Taqwa & Spirituality

The Journey of Hajj is for Muslims, a journey of a lifetime. Most of the Muslims undergo this journey only once in their lifetime. With the economic prosperity that many Muslims have witnessed, some Muslims undergo this journey more than once in their lifetime. The month of Dhul Hijjah and the Ibadah associated with this month are essentially the Sunnah of Prophet Ibrahim (A.S), be it Hajj or the sacrifice. The life of Ibrahim is amazing. An idol breaker son, born to an idol maker father. The spiritual presence of Prophet Ibrahim is always felt in the whole Muslim world, with his recurring remembrance, both in the Quran and a Muslim’s daily prayers. Islam attaches great importance to the annual pilgrimage of Hajj, which is intimately connected to the story of Ibrahim, his son Ismail and his wife, Hagar.

Prophet Ibrahim and Ismail’s story is about love and sacrifice. Unwavering love for Allah and the spirit of Sacrifice in His way. Hagar and Ismail were abandoned by Prophet Ibrahim at the place where Mecca stands today. It was to this valley that Ibrahim brought Hagar and their son Ismail. This valley between rocky hills, naked, hot and barren under the fierce desert sun. A place which was swept by flaming desert winds.

It was the proper setting for Ibrahim and his family to undergo the trial that Allah had set out for them. Prophet Ibrahim was convinced that Allah’s mercy is limitless. With this belief, Ibrahim left his weeping wife and the child in this uninhabited valley, leaving with them a water skin and a skin filled with dates.

A solitary tree stood in this valley. Hagar sat under its shadow with Ismail on her lap. Around them there was nothing. Just scorching heat, rocky slopes and an endless silence, with no other living being around. The hot day was followed by a cooler night and this went on. But on the third day, the dates in the skin were over and it was all despair. But when the child cried for water, Hagar could not do anything except crying out to her Lord. How could the distraught mother bear the sight of her dying child, crying for water? What could she do in a forlorn desert with no signs of any life around?

She started to run, to and fro with uplifted hands through this barren valley, over the same stretch, between two hills. It is in remembrance of her despair that the pilgrims who go for Hajj, run between these two hills, Saf’aa and Marwa.

The Lord was listening and then came the answer to her prayers. A stream of water gushed forth and the water began to flow over the sand. Hagar shouted with joy and immediately pressed the child’s face in the water so that he might drink. She drank with him and called out between her gasps, ‘Zummi, Zummi’.  Afraid that the water might run out, Hagar heaped a little wall of sand around the spring. The water ceased to flow and became a well, which came to be known as the well of Zamzam and the pilgrims, from centuries, have been filling water from this well and even carrying it back home with them.

Prophet Ibrahim returned to the valley after some time and found his son and wife alive. From then on, he visited them often. Ismail grew up there and married. Years later, Ibrahim and Ismail built the prototype of the sanctuary in Mecca known as the Kaaba. As they were cutting stones, Ibrahim exclaimed, ‘’Labbaik, Allahumma Labbaik’’—‘O my Lord, here I am at Your service, The pilgrims on their journey of Hajj, raise this chant.

Hajj is a journey which calls for immense patience, sacrifice, perseverance, persistence and humility among many other things. It is a journey which can drain you emotionally. The first sight of Kaaba leaves you speechless. The mind goes blank and tears start rolling down your cheeks. Is it true that I am in front of the Majestic Kaaba? How lucky does one feel at that moment? For a moment, you seem to be floating in the air. It just leaves you speechless and there is only language that you can speak—the language of tears. Don’t restrain yourself. Weep, sob, cry, repent, pray, plead, ask forgiveness from your Lord, for this is the chance to be born again. 

Islam believes in only one division in mankind and that is based on Taqwa. The one who is more dearer in the sight of Allah SWT is the one who is better in Taqwa. Allah SWT says: “Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is knowing and acquainted,” [Hujrath 49:13].

No superiority of the Arab over the Ajam, White over the Black, Rich over the Poor. In the two piece Ahram, the Prince and the pauper stand shoulder to shoulder. The great egalitarianism of Islam is on full display there. That is the main highlight of the Hajj.

