Mona Siddiqui, professor of Islamic studies, New College, University of Edinburgh

Happy Freedom Day everyone! But wait, before we all through caution away, there are important questions that we all have to address. And number one on that everyone’s list, how am I going to perform the Hajj?

3 thoughts on “Mona Siddiqui, professor of Islamic studies, New College, University of Edinburgh

  1. An interesting comment from Mona at the end of this talk, that it doesn’t matter so much what we do for God as for one another. That is not a sentiment I would normally expect from a believer, though I would heartily concur with it.

    Although there are many worse things than being within a heaving mass of sweating humanity in the searing heat, at constant risk of being crushed to death by sheer weight of numbers, I am nevertheless extremely grateful that I will never feel the need to put myself through such an ordeal. I suspect many will secretly be grateful to Covid for allowing them to put off, for at least another year, an experience which they are dreading, yet feel obliged to carry out.


    1. Yes, Mona began began by talking about a pilgrimage for the benefit of her IMF but ended with the importance of humans helping each other. If I were an IMF, I’d dispense with wasteful pilgrimage and divert all that time & effort to charity & education.
      And it’s good to hear the IMF has made a small but significant change to its general policy of excluding women. Let’s hope such progress continues.


  2. “The Hajj is a demonstration of the solidarity of the Muslim people, and their submission to God” (Wikipedia). If you are a believer in the legends about Muhammad, he invented it. A large part of it is based on legends about Abraham, Hagar and Ishmael, who are not historical characters and almost certainly never existed.

    So this annual ritual, carried out at vast expense both to the individuals who undertake it and the Saudi Arabian Government, is based on a double fallacy: that an IMF exists, and that some of its earliest adherents also existed. (The SAG has managed to wreck much of what remained of the original archaeology of the area; but that’s another story). No wonder Mona prefers to conclude with a human (and humanistic) message, rather than speculate about what her IMF actually “wants”.


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