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Hajj News: To Arafah with prayers on their lips

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  • Zafar Khan
    The prayer (talbiyah) offered by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) during Hajj was: I respond to Your call, O God, I respond to Your call and I am
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 5, 2011
      The prayer (talbiyah) offered by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) during Hajj was: "I respond to Your call, O God, I respond to Your call and I am obedient to Your orders, You have no partner. I respond to Your call. All praise and blessings are for You. All the sovereignty is for You and You have no partners."

      Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Hadith 621

      Hajj live on Youtube

      To Arafah with prayers on their lips
      Hajj has begun, and 2.5 million Muslims have travelled to the plains of Arafah at the start of the annual pilgrimage.
      Fatima Asmal Last Modified: 05 Nov 2011 12:54


      The five days of Hajj - the annual Muslim pilgrimage - begun on Friday, November 5, with some 2.5 million pilgrims making their way to the valley of Mina near Mecca, where they spent the night in prayer.

      But it is Saturday, Yawmul Arafah [the Day of Arafah], which will likely have featured most strongly in their minds.

      While most of the Muslim world will spend this day preparing for Eid al Adha, pilgrims from around the world will take to the plains of Arafah, some 14km away from Mina, to supplicate fervently, prayerfully petitioning in a rite of Hajj named the wuqoof [literally: "standing"], without which the pilgrimage is considered invalid.

      The Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said that the "best supplication is the supplication on the Day of Arafah", and most pilgrims eagerly anticipate the occasion.

      "I'm really looking forward to it," Nasser al-Shafawi, a news presenter from Yemen, told Al Jazeera. "We'll see three million people from all over the world, standing there, regardless of colour and tongue, they'll be supplicating - it's the biggest gathering in the world."

      "Usually you ask God for forgiveness for yourself and your family," he adds. "I'll also be praying for there to be a good relationship between myself and my family at all times."

      But there will also be another dimension to al-Shafawi's prayers, one which he says will feature strongly in the supplications of all Yemeni pilgrims. "Whenever any pilgrim travels to Saudi Arabia for Hajj, people ask him: 'Please pray for our country, for safety and security, pray for Allah to spare our country any further escalation of violence and more bloodshed.' So many people told me this. I think the hardship the country is passing through obligates you to pray for the country. I'm going to pray to Allah to protect our country."

      Al-Shafawi also pledged to pray on behalf of friends and family members who specifically asked him to mention them by name on the plains of Arafah.

      Prayers for protesters

      Tasleem Shaik, a 39-year-old from Durban, South Africa, said she had also been inundated with requests for prayers - from women who had experienced miscarriages, students who preparing for examinations and people looking for marriage partners. "I will make dua [the invocation of the petitioning prayer] for them all," she says.

      "I really have goose bumps," she adds. "But I'm looking forward to being on the plains of Arafah with the rest of the Hujjaj [pilgrims]."

      "I will be crying out for forgiveness. I am so grateful for being one of the chosen ones, so I'll be thanking Allah a lot. I will make dua for all Muslims - that the Almighty gives them all the opportunity to come for Hajj one day. And I will definitely be making dua for my kids who are writing examinations and for my son to memorise the Quran and that my family and I live long lives filled with happiness."

      For Abass Abdul Karim, an imam at the National Police Mosque in Accra, Ghana, health will feature prominently in prayers on the plains of Arafah.

      "I have a heart ailment and thus far, medication hasn't helped me. It is my wish that through drinking water from the Zam Zam well and supplicating on Arafah, Allah heals me of this."

      Karim says he will also pray for his family and country. "I'll pray that Allah should soften the hearts of leaders to utilise the resources of the country very well for equitable distribution so that it also reaches the poor and needy."

      "It's a great day, a day of forgiveness in which God accepts supplications," said Fatima Abusafwa, a 57-year-old grandmother from Gaza.

      And what will she be asking for on this "great day"?

      "I want Allah to grant us victory over the Israelis and I will be asking for freedom for Palestine and for the nations under the yolk of tyranny."

      Hajj: The Largest Annual Convention of Faith
      11/3/2011 - Religious - Article Ref: IC1110-4914
      By: Sadullah Khan
      IslamiCity* -


      Allah states in the Qur'an, "And announce to humanity, (O Abraham), the pilgrimage, and people will come from every part of the world by every means of transport." [Qur'an 22:27]. Indeed, centuries after Prophet Abraham's call, this call to journey to Hajj is still being responded to, in numbers larger than ever before; as intended.

