The Day of Arafah


Every day in Islam is important. But Allah (swt) has favoured some years, days and months over others. One such day is the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah, the Day of Arafah, on which the central rite of Hajj is carried out. On this day, all the pilgrims gather in one place, regardless of their colour, status and nationality, submitting to the commandment of Allah (swt). The blessings of this day are not limited to those who go for Hajj – everyone can benefit from them.

Two major historical events took place on the Day of Arafah.

In 9 AH, the Prophet (sa) performed his first and only Hajj. When he reached the valley of Arafah, Allah (swt) revealed to him that He has completed his religion. It is reported from Umar (rtam) that a Jewish man said to him: “O Ameer al-Mumineen, there is a verse in your Book, which you recite; if it had come to us, the Jews, we would have taken that day as an Eid (festival).” Umar (rtam) asked: “Which verse?” He replied: “This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (Al-Maidah 5:3) Umar (rtam) said: “We know on which day and in which place that was revealed to the Prophet (sa). It was when he was standing in Arafah on a Friday.” (Bukhari and Muslim) All praise is for our Lord, Who has chosen for us a religion, which is perfect.

The second glorious event took place on the Day of Arafah way before we were even born. Allah (swt) with His immense capability brought the entire humanity to life and spoke to us. It is reported that Ibn Abbas (rtam) said: The Prophet (sa) said: “Allah (swt) took the covenant from the loins of Adam in Na’man, i.e., Arafah. He brought forth from his loins all his offspring and spread them before Him, and then He addressed them: ‘Am I not your Lord?’ They said: ‘Yes! We testify,’ lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection: ‘Verily, we have been unaware of this.’ Or lest you should say: ‘It was only our fathers afortime who took others as partners in worship along with Allah, and we were (merely their) descendants after them; will You then destroy us because of the deeds of men who practised Al-Batil (i.e. polytheism and committing crimes and sins, invoking and worshipping others besides Allah)?’ (Al-Araf 7:172-173).” (Ahmad)

We testified that Allah (swt) is our true Lord, before we came into this world. We have already been programmed to believe in Allah (swt). This is why in times of hardship we call on only one God. We call it Fitrah – pure nature. Everyone is born upon Fitrah, and it reminds us of the oath we took in front of Allah (swt). Allah (swt) has given us Fitrah, in order for us to distinguish truth from falsehood, so that we may be guided. Since our Fitrah can change according to our social environment, Allah (swt) has given us other tools, which can help us adhere to the Straight Path.

These tools given to us by Allah include the Shariah – the Quran and the Sunnah – for enlightening our life and guiding us to Paradise. Thus, the people on the Straight Path get the best of this world and the Hereafter  – they are Arafallah, i.e., they recognize Allah (swt) and the oath they took.

The Day of Arafah is the day to renew our oath and repent to Allah (swt). According to a Hadeeth, Satan feels more belittled, humiliated and angry on the Day of Arafah than he does on any other day. (Malik) The reason for this is that on this day, Allah (swt) forgives all those who repent and renew their oath. The best Dua to recite on this day is:

لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ، لَهُ الْمُلْكُ وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ، وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

“None has the right to be worshipped but Allah (swt) alone, He has no partner, His is the dominion and His is the praise and He is able to do all things.”

It is the day of forgiveness of sins and the day of freedom from Hellfire. Aisha (rtaf) has narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “There is no day, on which Allah (swt) frees more people from the fire, than the Day of Arafah.” (Muslim)

In addition to this, fasting on the Day of Arafah is a Sunnah and expiates sins. When the Messenger of Allah (sa) was asked about fasting on the Day of Arafah, he said: “It expiates the sins of the previous year and that of the following year.” (Muslim) However, fasting on the Day of Arafah is recommended only for non-pilgrims, because it was not the practice of Allah’s Messenger (sa) to fast on the Day of Arafah during Hajj.

On the Day of Arafah, Allah (swt) is close to the believers. According to a Hadeeth, Allah (swt) draws close, and then He happily says to the angels: “What do these people seek?” (Muslim) And Allah (swt) forgives all of them.

It is also the day, which reminds us of the greatest gathering on the Day of Judgement, when the entire humanity shall stand in front of their Creator. In order to succeed on that day, follow your Fitrah and hasten to do good deeds by channelizing your intellect and desires towards the path illuminated by the Shariah.

What’s after Arafah?

On the Day of Arafah, people stand and prostrate before Allah (swt), invoking and supplicating only to Him, as there is no god, who deserves to be worshipped, except Him. They do not want the sun to set, because they want to make the most of these valuable hours. They feel close to Allah (swt), and their hearts fill with peace and contentment.

When the sun sets on this humbling day, the faces of these people glow with happiness and joy, due to the mercy and bounties of Allah (swt). It is stated in the Quran: “Say: In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy – in that let them rejoice; it is better than what they accumulate.” (Yunus 10:58)

They are happy because Allah (swt) responds to their call. They rejoice, because He forgives their sins and takes away sadness from their lives. They feel blessed, because Allah (swt) descends and comes close to the people of Arafah and talks of their magnificence in front of the angels.

After Arafah, the pilgrims head towards Muzdalifah. It is a place between Mina and Arafah.

The word Muzdalifah is derived from Zulfah, which means ‘being near and close’. The people feel very close to Allah (swt), as they are His guests. They are required to stay overnight at Muzdalifah, and even their sleeping is considered to be an act of Ibadah. Such is the reward of total submission to Allah (swt).

