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Islam is based upon 5 pillars: Shahadah, Salah, Hajj, Zakah and Fasting in the month of Ramadhan. As Muslims, we have to believe and also act upon all of these 5 pillars. Of these duties, one in particular is different to the rest because it involves having to visit a few very special places. This duty is known as ‘Hajj’ (Pilgrimage).
Hajj means to worship Allah in a few sacred places in Makkah during the days of Hajj. The days of Hajj are the 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th of Zul-Hijjah. Zul-Hijjah is the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar.
Every Muslim has to perform Hajj at least once in his lifetime. Those Muslims who are not able to perform Hajj due to a valid reason will be forgiven by Allah. On the other hand, any Muslim who did not perform Hajj without a valid reason will have committed a very big sin! Hajj can be performed at any time during a person’s lifetime, but it is better to do so when a person is young, strong and healthy, as performing Hajj is quite difficult and requires a great deal of energy. A Muslim needs to perform Hajj because it is an order of Allah. By performing Hajj, a Muslim is greatly rewarded by Allah and also has his sins forgiven. Paradise has been promised to those people whose Hajj is accepted by Allah.
Hajj is performed in and around the holy city of Makkah. A certain part of Makkah, which is marked with a boundary, has been made sacred by Allah. This means that certain things cannot be done in this holy city - things which would be allowed in other cities. This sacred area is called ’Haram’. When men enter the Haram for the first time, then they must do so wearing just a pair of white sheets.
On the first day of Hajj, the 8th of Zul-Hijja, the pilgrims leave Makkah for a place called Mina. There, the pilgrims will spend the next 5 to 6 days living in tents, spending their time worshipping Allah. The first night will be spent in Mina. On the morning of the 9th the pilgrims will depart for Arafah where they will stay till sunset. The Day of Arafah is a very important and auspicious day. After Sunset, the pilgrims will head towards Muzdalifah where they will spend the night, sleeping in the open amongst millions of fellow pilgrims. On the morning of the 10th of Zul-Hijja (Eid Day) the pilgrims will return to Mina and will stay there for the remaining 2 to 3 days. Within these days the pilgrims will sacrifice an animal, have a haircut, pelt stone structures which represent the Devil and will also return to Makkah to perform a compulsory act of worship.
After performing the Hajj, the pilgrims will usually travel to the holy city of Medinah where they visit the sacred grave of the Prophet Muhammed (p.b.u.h) and spend time worshipping in the blessed mosque of the Prophet ((p.b.u.h). Apart from performing Hajj and visiting the mosque of the Prophet (p.b.u.h), the pilgrims also visit historical and sacred sites situated within and around the holy cities of Makkah and Medinah.
When the pilgrims return home, they take gifts for family and friends as well as dates and holy water from the well of Zam-Zam.
Over the past few years an estimated 2 million Muslims from all over the world have performed Hajj- the largest annual gathering for any event in the world. For this reason and many others, Hajj is rightly labelled as ‘The Journey of a Lifetime’.
In this world the whole of mankind, despite our countless differences in almost everything are all without a doubt agreed upon one fact- a fact accepted by both man and beast from the beginning of time and will never be denied till the final hour. We are all agreed upon the fact that one day we will all have to face death! Only Allah the Almighty is alone with the quality of everlasting.
The subject of death is one we least like to talk about because it is the one thing every single person, no matter how powerful he may be is ‘scared to death’ about, because there is no form of defence against it.
Death will come to you wherever you are! It will come to you on the moon and it will come to you below the deepest ocean. When the appointed time arrives the Angel of Death will be present, clearly visible before our very own eyes- it will not arrive a second early and not a second late! When is our date of death? A rhetorical question! Death will take a newborn baby from its mother’s lap. It will cause everlasting separation between a couple on their wedding night. Death shows no mercy to anyone, nor does it fear anyone! Death has deprived the world of the greatest and rid it of the worst. Look towards those who were always looked at and ask where are they now? From their beds of silk and bathrooms of gold and marble, they now lie in a bedding of earth, in the darkness of the grave in a state known only to that being whose knowledge encompasses that which is below the earth and that which is above the sky.