      Hajj in Perspective

      As an act , Hajj is fard / obligatory (on those who are able): Human beings who are able to perform the pilgrimage are obligated by Allah to make the pilgrimage to the Ka'bah. [Qur'an 3:97]
      In significance, Hajj is a rukn / pillar of faith: Islam is built on five (pillars): bearing witness that none s worthy of worship but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, the establishing of prayer, the giving of charity, fasting during Ramadan, the performance of pilgrimage to the Ka'bah for those who are able. [Bukhari]
      As a tradition, Hajj is a perpetuation of sunnate-Ibrahim (the practice of Prophet Abraham). It was Prophet Ibrahim who was commanded by Allah to announce: "Proclaim the Hajj, people will come from every part of the earth by every means of transport, to witness its benefits." [Qur'an 22:27]
      As a virtue, the one who completes a duly-performed Hajj is rewarded with Paradise. Prophet Muhammad said: Whosoever performs the pilgrimage appropriately without any vulgarity or impropriety returns from the pilgrimage as pure as the day of birth. [Bukhari]
      Demonstration of Muslim Fraternity

      The Hajj is that largest annual convention of faith where millions of Muslims gather in the holy land, merging as streams of devotees from every corner of the earth to become part of the sea of Believers spiritually swirling in human waves around the Ka'bah in tawaaf. Each individual pilgrim is like a drop in that ocean; a drop that always yearns to be part of that ocean. An ocean that knows no barrier of race, nor language, nor color, nor gender, nor age, nor time.

      The Hajj ...

      demonstrates universal Islamic fraternity
      acquaints pilgrims with historical and spiritual environment of Prophet Ibrahim, Haajar, Prophets Isma'il and Muhammad (peace be upon all of them).
      re-enacts fundamental aspects of our history
      reminds of the ÔGrand Assembly' on the Day of Judgment
      The performance of prescribed rites (manaasik), at specified times, at particular places in a recommended manner is aimed at reflecting a wholesome demonstration of Muslim brotherhood and sisterhood. It familiarizes the pilgrim with the historic, spiritual and physical environment of Adam and Eve, Ibrahim, Isma'il, Haajar and of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon all of them).

      Dimensions of Hajj

      Each aspect of the pilgrimage serves as a religious and symbolic act, historical and social lesson that has both practical and spiritual dimensions:

      Ihraam - symbol of humility and equality
      Haram ash-Sharif at Makkah - a blessed place in the City of Ibrahim, Isma'il, Haajar and Muhammad (peace be upon them); the City of Revelation and City of the Ka'bah.
      Ka'bah - sanctified symbol of unity, established for the upliftment of humanity
      'Arafah - a reflection of the Day of Judgment, a Day of Fraternity and Forgiveness
      Muzdalifah - preparation for struggle against internal and external enemies
      Jamaraat at Mina - symbolic battle against evil
      Udhiyah - sacrifice indicating selfless submission to Allah's command
      Tawaaf - waves in the ocean of humanity glorifying Allah
      Sa'yi - re-enactment of Haajar's selfless search for water to nourish her precious baby, Prophet Isma'il, the forefather of Prophet Muhammad .
      Reflecting on the Lessons of Hajj

      The essence of Hajj is the pilgrim's evolution toward a higher degree of submission to Allah. The performance of Hajj is an illustration of the potential strength of the community. It is a symbolic demonstration of unity and harmony; of equality and humility.

      Performance of religious acts at prescribed times at particular places in a specific manner, where each act at each place has a purpose, and serves as a:

      * reminder to the mindful
      * lesson to the heedful
      * exhortation to the faithful
      * instruction to the dutiful
      * source of reflection for the wise

      - Shaykh Sadullah Khan is the Director of Impower Development International www.impowerinternational.com

      Reaching beyond the Kaaba during Hajj
      11/5/2011 - Religious - Article Ref: IC1111-4919
      By: Ali Shariati
      IslamiCity* -


      In the center of Masjid al-Haram you see the Kaaba. A simple cube like structure made of dark rough stones with white chalk filling the fissures. At the first sight a shiver runs through you and you wonder in amazement ... This plain and empty structure is the center of our faith, prayers, love, life and death?

