Quran For All

Official Blog of www.farhathashmi.com

Archive for November, 2008

Month of Zil-Hajj : Significance and Masnoon Acts & Eid

Posted by Admin on November 20, 2008

Flash Presentation on Ashrae Zul Hajjah, Sacrifice and Eid

Flash Presentation on Ashrae Zul Hajjah, Sacrifice and Eid

Importance of the Month of ZulHajjah

  • Hajj is performed in this month.
  • The first ten days of ZulHajjah are extremely sacred and good deeds are most beloved to Allah in these ten days.
  • The Prophet said, “No good deeds done on other days are superior to those done on these (first ten days of Dhal Hajja).” Then some companions of the Prophet said, “Not even Jihad?” He replied, “Not even Jihad”, except that of a man who does it by putting himself and his property in danger (for Allah’s sake) and does not return with any of those things.”(Bukhari 15: 86)

  • 9th ZulHajja is a very sacred day. When asked about the fast of 9th ZulHajjah (Yaum e Arafah) Rasool Allah saw said: “It expiates the sins of the preceding year and the coming year” (Muslim 6: 2603)
  • The second Muslim festival Eid ul Adha falls on the 10th of ZulHajjah.
  • An animal sacrifice in memory of the sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim (as) is offered on 10th ZulHajjah.

Importance of Sacrifice:

Sacrifice has not been made obligatory by Allah Tala, however it has the status of being Obligatory Sunnah ( Sunnat e Wjiba). Through this act, pleasure of Allah is obtained and also results in atonement of sins!

Sacrifice has been commanded to the people in all the revealed laws (Shariat) since the time of Prophet Adam (as) to Prophet Muhammad (as).

Allah Tala mentioned this sunnah in beautiful words in Surah Safaat:
And he (Ibrhaim as) said (after his rescue from the fire): “Verily, I am going to my Lord. He will guide me!” “My Lord! Grant me (offspring) from the righteous.” So We gave him the glad tidings of a forbearing boy. And, when he (his son) was old enough to walk with him, he said: “O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am slaughtering you (offer you in sacrifice to Allâh), so look what you think!” He said: “O my father! Do that which you are commanded, Inshâ’ Allâh (if Allâh will), you shall find me amongst the patient ones.

Then, when they had both submitted themselves (to the Will of Allâh), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead; And We called out to him: “O Abraham! You have fulfilled the dream” Verily! Thus do We reward the Muhsinûn (good-doers). Verily, that indeed was a manifest trial and We ransomed him with a great sacrifice and We left for him (a goodly remembrance) among generations (to come) in later times. Salâmun (peace) be upon Ibrâhim!”

After seeing the dream, Ibrahim (as) transcended all logic and sacrificed his most beloved possession, his own son, for the sake of Allah.

Wisdom of Sacrifice

Sacrifice is the symbol of full obedience and total submission to Allah

Ibrahim’s (as) obedience, loyalty and sacrifice greatly earned the pleasure of Allah Subhana Watala and he was declared as a Muhsin and Khalil Allah (Friend of Allah) and his name and his sacrifice is remembered till this day. Five times a day, Muslims send their blessings on Ibrahim (as) along with Muhammad (saw)

Allah Tala expects the same obedience and sacrifice from His slaves. In front of the command of Allah, there should be no excuses.

In remembrance of this sacrifice of Ibrahim (as), Muslims all over the world make a commitment that Oh Lord of the Worlds; We are your obedient slaves. Everything we possess belongs to you. If you command us, we will sacrifice our lives for the sake of Islam.

Thus sunnat of Sacrifice offered every year is actually the expression of a salve’s love for his Creator. The word Qurbani is derived from the word “Qurb”- nearness. Sacrifice is thus a form of worship through which love and nearness of Allah can be attained.

Allah Tala says in Surah Anam 162:

“Say (O Prophet Muhammad saw) Indeed my prayer, my sacrifice, my life and my death are all for the sake of Allah”

While sacrificing, if this state and if these feelings of love and total obedience to Allah are not there, then merely shedding the blood of animals and distributing meat are all activities without any spirit.

Allah Tala does not need blood of animals nor meat from animals. All that He requires from His slaves is the Taqwa, obedience and the feelings of self sacrifice for their Lord.

Allah Tala says in Surah Hajj:

“It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allâh, but it is piety from you that reaches Him”

Thus the real spirit of sacrifice is that a man should leave his bad habits, stop following his wishes and desires and stop following traditions. Man should leave and sacrifice all those things in this world which stop him from attaining nearness to Allah.

