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The Significance Of The Sacrifice In Hajj

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Four of the twelve months in the Islamic calendar are considered sacred. The holy pilgrimage is performed in the holy month of Dhu’l-Hijjah which is the twelfth month in the Islamic calendar. As the auspicious time for Hajj draws near, All Muslims who can afford (financially & physically) take the pilgrimage to fulfill their sacred obligation of Islam.

It is a very divine month in which the Hajj (pilgrimage) takes place as well as it’s the Festival of the Sacrifice.

An amazing, powerful and energizing mission where one witnesses Muslims from all over the world converging to profess their faith, their submission, their belief in the one and only almighty Allah leaving behind their homes, family, comforts where in unity they worship the most benevolent and most merciful, Allah.

It signifies lots of things such as no distinction between the rich and poor, no one is superior and no one privileged. It’s a unique conglomeration where all are equal, standing at one platform seeking Allah’s forgiveness and mercy.

This pilgrimage lasts for five days and an animal sacrifice ends this marvelous spiritual feat, each ritual having its own significance and relevance. One returns having all his sins forgiven if asked truly and with the intention to not transgress again.

It is said one is as innocent as he is when at birth if pilgrimage is performed with the right spirit and manner with total submission.

Allah says: It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah: it is your piety that reaches Him. (Al-Hajj 22: 37)

The Animal sacrifice commemorates Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son on Allah’s command and in their willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice—Ibrahim of his son, Isma`il of his own life—they surpass notions of self and false attachment to the material world, thus enabling Allah’s mercy to dwelve and enlighten them with divine wisdom.

It reminds the pilgrim of sharing food with the poor and upholds the sacredness of life wherein one would slay for sustenance only as the need for food.

The pronouncement of Allah’s name over the sacrifice is an essential part of the ritual wherein meat is permitted to be eaten only if His name is pronounced at the act of taking life, in that humans are commanded to give thanks and praise Allah for the sustenance He has given them and they should sacrifice something of value to themselves to show their appreciation for what they have been blessed with (which was the very animals on which their survival was based).

Sa’I : Between Safa and Marwah

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Sa’i is the ritualistic walking between the two mountains of Safa and Marwah which are the symbols of Allah. This is a ritual common to both the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage.

It is A Sunnah to perform Tawaf between them (As-Safa and Al-Marwah), and thus, no one should abandon performing Tawaf between them.”
The reason of performing this Sa`i between As-Safa and Al-Marwah: Is in commemoration of BiBi Hajra ((Prophet Ibrahim’s wife) who with her infant son Ismail was left alone on the dry desert mountains of Safa and Marwah by Prophet Ibrahim as commanded by Allah. With their minimal provisions spent, Hajra alone and desperate went looking for water and food. She left her infant alone on the ground and kept running to and fro seven times between the two mountains of Safa and Marwah. She first climbed the hill, Safa, then she went to the other hill, Marwah, to look around. BiBi Hajraa travelled seven times in between the hills in the harsh blistering heat, before returning to her son.
Panic stricken and fearing for her child’s life, she beseeched Allah, supplicating for His help. She was helpless and lonely, crying and pleading to save her son from this situation. Thus Allah answered her prayers and sent Angel Jibrail who struck the ground with his wing and a spring emerged, known as the holy ZamZam Well. This was an answer to her prayers. as both provision and a reward for her obedience and patience.
Zamzam water is: “A tasty (or nutritional) food and a remedy for the illness.”
It is believed that whosoever drinks the ZamZam water for a particular purpose surely finds relief therein. It is mentioned in the Quran that Safa and Marwa are among the Symbols of Allah and is mandatory to walk between them, as included in the rituals that Allah ordained during the Hajj for Prophet Ibrahim.

For Hajj and Umrah, the Kaaba is the central point after which the Sa’I begins from Safa. The distance between Safa and Marwah is around 450 m hence seven trips add up to 3.15 km. The two points of Safa and Marwah and the path in between are inside a long corridor that forms part of the Great Mosque.
Hence when moving between Safa and Marwah one has to recount the desperation and hopelessness of Hajjra’s situation and Allah’s mercy in answering her prayers symbolising how when we seek with humbleness and true faith Allah will provide as he is the all-seeing and all knowing.

Fast for a year, fast in Shawwal

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The holy month of Ramadan is followed by the 10th Islamic month of Shawwal and the first day of Shawwal is Eid-Ul-Fitr which is one of the two main festivals of Muslims, who believe that this is the day when sins are forgiven.

Shawwal is an important month as it is the first month of the “Ashhur al-Hajj” (i.e. the months of Hajj).

Hajj is performed in the first ten days of Zulhijjah (Month of Hajj), but the whole period starting from the first of Shawwal up to the 10th of Zulhijjah ( month of Hajj) is considered to be the period of Hajj as some acts of Hajj can be performed in the month of Shawwal as well.

It is commendable to keep six fasts in the month of Shawwal. The Prophet, Sall-Allahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, has said:

Whoever completes fasts of Ramadan then adds to them the fast of six days in the month of Shawwal, it will carry the thawab of fasting for the whole year. (Sahih Muslim)

It is therefore desirable to make most of this opportunity to gain such an extensive reward from Allah. It recommended to start these fasts from the 2nd of Shawwal and keep fasting up to the 7th of it. However, if, they are kept on other days, it is assumed that the requirement of the above hadith is fulfilled.

It is related that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The fast of Ramadan is like observing ten months of fasting. Fasting six days of Shawwâl is like observing two months of fasting. This together is like fasting throughout the year.” [Sahîh Ibn Khuzaymah) Scholars have explained the following virtues of fasting Six Days in Shawwâl.

Fasting immediately after observing Ramadan is equivalent of fasting throughout the year.
These fasts of Shawwal are like the sunnah prayers which accompany the obligatory prayers making up for any deficit in obligatory duties in Ramadan,

Ramadan is not only about Fasting but also one’s conduct and behaviour with intentions being a primary consideration for all deeds to be accepted by Allah.

Also fasting right after Ramadan is an indication that Ramadan fasts were accepted. As when Allah accepts the worship he guides his devotees, to engage in further acts of piety.

Getting into the habit of fasting again immediately is a means of giving thanks to Allah for the blessings that have been received. There is no blessing greater than forgiveness for one’s sins, and we know that fast of Ramadan is recompensed with forgiveness of one’s previous sins.

Fasting these days in Shawwâl is one way for us to express our thanks for Allah blessing us in our observance of the Ramadan fast.

Allah knows best.

An Inspiring Ramadan Story…

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The month of Ramadan brings amazing stories. We came across this wonderful story of compassion by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and we are compelled to share it with you all.

The story is from the days of Prophet Muhammad’s Ramadan Eid celebration. The day was filled with festivities on the streets of Madina. Everyone was dressed and were enthusiastic about the special day of Ramadan Eid.

The early morning Ramadan Eid prayers were led by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and performed on the outskirts of the Madina city. Everyone greeted each other after the prayers and walked back home. There were children playing, laughing and smiling; like there is no care in the world.

While Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was walking back home, he came across a little boy named Zuhair Bin Saghir, who was sitting on the footpath all by himself. He was crying and looked gloomy. Prophet patted him on the shoulder and asked, “Why are you crying child?” “Please leave me alone” responded the child. The boy didn’t realise that he was talking to Prophet Muhammad. He didn’t even look up. Prophet ran his fingers through the boy’s hair and very lovingly asked again that why was he crying on such auspicious day. The boy finally spoke, “After my father’s death, my mother remarried and my stepfather hates me and wants me to be out of the house. Today is Ramadan Eid, look how everyone is happy. All my friends are wearing new clothes and have delicious things to eat, and here I am, I don’t have clothes except the one I am wearing. I have no place to go and no food to eat.”

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) comforted him and said, “I exactly know how you feel, I lost my parents when I was a little boy.” The boy was taken aback as he came to know that an orphan was comforting him. When he looked up he was astonished to see Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). He stood on his feet immediately and paid Him respect.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) smiled and said, “What if I become your new father and my wife your new mother and my daughter your new sister, will that make you happy?” “Oh! Yes! That will be the most ideal thing in the world!” The boy smiled and wiped his tears. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) took him to His house and provided him with new clothes, delicious food on this auspicious day of Ramadan Eid.

Moral: We should always think of others who are less fortunate than us. We should not only inculcate this on Ramadhan Eid but also otherwise. Always take a moment and think of those less fortunate people and follow Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) Sunnah.

Preparing to be in HIS presence!

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Every Muslim longs for one thing in their life. To be in Allah’s presence! Oh, many a lives have gone by attempting to feel the power of HIS overwhelming presence by performing the sacred Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage. It is said, when you enter into Allah’s presence, you never return the same!

For many Muslims who plan a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca and Medina have to adhere to a set of rituals, customs and Quranic instructions. Each of which is meant to aid the pilgrims in their journey. Only Muslims that are physically, financially sound can afford to make such a journey of self-purification. However, it does not necessarily mean that the pilgrimage was successful unless you go back filled with Allah’s grace.

What then can entitle a Muslim to receive HIS blessing? More than the prayers, more than the fasting, more than the pilgrimage; it is indeed the intention harbored within the heart of an individual. The Niyat is what confirms the authenticity of a prayer and a good deed. As spoken by the Prophet (SAW), “Verily actions are judged according to intentions and every man is granted what he intends.”

While attempting to make the pilgrimage, the faithful must learn Manaasik under the guidance of a Sunni `Aalim and memorise all important Du’aas and Talbiyah.

So, as one desires to dwell in HIS presence, channelize one’s thoughts to delight in HIS name and in HIS ways. Doing so enables a Muslim to cleanse his/her soul. Allah cannot resist residing in a clean heart and soul especially of the one that calls out to HIM. A heart graced with HIS presence will be the reality of a Muslim who watches over his/her intentions and discards the unclean.

Many are the ways to be where Allah often appears, however, there is only a single way to ensure HE stays.

 

Allah once asked a man, “what do you seek your desires or mine?” To that, he said, “I need only to look for you, that’s where your desires become mine.”

 

In the spirit of Ramadan

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O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint (Taqwa). (Quran 2:183)

Yes, Ramadan is starting in two days – the month that every Muslim looks forward to pray and embrace themselves in the arms of spirituality.

The word Ramadan has its roots in the Arabic word that means ‘parched thirst’ and ‘sun-baked ground’. The motif behind fasting is to realise & sympathise with those people who have very little or nothing to eat & drink every day. Those 4 weeks of fasting teaches to be more charitable and humble in our lives.

The verse from Quran makes it clear that fasting is the way of learning Taqwa. It is God-consciousness that helps a person to be fully aware of the presence of Allah in every second of his/her life.

Fasting also amplifies devotion and brings the person closer to Allah. It lets the person realise that everything that we have, is a blessing from Allah. Fasting also teaches us self-control and inculcates good manners, polite speech and thoughtful habits.

Fasting also stands as one of the major pillars of Islam.  It was noted when Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “Islam is based on (the following) five (principles):

To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle;

to establish the prayers;

to pay Zakat (i.e. obligatory charity);

to perform Hajj (i.e. Pilgrimage to Makkah);

to observe fast during the month of Ramadan.” [Bukhari: (narrated by) Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar]

There is a holy zone that you enter when you start praying during the month of Ramadan. The dedication & loyalty towards fasting and praying proves that you are ready to surrender in front of Him and want to take hold of your life.

It is a month that millions of people experience change that they are able to inculcate even after this month. One needs to combine good deeds like prayer, fasting and charity during this holy month and Allah promises immense rewards. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, “Whoever establishes prayers during the nights of Ramadan faithfully out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards (not for showing off), all his past sins will be forgiven.” [Bukhari: Abu Hurayrah]

Every Muslims craves the state of God-consciousness, through fasting where no evil can tame or hinder in this holy process. The fasting actually acts a shield and the person becomes Allah’s true servant. Confirming that he said, “When My servants ask thee (Muhammad) concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way.” (2: 186)

Embrace this month with grace, humility and love. You will attain celestial experience. Ramadan Kareem.

Umrah and its Importance

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Umrah holds immense value and rewards in Islam. It is gracefully placed at a level of spiritual purity for any Muslim. However, Umrah isn’t an imperative obligation for Muslims; it is actually Sunnat-e-muwaqada for them. Umrah is a holy act that the Prophet Muhammad, did twice in his lifetime.

On many levels, Umrah resembles the Hajj. Because of this reason, before going to Hajj, a pilgrim needs a prior Umrah.  However, it can be performed anytime during the entire year.

According to Islamic traditions, there are innumerable rewards for the one who takes Umrah. These rewards are mentioned in the Quran and from the Traditions of the Holy Prophet PBUH. However, the rewards are for those who perform Umrah or Hajj correctly. The Prophet PBUH was asked about what are the good deeds; to which He said, the utmost struggle that is Jehad. However, Hazrat Abu Hurairah inquires about what is next? He PBUH replied: accepted Hajj & Umrah.

