“Verily, the first House (of worship) appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (former name of Makkah), full of blessing, and a guidance for al-Alameen (the mankind and Jinns). In it are manifest signs (for example), the Maqaam (place) of Ibraheem (Abraham); whosoever enters it, he attains security.” [Soorah al-Imran (3): 96-97]
Al-Masjid al-Haraam was the first house of worship ordained for mankind on Earth. Allah has placed several blessings in it, for e.g. the Salaat in al-Masjid al-Haraam has increased rewards in comparison to the Salaat prayed anywhere else. The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “One Salaat in my Masjid is better than 1,000 Salaat anywhere else except in al-Masjid al-Haraam.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee and Saheeh Muslim] and: “One Salaat in al-Masjid al-Haraam is better than 100 Salaat in my Masjid.” [Musnad Ahmad]
The Blessing of the water of Zam-Zam: Zam-Zam is the name of the famous well in al-Masjid al-Haraam. It is situated at a distance of thirty cubits away from al-Kaa’ba. This well sprung up when Isma’eel u, (the son of Ibraheem (alaihi as-salaam) and Hajar), as an infant struck the Earth with his heels, in thirst. His mother looked for water, but could not find any. She climbed to the top of Mount Safa and prayed to Allah for help, and then she climbed Mount Marwa and did the same. Allah responded to her supplication and sent Jibreel u to dig out the well of Zam-Zam. It is from the virtues of the well of Zam-Zam that it is situated in Makkah, which is desert land. Today, even with all the advanced scientific technologies, no well can be dug in the land of Makkah, where Zam-Zam is fresh and gushing forth water in abundance.
Imaam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (rahimahullah) said: “Zam-Zam water is the best and noblest of all waters, the highest in status, the dearest to people, the most precious and valuable to them?” The scholars agree that it is Mustahabb (recommended) for pilgrims on Hajj and Umrah in particular, and for all Muslims in general, to drink from the water of Zam-Zam because Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) is reported to have drunk water of Zam-Zam in a number of true Ahaadeeth. [Saheeh al-Bukharee]
It is the water of Zam-Zam, with which Jibreel (alaihi as-salaam) washed the Prophet’s (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) heart before the Night Journey (i.e. Isra wal-Miraaj). Al-Haafiz al-Iraaqi (rahimahullah) said: “The reason why the Prophet’s chest was washed with Zam-Zam water was to make him stronger so that he could see the kingdom of Heaven and Earth, Paradise and Hell because one of the special qualities of Zam-Zam is that it strengthens the heart and calms the soul”
It is reported in Saheeh Muslim, that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said to Abu Dharr (radhi allahu anhu), who had stayed near the Kaa’ba and its coverings for thirty days and nights with no food or drink other than Zam-Zam: “How long have you been here?” Abu Dharr (radhi allahu anhu) said: “I have been here for thirty days and nights.” The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “Who has been feeding you?” He said: “I had nothing but Zam-Zam water, and I have got so fat that I have folds of fat on my stomach. I do not feel any of the tiredness or weakness of hunger and I have not become thin.” The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “Verily, it (the water of Zam-Zam) is blessed, it is a food that nourishes (or satisfies).” [Saheeh Muslim v: 4, no: 1922] In another narration: “…and a healing for sickness.” [Al-Bazzaar (1171, 1172) and al-Tabaraani in al-Sagheer (295)] Thus, drinking from the water of Zam-Zam is nourishment and a cure for sickness. But this needs full faith and sincerity in Allah, the all-Mighty, Who has placed such immense blessings in this water
Ibn al-Qayyim (rahimahullah) said: “Myself and others tried seeking healing with Zamzam water and saw wondrous things. I sought healing with it from a number of illnesses, and I was healed by the permission of Allah. I saw someone who nourished himself with it for a number of days, half a month or more, and he did not feel hunger; he performed Tawaaf along with the other people just as they did. And he told me that he consumed nothing but Zam-Zam water for forty days and he had the strength to sleep with his wife, to fast, and to perform Tawaaf numerous times.” [Zaad al-Ma’ad, 4/319, 320]
It was reported from Jaabir Ibn Abdullah (radhi allahu anhu) that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “The water of Zam-Zam is for whatever it is drunk for.” [Ibn Majah vol: 2, no: 1018 (see al-Maqaasid al-Hasanah by al-Sakhaawi, p. 359)] Therefore, the scholars recommend that one should make lots of Du’aa while drinking the water of Zam-Zam and he should drink it for a purpose that will benefit him in this world and the next.
The Salaf and Ulama acted upon the (above-mentioned) Hadeeth of Allah’s Messenger and thus when Abdullah Ibn al-Mubarak went for Hajj, he came to Zam-Zam and said: “O Allah, Ibn Abil-Mawaali told us from Muhammad Ibn al-Munkadir from Jaabir (radhi allahu anhu) that Your Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “The water of Zam-Zam is for whatever it is drunk for.” I am drinking it to quench the thirst of the Day of Resurrection.” [(Hasan) Sunan Ibn Majah (al-Manaasik, 3062)]
It was reported that when Ibn Abbas (radhi allahu anhu) drank from the water of Zam-Zam, he said: “O Allah, I ask you for beneficial knowledge, plentiful provision, and healing from every disease.”
