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Guest Impressions

Hajj and Umrah

The hajj is that largest annual Convention of Faith where millions of Muslims gather in the holy land, merging as streams of devotees from every corner of the earth to become part of the sea of Believers swirling in spiritually dancing waves around the Ka'bah in tawaaf. Each individual pilgrim, a drop in that ocean; a drop that always yearns to be part of that ocean. An ocean that knows no race, no language, no color, no gender, nor time. All praise is due to Allah for making this unique, international gathering of hajj an inexhaustible source for spiritual rejuvenation and as a perennial re-affirmation of faith.

Beyond the Ritual

The performance of prescribed rites, at specified times, at particular places in a recommended manner is aimed at reflecting a wholesome demonstration of Muslim fraternity. It acquaints the pilgrim with the historic, spiritual and physical environment of Adam and Hawa, of Ibrahim, Isma'il and Hajirah and of the final messenger of Allah (peace be upon all of them). By re-enacting some of the fundamental aspects of the best of our history (Hajirah's running in search for water, Prophet Ibrahim's (AS) preparedness to sacrifice his willing and obedient son or his pelting of the shaytaan ), all these identifies us with the best of our past and the lessons we need to learn from our great legacy.

O Hujjaaj (Those who have already done their Hajj or will be doing their Hajj), May I ask ?


You have visited the "house of Allah" in Makkah,that city which is dearest to Allah, that city where the greatest of all creation was born, where he lived, where he received revelation, where he preached his message, where he was mocked and ostracized; that city which he was forced to leave and on the occasion of leaving he said;"I swear by Allah, O Makkah, you are the best of cities and most loved city on earth by Allah; if I was not made to leave you I would never have left." That very city which he returned to 8 years later with an army of 120 000 and yet forgave his persecutors.


When you walked through the streets of Makkah,did you recall the torments and hardship our Prophet (saw) had to go through to deliver Allah's message? Did you look at the hills and wonder where he shepherded the sheep of the rich Makkans as a teenager? Did you look towards Jabal an-Noor and consider how the Prophet sought solitude in those hills until he received revelation from Allah?


When you removed your designer clothes and put on your ihraam,did you also cast of your arrogance, racism and chauvinism ? When you made tawaaf did you truly feel part of that ocean of faithful going in waves around the ka'bah? Did you consider the majesty of the One Allah and realize that you too are part of the infinity of zeroes that is totally dependant on Him? When you prayed at the station of Ibrahim (maqami Ibrahim) did you wonder about his status, impact and influence on world history? When you ran between the hills of Safaa and Marwah, did you realize that you were re-enacting the running of a slave woman (Hajirah) whose selfless search for water for her son was considered worthy enough by Allah to be incorporated as part of the hajj? When you drank of zam-zam did you reflect on how this once water served to quench the thirst of baby Isma'il who was later to become the forefather of our Prophet (pbuh)?


When you stood on Arafah,did you contemplate your insignificance amidst the multitude? Did you realize that you were truly part of a global community of faith that has promised to perpetuate the mission of prophets (AS)? Did you accept the fact that race, colour, gender or nationality means nothing if you are truly a Muslim? Did you remember to ask Allah for forgiveness and did you promise to be forgiving? Did you realize that you were symbolically close to death in the two pieces of white cloth? Did you understand that Arafah is a reflection of qiyaamah?


When you gathered your stones at Muzdalifah,did you prepare to equip yourself for the challenges and tribulations of the world? When you pelted the "shaytaan" in Mina was that a permanent declaration of war against all forms of internal and external evils? When you sacrificed on the day of Eid did you slaughter your ego and selfishness as well? When you buried the bones of the sacrifice did you bury with it the bad habits, attitudes and behavior of your old self? ( Was it not our beloved Prophet(saw) who said;" Whosoever performs hajj without impropriety and vulgarity returns as a new born baby.")


