Posts Categorized: Hunafaa Exclusive

Safety: A Miraculous Aspect of Hajj


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.

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 …

The 1st and 2nd Days of Hajj – A Pilgrim’s Journey (Part 6)


8th Dhul Hijjah – Yawm-ut-Tarwiyah
The first day of Hajj is the 8th day of Dhul-Hijjah, known in Arabic as Yawmut-Tarwiyah (the day of fetching water and quenching thirst).
It is known as Yawm-ut-Tarwiyah because in the past there was no source of water on the actual plains of Arafah and Mina. The plains for the most part are wide, open valleys—dry and barren.
Because of the scarcity of water in the area, the pilgrims were instructed to prepare for the long days ahead by feeding and supplying their animals and riding beasts with sufficient water. The pilgrims would also gather water for themselves and fill their water containers. It is for this reason the day was given the name Yawmut-Tarwiyah (the day of fetching water and quenching thirst).
Yawmut-Tarwiyah is a preparation for the days to follow and in particular the 9th day—the anticipated day on which The King of the worlds descends. The pilgrim looks forward to this meeting; he is eager to meet Allah and is rewarded with the like, “Whoever loves to meet Allah, Allah will love to meet him. Whoever dislikes to meet Allah, Allah will dislike to meet him.” Reported by Al-Bukhari.
What do pilgrims do on the 1st day of Hajj?
1. Regardless of their location—whether they are in a hotel, in Mina or in Makkah—the hujjaj (pilgrims) prepare themselves to enter the state of ihram: clipping their fingernails, trimming their moustaches, shaving their underarms and pubic areas and taking a thorough shower. Men put on perfume and wear the two white garments, and women may wear their regular clothes.
2. When the pilgrims are ready to travel to Mina, they pronounce the talbiyah of Hajj and enter ihram, “Labbayk Allahumma Hajj,” which epitomizes the purpose of this journey, “Here I am O Allah, for the Hajj.”
3. In Mina, the pilgrims generally remain there for the entire day and night until after Fajr the next day.
9th Dhul Hijjah – Yawmul-Arafah
The second day of Hajj is the 9th day of Dhul Hijjah, known in Arabic as Yawmul-Arafah (the day of Arafah).
There are different opinions as to why this day was called Arafah or Arafat. Three are as follows:
1. The root letters of Arafah linguistically mean ‘to be acquainted with, to know.’ It is said that Arafah was the place where Adam and Eve reunited when they were sent down to reside on earth. They came down on two different spots but eventually were able to meet and recognize each other on this plain.
2. Since pilgrims spend most of that day on the same plain, some become acquainted with others. So it is a place of ta’aruf (getting to know one another), and because of the great number of people making ta’aruf the word Arafat was coined.
3. It is the place where pilgrims acquaint themselves with their King and Master. They raise their hands beseeching Him, asking for their needs and wants. They empty their hearts to Him, speaking of every fear and regret, seeking His forgiveness and counsel, asking for His grace and favour.
The Day of Arafah is certainly a tremendous day; a blessed day chosen by Allah; an immense gathering of goodness, iman, and taqwa. A day wherein the King draws close to His faithful subjects; He speaks of them with happiness and satisfaction—rather He boasts of them. A day when many tears are shed and prayers pour forth in succession, one after the next; an abundance of mercy descends, and mistakes and errors are pardoned. It is a grand occasion of worship and obedience, of joy and happiness for both the King and His honoured slaves and visitors.
The day of Arafah is a special day. A blessed day. A day of hope and renewal. The sun has not risen on a day better than it!
On this promising and sacred day, Allah frees many from the Hellfire; purifying them and breaking the shackles that once bound them. He then generously gives His believing slaves from His immense kingdom and speaks proudly of them to an audience(angels) who have especially gathered to witness their every statement and action, “There is no day on which Allah frees more servants from the Fire than the Arafah Day. He draws near and speaks of them proudly in …

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

Hunafaa Blog Thumbnails (Hunafaa) (1)

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 …