Significance of Knowing the Narrators of Prophetic Hadith

By Truth Seeker Staff

Prophetic Hadith

The methodology of the expert scholars of Hadith in assessing narrations and sorting out the genuine from the mistaken, fabricated etc., forms the subject-matter of a wealth of material left to us by the scholars of Hadith

The narrators of Hadith are the most honourable and respectable Muslims, as they are keepers and preservers of the Prophetic Sunnah. Most of them are the Companions of the Prophet (may Allah exalt his mention) who witnessed the acts and learnt the sayings of the Prophet (may Allah exalt his mention). Others are the Successors of the Companions. Who were blessed by Allah and they are highly respected by all Muslims. They are the shinning stars of Islam.

Their hearts were free from worldly desires. Reading their biographies will increase love and devotion towards them and develop more interest to be faithful and obedient in the heart of the Muslim who reads their biography.

Allah Almighty Says (what means): “Verily, We have sent down the Reminder, and surely, We will guard it (from corruption).” [Al-Hijr 15:9] The above promise made by Allah is obviously fulfilled in the undisputed purity of the Qur’anic text throughout the fourteen centuries since its revelation.

However, what is often forgotten by many Muslims is that the above divine promise also includes, by necessity, the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah exalt his mention) for it is the practical example of the implementation of the Qur’anic guidance, the Wisdom taught to the Prophet (may Allah exalt his mention) along with the Scripture, and neither the Qur’an nor the Sunnah can be understood correctly without recourse to the other.

Allah preserved the Sunnah by enabling the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, and their followers, may Allah have mercy on them, to memorize, write down and pass on the statements of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah exalt his mention) and the descriptions of his way, as well as to continue the blessings of practicing the Sunnah. Later, as the purity of the knowledge of the Sunnah became threatened, Allah caused the Muslim nation to produce outstanding individuals of incredible memory-skills and analytical expertise, who journeyed tirelessly to collect hundreds of thousands of narrations and distinguish the true words of precious wisdom of their Messenger (may Allah exalt his mention) from those corrupted by weak memories, from forgeries by unscrupulous liars, and from the statements of the enormous number of scholars, the Companions and those who followed their way, who had taught in various centers of learning and helped to transmit the legacy of Muhammad (may Allah exalt his mention) – all of this achieved through precise attention to the words narrated and detailed familiarity with the biographies of the thousands of reporters of Hadith. Action being the best way to preserve teachings, the scholars of Islam also revived the practice of the blessed authentic Sunnah.

Unfortunately, however, statements will continue to be attributed to the Prophet (may Allah exalt his mention) although the person quoting them may have no idea what the people of knowledge in the field of Hadith science have ruled regarding those Hadiths, thus ironically being in danger of contravening the Prophet’s (may Allah exalt his mention) widely-narrated stern warnings about attributing incorrect/unsound statements to him.

The methodology of the expert scholars of Hadith in assessing narrations and sorting out the genuine from the mistaken, fabricated etc., forms the subject-matter of a wealth of material left to us by the scholars of Hadith (Traditionists).

A Prophetic Hadith is composed of two parts: the Matn (text) and the Isnaad (chain of reporters). A text may seem to be logical and reasonable but it needs an authentic Isnaad with reliable reporters to be acceptable. `Abdullah Ibn Al-Mubarak, may Allah have mercy upon him (d. 181 AH), one of the illustrious teachers of Imam Al-Bukhari, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “The Isnaad is part of the religion, had it not been for the Isnaad, then people would have claimed whatever they wished.”

Among the sciences of Hadith is the study of the Chain of Reporters (the Isnaad). Many Muslim scholars have specialized in this field. It includes identifying the name of each and every narrator (reporter), his character (his truthfulness, piety, public behavior), his ability and reputation as a memorizer and the types of narrations he is known to report, whether authentic, weak, fabricated, etc. In addition, each narrator should be identified by a rating given by other narrators who knew him. So all of these and many other details must be considered to know the degree to which a Hadith may be used as a basis for Islamic belief or practice (Shari`ah), or merely as a point of interest (not to be attributed to the sayings, etc. of the Prophet (may Allah exalt his mention)).

