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The Hajj

Category : Hajj & Umrah

The Hajj / The Pilgrimage

A. The History

The fifth pillar of Islam is the Hajj, or pilgrimage. It occurs in the month of Dhul Hijjah which is the twelfth month of the Islamic lunar calendar.

It is the journey which every sane, adult Muslim must undertake at least once in their lives if they can afford it and are physically able.(Q.S 3 : 97)

Once a year, Muslims of every ethnic group, colour, social status and culture gather together in Mecca and stand before the Ka’bah, praising Allah in one voice, in one harmony.

It is a ritual which goes all the way back to Prophet Ibrahim and is designed to promote the bonds of Islamic brotherhood and sisterhood by showing that all people are equal before their Lord.

The Hajjis, wear simple white clothes called an ihram, simple sandals and spend about a week together performing acts of ‘Ibadah (service) to Allah, affirming their Eeman and renewing their sense of purpose in this world.

At the end of the Hajj, Muslims all over the world celebrate the holiday known as the ‘Eid ul Adha, Festival of the Sacrifice.

We commemorate together the ultimate act of obedience when the Prophet Ibrahim was commended to sacrifice his beloved son, Ismai’il. Ibrahim proved he would give up the one thing he truly loved for Allah’s sake so Allah gave him a ram to sacrifice instead. (Q.S 37 : 99 – 111)

Mecca, the holy city where Ibrahim made the first true gathering place for believers in Allah, is a place for no non-Muslims is allowed to enter. Q.S 5 : 2). It is the centre towards which Muslims pray and the one place where our hearts should long to go.

B. The Procedure

Every year, thousands of eager Muslims from every country anticipate making the Hajj. To do this important act of ‘Ibadah, the first thing a Muslim must do is apply for a passport from their country of residence. Then they must get immunization shots and finally, they will most likely contact a travel agency specializing in the Hajj trip which will make the necessary arrangements with the embassy of Arabia.

It is recommended to few belongings and only the essentials as it is a long journey and you don’t want to be weighed down with a lot of things. Anything you might need you can buy along the way.

From countries to the West of Arabia, airlines usually fly into the port city of Jeddah. From there you travel to Mecca by bus. Once there, you will note there are two different types of rituals which may be performed while in the city. There is the Lesser Pilgrimage, or ‘Umrah, and the main Pilgrimage, or Hajj.

The ‘Umrah does not count as your once-in-a-lifetime Hajj. It is an extra service on your part to Allah. It is a Fard to do. Although some of the rituals of Hajj are preformed in this mini pilgrimage, they are shortened and fewer. ‘Umrah can be done at any time during the year. If it is done in Ramadan, the Blessed Prophet remarked that it will get you as much reward as a full Hajj, but it will still not count for your Hajj duty.

Most pilgrims who are performing the Hajj during the Hajj season arrive a few days before the actual Hajj starts and perform ‘Umrah first. Then when the Hajj begins, they perform that also. This gets you the benefit of two blessed rituals in one visit.

C. The Journey Of The Hajj

  1. Arrive at a fixed point outside Mecca called the Miqat, or entry station to Hajj. You bathe, put on the Ihram, pray two Rak’as then make the intention for ‘Umrah and begin reciting the Talbiyah Du’a.

  2. Arrive at the Masjid al Haram, touch, pint to or kiss the black stone and then walk around the Ka’bah seven times repeating du’as and prayers. This is called the Tawaf. Offer a two Rak’a Salah. Afterwards Zam Zam water should be sipped.

  3. Proceed to the walkway between the hills of Safa and Marwa. Walk back and forth between them seven times (Sa’i). This completes the ‘Umrah portion of the Hajj rituals and a break can be made from some of the Ihram restrictions.

  4. Make your intention for Hajj on the 8th of the month of Hajj and bathe. Then put on the Ihram garments again. After visiting the Ka’bah and performing tawaf, travel to a place called Minna and remain there from Zuhr to Fajr Salah the next morning.

  5. Travel to the valley of Arafat. Remain there in the open terrain praising Allah. Remember the intensity of what Judgement Day will be like. Combine Zuhr and ‘Asr Salah. It is optional to pray at the foot of the Mount of Mercy.