Then, the pilgrims pray fajr and set out for Mina before the sun rises.

These are basic rites of Hajj – each one has a meaning for both the pilgrims and the rest of the believers. Whoever magnifies and honours these rites by performing and perfecting them, in turn magnifies Allah (swt).

As mentioned earlier, the Day of Arafah is like the Day of Judgement – a stressful and critical time, when the doer of good will be waiting for the reward, and the doer of evil will be waiting for the punishment. Everyone will want to hear the good news from the angels that they have been purified and will blissfully dwell in Paradise forever, but the ones worthy of receiving this honour will be the Muttaqeen (possessors of Taqwa).

The day after Arafah, which is the day of eid, resembles the happiness and excitement of the people, who will enter paradise. It is the day of eating and drinking, and of joy and happiness. And this very celebration is an act of worship, because it a command from Allah (swt). He will tell the people entering Paradise: “Eat and drink at ease for that, which you have sent on before you in days past.” (Al-Haqqah 69:24)

It is the day, when we offer sacrifice for the sake of Allah (swt), which brings us closer to Him. Allah (swt) does not need our sacrifice, but He accepts it, appreciates it and gives us the best reward.

It is also the day of remembrance of our Lord – we should celebrate it by increasing the Dhikr of Allah (swt).

The purpose of Eid is to express our gratitude to Allah (swt), and to glorify and thank Him for all His blessings. It is a celebration for those, who strove to do the best, because Allah (swt) will reward them with the very best.

Following are some Sunnah practices to be performed on the day of Eid:

  • Say Takbeer whenever possible. The most common form of Takbeer is: “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La Ilaha Illalahu Wallahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar Walil-lahil Hamd.” (“Allah is the Greatest; Allah is the Greatest; there is no one worthy of worship except Allah; Allah is the Greatest and to Allah belongs all Praise.”)
  • Continue to recite the Takbeer three days after eid.
  • Adorn for the occasion (ladies in their homes only).
  • Pray Eid Salah; walk to the Masjid if nearby.
  • Take one route to the Masjid and take a different route back.
  • Offer sacrifice.

Following acts should not be done:

  • Fasting on the day of Eid.
  • Making up the missed prayer of Eid.
  • Offering Eid prayer at home.

All of the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah are very important. Try to engage in acts of worship to the best of your ability and continue to do so even after the ten days are over. This is what Allah (swt) requires from all of us.

Handy Hajj Tips for Ladies

Handy Hajj Tips for Ladies

Compiled by Aliya Khan and Ruhaifa Samir

Congratulations to those, who have made intention to go for Hajj this year. You are embarking on a monumental and life altering journey. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your pilgrimage!

What to do before Hajj

  1. Start an exercise routine. Walking is ideal to get you in shape for the rituals of Hajj.
  2. Read books to learn about Hajj.
  3. Learn the Talbia and favourite supplications.
  4. Don’t just promise to do Duas for other people – better write them down; also make a list of your own Duas as well.
  5. Practise silence.
  6. Reflect. Think about the permanent changes you want to see in your life post-Hajj. Make it part of your Niyyah.
  7. Pray for an easy and Mabroor (accepted) Hajj.
  8. Make cards according to the days of Hajj, listing Duas and rituals to be done that day.

What to take with you

Besides the usual, here are some tips for things that will add convenience to your Hajj, Insha’Allah:

  1. Get Abayas with pockets.
  2. Bring with you scissors, so your Mahram can cut your hair after Hajj.
  3. Carry with you a spray bottle (for Wudu), a small bag that can be used for Sutra, some clean dirt for Tayammum and a Quran with translation.
  4. Arrange a sim for your phone. Keep your phone, some money and contact numbers of your group/organizer in your Abaya pocket at all times.
  5. Know your hotel and room number. Wear the identification tag your Hajj group gives you at all times!
  6. Keep a little notebook for write down the lessons learnt during Hajj.

What to do during Hajj

  1. Don’t keep calling home every day. Concentrate more on your Hajj.
  2. Try your best to pray Tahajjud every day.
  3. Don’t commit sin by trying to do the Mustahab, such as pushing through men to kiss the Black Stone.
  4. Decide on a favourite Dhikr or Dua, so you can concentrate on it, whenever you feel distracted.
  5. Walk patiently and calmly during Tawaf. Don’t get angry, when others push you. It is advisable to expect a bit of chaos; try focusing on your learned Duas.

How to behave during Hajj

  1. Stay calm during Hajj.
  2. Don’t talk much.
  3. Don’t concern yourself with other people’s issues and help them only if they seek your help.
  4. All the Hujjaj are Allah’s (swt) guests. Be afraid of doing anything to upset anyone. In case if anyone annoys you consciously or unconsciously, forgive and forget!
  5. Lower your expectations as in presence of thousands of Hujjaj it is natural to have little troubles.
  6. Don’t lose your temper at the organizers, in case you are unhappy with the arrangements.
  7. Be prepared for hardships and don’t keep running towards comfort.
  8. Keep yourself open to whatever comes your way, good or bad. Embrace it as your contribution in the way of Allah (swt).

What to do after Hajj

  1. Do self evaluation after Hajj; a Mabroor Hajj must change you permanently and make you more obedient to Allah (swt).
  2. Use learning from the Hajj to plan for your remaining life.
  3. After coming back, don’t tell long stories of your Ibadah and Taqwa to others, as it may be counted as act of self-praising (vanity).
  4. After returning or on your flight back, write down what you learnt from the Hajj experience.
  5. Some people come back with stories of dirty bathrooms at Mina and the hardships they faced. Others come back with brighter hearts and enlightened souls. Be one of the latter.