      You question in admiration; Where have I come? What is this place?

      What you see is the antithesis of your visual imaginations of the Kaaba. Some might perceive a sacred place to be an architectural splendor whose ceilings are covered in silent beauty or it could be a sacred tomb housing the grave of an important person - a hero, a leader or prophet! But No! - instead it is an empty room. It reflects no architectural skill, beauty, art, inscription or quality; and no graves are found here. There is nothing specific that captures your attention or feelings except a yearning pulling you towards the Kaaba.

      You will realize that there is nothing here to disturb your thoughts and feelings about God. The Kaaba, which you want to embrace, is a gateway for your feelings to ascend to the heavens and connect with your creator. This is something you were unable to achieve in your world filled with distractions and fragmentation. Before you could only theorize, but now you can see the "absolute", the one who has no direction - Allah! He is every where.

      How fortunate it is to that the Kaaba is empty! It reminds you that you are at the Kaaba to start a pilgrimage. It is not your destination. Moreover, it is a guide to show you the destination.

      Having decided to move toward eternity, you begin the Hajj by moving around the Kaaba. It is an eternal movement towards Allah not towards the Kaaba. The Kaaba is the beginning and not the end. It is the place where Allah , Ibrahim , Mohammed and other great people will meet you. You will be present there only if your mind is not preoccupied with self-centered thoughts. You must be one of the people! Everyone is dressed in the same special garments and is being honored as guests of Allah. He has more enthusiasm toward humanity than any one else. However, the Kaaba the house of Allah is called the "house of people".

      "Behold! The first sanctuary appointed for humankind was that at Bekka (Mecca), a blessed place, a guidance to all people." (Quran 3:96)

      If you enter this house while still being attached to your material self you will miss the sacredness of this house.

      Mecca is called "Baite-Atiq". Atiq represents being free! Mecca belongs to nobody. It is free from the reign of rulers and oppressors; therefore, no one controls it. Allah is the owner of Mecca while the people are its residents.

      Under the provisions of travels, a Muslim is allowed to shorten his prayers if traveling at least forty miles away from his home. But at Mecca, regardless of where you are from or how far you have traveled, you devote yourself to the complete prayer. It is your land, your community and you are safe. You are not a visitor, but you are at home.

      Before coming to Mecca, you were a stranger, exiled in your own land. But now, you have joined the family of humanity. Humankind, the dearest family of the world, is invited to this house. If you as an individual are "self centered", you will feel like a homeless stranger lost with no shelter and no relatives. Therefore, shed the self distinctive tendencies. You are now prepared to enter the house and join this family. You will be welcomed as an honored guest of Allah.

      As you enter this house visualize Prophet Ibrahim who was considered a radical for his times. Rejecting all the idols of his forefathers, he oriented his loved and obedience to the One True God. With his own hands and along with his son, Ismail , he built the Kaaba. A structure that symbolizes the singular nature of Allah in the world.

      The building is uncomplicated. Black rocks of "Ajoon" are laid on top of each other. There is no design or decoration involved. Its name, Kaabah, means a "cube" - but why a "cube"?

      Why is it so simple and lacking in color and ornamentation? It is because Almighty Allah has no "shape", no color and none is similar to Him. No pattern or visualization of Allah that man imagines can represent Him. Being omnipotent and omnipresent, Allah is "absolute".

      Although Kaaba has no direction (because of its cubic shape), by facing the Kaaba when performing prayers, you choose Allah's direction and face Him. Kaaba's absence of direction may seem difficult to comprehend. However, universality and absoluteness prevails. The six sides of the cube encompasses all directions and simultaneously their sum symbolizes no direction!

      "Unto Allah belongs the east and west, and wherever you turn you will be facing Allah." (Quran 2:115)

      When praying outside of Kaaba you must face it. Any structure except the Kaaba directs north, south, east, west, up or down. Kaaba is an exception; it is facing all directions while it is facing none. Truly a symbol of Allah, it has many directions yet it has no particular direction.

      Toward the west of Kaaba there is a semi-circular short wall which is arching towards the Kaaba. It is called Ismail's Hagar. Hagar signifies lap or skirt. The semi lunar wall resembles a skirt.

