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`Eid Al-Fitr (Feast of Breaking Fast)

`Eid Al-Fitr (Feast of Breaking Fast)

`Eid Al-Fitr (Feast of Breaking Fast) marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. It is a blessed and special day for Muslims. On this day, Muslims make remembrance of God together and share gratitude to Him.

In the early morning, Muslims make remembrance of God and offer the `Eid Prayer. On this day, Muslims around the world prepare to join their fellow believers in devotions and festivities signaling the conclusion of the holy month-long fast of Ramadan.

`Eid Al-Fitr is one of the two celebrations legislated by God. The other celebration is `Eid Al-Ad-ha, which commemorates the sacrifice that Abraham and his son Ismael (peace be upon them) were commanded to perform.

Watch this video to know more about `Eid Al-Fitr!

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What is Hajj (Pilgrimage)?

What is Hajj (Pilgrimage)?

hajj

Hajj is obligated by Allah upon every Muslim, male and female, who is physically and financially capable

The word Hajj, linguistically, means heading to a place for the sake of visiting; in Islamic terminology, it implies heading to Makkah to observe the rituals of pilgrimage.

Hajj is obligated by Allah upon every Muslim, male and female, who is physically and financially capable. It is obligatory only once during the lifetime of a Muslim. Allah Almighty says (what means):

…And [due] to Allah from people is a pilgrimage to the House – for whoever is able to find thereto a way… (Aal `Imran 3:97)

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Islam is built upon five (pillars): the testimony that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, the observance of the prayer, payment of Zakat, Hajj to the House (i.e. Ka’bah,) and fasting in Ramadan.” (Al-Bukhari & Muslim)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: “Hajj is mandated once, so whoever makes it more (than that), then it is supererogatory.” (Abu Dawoud and Ahmad)

Hajj was prescribed in the sixth year after Hijrah (migration) upon the revelation of the following verse in which Allah says (what means):

And complete the Hajj and ‘Umrah for Allah… (Al-Baqarah 2:196)

Hajj is not a new institution introduced by Islam, rather it is as old as the Ka’bah itself. Allah Almighty says (what means):

Indeed, the first House [of worship] established for mankind was that at Bakkah [i.e., Makkah] – blessed and a guidance to the worlds. (Aal `Imran 3:96)

The whole origin of Hajj is rooted in the acts of devotion of Prophet Ibraheem (peace be upon him). This demonstrates that Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not innovate this institution, all he did was to clear it of all the evil practices that had crept into it. After a few centuries of the death of Ibraheem and his son Isma’el, may Allah exalt their mention, people abandoned their teachings and gradually went astray, like all other people around them. Hundreds of idols were installed in the Ka’bah, which was built by Ibraheem and Isma’el, may Allah exalt their mention, as a center for the worship of the One True God. Ironically enough, idols were made after the image of Ibraheem and Isma’el too, whose whole lives had been spent eradicating idol-worship. The descendants of Ibraheem (peace be upon him), who had himself repudiated all idols, began to worship idols. The Ka’bah was turned into a type of temple for idol-worship and superstition. This predicament lasted for about two thousand years, until the advent of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Hajj is rightly said to be the perfection of faith, since it combines in itself all the distinctive qualities of other obligatory acts of prayer, patience, privation of amenities of life, devotion, Zakat (alms), slaughtering sacrifice and supplication. In fact, the physical pilgrimage is a prelude to the spiritual pilgrimage to Allah when man would bid goodbye to everything of the world and present himself before Him as His humble servant saying: ‘Here I am before You, my Lord, as a slave.’

Types of Hajj

There are three forms of Hajj:

1. Hajj At-Tamattu’: This is where a pilgrim assumes Ihram for ‘Umrah only, during the months of Hajj, which means that when he reaches Makkah, he makes Tawaaf and Sa’i for ‘Umrah. Then he shaves or clips his hair. On the eighth day of Thul-Hijjah, the pilgrim assumes Ihram again for Hajj only and carries out all of its requirements.

