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The Gifts of Hajj – Habib Umar

The Meaning of Hajj

Sayyidi al-Habib Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah preserve him) reminds us that the linguistic meaning of Hajj is seeking or intending. Thus the people of Allah are constantly performing Hajj because they are constantly seeking Allah. Just as their whole year is Ramadan, likewise their whole year is Hajj. Just as those performing Hajj respond to the call of Allah by saying “labbayk” they are swift to respond to the call of Allah. They take themselves to account and leave that which is disliked and dubious in all their states and actions. They reject the desires of their lower selves and they are the furthest of people from that which is prohibited. They constantly receive new blessings from their Lord so they constantly renew their ihram. Day and night they make tawaf around the House of their Lord, the One to Whom they turn themselves with absolute sincerity until nothing remains in them which is directed to other than Allah.

The bounty of Allah is available at all times of the day and night. This is why Allah swears by the morning light (duha) and by the night that He has not forsaken His Beloved (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), nor is He displeased with him.

If the Hajj has not been made possible for you, join with those making Hajj and share in their reward: by spending your wealth for the sake of Allah on your relatives, on the needy, by turning to Allah with your whole being. Make numerous your footsteps to good places, especially at the time of Fajr, and you will receive glad tidings from the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace): “Give glad tidings of complete light on the Day of Judgement to those who walk constantly to the mosque in the darkness.” Those whose light is complete will no doubt be in his company (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) on the day on which Allah does not disgrace the Prophet and those who believe along with him. Their light stretches out in front of them and upon their right sides.

Ask to be present with them, and thank Allah for allowing our spirits to be with them. So many hearts in the far East or the far West receive the gifts of `Arafat and Mina because of their truthfulness with Allah.

 

Actions That Carry the Reward of Hajj

Nothing of course can equal actually performing the Hajj and worshipping Allah in those blessed places. However, since Allah knows that many people long to make Hajj every year but are unable to do so out of His generosity He made the reward for certain actions similar to the reward of a supererogatory Hajj.

1. Remembering Allah from Fajr until Ishraq. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “Whoever who prays Subh (Fajr) in congregation and then sits in the place where he prayed remembering Allah until the sun rises and then prays two rakats has the reward of a complete Hajj and `Umrah.” He repeated “complete” three times.

2. Attending a gathering of knowledge. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “The one who goes out to the mosque wanting only to learn good or teach it has the reward of a complete Hajj.”

3. Going to the mosque for the congregational prayer. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “Whoever performs ablution in his house and then goes out to perform the obligatory prayer in the mosque has a reward similar to the reward of a Hajj pilgrim. Whoever goes out to perform the mid-morning prayer (Duha) has a reward similar to the reward of the one performing `Umrah.”

4. Performing the Friday Prayer. Sa`id bin al-Musayyib said performing the Friday Prayer is “more beloved to me than a supererogatory Hajj.”

5. Performing the Eid Prayer. One of the Companions said: “Going out to pray Eid al-Fitr is equal to performing `Umrah and going out to pray Eid al-Adha is equal to performing Hajj.”

6. Fulfilling the needs of your brother or sister. Hasan al-Basri said: “Going to fulfil the need of your brother is better for you than performing Hajj after Hajj.”

7. Being good to your parents. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) commanded one of the Companions to be good to his mother. If you do so, he said: “You are a Hajj pilgrim, a person performing `Umrah and someone striving for the sake of Allah (mujahid).”

8. Performing obligatory actions. The slave can only draw near to Allah by performing supererogatory actions after first having performed that which is obligatory. This includes purifying one’s heart from forbidden attributes and guarding one’s tongue and limbs from committing forbidden actions. All of this is much harder on the lower self than many supererogatory acts of worship.

Finally there is no action more beloved to Allah on the Day of Eid than making a sacrifice. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) told his beloved daughter Sayyida Fatima al-Zahra that she would be forgiven for her previous wrongdoings with the first drop of blood to be shed from the sacrificed animal. She asked if this reward was specifically for the household of the Prophet and he replied: “For us and for all the Muslims.”

 

‘Aqiqa for Adults – Is It Permissible?

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat is asked if it permissible to perform ‘aqiqa for an adult, and if so, how does one go about it.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

My mother told me that she never had a ‘aqiqa done for her when she was a newborn. As such, I want to host one for her in the company of her family. My mother’s mother is currently alive and would insha Allah be present, however, her father has passed away.

Seeing as it is normally incumbent on the father to host the ‘aqiqa, is it permissible for someone else to financially host it in this circumstance? Can it be hosted by any one of her family members, including her children? Can it be a joint effort of multiple individuals or does it have to be carried out by one person only?