What to do in the first ten days of ZulHajjah?

  • Recite the masnoon dua when sighting the moon of ZulHajjah.
  • Recite the Takbiraat as much as possible from the 1st ZulHajjah to the 13th of ZulHajjah.
  • After sighting the moon of ZulHajjah, do not cut or trim your hair and nails until you have offered the sacrifice. As Rasool Allah saw has ordered:

“When any one of you intending to sacrifice the animal enters in the month (of Dhu’l-Hijja) he should not get his hair or nails touched (cut)” (Muslim 22: 4870)

  • Perform good deeds (Fasting, charity, voluntary prayers, zikr, etc) as much as possible.
  • Observe the fast of 9th ZulHajjah as it leads to expiation of sins of the previous year and the coming year.

What to do on Eid Day?

  • Do not eat anything on Eid ul Adha until after the Eid Prayer and the sacrifice; as this was the sunnah of Rasool Allah saw.
  • While on the way for Eid Prayer, recite the Takbiraat loudly.
  • Rasool Allah saw ordered all Muslim women, young girls and even women in monthly impurity to come out for Eid prayers. If they don’t have a veil, they should borrow it from someone while women in monthly impurity should stay away from the Musallah.(Bukhari 15:96)
  • It is masnoon to offer the sacrifice at the place of Eid Prayer.

Self Analysis for ZulHajjah

  1. Did I recite the Masnoon dua when sighting the moon?
  2. Did I excessively observe fasts in the first ten days of ZulHajjah?
  3. Did I make sure I did not cut my hair and nails in the first ten days of ZulHajjah?
  4. Did I excessively recite the Takbiraat?
  5. Did I observe the fast of 9th ZulHajjah?
  6. Was I well prepared for Eid?
  7. Did I offer the Eid Prayer in congregation?
  8. Did I offer the sacrifice on Eid and remember Ibrahim (as)’s sacrifice?
  9. Did I take care of the poor and the needy?
  10. Did I make sure to keep my neighborhood and surrounding area clean after the sacrifice?
  11. Did I give up any bad habits?
  12. Was I truthful in answering the above questions?

Audio Lectures in Urdu by Dr. Farhat Hashmi on Zil Hajj, Sacrifice and Eid

Month of Zil-Hajj : Part 1 | Part 2 |Part 3

Sacrifice : What is Sacrifice | History of Sacrifice | Importance of Sacrifice

Queries Related to Sacrifice

Eid : How to Celebrate Eid | Strengthen Relationships| Guests & Hosts

Advertisements

Posted in Audio Lectures, Dhul Hajj, Dr.Farhat Hashmi, Hajj, Islam, Religion | 4 Comments »

Lame Excuses People Make for Not Going For Hajj

Posted by Admin on November 15, 2008

by Asma Binte Shameem

Excuse # 1: I am too busy with Work

Some people delay Hajj because they say they can’t find time to take off from work. But don’t they see the very fact that they didn’t take time out for Hajj is the reason why Allaah kept them so busy with work?

The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: “Allah says: ‘Son of Adam: Fill your time with My worship and I will fill your heart with richness, and end off your poverty. But if you don’t, I would make your hands fully busy (i.e. in worldly affairs) and I would not end off your poverty.'” (At-Tirmidhi said that it is a good hadeeth)

And he said:“Verily Allah tests His servant with what He has given him. So whoever is content with whatever he has been assigned, then Allah will bless him in it, and give him more! But whoever is not content (with what he has been given), then he will not be blessed in it.” (Ahmad-saheeh).

If you make your intention sincerely for the sake of Allaah and do your best to take time from work, Allaah will provide it for you.

“And whoever fears Allaah, He will make for him an easy way out and provide for him sustenance from sources he could never imagine. Whoever places his reliance upon Allaah, Allaah will suffice Him. Indeed Allaah is one who can achieve His purpose and He has appointed a measure for everything.” (Talaq:2-3)

Excuse # 2: I am not spiritually ready

Some people say I am not spiritually strong, I am not much of a believer and thus not ready to go or they say I think I should only do Hajj when I have figured out Salah and Zakah and I am practicing Islaam fully…
Don’t you see? That is the whispering of the Shaytaan in your heart. He does not want you to go and earn all the reward and Jannah.
All you got to do is to try hard to improve yourself, putting your trust in Him and surely He will guide you.
“And (as for) those who strive hard for Us, We will most certainly guide them in Our ways; and Allah is most surely with the doers of good.” [Ankabut:69]

We all know people who weren’t fully practicing Muslims prior to making the Hajj, yet once they came back from Hajj they went under this amazing transformation and Alhamdulillah they are now practicing fully. So don’t think like that, just go.

