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Yawm At-Tarwiyah and Yawm Al-Arafah

Go on ahead, open any Hijri Calendar, and look at the label if tagged for 8th Dhul Hijjah. In several calendars 8th Dhul Hijjah is tagged as the beginning of Hajj. Now, this may appear confusing to the masses who consider 1st of Dhul Hijjah as the beginning of Hajj. Nevertheless, it should be understood that the actual rites of hajj begins from the 8th day also dubbed as Yawm At- Tarwiyah

In times of old, the 8th day Of Dhul Hijjah was the day people would quench their thirst with water in preparation for Arafah as there was no water there at that time, hence the nomenclature Yawm At- Tarwiyah.

The rituals of the eighth day:

  • The pilgrim performing Hajj Tamattu’ bathes and then enters the state of Ihraam for Hajj saying, “Labbayka Allaahumma Hajjan” (I am here at your service O Allaah for Hajj) and follows all the steps for assuming Ihraam as explained in the article “Ihram”
  • A pilgrim performing Tamattu’ may assume Ihraam from the place where he stays, whether in Makkah or any place outside Makkah, but he should not perform Tawaf after assuming Ihraam for Hajj (as it has been already performed during Ihraam for Umrah).
  • As for the ones performing Hajj Ifraad or Qiraan they remain upon their Ihraam if they had assumed it before the 8th
  • Once a pilgrim assumes Ihraam for Hajj, he should then preoccupy himself with chanting talbiyah and continually repeating it every now and then, raising his voice with it until he stones Jamratul- Aqabah on the Day of the Feast of Sacrifice (on the tenth of Dhul-Hijjah).
  • On this day (8th day of Dhul Hijjah) the pilgrims should head for Mina
  • The optimum time for moving is after the sun has reached its meridian.
  • Then, they perform the Zuhr (Noon) Prayer there, at Mina, staying there until they perform the rest of the five daily prayers including the Fajr (Dawn) Prayer of the following day (the ninth of Dhul Hijjah). The pilgrims shorten the prayers but do not join them. Jâbir (may Allaah be pleased with him) narrated:

‘… The Prophet (Peace and Blessings Of Allaah Be Upon Him) rode his mount (heading for Mina) and performed there the Zuhr, the Asr (Afternoon), the Maghrib (Sunset), the Isha (Night), and the Fajr (Dawn) Prayers. Then, he (Peace and Blessings of Allaah Be upon Him) stayed there for a while until the sun rose.”

With this we conclude the rituals of the day of Tarwiyah

After sunrise the next day, the 9th Dhul-Hijjah, the pilgrim leaves Mina and proceeds to the large area known as Arafah whilst continually reciting the Talbiyah.

Staying at Arafah is one of the obligatory fundamental rituals of Hajj, and ¡t is the most important and the greatest one as well for the Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allaah Be upon Him) said:

Hajj is Arafah (i.e. staying at Arafah is the most important ritual of Hajj).

Dear readers, you have exerted effort to reach Arafah and it has now neared. Doesn’t it require some special preparation?

These are some ways to prepare for it; so let’s start with our check list!!

I do recommend you to read http://aateam.org/blog/the-day-of-arafah/ to enlighten yourself about this auspicious day.

Now to the rulings and rituals of this day:

Rituals of the day of Arafah

  1. On the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah and after sunrise, a pilgrim proceeds to Arafah;
    The whole area of Arafah is a standing place except for the valley called Batn ‘Uranah. Thus, it is sufficient for a pilgrim to stand anywhere on that day within the boundaries of Arafah, excluding the place pointed out by the Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allaah be Upon Him), namely Batn ‘Uranah.
    The boundaries of Arafah are clearly distinguished by means of signs, so standing anywhere within these boundaries will be regarded as standing at Arafah. Still, a pilgrim has to pay attention to these signs in order not to stand outside Arafah.
  2. If possible, he stops at Masjid Namirah (some part of the masjid namirah lies within the arafah whereas a part of it lies outside the arafah, so make sure of where you stand after you finish your prayer) until the time of Zuhr and listens to the Sermon that is delivered there if he can do so. If he cannot do it, it does not matter because staying in Namirah is Sunnah but it is not obligatory
  3. When the sun passes its meridian, a pilgrim performs the Zuhr (Noon) and the Asr (Afternoon) Prayers, shortening and combining them at the due time of the Zuhr Prayer (i.e. performing each as two rak’ahs instead of four) with one prayer call (adhan) and two immediate prayer calls (iqamahs).
    And he who is not able to pray along with the Imaam, then he prays in the same way on his own, or with those in a similar situation around him.
    If a person prays in his tent in a calm and dignified manner, without being disturbed or disturbing others, and without trouble that makes Hajj too hard, that is better.

    We should know that a pilgrim shortens every four-rak’ah prayer (i.e. performs it as two rak‘ahs) at Arafah, Muzdalifah, and Mina. However, at Arafah and Muzdalifah the prayers are to be shortened and combined whereas they are only shortened at Mina, i.e. performing each prayer at its due time for there is no need for combining them at Mina.

  4. After praying, the pilgrim should spend the rest of the day remembering, invoking, glorifying, and praising Allaah, seeking His forgiveness, and so on and so forth. If he is able to, he stands upon the rocks beneath the Mountain on which the Prophet stood and if not then all of Arafah is a place of standing, and supplication. In other words, a pilgrim does not have to go to this Mountain, or to watch it, or even to face it, while performing such supplications, standing anywhere at Arafah while facing the direction of the Kabah is sufficient.]
  5. A pilgrim should spare no effort supplicating Allaah and turning to Him in repentance on such a glorious day, whether he is walking, sitting, riding, standing, or even lying down.
  6. He should also choose the most comprehensive supplications that were reported to have been observed by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), for he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

The best supplication is the one on the Day of Arafah, and the best thing which I and the prophets before me have said is:
There is no deity but Allaah Alone, Who has no partner. To Him belongs dominion, and to Him belongs (all) praise, and He is over all things Omnipotent.

لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لاَ شَرِيكَ لَهُ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

  1. A pilgrim keeps supplicating to Allaah at Arafah until sunset.
    It is impermissible to leave before sunset, and if a pilgrim does, he must go back soon before sunset, to witness it there.
    However, if a pilgrim leaves Arafah before sunset and does not go back, he is then obliged to slaughter a sheep of Hajj (or to get one seventh of a camel or a cow) and divide ¡t among the poor residents of the Sanctuary of Makkah in expiation for missing an obligatory ritual of Hajj.
  2. The Day of Arafah starts from the noon of the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah until the dawn of the tenth of Dhul-Hijjah (the Day of the Feast of Sacrifice) according to the sound opinion in this regard. As for a pilgrim who is present at Arafah at daytime, he is obliged to stay there until sunset as we previously said. But if someone arrives at Arafah at night, it is sufficient for him to stay there for any length of time, even if for only one moment, as the Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allaah be Upon Him) said:

“If anyone gets (i.e. stays at) Arafah before the dawn (of the tenth of Dhul-Hijjah) breaks, then he has performed Hajj.”

  1. Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “It was the Prophet’s way to eat (not fast) on the day of Arafah at Arafah due to the Hadith narrated by Um Al-Fadl:

The people doubted whether Allah’s Messenger (Peace and Blessings of Allaah be Upon Him) was fasting or the Day of `Arafat or not. So I sent a cup containing milk to him and he drank it.

Ataa’, (may Allaah have mercy on him), said: The one who eats (doesn’t fast) on the day of Arafah in order to strengthen himself to invoke Allaah will have the same reward as the one who fasts

Dear readers before I conclude do remember the Prophetic saying:

“There is no day on which Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, frees more of his slaves, male and female, from the fire, Fire than the day of Arafah, and He verily draws near then boasts of them before the angels, saying: ‘What do these people want?’

So, take advantage of this time. Cleanse your mind of distractions and plead to Allaah that you may avail the time of this day, this day truly brings justice to the phrase “golden opportunity”

And remember to be humble, show insufficiency and dependence on Allaah, remember how humble the Prophets were and invoke from your heart with sincerity to your Rabb

Shahadah-Now What?