Given that she is an adult, does she have to be the one to carry it out for herself? We would like to host it for her as a surprise. Are there any rulings pertaining to this overall situation that we should be made aware of (that she is an adult, her father is not alive, that it is a surprise)?

Jazzakum Allah khayr for your time.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

The ʿaqiqa is a sacrifice of an animal to give thanks to Allah for a newborn child. In the Hanafi school, according to one position, the ʿaqiqa is merely permissible (mubah), and recommended as a voluntary act of worship according to another. The Shafiʿi and Hanbali schools see it as an emphasized sunna, and the Maliki school recommends it.

Based on this, it is not necessary to perform it for your mother. Doing so with the intention of sacrificing for the sake of Allah, and to show thanks for the blessing of the life your mother was given is a very virtuous act. In fact, sacrificing is part of what Allah, Most High, Himself commanded His Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace, to do in order to show thanks to Him.

Sacrificing and feeding people are clearly mentioned by the scholars of tafsir with regards to Sura al-Kawthar 108:2. (Biqaʿi, Nazm al-Durar) These are acts which show gratitude to the giver of the blessing, and are a means for His creation to benefit from this blessing through being fed.

Should you choose to perform an ʿaqiqa, there are no hard and fast rules on how it should be done. You may do it in whichever way in convenient for you. You can keep the meat, or distribute it raw or cooked; with he bones broken or otherwise. (Ibn ʿAbidin, Radd al-Muhtar; al-Muwsuʿa al-Kuwaitiyya).

May Allah allow us to always thank Him for His favors upon us.

Abdul-Rahim

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Day 17: Be A Mercy Warrior–30 Deeds 30 Days

Day 17: Be A Mercy Warrior 

Our Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, is the door to Allah’s Mercy. However, mercy is not always something that is in people’s hearts. It requires courage, and sacrifice. It requires being a warrior of mercy. All cultures universally respect the warrior, because of what they have to sacrifice.

Take your first step by striving for people’s basic human rights. Commit to a regular act of community service, and don’t limit yourself to just your religious or cultural community. Find a creative way to bring mercy to others, using your interests and gifts.


Bring new life to this Ramadan by enrolling in a FREE On-Demand course.

Should I Abstain From Cutting My Hair and Nails Before Performing the Ritual Slaughter?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

Is it recommended for the person performing the ritual slaughter (udhiya/qurbani) to abstain from cutting their hair and nails? I have seen hadiths going against it.

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

It is recommended for the person performing the ritual slaughter (udhiya/qurbani) to abstain from cutting their hair, nails and the like until after the sacrifice has taken place. However, doing otherwise is not disliked (makruh).

There are clear traditions (hadith) in which the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) instructed avoiding such personal upkeep before the sacrifice, but given that we have Prophetic precedence in not doing so, the command is considered to be for recommendation.

‘A’isha (may Allah be well pleased with her) said, “I used to plait the garlands of the sacrificial camels of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace). He would send his camels to the Ka‘ba, but nothing was unlawful to him which is lawful for a man to do with his wife until the people returned.” [Bukhari]

[Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar ‘ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar (1.565); Qari, Mirqat al-Mafatih Sharh Mishkat al-Masabih]

Please also see: Should I Abstain From Cutting My Hair And My Nails If I Intend to Sacrifice? and: Cutting Hair and Nails Before Slaughtering on Eid

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

wassalam,
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorised the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.

Can an Eid Sacrifice Be Done on Behalf of Someone Else? (Shafi’i)

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

Can an Eid Sacrifice be done on behalf of someone else? Can a child do this for his parents without telling them? Can I do it for a deceased person?

Answer: Assalam ‘alaykum. Jazakum Allah khayr for your question. I hope you’re well insha’Allah.

According to the Shafi’i school, it is not permitted to sacrifice on the behalf of living person without their permission, and without the written permission in the case of a deceased person.

It is stated, ‘It is not permitted for anyone to make the [Eid] sacrifice on behalf of another living person without his permission, and without the permission in a bequest from a deceased person. If one did so, even someone who was unaware [of the ruling], the slaughter does not count for him [the deceased] or the one slaughtering … This is because it is an act of worship, and the default is that one is not permitted [to perform an act of worship] except in the presence of evidence [that it is permitted].’ [Bushra al Karim]

Sacrificing for the Parents and Family

Given the above, a person, including a child, cannot sacrifice ‘on behalf of his parents’ or others. However, the person may slaughter ‘for’ the whole family. This includes the child if the child has a) reached puberty, b) is sane, and c) has been observed to be competent and upright in his religious and worldly dealings (rashid).

