Umrah with kids: It’s easier than you think!



                                                 Image Courtesy


Visiting the Holy land  of Makkah and Madinah is the dream of every Muslim; but having children like toddlers and juniors- 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 the little one can make it a frightening experience- as often witnessed.

But, keeping these few points in mind, and few precautions beforehand, makes the minor pilgrimage a safe, sound and fulfilling experience.

  1. Make identification card for each kid- displaying name, father’s name, hotel name, and phone no, in bold. Kids should not forget to wear it every time they are out.
  2. Keep only the necessary luggage with you. Use the backpacks and  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. Rehearse with them wearing it at home. Also, tell them the necessities of it. Otherwise, clad them in simple and decent attire.
  4. Medicines and liniments- including Anti Histamines, Calpol, Thermometer, ORS, should be kept handy in the luggage.
  5. Goggles, moisturizing lotion, and sun block 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 a rush area with the kids- as this 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 can take a wheelchair to let the kids sit on it.
  10. Always mention a common point i.e. a meeting place- in case anyone gets lost so that they re-unite there.

Wishing all a safe and fulfilling journey. Insha’Allah.

10 Tips of safe Pilgrimage with kids

Image courtesy

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.

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!

Lessons in Faith from Hawa Bint Yazid (ra)

originalShe was the daughter of Yazid ibn Sakan and Aqrab bint Muath. Saad ibn Muath (ra), a close companion of the Prophet (sa) was her maternal uncle. Her husband was Qais ibn Khateem.

Concern for Husband’s Activities

Hawa bint Yazid (ra) is among those forerunners who embraced Islam in its early days. While the Prophet (sa) was still in Makkah, she embraced Islam in Madinah. Her husband’s poetry worried Hawa (ra). Each time that she read: “As for the poets, the erring ones follow them. See you not that they speak about every subject (praising people – right or wrong) in their poetry.” (Ash-Shuara 26: 224-225), she asked Allah (swt) for his guidance. She wanted to share her spiritual feelings and thoughts with her spouse. She prayed that Allah (swt) might guide him just as He had guided her.

She admired the companions of the Prophet (sa), and wondered why her husband could not be like them. There were Hasaan ibn Thabith (ra) and Abdullah ibn Rawahah (ra) who were near to the Prophet (sa) because of their praiseworthy poetry. They promoted Islam with their compositions. Her husband’s vulgar poetry would upset her; he had no share in the defence and promotion of Islam. He spent his life in play and amusement. He preferred misguidance over guidance.

Her husband’s vulgar poetry would upset her; he had no share in the defence and promotion of Islam. He spent his life in play and amusement

Lessons to draw: There are some poets like Allama Muhammad Iqbal who used their power of pen for noble cause. This poet of the East was blessed by Allah (swt) with immense wisdom and reverence for his Creator. He acknowledged the true reality of this life and our insignificant position before Allah (swt). He knew we were not created purposelessly. We have a highly important role to play. He raised voice for the weak and oppressed. His poetry awakened the dead souls. Then there are those kinds of poets who do not give much thought to what they are composing. They only want poetry to be pleasing to the ears. In doing so, they might even commit Shirk (association of partners with Allah (swt) and invite people to do Haram (impermissible acts)). A writer or a poet must be really careful about where he is putting his energy, and what his pen is promoting. May we be a source of goodness for ourselves, our families and others, and neither choose Haram for ourselves nor call others to it, Ameen.

Love for the chosen religion

Like other early Muslims, Hawa (ra) concealed her conversion. She feared unkind treatment from her husband. Her story is similar to that of Aasiya (as), the wife of Pharaoh. Hawa (ra) gave precedence to her faith over everything else. She became fearless. She desired dying upon the true religion than dying upon idolatry.

While she tried her best to conceal her faith from her husband, she could not do so for long. One cannot hide his acts of worship from the people that they live with. They can drop in at the time for prayer and see the Muslim member praying a prayer different from theirs. The family may be seated for meal and the Muslim member does not eat anything because he is fasting. Same happened with Hawa (ra). One day her husband saw her praying. Then he saw her reading something on a leather and date skin. She was reciting words that he had never heard before. He found it strange.