Your Hajj will be quite a journey. You will learn from it only if you are ready and willing to ‘receive’. Pray to Allah (swt) to make this Hajj a means of bringing you closer to Him. May Allah (swt) accept your Hajj. Ameen.

Hajj: Exemptions and Misconceptions

Vol 6 - Issue 3 Hajj

“I am going for Hajj this year!” exclaims a family friend at a wedding. As she is engulfed in squeals of delight, warm prayers and congratulatory hugs from other Muslim sisters, she starts off providing details of her preparations for the short-but-sweet winter Hajj. As the days of Hajj in Dhul Hijjah fall in the winter months, more people are opting to perform Hajj while the weather is cool. Hajj in Islam is an obligation that comes with pre-conditions and pre-requisites. Therefore, it is important for Muslims to know all its aspects, in order to ensure that it will be accepted by Allah (swt), once they do perform it.
The first question that arises for a Muslim is: “Is Hajj obligatory upon me?” The answer to that depends upon the following conditions: A Muslim should be over puberty and physically able to make the journey.A Muslim should be able to afford the journey financially. A Muslim woman should be accompanied by a Mahram man (her husband or a male relative, whom she cannot marry). There are several other factors, depending upon the person’s personal circumstances, which determine whether or not they are obliged to go for Hajj. Listed below are the reasons behind exempting some Muslims from Hajj: 

The elderly, who is too weak 

Muslims, who are too old or weak to be able to perform Hajj, i.e., they cannot endure the physical hardships of the journey, are exempted from performing it. However, they may delegate another Muslim, who has already fulfilled their own obligation of Hajj, to perform it on their behalf. This is known as Hajj Badal. Narrated by Ibn Abbas (rta) from the Prophet (sa), who heard a man saying: “Here I am (O Allah), on behalf of Shubrumah.” He said: “Have you done Hajj for yourself?” He said: “No.” He said: “Do Hajj for yourself first; then, on behalf of Shubrumah.” (Abu Dawood)

The sick or physically incapacitated Muslim 

Someone could have broken a leg, undergone recent surgery, or be sick, with risk of his sickness worsening by travelling. If the doctor advises against travelling, Hajj is not obligatory upon such a Muslim, until his or her agility is restored. Shaikh Muhammad Salih Al-Munajjid states: “One of the conditions of Hajj being obligatory is that a person should be free of physical illness and disability that would prevent him from performing Hajj. If a person is suffering from a chronic illness, permanent disability, paralysis (that makes him unable to walk) or is very old and unable to move about, then there is no obligation to perform Hajj.”

The one, who doesn’t possess sufficient wealth/money to afford the journey 

The wealth needed for Hajj is of three types: (1) the fare needed to travel to Saudi Arabia, (2) the money needed for food, lodging, transport and other expenses during the entire Hajj journey and (3) the money needed by the pilgrim’s dependents during his absence. If a Muslim cannot provide for all these expenses, Hajj is not obligatory upon him.
Some Muslim parents assume that Hajj is not obligatory upon them, if they have one or more unmarried daughters, until all of them are married, i.e., they are no longer their financial responsibility. There is no basis for this belief in Islamic Shariah. Having to save for extravagant wedding-party expenses and such un-Islamic customs as dowry cannot be used as flimsy excuses for delaying Hajj. Many Muslims assume that if they cannot afford Hajj at all, they can take money from close relatives, borrow it from others, or win it in unlawful money-making schemes to perform it. For performing Hajj, a Muslim must not resort to asking others for money, taking a bank loan or using money won in a lottery or obtained as Riba. Rather, he should wait until Allah (swt) makes him self-sufficient in this regard, by conscientiously trying to save enough money over time. Hajj that is performed with unlawful wealth is not accepted. 

The one, who is in debt 

If a Muslim is in debt, he doesn’t have to perform Hajj until his debt has been paid off.
“If a person is in debt and can neither perform Hajj nor pay off the debt, then he should start by paying off the debt, and Hajj is not obligatory for him.” ( Most Western Muslims assume that since they have acquired houses on mortgage, they are exempt from Hajj for the loan payback period. Shaikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, advises these Muslims:
“If your monthly mortgage payments are due and outstanding, then you are not allowed to perform Hajj, until they have been paid. If they are not outstanding, and you have made arrangements for payments to be made when they become due – should they become due during your absence – then you are eligible to go for Hajj. In other words, you don’t have to wait for your house to be fully paid to be eligible to perform Hajj. Having said this, however, I must add a reminder: one must strive earnestly and sincerely to get out of mortgage as quickly as possible. No Muslim, who is serious about his religion, should ever look at interest lightly.”

The Muslim woman, whose Mahrams refuse to accompany her, despite her insistence 

If a Muslim woman has enough money to perform Hajj, but none of her Mahram relatives agrees to accompany her, then Hajj is not obligatory upon her. Having a Mahram companion for Hajj is an obligatory condition for a Muslim woman. The Saudi Government doesn’t allow a woman to perform Hajj unless she states someone as a Mahram for the trip, i.e., provides a name of a person who is travelling with her, along with the type of Mahram relationship she has with him (i.e. brother, father, husband, son etc.). In that case, it becomes wrong to forge a stranger’s identity as a Mahram to perform Hajj, because it’s a lie.

