Reflections from the Hajj

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By Sheikh Omar Suleiman and Abdul Nasir Jangda

Shiakh Omar Suleiman:  Subhan’Allah, Every year Hajj gets easier. We are not living in the days anymore, where you would be walking in hot sun, and your feet are going to be burning

We are living in the days of five star hotels very next to the Haram, V.I.P air conditioned tents, trains- the air train which takes you from Muzdalifa, Arafah, Mina.

There is abundance of food, we had catering of food from Ash-Shuhada, and we had over twenty items in Mina, three times a day. The food was sickening, and there were two people, who were fighting and arguing with organizers that food is not labeled, so we are not getting what we are eating. Essentially, we have gotten used to of spoiled life style, which stops us from benefitting from Hajj. So, I reflected on story of Ka’ab bin Malik (ra) in a long Hadeeth, which talks about his redemption. Subhan’Allah, people do not understand that Ka’ab bin Malik (ra) was actually from the Rich- The Aghniyah of Madinah- he was from the richest of Madinah; socially very elite, he was a rich poet; some of the scholars said that he was amongst the  five sponsors of Prophet (sa) when he came to Madinah. When Ka’ab bin Malik (ra) had that chance to be forgiven, he heard the news from the people coming to him- he took off and gave his throbe away to the one who gave the good news as he was very happy. One thing to realize is that he did not have another throbe, so he had to borrow another throbe. When he went to Prophet (sa), he was told him:

‘This is the best day Ka’ab since your mother gave birth to you. -not your wedding day, not the day you got rich, it’s the day that Allah (swt) forgave you. The day Allah (swt) forgave your sins, the day you had a chance of redemption!

Even then, Ka’ab bin Malik (ra) wanted to give away everything else he had left; then Prophet (sa) said: ‘Keep some of the money with you,” he said: “Fine, I will keep some.” and he gave everything else away. He had realized that Allah (swt) had given him the chance to be forgiven.

For a few days, a little bit of struggle, a late bus here and there, a little bit of walking here and there, a little bit of heat here and there, waiting in line for bathroom. Some people are just happy to be there because there is a chance of redemption-the chance to be forgiven. And, essentially when you go there with that mentality- don’t allow yourself to complain, don’t allow yourself to jeopardize your chance of redemption, because you might not ever make it there again, and that might be your one chance, one shot to be there at the House of Allah (swt).

Of course, the doors of forgiveness are always open, but this is Hajj; you really don’t want to spoil your Hajj over late bus; over a point you are trying to improve to a guy who pushed you here and there; or a guard that you don’t like his attitude.

Shiakh Omar Suleiman: You truly understood the value of redemption, that Allah (swt) is going to forgive me  for eighty/ninety years of sins in three days, Allah (swt) is going to let go of all that and not hold me accountable for any of that. So, just remember when you go there, Insha’Allah- just think: ‘This is my chance of redemption, I am not going to screw it up, no money matters to me anymore; if Hajj agencies screwed me over, I will talk to them after Hajj, I am not going to complain about it right now. I will talk to them after Hajj.

If I got to sleep in the street, Alhumdulillah, I am there; I am in Hajj, that’s all that matters.

Shaikh Abdul Nasir Jangda: It’s really is an amazing opportunity, amazing chance. One of my observations is that, vast majority of younger people over there, of ages twenty’s and thirty’s were mostly from western countries. I met a group of people from China, every single person from the group was above of the age of sixty, it has become a lot easier for people of all ages, but Hajj is Hajj. It’s a Mercy.

Shiakh Omar Suleiman: No matter how much we pay, your package;  V.I.P/deluxe, you still going to have difficulty.

Shaikh Abdul Nasir Jangda: That is the opportunity that we will be able to make some sacrifice to cleanse ourselves, to purify ourselves. When I saw those people, I was thinking that, why would somebody come for a Hajj when he is sixty, and when it is difficult for them; they are old, they can barely walk; somebody is on the wheelchair. I realized that, it took them this long enough to save money to be able to do it. It made me wow for a young person in America in his thirty might have done Hajj for four, five times; and this person waited for sixty years to be able to do Hajj. What an amazing blessing it is, that is why they see opportunity, and they love it, they do not complain.

Mostly, people have the general idea of the Fiqh of Hajj; they read a book, take some notes, they are usually with Shaikh in groups. I noticed that there is a serious lack of common sense there, because Hujjaj do not need a lot more Fiqh than a lot more common sense.

While sharing Hajj reflections to my students, I told that one cannot fake Hajj- if you are patient then you are going to become patient. If you have an issue of anger then you are going to lose it at Hajj. You get exposed!

When we enter Haram physically exposed to the elements, we also become spiritually exposed as well, and we need a lot more common sense.

Lastly, we bear all pain and sacrifice just for one reason that is only- Allah (swt). It’s that simple. People spend thousands of dollars for Allah (swt); people leave their kids to their families, their homes- Why? Because of Allah (swt), people are willing to sleep in sand, in ash, in middle of the desert. The sole reason of why everybody does what they do- there is Allah (swt), and that is the goal and focus.

Shiakh Omar Suleiman:

Just remember! When you go to Hajj, make sure you understand that you are one of very few that have been chosen for Hajj, and you are a guest of Allah (swt); and as a guest you should fulfill all the rights at that point.

You should understand that you are not the host, so do not go there as a guy who paid saying: ‘I paid for this, I paid for that’; Allah (swt) has invited you there, so Allah (swt) will decree whatever you get there, what difficulties you will go through there, and as a guest you are honored to be there. If you were to go to a ‘white house’, you are not going to sit there and complain to yourself that: ‘I paid twenty dollars for ticket to tour this place’, you will just be happy to be there to meet the President.

So, Allah (swt) called you there; Allah (swt) invited you there as a guest; you forgo your rights, and just go with the flow and the thought that it is accepted. May Allah (swt) accept our Hajj. Ameen.

Transcribed for hiba by Hira Naqi




10 Tips of safe Pilgrimage with kids

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Image courtesy

Visiting the Holy lands of Makkah and Madinah is the dream of every Muslim; but with toddlers and babies, it can become a nerve wrenching and tiresome experience.

A toddler who needs constant attention and care makes the rituals difficult to perform with heart and soul; and a little can change into a frightening experience (as often witnessed).

Following are the few precautions that would make the pilgrimage safe, sound and a heartfelt experience.

  1. Make the identity cards of every kid displaying name, father’s name, hotel’s name and phone number in bold. Kids should not forget to wear it every time they are out.
  2. Only keep the necessary luggage with you. Use the backpacks, or hand carries as they are easier to manage.
  3. Ahram is not mandatory for kids; but if they clad them, be sure it is not over fitted or loose, as it will greatly irritate the child. Try wearing it at home first. Also tell them the necessities of it. Otherwise, clad them in simple and decent clothes.
  4. Medicines and liniments including Anti-histamines, Calpol, Thermometer, ORS should be kept handy in the luggage.
  5. Goggles and moisturizing lotion should be worn whenever outside- as the weather is usually hot in Arab countries.
  6. A wrist band or a chest jacket must be tied by the mother and the kid at the time of prayers- as this is usually the time the kids get misplaced.
  7. Avoid going to rush area with the kids as it will misbalance you and can result in a fall.
  8. A handy bag with extra baby food, baby wipes, diapers, nappy rash cream, clothes, mosquito repellant lotion should be kept every time.
  9. Be calm and hassle free. Kids usually take a lot of time doing little things. Rotate turns with your hubby while performing rituals like Tawaf and Sai; or hire a wheelchair to let the kids sit on them.
  10. Always mention a union point i.e. a common meeting place- in case anyone gets can reach to that point easily.

Wishing you all a safe and fulfilling journey.

(Part 2) Love and loyalty for Allah (swt) – Divine legacy of Prophet Ibrahim (as)

Sahara-Desert-9Click here to read the first part of the article.

3.  Submission
This love brought about submission towards Allah (swt) for Ibrahim (as) because obeying and submitting to the orders is the natural consequence of love. If you can’t submit, you don’t really love.

Every prophet has a specific quality. When it comes to Ibrahim (as), his unique quality is submission. He was submissive to his Lord.

“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 the ‘Alamin (mankind, Jinns and all that exists).” (Al-Baqarah 2:131)

The scholars describe this verse as:  When Allah (swt) ordered him to submit, there was no pause and no intermission, and no question asked. Allah (swt) said, “Submit,” and Ibrahim (as) immediately said, “I submit to the Lord of the worlds.”  He did not even ask a question in any regard.  When we check the life of Ibrahim (as) and the rites of Hajj, we see the submission of Ibrahim (as).  For that reason, Islam (which is submission and surrendering to the will of Allah (swt)) goes all the way back to the original practice of monotheism of Ibrahim (as). Whereas we need to have a thousand questions answered, a hundred heart attacks, many motivational reminders and many sleepless nights making the decision before we finally take up some Quranic command- wearing Hijab, for instance.

