Are you scared of long hot summer fasts???
Read the following article to get some encouragement.
Ibn Rajab al-Hanbalī’s “Latā’if Maʿārif”
As the blessed month of Ramaḍān coincides with the summer months, many Muslims are apprehensive of the long fasts and, admittedly, struggle to stay hungry and thirsty for such a lengthy period. The following extract from Imām Ibn Rajab al-Ḥanbalī’s Laṭā’if al-Maʿārif will, inshā-Allāh, change our perspective and make us realise the great opportunity Allāh Most High has granted us to reap extra reward.
“Among the acts of worship whose reward is multiplied during extreme heat is fasting, due to the thirst one experiences in the midday heat.
This is why Muʿādh ibn Jabal رضي الله عنه expressed remorse on his deathbed over the midday thirst he would no longer experience, and other predecessors expressed the same.
It is related that Abū Bakr al-Ṣiddīq رضي الله عنه would fast in the summer and not fast in the winter.
At the time of his demise, ʿUmar رضي الله عنه advised his son ʿAbdullāh: “Acquire the characteristics of faith,” and the first one he mentioned was fasting in the intense summer heat.
Qāsim bin Muḥammad said that ʿĀ’isha رضي الله عنها would fast in the intense heat. He was asked, “What caused her to do this?” He replied, “She was taking advantage of the time before death.” Mujammiʿ al-Taymī would fast in the summer until he would faint. One of the righteous women would choose the hottest days and fast them. When she was asked regarding this, she would say, “When the price is cheap, everyone will buy,” indicating that she preferred those actions only a few were capable of, due to it being difficult for them. This is a sign of great determination.
Abū Mūsā al-Ashʿarī رضي الله عنه was on a boat when he heard someone calling: “O People aboard, stand up!” three times. Abū Mūsā رضي الله عنه replied: “How can we stand up? Do you not see where we are? How can we stand up?” The caller asked, “Shall I not inform you of a decree that Allāh has taken upon Himself?” He replied, “Indeed, why not? Inform us!” The caller replied, “Allāh has decreed upon Himself that whoever makes himself thirsty for Allāh’s sake on a hot day has a right upon Allāh that He quench his thirst on the Day of Standing.” Thus, Abū Mūsā رضي الله عنه would seek the extremely hot days where one would be close to passing out and fast those days.
Kaʿb said that Allāh Most High said to Mūsā عليه السلام, “I have made it incumbent upon Myself for whomever is thirsty for My sake that I will quench his thirst on the Day of Resurrection.” Others have said, “It is written in the Torah: ‘Glad tidings for whoever makes himself hungry in preparation for the Great Day where his hunger will be satisfied. Glad tidings for whoever makes himself thirsty in preparation for the Great Day where his thirst will be quenched.’”
Ḥasan said, “A maiden of Paradise will say to a friend of Allāh, while he is reclining with her on the shore of a river of wine in Paradise, as she hands him a cup whilst he is in the pinnacle of enjoyment, “Do you know on which day Allāh married me to you? He looked at you on a long summer day while you were extremely thirsty in the midday heat. He expressed His pride over you to the angels, saying, ‘Look at My slave. He has left his wife, pleasure, food and drink for My sake, desiring what is with me. Bear witness that I have forgiven him.’ He forgave you on that day and married you to me.”
When ʿĀmir ibn ʿAbd Qays went from Basra to Shām, Muʿāwiya رضي الله عنه would ask him to refer his needs to him. He refused to ask of him, eventually saying, “My need is for you to return the heat of Basra to me, in order to make the fast a bit harder, as it is too easy in your lands.”
Ḥajjāj camped by some water on a journey between Makka and Madina and called for his dinner. He saw a Bedouin whom he called to eat with him. The Bedouin replied, “One who is better than you invited me, so I accepted his invitation.” He asked, “And who is this?” The man replied, “Allāh. He invited me to fast and so I fasted.” Ḥajjāj asked, “In this intense heat?” The man replied: “Yes. I am fasting in preparation for a much hotter day.” Ḥajjāj said, “Break your fast today and fast tomorrow.” The man replied, “Only if you can guarantee that I will live until tomorrow.” Ḥajjāj said, “This is not in my hands.” He replied, “How then can you ask me to do something now in place of something in the future you have no control over?”
Ibn ʿUmar رضي الله عنهما was once on a journey with some of his companions and they had spread out their tablecloth. A shepherd passed by, so they invited him to eat with them. He said, “I am fasting.” Ibn ʿUmar رضي الله عنهما said, “You are fasting on a hot day like this, while you are between these valleys walking behind these sheep?” The shepherd replied, “I am taking advantage of these free days of mine.” Ibn ʿUmar رضي الله عنهما was impressed by this reply and said, “Can you sell one of your sheep to us? We will feed you from its meat with which you can break your fast and we will pay you for it.” The shepherd said, “They do not belong to me; they belong to my master.” Ibn ʿUmar رضي الله عنهما said, “What will your master say to you if you tell him it was eaten by a wolf?” The shepherd left with his finger raised towards the sky, saying, “What about Allāh?” Ibn ʿUmar رضي الله عنهما kept repeating this phrase of his. When he arrived in Madīna, he went to the shepherd’s master, and bought him and his sheep. He then freed the shepherd and gave him the sheep as a gift.