“There is really nothing more to say-except why. But since why is difficult to handle, one must take refuge in how.” Toni Morrison

The Bible was my friend. The pocket sized edition, with its black cover and gold lettering, fit snugly into my bag. Thumbing through its thin pages, a crinkling sound reverberated, like a gentle whisper, echoing words of guidance and comfort. Outside, the leaves rustled in the wind, marking the changing seasons. By the time I took my Shahada, the leaves had begun to fall, bright green giving way to different shades of amber. Summertime was over and the altering light reflected my changing heart. The old knowledge of revelation, born in the summertime of my youth, had started to die away. As the leaves gently fell to the ground, so did everything I held dear in my heart.  Strewn across the courtyard of life, all that I had been taught to believe about God, was laid bare, scattered in the wind.  I desperately chased those leaves of knowledge, but they crumbled in my hands. I needed something to hold onto, but everything I reached for just slipped away from me. I thought that once I became a Muslim, things would fall into place. The journey would be complete, the right road found. How foolish I was!

My friend, my Bible, lay abandoned, crying out for my touch. The comfort of the familiarity of its ebb and flow, words that once soothed me like a mother’s touch, now stung me. I did not know what I could trust from the Bible. I had always instinctively questioned some of its inconsistencies and contradiction. Yet, at the same time found solace in its pages. Did being a Muslim mean I must turn my back on the Bible? But what then, could I believe. For the first time in my life I felt utterly and truly ignorant.

A sense of joy mingled with overwhelming dread marked those early days after I accepted Islam. Like a child in a giant candy store I wanted to devour everything I could find regarding Islam but I soon became sick with doubt. Not doubt about Islam, and its truth, but doubt about whether or not I was referencing authentic knowledge. I hadn’t yet heard about the different sects Alhamduliah (All Praise to God). I don’t think I could have handled that knowledge at that time. I knew from my days as a Christian that there were many different interpretations and opinions, of Scripture. And I had grown up with a confidence instilled in me by my grandmother that her version of Christianity was the correct one.  I had no grandmother to guide me down this journey of discovery. But what I didn’t completely grasp until much later is that Allah guides hearts to the truth. Even as I cried out to Him for guidance, my stubborn, willful, independent heart felt it could do all the guiding, Astagfirullah (I seek forgiveness of Allah). I relied too heavily on myself, and not enough on Allah.

“Say: Indeed the only guidance is Allah’s Guidance!” (Al-An’am 06:71)

As I resisted surrendering my heart completely to Allah, and being captive in His servitude; the most significant test of my life, up until then, was beginning to manifest itself and I was too foolish to understand. Storm clouds were gathering in the distance but I was blinded by the sunlight, I couldn’t see what was ahead.

Why has always been the question that governed much of my internal thought processes. Why should I pray 5 times a day? Why the Prophet (ﷺ)? What made him special? Why should I believe in Hadith? What exactly was Hadith!?!  Why should I pray in Arabic? God knows I don’t understand Arabic!  Why should I wear a hijab? What is hijab? Why, why, so many whys! I laugh now at my own questioning, but these were serious questions that I contemplated for a long time. The whys were like a gushing river ready to burst its banks.  And to keep myself from drowning in the sea of knowledge, I decided to focus less on the why and more on the how.  In retrospect this was utter madness, but it made perfect sense at the time. It was a way of escaping the discomfort I felt by not understanding. Islam came not only with vastly different knowledge for me but with a set of vocabulary words I just couldn’t grasp. I felt stupid. And although I’ve never been afraid to ask questions and say I don’t know or understand, I was surprised by my own inability to remember the new vocabulary words. Those who know me will describe my memory like that of an elephant. And here I was unable to remember words like, Alhamdulillah, salah, Rasoolullah (ﷺ), let alone their meaning. My Muslim friends, hurled words at me that I just dodged for fear of seeming ignorant. These words were all foreign to me, and I felt like my knowledge of Islam would never compare to my knowledge of Christianity.  I could easily flip to a scripture in the Bible, but I had no clue what the Quran had to say. So, I abandoned the why for the how, and the raging storm, settled.  Silly, silly girl!

Naturally, I started my quest for information on how to perform the rituals of Islam in the library. I had and still have a deep distrust of internet sources, and as a trained academic, authenticity is paramount. Standing in the new public library nestled on the Eastern dock in the center of Amsterdam, I caught a glimpse of the sun setting through the bay windows, and felt a strange feeling of distrust slowly creep up inside of me.  Surely, I must be in the wrong section I thought, there must be more books than this.  In the largest public library in the Netherlands all I could find were a handful of books regarding Islam and even fewer written by a Muslim.  These books focused on a critical look at Islam and offered little to no real authentic knowledge about the religion. I felt my heart sinking into my stomach. What was I going to do? A darkness enveloped me, and the light of knowledge that until then had lit my path of life, went out.

I would ask Mohammad. I was blessed to work in a company that had many Muslims.  And Mohammad was highly respected for his knowledge of Islam and his practice of the deen (religion). The first question I recall asking Mohammad was about how to pray.  I had bought a little book on how to pray from an Islamic bookstore and it left me confused. First, the unit of prayers called rakahs explained using words I didn’t understand such as, sujood, niyyah, wudu, and even the word rakah confused me. The book was written for children but clearly expected the reader to have knowledge of these words, which I most certainly did not. Then I stumbled on something I definitely could not accept, it left a discomfort inside of me that was my hearts way of letting me know this was inauthentic knowledge. It taught a different way to pray for women. I tried to follow the instructions, feeling as someone new to Islam that it must be correct, even though my better judgement told me otherwise. Why would Allah order men and women to pray differently? This just didn’t make any sense to me. And as I prayed according to the books instructions I felt myself more distanced from God, my Creator.

“Mohammad,” I said shyly. I was afraid he might laugh at me or judge me for the question I was about to ask him. “Can you teach me how to pray?”

Mohammad smiled and said, “The Prophet (ﷺ), said “pray as you have seen me praying.”

“How do you know what the Prophet said, peace be upon him?” And why do we say, peace be upon him or what it is you said in Arabic?”

Mohammad smiled again, that smile would become very familiar and explained to me about Hadith, recorded sayings of the Prophet (ﷺ).  He guided me to sunnah.com and advised me to always verify the authenticity of a Hadith and that I could do so using this website. Here were two more words I didn’t understand fully, Sunnah and Hadith but for now I just chose to ignore them.

“There are some Muslims who believe that men and women should pray differently, but the Prophet (ﷺ) did not teach us this. The only difference between men and women is that women are not permitted to pray when they are menstruating, this is as a mercy from Allah. I will email you a book to read, it’s one of the best I’ve read in English on prayer,” Mohammad said.

The book he recommended was, The Prophet’s Prayer from the Beginning to the End as Though You See It.  I began to read the book with great enthusiasm, which quickly died out, due to a myriad of vocabulary words I didn’t understand. Of course, I looked them up, but I lost my desire to finish reading the book. It was all too much for me, I was emotionally overwhelmed. But one question had been answered and that was that men and women should pray the same. So that is what I would do.

With my little picture book of instructions on how to pray for children in tow, I started to pray. I read the words in Arabic, of course, mispronouncing every single word, and I struggled to remember to units of prayer and the order, often starting over. The only thing that I never failed to remember was to make the intention to pray.  That was something very new to me and it fascinated me.  The idea of intention, is one that was touched upon in my Christian upbringing, I had often heard the pastor say God looks at your heart. But no one actually went into depth about what intention was, and it certainly wasn’t something that was paramount.  The seeds of intention, and their Islamic meaning, had been planted and like with many matters in my life I would contemplate this idea of intention for a long time, several years in fact. I needed to feel it, live it, have it implanted into my heart, and for this I needed time. Other matters were clouding my mind, like how to pray like a Muslim.

I would lose concentration when I prayed.

“The words don’t mean anything to me Mohammad,” I found myself hovering over Mohammad’s desk hoping he could give me some clarification.  A sad look shot across his face.