After the Book of Allah (The Qur’an), the books of Hadith collection that were collected by Imams Al-Bukhari and Muslim, may Allah have mercy upon them, are considered by the Muslim scholars to be the most authentic books of Hadith. However, there are other famous scholars in the field who compiled books of Hadith such as; Abu Dawoud (d.275), At-Tirmidhi (d. 279), An-Nasa’i (d. 303) and others, may Allah have mercy upon them.

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from islamweb.net

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Infection Control in Islam

Infection Control in Islam

By Aisha Stacey

infection control

Islam is a holistic belief system and it takes into account the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of individuals and societies.

In recent years, health professionals around the world have become increasingly concerned with the spread of infectious diseases. Outbreaks of swine flu, avian (bird) flu and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) have meant that infectious diseases have taken on a global context and are now on the agenda of world leaders and health policymakers alike. In developed and developing countries, health officials are focusing on infectious disease research and linking it to policymaking and infrastructure.

The scope of infectious diseases is progressively more challenged by globalization. Easy and frequent air travel allows diseases to spread rapidly between communities and countries. Infectious disease control will continue to be confronted by 21st-century issues including global warming, conflict, famine, overpopulation, deforestation, and bioterrorism.

Due to ongoing media attention, most of us are aware of the dangers associated with swine flu and bird flu and in 2003 -2004 the world held its collective breath when 8098 people became sick with SARS before the global outbreak was contained.[1] These three diseases have led to renewed interest in infectious diseases by the public; however, Gideon Informatics[2], the world’s leading global infectious disease database, has tracked and documented more than 20 major infectious diseases since 1972.

Some basic measures are appropriate when trying to control the spread of any or all infectious diseases. These include meticulous hand washing, covering the mouth when sneezing or coughing, proper disposal of tissues, staying at home and away from public places, and in extreme cases such as SARS, quarantine. In the series of articles entitled Health in Islam, we explained in some detail that Islam is a religion concerned with creating a community of healthy believers.

Islam is a holistic belief system and it takes into account the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of individuals and societies. Although care of the individual is important, safeguarding communities, including its weakest members, is of paramount importance. More than 1400 years ago, Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, was teaching his followers hygiene practices that are still applicable in the 21st century.

From the traditions of Prophet Muhammad, we find evidence that clearly indicates Islam’s stance on coughing and sneezing openly. Prophet Muhammad instructed the believers to cover their faces when sneezing. [3] The most obvious effect of sneezing and coughing without covering the mouth is the spread of airborne bacteria and viruses, in addition, droplets invisible to the naked eye may fall onto surfaces or other people.

 

According to the Centre for Disease Control in the USA, the virus that causes SARS is thought to be transmitted most readily by respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. What is known as droplet spread can happen when droplets from the cough or sneeze of an infected person are propelled a short distance (up to 3 feet) through the air and deposited on the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, or eyes of persons who are nearby. The virus also can spread when a person touches a surface or object contaminated with infectious droplets and then touches his or her mouth, nose, or eye. The SARS virus might spread more broadly through the air (airborne spread).

Islam is referred to as the religion of cleanliness. “Truly, God loves those who turn unto Him in repentance and loves those who purify themselves.” (Al-Baqarah 2:222) In the traditions of Prophet Muhammad cleanliness is mentioned as half of faith, therefore, it is important to keep the body fresh and clean and Islam insists on several practices to facilitate this. The private parts are washed after using the toilet and Muslims must pay particular attention to being clean before praying. They wash their hands, faces, (including rinsing the mouth and nose) arms and feet, a minimum of five times per day. Prophet Muhammad insisted that the believers wash their hands, before praying, before and after eating [4] and upon waking up in the morning.[5]

When trying to stop the spread of any type of influenza, including swine flu and bird flu, the first line of defense is frequent hand washing. Both the World Health Organization and CDC recommend the following precautions. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and dispose of the tissue in the trash after use. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, germs spread that way. Stay home if you get sick. CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

Infection control in Islam includes isolation and quarantine. Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, instituted strategies that are today implemented by public health authorities. He commanded his followers not to travel to places known to be afflicted with illness and he advised those in the contaminated areas or communities not to leave and spread the disease further afield. He said, “If you hear that there is a plague in a land, do not enter it; and if it (plague) visits a land while you are therein, do not go out of it”. [6] He also counseled ill people not to visit healthy people. [7]

During the worldwide outbreak of SARS, quarantine officials arranged for appropriate medical assistance, which sometimes included medical isolation and restricted travel movements. The CDC says isolation is necessary not only for the patient’s comfort but also to protect members of the public. Many levels of government around the world are legally able to compel sick, infectious people to remain in quarantine or in isolation in order to stop the spread of disease.

