Doubts About My Tawaf During Hajj

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: I have a constant gas problem, and I have recently performed Hajj. I’m having doubts about my tawaf al ziyara. Please advise.

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

Your tawaf is fine and perfectly valid. You can relax, and thank Allah for the opportunity of going.

Certainty is Not Removed by Doubt

The basic understanding is that you performed wudu and nothing which invalidates wudu occurred. You did not hear a sound nor did you smell anything. Therefore, the certainty of your being in a state of wudu is not removed by the doubts you had. (Zarqa, Sharh al Qawa’id al Fiqhiyya)

What you should do is busy yourself with what the prophets Ibrahim and Isma’il said when building the blessed Ka’ba, “O Dear, Loving Lord; accept [this] from us. Indeed, you the All-Hearing, All-Knowing.” (Qur’an, 2:127) An accepted Hajj will be priceless on the Day of Judgement.

May Allah accept your Hajj and that of everyone else who went this year. Amin.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with erudite scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish, and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic with teachers such as Dr. Ashraf Muneeb, Dr. Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr. Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr. Mansur Abu Zina, and others. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabir and Shaykh Yahya Qandil. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.

Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa on Sura Luqman – On Faith and Belief

Sura Luqman emphasizes tarbiya, or spiritual growth, and is named after a great sage. In this series, Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa explores the meanings of this chapter.

Sura Luqman has 34 verses. Some say that all 34 verses were revealed in Mecca, while others say that all but two or three verses were revealed in Mecca. Regardless, it is classed as a Meccan sura because most of it was revealed there. This is significant, because Mecca was the place that the believers were spiritually raised, while Medina was the corroboration of the time in Mecca. As a reflection of this, the Meccan suras often had the theme of spiritual development, with reminders to remember Allah, as well of the afterlife. In contrast, the suras revealed in Medina focuses on various laws.Surah Luqman

As a Meccan sura, Sura Luqman touches on subjects relating to spiritual development. This makes it a good lesson for parents and caregivers, as many of these lessons are directly connected to child-rearing themes.

In fact our mother Aisha, Allah be pleased with her, who was raised in the environment of Mecca, said, “We first learned faith, and then we learned the Qur’an, (meaning the laws defined in the Qur’an), and it increased us in faith.” She also said in another narration, “Had we learned law before faith, we would have disbelieved or become hypocrites.”

In our times, there is often an overwhelming focus on implementation of the law, before faith has taken root. This is a dangerous approach, because it can distance the person from faith.

It is important point to remember for anyone supporting a person in their spiritual development, whether they be a friend, a parent, a child, or an extended family member. When helping someone, one should try their best to nourish them spiritually, rather than simply throwing the law onto them.

With gratitude to Greensville Trust.

Resources for Seekers

Hajj – A Reader – For Those Blessed With The Pilgrimage

Dhul Hijja, the month of Hajj, is fast approaching. Hundreds and thousands of blessed Muslims are packing their bags, checking their travel documents and flocking to airports around the world, to make the journey to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
This brief document is a resource for those travelling for Hajj this year, or any year. It provides links to questions that have been answered by SeekersGuidance scholars, blog posts written about the pilgrimage, and relevant information pertaining to Hajj.
Videos and Blog Posts:
Video: Preparing for Hajj – Habib Faisal-Alkaff – Radical Middle Way
Hajj Handbook – Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar …
Video: Hajj Reflections – Radical Middle Way …
The Hajj Collection – Shaykh Abdal Hakim …
Ten Good Manners for Hajj by Imam al-Ghazali …
The Gifts of Hajj – Radical Middle Way – Blog
Imam al-Haddad’s Counsels on Hajj and `Umrah – Muwasala
Video: Fast the 9th (‘Arafa) and Live for Another Year – Mufti Abdur Rahman ibn Yusuf
On the Path to a Sacred Journey: The Courtesies (Adab) of Hajj – Nur Sacred Sciences
From Our Answers Page:
Removing Hair and Wearing Scents: Expiations for Accidental Violations of Ihram during Hajj
Does Allah Forgive Marital Infidelity When You Make Hajj?
Missing the Farewell Tawaf Due to Menstruation
Calculating Zakat and Going on Hajj with a Student Loan
Is It Valid to Make Hajj or Umrah Before One’s Parents?
Seeking Forgiveness from Others Before Hajj
Hajj Tamattu`: Does an Invalid Umra Affect the Hajj?
What is the Wisdom Behind Doing Certain Hajj and Umrah Rituals 7 Times?
Reciting Sura al-Baraqara for Protection and Cutting One’s Hair for Hajj and Umrah
What Are the Rulings of Performing Tawaf, Sa’y, and Prayer While Carrying a Baby With Dirty Diapers (Nappies)?
Question on Hajj Violations
Going On Hajj While in Debt
Can a Man Perform Hajj on Behalf of a Non-Mahram Woman?
Is Foreplay a Violation On Hajj?
Wearing Stitched Clothing in Ihram: What Kind of Expiation is Due?
Should I Delay Hajj to Help Fund a Sibling’s Wedding?
Doubts About Having Committed a Contravention at Hajj
Chronic Excuse: Can I Combine Prayers with a Single Ablution?
What is the Minimum Amount of Hair that Must Be Cut to Exit the State of Ihram After Hajj or Umrah?
The Day of `Arafah: The 9th of Dhu’l Hijjah and the Takbirs of Eid
Removing Hair and Wearing Scents: Expiations for Accidental Violations of Ihram during Hajj
Appointing Someone to Perform Hajj on Someone’s Behalf
Can I Wear Stitched Footgear, Belts, or a Backpack While in Ihram?
Can Women Wear Ornaments While Performing Umrah?
How Long Must One Stay at Arafat During Hajj?
The Tawafs of Hajj

