Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Helping Orphans

Nabi Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam greatly praised that person who cares for an orphan by saying, "I and the guardian of an orphan will be like this is Jannah," and he indicated with his first two fingers leaving a small gap between them. Wherever one has the opportunity to take care of an orphan one should make haste in doing so.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Hajj 2008 - Awesome

These picture's were sent by my brother - I cannot describe the feeling when I saw them. It brought tears to my eyes, Inshallah we all have the chace of going for Hajj, Aameen










Gold Thread being shown on the Kiswa




Water being sprayed at Pilgram - Arafat




Friday, December 12, 2008

Chocolate Anyone


The five-metre tall chocolate mosque was made from 200 kilogrammes of chocolate


An Indonesian chef makes finishing touches to a giant replica of a mosque made of chocolate at a hotel

Where is Allah

WHERE IS ALLAH?

"I searched the mountains and the valleys but neither in the heights nor in the depths I was able to find Him. I went to the Kaaba in Makkah, but He was not there either. I questioned the scholars and philosophers, but He was beyond their understanding. I then looked into my heart and it was there where He dwelled that I saw him; He was nowhere else to be found."

~ Jalaluddin Rumi ~

Source: Radio Islam Newsletter

Jummah

As-Salaamu-Alaikum

Allah gives hope to those who dream,

Miracles to those who believe,

Never lets down those who trust and

He never leaves the one who obeys Him

Jummah Mubarak to you all. Please remember Ummah of Nabi (SAW), the sick and weak, the oppressed as well as my family and I in your Dua'as, likewise we will do the same, Inshallah

Heart of a Muslim


Looking up at the sky, searching for Allah (swt) Most High
He rejected the way of worshipping Gods of clay

Prophet Ebrahim (AS) knew that Allah (swt) was near and that the heart of a Muslim is sincere

Under the hot burning sun, he declared Allah (swt) is One
Though with stones on his chest, his Imaan would not rest

The Muadhin knew that right would conquer wrong and the heart of a Muslim must be strong

In our poor meager state, little food on our plate
Mother said she was glad, always sharing what we had
When I asked how can we share what's not enough
She said the heart of a Muslim's filled with love
He said its time you should know, you will learn as you grow
That some people around will do what's bad to bring you down
Father said to be a star that's shining bright
For the heart of a Muslim does what's right

It's the heart of a Muslim through the guidance of Islam
That makes you fair and kind and helpful to your fellow man

So living as a Muslim means that you must play a part
Allah (swt) looks not at how you look, but what is in your heart

So whatever you do, make sure your words are true
Honesty is the best, because life is a test
Even if it hurts so much you want to cry
For the heart of a Muslim does not lie

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Point to Ponder

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear - Nelson Mandela

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

37 Points to Implement in Your Life

37 Points to Implement in Your Life..

Pray in the last third of the night

Go for Fajr and Esha Salaah in congregation

Say Adhkaar in the morning and evening

Remember Death often

Contemplate over the creation of Allah (swt) - how vast and beautiful His creation is

Gain some knowledge of the Deen daily

Remember the purpose of this life

Fast Voluntarily

Pray as if it is your last prayer

Read Qura'an

Give Sadaqa
Read Dhikr
Listen to Qura’anic recitations
Read Seerah and listen to lectures about Nabi (saw) life and times

Read about the life of the Sahabaah’s and listen to lectures about them
Say often, "Laa ilaha illa Allah".
When you have gained knowledge, inform others of it – daw’ah
Try to go to regular circles to have discussions about Islam
Smile for the sake of Allah, this is a form of Sadaqah
Reading Surah Khaf with deep thought and understanding, until it awakens you to the Dajaalic system that we live in

Always think about Allah (swt)
Learn about science in light of Qura’an and Islam
Call family and friends telling them you love them for sole pleasure of Allah (swt)
Protect ourselves from Shaitan
Make sincere Dua’a for the Ummah of Nabi (saw)

Try to help others as much as you can
Make reading of the Qura'an regular
Read certain Surah's at specific times, i.e. Surah Mulk at night
Thank Allah(swt) within your heart everyday till the day you die, then thank him yourself for everything ! Allahu Akbar
Make Dua'a for your brothers /sisters
Love for your brother what you love for yourself
Discuss Islamic matters with believing brothers/sisters - share knowledge, educate each other
Choose obedience over disobedience
Uttering "Inna Lillahi wa inna Ileyhi raji'oon –

“To Allah we belong and to Allah we return” whenever you are afflicted with anything whether it be small or big

Allah (swt) says: “Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods, lives and the fruits (of your toil) but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere. Those who, when misfortune strikes them, say: “Indeed we belong to Allah and to Him is our return. Those are the ones upon whom are blessings and mercy from their Lord and it is those who are rightly guided.”