There is some difference of opinion as to the definition of who is included in ‘family’. There are three main opinions:

1. Imam Ibn Hajr states that it is any male or female relative and that it is not a condition that the child lives in the same house and/or is dependent on the parents.

2. Imam Ramli holds that it is not a condition that the family all live in one house, but the person sacrificing for the family must be the one obliged to financially support those family members for whom the slaughter is done for.

3. A further opinion is that ‘family’ includes anyone that is financially dependent on the person who is sacrificing, irrespective if the financial support is obligatory or voluntary, and whether they live in the same house or not.

All of these opinions are valid, so one may choose which one they wish, though Imam Ramli’s opinion is the most precautious.

Reward

If one sacrifices for the whole ‘family’ then the person who is sacrificing gets the reward. The rest of the family does not get the reward, but the communal sunna is lifted from the family, meaning they are no longer recommended to sacrifice and not performing it is not makrouh.

If, however, the person sacrificing makes the intention that they are sharing the reward with persons x, y, and z, then according to both Imam Ibn Hajr and Imam Ramli, the reward is shared. However, as Ibn Hajr states, ‘This seems to apply to a deceased person’ but not a living person, for who the reward is not shared, even if intended.

[Tuhfat al Muhtaj, Nihayat al Muhtaj, Bushra al Karim, al Yaqout al Nafis]

For details in the Hanafi and Maliki school, please refer to the following answers:

Can I Offer the Reward of a Sacrifice to Someone Else? (Hanafi)

Can One Person Slaughter a Sacrificial Animal on the Behalf of Others on Eid (Maliki)

I pray that clarifies things for you insha’Allah.

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

I’m Vegetarian: Is There An Alternative to Qurbani Slaughtering of An Animal?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Salam. Is there an alternative to Qurbani? I’m a vegetarian so don’t agree with giving the money to spend on meat or the slaughter of an animal (yes I know it’s a bit controversial but vegetarianism is allowed in Islam) but I would like to offer something instead. I don’t live in or near a Muslim community so cannot ask anyone, so I thought I’d ask for advice here? Jazak Allah khairan.

Answer: Assalam alaykum

While being vegetarian is a personal choice that is permissible in our religion—as eating meat is simply permissible (mubah), not per se recommended, let alone obligatory—the definition of a “Muslim” is one who accepts to submit (taslim) to the Command of Allah, in whom they believe (iman), which is “accepting the truth and reality” of God).

Thus, if it is established that Allah Most High has commanded us—as He commanded past Prophets and their peoples—to slaughter as

(a) an expression of our slavehood, submission, and deference to His Command and Will;

(b) in gratitude to His countless blessings upon us; and

(c) as an specific, Divinely-Commanded, expression of concern for the poor, needy, and of maintaining relations with family and friends… then our faith and submission would entail leaving our personal preferences for the Divine Command.

This is one of the many lessons from the deep and challenging example of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) when he was commanded to sacrifice his dearly beloved son.

While we’re not challenged in such testing ways, we are called to leave our preferences for what Allah has preferred—out of His Lordship, Will, and Wisdom—for us. In this, we have complete certitude (yaqin) in His Wisdom, Justice, and Mercy, for all creation, for He tells us, “Truly, My Mercy encompasses all things.” [Qur’an]

In terms of ethical concerns for animals, there are many options, including: choosing to slaughter animals raised ethically, and slaughtering them according to the sunna—or seeking out individuals or agencies that slaughter in such a manner. Other ethical choices would include sending one’s money to countries where people are in desperate need of food—and where meat is a luxury and joy that most experience only rarely.

Please also see:

Is There a Difference of Opinion on Whether Slaughtering (Qurbani) is Necessary and How Do I Make Up For Years of Not Having Done it?

What Is the Proof in the Qur’an for the Sacrifice (Udhiya) on the Days of Eid al-Adha

Do I have to give 1/3 of the Sacrificial (Udhiya) Meat away in Charity?

Who has to Sacrifice (Udhiya)?

Can Qurbani (Udhiya) Be Done In a Different Country?

Does One Have to do Udhiya/Qurbani for One’s Young Children?

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Faraz Rabbani

Abdul Sattar Edhi: How Should Muslims React To His Passing? – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

When a great believer like Abdul Sattar Edhi passes away, how should we react? The guidance for this comes from Allah’s promises to us, as Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explains in this brief talk.