Her story is similar to that of Aasiya (as), the wife of Pharaoh. Hawa (ra) gave precedence to her faith over everything else. She became fearless.

When Qais understood what Hawa (ra) was reciting was the Quran, his ego was invoked that his woman embraced Islam without his permission! Recall what Pharaoh said to the magicians when they said, “So the magicians fell down prostrate. They said: We believe in the Lord of Harun (Aaron) and Musa (Moses).”

“[Fir’aun (Pharaoh)] said: “Believe you in him [Musa (Moses)] before I give you permission?” (Ta-Ha 20: 70-71). A person who has tasted faith does not wait for someone’s permission. They follow their heart and submit before Allah (swt).

Qais did not wait for his wife to complete her prayer. While she was prostrating, he raised her up and threw her on the floor. He then laughed callously, feeling no remorse. The same act was repeated the next day too. Hawa (ra) remained patient. She could do nothing in her defence than weep and ask Allah (swt) for help. She prayed for her freedom and delightful moments. She prayed for strength to overpower her heartless husband.

When she was tested, she placed her complaint before her Lord, not the people. She only relied on Him.

Her husband continued his torture and mistreatment. He was distant from the Creator. His heart was void of any fear or moral values.  But what happens when one truly relies upon his Creator’s bounty and grace? He paves the way for them. Qais’s torture towards his wife became the talk of the town. Every house and tongue was talking about his cruel behaviour. Escaping the bounds of Madinah, the news soon reached Makkah – to the Prophet (sa).

Lessons to draw: Often when we begin practicing Islam, we label everyone else misguided. We call them to Islam in a condescending way. The young girl who does not wear Hijab is told she is from the people of hellfire. Hawa (ra) was married to a tyrant. While she desired his guidance, she was not even once disrespectful to him. When she was tested, she placed her complaint before her Lord, not the people. She only relied on Him. And He made the way for her.  Many times when we are tested, we only cry, but do not invoke Allah (swt) for help and ease. We should take our complaints to the most Powerful.

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

An Umrah to Remember

umrah“What is she reading… Blank pages?” I looked in bewilderment, as this girl came and sat next to me after Maghrib Salah at Masjid Nabawi and started reciting. I realised that she was blind and was reading the Braille Quran, it was the first time my eyes had set on a Quran with blank pages with just embossed dots.

Mesmerized, I fell into Sajdah Shukr- thanking Allah (swt) for being able to see His Kalam, to see the word ‘Allah (swt)’. I pause and ponder here for a moment- how many of us have a copy of the Quran in our homes, eyes to read, and yet, are oblivious to this immense blessing.

An image of a Braille Quran

An image of a Braille Quran

Another amazing moment, as I waited with restless, emotionally charged ladies of our country to get an opportunity to enter the Riyadh-ul-Jannah, I started to talk about the virtues of where we were sitting to a stranger companion who urged me to communicate all that to the rest of the group; so seeking permission from the Arab lady group in charge, Allah (swt) gave me an opportunity to address these ladies. I told the women how Allah (swt) had chosen us to be there, near our Prophet’s (sa) grave. So many people yearn and pray to visit his mosque where prayers are rewarded thousand times over normal prayers. We, therefore, in gratitude must not push, shove or hurt anyone, nor raise our voices, and should be fearful that the rewards we have come to gain, don’t turn into sins instead; alternatively, keep reciting Durud, focus on the fact the angels will take our Salam Insha’Allah to our Beloved Prophet (sa). The women listened wide-eyed, and wept too, and Alhumdulillah when we were called to enter the Riyadh-ul-Jannah area, the Pakistani group of ladies was relatively calmer.

The spirit of sharing and caring in the Prophet’s (sa) mosque was overwhelming. As I passed a number of Miswak to my companions, waiting in the mosque for Salah, a pretty girl opened her handbag and pressed a bottle of perfume in my palms. The scent was so delicate and back home it reminded me of my companion- her Duas, her love, as she gave me that gift, in our beloved Prophet’s (sa) mosque. It was so amazing- we did not speak the same language, yet the love for Allah’s (swt) sake is such a powerful emotion that it crosses all kinds of barriers. Reflection of warmth through eyes and gestures made that trip a source of love and peace, not experienced in any other journey.

As I passed a pack of sweet biscuits to the lady next to me, I noticed her thoroughly enjoying it. She read the wrapper and nodded in appreciation- making me realize how different tastes from different parts of the world too are a source of bonding with one another.

I observed as people would pour in before the Salah time, chairs were a much sought after item. It is good to guide people to where they are stacked. And that can only be done if you are observant and earmark the places.

Mondays to Thursdays after Asr prayers Halaqas are held, young children and ladies are taught to read proper Tajweed. The love and commitment of the teachers was amazing, and the students were so disciplined. One of the lessons that stayed in my mind is to constantly make Dua for acceptance of any good deed, small or big.

we did not speak the same language, yet the love for Allah’s (swt) sake is such a powerful emotion that it crosses all kinds of barriers.

As I approached Masjid Nabawi before the  Fajr Salah after keeping a voluntary fast, feeling a bit sad that I did not have dates for Sehri, a lady standing at the entrance of the mosque was eagerly distributing something. As I passed, she pressed the most delicious, juicy and fresh bunch of dates in my hand, Subhan’Allah; how Allah (swt) nourishes and fulfils our desires, even before we have had a chance to voice them.

It’s truly amazing how the voluntary Sunnah fasts of Mondays and Thursdays are opened with such zeal and enthusiasm at both the Mosques. Simple, yet the overwhelming warmth is an experience by itself. Adults and children all eagerly beckon you to join them at Iftari time. Arabic tea, dates, bread and yogurt- so nourishing and fulfilling- are such a contrast to our rich fried table spreads.

As the time to leave for Makkah drew close, sadness of leaving Madinah was soon engulfed with the excitement of Makkah and Umrah. As we stopped at the Miqat, I kept imagining how our Prophet (sa) and his companions (rta) too must have stopped at that point for entering into Ihram.

We entered Makkah just before Asr.  By that time, I had developed a slight fever and my throat was hurting too, coupled with the exhaustion of the drive. I decided I would wait till the next morning to perform my Umrah. Praying Asr in my hotel room, I decided to go to the mosque for Maghrib. I realized that the entrance had changed, and I never saw so many people before. Reading Duas I tried to reach the Kaaba, but due to the change I could not reach it, so I decided to retrace my footsteps in order to catch my Salah. Lo and behold, I had to visit the washroom. What to do? Where to find it? I tried to follow the instructions, but just could not seem to find it with so many people. I asked a sweeper, he tried to explain it to me but after seeing my eyes watery, he threw his broom to another and beckoned me to follow him, may Allah (swt) reward him. I cannot forget his act of kindness. Reminded me that a small gesture of ours can be too big of a help for others- it was a great comfort for me to have someone guiding.

The next morning Alhumdulillah, I performed the rituals of Umrah

The rush, the construction, the noise of the equipment, all seemed to fade away when compared to the over powering emotions one is engulfed with as one approaches the House of Allah (swt); I am the Guest of Allah (swt)- the honour, and love Allah (swt) bestows are beyond my capacity to express here in words. The peace, one just wants to sob and the nearness of the Almighty, wants one to never leave the Haram.

During Tawaf, a hand was placed on my shoulder. Instantly, I wanted to shrug it off, but when I looked carefully- a lady was supporting her other arm with a lady and she needed to stabilize so had to sought my help. I slowed downed my pace, so she could comfortably walk.  It was amazing how smooth that Tawaf was. And later, my husband inquired how could I manage  the Tawaf in a much lesser time than him. It reminded me of a beautiful Hadeeth:

I cannot forget his act of kindness. Reminded me that a small gesture of ours can be too big of a help for others

“Allah (swt) is helping the servant, as long as, the servant is helping his brother.” (Muslim)

After Salah, a group of Turkish ladies on my left invited me to eat with them. It was an amazing experience. There was so much energy and warmth in that group. They unrolled plastic sheet, placed bread, cheese from Turkey and olives. One of them would break the bread, spread the delicious cheese, add olives and pass it around. As soon as we had eaten, I shared my dry fruit from Pakistan. The most loved item was the dried round apricots. Once eaten, quickly the sheet was gathered, crumbs were cleaned up, and each of the ladies took out their copy of the Quran. One beckoned me to read first, while others listened. Turn by turn each one of us read a Surah and then just before Isha Salah, hands were lifted for Dua. We kissed, hugged and prayed for each other without speaking a common language. I felt I was in a dream. A dream I did not want to wake up from.

Later in the day, I paved my way through looking for a place for Asr Salah. Finally, as I identified a spot and had comfortably settled down with the Quran in my hand, a wheel chair edged next to me. Instantly, I felt disapproval as to how that wheelchair would fit in such a small space. The surrounding women too gave disapproving looks. And that is when I remembered how one should make space for other. I Squeezed, and beckoned others to do the same. The lady on the wheel chair gave a nod, and I noticed she managed to maneuver herself on the floor. And soon, she was lying down in front of us and started to read the Quran. No one said anything, but looks say it all.

The peace, one just wants to sob and the nearness of the Almighty, wants one to never leave the Haram.

After a while, she again managed to sit in her wheelchair, that is when we got to talk. She was from Argentina and came to Makkah with a group of women. She had a brace to support her spine, and she could neither walk, nor lie down, or sit for too long. I felt so ashamed of my negative thoughts for her and clasped the hands of that brave lady. She spoke English and soon we had our hearts pouring out to each other. After Salah, amidst tears of love for meeting each other, she asked me when would we ever meet. Knowing no answer, spontaneously I said, ‘Jannah!’ Ameen. More hugs and tears rolled down our cheeks praying for our friendship for Allah’s (swt) sake.  .

“Allah (swt) will ask on the Day of Judgement, Where are those who loved each other for the sake of My glory? Today, on a day when there is no shade but Mine, I shall shade them with My shade.” (Muslim)

There is yet more- in fact, I could go on and on, but lastly, a glistening pearl Tasbeeh was handed out to me during Tawaf. Memories of precious moments flood back only to engulf me to pray for more return visits.

”O Allah (swt) I ask You for Your Love and the love of those whom You Love and the actions that will cause me to attain Your Love”

The Massacre of Karbala – A Historical Analysis



1. This topic is a very contentious and emotional one. It’s possible to stoke the flame of anger and Shaykh Yasir Qadhi vehemently insists that he’s opposed to any hatred and bigotry. The purpose of this lecture is to educate, and discuss the incident of Karbala.

2. The Karbala massacre is a detailed event of history and history is, by its nature, subjective. We cannot go into a detailed analysis, so it’s going to be a summarized version of this event. The interpretations given are standard Sunni interpretations and by and large, it is agreed upon within Sunni scholarship. Our version will be based upon the works by Ibn Katheer, Ibn Hajar, etc.

Hussain ibn Ali (rta)

He was born in Shaban 4 AH, less than a year after Hasan (rta) was born. There are many Ahadeeth in which Hasan (rta) and Hussain (rta) are praised. Prophet Muhammad (sa) said that they would be the leaders of the young men of paradise, and called them “my two sweet basils”. (Bukhari)

Hussain (rta) lived in Madinah, until Ali (rta) became Khaleefah at which point Hussain (rta) moved to Kufa (Iraq) and lived there along with his brother, Hasan (rta). When Ali (rta) was assassinated by the Khawarij (a deviant sect), Hasan (rta) was given the oath of allegiance by the Kufans. Muawiyah (rta), who was the governor of Damascus at the time, was also given allegiance but by the people of Syria. Muawiyah (rta) and Hasan (rta) were about to go to war. However, Hasan (rta) decided to resign after six months in order to prevent more bloodshed. The Sunni scholarship believes that Hasan (rta) was more worthy of being Caliph at that time. The people of Kufa accepted his decision with great difficulty. Even Hussain (rta) was opposed to this decision but he was calmed down by Hasan (rta). After Hasan’s (rta) resignation, the brothers went back to Madinah, where Hussain lived till the death of Muawiyah (rta) in 60 AH. Hasan (rta) passed away in 51 AH, and during that time, Muawiyah (rta) nominated Yazeed (his son) as his successor.


Yazeed was the grandson of Abu Sufyan (rta) and the son of Muawiyah (rta). He was born in 26 AH and at a very young age, his father put him in charge of the army which attacked Constantinople. Hussain (rta) had also participated in this battle, alongside Yazeed. There is a Hadeeth narrated by Bukhari in which the Prophet (sa) said: “The first army of my Ummah which will attack the city of Caeser will be forgiven.” So we acknowledge that this is the army which was led by Yazeed, and this is one positive thing about him.

Hussain (rta) refuses to pledge allegiance to Yazeed

When Yazeed was nominated as successor, there were three men to whom the Ummah was looking, as to what their reaction will be. They were:

  1. Ibn Umar (rta)
  2. Abdullah ibn Zubair (rta)
  3. Hussain (rta)

Ibn Umar (rta) made the decision to be apolitical in the interest of not shedding more blood of the Muslims. Ibn Zubair (rta) decided to revolt and he went to Makkah. He was killed after the Karbala incident.

Sunni scholarship believes that it is allowed for a person to be Caliph in the Muslim Ummah when there are other people more worthy of the title. Also, we have the right to disagree with the political decisions made by the companions, but we cannot doubt their Niyyah (intention).

The third person was Hussain (rta). After Muawiyah’s (rta) death, the governor of Madinah called him and asked him to give the oath of allegiance to Yazeed. He refused, and the governor wasn’t harsh. Hence, he let it go. Hussain (rta) went straight to Madinah, and news spread that Hussain (rta) has refused to pledge the oath of allegiance. The people of Kufa rejoiced at this news, and started sending letters after letters to Hussain (rta), imploring him to come over to Kufa and promising that they will pledge allegiance to him. Hussain (rta) decided to send his cousin Muslim bin Aqeel to Kufa to check out the situation and confirm what these letters had stated.

Muslim bin Aqeel leaves for Kufa

Muslim bin Aqeel left with a small group of people and reached Kufa in Dhul-Qadah, 60 AH. Here, the response of Kufan residents was tremendous. Thousands of people came to Muslim bin Aqeel and pledged allegiance to Hussain (rta).

Muslim bin Aqeel was overjoyed. He immediately sent a letter to Hussain (rta), confirming the statements of the letters and asking him to come immediately to Kufa. Now, the news that the people of Kufa are preparing to revolt reached Yazeed. He decided to send the most vicious politician he had to Kufa to stop this revolt. That politician was Ibn Ziyad, a man in his late twenties, who only wanted to rise in the ranks of power, and for that, he was prepared to do anything.

Ibn Ziyad isolates Muslim bin Aqeel

Ibn Ziyad reached Kufa with a small entourage of people at Fajr time, and at first, the people of Kufa thought he was Hussain (rta). They started rejoicing and calling out to him, and he immediately understood that the rumors he had heard were indeed true and there was an uprising in the making in Kufa. One of the first things Ibn Ziyad did was to dismiss the present governor, and become governor of Kufa. He employed a shrewd method to find out where Muslim bin Aqeel was hiding. In order to isolate him, Ibn Ziyad negotiated with each tribe’s members who were supporting Muslim bin Aqeel, urging them to call their tribe back from fighting, bribing them with money, increase in ranks, emotional blackmail, or whatever worked. At the end of the day, everybody abandoned Muslim bin Aqeel, and all it had taken for them to do so, was money and power.

When Muslim bin Aqeel was eventually forced to surrender, he conveyed the message to Ibn Ashar (who was one of those who had captured him) to go immediately to Hussain (rta) and warn him that the tide had completely turned in Kufa, and to go straight back to Madinah. He told him to convey to Hussain (rta) that the Kufans had lied and betrayed them.

On 9th Dhul-Hijjah, Muslim bin Aqeel was publicly executed by being thrown off from the highest tower of the city. Before being thrown off, he said, “O Allah, be the judge between us and those who abandoned us…”

Hussain bin Ali (rta) leaves for Kufa

Now Hussain (rta) was on his way. He had left Makkah on the 8th of Dhul-Hijjah, one day before Muslim bin Aqeel was publicly executed. In Makkah, every senior companion tried to dissuade him from this journey. They reminded him that the people of Kufa were not to be trusted, since they had also betrayed his father, Ali (rta). Hussain (rta) insisted that the Kufans had sent him letters of support and so many people cannot betray all at once. Some of the companions who tried to stop him were Ibn Abbas (rta), Abdullah ibn Umar (rta) and Abu Saeed al Khudri (rta). Hussain (rta) also insisted on leaving because his intention was not to have any bloodshed in Makkah.

Hence, Hussain (rta) went and sent a messenger to Kufa, announcing that he will be there soon. He had no clue what had already happened in Kufa. The messenger was caught and was executed in Kufa. Hussain (rta) sent a second messenger, who was also executed. But before his execution, he shouted out to the Kufans that Hussain (rta) was just around the corner!

Now Hussain (rta) got the message by Ibn Ashar (who had promised Muslim bin Aqeel to get the message to Hussain (rta)). Hussain (rta) was now convinced that his journey was indeed in vain and that the whole climate in Kufa was changed. But now, it was rather too late. Even if he wanted to turn back, the sons of Muslim bin Aqeel (who were in his entourage) wanted revenge for the death of their father. Others said to Hussain (rta) that the people of Kufa has done this with Muslim bin Aqeel, but they would surely never ever do this with the grandson of the Prophet (sa). Hence, Hussain (rta) decided to proceed to Kufa.

Sunni scholarship believes that Hussain (rta) did not march on to a suicide mission. He truly believed in the Kufan promises when he made the decision to go forward.

Troops intercept Hussain (rta) at Karbala

Ibn Ziyad heard of this and at this time, a large number of troops had been sent to fight the Daylamites (an Iranian tribe). He intercepted them and sent them to fight Hussain (rta). These troops caught up with Hussain (rta) in the plain of Karbala, very close to Kufa. At this point, many people, who had joined Hussain (rta), left. Around 70 people were left, and they were part of his family. The leader of the troops was Umar bin Sad bin Abi Waqqas (rta). He was the son of a famous companion of the Prophet (sa). He was reluctant to harm these people but he didn’t stand up to the orders given to him by Ibn Ziyad. Umar sent a message to Hussain (rta), asking him why he was here. In response, Hussain (rta) showed him the bags of letters he had received from the Kufans, and explained that this is why he was here. He then said that if the Kufans do not want him, he will go back. This message was sent to Ibn Ziyad. This was 3rd of Muharram, 61 AH. The siege actually lasted only five days.

Exchange of options

Ibn Ziyad, upon receiving Hussain’s (rta) message, sent back this message: Pledge allegiance to Yazeed on my hand. Of course, Hussain (rta) wouldn’t do that and this is expected of him. He gave Ibn Ziyad three options:

  1. Let me go back to Makkah
  2. Let me talk directly to Yazeed
  3. Banish me to a faraway land, where I spend the rest of my days, worshipping Allah.

Ibn Ziyad, in his arrogance, didn’t listen to any of these choices. He refused everything and insisted that Hussain (rta) should give Bayah on his hand or it’s going to be war. Now, a key point to note is that during these five days, it is impossible that a message got to Damascus, and Yazeed got to know of these happenings, and ordered for Hussain (rta) be killed. Hence, Sunni scholarship believes that the main culprit in this was Ibn Ziyad. This doesn’t mean everybody else was free of blame.

Hussain (rta) refused to pledge allegiance on Ibn Ziyad’s hand and Ibn Ziyad sent his most ferocious commander Shimr to Karbala, because he sensed that Umar ibn Sad bin Abi Waqqas was a soft person. Shimr arrived at Karbala on the 9th of Muharram. There was a lot of tension in both camps. Some people among the 4000 troops (sent to fight the Daylamites) fled. They had no intention of fighting the grandson of the Prophet (sa). Some even defected and came over to Hussain’s (rta) side.

Fighting and martyrdom

On the morning of 10th Muharram, it was a brutal scene. Around 70 men were versus an army of 3000-4000 brutal men. The fighting began. Nobody dared to lift a hand against Hussain (rta). It was Shimr who led his team forward and dealt the fatal blow, which martyred Hussain (rta). Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi Rajioon.

Hussain’s head was brought to Ibn Ziyad, who took a stick and poked at it, while saying vulgar things. Anas ibn Malik (rta) couldn’t stand this. He stood up and chastised Ibn Ziyad’s actions and said to him that he had seen the Prophet (sa) kiss the lips that were being poked by Ibn Ziyad in such a vulgar fashion. Some reports say that the head of Hussain (rta) was sent to Yazeed and he poked it, but this is the minority opinion in Sunni scholarship.

There was only one male survivor of that massacre: Ali (Zain ul Aabideen), the son of Hussain (rta) who was in the women’s tent because he was sick. Nobody else survived this brutal act.

Who is to blame?

There are many to be blamed for this brutal act of Islamic history.

1. People of Kufa

They claimed to support Hussain (rta) no matter what. But in the end, while Hussain (rta) was trapped in Karbala for five days, practically next door to them, they didn’t budge. Nobody came out to help Hussain (rta).

2. Ibn Ziyad

He had shown arrogance and brutality in his dealing with Hussain (rta). Allah (swt) punished him during his life. His life was riddled with battles, and his death also resulted in decapitation. His head too, was brought to the court and humiliated. Not only that, but in front of the terrified crowd, a snake slithered up to his head, went up his nose and disappeared.

3. Umar ibn Sad

Some scholars also blame him for not standing up to Ibn Ziyad and refusing to fight Hussain (rta).

4. Shimr and his team

This was the man who dealt the final blows to Hussain (rta) and ultimately murdered him.

5. Yazeed ibn Muawiyah ibn Abu Sufyan

He is not absolved of this incident. Ultimately, he was the ruler at that time, who had sent Ibn Ziyad to Kufa. We don’t curse him by name, but he takes a good share of the blame for the massacre at Karbala. He may not have intended to kill Hussain (ra). He said that he had not asked for him to be killed when Hussain’s (ra) head was brought to him. Also, he wrapped it up in a cloth, and returned it to Hussain’s family. But he didn’t punish any of the perpetrators, too. So there is no doubt that he takes a good share of the blame.


Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal’s son asked him whether he should love Yazeed. Imam replied: “Can anybody with Iman love Yazeed?” His son further asked: “Shall we curse him?” The Imam replied: “Have you seen me curse anybody by name?” This is our conclusion. We don’t curse anybody by name, but we do say: “Lanat Al-Allahi ‘Ala Az-Zalimeen” (May Allah’s curse be on the unjust).

Please note that these are the excerpts from the full talk transcribed exclusively for Hiba Magazine’s blog by one of our readers. You can listen to the audio of Shaykh Yasir Qadhi’s talk by downloading it – click here to download. All copyrights belong to AlMaghrib Institute.