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Fasting New Muslims

Qur’anic Gems: Juz’ 7

Welcome to a new interesting episode of Qur’anic Gems series with Nouman Khan.

Here in this episode, Nouman reflects on the verse number 100 of Surat Al-Ma’idah (the fifth chapter of the Qur’an).

He begins his talk shedding some light on the indication of Allah the Almighty that fighting against filth and looking for good and pure in a world that is surrounded by filth will be hard and so success will come as a price or reward from Allah.

Follow us on this interesting talk to know more about this divine advice to the people of sound mind.

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Fasting New Muslims

Qur’anic Gems: Juz’ 22

Welcome to a new interesting episode the Qur’anic Gems series with Nouman Khan.

In this episode, Nouman reflects on the verse number 70 of Surat Al-Ahzab (the 33rd chapter of the Qur’an).

He talks in brief about taqwa (piety and fear of Allah) which is a high state of heart, which keeps one conscious of Allah’s presence and His Knowledge, and it motivates him to perform righteous deeds and avoid those, which are forbidden.

Follow us on this fascinating episode to know more about this state of heart which prevent the believer form everything that may lead him to Allah’s wrath.

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Fasting New Muslims

A Blessed Month of a Special Nature

Fasting in the month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars upon which the structure of Islam is built. The other four are the declaration of one’s belief in God’s oneness and in the message of Muhammad (peace be upon him), regular attendance to prayer, payment of zakah (i.e. obligatory charity), and the pilgrimage.

If we examine these five pillars, taking into account the fact that Islam aims at improving the quality of human life at both the individual and social levels, we find that the first of these five pillars is concerned with beliefs which influence man’s conduct. The second, i.e. prayer, provides a constant reminder of man’s bond with God. Zakah, the third pillar, is a social obligation which reduces the gap between the rich and the poor, while the fifth, i.e. the pilgrimage, has a universal aspect that unites the Muslim community throughout the world.

Fasting in Ramadan, which is the fourth of these pillars, has a particularly high importance, derived from its very personal nature as an act of worship. Although in a Muslim country it is extremely difficult for anyone to defy public feelings by showing that one is not fasting, there is nothing to stop anyone from privately violating God’s commandment of fasting if one chooses to do so. This means that although fasting is obligatory, its observance is purely voluntary.

The fact is that fasting cannot be used by a hypocrite in order to persuade others of one’s devotion to God. If a person claims to be a Muslim, he is expected to fast in Ramadan. On the other hand, a person fasting voluntarily at any other time should not tell others of the fact. If he does, he detracts from his reward for his voluntary worship. In fact, people will find his declaration to be fasting very strange and will feel that there is something wrong behind it.

This explains why the reward God gives for proper fasting is so generous. In a sacred, or Qudsi hadith, the Prophet quotes God as saying: “All actions done by a human being are his own except fasting, which belongs to Me and I reward it accordingly.” This is a mark of special generosity, since God gives for every good action a reward equivalent to at least ten times its values. Sometimes He multiplies this reward to seven hundred times the value of the action concerned, and even more. We are also told by the Prophet that the reward for proper fasting is admittance into heaven.

It may be noted that we have qualified fasting that earns such great reward as being ‘proper’. This is because every Muslim is required to make his worship perfect. Perfection of fasting can be achieved through restraint of one’s feelings and emotions. The Prophet said that when fasting, a person should not allow himself to be drawn into a quarrel or a slanging match. He teaches us: “On a day of fasting, let no one of you indulge in any obscenity, or enter into a slanging match. Should someone abuse or fight him, let him respond by saying: ‘I am fasting! I am fasting!’” (Al-Bukhari)

This high standard of self-restraint fits in well with fasting, which is, in essence, an act of self-discipline. Islam requires us to couple patience with voluntary abstention from indulgence in physical desire. This is indeed the purpose of fasting. It helps man to attain a standard of sublimity, which is very rare in the practical world. In other words, this standard is actually achieved by every Muslim who knows the purpose of fasting and strives to fulfill it.

Fasting has another special aspect. It makes all people share in the feelings of hunger and thirst. In normal circumstances, people with decent income may go from one year’s end to another without experiencing the pangs of hunger which a poor person may feel every day of his life. Such an experience helps to draw the rich nearer to the poor.

