Importance of Arafah day and its Place in Hajj

Mount Arafat lies 22 km east of Makkah in the plain of Arafat. Mount Arafat reaches about 70 m in height and is also known among people as the mount of mercy. The ninth day of Dhul-Hijjah is called Arafat day because Hajj pilgrims spend their whole day in the plain of Arafat.

•  Staying at Arafah is one of the essential components of Hajj. Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: “(The essence of) Hajj is Arafah.” [Sunan ibn Majah,  no. 2441]

Hence, Hajj would be invalid if a pilgrim failed to spend the required time at Arafah.

•  Pilgrims must move towards the plain of Arafat on the 9th day after praying Fajr at Mina. “Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) remained at Mina until the sunrise and moved out until he reached Arafat where a tent was pitched for him at Namirah.  He ordered that Al-Quswah (his she-camel) to be readied for him.” [Rahiqul Maqtum pp. 610]

•  It is recommended for the pilgrims to move at a modest pace. Usamah bin Zaid (radhiyallahu anhu) was asked, “How was the speed of Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) while departing from Arafat during Hajjatul Wadaa  (farewell pilgrimage)?” Usamah replied, “The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) proceeded on with the modest pace and if there was enough space,  he would make his camel go very fast.”  [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Hadith no.  1616]

•  Combining the two salah with one adhan and two iqama. The pilgrims will pray Dhuhr and Asr in this way. [Sahih Al-Bukhari,  Hadith no. 1605]

•  It is recommended for the pilgrims to pronounce the Talbiyah, Takbir, Tahleel and Tasbeeh when going from Mina to the plain of Arafah.  [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Hadith no. 1614]

•  At Arafah, the pilgrims engage in du’aa to Allah Ta’ala and cry seeking forgiveness.

•  After praying Dhuhr and ‘Asr,  the pilgrims move to Muzdalifa where they pray Maghrib and Isha together. [Majmoo Fatawa, part 20, no. 404]

•  Engage  in Takbir
•  It is recommended to fast on the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah for the non-pilgrims. The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was asked about fasting on the day of Arafah and he said, “It expiates for the past year and coming year.” [Sahih Muslim, no.  1162]

•  As for the pilgrims who are present in Arafah, it is mustahab (recommended) for them not to fast, because of the hadith in  Sahih Al-Bukhari: It is narrated from Maymoona (radhiyallahu anha)  that the people were not sure whether Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) was fasting on the Day of Arafah, so she sent some milk when he was standing at Arafah and he drank it whilst the people were looking on. 

Let’s trace back to the Arafah day of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and see what he did.  We know that it was the Farewell Hajj of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).

“Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), on the 9th day,  ordered Al-Qaswah (his she-camel) to be readied for him.  Hence, the saddle was placed on it and he (alayhissalaatu wa Salaam) went down the valley where 1,24,000 or 144,000 people gathered around him. He stood and delivered the following speech:

“O people, listen to what I have to say, for I do not know whether I will ever meet you at this place after this year. (Indeed) your blood, property, and honor are as sacred as this day, this month and this city (i.e. Makkah)…..

…..People, fear Allah concerning your wives. Verily, you have taken them on the security of Allah and have made their lawful for you by the words of  Allah….”

In the end, he said:

“And when you are asked about me, what will you say?”  

The people replied, “We bear witness that you have conveyed the message and fulfilled your mission.” The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) then raised his forefinger skywards and then moved it down towards people saying:

“Oh, Allah! Bear witness.” (Thrice)
As soon as Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said this, the following ayah was revealed to him: “This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed my favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.”  

Upon this, Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) cried. When asked, he said, “Nothing succeeds perfection but imperfection.” [Rahiqul Maqtum, pp. 611]

•  Scholars considered this speech very important because this was the last and longest speech by the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).

•  The blood, property and honor of a Muslim are compared to three sacred things: 
(i) Day of Arafah; 
(ii) Month of Dhul-Hijjah; 
(iii) City of Makkah.

•  Prophet’s (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) concern for the Ummah regarding the message being conveyed and the Sahabas’ reply.

Related Reading: Hajjatul Wida’: The Farewell Hajj of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam)

Each of Us is a Pilgrim in this World

By Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

There is no animal on earth, nor yet a bird on the wing, but forms communities like you. We have not neglected anything in the Book; and they will ultimately be gathered to their Lord. Those who repudiate Our signs are deaf and dumb, in the dark. God confuses whomever God wills, and places whomever God wills on a straight path. [Qur’an, Surah 6, Cattle, (38-39)]

Pilgrimage is one of the profound manifestations of humanity, a materialization of our spiritual nature. The word pilgrim is from a Latin term, peregrinatio, which means “to journey about.” An early English word peregrine meant “a falcon.” Like our feathered friends, human beings also tend to flock, driven by an inner force towards a specific destination. Historically, people have always flocked to places of devotion for spiritual rebirth.

The word Hajj means “to intend a journey,” which connotes both the outward act of a journey and the inward act of intentions. In his Mufradat, Raghib says that Hajj became associated in the sacred text with visiting the House of God. From the same root, we get the derivative hujjah, which means “a proof,” and also a mahajjah, which is “a clear path that is straight.” Related to this word through the greater derivation is the word hajab, which means “to be prevented from arriving at one’s destination.” This is important in relation to those who are spiritually veiled (mahjub) by a material hijab from arriving at their true destination. 

The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and represents the return to God. Each of us is a pilgrim in this world, wayfarers all. Some of us know the way and are focused on our ultimate destination, while others get easily distracted and flounder. Death is our material destination, and the body returns to the soil from whence it came. But what of the soul that is not of soil? 

A Congregation of Souls
The spirit that animates us is set free upon death and must journey on to the next stage. Hajj represents a congregation of souls preparing for a meeting with their Lord. Arafah, which is related to ma’rifah (knowledge of God), is the culmination of Hajj. The pilgrim is stripped of all outward decorum, unkempt and disheveled, and abased before his Lord, pleading for acceptance. The inner sense of purpose that took him or her to Makkah is among the mysteries of faith. 
But what can we learn from the Qur’anic verse above regarding all of God’s creations and their collective journeys to God’s House? 

All over this planet, there are epic migrations of wildlife taking place each year. The animals have their own Hajj, and we must learn from their journeys, as God has told us to reflect on the signs in the self and on the horizon until the truth is embedded in our soul. 

Singularity of Purpose
The mysteries of the natural order surround us. We don’t know why monarch butterflies migrate south in the winter to one particular location to gather together in a symphony of color, in what can only be termed displays of vertiginous spiritual ecstasy by a human observer.

Even the large buffalo makes a pilgrimage across the plains of the Northern states. There is, of course, scientific research taking place in an attempt to unlock the myriad mysteries of these migratory creatures with their navigational secrets. But there is another phenomenon that is now coming to light: the absolute singularity of purpose with which these creatures go about their journeys.

An article in National Geographic magazine quotes a scientist referring to the “undistractibility” of these animals on their journeys. “An arctic tern on its way from Tierra del Fuego to Alaska, for instance, will ignore a nice smelly herring offered from a bird-watcher’s boat in Monterey Bay. Local gulls will dive voraciously for such handouts, while the tern flies on. Why?”

The article’s author, David Quammen, attempts an answer, saying “the arctic tern resists distraction because it is driven at that moment by an instinctive sense of something we humans find admirable: larger purpose.” 

In the same article, biologist Hugh Dingle notes that these migratory patterns reveal five shared characteristics: the journeys take the animals outside their natural habitat; they follow a straight path and do not zigzag; they involve advance preparation, such as overfeeding; they require careful allocations of energy; and finally, “migrating animals maintain a fervid attentiveness to the greater mission, which keeps them undistracted by temptations and undeterred by challenges that would turn other animals aside.” In other words, they are pilgrims with a purpose. 
Elephants, snakes, sea snakes, sea turtles, myriad species of birds, butterflies, whales, dolphins, bison, bees, insects, antelopes, wildebeests, eels, great white sharks, tree frogs, dragon flies, crabs, Pacific blue tuna, bats, and even micro-organisms – all of them have distinct migratory patterns, and all of them congregate in a special place, even if, as individuals, they have never been there before. 

The Qur’an says about Hajj, “Take provision, and the best provision is piety” [2:197]. In other words, fatten up your souls with spiritual calories for this sacred journey back to your Lord”.

Our Sacred Journey
The Qur’an reminds us, “Have they not seen the birds above them, as they draw in their wings, having spread them – the Merciful alone holds them up, observing everything” [Qur’an 67:19].

Almost immediately after that, we are told,

“Then is the one who walks bent on his own design better guided, or the one who walks for a common cause on a straight path?”  [Qur’an 67:22].

These animals have a common cause, as they move on their linear journeys of rebirth. 

The Hajj is our sacred journey, and it allows us to gather in spiritual community, in common cause, so we may plead for our well-being and spiritual survival. In those same verses, we are told nothing is neglected in the Qur’an, according to God, and we are reminded that God will gather us, by analogy, as these animals, like us, are gathered for rebirth. Those who repudiate these signs are spiritually blind, deaf, and dumb – in other words, veiled, and unlike these divinely guided animals, are unable to find their way back home. For their repudiation, they are led astray, but God places whom God wills on a straight path – a path of linearity, undistracted by the temptations of the world, well provided with spiritual energy for their journeys back to their Lord. It is a journey we must all take.

The poet W.S. Merwin, upon reflecting on the miraculous migration of the birds, wrote that they are “tracing a memory they did not have until they set out to remember it.” God tells us in the Qur’an, “And if you forget, remember.”

The journey of Hajj is remembering what we have forgotten. Allahu Akbar!

Qur’anic Injunctions Concerning Hajj

By Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ (rahimahullah)

And accomplish the Hajj and the  ‘Umrah for Allah, but if you  are  restricted, then whatever  available of the animal offering. And shave not your heads until  the offering reaches its place. But  if anyone of you is ill, or has some  trouble with his scalp, then there is a ransom through fasting or alms giving.

And when you are safe, then, whoever avails the advantage of the ‘Umrah alongwith the Hajj, shall make whatever available of the animal offering.

And whoever finds none shall fast for three days during Hajj, and for seven days when you return; thus they are ten in all. This is for him whose family are not residents of  Al-Masjid al-Haram. And fear Allah and be aware that Allah is severe at punishment. The Hajj is (in) the months well-known. So  whoever undertakes Hajj therein, then there is no obscenity, no sin, no quarrel in the Hajj. And whatever good you do, Allah shall  know it.

And take provisions along, for  the merit of provision is to abstain (from asking). And fear Me, O men of understanding. There is no sin on you that you seek the bounty of your Lord (by trading).

Later, when you flow down from ‘Arafat, recite the name of Allah near Al-Mash’ar al-Haram (the Sacred Monument) and recite His name as He has guided you while before it, you were among the astray. Then flow down from where the people flowed, and seek forgiveness from Allah. Certainly Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.

And once you have fulfilled your rites, recite the name of Allah, as you would speak of your forefathers or even with greater fervor. Now among the people there is one who says:  “Our Lord, give to us in this world…;” and he, in the Hereafter,  has  no  share.  And there is another among them who says: “Our Lord, give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter and save us from the punishment of Fire!’ For them there is a share of what they have earned, and Allah is swift at reckoning. And recite the name of Allah during the given number of days. Then whoever is early in leaving after two days, there is no sin on him and whoever remains behind, there is no sin on him, if he is God-fearing. And fear Allah and be sure that you are going to be gathered before Him. [Surah Baqarah 2:196-203]

Injunctions  concerning Hajj  and  ‘Umrah
The Hajj, with the strong consensus of the entire Muslim Ummah, is a pillar among the cardinal pillars of Islam and an important obligation. It has been clearly emphasised in the many verses of the Holy Qur’an and in numerous authentic ahadith.

According to the majority opinion, the Hajj became an obligation in the third year of Hijrah, that is, in the year the battle of Uhud was fought, through the verse (and as a right of Allah, it is obligatory on the people to perform hajj of the  House) of Surah Aal ‘Imran (Ibn Kathir). In this verse, conditions of the obligation of Hajj have been stated and a stern warning has been given to those who do not perform Hajj in spite of having the ability to do that.