2. Hajj Al-Ifrad: This is where a pilgrim assumes Ihram for Hajj only. When he reaches Makkah, he performs Tawaf for his arrival and Sa’i for Hajj. He does not shave or clip his hair as he does not disengage from Ihram. Instead, he remains in Ihram until after he stones the Jamratul–’Aqabah on `Eid day. It is permissible for him to postpone his Sa’i for Hajj until after his Tawaf for Hajj (i.e. Tawaf Al-Ifadhah).

3. Hajj Al-Qiran: This is where a pilgrim assumes Ihram for both ‘Umrah and Hajj, or he assumes Ihram first for ‘Umrah, then makes his intention for Hajj before his Tawaf for Hajj. The obligations on one performing Ifrad are the same as those on one performing Qiran, except that the latter must slaughter whereas the former is not obligated to do so.

The best of the three forms is Tamattu’. It is the form that the Prophet (peace be upon him) encouraged his followers to perform.

Hajj is undertaken in company with all the other pilgrims. The months of Hajj are: Shawwal, Thul-Qi’dah and Thul-Hijjah (the last three months of the Hijri calendar). One can perform ‘Umrah for Hajj At-Tamattu’ at any time within these three months (i.e. he may perform ‘Umrah during the Hajj season, and then subsequently make Hajj the same year at the fixed time, beginning on the eighth day of Thul-Hijjah).

The Makkan territory is sacred. The pilgrim enters this territory in a state of Ihram (a state in which one is forbidden to do certain things that are otherwise permissible).

Ihram, for men, entails wearing a special garment. A male pilgrim is not allowed to wear form-fitting clothes or to cover his head or hands with gloves, or his feet with socks or shoes. This is done in order to foster a sense of humility and a feeling of brotherhood among Muslims.

The male pilgrim’s garment consists of two sheets of white woolen or cotton cloth, of which one is wrapped around the waist and reaches below the knees and above the ankles, while the other is wrapped around the upper part of the body. The head and the right shoulder are left uncovered during Tawaf. This attire is for males, whereas females have to cover all of their body except the face and hands.

Before donning this dress, the pilgrim is recommended to take a bath (Ghusl). A man in Ihram is consecrated. He cannot hunt, pick plants, shed blood, or have sexual intercourse or partake in whatever leads to it.

The Excellence of Hajj

1. It is one of the best deeds:

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was once asked: “What is the best deed?” He replied: “To believe in Allah and His Messenger.” The enquirer then asked: “What next?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “To fight in the cause of Allah.” He again asked: “What is the next best thing?” He (peace be upon him) replied: “Hajj ‘Mabroor’ (i.e., the Hajj that is free of sin and all its pillars and conditions are fulfilled).” (Al-Bukhari)

2. It is a form of Jihad:

Al-Hasan Ibn ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) and his father, said that a man came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said: “I am a coward and a weak person. Is there anything I can do?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “You may go for a Jihad that involves no fighting, that is, Hajj.” (‘Abdur-Razzaq and At-Tabarani)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: “Hajj is the Jihad for the old, the weak and women.” (An-Nasaa’i)

3. It wipes away past sins:

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “He who performs Hajj seeking Allah’s pleasure and avoids all lewdness and sins (therein) will return after Hajj free from all sins, just as he was on the day his mother gave birth to him.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

4. Pilgrims are the Guests of Allah:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Pilgrims and those performing `Umrah are Allah’s guests; their prayers are answered and their supplications for forgiveness are granted.” (An-Nasaa’i and Ibn Majah)

5. The Reward of Hajj is Paradise:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “All sins committed in between the performance of one `Umrah and the next are expiated and erased, and the reward of Hajj ‘Mabroor’ is nothing save Paradise.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
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Source: islamweb.net.