  6. At the end of the day, (after sunset) travel to Muzdalifah. Combine Maghrib and ‘Isha Salah and remain there at night. Gather a set number of small stones for later use. (21 stones is the usual number.) Stand by the Sacred Monument at dawn and glorify Allah.

  7. Travel back to Mina and throw the stones at the pillars called Jamaratil Uqbah that are there which represent the Shaytan. Then a sacrifice should be made called Qurbani. Men’s heads are shaved and women can merely cut a lock of hair. Prepare to celebrate the ‘Eid and remove the Ihram clothes for normal clothes.

  8. Return to Mecca, on the 10th, then make a tawaf and an optional sa’i. Drink Zam Zam water. Then return to Mina for 3 – 4 days, stoning the various pillars of each day. Finally du’a a farewell tawaf in Masjid al Haram (the Kabah area) after the 12th day of Dhul Hijjah, ask Allah’s forgiveness and make du’a, and then the Hajj is finished.

Many people then go to Medina to visit the Prophet’s Masjid, but it is optional. Some may go to Jerusalem afterwards to see Al Quds. A person who completes Hajj is called a Hajji / Hajjah for females.

NEC – Dhul Hijjah  1439 H

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Avicenna

Category : Islamic Scientist

Avicenna

Abū ‘Alī al-Ḥusayn ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn Sīnā’, known as Abū Alī Sīnā (Persian: Ibn Sīnā (but most commonly known in English by his Latinized name Avicenna (Greek: Aβιτζιανός, Avitzianós), (c. 980 – 1037) was a polymath of Persian origin and the foremost physician and philosopher of his time. He was also an astronomer, chemist, geologist, Hafiz, Islamic psychologist, Islamic scholar, Islamic theologian, logician, paleontologist, mathematician, Maktab teacher, physicist, poet, and scientist.

Ibn Sīnā studied medicine under a physician named Koushyar. He wrote almost 450 treatises on a wide range of subjects, of which around 240 have survived. In particular, 150 of his surviving
treatises concentrate on philosophy and 40 of them concentrate on medicine. His most famous works are The Book of Healing, a vast philosophical and scientific encyclopaedia, and The Canon of Medicine, which was a standard medical text at many medieval universities. The Canon of Medicinewas used as a text-book in the universities of Montpellier and Louvain as late as 1650.

Ibn Sīnā developed a medical system that combined his own personal experience with that of Islamic medicine, the medical system of the Greek physician Galen, Aristotelian metaphysics
(Avicenna was one of the main interpreters of Aristotle), and ancient Persian, Mesopotamian and Indian medicine. Ibn Sīnā is considered the father of modern medicine and clinical
pharmacology particularly for his discovery of the contagious nature of infectious diseases, the introduction of quarantine to limit the spread of contagious diseases, the introduction of
experimental medicine, evidence-based medicine, clinical trials, randomized controlled trials, efficacy tests, clinical pharmacology neuropsychiatry, the idea of the syndrome, and the importance of dietetics and the influence of climate and environment on health.

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Al Ghazali

Category : Islamic Scientist

Al-Ghazali

Abū Ḥāmid Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Ghazālī (1058–1111) (Persian, often Algazel in English, was born and died in Tus, in the Khorasan province of Persia.

He was an Islamic theologian, jurist, philosopher, cosmologist, psychologist and mystic of Persian origin, and remains one of the most celebrated scholars in the history of Sunni Islamic thought.

He is considered a pioneer of methodic doubt and skepticism, and in one of his major works, The Incoherence of the Philosophers, he changed the course of early Islamic philosophy,
shifting it away from an Islamic metaphysics influenced by ancient Greek and Hellenistic philosophy, and towards an Islamic philosophy based on cause-and-effect that was determined
by God or intermediate angels, a theory now known as occasionalism.

Ghazali has sometimes been acclaimed by secular historians such as William Montgomery Watt to be the greatest Muslim after Muhammad (traditionally among Muslims, the greatest Muslims
after the Prophet, according to authentic hadith, is the generation of his contemporaries). Besides his work that successfully changed the course of Islamic philosophy—the early Islamic
Neoplatonism developed on the grounds of Hellenistic philosophy, for example, was so successfully refuted by Ghazali that it never recovered—he also brought the orthodox Islam of
his time in close contact with Sufism. The orthodox theologians still went their own way, and so did the mystics, but both developed a sense of mutual appreciation which ensured that no
sweeping condemnation could be made by one for the practices of the other.