Out of the eight verses before us, the first verse: And accomplish the Hajj, and the ‘Umrah for Allah was revealed, as agreed upon by the commentators, pertaining to the event of Hudaybiyyah which took place in the year 7 A.H. This teIls us that the purpose of the verse is not to declare the initial obligation of the Hajj; that has been stated already. Instead, the intention here is to convey some special injunctions governing Hajj and ‘Umrah.

The Injunction about ‘Umrah
However, Surah aal ‘Imran which declares Hajj as an obligation restricts itself to Hajj alone; ‘Umrah is not mentioned there, while the present verse mentions ‘Umrah, but does not state whether it is basically ‘necessary’ or ‘obligatory’. It rather says that a person who begins Hajj or ‘Umrah by going into Ihram,  then, it becomes wajib or necessary for him to complete that, very much like voluntary prayers or fasting where the rule is that after one starts them, their completion becomes necessary. Therefore, we do not find out from this verse the answer to the question: Is ‘Umrah wajib, or is it not? It simply tells us that once one starts it, it becomes wajib or necessary for him to complete it.

Ibn Kathir cites, with reference to al-Tirmidhi, Ahmad and al-Bayhaqi, a report from the blessed Companion Jabir that he asked the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam): ‘Is ‘Umrah wajib?’ He said: ‘Well, not wajib, but that you do it is better and meritworthy.’  (According  to  al-Tirmidhi, this hadith is hasan  sahih). This is why Imam Abu  Hanifah, Imam Malik and others say that ‘Umrah is not wajib, but a sunnah. Looking back at the statement in the present verse that completing Hajj and ‘Umrah after one has gone into Ihram becomes wajib or necessary, we face the question as to what happens if, after entering into the state of Ihram, there comes up some sort of compulsion which  makes it impossible to complete the Hajj and ‘Umrah. What has to be done in such cases has been clarified in the succeeding sentence which begins with “but if you are restricted.”

Rules concerning Ihram
As this verse pertains to the event of Hudaybiyyah where the Holy Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and his Companions were in a state of Ihram  and  the disbelievers  of  Makkah  had  stopped  them  from  entering  Makkah  and performing  ‘Umrah,  thereupon  came  the  injunction  that  the  fidyah  or ransom  to  get  released  from  the  Ihram  is  to  offer  the  sacrifice  of  an animal,  such  as,  a  goat,  cow  or  camel  whichever  is  easy  to  get.  After  the  sacrifice  has  been  offered,  Ihram  can  be  removed,  but  within  the next  sentence  (And  shave  not  your  heads)  it  has  also been  pointed  out  that  removing  the  Ihram,  which  is  legally  possible only  after  having  shaved  or  close-trimmed  the  hair  on  the  head,  is  not  permissible  until  the  sacrificial  animal  of  the  person  in  a  state  of  Ihram  reaches  its  destined  spot  and  is  actually  slaughtered. 

The  expression  ‘reaching  its  place’,  according  to  Imam  Abu  Hanifah,  means  that  it  should  be  taken  into  the  sacred  precincts  of  the  Haram  and  slaughtered  there.  If  one  cannot  do  it  personally,  he  can authorise  someone  else  to  do  it  on  his  behalf.  The  situation  of  being  ‘restricted’  by  an  enemy  is  clearly  mentioned  in  this  verse.  Imam  Abu  Hanifah  and  some  other  jurists  are  of  the  view  that  if  somebody  is unable  to  complete  Hajj  or  ‘Umrah  (after  wearing  Ihram)  because  of  sickness,  he  can  also  avail  of  the  concession  given  by  this  verse,  because  the  words  ‘if  you  are  restricted’  are  so  general  that  they  include  the  restriction  imposed  by  sickness  also. 

The  manner  in  which  the  Holy  Prophet  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam)  has  practiced  the instructions  given  in  the  Holy  Verse  is  sufficient  to  disclose  that  although  it  is  allowed  in  such  an  emergent  situation  to  remove  the  Ihram  after  offering  a  sacrifice,  yet  it  will  remain  obligatory  to  perform  the  Hajj  or  the  ‘Umrah  afresh  as  a  qada’  (whenever  the  circumstances  allow  to  do  so). That  is  why  the  Holy  Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  and  his  Companions did  perform  the  ‘Umrah  next  year  as  a  qada’  for  the  ‘Umrah  missed  by  them  at  Hudaybiyyah.

In  this  verse,  the  shaving  of  the  head  has  been  indentified  as  the  signal  for  removing  the  Ihram  which  proves  that  shaving  the  head  (halq)  or  trimming  the  hair  (qasr) in  a  state  of  Ihram  is  forbidden.  In view  of  this,  the  next  injunction  tells  us  the  way  out  for  one  who  faces  a  compelling  need  to  shave  his  head  in  a  state  of  Ihram.

Shaving  in  the  state  of  Ihram
In  the  text  of  the  Holy  Qur’an,  it  is  said:  if  one  is  forced  to  shave  hair  on  the  head,  or  any  other  part  of  the  body,  because  of  some  ailment  or  irritating  lice,  one  can  do  so  in  proportion  to  the  need,  but  it  has  to  be  redeemed  by  giving  fidyah  in  the  form  of  fasting,  charity  or  sacrifice.  The  place  for  sacrifice  is  fixed;  it  has  to  be  offered  within  the  limits  of  Haram.  There  is  no  such  fixed  place  for  fasting  and  charity;  these  obligations  can  be  accomplished  anywhere.  The  number  of  fasts  and  the  amount  of  charity  find  no mention  in  the  words  of  the  Holy  Qur’an,  but  in  a  hadith  of  Sahih al-Bukhari,  the  Holy  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam)  prescribed  in  a  similar  situation  faced by  the  noble  Companion  Ka’b  ibn  ‘Ujrah  that  he  should  fast  for  three  days  or  give  1/2  sa’  of  wheat  as  charity  to  six  needy  persons.  This  1/2  sa’  comes  to  approximately  1.632  kilograms  of  wheat  or  its  price  in cash.

Combining  Hajj  and  ‘Umrah  during  Hajj  months
Before  the  appearance  of  Islam,  the  Arabs  in  Jahiliyyah  would  not  combine  Hajj  and  ‘Umrah  during  Hajj  months,  that  is,  after  the  advent  of  Shawwal.  They  thought  it  was  a  sin.  Towards  the  end  of  this  verse, their  misconception  was  corrected  by  restricting  the  prohibition  on  combining  Hajj  and  ‘Umrah  during  the  months  of  Hajj  to  only  those  who  live  within  the  limits  of  Miqat  because  it  is  not  difficult  for  them  to  return  for  ‘Umrah  after  the  Hajj  months.  But,  for  those  coming  from  outside  the  Miqat  limits,  it  was  declared  permissible  because  it  is  not easy  for  them  to  make  a  special  trip  exclusively  for  ‘Umrah  all  the  way from  such  distances.  Miqat  is  one  of  the  several  stations  appointed  by Allah  Almighty  on  every  route  leading  to  Makkah  from  all  over  the  world  and  it  has  been  made  obligatory  on  everyone  proceeding  to  Makkah  to  wear  Ihram  at  this  point  to  perform  Hajj  or  ‘Umrah.  Going beyond  this  appointed  place  without  Ihram  is  a  sin.  That  is,  combining  Hajj  and  ‘Umrah’  is  permissible  only  for  a  person  whose  family  does  not  live  within  the  environs  of  al-Masjid al-Haram,  or  in  other  words,  within  the  limits  of  the  appointed  stations  known  as Miqat

However,  those  who  combine  the  Hajj  and  ‘Umrah  during  the  Hajj  months  are  obligated  to  demonstrate  their  gratefulness  for  having  been  allowed  to  combine  two  acts  of  ‘Ibadah.  This  gratitude  is expressed  by  offering  a  sacrifice,  if  one  is  capable  of  that.  This  sacrifice may  be  offered  by  slaughtering  a  goat,  cow  or  camel  whichever  is  easy.  But,  one  who  is  financially  incapable  of  doing  so,  he  is  obligated  to  fast  for  ten  days,  the  first  three  within  the  Hajj  days  completing  them  by the  ninth  of  Dhul-Hijjah,  the  rest  of  seven  fasts  he  can  complete  after  the  Hajj  at  a  place  and  time  of  his  choice.  He  could  do  so  while  living  in  Makkah  or  when  he  returns  home.  If  a  person  fails  to  fast  for  three days  during  the  Hajj  days,  for  him,  in  the  view  of  revered  Companions,  and  Imam  Abu  Hanifah,  offering  a  sacrifice  is  mandatory.  As  soon  as  it  is  possible,  he  can  have  the  sacrifice  offered  in  the  Haram  through  someone  he  knows  [Jassas].

Al-Tamattu’  and Al-Qiran;  the  two  kinds  of  Hajj
Combining  the  Hajj  and  ‘Umrah during  Hajj  days  takes  two  forms. The  first  method  is  to  enter  into Ihram  for  Hajj  and  ‘Umrah  both  right  from  the  Miqat.  This  is  known  as  Al-Qiran  in  the  terminology  of hadith.  Under  this  method  the  release  from  the  Ihram  is  tied  with  the release  from  the  Ihram  of  Hajj.  The  pilgrim  has  to  stay  in  a  state  of  Ihram  until  the  last  day  of  Hajj.  Under  the  second  method  it  is possible  to  enter  into  Ihram  exclusively  for  ‘Umrah  from  a  Miqat  and  after  reaching  Makkah  al-Mukarramah,  and  performing  the  fixed  rites  of  ‘Umrah  one  can  get  out  of  the  Ihram.  After  that,  when  getting  ready  to  go  to  Mina  on  the  eighth  of  Dhul-Hijjah,  he  should  enter  again  into  the  Ihram  of  Hajj  right  within  the  Haram.  This  is  technically  known as  Al-Tamattu’.  Literally,  the  word  Tamattu’  covers  both  methods  since  it  means  ‘to  have  the  benefit  of  combining  Hajj  and  ‘Umrah  both’  which  is  equally  applicable  to  both  the  methods  detailed  above.  The wordings  (Then, whoever  avails  of  the  advantage)  in  the  present  verse  of  the  Holy  Qur’an  have  been  used  in  this  general  sense.

The  warning  against  violation  of  rules
The  verse  196  ends  up  with  the  words  ‘Fear  Allah’  which  is  a command  to  adopt  Taqwa  –  a  Qur’anic  term  which  has  no  equivalent  in  the  English  language,  and  denotes  the  attitude  of  fearing  and abstaining  from  doing  anything  against  rules  set  by  Allah  Almighty.  This  command  has  been  followed  by  a  warning: and  be  aware  that  Allah  is  severe  at  punishment  which  means  that  anyone  who  knowingly  acts  against  the  injunctions  revealed  by  Allah Almighty,  for  him  the  punishment  of  Allah  is  severe.  The  people  who  go  in  our  days  for  Hajj  or  ‘Umrah  are  widely  negligent  of  this  warning.  To  begin  with,  they  do  not  make  the  necessary  effort  to  find  out  the  rules  of  Hajj  and  ‘Umrah.  Then  a  good  many  do  not  follow  the  rules strictly,  even  if  they  have  the  knowledge.  Bad  guides  or  careless  fellow  pilgrims  sometimes  make  one  miss  the  obligatory  acts,  let  alone  the sunnah  and  the  proper  etiquette  of  the  pilgrimage.  May  Allah  bless  all of  us  with  the  ability  to  correct  what  we  do.

The  Hajj  Months:  Prohibitions
We  now  move  to  the  second  verse  out  of  the  eight  that  deal  with  the  rules  of  Hajj,  which  is: ‘The  Hajj  is  (in)  the  months  well-known’. The  word,  ashhur  is  the  plural  of  shahr  meaning  the  month.  It  will  be  recalled  that  in  the  previous  verse  it  was  said  that  one  who  enters  into  Ihram  with  the  intention  of  doing  Hajj  or  ‘Umrah  must  complete  it  as  prescribed.  Out  of  these  two,  there  is  no  fixed  date  or  month  for  ‘Umrah  which  could  be  done  anytime  during  a  year.  But,  for  Hajj,  the  months  and  the  dates  and  timings  of  what  one  must  do  are  all  fixed.  It  is  for  this  reason  that  the  verse  opens  with  the  clarification  that  the  Hajj  (unlike  ‘Umrah)  has  some  fixed  months  which  are  already  known.  The  months  of  Hajj  have  been  the  same from  Jahiliyyah  also;  they  are  Shawwal,  Dhul-Qa’dah  and  the  first  ten  days  of  Dhul-Hijjah  as  it  appears  in  the  hadith  as  narrated  by  the  blessed  Companions Abu  Umamah  and  Ibn  ‘Umar  [Mazhari].