The teaching and principles of Islam are designed to benefit all of humankind. Rules and recommendations for personal hygiene and cleanliness promote the well-being of individuals and communities. Infection control is inherent in Islamic hygiene behavior. Washing the hands, covering the mouth when sneezing or coughing, voluntary isolation, when one is feeling unwell, and restricted travel is an effective and comprehensive public health strategy. Measures taken in the 21st century to prevent the spread of infections and viruses conform almost exactly to the hygiene and infection control practices taught by Prophet Muhammad.

 

 

Footnotes:

[1] (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/sars/basics.htm)

[2] (http://www.gideononline.com/index.htm)

[3] Mustadrak Haakim

[4] Abu Dawood

[5] Saheeh Al-Bukhari

[6] Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim

[7] Saheeh Muslim

 

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from IslamReligion.com.

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Give Advice with Sincerity and Kindness

Give Advice with Sincerity and Kindness

By Truth Seeker Staff

advice

The Muslim propagator or missionary does not call to gain a personal benefit for himself, his people, his tribe or group. Otherwise he will have no reward.

The one who invites others to Allah is from the closest people to Allah our Lord. In addition, Muslims collectively agree on the importance of propagating Islam and inviting people to Allah, and many talk about it being mandatory upon Muslims, and we agree with them, that it is an obligation, to enjoy that which is good and forbid that which is evil and to spread chastity and fight immorality and educate people and remind them and advise them.

Therefore, there is no doubt that one who invites to Allah is a chosen one, and form the best of his creatures. He loved Allah, responded to Him and invited to Him so in return Allah loved him. That is why Allah Says in a short statement and made it very clear (what means): “And who is better in speech then he who invites to Allah, meaning, Islamic monotheism and does righteous deeds and says; `I am one of the Muslims`” [Fussilat 41:33].

Al-Hasan Al-Basri, may Allah have mercy upon him, said after he has recited the abovementioned verse: “This is the beloved one to Allah, this is the Waly of Allah, meaning supported and loved by Allah. This is the chosen one by Allah, this is the best of preachers to Allah this is the dearest from the dwellers of earth to Allah. He responded to Allah and called people to Allah and acted righteously while responding and calling and said “I am from the Muslims.””

To attain the level of this rank, it is necessary for the Muslim missionary or propagator who is seeking the reward from Allah to be mindful of the following issues in order for the mission to be fruitful:

1) Being sincere in the objective and intention: Sincerity is the foremost of all deeds and certainly the most important of them all; it is the foundation for all other deeds; it is the essence of Islam and the one of the principal matters that the prophets called their people to. Allah Says (what means): “And they [i.e. the People of the Scripture] were not commanded except to worship Allah, [being] sincere to Him in religion, inclining to truth, and to establish prayer and to give Zakah. And that is the correct religion.” [Al-Baiyynah 98:5]

Sincerity is the essence of worship; Imam Ibn Hazm may Allah have mercy upon him said: “The relationship between sincerity and deeds is like that between the soul and the body.”

Sincerity is the basis upon which deeds are either accepted or rejected, and thus it is the cause of one’s ultimate success or failure. Sincerity is the way leading to Hell for those who do not fulfil it and the path to Paradise for those who can attain it.

Those who fulfil Islamic monotheism are also referred to as the sincere, and its Islamic definition is as Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “…To have only (the pleasure of) Allah in one’s intention whilst performing acts of obedience.”

The Prophet (may Allah exalt his mention) said: “Deeds are but with intentions.” This is one of the most important prophetic narrations from amongst all that the Prophet (may Allah exalt his mention) taught us.

On the other hand, those who perform deeds in order to be seen by others are dispraised by Allah and are promised punishment, as Allah Says (what means): “Whoever desires the life of this world and its adornments – We fully repay them for their deeds therein, and they therein will not be deprived. Those are the ones for whom there is not in the Hereafter but the Fire.” [Hud 11:15-16]

Therefore, the Muslim propagator or missionary does not call to gain a personal benefit for himself, his people, his tribe or group. Otherwise he will have no reward.