Excuse # 3: Yeah, insha Allaah next year…..next year…..then next year

Subhaan Allaah, some people have no excuse not to go for Hajj. Yet when you ask them when they are going for hajj, they say “yeah, insha Allaah next year. But somehow that ‘next year’ never comes.
Don’t be like those people. Make your intention to go for Hajj NOW. Don’t even wait till tomorrow. Do it now and prepare for this journey, while you have the ability. For you never know when death will overtake you or some other trial may befall you that will unable you to go. The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said:
“Take advantage of five before five: Your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you become occupied, and your life before your death.” (Bukhari)

Ali, radhiAllaahu ‘anhu, once stood at the head of a grave and said to his companion, “If he had a chance to return to this life, what do you think he would do?” His companion replied, “He would do nothing but good deeds.” Ali (RA) then said, “If it is not going to be him, then let it be you.”

Excuse # 4: When Allaah wants me to come, Allaah will call me

Sure, guidance is in Allaah’s Hands. Yet you have to work hard to qualify for that guidance. Remember that Allaah will not throw the guidance in your lap from up above. It is YOU who has to make the effort. Just like if you are hungry… Allaah will not throw the food down from the sky. You have to get up and cook that food.
Allaah orders us to make that effort. Allaah says:
“O you who believe! Be careful of (your duty to) Allah and seek means of nearness to Him and strive hard in His way that you may be successful.” [Surah Maidah:35]

Excuse # 5: Its too much hard work

Do you realize how much hard work we do for the dunya? Most of our lives we spend working hard for our studies, our livelihood, our families, our businesses, and we can’t bear to work hard for the Aakhirah? Sure, Hajj is hard work but then, isn’t Jannah worth it? The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said:
“The reward of Hajj Mabrur is nothing but Jannah.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

“And whoever desires the Hereafter and strives for it as he ought to strive and he is a believer; (as for) these, their striving shall surely be accepted.” [al-Israa‘:19]

‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab is quoted as saying, “I seek Allaah’s protection from the time when the ‘fasiq’ or disobedient will have much energy and enthusiasm and the righteous will be lazy.”

Excuse # 6: It takes too long

Some people use the length of Hajj as an excuse each year for delaying or not going. How long does it take?! Just 2-3 weeks! As if they haven’t taken that much time for vacations?!

To them I want to say, planning is everything. If you plan from now for Hajj next year, you can save up your vacation time and use it for the most important journey of your life. Or you can just choose an express Hajj package (about 10-14 days). And remember that the stay in Medina is not a part of Hajj.

Excuse # 7: Its too hot

A Canadian may say it’s too cold. An African will say it’s too hot. Both are making excuses for not doing good actions. Remember, it was summer in the desert during the time of the Battle of Tabuk, and the Prophet (sal Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam ) was rallying his troops for an exhaustive trip that, back then, would have taken them months. That’s when the hypocrites told the people ‘do not go out in the heat’. Allaah said to tell them, “that the fire of hell is much hotter; if only they understood.” (Tauba:81)

Excuse # 8: I’ll wait until my kids are older/get married

Similarly, Muslims might delay Hajj and give themselves time by saying, “let me wait till my kids are older, or till my daughter gets married (and their daughter may only be 5 years old!)… let me wait till I do this , let me wait till I do that.”

This is also just a way of procrastination and nothing else. Remember that hajj is an obligation in Islaam. It is fardh upon you. If you have the means and you have not yet done your obligatory hajj, the ulama say that it is better for you to do Hajj, rather than delaying it if your kids are young.