Shaikh Ibn Uthaymeen (rahimahullah) said: “You should have the intention of what you want to gain by drinking this water. You should drink your fill, i.e., fill your stomach with it until it is filled to the ribs because this water is good. A Hadeeth has been narrated concerning this (which mentions that) the difference between the believers and the hypocrites is drinking one’s fill of Zam-Zam water. [Narrated by Ibn Maajah in al-Manaasik, 1017; al-Haakim, 1/472 (Al-Boosairi said it is Saheeh)] Therefore, Zam-Zam water is not sweet; it is little salty, and the believer only drinks this salty water out of faith, believing that there is Barakat (blessing) in it. So when he drinks his fill of it, this is a sign of his faith (in Allah). [Sharh al-Mumti’, v: 7. pp. 377-379]
Some Fuqaha mentions it a Sunnah to drink the water of Zam-Zam to one’s fill. Scholars explain it to be Mustahabb and from the etiquettes of drinking water to sit, say Bismillah, pause to take a breath three times, and say Alhamdulillah after drinking, as one should do when he takes any other kind of drink. Regarding the Hadeeth of Ibn Abbas (radhi allahu anhu), who said: “I gave the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) water of Zam-Zam to drink, whilst he was standing.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee vol: 3, no: 492] This Hadeeth should be understood in the sense that even though it is encouraged to drink water whilst sitting, it is not Haraam (unlawful) to drink whilst standing.
People who visit Makkah and Medina should take the water of Zam-Zam with them back to their countries because it is blessed and a cure for the sick. Aa’ishah (radhi allahu anha) reported that she took the Zam-Zam water home with her in bottles, and she said: “The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) took some of it away with him, and he used to pour it on the sick and give it to them to drink.” [at-Tirmidhee vol: 4, no: 37]
Al-Hafiz al-Sakhaawi (rahimahullah) said in Al-Maqaasid al-Hasanah: “Some people said that the virtue (of Zam-Zam water) remains only so long as it is in its place (of origin) and that when it is taken away, it changes. This is an idea that has no basis. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) wrote to Suhayl Ibn Amr: “If my letter reaches you at night then do not wait until morning, and if it reaches you during the day, do not wait until evening, to send me some Zam-Zam water.” He sent him two containers full, and at that time he was in Medina, before the conquest of Makkah. This Hadeeth is Hasan because of corroborating evidence. Aa’ishah (radhi allahu anha) also used to take Zam-Zam water away with her, and she reported that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) used to do this; he used to carry it in small vessels and buckets, and pour it onto the sick and give it to them to drink. Whenever a guest visited Ibn Abbas (radhi allahu anhu) he would honor him by giving him Zam-Zam water to drink. Ata (radhi allahu anhu) was asked about taking Zam-Zam water away, and he said: “The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam), al-Hasan and al-Husayn all took it away with them.” [see Fath al-Baree vol: 3, no: 493; al-Mughni, vol: 3, no: 445, Nihaayat al-Muhtaaj, Shifa’ al-Gharaam bi Akhbaar al-Balad al-Haraam, by al-‘Iraaqi vol: 1, no: 258]
Another Blessing of Masjid al-Haraam is al-Hajar al-Aswad (the Black Stone), from where the Tawaaf (circumambulating) initiates and ends. Hajar al-Aswad is a stone of Paradise and it was as the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said: “The black stone descended from Paradise whiter than milk, but the sins of the descendants of Adam made it black.” [Musnad Ahmad and at-Tirmidhee no: 2577. The latter stated it as Hasan] Al-Muhibb al-Tabari said: “The fact that it (has turned) black is a lesson for those who have insight. If sins can have this effect on an inanimate rock, then the effect they have on the heart is greater.” [Fath al-Baree, 3/ 463]
From the virtues of al-Hajar al-Aswad is that touching it causes the (minor) sins to be forgiven, Ibn Umar (radhi allahu anhu) said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) say: “Touching them both [the Black Stone and al-Rukn al-Yamani] is an expiation for sins.” [(Hasan) by at-Tirmidhee, no: 959 and (Saheeh) by al-Haakim, vol: 1, no: 664] Sowayd bin Ghaflah said: “I have seen Umar kissing the Black Stone and touching it.” He further said: “I know that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) was especially very particular about it.'” [Saheeh Muslim] Ibn Umar (radhi allahu anhu) reported that Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) used to come to Ka’bah, touch the Black Stone and then say: Bismillahi wallahu akbar (In the name of Allah, Allah is the Greatest.) [Musnad Ahmad]
Kissing al-Hajar al-Aswad is from the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam). This kissing is a manner of honoring this noble Stone of Paradise. It is reported in Saheeh al-Bukharee (1520), Saheeh Muslim (1720) that Umar approached the Black Stone and kissed it. Then he said: “I know that you are a mere stone that can neither harm nor do any good. If I had not seen the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) kissing you, I would have never kissed you.” So, the Black Stone is a blessing from Allah because one erases all his past (minor) sins merely by touching and kissing al-Hajar al-Aswad.
The Black Stone will come forth on the Day of Resurrection and will testify in favor of those who touched it in truth. “The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said concerning the Stone: “By Allah, Allah will bring it (al-Hajar al-Aswad) forth on the Day of Resurrection, and it will have two eyes with which it will see and a tongue with which it will speak, and it will testify in favor of those who touched it in sincerity.” [(Hasan) by at-Tirmidhee, no: 961]
THE spirit of Haj is turning to Allah wholeheartedly in humble and passionate yearning and ardent love and devotion. This spirit should rule the hearts of all pilgrims at all times, regardless of gender differences.
Men and women during Haj also share equally in the various dos and don’ts. Both must refrain from all forms of intimate sexual contact with spouses. They also must shun all vain talks, wrangling, and quarrels.
Likewise, both males and females must absolutely avoid using any kind of perfumes or scents, clipping nails, removing, plucking, trimming or shaving of hair, etc.
It is, however, permissible for both males and females during ihram to bathe or take showers or wash.
Likewise, they are permitted to use ordinary shampoos, soaps or creams, lotions, etc. so long as these are not scented.