Indeed we are encouraged to be more charitable in Ramadan in order to follow the Prophet’s lead who was described by his companions as “the most generous of all people.” Yet he achieved in Ramadan an even higher degree of generosity. His companions say of him that he was in Ramadan “more generous and charitable than unrestrained wind.”

Fasting has also a universal or communal aspect. As Muslims throughout the world share in this blessed act of worship, they feel their unity and equality. Their sense of unity is enhanced by the fact that every Muslim individual joins voluntarily in the fulfillment of this divine commandment. The unity of Muslims is far from superficial; it is a unity of action and purpose, since they all fast in order to be better human beings. As a person restrains himself from the things he desires most, in the hope that he will earn God’s pleasure, self-discipline and sacrifice become part of his nature. He learns to give generously for a good cause.

The month of Ramadan is aptly described as a “festive season of worship.” Fasting is the main aspect of worship in this month, but people are more attentive to their prayers in Ramadan than they are in the rest of the year. They are also more generous and charitable. Thus, their devotion is more complete and they feel in Ramadan much happier because they feel themselves to be closer to God. Therefore, they love this month, which is one of endless benefits and blessings.

Indeed, nothing describes our great month better than the words of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as he addresses his companions and all generations of Muslims on the eve of Ramadan, saying: “A great and blessed month is approaching. One of its nights is better than a thousand months. God has made fasting in it obligatory and worship in its nights voluntary.

He who fulfils one religious obligation in it receives the reward of 70 such obligations fulfilled in other times. It is the month of perseverance and endurance, which can be rewarded only be admission into heaven. It is the month of comforting in which the means of a believer are improved. He who gives food to another to break his fast is forgiven his sins; thus he saves his neck from hell. He is also given a similar reward to that given to the fasting person without detracting anything from the other’s reward…

God gives this reward even to a person who offers another a piece of a date, a drink of water or milk… the beginning of this month is compassion, its middle is forgiveness and its end witnesses people’s release from the fire of hell.”

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Taken with slight modifications from: www.arabnews.com.

Adil Salahi teaches Islamic Studies at the Markfield Institute of Higher Education, Leicester, England. After working for the BBC Arabic Service for several years, he worked for the Arabic daily, Al-Sharq Al-Awsat. He continues to publish a column, “Islam in Perspective”, in its sister publication, Arab News, an English daily published in Saudi Arabia.


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Fasting New Muslims

The Four Sacred Months: What Do You Know about Them?

From the twelve lunar months of the Islamic calendar there are four sacred, concerning them Allah says:

Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year), so it was ordained by Allah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them, four are sacred. That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein. (At-Tawbah 9:36)

Four Months Are Sacred

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) also said about them:

“The division of time has turned to its original form which was current when Allah created the Heavens and the Earth. The year is of twelve months, out of which four months are sacred. Three are in succession: Dhul-Qi`dah, Dhul-Hijjah, and Muharram, and (the fourth is) Rajab of (the tribe of) Mudar which comes between Jumada Thani and Sha`ban.” (Al-Bukhari)

So what characterizes these four months, and what should we do in them?

Sheikh Muhammad Salah answers in this video…

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Muslim Lifestyle New Muslims

Work and Spiritually: Where Do They Meet?

laptop

With sincere intentions and noble efforts you can hopefully recreate some of that much needed spiritual reformation.

For many of us as Muslims out in the working world or even at home, it can be a challenge to sustain our spirituality post-Ramadan. Many people I know complain of the need to reform their spiritual habits and I count being in in good companionship as one of the vital ways to continually boost your spiritual development.

In the modern day, it is easy to slip out of the ‘spiritually developing’ zone, especially when you are in a non-Muslim environment and don’t have the same network of ‘sisterhood’ or ‘brotherhood’ to encourage your spiritual growth let alone as much free time.

I know of many friends who are in professions such as doctors, lawyers and even bankers who feel this ‘void’ in spirituality after venturing out into the working world. They feel a real dip in their faith and are crying out for ways to stay in touch with their spirituality in the workplace.