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Al Biruni

Category : Islamic Scientist

Abu Rayhan Biruni

Abū Rayḥān Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad Bīrūnī (Persian:, often known as Alberuni, Al Beruni or variants, (born 5 September 973 in Kath, Khwarezm (now in Uzbekistan), died 13 December 1048 in Ghazni, today’s Afghanistan) was a Persian Muslim scholar and polymath of the 11th century.

He was a scientist and physicist, an anthropologist and comparative sociologist, an astronomer, astrologer, and chemist, an encyclopedist and historian, a geographer
and traveler, a geodesist and geologist, a mathematician, a pharmacist and psychologist, an Islamic philosopher and theologian, and a scholar and teacher.

He was the first Muslim scholar to study India and the Brahminical tradition, and has been described as the founder of Indology, the father of geodesy, and “the first anthropologist”. He
was also one of the earliest leading exponents of the experimental scientific method, and was responsible for introducing the experimental method into mechanics and mineralogy, developed comparative sociology and experimentation in psychology, and the first to conduct elaborate
experiments related to astronomical phenomena.

George Sarton, the father of the history of science, described Biruni as “one of the very greatest scientists of Islam, and, all considered, one of the greatest of all times.” A. I. Sabra described
Biruni as “one of the great scientific minds in all history.” The crater Al-Biruni on the Moon is named after him. Tashkent Technical University (formerly Tashkent Polytechnic Institute) is also named after Abu Rayhan al-Biruni and a university founded by Ahmad Shah Massoud in Kapisa is named after him.

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How do we perform Fasting 1439H

Category : Ramadhan

A. What is Fasting ?

The fourth pillar of Islam is known as Saum, or Fasting. During the month of Ramadan, which is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar
calendar, every Muslim who meets certain requirements is required to fast from dawn until dusk.
When the new crescent moon (Hilal) is sighted signaling the beginning of Ramadan on the next day, the Blessed Prophet Muhammad taught us to say,: “Allah is Greater, Allah is Greater. Praise be to Allah Who created me and you and Who decreed for you the phases (of the moon) and made you a sign of the
universe.” As Allah declared ,

Now imagine waking up, long before the first light of the sun has risen over the darkened sky, and taking a small meal, called a Sahoor, in silence. When the hint of light approaches, the meal
is finished and you pray the morning prayer with great clarity of mind and thought.
You make your intention to fast that day for Allah’s sake and then either return to bed for a few hours sleep or stay up and read Allah’s words in the Qur’an. Then you prepare to face the day.
During the daylight hours, a fasting person abstains from all food, liquids, inhaled substances, sexual activity and nutritionally-related medicine or any non- essential oral medicine.
In addition, all normally undesirable behavior is especially frowned upon. No fighting, cursing, arguing, lying or other sins are to be indulged in. Of course a Muslim must naturally avoid such sins anyway, but sometimes people fall into error. Fasting for a month from these is the corrective.

B. Ramadan; The Month of Training

The month of Ramadan provides us with a sort of spiritual and moral “Boot Camp”. We know that fasting in Ramadan is a duty from Allah and we learn that any sins may spoil our record of fasting with Allah so we take great pains to be on our best
behavior. This intense modification of our habits is designed to help us avoid such sins throughout the rest of the year.
Ramadan has such a wondrous impact on our morals and behavior that it has been described as the month of forgiveness. The Blessed Prophet once declared, “During the month of
Ramadan, the gates of paradise are open, the gates of Hell-Fire are closed and the Shaytans are chained.” (Bukhari, Muslim).
Ramadan is a blessed month for another reason. It marks the first month when Allah began revealing His Message to the Blessed Prophet Muhammad. Allah announced, “Ramadan is the
(month) in which the Qur’an was sent down as a guide to humanity, and (to provide) clear signs for guidance and judgment. So every one of you who is present during that month should spend it in fasting.” (2:185)

