Tag Archives: Islam

A Guide For Intending Pilgrims

NIYYAH

1. The person who intends to perform Hajj must do so with the express niyyah of attaining Allah’s Pleasure, and to fulfil one’s fardh, and also to diligently carry out the Commands of Allah and His Rasool sallallahu alayhi wasallam. The rewards for deeds depend greatly on the niyyah that is formed. Sincerity is extremely important.

2. The ‘ibaadah of Hajj has the exclusive status of being fardh only once a lifetime, for those who can afford it. It is therefore important that the sincerity of intention must be given due regard. In other ‘ibaadaat and devotions it is possible to gradually develop ikhlaas, whereas the time available for Hajj is usually limited. The need for ikhlaas is vital because a fardh Hajj can never be repeated. During your journey to Hajj a concerted effort towards developing this all important sincerity must be made.

3. It is important that Hajj should be kept free of ulterior and worldly motives. Joining worldly objectives with religious aims is like adding water to milk. There are three types of adulteration which are possible in the performance of Hajj; To ruin the Hajj even before departing from home by having a desire to be called a haji, and using haraam or doubtful earnings for this ‘ibaadah. To engage in improper acts while performing Hajj e.g. to commit sins during the time that one is engaged in the performance of Hajj, to have arguments, not to make tawbah (repentance). To complete the Hajj and then to indulge in such deeds that defile the Hajj, e.g. to neglect the fardh salaat, to indulge in sin etc. Perform the Hajj with all its aadaab and requisites, for anything done in keeping with this is well accomplished.

4. While in Hajj do not do things to display to others. Do not announce your Hajj to all and sundry. (To avoid riyaa which is to show off and act to gain fame). On returning from Hajj do not emphasize the difficulties which may have been endured, instead turn your attention towards the eternal benefits and rewards you will receive. One must understand that the difficulties endured during this sacred journey are insignificant compared to the high position one will receive in jannah.

TAWBAH

5. Before beginning one’s journey repent sincerely. Perform two rakaats nafl with the niyyah of tawbah. The effect of sincerely repenting and then proceeding for hajj will be, that one will be favoured by Allah Ta‘ala and blessed with the strength to continually do good deeds.

6. Develop a relationship with the pious person for guidance. This will assist you in making a true and sincere tawbah.

FULFILMENT OF DEBT

7. If you have monetary debt or are responsible for any moral transgression, then fulfil your debt or have it waived, and have your moral violations forgiven. It is important that one settles all outstanding matters and transactions, and has his faults and shortcomings forgiven.

8. All amaanaat (trusts) and anything borrowed must be returned. A detailed and final will must be made regarding all important matters.

EDUCATION

9. It is compulsory for a person who wishes to perform Hajj to learn the necessary masaail well before the time of Hajj. When a firm intention is made then first learn the necessary masaail, or acquire these from a reliable and recognized aalim (scholar).

DEPARTURE

10. Depart with happiness from home. A Hajj which is performed with a feeling of love and keenness is conducive to religious upliftment. Inconvenience during travel should not hamper this love and keenness.

11. Perform two rakaats nafl before departing. Take care that this salaat is not performed during the makrooh times. Give some sadaqah to the poor before leaving home and also after commencing your journey.

12. Ask your near and dear ones, neighbours and friends to overlook and forgive your shortcomings. Make a request for their du‘aa. Make musafahah (shake hands) using both hands when leaving. Do not make musafahah with non-mahrams (those of the opposite sex whom you can marry).

13. Be at your best behaviour amongst your companions. Assist them in their needs. The person who helps his companions on this journey will be regarded as a mujaahid (one who strives to uplift Islaam).

IBAADAH
Salaat, Du‘aa, Tawaaf and Tilaawat

14. Take great care and be punctual in the performance of all salaat with jama‘at whilst visiting the sacred places. Do not delay any salaat at all.

15. After every salaat beseech from Allah ta‘aalaa that He grant you a mabroor Hajj (one that is accepted and free from sin). A Hajj which is full of Allah ta‘aalaa’s Blessings and Favours.

16. A haji is fortunate in being present at the various sacred places where du‘aa are assured acceptance. Therefore repeatedly ask Allah ta‘aalaa for your needs of this world and the Hereafter. Your du‘aa must be appropriate and made with respect and humbleness. Do not ask for meaningless and unrighteous things.

17. There are three persons whose du‘aa are assured acceptance; the oppressed, the traveller and the father’s du‘aa for his son, (meaning children).

18. The qadhaa (fulfilment in arrears) of ‘ibaadaat which are owing to Allah ta‘aalaa should be correctly fulfilled or compensated.

19. The reward for one salaat in the Masjidul Haraam (Makkah) is 100,000 fold (with jama‘at 2,700,000). The reward for salaat in the Masjidun Nabawi (Madeenah) is 50,000 fold. Each good deed done in Makkah is equivalent in reward to 100,000 good deeds done elsewhere.

20. Whenever entering either of the two masjid or any other masjid, form a niyyah for nafl i‘tikaaf.

21. Your stay in the Masjidul Haraam and Masjidun Nabawi must be with utmost dignity and honour.

22. Perform as many tawaaf, umrah and nafl salaat as you can and make du‘aa that the thawaab (reward) of this be presented to Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam.

23. Complete the Qur’aan at least once in each of the two Holy Masjid, i.e. Makkah and Madeenah.

24. Perform nafl salaat with the niyyah of expressing one’s gratitude to Allah ta‘aalaa.

MAKKAH MUKARRAMAH

25. During your stay in Makkah abundantly increase your recital of the Kalimah Tayyibah: Laa’ilaha il lal’lahu·, and istighfar: ‘Astaghfirullah·.

26. If you desire, give an excellent gift to your near dear ones, friends who are living, and especially those who have passed away. The gift of the rewards of tawaaf and umrah will please their souls very much. There will be no reduction from your own reward for these acts.

27. Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam has said that the water of Zamzam will have the desired effect of whatever intention is made at the time of drinking Zamzam. Zamzam should be drunk with the intention of quenching the thirst of the Day of Qiyaamah (resurrection). It should also be taken with the intention of shifaa (cure) from spiritual and physical ailments. It is commendable to drink Zamzam with the niyyah of being granted the tawfeeq of conforming to the sunnah of our beloved Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam.

MADEENAH MUNAWWARAH

28. It is stated in hadeeth:  (i) “Whoever comes with the sole intention of visiting my grave, my intercession will become incumbent for that person”. (ii) “Whoever visits my grave after my death is like the one who has visited me during my lifetime”.

29. Recite durood (salutations) in abundance on Rasoolullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam, on beginning your journey to and from Madeenah Munawwarah, and during your stay there.

30. To hurt or cause inconvenience to any Muslim and especially the people of Madeenah Munawwarah is a great sin.

GENERAL

31. Choose an able pious companion who will assist you in times of need, and it is better if this companion is a reliable recognized aalim (scholar).

32. Regard the time in Hajj as a blessing. One never knows when one may be favoured with this good fortune again.

33. Since your stay there is a short one, you should value every moment there. Do not waste your time roaming in the bazaars and do not indulge in meaningless things and idle talk.

34. Do not allow your attention to drift towards the decoration and splendour of the buildings, nor indulge in humour and ridicule.

35. One must be extremely cautious with regard to the etiquette of these sacred places. Any disrespect in this regard will be a cause for retribution.

36. Do not criticize the conditions and people there. After all, the local residents are human and are prone to faults just as we are. When noticing the shortcomings of others, special attention must immediately be drawn to one’s own faults and weak points.

37. One must make a concentrated effort to avoid sin, especially casting passionate glances at female who are present at Hajj. One must keep one’s gaze lowered when women gather for tawaaf and salaat-u-salaam.