Specific issues or regulations that concern women exclusively during Haj can be listed as follows:
Unlike men, women are allowed to wear their normal clothes regardless of whether they are sewn or not. There are no restrictions whatsoever on the kind of clothes they can wear during the state of ihram so long as they are not dyed in saffron or scented. Thus it is permissible for them to wear even clothes with colors or designs; although women pilgrims may do well in keeping it simple and avoid attractive designs and colors. After all, it should be noted, the hallmark of Haj is simplicity and humility before the Creator.
Women, again as opposed to men, are also allowed to wear shoes, slippers or sandals as they choose.
Women, however, are not allowed to wear either face-veils or hand-gloves during ihram; they must not cover their faces while in a state of ihram.
Women who are menstruating should assume ihram after a bath and recite Talbiyah and engage in dhikr and dua. However, they must not offer Prayer.
Menstruating women can perform all of the rituals of Haj with the sole exception of Tawaf (going around the Kabah). As far as performing Tawaf is concerned, they should postpone it until such time that they are free from menses and have cleaned themselves through ghusl (bathing).
If, however, because of special circumstances beyond their control, they find themselves unable to stay in Makkah (for instance, they have no choice but to leave with the group because of inability to change or reschedule travel plans), then they are allowed to perform Tawaf while still menstruating after cleaning themselves and wearing pads, etc.
The above ruling is given by Imam Ibn Taymiyyah. It has been based on a valid principle of Islamic jurisprudence which states that any condition — upon which the validity of a certain act of worship is dependent — can be waived if a person cannot fulfill the same; and the act of worship thus performed will be considered as valid without it. An example for this is covering oneself during Prayer. Thus if a person finds himself unable to cover his awrah (what must be covered) because he could not find anything to wear, then he must still pray without covering himself and his prayer will still be considered as valid, although in ordinary circumstances such a Prayer will be considered as null and void.
The same rule applies to a menstruating woman who must leave Makkah because of special circumstances beyond her control. The normal condition of cleansing from menses for the validity of Tawaf is waived in her case, and her Haj will be considered as perfectly valid.
Finally, rules for women are relatively more relaxed in regards to throwing pebbles at the Jamrat in Mina (stone pillars). Thus women, as well as those who are weak and elderly, are allowed to leave Muzdalifah early before Fajr in order to perform the rite of throwing pebbles before the crowd arrives in Mina.
In conclusion, I must point out that while it is important to pay due attention to the formal aspects of Haj, one must never lose sight of the inner dimensions of Haj.
PROPHET MUHAMMAD (peace be upon him) was both a prophet of Allah and a statesman. His leadership was most comprehensive and dynamic. He was the paragon of virtue and spirituality. He was a noble and compassionate teacher, guide, and reformer. He was a family man.
Indeed, he was also a political leader. As a political leader the Prophet (peace be upon him) unified the Arabian Peninsula, established a great state whose capital was Madina, defeated his enemies, and had most successful military expeditions. However, his real political leadership was in the realm of morality and spirituality in which he conducted himself perfectly in situations of weakness as well as strength. His way of dealing in Makkah and Madina indicates his great political leadership.
He was always willing to help others. Almighty Allah endowed him with a special insight to resolve conflicts and disputes. Even before he became the Prophet of Allah, he was able to resolve a major dispute between the people of Makkah. It is reported that the people of Makkah were repairing the walls of the Ka`ba. When the time came to place the Black Stone in its place in the southeast corner of the Ka`ba, each tribe wanted to have this honor. Muhammad was asked to be the judge and decide the matter fairly. He resolved this dispute with great wisdom in an amicable way. He spread his own cloak on the ground and placed the Black Stone upon it. He then asked representatives of each tribe to lift the cloak together. When the Black Stone reached the required height from the ground he went forward and set it in its place.
He always wanted to make peace among people. At an early age it is reported that when some people of Makkah wanted to establish a committee to suppress violence in their society, he immediately joined them. This committee took a pledge of virtue known as the Hilf Al-Fudul. Later during his prophetic life he recalled this pledge and praised it highly and said, “Even now if I am called upon in the name of this pledge, I shall not refuse.”
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was a man of ideals but he was also a practical man. He preached the message to all and did not isolate himself from his society. He used any of the good traditions and customs they had and benefited from them. Although his uncle, Abu Talib, did not accept his message of tawheed, he was willing to give him all his support and help in the Islamic work. The Prophet (peace be upon him) appreciated his uncle’s help. After his uncle’s death he went to Taif to seek alliances with some other tribes there. He did not succeed, but it is important to note that he was trying to seek alliances for the cause of Islam.
The migration to Ethiopia is also an example of his political skill in seeking alliances with others. When the persecution increased in Makkah and some of his followers found it difficult to live in that environment, The Prophet (peace be upon him) allowed them to migrate to Ethiopia and seek the help of the Christian king there. In Ethiopia Muslims found peace and they reciprocated the king’s hospitality with prayers and support for him and his party. Muslims’ relations were so good with the monarch that he grew to love Islam and before his death he became a Muslim.
In Madina, the Prophet (peace be upon him) established a state where all people were equal, where matters were decided through consultation, and where all people had to follow the same law. It was a state without any favoritism in favor of any family or group.
Even a non-Muslim was not to be mistreated under his rule. The story of Tu’mah Ibn Abraq is an excellent example of justice and human rights for all people under his authority. Tu’mah, who was a Muslim, stole someone’s armor in Madina and then he blamed a Jew. Allah sent a special revelation to warn people against such injustice (Qur’an 4:110-112). The Jewish citizen of Madina was declared innocent and Tu’mah was found guilty.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was a man of great patience and resolution. There are many lessons for us to learn from his life. The most important aspect of his leadership was that he was always honest and truthful.