Recommended Viewing:

Imam Tahir’s DVD / CD set on Hajj

Permissibility of Non-Muslims Entering Mecca

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: I was wondering about the permissibility of non-Muslims entering Mecca?

Answer: In the name of Allah, Most Merciful,

May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon His Messenger Muhammad, his folk, companions, and followers.

Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

In the Hanafi school, it is permitted for non-Muslims to enter all mosques, including the Haram of Mecca.

The Qur’anic verse, “O you who believe! The idolaters only are unclean. So let them not come near the Inviolable Place of Worship after this their year,” [Qur’an 09:28] was interpreted by the Hanafi jurists to be a specific prohibition against the idolaters entering as they did before Islam in the Days of Jahiliyya, in which they entered with their idols, manifested their polytheistic worship, and engaged in reprehensible actions such as performing the rites of pilgrimage (tawaf) while naked. [Sarakhsi, Sharh al-Siyar al-Kabir, 1.134-135; Ibn al-Humam/Marghinani, Fath al-Qadir `ala al-Hidaya, 10.63]

As for the idolaters being unclean (najas), that refers to spiritual uncleanness due to their beliefs, rather than physical uncleanness. [Jassas, Ahkam al-Qur’an; Kasani, Bada’i` al-Sana’i`]

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz Rabbani

Mecca for the rich: Islam’s holiest site ‘turning into Vegas’ – The Independent

Mecca for the rich: Islam’s holiest site ‘turning into Vegas’

Historic and culturally important landmarks are being destroyed to make way for luxury hotels and malls, reports Jerome Taylor

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Behind closed doors – in places where the religious police cannot listen in – residents of Mecca are beginning to refer to their city as Las Vegas, and the moniker is not a compliment.

Click HERE to download graphic: Mecca For The Rich (430.39kB)

Over the past 10 years the holiest site in Islam has undergone a huge transformation, one that has divided opinion among Muslims all over the world.

Once a dusty desert town struggling to cope with the ever-increasing number of pilgrims arriving for the annual Hajj, the city now soars above its surroundings with a glittering array of skyscrapers, shopping malls and luxury hotels.

To the al-Saud monarchy, Mecca is their vision of the future – a steel and concrete metropolis built on the proceeds of enormous oil wealth that showcases their national pride.

Yet growing numbers of citizens, particularly those living in the two holy cities of Mecca and Medina, have looked on aghast as the nation’s archaeological heritage is trampled under a construction mania backed by hardline clerics who preach against the preservation of their own heritage. Mecca, once a place where the Prophet Mohamed insisted all Muslims would be equal, has become a playground for the rich, critics say, where naked capitalism has usurped spirituality as the city’s raison d’être.

Few are willing to discuss their fears openly because of the risks associated with criticising official policy in the authoritarian kingdom. And, with the exceptions of Turkey and Iran, fellow Muslim nations have largely held their tongues for fear of of a diplomatic fallout and restrictions on their citizens’ pilgrimage visas. Western archaeologists are silent out of fear that the few sites they are allowed access to will be closed to them.

But a number of prominent Saudi archaeologists and historians are speaking up in the belief that the opportunity to save Saudi Arabia’s remaining historical sites is closing fast.

“No one has the balls to stand up and condemn this cultural vandalism,” says Dr Irfan al-Alawi who, as executive director of the Islamic Heritage Research Foundation, has fought in vain to protect his country’s historical sites. “We have already lost 400-500 sites. I just hope it’s not too late to turn things around.”