This script is authored by Tariq Jameel


First 10 Days of Dhul-Hijjah

Praise be to Allah SWT who has bestowed on HIS slaves certain moments that carry more rewards and some days/nights better than others. These are the times, wherein the rewards are multiplied as leniency by Allah SWT towards His slaves. These unique seasons of worship brings many benefits, and opportunity to rectify one’s faults and make up for any shortcomings, offer repentance to Allah for the sins that one might have committed and do acts which please Allah SWT. These special occasions are the month of Ramadan, specifically the last 10 nights of Ramadan, Day of Aashura, and first 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah. Each one of these special occasions involves some kind of worship through which the slaves may draw closer to Allah, and some kind of blessing through which Allah bestows His favours and mercy upon whomsoever He will. Fortunate is the one who makes the most of these special times and draws himself nearer to His Lord by performing genuine acts of servitude.

"There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah SWT than these ten days."

In this brief write-up, we intend to shed some light on the importance of first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, which Allah SWT has preferred over all the other days of the year. Allah SWT swears an oath by them, and swearing an oath by something is indicative of its importance and great benefit. Allah SWT says: “By the dawn; by the ten nights,” [Al-Fajr 89:1-2]. Ibn Kathîr said that “the ten nights” referred to here are the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, and this opinion was also held by Ibn Abbâs, Ibn az-Zubair, Mujâhid and others.

The Prophet PBUH testified that these are the best days of the year. Ibn Abbas RA reported that the Prophet PBUH said: “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah SWT than these ten days. The people asked, “Not even jihaad for the sake of Allah? He said, “Not even jihaad for the sake of Allah, except in the case of a man who went out to fight giving himself and his wealth up for the cause, and came back with nothing,” [Bukhari].

The afore mentioned texts are sufficient enough to indicate the significance of these ten days and their preference over all the other days of the year, with no exceptions, not even the last ten days of Ramadan. Scholars view that the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah are better in terms of days and the last ten nights of Ramadan are better in terms of nights, as they embrace Laylat al-Qadr,  a night which is better than a thousand months.

Now having mentioned the significance of these ten days let us ponder as to how Prophet PBUH used to spend these days.

  • The Prophet PBUH encouraged people to do righteous deeds because of the virtue of this season.
  • The Prophet PBUH commanded us to recite a lot of Tasbeeh (“Subhan-Allaah“), Tahmeed (“Al-hamdu Lillaah“) and Takbeer (“Allaahu akbar“) during this time. Abdullaah ibn Umar RA reported that the Prophet PBUH said: “There are no days greater in the sight of Allah and in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Him than these ten days, so during this time recite a great deal of Tahleel (“La ilaaha ill-Allaah“), Takbeer and Tahmeed,” [Ahmad].
  • These ten days include Yawm ‘Arafaah (the Day of Arafaah) on which Allah SWT perfected His Religion. Allah SWT said to His noble messenger PBUH, “ This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favour upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion,” [Maidah 5:3].
  •  It was reported from Abu Qutaadah RA that the Prophet PBUH was asked about fasting on the Day of Arafaah (9th Dhul Hijjah). He said, “It expiates for the sins of the previous year and of the coming year.” [Muslim]

Farewell sermon by PROPHET MUHAMMED (PBUH)

All praise be to Allah. We glorify Him and seek His help and pardon; and we turn to Him. We take refuse with Allah from the evils of ourselves and from the evil consequences of our deeds. There is none to lead him astray whom Allah guides aright, and there is none to guide him aright whom He leads astray. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone, having no partner with Him, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His bondman and His Messenger. I admonish you, O bondmen of Allah! To fear Allah alone and I urge you to His obedience and I open the speech with that what is good.

O people! Listen to my words: I will deliver a message to you, for I know not whether, after this year, I shall ever be amongst you here again. O people! Verily your blood, your property and your honour are sacred and inviolable until you appear before your Lord, as this day and this month are sacred for all. Verily you will meet your Lord and you will be held answerable for your actions. Have I not conveyed the message? O Allah! Be my witness. He, who has any trust with him, should restore it to the person who deposited it with him. Beware; no one committing a crime is responsible for it but he himself. Neither the son is responsible for the crime of his father, nor the father responsible for the crime of his son.