[Sûrah al-Baqarah: 155]

The Prophet (peace be upon him)said: “No fatigue, illness, anxiety, sorrow, harm or sadness afflicts any Muslim, even to the extent of a thorn pricking him, without Allah wiping out his sins by it.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

Look at how complex our bodies are (circulatory system, nervous system, etc) and realize that only Allah (swt) could have made something like that.
Love for your brother what you love for yourself
Make a point to do something good for someone else and leave the rest to the Almighty

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Life's First Aid Kit

Items Needed :

R10 bill

Candy Kiss

Tea Bag

Eraser

Rubber Band

Toothpick

Chewing Gum

Band Aid

Pencil

Why?????

TOOTHPICK - to remind you to pick out the good qualities in others.

RUBBER BAND - to remind you to be flexible. Things might not always go the way you want, but it will work out.

BAND AID - to remind you to heal hurt feelings, yours or someone else's.

PENCIL - to remind you to list your blessings everyday.

ERASER - To remind you that everyone makes mistakes, and it's okay.

CHEWING GUM - to remind you to stick with it, and you can accomplish anything.

R10 - to remind you that life & its experiences are priceless

CANDY KISS - to remind you that everyone needs a kiss or a hug everyday.

TEA BAG - to remind you to relax daily and go over your list of blessings.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Are we being ripped off?

I received this by way of mail and I wont mention the company's name but I think this is a bit unfair, well in my opinion anyway...I know of people who are travelling for Hajj and the agent they went with charged them the price they were quoted whilst others changed according to the tune of the dollar hmm sad but i guess business is business!

Are we being ripped off or what??

Some1 & Some1 Travel Co regrets to advise that due to the massive volatility of the Rand (ZAR), you our valued client will no longer be advised of impending Rates of Exchange Adjustments. Invoices can unfortunately only be honoured for immediate payment.

We ask that you call us to confirm latest currency updates on your quotation at the time that You are ready to make payment. Quotations are an indication of price only during this difficult time.

We thank you for your understanding.

My Mother's Hands

My Mother's Hands

Eid was nearing and I felt it was necessary to get my Grand Mother (nani ma) a new Abaya (Cloak) as her other Abayas were frail and worn out. I stopped by on Saturday morning and told my nani to come along as I have a surprise for her.

I don't normally like to go shopping as I'm not a patient person, but we set off for the mall together. We visited nearly every Islamic Clothing Store that carried ladies' Abayas and she tried on many. We were so undecided. Some were too huge, others too small..some were just right but the colour was not so smart etc.

As the day wore on, I grew weary. Finally, at our last stop, my nani ma tried on a lovely Brown Abaya that had lovely beige ribbon trimmings. The Abaya had some bows in front. As I stood in the dressing room with her, I watched as she tried, with much difficulty, to tie the bows. Her hands were so badly crippled from arthritis that she couldn't do it. Immediately, my impatience gave way to an overwhelming wave of compassion for her. I turned away to try and hide the tears that welled up involuntarily. Regaining my composure, I turned back to tie each of the bows for her.

Our shopping trip was over, but the event was etched indelibly in my memory. For the rest of the day, my mind kept returning to that moment in the dressing room and to the vision of my nani ma's hands trying to tie that bow. Those loving hands that had fed me, bathed me, dressed me,
caressed and comforted me and most of all prayed for me, were now touching me in the most remarkable manner.

Later in the evening, I went to her room, took her hands in mine, kissed them and much to her delight and surprise I told her that to me they were the most beautiful hands in the world. Tears started falling profusely from her aged and weak eyes as I narrated my appreciativeness for all that her beautiful hands had done for me since I could remember. I could not forget how she stood at my bed side for days and fed me with those beautiful hands while I recovered from an accident. I was 17 at that time. Today at 27 I can only pray that some day Allah (swt) will let my hands
and my heart achieve such a beauty of their own.

"We have enjoined on man kindness to his parents: In pain did his mother bear him, and in pain did she give him birth." Qura'an-[Surah al-Ahqaf 46:15]

The Prophet Muhammad (Sallahu Alayhi Wassallam) is reported to have said (may Allah (swt)'s [peace and blessings be upon him): "Jannah [heaven] lies under the feet of your mother"

"Shall I not inform you of the biggest of the great sins?" We [his companions] said, "Yes, O Allah's Apostle [pbuh]" He said, "To join partners in worship with Allah (swt) and to be undutiful to one's parents."

Let us not wait for a special day to show kindness to our parents! Do as much good today as they may not be with us tomorrow!!!!


May Allah (swt) grant our mother's / grandmothers that which they rightly deserve. Let us make Dua'a for each them and treasure them for what they do and have done for us...

5 Days of Hajj

As-Salaamu-Alaikum Dear Readers

This is a long read but worthwhile...