38. Hadhrat ‘Umar radhiyallahu anhu said, “For me to commit a sin in Makkah is worse than committing seventy sins outside Makkah”. Just as the rewards of good deeds are multiplied in Makkah, so too is the retribution of misconduct multiplied.

39. One must show consideration and take care that one does not trouble or inconvenience those who are present for Hajj and ziyaarah.

40. One must not deceive or trick others in buying or selling. To swindle or cheat the residents of Makkah or Madeenah would result in one’s own destruction. One must be extremely cautious in this regard. Transactions must be carried out with honesty.

Source: Islamic Da’wah Academy

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Free Minutes

Its been a while since I have posted anything written up by myself but unfortunately with study, family and work there just seems to be little time to sit down and think.  Anyway, I started this post a long time ago but never got around to completing and publishing it.  I will share the post as it is with a few amendments to it here and there in the hope that I, and yourselves can benefit from it.

Whilst I was at University a few years ago, there was a mobile contract ‘everyday 50’ where 50 free mins off peak daily were given.  Off peak time would start (7pm) and the network would jam up and in some cases you would have problems trying to dial out.  Everyone would so keenly utilise these free minutes they had to the point the network.

Thinking about life, each day we are given ‘free minutes’, but do we utilise these minutes as religiously as we might use the free minutes we get on our mobile?  Do we also show as much determination to perform our salah on time?  Networks might jam up at peak times but unfortunately the Masjids are empty at congregational prayer times.

After the 50 free mins are used up, calls were charged at 1p a min.  In our mind a quick cost benefit analysis and we would make calls even at this rate because the pleasure or benefit we get is deemed greater than the cost.  Sadly we dont have this mentality when it comes performing a’amaal and Ibadaat.

We have been awarded additional voluntary prayers during the course of our day, but do we take stock to reflect on the benefits and rewards we would get for performing them?  Or do we pretend and inflate the cost of our time and pursue worthless and worldly pursuits instead?  Do we even really have to be ‘sold’ in order to perform good deeds instead of doing them for the love of Allah and His messenger?

These days free text messages are also given away as part of mobile phone tariffs.  This allows us to keep in touch with friends/ colleagues easily and within a few seconds we can communicate a message across the globe.

Do we take a few seconds out during our day to send a message to Allah or His Rasul (peace and blessings upon him) in the form of dhikr or Durood?  All one needs to do is say Allahu Akbar or Sallahu alayhi wasallam to complete the task.

Lastly, we would be ashamed if we paid money for the mobile contracts and tariffs we have and we never used the free minutes and texts we got wisely.  Why then don’t we feel ashamed of the free minutes in life that we have been given but we waste them in idle pastimes and pursuits.

May Allah Almighty give us the ability to make good use of our time, ameen.

Please remember me, my family and teachers in your du’as.

Wasalam

originally posted Mar 18th, 2010

Maulana Qasim Nanotwi

(1248AH – 1297AH) (1852AD – 1901AD)

Hadhrat Maulana’s background and education

Hadhrat Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi) was born in 1248 AH (1852 AD) and passed away at a young age of 49 in 1297 AH (1901 AD). The name of Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi) seems older than his life due to his prominence. In reality, this is barakah that Allah Ta’ala had granted him in his life.

Hadhrat Maulana Qasim Nanotwi’s title was Hujjatul Islam (the proof of Islam). Generally this title is given to such a person who has such great qualities that if such a person was a Muslim and practiced upon Islam, this itself is a proof that Islam is the true religion. Hadhrat Maulana Qasim Nanotwi’s ancestral background reaches up to Abu Bakr Siddique (Radiyallahu anhu). Therefore, he is known as Siddiqi.