Rawḥ ibn Zinbāʿ had stopped at a place between Makka and Madina on a very hot day when a shepherd came down towards him from a mountain. He said to him, “O shepherd! Come eat with me.” The shepherd said, “I am fasting.” Rawḥ said, “You are fasting in this heat?” The shepherd replied, “Should I let my days pass by in vain?” Rawḥ said, “You have utilised your days properly, O shepherd, while Rawḥ ibn Zinbāʿ has wasted his.”
Ibn ʿUmar رضي الله عنهما used to fast the optional fasts until he would almost faint, but he would not break his fast. Imām Aḥmad would fast until he was close to fainting and he would wipe water over his face. He was asked about a person who fasts but finds it extremely hot. He said, “There is nothing wrong with wetting a cloth to cool oneself with and pouring water over oneself.” The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was at a place called ʿArj where he was pouring water over his head while fasting.
Abū ’l-Dardā’ رضي الله عنه would say, “Fast the extremely hot days, in preparation for the Day of Rising. Pray two rakʿats in the darkness of night, in preparation for the darkness of the grave.” It is narrated in Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī and Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim on the authority of Abū ’l-Dardā’ رضي الله عنه, “We saw ourselves with Allāh’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم on one of his journeys on an extremely hot day. A man would put his hand on his head due to the intense heat. (But not having any shade) None of them would be fasting except Allāh’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم and ʿAbdullāh ibn Rawāḥa رضي الله عنه.” In one narration: “This was during the month of Ramaḍān.”
When those who fast for Allāh in the heat are patient against their intense thirst, He has set aside for them a specific door among the doors of Paradise; the door of Rayyān. Whoever enters it will drink, and whoever drinks after entering it will never be thirsty again. When they enter through it, it will be locked to those coming after them, thus none will enter through it except them.
May Allāh Most High give us the ability to appreciate the blessed month of Ramaḍān, accept all our acts of worship therein, and bless us with the extra reward of the long summer fasts. Āmīn.
By Al Habib Trust
The month of Ramadhan is not like any other month; its purpose is to rid man of those habits which he has accumulated throughout the rest of the year. It is a month that prepares man for the remaining eleven months by teaching him discipline and self control. Thus, Allah has made some acts which are beloved to man, like eating, drinking and fulfilling one’s desires, Haraam. If man can control these desires in this month, which are usually permissible for him, then he can surely control himself from other desires which are not permissible throughout the remaining months.
This blessed month has been sent by Allah to His bondsmen so that can create a connection and draw closer to Allah by reaping the many rewards that lie in this month. A person who has been given the opportunity to be present in this month can take this as a sign that Allah Ta’ala has given him another opportunity to draw closer to Him and earn His paradise through worship in this month.
In this month we will be given many opportunities, as mentioned above to reform ourselves and seek forgiveness for our bad sins. This is a month of reformation and self reflection, where a believer can ponder of over spirituality and piety and bring a change for the better. The Prophet of Allah صلي الله عليه و سلم has clearly stated:
مَنْ لَمْ يَدَعْ قَوْلَ الزُّورِ وَالْعَمَلَ بِهِ فَلَيْسَ لِلَّهِ حَاجَةٌ فِي أَنْ يَدَعَ طَعَامَهُ وَشَرَابَهُ
“Whoever does not give up lying and evil actions, then Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink” [Saheeh al-Bukhari]
It is clear from this Hadeeth which has been narrated on the authority of Hadrhat Abu Huraira رضي الله عنه that Allah is not in need of any person to leave his food or drink. Allah is far from needs and desires. However, it is the mercy of Allah that He wants each and every person to leave those things which will lead him to the hellfire and by controlling one’s desires throughout this month it is hoped that one will be able to control himself throughout the following months also.
For those who can relate, we can look at the month of Ramadhan like an MOT test. It is vital to be on form during this test. Once the test is over then we should be at a standard where we can continue through the following months. Indeed, there will be repairs and faults in between, but these will be minor and can be dealt with on the spot.
May Allah Ta’ala make us successful in this test, for the one who is unsuccessful in this test may not be given an opportunity for a re-test.
ان جبرئيل عرض لي فقال بعد من ادرك رمضان فلم يغفر له قلت آمين
“Jibreel came to me and said, ‘Whoever reaches the month of Ramadan and does not have his sins forgiven and so enters the Fire, then may Allah distance him, say ameen.” So I said “Ameen” [Mustadrak al-Haakim]
In summary, the month of Ramadhan has been made so that mankind can take benefit of the merits and blessings contained within to change themselves for the better and by doing so create a bond with Allah that will continue throughout the eleven remaining months.
It is a month within which Allah has instructed us to place more emphasis on actions regarding our Deen (religion) as opposed to our daily routine and emphasis on worldly matters.
I pray that this information comes in use and aids the readers in preparing for the month of Ramadhan.