When Allah (swt) ordered him to submit, there was no pause and no intermission, and no question asked.

This is what we learn from the experience of Ibrahim (as); he submitted to the Will of Allah (swt). But, we have a problem with this type of submission. If you look closely, the heart of the Quran’s message is:
1. Accept Allah (swt) as your Master.
2. Accept yourself as His slave.
3. Guidance comes to those who accept themselves as His slaves.

It is very easy for us to accept that Allah (swt) is Merciful. We accept that, and say “cool, I will still do whatever I want.”

But, we have a hard time accepting that He is our Master. Because that implies we are slaves and slaves are not free people; they are supposed to do all that their Master says. They are supposed to submit.
And because our evil desires and egos are so inflated, we fail to accept Him as our Master. We might say it with our tongues, but our actions prove otherwise.

If you want to really live the legacy of Ibrahim (as), you have to accept Allah (swt) as your Master and submit to His commands.

4. Sacrifice
Because of this over flowing love for Allah (swt), Ibrahim (as) was ever ready to give up anything and everything for Allah (swt).
He left his father, his people and his homeland where he lived and grew up, his comfort and eventually, even prepared to literally slaughter his extremely beloved son, Ismail (as) – all for the sake of Allah (swt).

But, Allah (swt) saved him from the great trial of sacrificing his beloved son. Because the purpose was not to slaughter the son, rather the aim was to make the heart pure for Allah’s (swt) love. And Ibrahim (as) had that pure love.

Are we ready to give up all that we desire for the Only One we believe in?

If we are able to take this lesson of sacrificing everything for the love of Allah (swt) from the act of sacrifice done on Eid-ul-Adha, then we have achieved the essence of the message. Because in the end, it all comes down to this: Are we ready to give up all that we desire for the Only One we believe in?

5. Tawakkul

“O Ibrahim, will you go and leave us in this valley in which there are no people and nothing?” Hajra (ra) said that to her husband, Ibrahim (as), several times, and he did not answer her. Then she said to him: “Is it Allah (swt) Who has commanded you to do this?” He said: “Yes.” She said: “Then He will not forsake us.” (Bukhari)

It is an unparalleled example of having trust in Allah’s (swt) plan. But with it also reflect on Ibrahim’s (as)  state of Tawakkul. Is it easy to leave behind your family in a remote place like this? Definitely not. But, when Allah (swt) tells you so, you do it without any hesitation and fear.

Can we do that? With our current state of faith, the answer will be obvious.

Any rewards of this love for Allah (swt) and this unmatched submission? Yes many. And one of the obvious ones is:

6. Hajj and building the Kabah

“And (remember) when Ibrahim (Abraham) and (his son) Ismail (Ishmael) were raising the foundations of the House (the Kabah at Makkah), (saying), ‘Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us. Verily, You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knower’” (Al-Baqarah 2:127)

The chapter of the establishment of Hajj is a unique chapter.  Muslims are still following the legacy of Ibrahim (as). Remember  whenever you go for Hajj, you are the response of Ibrahim (as). You are the response of his call when Allah (swt) told him to call the people to come for Hajj!  Proclaim the Hajj, and let the people come and answer his call! Till this day, we remember him and follow his example.
The essence of Propfet Ibrahim (as) legacy
This is the legacy of the great Prophet of Allah (swt), Ibrahim (as). Love Allah (swt). Then submit. And that’s the true meaning of being a Muslim.

Love for Allah (swt) made him succesful. And Allah (swt) praised him as follows,

“And (remember) when the Lord of Ibrahim (Abraham) [i.e., Allah] tried him with (certain) Commands, which he fulfilled. He (Allah) said (to him), “Verily, I am going to make you a leader (Prophet) of mankind.” [Ibrahim (Abraham)] said, “And of my offspring (to make leaders).” (Allah) said, “My Covenant (Prophethood, etc.) includes not Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers).”

(Al-Baqarah 2:124)

La ilaha illa Allah is not just a statement of the tongue; let the heart bear witness!

The Best Days are Here!

Top five things to pack for hajj

Do you know what days are better than all other days of the year? The days of Ramadan? No! (The last ten nights of Ramadan are higher in status though, as they comprise Laylatul-Qadr) It’s the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah as narrated by Ibn Abbas (rta):

Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “There is no deed that is better before Allah or more greatly rewarded than a good deed done in the (first) ten days of al-Adha (sacrifice).” It was said: “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah?” He said: “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah, unless a man goes out himself for jihad taking his wealth with him and does not come back with anything.” (Bukhari and Darimi)

Surprisingly, the masses are unaware of these virtuous days and miss the opportunity to gain rewards and Allah’s pleasure in these blessed days. According to the Sunnah these are some of the important actions done in the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah:

  1. Hajj: Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam. Those who get the opportunity of Hajj should make the most of these days as an accepted Hajj eradicates all past sins. Hajj is not just a ritual that needs to be finished; it is a spiritual cleansing, a treasure chest of lessons that need to be learnt and safe kept for life long.
  2. Sacrifice: Eid-ul-Adha, the second Muslim festival, also comes in the blessed month. The price of the animal purchased for slaughter and quality of the barbeque served at Eid parties is not just it. What matters is the intention and Taqwa behind our actions. Allah says: “Their meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you.” (Hajj 22:37)
  3. Fasting: Fasting on the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah (The tenth day is Eid!) is an established Sunnah of the Prophet (sa). (Nasai and Abu Dawood).
  4. Remembering Allah (swt): The remembrance of Allah (swt) is one of the most beloved of deeds to Him, especially during these days. Prophet Muhammad (sa) has said: “There are no days that are greater before Allah or in which good deeds are more beloved to Him than these ten days, so recite a great deal of Tahleel (La ilaha illallah), Takbeer (Allahu Akbar) and Tahmeed (Alhumdulillah) during them.” (Ahmad)
  5. Takbeerat: Recite them as much as you can. See this page for details.

So, there is something for everyone. If you’re not going for Hajj, you may sacrifice. If you cannot afford an animal, you can still fast. If you’re incapable of fasting you can always remember Allah! We must race after every virtue that we can lay our hands on. Life is too short and every passing second is an asset.

Reflections on the Haram Tragedy


On 11th September 2015, there was a huge sandstorm followed by thunder, lightning, and rain. In the midst of it all, a massive construction crane crashed into Makkah’s Grand Masjid and fell into the Mataf. This has so far resulted in a loss of over 107 precious lives and has left many injured.

Inna lillahi wa inna alayhi raji’oon.

May Allah (swt) grant forgiveness to the ones who have passed away and bless them with Firdaus and may He grant ease and Shifa to the injured, and may He grant solace and Sabr Jameel to their loved ones. Ameen Ya Rabb Al-Alameen.

It is time to pause and reflect. All this took place in the Haram, by the will of Allah (swt).

Either this came upon us (the Ummah) as a punishment, as Allah (swt) says in Surah Shoorah, 42:30:

“And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much.”

Or as a test:

It was narrated from Anas ibn Malik that the Prophet (sa) said: “Great reward comes with great trials. When Allah loves people, He tests them, and whoever accepts it attains His pleasure, whereas whoever shows discontent with it incurs His wrath.” (Tirmidhi)

Remember that when a calamity befalls a believer, he turns to Allah, seeks help through patience and prayer, and seeks forgiveness. Our response to the calamity tells us if it was a punishment or a test to raise one in status.

We are hopeful that those who have returned to their Rabb as a result of this incident are martyrs.

Abu Hurairah (rta) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sa) said: “Martyrs are of five kinds: One who dies of plague; one who dies of disease of his belly; the drowned; one who dies under the debris (of construction etc.), and one who dies while in the way of Allah.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

As for those who are injured as well as for the loved ones of the deceased and injured, we are hopeful that this event will be a source of forgiveness and purification for them.

Narrated Abu Saeed Al-Khudri and Abu Hurairah that the Prophet said: “No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.” (Bukhari)

Following are the responses of some scholars and teachers on this incident

yasir-qadhi-on-haram-tragedy mufti-menk-on-haram-tragedy wael-ibrahim-on-haram-tragedy

Comprehensive Packing List and Excellent Tips for Hajj



When you travel for the land of Makkah & Madinah, it is a great journey that is not only far off but is also a journey that reminds us of afterlife and our duties to the people behind us.

According to Islam you should clear all your liabilities and pay off all your dues before the spiritual journey. You are also bound by Islam to write a Will before you leave.

Following is a check list of items to be carried for the pilgrimage. You may need more things; it is always better to prepare the list so you do not forget any items which you might need.

