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Actions with the Same Reward as Hajj and Umrah


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)


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.
The Days of Hajj series by Yaser Birjas

The Final Days of Hajj – A Pilgrim’s Journey (Part 7)


10th Dhul Hijjah – Yawmun-Nahr
The third day of Hajj is the 10th day, known in Arabic as Yawmun-Nahr (the day of sacrifice).
There are two opinions on the origin of this name:
1. The name refers to an incident when Allah commanded Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Isma’il. Sacrifice in Arabic is referred to as nahr. Some scholars believe the sacrifice took place on this day of the year.
2. The name refers to the actual practice of sacrificing animals commissioned by pilgrims on this day.
The 10th day—also known as Eidul-Adha—is the most blessed and virtuous day in the entire year. The Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “The best day with Allah is Yawmun-Nahr and then Yawmul-Qarr (the 11th day).” Recorded in Ahmad.
What do pilgrims do on the 10th day of Hajj?
In the early hours of Yawmun-Nahr, after Fajr, most pilgrims will begin their day at the plains of Muzdalifah. Once they complete the morning prayer they remain in Muzdalifah until close to sunrise. They then march to Mina.
On this day, pilgrims are obliged to perform four specific rites of Hajj; these four do not have to be performed in any specific order:
1. To stone the major pillar or jamarah aqabah with seven stones.
2. To offer a sacrificial animal whether by hand which is the most preferable method or by proxy. This rite is an obligation on those who perform the Hajj in the form of tamattu’ or qiran in which pilgrims perform both Umrah and Hajj, joined or separate. Anyone who performs Hajj as a single ritual without Umrah is not required to offer the sacrifice.
3. To perform tawaf and sa’i. The tawaf is known as tawaful-ifadah or tawafuz-ziyarah.
4. To shave the head or shorten the hair for men, and to clip a bit of the hair for women.
The pilgrim remains in a full state of ihram until these rites are fulfilled. He is in a partial state of ihram as long as the tawaf remains incomplete. Once the tawaf is complete, the pilgrim is permitted to leave the state of ihram.
Pilgrims then return to Mina to spend the night (or most of the night) in their camps.
11-13th Dhul Hijjah – Ayyamut-Tashriq
These are the final days of Hajj. They are called Ayyamut-Tashriq (the days of Tashriq).
Perhaps the strongest opinion on the origin of this name is that in the past pilgrims used to slice the meat they acquired from their sacrificial animals, season it with salt and then let it dry in the sun. The dehydration of the meat allowed pilgrims to preserve it from spoiling especially on long journeys. This process is called Tashriq and it preceded refrigeration.
The days of Tashriq are considered days of celebration and worship. It is recommended to enjoy these days by feasting. The Messenger of Allah said, “The days of Tashriq are days of eating and drinking.” Recorded in Muslim.
What do pilgrims do in these last few days?
1. Pilgrims are required to spend most of the night, preferably the entire night and day, in Mina.
2. Pilgrims recite the takbir (Allahu Akbar) until the end of the Ḥajj rite. It is recommended for pilgrims and others to end the Hajj with the remembrance of Allah.In fact, concluding acts of worship with Allah’s remembrance is a common practice, “And when you have completed the prayer, remember Allah standing, sitting, or (lying) on your sides [4: 103],” and “And when the prayer has concluded, disperse within the land and seek from the bounty of Allah, and remember Allah often that you may succeed [62: 10],” and “And when you have completed your rites, remember Allah like your (previous) remembrance of your fathers or with much greater remembrance [2: 200].”
3. The most important practice during these days is throwing stones at the jamarat site (stoning site).The timing of this rite is critical. The standard opinion is that it should be completed after zawal or when the time of zuhr is already in until right before sunset.
After completing the throwing at a station/pillar, pilgrims stand on the side, away from the traffic, facing Makkah and raise their hands with du’a and praise. They then then move on to the next station. There is no du’a at the last station (major). Thereafter, they return to Mina.
4. The fifth …

A Real Heaven on Earth?