As a reminder, please commit the following Du’a to memory and make a habit of reciting it daily until the day of Ramdhan.
اللهم بارك لنا في رجب وشعبان وبلغنا رمضان
“O Allah, make the months of Rajab and Sha’ban blessed for us, and let us reach the month of Ramadhan.” [Musnad-e-Ahmed]
Source: Collection of Treasures
by Maulana Zain
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6 Do’s and 6 don’ts of Ramadhan:
1. Do perform Salah with showq, zeal. Fardh with first takbeer, Taraweeh full 20 Rak’ats , tahajjud, Sunnate muakkadah and nawaafil with punctuality. (Ladies should try to pray Salah at home and in the beginning time, don’t delay till end time)
2. Do keep all fasts properly; Don’t miss a single fast. Don’t break any fast. Learn masaail of sawm.
3. Do calculate zakat and give it properly. Give nafil sadaqah. Be generous. Spend! Allah will spend on you.
4. Do recite as much Quran as you can. During the day, in the morning, at lunch time after Asr, and during the night.
5. Do be punctual of Dhikr. Tasbeehaat, Kalima Tayyeba, Astaghfaar, & Durood shareef.
6. Do make lots of duas. For yourself, your family, friends & for the whole ummah.
6 Don’ts are as follows.
1. Don’t use the the Tongue unwisely. Avoid swearing, backbiting, slandering, accusing, quarrelling, etc. Smoking is also a sin of the mouth. Ramadhan is a good time to give up smoking. Nicotine patches don’t break the fast. So seek help from them if need be.
2. Don’t use the eyes unwisely. Refrain from the sin of the eyes. Don’t watch movies, dramas, etc. If you have to interact with the opposite gender at work, be modest, Lower your eyes. Eye contact has a huge effect on the heart & mind.
3. Don’t listen to stuff you shouldn’t be listening to. Control your ears. Songs and music corrupt the soul, and are detrimental to one’s spirituality. Don’t listen to gossip. Leave that gathering where backbiting starts.
4. Don’t fornicate or commit adultery. If someone has this habit, they should give it up in Ramadhan. Make sincere tawba and never go back to it. Avoid pornography and masturbation. Refrain from actions which lead to spiritual destruction.
5. Don’t earn haram nor consume haram. Make sure your income and your food are both 100% halal. If one has a habit of consuming alcohol or drugs, give it up! If there is any haram income coming in, give it up in Ramadhan. Filter it out.
6. Don’t waste time on tv, on computer, on mobiles, on social media etc. Time is our most valuable asset. Protect it and use it wisely.
May Allah give us Tawfeeq to behave properly. May Allah give us Tawfeeq to welcome Ramadhan in the way it deserves. May Allah bless us with His special Qurb and Muhabbat. May Allah be pleased with us all. Ameen
Note: The above is a Summary of yesterday’s talk by Shaykh Abdul Raheem, in Zakaria masjid, Bolton, UK.
Prepare for Ramadan
Many of us have been counting the days remaining up to the holy month of Ramadan. Five days, four, three, two and the next thing you know here it is. For a believer the name of this month “Ramadan” gives the thought of joy, rewards and a feeling of Allah’s mercy. Truly, this is a season that should be awaited for. Anticipations and emotions for this month are not sufficient. This holy month requires action and activity. It is about altering our timetables and schedules, it demands us to train ourselves to attain Taqwa (fear of Allah or devotion to Him) which in turn, is the element to carry us successfully through the ongoing journey towards the hereafter (akhirah).
But let us ask ourselves have we really prepared for this month? Are we ready to dedicate more time for our spiritual revival ? During the month of Ramadan the holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) would stay awake in the nights worshipping Allah, awaken his household and increase in worship. (Bukhari, Muslim). Even though we may have experienced many a Ramadans but every Ramadan must be treated as a once in a lifetime opportunity since we have no idea whether we will live till the next Ramadan. Let us look at a few ahadith concerning this holy period.
Increased Rewards & Forgiveness
What are the rewards of good deeds in the month of Ramadan? The reward of every Fardh (compulsory) act is multiplied seventy times while every Nafl (optional) act earns the reward of one Fardh out of Ramadan. (Ibn Khuzaymah). It is important to understand the latter aspect in its proper perspective. Tahajjud (Nafl Salah in the last third of the night) is an extremely great ibadah (worship). Great virtues have been narrated for this Salah. However, a lifetime of tahajjud cannot equal one Fardh of Fajr Salah! Yet in the month of Ramadan Almighty Allah grants us the reward of a Fardh action for every Nafl performed.
The fish in the sea seek forgiveness for those fasting until they break their fast . Allah decorates His Jannah (Paradise) every day and then says, “The time is near when My pious servants shall cast aside the great trials and come to me.” (Musnad Ahmed)
When Ramadan arrives, the gates of Paradise are flung open, the doors of the Hellfire are closed and the Shayateen are imprisoned. (Bukhari)
All good deeds are for the one who renders them, but fasting. Fasting is exclusively for me (Allah). (Bukhari)
The odour of the mouth of a fasting person is sweeter to Allah than the fragrance of musk.(Bukhari)
Fasting is a shield, as long as the fasting person does not tear it up (by disobedience) (Nasaee).