The Prophet (sal Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam ) said, “Race to good deeds before a time and a fitnah comes, (a test) that will sweep over you like the darkest of the darkest nights.”
Obviously, for the one whose kids are of marriageable age and has just enough money for either Hajj or marriage, the Ulama say:
“If there is a conflict between the father’s Hajj and the son’s getting married, because the father only has enough money for one of them, then he should look to see whether his son’s marriage is essential right now, or can it be delayed? If the son needs to get married and fears that he may do something haraam, then getting him married takes precedence over the father’s doing Hajj.” (www.islamqa.com)

Beware of lame excuses

The Prophet (sal Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam ) advised a man:
“Pray your prayer as if it is your last, as if you are seeing Him (Allah), for even if you do not see Him then He sees you. And give up hope (of obtaining) what other’s possess, then you will live a rich life. And beware of anything that you might (later) have to make an excuse for.” (Bukhari in his al-Tarikh, and al-Tabarani-saheeh)

Posted in Dhul Hajj, Hajj, Islam, Muslim Matters, Religion | 2 Comments »

Hajj – A Reminder Of Another Journey

Posted by Admin on November 12, 2008

By Asma bint Shameem

This time the crowds were tremendous…..more, much more than the previous years. One couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the number of people at Hajj this year. And similarly, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the sheer number of lessons that I learnt on this journey – lessons of patience, lessons of compassion, lessons of humility and lessons of thankfulness to Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta‘ala.

Every corner I turned, every where I went, every second I spent during my stay in Mina had the potential to mould me for better or for worse.

When I saw the people on the streets , living under a sheet stretched across two bamboo poles, how can I complain about the size of my camp at Mina?

When I saw little kids rummaging through piles of garbage looking for something to eat, how can I be dissatisfied with all the multiple varieties of fruits and juices and foods that I had at my disposal?
How can I even utter the words, “What…. chicken again??!!”

And when I saw old, weak people and people in wheelchairs and people limping and crippled standing at the side of the street hoping to find a ride or walking with their legs so swollen that they were the size of their thighs, how can I even begin to complain about the few hours I was stuck on my air-conditioned bus, not to mention the snacks and cold water that I had readily available to me??

I remember the words of my teacher, Muhammad al-Shareef. He said once,

“Hajj is not a journey of the body such as one may take to a vacation spot or tourist attraction. It is a journey of the soul and heart.”

And how true those words are. It is indeed  a journey of the heart….a journey to work hard…. to get your sins forgiven….to get to Jannah.

‘Amr ibn Al-‘Aas narrates, “When Islam entered my heart, I went to the Messenger of Allah and said, ‘Give me your hand so that I may pledge allegiance to you.’ The Prophet spread his hand, but I withdrew mine. He said, ‘What is wrong ‘Amr?’ I said, ‘I want to make a condition.’ ‘And what is that?’ he said. I said, ‘That Allah will forgive me.’ Then the Messenger of Allah said, ‘Did you not know that Islam wipes out what came before it, and that Hijrah wipes out what came before it and that Hajj wipes out what came before it!” – (Sahih Muslim)

When Allaah will forgive all our previous sins……yes, that’s right…..ALL OUR PREVIOUS SINS…….then is a little discomfort or inconvenience not worth it?

In fact, I think a lot of inconvenience is worth it. Actually, anything…..anything in this world is worth it.

“(That Day)No loyal friend will ask another loyal friend, though they are in sight of each other. To ransom himself from the punishment of that Day, the sinner will wish that he might even ransom himself by his sons, his companion (wife), his brother, the kinsmen who gave him shelter, and whatsoever is in the earth, altogether, so that it might save him.” (Surah Ma’aarij:10-14)

And how dare we complain??


Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala chose us from among 6 billion of His slaves, and invited us to His Blessed House to undertake this Blessed Journey…..to perform this Blessed Worship that people only dream about once in their lifetimes and what do we do??


We forget this immense , immense blessing of His on us and instead of falling prostate on our faces, with unstoppable tears of repentance and gratitude…. thanking Him for inviting us there and guiding us to Islaam and giving us the opportunity to have our sins forgiven, we forget the big picture and complain???!!!!
Subhaan Allaah!!

But dear brothers and sisters, who is it that provided us with all the blessings that we enjoy in our lives, all the blessings that we use day in and day out? It is no one but Allaah!
And it is the same Allah that tested us on the plains of Arafah, during our stay in Mina, and during our bus journey to Muzdalifah.


We need to remember that indeed the greatest blessing that Allah has favored us with is Islam, and it alone suffices as favor.


“There is no blame upon you for seeking bounty from your Lord (during Hajj). But when you depart from Arafat, remember Allah at AlMash’ar AlHaram. And remember Him as He has guided you, for indeed you were before that among those who went astray.” (Surah Baqarah: 198)

So thank Allaah for His favors upon you and when that dust blows, instead of complaining….turn to Allah and hit back with patience and a whisper of gratitude to Allah. And ask Him to forgive you.