For a Muslim death has a deeper meaning. Death means the end of our stay in this harsh unpredictable world and the beginning of an everlasting life-either in Paradise or in the Fire of Hell! Based on this belief, death can in fact be the greatest moment of a Muslim’s life, but only for those for whom death is the means of entry into Paradise and not one leading to the Fire of Hell.
Therefore fellow Muslims, wake up before you can no longer be woken up and prepare for that day when you shall leave forever without even saying goodbye to your children for whom you sacrificed so much of your deen; you will leave behind the business empire you built up through neglecting your duties to the Allmighty; you will leave the world in the state that you entered- alone and without a single penny or even a pair of clothes. You will only take with you your deeds and they will be your key to either Paradise or the Fire of Hell.
We ask Allah Allmighty to grant us all the true fear of death and enable us to prepare for it in the best way. We ask Allah to grant us all a good death and make it the means of everlasting happiness. We ask Allah to forgive all those believers who have left the world before us.
On the Day of Judgement, a day when the whole of humanity will stand before the Creator to give an account of their trip to the world, one simple question will either enable a person to see Allah the Almighty with his very own eyes or make him fuel for the fire of hell! This will be the very first question put forward to every believer! This question is indeed the question regarding Salah!
No other thing in Islam, no matter how important or great it may seem comes even close to the rank of Salah. Salah is the practical meaning of Islam-therefore that person who has no Salah in his life has no Islam in his life! Indeed it is the dividing line between Islam and infidelity.
Salah is a gift from Allah bestowed upon this honoured nation via the greatest of man on the miraculous Night of Ascension. It is also a duty incumbent on every Muslim, male or female, who has attained the age of maturity and has a sound mind. The obligation, importance, greatness, countless benefits and the ultimate reward of Salah have been mentioned in numerous verses of the Holy Qur’an and Al Hadith of the Prophet (p.b.u.h).
Putting the oceans of categories related to this topic aside, the one simple fact we all need to embed deep into our heads and minds is that Salah is a duty that we all have to fulfil, five times a day, every day of our lifetime, in every place and in all situations. Having knowledge and believing this fact is a claim made by us all, but regretfully, regarding many this claim can only be classed as a lie. Neglecting Salah is a disease which is the root cause to our personal problems, difficulties within households, calamities within societies and the suffering of the Muslim Ummah as a whole. It is also amongst the greatest of sins. There are some people who claim to be Muslims but will openly admit that they either do not perform Salah at all or do not perform it regularly. No human being is forced to follow Islam, but to do so and neglect what Islam stands for is insanity. Such actions of individuals cause one to cast doubt upon the beliefs of these people. It defies logic that a person can be a Muslim and not perform Salah; five times a day he is being called to Salah and he rejects each and every call; at a time when hundreds of millions of Muslims stand in prayer this person chooses not to; weeks and months pass by and this person has not bowed down before his creator whom he claims to worship; Allah the Almighty is being disobeyed from dawn till dusk for days and eventually for years leading to decades; the verses of the Qur’an and the Ahadeeth of the Prophet (p.b.u.h) mean nothing to him. What difference is there in the behaviour of a person who neglects Salah and that of a disbeliever?
The Prophet (p.b.u.h) said, “The dividing line between a believer and the disbeliever is the negligence of prayer.” Muslim On the Day of Judgement mankind will be summoned to prostrate before Allah the Almighty. Only those who performed Salah in this world will on that day be able to prostrate before their creator. Those Muslims who neglected Salah in this world will attempt to do as they have been ordered but will find that their backs have become stiff. Thus, they will remain standing in disobedience alongside the likes of Abu Jahl and Firaun as they had shared a similar lifestyle in this world. Such will be the humiliation and disgrace for the violators of Salah. May Allah the Most Merciful save us all from such wretchedness.
Salah and Salah only is the means of self-rectification and attaining nearness to Allah. The rest of our duties and our worship will only be valid if we are punctual on Salah. It is therefore completely wrong of some people to think that they are not in a suitable state to perform Salah and that they will begin to perform Salah once they are in a rectified state. Allah the Almighty states: “ Indeed Salah restrains from shameful and evil deeds” (Ankabut) Therefore any Muslim who intends to change his/her ways and lead a life of obedience then they need to begin by performing Salah! The best advice would be to solely concentrate on becoming punctual on performing Salah. If this can be achieved, we will then see that we are automatically living a complete Islamic life with relative ease.
As with every other form of worship and all things in life, in order for our Salah to benefit us and be accepted by Allah we need to perform it in the correct manner. Striving to perfect our Salah has to be the utmost priority in the life of every Muslim. It is a visible and common fact that many Muslims are not able to perform Salah in the correct way. Attaining knowledge regarding our compulsory duties is also a compulsory duty! Neglecting this duty will make a person sinful even through performing Salah. The importance of Salah cannot be emphasised enough and it is a topic without an end. It is our duty to awaken from our slumber and sacrifice our lives for this duty which was the coolness of our Prophet’s (p.b.u.h) eyes. On the Day of Judgement, who would wish to remain standing alongside Firawn and Abu Jahl while the whole of humanity have fallen in prostration to Allah the Almighty?
May Allah guide us all.
Every human being at some point in their life will experience difficult moments and hardship; this could be financial problems, marriage difficulties, ill health, or some other kind of personal distress. Problems and hardship are a reality of this temporary life, a fact we must accept.
Zakah as we are all aware is one of the five pillars of Islam. Denying the fact that Zakah is an obligation would take a person out of the fold of Islam. Zakah, (as many Muslims assume) is neither just a form of charity, almsgiving or tax, nor is it simply an expression of kindness, but rather it is all of these combined and much more. In brief, Zakah is a duty enjoined by Allah and undertaken by Muslims, firstly in obedience to Allah, for their own benefit and in the interest of society as a whole. The greatness of this pillar of Islam is repeatedly emphasised in the holy Quran by the fact that it is always mentioned in the same verse as the greatest pillar of Islam-Salah. The virtues and benefits of fulfilling this great obligation are endless and many are mentioned in the Quran and books of Ahadeeth.
However, despite what has been mentioned above, we find that Zakah is the most neglected of all the obligations. How do we know this? If we ask ourselves a few simple questions we will realise ourselves: When do we pay our Zakah? Do we even pay our Zakah? How do we pay our Zakah? Questions by which many Muslims are left totally mesmerised.
How do we pay Zakah?
What has been written above is a brief example of how to pay Zakah. This example would apply to those of us who are not involved in any type of business. If we are involved in business the rules are different and at times can be a bit confusing. It is nonetheless our duty to learn the rules regarding Zakah. If we ourselves find it difficult to understand the method of paying Zakah then we should consult our local scholars. The most important thing of all is that we just have to make sure that we are regularly paying our Zakah.
The Prophet (p.bu.h) has said regarding those who neglect the duty of Zakah:
At the blink of an eye or even less, the day of Eid-ul-Fitr has dawned upon us to signal the ending of the blessed month of Ramadhan. Fitr means to break fast or to refrain from fasting. Hence the Eid after Ramadhan is called Eid-ul-Fitr as it marks the completion of fasting. This is a day of happiness and celebration and a day for Muslims to express the bounties bestowed upon them by Allah. The day of Eid-ul-Fitr along with Eid-ul Adha are the ONLY two days of celebration prescribed by the religion of Islam! Occasions such as birthdays, wedding anniversaries, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and other similar baseless occasions are not recognised by Allah and his Messenger (p.b.u.h). If there was the slightest benefit in celebrating any of the above-mentioned occasions, our Prophet (p.b.u.h) would have been the very first person to do so!
Although the day of Eid is a day of celebration and joy, it is not a day immune from the laws of Shariah as may be the assumption of some people. It is a day to be celebrated and enjoyed, but only in accordance to the laws of Islam. If our celebrations on this day violate the teachings of our religion, it will be a means of immense grief and regret in the hereafter! By spending the day of Eid in the correct way a Muslim acquires great rewards and draws closer to Allah. Below are a few points which if correctly adhered to would enable us to spend the day of Eid in a way that would be pleasing to Allah and his Messenger (p.b.u.h) inshallah.
SUNNAH ACTS ON THE DAY OF EID1. To rise as early as possible (performance of Fajr salah is a must.)
2. To have a bath and use the Miswaak (Siwaak).
3. To wear one's best clothes.
4. To apply perfume (itr).
5. To eat something sweet before departing for Eid salah.
6. To give Sadaqah al-Fitr before leaving for Eid salah.
7. To go to the place of Eid salah as early as possible.
8. To walk to the place of Eid salah.
9. To go to the place of Eid salah by one route and to return by a different one.
10. To recite the following takbeer while going for Eid salah:
Allahu akbar Allahu akbar la ilaha illallahu wallahu akbar Allahu akbar walillahil hamd
11. On the day of Eid after the Fajr salah no nafl salah should be performed before of after the Eid salah.
Allah has made the day of Eid a day to relax, to eat and drink and express happiness and joy. The day of Eid is a holiday from Allah. However, we see many Muslims working on this day and rejecting this holiday bestowed upon them by Allah the Allmighty. This is totally wrong and devalues this great day! Those who are forced to work due to unfortunate circumstances would be immune from criticism. However, those who are not in this situation and yet opt to work, either due to weakness in faith or greed for what Allah dislikes should know that their actions are un-Islamic. There are some who claim that they would rather go to work because they feel bored at home and are just sitting idle. It is down to an individual to look for ways to express happiness and joy on this day- we should look to spend the whole day with firstly our wives and children and then with our relatives and friends. The concluding point from the above mentioned is that the day of Eid is a holiday from Allah and should be accepted as a holiday by all Muslims.
THE SIX NAFL FAST OF SHAWWALThe Prophet (p.b.u.h) said: "Whoever fasts Ramadhan and then follows it with six of Shawwal, he is one who has fasted 'ad-Dahr' (for a whole lifetime)" Ibn Hibban
The month of Shawwal is the month which follows the month of Ramadhan. Although these fasts are only optional, we should make it compulsory upon ourselves to keep these six fasts because we are all in dire need of each and every good deed which is being offered to us. These fasts may be kept continuously or separately, at any time during the month. It may be easier to keep them towards the end of the month as the days will be considerably shorter than they are this Ramadhan.
May Allah accept our worship during the month of Ramadhan, make the day of Eid an occasion of happiness for the entire Muslim Ummah and grant us steadfastness in our religion till the very end.
Abu Huraira (r.a) is one of the most well- known companions of the Prophet Muhammed (s.a.w.s). A companion of the Prophet (s.a.w.s) is a Muslim who has seen the Prophet (s.a.w.s) in his lifetime, even if it may have been for a second.
Abu Hurairah (r.a) was from the Tribe of Daws who were from an area in Arabia called Tihamah. He accepted Islam when the leader of his tribe, Tufail (r.a) invited him and the rest of his people towards Islam.
Abu Hurairah’s real name was Abdus Shams, which in Arabic means ‘servant of the sun’. When he met the Prophet (s.a.w.s), he was given the name Abdur Rahman because his old name was not suitable for a Muslim. However, the Prophet (s.a.w.s) began to call him Abu Hurairah which means ‘father of a kitten’ in Arabic. This was because Abu Hurairah was very kind towards animals and had a cat that was always by his side.
In the year 7AH Abu Hurairah went to live in Medinah. As he was poor, he went to live in the mosque with other very poor companions (r.a) of the Prophet (s.a.w.s). Abu Hurairah (r.a) wanted to gain knowledge from the Prophet (s.a.w.s), so he spent as much time as he could sitting with the Prophet (s.a.w.s) and stayed away from doing business. In this way Abu Hurairah (r.a) managed to narrate more Ahadith than any other companion (r.a). A Hadith is anything the Prophet (s.a.w.s) did or said. During his lifetime Abu Hurairah memorized and narrated more than 5000 Ahadith. Another reason why he was able to narrate so many Ahadith was because he had a very strong memory.
Abu Hurairah’s mother migrated with him to Medinah but she still had not accepted Islam. One day Abu Hurairah (r.a) asked the Prophet (s.a.w.s) to pray to Allah to make his mother into a Muslim. The Prophet (s.a.w.s) prayed for Abu Hurairah’s mother and before Abu Hurairah (r.a) could return home, his mother had become a Muslim. Abu Hurairah (r.a) was always good to his mother and he also told other people to be good to their parents.
Abu Hurairah (r.a) had great love for the Prophet (s.a.w.s) and spent his whole day sitting and learning from the Prophet (s.a.w.s). He was also with the Prophet (s.a.w.s) on many journeys and battles.