When you visited the Prophet in Madinah,did you convey our salutations to that most beloved of Allah? Did you inform him of the state of his ummah, of the starvation of Muslims in Somalia and Afghanistan, of the poverty in Bangladesh, of the oppression in Palestine at the hands of the Zionists, of the suppression of Muslims in Iraq by the Ba'thists, the massacres in Kosova, Chechnya and Kashmir? With what face did you stand at his grave?

Did you then reflect on the plight of the kids dying,...dying of lack of medication in Baghdad, of massive bombs in Kabul, of hunger in Mogadishu, of deprivation in Pristina, still from of the pain of separation from their murdered parents in Mostar and of a lack of hope in concentration camps of the West Bank. With what conscience did you visit the Prophet (saw) ?


Ensure that your hajj has made you more conscious of your Creator, more conscious of yourself, of your ummah, of your duties and your eventual accountability to Allah for your existence here on earth.

O Allah! Shower Your inexhaustible grace and infinite mercy on all those who have traveled to your holy open court, illuminate their hearts with insight, bestow upon them Your guidance; grant them the strength of the highest moral conscience, arm them with sincerity and a dedicated determination to improve the lot of the universal community of Believers.

Glory be to Allah for making the Ka'bah the rendezvous of the ummah, for making hajj the key expression of solidarity among Believers and as a manifestation of the bond of fraternity and mutual affinity.

What type of world would it have been without Makkah and Madinah?

By Shaykh Syed Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi (RA)


Friends have invited me to give a talk on Madinah, describing what I saw there, and I have readily agreed. As a Persian poet has said: "To talk of the beloved is no less pleasant than to meet him."

I do not know when I first heard of Makkah and Madinah. Like all Muslim children, I was brought up in an environment in which Hijaz (Arabia) and Makkah and Madinah were household words. I, distinctly, remember people saying Makkah, Madinah together as if these were the same. When they took the name of one of them, they, generally, mentioned that of the other as well. I, thus, came to imagine that Makkah and Madinah were not two different places, but one, and learnt to appreciate the difference only as I grew up. It, then, became clear that these were two different towns separated from each other by over 300 kilometers.

In my childhood, I had heard people talking about Arabia and the two towns with the same fervor and enthusiasm as they did about Paradise and its joys and comforts, and it was from that time that I was seized with the desire to attain Paradise and visit Arabia.

Soon I realized that it was not possible for anyone to see Paradise during his lifetime, but he could, of course, go to Arabia. Parties of Hajjis (pilgrims) were visiting it regularly. So, why could I, also, not make a visit to that 'Paradise of Faith?'

 Days rolled by and I grew in age. My old eagerness was revived when I read books on the life of the Holy Prophet Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam and studied the history of Islam, and the urge to perform the Hajj and make the pilgrimage to Makkah and Madinah became so strong that I was never without it.

Then, it so happened that I did reach the place where neither the grass grew nor rivers flowed. Only barren mountains stood on all sides of it like sentinels. Yet, as famous Pakistani poet Hafeez Jullundri has said:

Neither grass grows here nor flowers bloom,

Yet even heavens bend themselves low to meet it.

As I saw the apparently unattractive stretch of land, I felt how devoid of scenery that town was. At the same time, however, I thought what a great favor it had bestowed upon mankind. Without it, the wide world would have been nothing more than a golden cage, and man, a prisoner. This was the town that took man out of the narrow confines of the earth and made him acquainted with limitless possibilities of development, and restored to mankind its glory and freedom. It relieved humanity of the heavy load under which it was groaning and broke the fetters unjust rulers and ignorant lawgivers had put around its feet.

As I reflected over what the world would have been without this town, I thought of comparing it with the bigger towns of the world and seeing what would have been the loss of human race and civilization had the latter not come into existence. One by one, all those towns came to my mind, and I felt that they were flourishing merely for the sake of a handful of men and had made no notable contribution to human progress and happiness. On the contrary, they had been guilty of various sins against man, at various stages of history. For selfish gain, one town had razed the other to the ground, and one country had ravaged the other countries.