“Then let them end their untidiness, fulfill their vows, and perform Tawaf around the ancient House.” (Surah Hajj 22:29)

And remember, Hajj is just a reminder of another journey that you and I will eventually have to take…..a journey every soul is traveling, whether they know it or care to just remain heedless…..A journey to the Hereafter, to Paradise or Hell.


“And take sustenance (with you) for the journey; verily the best sustenance is Taqwa (piety and righteousness).“ (Al Baqarah :197)

Posted in Dhul Hajj, Hajj, Islam, Religion | Leave a Comment »

Hajj: A Step-By-Step Guide

Posted by Admin on November 12, 2008

Author: Sadaf Farooqi

Hajj is one the five pillars of Islam. It is obligatory to perform Hajj at least once in a lifetime for a Muslim who can physically and financially afford the journey. For a Muslim woman, the journey of Hajj requires her to be accompanied by a male relative who is her “mahrum” (i.e. her husband, or a man she is forbidden to marry, such as her father, brother or uncle). This is not a discriminatory ruling – it is a stipulation that makes it easier for her to travel and carry heavy belongings from one place to another during the strenuous rituals of Hajj. If any Muslim has enough financial savings to allow them to easily go for Hajj, they have to hasten in fulfilling this pivotal obligation of Islam.

The meaning of the word “Hajj” is — ‘to set out to a sacred place out of devotion and seeking reward’. Every religion has always had the concept of “pilgrimage”, in which followers or believers undertake a journey to a sacred geographical location that has special relevance and significance to that particular religion. The Hajj as it is today was initiated by Prophet Ibrahim [علیہ السلام], when he built the sacred house in Makkah – known as “Ka’ba” – with his son, Ismail [علیہ السلام]. Followers of the monotheistic religion founded by Ibrahim [علیہ السلام] used to perform circumambulations of the Ka’ba and descended to Makkah once a year for the pilgrimage.

The following terminology will explain some of the common Islamic terms related to Hajj:

  • Ka’ba: the sacred house of Islam that is located at the centre of Masjid Al-Haraam in Makkah; It is empty, and kept covered with a black cloth. It specifies the direction of prayer for Muslims around the world, but it is NOT worshipped itself.
  • Mina: an open ground which is now known as the ‘tented city’ because it houses thousands of tents demarcated according to the countries of the world, where pilgrims stay. The modern tents of Mina today are airconditioned and carpeted. Makeshift bathrooms are also located near each group of tents.
  • Tawaaf: Seven circuits or circumambulations around the Ka’ba, starting from the Hajr Al-Aswad (black stone fixed on one of its corners) and ending with 2 units of prayer.
  • Sa’ee: Walking 7 times between the two mounts named Safa and Marwah that lie near the Ka’ba, within the precincts of the Masjid Al-Haram. The Sa’ee starts from Safa and ends at Marwah, where the pilgrim shaves their head (for men) or trims their hair (for women).
  • Umrah: Performing one tawaaf and one sa’ee.
  • Ihraam: A state in which the pilgrim may not wear certain things (face-veil for women, stitched clothes and booted shoes for men), or do certain actions (such as cutting hair or nails, putting on perfume in any form, having sexual relations with one’s spouse, fighting, wrangling, vain talk, lying, backbiting, or slander)
  • Dhul Hijjah: The sacred month in which Hajj is performed; this month also has significance for Muslims around the world who are not performing Hajj, in that it has the second `Eid festival that involves sacrifice of an animal for the sake of Allah, known as `Eid Al-Adha.
  • Wuqoof: Standing in deep, devoted and exclusive prayer and remembrance of Allah.
  • Meeqat: The place which signifies the entrance into the state of Ihraam for any pilgrim. There are several meeqat’s depending on the direction from which a pilgrim is arriving in Saudi Arabia for Hajj or Umrah.
  • Talbiyah: A vocal prayer in Arabic by which a pilgrim responds to the call/invitation towards Hajj or Umrah by saying – “I am here, O Allah, I am here. I am here, there is no associate with You, I am here. Indeed all praise and blessing are for You, and the Kingship; there is no associate with You.”
  • Nahr: The act of worship associated with this month, in which Muslims sacrifice an animal such as a ram, sheep, camel or a cow for the pleasure of Allah, emulating the spirit of sacrifice of Ibrahim [علیہ السلام], who had succumbed to Allah’s command of sacrificing his own son for Allah.
  • Jamrah/Jamraat: Any of the the three stone pillars near Mina, where Shaytan/Satan tried to dissuade Ibrahim [علیہ السلام] from sacrificng his son for Allah’s sake, to which the latter resonded by pelting the former with pebbles to drive him away.
  • Ramee: Today, pilgrims repeat this action in emulation of the steadfastness of Ibrahim [علیہ السلام], by pelting the three jamraat with pebbles in the same manner – this is known as ‘Ramee’. Note: the pillars have no significance except just to mark the spots where Satan approached Ibrahim [علیہ السلام]. The pillars do not signify Satan himself.
  • Zamzam: a miraculous water that sprung from the ground when the Prophet Ismail [علیہ السلام] rubbed his feet on it in thirst. This water springs forth to this day in an unlimited supply that does not wane despite the millions who have been drinking from it since centuries.

