- Hell is so deep that if a stone were to be thrown into it, it would travel for 70 years to reaching at the bottom.
- The breadth of each of the four walls around Hell is equivalent to a distance covered by a walking journey of 40 years.
- Hell has 7 gates.
- 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.
- Even the most fierce fire of this world is 70 fold cooler than the fire of Hell .
- The lightest punishment in Hell would be the wearing of ” Fiery shoes which would cause one’s brain to boil.
- Hell in infested with venomous snakes and scorpions of the size of donkeys and if they were to bite a person then he or she will suffer pain for 40 years.
- 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.
- For drinking, the denizen of Hell would be provided with hot, boiling pus mixed with blood, matter, urine 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.
- Boiling water would be poured over Jahannami’s head and this will cause their internal organs to melt and leak out through their feet.
WHAT are the blessings of Hajj? One may describe them in great detail. But, in the Qur’an, where Allah instructs Prophet Ibrahim to invite people to come to Hajj, so : “That they may witness things that are of benefit to them…” (22: 28)
Hence, the real blessings of Hajj can only be experienced by those who actually perform it. Imam Abu Hanifah, it is narrated, was unsure which act of worship was more excellent among the various ones laid down by Islam. But once he had performed Hajj, he had no hesitation in declaring that Hajj was the most excellent of all.
I shall now try to give you, briefly, some idea of its blessings.
We usually think of journeys as of two kinds: those made for business and those made for pleasure. In both cases, it is to fulfill your worldly desires and benefit yourselves that you leave your homes, separate from families, spend money — all is done for your own sake. No question arises of sacrifice for any higher, sublime purpose.
But the journey that is the Hajj is quite different in nature. This is not meant for any personal end. It is undertaken solely for Allah and the fulfillment of the duty prescribed by Allah. Nobody can be prepared to undertake this journey until and unless he has love of Allah in his heart, as well as fear of Him, and is convinced that Allah wants him to do what he is doing. That you are willing to bear the hardships arising from separation from your family, to incur great expenses on a journey that will bring no material rewards, and to suffer any loss of business or job, all are signs of certain inner qualities: that you love and fear Allah more than anything, that you have a strong sense of duty to Him, that you are willing to respond to His summons and ready to sacrifice your material comforts in His cause.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) married Sawdah bint Zam’ah (radi allahu anha) a short while after the death of his first and most beloved wife, Khadijah (radi allahu anha) , with whom he shared a very happy 25 years of his blessed life. Sawdah (radi allahu anha) was a mature woman, around 40 years of age, and a mother of five children. This marriage gave Sawdah (radi allahu anha) uplift in her life, for she had been mourning her husband, Al-Sakran ibn Amr, who died soon after the couple had returned from Abyssinia, where a number of the Prophet’s companions had gone a few years earlier to establish a second base for Islam, away from the persecution in Makkah. She was now married to God’s messenger, who was renowned for his fine character and compassion, in addition to the great qualities that fitted him to be the recipient of God’s final message to mankind.
Scholars and writers about the Prophet and his character often explain his marriages in terms of different needs: Some political, others social, and some even legislative. While such reasons were certainly present in many of his marriages, they are not the overriding reasons for any. Each of his marriages expressed a desire to be united with the lady in question. In Sawdah’s case, we read explanations that he wanted to compensate her for the loss of her husband. The fact is that the Prophet needed a new wife after Khadijah (radi allahu anha) had passed away, and the qualities he needed in his new wife were maturity, kindness and being a believer in his message. Sawdah (radi allahu anha) answered all these. She was the one to take care of his two unmarried daughters, Umm Kulthoom (radi allahu anha) and Fatimah (radi allahu anha) .
We see some aspects of Sawdah’s (radi allahu anha) maturity in the fact that when other wives came into the Prophet’s home and jealousies surfaced between them, leading to the emergence of two camps, Sawdah (radi allahu anha) did not join either group. She remained loyal to her husband, giving him all that he needed of love and care. Nor did she ever express, in word or gesture, any feeling of jealousy when she realized that the Prophet’s heart leaned toward a particular one of his wives. On the contrary, we see her rising to the sublime as she realized that the Prophet’s heart favored Aishah (radi allahu anha) above all others, but he had to maintain fairness between all his wives. He would not allow himself to give Aishah (radi allahu anha) an hour more than he would give every one of his other wives. Therefore, in her eagerness to please the Prophet, Sawdah (radi allahu anha) made a gift of her nights to Aishah (radi allahu anha) . This was a voluntary gift, motivated only by her desire to please her husband. Thus, every time it was Sawdah’s (radi allahu anha) turn, the Prophet would visit her in the evening before going to spend the rest of the night at Aishah’s (radi allahu anha) place.