That  the  Hajj  months  begin  from  Shawwal  means  that  it  is  not  permissible  to  enter  into  the  Ihram  of  Hajj  before  it.  According  to  some  Imams,  the  Hajj  would  simply  not  be  valid  with  a  pre-Shawwal  Ihram. Imam  Abu  Hanifah  rules  that  the  Hajj  thus  performed  will  be considered  valid,  but  it  will  be  makruh  (reprehensible) [Mazhari]. The  verse  197, stresses  upon  the  etiquette  of  Hajj  and  makes  it  necessary  for  everyone  in  the  state  of  Ihram  to  strictly  abstain  from  three  things:  rafath,  fusuq  and  jidal,  which  are  being  explained  here  in  some  detail.

A  comprehensive  word,  Rafath  includes  marital  intercourse,  its prelimineries,  including  an  open  talk  about  love-making.  All  these  things  are  forbidden  in  the  state  of  Ihram.  However,  an  indirect  or  implied  reference  to  the  act  of  love-making  is  not  prohibited.

Literally  fusuq  means  “transgression”.  In  the  terminology  of  the  Holy  Qur’an,  it  means  ‘disobedience’,  the  general  sense  of  which includes  all  sins.  Early  commentators  have  taken  it  here  in  this  general  sense  of  the  word  but  the  blessed  Companion  ‘Abdullah  ibn  ‘Umar  has  interpreted  the  word  ‘fusuq’  here  to  mean  only  the  acts  which  are  prohibited  and  impermissible  in  the  state  of  Ihram.  It  is  obvious  that  this  interpretation  is  more  suitable  to  the  occasion  because  the  prohibition  of  sins  as  such  is  not  peculiar  to  Ihram;  they  are  forbidden  under  all  conditions.

Things  which  are  not  sins  in  themselves  but  do  become  impermissible  because  of  the  Ihram  are  six  in  number. 

(1) Marital  intercourse, its  prelimineries,  even  lovetalk. 
(2) Hunting  land  game,  either  hunting  personally  or  guiding  a  hunter. 
(3)  Cutting  hair  or  nail. 
(4) Using  perfume. 

These  four  things  are  equally  impermissible  for  men  and women  both  when  in  a  state  of  Ihram.  The  remaining  two  baslcally concern  men: 

(5) Wearing  stitched  clothes. 
(6) Covering  the  head  and the  face.  According  to  Imam  Abu   Hanifah  and  Imam  Malik,  it  is  also  not  permissible  for  women  to  cover  their  face  while  in  a  state  of  Ihram, therefore,  this  too  is  included  in  the  common  Ihram  prohibitions.

The  first  of  the  above  six  things,  that  is,  intercourse  and  its  correlatives,  though  included  under  fusuq,  has  yet  been  separated  from  it,  and  has  been  introduced  separately  through  the  word  Rafath, stressing  thereby  the  importance  of  abstaining  from  it  when  in  a  state of  Ihram.  This  is  because  ‘amends’  can  be  made  for  the  contravention of  other  Ihram  prohibitions  through  kaffarah  (expiation).  But,  should  one  fall  into  the  misfortune  of  indulging  in  intercourse  before  the Wuquf  of  ‘Arafat  (stay  in  ‘Arafat)  Hajj  itself  becomes  null  and  void  and  a  fine  in  the  form  of  a  sacrifice  of  a  cow  or  camel  becomes  obligatory  and  the  Hajj  will  have  to  be  performed  all  over  again.  Because  this aspect  was  so  important,  the  text  has  mentioned  it  expressly.
The  word  ‘jidal’  means  an  effort  to  upturn  the  adversary,  therefore,  a  rough  altercation  or  quarrel  is  known  as jidal.  This  word  being  very  general,  some  commentators  have  taken  it  in  the  usual  general  sense, while  others,  keeping  in  view  the  place  of  Hajj  and  the  importance  of  Ihram,  have  particularized  the  sense  of  jidal  here  with  a  specific  quarrel.  In  the  age  of  ignorance,  people  differed  about  the  prescribed  place  of  Wuquf  (staying).  Some  thought  staying  in  ‘Arafat  was  necessary,  while  others  insisted  that  Muzdalifah  was  the  prescribed  place  to  stay  and,  therefore,  did  not  consider  going  to  ‘Arafat  as  necessary.  They  even  claimed  that  it  was  where  Sayyidina  Ibrahim  (alayhissalaam)  had  stayed. Similarly,  they  differed  in  the  timings  of  the  Hajj  as  well.  Some  would  do  their  Hajj  in  Dhul-Hijjah  while  some  others  would  do  it  earlier  in Dhul-Qa’dah  and  then,  they  would  all  quarrel  among  themselves around  the  subject  and  charge  each  other  of  having  gone  astray.  The Holy  Qur’an  said  La jidal,  no  quarrel,  and  put  an  end  to  all  quarrels.  What  was  proclaimed  was  the  truth  –  the  obligatory  stay  has  to  be  made  in  ‘Arafat,  then,  the  necessary  stay  in  Muzdalifah,  and  Hajj  has  to  be  performed  in  no  other  days  but  those  of  Dhul-Hijjah.  Once  the  divine  command  is  there,  quarreling  is  forbidden. 

According  to  this  interpretation,  the  prohibition  given  in  the  verse  is  restricted  to  those  acts  only  which  are  normally  permissible,  yet,  they  have  been  forbidden  because  of  the  Ihram,  just  as  the  permissible  acts  of  eating  and  drinking  are  forbidden  in  the  state  of  Fasting  and  Salah  only.

But  some  commentators  have  taken  fusuq  and  jidal  in  the  general  sense.  According  to  them  even  though  the  fisq  and jidal  are  sins,  and  deplorable  at  all  places  and  under  all  conditions,  but  their  sin  becomes  all  the  more  grave  in  the  state  of  Ihram.  If  one  could  think  about  the  blessed  days  and  the  sacred  land  of  the  Haram  where  everyone  comes  to  perform  ‘ibadah  at  its  best  with  fervent  chants  of  Labbayk,  telling  their  Lord  ‘Here  we  are  at  Your  call’,  with  the  garment  of  Ihram reminding  them  all  the  time  that  the  pilgrim  is  devoted  to  his  act  of  ‘ibadah  within  the  sight  of  Allah,  how  could  one  stoop  to  do  what  is  prohibited  by  Allah;  obviously,  under  such  condition,  any  act  of  sin  or any  act  of  entanglement  with  dispute  turns  into  sinfulness  at  its worst.

Taking  this  general  sense  into  account,  one  can  see  the  wisdom  behind  the  prohibition  of  obscenity,  sin  and  quarrel  as  the  place  and  time  of  Hajj  have  their  peculiar  conditions  in  which  one  might  fall  a victim  to  these  three.  There  are  times  when  one  has  to  stay  away  from  his  family  and  children  for  a  long  time  in  a  state  of  Ihram.  Then,  men  and  women  perform  Hajj  rites  at Mataf  (the  place  around  the  Ka’bah  where  tawaf  is  made)  and  Mas’a  (place  between  Safa  and  Marwah  were  Sa’y  is  made)  and  at  ‘Arafat,  Muzdalifah  and  Mina  with hundreds  and  thousands  of  people  coming  in  contact  with  each  other.  In  such  an  enormous  gathering  of  men  and  women,  it  is  not  so  easy  to  control  one’s  inner  desires,  therefore,  Allah  Almighty  has  first  taken  up  the  prohibition  of  obscenity.  Then,  since  so  many  people  are  around  at  a  given  time,  all  deeply  devoted  to  performing  their  prescribed  rites,  there  are  also  occasions  where  sins  such  as  theft  creep  in,  therefore, came  the  instruction:  La  fusuq  (no  sin).  Similarly,  during  the  entire  Hajj  trip,  there  are  many  incidents  where  people  could  get  to  quarrel  with  each  other  because  they  are  cramped  for  space  or  for  some  other reason.  The  injunction:  la  jidal  (no  quarrel)  is  to  eliminate  such  possibilities.

The  eloquence  of  the  Qur’an The  words  in  the  verse: translated  literally  as  ‘then  there  is  no  obscenity,  no  sin,  no  quarrel…’  are  all  words  of negation,  that  is,  all  these  things  are  not  there  in  Hajj,  although  the  object  is  to  forbid  them,  which  could  have  taken  the  form  close  to saying  –  do  not  be  obscene,  do  not  be  sinful  and  do  not  quarrel.  But,  the  possible  prohibitive  lmperative  has  been  replaced  here  by  words  of  negation  and  thereby  the  hint  has  been  given  that  such  doings  have  no place  in  Hajj  and  cannot  even  be  imagined  in  that  context.

After  proclaiming  basic  Ihram  prohibitions,  the  sentence: And  whatever  good  you  do, Allah  shall  know  it instructs that  abstaining  from  sins  and  the  contravention  of  the  Ihram  during the  blessed  days  of  Hajj  and  at  sacred  places  is  not  enough.  Taking  a  step  farther,  one  should  consider  this  occasion  to  be  something  that comes  once  in  a  lifetime,  therefore,  it  is  all  the  more  necessary  that  one  should  make  an  effort  to  stay  devoted  to  ‘ibadah,  the  Dhikr  (also  transliterated  as  ‘Thikr’,  or  ‘Zikr’,  meaning  ‘remembrance’)  of Allah  and  good  deeds.  The  assurance  given  is  that  every  act  of  virtue  and  every  demonstration  of  goodness  from  a  servant  of  Allah  shall  be  in  the  knowledge  of  Allah  and,  of  course,  shall  be  rewarded  generously.

The  sentence  that  follows  immediately:  ‘And  take  provisions  along,  for  the  merit  of  provision  is  to  abstain  (from asking)’  aims  to  correct  those  who  leave  their  homes  for  Hajj  and  ‘Umrah  without  adequate  preparation  claiming  that  they  do  so  because  they  have  trust  in  Allah.  Obviously,  they  have  to  ask  for  help  on  their  way,  or  worse  still,  they  themselves  go  through  privation  and suffering  and  in  the  process,  bother  others  as  well.  Hence,  the  instruction  has  been  given  that  provisions  needed  for  the  proposed  trip  for  Hajj  should  be  taken  along.  This  is  not  against  tawakkul  or  trust  in Allah;  it  is  rather,  the  very  essence  of  tawakkul,  which  conveys  the  sense  that  one  should  first  acquire  and  collect  the  means  and  resources  provided  by  Allah  Almighty  to  the  best  of  one’s  capability and,  then,  place  his  trust  (tawakkul)  in  Allah.  This  is  the  exact explanation  of  tawakkul  reported  from  the  Holy  Prophet  (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).  Forsaking  all  efforts  to  acquire  means  of  subsistence  (tark  al-asbab) and  calling  it  tawakkul  is  sheer  ignorance.