“It is because the Arabic words don’t have any meaning to you.  If you understood it would touch you,” Mohammad said.

“They are meaningless to me,” I uttered. “I don’t feel anything.” A deep feeling of shame overtook me. I was praying, barely, I say barely because I made many mistakes, and I felt nothing at all, except frustration. Other than the disconnect with the language, I couldn’t understand why we were meant to pray 5 times daily.  It felt so prescriptive and it made me feel completely disconnected from Allah.

“Why can’t I just talk to God like I did before Mohammad?” I complained after several months of praying on and off.  Often abandoning the prayer out of frustration, and then staying away from the prayer out of guilt.  Satan, or Shaytaan in Arabic is a sly one, never underestimate how he will use everything against you to keep you from worshiping Allah. In my case it was my guilt for not praying and my lack of understanding of the units of prayer and the words I was reciting.

Mohammad laughed, “Why do you think that you are not allowed to talk to God?”

“Well, because salah requires wudu, and then reciting Al Fatihah and another part of the Quran, and that’s it.  Where is there room to talk to God?”

“Islam doesn’t close the doors of communication with Allah, it opens them. You can always talk to Allah, at any moment without having wudu or performing salah. It’s called dua or supplication and it is similar to how you prayed as a Christian.”

I felt a sense of ease wash over me, I wanted to hug Mohammad but he had taught me that it wasn’t appropriate so instead I put my hand on my heart and thanked him. This form of appreciation felt more genuine than a hug.  A symbolic touch of my heart to express my deepest gratitude, Subhana Allah, Glory be to Allah.  It still brings me to tears when I think about all that my first teacher Mohammad taught me. He was gentle, took his time, did not overwhelm me with information, and most of all was kind and respectful when he rebuked me.  He always taught me why certain things were not permitted in Islam, such as hugging the opposite sex.

Mohammad continued with a familiar smile on his face, that f a loving older brother.

“Salat is one of the five pillars of Islam. Do you know the five pillars of Islam?”

“I do but I am not sure how they fit into my life and why they are the five pillars?”

“Isra wa Miraj,” Mohammad said, and as he spoke those words a light illuminated his face and transfixed his eyes.  I was captivated.

“What’s that?”

“The miraculous Night Journey and Ascension.”

Like a child at story time I eagerly awaited for his words to captivate me and I felt my heart skip a beat in anticipation.

“It was the night Jibril (the angel Gabriel), ascended with Rasoolallah (ﷺ),”

“Rasoolallah?”

“The Messenger of God (ﷺ),” whilst in Paradise met the prophets who came before him. Mohammad (ﷺ) saw Adam (peace be upon him) sitting with Aswida (a large number of people) to his left and right. The angel Jibril told the Prophet (ﷺ), that the people to the left are the offspring of Adam (peace be upon him) who are in the Hellfire and when he looks to them he weeps, those to the right are in Paradise and when he looks to them he laughs. Subhana Allaah,” Mohammad paused. His voice became more serious, he told me about how the Prophet (ﷺ) ascended through the different levels of Paradise meeting the different prophets along the way until he reached a place where he heard creaking pens, and there Allah enjoined 50 daily salah on him, upon hearing this Musa (Moses) (peace be upon him) ordered him to go back to Allah and ask for a reduction, because the burden would be too great on his followers. The Prophet (ﷺ) went back to Allah and it was reduced by a half. Again, when he passed by Musa he asked the Prophet (ﷺ) how many prayers had been prescribed and again he ordered him to go back and ask for a reduction. Again, Allah reduced it by half and again Musa told the Prophet (ﷺ) to ask for a reduction, this time Allah made 5 daily prayers obligatory and although Musa told the Prophet (ﷺ) to go back and reduce it he (ﷺ) replied by saying, “I feel shy by asking my Lord now,” and so 5 daily prayers when preformed and accepted are rewarded as if you prayed fifty prayers.”

As I listened to the rest of the story I felt myself overwhelmed with emotion.  Later that night I read the story on sunnah.com and deep from inside of me, as if it were coming from my soul, I felt a sense of truth so powerful, it was as if I could feel the presence of God.  I felt a closeness to Allah, so intimate and pure it weakened me to my very core, that all I could do was cry. Moments, such as this one, are so transcendent that they mark you, in such a way you are left altered, changed somehow.  It is difficult for me to explain, as it is something I feel, it I experienced in pure, unadulterated emotion, void of thought, uncorrupted, and life altering.

I sat for a long time in the dark contemplating the five daily prayers and the prayers that once felt so forced and inauthentic to me because of their prescribed times became a blessing.  I looked up the prayer times and I realized that because of the shifting in time according to daylight hours, we are given a moment to detach from our day, to stop those things keeping us busy and remember our Lord in prayer.  Not only remember Him, but worship Him.  It no longer seemed like a burden but a great blessing.  We, us, you and me, flawed, sinful, imperfect, always stumbling and falling human beings, are given the privilege of worshiping the Almighty Creator of the universe and everything that is in them, five times a day, and more if you choose so. And are rewarded for fifty prayers. How utterly amazing is that! Subhana Allah.

I wish I could say that this realization made it easier for me to connect to the words of the prayer, but sadly it did not.  Do you remember that storm cloud I told you was gathering in the distance? Well, the beginning as with many storms is calm, silent almost, to the point you don’t even know it is approaching. I was caught in the prevailing winds, and my attention was would soon be diverted from contemplating, and performing the obligatory prayers to worldly matters. The lure of the dunya is great, especially when it concerns matters of love.  For now though, I was happily oblivious.

Nour M. Fox

Lowering the Gaze

In the summer heat, when many will strip, and clothes are sparsely worn, the issue of lowering the gaze should be given extra attention. Allah says (the translation of which is),

“And tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and to protect their private parts. That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at prohibited things) and protect their private parts…”

Allah has commanded both men and women, who believe in Him to restrain their glances from looking at that which is prohibited. This does not just apply when one is out in the malls or streets, but also in regards to magazines, books, television, and online.  And also if a non-mahram woman is in your home.

One should be aware that the eyes can commit sin, as the prophet peace be upon him said, “The adultery of the eye is the look,” (Muslim)

Moreover, one will be held accountable in regards to it, as Allah says, “Indeed, the hearing, the sight and the heart – about all those [one] will be questioned.” (Surah Al-Israa, 17:36)

Hence we should be cautious regarding our gazes, and remember that Allah the All-Seeing is well-aware of what we do.

Whilst men should lower their gaze, our sisters should also be mindful that they too have a responsibility of covering up. Allah has commanded us in no uncertain terms to hide our adornments, because Allah knows the nature of men, He created them and created the women also. As such He gave each their obligation.

The First Look:

Many, give the excuse that the first look is permissible, and hence will intentionally look at the opposite gender. Others will hold the first look, believing that as long as they do not blink or turn away, it is permissible. However, this is not permissible as the following hadith explains,

Jareer ibn ‘Abdullah said: “I asked the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon Him) about a sudden, accidental glance at a woman. He commanded me to turn my gaze away.” (Tirmidhi, saheeh hasan)

Commenting on this hadeeth, Al-Mubaarakpoori said: ” ‘Accidental’ means that his gaze fell on a non-mahram woman unintentionally. ‘He commanded me to turn my gaze away’ means that he was not to look a second time, because the first glance was not by choice and would be forgiven, but any further glances would be counted as sin.

Hence, an accidental look is not blameworthy, but if one continues looking it now becomes sinful. Allah knows the nature of people, and hence He pardons the unintentional glance.

Imam An-Nawawi said:

What is meant by a “sudden glance” is when a person’s glance unintentionally falls upon a non-mahram woman. There is no sin on him for the first glance, but he must avert his gaze immediately. If he averts his gaze immediately there is no sin on him, but if he continues looking, then he will be a sinner, because of this hadith, for the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) commanded him.