This article is an attempt at providing practical ways for spiritual reformation that I have personally adopted to use in the working world. Although it will be a real challenge for many, with sincere intentions and noble efforts you can hopefully recreate some of that much needed spiritual reformation.

1- Find Good Work Buddies

Although it’s easier to surround yourself with Muslims, I have personally found that even being in the presence of people from other faiths can strengthen your own faith. It is important to find a work buddy who you can openly discuss your faith with and be in good company. Even if it can’t be a Muslim colleague, then at least a colleague who understands and respects you and your faith values. I often find that non-Muslim colleagues are more interested in chatting about general life matters, so find areas of common interest before you start talking to them about matters related to your faith.

For those of us fortunate to work in a predominantly Muslim environment, having good company is still important as we can often lose ourselves amidst work. In our office, we’ve started a regular 10 minute reminder with the sisters once a week which we rotate between staff to help us remind each other of how to strive to be better Muslims – it’s often the spiritual dose we need for the rest of the week’s work!

2- Talk about Faith

One of the beauties of working with non-Muslim colleagues is that there is a natural sense of curiosity about you as a Muslim, but also at a human level so ensure you break down any barriers and connect with them at a human level first. Find out about their life outside of work without prying too much of course! This always opens doors to then talking about more personal matters like your faith.

Hopefully by developing a bond with your colleagues which goes beyond work you can comfortably and confidently talk about what it is like being a Muslim. Being a visible Muslim woman at work, maybe through wearing the hijab, is a walking da`wah opportunity, as every action and conversation teaches others about Islam.

Also, I have often found my non-Muslim friends have niggling questions about Islam which I am able to talk to them about openly once we’ve built a good working relationship.

3- Read, Read and Read!

There is one practice I have continued since university to develop myself spiritually, which is reading books – the more I read the more I realize how little I actually know! It is vital you read Islamic books on spiritual development such as Al-Ghazali’s works. You can even fit this reading into your travel time to work as I often do by reading on my Kindle.

balanced life

Despite the challenges, it is really important to have a work-life balance for your wellbeing.

During lunch breaks you can also read articles which will boost your faith and remind you of Allah through websites such as Muslim Matters, Suhaib Webb or ProductiveMuslim.com to keep you stimulated and get a refreshing ‘spiritual break’.

4- Attend a Regular Circle/Class

Despite the demands on your time as a professional Muslim and even at home, it is really important to have a work-life balance for your wellbeing. One of the ways to boost your spirituality is to attend a regular class, even if it is online rather than in person, to surround yourself with like-minded people as well as to continue to benefit in the pursuit of knowledge.

Find out what local circles are taking place, some workplaces even have Muslim associations and events you can attend or better still set one up of your own! I often tell sisters that they need to ensure they invest in themselves to grow spiritually and emotionally.

5- Use Salah to Re-focus

We are blessed as Muslims to have the daily salah, yet so many of us rush through prayer in a bid to get other work done.

Instead, we should use salah to refocus and re-energized ourselves for work. I often find that when I have a difficult task to do at work, just switching off and going to pray helps me come back more focused to tackle the task.

Also, prayer is a constant reminder that we are dependent on Allah’s Help to succeed at work and any task which lies ahead. So capitalize on this spiritual booster in your working day!

Once you’ve started to take the above steps, make du`aa’ that Allah places blessing in your work and time through your endeavors to better yourself. Remind yourself of the importance of holding onto your faith values and how you are an ambassador for Islam through your actions in the workplace. Hopefully, using the steps above you can begin to make spiritual reformations at work and beyond.

Productive Muslim is a Muslim who is striving for the highest station in Jannah (Paradise) by making the best of all the resources around her.

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Source: Dawahskills.com.

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Fasting New Muslims

Why Are You Really Fasting?

The reason most of you behave as you do is that the very meaning and purport of  `ibadah has become distorted in your minds. You think that mere abstention from eating and drinking throughout the day is the Fasting.

fasting

To go hungry and thirsty while ignoring the spirit carries no value in the sight of God.

You therefore are very particular to observe the minutest details about it. You fear God to the extent that you avoid even the slightest violation of these rules; but you do not appreciate that merely being hungry and thirsty is not the purpose but only the form.