The Prophet of Islam, Muhammad [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم], established rites and rituals of the Hajj by performing it himself. There are 3 types of Hajj:

1. Hajj Qiraan – this is reserved for the pilgrim who brings along his sacrificial animal with him on the Hajj journey. This Hajj is not performed by most pilgrims today.
2. Hajj Ifraad – this is performed mostly by those Muslims who reside in Saudi Arabia. No Umrah is performed in this Hajj.
3. Hajj Tamattu’ – this is the Hajj performed by majority of the Muslim pilgrims – in which they perform Umrah when they reach Makkah, then exit the state of Ihraam for the rest of their stay in or around Makkah until the 8th day of Dhul Hijjah, whence they enter ihraam again for the main five Hajj days. The Umrah at the start of the journey is a part of this type of Hajj.

  1. Make your intention solely the pleasure of Allah: The Hajj is only to be performed to please Allah and fulfill its obligation due upon a Muslim. It should not be done for the sake of establishing one’s piety or seeking to be known as a “Haji“. Hajj will not be valid unless the intention is completely pure.
  2. Join a group and get yourself vaccinated:After you have registered for Hajj with a certain group in your area (all pilgrims proceed in a group, under a leader known as a mu’allim), get yourself vaccinated and submit your documents to the Hajj-group leader. The Saudi government requires each to-be pilgrim to be vaccinated for protection from certain diseases. Note: consult others who have performed Hajj before you to authenticate the valdiity of the Hajj group beforehand. Many fake Hajj group-leaders disappear at Jeddah airport, leaving their group on its own to perform Hajj with little knowledge or support. Beware of such scams. 
  3. Gain knowledge: The to-be pilgrim should attend Hajj training classes, read books, meet people who have performed Hajj before, and read up material and advice on authentic websites on the Internet in order to be fully knowledgeable about the requirements of Hajj.
  4. Put on the clothes for ihraam just before leaving for the airport: Just before departing for Hajj from one’s house, one should put on the clothes for ihraam. However, the actual state of ihraam is entered with a renewal of intention when the airplane passes over the prescribed Meeqat, at which point the pligrim starts reciting the talbiyah as an announcement of his intention to perform Hajj from that point onwards. Most Hajj flights announce the passing over the Meeqat. Some pilgrims delay putting on their ihraam clothes until right at this point, because they are self-conscious of being seen wearing two pieces of cloth, especially if they are departing from non-Muslim countries’ airports. Waiting till nearing the Meeqat to put on the ihraam garments is risky, because the pilgrim might pass the Meeqat without being in ihraam, for which he will need to offer an expiation. Note: the clothing for women in ihraam is the same as usual – only wearing a stitched face-veil is forbidden. She may cover her face by the end of her headscarf if she so wishes. 
  5. Perform Umrah as soon as you reach Makkah: The pilgrim should hasten to perform Umrah when they arrive at Jeddah airport in Saudi Arabia. It is a drive of an hour or so from Jeddah to Makkah. 
  6. Exit the state of ihraam and live in or around Makkah until the Days of Hajj: After the Umrah is done, the pilgrim can change his clothes back to normal, stitched clothing, and live in Makkah or it’s wherabouts until the 8th of Dhul Hijjah. Most pilgrims spend this time in devotion and worship, offering salah in congregation in the Masjid Al-Haram, and performing supererogatory tawaaf daily. Tip: conserve physical energy for Hajj, do not fast or perform too many tawaaf’s of the Ka’ba. Performing any further Umrah’s before Hajj is also not part of the Prophet’s [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] sunnah.
  7. On 8th Dhul Hijjah, enter the state of ihraam, and leave Makkah for Mina: This morning signifies the official start of the Hajj. Groups depart for Mina after Fajr prayer, in buses or on foot, reciting the talbiyah all the way to their tent in Mina. Do not wander off outside your tent to explore Mina, as many pilgrims get hopelessly lost in the complicated maze of similar tents on this day when they make this mistake; some even miss their Hajj rites because they keep wandering in Mina day in and day out.Perform all four salah’s of the day inside your tent, in congregation. Abstain from idle talk, gossip, chatting or useless conversation. Spend the day holding Hajj talks in your tent, helping others, counselling or educating others, or remembering Allah. Food is usually provided by the group, but is also available in shops. Always proceed to the bathroom with your group-mates, because on the first day in Mina, there is a high chance of getting lost.