THE 5 DAYS OF HAJJ

Allah prescribed Hajj once in a lifetime upon the Muslims who have the means and are physically able to perform it. There are three types of Hajj: Hajj at-Tamattu', Hajj al-Qiran and Hajj alIf rad. In this article, we will explain the procedure for Hajj Al-Tamatt'u as it is the most recommended one.

In this type, one is to perform 'Umrah during the Hajj months (i.e. Shawwal, Thul-Qe'dah and the first ten nights of Thul-Hijjah) and to perform the Hajj in the same year with a sacrifice slaughtered in Mina on the day of Eid Al Adh'ha (The 10th day of Thul-Hijjah) or during the days of Tashreeq (i.e. the 11th, 12th and 13th day of Thul-Hijjah). The pilgrim may remove his Ihram garments and resume his normal activities between 'Umrah and Hajj. It is necessary to make the Tawaf and the Sa'i twice, the first time for 'Umrah and the second time for Hajj. We describe in the following the sequence of the Hajj journey.

Ihram

Ihram is the intention of the person willing to perform all rites of 'Umrah, Hajj or both when he arrives at the Miqat. Each direction coming into Makkah has its own Miqat. It is recommended that the one who intends to perform Hajj makes Ghusl (a shower with the intention to purify one's self), perfumes his body, but not his garments, and puts on a two piece garment with no headgear. The garments should be of seamless cloth. One piece to cover the upper part of the body, and the second to cover the lower part. For a woman the Ihram is the same except that she should not use perfumes at all and her dress should cover the whole body decently, leaving the hands and the face uncovered. The pilgrim should say the intention according to the type of Hajj. For Hajj Al-Tamatt'u one should say: "Labbayka Allahumma 'Umrah" which means "O Allah I answered Your call to perform 'Umrah". It is recommended to repeat the well known supplication of Hajj, called Talbeyah, as frequently as possible from the time of Ihram till the time of the first stoning of Jamrat Al-Aqabah in Mina. Men are recommended to utter the Talbeyah aloud while women are to say it quietly. This Talbeyah is of the form:

"Labbayka Allahumma Labbayk. Labbayka La Shareeka Laka Labbayk. Inna-alhamda Wan-ntimata Laka Walmulk. La Shareek Lak." (Here I am at your service. O my Lord, here I am. Here I am. No partner do You have. Here I am. Truly, the praise and the provisions are Yours, and so is the dominion. No partner do You have.)

Performing 'Umrah

Tawaf: When a Muslim arrives to Makkah, he should make Tawaf around the Ka'bah, as a gesture of greeting A1Masjid Al-Haraam. This is done by circling the Ka'bah seven times in the counterclockwise direction, starting from the black stone with Takbeer and ending each circle at the Black Stone with Takbeer, keeping the Ka'bah to one's left. Then the pilgrim goes to Maqam Ibrahim (Ibrahim's Station), and performs two rak'ah behind it, close to it if possible, but away from the path of the people making Tawaf. In all cases one should be facing the Ka'bah when praying behind Maqam Ibrahim.

Sa'i: The next rite is to make Sa'i between Safa and Marwah. The pilgrim starts Sa'i by ascending the Safa. While facing the Ka'bah he praises Allah, raises his hands and says Takbeer "Allah-u Akbar" three times, then makes supplication to Allah. Then the pilgrim descends from the Safa and heads towards the Marwah. One should increase the pace between the clearly marked green posts, but should walk at a normal pace before and after them. When the pilgrim reaches the Marwah, he should ascend it, praise Allah and do as he did at the Safa. This is considered one round and so is the other way from the Marwah to the Safa. A total of seven rounds are required to perform the Sa'i. After Sa'i, the Muslim ends his 'Umrah rites by shaving his head or trimming his hair (women should cut a finger tip's length from their hair). At this stage, the prohibitions pertaining to the state of Ihram are lifted and one can resume his normal life.

There are no required formulas or supplications for Tawaf or for Sa'i. It is up to the worshipper to praise Allah or to supplicate Him with any acceptable supplication or to recite portions of the Qur'an. Although it is recommended to recite the supplications that the Prophet, salla Allah-u alaihe wa salam, used to say during the performance of these rites.

It must be noted that 'Umrah can be performed by itself as described above at any time of the year.

Going out to Mina on the day of Tarwiah

A pilgrim performing Hajj AlTamatt'u should intend Ihram, from the place where he is staying, on the 8th day of Thul-Hijjah, which is the Tarwiah Day, and leave to Mina in the morning. In Mina, the pilgrims pray Dhuhr, Asr, Maghrib and Isha of the 8th day of ThulHijjah and Fajr of the 9th day of ThulHijjah. Dhuhr, Asr and Isha are each shortened to two Rak'ah only, but are not combined. The pilgrim remains in Mina until sunrise of the 9th day of ThulHijjah and then leaves to Arafat.