This form has been prescribed to create in you such fear of God and love, such strength of will and character, that, even against your desire, you avoid seemingly profitable things which in fact displease Allah and do those things which possibly entail risks and losses but definitely please God.

Wrong View of Worship

This strength can be developed only when you understand the purpose of the Fasting and desire to put to use the training you have undergone of curbing your physical desires for the fear and love of God only.

But what happens as soon as Ramadan is over?

You throw to the winds all that you gain from the Fasting, just as a man who has eaten food vomits it up by thrusting his fingers down his throat. Just as physical strength cannot be obtained from bread until it is digested, transformed into blood, which spreads through every vein, so spiritual strength cannot be obtained from the Fasting until the person who keeps fast is conscious of its purpose and allows it to permeate his heart and mind and dominate his thoughts, motives and deeds.

Fasting as a Way to Piety

This is why Allah, after ordaining the Fasting, has said that Fasting is made obligatory on you, “so that you may attain to God-consciousness” (Al-Baqarah 2:183).

Note that there is no guarantee that you will definitely become God-conscious and righteous. Only someone who recognizes the purpose of the Fasting and strives to achieve it will receive its blessings; someone who does not, cannot hope to gain anything from it.

Conditions of True Fasting

The Prophet (peace be on him) has in various ways pointed out the real spirit of fasting and has explained that to go hungry and thirsty while ignoring the spirit carries no value in the sight of God.

Abstention From Falsehood

The Prophet once said:

“If one does not give up speaking falsehood and acting by it, God does not require him to give up eating and drinking.” (Al-Bukhari)

On another occasion, he said: “Many are the people who fast but who gain nothing from their fast except hunger and thirst; and many are those who stand praying all night but gain nothing except sleeplessness.” (Ad-Darimi)

The lessons are clear and unequivocal: merely being hungry and thirsty is not by itself worship, but a means for performing real worship. Real worship means desisting from violating the law of God out of this fear and this love of God, pursuing activities that please Him, and refraining from the indiscriminate satisfaction of physical desires. If you fast while ignoring this essence of the Fasting, you are simply causing unnecessary inconvenience to your stomachs.

Faith and Self-scrutiny

The Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, draws attention to another aim of fasting thus:

Whoever observes the Fast, believing and counting, has all his past sins forgiven. (Al-Bukhari & Muslim)

Believing means that faith in God should remain alive in the consciousness of a Muslim. Counting means that you should seek only Allah’s pleasure, constantly watching over your thoughts and actions to make sure you are doing nothing contrary to His pleasure, and trusting and expecting the rewards promised by Allah and the Messenger.

Observing these two principles brings the rich reward of all your past sins being forgiven. The reason is obvious: even if you were once disobedient, you will have now turned, fully repentant, to your Master – and ‘a penitent is like one who has, as it were, never committed a sin at all’, as said the Prophet, blessings and peace be on him (Ibn Majah).

Shield Against Sins

On another occasion, the Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, said:

The Fast is like a shield (for protection from Satan’s attack). Therefore when one observes the Fast he should (use this shield and) abstain from quarrelling. If anybody abuses him or quarrels with him, he should simply say: Brother, I am fasting (do not expect me to indulge in similar conduct). (Al-Bukhari & Muslim)

Hunger for Goodness

The Prophet (peace be on him) once directed that a man, while fasting, ought to do more good works than usual and ardently desire to perform acts of kindness. Compassion and sympathy for his brothers should intensify in his heart because, being himself in the throes of hunger and thirst, he will all the more be able to realize the misery of other servants of God who are destitute.

In Ramadan, whoever provides food to a person who is fasting to break that Fast will earn forgiveness for his sins, deliverance from the Fire and as much reward as the one who is fasting, without any reduction in the recompense of the latter (Baihaqi).

`Abdullah ibn `Abbas tells that the Prophet (peace be on him) used to become unusually kind and generous during Ramadan. No beggar in that period went empty-handed from his door, and as many slaves as possible were set free (Baihaqi).

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The article is an excerpt from the author’s Let Us Be Muslims.

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Articles of Faith New Muslims

Fear and Hope: God’s Two Blessings

sky-nature

If a person acts without concern and fear as if he came to this world only to live, then they should be concerned about themselves.