  8. On 9th Dhul Hijjah, leave for Arafat. After Fajr prayer the next day, depart for the plain of Arafat. At Arafat, you should preferrably stay inside your tent, offer Dhuhr and Asr salah in joint form behind the imam or on your own (if you miss the congregation for a valid reason, such as arriving late due to crowding on the roads), have lunch, and then do sincere Wuqoof until sunset, abstaining from conversation or other useless activities. Note: This day is the MOST important day of Hajj. If the pilgrim asks Allah for forgiveness on this day till sunset, all his previous sins are completely wiped out. The most important act of worship of 9th Dhul Hijjah is the Wuqoof of Arafat – exclusive prayer, remembrance and repentance towards Allah during the time from Dhuhr to Maghrib (sunset). It is sad how pilgrims waste their time in Arafat in idle talk, gossip, listening to music, smoking or wandering around doing nothing. They should be reminded of the importance of repentance during the last few hours before sunset in Arafat. Moreover, they should not hasten to leave, pushing and shoving others out of their way. The Prophet Muhammad [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] urged pilgrims to depart with calmness.If a pilgrim does not make it to Arafat before sunset on 9th Dhul Hijjah, for whatever reason, their Hajj stands null and void, and they’ll have to repeat it in order to fulfill its obligation.
  9. After sunset, proceed calmly towards the plain of Muzdalifah to spend the night:Board your buses or proceed on foot to Muzdalifah to spend the night. Take along your sleeping bags and a bottle of water to do Wudu/ablution for salah, as there is hardly any water available in Muzdalifah.After arriving in Muzdalifah, pray Maghrib and Isha salah shortened and combined, then pick a few dozen pebbles in a bag for the Ramee to be done in Mina later. Try to sleep a bit until Fajr. Engaging in worship during this night is not the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم]. Pray Fajr prayer, then depart for Mina before sunrise.Important note: Make sure you are within the boundaries of Arafat and Muzdalifah within their required time period! There are high boards indicating the limits of both these grounds, so make sure you have entered the ground within the prescribed time. Some pilgrims stay in the valley of Namirah, which is adjacent to Arafat, unknowingly, and have their Hajj thus invalidated.
  10. The morning of 10th Dhul Hijjah: Go back to Mina, perform Ramee of the largest jamrah, Jamrah Al-`Aqabah, with the pebbles collected in Muzdalifah:After praying Fajr in Muzdalifah, go back to Mina in your bus or on foot. Take special care of the sick, weak and elderly, as by now they are extremely tired, especially if they have been on foot, with sleeping bags, food and other belongings in tow. Many pilgrims lose their way or their group-leader on their way back to Mina. Help others, be kind, and always, always abstain from shouting, pushing, shoving, fighting and wrangling, as these actions are forbidden (“haraam“) in the state of ihraam.After arriving in Mina, deposit your belongings in your tent, have something to eat, rest a bit if needed (most pilgrims do need it by now), then proceed on foot towards the largest jamrah to perform Ramee. Say “Allahu Akbar” before throwing each of the seven pebbles (collected in Muzdalifah) at the pillar. Do not throw anything else at the pillar. Remove yourself from the crowd as soon as you are done. The weak, women and elderly may have someone else do their Ramee on their behalf if they are too tired to perform it themselves.
  11. Slaughter your sacrificial animal (Nahr), shave your head (Halaq — recommended for men only) or trim it short (Qasr), and exit the state of ihraam. In the past, when the number of pilgrims was not so high, the slaughter was done manually. Nowadays, the slaughter is pre-arranged by the group leader, and it is not done by the pilgrims themselves. Rather, it is done on their behalf by others, and the meat is distributed to the poor. Pilgrims nowadays do not get to eat their own slaughtered animal’s meat, which is a sunnah of Prophet Muhammad [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم].After Ramee, when the pilgrims are notified via phone that their animal has been slaughtered, they shave their heads, change their clothes (exiting the state of ihraam; now, all restrictions are lifted except that of intercourse with spouse), and set off to Makkah for Tawaaf Ifaadah, the next major milestone of Hajj after the Wuqoof of Arafat.