Not a single prayer made by a fasting person at the time of breaking the fast is rejected. (Ibn Majah)
The Nights of Ramadan
Whoever stands in prayer and worship in (the nights of) Ramadan, with Iman and with sincere hope of gaining reward , all his previous sins are forgiven. (Bukhari, Muslim)
Laylatul Qadr (The Night of Power)
Whoever stands in prayer and worship in the night of power with Iman and with sincere hope of gaining reward , all his previous sins are forgiven. ( Muslim)
Look for the night of power among the odd numbered nights of the last ten days of Ramadan. (Mishkat)
The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) observed I’etikaf for ten days every year in the month of Ramadan. In the year he passed away he observed it for twenty days. (Bukhari)
The Last Night Of Ramadan
On the last night of Ramadan the fasting Muslims are forgiven. (Musnad Ahmed)
It can be well comprehended from the above that during this month of Ramadan, Almighty Allah makes it easy for us to acquire His blessings, mercy and forgiveness. There can be no better time to attain this than this blessed month. All that is required on our part is to create in our hearts the desire, ambition, devotion, zeal, eagerness and that we exert increased efforts to acquire the pleasure of Almighty Allah.
While one should engage to the maximum in good deeds, the purpose of Ramadan must be kept foremost in mind, which is to acquire Taqwa. Thus together with the maximum amount of righteous actions one must totally refrain from all sins. We should ensure that no act of disobedience is committed. This abstinence in itself is a worship. One month of strictly conducting oneself in this manner will Insha-Allah have the effect of enabling one to live the next eleven months in a similar manner in the complete obedience of Allah. Thus, can we afford to waste this time? Can we still have time for “loafing?” Is it possible for a person who values Ramadan to spend hours eating? or loitering around after taraweeh feasts and gatherings?, or have time for any other idle pursuits? Can we afford to spend valuable time glued to the airwaves listening to the opinions and views of one and all, whereas that time could have been used to at least recite the Holy Quran or send Durood upon our beloved Prophet (p.b.u.h.)? And entertainment? How can it be possible? The last thing that any Muslim who values Ramadan should be bothered about is, who somewhere in the world is whacking a little red ball all over a field or who is kicking a ball between two posts! Let alone comedy or other shows!
Let us really make this Ramadan a profitable one that brings change in our life. We leave you with a quotation of the honorable Mufti Zubair Bayat:
All the “T’s” of Ramadan must be kept in mind so that when Ramadan comes, “everything is to the T!”. These “T’s” are: Tilawah, Tahajjud, Taraweeh, Tasbeehat, Tadharru’ (fervent Dua), Tatawwu’ (Nafl Ibadah), Tasahhur (eating Sehri/Suhoor), Taubah (repentance), Tawadhu (humility) and Tafakkur (contemplation). May Almighty Allah make this Ramadan a turning point in the life of the long-suffering Ummah. Aameen.
Jami’yyatul Ulama Canada
When we know we are to attend a wedding, we begin to plan and prepare from days and even weeks in advance. We pay much attention to detail so that we arrive to the function on time, are dressed up smartly with clean/ new shoes, have organised a place to stay, eat carefully so as not to ruin our clothing and so on. In a similar way we prepare and plan for other important events, functions, interviews etc.
However, when it comes to approaching our Islamic duties/ obligations we do so little in advance, especially for Ramadan. For some reason we feel we can flick a switch and become great pious personalities overnight. In fact, while this may work short term, in the long term you will more likely ‘burn out’ and return to your former self or in a worse condition. Is it not true afterall that in the middle of the month Ramadan the Masjid halls during taraweeh are at half capacity to what they were in the first few days??
Therefore it is much better we prepare and plan for our deeni activity, much like we do for the dunya ones and inshallah in this manner we can make the most of the blessed month of Ramadan and remain consistent upon the a’maal we adopt.
Anyway, with Ramadan due to start soon I thought it would be good to make a list of things in preparation for Ramadan. Please leave your comments and suggestions as well, via the comments below.
- Increase in recitation of the Quraan. If possible, complete a minimum of 1 part to daily so as to make 1 whole complete recital of the Holy Quran during Ramadan.
- Try and perform 4 rakah (units) of tahajjud before partaking in Suhoor.
- Learn a, or many prophetic duas in Arabic.
- As much as one can keep Allah in your heart by doing Dhikr eg: La ilaaha illallah, Allahu-akbar, Subhan-Allah, Alhumdulillah etc.
- Devoting more sincerity and concentration into our existing daily prayers.
- Try and utilise the month to give up smoking.
- For the more foul mouthed amongst us, try to refrain from swearing the whole month. Friends can help here by lightly hitting or gently reminding his/ her friend each time they swear that they shouldn’t do it. (please note, I take no responsibility for any limbs that may be broken from the above suggestion!)