  • Ahram
  • Towel
  • An Umbrella
  • Pair of Sleepers
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, if necessary
  • Shampoo & soap
  • Few packs of biscuits and other dry food items
  • Packet of tissues and toilet tissue roll
  • Alarm Clock
  • Basic medicines Disprin, Brufen, Strepsils, cough syrup, Immodium
  • Face and hands washing soap, detergent or cloth washing soap
  • One or two cups and glasses
  • Few pairs of socks
  • Nail Cutter
  • Scissors
  • A small knife for cutting fruits (keep this in your big luggage not in hand luggage)
  • Camera and sufficient batteries. Take extra batteries (keep this in your big luggage not in hand luggage)
  • A prayer mat if needed.
  • One or two extra travel bags. This is for when you go to some place for a longer period or for bringing gifts on way back.
  • Some extra packed juices or soft drinks. They are available but it’s better to have one or two in your bag as well.
  • Face cream or cold cream or Patroleum Jelly Its very hot but due to Air-conditioning it’s also very dry.
  • A travel iron
  • Tea bags and water heater for making te

Some of the other things you need to make sure you know.

  • Attend the Hajj seminars and workshops conducted by your Hajj tour company (tour-operator)
  • Make sure you have all the necessary travel documents before you leave for Hajj. These Items are:
  • Your Passport
  • Your Identity Card
  • Your Airline Ticket
  • Hotel Vouchers
  • Transport Vouchers or tickets
  • Although most airlines flying out from Jeddah allow hajj passengers to carry zam zam water on board, in addition to the maximum weight allowance, it is better to find out when you arrive at the airport about carrying zam zam
  • Allow some flexibility in your departure schedule as it may not be possible for you to depart on scheduled dates due to some unforeseen circumstances  particularly for women if they have to delay tawaf of hajj (tawaf-ziyarah) due to menstrual cycle
  • For women: they may want to consult with their doctor and take proper medications to delay or differ the menstruation cycle during the Hajj or Umrah
  • All the flights to Jeddah airport cross the miqat before they land in Jeddah, therefore you must be in the state of Ihram when landing in Jeddah airport
  • If you are traveling direct to Jeddah, you will assume Ihram before you board the plane otherwise you enter Ihram at any transit stop enroute to Jeddah.  Your group leader will advise you about it.  You will have lots of help from your fellow hajjis, or your group leader who accompanies your group.

Some of the other things you need to make sure you know.

  • Develop an understanding, the respect and love for the Prophet Muhammad (s) and his mission for mankind
  • Develop humility and the highest degree of patience.
  • Don’t shout
  • Do not liter at airports or spill water in toilets or try to impose on others that you are a VIP in the house of Allah. Everyone is VIP.  Some of these old humble poor people around you may be a lot closer to Allah than your royal highness.
  • So become a kinder, gentler person during hajj and umrah and try to keep the same spirit forever.
  • Once you are there, do not yell, do not be overly demanding or rude with your Hajj group leader or staff performing
  • Always Ssay Please and wait for your turn
  • Reduce your expectations regardless of what you may have paid for your hajj package and of what you were promised for this journey.  Even if you felt cheated and if you did not complain and remained patient Allah surely will compensate you insha Allah
  • This journey is different from any other journey you may have ever taken.  Tour operators and their associates may try to fulfill their promises, but may not able to do so because situations will arise in which they have no control over
  • Once inside Saudi Arabia, expect delays from the airport to your hotel and do not look or feel frustrated, angry and take it out on your group leader.  He has no control over the local entrants no matter what you paid.
  • Perform 2 rakats of Salaat-al-Tawbah (repentance of the past bad deeds).  Be conscious of doing good deeds always. Understand tawheed and behaviour in it.
  • Follow the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H)
  • Be regular in five daily prayers while you are on this journey and also when you return
  • Read Quran with meaning to understand and practice sincerely
  • People from all over the world and different backgrounds will be there. Do not engage in meaningless arguments and quarrels.  Give others preference over yourselves.  Seek forgiveness immediately should you hurt or offend anyone.
  • If you wish to express your dissatisfaction write a detailed letter to your tour operator and make suggestions on how to improve services.

Before You Leave Your Home

  • Plan to do hajj with the intention of obeying Allah ‘s command while avoiding riya
  • Pray two rakahs salah and seek help from Allah and pray for a safe journey.  Ask Allah for His help and protection from the harm of evil.  At the departure gate, take taqwa with you and leave behind your heartfelt duas’ for your family so that they may remain in Allah’s protection
  • Check all your travel documents (i.e. passport, airline tickets and all relevant coupons, verify with airline yourself)
  • Make extra copies of your passport, visa, tickets and the traveler’s cheques.  Take one set with you and place it in a separate location along with a couple of identification photos.  Leave an extra set of documents at home.
  • Take only one good bag/suitcase
  • Take one with wheels so that you can pull it.  Tie some good rope firmly b/c in some cases, the baggage may fall and burst open scattering the contents
  • Make a few personalized identification tags or marks that you can spot from a distance
  • Your carry-on bag should contain survival items for 2 to 3 days, just in case your main bag gets lost
  • When loading and unloading to and from bus or taxi, be sure to check your baggage.  Make sure that what you pack belongs to you
  • If you break away from the group, you are on your own, don’t put the blame on your tour operator for leaving you behind
  • Get to know your travel companies and your group leader before hand, in order to understand the schedule and one anthers expectations
  • Learn Arabic: at least a few words and phrases will be helpful.  Most of the locals understand some English and other eastern languages rather well

Money Matters

  • Traveller’s cheques are not recommended as they are hard to cash since you won’t be carrying your passport, which will be taken from you just before boarding in Jeddah or at Madinah airport.  You will receive your passport upon your return at Jeddah airport for the flight back to your home country
  •  Carry US Dollars or Pounds or Euros, larger bills of 100 or 50 dollar bills or pounds.  You can exchange Dollars everywhere in Saudi Arabia into Riyals
  • Do not carry all your money with you; place your money at different locations on yourself.  This is a precautionary measure.
  • Take approximately 1000.00 dollars per adult for miscellaneous expenses or emergency needs.  This amount is in addition to all other hajj related expenses


  • Should be obtained at the airport before returning home or any unused travel coupons attached to your passport

 Special Note: In case your tour operator has arranged for private buses for transportation during the entire trip, you should be refunded for all your transport vouchers attached in your passport before you leave Jeddah Airport.  Ask your tour operator about it.  Nobody can cash it for any reason or pretence except you.

Before You Leave Home For the Airport

  • Call the airport beforehand to find out the status of your departure flight.
  • Be on time at the airport as instructed by your group leader. If you miss your flight, you are responsible for costs incurred
  • Leave your home early enough to arrive to the airport on time for your flight. Consider the weather, road conditions, and traffic laws
  • Check all your travel documents once again before you leave your home

During The Flight

  • Use the washroom as soon as you feel the need. Do not wait too long
  • If you are in Ihram, do not use cologne/perfume products available on the flight
  • When you come out of the washroom, make sure you leave it very clean, with no water on the floor, or used tissues in the sink or wash basins

Jeddah Airport – Hajj Terminal

  • Upon arrival, your group will be received by the staff of ministry of Hajj. They will help you process the travel documents
  • You will be waiting in the arrival halls until your turn comes.  These halls have no facilities except washrooms, wudu areas and drinking water. It is going to be approximately a 4-6 hour wait, depending on the date and time of arrival. Eat the snacks you have packed in your carry-on.

After Customs

  • Your baggage is your responsibility. Work on a baggage supervision plan with your group. Stay together.
  • Next – you will show your passport for the removal of the Hajj fee. Cashiers cheques, and bus travel vouchers will be stapled to your passport. Before you move on, check these items and your passport for accuracy
  • Your group will then move into the waiting area platforms, opposite of the terminal halls. There will be restaurants, banks, ministry offices, prayer areas and airport malls where you can buy Hajj related items. By this time, you may be exhausted and hungry
  • Always keep your passport in your possession. Go to the bank (cubicles) and convert your money into Saudi Riyals. Eat and rest, sitting watching your luggage.  You may shop for your needs in these malls.
  • Your group leader will collect passports to make arrangements for the bus to Makkah or Madinah according to your travel itinerary
  • When the bus arrives at the platform, enter your bus and sit in your seat.  Luggage will be handled by the airport porter and loaded into the bus.
  • All your passports are with the bus driver.
  • Before the bus leaves the terminal platform, a passenger count will be taken by cross referencing with the passports by Ministry staff or driver and your group leader
  • According to your travel itinerary, the bus will travel to Madinah or Makkah. Upon arrival, before entering the city, you will pass through a reception centre, where your passports will be registered in the data centre and your Muallim’s office.  If you leave your bus to go to the washroom or any other reason, make sure you note your bus number and isle number so you may return to your respective bus
  • When you enter Madinah, the bus goes to the Muallim’s office where your passports will be deposited and receipts will be given to your group leader. Every Hajji will receive a wrist-band and the Muallim’s address card.
  • Next, your bus will go to your hotel for accommodations according to your Hajj package.