The Rawdah is located inside Al-Masjid An-Nabawi (the Prophet’s Mosque). The area is distinguished with marble columns and designs very different from the rest of the mosque.
The Prophet said, “Between my house and my pulpit is one of the gardens of Paradise.” Reported by Al-Bukhari.
Scholars interpreted this hadith in three ways:
1.The narration could mean that the Rawdah is similar to the gardens of Paradise in the sense that the person who performs worship there attains happiness and joy, and a mercy from Allah descends on him.
2. The narration could mean that performing acts of worship in the Rawdah is a path to Paradise.
3. The narration could mean that the Rawdah is an actual part of Paradise that would be transferred to Paradise on the Day of Judgement.
The area of the Rawdah encompasses many historical sites; it includes the Prophet’s room in which lies the grave of the Prophet salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam along with the graves of his companions Abu Bakr and Umar. It also includes the mihrab of the Prophet that is located in the middle of its southern wall, and the pulpit of the Prophet.

Umrah to The King – A Pilgrim’s Journey (Part 5)

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Umrah is composed of four rites, namely: ihram, tawaf, sa’i between Al-Safa and Al-Marwa, and shaving the head or cutting the hair. These actions are also stipulated in Hajj.
Ihram & Miqat
Ihram is a spiritual state of worship. It is composed of two parts: (1) a specific dress code like the two white garments for men, and (2) a number of restrictions such as applying perfumes, cutting nails and physical intimacy between spouses.
The ihram can only begin after entering specific locations, which are known as miqat.
Once at the miqat, the pilgrim must enter ihram. He does so by changing his clothes and doing ghusl (a full-body-wash). Then the male pilgrim applies perfume to his head and beard.
Thereafter, the pilgrim puts on the ihram garments, faces the qiblah (direction of prayer) and enters the state of ihram by uttering the talbiyah of intention. In the case of Umrah, he says: Labbayk Allahumma bil-Umrah (Here I am, O Allah, for Umrah).
Two implications of the ihram and miqat on the pilgrim are:
1. An awareness of the boundaries set by Allah, The Master and King
After entering the miqat boundary and entering ihram some actions are forbidden, which otherwise would be permissible.
Some people may consider the prohibitions of ihram insignificant like not clipping nails, not cutting hair and not covering the head, however the consequence (of violating them) is huge, which is typically compensated for by offering a sacrificial animal.
Thus the ihram and miqat create awe and caution of the “lesser or smaller” sinful actions, and not just the major ones. The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Beware of lesser sins, (the analogy is) like a people who camped in the bottom of a valley, and one man brought a stick, another man brought a second stick, and so on, until they managed to (ignite a fire and) bake their bread. There are sins (i.e. lesser/smaller sins) which, once (they accumulate) and a person is questioned about them, they lead to his doom.” Reported by Ahmad.
2. Entering the kingdom of Allah in submission
No pilgrim enters the Sacred Kingdom and House of Allah except in a state of istislam (surrendering and submitting to His Commands). The miqat and ihram epitomize this state. The miqat, for example, required the pilgrim to spend his wealth, leave the security and comfort of his family and home, give up his eating and living habits—and despite its many difficulties he surrendered to his King and Lord. And similarly, the ihram required the pilgrim to change his appearance and withhold from his urges—and again he obeyed in submission to Allah.
The pilgrim therefore acknowledges the Authority, Kingship and Majesty of Allah, and he understands that he is nought but a humbled guest in the Dominion of The King.
When saying the talbiyah, it is important that the pilgrim understands it and says it sincerely from his heart. This is because the talbiyah embodies the shahadah (testimony of faith) about which the Prophet said, “Whoever says La ilaha illallah sincerely from his heart will enter Paradise.” Reported by Muslim.
Men raise their voices when saying it and women recite it in such a manner that only those who are close to them can hear it.
During the pilgrimage, the muhrim (person in ihram) says 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 talbiyah is prescribed in Umrah from the moment one enters ihram until one engages in the next rite, which in this case is the tawaf. When he starts tawaf, he stops saying the talbiyah, and then resumes its chanting after completing the rite. He goes on in this state until he begins the next rite. Like this, he continues until the end of the pilgrimage.
After entering miqat & ihram, the pilgrim heads for Al-Masjid Al-Haram and enters the mosque with his right foot first, saying the invocation for entering the masjid. He then moves in the direction of the Black Stone in order to begin tawaf while in a state of wudu (ritual ablution). He starts the tawaf by touching the Black Stone with his right hand and kissing it; if he cannot kiss it then he touches it with his hand and kisses that hand; if he cannot …