In another hadith, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon Him) said: “O Ali, do not follow a glance with another, for you will be forgiven for the first, but not for the second.” (Tirmidhi; Saheeh al-Jaami’)

In al-Tuhfah, he said: “The words ‘do not follow a glance with another’ means do not look again after the first glance. ‘You will be forgiven for the first’ means that you will be forgiven if the first glance was unintentional, and ‘but not for the second’ means that because the second glance was by choice, it will be counted against you.”

It is forbidden to look whether it provokes desires or not, because the rule is according to the majority of cases and not the exceptions.  And the same rule applies to a woman looking at a man.

Marriage:

Some, may Allah rectify them, will look at women in the street, and provide the excuse that their intention is for the purpose of marriage. However, this is not permissible. This only opens the door to further evil, as there will come a time, when one will look out of habit, and not for the purpose of marriage. Furthermore, one glance may lead to further harm.

However, to look at a specific woman for the purpose of marriage is permissible. Jabir reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “When any one of you proposes marriage to a woman, if he can look at that which will encourage him to go ahead and marry her, let him do so.” (Abu Dawood and al-Haakim. Hasan, and there is corroborating evidence in the hadeeth of Muhammad ibn Muslimah)

Similarly, Al-Mugheerah ibn Shu’bah said, “I proposed marriage to a woman, and the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘Have you seen her?’ I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Look at her, because it is more fitting that love and compatibility be established between you.’” According to another report: “So he did that, and he married her and mentioned that they got along.” (Ad-Daaraqutni, and Ibn Majah)

However, when looking at a woman for the purpose of marriage, it impermissible to look at her lustfully, or to touch her or to be alone with her, because she is still not a mahram to him.

Imam Ahmad said: “He should look at the face, and he should not look in a lustful manner.”

So, what is the solution to this problem?

  • Know that Allah is watching you
  • Make duaa that Allah helps you
  • Striving to lower the gaze, being persistent and patient no matter how difficult it becomes,

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever seeks to be chaste, Allah will make him chaste, and whoever seeks to be independent of means, Allah will make him independent of means, and whoever strives to be patient, Allah will make him patient…” (Bukhari 1400)

  • Avoid the places where these sins are prevalent. Beaches especially should be avoided. he Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Beware of sitting in the street.” They said, “We have no alternative; that is where we sit and talk.”  He said, “If you insist on sitting there, then give the street its rights.” They said, “What are the rights of the street?” He said, “Lowering the gaze and refraining from causing offence…” (Bukhari 2333 and Muslim 2121)
  • Marriage: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever can afford it, let him get married, for it is more effective in lowering the gaze and in guarding one’s chastity. And whoever cannot afford it, let him fast, for it will be a shield for him.” (Narrated by Bukhari 1806 and Muslim 1400)
  • Fasting, as mentioned in the hadith above
  • Contemplate the magnitude of the sin and the consequences of it. This should be sufficient to put you off.

May Allah aid us in fulfilling His Commands.

Hygiene Inventions

Cleanliness is a part of faith and Islam lays great importance on cleanliness and hygiene. Wudu, using the siwak, etc. are all a part of Islamic practices to keep us clean and tidy. Personal cleanliness and cleanliness of the surrounding is emphasized for example; when we pray, an important condition for Salah, is a clean place. The Muslims knowing the importance of cleanliness have contributed a great deal to the present hygienic practices and objects of the world during the golden age, so let us read about some of them.

  1. Al- Jazari wrote a book called The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices which included robotic wudhu machines, which resembles the current water taps. What you had to do is tap the head to make water pour in eight short spurts, which was enough for one to do Wudhu.
  2. They made soaps by mixing olive oil with al-qali (salt like substance), it was boiled and then left to harden.
  3. Al-Zahrawi in his medical book Al-Tasrif dedicated a complete chapter to cosmetics called The Medicines of Beauty. He described beautification of hair, skin, teeth whitening and gum strengthening all within the boundaries of Islam.
  4. Al-Zahrawi included nasal sprays, mouthwashes, and hand creams, perfumed sticks rolled and pressed similar to roll-on deodorants.
  5. He also named medicated cosmetics like hair-removing sticks, as well as hair dyes and lotions for straightening curly hair.
  6. He also discussed benefits of suntan lotions.
  7. Al-Kindi wrote a book on perfumes which contained hundred recipes for fragrant oils, salves, aromatic waters, and substitutes or imitations of costly drugs.
  8. Muslim chemists also distilled plants and flowers, making perfumes and substances for therapeutic pharmacy.

These processes and ideas of the Muslims filtered into Europe via merchants, travelers, and the Crusaders.

Now we know the forebearers of hygienic practices and innovations!

 

How to Perform Umrah

So dear readers, we are back again, now after reading the previous article, let us now continue on this journey to enlighten ourselves about Hajj In Sha Allah

Now if you haven’t read the previous article, I would strongly recommend you to do so, as the first step of Umrah (which we shall cover currently) is Ihram, explained in the previous article.

Umrah consists of ihraam, tawaf, saa’i and shaving the head or cutting the hair.

To understand the steps of Umrah, let us commence by first understanding the different types of Tawaf.

1. Tawaf

1. Types of circumambulation:

2. Conditions for the validity of Tawaf

Now most of the acts of worship have conditions, so let’s see what conditions of Tawaf are,

There are thirteen conditions for the validity of Tawaf (circumambulation) as follows:

3. Steps of performing Tawaf

It is preferred to do Ghusl when entering Makkah

When the pilgrim approaches Makkah, he should do ghusl before entering, if possible, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did ghusl when he entered Makkah. [Narrated by Muslim, 1259.]

1. When he enters al-Masjid al-Haraam he should do so with his right foot first, and say:

“Bismillaah wa’l-salaatu wa’l-salaam ‘ala Rasool-Allaah A’oodhu Billaah il-‘Azeem wa bi wajhih il-kareem wa bi sultaanih il-‘qadeem min al-Shaytaan il-rajeem Allaahumma aftah li abwaab rahmatika.

(In the name of Allaah, and blessings and peace be upon the Messenger of Allaah. I seek refuge with Allaah the Almighty and in His noble Countenance and His eternal power from the accursed Satan O Allaah open to me the gates of Your mercy.)

2. Then he should go to the Black Stone in order to start Tawaf.

3. He should touch the Stone with his right hand and kiss it; if he cannot kiss it then he should touch it with his right hand and kiss his hand. If he cannot touch it with his hand then he should face the Stone and point to it with his right hand and say “Allaahu Akbar”, but he should not kiss his hand.

There is great virtue for touching the Black stone.

 

It is better not to crowd around and cause annoyance to people or be annoyed by them, because of the hadeeth in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to Umar: “O Umar, you are a strong man, do not crowd around the Stone and disturb the weak. If you find space, then touch it, otherwise just face it and say ‘Allaahu Akbar.’” [Narrated by Ahmad, 191; classed as qawiy by al-Albaani in Risaalat Manaasik al-Hajj wa’l-‘Umrah, p. 21.]

4. Then he should move towards the right, with the Ka’bah on his left.

5. When he reaches the Yemeni Corner (al-Rukn al-Yamaani, which is the third corner after the Black Stone) he should touch it with his right hand, without kissing his hand or saying “Allaahu Akbar”. If he cannot touch it then he should move on, and not crowd around it.

6. Between the Yemeni Corner and the Black Stone he should say:

اللَّهُمَّ رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ

“Allahumma Rabbanaa aatina fi’l-dunya hasanah wa fi’l-aakhirah hasanah wa qinna ‘adhaab al-Naar

O Allah! Our Lord! Give us in this world that, which is good and in the Hereafter that, which is good and save us from the torment of the Fire.”

[Sahih Bukhari Vol. 6, Book 60, Hadith 47]

7. Every time he passes the Black Stone he should face it and say ‘Allaahu Akbar’, and in the rest of his Tawaf he should recite whatever he likes of dhikr, du’aa’ and Qur’an, because Tawaf around the Ka’bah has been established for the remembrance of Allaah.

In Tawaf men should do two things:

A – Uncovering the right shoulder (idtibaa’) from the beginning of tawaf until the end. This is done by placing the middle of the rida’ (upper garment) beneath the right armpit and the ends of the rida’ over the left shoulder. When the

pilgrim finishes tawaf, he should put his rida’ back as it was before tawaf, because the time for wearing it with one shoulder uncovered is only in tawaf.