Civilization would have been none the poorer without those cities. But without Makkah, humanity would have, certainly, remained unblessed with truths, beliefs, ideals and sciences that were its pride today. It was owing to it that the world regained the imperishable wealth of Faith and rediscovered the true knowledge that lay buried under a thick crust of conjecture and speculation. It got back the dignity and nobility that had been trampled under the feet of cruel oppressors. In fact, humanity was reborn at Makkah, and history turned a new leaf.

But what am I saying? What do I mean when I ask: What would the world have been like had there been no Makkah? It had remained asleep, until the 6th Century, with its dry mountains and huge sand dunes, even with the House of Ka'aba and the Well of Zam-Zam, while humanity was caught in the clutches of death. Surrounded by its mountains and sand dunes, it went on leading a secluded life as if it had nothing to do with the larger human family, and was not a part of, but apart from the world that lay around it.

I should, therefore, not be enquiring what would have been the state of the world without Makkah, but without its illustrious son who turned the scales of history and showed a new path to mankind.

As I reflected on it, a few scenes emerged on the landscape of my mind. It appeared as if the leader of the Quraish was circumambulating around the House of Ka'aba, alone and by himself, and people were jeering at him and passing sarcastic remarks, but he was carrying out the circumambulation with supreme indifference to all hostility and opposition.

On finishing the circumambulation, he wants to go into the House of Ka'aba, but the key-bearer, Osman bin Talha checks him with a firm hand. The leader of the Quraish bears it, too, with exemplary fortitude, and says: "Oh Osman! What will it be like on the day when the key will be in my hand and I will give it to who I please?" "Will all the Quraish be dead on that day?" asks Osman in anger. "No", he replies. "On that day, they will attain real respect and honor."

I, then, see the same leader circumambulating around the House of Ka'aba, on the occasion of the Victory of Makkah, and his Companions who had sacrificed their all for his sake gathering around him like moths. He sends for the keeper of the key, and says to him: "Osman! This is your key. Take it. Today is the day of showing kindness and keeping the promise."

As history tells, the celebrated son of Makkah did not only become the owner of the key with which he could open the door of the House of Ka'aba, but, with him, also, was the key with which he could open the locks of humanity no seer or philosopher had been able to do till then. It was the Qur'an that had been revealed to and the Apostleship that had been bestowed on him.

After performing the Hajj, I flew towards Madinah on the wings of eagerness. The hardships of the way seemed to be a blessing to me, and before my eyes was drawn the soul-stirring image of the earlier traveler whose camel had passed through the same route.

The first thing I did on reaching Madinah was to offer two Rak'ats of salat and express my sincerest gratitude to the Almighty for granting me the good fortune to be there. After it, I betook myself into the 'presence' of the Holy Prophet Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. How boundless was his favor upon me, really! I could never give thanks to him as was his due. I offered Durood and Salaam, and affirmed that he had conveyed the Message of the Lord to the world, proved true to the trust He had placed with him, showed the Straight Path to the Ummah, and strove till the last breath of his life in the way of God.

I, then, made the salutation to both the trusted friends of his whose selfless devotion was without a parallel in history. No one had discharged the duties of companionship or fulfilled the obligations of succession as they did.

From the Prophet's Mosque, I went to Jannat ul-Baq'ee. What a priceless treasure of truth and purity, of love and dedication is buried in this small plot of land! Asleep here are those who had sacrificed the life of this world for the life of futurity. These are the men who willingly abandoned their hearths and homes in the way of faith, and preferred to spend their lives at the feet of the sacred Prophet Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallamthan with friends and relatives. "Among the Believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah." [Al-Ahzab 33:23].

Thereafter, I visited Uhud where the most spectacular drama of love and fealty was staged. It was here that the world saw living models of faith and steadfastness; it was here that it learnt the true significance of courage and constancy. On reaching there, it seemed that I heard Hazrat Anas bin Nazr, Radi-Allahu anhu, say: "I feel the sweet smell of Paradise coming from the side of Uhud." Or that on hearing the news of the martyrdom of the Holy Prophet Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, Sa'ad bin Mu'ad, Radi-Allahu anhu, was saying: "What is the joy of fighting and Jihad when the Apostle of God is no more?" And Anas, Radi-Allahu anhu, interjecting: "What is the joy of living after him?"

It was here, again, that Abu Dujana, Radi-Allahu anhu, had made his back serve as a shield for the Prophet Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam arrows pierced his flesh, but he flinched not. Syedna Talha, Radi-Allahu anhu, in the same way, had taken the arrows aimed at the Holy Prophet Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam on his hands until the arms were paralyzed. Hazrat Hamza, Radi-Allahu anhu, was killed on this very battlefield and his body was cut to pieces, and Hazrat Mas'ab bin Omair, Radi-Allahu anhu, was martyred in such a state that even a shroud could not be provided for him, and he was buried in a blanket which was so short that if the head was covered, the feet became bare, and if the feet were covered, the head became bare.

Would that Uhud gave something of its treasure to mankind! Would that the world got a small particle of the faith and steadfastness of those glorious times!

Friends say: "You took us to Cairo and acquainted us with its important personalities; you have told us about Damascus and its people, and introduced us with its scholars; you have taken us round the Middle East. Now, tell me something about Hijaz and its distinguished sons." But what am I to do? To me Hijaz stands only for one man about whom I can go on talking forever. It is because of him that Hijaz is Hijaz, and the World of Islam is the World of Islam.

Our honor, indeed, is by Mustafa's name!

The Holy Kaaba has been draped over the ages.Even today in Makkah the years old ritual is being practised with full enthusiasm.

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

The performance of Hajj is obligatory on all adult Muslims who have the means to make the trip to the Holy City of Makkah. Umrah is regarded as a minor pilgrimage with only part of the required rituals performed. Whosoever enters the Mi'qaat (boundary of the Holy Land) has to perform Umrah, which includes Tawaaf (seven circuits around the Holy Kabah) and Sa’i(seven times between Mount Safa and Mount Murwa).

As the season of Hajj approaches, there are many lessons we may learn from this great event. We can learn these lessons from the Holy Quran, and its description of Hajj. In the Holy Quran there are many references to the kaaba and Ibrahim(A.S.) and the practices of Hajj. We find in the Holy Quran, Allah Ta’ala discusses very little about the masaail (rules and regulation of hajj); but focuses on Ibrahim(A.S.) and his relationships. Allah Ta’ala depicts the life of Ibrahim(A.S.) and the trials he faced in his life. We are also told about the love, eagerness and extreme devotion of the great prophet Ibrahim(A.S.).

There is one account in particular of Ibrahim (A.S) at the time when he was building the Kaaba. Allah Ta’ala says in surah al Baqarah verse 127

“And (mention) when Ibraham was raising the foundation of the house and (with him) Ismaeel, (saying), our lord, accept (this) from us. Indeed, You are the Hearing, the Knowing.”

In this verse Allah Ta’ala draws our attention to the dua (supplication) of Ibrahim(A.S.)

“Oh Allah T’ala accept (this)from us”.

Let us analyze this eloquent dua;

Ibrahim (A.S.) was building the kaaba, yet he was so humble that he was asking for acceptance on such a deed by Allah T’ala.

The humility of the Khalil (devote friend) of Allah Ta’ala is incredible. At that time the thought does not occur to him that such a noble portion of the earth on which the house of Allah Ta’ala is being built upon, and I have the task to erect that house. He doesnot entertain the slightest thought of this nature, this pride and vanity that I have achieved something great, or even this idea that I am now completing a great commandment of Allah Ta’ala. His concern was rather “Oh Allah accept from us”

The learned ulema (scholars) write a very interesting point at this junction. The word used by Ibrahim(A.S.) is Taqabbul. Another word that could have also been used is qabool, both words are synonyms with the meaning of acceptance. Qabool is used when one has done something worthy of acceptance where as taqabbul is applied to those matters which are not fit for acceptance. Here, Ibrahim (A.S.) is worried weather my service is accepted or not. “O Allah through your grace accept what we have rendered.”