2) Being kind whilst calling people: Using the proper means leading to the achievement of the objective is achieved by one following the way of the Prophet (may Allah exalt his mention). Allah addresses the Prophet (may Allah exalt his mention) Saying (what means): “Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair preaching and argue with them in a way that is better”. [Al-Nahl 16:125]. Some of the people who are invited to the way of Allah are good in nature, if they recognize the truth they stick to it. They are thirsty and eager, and as soon as one shows them the truth, they hasten to it. Such a person is to be invited with wisdom.

Regarding the method of calling people, Allah Says in the above verse (which means): “Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best…” [Al-Nahl 16:125] Thus, one should not be aggressive and harsh in the way he calls people to Islam; rather he should use words that would soften their hearts, so that they would yield to his instructions and pay heed to his words. Allah commands us to be this way, even with the disbelievers, when He says (what means): “And do not argue with the People of the Scripture except in a way that is best, except for those who commit injustice among them…” [Al-`Ankabut 29: 46]

In our era, such wisdom, soft words and kindness when calling to the path of Allah are especially important. This is of course required in all situations, but in a period in which ignorance and submitting to desires has overwhelmed the masses, it becomes all the more essential. Once, a scholar entered into the presence of an ‘Abbasi caliph and said: “I am going to admonish you in a harsh manner, so listen.” Upon hearing this, the caliph said: “O brother! Be gentle, for I am not worse than Pharaoh, and you are not better than Musa whom Allah addressed along with his brother, Harun, Saying (what means): “And speak to him [i.e., Pharaoh] with gentle speech that perhaps he may be reminded or fear [Allah].” [Ta-Ha 20: 44]

Furthermore, the Prophet (may Allah exalt his mention) said: “He who is deprived of gentleness and forbearance is deprived from a great deal of goodness.” `A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, reported that the Prophet (may Allah exalt his mention) said: “Whenever forbearance is added to something, it adorns it; and whenever it is withdrawn from something, it leaves it defective” [Muslim].

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from islamweb.net

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Islam: A Total Way of Life

Islam: A Total Way of Life

By Truth Seeker Staff

islam

Just as He is the Lord of the physical universe, to the true Muslim believers, God is the Lawgiver for every area of human life.

In understanding the concept of government in Islam, one needs to first understand the nature of the religion. This article explains how the fundamental beliefs of Islam play a pivotal role in the system of governance.

The separation of ‘church and state.’

The West makes a natural mistake in their understanding of Islamic tradition, assuming that religion means the same for Muslims as it has meant for most other religious adherents ever since the industrial revolution, and for some societies, even before that; that is: a section of life reserved for certain matters, and separate from other sections of life. This is not the Islamic worldview. It has never been in the past, and modern attempts of making it so are seen as an aberration.

Islam: A Total Way of Life

Islam is a “total way of life.” It has provided guidance in every sphere of life, from individual cleanliness, rules of trade, to the structure and politics of the society. Islam can never be separated from social, political, or economic life since religion provides moral guidance for every action that a person takes. The primary act of faith is to strive to implement God’s will in both private and public life. Muslims see that they, themselves, as well as the world around them, must be in total submission to God and his Will. Moreover, they know that this concept of His rule must be established on earth in order to create a just society. Like Jews and Christians before them, Muslims have been called into a covenant relationship with God, making them a community of believers who must serve as an example to other nations by creating a moral social order. God tells the Muslim global nation:

“You are the best community raised for mankind, enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong…” (Aal `Imran 3:110)

Throughout history, being a Muslim has meant not only belonging to a religious community of fellow believers but also living under the Islamic Law. Islamic Law is believed to be an extension of God’s absolute sovereignty.

God is the Only Sovereign

God is the absolute sovereign in Islam and is, therefore, the only Lord of heaven and earth. Just as He is the Lord of the physical universe, to the true Muslim believers, God is the Lawgiver for every area of human life. Just as He is the Master of the physical world, God is the Ruler of the affairs of men in Islamic doctrine. Thus God is the supreme Lawgiver[1], the Absolute Judge, and the Legislator Who distinguishes right from wrong. Just like the physical world inevitably submits to its Lord by following the ‘natural’ laws of the universe, human beings must submit to the moral and religious teaching of their Lord, the One Who sets right apart from wrong for them. In other words, God alone has the authority to make laws, determine acts of worship, decide morals, and set standards of human interaction and behavior. This is because “His is the Creation and Command.” (Al-A`raf 7:54)

