NOTWITHSTANDING the religious significance of the annual pilgrimage in Islam, Hajj, in the days of yore, was also a congregation of prime importance with regards to the aspect of accountability. The era of the Pious Caliphs witnessed Hajj as an event when public office-holders were made accountable to the masses.

Although that spirit of unmatched accountability is a thing of foregone times, the opportunity can still be grabbed by the leaders of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The 57-member organisation can use the auspicious occasion of Hajj as a day when leaders of all Muslim states can meet and settle important matters that demand urgent attention and a collective response of the Muslim Ummah.

For example, the Israeli genocidal assault on Gaza can be resisted with a collective and official ban of Israeli products. The oil-rich Gulf states can put an oil embargo on Israel, like they did in the past, to resist the Israeli war machine. The collective response can put Israel in a position of vulnerability only if economic blockade is put in place by all the OIC member states.

Apart from this, Hajj can be utilised as an event where the OIC states gather and settle the issues plaguing most of the developing and underdeveloped Muslim countries. Leaders, jurists, economists, security analysts, policymakers and social thinkers can use Hajj as the annual congregational event to meet, discuss and find solutions to the major problems faced by the Muslim world today. This will strengthen the sense of unity, and will also provide the opportunity to formulate a collective composite of economic, security and foreign policies to better serve the interests of the Muslims across the world.

Saman Khawar Aftab
Lahore

Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2024

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