Sami Angawi, a renowned Saudi expert on the region’s Islamic architecture, is equally concerned. “This is an absolute contradiction to the nature of Mecca and the sacredness of the house of God,” he told the Reuters news agency earlier this year. “Both [Mecca and Medina] are historically almost finished. You do not find anything except skyscrapers.”

Dr Alawi’s most pressing concern is the planned £690m expansion of the Grand Mosque, the most sacred site in Islam which contains the Kaaba – the black stone cube built by Ibrahim (Abraham) that Muslims face when they pray.

Construction officially began earlier this month with the country’s Justice Minister, Mohammed al-Eissa, exclaiming that the project would respect “the sacredness and glory of the location, which calls for the highest care and attention of the servants or Islam and Muslims”.

The 400,000 square metre development is being built to accommodate an extra 1.2 million pilgrims each year and will turn the Grand Mosque into the largest religious structure in the world. But the Islamic Heritage Foundation has compiled a list of key historical sites that they believe are now at risk from the ongoing development of Mecca, including the old Ottoman and Abbasi sections of the Grand Mosque, the house where the Prophet Mohamed was born and the house where his paternal uncle Hamza grew up.

There is little argument that Mecca and Medina desperately need infrastructure development. Twelve million pilgrims visit the cities every year with the numbers expected to increase to 17 million by 2025.

But critics fear that the desire to expand the pilgrimage sites has allowed the authorities to ride roughshod over the area’s cultural heritage. The Washington-based Gulf Institute estimates that 95 per cent of Mecca’s millennium-old buildings have been demolished in the past two decades alone.

The destruction has been aided by Wahabism, the austere interpretation of Islam that has served as the kingdom’s official religion ever since the al-Sauds rose to power across the Arabian Peninsula in the 19th century.

In the eyes of Wahabis, historical sites and shrines encourage “shirq” – the sin of idolatry or polytheism – and should be destroyed. When the al-Saud tribes swept through Mecca in the 1920s, the first thing they did was lay waste to cemeteries holding many of Islam’s important figures. They have been destroying the country’s heritage ever since. Of the three sites the Saudis have allowed the UN to designate World Heritage Sites, none are related to Islam.

Those circling the Kaaba only need to look skywards to see the latest example of the Saudi monarchy’s insatiable appetite for architectural bling. At 1,972ft, the Royal Mecca Clock Tower, opened earlier this year, soars over the surrounding Grand Mosque, part of an enormous development of skyscrapers that will house five-star hotels for the minority of pilgrims rich enough to afford them.

To build the skyscraper city, the authorities dynamited an entire mountain and the Ottoman era Ajyad Fortress that lay on top of it. At the other end of the Grand Mosque complex, the house of the Prophet’s first wife Khadijah has been turned into a toilet block. The fate of the house he was born in is uncertain. Also planned for demolition are the Grand Mosque’s Ottoman columns which dare to contain the names of the Prophet’s companions, something hardline Wahabis detest.

For ordinary Meccans living in the mainly Ottoman-era town houses that make up much of what remains of the old city, development often means the loss of their family home.

Non-Muslims cannot visit Mecca and Medina, but The Independent was able to interview a number of citizens who expressed discontent over the way their town was changing. One young woman whose father recently had his house bulldozed described how her family was still waiting for compensation. “There was very little warning; they just came and told him that the house had to be bulldozed,” she said.

Another Meccan added: “If a prince of a member of the royal family wants to extend his palace he just does it. No one talks about it in public though. There’s such a climate of fear.”

Dr Alawi hopes the international community will finally begin to wake up to what is happening in the cradle of Islam. “We would never allow someone to destroy the Pyramids, so why are we letting Islam’s history disappear?”

Under Threat

Bayt al-Mawlid

When the Wahabis took Mecca in the 1920s they destroyed the dome on top of the house where the Prophet Mohammed was born. It was thenused as a cattle market before being turned into a library after a campaign by Meccans. There are concerns that the expansion of the Grand Mosque will destroy it once more. The site has never been excavated by archaeologists.

Ottoman and Abasi columns of the Grand Mosque

Slated for demolition as part of the Grand Mosque expansion, these intricately carved columns date back to the 17th century and are the oldest surviving sections of Islam’s holiest site. Much to the chagrin of Wahabis, they are inscribed with the names of the Prophet’s companions. Ottomon Mecca is now rapidly disappearing

Al-Masjid al-Nawabi

For many years, hardline Wahabi clerics have had their sites set on the 15th century green dome that rests above the tomb holding the Prophet, Abu Bakr and Umar in Medina. The mosque is regarded as the second holiest site in Islam. Wahabis, however, believe marked graves are idolatrous. A pamphlet published in 2007 by the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, endorsed by Abdulaziz Al Sheikh, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, stated that “the green dome shall be demolished and the three graves flattened in the Prophet’s Masjid”.

