Do Not Neglect Your Spouse by Mufti Ismail Menk
What has become of my tender youth?
Forsaken to sins and evils is the truth
Given over to pleasure and lust, day and night
Forgive me Allah. I hear and tremble with fright
What will happen to me?
Only Allah does know
In Hellfire will I burn
Or receive the Jannah that I yearn
Allah, from You forgiveness I seek
And make me amongst the meek
Ya Rabbi show me the way
To live my life as the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) did say
And on my deathbed allow me to pray
The kalima, and have me not go astray
From the Siratul Mustakeem
And in Jannah inshallah my face will beam
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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Shaykh Maulana Saleem Dhorat
The first ten days of Dhul Hijjah are full of virtues and great blessings. According to a large group of mufassireen (commentators of the Qur’aan), the ten nights mentioned in Soorah Al Fajr are the nights of the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. Allah says:
By the Dawn; By the ten Nights; (89:1-2)
This oath substantiates the greatness and sacredness of these ten nights in the eyes of Allah. This is an extra ordinary oath; it is very reliable and significant and the wise men can understand that by this oath, Allah too attaches great importance and value to the ten nights of Dhul Hijjah.
The Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam too, has clearly mentioned the importance and the virtue of these blessed moments. It is reported by Abdullah Ibne Abbaas radhiyallahu anhuma that the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam said, “No good deeds done on other days are superior to those done on these (first ten days of Dhul Hijjah).” Thereupon, some companions of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam said, “Not even Jihaad ? ” He replied, “Not even jihaad, 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 these things.”
Bukhaari V1 pp132
In another Hadeeth reported by Aboo Hurayrah radhiyallahu anhu, the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam said, “On no days is the worship of Allah desired more than in the (first) ten days of Dhul Hijjah. The fast of each of these days is equal to the fast of a whole year, and the worship of each of these nights is equal to the worship of Laylatul Qadr.”
Tirmizi V1 pp58
Moreover, what other virtue can be greater for these blessed days than the fact that certain specific devotions cannot be performed but in these specified days. Allah Almighty has specifically chosen these days for the fulfilment of two of the most important devotions, viz. Hajj and Qurbaani.
One may argue and say that there are other forms of devotions too, which are fixed to specific days and moments; hence what is the speciality of these particular days ? The answer to this argument is simple. Although there are other devotions too, which are also fixed to specific time, such as fasting in the month of Ramadhaan; but one may, if he desires, fulfil the devotion of fasting in days other than Ramadhaan i.e. as an optional devotion. On the contrary, the wuqoof of Arafaat (which is the essence of Hajj), the wuqoof of Muzdalifah, etc., cannot be performed but in these specified days.
If one was to remain in Arafaat for many months after the 9th Dhul Hijjah, he will not receive any reward whatsoever and it will never be considered an act of ibaadah.
Similarly, Qurbaani is performed only in three days one of which is 10th Dhul Hijjah. There is no possibility whatsoever of a nafl Qurbaani once these days have lapsed, so much so that qazaa Hajj or qazaa Qurbaani is not even possible. It is because of these distinguishing characteristics that the ulamaa have stated, in the light of Qur’aan and Hadeeth that after the days of the month of Ramadhaan, the greatest days in virtue are the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah.
The reward of ibaadah in these days increases abundantly and the results are honoured with specified blessings and mercies by the Creator.
ACTS OF VIRTUE
There are certain specific acts of virtue in these blessed days of Dhul Hijjah which are enumerated and explained below:
1. Upon sighting the moon of Dhul Hijjah, those people intending to perform Qurbaani should neither cut their hair nor clip their nails until the Qurbaani is performed. This is a mustahab (desirable) act derived from Hadeeth of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam wherein he has said:
“A person should neither clip his nails nor cut his hair until he performs qurbaani”.
Some ulamaa have explained the reason and wisdom behind this order of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam thus that in this month, hundreds of thousands of people are blessed with the opportunity of visiting the sacred house of Allah in Makkah.
They enjoy the spiritual atmosphere of the holy places and acquire maximum benefit from the blessed moments.
Whilst they are there in the state of ihraam certain acts become impermissible for them. Amongst them is clipping of nails and cutting the hair. The Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam instructed those of his followers who could not reach the blessed places, to imitate the pilgrims by not cutting the hair and clipping the nails so that the mercy of Allah can enshroud them too together with the pilgrims.
2. These days are so blessed that a day’s fast is equivalent to a year’s fast and a night’s devotion is equivalent to the ibaadah of Laylatul Qadr. The indication is towards the fact that we should endeavor to perform as many virtuous acts as possible in these days.
3. 9th Dhul Hijjah is the day of Arafah in which the main fardh of Hajj is performed i.e. wuqoof Arafah. This is a great moment for the pilgrims when the Mercy of Allah descends upon them in abundance and their sins are forgiven and du’aa accepted. Allah, through His Compassion and Mercy, has not deprived the non-pilgrims of his mercy, but rather, shown the way to His Pleasure. The Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam was asked about the fast of the day of Arafah. He said, “It compensates for the (minor) sins of the past and the coming year.”
Note: One should take note that the sins forgiven are minor sins. The major sins are not forgiven without tawbah.
4. The reciting of Takbeeraate Tashreeq after every fardh Salaat from the Fajr of 9th Dhul Hijjah to the Asr of 13th Dhul Hijjah (i.e. total of twenty three fardh Salaat). It is waajib upon men to recite this takbeer once after every fardh Salaat audibly. The women should recite it silently.
5. The Sunnah of Ibraahem alayhi salaam – the Qurbaani. It is to be performed on 10th, 11th or 12th Dhul Hijjah. One may sacrifice a thousand animals on days other than these, but it will never be regarded or considered a Qurbaani.
Here, a believer is taught a great lesson that an action or a place or a time does not hold any virtue in itself; but rather it is Allah’s command and order that changes the status, level and grade of things. Regarding Qurbaani, the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam said:
“There is nothing dearer to Allah during the days of Qurbaani than the sacrificing of animals. The sacrificed animal shall come on the Day of Judgement with its horn, hair, and hooves (to be weighed). The sacrifice is accepted by Allah before the blood reaches the ground. Therefore sacrifice with an open and happy heart.”
Tirmizi V1 pp275, Ibne Maajah V1 pp226
May Allah ta’aalaa bless us with spiritual gains and His Pleasure in these blessed moments. Aameen.
Source: Central Mosque