The Separation of Institutional Religion & the State

As we have mentioned, in Islam God is acknowledged as the sole sovereign of human affairs, so there has never been a distinction between religious and state authority. In Christendom, the distinction between the two authorities is said to be based upon records in the New Testament of Jesus, asking his followers to render unto Caesar what was his and unto God what was His. Therefore throughout Christian history until the present times, there have always been two authorities: ‘God and Caesar’, or ‘the church and state.’ Each had its own laws and jurisdictions, each its own structure and hierarchy. In the pre-westernized Islamic world, there were never two powers, and the question of separation never arose. The distinction so deeply rooted in Christendom between church and state has never existed in Islam.

The Vision of an Islamic State

The vision of an Islamic state and the purpose of its political authority is to implement the divine law. Thus, the ideal Islamic state is a community governed by the Law revealed by God. This does not entail that such a state is necessarily a theocracy under the direct rule of the learned men of religion, nor is it an autocracy that vests absolute power in the ruler. The function of the Islamic state is to provide security and order so that Muslims can carry out both their religious and worldly duties. The Caliph[2] is the guardian of faith and the community. His role is not so much checked by the ulama (religious scholars), but enhanced by them because they provide him religious and legal counsel. He also appoints judges who resolve disputes in accordance with Islamic Law. There is a certain level of flexibility in regards to the system of governance and its establishment in Islam, however, religion must be implemented fully into state and society.

 

FOOTNOTES:

[1] God’s existence proven by the existence of a supreme Lawgiver is called the ‘ethical’ argument by Western theologians.

[2] The word Caliph is the English term for Khaleefah or successor, for the Caliph succeeds Prophet Muhammad as political leader of the Muslims and implementation of Divine Law in society.

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from islamreligion.com.

 

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History of Hajj in Brief

History of Hajj in Brief

By Truth Seeker Staff

hajj

Not only did the Prophet rid the Ka`bah of all its impurities, but he also reinstated all the rites of Hajj which were established by Allah’s Permission, in the time of Prophet Ibrahim.

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.

Hajj and its rites were first ordained by Allah in the time of the Prophet Ibrahim [Abraham] and he was the one who was entrusted by Allah to build the Ka`bah – the House of Allah – along with his son Ismail [Ishmael] at Makkah. Allah described the Ka`bah 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 tawaf] and those who stand up for prayer and those who bow down and make prostration [in prayer etc.].” [Al-Hajj 22:26]

After building the Ka`bah, Prophet Ibrahim 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`bah 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`bah.

During the Hajj period itself, the atmosphere around the sacred precincts of the Ka`bah was like a circus. Men and women would go round the Ka`bah naked, arguing that they should present themselves before Allah in the same condition they were born. Their prayer became devoid of all sincere remembrance of Allah and was instead reduced to a series of hand clapping, whistling and the blowing of horns. Even the talbiah1 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 God. However, the blood of the sacrificed animals was poured onto the walls of the Ka`bah and the flesh was hung from pillars around the Ka`bah, in the belief that Allah demanded the flesh and blood of these animals.

Singing, drinking, adultery and other acts of immorality were rife 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 splendour of their own tribesmen and tell exaggerated tales of the cowardice and miserliness of other tribes. Competitions in generosity were also staged where the chief of each tribe would set up huge cauldrons and feed the pilgrims, only so that they could become well-known for their extreme generosity.

Thus the people had totally abandoned the teachings of their forefather and leader Prophet Ibrahim. The House that he had made pure for the worship of Allah alone, had been totally desecrated by the pagans and the rites which he had established were completely distorted by them. This sad state of affairs continued for nearly two and a half thousand years. But then after this long period, the time came for the supplication of Prophet Ibrahim to be answered:

“Our Lord! Send amongst them a Messenger of their own, who shall recite unto them your ayat (verses) and instruct them in the book and the Wisdom and sanctify them. Verily you are the `Azizul-Hakim [the All-Mighty, the All-Wise].” [Al-Baqarah 2:129]

Sure enough, a man by the name of Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah was born in the very city that Prophet Ibrahim had made this supplication centuries earlier. For twenty-three years, Prophet Muhammad spread the message of Tawhid [true monotheism] – the same message that Prophet Ibrahim and all the other Prophets came with – and established the law of Allah upon the land. He expended every effort into making the word of Allah supreme and his victory over falsehood culminated in the smashing of the idols inside the Ka`bah which once again became the universal centre for the worshippers of the one True God.