It is narrated in a prophetic saying that God said ”I will not give my servant two assurances at the same time.” (Ibn Hibban)

Fear and hope are two great blessings that God has given us or will do so in the future. Using these two blessings in a measured way as a vehicle to reach God is another blessing, indeed a greater blessing.

For a Better Life

There’s an association between one’s sense of security and a life of comfort and possibly luxury while fear is connected with leading a life in poverty and destitution. At first glance, this may readily provide a partial explanation to the hadith above, but it would be wrong to assume that this is an exhaustive commentary.

Another way to understand this hadith could be as follows:

If a person is living carefree and in indulgence in the world, is not concerned about the next life, and has no worries about the destruction of his soul and spiritual life, and if that person has no fear of the losing his subtle qualities, no fear of the death of his feelings and the extinction of his spiritual faculties and thus lives without fear, that person cannot be without fear in the next world.

If a person lives with fear in this world-fear in the sense mentioned above, and is always anxious both in his words and actions, saying: ”O my Lord! If it were not for Your benevolence, I could not protect my faith; if not for Your grace, I could not protect my subtle points; if not for Your generosity, I could not survive; if not for Your compassion and mercy, I cannot enter Heaven. If not for the beloved, the mercy of the world, I would not have found my way and would have remained in depravity.”

If he can always exist in this fear and frequently take himself to account, control himself, and take the opportunity to renew himself, in the next world-God willing-there will be no fear for him.

However, there is an indispensible truth in the way this question is phrased, and it is not far from the meaning expressed in the hadith. If a person acts without concern and fear as if he came to this world only to live, and if he never feels any anxiety, then that person should be concerned about himself.

In fact, even if this does not happen often, he should worry about living only in comfort and languor and feel shame for it. The following example clarifies the matter a little more.

As related in sound narrations, `Umar ibn `Abdulaziz would sometimes repeat the verse, ”When the chains are around their necks, and fetters (around their legs). They will be dragged,” (Ghafir 40:71) and would fall on the floor.

In addition, he would read this verse many times and pass out:

You consumed in your worldly life your (share of) pure, wholesome things, and enjoyed them fully (without considering the due of the Hereafter, and so have taken in the world the reward of all your good deeds). So this Day, you are recompensed with the punishment of abasement because of your scornful arrogance on the earth against all right, and because of your transgressing (the bounds set by God). (Al-Ahqaf 46:20)

Sound Heart/Belief

Yes, it is very normal for a believer with a sound heart to have such a concern, and actually this fear is the result of profound contemplations. But God may have also given this world in terms of substantial health to a person as He gave to `Abdur-Rahman ibn `Awf and `Uthman ibn `Affan, two giant believers.

In that case, believers should make use of their wealth for the sake of lofty purposes and serve humanity for the sake of God. It is not necessary to give away possessions entirely; it is better to give in measured terms to those who are in need.

A part of the assets should be retained so that they can be invested and wealth multiplied; thus, in the end one can donate a greater amount. Let it suffice that our intentions are pure, that we know this wealth is a trust from God and that we are ready to give it away when our Lord wants it.

This should be a benchmark against which we frequently check the level of our hearts. Can we comfortably say, deep within our consciences, that we are ready to give every time we hear the command and suggestions by Our Lord? Can we say, ’Yes, O My Lord, I am ready to give!’?

If we can do this, in other words, if the state of our heart is not attached to the possessions we have, then an increase in wealth can bear no negative impact upon us, and our property will not be the cause of any worry concerning the Hereafter, if God so wills.

On the other hand, if a person insists on living heedlessly, having no belief or spiritual quest, simply, yet unwisely seeking to please the never-pleased carnal self-may God forbid-such a person will be bogged down in the swamp, headfirst. Let these two points not be confused.

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Source: The Fountain Magazine

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New Muslims Pilgrimage

Places of Ihram (Miqat) Map

Places of Ihram (Miqat) map

There are five particular places appointed for entering the state of ihram, which is a basic condition for the validity of hajj.

1- Dhul-Hulaifah, a place southwest of Madinah and 18 km from its mosque. It is the miqat for the people coming from Madinah and beyond.