      Sarah, the wife of Ibrahim had an Ethiopian maid called Hagar. She was a poor and humble servant of Sarah, who was given to Ibrahim in order to bear him a child. Here was a woman who was not equal to Sarah's noble stature yet Allah connected the symbol of Hagar's skirt to His symbol, Kaaba.

      The skirt of Hagar was the area in which Ismail was raised. The house of Hagar is there. Her grave is near the third column of the Kaaba.

      What a surprise since no one, not even prophets, are supposed to be buried in mosques but in this case, the house of a maid is located next to Allah's house! Hagar, the mother of Ismail is buried there. The Kaaba extends toward her grave.

      There is a narrow passage between the wall (Hagar's skirt) and the Kaaba. When circumambulating around Kaaba, Allah commanded that you must go around the wall and not through the passage.

      Those who have submitted them selves to the oneness of Allah and those who have accepted His invitation for Hajj touch this skirt when circumambulating the Kaaba. The grave of a maid and a righteous mother is now a part of the Kaaba; it will be circumambulated by man forever!

      Allah, the Almighty, in His great and glorious Divinity is all self-sufficient. He needs no one and nothing. Nevertheless, among all His countless and eternal creatures, He has chosen one, humankind, as the noblest of all of them. From among all humanity He has chosen: a woman, from among all women: a slave, and from among all slaves: a black maid!

      The weakest and most humiliated one of His creatures was given a place of dignity next to His own house.

      The Unknown Soldier has been so chosen in the community of Islam!

      The rituals of Hajj are a memory of Hagar. The word Higrah (migration) has its root in her name as does the word Mahajir (immigrant). "The ideal immigrant is the one who behaves like Hagar." (Saying of Mohammad )

      Higrah is what Hagar did. It is also a transition from wildness to civility and from denying the truth to accepting the Ultimate Truth.

      In Hagar's mother- tong her name means "the city". Even the name of this Ethiopian slave is symbolic of civilization. Furthermore, any migration like hers is a move toward civilization!

      Hagar's grave is in the midst of man's circumambulation of Kaaba. You, the mohajir (immigrant), who has detached himself from everything and accepted Allah's invitation to go to Hajj, you will devote your circumambulation of the Kaaba to Allah and at the same time you will be paying homage to the grave of a African maid.

      It is difficult to realize. But for those who think they live in freedom and defend humanism, the significance of these incidents transgresses the scope of their understanding!

      Adapted from a section of the book "Hajj" by Dr. Ali Shariati. Translated by Dr. Ali A. Behzadnia

      CAIR: U.S. Muslims to Mark End of Hajj With Prayers
      by CAIR on Tuesday, 01 November 2011 at 16:47


      WHAT: On Sunday, November 6, American Muslims will mark the end of the yearly pilgrimage to Mecca, or Hajj, with communal prayers and celebrations at locations around the country.

      The prayers and the holiday that follows are called Eid ul-Adha (EED-al-ODD-ha), or “festival of the sacrifice.” Eid ul-Adha also commemorates the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael at God’s command. The holiday is celebrated with the prayers, small gifts for children, distribution of meat to the needy, and social gatherings. During this holiday, Muslims exchange the greeting “Eid Mubarak” or “blessed Eid.” Each year, some two million Muslims, including thousands of American Muslims, go on Hajj.

      [NOTE: For actual pilgrims, the rites of Hajj continue for some time after the “Eid” prayers.]

      WHEN: Sunday, November 6 - The prayers are held in the morning. Many communities also hold day-long Eid festivals for families.

      WHERE: The Eid prayers and festivals are held either in local mosques or in public facilities designed to accommodate large gatherings. Call local CAIR chapters or other Muslim organizations for details about Eid celebrations.

      CAIR chapters may be located at: http://www.cair.com/Chapters.aspx
      Local Islamic institutions may also be found at: http://www.islamicfinder.org/

      PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: Each year, Muslims from America and many different countries come to the prayers in colorful dress. The prayers themselves are quite visual, with worshipers arranged in neat rows and bowing in prayer in unison. Participants exchange embraces at the conclusion of the prayers.

      NOTE: Because this is a religious service, reporters and photographers of both sexes should dress modestly. Photographers should arrive early to get into position for the best shots. Photographers are also advised not to step directly in front of worshipers and to seek permission for close-up shots.


