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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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New Muslims Pilgrimage

Places of Ihram (Miqat) Map

ihram

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

http://bit.ly/1JUlbKz

 

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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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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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Virtues of the Ten Days of Dhul Hijjah… Don’t Miss

Allah has favored over other days, the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah are a great season of worship with great virtues and unmatched blessings.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.” The people asked, “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah?” He said, “Not even jihad 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.” (Al-Bukhari).

Sheikh Asim Al-Hakim talks about these days and their virtues here…

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Acts of Worship New Muslims

First Ten Days of Dhul-Hijjah: Special Season of Worship

With the start of Dhul-Hijjah less than a week away, Muslims all over the world are preparing to embark on a journey of a lifetime. However, if you are among those who will instead be watching them on TV and wishing you were with them, you must be asking yourself: What do I do during these days?

Dhul-Hijjah

There are no days during which the righteous action is so pleasing to Allah than these days.

Let us remind ourselves of some specific and other general deeds which will in sha’ Allah maximize our benefit from the best of all days!

The Superiority of These Days

The immense importance of these days is shown by the fact that Allah (Exalted be He) swears an oath by them in the Qur’an: “By the dawn; And (by) ten nights.” (Al-Fajr 89:1-2)

In Tafsir Ibn Kathir it is mentioned that the “ten nights” in the verse above refer to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.

Also, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“There are no days during which the righteous action is so pleasing to Allah than these days (i.e., the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah).” He was asked: “O Messenger of Allah, not even Jihad in the Cause of Allah?” He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) replied, “Not even Jihad in the Cause of Allah, except in case one goes forth with his life and his property and does not return with either of it.” (Al-Bukhari)

The reason righteous deeds are more rewarding during these days, according to Hafiz Salahuddin Yusuf, is because they are Hajj days in the sacred season of pilgrimage. Because of their excellence and importance, Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) swore by them.

So what can you do to honor these days?

1- Take Special Care of Your Obligations

Before talking about any voluntary actions (and bonuses), it is important to remind ourselves that we must first take care of all our obligations. How can we think of building and beautifying a house without constructing its pillars? Thus, we have to pay special attention to the pillars of Islam and strive to perfect our obligations.

a- Pray on time (and in congregation, for men)

The Messenger of Allah said, “Verily, between a man (i.e., a Muslim) and between shirk (polytheism) and kufr (disbelief) is the abandoning of As-Salah (prayers).” (Muslim)

b- Give your zakat if it is due!

c- If you have not yet fulfilled the obligation of Hajj, make special du`aa’ to Allah to grant you the opportunity to do so soon and in the best of manners.

2- Supplicate for Sighting of the New Moon

Start the month with this supplication:

‘Allah is the Most Great. O Allah, bring us the new moon with security and Faith, with peace and in Islam, and in harmony with what our Lord loves and what pleases Him. Our Lord and your Lord is Allah.’ (Fortress of the Muslim)

3- Repeat Tahleel, Takbir and Tahmeed

These remembrances have a special connection to these ten days:

Our Prophet said: “There are no days that are greater before Allah or in which good deeds are more beloved to Him, than these ten days, so recite a great deal of tahleel (saying La ilaaha illa Allah, here’s no god but Allah), takbir (saying Allahu Akbar, Allah is Greatest) and tahmeed (saying Alhamdulillah, all praise be to Allah) during them.” (Ahmad)

The Companions would go to the marketplace and recite the takbir out loud and people would also recite after hearing them. Let us follow their footsteps and encourage others to recite the takbir as well, as an act of worship and a proclamation of the greatness of Allah (Exalted be He)! You might find it uncomfortable to constantly remind your family members, but if you simply play an audio file from your laptop, mobile, etc., you’ll notice others will join in with the recitation naturally, in sha’ Allah.

One of the forms of takbir you may recite is:

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, laa ilaaha ill-Allah, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, wa lillaahil-hamd (Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, there is no god but Allah, Allah is Most Great, Allah is Most Great, and to Allah be praise.”

4- Renew Your Taqwa

After the fasting of Ramadan whose main purpose was “…that you may become righteous” (Al-Baqarah 2:183), Allah makes a special connection between sacrificing animals (which has to be offered on the days of `Eid) with taqwa:

Their meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you. (Al-Hajj 22:37)

The people of taqwa (piety and fear of Allah), as explained in Dr. Muhsin Khan’s translation of the Qur’an, are “the pious believers of Islamic Monotheism who fear Allah much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden) and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained).”

Thus, let us repent from all our sins and try our level best to attain taqwa.

5- Earn the Reward of a Hajj without Going to Makkah

Prophet Muhammad said: “Whoever prays Fajr in congregation, then sits remembering Allah until the sun has risen, then he prays two rak`ahs, then for him is the reward like that of a Hajj and `Umrah.” He said: “The Messenger of Allah said: ‘Complete, complete, complete.’” (At-Tirmidhi)

That’s a small deed with such an immense reward! Allahu Akbar! However, this would not mean that you will be free from the obligation of Hajj (the fifth pillar of Islam) of course.

6- Observe Voluntary Fasts

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “Allah says: ‘(The person observing sawm) has abstained from food and drink, and sexual pleasures for My sake; fasting is for Me, and I will bestow its reward. Every good deed has ten times its reward.’” (Al-Bukhari)

In addition, the Messenger of Allah said:

“Whoever observes fast for a day in the way of Allah (non-obligatory fasting observed for the sole purpose of pleasing Allah and seeking His blessings), Allah will remove his face from the Hell to the extent of seventy years’ distance.” (Muslim)

So imagine the reward for keeping fasts during these grand days, In sha’ Allah! This applies only for the first nine days. The 10th of Dhul-Hijjah will be `Eid, in which fasting is prohibited.

                                                                                                                                                                To be continued…

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Source: productivemuslim.com

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What to Do on the First Ten Days of Dhul-Hijjah (EDC Video)

By Editorial Staff

About the merits of the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There are no days on which righteous deeds are beloved to Allah more than (the righteous deeds on) these 10 days.”

The people asked, “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah?” He said, “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah, except for the case of a man who went out, giving up himself and his wealth for the cause of Allah, and came back with nothing.” (Al-Bukhari)

Make the Best of Dhul-Hijjah

So, how can we make the best of these precious blessed days?

The E-Da`wah Committee (EDC) is pleased to present this short video on the merits of the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah and the things that every Muslim should do during them.

 

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