Trading  or  earning  during the  Hajj
Verse  198: ‘There  is  no  sin  on  you  that you  seek  the  bounty  of  your  Lord  (by  trading)’  was  revealed  in  a  particular  background  of  the  Jahiliyyah  when  the  people  of  Arabia  had distorted  all  rules  of  worship  and  social  dealings  by  injecting  in  them  all  sorts  of  absurd  customs  rendering  acts  of  devotion  into  amusement. They  would  not  even  spare  the  sacred  rites  of  Hajj  when  they  added  to  them  ridiculous  doings  out  of  their  wild  imagination.  In  the  great gathering  at  Mina  they  would  set  up  special  bazaars,  hold  exhibitions,  and  put  up  trade  promotion  devices.  But  after  the  appearance  of  Islam  when  Muslims  were  obligated  with  Hajj,  all  these  absurd  customs were  eliminated.  The  noble  Companions,  who  would  stake  anything  to  seek  the  pleasure  of  Allah  and  to  follow  the teachings  of  His  Messenger,  started  suspecting  the  validity  of  even  the  acts  of  trading  or  working  for  wages  during  Hajj  days.  They  thought that  earning  in  this  manner  is  an  outgrowth  of  the  age  of  ignorance,  may  be  Islam  shall  forbid  it  absolutely,  so  much  so,  that  a  certain  person  came  to  the  blessed  Companion  ‘Abdullah  ibn  ‘Umar  and asked.  ‘We  are  in  the  business  of  renting  our  camels.  We  have  been  doing  it  since  long.  People  hire  our  camels  to  go  for  their  Hajj.  We  go with  them  and  perform  our  Hajj.  Is  it  that  our  Hajj  will  not  be  valid?’  Sayyidina  ‘Abdullah  ibn  ‘Umar  said:  ‘Some  one  came  to  the  Holy Prophet  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam)  and  asked  the  same  question  you  are  asking  me.  The  Holy  Prophet  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam)  not  reply  to  his  question  at  that  particular  time  until  the  verse:  And  take  provisions  along, for  the  merit  of  provision  is  to  abstain  (from  asking).  And  fear  Me,  O  men  of  understanding.  There  is  no  sin  on  you  that  you  seek  the bounty  of  your  Lord  (by  trading). was  revealed.  Then,  he  called  for  that  person  and  said,  ‘Yes,  your  Hajj  is  valid.’

In  short,  this  verse  makes  it  clear  that  a  person,  who  earns  some  profit  by  trading,  or  wages  by  working,  incurrs  no  sin.  However,  the  practice  of  the  disbelievers  of  Arabia  whereby,  they  had  turned  the Hajj  into  a  trade  fair  was  reformed  through  two  simple  words  of  the  Qur’an  to  the  effect  that  they  can  earn  if  they  have  to,  but  let  them  earn  what  they  do  as  a  favour  and  blessing  of  Allah  Almighty,  and  be  grateful  for  it,  never  making  it  a  material  exercise  of  minting  money.  The  words, Fadhlumir Rabbikum, ‘the  bounty  of  your  Lord’ point  out  to  this  factor.

Then,  the  expression:  La Junaaha Alaykum  preceding  the  words  referred  to  above  means  that  ‘there  is  no  sin  on  you’  in  this  indulgence  in  earning  which  has  a  built-in  hint  that  avoiding  this  indulgence  too,  if  possible,  is  still  better  because  it  affects  the  ideal  of  perfect  sincerity  so  desirable  in the  Hajj.

This  whole  issue,  in  fact,  revolves  round  the  original  intention  of  a  person.  If  his  basic  intention  is  to  earn  money  through  trading  or employment  but  he  has  decided  to  perform  the  Hajj  as  an  adjunct,  or  both  the  intentions  are  equally  kept  in  mind,  then,  this  is  contrary  to  the  ideal  of  sincerity  and  it  will  reduce  the  reward  of  Hajj  and  the  blessings  of  Hajj  would  not  fall  to  his  lot  as  they  normally  would.  And  should  it  be  that  he  leaves  his  home  with  the  basic  intention  to  perform  his  Hajj,  but  runs  into  unforeseen  problems  accidentally  resulting  in  a  shortage  of  Hajj  expenses  or  needs  of  subsistence,  he  then,  could  go  for  a  little  earning  through  trading  or  employment  to  offset  his  shortage  of  need-oriented  funds.  This  is,  in  no  way,  contrary  to  the  ideal  of  sincerity.  However,  for  one  who  has  to  do  so,  it  is  much better  that  he  leaves  the  five  special  days  of  Hajj  rites  free  of  any  engagement  in  trading  or  employment.  Instead,  he  should  devote  these  days  to  nothing  but  ‘ibadah  and  dhikr  of  Allah.  This  is  the reason  why  some  ‘ulama’  have  ruled  that  trading  or  employment  during  these  special  days  of  Hajj  are  forbidden.

Staying in  ‘Arafat  and  Muzdalifah:
The  next  statement in  the  same  verse  (198) is: 

Later,  when  you  flow  down  from  ‘Arafat,  recite  the  name  of  Allah  near  al-Mash’ar  al-Haram  (the  Sacred  Monument)  and  recite  His  name  as  He  has  guided  you,  while  before  it,  you  were  among  the  astray. 

The  verse  tells  us  that,  on  the  way  back  from  ‘Arafat,  it  is  necessary  (wajib)  to  stay  overnight  in  Muzdalifah  and  to  recite  the  name  of  Allah  there,  specially  as  taught.

Literally,  ‘Arafat  is  plural  in  number.  This  is  the  name  of  a particular  plain.  Its  geographical  boundries  are  well-known.  This  plain  is  located  outside  the  limits  of  Haram.  All  hujjajj  (Hajj  pilgrims)  must  reach  and  stay  there  between  noon  (zawal) and  sunset  (ghurub)  hours.  This  is  the  most  important  obligation  of  Hajj  for  which,  if  missed  out,  there  is  no  alternative  in  the  form  of  kaffarah  (expiation) or  fidyah  (ransom). 

Several  causes  have  been  cited  for  the  name,  ‘Arafat.  Out  of  these,  the  clearer  explanation  is  that  ‘Arafat  is  a  plain  where  man  gets  to  know  his  Lord  and,  through  his  ‘ibadah  and  dhikr,  learns  how  to  get  closer  to  Him,  and  in  addition  to  that,  Muslims  from  the  East  and  the  West  meet  and  know  each  other  by  direct  contact.

Emphasis  has  been  laid  in  the  text  on  the  stay  near  al-Mash’ar al-Haram  on  the  way  back  from  ‘Arafat  after  having  spent  the  day  there  and  after  having  departed  the  plain  soon  after  sunset.  Al-Mash’ar  Al-Haram  is  the  name  of  a  mountain  which  is  located  in Muzdalifah.  The  word,  ‘al-mash’ar’  means  ‘sign’  or  ‘symbol’,  and ‘haram  being  ‘sacred’,  the  name  signifies  that  this  mountain  is  a sacred  monument  to  Islam.  The  plain  adjacent  is  called  Muzdalifah.  It is  necessary  (wajib)  to  spend  the  night  on  this  plain  and  offer  the  combined  prayers  of  Maghrib  and  ‘Isha’  at  one  time  in  Muzdalifah.  The Qur’anic  expression:  ‘recite  the  name  of  Allah  near  al-Mash’ar  al-Haram’   certainly  includes  all  kinds  of  the  remembrances  of  Allah,  but  here  it  particularly  means  the  offering  of  two  prayers  at  one  time,  that  is,  offering  Maghrib  with  ‘Isha’.  This  is  the  special  act  of  ‘ibadah  peculiar  to  the  plain  of  Muzdalifah.  Perhaps, the  sentence  that  follows: “recite  his  name  as  He  has guided  you”  is  indicative  of  this  aspect.  It  is  said  that  one  should  remember  Allah  and  recite  His  name  in  the  manner  He  has  taught  without  adulterating  it  with  personal  opinions  because  personal deduction  would  have  demanded  that  the  Salah  of  Maghrib  be  offered  at  the  time  set  for  it  and  the  Salah  of  ‘Isha’  at  its  own  time.  But,  on that  day,  Allah  Almighty  favours  that  the  Salah  of  Maghrib  be  delayed  and  offered  along  with  ‘Isha’.  From  the  Qur’anic  statement  cited  above, recite  His  name  as  He  has  guided  you’,  we  see  the  emergence  of  yet  another  basic  ruling  that  man  is  not  independent  in  worshipping  and remembering  Allah,  that  is,  he  cannot  worship  Him  as  he  wishes  and  he  cannot  remember  Him  as  he  chooses.  Instead,  every  ‘ibadah  and  dhikr  of  Allah  demands  the  observance  of  special  rules  of  etiquette.  These  have  to  be  performed  as  stipulated;  doing  it  otherwise  is  not permissible.  Then,  Allah  Almighty  does  not  like  any  substraction  or addition,  nor  any  change  in  its  prescribed  time  or  place,  even  though  the  change  may  lead  to  an  increase  in  the  act  of  worship.  It  is  observed  that  people  tend  to  add  some  features  in  voluntary  prayers  and  acts  of  charity  from  their  side  without  having  any  reason  approved  by  the  Shari’ah,  and  going  a  step  farther,  they  take  it  upon  themselves  as something  necessary  while  Allah  and  His  blessed  Messenger  did  not  declare  it  as necessary,  and  last  but  not  the  least,  such  people  have  the audacity  to  regard  those  who  do  not  do  all  that  as  in  error.  This  verse  exposes  their  false  position  by  saying  that  such  additional  forms  of  worship  reflect  the  practice  of  Jahiliyyah  when  the  disbelievers  had  used  their  personal  opinions  and  choices  to  concoct  forms  of  worship  and  had  limited  the  serious  act  to  few  customs.

The  third  verse  (199):  Then,  flow  down  from  where  the  people  flowed,  and  seek  forgiveness  from  Allah.  Certainly, Allah  is  Most-Forgiving,  Very-Merciful  was  revealed  in  a  particular  background.  The  Quraysh  of  Arabia  being  the  custodians  of  the  Ka’bah  enjoyed  a  unique  position  of  influence  and distinction  in  the  country.  During  the  days  of  Jahiliyyah,  while  everyone  went  to  ‘Arafat,  the  Quraysh  would,  in  order  to  demonstrate  their  unusual  importance,  stop  at  Muzdalifah  and  stay  there.  They  said  that,  being  the  custodian  of  the  Ka’bah  and  the  care-takers  of  the  Haram,  it  was  not  proper  for  them  to  go  out  of  the  limits  of  the  Haram.  Since  Muzdalifah  is  located  within  the  sacred  limits  of  the  Haram  and  ‘Arafat  is  out  of  it,  they  would  seize  upon  the  excuse,  stay  in  Muzdalifah  and   it  was  from  there  that  they  came  back.  The  truth  was  that  they  loved  to  show  off  their  pride  and  arrogance  and  made  it  a  point  to  keep  common  people  at  a  distance.  Their  erroneous  conduct  thus  apprehended,  Allah  Almighty  commanded  them  to  go  where  everyone goes,  that  is,  into  the  plain  of  ‘Arafat,  and  then,  return  from  there  with  everyone  else  (it  will  be  noted  that  in  the  accompanying  translation  of the  text,  the  Qur’anic  word  afidu  has  been  rendered  into  English  literally  with  the  word,  ‘flow’  which  succinctly  suggests  mingling  with  the  multitude,  something  shunned  by  the  Quraysh  of  Jahiliyyah).

To  begin  with,  behaving  special  and  staying  disconnected  from others  is  a  standing  act  of  arrogance  which  must  almost  always  be  avoided,  particularly  during  the  days  of  Hajj  where  the  garment  of  Ihram  and  the  homogeneity  of  place  and  purpose  teach  the  lesson  that all  human  beings  are  equal,  the  distinction  of  rich  and  poor,  learned  and  ignorant,  big  and  small  does  not  exist  here,  therefore,  such  display  of  assumed  distinction,  and  that  too  in  a  state  of  Ihram,  further increases  the  degree  of  crime.

Human  equality  in  practice
This  statement  of  the  Holy  Qur’an  teaches  us  an  important principle  of  social  living  which  demands  that  the  people  of  a  higher  status  should  not  cut  off  their  relations  with  those  of  a  lower  status;  they  should  rather  behave  like  members  of  a  large  family  in  their  different  forms  of  subsistence,  stay  and  movement.  This  creates  mutual  brotherhood,  concern  and  love,  removes  the  walls  between  the rich  and  the  poor,  the  employer  and  the  employee.  It  was  during  his  last  sermon  of  Hajj  that  the  Holy  Prophet  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam)  openly  declared  for  all  times  to  come  that  no  Arab  is  superior  to  non-Arab  and  no  white person  is  superior  to  a  black  person.  Superiority  depends  on  Taqwa  and  Itibah  (the  fear  of  Allah  and  the  obedience  to  His  command). Therefore,  those  who  wanted  to  establish  a  distinct  status  for  themselves  by  staying  at  Muzdalifah,  contrary  to  the  rest,  were  told  that  this  act  of  theirs  was  a  sin  and  they  must  seek  forgiveness  for  it  so  that  Allah  Almighty  may  forgive  them  and  bless  them  with  His mercy.