      In the Quran, Islam's revealed text, God says: "Thus We settled Abraham at the site of the House (the Ka'aba) (saying): 'Do not associate anything with Me, and purify My house for those who walk around it, and those who stand there (praying), and those who bow down on their knees in worship. Proclaim the pilgrimage among mankind: they will come to you on foot and on every lean (beast of burden); Let them come from every deep ravine, to bear witness to the advantages they have, and to mention God's name on appointed days." Chapter 22, Verses 26-28

      Hajj is one of the “five pillars” of the Islamic faith. (The other pillars include a declaration of faith, daily prayers, offering regular charity, and fasting during the month of Ramadan.) Pilgrimage is a once-in-a-lifetime obligation for those who have the physical and financial ability to undertake the journey.

      When the main portion of the pilgrimage is completed, Muslims worldwide gather for communal prayers on the first day (November 6) of Eid ul-Adha (EED-al-ODD-ha), the second of the two major Muslim holidays.

      The obligatory and optional activities of Hajj include:

      * Entrance into a state of self-control called “ihram,” during which pilgrims are forbidden to harm living creatures, even insects or plants, or raise the voice in anger. The state of ihram is signified (for men) by the wearing of two pieces of unsown white cloth. This clothing signifies the equality of all before God. No specific clothing is prescribed for female pilgrims.

      * Circling (“Tawaf”) of the “Ka’aba,” the stone building Muslims believe was originally built by Abraham and his son Ishmael. The Ka’aba is viewed as the first sanctuary on earth dedicated to the worship of the One God. It is a symbol of unity for Muslims because all prayers, wherever they are performed, are oriented in the direction of the Ka’aba.

      * The "Sa’i," or “hastening” between two small hills near the Ka’aba, to commemorate Hagar’s search for water to offer her son Ishmael.

      * The “Day of Arafah” on November 5. Arafah is a mountain and its surrounding empty plain near Mecca. On this day, the climax of the Hajj season, pilgrims assemble for supplication to God.

      * The stoning of three pillars representing Satan’s temptation of Abraham. The stoning indicates the pilgrim’s rejection of evil deeds.

      * Cutting the hair to symbolize the completion of Hajj.

      * Sacrifice of an animal to help the poor, and in remembrance of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael at God’s command. The meat is distributed to relatives and to the needy.

      CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

      Sacred souvenirs
      Published: Nov 2, 2011 12:11 Updated: Nov 2, 2011 12:30


      Pilgrims heading back home from Makkah not only carry memories of an unforgettable spiritual and historical journey, but they also take gifts and souvenirs for their loved ones who were not lucky enough to travel with them to Saudi Arabia.

      Saudi Arabia offers a variety of gift selection that is perfect for pilgrims to take back home and share with family and friends. Gifts vary from books, clothing, mats, food and much more.

      The Arab News team came up with a list of gift ideas, especially for pilgrims, to take back home. All gifts can be found in Saudi stores and departments.

      1. Souvenirs such as pictures of the Two Holy Mosques are one of the most popular gifts bought by pilgrims. Those products remind pilgrims of their beautiful journey they experienced during their spiritual visit to the Kingdom. Price range is from SR10 to SR500.

      2. Dates, honey and other sweets are also popular among pilgrims. Aside from being popular food in Saudi Arabia, these sweets reminds pilgrims of the sweet taste of Makkah. Price range is from SR50 to SR500.

      3. Oud oil and chips are what make the famous Arabian scents that Saudis are known for. Pilgrims can buy these items at Arabian Oud, Ajmal and Abdul Samad Alqurashi who are famous for their high quality Oud. Price range is from SR100 to SR50,000.

      4. Zamzam water is the first thing that comes to a pilgrim’s mind when visiting Makkah. This holy water is known to be an excellent drink that helps strengthen the body and mind. Many Muslims believe this water originated from heaven, so it is reputed to have healing powers. In the old days, pilgrims used to bring their empty bottles and fill it with the Zamzam tankers in the holy mosque. Now, however, water companies made it a lot easier by bottling the water. Price range is from SR 15 to SR25 per bottle.

      5. Prayer mats with pictures of Makkah and Madinah and calligraphy and Islamic motifs on them are also very popular gifts. These mats with Islamic inscriptions are particular favorites among pilgrims for it gives them the opportunity to decorate their homes with those spiritual items. Their prices range from SR10 to SR100 depending on the materials and designs.