Not only did the Prophet rid the Ka`bah of all its impurities, but he also reinstated all the rites of Hajj which were established by Allah’s Permission, in the time of Prophet Ibrahim. Specific injunctions in the Qur’an were revealed in order to eliminate all the false rites which had become rampant in the pre-Islamic period. All indecent and shameful acts were strictly banned in Allah’s statement:

“There is to be no lewdness nor wrangles during Hajj.” [Al-Baqarah 2:197]

Competitions among poets in the exaltations of their forefathers and their tribesmen’s achievements were all stopped. Instead, Allah told them:

“And when you have completed your rites [of Hajj] then remember Allah as you remember your forefathers; nay with a more vigorous remembrance.” [Al-Baqarah 2:200]

Competitions in generosity were also prohibited. Of course, the feeding of the poor pilgrims was still encouraged as this was done during the time of Prophet Ibrahim but Allah commanded that the slaughtering of the animals which was done for this purpose should be done seeking the pleasure of Allah rather than fame and the praise of the people. He said:

“So mention the name of Allah over these animals when they are drawn up in lines. Then, when they are drawn on their sides [after the slaughter], eat thereof and feed the beggar who does not ask, and the beggar who asks.” [Al-Hajj 22:36]

As for the deplorable practice of spattering blood of the sacrificed animals on the walls of the Ka`bah and hanging their flesh on alters, then Allah clearly informed them that:

“It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is Taqwa (piety) from you that reaches Him.” [Al-Hajj 22:37]

The Prophet also put a stop to the practice of circling the Ka`bah in a state of nudity and the argument that the pagans put forward to justify this ritual was sharply rebutted in Allah’s question:

“Say: Who has forbidden the adornment [i.e. clothes] given by Allah which He has produced for His Slaves?” [Al-A`raf 7:32]

Another custom which was prohibited through the Qur’an was that of setting off for Hajj without taking any provisions for the journey. In the pre-Islamic period, some people who claimed to be mutawakkilun (those having complete trust in Allah) would travel to perform Hajj begging for food through the whole journey. They considered this form of behaviour a sign of piety and an indication of how much faith they had in Allah. However, Allah told mankind that to have sufficient provisions for the journey was one of the preconditions for making Hajj. He said:

“And take a provision [with you] for the journey, but the best provision is At-Taqwa (piety).” [Al-Baqarah 2:197]

In this way, all the pre-Islamic practices, which were based on ignorance, were abolished and Hajj was once more made a model of piety, fear of Allah, purity, simplicity and austerity. Now, when the pilgrims reach the Ka`bah, they no longer find the carnivals and the frolic and frivolity that had once occupied the minds of the pilgrims there before. Now, there is the remembrance of Allah at every step and every action and every sacrifice was devoted to Him alone. It was this kind of Hajj that was worthy of the reward of paradise, as the Prophet said: “The reward for an accepted Hajj is nothing less than paradise.”

May Allah grant us all the ability to visit His House and perform the Hajj in the manner of the Prophet Muhammad. Amen.

 

Footnotes:

  1. Labbaik Allahumma labbaik… (Here I am present, O’ God, I am present…) This is the chant which the pilgrims say when they are travelling for pilgrimage.

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from Invitation to Islam, Issue 1, May 1997.

 

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Hajj: A Prescription for Humanity Problems

Hajj: A Prescription for Humanity Problems

By Mohannad Hakeem

hajj

In the age of the I-phone, the MY-space, and the YOU-tube, the selfishness and the high ego of individuals is growing indefinitely

YES, we definitely need a Hajj season this year!