A small request I make is that if a brother or sister becomes more religious simply for the month of Ramadan, then rather than shooting our mouth off, saying he/ she is a hypocrite and its only for Ramadan etc, why don’t we give gentle words of encouragement so they might continue their virtuousness even after the month of Ramadan. Why should we be so mean to taunt them about what we THINK is only temporary on their part?
If we were to step back a moment and realise that this is the last Ramadan we will see in our lifetime, how would we spend it? How many Muslims do you know of who aren’t around this year to see Ramadan?
Death we know can come to us at any time, yet we still remain so ignorant of the blessing of the time now given to us to be utilised by Allah the Almighty.
I pray Allah gives, first of all me, and all Muslims the ability to utilise the month of Ramadan and safeguard ourselves from the punishment hereafter, Ameen.
by Brother Ahmed
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There once lived in Basrah a prolific and profoundly spiritual worshipper whose fear of the Hereafter caused him to become physically weak, and whose constant crying made him skinny and sick. When he was on his deathbed, his family gathered around him, and they all began to cry.
“Help me sit up.” He said. He addressed his father first: “O my father, what is making you cry?”
“My son,” began his father, “I remembered that I will lose you, and that I will be alone after you die.”
The worshipper then turned his gaze towards his mother and said, “O my Mother, what is making you cry?”
“I am crying because I will soon have to taste the bitterness of losing you,” she said.
He then turned to his sister and asked, “what is making you cry?”
“Because I will soon lose out on your kindness and will consequently have to depend on others for help,” she said.
Finally, he looked at his children and asked, “what is making you cry?”
“The prospect of hard and humiliating life of being orphans after you die,” they said. Now it was his trun to cry. “And what is making you cry?” everyone asked.
“I am crying because I saw that each one of you cried for his or her own self, and not for me, he said. Is there none among you who cries for the long, hard journey I am about to embark upon, and the few supplies (i.e. good deeds) that I have for it? Is there none among you who cries because I will be lying down in dirt? Is there none among you who cries because I will be held accountable (and might have to endure punishment)? Is there none among you who cries because of when I will stand before the Lord of all that exists (for judgement)?” He then rolled over onto his face, when they tried to move him, they realised that he had just died.
Source: Al-Mawa’iz Wal Majalis
How fortunate are these souls who are blessed with the following words from Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam:
“Whoever performs Hajj for the Pleasure of Allah and therein utters no word of evil, nor commits any evil deed, shall return from it (free from sin) as the day on which his mother gave birth to him.” (Bukhaari, Muslim)
“Verily there shall be no reward for a Mabroor Hajj except Jannah.” (Bukhaari, Muslim)
It is hoped that all the pilgrims were sincere in their intentions and had traveled thousands of miles only to secure the Pleasure of Allah by fulfilling the obligation laid down upon them. May Allah the Almighty grant all the pilgrims acceptance and grant them opportunity again and again to visit the Sacred bud. Aameen.
Nevertheless, we wish to draw the attention of the pilgrims towards certain points which are necessary and of utmost importance to observe and for which many pilgrims are seen neglectful of their significance.
1, the sincerity of intention should remain even after the performance of Hajj. There should be no pomp or show. One should not wish to be called or recognized as a Haajee.
Many people adopt the habit of talking frequently about their journey in order that people may come to know of their Hajj. They talk about the expenses incurred in the way of Allah, their charity amongst the poor and needy, their devotion and worship, their assisting the weak and old, etc.; and all is mentioned only with the intention of gaining fame. This is a deceit from Shaytaan who ruins the ibaadat without the person even knowing. It is therefore of great importance that the pilgrim does not talk about his Hajj without necessity as it may lead to ‘Riyaa’ (show, insincerity). However, if necessity arises and one must talk about his Hajj then he is at liberty to do so. But, he must not indulge in this type of conversation unnecessarily.
2, it is noted through experience, that many pilgrims return with only the bad side of the journey and make it a habit of talking about nothing except the hardships they have encountered during Hajj. The pilgrims should strictly refrain from this. On the contrary they should talk about the greatness of the sacred places, the spiritual gains, the enjoyment in devotions of Haramayn – Umrah, Tawaaf, Salaam on the Sacred Grave, Salaat in Masjid-ul-Haraam and Masjid-un-Nabawi etc. If one looks at his journey of Hajj carefully he will find that the good things far outweighs the bad. Every second spent in these sacred places is incomparable with anything in the world.
The journey of Hajj is a long journey; one has to travel by air, pass the immigrations, go through the customs, encounter people who speak foreign languages, etc. In these circumstances, difficulties are certain to arise. when we travel in our country do we always travel with comfort and ease? Do we never encounter difficulty? Do we not find ourselves held up in traffic for hours on a Motorway? Considering the fact that 2 – 3 million pilgrims perform the rituals of Hajj at one time, in one place and that they all come from different countries and backgrounds and that many of them have never before used or seen the facilities available to them. We think the difficulties encountered are insignificant. Moreover, the pilgrims are rewarded abundantly by Allah Ta’aala upon every difficulty encountered in their journey whereas the same is not the case whilst we are on another journey.