The  Prohibition  of  Jahili customs  at  Mina
In  the  verses  199 to  201,  some  Jahili  customs  have  been  corrected.  One  of  these  was  that  the  Arabs  of  the  Jahiliyyah  would,  once  they  had  finished  their  rites  at  ‘Arafat  and  Muzdalifah  and  performed  their tawaf  and  sacrifice  and  stay  in  Mina,  hold  gatherings  to  recite  poetry  and  to  eulogize  the  achievements  of  their  forefathers.  Such  gatherings were  obviously  devoid  of  the  remembrance  of  Allah.  It  was  strange  that  they  elected  to  waste  such  blessed  days  in  activities  which  were  of  no  consequence  in  relation  to  what  they  were  supposed  to  do  there.  Therefore,  they  were  told  that,  as  soon  as  they  have  completed  their  Ihram  rites  and  come  to  stay  at  Mina,  they  should  dedicate  their  stay  to  the  remembrance  of  Allah  and  leave  out  the  practice  of  indulging  in  the  reminiscences  of  their  forefathers,  specially  the  boastful  claims  about  their  achievements.  Better  still  was  to  remember  Allah,  not  them,  and  that  too  with  greater  attachment  and  fervor.  There  was  nothing  like  being  engaged  in  the  dhikr  of  Allah.  So,  the  Holy  Qur’an  guides  Muslims  to  shun  the  customs  coming  from  the  age  of  ignorance, specially  in  the  great  days  of  Hajj  they  have  been  blessed  with,  which are  exclusively  reserved  for  ‘ibadah  and  dhikr  and  have  merits  and  blessings  of  their  own,  a  gift  from  Allah  which  may  not  be  available  again  if  lost  through  carelessness.

In  addition  to  that,  the  Hajj  is  a  special  act  of  worship  which  one  gets  to  perform  only  after  a  long  and  generally  exacting  journey,  separation  from  family  and  business  and  great  expense  of  money  and  time.  That  unforeseen  circumstances  prevail  is  not  a  far-out  prospect.  It  is  quite  possible  that  one  fails  to  achieve  the  long-cherished objective  of  Hajj,  inspite  of  all  efforts  and  expenses.  Now,  if  Allah  Almighty  has,  in  His  infinite  grace,  removed  all  impediments  and  one  has  accomplished  his  Hajj  obligation  by  successfully  performing  all required  rites,  then,  the  occasion  calls  for  gratitude  whlch  further  demands  that  one  should  keep  busy  in  remembering  Allah,  avoid  wasteful  gatherings,  engagements  or  conversations.  Compared  with  the  time  spent  by  the  people  of  Jahiliyyah  in  forefather  tale-telling  which  brought  them  no  benefit  here,  or  there,  the  thing  to  do  here  is  the  dhikr  of  Allah  which  is  all  radiance  and  benefit  for  this  world,  and  for  the  Hereafter.  No  doubt,  contemporary  Muslims  do  not  follow  the custom  of  Jahiliyyah  any  more  by  holding  poetic  recitals  to  eulogize  their  family  trees,  but  there  are  thousands  of  Muslims  from  all  over  the  world  who  still  spend  out  these  precious  days  of  Hajj  in  wasteful gatherings,  entertainments,  amusements,  shoppings  and  similar  other  pursuits  of  personal  satisfaction.  This  verse  is  enough  to  warn  them.

Some  commentators  have  explained  this  verse  by  dwelling  upon  the  analogy  of  ‘father’  used  here,  in  some  detail.  They  say  that  one  should  remember  Allah  as  one  remembered  his  father  during  his  childhood  when  he  was  dependant  on  his  father  for  everything.  If  man were  to  think  when  he  is  young,  adult  and  rational,  is  he  not  far  more  dependant  on  Allah  Almighty  at  all  times  and  under  all  conditions,  certainly  much  more  than  a  child  was  on  his  father?  As  for  the boastful  claims  about  the  honour  of  their  fathers,  something  the  people of  Jahiliyyah  used  to  make,  this  verse  eliminates  that  too  by  saying that  real  honour  comes  through  the  dhikr  of  Allah.   [Ruh  al-Bayan]

Moderation  in  religious  and  worldly  pursuits
Besides  what  the  people  of  Jahiliyyah  used  to  do  during  their  stay  at  Mina,  some  of  them  had  another  habit  during  the  Hajj.  Normally,  they  would  be  engaged  in  acts  of  devotion  to  Allah,  yet  when  it  came  to making  a  prayer,  they  would  focus  all  their  attention  to  praying  for  worldly  needs,  such  as,  comfort,  wealth,  honour  and  their  likes,  showing  no  concern  for  the  life  to  come.  It  was  to  correct  this  sort  of  approach  in  supplication  that  it  was  said  that  there  are  people  who would  use  the  great  occasion  of  Hajj  to  pray  for  the  insignificant  gains of  the  present  life  and  forget  the  Hereafter.  For  such  people  the Hereafter  holds  nothing  because  their  conduct  shows  that  they  have gone  through  the  obligation  of  Hajj  merely  in  a  formal  manner,  or have  done  it  to  earn  prestige  in  their  society.  To  please  Allah  and  to earn  salvation  in  the  Hereafter  are  objectives  alien  to  them.   

It  may  be  noted  at  this  point  that  the  verse  mentions:  Our  Lord,  give  to  us  in  this  world…. which  does  not  include  the  word,  “good”.  This  indicates  that  they  do  not  care  to  have  what  is  really  good  even  in  this  mortal  world,  on the  contrary,  they  are  so  drunk  with  their  craze  for  material  things  that  nothing  short  of  a  constant  fulfilment  of  their  desires  would  satisfy  them.  They  just  do  not  bother  to  check  if  it  is  good  or  bad, procured  rightly  or  wrongly  or  what  people  think  about  them.

This  verse  extends  a  serious  warning  to  those  Muslims  as well  who  prefer  to  pray  for  their  material  ends  only  even  at  the  unique  time  of  Hajj  and  at  places  so  sacred,  devoting  most  of  their  concerns  towards that  goal.  There  are  many  rich  people  who  themselves  pray,  or  request  others  they  hold  in  esteem  to  pray  for  them,  not  for  deliverance  from  the  accounting  of  the  Akhirah,  but  for  increase  in  their  wealth,  growth  in  business,  and  for  other  worldly  concerns.  There  are  many  who,  by  their  profusion  in  waza’if  and  nawafil (voluntary  acts  of  worship),  come  to  believe  that  they  are  very  devoted,  pious  and  special.  In  reality,  hidden  behind  this  facade  is  the  same  love  of  the  mundane  life.  Then,  there  are  respected  people  who  maintain  relations  with  pious  elders  of their  time,  as  well  as  show  their  regard  for  deceased  saints  and  walls,  but  the  prevailing  aim  of  such  relationships  is  the  vague  hope  that  their  du’a  and  ta’widh  (prayers  and  spiritual  charms)  will  work  for  them,  wordly  hardships  will  stay  away,  and  their  belongings  shall  be blessed.  For  such  people  too,  this  verse  has  special  instructions.  Stressed  here  is  the  fact  that  this  whole  affair  rests  in  the  hands  of Allah  who  is  All-Knowing  and  All-Aware.  Everyone  must  assess  his  or  her  deeds,  specially  the  intention  behind  whatever  is  done  during  the  Hajj  or  Umrah,  which  includes  all  waza’if,  nawafil,  du’a  and  salah. Then,  towards  the  later  part  of  the  verse,  Allah  Almighty  refers  to  His  virtuous  and  favoured  servants  –  may  be  some  of  them  are  less  prosperous  in  a  material  way  –  by  saying:

And  there  is  another  among  them  who  says:  “O  our  Lord,  give  us  good  in  this  world  and  good  in  the  Hereafter  and  save  us from  the  punishment  of  Fire.”  

The  word:  hasanah  used  here  is  inclusive  of  all  that  is  good, inwardly  or  outwardly.  For  instance,  hasanah  or  ‘good  in  this  world’  shall  include  personal  and  family  health,  increase  and  benedictory sufficiency  (barakah)  in  lawful  livelihood,  the  fulfilment  of  all  needs,  virtuous  deeds,  desirable  morals,  beneficial  knowledge,  honour  and  prestige,  strength  of  faith,  guidance  into  the  straight  path  and  perfect sincerity  in  ‘ibadat.  Similarly,  hasanah  or  ‘good  in  the  Hereafter’  shall  cover  everything  from  the  Paradise,  with  its  countless  and  endless  blessings  to  the  pleasure  of  Allah  Almighty  and  the  privilege  of  seeing  Him.

In  short,  this  du’a  is  a  compedium  of  all  prayers  in  as  much  as  it  encompasses  the  entire  range  of  man’s  wordly  and  other-worldly objectives.  Apart  from  enjoying  peace  in  the  world,  and  peace  in  the  Hereafter,  the  verse,  refers  in  the  end  to  the  safety  from  ‘the punishment  of  Fire’  as  well.  It  was  for  this  reason  that  the  Holy  Prophet  (sallallaahu  alayhi  wasallam)  used  to  pray  with  these  words  very  frequently:

Rabbana  Atina  fid-dunya hasanah,  wa  fil-‘Akhirati  hasanah,  wa  qina  ‘adhaban-nar.

Our  Lord,  give  us  good  in  this  world  and  good  in  the  Hereafter and  save  us  from  the  punishment  of  Fire.

It  is  masnun  to  make  this  prayer  particularly  while  making  tawaf.  This  verse  also  corrects  those  ignorant  dervishes  (so  called  mystics)  who  think  that  real ‘ibadah  lies  in  praying  for  the  Hereafter  alone  and  claim  that  they  do  not,  on  that  count,  care  much  about  the  mortal world.  In  reality,  such  a  claim  is  false,  for  man  depends  on  fulfilling  his  worldly  needs  not  only  for  his  life  and  sustenance,  but  also  for performing  the  acts  of  worship  and  obedience.  Without  these,  serving  the  objectives  of  faith  would  become  impossible.  Therefore,  the  blessed  practice  of  the  prophets  of  Allah  has  been  that  they  prayed  to  Allah  for  the  good  of  both  the  worlds.  One  who  thinks  that  praying  to  Allah  for  the  fulfillment  of  his  worldly  needs  is  against  the  norms  of  piety  and  spiritual  dignity  is  unaware  of  the  great  station  of  prophethood,  and  ignorant  of  man’s  own  role  in  this  mortal  world.  So,  what  is  required is  that  one  should  not  focus  all  his  attention  on  his  material  needs  as  if  they  were  the  very  purpose  of  life,  but  he  should,  along  with  it,  show  far  more  concern  for  what  would  happen  to  him  in  the  Hereafter,  and pray  for  it.

In  the  concluding  part  of  this  verse,  the  end  of  the  other  class  of  people  who  pray  for  the  good  of  the  dunya  (mortal  world)  and  Akhirah  (Hereafter)  both  has  been  stated  by  saying  that  they  will  be  rewarded in  both  the  worlds  for  their  correct  and  righteous  conduct  and  for  their prayers.  Following  that,  it  has  been  said:  And  Allah  is  swift  at  reckoning  because  His  all-pervading  knowledge  and  most  perfect  power  is  sufficient  to  access  the  life-long  deeds  of  each  and every  person  who  ever  breathed  in  His  creation;  for  this  He  needs  none  of  those  computing  mechanisms  and  means  on  which  only  man  depends.  So,  the  time  will  soon  come  when  He  shall  make  man  account  for  what  he  did,  and  it  will  be  on  the  basis  of  that  accounting  that  he  will  spread  out  His  reward  and  punishment.

The  emphasis  on remembering Allah  in  Mina
In  the  last  of  the  eight  verses  relating  to  injunctions  about  Hajj, 1 that  is,  And  recite  the  name  of  Allah  in  the  given number  of  days,  the  Hajj  pilgrims  have  been  asked  to  engage  themselves  in  the  remembrance  of  Allah  so  that  their  Hajj  meets  a perfect  ending  and  their  post-Hajj  life  becomes  correct  and  fruitful.

These  ‘given  number  of  days’  refer  to  ayyam  al-tashrik  during  which  it  is  necessary  (wajib)  to  say  takbir  (which  is, Allahu Akbar  Allahu Akbar  Laa Ilaha Illallaahu Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar Wa Lillah Ilhamd)

Immediately  following  is  a  clarification  of  the  duration  of  stay  at  Mina  and  the  deadline  for  throwing  pebbles  at  the  three  Pillars.  This  was  an  issue  debated  by  the  people  of  Jahiliyyah.  Some  thought  it  was necessary  to  stay  at  Mina  upto  the  13th  of  Dhul-Hijjah  and  throw  pebbles  at  the  three  Pillars.  According  to  them,  to  come  back  from  Mina  on  the  12th  was  impermissible  and  those  who  did  so  were  sinners.  Similarly,  others  regarded  coming  back  on  the  12th necessary,  and  staying  there  through  the  13th,  a  sin.  Both  were  corrected  in  this verse  by  saying:  ‘Then  whoever  is  early  (in  leaving)  after  two  days  there  is  no  sin  on  him  and  whoever  remains  behind,  there  is  no  sin  on  him  …’   thereby  proving  that  both  parties  calling  each  other  sinners  are  involved  in  excess  and  error.

The  correct  position  is  that  Hajj  pilgrims  have  the  option  of  acting  on  either  of  the  two  permissions.  However,  it  is  better  and  preferable  to  stay  there  through  the  third  day  (that  is,  13th  of  Dhul-Hijjah). Jurists  say  that  one  who  leaves  Mina  before  sunset  on  the  second  day  (i.e.  12th  of  Dhul-Hijjah),  it  is  not  necessary  for  him  to  do  his  ramy (throwing of  pebbles  on  the  three  Pillars) for  the  third  day.  But,  should the  sun  set  while  he  is  still  in  Mina,  it  does  not  remain  anymore  permissible  for  him  to  leave  Mina  until  he  has  done  his  ramy  for  the  third  day.  However,  the  ramy  for  the  third  day  has  a  special  concession that  it  can  also  be  done  between  the  post-morning  and  pre-noon  hours.

If  we  look  at  the  manner  in  which  the  choice  of  returning  from  Mina  has  been  given  to  the  Hujjaj  –  no  sin  if  they  return  on  the  second day  and  no  sin  if  they  return  on  the  third  day  –  we  shall  realize  that  all  this  is  for  the  convenience  of  one  who  fears  Allah  and  obeys  His  commands,  for  he  really  deserves  the  Hajj,  as  said  elsewhere  in  the  Holy  Qur’an: Allah  Almighty  accepts, (acts  of  prayer  and  worship)  only  from  those  who  are  God-fearing  and obedient.  Now,  one  who  has  been  involved  in  sins  much  before  Hajj,  continued  being  negligent  even  during  the  Hajj  and  was  callous  enough  not  to  abstain  from  sins  even  after  Hajj,  his  Hajj  is  certainly  not  going  to  be  of  any  good  to  him,  although,  the  formal  obligation  has  been  validly  fulfilled,  releasing  him  from  the  possible  crime  of  not  having  performed  the  Hajj.

Closing  this  eight-verse  unit,  it  was  said: “And  fear  Allah  and  be  sure  that  you  are  going  to  be  gathered  before  Him”,   where  He  shall  make  you  account  for  all  your  open  and  hidden  deeds  and  give  you  the  reward  and  punishment  for  these.  This  last  line  is  really  the  essence  of  all  Hajj  injunctions  given  in  these  verses.  It  means  that  one  should  keep  fearing  Allah  during  the  special  days  of  the  Hajj  guarding  oneself  from  any  shortcoming  in  the  prescribed  acts  of  Hajj,  as  he  should  keep  fearing  Allah  after  the  Hajj  guarding  himself  against  any  pride  of  performance,  and  keep  abstaining  from  sins  because,  on  the  day  human  deeds  shall  be  weighed  on  the  Balance,  his  sins  will  eat  away  his  good  deeds,  that  is,  they  will  nullify  the  effect  and  weight  of  those  good  deeds.  In  a  hadith  about  the  great  ‘ibadah  of  Hajj,  it  has  been  said  that  one  who  returns  after  having  accomplished  his  Hajj,  is  so  cleansed  of  his  sins  as  if  he  was  born  on  that  day.  This  is  why  those  performing  Hajj  have  been  instructed  to maintain  the  quality  of  Taqwa,  (that  vital  sense  of  responsibility  before  Allah).  Being  one  who  has  been  purified  from  sins,  it  is necessary  to  take  all  possible  precautions  against  what  tempts  man  to  fall  into  sin  so  that  one  can  earn  the  best  of  both  the  worlds,  the  dunya  and  the  Akhirah.  If  this  is  not  done  and  the  performer  of  Hajj  goes  back  to  a  life  of  sin,  even  after  such  a  cathartic  experience,  he  shall  find  that  the  elimination  of  his  past  sins  by  forgiveness  is  not  going  to  be  of  any  use  to  him.  Contrary  to  this,  the  ‘ulama  have  said  that  one  who returns  from  his  Hajj  with  his  heart  free  from  the  love  of  dunya  and  attracted  to  the  concern  for  the  Akhirah,  his  Hajj  is  accepted  and  his  sins  are  forgiven  and  his  prayers  are  answered.  From  place  to  place during  the  Hajj,  people  pledge  their  obedience  to  Allah  before  His  House,  how  can  these  pledges  be  thoughtlessly  broken  after  the  Hajj?  If  those  who  are  lucky  to  perform  their  Hajj  are  a  little  more  mindful of  this  factor,  they  might  stay  by  their  solemn  pledge  later  on.

A  pious  elder  said:  ‘When  I  returned  from  Hajj,  it  was  by  chance that  a  suggestion  of  sin  crept  into  my  heart  whereupon  I  heard  a  voice from  the  Unseen:  Didn’t  you  perform  the  Hajj?  Didn’t  you  perform  the Hajj?  This  voice  became  a  wall  between  me  and  that  sin.  Allah Almighty  protected  me. 

As  against  this,  there  is  the  case  of  another  pious  man  from  Turkey,  who  was  a  disciple  of  the  famous  Maulana  Jami’.  He  was  in  such  an  unusual  state  of  spiritual  excellence  in  his  normal  life  that  he  used  to  observe  a  halo  of  radiance  over  his  head.  He  went  to  perform  his  Hajj,  but  after  his  return  he  discovered  that  he  has  lost  that  unusual  state  totally.  He  talked  about  it  to  his  master,  Maulana  Jami’.  He  said:  ‘Before  your  Hajj,  you  had  the  gift  of  humbleness,  you  wept  before  Allah  thinking  of  yourself  as  a  sinner.  After  your  Hajj,  you  became  proud  and  picked  up  the  airs  of  someone  righteous,  spiritually  elevated.  Therefore,  this  very  Hajj  of  yours  became  the  cause  of  your pride  and  that  is  why  you  lost  that  state  of  radiance.’

The  emphasis  on  Taqwa  (the fear  of  Allah)  towards  the  conclusion of  Hajj  injunctions  has  yet  another  secret.  It  goes  without  saying  that  Hajj  is  a  great  act  of  ‘ibadah.  Once  it  has  been  accomplished,  that eternal  adversary  of  man,  the  Satan,  generally  injects  into  man’s  heart  the  thought  of  self-righteousness  which  simply  ruins  all  his  deeds.  Therefore,  the  final  word  said  was  about  the  need  to  fear  Allah  and  the necessity  to  obey  Him,  not  only  before  the  Hajj  and  during  the  Hajj,  but  also  after  the  Hajj  when  one  must  become  much  more  particular  in  fearing  Allah  and  alert  in  abstaining  from  sins  by  conscious  effort,  lest  all  that  one  has  done  in  the  form  of  the  ‘ibtidah  of  Hajj  goes  waste.
O  Allah,  give  us  the  ability  to  do  what  You  love  and  are pleased  with  –  in  word,  deed  and  intention.

How the Hajj Rituals Got Distorted During the Post-Ibraheemic & Pre-Islamic Era??

Hajj and its rites were first ordained by Allah in the time of Prophet Ibraheem (alayhissalaam). However, with the passage of time both the form and goal of Hajj rites were changed. The process of distortion reached its peak with the introduction of idols to the Kaaba. Many major tribes with their allies and slaves used to come to Makkah and encamp there separately. Competitions in generosity were staged. In order to assert his superiority, the chief of every tribe set up huge cauldrons, slaughtered numerous camels and cooked the flesh which was then freely distributed for the “pilgrims.” The sole objective of this extreme generosity was for their name to be exalted in the whole of Arabia and for it to be publicized that this person slaughtered so many camels and gave food to so many people. Singing, drinking, adultery and various kinds of immorality were indulged in, and the thought of God scarcely occurred to anybody.

The religious rites of Tawaaf (circling of the Kaaba) was reduced to a circus. Women and men went round and round the Kaaba performing Tawaaf stark naked. They said: “We shall go before God in the same condition in which our mothers gave birth to us.”

Prayer in the Masjid of Ibraheem was accompanied by hand-clapping, whistling and the blowing of horns. The name of God was pronounced in the prayer of intent known as Talbiyah (Labbayka Allahumma Labbayk: “Here I am present, My Lord, I am present.”) However, even this expression of reverence was distorted 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 on the walls of the Kaaba in the belief that Allah demanded flesh and blood. Doing business or working for one’s livelihood during the Hajj journey were considered unlawful. Others used to give up food and water during Hajj and regarded this abstention as part of worship, while others stopped talking from the beginning of Hajj until its end.

These distorted Hajj rites continued to be practiced for nearly two and a half thousand years. Ultimately, however, the time arrived for granting the Du’a (prayer) of the Prophet Ibraheem (alayhissalaam), which he had invoked while raising the walls of the Kaaba:

“Oh Lord! Raise up in their midst a Messenger from among them who will recite to them your revelations and instruct them in the Scripture and in wisdom and who will reform their morals. [Qur’an, 2:129]

Consequently, a man arose from the progeny of Ibrahim whose name was Muhammad ibn Abdullah. Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) revived the same genuine and pure religion which was taught by Prophet Ibraheem (alayhissalaam). In the course of 23 years he (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) completed the mission of purifying the Kaaba and establishing Allah’s religion as the law of the land, and he again declared the Kaaba as the universal center for worshippers of the one True God.

Along with the revival of Hajj, all the deviant and idolatrous customs of the period of ignorance which had become rampant since the time of Prophet Ibraheem (alayhissalaam) were completely eliminated. All the idols in Kaaba were smashed and removed, and the worshipping of other than Allah that was being done there was stopped. All invented rituals were wiped out and all fairs and carnivals were stopped. Furthermore, it was ordered that Allah’s worship should only be carried out in the prescribed manner. Competitions among poets in the exaltations of their forefathers and clansmen’s achievements were all stopped. Instead Allah told them:

“And when you have completed your rites (of Hajj), then remember Allah as you used to remember your fathers, nay with a more vigorous remembrance.”   [Qur’an, 2:200]

All competitions in generosity which were meant solely for pride and fame were terminated and in their place was revived the system which existed in Ibraheem’s (alayhissalaam) day, whereby animals would be slaughtered exclusively in the name of Allah in order that poor pilgrims may be fed during Hajj. Allah said: “Eat and drink but do not be excessive. Verily He does not love the wasteful.” [Qur’an, 7:31]

The practice of spattering the blood of the sacrificed animals on the walls of Kaaba and throwing of their flesh there was also stopped. Allah informed them that: “Their flesh and their blood do not reach Allah, but it is the devotion from you that reaches Him.” [Qur’an, 22:37]

Circling the Kaaba in a state of nudity was strictly prohibited by the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) on Allah’s command. And Allah further explained:

“Say, who has forbidden the adornment (dress) given by Allah which he has bought forth for his servants.” [Qur’an, 7:32]

It was also prohibited to start for Hajj without taking provision; and Allah said:

“You must take provision for the journey because (not to take provision for a journey in the world does not mean taking provision for the Hereafter) the best provision for the Hereafter is piety.” [Qur’an, 2:197]

It was formerly considered an act of piety not to trade during Hajj because it was regarded as being unlawful in this condition to utilize sources of livelihood. This concept was also rejected by Allah who said:

“It is no sin for you that you seek the bounty of your Lord (by trading).” [Qur’an, 2:198]

After abolishing all other pre-Islamic customs. Hajj was made a model of piety, fear of Allah, purity, simplicity and austerity. When the pilgrims set out from their homes, they were ordered to purify themselves of all worldly pollution, abandon sexual relations with their wives and abstain from filthy language and indecent acts.