Even his enemies could not find any flaw in his honesty and truthfulness. The most beautiful example of this we find in the conversation between Heraclius, the Emperor of Byzantium, and Abu Sufyan who was a bitter enemy of the Prophet (peace be upon him) at that time. This conversation took place in the year 628 CE when Heraclius received a letter from the Prophet (peace be upon him). Heraclius was on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem when he received this important letter. After receiving the message, the emperor sent for his chief of police and told him to search around the country for a man from the same tribe as the one who claimed to be a prophet. Abu Sufyan, a leader of the Quraish, happened to be trading in Gaza with some of his companions from Makkah. The emperor’s search party found them there and they were immediately taken to Jerusalem.
Heraclius called them into his court and he had all the senior Roman dignitaries around him. He called for his chief aide who translated Heraclius’ questions and said to them, “Who amongst you is closely related to the man who claims to be a prophet?” Abu Sufyan replied, “I am the nearest relative (amongst the group) to him.”
Heraclius said, “Bring him (Abu Sufyan) close to me and make his companions stay behind him.” Abu Sufyan added, “Heraclius told his translator to tell my companions that he wanted to ask me some questions regarding that man (the Prophet) and that if I told a lie they (my companions) should contradict me.” Abu Sufyan added, “By Allah! Had I not been afraid of my companions labeling me a liar, I would not have spoken the truth about the Prophet.”
The first question Heraclius asked me was, “What is the status of his family among you?” I replied, “He belongs to a good (noble) family amongst us.” Heraclius further asked, “Has anybody else amongst you ever claimed the same (that is, to be a prophet) before him?” I replied, “No.” He said, “Was anybody amongst his ancestors a king?” I replied, “No.” Heraclius asked, “Do the nobles or the poor follow him?” I replied, “It is the poor who follow him.” He said, “Are his followers increasing or decreasing (day by day)?” I replied, “They are increasing.” He then asked, “Does anybody amongst those who embrace his religion become displeased and renounce the religion afterwards?” I replied, “No.” Heraclius said, “Have you ever accused him of telling lies before his claim (to be a prophet)? I replied, “No.” Heraclius said, “Does he break his promises?” I replied, “No. We have a truce with him but we do not know what he will do.” I could not find the opportunity to say anything against him except that. Heraclius asked, “Have you ever had a war with him?” I replied, “Yes.” Then he said, “What were the outcome of these battles?” I replied, “Sometimes he was victorious and sometimes we were.” Heraclius said, “What does he order you to do?” I said, “He tells us to worship Allah and Allah alone and not to worship anything along with Him, and to renounce all that our ancestors had said. He orders us to pray, to be chaste, and to keep good relations with our kith and kin.”
After this conversation it is reported that Heraclius said:
“I asked you about his family and your reply was that he belonged to a very noble family. In fact, all the Messengers come from noble families amongst their respective peoples. I questioned you whether anybody amongst you ever claimed such a thing, your reply was in the negative. If your reply had been in the affirmative, I would have thought that this man was following the previous man’s statement. Then I asked you whether anyone from his ancestors was a king. Your reply was in the negative, and if it had been in the affirmative, I would have thought that this man wanted to take back his ancestral kingdom. I further asked whether he was ever accused of telling lies before he said what he is now saying, and your reply was in the negative. So I wondered how a person who does not tell a lie about others could ever tell a lie about Allah. I then asked you whether the rich people followed him or the poor. You replied that it was the poor who followed him. And in fact all the Messengers are followed by the poor in the beginning. Then I asked you whether his followers were increasing or decreasing. You replied that they were increasing, and in fact this is the way of true faith, till it is complete in all respects. I further asked whether there was anybody, who, after embracing his religion, became displeased and discarded it. Your reply was in the negative, and in fact this is (the sign of) true faith when its light enters the hearts and gets absorbed completely. I asked you whether he had ever betrayed. You replied in the negative and likewise Messengers never betray. Then I asked you what he ordered you to do. You replied that he ordered you to worship Allah and Allah alone and not to worship anything along with Him and forbade you to worship idols and ordered you to pray, to speak the truth, and to be chaste.
“If what you have said is true, he will very soon occupy the place underneath my feet and I knew it (from the Scriptures) that he was going to appear, but I did not know that he would be from among you, and if I could reach him I would go immediately to meet him and if I were with him, I would certainly wash his feet.”
Quba, the first mosque of Islam, was originally built by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) and his fellow emigrants from Makkah on their arrival in Madinah in 622. That year marks the beginning of both the Muslim era and the Muslim calendar.
For thirteen years in his birthplace of Makkah, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) called people to the worship of the One True God, to do good and renounce all that was false. But the powers with interests to protect remained implacably hostile and made life intolerable for those who had submitted to the truth.
In constant search for fertile soil to plant the message of truth, the noble Prophet Muhammad (saw) eventually migrated – not fled – northwards to Yathrib. The green oasis became known as the Madinah or the City of the Prophet and was to become the territorial base from which he won the hearts of multitudes and consolidated Islam’s place in the landscape of the peninsula.
The leaders of Makkah and a large part of its citizenry remained stubbornly hostile and sought – through wars, siege and alliances – to destabilise the fledgling community. The Holy Prophet (saw), who desired security and peace for people, negotiated a truce with the pagan Makkans on terms that many of his followers were deeply unhappy about. This was in the fifth year after the hijrah or migration to Madinah.