B – Raml in the first three circuits only. Raml means walking quickly with short steps. In the last four circuits there is no raml, rather the pilgrim should walk normally.

8. When the pilgrim has completed seven circuits of tawaf, he should cover his right shoulder and then go to the Station of Ibraheem (Maqaam Ibraheem) and recite the:

وَاتَّخِذُوا مِن مَّقَامِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ مُصَلًّى ۖ

“And take you (people) the Maqaam (place) of Ibraheem (Abraham) [or the stone on which Ibraheem (Abraham) stood while he was building the Ka‘bah] as a place of prayer (for some of your prayers, e.g. two Rak‘at after the Tawaf of the Ka‘bah at Makkah),” [al-Baqarah 2:125]

9. Then he should pray two rak’ahs behind the Station; in the first rak’ah after reciting al-Faatihah he should recite Soorat al-Kaafiroon; (109) and in the second, Soorat al-Ikhlaas; (112).

10. Then when he has finished this prayer he should go to the Black Stone and touch it if he can. It is prescribed at this point to touch it only; if he cannot do that then he should go away and not point to it.

Afterwards, a pilgrim should head towards As-Safa to perform saa’i (going between As-Safa and Al-Marwah).

2. Saa’i

For a pilgrim performing Hajj Tamatuu’- A pilgrim wears Ihram for Umrah only during the months of Hajj, which means when a pilgrim reaches Makkah, he/she makes Tawaf and Saa’i for Umrah.

For a pilgrim performing Hajj Qiraan or Ifraad he performs Tawaf for his arrival and Saa’i for Hajj When he reaches Makkah, It is permissible for him to postpone his Saa’i for Hajj until after his Tawaf for Hajj.

1. Conditions of the validity of Saa’i:

2. Steps of performing Saa’i

1. He should go out to the Mas’aa (place for saa’i) and when he comes near to al-Safa’ he should face the Ka’bah and recite (interpretation of the meaning):

إِنَّ الصَّفَا وَالْمَرْوَةَ مِن شَعَائِرِ اللَّهِ ۖ

“Verily, As-Safa and Al-Marwah (two mountains in Makkah) are of the Symbols of Allaah” [al-Baqarah 2:158]

2. And he should say:

“Abda’u bima bada’a Allaah bihi (We start with that with which Allaah started).”

3. Then he should climb al-Safa until he can see the Ka’bah, then he should face it and say thrice:

There is no true God but Allah, Allah is the Greatest

4. Then he should raise his hands and praise Allah, and make du’aa’ as he wishes. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to say:

“Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wahdahu laa shareeka lah, lahu’l-mulk, wa lahu’l-hamd, wa huwa ‘ala kulli shay’in qadeer. Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wahdah, anjaza wa’dah, wa nasara ‘abdah, wa hazamaa al-ahzaaba wahdah

(There is no god but Allah alone, with no partner or associate; His is the Dominion, all praise is due to Him, and He is able to do all things. There is no god but Allah alone; he fulfilled His promise, granted victory to His slave, and defeated the confederates alone). [” Narrated by Muslim, 1218.]

5. He should repeat that three times, and make du’aa’ in between. He should recite this dhikr then make du’aa’, then recite it again and make du’aa’, and recite it a third time, then come down to al-Marwah.

6. When he reaches the green marker he should run as quickly as he can without disturbing anyone, because it was proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did saa’i between al-Safa and al-Marwah, and he said,

“The river bed is not crossed except with vigor.”

[Narrated by Ibn Maajah and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Ibn Maajah, 2419.]

The river bed [it was a dried river bed in the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)] is the area between the two green markers that stand there now.

7. When he reaches the second green marker, he should walk normally until he reaches al-Marwah.

8. He should climb up it and turn to face the qiblah, and raise his hands and say what he had said at al-Safa. However, he doesn’t repeat the ayat as it is said only at Safa in the first round.

9. Then he should come down from al-Marwah and head for al-Safa, walking in the place of walking and running in the place of running.

10. When he reaches al-Safa he should do what he did the first time, and the same when he goes back to al-Marwah, until he has completed seven circuits; going from al-Safa’ to al-Marwah is one circuit, and coming back from al-Marwah to al-Safa is another circuit.

11. During his saa’i he can say whatever he likes or dhikr and du’aa’, and recite Qur’an. There is no specific supplication for Saa’i, except for what has been reported about making Takbeer and Tahleel on the mounts of Safa and Marwah.

3 – Shaving the head or cutting the hair

· When he has completed seven circuits (of saa’i) he should shave his head if he is a man, or cut some of his hair. If he shaves his head he must shave his entire head, and if he cuts his hair he must cut from all over his head. Shaving is better than cutting because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) made du’aa’ three times for those who shaved their heads and once for those who cut their hair. [Narrated by Muslim, 1303.]

· Women should cut the length of a fingertip from their hair.

However, those pilgrims who are performing Qiraan and Ifraad maintain their Ihram and do not shave or cut their hair after the Saa’I performed after Tawaf Al-Qudoom, he remains in Ihram till after he stones Jamrah Al-Aqaba on the Eid day

With these actions, the Umrah is complete.

Some rulings related to Circumambulation:

1. A person can pray the two Rak’ahs of circumambulation anywhere in the Sacred Mosque.

2. In occasions with a lot of rush, one can join in with the crowd, (the centripetal flow) and reach the corner of the black stone from where he should commence the Tawaf. Ensure that you don’t commence the Tawaf a step behind or after the Black stone

3. It is fine to circumambulate in the hallway and all the floors as long as you are inside the Sacred Mosque. However, the closer you are to the Ka’bah the better

4. The one who has trouble performing circumambulation due to illness, fatigue or the intensity of the crowds can circumambulate by being carried by someone or in a wheelchair. You cannot appoint someone to perform circumambulation on behalf of you.

5. If a woman prevents or stops menstruation by taking pills and is completely dry, then her circumambulation is valid after bathing.

6. When the Iqamah for prayer is heard the person should pray with the people, and then complete his circumambulation from where he stopped.

7. If a person has doubt concerning the number of rounds he has performed, he should base on certainty which is the lowest number. However, if he doubts after leaving the circumambulation or the Saa’i

there is no significance in it and he should continue on with whatever he was doing.

8. One should ensure that they circumambulate around the Ka’bah and that they shouldn’t enter into the Hijr whilst circumambulating, as it is considered to be a part of the Ka’bah.

9. If unable to touch the black stone, one is recommended to raise his RIGHT HAND and say Allahu Akbar. The person should not raise both his hands in this situation

10. Some people hug the Ka’bah, wipe their clothes on it, try to take pieces of it etc. These acts aren’t justified by the Sunnah in any way. On the contrary such acts may spoil their Hajj. One should keep in mind the hadith :

When Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him), approached the Black Stone he would say: “No doubt, I know that you are a stone and can neither harm anyone nor benefit anyone. And had I not seen Allaah’s Messenger, (Peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) kissing you I would not have kissed you.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

11. There are no specific du‘aa’s for each circuit of tawaaf, with the exception of the dua mentioned above) said at Rukum Al- Yamani.

Hence one should beware of these booklets that many pilgrims carry, in which there is a specific du‘aa’ for each circuit. This is an innovation that was not narrated from the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said:

“Every innovation is a going astray.” [Narrated by Muslim.]

12. Revealing the right shoulder (Idhtibaa’) is done for the circumambulation. The shoulders should then be covered whilst praying and for Saa’i

Some rulings regarding Saa’i:

1. The verse (interpretation of the meaning): “Verily, As-Safa and Al-Marwah (two mountains in Makkah) are of the Symbols of Allaah” [Al-Baqarah 2:158] should be recited by the pilgrim who wants to perform saa’i when he approaches al-Safa at the beginning of saa’i only. It is not mustahabb to repeat it every time he approaches al-Safa and al-Marwah, as some people do.