Hadhrat Maulana acquired his knowledge at a very young age and he was known to be very brilliant. He traveled to Delhi with Hadhrat Maulana Mamlook Ali Sahib (Rahmatullah Alayhi) who was a very great Alim of that time. Previously we discussed that Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki Sahib (Rahmatullah Alayhi) also benefited from Hadhrat Maulana Mamlook Ali (Rahmatullah Alayhi).

Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi) acquired his education in all fields Sarf, Nahwa, Tafseer, etc. from Hadhrat Maulana Mamlook Ali (Rahmatullah Alayhi) but acquired Hadith from Shah Abdul Ghani Muhaddith Delwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi). Maulana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (Rahmatullah Alayhi) was with him in acquiring Hadith from Shah Abdul Ghani (Rahmatullah Alayhi).

Some dreams of Hadhrat Maulana
Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi) used to see many pious dreams. Once he saw a dream that he was sitting on top of the Kabah Shareef and many streams were flowing from his hands to many parts of the world. He related this dream to his Ustadh Hadhrat Maulana Mamlook Ali (Rahmatullah Alayhi) who interpreted the dream that the world will benefit from the knowledge of Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi).

Hadhrat Maulana founded Darul Uloom Deoband and the branches of Darul Uloom Deoband are spread throughout the different parts of the world. Once he also saw a dream that he was sitting above the Kabah Shareef and facing towards Baghdad. There was a stream flowing from there, which touched his feet. The dream was interpreted that the Hanafi Madhhab would spread through Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi). Imam Abu Hanifa (Rahmatullah Alayhi) was from Baghdad and the Hanafi Madhhab was established from there.

Hadhrat Maulana�s knowledge
Hadhrat Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi) had taken bay’at on the hands of Hadhrat Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki (Rahmatullah Alayhi). Hadhrat Maulana Qasim Nanotwi’s Uloom was very deep. Maulana Yaqub Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi) who was the first Ustadh of Darul Uloom Deoband and a great Muhaddith said that he read Aab-e-Hayat of Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi) six times and has understood some of it.

One can imagine what depth of Uloom and what insight was in that kitab. Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi) says that Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi) wrote such kitabs that if his name was not written on those kitabs, and if it was translated into Arabic then the Arab Ulama would have thought that Imam Razi (Rahmatullah Alayhi) or Imam Ghazali (Rahmatullah Alayhi) wrote those kitabs.

Imam Razi and Imam Ghazali (Rahmatullah Alayhi) were great thinkers and philosophers of their times. Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi’s depth of Uloom is also well known. He says, “I read the books of Maulana Qasim Nanotwi RA and I don’t understand them.” He says, “Somebody has to put a lot of pressure on one’s mind to understand some of what Maulana Qasim meant but I didn’t have the habit to put pressure on my mind to understand it. So I consoled myself by saying that there are other simple kitabs and I acquired my knowledge from there.”

Hadhrat Maulana Qasim (Rahmatullah Alayhi) used to work in the library of Hadhrat Maulana Ahmad Ali Saharanpuri (Rahmatullah Alayhi) and make tasheeh (correction) of kitabs. He always had this inclination towards kitabs and anything to do with academics. Hadhrat Maulana memorized the Quran late in life in two Ramadhans. Effectively in two months. In the following Ramadhan he would perform one and a quarter juz and the listener would think that he is an old Hafiz.

Debating skills of Hadhrat Maulana
Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi) was a great debater and very witty. The British sent many Christian missionaries to India to propagate Christianity. They were proud that they have sent the world’s best missionaries to India to propagate Christianity. One person arranged a debate and called all the Ulama. He also called Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi). The Hindus were also invited but they did not participate because this was a debate between the Islam and Christianity. They were there as observers.

Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi) presented such a powerful speech in substantiation of Islam against Christianity that the Christian Missionaries who were regarded to be world-renowned missionaries were severely defeated. They stated that they have gone to so many debates and conferences and they haven’t heard the like of Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi). Some Hindu pundits also started debates with Muslims. They felt that if Christian missionaries can debate with the Muslims then we too could debate with Muslims. One pundit arranged a debate. When this pundit heard that Maulana Qasim Nanotwi was going to address this debate, he fled.