The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said the following about a neat, clean, selfless and sincere Hajj: “Whoever performs Hajj solely for Allah and in the course of it abstains from sensual and sinful acts, he will return as pure as a new-born child.”

Related Reading: How Idols found place in the Ka’aba during Pre-Islamic Era??

Response to the Moronic Claim that the Black Stone is an Idol Pilgrimage & a Pagan Rite


By Majlisul Ulama

Qurbani or Brutality??



The evil and corruption of Muslims purportedly executing their obligation of Qur’baani are portrayed by a Brother in his letter which is reproduced hereunder:

“Please send out an urgent national message on the malpractices committed at public ‘qur’baani’ shows. Many people, including the religious ones are taking pictures and videos of their qurbani animals!.

Also a sickness nowadays is the mentality of “I want the biggest animal”, whereas it should be the best looking in your eyes and your affordability!

Once the “biggest” animal is bought, its pictures and weight are taken and sent via sms and whatsup to all and sundry to say wah wah! … Is this not for show? Is the spirit of qurbani not lost?

At the venue of slaughter, there are ladies and men mixed, many taking pictures of the ladies making zabah, or others taking pictures randomly to post onto different media platforms .

One may ask, how can one video a life taken away, especially for ibaadat purposes? would they have done same if the command was to sacrifice one’s own child?
Further, more to the slaughter house, the noise and screaming, dragging and pulling of animals are just too sad. Even the kuffar don’t behave like this!

When told to take it easy, we are blankly told, “we want fun”. Is this a fun occasion?

Many a times, the animals get so traumatized from all the screaming and shouting that they begin to jump fences to escape.

Sadly, all this takes place in the presence of imaams, muftis and ulema. Nobody really stops all this haraam and cruel nonsense!

I think its a great idea for you to suggest to the jamiats to request imaams to stop the bayaans of the stories of Hazrat Ibrahim and Ismail, that we learnt in madressa. What is needed is bayaans to make our qurbani acceptable and to understand that it is a command from Allah.

In conclusion, will anyone really take a picture of his son that will be killed to show how handsome he is, or take a video of him being killed and being distributed for fun watching!” OOMS

(End of the Brother’s letter)

Qur’baani is the best and the most sacred act of Ibaadat during the Days of  Udhiyyah (Qur’baani). It is an Ibaadat to commemorate the devotion to Allah Ta’ala and the sacrifice of his son made by Nabi Ibraaheem (alayhis salaam) at the command of  Allah Azza Wa Jal. While Qur’baani is an occasion of devotion, sacrifice and for the acquisition of immense thawaab, Muslims have transformed it into a merrymaking festival accompanied by many haraam acts.

Men and women mixing, women on the grand stand viewing the cruel, cowardly slaughter in T-shirts and jeans flexing his muscles stupidly and waving the knife with riya and takabbur to impress the  stupid females in the gallery, refreshments served to the crowd of moron spectators, the brutality perpetrated on the animals, the haraam, shaitaani funfare attitude, etc. are all nugatory of both the letter and spirit of the Qur’baani Ibaadat.

The manner in which group Qur’baani acts are performed is haraam, The zina displays by men and women are haraam. The presence and mingling of men and women are haraam. Women in the gallery watching the stupid slaughterer basking in his stupid antics to impress moron women, and women slaughtering in full view of the fussaaq men are all haraam.

What is being enacted in many or perhaps most places, is not Qur’baani. Slaughtering animals is not the occasion of fun and merrymaking. While Eid is an occasion of happiness, kuffaar-type ‘happiness’ is haraam. It is not permissible for women to view ghair mahram men slaughtering  nor is it permissible to slaughter when there is even a single ghair mahram man viewing the scene. The cruelty to the animals is satanic. It is not expected of the People of Imaan to be sadists deriving pleasure from the Ibaadat of Sacrifice.

It is necessary to understand what exactly Qur’baani is and why are the animals being slaughtered. While all the thawaab is destroyed by the haraam antics, the perpetrators of these shameful and haraam shenanigans are guilty of grave sins. The women in the gallery add to the Satanism of the festival. Ibaadat without sincerity, and ibaadat accompanied by riya, takabbur and other haraam acts is not acceptable to Allah Azza Jal

Read the detailed Rulings related to Qurbaani/Udhiyyah here ➡ Fiqh of Qurbani (Udhiyyah) – The Annual Sacrifice of Eid ul Adh-ha

Among the worst sins perpetrated by innumerable people on the Day of Qur’baani, is the organization of haraam merrymaking functions where the following major sins are committed in the name of Qur’baani: 

Gathering of Zaanis (male fornicators/adulterers) and Zaaniyahs (female fornicators/adulteresses) at the venue where the cruel slaughter of Qur’baani animals and the brutal slaughter of Islamic morals take place. The affair is arranged as if it is a kuffaar sporting occasion with performers and spectators in the gallery. The females come dressed up with maximum adornment to attract the gazes and stares of the fussaaq and fujjaar males. The stupid ‘matador’ with sleeves rolled up and chest puffed out prances arrogantly with his knife to demonstrate his silly prowess when slaughtering the bull. He performs to the gallery of men and women whilst his silly brains drift in a limbo of fantasy regarding his ‘courage’ and ‘power’ when slaughtering the immobilized animal. The poor animal is chased by a group of hoodlums – children and stupid men and labourers to catch it. The animal is totally traumatized, bewildered and extremely fearful of the hooligans chasing it.Whilst all of this haraam is being enacted and subjected to haraam videoing and photography, the fussaaq /fujjaar men and women enjoy refreshments. No Islamic consideration is shown to the animals. All rules in Allah’s Book of Raham (Mercy) ordained for observation when slaughtering animals are mercilessly trampled on by everyone present – by the stupid ‘matador’, the helpers and the spectators. An animal is slaughtered and skinned in the presence of other animals. The skinning sometimes commences whilst there is still some life left in the animals. All of this is Haraam – major sins.

Understand well that Qur’baani is not a merrymaking occasion. Allah Ta’ala has ordained this Day for us to commemorate the supreme Qur’baani (Sacrifice) of Hadhrat Nabi Ibraaheem (Alayhis salaam) who was commanded by Allah Azza Wa Jal to sacrifice his beloved son, Ismaaeel (Alayhis salaam). So when your animal is being slaughtered, call to mind that it is your son who is being sacrificed. You are not present to enjoy yourself like a kaafir at some merrymaking function. 

It is haraam – totally HARAAM – for women even in burqahs to be present at the slaughtering venue. There are fussaaq males present, and even the molvis and outwardly looking ‘pious’ chaps present are fussaaq and fujjaar, hence they derive carnal, bestial and lustful pleasure from the presence of the womenfolk dressed in their stupid finery. 

The animals MUST be slaughtered mercifully, not in the cruel manner which is currently being enacted at most places where mass ‘qur’baani’ takes place. 

Our advice is that those who are inexperienced should not slaughter bulls/cows. Instead, 7 goats/sheep should be sacrificed. Most of those stupid ‘matadors’ who slaughter Qur’baani bulls lack experience, hence the need for a score of hoodlums to chase and overpower the cow. It is not permissible for inexperienced persons to slaughter big animals. 

Qur’baani is not restricted to mere throat-slitting. It is a holy amal of the Deen. It is among the Shi-aar (Salient Features) of Islam. It is not a funfair. It is not a picnic.  Refreshments should not be served at this haraam picnic. Women should not be allowed to enter the venue where mass-slaughtering takes place. These stupid people, in order to participate in the merrymaking haraam function, are adept at citing the mas’alah regarding viewing one’s animal at the time of slaughtering. For this Mustahab, they commit a plethora of haraam acts whilst the act of Istihbaab is the furthest from their minds. They cite it as an excuse for participating in the haraam circus organized on the Day of Eidul Adha. But they are absolutely bereft of the Taqwa which should be the primary attitude when making Qur’baani. 


It has been brought to our notice that some Molvis in Natal are selling Qur’baani animals on the condition of distributing the meat themselves. The purchaser of the animal is not allowed to take the meat. This is not permissible. The sale is invalid and haraam. The Qur’baani too is not valid.  The Molvis and the purchasers should rectify their corrupt deals for the proper and valid discharge of the Qur’baani obligation.

Jewish Proof For The Existence Of Makkah


[By Brother Idris, Answering-Christianity Forum Member]

There is a powerful proof that Mecca has already existed as a city in the time of revealing the Torah to prophet Moses (Musa alayhissalaam). 

[NOTE: the below info are an excerpts from my polish book entitled “Znaki i proroctwa Starego Testamentu o nadejściu Ostatniego Posłańca Boga”]

Today, very few Muslims and Christians alike are aware of that Mecca – along with Medina – is explicitly mentioned by name in an early rabbinic translation of the Pentateuch. In Genesis 10:30 according to the Masoretic Text we read the following:

“And their dwelling was from Mesha, as thou goest toward Sephar, unto the mountain of the east.” [JPS, 1917]

However, the above passage according to the Judeo-Arabic translation – i.e. process of reading run as in Arabic, but the script is written with Hebrew letters – made by Rabbi Saadia ben Joseph al-Fayyumi (ca. 882-942), also known as Saadia Gaon, reads as:



“And their dwelling was from Mecca towards al-Medina, unto the mountain of the East.”   [Œuvres complètes de R. Saadia ben Iosef al-Fayyoûmî, ed. by J. Darenbourg, vol. 1 (Paris: E. Leroux, 1893), p. 17.]

Everyone who is familiar with Hebrew will not contradict me in this matter (Mekka was marked with blue color, al-Medina with red color). First of all, Saadia Gaon is one of the most prominent Jewish scholars, and it is said that his translation holds an unchallengeable authority over all other biblical translations, since he was the best especially in scriptural exegesis, Jewish history and Talmudic knowledge in general, and he is responsible for the first and most important Arabic translation of the Torah which became the standard version for all Jews living in Muslim countries. Maimonides himself, a great and respected Rabbi (1135-1204) said: 

“were it not for Saadia, the Torah would almost have disappeared from the midst of Israel; for it was he who made manifest what was obscure therein, made strong what had been weakened, and made it known far and wide by word of mouth and in writing.”   [H. Malter, Saadia Gaon: His Life and Works, (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1921), p. 279.]

Therefore, as you can see, his translation is a primary source when it comes to the accuracy of Old Testament interpretation. As to the mentioning of Mecca and Medina in Genesis, let us recall e.g. the statement of the Rev. Professor William Paul who in his critical interpretation to the Hebrew fragment הַקֶּדֶם הַר [#996] from Genesis 10:30, has wrote:

“mountain (mountains) of the East. These are supposed to be those mountains of Arabia running from the neighbourhood of Mecca and Medina to the Persian Gulf.” [Rev. W. Paul, Analysis and critical interpretation of the Hebrew text of the Book of Genesis, (Edinburgh: W. Blackwood & Sons, 1852), p. 100.]

Other scholars also shares a similar view. This of course explain why rabbi Saadia Gaon has mentioned Mecca and Medina in Genesis 10:30. This is not only his paraphrase concluded from the context as some might think, because if you go to the Hebrew text you will notice there such word as באכה (baka) which was translated as “as thou goest” !  

Other scholars also shares a similar view. This of course explain why rabbi Saadia Gaon has mentioned Mecca and Medina in Genesis 10:30. This is not only his paraphrase concluded from the context as some might think, because if you go to the Hebrew text you will notice there such word as באכה (baka) which was translated as “as thou goest” !  

ויהי מושׁבם ממשׁא באכה ספרה הר הקדם

On that occasion it must be stressed that the Hebrew משׁא (Mesha), that preceds באכה, does not stand here for Mecca as some of you would suppose. Lexicons says that this word is of foreign derivation, and there is no consensus as to whether it refers to a place somewhere in Arabia, or to a region, or to a north Arabian tribe. In any case, we have to concentrate on באכה (bakah), and it would be quite preferable to remember this word in its exact Hebrew form for the next portion of information’s.