Abu Hurairah (r.a) passed away in the year 59 AH at the age of 78.
We should all ask Allah to greatly reward Abu Hurairah (r.a), because it is due to his sacrifices and hard work that today we are able to learn many Ahadith of our Prophet (s.a.w.s).
Among the many miracles in the religion of Islam which came to light during the ‘Dark Ages’ and have baffled and humbled the men of an era with no limits, we have the Siwak, also known as the Miswak. A completely natural twig and used without the aid of man-made materials, the Siwak was introduced to the world over 1400 years ago and even today has not been beaten by the West in terms of availability, cost, and the actual benefit that it provides.
The Siwak is a great and beloved Sunnah of our Prophet (p.b.u.h) and also that of the Prophets before him. This fact clearly illustrates its value and is sufficient to warrant it being adopted by every Muslim.
It has been reported by Ibn Umar that the Prophet (p.b.u.h) said, “The Siwak is a cleanser of the mouth and brings the pleasure of the Lord.”
Abu Hurayrah reports that Prophet (p.b.u.h) said, “Had it not been for placing my Ummah in difficulty, I would have commanded them to use the Siwak at the time of each Salah.”
Times When the Use of the Siwak is Particularly Recommended as Mentioned in the Ahadeeth
The Siwak is a Sunnah for women as it is for men and should therefore be in every Muslim woman’s handbag along with the rest of her cosmetics!
There are countless benefits of the Siwak including eradicating memory loss and cleaning the teeth. However the greatest benefit of all is that it is a means of entering Jannah.
Some Recommendations for the Siwak
In this confusing and misleading era, It is a sad fact that many Muslims consider the way of life offered to us by the West to be superior and more worth-wile in living. Many of us forget that it was the teachings of Islam (including the use of the Siwak) 1400 years ago regarding cleanliness that had started the sciences of medicine and hygiene. The Siwak should not be disregarded and ridiculed; rather it should used with extreme pride and joy. A Siwak can easily be obtained from an Islamic shop or by asking a fellow Muslim.
May Allah guide us all. Ameen.
Interacting with other people and developing friendships is a normal and healthy aspect of human lives. From a young age right through to adulthood, we are constantly meeting and befriending people whether it’s through our education, work, communities and social life. Some interactions may be nothing more than just mutually assisting one another, but some will of course develop into deep and lasting friendships with the power to influence and shape our values, attitudes and beliefs.
In this harsh and unforgiving world, true happiness in its true meaning is only achieved trough the unique relationship of marriage. If anybody hopes to find true happiness in anything other than marriage, then this is indeed contradicting the guidance of Allah. However, although we see that the means of obtaining true happiness is adopted by all human beings, finding a couple who are ‘happily married’ is as common as a mirage containing water! Due to this reason, society is not being fed the root ingredient it requires in order to become a positive factor in establishing universal peace.
“Were I to order to order anyone to prostrate before another, I would have ordered the woman to prostrate before her husband” (Tirmidhi)
“Let no believing man have a dislike for a believing woman; if he finds one thing displeasing in her, there will always be something which he likes.” (Muslim)
The duty of the husband is to provide and spend on his wife. It is his duty to work hard and earn living. The husband has a duty to make sure that he doesn’t overwork his wife, e.g. constantly inviting guests. The husband has a duty to provide good, private accommodation for his wife even if he is living with his family. It is also the duty of the husband to educate his wife, teach her manners and protect her. He should not cheat her or chase after her faults and he should live with her in kindness.
The Prophet (p.b.u.h) said: “The best amongst you are those who are best towards their wives.”
I ask Allah to grant us all happiness in our marriages. Ameen
After the month of Ramadhan, after spending thirty continuous days in an organised and structured manner, in a unique atmosphere, in a month when it was easier to do good deeds than bad, we now see many Muslims in possibly a state of confusion and despair due to being overpowered by the illness of ignorance. The doors of wrongdoing which had been locked prior to Ramadhan with much will and hopes have once again been opened. The Holy Quran which was recited in abundance during the Holy Month has now been put away on the highest shelf to gather dust and to be taken down next Ramadhan. Those who performed the five daily salahs with such zeal and punctuality are today not even aware of the salah times never mind performing them! Why is there this negative change in many Muslims after Ramadhan? The reasons are many and vary amongst individuals. Yes, we do expect a decrease in the worship of many Muslims after Ramadhan, but we don’t expect complete retirement form practising upon their religion! One of the reasons (in my view) is that many people just don’t seem to know what worshipping Allah means as well as not knowing how they should spend the next eleven months until the next Ramadhan in an organised manner similar to the way they spent Ramadhan.
What I have written below may help in resolving this dilemma. As Allah has stated in the Holy Quran we have only been created to worship him. How much or for how long should we worship Allah? This question is answered in another verse where addressing the Prophet (p.b.u.h) Allah says, “And worship your lord until death comes to you.” Therefore our whole life should be spent in obedience and practising upon our religion-not just the month of Ramadhan and the Day of Jummah as is the practice of some Muslims. Our two goals in this life are to attain entry into Paradise and obtain salvation from Hell in the hereafter. Achieving these two aims are not restricted or guaranteed during the month of Ramadhan because the mercy of Allah by which these two aims are achieved is, was and will always be there in every moment of a person’s life. The lord of Ramadhan is indeed the lord of every other month! Therefore worshipping on certain days or months only, is a clear contradiction of the purpose of our creation as well as a violation of the laws of Allah!
The Month of Ramadhan with all its virtues and blessings is indeed a great occasion, but it is one of the many similar occasions bestowed upon us in which we can guarantee ourselves the success of both worlds. Every day, five times a day we have an occasion which is greater, more important and virtuous than fasting in the month of Ramadhan- Salah. Every week we are blessed with the day of Eid, a day which is the greatest day in the eyes of Allah- the Day of Jummah. On this day there is a special moment in which a Muslim’s duah is definitely accepted- In fact there is such a moment in every single night. The option of performing Tahajjud is there every single night too. During the third portion of every night Allah the Almighty descends to the first heaven calling out to his slaves and offering his forgiveness of repentance and acceptance of duas. The opportunity of performing the most virtuous worship- the recitation of the Holy Quran is always there. By reciting just one letter of the Holy Quran a person obtains ten rewards which are then multiplied to seven hundred or as many as Allah wishes. By fasting for six days at anytime during the month of Shawaal a person is given the reward of fasting for a whole year. There is the fast on the day of Arafah during the days of Hajj and the fast of A’shura during the month of Muharram by which a person can have all his past and future sins forgiven. It is also a sunnah to fast on Mondays and Thursdays as well as on the13th, 14th and 15th of every Islamic month. As well as what has been mentioned above there are many other occasions and forms of worship which have been created by Allah to keep a Muslim occupied in the worship of his creator in every moment of his life-the reason for which he was created.
Indeed a sign that a person has truly benefitted from the month of Ramadhan is that he is able to continue on the same path on which he was on during the month of Ramadhan. If a person stops practising after Ramadhan then his worshipping in the month of Ramadhan would not have been for the right reasons or with the correct intentions and will therefore be of no benefit to him at all. It is indeed a great shame that a person should let thirty days of hard worship and hard-earned reward go to waste by turning away from Allah after Ramadhan.
I pray that Allah grants us all steadfastness in our deen. Ameen
The Prophet Mohammed (p.b.u.h)
The Prophet Mohammed (p.b.u.h) was born in Makkah on the 9th of Rabiul-Awal in the year 571 A.D. He was born on a Monday.
This is just a brief summary of the life of the Prophet (p.b.u.h). As Muslims it is our duty to study the life of our Prophet (p.b.u.h) as much as possible. Only through studying his life will we really recognise our Prophet (p.b.u.h), thus be able to love and follow him in the way we need to do in order to achieve success both in this world and more importantly in the hereafter. Books on the life of the Prophet (p.b.u.h) are available widely in almost every language. We should all have at least one copy in our homes. The Prophet (p.b.u.h) said in a very well known Hadith," None of you can be a true believer until I am more beloved to him than his parents, his children and the whole of mankind."
.Note: Certain facts in different books will differ in accordance to the research and opinions of scholars and historians. The information on this sheet has been extracted from "The Sealed Nectar", which was compiled by Safiur Rahman Mubarakpuri.