The truce turned out to be beneficial to the whole peninsula but the Makkans eventually broke it by mounting a bloody aggression against an ally of the state of Medinah. The Holy Prophet (saw) could not overlook this breach and in the eighth year after the hijrah, he mobilised an impressive force and moved on Makkah. Ten thousand converged on the city, reaching there in the month of Ramadan, the month of fasting. The Quraysh realized that there was no hope of resisting, let alone of defeating, the Muslim forces. What was to be their fate – they who had harried and persecuted the believers, tortured and boycotted them, driven them out of their hearths and homes, stirred up others against them, made war on them, and killed many?
They were now completely at the mercy of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw).
Revenge was easy. He could have laid waste the city and wiped out its inhabitants. But revenge was not his object. He did not lead his confident army into Makkah like any tyrant, full of arrogance, forgetting the Almighty, the Cause of all causes, and intoxicated with self-conceit.
Far from it. In the words of an early biographer, he entered with great humility and gratitude, prostrating himself repeatedly on the back of the camel he was riding, before the One God, thankful to Him for all He had provided, declaring an all-embracing amnesty and peace, in place of any thought of avenging past material or mental afflictions, and in fact demonstrating what God wills of Godly men:
“… enter the gate prostrating and say ‘Amnesty’.” (Holy Qur’an, Ch. 2: Vs. 58; Ch. 7: Vs.160)
He ordered Bilal, the Ethiopian, to go on the rooftop of the Ka’bah to call the adhan. The noble Prophet Muhammad (saw) led the congregational prayer and then addressed the assembled citizens in the compound around the Ka’bah. He reminded them of what they had done to him and the Muslims, and said, “The arrogance and racial pride of the heathen days has been wiped out by God today. All human beings are descended from Adam, and Adam was made of clay.”
He recited the following verse of the Quran:
“O human beings! We have indeed created you of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another. Surely the most honorable of you with God is the one among you who is most deeply conscious of Him. Surely, God is Knowing, Aware.” (Holy Qur’an, Ch. 49: Vs. 13)
If the Holy Prophet (saw) abused anybody, he used to give him compensation and show him kindness. He never cursed any woman or slave. Once when he was in the battle field, he was asked: Oh Messenger of Allah, it would have been better if you had cursed them.
He (saw) said: Allah sent me as a Mercy and not as a great curser. When he was asked once to curse a particular person or an unbeliever, he did not curse him but on the contrary prayed for his welfare. He never beat anybody with his own hand except in the way of Allah. He did not take any revenge for personal wrongs but he used to take it for preservation of the honor of Allah.
He used to select the easier of two things and keep away if there was any sin therein or anything to cut off relationship. He used to fulfill the needs of anyone who required his help, whether a slave or a free man. Hazrat Anas (ra) said: By One who has sent him as a Prophet, he never said to me: “Why have you done this or why have you not done this?” His wives also did not rebuke me. If there was any bed of the Holy Prophet (saw), he used to sleep on it or else he used to sleep on the ground.
Another trait of his character is that he used to salute first one whom he met with. He used to wait at a place where he was to meet a man. He used not to withdraw his hand from anybody ’till he first withdrew his hand. When he met with any of his companions, he used to handshake with them, hold his hand, enter his fingers into his fingers and hold them firmly. He did not stand up or sit without remembering Allah. When anybody sat by him at the time of his prayer, he used to make it short and say to him: Have you got any need? When he fulfilled his need, he returned to his prayer.
His assembly was not different from that of his companions, as he sat where he went. He was not found sitting among his companions spreading out his legs. He used to sit mostly facing the Ka’ba and honor one who came to him. Even he used to spread his own sheet of cloth for one whom he had no relationship.
He used to give his pillow to one who came to him and everyone thought that the Nabi honored him more. Whoever came to him could see his face.
He used to call his companions by their Kunyas with honor and he used to give one kunya to one who had no kunya. He used to call the women by the names of their issues and call others by their surnames. He used to call the boys by their kunyas for which their hearts were inclined to him. He used to get angry last of all and was very affectionate and kind in dealing with the people. Nobody could speak loudly in his assembly. He used to recite: “O Allah, Thou are Pure, all praise is for Thee. I bear witness that there is no deity but Thee. I seek forgiveness from Thee and turn to Thee.”
Narrated ‘Aisha: The commencement of the Divine Inspiration to Allah’s Apostle was in the form of good righteous (true) dreams in his sleep. He never had a dream but that it came true like bright daylight. He used to go in seclusion to (the cave of) Hira where he used to worship (Allah Alone) continuously for many (days) nights. He used to take with him the journey food for that (stay) and then come back to (his wife) Khadija to take his food like-wise again for another period to stay, till suddenly the Truth descended upon him while he was in the cave of Hira. The angel came to him in it and asked him to read. The Prophet (saw) replied, “I do not know how to read.” (The Prophet added), “The angel caught me (forcefully) and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it anymore. He then released me and again asked me to read, and I replied, “I do not know how to read,” whereupon he caught me again and pressed me a second time till I could not bear it anymore. He then released me and asked me again to read, but again I replied, “I do not know how to read (or, what shall I read?).” Thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me and then released me and said, “Read: In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists). Has created man from a clot. Read and Your Lord is Most Generous…up to….. ..that which he knew not.” (Qur’an 96.15)
Then Allah’s Apostle returned with the Inspiration, his neck muscles twitching with terror till he entered upon Khadija and said, “Cover me! Cover me!” They covered him till his fear was over and then he said, “O Khadija, what is wrong with me?” Then he told her everything that had happened and said, ‘I fear that something may happen to me.” Khadija said, ‘Never! But have the glad tidings, for by Allah, Allah will never disgrace you as you keep good reactions with your Kith and kin, speak the truth, help the poor and the destitute, serve your guest generously and assist the deserving, calamity-afflicted ones.” Khadija then accompanied him to (her cousin) Waraqa bin Naufal bin Asad bin ‘Abdul ‘Uzza bin Qusai. Waraqa was the son of her paternal uncle, i.e., her father’s brother, who during the Pre-Islamic Period became a Christian and used to write the Arabic writing and used to write of the Gospels in Arabic as much as Allah wished him to write. He was an old man and had lost his eyesight. Khadija said to him, “O my cousin! Listen to the story of your nephew.” Waraqa asked, “O my nephew! What have you seen?” The Prophet (saw) described whatever he had seen.