2- Dhat-`Irq, a place 94 km to the northeast of Makkah. It is the miqat for the people coming from Iraq and beyond

3- Al-Juhfah, a place 187 km to the northwest of Makkah.

This was the miqat for the people coming from or passing through Syria and Egypt.

It was on the eastern coast of the Red Sea, but it has completely disappeared and Rabigh (to the north of Al-Juhfah) is used as the substitute for this miqat now.

4- Qarn Al-Manazil, 94 km to the east of Makkah. It is the miqat for the people of Najd and the pilgrims who pass by it.

5- Yalamlam, 54 km to the south of Makkah. It is the miqat for those coming from Yemen and the pilgrims who pass by it.

E-Da`wah Committee presents this map as an illustrated guide to explain the different places of Ihram

 

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New Muslims Pilgrimage

What to Pack for Hajj

Hajj Baggage

Having an idea of what you will be doing each day helps immensely.

Hajj is a spiritual journey made by Muslims who travel to Saudi Arabia for 2-4 weeks. It is usually made once in a lifetime, and it’s difficult to get an idea of what you might need to take because you’ve never done it before! During Hajj, you don’t just stay in one place.

Every couple of days, you keep moving. You move from hotels to old apartments to tents to sleeping under the stars out in the open. Then back to tents then apartments and finally a hotel, if your duration of stay is over two weeks.

This, in a way, symbolizes that life is a journey. We’re constantly moving, and our lives in this world are only temporary.

So, what are you supposed to pack for such a journey?

First, find a group that is recommended to you by others, and that you know is organized. This is everything during Hajj. An organized group saves you from stressing out about other things and focusing on the real goal when you get there, which is worship.

This type of group could also give you information on what they will provide for you during Hajj, and it will save you from taking extra things that you don’t need.

Also, you will need a lot of knowledge beforehand. Don’t go into Hajj thinking you will be guided every step of the way. There are around 120 people per group and only two leaders.

Although they are there to help, having an idea of what you will be doing each day helps immensely.

Now, on to the list of things to take:

My husband and I took one large suitcase with us. We were not going there for shopping, so we took the minimal amount of items. For gifts, we only got some prayer beads for direct family members and some dates.

You will need a backpack for this journey. Make sure it is comfortable with thick, cushioned straps, and a medium size. As you get ready to board your flight to Saudi Arabia, keep your backpack with you rather than checking it in. The last thing you need is losing all your essentials!

There is a chance of buses breaking down during journeys, resulting in walking a few miles with your bag, so make sure it is not too heavy or big in size. Some people brought rolling luggage but you’ll need to remember that the streets aren’t smooth and there are also a lot of stairs, so backpacks are the best option.

Comfortable walking shoes are a must. We always heard that we have to walk a lot during Hajj but only realized how much after we got there.

Tawaf and sa`i were easy for us Alhamdulillah. But just to give you an idea, to find a taxi from the Mina tents, you will need to walk around 1.5 hours. Our walk to Jamarat was also 1.5 hours in the heat, and then we had to come back as well same distance (the group website said it will be 45 minutes, so be prepared to walk more than expected!).

Practice walking for over an hour nonstop before leaving for Hajj. Make sure to buy them at least a month in advance and break into them before the journey.

Finally, I got a neck pillow for the bus journeys, tent, and sleeping in Muzdalifah out in the open. I kept it in a drawstring bag which I attached to the strap of my backpack so that I don’t have to carry it around.

Also, you will need two other bags apart from the backpack. One will be a small, cross-body messenger bag for the airport and during travel in general. You will need to take this during your visits to both Al-Masjid Al-Haram (in Makkah) and Al-Masjid An-Nabawi (in Madinah) as well.

Cross-body is important so that it  cannot be easily snatched like a shoulder bag, and it is also more confortable. In here, keep some cash, phone, solar power charger, snacks for energy, notebook and pen in which you have noted down addresses of where you’re staying and directions, prayer books and sunglasses.

On the main day of Hajj, you will be away from your tents and your belongings for an entire 24 hours. You will spend the entire day in `Arafat and entire night in Muzdalifah. For this you will need a medium sized bag, because there really isn’t any space in both places for anything bigger.