  12. Go to Makkah from Mina to perform Tawaaf Ifaadah, followed by Sa’ee; then return to Mina to spend the night. This tawaaf and Sa’ee constitute one of the most important rites of Hajj; it can not be substituted or compensated for if it is missed by a pilgrim. In the past few years, it has become exceedingly difficult for pilgrims to perform this tawaaf on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah, because of the sheer magnitude of the total number of pilgrims performing Hajj every year. Arafat, Mina, and Muzdalifah are open grounds where there is ample space to harbor the entire pilgrim population at one time, but the Masjid Al-Haraam is not large enough to allow all the pilgrims to perform this tawaaf on the same day. Therefore, if you can not perform this tawaaf on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah, you may perform it on the 11th or the 12th. 
  13. 11th Dhul Hijjah: spend the day in Mina, and do Ramee of the three jamraat during the time between Dhuhr prayer and sunset. Spend the day in Mina, going to perform Ramee of all the three Jamraat any time between Dhuhr and sunset. Tawaaf Ifadaah can also be performed on the 11th, if someone was unable to perform it on the 10th, which is a common occurence nowadays, due to the high number of pilgrims and the ensuing problems of transport and crowding.
  14. 12th Dhul Hijjah: If you want to leave Mina to go to Makkah, do so before sunset; otherwise stay in Mina for another night. Majority of the pilgrims try to leave Mina as soon as they can on this day, after doing Ramee at the sun’s decline at midday. This has been the cause of several deaths due to the pushing and shoving involved in the hurry to be done with Ramee, as most pilgrims bring all their belongings near the Jamraat before midday, intending to leave Mina with them as soon as possible. As a result, when millions rush to perform Ramee like this at the same time, a stampede can occur, with people getting trampled and killed as a result (this happened in Hajj 2004). Pilgrims should therefore, not show haste, and willingly stay in Mina another night.Perform Ramee of the three jamraat any time between Dhuhr and sunset. Do not show haste in doing Ramee as soon as its time starts. Delegate your Ramee to a young man in your family if the crowds are too strong; this can be done by women, or by those who are sick, weak or old. Because of the high incidence of stampedes and fatalities during Ramee in the past few years, some scholars have allowed pilgrims to perform Ramee even after sunset on the 11th and 12th of Dhul Hijjah. The 12th of Dhul Hijjah is also the last day that a pilgrim can fulfill the obligation of Tawaaf Ifaadah, before sunset. Spend the night in Mina, and relish this as your last time there, until and unless you perform Hajj again.
  15. 13th Dhul Hijjah: perform Ramee, then leave Mina to go back to Makkah:Hajj rites are officially over once you perform Ramee of the three jamraat on the 13th. Depart to Makkah, from where you can leave to go back to your own country, after performing Tawaaf Wada (the farewell tawaaf) before leaving Makkah for the last time.

The spirit of Hajj
Many people wonder why Hajj involves so many unusual rites and restrictions, or what could be the wisdom behind doing all this physically challenging travelling. Any one who has performed Hajj will testify to the fact that the foremost lesson taught by it, is patience in the obedience of Allah, because only someone who is doing the Hajj solely for Allah’s pleasure can persevere in performing one strenuous rite after another, without complaining or questioning its wisdom.

Secondly, when so many Muslims from diverse cultural and financial backgrounds throng the same places, sleeping on roads and dusty grounds under the sky with no more than two pieces of cloth on their bodies, eating cheap food, sharing the same bottle of water for ablution, helping each other out in answering the calls of nature (you’ll be surprised how many times this happens during Hajj!), and sharing their medicines with other pilgrims who fall sick on the journey, the Muslims are taught selfless compassion and mercy for others, making this journey the most memorable one of their lifetime. You might never see or meet that considerate pilgrim again, who helped you reach your tent, or who safely got you through the crowds, but you will always appreciate their kindness and pray for them for the rest of your life. That is the true essence and wisdom behind the Hajj – the human bonding and selflessness that knows no prejudice or cultural boundaries!

Posted in Islam, Muslim Matters, Religion | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »