Posts By: Ali Hussain

Sightseeing in Madinah

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Discover Madinah with City Sightseeing’s stylish red double-deckers. Tourists are driven along two routes (green and red) and eleven stops visiting some of the best attractions in the city.

The green route includes 4 stops:
– The Prophet’s Mosque
– Al-Baqi cemetery
– The Qur’an exhibition
– Al-Salam Road
The red route includes 7 stops:
– Uhud
– Masjid Al-Qiblatayn
– Al-Khandaq (Battle of the Trench)
– Masjid Quba
– Al-Hijaz Railway Station
– Al-Nur Mall
– Sultana Road
Tours are scheduled every 30 minutes and last approximately 60 minutes. The double-decker buses facilitate wheelchair users and special consideration was given when determining the price of the tickets in order to make the tours accessible to all visitors and pilgrims. The tours also offer guides who speak eight different languages including free Wifi access. Click here to learn more about the service.

24 guards at the black stone!?

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For a long time now, the Black Stone at the eastern corner of the Kabah has never been left unattended.
Most people have seen—either in person or through media—a guard standing near the Black Stone holding onto a rope. In fact, 24 guards are assigned to this post over a 24-hour period; a different guard every hour.
The guard’s responsibilities include:

Maintaining the safety of pilgrims at the Black Stone
Alerting guards and staff of any incident requiring immediate attention
Organising the queue of pilgrims or visitors wishing to kiss the Black Stone
Instructing pilgrims the proper manner of kissing the Black Stone
Ensuring no unethical or illegal behaviour occurs at the Black Stone

 
 

Locked boxes in the Prophet’s Chamber, now unlocked

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Shaykh Aayid bin Umar accompanied King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz into the Prophet’s Chamber, located in Madinah Mosque, and found that there were locked boxes made of iron. He did not know what was inside them.
In a video uploaded to YouTube, Sheikh Aayid said that King Faisal (reign from 1964 to 1975) ordered that a committee be formed to register the contents of the Chamber.
“We were ordered to enter the Chamber after the evening prayers. We catalogued the contents of the Chamber with the aid of a jewellery expert and historical records to identify items. The first box was examined and we found gold and jewellery. The second box contained chains of silver… We also found some private correspondences linked to the Prophet,” said Shaykh Aayid.
He said that the committee continued to catalogue the contents of the chamber for 15 days. The jewellery was moved to Madinah museum and the correspondence was handed over to the education ministry for further study.
Source

Safety: A Miraculous Aspect of Hajj

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I cannot help, when talking about Hajj safety, but remember the British researcher Alistair, whom I met three years ago who was in the company of an Australian friend of his. He told me that he was investigating the issue of the safety of communities, and Hajj was one of the environments selected for test and study. After a few trials with the Saudi embassy in England, they finally agreed to grant him a visa to visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and to be around the pilgrims and join the pilgrims in their journey between the different rites.
He was a non Muslim, but no sooner did the season of Hajj finish that he announced his reversion to Islam and he returned the next year to Saudi Arabia as a Muslim to perform the rituals of Hajj.
The main reason behind him embracing Islam, as per his statement, was the result of the study he conducted during Hajj. He discovered the miraculous divine sign in the issue of safety during Hajj.
He said, “When I compared the results of the studies I conducted in the smallest community during football games that were held between the famous teams, the number of fans was around one hundred thousand people. In Hajj, on the other hand, the number was two million people in precise, relatively small areas that were connected areas. The requirements of performing these rites dictate that people are on the move around the clock. People move in a very short period in huge numbers. When comparing the two situations of the games in England and Hajj in Saudi, I noticed a massive and astonishing difference with regards to crime cases. Even though the means and causes for crime are facilitated, like the huge congested crowd, the closeness of people (especially during tawaf) and the set up of accommodation in Mina. Despite all of that, the crime rate there is not even one tenth that of the crime rate during the games in England in small communities. Additionally, the crime cases in Hajj are limited to theft and some fights due to disputes amongst pilgrims and some traffic violations. However, in England during games, the matter reaches murder, kidnapping, rape, robbery and ruining public property. […] I was certain after my experience that the safety aspect during Hajj cannot but be a divine gift granted by the Lord and a sign that calls people to ponder upon the greatness of Islam and that it is the True religion. This is why I decided to embrace Islam and have changed my name to Ilyas.”
Imam Al-Qurtubi said, “Makkah continues to be a sacred place which is safe and protected against earthquakes and other disasters that afflict other places. Allah made people glorify it and fear to commit evil in it to the extent that it became known and famous for its safety.”
Allah said,
“Have we not established for them a safe sanctuary (Makkah) to which are brought the fruits of all things as provision from Us? But most of them do not know.” [28:57]
“And (mention) when We made the House (K’abah) a place of return for the people and a place of security.” [2:125]
“By the fig and the olive. And by Mount Sinai. And by this secure city (Makkah).” [95:1-3]
“Have they not seen that We made (Makkah) a safe sanctuary, while people are being taken away all around them?” [29:67]
These verses and others prove that the safety and security of Makkah continues to be from Allah, and it is indeed a sign from Allah to all people to ponder upon and reflect.
 
Source

Actions with the Same Reward as Hajj and Umrah

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There are several righteous deeds that are equal in reward to Hajj and Umrah. Some of these deeds are:
1. Dhikr after the five daily prayers
A group of poverty stricken people came to the Prophet salla Allaahu `alayhi wa sallam and said, “O Messenger of Allah, the wealthy people will have higher grades and will have permanent enjoyment in high levels in Paradise. They pray like us and fast as we do, but they have more money by which they perform the Hajj, ‘Umrah, participate in honourable battle and give in charity.” The Prophet replied, “Shall I not tell you something upon which if you acted you would catch up with those who have surpassed you? Nobody would surpass you and you would be better than the people amongst whom you live except those who would do the same. Say ‘Subhan Allah’, ‘Alhamdulillah’ and ‘Allahu Akbar’ thirty-three times each after every (compulsory) prayer.’” Reported by Al-Bukhari.
This means that dhikr (words of remembrance) after each prayer equals to Hajj and ‘Umrah for Muslims.
2. Praying the ‘Isha and Fajr prayers in congregation
In a similar report to the above, the Prophet answered with another response. He said, “Has Allah not rendered for you the ‘Isha prayer in congregation equal to Hajj, and the Fajr prayer in congregation equal to ‘Umrah?” Reported by Muslim.
3. Praying the Fajr prayer in congregation and staying in the mosque until sunrise to perform the Duha prayer
The Prophet salla Allahu `alayhi wa sallam said, “Whoever prays the Fajr in congregation, then sits remembering Allah (dhikr) until the sun rises, then prays two units, he will receive the rewards of a complete Hajj and ‘Umrah – he repeated that thrice.” Reported by Al-Tirmidhi.
4. Attending the congregational prayers at the mosque, and walking to the mosque to perform voluntary prayers
The Prophet said, “Whoever walks to complete an obligatory prayer in congregation, it is like Hajj [in terms of rewards], and whoever walks to complete a voluntary prayer, it is like a voluntary ‘Umrah [in terms of rewards].” Walking to the mosque to complete sunnah prayers such as the Duha prayer as mentioned in the version of Abu Dawud.
5. Offering prayers in Quba Mosque
The Prophet said, “He who purifies himself at his home and comes to Masjid Quba and prays therein will have the reward like that of ‘Umrah.” Reported by Ahmad.
‘A’ishah bint Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqqas said, “I heard my father saying, ‘It is dearer to me to pray two units in Quba’ Mosque than visiting Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa twice. If people only knew the virtues of praying in Quba Mosque, they would fight over it.’”

The Conclusion of the Hajj Season – A Pilgrim’s Journey (Part 8)

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On the last day of Hajj, the tent city—Mina—which came to life during the days of Hajj is now suddenly dormant – a signal to the conclusion of the Hajj season.
As pilgrims prepare to depart the tent city, they complete the last stoning at the three posts of jamarat; they collect their belongings, fold away their mats and head towards their hotels in Makkah.
The sight of an empty Mina is saddening, especially after experiencing the most grand of days undertaking the most excellent of actions at the most virtuous of sites. Their host was The King of kings and an audience of Angels. Now, all of that is about to draw to a close.
During their final moments in Makkah, pilgrims seek permission from their King and Master. They entered the Sacred Kingdom in a state of istislam (surrendering and submitting to His Commands) and remained there in a state of istislam. It is therefore only befitting that they exit the Kingdom in a state of istislam i.e. in the form of the farewell tawaf.
The able-bodied pilgrim is obliged to complete tawaful-wida (the farewell tawaf). In case of a menstruating woman, according to the majority of jurists, she is not obliged to perform that tawaf nor is she obliged to have someone do it on her behalf.
But before this last rite, pilgrims make sure nothing of their obligations is left without being fulfilled or compensated for. In some cases, pilgrims are required to offer an expiation. The expiation can be paid in the form of fasting, feeding the poor or offering a sacrificial animal.
The best scenario for pilgrims is to complete all activities—expiations and shopping—before they do the farewell tawaf. That is because it is better and more befitting to keep the last moments in this Sacred Kingdom around the K’abah instead of the market place.
In this final tawaf, as pilgrims encircle the House of their King—glorifying, praising, and extolling Him—they invoke their Generous and Caring Lord; thank Him for His hospitality and show appreciation for being given the opportunity to mention and worship Him standing, sitting, lying down, walking and running; they seek His forgiveness and asking for His acceptance.
The pilgrims then depart with hope that their Hajj was mabrur (faultless and accepted). They leave, hoping that their last few days was a true redemption from sin and an admittance to Jannah as the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam promised, “Whoever comes to this House and does not utter any obscene speech or do any evil deed, will go back as the day his mother gave birth to him,” and “For an accepted Hajj, there is no reward except Paradise.” Recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.
 
Acknowledgement
The Days of Hajj series by Yaser Birjas