Hajj Needs Pervasive, Integrated Management

30 September 2015 | 16:22 Code : 1952480 Review General category
An essay by Sabah Zanganeh, an analyst of Middle Eastern affairs
Hajj Needs Pervasive, Integrated Management

The recent tragedy at the Jamaraat Bridge in Mina which resulted in the death of a large number of pilgrims raises questions about how the management of such a great event should be planned. Why should the whole ritual be organized by only one state? Although Mecca is located in the Arabian Peninsula, the participation of Muslims from all countries brings up questions about the possibility of international cooperation in the management of such a significant event and the participation of other states in organizing it. Since this tragedy took place, there have been various statements about the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) managing the Hajj ceremonies. But first, this organization’s ability to manage this ritual should be evaluated. The following is an essay by Sabah Zanganeh, an analyst of Middle Eastern affairs, about the management of the Hajj: 

Analysts believe that the Saudis’ ineptitude, their internal conflicts, and the power struggle between the princes have caused the bloody tragedy in Mina; international Islamic organizations, particularly the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, should investigate this tragedy thoroughly. But the problem is that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation does not function independently. It is located in Saudi Arabia. Its Secretary General is from Saudi Arabia and it obeys the Saudi government. It is in fact an office of the Saudi Foreign Ministry. Thus, we cannot be hopeful about this organization taking any significant measures on this issue.

The Hajj is a fully comprehensive tradition in the Muslim world and belongs to all Muslims, not only Muslim countries. It is so widespread that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation is not able to manage this event. This organization is a pure follower of the Foreign Ministry of Saudi Arabia.  Sometimes it has been seen that the organization has eliminated certain members based on Saudi policies. Consequently, the OIC would not operate proportionately.

The other issue is to present a management model for performing the Hajj. Since there are over a million and a half Muslim pilgrims from all over the world in Mecca during the Hajj, policy-making should not be restricted to domestic law and Saudi regulations. For instance, although the Vatican is located in Italy, the governing regulations have been settled considering the criteria of all Christians who intend to take part in the Vatican’s religious ceremonies. The same protocol is applied in Iraq (Karbala and Najaf). In order to handle such a great traditional ceremony in Saudi Arabia, we need a model of management adapted from Saudi Arabia’s domestic policies and international regulations as well to guarantee the pilgrims’ safety. To achieve real integration, the Islamic world needs pervasive regulations.


Translated by: Parisa Farhadi