Jabal al-Nour

A mountain outside Mecca where Mohammed received his first Koranic revelations. The Prophet used to spend long spells in a cave called Hira. The cave is particularly popular among South Asian pilgrims who have carved steps up to its entrance and adorned the walls with graffiti. Religious hardliners are keen to dissuade pilgrims from congregating there and have mooted the idea of removing the steps and even destroying the mountain altogether.

Pictures from Mecca in 1885 – Adventurer’s photos capture a bygone Mecca –

Adventurer’s photos capture a bygone Mecca –



(CNN) — He was an adventurer, a scholar, and possibly a spy — but as Dutchman Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje proved with his rare 1885 photographs and sound recordings of Mecca, he was also a pioneering multimedia journalist.

Snouck’s extraordinary collection of sepia-tinted images of Mecca in a bygone age have gone on display in Dubai ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage that originally drew him to the heart of Islam.

Accompanied by crackling, eerie soundscapes captured by Snouck using Thomas Edison’s newly-invented wax cylinders, the exhibition paints a very different picture from the ornate and built-up Mecca familiar to modern visitors.

Among the newly-restored platinum prints, one image taken from a nearby hillside shows the Kaaba, the instantly recognizable cubic building considered by Muslims to be the holiest place on the planet.

But though the galleried compound which surrounds it is echoed by Mecca’s contemporary architecture, the sparsely-built city of Snouck’s era bears only a passing resemblance, as do the rudimentary travelers’ tents on the dusty plains outside the city.

The images are all the more astounding, says Elie Domit — creative director of Dubai’s Empty Quarter gallery, which is hosting the exhibition — when one considers the lengths he went to to get them.

“People tend to forget the situation because cameras today are so versatile and light,” he told CNN. “In Snouck’s day they probably weighed about 40 kilos, and he needed to take all the chemicals for developing, which he would have done on site.”

“And he not only took photographs, but also recorded sounds. Can you just imagine going there and going through all the hardship to record that moment in history? It’s fascinating.”

Also fascinating, says Domit, is the story of Snouck himself. A pioneering traveler, he was a rare Western presence in Mecca, but embraced the culture and religion of his hosts with passion, converting to Islam.

He stayed for five months, documenting the run-up to Hajj, but although he had intended to stay for the pilgrimage, he was forced to leave after unfounded accusations of his involvement in an attempt to steal a historical artifact.

“Being one of the first Europeans, people were suspicious of his agenda, particularly as he had gained the confidence of the Ottoman leader,” added Domit.

“So when they heard the rumor he was a thief, he had to escape — leaving his camera equipment behind.”

The equipment wasn’t wasted. After Snouck’s departure, Al-Sayyid Abd al-Ghaffar, a local physician that the Dutchman had worked alongside, began using the camera, possibly becoming Mecca’s first home-grown photographer.

Al-Ghaffar continued sending his images to Snouck in The Netherlands. Many of the photographs were originally credited solely to Snouck but they are now jointly credited, with experts unable to tell who shot what.

The images, archived by Leiden University Library, were published four years after Snouck’s trip. Original copies of the album now sell for about $45,000, according to the gallery.

There was, says Domit, more to Snouck than pictures and sound.

“He never said himself that he was a spy because there was no Hollywood to pay tons of money for his inside story, but there have been many documents and historians claiming this.

“Most likely he was working as an agent of espionage in order to furnish information to the Dutch who had an interest in finding out about Muslim insurgents trying to topple the colonialism of the Netherlands.

“But he was also very convinced about the state of Islam, very knowledgeable and very dedicated. He was a kind of dichotomy: Here was a guy sent on a mission, but after he arrived he was convinced by and converted to Islam.

“I’m sure in terms of his personality, it was quite difficult.”

According to Domit, Snouck also left behind a pregnant Ethiopian wife when he fled Mecca, but later married again while working in the what is now Indonesia. “He married several times, I believe. Very convenient when the Dutch government is paying your bill.”

Mecca: A Dangerous Adventure — Snouck Hurgronje’s early photographs 1885 is showing until December 6 at Dubai’s Empty Quarter Gallery.


Are non-Muslims Allowed to Enter Mecca and the Sacred Mosque (Haram)?

Answered by: Ustadh Faraz A. Khan

Question: Why can’t non-Muslim, Jews and Christians, enter Mecca or the Haram?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I pray this finds you in the best of health and faith.