Those people who engage in these types of conversation become the cause of discouragement to others who have not yet had the opportunity to perform Hajj. These unfortunate pilgrims fall into the category … and who stop (men) from the way of Allah, and from the Sacred Masjid, … mentioned in Surah Hajj in the Qur’aan. They should take heed that if people are discouraged by their conversation and postpone their Hajj then those who have discouraged them will be equally responsible.
3, the sign of a ‘Mabroor Hajj’ or an ‘accepted Hajj’ is that upon one’s return, his life changes from worst to good. He becomes totally punctual in fulfilling the commands of Allah Ta’aala. His love and inclination towards the Hereafter increases and love for the worldly pleasures decline. Therefore, it is essential that the pilgrim is watchful over his actions and should try his utmost to instill in himself good characters and refrain from all types of evil. He should try his best to fulfill the obligations laid down by Allah and avoid all the things forbidden by Him.
Source: Sunnah Organisation
The ultimate destination
You are the luckiest person in the world. Allah has invited you personally to His House.
What is Hajj? Hajj in the Arabic language means aim, destination or purpose (qasd). The reason is clear: Hajj is the ultimate journey of loving submission (‘ubudiyah) and conscious surrender (riq) to Allah. Its ultimate destination is your encounter with the House of Allah (Bayt al-Allah) – the Ka`bah – with both your physical body and, more importantly, your heart (qalb).
Ibn al-Jawzi (rahimah al-Allah) relates a story of an old, blind woman who was journeying to Hajj years ago with a caravan. Throughout the journey, she keeps asking: “Are we at the house of my Lord?” Time and again, she is told, “No, mother, we are not there yet.” As the caravan nears Makkah, she is informed that they are almost there. Finally, they enter Masjid al-Haram. She is led to the Ka’bah. Touching the Ka’bah, she cries, “Baytu rabbi? The House of my Lord?” Weeping, she clings to the cloth of the Ka’bah – and dies.
The woman realized with her heart (qalb) the true significance of visiting the House of her Lord.
Allah has invited you to His House, which He has called the al-Bayt al-‘Atiq – the ancient, liberated and liberating house. Your journey is one of freedom and liberation. For as your body leaves its material house to journey to Allah’s House, your heart is meant to disengage from the lower self (nafs), the shaytan, and the world (dunya) and journey to Allah.
The ultimate reward for a Hajj mabrur is to return home with the purity of a newborn child. What could be a greater incentive! But beware, for Hajj is a selective process. Only a few will attain a Hajj mabrur, which is a Hajj performed correctly, without any disobedience to Allah and without indulging in any argumentation. Be prepared. Be vigilant. Be focused. This will be one of the greatest – and sweetest – struggles of your life. And though you will long and dream for the rest of your life to come back, you may never return again.
May Allah allow our bodies to journey to His House; may He permit our hearts to find Him, the Lord of the House. Ameen.
The most sacred space
You will be journeying from your earthly house to Makkah, your spiritual home, the most beloved place to Allah in all of space and time. Allah himself has decreed it to be so since the beginning of creation. There is no place more blessed, more beautiful, more virtuous, more exalted than Makkah. Every inch and every corner of Makkah is a haram, a sanctuary made sacred by Allah. The more you revere Makkah, the more you will be ennobled by Allah. We must take the greatest of care to never think casually of our sojourn in Makkah or live within its precincts in disobedience or negligence.
Some reports teach that it was in Makkah that our father adam (‘alayhi al-salam) longed to go back to paradise and be in the presence of Allah. To console his loneliness, Allah commanded him to do tawaf around the space of the current Ka‘bah. And adam did, and felt whole again.
Other texts teach that Nuh (’alayhi al-salam), Ibrahim (’alayhi al-salam), and many Prophets before them (’alayhim al-salam), all did tawaf around Allah’s sacred House. Their spiritual energy and legacy fills the air. You will be walking in the footsteps and the heart-steps of Rasulullah (sallalahu ’alayhi wasallam) and his noble companions.
Shelter, solace and sight
Hajj and its rites are described in various and powerful ways by Allah and his Rasul (sallalahu ’alayhi wasallam). Through these descriptions, we gain insight into the deeper meanings of Hajj. The rites of hajj are described, for example, as manasik, masha‘ir and mashahid.
Mansak (plural manasik), usually translated as ritual, connotes shelter (maskan) and tranquility (sukun). The rites of Hajj are residences of shelter and tranquility for the heart.
Mash‘ar (plural masha‘ir) connotes feeling and experience. The rites of Hajj cause the heart to feel and experience the sweetness of nearness to Allah.
Mashad (plural mashahid) is to witness with the heart the blessings of Allah at every station – to see, with one’s inner sight, Allah’s will as the Decreer of decrees and the Causer of causes.
Each word connotes a different inner dimension of Hajj, as the movement, not only of your body or limbs, but of your heart. For as your body journeys from one place to another, so too must your heart travel through various stations (maqamat), each of which will provide it with shelter, solace and inner sight.
Hajj is your chance to become an angel and to live with the delight of an angel.