Waraqa said, “This is the same Namus (i.e., Gabriel, the Angel who keeps the secrets) whom Allah had sent to Moses. I wish I were young and could live up to the time when your people would turn you out.” Allah’s Apostle asked, “Will they turn me out?” Waraqa replied in the affirmative and said: “Never did a man come with something similar to what you have brought but was treated with hostility. If I should remain alive till the day when you will be turned out then I would support you strongly.” But after a few days Waraqa died.
Haj is the ‘ultimate’ journey, the journey of a lifetime. Yet I’ve seen so many people, brothers and sisters, confused, angry, frustrated or just simply ignorant during Haj. So here is a piece of sincere advice for all of my brothers and sisters going for Haj this year.
Educate yourself before you go
This is the most important point. They say “Knowledge is Power,” and it is. I’ve seen people confused, not knowing what to do, looking left and right, bewildered during Haj. In the end, they just follow what the rest of the crowd is doing without knowing if what they are doing is from the Shariah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) or not. Indeed, I know people who have gone and come back from Haj, and they didn’t know what kind of Haj they performed, how many days one was required to stay in Mina, and so on. In fact, some didn’t know it takes seven rounds around the Ka’ba to make one Tawaf!
Going to Haj without knowing the basics of how to perform Haj and Umrah is like placing someone who doesn’t know how to offer Salah in the middle of a congregation. He may follow the movements in Ruku’ and Sujood, but does he really know how to pray? Does such a prayer even count?
So, study the rituals of Haj before you go. Learn how to perform this magnificent journey in a manner that is closest to the Sunnah. Because the closer it is to the Sunnah, the more acceptable it will be to Allah. Learn about the common mistakes pilgrims do, so you can avoid them.
Go with a prepared heart
Every year at Haj, you see only two kinds of people. The first kind will be sitting calm and patient, even when they are stuck for five hours in traffic, wisely utilizing the time making Dhikr of Allah or reading the Qur’an. The other kind will be grumbling and complaining, fidgeting restlessly in his seat, cussing at the bus driver and wasting his whole time fighting with whoever is sitting next to him.
Why is that? Because the first kind of people come with prepared hearts and the second type don’t.
Haj is not a mere physical journey, it is a spiritual journey of the heart and soul. And just as it is important to learn the rituals of Haj, it is equally important to condition yourself spiritually. Remember, Haj is an act of worship, the fifth pillar of our Religion. So, have Khushoo’ in it.
Trust Allah and have complete faith in Him. Be sure that He will take care of you. Be kind to others and have patience and forbearance.
Hardly any obligatory prayer in the Haram is not followed by a funeral prayer. I’ve noticed several brothers and sisters sitting there and not participating in this great act of worship, just because they don’t know how to. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever attends the Janazah until he offers the prayer will have one Qirat (of reward), and whoever attends until (the deceased) is buried will have two Qirats.” It was said, “O Messenger of Allah, what are the two Qirats?” He said, “Like two great mountains,” meaning, of reward. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Don’t get overwhelmed
When you look at the large number of people there for Haj, don’t get overwhelmed or disturbed. Instead, raise up your head high, feel proud and thank Allah. After all, all those people are none, but your own brothers and sisters in Islam. This is the Ummah of your beloved Prophet, Muhammad (peace be upon him). They belong to you and you belong to them. They are a part of you, just as much as you are a part of them. All of you are there for one and one purpose only – to worship Allah, the One God. So, love them, show mercy to them and make Du’a for them.
Time is precious
Utilize your time to its maximum while in Makkah and Madina. Do all your prayers in the mosque. When you pray in the Grand Mosque in Makkah, the reward is multiplied by 100,000 times.
When you get to Mina, busy yourself with making Du’a, Dhikr, reading the Qur’an, etc. Your stay here is only a few precious days. You can’t waste it by talking, relaxing, and doing nothing, as some people do.
And when you are in Arafah, know that that’s the day you were waiting for. That’s what Haj is all about. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Haj is Arafah.” (Abu Dawood)
Put in all you have got on the Day of Arafah. Take advantage of every second. Do not waste even a single moment. Make a Du’a list and do lots and lots of Du’a. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The best of Du’a is Du’a on the day of Arafah, and the best thing that I and the Prophets before me said is, ‘La ilaha ill-Allah Wahdahu la Shareeka lah (There is no god worthy of worship but Allah alone with no partner or associate).’” (Al-Tirmidhi, authenticated by Al-Albani)
Not on vacation
Some people forget that they are going on Haj. They expect Mina to be a five star hotel. So they complain about food, weather, crowds, and just about everything.
Remember this is Haj, not a vacation. Remember, not so long ago people traveled for months through dangerous terrain and rough weather to perform Haj. If we think about that, then is there anything left to complain about?
Don’t just say it
When you recite the Talbiyah, don’t just say it like a parrot without knowing what it means and what it implies. Think about the greatness of these words and the Magnificence of the One you are saying these words to.
Obviously, everybody wants their Haj to be ‘Mabroor’ (accepted) because the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “There is no reward for Haj Mabroor except Paradise.” (Al-Bukhari)
They asked, “What makes Haj Mabroor, Messenger of Allah?” He replied, “Providing food to people and spreading (the greeting of) Salam (peace).” (Fath Al-Bari, 4/446)
Thus we see that being kind to people and serving and helping them leads to a Haj Mabroor.
So go ahead and help that old lady with her luggage and help someone else cross the street. Move over to make room in the row for your fellow Muslim so that he/she too can find a place to pray. Distribute candy among children, pass out glasses of Zamzam water, smile at everyone, and say Salam to those you know and those you don’t.
Keep you eyes and ears open for every opportunity to do good and jump at any chance you get to spread Khair – all for the sake of Allah alone – and Insha Allah your Haj will be one of Mabroor.
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)
GLORIFIED (and Exalted) is He (Allah) Who took His slave (Muhammad, peace be upon him) for a journey by night from Al-Masjid Al-Haram [at Makkah] to Masjid Al-Aqsa [in Jerusalem], the neighborhood whereof We have blessed, in order that We might show him (Muhammad, peace be upon him) of Our Ayat (proofs, evidence, lessons, signs, etc). Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer. (17:1)
Surah Al-Israa’ begins with glorifying Allah, the most fitting action to confirm the bond between Allah and His servants in the atmosphere of compassion and friendliness imparted by the mention of the night journey. The Surah emphasizes the position of man as Allah’s servant. The emphasis here is needed in the context of the Prophet’s ascension to heaven where no human being had gone before.
It is important in this context that the status of man’s servitude to Allah should always be remembered.
There must be no confusion of status similar to that which happened in the case of Jesus on account of his birth, his being raised to heaven at the end of his life on earth, and the powers that were given to him during life. All these caused some people to confuse his status and to claim that he had a divine nature. In its simplicity and purity, Islam insists that no similarity could ever exist between Allah and any creature.
The Arabic text of this opening verse uses the verb Asra, which denotes “traveling during the night.” It is sufficient then to use this verb to denote the time of the action. Yet the verse adds the word laylan or “by night” to give an added sense of the still night and the ease of travel.
The journey from the Grand Mosque to Al-Aqsa Mosque was one chosen by Allah, the Compassionate Who knows everything. It provided a link between all monotheistic faiths from the time of Abraham and Ishmael to the time of the last Prophet, Muhammad (peace be upon them all). It also established a link between the holy places in all these religions. It seems that this unusual journey served as an announcement that the Last Messenger was the heir to the heritage of all former Messengers. His message staked a claim to all these holy places. Thus it becomes a journey that goes beyond the scope of time and place.
The opening verse describes Al-Aqsa Mosque as one with blessed environs. This description shows the blessings surrounding the mosque and flowing in abundance. This impression could not have been given with a direct description such as “the mosque which We have blessed.”
This is another example of the refined use of language characteristic of the Qur’an.
The Prophet’s night journey was a telling sign, and it was accompanied by others, as the opening verse says in stating its purpose : “…. in order that We might show him of Our Ayat…”. Covering the distance between the Grand Mosque in Makkah and Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem in a very short period that did not allow the Prophet’s bed to become cold is a sign of Allah’s power, whatever the means used to accomplish it. It opens our minds to new horizons in the universe and reveals latent potentials within mankind.
It shows that those human beings chosen by Allah to be the bearers of His message have the latent ability to receive whatever greater powers He wishes to give them. It is Allah Who has honored man, giving him a favored position among His creation, and endowed him with such potentials.
“Verily! He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.” He indeed hears and sees all that is beyond the reach of our hearing and seeing faculties.
It is especially impressive that the opening verse of this Surah starts with glorifying Allah: “Glorified (and Exalted) is He (Allah) Who took His slave for a journey by night.”
After defining the purpose of this journey, the Surah finishes with highlighting two of Allah’s attributes, perfect hearing and seeing that encompass all things.
This quick movement across purposes reflects the finest points of the expression used. The glorification is addressed to Allah Himself, and the statement about the purpose of the night journey comes from Him, while the description of Allah’s powers is made in the form of an indisputable statement. All these forms are combined in one verse so as to give their different imports.
MU’ADH Bin Jabal was a young man growing up in Yathrib as the light of guidance and truth began to spread over the Arabian Peninsula.
He was a handsome and imposing character with black eyes and curly hair and immediately impressed whoever he met. He was already distinguished for the sharpness of his intelligence among young men of his own age. The young Mu’adh became a Muslim at the hands of Musab Bin Umayr, the daiyah (missionary) whom the Prophet (peace be upon him) had sent to Yathrib before the Hijrah. Mu’adh was among the seventy-two Yathribites who journeyed to Makkah, one year before the Hijrah (immigration), and met the Prophet at in his house and later again in the valley of Mina, outside Makkah, at Aqabah. Here the famous second Aqabah Pledge was made at which the new Muslims of Yathrib, including some women, vowed to support and defend the Prophet at any cost. Mu’adh was among those who enthusiastically clasped the hands of the blessed Prophet then and pledged allegiance to him.
As soon as Mu’adh returned to Madina from Makkah, he and a few others of his age formed a group to remove and destroy idols from the houses of the Mushrikeen (polytheists) in Yathrib. One of the effects of this campaign was that a prominent man of the city, Amr Bin Al-Jumuh, became a Muslim.
When the noble Prophet reached Madinah, Mu’adh Bin Jabal stayed in his company as much as possible. He studied the Qur’an and the laws of Islam until he became one of the most well-versed of all the companions in the religion of Islam.
Wherever Mu’adh went, people would refer to him for legal judgments on matters over which they differed. This is not strange since he was brought up in the school of the Prophet himself and learnt as much as he could from him. He was one of the best pupils of the best teacher. His knowledge bore the stamp of authenticity. The best certificate that he could have received came from the Prophet himself when he said: “The most knowledgeable of my ummah (nation)in matters of Halal (lawful) and haram (unlawful) is Mu’adh Bin Jabal.”