O people! Listen to my words and understand them. You must know that a Muslim is the brother of the Muslim and they form one brotherhood. Nothing of his brother is lawful for a Muslim except what he himself allows willingly. So you should not oppress one another. O Allah! Have I not conveyed the message?

Behold! All practices of paganism and ignorance are now under my feet. The blood-revenges of the days of ignorance are remitted. The first claim on blood I abolish is that of Ibn Rabilah Ibn Harith who was nursed in the tribe of Saad and whom the Hudhail killed. Usury is forbidden, but you will be entitled to recover your principal. Wrong not and you would not be wronged. Allah has decreed that there should be no usury and I make a beginning by remitting the amount of interest which Abbas b. Abd al-Muttalib has to receive. Verily it is remitted entirely.

O people! Fear Allah concerning women. Verily you have taken them on the security of Allah and have made their persons lawful unto you by words of Allah. Verily you have certain rights over your women and your women have certain rights over you. It is incumbent upon them to honor their conjugal rights and not commit acts of impropriety which, if they do, you have authority to chastise them, yet not severely. If your wives refrain from impropriety and are faithful to you, clothe and feed them suitably. Behold! Lay injunctions upon women, but in a kind manner.

O people! Listen and obey though a mangled Abyssinian slave is your Amir (ruler) if he executes the ordinances of the Book of Allah among you.

O people! Verily Allah has ordained for every man the share of his inheritance. The child belongs to the marriage-bed and the violator of wedlock shall be stoned. He who attributes his ancestry to other than his father or claims clientship to other than his master, the curse of Allah, that of the angels, and the people will be upon him. Allah will accept from him neither repentance nor righteousness.

O people! Listen, O listen! Verily the Satan despairs of ever being worshipped in this land of yours, but he will be pleased even if you follow him in matters which you regard as trifles. Therefore, you abstain from obedience to Satan.

Verily, I have left amongst you the Book of Allah (Quran) and the Sunnah of His Apostle (Hadith) which if you hold fast, you shall never go astray. And if you were asked about me, what would you say? They (companions) replied: We bear witness that you have conveyed the message and discharged your ministry.
O people! Verily the intercalation (of a prohibited month) aggravates infidelity. Thereby the unbelievers are led to wrong. For they make it lawful one year and forbid it in another year to be in conformity with the number (of months) which Allah declared to be unlawful; so they consider violable that which Allah declared to be inviolable and they consider inviolable what Allah declared to be violable.

Verily the time has revolved in its own way from the day when the heavens and the earth were created. The number of months to Allah is twelve of which four are sacred; three are consecutive–Dhil QaÕdah, Dhil Hijjah, Muharram, and Rajab which is between Jamadah and ShaÕban. So I apprise you that your lives, your property and your honor must be as sacred to one another as this sacred day, in this sacred month, in this sacred town.

And your slaves; see that you feed them with such food as you eat yourselves; and clothe them with the clothes that you yourselves wear. And if they commit a fault which you are not inclined to forgive, and then part with them for they are the servants of Allah and are not to be chastised.

Behold! Listen to me. Worship your Lord; offer prayers five times a day; observe fast in the month of Ramadan; make pilgrimage to the House (Kabah); pay readily the Zakat on your property and obey whatever I command you; only then you will get into heaven.

O people! Verily your Lord is one and your father is one. All of you belong to one ancestry of Adam, and Adam was created out of clay. There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab and for a non-Arab over an Arab; or for white over the black or for the black over the white except in piety. Verily the noblest among you is he who is the most pious.
The one who is present here should convey the message to the one who is absent. I have conveyed the message.

Then looking up to the heaven, he said: O Lord! I have delivered the message and discharged my ministry.