Further, the Prophet PBUH explained the importance of Umrah in Bukhari #1773 saying “The accepted Hajj & Umrah has no other rewards, except Paradise.” Umrah is known for taking away one’s sins. The Prophet PBUH narrated why Umrah is an apology for every sin, “Umrah is an expiation for the sins committed between it and the next, and hajj, which is accepted will receive no other reward than Paradise.” [Muslim].

However, when Ayesha, the mother of all the loyal Muslims questioned the Messenger, “Messenger of Allah is there Jihad for women?” to which the Prophet replied, Yes, there is jihad upon them, there is no fighting involved in it, Hajj and Umrah.” [Ibn Majah] #3013.

It is a fact that there are innumerable blessings of Umrah for all the Muslims. The entire journey helps to purify the soul and the spirit of every Muslim. This is the power of rewards of Umrah that inspires Muslims around the world to visit the House of Allah.

Perform Umrah with Al Khalid Tours as we offer the most luxurious, convenient and comfortable facilities to make your celestial experience even more meaningful.

How to connect young Muslims to community & spirituality this Ramadan?

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Inquisitive young Muslims tend to get distracted due to various new technologies. They are inclined to the newness of what this generation has to offer. Amidst getting connected online, today’s young Muslims are disconnected from community & spirituality.

It is our duty to inspire them and encourage them to participate in community services. Introduce them to spirituality to feel grounded and connected to Allah. So, that Allah can show them the correct way if and when they feel lost. And Ramadan is the best month to experience the true spirituality.

Here are some ideas that you can use:

Be present at Taraweeh prayers

During Ramadan, if your child cannot or does not pray all of the Rakay of Taraweeh, still bring them with you to the Mosque. They will immerse themselves in the solidarity as they listen to the soft recitation of the Quran.

Even younger kids can take an advantage provided you explain to them about the decorum of the Mosque. You may even reward them afterwards if they behave well. They may not be able to understand Imam or Khateeb, simply praying with fellow Muslims help to strengthen the community spirit.

Be present for Juma prayers

Especially in the month of Ramadan, Juma prayers are considered to be a wonderful opportunity to see community interaction in actuality.

All you have to do is, to be sure about choosing a place that gives the Khutba in English as well as in Arabic.

Go to a different mosque every week

If you happen to live in a huge city where the Muslim community is large, then it is a good idea to visit a new mosque every week. You might not be comfortable to have a new mosque every week due to Ramadan fasting, but for your child, it is the time he/she can see the diversity of the Ummah and unity amongst fellow Muslims.

 Consider starting a “Wisdom of the Elders” series

The elders in our community have gained wisdom over the years. They have experienced some unusual things and they have learnt a lot of lessons that are surely entertaining and worth sharing. Organise a meet every week during Ramadan where the community elders share their fascinating story with the young Muslims and inspire them further and help them connect better.

The advantage of this activity is that the young Muslims will learn from the first-hand experience of the elders and those often neglected elders will feel like contributing more to the community.

Encourage to opt for skills that can help the community at large.

The community needs young Muslims’ help in its growth. It is their new skills that will support this progress. And it is a matter of hours or even days to learn a skill that will be beneficial for the community. The young Muslim can learn about First Aid, CPR or babysitting, project management, crisis management and much more.

Ramadan is the holy month where it is always a good idea to take up a new skill for the betterment of the community.

Attend in projects organised by Mosques and other Islamic organisations.

In Ramadan, if your local Mosque is organising a service project like collecting toys or food, feeding the underprivileged, etc.; register yourself and even take your child. Your child will surely experience the boost to serve the community. You can get in contact with various agencies that have special services planned for Ramadan.

Help them connect to the higher self. They will surely thank you some day!

 

Undesirables When You Are In Iĥraam

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Ihram is a sacred state entered by us as we decide to perform Hajj. One of the many necessary rituals after entering the state of Ihram is wearing the prescribed attire. For which, men and women accordingly defer. On attaining a state of complete spiritual purity known as Ihram, it expects the individual to be pure in mind and in body.