See also The great Muslim philanthropist, Abdul-Sattar Edhi, returns to his Lord and Three Acts That Formed The Core Of Abdul Sattar Edhi’s Life on the SeekersHub blog.

I’tikaf: When The Aching Bones of Your Wives May Testify Against You

[cwa id=’cta’]

I’tikaf is intended to be a blessed time for those who have the opportunity to engage in it so why is it causing so much marital discord between couples who Jazmin Begum-Kennedy is counselling?

Iʿtikāf (Arabic: اعتكاف‎‎, also i’tikaaf or e’tikaaf) is an Islamic practice consisting of a period of staying in a mosque for a certain number of days, devoting oneself to worship during these days and staying away from worldly affairs. The literal meaning of the word suggests sticking and adhering to, or being regular in, something, this ‘something’ often including performing supererogatory (nafl) prayers, reciting the Qur’an, and reading hadith.

Every year, I read wonderful social media updates from brothers preparing to go to i’tikaf followed by others praising them and requesting them to make dua. This ought to be a beautiful thing but unfortunately for the wives left behind, it is often a nightmare.

Few men make enough fanfare or even mention who will

  • pack their things for them,
  • do grocery runs,
  • cook fresh food each day,
  • send the fresh food to the men in i’tikaf each day, twice a day – for iftar and suhoor,
  • take care of the children and the school runs,
  • serve their parents,
  • serve their in-laws
  • take care of her own health, while pregnant or otherwise

All this on often little to no resources.
For these women, engaging in more prayer, Qur’an reading and quiet reflection during the blessed 10 nights of Ramadhan are a remote possiblity.
Don’t get me wrong- I am all for i’tikaf but men need to make provisions for their womenfolk first before they set off. Every year I am left counselling mothers who have been left to take care of young children and demanding inlaws, as well as send freshly cooked food to their menfolk at the mosques. Often, they are not left with much money or resources to barely feed the children and elderly in their care, let alone send food to their men in i’tikaf.

“But My Wife Doesn’t Mind”

I don’t just listen to the women’s side of the story. I have spoken to many men about this. Last year, one brother messaged me saying how the companions of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ  often left for months and years and no one complained. He insisted that his wife didn’t complain either. When I asked him if he had asked her, he did not reply.
We do not live in societies that allow for such privileges. When the companions of the Prophet ﷺ went away, they left their families in a community with extended families and friends. They had maids as well as wet nurses for support.
These days, women have to do school and mosque runs, shopping, take children to appointments, chores for in-laws etc. Everything is done by one person – the mother.
On top of the daily grind of life, there’s the added stress of arrange the delivery of fresh, pipping hot food because she doesn’t want to upset or anger her husband who has gone to get closer to Paradise.

Is This The Path To Paradise?

What blessing is there in striving for Paradise, off the back of another human being?
I acknowledge that being in service to those in worship is a form of worship itself, and may Allah reward all who engage in this to the best of their abilities. However, on the flip side, there is a disturbing element of injustice and oppression.
Just before I wrote this, I was consoling a mother who is experiencing a very difficult pregnancy and has a toddler to attend to. She can barely keep her head up due to the sickness and exhaustion. Her beloved husband set off for iti’kaf leaving her with strict instructions on making sure his two meals are delivered at the right temperature.
I try not to aggravate situations like this. I try to hold my tongue, for what it’s worth. I advised this woman to go to her parent’s home so she can get some much needed respite. She is drained. She is carrying life in her womb. It is her God-given right to be nurtured during this fragile time and her God-given right to request her husband stay home and make himself useful. I told her to print this profound hadith and hang it in her home so all can see what our beloved Prophet ﷺ had to say:

The best of you are those who are best to their wives.

SubhanAllah, it is time to reflect on why we do things and how our actions, even if it’s to do something good can be so damaging for our hereafter. I was reminded by a fellow mother, Sumayyah Omar on Muslim Mamas that the Prophet ﷺ said,

“The most beloved people to Allah are those who are most beneficial to the people. The most beloved deed to Allah is to make a Muslim happy, or to remove one of his troubles, or to forgive his debt, or to feed his hunger. That I walk with a brother regarding a need is more beloved to me than that I seclude myself in this mosque in Medina for a month. Whoever swallows his anger, then Allah will conceal his faults. Whoever suppresses his rage, even though he could fulfill his anger if he wished, then Allah will secure his heart on the Day of Resurrection. Whoever walks with his brother regarding a need until he secures it for him, then Allah the Exalted will make his footing firm across the bridge on the day when the footings are shaken.”