Departure to Arafat

On the 9th day of Thul-Hijjah, the Day of Arafat, the pilgrims stay in Arafat until sunset. The pilgrims pray Dhuhr and Asr at Arafat, shortened and combined dur ing the time of Dhuhr to save the rest of the day for glorifying Allah and for supplication asking forgiveness. A pilgrim should make sure that he is within the boundaries of Arafat, not necessarily standing on the mountain of Arafat. The Prophet salla Allah-u alaihe wa salam, said: "I stood here on this rocky hill and all Arafat is a standing place" Muslim. One should keep reciting Talbeyah, glorifying Allah the Greatest and repeating supplication. It is also reported that the Prophet, salla Allah-u alaihe wa salam, used to say the following supplication: "There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, the One without a partner. The dominion and the praise are His and He is powerful over everything." Anas Ibn Malik was asked once how he and his friends used to spend their time while walking from Mina to Arafat in the company of the Prophet, salla Allah-u alaihe wa salam. Anas said: "Some of us used to cry out Talbeyah, others used to glorify Allah the Greatest and the rest used to repeat prayers. Each one of us was free to worship Allah in the way he likes without prejudice or renunciation of his right." Bukhari.

In the vast square plain of Arafat, tears are shed, sins are washed and faults are redressed for those who ask Allah for forgiveness and offer sincere repentance for their wrong doings in the past. Happy is the person who receives the Mercy and Pleasure of Allah on this particular day.

The departure from Arafat

Soon after sunset on the Day of Arafat, the pilgrims leave for Muzdalifah quietly and reverently in compliance with the advice of the Prophet, salla Allah-u alaihe wa salam, who said when he noticed people walking without calmness: "O people! Be quiet, hastening is not a sign of righteousness." Bukhari. In order to follow the example of the Prophet, salla Allah-u alaihe wa salam, it is preferable to keep reciting the Talbeyah, glorifying Allah the Greatest and mentioning the name of Allah until the time of stoning Jamrat Al-Aqabah (a stone pillar in Mina). In Muzdalifah, the pilgrim performs Maghrib and Isha prayers combined, shortening the Isha prayer to two Rak'ah.Pilgrims stay overnight in Muzdalifah to perform the Fajr prayer and wait until the brightness of the morning is widespread before they leave to Mina passing through the sacred Mash'ar valley.

Women and weak individuals are allowed to proceed to Mina at any time after midnight to avoid the crowd.

Stoning Jamrat Al-Aqabah

When the pilgrims arrive at Mina, they go to Jamrat Al-Aqabah where they stone it with seven pebbles glorifying Allah "Allah-u Akbar" at each throw and calling on Him to accept their Hajj. The time of stoning Jamrat Al-Aqabah is after sunrise. The Prophet, salla Allah-u alaihe wa salam, threw the pebbles late in the morning and permitted weak people to stone after leaving Muzdalifah after midnight. The size of the pebbles should not be more than that of a bean as described by the Prophet, salla Allahu alaihe wa salam, who warned against exaggeration. The pebbles can be picked up either in Muzdalifah or in Mina.

Slaughter of Sacrifice

After stoning Jamrat Al-Aqabah, the pilgrim goes to slaughter his sacrifice either personally or through the appointment of somebody else to do it on his behalf. A pilgrim should slaughter either a sheep, or share a cow or a camel with six others.

Shaving the head or trimming the hair

The final rite on the tenth day after offering his sacrifice is to shave one' s head or to cut some of the hair. Shaving the head is, however, preferable for it was reported that the Prophet prayed three times for those who shaved their heads, when he said: "May Allah's Mercy be upon those who shaved their heads." Bukhari and Muslim. For women, the length of hair to be cut is that of a finger tip. The stoning of Jamrat Al-Aqabah and the shaving of head or trimming of hair symbolizes the end of the first phase of the state of Ihram and the lifting of its restrictions except for sexual intercourse with one's spouse. Stoning Jamrat Al-Aqabah, slaughtering the sacrifice and shaving the head or cutting part of the hair are preferred to be in this order, as it is the order that the Prophet, salla Allah-u alaihe wa salam, did them. However, if they are done in any other order, there is no harm in that.

Tawaf Al-Ifadhah

Tawaf Al-Ifadhah is a fundamental rite of Hajj. The pilgrim makes Tawaf-AIIfadhah by visiting Al-Masjid AlHaraam and circling the Ka'bah seven times and praying two Rak'ah behind Maqam Ibrahim. Then the pilgrim should make Sa'i between the Safa and the Marwah. After Tawaf Al-Ifadhah the state of Ihram is completely ended and all restrictions are lifted including sexual intercourse with one's spouse.

Tawaf Al-Ifadhah can be delayed until the days spent at Mina are over.