Sawdah’s (radi allahu anha) action speaks much about her character. She was a woman who loved to be kind to others, and enjoyed giving them what pleases them.
She wished to remain married to the Prophet and be always remembered by Muslims throughout the world as a ‘mother of all believers’ as his wives earned this title. At the same time, she wanted to give greater pleasure to her husband and the one whom he loved most among his wives. Hence, her gift that became a model for any woman who wishes to forego some of her rights in order to please her husband.
Sawdah (radi allahu anha) died toward the end of Umar’s reign, about ten years after the Prophet had passed away.
Within the Knowledge of Allah Ta’ala, He wrote what was going to happen in the world and whatever His servants were going to do. Allah Ta’ala wrote good in some people’s fate and wrote bad in another person’s fate. He did not make the person helpless by writing this down, but wrote down what the servant was going to do. An example of this is that if Allah Ta’ala wrote bad for Zaid, then it was because He is aware that Zaid is going to do bad, and if Zaid was to do good, then He would have written good for Zaid, thus His Writing and His Knowledge did not make any person compelled. After performing bad deeds you should not say that this happened because it was Allah Ta’ala’s will and therefore it was in my destiny, but all good things are done with the Pleasure of Allah Ta’ala and all bad deeds are done with the pleasure of one’s desires.
To believe yourself as totally without will or totally helpless is a misguided belief. The Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has referred to those who do not believe in Taqdir to be like fire-worshippers of his Ummah.
It is forbidden to discuss or debate the subject of destiny. A person should only think that they are not helpless like stones and therefore cannot do anything according to their will, but actually Allah Ta’ala has given humans the power to do as they please and the reward and sin is based upon this power of will. Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique and Hazrat Umar-e-Farooq (radi Allahu anhuma) were prohibited from discussing Taqdir
Umar Bin Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) once remarked: “I was about to send envoys to the towns (on the outskirts of the Muslim empire) to check on all those who have the means to make Hajj but do not perform it, in order to impose the Jizyah upon them.” (Al-Bayhaqi; Al-Haithami declared it Sahih)
The auspicious Hajj trip is one of the five pillars of Islam, a onetime obligation upon those who have the ability to perform it. Every year millions of devout Muslims answer the call to Haj following in the footsteps of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in answering the call of their father Ibrahim.
Unfortunately, many people delay performing the Hajj until the latter part of their lives simply because of convenience. They wish to postpone the trip until they feel they are financially ‘stable’. Some people hold back out of fear of a new Islamic lifestyle they will be obligated to embrace when they return – one should never fear drawing closer to God. Indeed the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Hurry to perform Hajj (the obligatory one), as none of you knows what may happen to him” (Ahmad, Abu Dawood and Ibn Majah) and “Whoever wants to do Hajj, let him hasten to do so.” (Ahmad and Abu Dawood)
There is of course a well-known scholarly difference of opinion as to whether Hajj is an obligation that must be executed promptly, or, can be delayed. According to scholars who hold the opinion that the obligation of the Hajj is one of promptness; the Hajj must be carried out as soon as all the preconditions are fulfilled and one cannot delay performing it for the next year. The one who delays the performance of Hajj, even though he has the means to perform it, and then dies, is sinful and has left himself open to the punishment and displeasure of Allah in the Hereafter.
Others opine that the Hajj may be delayed because the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) chose to perform Haj in the 10 AH – around four years after the obligation was revealed. This school has other supporting arguments for which there exist counterarguments.
Without wanting to endorse one opinion over another, I would like to place the legal difference of opinion to one side and draw our attention to a few other points. Allah the Almighty encourages His servants to compete with each other in performing virtuous deeds. He says in one verse,
And march forth in the way (which leads to) forgiveness from your Lord, and for Paradise as wide as are the heavens and the earth, prepared for the pious. (Qur’an, 3:133)
Why would one delay the prospect of performing a Haj Mabroor, the accepted Hajj, the reward of which is nothing less than the gardens of Paradise?