Your Activities In Makkah

  • Once you have unloaded your luggage, assigned your rooms, rested and refreshed, you are ready to do Umrah.
  • Your group leader or accompanied religious scholar will brief you on how to perform Umrah. You will then be lead to the Masjid Al-Haram.
  • When you get to the 1st sight of the Ka’aba, Stop, and make takbir and recite dua
  • Complete a tawaaf of Umra with Idtibah and Ramal and Sa’ee
  • Men will cut their hair at a barbershop near the doors of Marwah while the ladies will be waiting near the door of Marwah
  • After that, you will go to your hotel rooms and help in cutting the ladies’ hair (approx. 1 inch of hair in length)
  • After this, come out of Ihram, take shower and change into regular clothes. At this point, your Umrah is complete
  • From now until the 8th of Dhul Hijjah, you are free to do any activity
  • During your stay in Makkah:
    • Attend 5 daily prayers in Haram –Ka’aba
    • Do as many nafil tawaaf as possible
    • Do extra Umrahs if you wish
    • Consult your religious scholar at all times for any/all religious matters
  • According to your itinerary, if your are visiting Madinah before Hajj, follow the instructions of the group leader about packing luggage for traveling and departure to Madinah either by Saudi Air or by bus

Visit to Madinah

  • After arriving at your hotel room, freshen up, eat some food if hungry and leave for Masjid-e-Nabawi.
  • In the masjid, pray 2 rak’ah Tahayyah-tul-Masjid and recite durood on the Prophet (saw).
  • Walking with humility & respect, join the existing line, walking towards the grave site (rowdha) which will be on your left side.  As you come closer, facing the screen, say a sincere Salaam to the Prophet Muhammad (saw) “As Salaam Alaika ya Rasulullah”
  • Do not raise your hands in front of the grave site for a du’aa
  • Avoid all forms of shirk (4:48)
  • Next, move onwards to your right and say your salam to Hadrat Abu Bakr (R) and then to Hadrat Umar (R)
  • Next to the marked pillars the area called is Riyaz-ul-Jannah. Prays at least 2 nawafil and without hurting or disturbing anyone. Pray and make your dua’a here, sincerely for this is a high place of acceptance.  This is part of Jannah as it is narrated in a hadith
  • Spend as much time as possible in this masjid to do Salah, durood-e-Ibrahim, dhikr of Allah (swt) and study the Quran.  Additionally, you may offer salaam (if possible after every salah) and durood.
  • Your group leader will arrange a guided tour of the historical and religious sites in and around Madinah that includes a visit to Masjid Quba

Start of Hajj

  • Pack your small carry-on bag, provisions for 5 days and nights. You will be staying in crowded dusty camps. Mentally prepare yourself for such an experience for which you have traveled so far to get mercy and blessings from Allah (swt)

8th Of Dhul Hijja – Hajj Starts Today

  • If you are in Makkah, take a shower and put on Ihram and make the intention for Hajj and say Talbiya as you did for Umrah, observing the restrictions of Ihraam.
  • Those coming from Mina, enter the state of Ihraam in Madinah or Dul Hulaifa making intention for Hajj. Say Talbiya and start observing Ihram restrictions.
  • All hujjaj in ihram from Madinah, Makkah or from anywhere proceed to Mina arriving before noon on 8th of Dhul HIjjah.  You will stay overnight in Mina.
  • During your stay in Mina, do Ibaadat – avoiding all worldly conversations
  • Be helpful to the needy

9th Of Dhul Hijja – Day of Arafah

  • After Fajr prayer, proceed to the tents in within the boundary of Arafat with your group
  • Remember to stay with your group at all times
  • Remember that you came all the way here for today’s event – i.e.  The day of Hajj. You will stay here from noon to sunset during which you pray Zuhr, Asr shortened and combined with one adhan and two aqamahs.
  • Some pilgrims may do these prayers at their respective times. Do not get into arguments. Follow your Imam.
  • After Zuhr and Asr prayers, eat lunch, get some rest and start waqoof Arafat.
  • Today is the climax of Hajj for the Hujjaj. It is the day you came here for physicality and spirituality. You must do some taubaa and istigfar, reciting words of Tawheed. This is the largest gathering of all Hujjaj, when everyone is and should be begging from the one and same Master his Majesty, Allah (swt)
  • All will stand in the same location, with the same address, uttering the same words, asking for the same requests and following the protocol. He invited to come there and to ask questions. You must produce Khuzoo, Kushoo, Taqwa and Rija’a (hope) – expect only good from Allah (swt) regardless of how meager but must be sincere).
  • He answers all prayers. Today is the best day for acceptance of your dua’a
  • The biggest loser amongst us is one who does not ask for nor has Rija’a (hope)
  • Observe the waqoof from late afternoon to sun down. Remember to pray for your parents, family, relatives, friends and those who helped and assisted you to prepare for this important journey

Leave Arafat for Muzdalifah

  • Follow the group leaders instructions
  • Upon arrival in Muzdalifah, after sunset, first pray Maghrib and Isha Salah; combined and shortened.
  • Collect 49-70 pebbles to throw at Jamarat on 10, 11, 12 & 13th.
  • Stay in Muzdalifah. Pray Fajr early at the starting time and engage in dua until day break
  • After sun rise, leave for Mina tents with your group

10th Of Dhul Hijjah

  • This is the day of Sacrifice
  • First, go to Jamarat site with your group, throw stones at the last Jamarat only and return to the tent.
  • If you have purchased Qurbani vouchers, assume Qurbani is done. Shave your head.
  • Discard Ihram, take shower and come out of Ihram. Put on regular clothes.
  • After that, go to Makkah, with your group leader. Perform tawaf of Hajj followed by Sa’ee and return to Mina and spend one night in Mina.

On 11th, 12th throw pebbles on the three Jamarat – 7 pebbles each, any time after zuhr salaat until late evening.

If you are in a hurry, you can return to Makkah on the evening of the 12th day.

Otherwise, stay until the 13th. Leave Mina after throwing pebbles after Zuhr salat.  When you have returned to Makkah, perform a farewell tawaf before returning to your country.

If you have not yet visited Madinah, this is the time to go to Madinah after farewell tawaf.

Your Hajj trip has come to an end. May Allah accept your Hajj!

All You Need to Know about Ihram

Image courtesy:

Image courtesy:

It is a widely held belief that Ihram is, the two white sheets or towels worn by the pilgrim. The two unstitched white cloth pieces worn by men are “the Ihram garments for men” and not the actual Ihram.

The word Ihram in the Arabic language means ‘entering into a state of prohibition.’

In the Fiqh terminology, Ihram of Hajj and Umrah is the intention of the Hajj and ‘Umrah by which a person enters the state in which certain things become forbidden on him or her.

Three states of prohibition

The first state is for both men and women

  • Depilatory of hair from the head or any part of the body in any manner. For this, most women apply hair oil and kneed their hair into fine braid so the need to comb hair is excluded in state of Ihram. One can also wear hair band to preclude hair from getting messy.
  • Cutting finger and toenails.
  • Using perfume on either the body or clothing is verboten. Unscented soap, shampoo, and sanitizers are available in market.
  • Sexual intercourse.
  • Hunting or assisting in hunting. Killing head lice too.
  • Wearing gloves.

The second state of prohibition for men only

  • Covering the head with something that remains on it (like a cap for example).
  • Wearing sewn clothing such as t-shirts. Using safety pins to fasten two white sheets or wearing undergarments is also not allowed.

The last state deals with women

Wearing a veil or face covering. Therefore, it is forbidden for a woman to wear the veil and gloves after crossing the Meeqat. However, she can buy the cap veil from Alamgir welfare store. The veil will not touch her face and she can easily cover her face.

To conclude, I humbly request women to not to spend on clothes a lot. It is not mandatory to buy new clothes under the banner of Ihram. Specifically, it is not obligatory to buy white clothes as your Ihram. Ihram is a state of prohibition and not white sheets and clothes. It is painful to see women wearing white thin clothes and apparently naked in Haram. You are visiting a holy place and Allah (swt) is the most worthy of our modesty and shyness. Choose such a clothing that covers your Satar completely (i.e. cover the body parts prescribed by Allah (swt)). Worldly talks, gossips are a big No! It is hard for a woman to abstain from talking; however, she can try to talk as less as possible. Hajj is a pious journey which can remove all your sins, so try to make the most of this opportunity.

May Allah (swt) bless all pilgrims Hajj e Mabroor (Hajj- that is accepted by Allah (swt)). And may He accept their deeds and struggle, by uplifting their faith and determination. Ameen.

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.

Sunnah Steps to Perform Hajj

Image courtesy

Image courtesy

The eighth of Dhul-Hijjah is the first day of Hajj, which starts after the Maghrib prayers of the seventh of Dhul-Hijjah.

Steps to perform Hajj as per Sunnah

Ihram and Niyah: Ihram literally means to make Haram (forbidden). When a Hajj pilgrim pronounces the Niyah (intention) of Hajj and Umrah and says Talbiyah (Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik…), certain Halal (permissible) things become Haram for him. This combined action of Niyah and Talbiyah is called Ihram. The two sheets that a pilgrim wears are symbolically known as Ihram, but the Ihram is actually the Niyah and Talbiyah.

Departure to Mina: Pilgrims proceed towards Mina after the sunrise. They utter the Talbiyah, as often as they can. Pilgrims have to offer Zuhr, Asr, Maghrib, Isha prayers and spend the night of eight Dhul-Hijjah (first day of Hajj) in Mina.

Departure to Arafat and performing Waquf: After offering Fajr prayer in Mina on the Ninth of Dhul-Hijjah (second day of Hajj), pilgrims leave for Arafat. Wuquf-e- Arafat starts at declining of sun and ends at the sunset. It is better (Afzal) to do Wuquf while standing, but it is allowed to sit as well. This whole time is spent reciting Talbiyah, repenting on sins, uttering supplications and asking Allah (swt) for His forgiveness. Zuhr and Asr prayers are offered combined at Zuhr time, if prayed in Masjid-e-Namrah, and offered separately, if away from Masjid-e-Namrah.

Departure to Muzdalifah: When the sun sets, pilgrims proceed to Muzdalifah, without offering Maghrib prayer, reciting supplications and Talbiyah. Maghrib and Isha prayers are offered together at Isha time. There is one Iqamah and one Adhan for both prayers. Night in Muzdalifah is a blessed night, which is spent in reciting supplications, Quran and Talbiyah. Pebbles of the size of chick peas are collected in order to perform Ramy (stoning the Shaytan) in Mina. Two Rakah Sunnah are offered at Fajr prayer before Fard and Waquf is performed. Pilgrims proceed to Mina when sun is about to rise.

Perform Ramy (stoning the Shaytan) in Mina: On the tenth of Dhul-Hijjah (third day of Hajj), pilgrims hit Jamrah-Aqabah with seven pebbles one after the other. Talbiyah is stopped, when pilgrims throw the first pebble. After Ramy, pilgrims leave Mina to perform the sacrifice (Qurbani).

Offer a sacrifice: Three days are designated for sacrificing an animal: the tenth, eleventh and twelfth of Dhul-Hijjah. It can be done anytime during day and night.

Get your hair cut (Qasr) or shaved (Halq): Halq or Qasr is done after the sacrifice (Qurbani). If the sacrifice is postponed, Halq or Qasr will be postponed too. It is also a Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (sa). After Halq or Qasr, prohibitions of Ihram are lifted, except private relations between husband and wife, which are permissible after Tawaf-e-Ziarah only.

Perform the Tawaf and Sai: It can be done any time, day or night, from tenth of Dhul-Hijjah to the sunset of twelfth Dhul-Hijjah.

Repeat Sai after Sundown on the Fourth and Fifth days: Pilgrims perform Sai after Tawaf-e–Ziarah. It is a Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (sa) to make sure that your Wudu is intact.

Return to Mina: Pilgrims return to Mina after performing Sai, where they spend the night.

Ramy of Jamarat: Pilgrims throw pebbles on each of the tree Jamarat on eleventh and twelfth of Dhul-Hijjah after Zawal (decline of the sun).

Tawaf-e-Widah: After Hajj, it is obligatory on pilgrims to perform Tawaf-e-Wida (Farewell Tawaf). This is performed when pilgrims are leaving Makkah for their homeland.

Eid-ul-Adha – The Tenth of Dhul-Hijjah: Muslims around the world celebrate Eid-ul-Adha. Muslims offer Eid prayers any time after the sun completely rises but before the  Zuhr time. The Sunnah of preparation for Eid-ul-Azha prayer includes- making Wudu, offering Fajr prayers and wearing best clothes available. It is a Sunnah of Allah’s (swt) messenger Ibrahim (as).

Allah (swt) mentions in The Quran, “It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is piety from you that reaches Him. Thus have We made them subject to you that you may magnify Allah for His Guidance to you. And give glad tidings (O Muhammad (sa)) to the Muhsinun (doers of good).” (Al-Hajj 22:37)

Slaughtering animal with one’s own hands and distributing the meat among family and Mustahikeen (deserving people) is a Sunnah of Allah’s (swt) Messenger (sa). (Bukhari)

Dhul-Hijjah is a month of great importance for all Muslims. Besides Hajj and Eid-ul-Adha, it is a great opportunity for Muslims to do as many good deeds as possible in the prescribed days of this sacred month.

Ibn Abbas (ra) has narrated that:the Prophet (sa) said: “No good deeds done on other days are superior to those on these (first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah).” Then some companions of the Prophet (sa) said, “Not even Jihad?” He replied: “Not even Jihad, except that of a man who does it by putting himself and his property in danger (for Allah’s (swt) sake) and does not return with any of those things.” (Bukhari)

May Allah (swt) make us the people of Taqwa and prevent us from falling into the footsteps of those, who failed before us. Ameen.

Top Five Things to Pack for Hajj

Top five things to pack for hajj

1) Clothing and Toiletries

Pack in one extra set of Ihram, comfortable clothing for the number of days you are travelling, a shawl or sweater (for any unexpected chilliness at night), socks and undergarments. Take along two pairs of inexpensive slippers and a drawstring bag to carry them when entering the mosque. Men can keep a cap to cover their heads, when they are not in the state of Ihram.

Pack in soap, shampoo, deodorant as well as a non-fragrance soap and travel soap dish to use when in state of Ihram. Keep small scissors, a nails cutter, a disposable razor, a set of towels and a small packet of detergent to wash your clothes.

2) Accessories

Keep a money belt or vest with pockets to keep money hidden. Also, keep sunglasses, –+prescription/reading spectacles, and a spectacle-holding string to secure your glasses. Remember to wear plastic name tags for identification (especially important, if you have small children with you).

Also pack a light prayer rug, an alarm clock, your mobile and it’s charger, an umbrella, a flashlight for when you go to Muzdalifah, a flask or water bottle, three sandwich sized zip-lock bags or drawstring cloth bags for pebbles that you collect from Muzdalifah and a medium sized handbag for everyday use to hold glasses, medicines, Quran, prayer rug, etc.

3) Medicines

Illnesses are easy to catch, when there are three million people coming from around the world! Pack in one course of broad spectrum Antibiotics, pain-killers, cough syrup, band-aids, pain-relief ointments as well as any special medication you need for conditions such as diabetes, asthma, hypertension. Remember to keep a prescription written by the doctor for the medicines you are carrying.

4) Documents and Finances

Double-check that you have with you the originals and photocopies of your passports and tickets in separate suitcases. Take along the confirmation letters from hotels and travel documents. Keep a sufficient amount of money in US dollars and Saudi Riyals. It may be a good idea to keep in extra photos, envelopes, a writing pad and a pen as well.

5) Taqwa!

And last but not least, do not forget what Allah (swt) has said: “And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best provision is At-Taqwa (piety, righteousness).” (Al-Baqarah 2:197) You are making Hajj for the sake of Allah (swt) and for the forgiveness of your sins. Make sure you make the most of it! Pack in a copy of the Quran and other reading material, such as invocations (Dua) cards and Hajj guides.

Pray to Allah (swt) to make it easy for you, before you embark on this incredible journey. In case you do forget something, Makkah has been hosting pilgrims for over 1400 years and most things will be available. Remember, you are a guest of Allah (swt) and He will take care of you!

Hajj Rules Specific to Women

Vol 4-Issue 3 Hajj rules specific to WomenHajj, or pilgrimage to the House of Allah (swt) in Makkah, is one of the five cardinal principles of Islam. This worship was prescribed in the sixth year after Hijrah. It is obligatory upon Muslims, who can afford it, to perform Hajj once in their lifetimes. It takes place only once a year in the month of Dhul Hajj on the ninth.

Allah (swt) says in the Quran: “…Pilgrimage is a duty men owe to Allah.” (Al-Imran 3:97)

Every believer strives for Hajj Mabrur (an accepted Hajj), which is performed by someone with a right intention and sincerity. According to Abu Huraira (rta), Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “An Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) is an expiation for sins committed between it and the next, but an accepted Hajj will receive no less a reward than Paradise.” (Agreed upon)

Islam encourages women to partake in the blessings of Hajj. Aisha (rta) has narrated: “I once asked the Prophet (sa): ‘O Prophet of Allah! Should not we (women) strive and actively participate in the Islamic war with you?’ The Prophet (sa) replied: ‘The best and the most beautiful striving for you in the cause of Allah is Hajj Mabrur.’” Aisha (rta) commented: “After hearing this from the Prophet (sa), I shall never cease performing Hajj.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Before commencing the Hajj journey, women should have the following: a thorough knowledge of Hajj rituals, a sound Aqeedah, fear of Allah (swt), passion to follow only the Quran and the Sunnah, patience in the face of trials and courtesy for fellow pilgrims.

1. Mahram

The first requirement for a Muslim woman to perform Hajj is to be accompanied by a Mahram (her husband or a male relative, whom she is not allowed to marry as per the Quranic injunctions).

According to Shafaee school of thought, a woman may travel with a group of women or even with one trusted woman companion, if a Mahram is not available. This opinion is supported by the fact that after the Prophet’s death, Umar (rta) permitted his (saw) wives to perform Hajj, while accompanied by Uthman (rta) and Abdurrahman Ibn Awf (rta).

2. Ihram

Ihram for a Muslimah comprises of any garment that covers her entire body modestly except for her hands and face. She is also permitted to wear shoes. (Abu Dawood)

3. Talbiyah

Talbiyah means to recite: “Lab-baika Allahumma Labbaik. Lab-baika la-Sharika laka lab-baik. In-nAl-Humda wan-nimata laka wal mulk-la-Sharika lak.”

Every pilgrim is required to say the Talbiyah. According to Ataa: “Men must raise their voices (when reciting Talbiyah), but a woman should raise her voice to as to hear it herself, but she should not raise her voice more than that.”

4. Restrictions of Ihram

A woman in the state of Ihram must refrain from:

· sexual relations;

· clipping nails, cutting or removing hair by any means from any part of the body;

· wearing perfume, Niqab (facial veil) and gloves.

Observing all the restrictions of Ihram, the pilgrims proceed to Makkah. There they can deposit their belongings at their lodging place and hasten to perform Tawaf at the Masjid Al-Haram.

5. Tawaf of Kaba and Sai

Tawaf is circumambulating around the Kabah seven times starting and ending at the Hajra Aswad (the Black Stone). If possible, women can kiss or touch Hajra Aswad without having to push or be pushed by the crowd. They are required to walk at a normal pace in the first three rounds, unlike the men.

Next, the pilgrims are to pray two Rakah at the station of Ibrahim (as) and drink Zamzam water.

Sai is the walk between two hills starting at Safa and ending at Marwah. Seven rounds are to be made at a normal pace, unlike men, who need to walk at brisk pace.

If the woman is performing Hajj Tamattu, then after completing Sai, she should cut her hair and clip her nails. The Prophet (sa) stated: “Women (pilgrims) do not have to shave (their heads); they may shorten their hair.” (Abu Dawood) The restrictions of Ihram are now lifted. On the eighth day of Dhul Hajj, the woman resumes Ihram again and proceeds to Mina.

6. Stay at Mina and Arafah

During this part of Hajj, there are no specific differences between men and women. To maximize the benefit of Hajj, the pilgrims should immerse themselves completely in Allah’s remembrance and refrain from idle talk, sleeping, wasting time, mixing with the opposite gender, etc.

The pilgrims pray Salatul Fajr at Muzdalifah. After the sunrise on the tenth of Dhul Hajj, they proceed to Mina. This day is known as Yaum Al-Nahr.

7. Throwing of the pebbles

Pea sized pebbles are thrown at Jamarah Al-Aqbah, while reciting the Takbeer. Women, children and weak pilgrims are permitted to carry out this ritual at night. If it gets very crowded or difficult, women can appoint someone on their behalf to throw the pebbles at the Jamarah.

After throwing the pebbles, on the tenth day of Dhul Hajj, the pilgrim slaughters a sacrificial animal and cuts her hair, thereby releasing herself from the restrictions of Ihram. She can resume normal activities, except intimacy with her husband.

8. Tawaf Al-Ifadhah

Tawaf Al-Ifadhah is one of the most significant rituals and can render ones’ Hajj invalid, if the pilgrim is unable to perform it. Pilgrims proceed to Makkah to perform Tawaf Al-Ifadhah. Aisha (rta) used to order women to perform it early on the day of An-Nahr, if they feared they would begin to menstruate. According to Ataa: “If a woman (pilgrim) fears her monthly period, she can perform the Tawaf of Kabah before throwing the pebbles at Jamarah Al-Aqabah and even before her sacrificial animal is slaughtered.”

In case of Hajj Tamattu, the woman pilgrim must perform Sai after Tawaf Al-Ifadha.

9. The farewell Tawaf

Ibn Abbas (rta) narrated: “The pilgrims used to leave Makkah in every direction, until the Prophet (sa) said: ‘Let none of you leave Makkah before making a Tawaf around the Kabah as the last of Hajj rites.’” (Muslim and Abu Dawood)

This last ritual should be performed by the pilgrim before leaving for home as a final promise to Allah (swt) to live her remaining life in total submission to her Creator.

Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “Anyone, who undertakes the Hajj just to seek the pleasure of Allah and neither indulges in sexual talks nor in sins, will be purified of his sins, in the same state as he was born by his mother!” (Mishkat)

The Prophet’s (sa) Hajj

Prophet's HajjReinforcement of Tauheed

Tauheed is one of the fundamental principles of Islam that the Prophet (sa) realized and fostered. During the Hajj, he continued to recite Talbiyah (saying, “Labbaik Allah Humma Labbaik”) from the moment he began the ritual, until he had cast Jamratul Aqaba (Aqaba stone) on the slaughter day.

Supplications to Allah

Supplications have special status in Islam, as they aim at expressing total surrender to Allah. The Prophet (sa) said: “Supplication is worship.” (Abu Dawood) During the Hajj, he used to say more supplications than at any other time. He also offered lengthy supplications on the day of Arafat, while riding his camel and by raising his hands close to his chest, as if he were a poor man begging for charity.

Performing good deeds

The Prophet (sa) performed Ghusl before assuming Ihram, wore perfume upon assuming and ending it (Bukhari), and marked and garlanded the Hadiy. (Bukhari) He started Tawaf as soon as he entered Al-Bait (Bukhari), walked briskly, touched the two corners of the Kabah, offered two Rakahs of Tawaf behind Maqam Ibrahim (Muslim), supplicated to Allah on the hills of Safa and Marwah, ran in the middle of the valley, and did Dhikr upon touching the two corners and while throwing the Jamarat. (Bukhari)

Moderation in acts of worship

Islam encourages moderation and censures exaggeration. In fact, equanimity was the most significant attitude of the Prophet (sa) during the Hajj. He adopted a happy medium between his acts of worship (Bukhari) and his responsibilities as a leader of the Muslims. However, he did not neglect his duties to his wives, who needed care and affection.

Physical well-being

The Prophet (sa) equally cared for his body and soul. The awe-inspiring surroundings of the Hajj may compel to observe only the spiritual, entirely forgetting the physical. On Tarwiyah day, the Prophet (sa) moved closer to Mina, in order to be nearer to Arafat (Muslim), slept during the nights of Arafat and Muzdalifah (Bukhari), took breakfast on the day of Arafat (Bukhari), but did not offer supererogatory prayers. (Muslim) He took shelter in a dome made from camel hair, erected especially for him, moved between the sacred sites (Bukhari) and performed some of the Hajj rituals, while riding his camel. (Muslim) Furthermore, he even had someone to serve and help him. (Ibn Majah)

Role as an educator

Allah sent the Prophet (sa) as an educator to make people’s lives and acts of worship easier. Undoubtedly, he excelled in his mission. He publicly announced his intention to perform the Hajj, in order to give those, who wished to accompany him, an opportunity to prepare themselves for the journey. The crowds flocked to Madinah, hoping to learn from the Prophet (sa). (Muslim) The Prophet (sa) ordered Muslims to learn the Hajj rituals from him and made it clear that this could be his last Hajj. (Bukhari)

Giving Fatwas

Giving of Fatwas (religious verdicts) was among the most important tasks that the Prophet (sa) performed during the Hajj. A famous Fatwa was given to a woman from the Khatham tribe, who asked, if she could perform the Hajj on behalf of her aging father. She said: “He cannot ride his camel.” The Prophet (sa) replied: “Perform the Hajj on his behalf.” (Bukhari)

Matters concerning women

Aisha (rta) narrated: “I asked Allah’s Messenger (sa): ‘Is Jihad incumbent upon women?’ He replied: ‘Yes, Jihad which does not include fighting is incumbent upon them, it is the Hajj and the Umrah’.” (Bukhari)

Ibn Abbas (sa) narrated: “I heard Prophet Muhammad (sa) addressing and saying: ‘A man must not be alone with a woman, unless when a man who is a Mahram (a relative she is so closely related to that marriage is not possible) is with her and a woman must travel only when accompanied by a man who is a Mahram.’ A man stood up and said: ‘O Allah’s Messenger, my wife intends to go out to perform the Hajj, and I have been enrolled for such and such expedition.’ Thereupon he said: ‘Go and perform the Hajj with your wife’.” (Muslim)

Prophet’s (sa) mercy

The Prophet’s (sa) mercy was always evident. He ordered those, who did not offer Hadiy, to end their state of Ihram completely – this permitted them to have intimate relations with their wives, to be dressed in normal clothes, and to wear perfume. (Muslim) He combined Asr and Zuhr prayers at Arafat (Bukhari) and delayed his prayers, when he moved to Muzdalifah (Bukhari), thereby making it easier for people to perform rituals. He gave permission to the weak to move from Muzdalifa ahead of the rest of the pilgrims at night, right after the moon would set. Thus, on slaughter day, they were able to perform their rituals easily before the others. (Bukhari)

Prophet’s (sa) generosity

The Prophet (sa) was so generous in giving alms and charity that he gave away one hundred Badanas (sacrificial camels), including their meat, hides, and coverings. (Muslim) He also donated in other charities on many occasions. (Bukhari)

Prophet’s (sa) leniency

The Prophet’s (sa) showed exemplary leniency, while in Hajj. “Seeing a man walking and leading his sacrificial camel, the Prophet (sa) said to him: ‘Ride on it’. The man replied: ‘It is a Badana.’ The Prophet (sa) said the second and third time: ‘Ride on it, woe to you’. (Muslim)

The Hajj is not a momentary act of worship that begins with a journey and ends once a Muslim returns home. On the contrary, it is a trial to show that the spirituality earned in the Hajj will be brought back home and implemented in the Muslim’s daily life.

In the sermon delivered on the Day of Arafat, the Prophet (saw) urged pilgrims to hold on to the Quran as the only way to deliverance from sins. “I have left you with the Quran,” he said: “you will never go astray, if you adhere to it.” (Ibn Majah) Now, it is a challenge for all Muslims to obey this advice and bring about a metamorphosis, leading to enrichment and positive transformation of the Muslim Ummah.

Lessons of Reliance from Hawa bint Yazid (ra)

stream-rocks-longshawInna Ma’al Usre Yusra

As per the custom of that time, the Mushrikeen visited the Kabah for Hajj. On one such instance, Qais too joined the delegation. The Prophet (sa), despite being in the minority, would promote his religion to the strangers. He would make efforts, and take out time to meet the people who had come to Makkah for Hajj.

He met Qais and presented Islam to him. Qais attentively listened to the Prophet (sa), and acknowledged that what he was being presented was a glorious religion. He asked for time to contemplate conversion. The Prophet (sa) desired that the husband of a devoted religious woman embraced Islam as well, therefore, he prolonged his dialogue with Qais. Qais, however, kept asking for more time to consider. The Prophet (sa), then asked Qais about his unkind treatment towards his wife. He instructed him to fear Allah (swt), and to promise him that he will never say anything to his distressed wife. Qais promised that he would do as the Prophet (sa) instructed and would never again be cruel to his wife.

Do not delay the opportunity to do good. You might miss the chance.

When Qais returned to Madinah, he informed Hawa (ra) about his meeting with the Messenger of Allah (sa), and his promise to him. He assured her that from then onwards he would never torment her. Hawa (ra) was relieved to hear that.

Verily, with the hardship, there is relief (i.e. there is one hardship with two reliefs, so one hardship cannot overcome two reliefs).” (Ash-Shath 94:6)

Hawa (ra) could then freely practice her religion. She openly declared her faith because she had no one to be fearful about. After a little time had passed, the Prophet (sa), being a true leader and well-wisher, asked about Hawa (ra) and her husband’s treatment. He was informed that she lived in peace.

People teased Qais about his wife’s conversion. He informed them of his promise to the Prophet (sa) and his will to honour it.

Qais had honoured his promise to the Prophet (sa). However, he kept waiting for the right time to embrace Islam, and missed his chance. Qais was killed as an idolater. He saved Hawa’s life in this world and the hereafter, but could not save his own hereafter.

Hawa (ra) attended his gatherings, learnt the religion and taught it to her son Thabith ibn Qais. She strove hard in religion and attained the status of being a Hadeeth Narrator.

Lessons to draw: Do not delay the opportunity to do good. You might miss the chance. Because Hawa (ra) only depended upon Allah (swt), He helped her in a miraculous way. With every difficulty there is ease, strengthen your faith in Allah (swt).

Life as a Widow

When the Prophet (sa) migrated to Madinah, Hawa (ra) attended his gatherings, learnt the religion and taught it to her son Thabith ibn Qais. She strove hard in religion and attained the status of being a Hadeeth Narrator. This is how Allah (swt) honours those who are willing to remain steadfast in their trials, and give precedence to religion over anything in the world.

May Allah (swt) also make us of those He honours. Ameen.

Lessons to draw: When you have taken the step to draw closer to Allah (swt), He will test you. He will put you through trials to separate the wheat from the chaff. How truly dedicated and honest are you in your service and commitment to Islam? Be brave. Don’t let Shaytan weaken your resolution.

(Click here to read ‘Lessons in Faith from Hawa bint Yazid (ra)’)

(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu by Mehmood Ahmad Ghazanfar and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)

(Part 2) Public restroom etiquettes: Meet the elephant in the room!

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6) Extra-hygiene means extra-danger

In your effort to be super hygienic, don’t wash your hands so many times or do ablution so obsessively that you flood the whole place. Use the water reasonably.

Another extreme is flushing the toilet with foot instead of a hand. People, with hands PLEASE! Acrobatics required to use your foot to flush raise your risk of injury from slipping and falling – if you’re standing on one leg to flush the toilet. A flamingo can do it well, you can’t. It may end you up in way more mess than you thought you can get into, from touching the handle.

Some people go to extra length by not sitting on the seat and hovering closely above it. Now, if you were in the one ply cubicle, the floor art is understandable, because they move with a tiny gush of wind even. So, please, don’t hover above the seat, making it difficult for you to find balance.

You are in a world of communicable diseases, I accept! But a research says that 18% of your phones are more germ-ish than the toilet seat (unless you put the phone ON the toilet seat). So might as well save yourself the extra agony and perch your rear end on the seat. Don’t be a human spaceship.

If you are going all Indian toilet style up on the European toilet, then at least clean after yourself. Your shoe/slipper prints will be all over the seat. Roll the tissue around your hand and just clean it. I’m sure your mother taught you that as well, before you had an accident, in which you lost your memory on cleaning manners. By ‘you’ I mean people, not YOU, of course. You wouldn’t do that, would you!?!

7) Patience is virtue, lying is not

You may usually find a long line in front of washrooms, in places where there are little to no WCs available. Usually, the queue would literally be hanging by the bathroom doors (if handles are available that is, otherwise – hanging by the holes). You may just want to stand in line calmly, because the person in front of you deems every move from you as a line-breaking threat, and they have thought of every clever way to stop you. It may include physical violence as well. What impatience does to human beings sometimes!

There are times, when calm is a word in dreams only. You will enter a stampede and the next thing you know, you’re in a washroom.

And even though it sounds like a better option than waiting in line, and you may want to be the one to start that stampede through witty pretense – but it’s not! It usually involves pushing, shouting, hitting, lying, knocking each other down, etc. (perhaps hair pulling as well). Bad deeds don’t add up to success. Even if you manage to push all other contestants in line, it won’t feel like a victory. So avoid being in that group.

Don’t claim ownership of the bathroom. Or tell people that you’re waiting for your family member in there (thinking we all are after all brothers and sisters since Adam and Eve were our greatest fore-parents). Your turn will come, Insha’Allah, don’t worry.

Save yourself from unnecessary lies. (And who doesn’t know, lying is bad anyway.) Don’t render your Hajj/Umrah or any religious act that you are going to perform afterwards or performed before, useless.

8) Your kids are YOUR responsibility

Help the little ones before you help yourself. Their level of control is zero, as compared to yours. But first commode in the first row is always the bad choice, because that’s where the most uncontrolled splatters are. Which of course makes sense – they couldn’t make it any further. So walk a little (or perhaps run like a wind), holding your gag reflexes on standby, as you poke through all the stalls anticipating post-culinary exploration disaster. But there will be a cleaner one; I can guarantee (almost 90%). Don’t lose hope. Just un-witness the ones witnessed in line.

When you’re making sure that your kids are not eating their own boogers, also make sure that you are not the one sticking it on the walls. If you find such things, don’t feel ashamed to clean it off with the help of tissues, etc. I have personally witnessed women picking up someone else’s baby’s diapers and throwing them into the trash bags and cleaning up the area, just to provide better environment for the newcomers. It’s not an easy task. May Allah (swt) reward them immensely. Ameen

So, please! Those with diaper-clad babies – when you change the diaper of your baby, please, throw it into the dumpster. Babies’ faces are cute but their feces are not. Don’t just roll it in the air and let fate decide its destiny. Thus, when you clean after yourself, please, do that for the baby as well. Man or woman – whoever is taking it for the team.