After you have entered the state of Ihraam there are number of things that are undesirable. Here are those things that you should avoid while in the state of Ihraam:

  1. To remove dirt or scum from the body.
  2. To wash hair or body with un-perfumed soap.
  3. To comb own hair.
  4. To scratch the head or body in a way that may cause hair or lice to fall.
  5. To wear or put on body any cloth which has been put in Loobaan and it still smells of it.
  6. To hide any part of face with cloth.
  7. To enter under the curtain of Ka`bah in such a way that either it touches the head or the face.
  8. To use darned or patched Iĥraam.
  9. To tie a Ta`weedh in arm even using unstitched cloth.
  10. To lie down in a way that face touches pillow.
  11. To put bandage without a valid reason.
  12. To eat anything in which odorous ingredients have been added and which are not cooked and still emits odours.
  13. To do make up.
  14. To join one end of the sheet covering lower part of the body with other end by a needle or a pin or tie a knot on it.
  15. To wear a Lunggi and tighten it with a belt or a waist band.

All the above acts are Makrooh/undesirable in the state of Iĥraam. Help someone who is not aware about these things and remember these when you are in the state of Ihraam.

MERITS OF THE HOLY SHRINE

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The Royal Court of the Holy Prophet Ŝallalaahu `Alaihi Wa Sallam is an esteemed place where seventy thousand Angels come in the morning, and another seventy thousand in the evening to pay their respects and Ŝalaatu Salaam every day. The person who gets this opportunity once is not allowed to visit it again. This is the place where the most distinguished creation of Allah the Exalted is lying at rest. The part of the land touching the body of Holy Prophet Ŝallalaahu `Alaihi Wa Sallam is considered to be more exceptional than the `Arsh. The leader of Angels Ĥazrat Jibraeel `Alaihis Salaam comes to this court with utmost respect & dignity. You have to honour this court to best of your abilities. You are not allowed to be slightly negligent at this sacred place, lest your deeds become vain while you do not even perceive it.

Allah the Exalted does not tolerate even slightest disrespect in honour of His beloved Prophet Ŝallalaahu `Alaihi Wa Sallam. Keep in mind the honour and the status of the Prophet Ŝallalaahu `Alaihi Wa Sallam while lavishing admiration on him. The Learned know that the blessings that accrue from the court of Holy Prophet Ŝallalaahu `Alaihi Wa Sallam does not alienate one from his senses, on the contrary it gives him the consciousness which is not achievable from any other source. Keep in mind that to be obedient to the

Prophet Ŝallalaahu `Alaihi Wa Sallam without love towards him has no value. In the same way having love for him without obeying his orders is not acceptable at all. The Holy Quran says:

“Wa Lau Annahum Izh Zhalamoo Anfusahum Jaa’ooka Fastaghfirul

Laaha Wastaghfara Lahumur Rasoolu Lawajadul Laaha Tawwaabar

Raĥeema”

(And if they commit excess on themselves, they should come to you and beg forgiveness from Allah and the Prophet recommends for their pardon, they will definitely find Allah Most Forgiving and Merciful. Soorah 4: Aayat 64)

Ĥazrat `Abullah Bin`Umar Radiallaahu `Anhumaa narrated that the Prophet Ŝallalaahu `Alaihi Wa Sallam said “The person who comes solely for the Bahaar-e- Ĥajj 129 purpose of visiting my grave, has a right on me, that I should intercede for him on the Day of Judgment.” (Ţabraani)

Ĥazrat `Abullah Bin`Umar Radiallaahu `Anhumaa also narrated that the Prophet Ŝallalaahu `Alaihi Wa Sallam said “The person who visits my grave after performing Ĥajj, will be regarded as if he has seen me in my life.”

(Ţabraani, Daar Qutni)

Ĥazrat `Abullah Bin`Umar Radiallaahu `Anhumaa also narrated that the Prophet Ŝallalaahu `Alaihi Wa Sallam said “The person who does not visit my grave after performing Ĥajj, has done injustice to me.” (Kanzul-Aa`maal)

Ĥazrat `Abullah Bin`Abdullah Radiallaahu `Anhumaa narrated that the Prophet Ŝallalaahu `Alaihi Wa Sallam said “The person who comes to Masjid-e-Nabavi after performing Ĥajj, with intention to visit my grave, will get the reward of two accepted Ĥajj.” (Kanzul-Aa`maal)

Make your visit count and have the opportunity to visit Allah’s grave. Our teachers, who will accompany you, will never let you miss this important point in your Hajj. Visit our website and look at the budget friendly packages and make this year count!

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