove the social, cultural, educational, and political dimensions of religion, worship, and religious rituals like Hajj and limit them solely to the connection between the individual and their Lord is simply because the tyrants and court preachers have realized that religion is the monotheistic revolution of the prophets (pbut) and is a program for change, reform, and commanding good and forbidding evil. And this is the great danger that threatens the survival of the tyrants and their influence, control, and hegemony.


In contrast, we must take make the most of this gathering and assembly to come together and highlight the power and glory of Islam through the vast congregation of Muslims. We should utilize these large gatherings and other major assemblies to showcase Islam’s unmatched strength, which no force can overpower. This includes events like Eid al-Fitr, the Day of Arafah, the rituals performed at the holy sites and alongside the Ka’aba, and Friday and congregational prayers.


2. Hajj presents a unique opportunity for the Islamic Ummah, especially the pilgrims, to declare their support for the people of Gaza. What actions do you think can be taken in this regard during Hajj?

There is no doubt that Muslims can accomplish many things by gathering in this sacred place, the holy city of Mecca, in the vicinity of the Ka’aba, during this special time, which is the greatest season of Hajj. One of the most important things we can do is to raise our voices in renunciation of the polytheists and tyrants, making our voices heard in every corner of the earth by its inhabitants. We must let our voices carry the message of the oppression faced by our oppressed Muslim brothers in “Gaza of Hashem” and the rest of our beloved Palestine.

It has been narrated that Imam Baqir (pbuh) instructed in his will before his martyrdom that Hajj should be performed on his behalf for ten years during Hajj season. He also allocated a portion of his wealth for this purpose to be used for hiring eulogists and elegists to continue this for ten years after his martyrdom. When? During the Days of Tashriq (the period from the 11th to 13th of Dhul-Hijjah). Where? In Mina, at Mash’ar al-Haram. That is, the days when everyone is present in Mina. This was in fact an aspect of his direct political battle and jihad against the oppression of the Umayyads.

Imam Baqir (pbuh) did not need anyone to cry and mourn for him. Rather, he wanted to expose the oppressive rulers politically, psychologically, and humanely through the shedding of tears, mourning, and lamentation during Hajj season, especially in Mina. This is due to the fact that when pilgrims observe the scene of consolation and mourning, they try to find out what’s going on. The story of the oppression of the rulers against the Household of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) was explained to them, and this is what drew their attention to the oppressed, strengthened their popularity and position, and destroyed the oppressors and their projects.

Hajj is also the same. This great meeting and gathering exposes oppression to the world and spreads awareness of injustices perpetrated by oppressors. This great gathering not only leads to increased dissatisfaction and protest against the oppressor, but also results in their disgrace and loss. It allows for the state of the oppressed to become clear, fostering interaction and solidarity with them and ultimately leading to their victory.

It is not appropriate or sufficient to express one’s disapproval, stance, hatred, and resentment in secret and in hidden corners or in closed rooms. Rather, what is necessary, correct, and beneficial is to do so loudly and publicly, in broad daylight, during busy times and in the most crowded and populated areas. This will have a greater impact on people’s hearts and minds and be more effective.

In Surah Hajj, the Almighty God states, “And proclaim Hajj to all the people: they will come to you on foot and on lean camels, coming from distant places, that they may witness the benefits for them, and mention Allah’s Name during the known days over the livestock He has provided them” (Quran 22:28). There is no doubt that this scene of general unity among the Muslims and the declaration of the renunciation of the polytheists, the arrogant, the devils, and the oppressors of the world, led by the Great Satan “America” and its impure protégé “israel”, is one of the most prominent and important benefits that Muslims from all corners of the world will witness in Holy Mecca and the venerated places.

Today, as the entire world witnesses the multitude of Muslim pilgrims heading towards the holy lands through satellite networks and social media, united under the flag of one religion, led by one prophet, guided by one Quran, and gathered together in the environment of one House, facing the Qiblah, and declaring their renunciation of arrogance and the crimes committed by the criminal Zionists against our oppressed people in Gaza, this matter will spread like a wave throughout the world and will raise awareness to all living consciences about the oppression, bloodshed, and martyrdom that is occurring and play its role in preventing the genocide carried out by these Nazi-Zionists.

Therefore, we must fill all our positions, emotions, rituals, and ceremonies with news about the oppression of these oppressed people [of Gaza]. All our gatherings must turn into organizational centers for mobilizing believers, uniting them into a cohesive and strong brotherly group for supporting what is right and condemning falsehood. This is the cause around which all Muslims must rally and find common ground, rather than allowing their words to sow division and their desires to scatter them, or the temptations within them to flare up like fire in dry grass.


3. If you personally participated in this year’s Hajj as a Haji, would you have taken any action to support the Gaza Strip against the genocide committed by the US and Zionist regime?

Supporting the Gaza Strip is a religious duty, and it is by fulfilling this duty that Hajj is completed and accepted. Imam Khomeini (ra) said, “Certainly, a Hajj that has no spirit, and one that lacks movement and rising up [for what is right], a Hajj without renunciation, unity, and a Hajj that does not destroy disbelief and polytheism, is not Hajj.” Therefore, it is by aiding the oppressed and standing against oppression that Hajj becomes completed.