As for the Islamic ruling, the wives of the Prophet (sa) did Hajj together after his demise without a Mahram; someone was appointed as a Mahram for them. So, Islamically, it’ll be alright to go without a Mahram, in a ladies-only group, as long as proper arrangements for a woman’s safety have been made.

However, it is better to go with a Mahram, since the wives of the Prophet were mothers of the Muslims and hence everyone thought of them as such. Women today might be more vulnerable to fraud etc. on the way if they do not have a Mahram with them. Finally, Muslims should strive to seek authentic knowledge about Hajj and hasten to perform it out of sincere devotion to Allah (swt), if they are among the ones on whom it has become obligatory. The Prophet (sa) said (on authority of Ibn Abbas (rta)): “He, who intends to perform Hajj, should hasten to do so.” (Abu Dawood)


Vol 6 - Issue 1 Labaik Allahuma Labaik“Here I am, O Allah! Here I am!” echoed in my heart, my mind and soul all in unison. For the first time in my life I experienced unadulterated rapture. I was off on the journey every Muslim dreams of making – to do all the things that billions of Muslims have performed solely for the sake of Allah (swt).

8th Dhul-Hijjah, 1429

I am at Mina. The Hajj experience cannot be described in words, and it must be experienced to be fully understood. For the first time in my life, I am tongue tied. There is no other place on earth, where one willingly shares a bed with 250 people and a bathroom with 700 strangers in the space that was my bedroom back home! The rigors of these three days will almost certainly destroy the body; however, strangely enough, the more tired and uncomfortable one gets, the more one’s soul is purified and strengthened.

I have left three kids behind solely to gain Allah’s (swt) pleasure. I have left my entire palette of experiences to be present under the open sky, where the Prophet (sa) once stood, once prayed, once slept and where his tears must have once fallen. Now, my tears fall here, repenting to Allah (swt) and asking for His mercy.

9th Dhul-Hijjah, 1429

The day of Arafat. The emotions are high and the time is so very short. How can I possibly repent, beg for mercy, ask for all that I want for myself, my family, friends, neighbours, people all over the world, weep for the sins I have committed, cry over the mistakes I have made, plead forgiveness for the promises I didn’t keep, supplicate and beseech Allah (swt) to grant me all that I desire?

I now know that ‘beautiful’ is a simple word, and that is just what Hajj is – simply beautiful and purifying. Not complicated, not intricate, just simple dos and don’ts and mostly tolerance and patience – valuable tools for life.

This was the valley, where the Prophet (sa) once cried to Allah (swt) for forgiveness, where he prayed for us, and where his heart belonged. I prayed my heart out. It is exhausting but only mentally. I walked from Arafat to Muzdalifah to spend the night under the open sky. This is a journey of sacrifices and fulfillment, of friendships where one would not expect, and of great pleasure in simple acts.

10th Dhul-Hijjah, 1429

What a splendid day! The elation of having put my mind and body through the severity, which cannot be imagined, voluntarily. Never in my life did I think that such physical fatigue and control over one’s desires and sacrifice would bring happiness. The tiredness of walking from Arafat to Muzdalifah, not sleeping but just absorbing Muzdalifah, walking to Mina, stoning the Satan, back to Makkah for the Tawaf e Ziarat and Sae’e and finally back to Mina – all in a day and a half has brought me peace of mind. What is this spirit that Allah (swt) has breathed into His creation? What is it that moves me to such heights of passion that I exert myself physically and mentally thus with only one purpose – to gain Allah’s (swt) pleasure! EID MUBARAK!

11th Dhul-Hijjah, 1429

Rami (stoning the devil) is such a simple concept, just like Islam, such a simple way of life. Why didn’t I realize this before? Islam asks so little and gives so much, only if we let go of all the trappings that have become our necessities. In Mina, I realized I didn’t need such a big house, only one sufficient enough to accommodate my family with love and tolerance. We don’t need two cars, just the two legs Allah (swt) has given us. I don’t need three kinds of food at every meal, just enough to feed my family.

Stoned the devil, cast him out but yet so many layers that I have to shed, before I reach the level of true submission. I have never slept so well or as soundly, as I did today.

This was my Hajj experience. Actually, this does not do justice to the overwhelming emotions, the unstoppable tears and the complete and utter calm that descends over you after completing Hajj. It is truly the ‘Journey of a Lifetime’! May Allah (swt) grant every Muslim the means and opportunity to experience it. Ameen.

“He of the High Desire”

The road shall go with me...

The road shall go with me…

By Maryam Sakeenah

“I will go where no road goes, and the road shall go with me.”

When I first came across this verse by Joscelyn Ortt, it occurred to me how remarkably it fitted in with the story of Ibrahim’s (as) struggle to surrender. Courageously, honest to the innate truth within the self, he sought out the truest ‘God’ – beginning with the negation of false pagan godhood, he ultimately found Allah (swt). It is fascinating to read the account of his search for the truth:

“When he (Ibrahim) saw the sun rising up, he said: ‘This is my lord. This is greater.’ But when it set, he said: ‘…Verily, I have turned my face towards Him Who has created the heavens and the earth Hanifa, and I am not of Al-Mushrikun…’ And that (faith) was Our Proof which We gave Ibrahim against his people. We raise whom We will in degrees. Certainly, Your Lord is All-Wise, All-Knowing.” (Al-Anam 6:78-83)

Ibrahim (as) brings together in his person honesty and courage to proclaim it loud and clear. He attained the truth through his lone, relentless struggle and rejected once and for all whatever impeded the way to his Lord. He fearlessly showed that truth to the world with all his passion. The Quran quotes Ibrahim (as), while addressing those who rejected the truth:

“Who has created me, and it is He Who guides me; and it is He Who feeds me and gives me to drink. And when I am ill, it is He Who cures me; and Who will cause me to die, and then will bring me to life (again); and Who, I hope will forgive my faults on the Day of Recompense.” (Ash-Shuara 26:78-82)

Taking the road less travelled demands strength, persistence and honesty. Only the Hanif (uni-focal) can triumphantly go through the trials it involves and ascend to a higher realm of the contented self (Nafs-e-Mutmainna). Ibrahim’s u struggle was a struggle to win Islam (peace through submission). This struggle began with the negation of false gods (La Ilaha) and led the soul on to a recognition and acceptance of the only truth that brought with it the peace of Ill Allah.