The second proof which Allah Almighty let me to discover comes from a rare book called The Asatir: The Samaritan Book of the Secrets of Moses which was translated and published by Dr. Moses Gaster in 1927. This ancient document according to Dr. Moses is much older than Josephus or the Palestinian Targum, and after comparing it with the other manuscripts assumes that this book could not have been compiled later than between 250-200 B.C. In Chapter VIII of this book we read:


No comment… you have a crystal clear proof! But let’s read what Dr. Moses have said in his commentary to the last fragment “Built Mecca” of the verse 3:


(there is an error in writing: instead of “neading” read “reading”, the same is with “nead” which stands of course for “read”. and “preservad” for “preserved”, but these spelling errors are not so much significant since every English reader should not have a problem to understand the text.)
Reference: The Asatir: The Samaritan Book of the Secrets of Moses, together with the Pitron or Samaritan commentary and the Samaritan story of the death of Moses, introduction, translation and notes by M. Gaster, Ph.D. (London: The Royal Asiatic Society, 1927), p. 262.

Notice the same word באכה (Baka) which can be found in the Hebrew text of Genesis 10:30 !

Mecca was mentioned among others biblical places, and so in the first and oldest book of the Torah. On the other hand, Ptolemy’s Makoraba – or most probably Makkorabba as some scholars suggested – is also an intriguing issue, and it seems that this word consist of two separable segments, namely:
1. Makko = Mekka = Bakka
2. Rabba = from rabb which means in arabic “The Lord”

Based on this, it can be translated literally as “Mekka of the Lord” or “the Lord of Mekka”. Such interpretation is reinforced by discovering an inscription which was engraved in one of the corners of the foundation of the Kaaba during its renovation in 605 A.D. by the people of Quraysh. The mysterious writing was composed in Syriac as relates Ibn Ishaq, and they could not understand it until some Jew read it for them. The text goes as follows: “I am Allah, the Lord of Bakka, I created it on the day that I created heaven and earth and formed the sun and moon, and I surrounded it with seven pious angels. It will stand while its two mountains stand, a blessing to its people with milk and water.”[Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah, trans. A. Guillaume, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2004), pp. 85-86.]

Ibn Ishaq immediately after citing this amazing inscription have said: “I was told that they found in the maqam a writing: ‘Mecca is God’s holy house…”

I believe this is the answer, because if Ptolemy by saying Makorabba has in mind a temple rather than a city it would make sense in relation to what we have just read, i.e. that Mecca according to the writing on maqam was called a “holy house of God”, and in result this perfectly fits the conception about Ptolemy’s Makkorabba as “The Lord of Mekka”. Some scholars also have proposed the translation “The Temple of the Lord” which again leads to the same point.

Anyway, in conclusion we have at least two strong proofs directly from an ancient source showing that Mecca is a historical location and indeed existed long before Christian era, and as it is testified by ancient versions of Torah. The Christians of course will try to deny their authority as usually.

Essential Things the Haji should Carry during Hajj

If you are anything like me, packing is one of the most daunting things you have to do.  I can have an empty suitcase staring at me and I will stare right back until I have a panic attack and realise I need to fill it with things. When going for Hajj is one of the biggest events of our lives, it definitely adds to the pressure. This is to all you folks out there, praying that Allah makes it easy for you! We packed almost everything we thought we would need, However, it is always better to be safe than sorry since you don’t quite know what to expect.

• Extra ihraam 
• Socks for salah (for women)
• Sunblock and Vaseline
• Face mask – for all the germs and dust and pollution. Everyone falls sick anyway, but you feel a lot better with a barrier between you and the 2 million people in your face!
• Unscented wipes
• Tissues
• Toothbrush
• Of course your small Qur’an, a small book with Masnoon du’as, and a pen and notebook to write down your reflections, thoughts, and inspirations
• A prayer mat, even a thin travel one will do
• Medicine bag – Any regular medication you might take, as well as precautionary meds:  Panadol, cough drops, pain relievers, muscle cream, gauze and band-aids, etc
• A small cross-body handbag for women, a money belt for men
• A bottle of water and a small towel to help with the heat 
• Extra reading material – I took a couple of books to read just to vary things a bit. There is a lot of waiting time when you head to the Haram hours in advance to get a spot inside, or in Mina when there isn’t much to do in the tents besides reflect. With a lot of time in the day and no time-wasters, it is a good idea to make du’a, recite the Qur’an, or read.  You could take your Hajj guide, or anything that inspires you to do good
• Phone charger and adapter

• Shopping bags to carry your slippers around inside the Haram. The chances of you finding your slippers on the shelves with a crowd that size is very very slim.  Also, you might exit from a different door than the one you entered, so it’s always better to have your slippers on you!
• The padded socks you get at Makkah are great for tawaf on the hard floors (for women).

• Disposable underwear – this is so much easier than having to carry around dirty clothes until you can do your laundry
• Soap, laundry line and pegs for when you want to wash clothes
• Sports shoes for walking (for women)
• Slippers for the bathroom – Even though I took both, we actually found these amazing thick-soled slippers that served the purpose and we didn’t actually need our walking shoes.  Our feet were well padded and well above the ground and all its dirt
• Toilet kit –  miswak,  disposable gloves, unscented soap,  shampoo and deodorant, Dettol wipes for the toilet,  a shopping bag to put your dirty clothes in after you shower. A life saving tip is to have all of it in a waterproof drawstring bag if possible, that you can hang on the hook behind the door or around the shower head. There isn’t a lot of space in the bathrooms to lay out your items!
• A towel
• An umbrella, even though you might get one from your group
• Sunglasses 
• We took a lot of snacks but we were well-fed by our group Alhamdulillah!  They might help on long bus ride so take some, but don’t overpack when it comes to food. There is plenty there!

‘Arafah and Muzdalifah is only a day, so there is no need to take a lot. Just pack the essentials
• Book of du’as – from the  sunnah,  as well as your personal ones
• A bag to collect your stones for the stoning
• Prayer mat
• Basic medication
• Socks and snacks
• It’s always good to have a bottle of water on you because the time spent in travelling is long
• Toilet bag
• If you are taken the night before, a blanket is useful as the nights are generally cold (depending on the season)
• We were provided with mats for Muzdalifah from our group, but take a small one just in case

• Clothes and underwear
• Pyjamas or night clothes
• Scented shampoos and soaps,  attar
• If you are headed to Madinah,  you can take a few layers of clothing as it is generally cooler there (depending on the season)

• Always have some cash with you Have important phone numbers written down – your hajj group leader’s, the numbers of your family
• It’s better to scale back on technology and take a phone that is hardy if possible,  and one that you are not worried about losing or it being stolen
• Keep copies of your passport on yourself
• Have important phone numbers written down – your hajj group leader’s, the numbers of your family with you on hajj, and your family back home
• Label all your luggage and write down any distinctive feature of your bags
• Be as organised as possible – have specific places for everything in your luggage and try not to leave stuff lying around. With so many people and their things, especially in Mina, it is easy to lose your stuff in a mess
• It is a good idea to enquire from your group what facilities you would be getting there – an umbrella, a mat for Muzdalifah,  etc – so that you won’t be packing unnecessarily. If there is anything that I have missed, or any useful tip that you discovered when you go on Hajj and want to share, do let us know! (In the comments section) Even with an exhaustive packing list, there are two very important things that we should not forget to pack: 

1)  Sabr, patience – Everyone tells you to have bucket loads of it,  and you will realise why only when you get there

2)  Taqwa, fear of Allah

“…And take provisions,  but indeed, the best provision is fear of Allah. And fear Me, O you of understanding.” [Qur’an, 2:197]

Ihraam From Masjid al-Aqsa

Reasons for wearing the Ihraam for Hajj or Umrah from Masjid al-Aqsa, Palestine:

Our Mother, Hadhrat Umm Salamah (radhiyallahu anha), the wife of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), reported that she heard the beloved Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) say:

“Whoever wears the Ihraam for Umrah or Hajj from Masjidul Aqsa, and then proceeds to Makkah Mukarramah, he will have all hia sins forgiven.”  [Sahih Ibn Hibban, Ahmad]

Hadhrat Umm Salamah (radhiyallahu anha) relates that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “If anyone puts on Ihraam for Hajj or Umrah from Masjidul Aqsa and then proceeds to the Sacred Masjid (Ka’abah), their past and future sins will be forgiven, or they will be entered into Paradise.”  [Abu Dawud]

Special Dua’
Prophet Sulaymaan (alayhissalaam) asked this special dua’ for all those who will visit and offer Salaah at Masjid al-Aqsa:

“O Allah! Forgive that person in such a way that he becomes sinless as the day he was born.” [Ibn Majah]

Special Reward
‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) relates, I asked the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), O Prophet of Allah!, tell us the legal injunction about (visiting) Bayt al-Maqdis:

The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said,

“Go and pray there, if you cannot visit it and pray there, then send some oil to be used in the lamps.” [Bukhari]


By Majlisul Ulama

TO achieve perfection of Salaat it is necessary for one to create the habit of meditating upon death and meditating on the meeting with Allah. It is my opinion that this meditation should be maintained even in the very act of Salaat. The method of attaining this meditation in Salaat is to reflect on the form or mode of the Salaat.

Think of it in this manner that in Salaat I am standing with hands tied; I cannot speak with anyone nor can I look towards anyone; I cannot eat or drink — the reason for my total and complete diversion from the world is because I am standing in the Court of Allah, requesting  petitioning and appealing unto Him.

In the position of Qiyam think that Allah’s bounties and favours upon you are innumerable and offering Shukr (thanks) for these is an obligatory responsibility upon you.Whilst reciting Surah Fatiha think that you are now offering thanks to Allah for His bounties; that you are acknowledging Him to be the Creator and Sustainer; that you are acknowledging your servitude to Him; that you are making dua to remain steadfast on the Path of Servitude to Allah; that you are voicing your disgust and displeasure at the ways of those who have been cursed and who are fit for the Wrath of Allah; and that you are making a pledge to remain ever-steadfast on the perfect Path revealed by Allah for His servants. In fact this is the purpose of reciting a Surah after Surah Fatiha.

When going into Ruku think that you have been created out of the very dust and sand whereupon you are now standing. Think that it is only within the Power of the Almighty Creator to create a being with life, sight and hearing from the dead dust of earth. Think that nothing but the act of worship is befitting a being who has been created out of the dust of this earth, and the qualities of befitting only to the Almighty Creator Who is free of all defects. This is the very reason why time and again Allahu Akbar is uttered in Salaat —signifying thereby:

“O Allah! We have sacrificed our imaginary greatness and dignity at the altar of Your Splendour and Majesty.”

While going into Sujood think that one day you will be deposited into the bowels of this very ground, and at that time, besides Allah, there will be no helper for you. Your name and your signs will be eliminated from this earth.

When in the next Sujood think that you are already dead and that you have now met Allah. Now, besides Allah, there is none with you.

During the sitting of Tashah-hud think that after death there will be another existence wherein only Islam, good deeds and good statements will be of benefit. Think that in that life the dignity and respect of our Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam), all Ambiya, Malaa’ikah and all pious servants of Allah will be made public, and that they will intercede on behalf of the sinners, hence, salaams should be sent to them thus establishing relationship with them.


[Majlisul Ulama]

The time of Qur’baani is a time of windfall for some unscrupulous BOGUS ‘qur’baani’ operators. These scoundrels net large sums of haraam boodle from stupid members of the community who entrust their Qur’baani  obligations to these villains solely on the basis of the expensive, glossy posters and pamphlets in which they proffer deceptive scenarios pertaining to their bogus ‘qur’baani’ rackets.

It is indeed the height of irresponsibility to entrust your Qur’baani obligation to someone merely on the basis of an advert. If you are not personally aware of the vendor nor is there independent confirmation from a responsible entity as to the bona fides of the persons appealing for Qur’baani orders, do not be so stupid as to entrust your money and obligation to the scoundrels.

Most people who entrust their Qur’baani money to strangers and to faceless collectors whose whereabouts are in some murky limbo, do so because of the cheap price quoted by these dishonest bogus characters. There is no transparency in their ‘qur’baani’ projects. They refuse to answer straightforward questions, and they are extremely averse to others joining them. 

They have too much rot to conceal, hence the secrecy underlying their bogus ‘qur’baani’ operations.