C. Who Fasts ?

Who must fast? Every Muslim over the age of puberty, who is sane and healthy enough to do it must observe Ramadan. Those who are exempt are the very young (below puberty), the permanently sick, the elderly who too are weak and the mentally challenged.
There is a third category of people who are only temporarily exempted from fasting during Ramadan. They have to make up the missed days at a later date. If a person is travelling or ill they may skip fasting days and make them up later. In addition, a woman on her monthly course or who recently gave birth does not fast and makes up the days at a later time in the year when it’s convenient.
If a person accidentally or unintentionally swallows something while fasting, their fast is not broken. Wudu must still be
performed, though carefully and the teeth should still be brushed like normal. The rule is not to let anything pass into their throat.
If a person breaks their fast intentionally, before it’s time to stop fasting, then they have committed a grave sin and must try to
make up for it right away.
The Blessed Prophet taught that either we must free a slave, fast for sixty days straight or feed sixty people two meals or feed one person two meals for sixty days. The penalty is harsh but it fits
the crime. Breaking the fast for no reason means we temporarily let our animal urges get the better of us. With such a large penalty, we won’t let it happen again!
When the sun has declined completely past the horizon at the end of the day, then the period of fasting is over. Muslims take a small snack called an Iftar before going to pray The Magrib Salah.
The best things to break the fast with, according to a saying of The Blessed Prophet, are either dates, milk or water, for they are easier on the stomach which has been empty all day.

D. The Lesson of Fasting

The lessons learned during Ramadan are many.

  • We learn what it means to be hungry, so we feel more compassion for the poor.
  • We understand how close we are to leaving this world at any moment and how much we depend on food and liquids.
  • We learn to control our animal urges and passions and we clear our minds and thoughts for serious remembrance of Allah.
  • We restrain our anger and we train our habits towards prayer, forgiveness, self-sacrifice and good behavior.

With all these benefits coming from the observance of this blessed month, is it any wonder it is the best time of the year for every Muslim?
In the later part of the evening, Muslims gather together in The Masjids for a special type of prayer held only during the month of Ramadan. It is called the Tarawih Salah and consists of a series of
two Raka’a prayers behind an Imam. At the end of every two of these two Raka’a prayers, the Muslims pause for a moment and recite the Tarawih tasbih, or chant. It is a special chant praising Allah and asking for His mercy.
The Tarawih Salah is performed after ‘Isha prayer and is strongly recommended practice of the Blessed Prophet and the righteous companions
One particular night of Ramadan has extra special significance. It is the exact night when the Qur’anic revelation started to be revealed. It is known as the Laylatul Qadr, or Night of Power (or
Measurement). According to the saying of the Blessed Prophet, it falls on one of the oddnumbered nights in the last ten days of Ramadan. Many Muslims stay up all night seeking their Lord’s
forgiveness and guidance.
During the last ten days of Ramadan, some Muslims perform what is known as I’tikaf, or retreat. This consists of living in the prayer area of the Masjid for up to ten days, only venturing out for showers and similar legitimate needs. They spend their time in prayer, reading study circles and making Du’a. The Blessed Prophet used to practice this form of Ibadah, or service to Allah. The minimum duration of I’tikaf is one day and one night.

E. The Joy at The End of Ramadan

The end of Ramadan occurs when the crescent moon has been sighted, twenty nine or thirty days after fasting began. Following the sighting, Muslims celebrate one of the two most important holidays in the Islamic year: ‘Eid ul Fitr, or the Festival of the Fast Breaking.
Muslims are expected to give a small donation to their Islamic centre called Sadaqat ul Fitr, or charity of the Fast Breaking, so the Masjid can arrange meals for the poor allowing everyone to
partake of the joys of ‘Eid. It an obligation upon every Muslim in a household and parents must count their children when figuring out the total to give. It is the equivalent of the cost of one meal per person in the house.
The holiday begins with the ‘Eid Salah and Khutba on the morning after Ramadan ends and lasts two days afterward with dinner parties, family outings, fairs, carnivals and great joyous
celebrations. Fasting is not allowed on the actual ‘Eid day as everyone should participate in the festivities.

retyped from What is Islam All About?
by
NEC – Ramadan 1439H

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