Scholars and Imams, Insist On A Checklist

Wouldn’t it be great if the imams in all our mosques would read this hadith out during Friday sermons in Ramadan? And then advise the men to follow basic protocols before packing their bags? Moni Akhtar, another mother from Muslim Mamas made a great suggestion: the masjid should give out a form of prerequisites before men are accepted into i’tikaf:

  • Have you asked your wife if she can cope without you?
  • Have you left her with provisions?
  • Have you paid for a cleaner to come and help?

Guidance and prompting from the ulema is sorely needed to raise greater awareness.
I would love to leave on a good note but instead I am forced to leave a warning. Your women and those in your care may not utter a word  now but their aching bones will testify against you on the Day of Judgement. May Allah have mercy upon us all, ameen.

Photo credit: Juliana Cunha

[cwa id=’cta’]
Jazmin Begum Kennedy (JBK) is a ‘Qualified Housewife.’ By day she is a mother, wife and teacher; by night she wages war against oppressors and writes books. She is an experienced teacher of primary and secondary education, an acclaimed professional artist (JBK Arts) and published author of Mercy Like the Raindrops, Blessed Bees, No School Today and the upcoming novel, Fifteen. Jazmin is an online counsellor specialising in domestic abuse, rape and child abuse. She also physically helps victims of domestic violence flee their abusive marriages. She is the co-founder of the Nisa Foundation, working as a women’s aid worker for victims of domestic violence. JBK currently homeschools her three children, whilst managing a network for Home Educators in the Greater Manchester area of the United Kingdom.

Muslim Communal Obligation: Stories That Will Have You In Tears

Imagine spending years saving up for hajj. And then imagine, not being able to go because you gave all your money away, but Allah accepts your hajj anyway. This is the story of Ali, a humble cobbler from Damascus whose random act of sacrifice fulfilled the Muslim communal obligation – fard kifayah – of hundreds of thousands of others.
Imagine facing Allah on the Day of Judgement, while standing next to a man, woman or child from your community who suffered neglect, abuse, injustice hunger and deprivation. What will our excuse be? “I thought someone else would take care of it” might not cut it.

Every single Muslim needs to hear this khutbah by Imam Khalid Latif.


Imam Khalid Latif - Muslim Communal ObligationImam Khalid Latif is a University Chaplain for New York University, Executive Director of the Islamic Center at NYU, and a Chaplain for the NYPD. He is also the co-founder of Honest Chops, the first-ever all-natural/organic halal butcher in NYC, the Muslim Wedding Service, an agency specializing in providing charismatic and inspirational marriage officiants for wedding ceremonies. Sincere thanks to ICNYU for the recording of his Friday prayer sermon on Muslim communal obligation, or fard kifayah.

Resources on Muslim communal obligation:

Is a Sacrifice (Dam) Required for Performing the Stoning Rite (Rami) Before the Slaughtering (Dhabh) in Hajj?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: As salam alaykum,

I have recently completed Hajj. On 10th Dhul Hijjah like many people I paid for someone to complete the animal sacrifice on my behalf. Unfortunately on our way to the pelting we got a phone call saying that it had been done (before we could pelt at the jamarat ).

I have been recently informed that the Ahnaf do not consider this acceptable. Therefore I wanted to ask what is the Hanafi fatwa on the matter. Is a sacrifice necessary?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that this message finds you well, insha’Allah.

No, a sacrifice (dam) is not required if you perform the stoning rite (rami) before the slaughtering (dhabh) as somebody performing both the hajj and `umrah (hajj al-qiran/al-tamattu`) together in a single journey. (Neither is it required if you are performing only the hajj itself (hajj al-ifrad), without an accompanying `umrah.)

This ruling is according to the position of the Companions (sahibayn) because they did not consider it necessary (wajib) to uphold an order (tartib) between the stoning and slaughtering. Further, due to the vast number of people now in attendance and the difficulty of managing the entire pilgrimage, there can be some degree of hardship in sticking to the relied upon position for every single ruling.

This is contrary to the position of Imam Abu Hanifa himself which is based on the words of Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him), “Whoever brings forth a rite before a subsequent rite must sacrifice.” This is the basis and it should be followed, but there is leeway in the matter, particularly if you have an excuse in your specific situation.

[Qari, al-Maslak al-Mutaqassit; Zayla`i, Tabyin al-Haqa’iq]

Please also see: A Hajj Reader and: What is the Preferable Type of Hajj in the Hanafi School: Tamattu’ or Qiran? and: Leaving the Position of Abu Hanifa and How to Determine the Relied-Upon Position in the Hanafi School

And Allah alone knows best.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani