Mecca was recently the scene of shocking proportions when a crane which had not been secured properly crashed through the roof of the masjid damaging it and killing many. While families and the country mourns the loss of life and loved ones, we find strength and hope in the fact that they died performing acts of worship to God Almighty. Their lives are not a loss but actually a mercy as they will be – insha’allah raised as shaheed. Here we see Hajj 2015 continuing with live streaming of Mecca Mukarima. May God accept the worship of all these people and those who worship in their homes.
Hajj literally means ‘to set out for a place’. Islamically however it refers to the annual pilgrimage that Muslims make to Makkah with the intention of performing certain religious rites in accordance with the method prescribed by the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). Hajj and its rites were first ordained by Allaah in the time of the Prophet lbrahIm [Abraham] (AS) and he was the one who was entrusted by Allaah to build the Ka’ba – the House of Allaah – along with his son Ismaa’eel [Ishmael] at Makkah.
Allaah described the Ka’ba and its building as follows:
“And remember when We showed Ibrahim the site of the [Sacred] House [saying]: Associate not anything [in worship with Me and purify My House for those who circumambulate it [i.e. perform tawaaf] and those who stand up for prayer and those who bow down and make prostration [in prayer etc.].” [Surah Al-Hajj 22:26]
After building the Ka’ba, Ibrahim (AS) would come to Makkah to perform Hajj every year, and after his death, this practice was continued by his son. However, gradually with the passage of time, both the form and the goal of the Hajj rites were changed. As idolatry spread throughout Arabia , the Ka’ba lost its purity and idols were placed inside it. Its walls became covered with poems and paintings, including one of Jesus and his mother Maryam and eventually over 360 idols came to be placed around the Ka’ba.
During the Hajj period itself, the atmosphere around the sacred Ka’ba was like a circus. Men and women would go round the Ka’ba naked, arguing that they should present themselves before Allaah in the same condition they were born. Their prayer became devoid of all sincere remembrance of Allaah and was instead reduced to a series of hand clapping, whistling and the blowing of horns. Even the talbeeyah was distorted by them with the following additions:
‘No one is Your partner except one who is permitted by you. You are his Master and the Master of what he possesses’. Sacrifices were also made in the name of Allaah. However, the blood of the sacrificed animals was poured onto the walls of the Ka’ba and the flesh was hung from pillars around the Ka’ba, in the belief that Allaah demanded the flesh and blood of these animals.
Singing, drinking, adultery and other acts of immorality occurred amongst the pilgrims and the poetry competitions which were held were a major part of the whole Hajj event. In these competitions, poets would praise the bravery and splendor of their own tribesmen and tell exaggerated tales of the cowardice and miserliness of other tribes. Competitions in generosity were also held. Thus the people had totally abandoned the teachings of their forefather and leader Ibrahim (AS). The House that he had made pure for the worship of Allaah alone, had been totally desecrated by the pagans and they had com rites which he had established were completely distorted . This sad state of affairs continued for nearly two and a half thousand years.
What should the one who wants to offer a sacrifice refrain from doing ?
If the onset of Dhul-Hijjah has been proven and a person wants to offer a sacrifice, it is haraam for him to remove anything from the hair on his body or to cut his nails or any part of his skin. It is not forbidden for him to wear new clothes or to put on henna or perfume, or to be intimate with his wife or have intercourse with her.
This ruling applies only to the one who is going to offer the sacrifice, and not to the rest of his family, and not to the one whom he appoints to slaughter the sacrifice on his behalf. None of these things are forbidden for his wife or children, or for his deputy.
No differentiation is made between men and women with regard to this ruling. If a woman wants to offer a sacrifice on her own behalf, whether she is married or not, then she should refrain from removing any hair from her body or cutting her nails, because of the general meaning of the texts which state that that is not allowed.
Some things are, like they say, one step forward and two steps back. But, as guest writer Bisma shares, with pure intentions and persistence, and help from Allah ta’ala, it’s possible to come out ahead.
My hijab story is like a secret diary no one should ever read. It is filled with horrible facts about me and points to my mistakes and weaknesses. My journey to hijab is filled with fear, negativity and regret. So I warn you: read with caution.
The most important thing you should know is that I used to wear hijab, but eventually took it off. I hate saying it, admitting to the world that I was one of those ignorant girls who went backwards after putting on the hijab, instead of moving forward with my deen. But it’s what I did and I can’t change that.
I first put on the hijab due to an extreme iman rush after an Islamic conference and pressure I felt from my community members, because, masha’Allah, almost all the girls I knew already wore hijab and were so religious. I always felt like an outcast not wearing it, so I decided to just do it.
After putting on the scarf, however, I was extremely self-cautious. I would feel fine wearing it when I was around my religious friends; but, when I was with other “normal” people, I was ashamed. I tried to cover while still blending in: wearing hoods and hats to cover my hair, instead of proper hijab. I didn’t understand that “hijab” was true modesty, not only in dress, but in actions as well. I treated the hijab simply as a cloth on my head.
During that period, I regretted the day I decided to wear the hijab and every bone in my body screamed at me to take it off, but I was afraid of what people would think of me. So I continued my self-loathing and wore the scarf. I felt horrible because I knew I wasn’t getting reward from Allah ta’ala. After all, I only kept on my hijab from fear of people’s judgment, rather than fulfilling the command of my Lord.
The regret continued and became stronger each day. I woke up miserable, knowing I had to put on my hijab. I hated going out, especially with my husband, because I felt that every other girl looked beautiful to him except me. His consolation only made it worse. I didn’t believe him when he said I looked beautiful, because I felt ugly, inside and out. I was always irritated and fighting with everyone around me. Read the rest of this entry »
Fiqh: Sawm or Siyaam (Fasting)
Part 1: The Virtues and Benefits of Fasting
By Dr. Aboo Ameenah Bilal Philips
Edited by Imran Ayub
The Literal meaning of Sawm is to restrain oneself from something. For example, Allaah tells us in the Qur’an that Maryam said, “…Verily! I have vowed a fast unto ar – Rahmaan [the Most Beneficent (Allaah)]….”
The fast here means to be silent, that is, to abstain from speaking. Islamically, Sawm means to abstain from food, drink and sexual relations between dawn and sunset.
2. Classification of Sawm
Sawm is wajib (compulsory) on Muslims, according to the Qur’aan and Sunnah (tradition of the Prophet), during the night month of the Hijricalendar, called Ramadaan, every year. Allaah, the Most High, said in the Quraan, “The month of Ramadaan in which was revealed the Qur’ân, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadaan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Sawm (fasts) that month,…”
Narrated Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him): Allaah‘s Apostle said: Islam is based on (the following) five (principles):
1. To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allaah and Muhammad is Allaah’s Apostle.
2. To offer the (compulsory congregational) prayers dutifully and perfectly.
3. To pay Zakat (i.e. obligatory charity) .
4. To perform Hajj. (i.e. Pilgrimage to Mecca)
Narrated Talha bin ‘Ubaid-Ullah (may Allaah be pleased with him): A bedouin with unkempt hair came to Allaah’s Apostle and said, “O Allaah’s Apostle! Inform me what Allaah has made compulsory for me as regards the prayers.” He replied: “You have to offer perfectly the five compulsory prayers in a day and night (24 hours), unless you want to pray Nawafil.” The bedouin further asked, “Inform me what Allaah has made compulsory for me as regards fasting.” He replied, “You have to fast during the whole month of Ramadan, unless you want to fast more as Nawafil.” The Bedouin further asked, “Tell me how much Zakat Allaah has enjoined on me.” Thus, Allaah’s Apostle informed him about all the rules (i.e. fundamentals) of Islam. The bedouin then said, “By Him Who has honoured you, I will neither perform any Nawafil nor will I decrease what Allaah has enjoined on me. Allaah‘s Apostle said, “If he is saying the truth, he will succeed (or he will be granted Paradise).”
3. The Purpose of Fasting
The ultimate goal of the fast is to develop taqwaa (consciousness of God) in people, as Allaah said in Soorah al – Baqarah of the Qur’aan, Verse 183, “…[so] it may produce Taqwa in you.” Taqwaa is amongst the highest moral qualities that a Muslim can attain. It is achieved by placing a shield between one’s self and Allaah’s wrath, as the root meaning of the word implies (i.e. taqwaa comes from the verb waqaa, which means “to safeguard”). This is achieved by being conscious of Allaah and all His commandments at all times, which means avoid the Haraam (prohibited) as well as the Makrooh (undesirable) and even some of the Halaal (permissible), wherever doubt arises.
These are mistakes that occur during tawaaf, and are of various types:
1 : Uttering the intention out loud when wanting to do tawaaf, so you see the pilgrim standing facing the Black Stone when he wants to do tawaaf, saying, “O Allaah, I intend to do seven circuits of tawaaf for Umrah” or “O Allaah, I intend to do seven circuits of tawaaf for Hajj,” or “O Allaah, I intend to do seven circuits of tawaaf in order to draw closer to You.”
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did tawaaf before you and he did not speak the intention out loud when he did tawaaf. The Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) did tawaaf before you and did not speak the intention out loud when they did tawaaf, or when doing any other act of worship, so this is a mistake.
2 : Some of those who do tawaaf push and shove too much when they touch the Black Stone and the Yemeni Corner, and they are disturbed by the overcrowding and disturb others. They may be pushing and shoving a woman, and the Shaytaan may tempt him and fill his heart with desire when he is crowding this woman in this narrow place. People are only human and may be overwhelmed by their souls that prompt them to do evil, so an evil action may take place in the shadow of the House of Allaah. This is a matter that becomes even worse in light of where it takes place, although it is a fitnah in any place it happens.
It is not prescribed to push and shove when touching the Black Stone or the Yemeni Corner, rather if it is easy for you to do so in a calm and dignified manner, then you must do it, and if it is not easy for you to do it, then you should just point to the Black Stone.
With regard to the Yemeni Corner, there is no report from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) that he pointed to it, and we cannot compare it to the Black Stone, because the Black Stone is greater than it, and it was proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) pointed to the Black Stone.
Just as crowding is not prescribed in this situation and there is the fear that it may cause fitnah when one is crowded together with women, so too it may also cause annoyance, because in crowded situations a person will inevitably hear words that he dislikes and he will feel annoyed and angry when he leaves this place.
What the person who is doing tawaaf should do is always remain calm and dignified, so that he will have the proper presence of mind for worshipping Allaah.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Tawaaf around the House and (Saai) between al-Safa and al-Marwah and the stoning of the Jamaar have only been prescribed so that remembrance of Allaah (dhikr) will be established.”
3 : Some people think that tawaaf is not valid unless one kisses the Black Stone, and that kissing the Black Stone is one of the conditions of tawaaf being valid, and of Hajj and Umrah being valid too. This is a mistaken notion. Read the rest of this entry »