We believe and have faith that Hajj is the manifestation of the oneness of the Almighty God. Believing in monotheism means rejecting submission to the US and other

world powers. A Taghut is not just a wooden or stone idol. Anyone who stands against the Almighty God and His religion is considered a Taghut. We must stand against Taghut, denounce it, and be its enemy. This is the way of the Prophets (pbut); as the Almighty God has stated in the Holy Quran, “There is certainly a good exemplar for you in Abraham and those who were with him, when they said to their own people, ‘Indeed we repudiate you and whatever you worship besides Allah. We disown you, and enmity and hate have appeared between you and us forever, unless you come to have faith in Allah alone’” (60:4).

All the Prophets (pbut) and at the forefront, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), who shattered the idols of polytheism and ignorance – just as Prophet Abraham (pbuh) did – all took steps on the path to the elevation of the word of monotheism and the fight against tyrants and renunciation of them. All the divine prophets (pbut) and the righteous believers who accompanied them engaged in jihad against the oppressors and tyrants, and today we must also take them as our role models and continue their path.

It should also be noted that in light of the current events in Gaza and the bloody attack of the usurper and temporary Zionist regime against Gaza, Imam Khamenei (may God protect him), the Leader of Muslims worldwide, announced this year’s Hajj as a “Hajj of Bara’at [renunciation].” Such a declaration by him obligates us to fulfill our religious duty in supporting the oppressed people of Gaza.

This commitment to carrying out our religious duty is in accordance with our beliefs in the field of following the leadership of Imam Khamenei and adhering to the implementation of his instructions. We have been raised in the school of guardianship, love, reasoning, and insight; therefore, the directives of Imam Khamenei are actually a religious duty that we must shoulder.


4. What is the significance of “renunciation of the enemies of the Islamic world” during Hajj? In other words, how important and necessary is it for Muslims to renounce the enemies of the Islamic Ummah, headed by the United States and the Zionist regime, particularly during this year’s Hajj, which coincides with the genocide of Muslims in the Gaza Strip?

Indeed, what we understand from the words of Imam Khomeini (ra) and Imam Khamenei is that renunciation of polytheism is a fundamental political obligation in Hajj, and if we do not adhere to it, our Hajj will not be complete. The Almighty God says in the Holy Quran, “[This is] an announcement from Allah and His Messenger to all the people on the day of Hajj al-Akbar [the greater Hajj]: that Allah and His Messenger repudiate the polytheists” (9:3). This means that when we say “Labbaik Allah humma labbaik; Labbaik la sharika laka labbaik” [Here I am, O Allah, here I am. Here I am, You have no partner, here I am], we must adhere to it in both words and action. We must say “no” to all idols and tyrants, and disavow all polytheists and oppressors.

Imam Khomeini (ra) said, “Which idol can match the Great Satan and the world-devouring idols and tyrants, who summon all the oppressed of the world to prostrate to and worship them, and who consider all free servants of the Almighty God as their obedient subjects?”

Through Hajj [pilgrimage] and avoidance of worldly pleasures, as well as through the stoning of the Jamarat – which itself is a manifestation of rising up against the devils and Taghuts – we disavow all evil powers and tyrants, and seek refuge in the Almighty God from the evil of their conspiracies.

Today we see that the oppressed nations that are facing injustice, tyranny, murder and war, are standing against the Arrogant Powers and the tyrants and curse them. Nations today are demanding sanctions against the Arrogant Powers. You can see how they take to the streets to express revulsion and anger towards the inhumane actions of the oppressors. Today, the flags of the oppressors are burning on the streets. Such actions create a revolutionary, jihadi, and fighting spirit among the youth of the Islamic Ummah and inspire them to stand against the tyrants and devils and oppose their criminal acts.

Imam Khomeini (ra) said, “Declaring renunciation during Hajj means renewing the covenant, fighting and training to continue the battle against disbelief, polytheism, and idol-worshipping. It is not merely a slogan. Declaring renunciation is the beginning of making the battle clear and aligning the soldiers of the Almighty God against the soldiers of Satan and the Satanic people. It is considered one of the fundamental principles of monotheism. If Muslims do not declare renunciation of the enemies of God in the House of God, then where else can they declare it? And if the shrine, Kaaba, mosque, and mihrab are not the strongholds and supports of the soldiers of God and the defenders of the sanctity of the prophets, then where is their sanctuary and refuge?

Today, our cry of renunciation of the polytheists and infidels, is a cry against the oppression of the oppressors, and the cry of an ummah [nation] that is fed up with the transgressions of the East and the West, led by the US and its followers, and whose homes, homeland and capital have been looted. Our cry of renunciation, is the cry of the people of Lebanon, Palestine and the other nations and countries that have been targeted by the East and the West, especially the US and Israel, who have set their eyes on them with greed, looted their wealth, imposed their henchmen and followers on them, seized their lands from thousands of kilometers away, and occupied their maritime and territorial borders. Our cry of renunciation, is the of cry of renunciation of all the people who can no longer tolerate America’s arrogance and its domineering presence, and do not want their voices of anger and hatred to remain silent and despondent in their throats forever. They have chosen to live free, die free, and be the voices of generations.

This is the essence of Hajj of Abraham and Muhammad (pbut). Imam Khomeini (ra) taught us the authentic Islam of Muhammad and the necessity of disavowing the polytheists. Indeed, through these statements and through the Islamic and human values, as well as the revolutionary principles that the Imam (ra) explained to us, we come to understand the profoundness and accuracy of Imam Khamenei’s interpretation of him when he said, “We were dead. Imam Khomeini revived us!”


(The views expressed in this interview are interviewee’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of


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