“When his Lord said to him: ‘Submit (i.e. be a Muslim!)’ He said: “I have submitted myself (as a Muslim) to the Lord of ‘Alamin (mankind, Jinns and all that exists).” (Al-Baqarah 2:131)

Having internalized this faith and lived it out with his person, Ibrahim (as) becomes the embodiment of Tauhid.

“Verily, Ibrahim was an Ummah’ (a leader having all the good righteous qualities) or a nation, obedient to Allah, Hanifa (i.e. to worship none but Allah), and he was not among those who were Al-Mushrikun (polytheists, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah, and those who joined partners with Allah). (He was) thankful for His (Allah’s) Graces. He (Allah) chose him (as an intimate friend) and guided him to the Straight Path (Islamic Monotheism, neither Judaism nor Christianity).” (An-Nahl 16:120-121)

For when the sweetness of Iman is tasted, nothing else satisfies, nothing else fulfills. Ibrahim (as) was possessed by this single idea, which gave meaning to his life and which enlightened, elevated, enriched and purified. Ibrahim’s u faith in and love for Allah (swt) rings through his beautiful prayers:

“My Lord! Bestow Hukman (religious knowledge, right judgement of the affairs and Prophethood) on me and join me with the righteous; and grant me an honourable mention in the later generations; and make me one of the inheritors of the Paradise of Delight.” (Ash-Shuara 26:83-85)

The achievement of the contented self brings out the soul in all the richness, beauty and grandeur that human nature is capable of, till the exclusive title Ahsan-i-Taqweem (the best of all creation) is earned and Allah (swt) Himself bears testimony of it:

“Salamun (peace) be upon Ibrahim (Abraham)! Thus indeed do We reward the Muhsinun (good-doers). Verily, he was one of Our believing slaves.” (As-Saffaat 37:109-111)

The faith of the contented self expresses itself in ways larger than life, much greater than what is humanly understandable. The patience of Ibrahim (as) in the trials he went through and his exemplary sacrifices were such an expression of the faith of the contented self, the intensity of which transcends the limitations of historical time. Ibrahim’s u faith broke free from the tethers that bind man to the pettiness of the minimal self (Nafs-e-Ammara) – from base desires and egoistic impulses.

Allah (swt) reciprocates, blesses and preserves the glorious deeds of His righteous slaves. Hence, Ibrahim (as), having triumphed over all of life’s trials, received the boundless love of His Lord. The mention of Ibrahim (as) in the Quran resonates with love of the Speaker, the Lord of Ibrahim (as).

“And who can be better in religion than one who submits his face (himself) to Allah (i.e. follows Allah’s Religion of Islamic Monotheism); and he is a Muhsin (a good-doer). And follows the religion of Ibrahim (Abraham) Hanifa (Islamic Monotheism – to worship none but Allah Alone). And Allah did take Ibrahim (Abraham) as a Khalil (an intimate friend).” (An-Nisa 4:125)

“Verily, Ibrahim (Abraham) was, without doubt, forbearing, used to invoke Allah with humility and was repentant (to Allah all the time, again and again).” (Hud 11:75)

Ibrahim (as) was blessed with leadership, honour and respect. He is revered as the patriarch of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim people, from whom all monotheistic faiths spring forth. And yet, the position of Ibrahim (as) in Islam is unique. The pristine Tauheed of Islam, which accepts no resemblance of Shirk in any manifestation, is the continuation of the mission of Ibrahim (as). Allah (swt) insists in the Quran to follow the religion of Ibrahim, the pure monotheistic tradition:

“… it is the religion of your father Ibrahim (Abraham) (Islamic Monotheism).” (Al-Hajj 22:78)

Even before Islam, the Arabs were conscious and proud of their Abrahamic ancestry. Despite the corruption of polytheism and many rampant social ills, the concept of the one God of Ibrahim (as) was part of Arab tradition in one form or another. Islam purified, reinstated and revived that Abrahamic faith with its simple declaration of La ilaha il Allah (no god but Allah) and, hence, has a legitimate claim of being a consummation of the Abrahamic mission.

It will not be an overstatement to say that the ritual of Hajj is in many ways a commemoration of the extraordinary life and struggle of Ibrahim (as) and his family. It celebrates the edifying legacy of Ibrahim (as), who had prayed:

“Our Lord! Make us submissive unto You and of our offspring a nation submissive unto You … send amongst them a Messenger of their own (and indeed Allah answered their invocation by sending Muhammad e, who shall recite unto them Your verses and instruct them in the Book (this Quran) and Al-Hikmah (full knowledge of the Islamic laws and jurisprudence or wisdom of Prophethood, etc.) and sanctify them.” (Al-Baqarah 2:128-129)

The rituals of Hajj immortalize Ibrahim’s u faith and privilege the believers to take of the immensity of that boundless treasure. The Kabah itself speaks of Ibrahim’s u faith and his belief in the oneness of God.

M. Asad writes: “Never had I felt so strongly as now, before the Kabah, that the hand of the builder (Ibrahim) had come so close to his religious conception. In the utter simplicity of a cube, in the complete renunciation of all beauty of line and form, spoke this thought: ‘Whatever beauty man may be able to create with his hands, it will be only conceit to deem it worthy of God; therefore, the simplest that man can conceive is the greatest that he can do to express the glory of God.’… Here, in the Kabah, even the size spoke of human renunciation and self-surrender; the proud modesty of this structure had no compare in the world.”

Each time the pilgrim performs a ritual, he experiences again for a blessed moment that edifying legacy and revives within him again – in a minuscule proportion – that spirit. When he prays at the Maqam-e-Ibrahim, he as a monotheist reaffirms his association with Ibrahim (as), the Haneef, and realizes how the passionate faith of “those of the high desire” is immortalized by the Immortal, how the footsteps in the sands of time remain, leading, guiding, enlightening and blessing – always showing the way, the Sirat-al-Mustaqeem; going where no road goes, taking the road with them.

Lessons from the Life of Hajar (as)


Allah (swt) chose Hajar or Hajirah (her name comes as Hagar in the Bible) – wife of Ibrahim (as) and mother of Ismail (as) – to be remembered for all times to come. Her “Sunnah” is an integral part of an obligatory pillar of Islam – the Hajj. Why? Because, she was who she was: wife of Ibrahim (as) and mum of Ismail (as)?

No. She was chosen because of her faith and her complete trust in Allah (swt).

The top five lessons we can learn from this incredible lady’s example are:

  1. Tawakkul in Allah (swt) – complete trust in Allah (swt)

Tawakkul doesn’t come better than this.

Forget what trials you may have passed through (or are going through right now) and think of being abandoned by your husband, father of your baby, while you’re still breastfeeding. He leaves you with your child in the scorching heat of an uninhabited part of the desert, with you looking on while he walks away silently.

Part of Hajar probably wanted to run after him, grab onto him and beg him not to leave them there. But when he nods that this is from Allah (swt) what does she say? “If Allah has asked you to leave us here, then He will not abandon us.”

A majority of us acknowledge at an intellectual level that, yes, God is there. But do we know that we can trust Him? Do we realize that He will catch us when we fall?

Allah (swt) says: “Whoever puts his trust in Allah; He will be enough for him.” (At-Talaq 65:3)

Hajar (as) has given us the explanation of this verse.

  1. Deep faith in Allah (swt)

This kind of trust can only rise from a deep-rooted faith in Allah (swt). We need to examine our Aqeedah (faith) and ask ourselves: Who is it that we think we believe in? What is our concept of Allah (swt)? Do we believe in a ‘Creator God’ only, Who doesn’t have much to do with our day-to-day living?

Faith in Allah (swt) means believing firmly in His existence, His Lordship and Divinity, and in His names and attributes. We must not take our Aqeedah lightly, as it is the foundation of all our actions. We must believe in Allah (swt) the way He wants us to believe and the way Rasoolullah (sa) believed, without following self-created whimsical ideas. Deviation in faith is the root of such serious problems as Kufr, Shirk (attributing partners to Allah) and Nifaq (hypocrisy).

We must also remember that faith is not merely a lip service: I say ‘La ilaha Illa Allah’, and that is it? Faith not confirmed by actions is hollow – it is like a car with no fuel, which won’t get you anywhere!

  1. Trust Allah (swt) but tie your camel

Did Hajar just sit and cry and pray to Allah (swt) for miraculous sustenance? No, she didn’t. Rather, she ran back and forth with whatever energy was left in her body, still continuing to breastfeed her baby intermittently, searching for civilization with hope and belief in Allah (swt) and His mercy.

This is very important to understand because we often think that reliance on Allah (swt) means doing nothing. Sahl ibn Abdullah Al-Tustari has said: “Tawakkul upon Allah (swt) was the state of the Prophet (sa) – how he was – and taking the means was his Sunnah – was his way in life.”

Reliance upon Allah (swt) is how you have to be, and taking the means is what you have to do.

One day, Rasoolullah (sa) noticed a Bedouin leaving his camel without tying it. He asked the Bedouin: “Why don’t you tie down your camel?” The Bedouin answered: “I put my trust in Allah.” The Prophet (sa) then said: “Tie your camel first, then put your trust in Allah.” (At-Tirmidhi)

  1. Patience during times of trials

We see Hajar being patient not only about Allah’s (swt) decree of being left with a suckling baby in a desolate wilderness – we see her patience also towards her husband. He does not give her any explanation; he does not utter even a single word – but she is not losing her cool or going ballistic. Subhan’Allah, amazing patience!

We don’t know if Ibrahim (as) returned to Hajar to continue spousal relations with her; however, he did later return to visit their son and to complete his duty to Allah (swt) as a prophet and a messenger.

Patience is the key to Tawakkul. According to scholars, patience is a core virtue of a believer. We need to understand what it really means. A simple definition given by scholars is: to hold ourselves firm in what we are supposed to do and hold ourselves firm in staying away from what we are supposed to leave.

Patience has many aspects to it and is sometimes given different names, depending on what it relates to: for example, if related to trials, it is referred to as Sabr; if related to steadfastness in danger, it is called courage; if related to remaining resolute on proper conduct when others provoke you, it is called Hilm (forbearance); if related to acting in a good manner when you could be firm or hard with someone, it is called clemency.