      6. Prayer beads are known to be a charming choice for pilgrims. Those beads are used to count the prayers. Other people, however, look at it as a mark of prestige. Choosing the beads depends on the pilgrim’s wealth. Some choose Chinese-made prayer beads or beads with expensive gemstones. Price range is from SR25 to SR500 a dozen.

      7. Miswak, which is Arabic for tooth stick, is a healthy yet traditional choice for Muslims following the example of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Miswak can be found all over Makkah especially made and sold by street peddlers, who carve, cut it and sell it in dozens. Price rate is SR10 per dozen.

      8. The gold market is one of the most visited places in Saudi Arabia during Haj period for many pilgrims to buy precious gold items to either gift or sell back home. Price rate tops SR6,000 an ounce.

      9. Saudi women are famous for their hijab clothing and abayas. Many pilgrims like to take back home some of the praying veils or black abayas for their female family members. There are many shops in Makkah and Jeddah that sell abayas with different colors, designs and sizes that match all styles. Prices start from SR200.

      10. Last but not least, the Book of Islam is the perfect gift to give loved ones. The Qur’an comes in different colors, shapes and even sizes, which makes it the perfect gift. Prices start from SR35.

      Haj 1432 | 2011: Photo gallery
      By ARAB NEWS
      Published: Nov 3, 2011 23:09 Updated: Nov 5, 2011 16:45


      (All AN photos by Muhammad Ali, Ahmad Yousri, Khader Al-Zahrani, Abdullah Al-Muhsin, Adnan Mahdali, Ghazi Mahdi and Ahmed Hashad. Agency photos are by Reuters and AP)

      Send us your Haj pictures and stories by email: saudiarabia@...

      Haj — the fifth pillar of Islam — is a religious journey to the House of Allah in Makkah. This is in response to the call of Prophet Abraham when Allah commanded him to call mankind to perform Haj. Haj is the largest gathering of Muslims as about three million Muslims from all over the world meet to worship their Lord. All barriers including language, color, class and race are broken.

      Haj is compulsory upon every Muslim under the following condition:

      1. Islam
      2. Maturity
      3. Healthy
      4. Mentally sound.
      5. Security.
      6. Enough money to cover the journey and take care of his dependents.

      Preparation for Haj:
      If one intends to perform Haj, he must consider the following:

      1. Intention. Intention is very important in any act of worship, the intention must be for the sake of Allah.

      2. It is important for anyone who intends to perform Haj to learn much about it.

      3. One must clear his debts, as Haj is not obligatory upon anyone who is in debt. One should not borrow money or use a credit card to buy a ticket to Haj.

      4. It is recommended that one settle all disputes between him and anyone he is at loggerheads with.

      5. It is also recommended that one write his will and advises his family to fear Allah before he departs.

      Women are required to perform Haj in the company of a Mahram, (someone who cannot marry her). Married women should seek the permission of their husbands to perform Haj.


      Ihram is referred to as the two pieces of cloth male pilgrims wear to cover the body, one for the upper part and the other for the lower part. Pilgrims are required to take their Ihram at the Miqaat and start reciting the Talbiya.


      Talbiya are words of praises pilgrims pronounce in response to Allah's call from the time they take their Ihram till the tenth of Dhul Hijjah. Talbiya, labbaik allahumma labbaik labbaika la shareek lak labbaik innal hamda wanniamata laka wal mulk la shareeka lak is recited aloud.


      Upon reaching Makkah, pilgrims head toward Haram (the House of Allah at Makkah) to make tawaf (circumambulation) round the Kaaba seven times. The top gown of Ihram covers the left shoulder while the right arm is left uncovered.


      Sa'yie is the seven round of walking and jogging which begins at Safa and ends at Marwa.


      On this day, pilgrims move to Mina reciting Talbiya, at Mina all four rak'ats of compulsory prayers are shortened to two.


      Pilgrims proceed to Arafat before dhuhr prayer and stay at Arafat until after sunset engaged in supplications. Standing at Arafat is the most important part of the Haj.

      Pilgrims proceed to Muzdalifah after sunset repeating the Talbiya and should not perform maghrib prayer at Arafat.


      Upon reaching Muzdalifah, pilgrims are required to perform maghrib and isha prayers together with one adhan and two iqaamah, Isha prayer is shortened to two.


      On the tenth of Dul Hijjah, pilgrims perform the subhi prayer and wait until sunrise when they will proceed to Mina. They pick seven pebbles to be thrown at Jamrat Aqaba.


      On the tenth of Dul Hijjah, pilgrims are required to throw seven pebbles at Jamrat Aqaba. The jamrat is only symbol of devil. Pilgrims throw seven pebbles at the Jamrat Aqaba saying Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Greatest) each time a pebble is thrown. After throwing the pebbles, slaughter the sacrificial animal (if needed,) and trim or shave their heads (women however trim their hair) and remove the Ihram but should spend the two or three following nights at Mina until they finish throwing the pebbles.

      On the tenth of Dul Hijjah, one must proceed to Makkah and perform Tawaf Al Ifadhah, and return to Mina to spend the night.


      On the eleventh of Dul Hijjah, pilgrims go to throw pebbles at the three jamrats beginning with the one near Mina, then the second one and the last one which is near Muzdalifah.


      On this day, pilgrims throw seven pebbles as done on the previous day and are free to return to Makkah before sunset.

      NOTE: If one however delays until after sunset, he must remain in Mina and throw the pebbles again on the thirteenth and then proceed to Makkah.


      This is known as farewell tawaf, and it should be done at the last hour before leaving Makkah. If after the tawaf the pilgrim spends another night in Makkah, he or she is required to do the tawaf again.


      A visit to the Prophet Muhammad's Mosque in Madinah is recommended after or before the Haj.

      Hajj timeline: 2.5 million pilgrims and a journey of a lifetime
      Published Thursday, Nov. 03, 2011 9:36AM EDT
      Last updated Friday, Nov. 04, 2011 7:47AM EDT


      By Thursday November 3rd, the vast majority of the 1.8 million pilgrims from around the world will have arrived in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to participate in the hajj, or pilgrimage. The Saudi authorities estimate another 800,000 pilgrims from within the kingdom will be taking part.

      Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam. The pilgrimage to the birthplace of Islam is undertaken by many Muslims at least once in their lifetime so long as they can afford it and they are physically able.

      The hajj is a demanding journey that follows a circuit of about 40 kilometres over several days. And before setting out on that journey on Friday, pilgrims will perform the umrah, or the 'lesser pilgrimage', at the main mosque, or Masjid Al Haram, in Mecca.

      What is involved in the 'lesser pilgrimage'? Pilgrims perform seven circles around the Kaaba, the black cube structure at the centre of the mosque. It is the most sacred structure in Islam and said to have been built by the Prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael. Inside the mosque, pilgrims will also run between the hills of Safa and Marwaa, recreating the steps of Hagar as she ran in search of water for her infant child Ishmael; they will drink from zam zam, the well that sprang from where the infant Ishmael hit his heels in to the ground.

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      The Hajj: Understanding Sacrifice as Premise
      But for many, Hajj is just the physical journey, a soulless movement of the body among bodies. Of the ego among egos.
      By Biju Abdul Qadir, The Milli Gazette
      Published Online: Nov 04, 2011


      The Hajj – the annual pilgrimage made by Muslims to the Ka’bah, the symbolic House of God at Makkah – is, apart from other considerations, a commemoration. It is a commemoration of a life among lives, a family among families, an event among events, and a sacrifice among sacrifices. It is a commemoration of the trials of Abraham among men, of his family among families, of the building of the Ka’bah among buildings, of a human offering substituted by an animal at a trial among trials.

      A day of feasting without the fasting
      TNN | Nov 5, 2011, 03.16AM IST


      BANGALORE : Id-ul-Zuha, popularly referred to as Bakra Eid, is one of the biggest Islamic festivals across the world and in India. Usually celebrated approximately 70 days after the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramzan, Id-ul-Zuha marks the end of the month during which devout Muslims make the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

      The festival traces its roots to the story of Abraham, an important figure in religious texts of Semitic religions. Abraham was instructed by God to sacrifice his only son Ishmael as an act of obedience; as Abraham prepared to do so, God intervened at the last moment to replace the boy with a ram. During Id-ul-zuha, most Muslim families conduct a ritual sacrifice known as qurbani, distributing the offerings among relatives and friends and giving one-third to the poor.

