Praise be to Allah, who united the believers in a bond of brotherhood, exhorting them on co-operation, goodness, righteousness and mutual respect as regards one’s property and honor. As it was put by the Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam), property, honor, and life are all to be held sacred among Muslims. I testify that none worthy to be worshiped but Allah Alone, with Whom there is no associate. He is the Lord of heavens and earth. I testify that Muhammad (pbuh – peace be upon him) is Allah’s servant and Chosen Messenger. May Allah bless him, his family, his Companions and those who will follow them, as long as this world exists.
O people! Muslims now suffer two rampant diseases, though immunity from them is easy for those who are protected by Allah. These two diseases are backbiting and tale-bearing. Backbiting (Ghibah) denotes maligning a person, speaking evil about any of his characteristics or his deeds. Many of the counsels of Muslims today are not free from indulgence in backbiting people and criticizing them, despite the fact that those backbiters themselves are not free from faults and blemishes; rather they harm themselves and those who listen to their reports without denouncing them.
O Muslims! Allah presented one who backbites his fellow Muslims in the most repulsive picture, in which he is depicted as eating the flesh of the dead body of one who is backbitten.
O Muslims! Your duty when you hear others backbite your brothers is to be earnest to forbid the backbiter and to defend the honors of Muslims, just as the case when you find a man eating from the flesh of a dead body. Allah the Almighty said what means: “O you who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin: and spy not on each other, nor speak ill of each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, ye would abhor it. But fear Allah: for Allah is Oft Returning, Most Merciful”
It is likely that a backbiter will be punished on the Day of Resurrection by ordering him to eat from the flesh of the dead bodies of those whom he backbit in the world, who will be presented as dead in front of him. It was narrated in the Hadith relating the story of Mi’raj (Ascent) that: “The Prophet (Sallahu’Alaihi wasalam) passed by people with copper fingernails, with which they scratch their own faces and chests. He asked: “Who are those, Jibraeel (Angel Gabriel)?” It was answered: “Those are the people who eat the flesh of other people and vilify their honor.” The Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said in an occasion: “O you who declared faith with your tongues, but your hearts are not imbued with faith! Do not backbite Muslims, and do not search for their faults, for if anyone searches for their faults, Allah will search for his fault, and if Allah searches for the fault of anyone, He disgraces and exposes him in his house”.
O Muslims! Sometimes when backbiters are advised to give up such bad habit, they plead innocence by stating that they are telling the truth. The Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) was asked concerning backbiting thus: “Suppose that there are actual faults in the one I am talking about?” The Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) replied: “If what you tell about your brother (in faith) is truth, then you will still be guilty of backbiting, but if what you say concerning him is untruth, you will be guilty of committing falsehood against him”. Thus, the Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) explained to his Ummah that backbiting denotes mentioning the real faults of a person. However, the worse evil is to backbite a believer by mentioning faults, which are not in him. Imam Ahmad, as well as the scholars who adopted his school, maintained that backbiting is one of the major sins. This gives a warning to Muslims to stop backbiting others and to be concerned with their own faults. Once a person finds a fault with his brother, he should advice him and guide him to eliminate such fault rather than vilifying him. This is the requisite for establishing a real bond of brotherhood based on faith, and the torch that guides to the way of Islamic methodology.
The other rampant disease is Namimah (tale-bearing, or going about with calumnies), which denotes carrying the statements made against some people and transmitting such statements to those backbitten people, with the aim of spreading corruption and sowing enmity and hatred among people. This kind of Namimah is considered the most grievous of all, and one who is guilty of it is to incur torture in the grave, as well as the torment of the Fire of Hell. The Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said: “No talebearer shall ever enter Paradise.” The Prophet (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) once passed by two graves and said: “They (The dwellers of these graves) are now being tortured, because of something which was not difficult to resist: One of them neglected cleansing his genitals following urination and the others was given to tale-bearing.”
O Muslims! Anyone, to whom a report is carried, telling that someone is vilifying him, should condemn such an act and forbid the tale-carrier from persisting in his sin. He should also take care of such a talebearer for, just as he carries tales of people to him, he most likely carries tales from him to other people. Allah the Almighty says which translates as: “Heed not the type of despicable man, ready with oaths, a slanderer, going about with calumnies,” (Al-Qalam: 10 -11).
May Allah guide us all to the best of manners and deeds and keep us away from the bad manners and deeds and guide us to His straightforward path, for He is Most Bounteous, Most Generous. May Allah bless our Prophet Muhammad (Salla Allahu Alaihi Wa Sallam), his family and his Companions.
Physically speaking, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the most handsome of people. He was of medium height, not too tall and not too short, of medium build, of white going slightly red-brown skin color, with a completely full head of shiny black slightly curly hair that would reach to his shoulders at its longest, hair which was sometimes dyed slightly red and/or yellow, a taut neck, an extended black thick beard with a few white hairs, firm un-raised cheeks, a fine slender nose, wide white eyes with a slight reddish tinge with strikingly black pupils, a flat chest and stomach, well-statured, thick heavy hands with slightly long fingers, very soft palms, smooth large feet, no excess fat or flesh on the heels, and a gait of one leaning slightly forward when he walked. May Allah bless and bestow peace upon him.
He had a large back, broad shoulders, in between which slightly to the left one could see the Seal of Prophethood – a slightly raised piece of skin with a small grouping of hair. May Allah bless and bestow peace upon him.
When he met people, he would turn his whole body to meet them. He was the first to greet people, having a wide smile, with a face that was immersed in blessed light that shone and radiated like a bright moon.
He had a firm handshake which he would not let go of until the other person let go yet at the same time was so gentle that if a small girl was to take his hand and lead him around the town, he would follow in tow.
It was difficult for people to compose themselves in his presence due to the sheer awe of his countenance and the shock of how handsome he was. His gravitas and presence was such that despite his medium height, he seemed taller than those surrounding him. May Allah bless and bestow peace upon him.
He would love to wear cotton shirts, some similar to a thawb, short and long but never below the ankles, sometimes short-sleeved so that one could see his white clean arm-pits and sometimes long to his wrists. He disliked woollen garments except for the occasional use of a woolen over-garment, mostly white yet sometimes colorful garments particularly striped, sometimes red-striped, but never wore anything saffron in color. He would wear a turban, sometimes a two-piece outfit with a sarong type lower garment, and would accept and wear the clothes of foreigners given to him as a gift. May Allah bless and bestow peace upon him.
– Based on authentic narrations. Please see the “Commentary to the Shama’il Al-Muhammadiyyah”
Here are the punishments in front of Hell in front of us. Realize and see where you are standing now…..
1. Hell is so deep that if a stone were to be thrown into, it would travel for 70 years to reaching at the bottom.
2. The breadth of each of the four walls around Hell is equivalent to a distance covered by a walking journey of 40 years.
3. Hell has 7 gates.
4. Hell had been lit for one thousand years until its flames became red. Again it was heated for another thousand years till its color became white. Still again it was burnt for further thousand years and its white color flames turned pitch black.
5. Even the fiercest fire of this world is 70 fold cooler than the fire of Hell.
6. The lightest punishment in Hell would be the wearing of “Fiery shoes” which would cause one’s brain to boil.
7. Hell in infested with venomous donkeys and if they were to bite a person then he or she will suffer pain for 40 years.
8. For food, the dweller of Hell would be given Zaqqum which is a prickly tree, so bitter, that even if a single molecule of it were to spill onto this earth it would make all the foodstuff of the world bitter and unpalatable.
9. For drinking, the denizen of Hell would be provided with hot, boiling pus mixed with blood, matter and tears etc. of the dwellers of Hell. If a bucket of this foul liquid were to be splashed over this earth, the entire world would be upset and disrupted by its most foul stink.
10. Boiling water would be poured over Jahannami’s head and this will cause their internal organs to melt and leak out through their feet.
11. The inmates of Hell would be lashed with heavy clubs of iron. If one such club was to be placed upon this earth, the combined strength of all the human beings, as well as all the Jinns, would fail to lift it; and if a mountain is struck with one of these clubs it would cause the whole mountain to disintegrate.
12. The dwellers of Hell would be burnt daily for 70 thousand times.. Every time, after the skin and flesh is burnt; they would be restored to life so that they can continuously taste this punishment.
13. A drunkard will be given blood, pus, sweat, filth, etc.. to drink in hell.
14. All the haughty people will be gathered in the Hereafter and driven towards Hell but their bodies would be reduced to the size of ants and they will be given to consume the excretions of the dwellers of Hell.
15. Some sinners would be made to climb “SAUD” which is a mountain of fire in Hell, and then dropped from its peak and this process would continue forever and ever.
16. The dwellers of Hell would be pound in chains which would be greater in length than the distance between the sky and the earth.
17. The clothes of sinners in Hell would be highly inflammable.
18. Beside physical torture, the dwellers of Hell would also be subjected to mental harassment through the taunting by the guardian of Hell who will remind them of their misdeed on earth and remarks “Now taste the fire” etc.
19. The sinners and disbelievers would be humiliated to such an extent that besides their revolting ugliness and pitch black faces, their upper lips would be touching their foreheads and the lower lip dangling around the navel.
20. The dwellers of Hell would weep so much and shed so much of tears and blood that furrows would be formed on their cheeks.
21. The tongues of Hell-inmates would be so long and protruding from there mouths that others would trample and step on them.
22. Shayateen will also rebuke the denizens of Hell.
23. The dwellers of Hell would display their rage and fury on those who led them astray.
24. The inhabitants of Hell would appeal to the guardians of Jahannam to intercede on their behalf in the court of Allah but their pleas would reject. They would make direct supplication to Allah but their prayers would not be granted.
25. They will then abide forever in Hell, continuously lamenting and braying like asses (jungle animals).
Happiness is the word that sums up the first marriage of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Khadijah gave him all that a man needs from a loving, caring and thoughtful wife. When we remember that Khadijah was a woman of sound mind and willing to place duty above comfort, we realize that the Prophet had nothing to worry about at home as he went about delivering his message and discharging the task assigned to him by God. He appreciated all that she gave him and her memory remained alive with him to his last day. As it is well known, the Prophet lived with Khadijah for 25 years without ever entertaining a thought of marrying another woman, although polygamy was accepted as perfectly normal in his community, if not throughout the world. After she passed away, he married several wives but she retained her supreme position in his heart. Ayesha, the one of his later wives he loved most says: “No woman did I envy as much as I envied Khadijah, even though the Prophet married me only after she had died.”
What distinguished Khadijah was the fact that she was the only one of the Prophet’s wives who married him 15 years or longer before the start of his message. She was a mature woman who had married twice before and had children through her earlier marriages. She was the one to propose marriage, because Muhammad (peace be upon him) could not have thought that such a marriage would have been possible, due to his poverty while Khadijah was a rich woman who employed him and others on her business. She recognized his fine qualities and refined character. Their mutual love was of the deeply rooted, profound type that gets stronger every day.
When the Prophet began to receive his message, she gave him all the reassurance he needed. It was the sort of reassurance that a wise woman could give, looking at her husband’s character and standing. When he expressed his worries after his first encounter with the angel, she said to him: “You have nothing to fear; be calm and relax. God will not let you suffer humiliation, because you are kind to your relatives, you speak the truth, you assist anyone in need, you are hospitable to your guest and you help in every good cause.” A man who combined all these characteristics would never be humiliated by God. Hence, once she realized the nature of the message assigned to him, she was the first to believe in him. She continued to give him her unwavering support to the last day of her life. When she passed away, the Prophet called that year ‘the year of sorrow’. A few weeks earlier he had lost his uncle Abu Talib who ensured his protection and supported him against the combined efforts of his people, the overwhelming majority of whom remained strongly opposed to his message.
The Prophet lived 13 years after Khadijah had passed away during which he married several women. Yet he continued to cherish her memory to his last day. Her position in his heart and mind is summed up in the following Hadith reported by Ayesha: “Halah bint Khuwaylid (Khadijah’s sister) announced herself as she came visiting the Prophet. The Prophet was startled as she sounded very similar to Khadijah. He said: ‘My Lord, let that be Halah.’ I felt jealous and said: ‘Why do you keep remembering an elderly woman from the Quraysh, with reddened mouth edges, who had died long ago, when God has given you a wife better than she was?’ He said: ‘By God, He has not given me better than her. She believed in me when others denied me, gave me full support when others let me down, and helped me with her money when others left me deprived. ” (Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) delivered a passionate and soul-stirring sermon during his first and only Haj on the 9th of Dhul Hijjah – the day of Arafah. The sermon, which is popularly known as the Farewell Sermon, is recorded in several authentic books of Ahadith, including Sahih Al-Bukhari and Musnad Ahmad. The Prophet (peace be upon him) did not live till next year’s Haj and this was his farewell address to the tens of thousands of Muslims who did the pilgrimage with him.
“O People, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Treat others justly so that no one would be unjust to you. Remember that you will indeed meet your Lord, and that He will indeed reckon your deeds.”
The Prophet also exhorted the Muslims to fear Allah regarding women and to keep their hands off each other’s wealth and property. The 9th of Dhul Hijjah is sacred even for those Muslims who are not performing Haj. Its fast is an expiation for sins committed in the previous year and the next. (Sahih Muslim, no. 1162)
The sight of hundreds of thousands of Muslims embarking on their journey of Haj, proclaiming the talbiyah, telecast all around the world calls us to think about the time when Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) built the Ka’bah with his son Isma’il in the scorching, arid, and barren valley of Makkah thousands of years ago. He found it incredible that people would one day throng this Sacred House, in this uninhabited land, to answer their Lord’s call for Haj. He therefore prayed for Makkah to be blessed with fruit and provision from all around, and for people’s hearts to be inclined towards its people.
“O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Your Sacred House; in order, O our Lord, that they may establish regular Prayer: so fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allah) provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks.” (Qur’an, 14:37)
He then proceeded, in submission to Allah’s command, to make the call for Haj to all mankind. Allah responded by declaring that a day would come, when this Sacred House would bring forth pilgrims from every distant valley, and on every riding beast available to them; they would come, responding to Allah’s call for Haj.
“And proclaim to mankind the Haj (pilgrimage). They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, they will come from every deep and distant (wide) mountain highway (to perform Haj).” (Qur’an, 22:27)
The blessing is apparent. The Muslim Ummah, though divided today by sects, groups, and international borders, unites into one nation. Yes, we all unite during Haj, Alhamdulillah. We put everything aside to respond to Allah’s call. All pilgrims gather together on a single stretch of land – the plain of Arafah. Away from their comfortable homes, dressed in a pair of unstitched cloths, their faces covered with dust, their heads unprotected from the sun, their bellies half-empty, and their hearts humbled, they stand in remembrance of their Lord, turning to Him in repentance and submission. The most diehard of sinners can, on this day, transform into a humble, penitent servant with the mercy of Allah.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There is no day on which Allah frees more of His slaves from the Fire than the day of Arafah. He draws close then He praised them before the angels and says, ‘What do these people want?’” (Sahih Muslim, no. 1348)
After returning from Arafah, however, some unfortunate Muslims fall into the trap of Satan and fall into petty disputes about petty matters! They forget the essence of Haj, which teaches valuable lessons of mutual harmony and forbearance, as the Prophet advised in his last sermon.
Nothing rings true as much as the part of his sincere speech quoted below, the message of which, if Muslims were to take back home with them after Haj, would change their attitudes for good: “Know that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim, which belongs to a fellow Muslim, unless it is given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, be unjust to yourselves.” (Al-Bukhari, no. 1623; and Muslim, no. 98)
1. This is a journey that was under taken by Prophets and Messengers before you. Those who take the path of the Prophets affirm the Tawheed of Allah. Some come to perform Haj with their hearts attached to other than Allah. They invoke the dead and the righteous, whether present or absent. Such actions are the opposite of Tawheed (which means to worship Allah alone). They are Shirk no matter what people may term them because those deeds amount to setting up partners with Allah. So, free your intention from any devotion to other than Allah. Repent and come with a sincere heart submitting to Allah (alone) remembering what Prophet Ibrahim and his son Isma’il (peace be upon him) said when they were raising the foundations of Allah’s House, the Ka’ba:
“Our Lord! And make us submissive unto You and of our offspring a nation submissive unto You, and show us our Manasik (all the ceremonies of pilgrimage – Haj and Umrah, etc.), and accept our repentance. Truly, You are the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.” (Qur’an, 2:128)
2. You are set to depart and you may or may not return to your home. Make this journey to Allah’s House as Allah wants it. Think of the next journey that is surely coming, the one that leads to the meeting with Allah, Most High. This raises questions like: What did I prepare for that Day? Am I following Allah’s Commands? Am I a follower of the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)? Do I really know Allah?
“And invoke not any other ilah (god) along with Allah, La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshiped but He). Everything will perish save His Face. His is the Decision, and to Him you (all) shall be returned.” (Qur’an, 28:88)
3. When you reach the Meeqat, remind yourself that there is another Meeqat that is still to come. It is the Meeqat (appointed meeting) on the Day of Resurrection:
“Say (O Muhammad, peace be upon him): ‘(Yes) verily, those of old, and those of later times. All will surely be gathered together for appointed Meeting of a known Day.’” (Qur’an, 56:49-50)
4. When you start the Talbiyah remember the Command of Allah to Prophet Ibrahim (Peace be upon him):
“And proclaim to mankind the Haj (pilgrimage). They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, they will come from every deep and distant (wide) mountain highway (to perform Haj).” (Qur’an, 22:27)
The Talbiyah you make is in response to Prophet Ibrahim’s (peace be upon him) proclamation to visit Allah’s house of worship.
5. Upon entering Makkah remember that you are in the Secure Sanctuary:
“Have We not established for them a secure sanctuary (Makkah), to which are brought fruits of all kinds, a provision from Ourselves, but most of them know not.” (Qur’an, 28:57)
Let one devote himself to seeking repentance, having a good view of Allah, hoping that Allah will grant him security from His Punishment.
6. You will enter one of the gates of Al-Masjid Al-Haraam. Then there you are before the magnificent House of Allah, Most High, the Ka’bah. Now you see what you hoped to see for a long time. Thank Allah for making this possible and hope that He will grant you the greatest reward of seeing His Majestic Face on the Day of Resurrection. This thankfulness is not just in saying Alhamdulillah, but by obeying Allah while on Haj and for the rest of your life.
7. You start your Tawaf knowing that it is a great time for glorifying Allah. Remember Him by His Names, Attributes and Actions. Also while in Tawaf try to reflect upon the time when Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was prevented from doing the same thing you are doing today.
Then think about what he did in clearing out the site from the symbols that were worshiped besides Allah. All idols were demolished. Make lots of du’a. Ask Allah to guide you to hold on to the correct belief till your death. Ask Allah to save you from all forms of Shirk and Bid’ah.