O Lord! I request Thee, bear Thou witness unto it. It was at this time that the verse regarding the completion of religion was revealed to him: This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion. [Al-Maidah 5:3]


Miraculous ZAMZAM

Zamzam is a sacred well encompassing Masjid-e-Haram at Makkah found thirty-eight cubits away from the holy Ka’bah. It is a living miracle of ALLAH and there is no second opinion about its existence and sustenance. Just being 5 feet deep, it is able to cater to the requirements of billions of pilgrims in the past and will continue to do so until the Day of Judgment. It is a demonstrated fact that the water of Zamzam is devoid of any biological contamination such as formation of algae etc. The Prophet PBUH said: “The best water on the surface of the earth is the water of Zamzam; it is a kind of food and a healing from sickness.” (Saheeh al-Jaami)                                


Zamzam is a well through which ALLAH SWT quenched the thirst of infant Ismail, son of prophet Ibrahim (peace and blessings of ALLAH be upon them both). When the mother-son duo of Hajira (peace and blessings of ALLAH be upon her) and Ismail exhausted the meager food supplements on a barren desert, the latter desperately sought water to smother the bursting thirst of her son, but could not find any. She climbed up the Mount al-Safaa, praying ALLAH to bless her with water for Ismail, and then she climbed up the Mount al-Marwah repeating her plea. She ran across both mountains Safaa and Marwah for seven times. Her faith and prayers justified ALLAH’s mercy and thus angel Jibreel (peace and blessings of ALLAH be upon him) on HIS command struck the earth, for water to gush out.

The scholars (may ALLAH have mercy on them) are in agreement that it is Mustahabb (recommended) for pilgrims on Hajj and Umrah in particular, and for all Muslims in general, to drink Zamzam water to their fills. Prophet PBUH is reported to have drunk the water of Zamzam [Bukhaari]. According to the hadith of Abu Dharr (may ALLAH be pleased with him), the Prophet said concerning the water of Zamzam, “It is a blessing, and it is food that satisfies.” [Muslim]. Al-Tayaalisi added, in a version that he narrated: “and a cure for the sick. But this is when one drinks it with faith and sincerity, as proven in the hadith of Abu Dharr.

The blessed water of Zamzam was used by the two angels to cleanse the heart of the Prophet PBUH during his childhood. This is established by the hadith of Abu Dharr who reported that the Prophet PBUH said: “My roof was opened when I was in Makkah, and Jibreel came down and opened my chest and washed it with Zamzam water. He then brought a gold basin full of wisdom and faith, poured it into my chest, and closed it up again. Finally, he took me by the hand and ascended with me into the first heaven,” [Bukhaari].

Al-Haafiz Al-Iraaqi (may ALLAH have mercy on him) said: The rationale of cleansing Prophet’s chest with Zamzam water was to make him stronger so that he could visualise the kingdom of heaven and earth, and Paradise and Hell; and also that one of the special qualities of Zamzam is that, it strengthens the heart and calms the soul.

It is advised that people carry holy Zamzam water back to their homes since it is a catalyst for cure for those who seek healing. Aa’ishah(R.A) reported that she took Zamzam water home with her in bottles, and said, “The Messenger of ALLAH PBUH took some of it away with him, and he used to pour it on the sick and give it to them to drink,” [Tirmidhi].

Ibn al-Qayyim (may ALLAH have mercy on him) said: Myself and others tried seeking healing with Zamzam water and witnessed wondrous things. I sought healing with it from a number of illnesses, and I was healed by the permission of ALLAH. I saw someone who nourished himself with it for a number of days, half a month or more, and he did not felt hunger; he performed Tawaaf along with the other people just as they did. And he told me that he consumed nothing but Zamzam water for forty days and he had the strength to have intercourse with his wife, to fast and to perform Tawaaf numerous times. [Zaad al-Ma’aad]

The Messenger of ALLAH (peace and blessings of ALLAH be upon him) said: “The water of Zamzam is for whatever it is drunk for.” [Ibn Maajah]. Undoubtedly Zamzam water serves whatever purpose and intention for which it is drunk; provided it is dealt with sincerity. The scholars and the righteous have attempted this and they drank with the intention of fulfilling their needs and seeking cure for the sick or relief from poverty or catastrophe and surely ALLAH simplified their needs for them. So if one gets the opportunity to drink Zamzam, one should grab the opportunity to pray for: a healthy body, sharp mind, forgiveness for sins, life in Jannah after death, an honorable death with the kalima on one’s lips, and everyone’s physical and spiritual needs of this world and Hereafter.