      "Charity is a big part of Bakra Eid," says Zehra Abbas, a teacher originally from Lucknow who lives with her husband in an apartment complex near Hennur. "Being away from our families, it's not possible for us to celebrate the festival in a very traditional way, but we make sure we donate money to an orphanage," adds Zehra. The day is also marked by feasting, and in Zehra's home, friends - both Muslim and non-Muslim - break bread together with traditional Muslim dishes such as biriyani, mutton stew, nehari and haleem. For dessert, there's usually kheer and shahi tukra.

      For homemaker Naseem Syed from Frazer Town, the qurbani (ritual sacrifice) is an important part of the festival. However, while her husband and two sons take care of that, Naseem busies herself with distributing the meat to neighbours and to the needy, and instructing her cook to prepare lunch, the main meal of the day. "In our family, the tradition is to have khichra and baingan ka saalan with chapatis on Bakra Eid," says Naseem. Khichra is a form of biriyani made with rice, daliya, daal and meat, she explains, while baingan ka saalan, a staple of Hyderabadi cuisine, is a tangy brinjal curry.

      Holy Kaaba Covered with A New Kiswa Share |
      12 : 56 PM - 05/11/2011


      Makkah,Nov. 5 (BNA) -- As part of the annual rituals being held during the hajj season, the officials concerned at the general presidency of the two holy mosques covered the holy Kaaba with a new black silk, gold and silver curtain known as kiswa (cover) on Saturday, the 10th Dhul Hijjah on . Every year the old Kiswa is removed, cut into small pieces and gifted to certain individuals, visiting foreign Muslim dignitaries and organisations.
      This tradition takes place annually during the Hajj season.

      This splendid cover is made at a special factory in Makkah Al Mukarrama.
      The total cost of the kiswa amounts to SR 20 million. The cover is 658 sq. meters long and is made of 670 kgs of pure silk. For embroidery 15 kilos of gold threads are used.

      It consists of 47 pieces of cloth and each piece is 14 Meters. long and 101 cms broad. The kiswa is wrapped around the Kaaba and fixed to the ground with copper rings.

      It is worth to mention that Viceroy of Egypt Mohammed Ali Pasha after splitting from the Turkey Empire, made making of the Kiswa the state responsibility.

      The Kiswa was brought by annual caravan from Cairo. Earlier the Kiswas were plain. Only in 1340 the embroidery border tradition was introduced by the Egyptian ruler Hassan.

      Unfulfilled Hajj Dream for Uighur Muslims
      OnIslam & Newspapers
      Sunday, 30 October 2011 12:49


      CAIRO – While millions of Muslims worldwide prepare for the spiritual hajj to Makkah early next week, China’s Uighur Muslims are giving up their dream of the life-time journey under the security oppression of the home country.

      “We cannot get a passport,” the father of Mehmet Ali, not his real name, told The Hindu newspaper.

      “If we want to go on a government trip, we will have to pay 70,000 yuan (Rs.5. 46 lakh).

      “Even we can afford it, it's difficult to get the approval.”

      Ali, his father and two brothers have been dreaming for years of joining millions of Muslims for the spiritual life-time journey to Makkah.

      But having the permit to travel to hajj has become even harder following recently imposed curbs on passport issuance for Uighurs.

      Ali said police stations across Xinjiang had, in recent months, completely stopped issuing passports.

      The new restrictions were applied since 2008, ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

      However, the ban did not include Xinjiang's Han residents who are still issued passports.

      Without “connections”, Uighurs said, it was impossible to obtain a passport and travel to Makkah.

      It was “impossible to travel if you don't work for the government, or know someone who does,” Ali’s father said.

      According to official data, China has 20 million Muslims, most of them are concentrated in Xinjiang, Ningxia, Gansu, and Qinghai regions and provinces.

      Muslims from around the world pour into Makkah every year to perform hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam.

      Hajj consists of several rituals, which are meant to symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith, and to commemorate the trials of Prophet Abraham and his family.

      Every able-bodied adult Muslim who can financially afford the trip must perform hajj at least once in a lifetime.

      Nationwide, about 13,800 Chinese Muslim pilgrims are scheduled to take 41 chartered flights to Makkah for the annual Hajj this year.
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