I didn’t want to have to take a whole different bag just for this one day, so I found a foldable bag online that worked perfectly for this occasion. It unfolds to a backpack that is ideal for a day trip. Keep an extra pair of clothes in this bag apart from other necessities.

Men will need a money belt to wear under their ihrams.

A document folder is essential to keep all your paperwork together in one place and safe from getting dirty. There are number of things you’ll need to keep in here:

Passport copies – at least 3 passport sized photos

Flight details

Credit/Debit Card copies

Hajj notes printouts

Proof of having taken the proper vaccines

Marriage Certificate copies if traveling with spouse

A Will is highly recommended and should be given to family members before leaving.

Finally, communication. It is absolutely necessary to get phones for all members of the family going. First of all, men and women stay in separate places throughout the stay and phones are the best way to get in touch. In a lot of cases in our group, only the husbands had phones and not the wives.

The husbands would be standing outside the women’s area, knocking loudly on doors, yelling out names. It was very disturbing for other people trying to worship or rest.

We got an extremely basic phone and used it every day.

I also took my smartphone. I had left my two-year old son with my parents and just needed to see him on Skype and through pictures. It definitely made me feel at ease. There is Wi-Fi in very limited pl

aces there.

In hotels they are reliable but outside that it’s hit or miss. If by chance it got connected, I was able to receive my son’s latest pictures and it comforted me knowing he’s having (way too much) fun!

I hope this post was helpful to you!

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Source: simplyincontrolplog.

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New Muslims Pilgrimage

Best Days of the Year & the Best Deeds in Them

Do Not Miss out on `Arafah (9th Dhul Hijjah)!

The great importance of the day of `Arafah, the day when pilgrims gather in Mountain of `Arafah and perform the most important ritual in Hajj, is shown by the fact that Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) swears an oath by this day:

Don’t waste this golden, annual opportunity to gain enormous rewards.

And (by) the witness and what is witnessed (the day of `Arafah). (Al-Buruj 85:3)

To make the most of the grand day of `Arafah, make sure to:

1- Fast and expiate your sins

Out of the first nine days, this is the most important day to keep a fast on:

Abu Qatadah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Fasting on the Day of `Arafah, I hope from Allah, expiates for the sins of the year before and the year after.” (Ibn Majah)

Fasting this day is only recommended for those who are not performing Hajj, and it is not permitted for those performing Hajj to fast on the day of `Arafah.

2- Repent

The Messenger of Allah said: “There is no day when Allah ransoms more slaves from the Fire than the day of `Arafah. He draws near and expresses His pride to the angels and says: ‘What do these people want?’” (Muslim)

Don’t settle for less. You will have your minor sins forgiven with the fast of `Arafah (In sha Allah), so what about your major sins? Repent sincerely and remember that Allah is capable of forgiving all our sins no matter how great they are. Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) says in the Qur’an:

Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves (by sinning), do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful”. (Az-Zumar 39:53)

These grand days are a great opportunity to quit your sinful habits once and for all! Be regretful for committing sins and make a strong determination to never commit them ever again.

3- Make du`aa’, ask forgiveness

Even though the Day of `Arafah has a special status, it’s important to remember that all the days of Hajj are days of dhikr (remembrance of Allah).

The importance of dhikr is demonstrated in the following verses in which Allah addresses the pilgrims in Surat Al-Baqarah:

…But when you depart from ‘Arafat, remember Allah at al- Mash’ar al-Haram. And remember Him, as He has guided you, for indeed, you were before that among those astray. (Al-Baqarah 2:198)

Then depart from the place from where [all] the people depart and ask forgiveness of Allah… (Al-Baqarah 2:199)

And when you have completed your rites, remember Allah like your (previous) remembrance of your fathers or with [much] greater remembrance… (Al-Baqarah 2:200)

And remember Allah during (specific) numbered days… (Al-Baqarah 2:203) in reference to the Days of Tashreeq (11-13 Dhul-Hijjah).

