Expected to accommodate 15m Hujjaj
Limits on Muslims repeating the Hajj
Hajj, the fifth pillar in Islam, is a duty upon all male and female mu’min that have the financial capacity. With the Ummah comprised of 1.4 billion Muslims however, the current Hajj system is no longer adequate. Currently 2 million Hujjaj are able to perform the Hajj each year which, over a life time, would leave 160 million people out of 1.4 billion fulfilling the obligation. In response, the Khilafa has ordered a bold and radical new initiative to transform and modernise the Hajj after decades of neglect by the former custodians.
The new plan involves three radical changes to the current Hajj system. Access to Mecca and Medina for the Hujjaj will now be exclusively via fast train link. Hotels and accommodation will be replaced with capsule style facilities for sleeping only and with separate public toilets and shower facilities. A new income test will also be introduced to provide subsidies for low-income Muslims to attend. The ultimate goal is to ensure that every Muslim can attend the Hajj in their lifetime, regardless of their age, gender, health or financial circumstances.
The first major upgrade involves the establishment of a ultra-fast rail link that will connect Mecca and Medina with all major cities within the Khilafa. Access to the two holy cities by airplane will be heavily restricted in order to reduce the environmental damage that airliners cause. In accordance with the sustainable environment policies enforced by the Khilafa, the rail link will be powered by solar and wind turbine generated electricity from across the region. Currently, the longest route will be from Jakarta and take on average 17 hours non-stop. Trains will be fully serviced with sleepers, prayer rooms, guides and videos on perfecting the Hajj, catered meals, toils and wash rooms. Trains heading to Mecca will run express without stopping at other regions while those leaving Mecca may stop at other major cities on their return.
To expand the capacity from 2 to 15 million hotels will be replaced by capsule style sleep pods made popular in Japan in the late 1990s. The goal is to transform the concept of what acceptable accommodation is during the Hajj. Instead of having individual rooms with individual bathrooms and kitchens which take up vast amounts of space and resources Hujjaj should instead pool their resources together. During the Hajj most individuals will be performing acts of ibadah so capsule accommodation where they can go and get their sleep will be more than adequate. By standardizing the level of accommodation the Khilafa also aims to break down class barriers that can develop between rich and poor Hujjaj. Just like the Ihram, which creates a homogeneous body of people with no outward differences, the capsules will be an opportunity for Hujjaj to abandon the opportunities the dunya provides them and focus instead on the Hajj. By sharing their accommodation and using capsules, more space will be made available for people and the total number of Muslims that can attend will be increased.
Similarly, the tent city at Mina and the sleeping grounds at Muzdalifah will be replaced with multi-level underground facilities to provide millions of beds to sleep in. During the remainder of the year when the Hajj is not occurring, these facilities will be used to accommodate refugees, homeless people or anyone who is in need of crisis accommodation from across the region.
Massive changes to food supply are also underway in order to increase the access and quantity of food available. Production of meat and poultry will be reduced and production of grains and vegetables increased in order to minimize the ecological foot print, maximize the quantity of food and follow the sunnah of the Prophet (saw) and sahaba who historically ate meat rarely.
By prioritising the production of vegetables over meat, the Central Food Administration has projected that it can create and store enough supplies to feed 15 million people for up to four weeks. Using modern techniques, particularly laboratory based mass food cultivation, farmers are now able to produce large yields of food using limited resources. Typically however, the production of meat is far more resource intensive than vegetables which is why the decision to provide vegetable rich meals was agreed upon. Furthermore, this ensures there are enough animals available for the sacrifice following the completion of Hajj during Eid al Adha.
To ensure the Hajj is safe, ordered and manageable the entire Masjid al Haram will undergo major renovations. Five-tier levels will be build around the Ka’bah allowing more people to perform the Tawaf without fear of cramping or crushing. As more elderly and disabled people are expected to attend, a circulating lite rail system will also be installed to allow people to perform the Tawaf while seated.
The decision to increase the Hajj capacity forced planners to come up with new strategies to manage crowds and protect the Hujjaj. The light rail system will allow elderly, disabled, pregnant or even just tired Hujjaj to fulfill their Tawaf while seated in air conditioned confines. The train will perform all 7 circumventions over 2 hours allowing the passengers to perform dua without feeling rushed. Travellators will be installed within the Haram on upper levels so that individuals who are tired can still perform the Tawaf without exhausting themselves, especially if they are on the outer periphery of the Haram. Concrete barriers will also be installed on key walkways which, in the event of a crush or emergency, will be raised to protect individuals and provide them with emergency exit points. These underground emergency points will shunt people out of crush sites until authorities can rectify the situation. 24/7 monitoring via a dense network of cameras will be used to measure traffic levels and predict potential danger points before they occur. Camera footage is only one layer of traffic monitoring however. All Hujjaj will be equipped with GPS bracelets that record their exact location, movement speed, heart rate and blood pressure. This data will be collected in real time and processed using in house quantum computing hubs to provide a complex and detailed image of exactly what is happening everywhere at anytime.
Data from this system can then be used to look for changes in speed of groups of people, or whether they are congregating in certain areas that may create a future risk. Data can also be used to target individuals that show abnormal cardiac function so they can be monitored and approached if need be to prevent potential heart failure. While still under trial, the bracelets are already a huge success and responsible for united numerous parents with lost children and also saving the lives of a number of elderly people who showed signs of cardiac arrest while walking to Arafat.
New modern toilets will also be installed throughout Mecca, Mina and Muzdalifah. The modern toilets come equipped with an internal shower in the event that worshippers need to perform ghusl and are also entirely self-cleaning and programmed to clean after each visitor. Cleaning takes between 30-60 seconds on average. Sewerage from the toilets are transferred via underground plumbing to a sewerage treatment facility where clean water is extracted and returned to circulation. The nutrient dense waste will then undergo sterilization and packaging before being transmitted as fertilizer to regions across the Khilafa that are currently undergoing de-desertification processes. Agricultural scientists made the case for sewerage recycling when they realised the inherent value in
the waste product that was otherwise being thrown away.
For generations, nutrient rich human waste was burned, buried or pumped out to sea rather than be recycled due primarily to poor education around how sewerage treatment works and also because of the emotional thoughts and taboos surrounding human excreta.
The final and most contentious infrastructure policy was the decision to remove all buildings and skyscrapers that surround the Ka’ba. The establishment of high rise luxury hotels on the immediate periphery of Masjid alHaram was a relatively new phenomenon that only developed during the later stage of the 20th century. As more hotels and skyscrapers were completed however the skyline from within Masjid al Haram changed. Furthermore, many of the shuyookh argued that the hotels promoted class division as they were usually booked by ultra-wealthy and provided the rich with rare access and views to the site. In response, all major buildings will be removed and a building free zone placed around the Ka’ba such that no buildings can be seen from any point within Masjid al Haram.
The most radical change to the Hajj however is the introduction of a subsidization program for low-income Muslims. With the wealth and technology available within the Khilafa the costs of running the Hajj are now primarily a state obligation. As such, the Khilafa will set the prices for the Hajj based on individual networth with a cut off for low-income Muslims. Below that level, the price for the Hajj will be free, with all costs paid for by the Khilafa. Individuals with income levels above that however will be required to pay, with the levy increasing based on income.
Furthermore, Muslims will now only be allowed to perform the Hajj once in their life with biometric data used to ensure individuals do not repeat the Haj. This decision has no basis in the Sharia however it was adopted due to the large number of Muslims currently around the Ummah and the recognition that the capacity for everyone to perform the Hajj once is already stretched and cannot support the case for individuals repeating the Hajj.