Zamzam History


Ibn ‘Abbas narrated that the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
When Ibrahim escorted Isma’il and his mother to the barren and dry land of Makkah, they only had a water-skin with them containing some water. Isma’il’s mother used to drink water from the water-skin so that her milk would increase for her child.
When Ibrahim reached Makkah, he had her and his son reside there. And as he was returning home, Isma’il’s mother followed him, “O Ibrahim! To whom are you leaving us?” He replied, “(I am leaving you) to Allah’s care.” She said, “I am satisfied to be with Allah.” She returned to her place and started drinking water from the water-skin, and her milk increased for her child.
When the water had all been used up, she said to herself, “I would better go and look so that I may see somebody to assist me.” She ascended the hill of Safa and looked, hoping to see somebody, but sew saw no one. When she came down to the valley, she ran till she reached the other hill, Marwah, but she saw no one. She ran to and from (between the two hills) many times.
Then she said to herself, “I would better go and see the state of the child,” she went and found it in a state of one on the point of dying. She could not endure to watch her child dying and said (to herself), “If I go and look, I may find somebody.” She went and ascended the hill of Safa once again and looked for a long while but could not see anybody. Subsequently, she completed seven rounds (of running) between Safa and Marwah.
Again she said (to herself), “I would better go back and see how the child is doing.” But all of a sudden she heard a voice, and she said to that strange voice, “Help us, if you can offer any help.” It was Jibril (who had made the voice). Jibril hit the earth with his heel and water gushed out. Isma’il’s mother was astonished and started digging. She started drinking from the water and her milk increased for her child.”
In another narration of Ibn ‘Abbas, the Prophet said, “May Allah be merciful to the mother of Isma’il! If she had left the water of Zamzam as it was, (without constructing a basin for keeping the water), it would have been a flowing stream. Jurhum (an ancient Arab tribe) came to Hajar (Isma’il’s mother) and asked her, “May we settle at your dwelling?” She answered, “Yes, but you have no ownership over the water.” They agreed.
Its water was the direct cause of Jurhum’s settlement in Makkah, and thus explaining how the dry and barren valley of Makkah became inhabited.
The Re-emergence of Zamzam
With the passage of time, the inhabitants of Makkah started to forego the ways of the pious ones. Jurhum, the core of the Makkan population, were driven out of Makkah when they became unjust and tyrannical. They, being fully aware of the importance of Zamzam, hideously plugged it to deny their conquerors its blessings. Zamzam was not reopened and henceforth was forgotten.
Many generations passed in Makkah with Zamzam in complete oblivion, until Abdul-Muttalib (the paternal grandfather of the Prophet) resurrected the dead well. Abdul-Muttalib himself was oblivious to Zamzam. With the approaching of the last divine message, a sequence of significant preludes was in order; the rebirth of Zamzam was one.
It so happened that for three consecutive nights, Abdul-Muttalib had a very clear dream about digging a well. During each dream, the name of the well was different and no location was mentioned. On the fourth night, however, both Zamzam and its location were communicated to Abdul-Muttalib so clearly that he attended to the appointed task on the morning of the very fourth night.
To the utter disbelief of the Makkans who ridiculed the seemingly futile attempt at finding water in such an arid place, Abdul-Muttalib found water in an ancient buried well so close to the Ka’bah. And it was only natural that the Makkans claim a share in this, obviously, special well. Abdul-Muttalib gave no concessions and rejected any such claim.
The Makkans and Abdul-Muttalib’s could not negotiate a middle ground, so both parties agreed to seek …