Hajj and Umrah
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)
THE PHILOSOPHY OF QURBAANI
The Urdu and Persian word "Qurbaani" is derived from the Arabic word 'Qurban'. It means an act performed to seek nearness to Almighty Allah and to seek His good pleasure. Originally, the word 'Qurban' included all acts of charity because the purpose of charity is nothing but to seek Allah's pleasure. But, in precise religious terminology, the word was later confined to the sacrifice of an animal slaughtered for the sake of Allah.
The sacrifice of an animal has always been treated as a recognised form of worship in all religious orders originating from a divine book. Even in pagan societies, the sacrifice of an animal is recognised as a form of worship, but it is done in the name of some idols and not in the name of Allah, a practice totally rejected by Islam.
In the Shariáh of our beloved Prophet (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) the sacrifice of an animal has been recognised as a form of worship only during three days of the month of Dhul Hijjah, namely the 10th, 11th and 12th of the month. This is to commemorate the unparalleled sacrifice offered by Prophet Sayyidina Ibrahim (Álayhis salaam) when he, in pursuance to a command of Allah conveyed to him in a dream, prepared himself to slaughter his beloved son Sayyidinah Ismail (Álayhis salaam) and actually did so, but Allah Almighty, after testing the ultimate limits of his submission, sent down a sheep and saved his son from the logical fate of slaughter. It is from that time onwards that sacrifice of an animal became an obligatory duty to be performed by every well-to-do Muslim.
Qurbani is a demonstration to Allah and proof of complete obedience to Allah's will or command. When a Muslim offers Qurbani, this exactly what he intends to prove. Thus, the Qurbani offered by a Muslim signifies that he is slave of Allah at his best and that he would not hesitate even for a moment, once he receives an absolute command from his Creator, to surrender before it, to obey it willingly, even it be at the price of his life and possessions. When a true and perfect Muslim receives such a command from Allah, his natural instincts stop him from indulging in the futile search for the reasoning behind the command; nor does he make his obedience dependent upon the command's 'reasonableness' as perceived through his limited understanding. He knows that Allah is All-Knowing, All- Wise and that his own ability to reason cannot encompass the knowledge and wisdom underlying the divine command, even if he cannot find any reason or wisdom behind it.
This is exactly what the Prophet Ibrahim (Álayhis salaam) did. Apparently, there was no reason why a father should slaughter his innocent son. But, when came the command of Allah, he never asked about the reason for that command, nor did he hesitate to obey it. Even his minor son, when asked by his father about the dream he had seen, never questioned the legitimacy of the command, nor did he pine or whine about it, nor did he ask for one good reason why he was being slaughtered. The one only response he made was:
"Father, do what you have been ordered to do. You shall find me, God willing, among the patient".
The present-day Qurbani is offered in memory of this great model of submission set before us by the great father and the great son. Qurbani must be offered in our time emulating the same ideal and attitude of submission.
This then is the true philosophy of Qurbani. With this in mind, one can easily unveil the fallacy of those who raise objections against Qurbani on the basis of economic calculations and lounge statistics and make it out to be a wastage of money, resource and livestock. Unable to see beyond mundane benefits, they cannot understand the spirit Islam wants to implant and nourish among its followers, the spirit of total submission to Allah's will equips man with the most superior qualities so necessary to keep humanity in a state of lasting peace and welfare.
Qurbani is nothing but a powerful symbol of the required human conduct vis-à-vis the divine commands, however, "irrational" or "uneconomic" they may seem to be in their appearance. Thus, the distrustful quest for mundane economic benefits behind Qurbani is, in fact the negation of its real philosophy, and the very spirit underlying it.
No doubt, there are, in every form of worship ordained by Allah, certain worldly benefits too, but they are not the main purpose of these prescribed duties, nor should they be treated as preconditions to submission and obedience. All acts of worship, including Qurbani, must be carried out with the spirit of total submission to Allah, irrespective of their economic, social or political benefits. This is what Ibrahim (Álayhis salaam) did, and this is what every true Muslim is required to do.
WARNING FOR THOSE WHO IGNORE QURBANI
There is a Hadith from Hadhrat Abu Hurayra (Radhiallaahu Ánhu) that Rasulullah (Sallallahu-alayhi-wasallam) said, 'That person who has the means of performing Qurbani but does not do so should not even come near the Eidgah (Place of Eid Salaat).
Mufti Taqi Usmani
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