We have to bear each trial with patience, and the more tests we pass, the greater patience we would need for the upcoming tests. No difficulty will last forever, and no two tests will be the same.

  5. There is Khayr (good) in every trial for a believer

Rasoolullah (sa) has said: “How amazing is the affair of the believer. There is good for him in everything, and that is for no one but the believer. If good times come his way, he expresses gratitude to Allah, and that is good for him, and if hardship comes his way, he endures it patiently, and that is better for him.” (Muslim)

Let’s reflect upon the moment when Hajar was running between the two hills.

Her heart must have been broken; she must have been crying due to the pain of seeing her son dying in front of her eyes. She was a believing and a righteous woman, and Allah (swt) was testing her; He was hiding from her something of the future. Imagine Hajar is resurrected and gets the chance to see what Muslims from all over the world are doing today at the time of Hajj.

Rasoolullah (sa), while talking of Hajar going up and down Safa and Marwa, said: “And that is why we go between Safa and Marwa.” So we are following the footsteps of Hajar.

If Hajar knew that a time will come, when people would come in millions from all corners of the world to follow her footsteps, she would have gone through this, between Safa and Marwa, with a big smile on her face. This is a gift from Allah (swt) for Hajar in this world. We cannot even imagine what He has saved for her in the Hereafter!

This is a lesson for us, too. As believers, when we go through some trials and tribulations, let’s remember that Hajar went through the same. Allah (swt) provided her with something better; something Allah (swt) was hiding from her. Let’s have patience and be successful in such trials and tribulations.

When you feel deserted and alone with no one to talk to, there is Allah (swt) and there is the story of Hajar to remember for taking you through those bleak moments. Hajar – the woman of complete faith in Allah (swt) and His mercy. Hajar – a great reminder.

Allah (swt) says: “And He provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine. And if any one puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish his purpose: verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion.” (At-Talaq 65:3)

Shop for Hajj!


By Sabina Rizwan Khan – Freelance writer and certified Youth Trainer

“Umm e Tooba”

“Umm e Tooba” lives up to its tagline “Beauty of Modesty”. This fantastic shop is situated in Kurta Gali, Tariq Road. It is an optimum mixture of huge variety and fine quality. You can easily get all sorts of Abayas and Hajj products. Their price range is very reasonable. All products are of top quality. A huge variety of Abayas, scarves, Hijabs and Chaddars are available, from plain to coloured, simple to hand embroidered. Hajj products include Ihrams, belts, scarves, air pillows, and a two-function bag to carry prayer mat and slipper bag. Facility of alteration is offered and all products are available the year around.

Address: C-955, Zaidi Studio, Near Jheel Park, Tariq Road, Karachi.

Telephone: 34301023 / Cell: 0322-2223571

“Hijab ul Hareem”

Providing top notch quality is what “Hijab ul Hareem” believes in. Located at main Tariq Road, this shop offers all types of Abayas and Hajj products. A wide range is available in Hijabs, Abayas and scarves with discounts. Hajj variety includes Ihrams, belts, prayer mats, scarves, caps, travelling bags, etc. Prices are pocket friendly and alterations are available. However, the best news is that “Hijab ul Hareem” has five branches all over Karachi, so you can visit the nearest one any time. All products are accessible all around the year.

Products and price range:

Ihram for male: Rs. 1650/- (towel material)

Ihram for male: Rs. 1000/- (cotton material)

Belt: Rs. 200/- (parachute material)

Belt: Rs. 450/- (leather)

Ihram for female (cotton): scarf with head cap: Rs. 325/- to Rs.800/- (sizes from extra small to extra large)

Ihram for female (jersey): scarf with cap: Rs. 375/- to Rs. 775/- (sizes from extra small to extra large)

Plain Abaya (black/coloured): Rs. 3000/-



“Hussein Itar House”

“Hussein Itar House” serves with variety and quality. Placed in central Gulshan-e-Iqbal, it offers all Hajj products at easy prices. These items include Ihrams, belts, caps, etc. Though only plain Abayas are available for ladies, but one can get scarves, Hijabs, gloves and Chaddars very easily. Along with this, as their name suggests, you can get wide range of alcohol-free perfumes and Itars. All items are available all year. Bulk order should be ordered with delivery time period of at least 1 week.

Address: Shop no. 5, Royal Terrace, SB-4, Block no. 2. Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Karachi.

Telephone: 34813662 / Cell: 0321-3932689

“Basic Hijab Shop”

“Basic Hijab Shop” depicts elegance and quality. Conveniently located at main Tariq Road, it presents huge variety in Hajj and Abayas. Products of high quality are offered at affordable rates. Hajj products include Ihrams, belts, scarves, travel bags, prayer mats, etc. Abayas range is good, with excellent material along with scarves, Hijabs, shawls, gloves, pins, etc. Other items exclusive here are Itars, beautiful Tasbeehs and travel soaps. Products are available the year round.

Address: Lavish Mall, Near Rabi Centre, Tariq Road, Karachi.

Telephone: 3858886


Why Zabeeha? Is There a Choice?


By Fahmida Abdul Sattar (IR Analyst) and Tasneem Vali (Architect, Academic Coordinator and Freelance Writer)

“Is this burger Halal?”

“Of course, it is beef!”

“No, I mean to say is it Zabeeha?”

“What is that? Allah (swt) has allowed us to eat beef, right?”

“Alhumdulillah, we are allowed to eat and drink everything, other than those that fall into the category mentioned in Surah Al-Ma’idah, verse 3.”

“Oh! And what is that, can you explain?”

Forbidden to You (for food) are: Al-Maytatah (the dead animals – cattle-beast not slaughtered), blood, the flesh of swine, and the meat of that which has been slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah, or has been slaughtered for idols, etc., or on which Allah’s Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering…” (Al-Ma’idah 5:3)

The concept that chicken, beef, mutton and all types of meat ‘allowed’ in Islam are permissible (Halal) is erroneous. There is a simple clause, in the verse quoted above, about how that animal MUST be slaughtered.

The next logical question is: why this way and is it harmful to the animal? Most non-Muslims think this is a barbaric way of killing an animal in order to consume it. However, modern science and common sense proves the rationality of this approach. It is also harmless for the animal, which is treated with respect as per the Prophet’s (sa) Hadeeth: “Verily, Allah, has prescribed proficiency in all things. Thus, if you kill, kill well; and if you slaughter, slaughter well. Let each one of you sharpen his blade and let him spare suffering to the animal he slaughters.” (Muslim)

Science also proves that a swift incision at the throat causes severance of blood and oxygen supply to the brain. Hence, the animal immediately loses consciousness and sensation. Therefore, Zabeeha is the most painless method of slaughtering an animal, as it feels no pain after its jugular vein is cut swiftly. Moreover, the Islamic method promotes that the animal should be well-fed and relaxed prior to slaughtering. Amazingly, the condition that another animal shall not witness the slaughter is also mentioned.

In most of the slaughterhouses today, captive bolt stunning method is widely used, which is considered to be the most painful method. It causes no loss of consciousness and the animal feels a great deal of pain while being slaughtered. The animal loses consciousness due to extreme pain!

The second reason Zabeeha is the preferred humane method is that it causes swift draining of bacteria-hormone-carrying blood away from the body. The heart pumps longer, which is the sign of healthy and hygienic meat, whereas in captive bolt stunning, blood does not flow out rapidly – it settles in some body parts, as the heart’s pumping is affected after the spinal cord is severed. It must be kept in mind that, while slaughtering the animal according to Zabeeha rules, the cut should not be so deep that it severs the spinal cord or head.

Ultimately, for hygienic and healthy meat, Western countries are resorting to ritual slaughtering in the way of Islam. However, they do not pronounce Allah’s (swt) name and so are deprived of the blessings that are brought by one’s invocation to Allah.

A Pilgrim’s Letter

By Dr. Farhana Azim

Assalamu Alaikum,

I am back from Hajj by the grace of my Rabb and with the commission of your Duas. All the relatives, friends and colleagues, whom I am addressing in this letter, were in my heart and in my Duas at Arafat and the Masjid-e-Haram. It was the least I could do for them, but I have faith that those Duas Allah – Rabus Samawat ul Ard – will grant in the most, Insha’Allah!

This has been a journey of a lifetime, of immense attainment, learning and enrichment. It has been one journey that took me so many years to embark on… for lack of ultimate preparedness and adjournment of that call from Allah (swt).

Hajj is a ritual and a pillar of faith, which completes the whorl for the wreath that adorns a life of purity supposedly destined for Heaven. This pillar of faith guided me to reinforce my life-structure more dogmatically, since the burden of a lifetime’s transgressions weighed on me heavily. It meant asking Allah (swt) to remodel me to the way of life, as prescribed in the Quran and the Sunnah, and to bring change in my perspective in aspiring for Mominhood from Muslimhood.

In the crowd of 3.5 millions, I may have bumped into a CEO, a leader, an academic or a beggar; there’s really no way to tell the difference. Rank and pomp are divorced of status. Ego is driven out of platform. In this condition, the Hajj does its work. More importantly, in this global commune of people, I saw people from all over the world come here for the love of their Creator. I witnessed how they dealt with each other in untoward situations and used Sabr and Shukr as weapons to combat the lurking Shaitan.

What I endured served to remind me constantly that Hajj is Jihad! Blessed is the Hajj, whose hardships serve to please Allah (swt). I am thankful to Allah (swt) that the forty days I spent there were almost a Jihad – situations varying from the famine of Ethiopia to the afflictions of refugees in distraught, on foot without shelter, men and women with no proper amenities or logistics. In my deal with Allah (swt), I did not choose the ordeals; but He gave them to me – He asked a higher price for my repentance… nothing was for granted! Human ‘soul wash’ demands the highest value, perhaps even more for a sinner like me.

After my adoration for Him fetched my ultimate strength and devotion, I got the courage to ask Him for a ‘backpack’ in the end! He gave me the greatest feeling of satisfaction and Shukr I could ever receive in my life, Alhumdulillah!

Moreover, Hajj has awarded me with a longing to repent more and to submit more! In many ways I choose to bring a deeper desire for His compassion – in my soul, my heart and my senses for continuing this valuation in the life that I am left with now. I know I haven’t left His Place entirely – my heart and soul will always be there with Him in that House!

Many of us come from Hajj happily thinking that repentance is granted, it’s all over now, and we can go back to business as usual. However, for our Hajj to be Mabroor, it is essential that from now on all our activities conform to Iman at all times.

I am thankful to Allah (swt) that I was honoured with this Ziarat. Being a Hajji has put a tremendous responsibility on me to safeguard the enrichment and wealth I have brought with me, to keep my cleansed soul unspoilt and unblemished by worldly indulgences.

Allah (swt), help me!