The short answer to your question is that historically there was disagreement among jurists with respect to the matter. Abu Hanifa’s opinion was that non-Muslims can enter Mecca and even the Sacred Mosque [haram], as long as they do not do so for the sake of the pilgrimage [hajj or umra], which they are not allowed to perform. This is the opinion of the Hanafi school of law, which historically up to today has been the largest juridical school of Islam. Other schools of thought, however, differed on the legal ruling.

The Verse in Question

This ruling is based on the Qur’anic verse, “O believers, polytheists are not except filth, so let them not approach the Sacred Mosque after this year of theirs…” [9:28].

This verse was revealed in the 9th year after hijra, which is therefore what is meant by the phrase “this year of theirs.” The year is ascribed to them in the verse to emphasize the fact that the legal ruling therein is specific to them alone. [Ibn Ashur, Tahrir wal-Tanwir]

Most Qur’anic exegetes [mufassirun] interpreted the first statement as metaphorical, that is, polytheists are not literally filth, but their creed of associating partners with Allah Most High is so base and vile in the sight of Allah that it is akin to filth itself, so much so that it is as if those who adhere to such beliefs are themselves filth.

[Ibn Ashur, Tahrir wal-Tanwir; Alusi, Ruh al-Ma’ani; Nasafi, Madarik al-Tanzil; Abu Suud, Irshad al-Aql al-Salim; Abu Hayyan, Bahr al-Muhit; Suyuti, Tafsir Jalalayn]

Juridical Difference on the Resultant Legal Ruling

As for the legal ruling derived from the verse, as mentioned above there was disagreement among jurists historically.

Imam Shafi’i interpreted the verse to mean that after that year, polytheists were not allowed to enter the Sacred Mosque of Mecca, yet they could enter other mosques, as only the Sacred Mosque was specified in the verse. This was the opinion of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal as well.

Imam Malik understood the verse to be more general and therefore maintained that polytheists could not enter the Sacred Mosque of Mecca nor any mosque whatsoever.

Also, according to Imams Shafi’i, Malik and Ahmad, the term “Sacred Mosque” used in the verse linguistically refers to the entire Sacred Precinct, that is, all of Mecca as well as its outlying areas; hence, the legal ruling of barring non-Muslims from entry would apply to that whole area, not just the Sacred Mosque of Mecca.

Imam Abu Hanifa understood the verse to refer only to the actual pilgrimage, not to mere entrance, and therefore maintained that polytheists could enter any mosque, even the Sacred Mosque of Mecca. According to him, they simply could not perform the pilgrimage, neither hajj nor umra, as was customary among the polytheists of Mecca before the revelation of the above verse.

[Jassas, Ahkam al-Qur’an; Alusi, Ruh al-Ma’ani; Qurtubi, Jami’ li Ahkam al-Qur’an; Shirazi, al-Muhadhdhab; Nawawi, Majmu’; Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; Kasani, Bada’i al-Sana’i; Buhuti, Kashshaf al-Qina’]

All of Humanity is Honored

However, regardless of this particular ruling and the Islamic view of polytheism as a creed, people that adhere to such beliefs are still our brothers in humanity, and all humans are honored by Allah as they are children of Adam and Allah’s vicegerents on earth. Muslims are commanded to treat all humans – whether Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, polytheists, atheists, or otherwise – with respect, dignity, and mutual regard.

Allah Most High states, “And We have indeed honored the children of Adam,” [17:70] i.e., all of humanity, irrespective of differences in creed.

He Most High also states, “O humanity! We have created you all from a male and female, and We have made you into nations and tribes so that you may come to know one another…” [49:13] Our differences, then, are merely a platform upon which we, as brothers in humanity, can have civil dialogue and open the doors of communication so as to come to know one another.

Furthermore, it is rigorously authenticated that our Beloved Messenger [peace and blessings be upon him] said, “The believer is one from whom all of humanity feels safe.” [Sahih Ibn Hibban; Mustadrak Hakim; Musnad Ahmad] Therefore according to the Prophet himself, the very definition and hence nature of the believer entails providing safety and security to all of humanity.

He also said, “I was sent to perfect good character,” [Mustadrak Hakim; Sunan Bayhaqi], and according to Islamic creed, he [peace and blessings be upon him] was sent not just to the Arabs, but rather to all of humanity. The prophetic perfection of character, then, is directed towards humanity at large. This is further echoed by the Qur’anic verse, “And We have sent you not except as a mercy to all of creation.” [21:107]

Out of emulation of the Prophet, Muslims are therefore commanded to reflect prophetic mercy to all humans, creedal differences aside.

And Allah alone gives success.

Faraz A. Khan