Hajj: Journey towards salvation

The holy pilgrimage of Hajj is fifth pillar of Islam. Let’s get enlightened about this obligation. Hajj was made obligatory in 9th Hijri (Islamic lunar calendar). Islamic terminology defines Hajj as a specific journey to the holy city of Makkah on the prescribed days of Zil-Hajj (Islamic month).

“learn rituals from me.” Prophet Muhammed PBUH

Hajj is a compulsion on a believer when one meets the two criterions of physical health, to perform the challenging obligation and sufficient wealth to accomplish the journey. The Quran says, “Hajj to the House is a duty that mankind owes to ALLAH for those who can afford the journey.” [Al Imran 2:97]

While explaining the above mentioned verse of Quran, Prophet PBUH said, “Whoever can afford this journey to the sacred House, by provision and transportation and he does not make the pilgrimage, there is no blame if he dies as a Jew or a Christian. This is because Allah SWT says, “Hajj to the House is a duty that mankind owes to ALLAH for those who can afford the journey.” [Al Imran 2:97]

All Scholars and Islamic Jurists are in agreement that, one who denies the importance of Hajj will be deemed out of the folds of Islam. The severity of opinion of the second Caliph of Islam, Omar bin Al-Khattab, about those Muslims who abstain from performing their Hajj as early as possible, could be gauged by one of his suggestions: he proposed to one of his cabinet members that Jizya (tax imposed on non-muslim for their welfare in an Islamic State) shall be levied on those who refrain to fulfil this Islamic obligation (Hajj) without any genuine rationale.                                                                                            

A number of traditions of Prophet of Islam PBUH speak about the virtues of Hajj. Once, the Messenger of Allah PBUH was asked: What is the best deed? He stated “Belief in Allah and His Messenger PBUH.” He was then asked: What next? He said “Jihad in the way of Allah.” He was again asked: ‘What next? He replied: “The Hajj which is preformed correctly and accepted by Allah.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim]

He PBUH also said: “One Umrah until the next Umrah is an expiation for what is between them. And the Hajj that is accepted by ALLAH and performed properly has no reward other than Paradise.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim]

Furthermore, for women in Islam, Hajj is their Jihad. When the Messenger of Allah PBUH was asked, whether a woman is required to take part in Jihad or not? He replied: “Yes, upon them is Jihad which does not contain fighting: Hajj and Umrah.” [Sahih by Shaikh Al-Albanee in Irwa al-Ghaleel fi-Takhreej Ahadeeth Manar al-Sabeel]

Also, Ibn Umar (RA) reported the Prophet PBUH saying: “The one who fights for the sake of ALLAH and the pilgrim who goes for Hajj or Umrah are all guests of Allah. HE called them and they responded; they ask of HIM and HE will give them.” [Termed Hasan by Shaikh Al-Albanee in Silsilat al-Ahaadeeth as-Saheehah]

It is universal fact that believer cannot sustain without the mercy and help from Allah SWT. Hence to be successful it is crucial to establish and strengthen our relationship with our Sustainer Allah SWT. Man is a servant of Allah and he ought to live like one. This relation is best established while performing Hajj. When one analyzes the rituals of hajj, every step will make us feel we are nothing more than the dust. Pride is crushed paving way for hidayah (guidance).                                                                                               

One, who desires to strengthen ones relationship with Allah, should be willing and prepared for any kind of sacrifice for its creator. The holy Quran explains this concept in a very unique manner. “Say! My life, my Prayer and my Death everything is for the sake of Allah.” This is the most important thing that every pilgrim realizes “I am for Allah and I must be ready to sacrifice everything for Him.”

The second aspect which every pilgrim learns is that Hajj must be performed according to Sunnah of Prophet. Prophet said“learn rituals from me.” Thereby it inculcates a habit to adopt Sunnah in all walks of life. Subhanallah

Let me conclude by quoting a hadith of the holy Prophet PBUH: “Hurry to perform Hajj (the obligatory one), as none of you knows what may happen to him.” [(Saheeh) by Shaikh al-Albanee]