Humility of Hadhrat Maulana
Hadhrat Maulana was very simple. If someone were to look at him they would have thought that he was a villager. The British were also misled because of Maulana’s simplicity. When a warrant of arrest was issued by the British against Hadhrat Maulana, they were looking for a person who would be well dressed. They saw a person with simple clothing and thought that he was a villager.

Maulana wouldn’t make imaamat and he always preferred to be a muqtadi and follow the Imam. He also wouldn’t even give talks, but because of the need of the time he used to go and join the debates. He was so humble that once he said, “I am disgraced among the Sufis.” My understanding of this is, what a Sufi is supposed to be, he stated, “I did not live up to the expectation of the Sufis, or to the expectations of the people about the Sufis.” He also mentioned, “I have a stain of being a Molvi on myself.” He further mentions, “Had it not been for the stain of being a Molvi, even the sand wouldn’t have known of Qasim Nanotwi.”

When there is a fruit tree and the branch is laden with fruits then it goes more down. When a branch is laden with fruits and because of the heaviness of the fruits, the branch also lowers itself. If Hadhrat Maulana perceived some pride in some student then he would make that particular student pick somebody else’s shoes to make the student’s Islah. But at the same time if he saw humbleness in any student, then Hadhrat Maulana Qasim Nanotwi himself would pick up the shoes of that particular student. Who would do that today?

Demise of Hadhrat Maulana
Hadhrat Maulana passed away in Deoband at the young age of 49. May Allah Ta’ala put Noor in the Qabr of Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi) and may Allah Ta’ala give us the benefit and roohaaniyat of Maulana Qasim Nanotwi (Rahmatullah Alayhi) and grant him a great reward for establishing Darul Uloom Deoband and spreading Uloom in the different parts of the world. (Ameen)

Source: The Truth

The Internal Dimensions of Hajj

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.

Become angelic
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.

Beginning Talbiyah
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
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
‘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
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.

Tawaf al-Ifadah
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.

The farewell
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.

Source: www.duai.co.za

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Worldly Deception

Observe how the life of this world deceives those around you. It lures them into the traps of vanity, wealth, and fame, and exalts them above others. This splendor blinds them, and they are lost forever in illusion. But then in one instant, life deals the blow of death, and all is gone, and with the Beguiler it stands laughing at their sad end. So overcome your egos that you may be saved from the snares that devoured kings and paupers alike.

(Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jillani)

The fruits of Honesty

An emperor in the Far East was growing old and knew it was time to choose his successor. Instead of choosing one of his assistants or his children, he decided something different. He called young people in the kingdom together one day. He said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next emperor. I have decided to choose one of you.”

The kids were shocked! But the emperor continued. “I am going to give each one of you a seed today. One very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from this one seed. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next emperor!”

One boy named Ling was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly told his mother the story. She helped him get a pot and planting soil, and he planted the seed and watered it carefully. Every day he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other youths began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.

Ling kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, 4 weeks, 5 weeks went by. Still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants but Ling didn’t have a plant, and he felt like a failure. Six months went by–still nothing in Ling’s pot. He just knew he had killed his seed.

Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Ling didn’t say anything to his friends, however. He just kept waiting for his seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the youths of the kingdom brought their plants to the emperor for inspection. Ling told his mother that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But honest about what happened, Ling felt sick to his stomach, but he knew his mother was right. He took his empty pot to the palace. When Ling arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other youths. They were beautiful–in all shapes and sizes. Ling put his empty pot on the floor and many of the other kinds laughed at him. A few felt sorry for him and just said, “Hey nice try.”

When the emperor arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted the young people. Ling just tried to hide in the back. “My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown,” said the emperor. “Today, one of you will be appointed the next emperor!” All of a sudden, the emperor spotted Ling at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered his guards to bring him to the front. Ling was terrified. “The emperor knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me killed!”