One of the greatest of Mu’adh’s contributions to the Ummah of Muhammad was that he was one of the group of six who collected the Qur’an during the lifetime of the Prophet. Whenever a group of companions met and Mu’adh was among them, they would look at him with awe and respect on account of his knowledge. The Prophet and his two caliphs after him placed this unique gift and power in the service of Islam.
After the conquest of Makkah, the Quraysh embraced Islam en masse. The Prophet immediately saw the need of the new Muslims for teachers to instruct them in the fundamentals of Islam and to make them truly understand the spirit and letter of its laws. He appointed Attab Bin Usay as his deputy in Makkah and he asked Mu’adh Bin Jabal to stay with him and teach people the Qur’an and instruct them in the religion.
Sometime after the Prophet had returned to Madina, messengers of the kings of Yemen came to him announcing that they and the people of Yemen had embraced Islam. They requested that some teachers should be with them to teach Islam to the people. For this task the Prophet commissioned a group of competent Duaat (missionaries) and made Mu’adh Bin Jabal their leader. He then put the following question to Mu’adh:
“According to what will you judge?”
“According to the Book of God,” replied Mu’adh.
“And if you find nothing therein?”
“According to the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) of God.”
“And if you find nothing therein?”
“Then I will exert myself (exercise ijtihad) to form my own judgment.”
The Prophet (pbuh) was pleased with this reply and said: “Praise be to God Who has guided the messenger of the Prophet (pbuh) to that which pleases the Prophet (pbuh).”
The Prophet personally bade farewell to this mission of guidance and light and walked for some distance alongside Mu’adh as he rode out of the city. Finally he said to him:
“O Mu’adh, perhaps you shall not meet me again after this year. Perhaps when you return you shall see only my mosque and my grave.” Mu’adh wept. Those with him wept too. A feeling of sadness and desolation overtook him as he parted from his beloved Prophet, peace and blessings of God be on him.
The Prophet(pbuh)’s premonition came true. The eyes of Mu’adh never beheld the Prophet(pbuh) after that moment. The Prophet(pbuh) died before Mu’adh returned from Yemen.
There is no doubt that Mu’adh wept when he returned to Madinah and found there was no longer the blessed company of the Prophet (pbuh).
Mu’adh went to Palestine. There Mu’adh fell ill with an infectious disease. As he was near death, he turned in the direction of the Kabah and repeated this refrain: “Welcome Death, Welcome. A visitor has come after a long absence . . .” And looking up to heaven, he said: “O Lord, You know that I did not desire the world and to prolong my stay in it . . . O Lord, accept my soul with goodness as you would accept a believing soul…”
He then passed away, far from his family and his clan in the service of God.
When the Prophet (peace be upon him) concluded the Al-Hudaybiyah peace treaty with the people of Makkah, who were still determinedly opposed to Islam, the treaty stipulated that the Prophet and his companions would not be allowed to enter Makkah that year, even though they intended nothing other than to worship there. Instead, they were to return to Madinah, but they would be allowed entry the following year, provided that they would stay only three days in Makkah.
This duly took place and the Prophet entered the city peacefully with his companions, where they performed their Umrah. Those who were perceptive in Makkah realized that Islam was continuing its surge, winning new hearts every day. They felt that every time a Muslim raised his voice declaring God’s oneness, a blow was leveled at idolatry. The end of that falsehood was soon coming. Therefore, the elders of Makkah wanted the Prophet and the Muslims to leave as soon as possible.
Yet something totally different was taking place. Al-Abbas, the Prophet’s uncle who was still residing in Makkah, keeping an eye on developments there, spoke to the Prophet about his own sister-in-Law, Barrah bint Al-Harith. Her husband had died recently. He suggested that the Prophet should marry her. The Prophet agreed. Someone rushed to break the news to the prospective bride. She was riding a camel. She jumped off it when she heard the news, and said: “The camel and its load belong to God’s messenger.”
It all happened very quickly, yet preparations were put in hand for the unplanned wedding. By the evening of the third day of the Prophet’s entry in Makkah, two figures from the Quraysh came over to him. They put up a serious and threatening attitude, and said: “The time you have been allowed here is up. Will you and your followers now depart?” The Prophet mentioned that he was about to marry and suggested to them: “Would you not consider an alternative? If you would let me have my wedding here, we will throw a party for you and serve you with a good dinner.” They said: “We do not need your food. You better leave us now.” The Prophet did not argue the matter further. He ordered his companions to depart, fulfilling the condition of staying only three days in Makkah. The marriage took place at some distance from Makkah.
It is not surprising that the people of Makkah should take such an uncompromising attitude. They felt that if Muhammad (peace be upon him) had a chance to have his wedding in their own grounds and to talk to the people in the friendly atmosphere of a wedding and a banquet, their cause would lose its grip on the hearts of those very Makkan people. They realized that their own religion could not stand up to the logic of Islam. People were bound to be favorably influenced by the Prophet’s personality and the strength of his argument. The barriers which they erected to prevent people from going over to him would thus start to collapse. They realized that Muhammad’s visit to Makkah was changing the atmosphere which had prevailed between the two camps, but they could not realize that many of the people of Makkah had already softened to the cause of Islam.
The Prophet changed the name of his new wife, calling her Maymoonah, which means “a woman who brings goodness.” He hoped that his trip to Makkah would be instrumental in bringing its people to listen to the voice of Islam and to look at it without prejudice. Maymoonah was very devout. Ayesha said of her: “By God, she was one of the most God-fearing and the kindest to relatives among us.”
-By Adil Salahi