Allah Ta’ala in this verse is actually teaching you and I, the believers of the Holy Quran, a great lesson. Any worship we carry out, what ever service of deen we render, how ever great it may be, pride should not enter the heart, but rather awe and concern of acceptance should be our primary concern.

Muft Shafi (R.A) in his work Ma’ariful Quran writes under the commentary of this verse;

“Verse 127 shows another essential quality of this great Prophet. In obedience to Allah, he had left the fertile land of Syria and made his wife and child to settle in the barren desert, and now he was taking up the labour of building “the House of Allah.” This was a moment when a man who had been bearing such hardships in the way of Allah could normally be expected to feel satisfied with himself and relax in a mood of self-congratulation. But “the Friend of Allah” recognized the Majesty of Allah, and knew that no creature can possibly worship or obey his Creator as is His due, but within his own limited powers. Consequently, he also knew that in performing the hardest of the greatest tasks one should not be proud of one’s attainment, but should, in all humility, pray to Allah to accept the little effort one has been capable of making – and that, too, with the grace of Allah Himself. That is exactly what Ibrahim (A.S.) did when he started, along with his young son, to build the Ka’bah. That is to say, he prayed to Allah to accept this deed, for Allah hears all prayers, and knows the intention of His creatures”

Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that Wuhayb bin Al-Ward recited the verse “And (remember) when Ibrahim and (his son) Isma`il were raising the foundations of the House (the Ka`bah at Makkah), (saying), "Our Lord! accept (this service) from us'' and cried saying, "O Khalil of Ar-Rahman! You raise the foundations of the House of Ar-Rahman (Allah), yet you are afraid that He will not accept it from you'' This is the behavior of the sincere believers, whom Allah described in His statement;

“And those who give that which they give (charity & acts of worship) yet, with their hearts full of fear”(Holy Quran 23: 60) afraid that these good deeds might not be accepted of them. (Ibn Kathir)

Let us look at our beloved Prophet Mohammed (S.A.W.)’;

After every salaat, he would seek forgiveness three times (Saheeh Muslim). What was the reason for this? We know well of the salaat of Rasul (S.A.W.). Ibn Abbas (R.D.) narrated the hadith at the time of an eclipse in detail and (then mentioned that the people) said, “O Allah’s messenger! We saw you grasping something from your place in salah and then we saw you retreating” The Prophet (S.A.W.) replied, “I saw paradise (stretched my hands towards) a cluster (of fruits, when you saw me taking something) and had I taken it, you would have eaten from it as long as the world remains. I also saw the Hell-fire and I had never seen such a horrible sight (when you saw me retreating). (Saheeh Bukhari).

This was the level of salaat of our Prophet (S.A.W.) that he experienced visions of the unseen worlds but yet he would seek forgiveness. The reason for this gesture was that the prophet (S.A.W.) would feel he had not fulfilled the right of worshipping Allah Ta’ala.

Allah Ta’ala mentions in Surah Adh-Dhariyat 51:15-18 “Indeed, the righteous will be among gardens and springs, accepting what their sustainer has given them. Indeed, they were before that, doers of good. They used to sleep but little at night; And in the hours before dawn, they would ask forgiveness”.

Allah Ta’ala mentions in this verse certain qualities of the believers. One of them being the outstanding attribute of the riteous believers who observe the night prayers and thereafter at the time of suhoor (just before dawn) they seek for forgiveness.

This is the servitude we need to inculcate into our hearts, lives and actions, the attitude of the Ambiya and the pious. This gesture of fear that whatever service I render for deen and ibadah (worship) is not worthy of acceptance, saying ‘O Allah it is only through your grace that you accept the little that we have done.

Sh. Huzeifa Patel

Jami'yyatul Ulama Canada (CCMT)

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