This is your chance to have all of your sins forgiven as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever performs Hajj to this house – Ka’bah – and does not commit any obscenity and wrongdoing, he, or she, will come out as the day he, or she, was born – pure and free from sins.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
From another perspective the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is reported to have said: “Hurry to perform Hajj, as none of you knows what may happen to him.” It is as if the Prophet is telling us to think about the matter in a rational way. If someone who has the ability to perform the Hajj delays it; do they not fear that death may catch up with them and they then meet Allah with no Hajj to their account?
The reality is that many do delay Hajj until it’s too late. As the years pass by some of them fall sick with debilitating conditions, others become financially stricken and so the great opportunity is lost.
An appeal to all Muslims who know that they can perform Hajj without great difficulty to do so before they lose this unique chance of attaining complete forgiveness for their sins and be granted Paradise.
Let me start by saying that there are many passages in the Qur an, which directly order us to obey Allah and His messenger. When we take Islam as our way of life, we are voluntarily surrendering to the commands of Allah and we are choosing to follow the practice (sunnah) of the prophet (peace be upon him).
In Surah Al-Isra verse 78, we are told:
Perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) from mid-day till the darkness of the night (i.e. the Zuhr, Asr, Maghrib, and Isha prayers), and recite the Qur an in the early dawn. Verily, the recitation of dawn Qur an ( i.e.. the morning – Fajr prayer) is ever witnessed.
Then, from the time the sun declines, which is mid-day, until the darkening of the night, includes Zuhr (noon prayer), Asr (evening prayer), Maghrib (sunset prayer) and Isha (night prayer). These five prayers were revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) on the Isra a and Mi`raj, and were performed by him in their specified number of rak aas. He also taught them to Muslims, who performed them in that sequence and form ever since.
There is no secret in the number of prayers. It is simply that they are related to the course of the day and relevant to the different states of nature (day and night) that are linked to the biological clock of any Muslim. Thus, the Muslim is in continuous connection with God, through out the different phases of the day. The day starts with Fajr (dawn) prayers, to renew the oath of worship and obedience. Then, the workday of a Muslim society should start after that. Zuhr is in the middle of the day, and Asr is a bit later. As for Maghrib, it is with sunset and Isha is when the night falls.
The prayer times are also related to the manners and times of rest in the social life. There are verses in the Qur an, which say that before Fajr, after Zuhr and after Isha, the Muslim parents are allowed a time of privacy and that other family members should respect that. Also, as a Muslim is encouraged to perform prayers with a group of Muslims (jama a), these are also times of social gathering in mosques. Such gatherings, is where people can simply meet and discuss their communal affairs and grass root lobbying, for societal causes. The number of prayers is simply appropriate for such social structures, relations, neighborhood and community ties. It is also suitable for the special structure of worship, which connects the Muslim to his Creator throughout the long day.
In a modern economy, where family members are located in different areas and where the workplace introduces new forms of communication and personal relations, the times of prayers re-formulate these relations. They remind people of their relation to Allah and to each other as well.
Hence, the competitive capitalist atmosphere of modern businesses is rendered milder. The embedded values of submission to Allah and remembering the hereafter and socio-religious bond of Islam, keep the balance of a human self in tact. One should read in our current global economy how the daily routine can result in corrosion of character. Herein, the wisdom and philosophy of the five daily prayers in Islam, gain new meanings and implications.
Evidently both Said Ibn Zayd and Fatimah, daughter of al-Khattab, managed to conceal their acceptance of Islam from the Quraysh and especially from Fatimah’s family for some time. She had cause to fear not only her father but her brother Umar who was brought up to venerate the Kabah and to cherish the unity of the Quraysh and their religion. Umar was a headstrong young man of great determination. He saw Islam as a threat to the Quraysh and became most violent and unrestrained in his attacks on Muslims. He finally decided that the only way to put an end to the trouble was to eliminate the man who was its cause..
Goaded on by blind fury he took up his sword and headed for the Prophet’s house. On his way he came face to face with a secret believer in the Prophet who seeing Umar’s grim expression asked him where he was going. “I am going to kill Muhammad…”
There was no mistaking his bitterness and murderous resolve. The believer sought to dissuade him from his intent but Umar was deaf to any arguments. He then thought of diverting Umar in order to at least warn the Prophet of his intentions.
“O Umar,” he said, “Why not first go back to the people of your own house and set them to rights?”
“What people of my house?” asked Umar.
“Your sister Fatimah and your brother-in-law Said. They have both forsaken your religion and are followers of Muhammad in his religion…”
Umar turned and made straight for his sister’s house. There he called out to her angrily as he approached. Khabbab ibn al-Aratt who often came to recite the Quran to Said and Fatimah was with them then. When they heard Umar’s voice, Khabbab hid in a corner of the house and Fatimah concealed the manuscript. But ‘Umar had heard the sound of their reading and when he came in, he said to them: “What is this gibbering I heard?”
They tried to assure him that it was only normal conversation that he had heard but he insisted: “Hear it I did,” he said, “and it is possible that you have both become renegades.”
“Have you not considered whether the Truth is not to be found in your religion?” said Said to Umar trying to reason with him. Instead, Umar set upon his brother-in-law hitting and kicking him as hard as he could and when Fatimah went to the defense of her husband, Umar struck her a blow on her face which drew blood.
“O Umar,” said Fatimah angrily. “What if the Truth is not in your religion! I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God.”
Fatimah’s wound was bleeding, and when Umar saw the blood he was sorry for what he had done. A change came over him and he said to his sister:
“Give me that script which you have that I may read it.” Like them Umar could read, but when he asked for the script, Fatimah said to him:
“You are impure and only the pure may touch it. Go and wash yourself or make ablutions.”
Thereupon Umar went and washed himself, and she gave him the page on which was written the opening verses of Surah Ta-Ha. He began to read it and when he reached the verse, ‘Verily, I alone am God, there no deity but me. So, worship Me alone, and be constant in Prayer so as to remember Me,’ he said: “Show me where Muhammad is.”
Umar then made his way to the house of al-Arqam and declared his acceptance of Islam and the Prophet peace be upon him and all his companions rejoiced.
No annual event on the face of the earth, religious or non-religious, compares to Hajj in terms of the sheer number of participants, duration of the event and the breadth of agenda. In spite of this fact, it has always remained equally fascinating and mysterious to not only non-Muslims, who are barred from entering the holy city, but also to millions of Muslims, who had not performed Hajj.
What then is Hajj? In essence, Hajj is man’s evolution toward Allah; his return to Him. It is a symbolic demonstration of the philosophy of creation of Adam, the first man. To further illustrate this, it may be stated that the performance of Hajj is a simultaneous show or exhibit of many things. It is a show of creation. It is a show of history. It is a show of unity. It is a show of Islamic ideology. It is a show of Ummah, the community of Muslims. That is why, it is said in the Qur’an : “And proclaim unto mankind the Hajj. “…. That they may witness things that are of benefit to them ….” (22:28)
Hajj is a duty unto Allah for mankind, for “…. those who can afford the expenses …” (3:97). It is not a tax on your wealth, but a duty. Thus, to qualify, you must be sane and wise to understand what you are getting into, and able-bodied to go through this task, and lastly, have the means or resources to perform Hajj.
The pillars of Hajj are five :
- Assuming Ihram
- Attendance at Arafat
- Tawaf of the Ka’ba
- Sa’i or running between the Safa and the Marwa (5) cutting or trimming of hair.
- Cutting or trimming of hair.
Others are not pillars, although some may require kaffara or penalty, if not done. The person who puts on the Ihram or cloth for either Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) or Hajj (greater pilgrimage) is called a Muhrim.
Hajj and Umrah are performed in three ways — ifrad, tamattu and qiran. Ifrad involves first performing Hajj and then Umrah. Tamattu is when one first performs Umrah and then Hajj, both in the same year with some break in between the two.
Qiran is when one puts on the ‘Ihram with the intention of combining both Hajj and Umrah without any break in between the two.
The 10 etiquette of Hajj are:
- Requite all wrongdoings and seek forgiveness from all those who have a grudge against you.
- Make provision for Hajj from one’s lawful means.
- Learn the pillars of Hajj and its observance.
- Be kind and bear with others with patience, lest the reward be nullified.
- Observe the obligations of prayers and its rulings.
- Be generous, support the poor and spend as much as he/she is able to.
- At the station of Arafat, remember the Day of Judgment.
- Should not miss visitation of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) Mosque in Madina.
- After return from Hajj, one should turn oneself toward praying for Akhirah (Hereafter).
- One should remember his parents and other close relatives who have passed away with humble prayers and make-up for them if they could not fulfill their obligations of Hajj.