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Read Also:

Hajj (Pilgrimage) between Symbolic Worship and Responsiveness to Abraham’s Call to Monotheism

Makkah (Mecca) in the Bible (1/2)

Makkah (Mecca) in the Bible (2/2)

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An Introduction to Hajj

An Introduction to Hajj

The Merits of Hajj

hajj

Hajj (Major Pilgrimage) is obligatory for each capable Muslim once in one’s lifetime

Hajj helps forgive past sins. Abu Hurairah reported: I heard the Prophet as saying: “Whoever performs Hajj and does not commit any obscenity or commit any evil will go back (free of) sin as on the day his mother bore him.” (Agreed-on hadith)

Paradise is the promised reward for accepted Hajj. It is also reported on the authority of Abu Hurairah that the Prophet said: “From one `Umrah to another is expiation for whatever (sins) come in between them, and an accepted Hajj brings no less a reward than Paradise.” (Agreed-on hadith)

Was Hajj to Mecca Something Innovated by Islam?

The Qur’an tells us Prophet Abraham and his son Prophet Ishmael rebuilt the Ka`bah. We read:

And [mention] when Abraham was raising the foundations of the House and [with him] Ishmael, [saying], “Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed You are the Hearing, the Knowing. (Al-Baqarah 2:127)

The Qur’an also tells us that God charged Prophet Abraham and Prophet Ishmael with purifying the House of God in Mecca for worshippers. We read:

And We charged Abraham and Ishmael, [saying], “Purify My House for those who perform Tawaf and those who are staying [there] for worship and those who bow and prostrate [in prayer].” (Al-Baqarah 2:125)

The Qur’an informs us that God commanded Prophet Abraham to proclaim Hajj to people. We read:

And [mention, O Muhammad], when We designated for Abraham the site of the House, [saying], “Do not associate anything with Me and purify My House for those who perform Tawaf and those who stand [in prayer] and those who bow and prostrate.

And proclaim to the people the Hajj [pilgrimage]; they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every distant pass (Al-Hajj 22:26-27)

Is Hajj Obligatory for Muslims?

Hajj (Major Pilgrimage) is obligatory for each capable Muslim once in one’s lifetime, for Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. In the Qur’an, God says:

And [due] to God from the people is a pilgrimage to the House – for whoever is able to find thereto a way (Aal `Imran 3:109)

God also says:

And complete the Hajj and `Umrah for God (Al-Baqarah 2:196)

However, a Muslim is still recommended to make Hajj and `Umrah more than once. In the Qur’an, God says:

And whoever volunteers good – then indeed, God is appreciative and Knowing. (Al-Baqarah 2:158)

What are the Rites of Hajj?

The main rites of Hajj are as follows:

1- Getting into the state of Ihram (ritual consecration) from the Miqat (prescribed place)
2- Making Qudum (arrival) Tawaf (circumambulation) round the Ka`bah
3- Spending the night at Mina
4- Spending the day at Arafah
5- Spending the night at Muzdalifah
6- Throwing pebbles (Jamrat Al-`Aqabah) at Mina
7- Getting out of the state of Ihram (Tahallul)
8- Making Ifadah (return) circumambulation
9- Making Sa`i (traveling back and forth between As-Safa mount and Al-Marwa mount)
10- Throwing pebbles (the three Jamarat) at Mina
11- Making Wada` (farewell) circumambulation

What are the Rites of `Umrah?

The main rites of `Umrah are as follows:

1- Getting into the state of Ihram (ritual consecration) from the Miqat (prescribed place)
2- Making circumambulation
3- Making Sa`i (traveling back and forth between As-Safa mount and Al-Marwa mount)
4- Getting out of the state of Ihram (Tahallul)

What are the Types of Hajj?

There three types of Hajj as follows:

1- Qiran, which is making Hajj and `Umrah at the same time
2- Ifrad, which is making Hajj only
3- Tamatu`, which is making `Umrah and then making hajj

What is the prescribed Time of Hajj?

Most rites of Hajj take place in the lunar month of Dhu Al-Hijjah. However, some of the preliminary rites of Hajj may be performed in Shawwal and Dhu Al-Qi`dah.

What are Restrictions of Hajj?

After getting into until getting out of the state of Ihram, a pilgrim must avoid, inter alia, the following:

1- Sexual relations
2- Disobedience to God or commission of sins
3- Dispute with others
4- Cutting hair or shaving
5- Wearing perfume
6- Killing game while in the state of Ihram
7- Wearing sewn clothes (for men)
8- Wearing face veil (for women)
9- Covering the head (for men)

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References:

1- The Glorious Qur’an (Sahih International Translation)

2- Sahih Al-Bukhari

3- Sahih Muslim

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Read Also:

Hajj (Pilgrimage) between Symbolic Worship and Responsiveness to Abraham’s Call to Monotheism

Makkah (Mecca) in the Bible (1/2)

Makkah (Mecca) in the Bible (2/2)

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A Brief Guide to Hajj (Pilgrimage)

A Brief Guide to Hajj (Pilgrimage)

Hajj (pilgrimage) is such a rite which was not innovated by Islam. It had been rather performed by Prophet Abraham. The Qur’an tells us that he was commanded to call on people to perform Hajj. In the Qur’an, we read:

And proclaim to the people the Hajj [pilgrimage]; they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every distant pass (Al-Hajj 22:27)

There are three types of Hajj: Hajj Tamatu` (which is performing `Umrah “minor pilgrimage” then Hajj), Hajj Ifrad (which is performing Hajj only), and Hajj Qiran (which is performing `Umrah and Hajj together)

The rituals of Hajj include Ihram, Talbiyah, Tawaf, Sa`i, spending night at Mina, standing at Arafat, spending night at Muzdalifah, throwing Jamarat (pebbles) at Mina, and sacrifice. It is highly recommended to visit Prophet Muhammad’s Mosque.

Watch this video to know the rituals of Hajj in detail!

Read Also:

Hajj (Pilgrimage) between Symbolic Worship and Responsiveness to Abraham’s Call to Monotheism

Makkah (Mecca) in the Bible (1/2)

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Why Muslims Perform Pilgrimage (Hajj)

Why Muslims Perform Pilgrimage (Hajj)

Nowadays, many people wonder: “Why do Muslims perform Hajj?”

The counterclockwise circumambulation around the Ka`bah resembles the movement of everything in this universe from the smallest to the biggest thing. It indicates the movement of the universe. The whole universe from the atom to the galaxy rotates in a direction.

Rotation is such a universal phenomenon which includes everything. The electron revolves around the nucleus, the moons orbit their planets, the planets orbit their suns, the stars orbit their galaxies, and energy rotates in its path. All rotate in one direction exactly like the way Muslim pilgrims circumambulate the Ka`bah. Circumambulation is a symbol of the nature of the universe which Allah has created in this universe.

Watch this video to know why Muslims perform Pilgrimage (Hajj).

Read Also:

Hajj (Pilgrimage) between Symbolic Worship and Responsiveness to Abraham’s Call to Monotheism

Makkah (Mecca) in the Bible (1/2)

Makkah (Mecca) in the Bible (2/2)

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`Eid Al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice)

`Eid Al-Adha

`Eid Al-Adha marks the end of Hajj and commemorates Prophet Abraham’s unselfish act of sacrificing his own son, Ishmael

Two of the most important Islamic holidays of the year are `Eid Al-Fitr and `Eid Al-Adha. While the former marks the end of the long fasting month of Ramadan, `Eid Al-Adha marks the end of Hajj, the sacred pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. It’s customary for every able Muslim (as prescribed in the Five Pillars of Islam) to go on a Hajj at least once during his lifetime. Also popularly known as the Festival of Sacrifice, this Muslim holiday, `Eid Al-Adha, commemorates Prophet Abraham’s unselfish act of sacrificing his own son Ishmael to the One God, Allah.

The history behind `Eid Al-Adha follows the story of the faithful Abraham, who was instructed by Allah in a dream to raise the foundations of Kaaba, a black stone, the most sacred Muslim shrine in Mecca (Saudi Arabia), which Muslims face during their prayers (Salat). Immediately responding to the Lord’s call, Abraham set off for Mecca along with his wife and son, Ishmael. At that time, Mecca was a desolate and barren desert and Abraham had to face a lot of hardships. However, he supplicated Allah’s commands uncomplaining. In a divine dream, he also saw himself sacrificing his son Ishmael for Allah’s sake. When he told this to Ishmael, the latter immediately asked his father to carry out Lord’s commands without faltering and assured that he was completely ready to give up his life for God. But miraculously enough, when Abraham was about to sacrifice Ishmael, Allah spared the boy’s life and replaced him with a lamb. And this is what Abraham ultimately sacrificed.