When Ling got to the front, the Emperor asked his name. “My name is Ling,” he replied. All the kids were laughing and making fun of him. The emperor asked everyone to quiet down. He looked at Ling, and then announced to the crowd, “Behold your new emperor! His name is Ling!” Ling couldn’t believe it. Ling couldn’t even grow his seed. How could he be the new emperor? Then the emperor said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone here a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds which would not grow. All of you, except Ling, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Ling was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new emperor!”

If you plant honesty, You will reap trust
If you plant goodness, You will reap friends
If you plant humility, You will reap greatness
If you plant perseverance, You will reap victory
If you plant consideration, You will reap harmony
If you plant hard work, You will reap success
If you plant forgiveness, You will reap reconciliation
If you plant openness, You will reap intimacy
If you plant patience, You will reap improvements
If you plant faith, You will reap miracles
But
If you plant dishonesty, You will reap distrust
If you plant selfishness, You will reap loneliness
If you plant pride, You will reap destruction
If you plant envy, You will reap trouble
If you plant laziness, You will reap stagnation
If you plant bitterness, You will reap isolation
If you plant greed, You will reap loss
If you plant gossip, You will reap enemies
If you plant worries, You will reap wrinkles
If you plant sin, You will reap guilt

So be careful what you plant now, It will determine what you will reap tomorrow,The seeds you now scatter, Will make life worse or better,your life or the ones who will come after. Yes, someday, you will enjoy the fruits,Or you will pay for the choices you plant today.

The Lonely Ember

A Musalli of a certain Masjid, who previously had been attending salaah in congregation regularly, stopped going.� After a few weeks, the Imaam decided to visit him. It was a chilly evening. The Imaam found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for the Imaam’s visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a big chair near the fireplace and waited. The Imaam made himself comfortable but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the play of the flames around the burning logs.

After some minutes, the Imaam took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone. Then he sat back in his chair, still silent. The host watched all this in quiet fascination. As the one lone ember’s flame diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and “dead as a doornail.” Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting.

Just before the Imaam was ready to leave, he picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.

As the Imaam reached the door to leave, his host said, “May Allah reward you so much for your visit and especially for the “fiery” sermon. I shall be back for salaah in the Masjid at Fajr.”
Invite (all) to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and reason with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for your Lord knows best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance. (Qur’an Surah An-Nahl: 125)

Sayyidina Abdullah bin Umar(R.A.) reported that Rasullullah(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) has said that Allah created some of his creatures in order that they may fulfil the needs of people. When people face any difficulty they get worried and (enquire about them). Such people are protected from the punishment of Allah. (Tabaraani, Jama’al Fawa’id)
Adapted and edited by Al-Islaah Publications (www.everymuslim.com)

Success of a farmer

There was a farmer who grew superior quality, award-winning corn in his farm. Each year, he entered his corn in the state fair where it won honors and prizes.

One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew his corn. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbours.

“How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbours when they are entering corn in the competition with yours each year?” The reporter asked. “Why bother ? ”

The farmer replied, “Didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen grains from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbours grow inferior, sub-standard and poor quality corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I have to grow good corn, I must help my neighbours to grow good corn too.”

The farmer gave a superb insight into the connectedness of life. His corn cannot improve unless his neighbours’ corn also improves. So it is in the other dimensions and areas of life!

Those who choose to be in harmony must help their neighbours and colleagues to be at peace. Those who choose to live well must help others live well too. The value of a life is measured by the lives it touches…

Success does not happen in isolation; it is most often a participatory and collective process. So share the good practices, ideas and new knowledge with your family, friends, team members and neighbours and all. As they say: “Success breeds Success.”
Author unknown

Abdullah ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: �The best friend in the Sight of Allah is he who is the well-wisher of his companions, and the best neighbour is one who behaves best towards his neighbours.� (Tirmidhi)