In tawaf, you will be mirroring the worship of the angels, the mala’ikah, those heavenly creatures created of pure light and enveloped in the worship of Allah. Texts teach that the Ka‘bah is connected in an imperceptible way to the Bayt al-Ma‘mur, the heavenly Ka‘bah of the angels, around which they are constantly in tawaf. Seventy thousand angels perform tawaf around this house and are replaced with others, never to return.
Around the Ka‘bah, we are in a heavenly dimension. Near the Ka‘bah are the Hajar Aswad, or black stone, and the Maqam Ibrahim, both gems from jannah. We are taught that the hajar was darkened by the sins and transgressions of man. Its heavenly light is now folded from us. The hajar will be rendered into a person in the afterlife by Allah and will witness on behalf of those who approached it with truth and sincerity. The hajar can be said to take a picture recording of your heart as you stand before it. Kissing the hajar is the most profound renewal of your covenant with Allah and a pledge of love, dedicated obedience and soulful allegiance to Him.
THE JOURNEY BEGINS
Entering into Ihram
As you near the miqat, your heart will tremble and tremor. Is this really happening? Is my heart getting closer and closer to His House? Soon you will enter Allah’s haram. It is only fitting that you enter into a state, both externally and internally, that justly corresponds to this honour. Beyond the miqat, there is only talbiyah.
The essence of Hajj is the journey of our hearts away from the house of our lower selves (nufus) with its passions (shahawat), inclinations (ahwa’) and attachment to the created world (khalq) to the haram and, ultimately, the House of Allah. We must leave our attachments to receive the greatest connection. We must leave to arrive.
Ihram is from haram. Both meanings, to be sacred and to be forbidden, are carried in it. Through the ihram, the heart is meant to leave the temporary and the finite – to make it, in a sense, “forbidden” – and to prepare for the sacred audience of Allah’s presence.
The muhrim has disengaged from everything and anything that distracts him or her from Allah and, consequently, from remembrance, peace and stillness. The muhrim has left his or her home taking taqwa or Allah-consciousness, the best sustenance, as a provision.
One enters into ihram with talbiyah. Talbiyah is the heart’s most profound surrender to the invitation and call of Allah: Here I come to You, my Lord, here I come – fully and forever.
With the talbiyah, we proclaim that no associate (sharik) or attachment will distract us from seeking Allah. Our hearts will not see, hear, obey, or be lured to another, besides Him. The recitation of this talbiyah is to be said with constancy and conviction, and not intermittently and infrequently.Talbiyah is essential to focusing our hearts. It will remind us of the purpose of our journey; it will facilitate us in foregoing our rights, demands and expectations while yet rendering fully the major and minor rights of others; it will dispel distractions; and it will make all obstacles easy, even pleasurable.
There is no praise (hamd) and no dominion and power (mulk) except that Allah owns it. Everything, whether tangible or intangible, belongs to Him. In fact, we are in praise of Him by Him.
Mina, or Muna, means desire, hope, longing.
Some texts teach that it was in Muna that adam ( ‘alayhi al-salam) longed and desired to journey back home to paradise and to be, once again, in Allah’s presence.
It is in Muna that the journey begins. The day spent in Muna, termed the day of tarwiyah (meaning, in part, to quench, to drink to one’s fill), is meant for our heart to focus on the aim of their journey, to gather in resolution and focus, and to begin our inner momentum towards the House of Allah.
‘Arafat means to know, to understand. Another verb scale conveys the meaning of perfuming, making fragrant, scenting. ‘Arafat is the essential pillar (rukn), of Hajj; without ‘Arafat there is no Hajj.
‘Arafat is the cleansing station outside the haram where we stand and seek forgiveness for all that we’ve committed in our lives. We beg and implore Allah to make us worthy of entering into His haram, visiting His House and being in His presence.
Here, on ‘Arafat, we learn two things. As we acknowledge our disobedience, our sins, our rebelliousness and our forgetfulness, we know our unworthiness as true servants. We reveal everything to Allah, minor or major, Who knows already but simply wants us to admit with true transparency and sincerity what we are inside of our selves. Moreover, we begin to know the all-enveloping knowledge, the inestimable mercy, the boundless generosity and the limitless grace of Alah in forgiving and effacing our sins. Who is it, beside Him, that can forgive and that does forgive? There is no refuge or flight from Allah except to Him.
Allah celebrates, in the presence of the angels, the hujjaj on ‘Arafat asking for forgiveness. And He affirms to the angels that, yes, He has forgiven them.
Now, as the sun begins to set, you continue, perfumed and scented with the purity of Allah’s grace and forgiveness, ever closer to His haram.
Muzdalifa, from the Arabic root izdilaf, means to approach, to get closer.
Muzdalifa is a second station of cleansing and purification. The pilgrim is now closer to the Ka‘bah. We remain in supplication (du‘a’) after fajr, imploring Allah again for pardon and guidance. Some scholars have said that in Muzdalifa, Allah also forgives our violations against the rights of others. Such violations are not usually forgiven unless, in addition to seeking forgiveness, we remedy what has been violated.
Muna and the casting of the pebbles
During the Hajj of Ibrahim (‘alayhi al-salam), he was commanded to sacrifice his son. Allah, of course, never intended that the slaughter take place. Allah wanted, instead, to purify and free Ibrahim (‘alayhi al-salam) from every love and every attachment besides Him.
It was in Muna that the shaytan attempted to waylay Ibrahim (‘alayhi al-salam) from sacrificing his son. Ibrahim (’alayhi al-salam) casted pebbles at the shaytan to reject his designs and prompting.
In casting the pebbles, the pilgrim affirms Allah’s greatness over everything and covenants with Allah that he or she will never regress to anything which displeases Him.
Casting the pebbles is the casting away of shaytan, the lower self (nafs) with its desires, inclinations and evil, and, ultimately, casting away everything besides Allah. The pebble is meant, not to hit the pillar, but to fall inside the container, or majmar, where it will remain. The fire of the nafs, its impetus to evil, must be cast out, contained and confined. Our nafs must be jailed for us to become free.
After the nafs is jailed by the casting of the pebbles, it is slaughtered. The sacrifice of the animal signifies the slaughter of the nafs by Ibrahim (‘alayhi al-salam). Ibrahim’s (‘alayhi al-salam) sacrifice was momentous: he sacrificed his very will. Ibrahim was named the Khalil (cherished friend) of Allah because his love for Allah pierced and consumed his entire heart.
The hair – signifying status, station and pride – is now shaved. Whatever remaining trace and residue of the disobedient nafs is now completely cleansed.
Now, the pilgrim is welcomed by Allah to visit His Haram and His House. He or she is now freed from ihram, but not completely. Washing and the use of perfume are now permitted; intimate relations are not. Approaching one’s spouse is unbefitting considering that now the pilgrim is going to visit the Host.
Ifadah means to flood, to rush, to move.
The movement from ‘Arafat to the haram is called ifadah. The rite of tawaf that takes place after the casting of the pebbles, the sacrifice and the shaving of the head is likewise termed Tawaaf al-Ifadah.
The heart (qalb), cleansed and purified from its attachments, inundated with love, desire and longing, floods to the haram, to the House, and to its Lord. There, it circumambulates the House and renews its pledge of complete and loving submission.
Sa‘i between Safa and Marwa
Sa‘i means to work, to strive, to act.
We remember in sa‘i the actions of Hajar (‘alayha al-salam) as she climbed, walked and ran up both Safa and Marwa looking for sustenance for her starving child. The miracle of Zam zam was gifted to Hajar for her efforts and sincere reliance. Rasulullah (sallalahu ‘alayhi wasallam) teaches that if we drink zam zam with firm faith and certainty, Allah will most definitely answer our supplication.
As servants of Allah, we are embedded in time and space. We must act, all the while cognizant that it is Allah who creates both cause and effect. To see waves upon waves of pilgrims walking and running between Safa and Marwa is to recognize that the reality of our life is constant sa‘i between struggle and reward, struggle and reward. On the hills of Safa and Marwa, where the pilgrim alights in reflection and supplication, the heart exalts, seeing Allah’s power in all matters, yours and others, large or small.
The days and nights of Muna
During our stay in Muna, we re-affirm and re-declare our desire and hope for spiritual freedom by casting pebbles for three days. Each casting of the pebbles cements our resolution to contain and confine both the lower self (nafs) and shaytan.
You remain in Muna as Allah’s guest. Here, we must eat and drink with the consciousness of a guest in front of a Most-Magnanimous Host. The greatest nourishment during these days, as Allah himself indicates, is His dhikr, or remembrance. We are destined to leave but Allah intends we leave gradually, in gratitude to Him, remembrance of Him and gathering a firm resolution for permanent change when we depart.
Then the last pebble is cast. Our final farewell is imminent.
Most have waited their entire lives for the encounter with the House of Allah. Many will never return. In truth, there is no certainty that any of us will ever gaze on the Ka‘bah again.
Whether we return or not, we will never forget. It is said – and it is true – that the Ka‘bah beckons you from afar, then haunts you forever.
It is related that Ibn ‘Abbas prayed this as his final farewell, clinging with his entire being to the multazam, the wall of the Ka‘bah between the hajar and the door:
“O Allah This House is Your House And this servant is Your servant, and the son of Your servants You have carried me here on what You have made accessible to me of Your creation Until You have made me reach, by Your grace, Your House And You have helped me fulfill my rites of Hajj (O Allah) If You have been pleased with me, then be more pleased with me And if You are not pleased with me, then I implore you to be generous to me now – Before my house becomes distant from Your house For now it is time for my departure, if You permit me – Never to exchange You for anything else, nor Your House for any other house Not being desirous of others instead of You, nor of any other house besides Your House O Allah, Grant me safety and good health in my body, protection in my religion and allow me a beautiful return And provide me with deeds and acts of Your obedience for as long as You grant me life And gather for me the best of this world and the next For truly You have power over all things.”
A mother once told her son that the Ka‘bah says: The one who does not see me will never rest; and the one who sees me will never rest.
May our hearts find their ultimate rest by journeying to Allah long after our bodies have returned from Hajj. May we always be in Hajj.
Hajj mabrur, my beloved brother and sister.
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