2. The one performing Hajj At-Tamattu’ should not perform Saa’i of Hajj before ‘Arafah. As for the ones performing Ifraad and Qiraan, they can perform Saa’i after the circumambulation of arrival.

3. Ablution (purity) is not required to perform Saa’I, although we should always try to remain pure whilst performing such noble deeds

4. It is recommended for men to hurry between the two green signs.

5. It is obligatory to cross the distance between the two mounts during Saa’i, but it is not obligatory to climb the mountain. It suffices to reach the balcony on the second floor of the Mass’aa and its roof without going all the way around it.

6. There is no need to raise the hand and signal the Ka’bah from the Mounts of As-Safa and Al- Marwah. (This practice is restricted only during Tawaf wherein we signal to the black stone when we can’t touch it)

We ask Allah to help us to do righteous deeds, and to accept them from us, for He is Ever Near and responds to our prayers.

The Black Stone

As thousands, nay millions, of muslims flock to perform Hajj, they will form queues to touch the black stone and fight to kiss it. But what is the black stone? And what is its significance in Islam?

The black stone was sent down from paradise, as we learn from the hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas that The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The Black Stone came down from Paradise.”

(Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 877; al-Nasaa’i, 2935. The hadeeth was classed as saheeh by al-Tirmidhi)

“When the Black Stone came down from Paradise, it was whiter than milk, but the sins of the sons of Adam made it black.”

(Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 877; Ahmad, 2792. Classed as saheeh by Ibn Khuzaymah, 4/219. Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar classed it as qawiy (strong) in Fath al-Baari, 3/462).

This hadith means that the sins of those who touched the stone, caused it to turn black.

Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar said: “Some heretics tried to criticize this hadeeth by saying: How come the sins of the mushrikeen turned it black and the worship of the people of Tawheed did not make it white? I answer by quoting what Ibn Qutaybah said: If Allah had willed, that would have happened. But Allah has caused it to be the case that black usually changes other colours and its not itself changed, which is the opposite to what happens with white.”

Al-Muhibb al-Tabari said: The fact that it is black is a lesson for those who have insight. If sins can have this effect on an inanimate rock, then the effect they have on the heart is greater. (Fath al-Baari, 3/463)

Subhanallah! Imagine if sins can have such an adverse effect on a rock, then what about our hearts?!

This reminds me of another hadith, in which the Messenger ﷺ mentions the effects of sins on the heart;

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “When the believer commits sin, a black spot appears on his heart. If he repents and gives up that sin and seeks forgiveness, his heart will be polished. But if (the sin) increases, (the black spot) increases. That is the Ran that Allah mentions in His Book: “Nay! But on their hearts is the Ran (covering of sins and evil deeds) which they used to earn.” [83:14] (Ibn Majah, Hasan)

So, let us use these upcoming blessed days to clean and polish our hearts. Let us seek the forgiveness of Allah and utilise our time in His remembrance. May Allah purify our hearts.

Back to the subject of the black stone…

Did you know that the black stone will speak on the day of judgement and testify?

It was narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said concerning the Stone: “By Allah, Allah will bring it forth on the Day of Resurrection, and it will have two eyes with which it will see and a tongue with which it will speak, and it will testify in favour of those who touched it in sincerity.”

(Tirmidhi, 961; Ibn Maajah, 2944, hasan by al-Tirmidhi, and as qawiy by al-Haafiz ibn Hajar in Fath al-Baari, 3/462)

So how should muslims performing hajj or umrah deal with the black stone?

It was narrated from Jaabir ibn ‘Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) that when the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came to Makkah, he came to the Black Stone and touched it, then he walked to the right of it and ran three times and walked four times [around the Ka’bah].  (Muslim)

Hence touching the black stone is to be done before performing tawaf.

It is also encouraged to kiss for the Prophet was seen doing so.

It was narrated that ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) came to the Black Stone and kissed it, then he said: “I know that you are only a stone which can neither bring benefit nor cause harm. Were it not that I had seen the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) kiss you, I would not have kissed you.”  (Bukhari and Muslim)

However, one should know that it is merely a stone, and has no ability or power in of itself. It cannot cause harm nor bring benefit. Many a times, people become extreme in kissing it, they rub their faces into it, rub their clothes, and if they could, would probably try and take a piece home with them! We should beware of exaggerating, and know that benefit and harm are in Hands of Allah.

Nonetheless, touching the stone is a means of expiation,

It was narrated that Ibn ‘Umar said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) say: “Touching them both [the Black Stone and al-Rukn al-Yamani] is an expiation for sins.”

(Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 959. This hadeeth was classed as hasan by al-Tirmidhi and as saheeh by al-Haakim (1/664). Al-Dhahabi agreed with him).

If one is unable to reach it due to the crowds or some other reason, then he should touch it with something else and kiss that object. And if he is unable to do that then he should point towards it and say Allahu-Akbar, as these were all reported from the Prophet.

When one goes to kiss it or touch one should maintain Islamic etiquettes, and should not cause annoyance to others. Pushing, shoving are all too common in Hajj crowds, and we should aim to change this, and be better than that. Islam teaches us good manners, and we should uphold these mannerisms when we are the holiest site, performing such honourable rituals, otherwise we only incur sin upon ourselves. Pushing and shoving in crowds are often the reason for unnecessary injury, and at times even death or stampedes. Many a times women also get caught up in the crowds, hence we should be aware, and maintain cautiousness even in these difficult trying circumstances.

Myths Regarding the Ka’bah

The ka’bah: the holiest muslim site on earth. Muslims revere it, and face it as a direction for prayer. It is a symbol of unity, unity of muslims, and unity of all previous prophets. Muslims would travel great distances to reach it, to see its magnificent sight, to touch its beautiful kiswa, kiss it and more.

However, there are many myths that surround the Ka’bah that has gained root amongst non-muslims, and ignorant muslims, and those who perhaps have never seen it.

Let’s begin with the first myth: Muslims worship the Ka’bah. This is far from the truth. Muslims worship one God, Allah. The Ka’bah is merely a direction faced in prayer, to unite muslims. Muslims do not bow or prostrate to the Ka’bah at all, they only bow and prostrate to Allah. Hence muslims can pray in any place in the world.

Muslims touch the ka’bah to imitate the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. Some touch it out of awe and fascination at this great building that witnessed many great events in Islamic History. It witnessed, the Prophet Abraham, and Ishma’el and Muhammad peace be upon them. It is not mandated to kiss it, or cling on it, or wipe one’s face or clothes against it, rather these extreme practices have been done by some who are ignorant, or overly passionate.

Another huge misconception, is that the Ka’bah houses the idol Shiva Lingham which muslims worship. The inside of the Ka’bah is bare, there is nothing inside it. Every year the doors are opened to clean it and to welcome prestigious guests. This is often broadcasted on live television, and it is clear for all to see, that there is nothing inside the Ka’bah. Furthermore, muslims do not build or carve statues of any shape or form, as this is against the basic principle of worshiping Allah who is beyond human imagination.

Next up, no bird flies over the Ka’bah. Some believe that the ka’bah is so holy that no bird is able to fly over it, as though there is a radar system in place, preventing the birds. This is not true. Birds fly over the Ka’bah constantly, they perch on its edge, and do what birds do.

Others believe the Ka’bah hovers over the ground. It is not resting, nor rooted in the earth, but floating. It’s very easy to dispel this myth, simply look at the many images of the ka’bah that are available, look at video footage, and if you get a chance to go, have a peep. The Ka’bah is like any other building with a foundation on the ground.

Others hold the belief that the rain water that falls off the ka’bah is holy and has benefit. It is blessed, and so they collect it in a container, and bathe and drink it. I would strongly advise against this, firstly because there is nothing reported from the Prophet nor the salaf on the matter. And secondly, as mentioned previously, birds do what birds do, including leaving droppings. Hence the water that falls off the top of the Ka’bah is contaminated with bird droppings, as well as sand, and dust.

What myths have you heard?

Ihram

Although clichéd, it truly is the best way to begin with…So here we go:

As we have studied in the article titled “Components of Hajj” we know that Ihram is the first pillar of Hajj, therefore common sense dictates us to realize that our first step for performing Hajj would be to assume Ihram.

In the previous article, we already discussed the sites wherein Ihram has to be assumed from, so In Sha Allah in this article we shall see how is Ihram assumed.

Now, most probably, most of you may already know how to do this, but I still urge you to continue reading, not only because I want you to read this article, written by yours truly, but also, maybe just maybe, you may come across something that you weren’t aware of, and reading an Islamic article is always beneficial. Think about the 101 times you spent reading the lamest jokes ever witnessed on planet Earth! Remember reading this with the correct intention will enable you to get ajar In Sha Allah.

Now, enough with the lecturing and now to the topic of interest:

When we think about Ihram, the first picture that floods our minds are that of white unstitched clothes (something which I used to unfortunately think of as large towels when I was young…) However, ihram does not mean donning on unstitched white clothes, rather this is one of the actions that one does to assume Ihram. Ihram is the ritual consecration either during Hajj or Umrah and is defined as the “intention” to start the rites.

Ihram is derived from the Arabic word “haram,” which means “forbidden” or “prohibited.” Now I am certain we don’t need really need Mr. Sherlock Holmes to conjecture that it is so named because there are certain acts that are prohibited in the state of Ihram, although they are permissible when not in Ihram, we shall mention those actions in a while.

الْحَجُّ أَشْهُرٌ مَّعْلُومَاتٌ ۚ فَمَن فَرَضَ فِيهِنَّ الْحَجَّ فَلَا رَفَثَ وَلَا فُسُوقَ وَلَا جِدَالَ فِي الْحَجِّ ۗ وَمَا تَفْعَلُوا مِنْ خَيْرٍ يَعْلَمْهُ اللَّهُ ۗ وَتَزَوَّدُوا فَإِنَّ خَيْرَ الزَّادِ التَّقْوَىٰ ۚ وَاتَّقُونِ يَا أُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ

“Hajj is [during] well-known months, so whoever has made Hajj obligatory upon himself therein [by entering the state of ihram], there is [to be for him] no sexual relations and no disobedience and no disputing during Hajj. And whatever good you do – Allah knows it. And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is fear of Allah. And fear Me, O you of understanding.” (Al-Baqarah, 2:197)

Now it is important to realize that there are certain pre-requisites for assuming Ihram. To illustrate this Shaykhul- Islam Ibn Taiymiyyah said:

A man is not considered in a state of Ihram once he intends, with his heart, to perform Hajj, for the intention is already in his heart since he has left his hometown (heading for Makkah). So there must be specific words or deeds through which he becomes in a state of Ihram.”

There are mainly 4 pre-requisites before assuming Ihram:

By fulfilling the aforesaid prerequisites, a pilgrim is thus prepared to be in a state of Ihram, but such acts themselves are not called Ihram as many people mistakenly believe. Thus, a pilgrim is not considered to be in a state of Ihram just by wearing the aforementioned clothing of Ihram without having the intention of starting performing the rites of Hajj or Umrah.

As for a female Muhrim, she may wear whatever cloth she likes black or any other color, so long as she avoids wanton display (tabarruj) or clothes of fame and vanity such as tight, see-through, short, thin or decorated clothes. Women must also be careful to avoid clothes that resemble the clothes of men or the kuffaar.
However, she isn’t permitted to wear a burqa (a veil that covers the face and has 2 eyeholes for vision). In this case, the lady covers her face with other things such as a khimar (shawl like clothing that covers the head and shoulders) and a gown.
Moreover the female Muhrim shouldn’t wear gloves

Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu’minin: Riders would pass us when we accompanied the Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon Him) while we were in the sacred state (wearing ihram). When they came by us, one of us would let down her outer garment from her head over her face, and when they had passed on, we would have uncover our faces.

A pilgrim is free to choose either of the 3 kinds of Ihram

Steps of Assuming Ihram:

  1. The intention:
    The intention for Ihram is made in the heart, and accompanied by the following wordings:

  • The one who is performing Hajj or Umrah on behalf of someone else should say: “Labbayka an Fulaan” (I am here at the service of so and so) and if he has forgotten their name, he can say “for the one who assigned me.”
  1. If one fears that he or she will not complete the Umrah or Hajj due to illness, he should say:

Allaahumma mahillee haithu habastanee.

O Allah, my place is wherever you prevent me.

  • The benefit of making this condition upon entering the state of Ihram is that if the person is unable to complete his Hajj then he can discontinue (leave the state of Ihram) and he does not have to expiate for it, there is no recommendatory sacrifice due upon him and there is no sin on him.
  • It is not lawful for the pilgrim to make a condition unless he fears that something will prevent him from completing the ritual
  • Making a condition is done when entering the state of Ihram and it must be uttered, as merely having the intention does not suffice.
  • It is not permissible to make the condition a long period after entering the state of Ihram.
  1. Then he should stand facing the Qiblah and say

اللَّهُمَّ حِجَّةٌ لاَ رِيَاءَ فِيهَا وَلاَ سُمْعَة ‏‏
“Allaahumma haadhihi hijjah laa riyaa’a fiha wa la sum’ah
(O Allah, this is a pilgrimage in which there is no showing off or seeking reputation).”

The Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon Him), was reciting this: “O Allah make this Hajj one that has no show or fame.”

  1. Then he should chant the Talbiyah.
  • The virtue of saying the talbiyah is indeed great as we derive form the following hadith:

Sahl bin Sa’d narrated that: The Messenger of Allah said:
“There is no Muslim who says the Talbiyah except that – on his right and left, until the end of the land, from here to there – the rocks, or trees, or mud say the Talbiyah.”

It will be chanted by everything on his right and his left, especially when he ascends or descends somewhere

  • What the Talbiyah means is responding to Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, because the word “labbayk” means: I am responding to You. He should continue reciting the Talbiyah until he begins the tawaaf of umrah
  • And the one saying the Talbiyah is ORDERED to raise his voice with it, as the Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon Him) said:

“Jibreel came to me and ordered me to order my companions and those with me to raise their voices with Talbiyah

A woman should recite in such a manner that those who are beside her can hear it, unless there is a man beside her who is not one of her mahrams, in which case she should recite it silently.

  • The muhrim (person who has entered Ihram) should recite the Talbiyah a great deal, especially when circumstances and times change, such as when going up to a high place or going down to a low place, or when night or day begin
  • The one performing Umrah should discontinue the Talbiyah when starting Tawaaf (circumambulating the Ka’bah) and the pilgrim should stop before throwing pebbles at Jamrat Al-‘Aqabah.

The Talbiyah is:

Labbaik allaahumma labbaik labbaika laa shareeka laka labbaik innal hamda wan ni’mata laka wal mulka laa shareeka laka

Here I am O Allah, here I am, there is no partner for You, here I am, Verily all praise is for You, and every bounty is from You, and all dominion is Yours – You have no partner.

And now finally to the last topic of this article. I am aware that this article was extremely long, but Ihram is a long topic, so please be patient and may Allah reward you in quest of knowledge.

The last thing that we shall be talking about are the acts that are forbidden in Ihram,

Abstaining from the actions that are unlawful during Ihram is a form of honoring Allah’s sacred ordinances, some of these include:

And with this we come to our long awaited conclusion

I applaud all those who have reached it till here and pray to Allah that he rewards you abundantly for your patience and earnestness.

Watch out for the next article in the Hajj series.

Meeqats of Hajj

As we all know and agree “there is a time and place for everything,” hence there are certain times for Hajj and certain sites for entering into Hajj.

In the previous article we have briefly outlined the steps of Hajj, in this and in the subsequent articles we shall go into depth and properly understand each step In Sha Allah.

Don’t worry, when I say depth I don’t mean a dive into the ocean, galore with is currents and tides, I shall to the best of my ability explain it in as a simplified a manner as possible In Sha Allah

The times specified for Hajj are: Shawwal, Dhul-Qa’dah and the first 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah.

The way for entering into Hajj is by assuming Ihram, now Ihram can’t be assumed just anywhere, there are specific places where Ihram can be assumed and these places are referred to as “Meeqats”

Now before a parasitic idea leads to a culmination of silly thoughts and you may start wondering why do such regulations exist and why can’t we assume Ihram just from anywhere, I will answer your question with a request.

Retrospection! I am going to ask you to “retrospect” on yourselves and pull from the well of your memories, your last recollection of a party or a marriage that you may have attended. Now I don’t really know about you, but back from where I am from, a marriage is celebrated nothing less than a banquet party to the imperial place of a King. Brand new clothes, oh! A shower is a must, and visits to beauty parlors more or less a necessity.

Just think of the extent to which we glorify such occasions and places, yet can there be any other place more glorified than the Ka’bah.

The House of Allah, being so glorified and honored by Allah, is fortified by Allah through Makkah and protected by the Sanctuary of Makkah, which in turn, is glorified by those Meeqats beyond which one cannot pass without being in a state of Ihram (when he wishes to perform Hajj and Umrah) as a sign of honor and glorification to the House of Allah.

Anyways, so that now we comprehend the reasons for the Meeqats, let us now finally promulgate the Meeqats

There are mainly 5 Meeqats for assuming Ihram

  1. Dhul-Hulayfah (now known as Abyar `Aly): It is the prescribed Meeqat for the people of Madinah and those who travel via the direction of Madinah.

 

  1. Al-Juhfah: It is the prescribed Meeqat for the people of the Levant (the region covering Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine), Egypt, Morocco and those who travel via their route.
  2. Yalamlam (Al-Sa`diyyah): It is the prescribed Meeqat for the people of Yemen and those who travel via their route.

  1. Qarn Al-Manazil (Al-Sayl Al-Kabir): It is the prescribed Meeqat for the people of Najd and the people of east and those who travel via their route.

  1. Dhat `Irq: It is the prescribed Meeqat for the people of Iraq and those who travel via their route

 

  • Whoever passes by one of these meeqats, intending to do Hajj or Umrah has to enter Ihram from that point. If he lives within the boundary of the meeqats, then he should enter Ihram from where he is.
  • It is important to mention that Muslims are required to assume Ihram from the proper site for Ihram for them, not specifically from the mosques therein. Many pilgrims mistakenly believe that they have to assume Ihram from the mosques in the Meeqats, as a result, many pilgrims from both the gender, hurry to such mosques, overcrowding and jamming them, this is completely baseless. The pilgrim can assume Ihram wherever is appropriate for them in the sites of the Meeqats. It should be pointed out that those mosques were not built during the lifetime of the Prophet, and that when built wasn’t built for the purpose of assuming Ihram solely
  • The people of Makkah should enter Ihram for Hajj offered on its own or for Hajj and Umrah offered together (qiraan) from Makkah, and they do not have to go outside the Haram or to one of the other meeqaats mentioned
    In the case of Umrah offered on its own, the one who wants to enter Ihram and is already in Makkah or within the boundaries of the Haram has to go outside the Haram – to al-Tan’eem or elsewhere – and enter Ihram from there. This was the view of the majority of scholars.
  • Jeddah is not a meeqaat for Hajj or Umrah, except for its citizens and residents, and for those who come to it for a reason other than Hajj or Umrah, then decide to go for Hajj or Umrah.
  • If there is no meeqaat on a person’s route, he should enter Ihram when he comes in line with the nearest place to it, whether he is coming by land, by sea or by air

The evidence for entering Ihram from a point that is in line with the meeqaat is the report narrated by al-Bukhaari (1458) from Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) who said:
When these two cities – meaning Kufa and Basrah – were conquered, they came to ‘Umar and said, “O Ameer al-Mu’mineen, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) defined the meeqaat for the people of Najd as being Qarn, but it is out of our way, and if we want to go to Qarn it is too difficult for us.” He said, “Look for a place on your route that is in line with it,” and he defined Dhaat ‘Irq for them (as their meeqaat).

Look for a place that is in line with it” means find a place that is parallel with the meeqaat and make that your meeqaat.

  • Airplane passengers should enter Ihram when they come in line with the meeqaat or, to be on the safe side, before they reach it, so that they will not pass it before entering Ihram. Whoever enters Ihram after passing the meeqaat has to offer a sacrifice, and Allah knows best.
    It should be noted that it is not Sunnah to enter Ihram before reaching the meeqaat, because this is not what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did, and the best of guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). But if a person is in a plane and cannot stop at the place that is in line with the meeqaat, then he may do what he thinks is more on the safe side so that he will not pass the meeqaat without being in Ihram.

However, the passengers should be prepared before getting on board the plane by ritual bathing and cleaning, afterwards when the plane reaches a place that is parallel to any of the aforesaid sites for Ihram, they should declare the intention of Ihram ad chant the talbiyah in the plane.

  • Whoever passes the meeqaat without entering Ihram has to go back and enter Ihram from that point.
    If he got off the plane in Jeddah, then he has to take a car to the meeqaat of the people of Najd and enter Ihram from there. If he enters Ihram from Jeddah and he is intending to do Hajj or Umrah, then he has to offer a sacrifice as expiation for passing the meeqaat (without entering Ihram).

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, please take an interest and be careful regarding your Meeqats, when we are already spending time, effort and money on our pilgrimage, why not try to the best of our efforts to do it perfectly, many Hajjis who travel from aboard wrongly assume Jeddah to be their meeqats, but this is completely false.

It is necessary that we all be aware of the sites of Meeqats and indeed ignorance and mistakes made due to ignorance can be battled by knowledge, so therefore it is essential that seek proper and correct knowledge

In Sha Allah, in our next article we shall study how to assume Ihram

Note: Although the pictures placed in the article are those of the mosques in the meeqats, it is important to note that pilgrims aren’t supposed to assume Ihram from only these mosques as explained above

Also further clarity regarding the meeqat for the people of Makkah read for https://islamqa.info/en/32845

 

Components of Hajj

In this article we shall try to understand the pillars and obligatory actions of Hajj. In the subsequent articles we shall go into details regarding the actions performed on each day In Sha Allah.

The essential parts of Hajj are four, the obligatory actions are seven and everything other than the essential parts and obligatory actions is Sunnah.

The Pillars of Hajj are four: 

Before we commence with the obligatory actions of Hajj, I would like to briefly describe our movements and the places that we go to in accordance to the days.

The obligatory actions of Hajj are seven:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we will learn in detail later on, Hajj is of 3 types, Tamattu’, Qiraan and Ifraad. If the pilgrim is doing tamattu‘ (‘umrah followed by Hajj, exiting ihram in between) or qiraan (‘umrah followed by Hajj without exiting ihram in between), then he must offer a sacrifice (by slaughtering a sheep), because Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

“whosoever performs the ‘Umrah in the months of Hajj, before (performing) the Hajj, (i.e. Hajj-at-Tamattu‘ and Al-Qiran), he must slaughter a Hady such as he can afford, but if he cannot afford it, he should observe Saum (fasts) three days during the Hajj and seven days after his return (to his home), making ten days in all. This is for him whose family is not present at Al-Masjid-al-Haram (i.e. non-resident of Makkah)” [al-Baqarah 2:196].

The rest of the actions and words of Hajj are Sunnah, such as tawaaf al-qudoom, staying overnight in Mina the night before ‘Arafah, idtibaa‘ [uncovering the right shoulder from the beginning of tawaaf until the end, by placing the middle of the rida’ (upper garment) beneath the right armpit and the ends of the rida’ over the left shoulder], walking at a rapid pace [when doing so is recommended], kissing the Black Stone, reciting the adhkaar and du‘aa’s, and climbing as-Safa and al-Marwah.

The difference between an essential part, an obligatory action and a Sunnah action is that Hajj is not valid without an essential part, whereas if an obligatory act is omitted, Hajj is still valid, but the one who omits it must offer a compensatory sacrifice (a sheep), according to the majority of scholars. As for Sunnah actions, the one who omits them does not have to do anything.

In the next articles In Sha Allah we will go in details of the steps of Hajj