By WE, I am referring to humanity; I am not talking about those who are going to Hajj or even Muslims! The whole body of mankind is in need of this blessed gathering… Don’t you believe me? Well let us take a look at the following scenes:

Scene 1: Angels questioning us

The first scene takes place before our creation, when a discussion took place between the Creator and the Angels, all about us:

And remember when your Lord said to the Angels: “I am going to place a vicegerent on earth”. They said: “Will you place upon it those who cause corruption in it and shed blood, while we glorify You with praises and sanctify You?” Allah said: “Indeed, I know that which you do not know. (Al-Baqarah 2:30)

Scene 2: Blood shedding on YouTube

Do you think the Angels were right? That mankind will cause corruption and bloodshed on earth? Of course yes! Massacres are taking place everywhere in our world in different forms and shapes; In Syria, we got used – and even desensitized – to YouTube videos showing dead bodies of people who were tortured to death. Wars between tribes in various African countries are not uncommon; in the western hemisphere, killing can take a more “civilized” fashion, where the killer needs only to push a button that will launch a missile from an unmanned aeroplane and kill a whole family in Afghanistan or Pakistan!

Scene 3: hunger and poverty

While scene 2 is a direct manifestation of the Angels’ expectations from human beings, scene 3 represents slow killing of poor communities through starvation and lack of water, medicine, and essentials of life. This greed reminds me of the hadith of our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him): “He does not truly believe in me, the one who sleeps with his stomach full while he is aware that he has a hungry neighbour.” (At-Tabarani and Al-Hakim)

Scene 4: Racism, discrimination, and social classes

In the 21st century, and despite all the technological and social development that we have accomplished, we still suffer from this disease. People are still being judged based on their skin colour, their car or house, their foreign passport or their country of residence.

Scene 5: Individualistic society

In the age of the I-phone, the MY-space, and the YOU-tube, the selfishness and the high ego of individuals is growing indefinitely. Imagine the six billion humans on the face of the earth, each of them yelling and screaming: Me, Me, Me!! What kind of chaotic world we live in? What would be the nature of the world that our kids will live in?!

Scene 6: Hajj!

Did the first five scenes trouble you? Well, they should! `Umar ibn Khattab used to say: ‘He who did not taste the bitterness of the period of Al-Jaheleyyah (the period of ignorance) does not appreciate the sweetness of Islam.’

So we really won’t appreciate the impact of Hajj on humanity before we examine the ugly status that humanity has reached! In Hajj, people from all across the world, from the richest countries and from the poorest neighbourhoods, come together to attend this blessed convention. The Qur’an describes in an amazing way how people will answer the call of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) all within their financial and social capabilities:

And announce to mankind the Hajj (pilgrimage); They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every deep and distant pass. (Al-Hajj 22:27)

These people will leave behind their business suits, their foreign passport, their six-digit (or zero digit) bank account numbers, their three-lettered titles (CEO’s, MBA’s, and/or PhD’s) and stand next to the humblest person on the face of the earth. They pray together, wear the same outfit, run between Safa and Marwah together, and stand in line to drink from the blessed Zamzam water.

They all remember the sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim when he slaughtered a sheep, and emulate his example by slaughtering a sheep and donating it. This actually is one of the few Sunan (rituals) of Hajj that people who are not part of the Hajj season can participate in.

This gathering of 3 million humans goes with minimal fights, clashes, and arguments, despite the huge diversity of the people involved. This is all due to the following rule that was set by the One who invited them:

Hajj is to be made during well-known months, so whosoever intends to perform Hajj therein, then he should not have sexual relations with his wife, nor commit sin, nor dispute unjustly during the Hajj… (Al-Baqarah 2:197)

Unfortunately, I do not claim at all that the beauty of scene 6 can deplete or overcome the bitterness of the previous scenes. But what I am positive about is that these three million attendees can serve as a role model for peace, as a demonstration for brotherhood and as a proof that human beings can humble themselves and put their differences aside. At this critical stage in the life of our Umma, we ask Allah to make us – through the Hajj season – a role model for peace, brotherhood, and love between humans. This is – in fact – one item on our to-do list as Muslims:

And thus we have made you a justly balanced nation so that you be witnesses over mankind and the Messenger be a witness over you… (Al-Baqarah 2: 143)

As a practical take-home message after reading this article, please share these ideas with your non-Muslim colleague, friend, or classmate. Let’s take the initiative and show the positive side of Muslims that is represented in Hajj, despite all other pictures that are portrayed for us in the media.

 

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Courtesy onislam.net with slight editorial information.

Dr Mohannad Hakeem holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. He is a youth counsellor and motivational speaker in Greater Detroit area, Michigan, USA. Visit Dr Mohannad Hakeem’s blog.

 

 

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