With regards to making du`aa’, the Prophet said: “The most excellent du`aa’ is the du`aa’ on the Day of `Arafah, and the best of what I and the prophets before me have said, is ‘There is no god but Allah, alone, without partner.’ (Malik)

Another recommended du`aa’ that is mentioned in the Qur’an is:

…Our Lord, give us in this world (that which is) good and in the Hereafter (that which is) good and protect us from the punishment of the Fire. (AL-Baqarah 2:201)

What a great chance you have to get your du`aa’ accepted! Prepare a du`aa’ list, as advised in Ramadan, so that you don’t spend a minute without asking Allah for everything you want, in this life and the Hereafter.

Again, don’t waste this golden, annual opportunity to gain enormous rewards. Fast and spend your time in supplication, repentance and remembering Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He).

The Udhiyah (Sacrifice)

A great act of charity to get closer to Allah on the day of `Eid Al-Adha is sacrificing a livestock animal. This revives the sunnah of Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) was ready to give up everything for the sake of Allah and submitted unconditionally to Allah’s commands by even offering his beloved son as a sacrifice.

Revive the spirit behind the Sunnah, be generous and select a healthy animal for sacrifice. You may have given a lot of charity other than the udhiyah, but if you miss out on this, you have missed out on a great act of charity specific to this occasion. Look at how you have spent your money on luxuries for the entire year. Now what will you offer as a sacrifice to gain the closeness of Allah?

Give Charity

The days of `Eid are the days of sacrifice. Apart from the udhiya, what will you give for the pleasure of Allah?

a Spend from what you really love

Allah says in the Qur’an:

Never will you attain the good (reward) until you spend [in the way of Allah ] from that which you love. And whatever you spend – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it. (Aal `Imran 3:92)

What is it that you value greatly? What possession can you sacrifice for Allah’s sake by giving it in charity? This may even be your precious talents, time, reputation, etc. How can you spend that in the way of Allah?

b- It’s time to give away everything extra

This may be the best time to de-clutter your house. Give in charity everything extra that you possess. What is the use of hoarding stuff that you will never use?

Assess your community needs. What can you do to help your community?

Befriend the Qur’an

The immense reward of reciting the Qur’an is evident from the following hadith:

Ibn Mas`ud (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever recites a letter from the Book of Allah, he will be credited with a good deed, and a good deed gets a ten-fold reward. I do not say that Alif-Lam-Mim is one letter, but Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter and Mim is a letter.” (At-Tirmidhi)

As Muslims, our job is to not only recite, but also to understand, implement and spread the teachings of the Qur’an. How can we expect to be guided to the straight path unless we read The Book of guidance?

Given the importance of reciting the Qur’an, it is essential that we block time out of our day especially for this task. The most productive time to recite the Qur’an is in the early hours, as Allah says:

Establish prayer at the decline of the sun [from its meridian] until the darkness of the night and (also) the Qur’an of dawn. Indeed, the recitation of dawn is ever witnessed. (Al-Israa’ 17:78)

Reading around 3½ juz each day will allow you to finish the Qur’an before `Eid begins Insha’Allah (within the first 9 days)!

Do Not Waste Time

These are the best days of the year! How can you possibly waste your time? Reject all invitations to parties and appointments which can be delayed to a later date. Tell them about the immense importance of these days and Insha’Allah you will even get rewarded for every good that they consequently do. If you can take time off work, do so. Again, remember that these are the most valuable days of the year!

Maintain Good Character

Just like the person performing Hajj must refrain from getting into disputes and acts of disobedience or risk the acceptance of their Hajj, you should try to do the same. Forgive everyone no matter what they have done to you. Visit the sick. Have good relations with people, especially your parents, relatives and neighbors. This would be the best time to re-establish ties of kinship and put barakah (blessing) in your life.

Spread the Knowledge

Unfortunately, many Muslims are unaware of the superiority of these days, or are unsure how to make the most of them. Spread the knowledge and multiply your rewards. This will also In sha Allah get you motivated to be foremost in performing good deeds.

The best days of the entire year have almost arrived! Muslims from around the globe will unite to perform one of the greatest forms of worship: Hajj.

Make the most of this grand opportunity by drawing nearer to our Creator by performing acts of worship with true sincerity and according to the Sunnah.

May Allah (Exalted be He) make us understand the greatness of these days and help us perform the best possible deeds with the purest of intentions. Ameen.

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Source: productivemuslim.com

 

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