Return to Mina

The pilgrim should return to Mina and spend there the days of Tashreeq (i.e. the I I th, 1 2th and 1 3th day of Thul-Hijjah). l During each day, and after Dhuhr prayer, the pilgrim stones the three stone pillars called "Jamarat": The small, the medium and Jamrat Al-Aqabah, glorifying Allah "Allah-u Akbar" with each throw of the seven pebbles stoned at each pillar. These pebbles are picked up in Mina. A l Pilgrim may leave Mina to Makkah on the 13th of Thul-Hijjah or on the 12th if he wishes, there is no blame on him if he chooses the later, but he has to leave before sunset.

Farewell Tawaf - Alwida'a Tawaf

Farewell Tawaf is the final rite of Hajj. It is to make another Tawaf around the Ka'bah. Ibn Abbas said: "The people were ordered to perform the Tawaf around the Ka'bah as the last thing before leaving Makkah, except the menstruating women who were excused." Bukhari.

One fifth of humankind shares a single aspiration: to complete, at least once in a lifetime, the spiritual journey called the Hajj.

The hajj, or pilgrimage to Makkah, a central duty of Islam whose origins date back to the Prophet Abraham, brings together Muslims of all races and tongues for one of life's most moving spiritual experiences.

For 14 centuries, countless millions of Muslims, men and women from the four corners of the earth, have made the pilgrimage to Makkah, the birthplace of Islam. In carrying out this obligation, they fulfill one of the five "pillars" of Islam, or central religious duties of the believer.


Muslims trace the recorded origins of the divinely prescribed pilgrimage to the Prophet Abraham, or Ibrahim, as he is called in Arabic. According to the Qur'an, it was Abraham who, together with Ishmael (Isma'il), built the Ka'bah, "the House of God," the focal point toward which Muslims turn in their worship five times each day. It was Abraham, too - known as Khalil Allah, "the friend of God" - who established the rituals of the hajj, which recall events or practices in his life and that of Hagar (Hajar) and their son Ishmael.

In the chapter entitled "The Pilgrimage," the Qur'an speaks of the divine command to perform the hajj and prophesies the permanence of this institution:

And when We assigned for Abraham the place of the House, saying "Do not associate Anything with Me, and purify My House for those who go around it and for those who stand and bow and prostrate themselves in worship. And proclaim the Pilgrimage among humankind: They will come to you on foot and on every camel made lean By traveling deep, distant ravines.

By the time the Prophet Muhammad received the divine call, however, pagan practices had come to muddy some of the original observances of the hajj. The Prophet, as ordained by God, continued the Abrahamic hajj after restoring its rituals to their original purity.

Furthermore, Muhammad himself instructed the believers in the rituals of the hajj. He did this in two ways: by his own practice, or by approving the practices of his Companions. This added some complexity to the rituals, but also provided increased flexibility in carrying them out, much to the benefit of pilgrims ever since. It is lawful, for instance, to have some variation in the order in which the several rites are carried out, because the Prophet himself is recorded as having approved such actions. Thus, the rites of the hajj are elaborate, numerous and varied; aspects of some of them are highlighted below.

The hajj to Makkah is a once-in-a-lifetime obligation upon male and female adults whose health and means permit it, or, in the words of the Qur'an, upon "those who can make their way there." It is not an obligation on children, though some children do accompany their parents on this journey.

Before setting out, a pilgrim should redress all wrongs, pay all debts, plan to have enough funds for his own journey and for the maintenance of his family while he is away, and prepare himself for good conduct throughout the hajj.

When pilgrims undertake the hajj journey, they follow in the footsteps of millions before them. Nowadays hundreds of thousands of believers from over 70 nations arrive in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by road, sea and air every year, completing a journey now much shorter and in some ways less arduous than it often was in the past.

Till the 19th century, traveling the long distance to Makkah usually meant being part of a caravan. There were three main caravans: the Egyptian one, which formed in Cairo; the Iraqi one, which set out from Baghdad; and the Syrian, which, after 1453, started at Istanbul, gathered pilgrims along the way, and proceeded to Makkah from Damascus.

As the hajj journey took months if all went well, pilgrims carried with them the provisions they needed to sustain them on their trip. The caravans were elaborately supplied with amenities and security if the persons traveling were rich, but the poor often ran out of provisions and had to interrupt their journey in order to work, save up their earnings, and then go on their way. This resulted in long journeys which, in some cases, spanned ten years or more. Travel in earlier days was filled with adventure. The roads were often unsafe due to bandit raids. The terrain the pilgrims passed through was also dangerous, and natural hazards and diseases often claimed many lives along the way. Thus, the successful return of pilgrims to their families was the occasion of joyous celebration and thanksgiving for their safe arrival.

Lured by the mystique of Makkah and Madinah, many Westerners have visited these two holy cities, on which the pilgrims converge, since the 15th century. Some of them disguised themselves as Muslims; others, who had genuinely converted, came to fulfill their duty. But all seem to have been moved by their experience, and many recorded their impressions of the journey and the rituals of the hajj in fascinating accounts. Many hajj travelogues exist, written in languages as diverse as the pilgrims themselves.

The pilgrimage takes place each year between the eighth and the 13th days of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th month of the Muslim lunar calendar. Its first rite is the donning of the ihram.

The ihram, worn by men, is a white seamless garment made up of two pieces of cloth or toweling; one covers the body from waist to ankle and the other is thrown over the shoulder. This garb was worn by both Abraham and Muhammad. Women generally wear a simple white dress and a headcovering, but not a veil. Men's heads must be uncovered; both men and women may use an umbrella.

The ihram is a symbol of purity and of the renunciation of evil and mundane matters. It also indicates the equality of all people in the eyes of God. When the pilgrim wears his white apparel, he or she enters into a state of purity that prohibits quarreling, committing violence to man or animal and having conjugal relations. Once he puts on his hajj clothes the pilgrim cannot shave, cut his nails or wear any jewelry, and he will keep his unsown garment on till he completes the pilgrimage.

A pilgrim who is already in Makkah starts his hajj from the moment he puts on the ihram. Some pilgrims coming from a distance may have entered Makkah earlier with their ihram on and may still be wearing it. The donning of the ihram is accompanied by the primary invocation of the hajj, the talbiyah:

Here I am, O God, at Thy Command! Here I am at Thy Command! Thou art without associate; Here I am at Thy Command! Thine are praise and grace and dominion! Thou art without associate.

The thunderous, melodious chants of the talbiyah ring out not only in Makkah but also at other nearby sacred locations connected with the hajj.

On the first day of the hajj, pilgrims sweep out of Makkah toward Mina, a small uninhabited village east of the city. As their throngs spread through Mina, the pilgrims generally spend their time meditating and praying, as the Prophet did on his pilgrimage.

During the second day, the 9th of Dhu al-Hijjah, pilgrims leave Mina for the plain of 'Arafat for the wuquf, "the standing," the central rite of the hajj. As they congregate there, the pilgrims' stance and gathering reminds them of the Day of Judgment. Some of them gather at the Mount of Mercy, where the Prophet delivered his unforgettable Farewell Sermon, enunciating far-reaching religious, economic, social and political reforms. These are emotionally charged hours, which the pilgrims spend in worship and supplication. Many shed tears as they ask God to forgive them. On this sacred spot, they reach the culmination of their religious lives as they feel the presence and closeness of a merciful God.

The first Englishwoman to perform the hajj, Lady Evelyn Cobbold, described in 1934 the feelings pilgrims experience during the wuquf at 'Arafat. "It would require a master pen to describe the scene, poignant in its intensity, of that great concourse of humanity of which I was one small unit, completely lost to their surroundings in a fervor of religious enthusiasm. Many of the pilgrims had tears streaming down their cheeks; others raised their faces to the starlit sky that had witnessed this drama so often in the past centuries. The shining eyes, the passionate appeals, the pitiful hands outstretched in prayer moved me in a way that nothing had ever done before, and I felt caught up in a strong wave of spiritual exaltation. I was one with the rest of the pilgrims in a sublime act of complete surrender to the Supreme Will which is Islam."

She goes on to describe the closeness pilgrims feel to the Prophet while standing in 'Arafat: "...as I stand beside the granite pillar, I feel I am on Sacred ground. I see with my mind's eye the Prophet delivering that last address, over thirteen hundred years ago, to the weeping multitudes. I visualize the many preachers who have spoken to countless millions who have assembled on the vast plain below; for this is the culminating scene of the Great Pilgrimage."

The Prophet is reported to have asked God to pardon the sins of pilgrims who "stood" at 'Arafat, and was granted his wish. Thus, the hopeful pilgrims prepare to leave this plain joyfully, feeling reborn without sin and intending to turn over a new leaf.

Just after sunset, the mass of pilgrims proceeds to Muzdalifah, an open plain about halfway between 'Arafat and Mina. There they first pray and then collect a fixed number of chickpea-sized pebbles to use on the following days.

Before daybreak on the third day, pilgrims move en masse from Muzdalifah to Mina. There they cast at white pillars the pebbles they have previously collected. According to some traditions, this practice is associated with the Prophet Abraham. As pilgrims throw seven pebbles at each of these pillars, they remember the story of Satan's attempt to persuade Abraham to disregard God's command to sacrifice his son.

Throwing the pebbles is symbolic of humans' attempt to cast away evil and vice, not once but seven times - the number seven symbolizing infinity.

Following the casting of the pebbles, most pilgrims sacrifice a goat, sheep or some other animal. They give the meat to the poor after, in some cases, keeping a small portion for themselves.

This rite is associated with Abraham's readiness to sacrifice his son in accordance with God's wish. It symbolizes the Muslim's willingness to part with what is precious to him, and reminds us of the spirit of Islam, in which submission to God's will plays a leading role. This act also reminds the pilgrim to share worldly goods with those who are less fortunate, and serves as an offer of thanksgiving to God.

As the pilgrims have, at this stage, finished a major part of the hajj, they are now allowed to shed their ihram and put on everyday clothes. On this day Muslims around the world share the happiness the pilgrims feel and join them by performing identical, individual sacrifices in a worldwide celebration of 'Id al-Adha, "the Festival of Sacrifice." Men either shave their heads or clip their hair, and women cut off a symbolic lock, to mark their partial deconsecration. This is done as a symbol of humility. All proscriptions, save the one of conjugal relations, are now lifted.

Still so journing in Mina, pilgrims visit Makkah to perform another essential rite of the hajj: the tawaf, the seven-fold circling of the Ka'bah, with a prayer recited during each circuit. Their circumambulation of the Ka'bah, the symbol of God's oneness, implies that all human activity must have God at its center. It also symbolizes the unity of God and man.

Thomas Abercrombie, a convert to Islam and a writer and photographer for National Geographic Magazine, performed the hajj in the 1970's and described the sense of unity and harmony pilgrims feel during the circling: "Seven times we circled the shrine," he wrote, "repeating the ritual devotions in Arabic: 'Lord God, from such a distant land I have come unto Thee.... Grant me shelter under Thy throne.' Caught up in the whirling scene, lifted by the poetry of the prayers, we orbited God's house in accord with the atoms, in harmony with the planets."

While making their circuits pilgrims may kiss or touch the Black Stone. This oval stone, first mounted in a silver frame late in the seventh century, has a special place in the hearts of Muslims as, according to some traditions, it is the sole remnant of the original structure built by Abraham and Ishmael. But perhaps the single most important reason for kissing the stone is that the Prophet did so.

No devotional significance whatsoever is attached to the stone, for it is not, nor has ever been, an object of worship. The second caliph, 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, made this crystal clear when, on kissing the stone himself in emulation of the Prophet, he proclaimed: "I know that you are but a stone, incapable of doing good or harm. Had I not seen the Messenger of God kiss you - may God's blessing and peace be upon him - I would not kiss you."

After completing the tawaf, pilgrims pray, preferably at the Station of Abraham, the site where Abraham stood while he built the Ka'bah. Then they drink of the water of Zamzam.

Another, and sometimes final, rite is the sa'y, or "the running." This is a reenactment of a memorable episode in the life of Hajirah, who was taken into what the Qur'an calls the "uncultivable valley" of Makkah, with her infant son Ishmael, to settle there.

The sa'y commemorates Hagar's frantic search for water to quench Ishmael's thirst. She ran back and forth seven times between two rocky hillocks, al-Safa and al-Marwah, until she found the sacred water known as Zamzam. This water, which sprang forth miraculously under Ishmael's tiny feet, is now enclosed in a marble chamber the Ka'bah.

These rites performed, the pilgrims are completely deconsecrated: They may resume all normal activities. According to the social customs of some countries, pilgrims can henceforth proudly claim the title of al-Hajj or Hajji.

They now return to Mina, where they stay up to the 12th or 13th day of Dhu al-Hijjah. There they throw their remaining pebbles at each of the pillars in the manner either practiced or approved by the Prophet. They then take leave of the friends they have made during the Hajj. Before leaving Makkah, however, pilgrims usually make a final tawaf round the Ka'bah to bid farewell to the Holy City.

Usually pilgrims either precede or follow the hajj, "the greater pilgrimage," with the 'umrah, "the lesser pilgrimage," which is sanctioned by the Qur'an and was performed by the Prophet. The 'umrah, unlike the hajj, takes place only in Makkah itself and can be performed at any time of the year. The ihram, talbiyah and the restrictions required by the state of consecration are equally essential in the 'umrah, which also shares three other rituals with the hajj: the tawaf, sa'y and shaving or clipping the hair. The observance of the 'umrah by pilgrims and visitors symbolizes veneration for the unique sanctity of Makkah.

Before or after going to Makkah, pilgrims also avail themselves of the opportunity provided by the hajj or the 'umrah to visit the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah, the second holiest city in Islam. Here, the Prophet lies buried in a simple grave under the green dome of the mosque. The visit to Madinah is not obligatory, as it is not part of the hajj or 'umrah, but the city - which welcomed Muhammad when he migrated there from Makkah - is rich in moving memories and historical sites that are evocative of him as a prophet and statesman.

In this city, loved by Muslims for centuries, people still feel the presence of the Prophet's spirit. Muhammad Asad, an Austrian Jew who converted to Islam in 1926 and made five pilgrimages between 1927 and 1932, comments on this aspect of the city: "Even after thirteen centuries [the Prophet's] spiritual presence is almost as alive here as it was then. It was only because of him that the scattered group of villages once called Yathrib became a city and has been loved by all Muslims down to this day as no city anywhere else in the world has ever been loved. It has not even a name of its own: for more than thirteen hundred years it has been called Madinat an-Nabi, 'the City of the Prophet.' For more than thirteen hundred years, so much love has converged here that all shapes and movements have acquired a kind of family resemblance, and all differences of appearance find a tonal transition into a common harmony."