To commemorate this outstanding act of sacrifice by Prophet Abraham, people sacrifice a lamb, goat, ram or any other animal on `Eid Al-Adha and give the meat to friends, neighbors, relatives and the needy. People who are away from the holy pilgrimage, Hajj, also carry out this traditional sacrifice. Hence `Eid Al-Adha is also known as the Feast of Sacrifice or the Day of Sacrifice.

`Eid Al-Adha begins from the 10th day of the 12th Islamic month of Dhul-Hijjah. But, the date of `Eid Al-Adha depends on the visibility of the moon each year. `Eid Al-Adha is known by different names in different parts of the world. For instance, `Eid Al-Adha is known by the name Hari Raya Aidiladha in south-east Asia. In Singapore, the local name for `Eid Al-Adha is Hari Raya Haji and in Malaysia, people refer to this festival as Id al-Adha and has made it a national holiday there. Indians know `Eid Al-Adha as Id al-Adha or Idu’z Zuha. And in Bangladesh, `Eid Al-Adha is known as Eid-ul-Azha or sometimes even Id al-Adha. But, whatever the name, the celebratory spirit of `Eid Al-Adha runs high among Muslims all over the world, the geographical variations notwithstanding.

What does `Eid Al-Adha commemorate?

During the Hajj, Muslims remember and commemorate the trials and triumphs of Prophet Abraham. The Qur’an describes Abraham as follows:

Surely Abraham was an example, obedient to Allah, by nature upright, and he was not of the polytheists. He was grateful for Our bounties. We chose him and guided him unto a right path. We gave him good in this world, and in the next he will most surely be among the righteous. (An-Nahl 16:120-121)

One of Abraham’s main trials was to face the command of Allah to kill his only son. Upon hearing this command, he prepared to submit to Allah’s will. When he was all prepared to do it, Allah revealed to him that his “sacrifice” had already been fulfilled. He had shown that his love for his Lord superseded all others that he would lay down his own life or the lives of those dear to him in order to submit to God.

Why do Muslims sacrifice an animal on this day?

During the celebration of `Eid Al-Adha, Muslims commemorate and remember Abraham’s trials, by themselves slaughtering an animal such as a sheep, camel, or goat. This action is very often misunderstood by those outside the faith.

Allah has given us power over animals and allowed us to eat meat, but only if we pronounce His name at the solemn act of taking life. Muslims slaughter animals in the same way throughout the year. By saying the name of Allah at the time of slaughter, we are reminded that life is sacred.

The meat from the sacrifice of `Eid Al-Adha is mostly given away to others. One-third is eaten by immediate family and relatives, one-third is given away to friends, and one-third is donated to the poor. The act symbolizes our willingness to give up things that are of benefit to us or close to our hearts, in order to follow Allah’s commands. It also symbolizes our willingness to give up some of our own bounties, in order to strengthen ties of friendship and help those who are in need. We recognize that all blessings come from Allah, and we should open our hearts and share with others.

It is very important to understand that the sacrifice itself, as practiced by Muslims, has nothing to do with atoning for our sins or using the blood to wash ourselves from sin. This is a misunderstanding by those of previous generations:

It is not their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him. (Al-Hajj 22:37)

The symbolism is in the attitude – a willingness to make sacrifices in our lives in order to stay on the Straight Path. Each of us makes small sacrifices, giving up things that are fun or important to us. A true Muslim, one who submits his or herself completely to the Lord, is willing to follow Allah’s commands completely and obediently. It is this strength of heart, purity in faith, and willing obedience that our Lord desires from us.

What else do Muslims do to celebrate the holiday?

On the first morning of `Eid Al-Adha, Muslims around the world attend morning prayers at their local mosques. Prayers are followed by visits to family and friends, and the exchange of greetings and gifts. At some point, members of the family will visit a local farm or otherwise will make arrangements for the slaughter of an animal. The meat is distributed during the days of the holiday or shortly thereafter.

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Source: irfi.org.

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