9) Don’t abuse the toiletries

Sometimes the flush is not working, because of too much toilet paper clogged inside (or too much dinner). You may see the dustbin beside the pot, empty! And you wonder why do people throw everything around, while there is space for everything given? People who lead adult-lives, by the adulthood they should know how to use a chair with a hole in it. It is something that they have been taught to use and have been using since fifteen years or so. Definitely we are the disease!

If the faucet sensor doesn’t work once, no need to constantly hit the poor thing, because it may fire back, by automatically turning itself on, when you will least expect it. Be gentle with the public property. You don’t want to go outside explaining people that it’s not what they think it is.

Forego the hand dryer altogether, because it probably won’t work anyway. Because you may stand there with your hands outstretched (crowding the place) waiting for some magic to happen – but it won’t. If the restroom looks well-maintained, then probably it will work, but usually it doesn’t; and all you do is make the crowd turn into a mob.

Save people some space and wipe your wet hands with tissue instead, if you wish.

Under dire circumstances, don’t jiggle someone else’s door handle angrily. Either you will lock them inside permanently or break the handle. Both ways, your future isn’t bright.

Don’t take your overloaded purse/bag inside the toilet. Sometimes the hooks aren’t very strong. Sometimes there are no hooks at all. Either way, draping it around your neck may be the last resort. Hand it over to someone close outside the restroom. Don’t bring them in, just so they could wait outside your stall, holding your bag. It will crowd the area unnecessarily.

(If you think this all as a mere exaggerated joke, I would just say you’ve been extremely lucky. But these guidelines will help you in the future, whenever you get out of the warm folds of your home sweet home.)

10) Stay God-conscious

Jokes apart, this is something serious, because one of the grave punishments includes someone not being conscious about cleanliness.

We can’t single-handedly eradicate the lack of hygiene issues in public restrooms, but we can dilute its strength. We will not be fighting. We will go on patiently and will always work upon this issue, until it doesn’t need to be worked on anymore. This is just a small step towards some basic awareness – but a small step is better than nothing, better than an intangible ideal.


Please, make purification your half faith! Our religion is so beautiful and complete. It teaches us how to live a life – from the smallest details to the biggest of issues, and bathroom etiquettes are the very basic of life.


Basically, a good policy is:


Try to leave the vicinity in the condition you would wish to find it. Treat it like you usually treat your own toilet at home, especially when the guests are coming. Be the best version of yourself that ever existed. Be the super-you. You got it in you somewhere, so just be that.


Be the change you want to see in the world. And if we, Muslims, are not going to practice the best of the manners taught by their religion, how are we ever going to preach? Actions speak louder than words. Even if nobody is watching you, Allah (swt) is. Angels are taking notes. You will be rewarded. Insha’Allah.


May Allah (swt) guide us all to the best behaviour that wouldn’t hurt us or people around us. Ameen.

Hajj: Journey of a Lifetime

Image courtesy

Image courtesy

Linguistically, Hajj means ‘to set out with the intention of religious zeal or return to a sacred place’. It also means simply heading to a place for visiting. In Islam, it refers to heading to Makkah for performing the rites of pilgrimage. Allah (swt) mentions in the Quran: “And perform properly (i.e. all the ceremonies according to the ways of Prophet Muhammad (sa)), the Hajj and Umrah (i.e. the pilgrimage to Makkah) for Allah.” (Al-Baqarah 2:196)

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is obligatory on every adult Muslim, who is physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, to perform Hajj at least once in a lifetime. Hajj is the largest annual Muslim gathering. Person going for Hajj must make necessary arrangements for his family in his absence. Financial and physical ability is referred to as Istitah and Muslim who falls in this criterion is called a Mustati.

The history of Hajj dates back to Prophet Ibrahim (as), which is around 2000 years before the birth of Prophet Isa (as).

Hajj commences from the eighth and ends on the twelfth of Dhul-Hijjah, which is also the last month of Islamic calendar. It was performed by Prophet Muhammad (sa) in the seventh century and is followed by his Ummah.

Historical significance of Hajj

The history of Hajj dates back to Prophet Ibrahim (as), which is around 2000 years before the birth of Prophet Isa (as). Ibrahim (as) was ordered by Allah (swt) to leave his wife Hajar and son Ismail (as) alone in the desert of Makkah. Hazrat Hajar ran back and forth between the mountains of Safa and Marwah in search of water and asked Allah (swt) for His help. Ismail (as) hit the ground with his feet as he cried. At that very moment, Allah (swt) answered her prayers and sent down His angel Jibrael (as) to dig a well underneath where Ismail (as) was hitting his feet, and Zam-Zam well miraculously sprang forth. Later, Ibrahim (as) was commanded by Allah (swt) to build Kabah and invite people to perform pilgrimage. These events are mentioned in Quran in verses 2:124 to 2:127 and 22:27 to 30. Angel Jibrael (as) brought the Black Stone “Hajr-e-Aswad” from heaven to be attached to Kabah.

Allah (swt) mentions in the Quran: “Verily! As-Safa and Al-Marwah (two mountains in Makkah) are of the symbols of Allah. So it is not a sin on him who perform Hajj or Umrah (pilgrimage) of the House (the Kabah at Makkah) to perform the going (Tawaf) between them (As-Safa and Al-Marwah). And whoever does good voluntarily, then verily, Allah is All-Recogniser, All-Knower.” (Al-Baqarah 2:158)

Abu Bakr (ra) was sent by Prophet Muhammad (sa) to lead the first Hajj in the ninth year after Hijrah. After Prophet Muhammad (sa) returned from the battle of Tabuk, he appointed Abu Bakr (ra) to lead three hundred Muslims to Makkah and instruct them about the rituals of Hajj.

The divine revelation descended upon the Messenger of Allah (swt) with some important verses from Surah At-Taubah. Prophet (sa) sent Ali Ibn Abu Talib (ra) to Abu Bakr (ra), so he could pass on Allah’s (swt) message (i.e., the Quranic verses) to the pilgrims in the season of Hajj.

Our Prophet’s (sa) last justful sermon

Abu Bakr (ra) led the pilgrimage in the ninth year with three hundred Muslims. In the following year, the Prophet (sa) performed Hajj with more than one hundred thousand Muslims. Prophet Muhammad (sa) delivered his last sermon, also known as “Khutba-e-Hajjatul-Wida, on the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah in the tenth year after Hijrah. The sermon was delivered in the valley of Mount Arafat. It was a delivered more than fourteen centuries ago, yet it reflected the best example of eloquence and wisdom. It was as humane, rational and favourable to justice and equality as any message could be.

Abu Hurairah (ra) has narrated that the Prophet was asked: “Which is the best deed?” He said: “To believe in Allah (swt) and His Apostle.” He was then asked: “Which is the next (in goodness)?” He said: “To participate in Jihad in Allah’s (swt) cause.” He was then asked, “Which is the next?” He said: “To perform Hajj-e-Mabrur.” (Bukhari)

Hajj is considered the best Jihad for women.

There are three forms of Hajj:

  1. Hajj At-Tamattu (Interrupted): This is where a pilgrim assumes Ihram for Umrah only, during the months of Hajj, which means that when he reaches Makkah, he makes Tawaf and Sai for Umrah. Then he shaves or clips his hair. On the eighth day of Dhul-Hijjah, the pilgrim assumes Ihram again for Hajj only and carries out all of its requirements. Pilgrims performing this form of Hajj are called Mutamatti.
  2. Hajj Al-Ifrad (Single): This is where a pilgrim assumes Ihram for Hajj only. When he reaches Makkah, he performs Tawaf for his arrival and Sai for Hajj. He does not shave or clip his hair as he does not disengage from Ihram. Instead, he remains in Ihram until after he stones the Jamratul-Aqabah on the Eid day. It is permissible for him to postpone his Sai for Hajj until after his Tawaf for Hajj (i.e., Tawaf Al-Ifadhah). Pilgrims performing this form of Hajj are called Mufrid.
  3. Hajj Al-Qiran (Combined):This is where a pilgrim assumes Ihram for both Umrah and Hajj, or he assumes Ihram first for Umrah, then makes his intention for Hajj before his Tawaf for Hajj. The obligations on one performing Ifrad are the same as those on one performing Qiran, except that the latter must slaughter; whereas the former is not obligated to do so. Pilgrims performing this form of Hajj are called Qarin.

The best of the three forms is Tamattu. It is the form that the Prophet (sa) encouraged his followers to perform.

Hajj is considered the best Jihad for women. Aisha (ra) has narrated: “I said: ‘O Allah’s Apostle (sa)! We consider Jihad as the best deed.’ The Prophet (sa) said: ‘The best Jihad (for women) is Hajj Mabrur.’ (Bukhari)

Hajj is performed, as it was performed and prescribed by Prophet (sa).