As pilgrims of diverse races and tongues return to their homes, they carry with them cherished memories of Abraham, Ishmael, Hajirah, and Muhammad. They will always remember that universal concourse, where poor and rich, black and white, young and old, met on equal footing.

They return with a sense of awe and serenity: awe for their experience at 'Arafat, when they felt closest to God as they stood on the site where the Prophet delivered his sermon during his first and last pilgrimage; serenity for having shed their sins on that plain, and being thus relieved of such a heavy burden. They also return with a better understanding of the conditions of their brothers in Islam. Thus is born a spirit of caring for others and an understanding of their own rich heritage that will last throughout their lives.

The pilgrims go back radiant with hope and joy, for they have fulfilled God's ancient injunction to humankind to undertake the pilgrimage. Above all, they return with a prayer on their lips: May it please God, they pray, to find their hajj acceptable, and may what the Prophet said be true of their own individual journey: "There is no reward for a pious pilgrimage but Paradise."

May Allah (swt) grant us each the lifetime opportunity to go for Hajj / Umrah, Inshallah Aameen ~ Thummah Aameen.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Umra with the Hiltons

How many of us are guilty of this?? Hmm food for thought...




Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Invitation Anyone...?











Update: It's beyond barbaric

Domestic held over gruesome Laudium killing

Police have made a breakthrough in the horrific murder of a Laudium mother who was bludgeoned and strangled to death in her home last week.

The murder of Rashida Ahmed, 49, had sparked outrage in the community and led to several high-level provincial government and police delegations visiting the area to restore calm.

The Pretoria News on Monday learnt that Ahmed's domestic worker, Sara Malatji, who was injured during the attack, was arrested at her home at the Itireleng informal settlement last week.

Malatji, who appeared in the Atteridgeville magistrate's court on charges of murder and house robbery, had confessed before a Pretoria Magistrate on Friday before she was charged. She will appear again on December 1.

While police remained tight-lipped about the arrests, detectives confirmed that Malatji had been arrested and had appeared in court.

"She appeared in court today (Monday) on charges of murder and house robbery after confessing to a magistrate at the Pretoria Regional Court and has been remanded in custody until next week," said an investigator, who asked not to be named.

Asked about more arrests, police said they were hoping to make more very soon.

"The arrests are imminent. We will catch them," said the officer.

Ahmed and Malatji were attacked in the former's home last Monday. Three men are being sought. It is believed they gained access to the house with the help of an employee.

The three killers were claimed to have overpowered Malatji before they turned on Ahmed, who was in her bedroom.

They beat her repeatedly in the face and around the neck and chest with various weapons for nearly an hour while dragging her around the house in search of money and other valuables.

The house, even the loft, was ransacked.

It is also apparently clear that at least one of the attackers was armed with a sharp blade.

While police have refused to say whether Ahmed was tortured, neighbours' descriptions of how she tried to claw her way through a security gate while screaming and begging for help paint a different picture and bear testimony to the rage and ferociousness of the killers.

The murder of Ahmed came three years after her brother, Hussain Abdulrahman, was killed in the driveway of his home in a hijacking just a street away from his sister's house.

Yesterday, Ahmed's brother-in-law, Shamshoo Ahmed, said they were pleased that at least one arrest had been made.

"Finally justice is being done. We now need to see all of those who were involved in Rashida's murder being arrested.

"We want justice to take its course so that the family can get closure," he said.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Deft definitions or Nifty Notions

Tears:
The hydraulic force by which masculine will power is defeated by feminine waterpower.

Smile:
A curve that can set a lot of things straight.

Committee:
Individuals who can do nothing individually and sit to decide that nothing can be done together.

Experience:
The name men give to their mistakes.

Opportunist:
A person who starts taking a bath if he accidentally falls into a river.

Pessimist:
A person who says that O is the last letter in ZERO, Instead of the first letter in word OPPORTUNITY

Father:
A banker provided by nature.

Boss:
Someone who is early when you are late and late when you are early.

Politician:
One who shakes your hand before elections and your confidence after.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Dua'a for the Day




Bimillahirahmaan nir raheem

Oh most merciful Allah we are your servants, please forgive our sins and overlook our faults


Oh Allah forgive those who are deceased and shower blessing on their graves

Oh Allah give strength to those who are weak and give them Shifa'a

Oh Allah forgive our sins that we have committed intentionally and unintentionally

Oh Allah give children to those who can not bare children

Oh Allah guide us on the right path and instill Imaan in us

Oh Allah please grant us the opportunity to go for Haj

Oh Allah accept this humble Dua'a, fulfill all Halaal wishes,

Desires and wants of my fellow family members, friends and myself...

Inshallah, Aameen