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News on Hajj: Saudi Arabia announces Eid al-Adha to be celebrated on Oct. 15

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  • Zafar Khan
    Saudi Arabia announces Eid al-Adha to be celebrated on Oct. 15 Last Update: Sunday, 6 October 2013 KSA 12:11 - GMT 09:11
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 6, 2013
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      Saudi Arabia announces Eid al-Adha to be celebrated on Oct. 15
      Last Update: Sunday, 6 October 2013 KSA 12:11 - GMT 09:11

      http://english.alarabiya.net/en/special-reports/hajj-2013/2013/10/05/Saudi-Arabia-announces-Eid-al-Adha-to-be-celebrated-on-Oct-15.html

      Saudi Arabia has announced that the Muslim celebration of Eid al-Adha will be observed on Tuesday Oct. 15.
      Experts gathered to sight the moon in order to ascertain the exact date of the Eid al-Adha celebration as the Islamic calendar is lunar-based.

      In the lunar Islamic calendar, Eid al-Adha falls on the 10th day of the month of Dhul Hijjah.
      The Eid al-Adha celebration marks the end of hajj, a religious pilgrimage undertaken by millions of Muslims each year.
      The day of Arafat, labeled the most important day of the pilgrimage, will land on Oct. 14, according to Saudi Arabia’s announcement.
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      OnIslam Prepares Hajj, `Eid Quizzes
      By Susan Yasin, OnIslam Staff
      Sunday, 29 September 2013 00:00

      http://www.onislam.net/english/news/global/464667-onislam-prepares-hajj-eid-quizzes.html

      CAIRO – As the world Muslims prepare for the spiritual journey of hajj, OnIslam.net social network pages have been preparing special quizzes and contests to their followers and fans, sharing the festivities spirits with Muslims worldwide.

      "We want to make these coming days, especially the blessed days of `Eid, more special for those who celebrate `Eid al-Adha at their homes," said Timea Aya Csányi, OnIslam's social media assistant.

      Awaiting the hajj season, a first contest would be launched on Monday, September 30, on the website’s Twitter account.

      The contest aims at testing the audiences’ information about hajj by posting questions on twitter at 2 PM (GMT time).

      Contestants can follow the hash tag #OnislamQuiz to reply to the questions posted. The one who answers the most questions correctly will be rewarded with a special OnIslam T-shirt!

      “We believe that a special T-shirt can be one of the most memorable gift from us to the winners, so just as in Ramadan, our reward is going to be a beautiful Eid T-shirt, inshaAllah,” Csányi added.

      Another contest would be launched on Facebook page under the name: 'Share with us your (previous) Hajj moments/your Eid Al-Adha!'

      More details could be found through this link.

      It was suggested after the success of a similar contest under the name “Share with Us Your Ramadan” which was launched by OnIslam Facebook page during the holy fasting month.

      In a bid to reach more users, OnIslam.net has launched a new profile on one of the most famous photo sharing social site, on Pinterest.

      A special contest was created for those users. For more details, visit our Pinterest page.

      OnIslam.net is an independent website that aims at becoming a reference on Islam and Muslims-related issues for Muslims, new Muslims as well as interested non-Muslims.

      It seeks to review and renew contemporary Islamic discourses and help reach common grounds among people of different faiths and cultures.
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      Hajj 2013: Muslims Prepare For Pilgrimage To Mecca (PICTURES)
      Huffington Post UK | By Sara C Nelson
      Posted: 01/10/2013 12:13 BST | Updated: 01/10/2013 13:01 BST

      http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/10/01/hajj-2013-muslims-pilgrimage-mecca-pictures_n_4022024.html

      Hundreds of thousands of Muslims are arriving in Saudi Arabia to take part in this year's hajj pilgrimage.

      The five-day pilgrimage is one of the pillars of Islam and is expected of able-bodied Muslims - of both Sunni and Shi'ite sects - at least one in their lifetime.

      The event, expected to fall from 13- 18 October this year, combines piety and passion and sees pilgrims walk from Mecca to Mina to the Plain of Arafat to stand near the Mount of Mercy and ask Allah for forgiveness.

      Pilgrims then walk back to Mina to throw pebbles at pillars that represent the temptations of Satan.

      The ritual re-enacts the prophet Abraham's experience when the devil confronted him in the desert, tempting him not to sacrifice his son as Allah had instructed.

      The symbolic animal slaughter of Eid al-Adha comes next, followed by a trip back to Mecca to perform tawaf, which is walking around the Kaaba, the most sacred site in Islam.
      ...
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      Hajj authorities gear up for transportation of 1.3 million pilgrims
      Sunday, 6 October 2013

      http://english.alarabiya.net/en/special-reports/hajj-2013/2013/10/06/Hajj-authorities-gear-up-for-transportation-of-1-3-million-pilgrims-.html

      Saudi Arabia’s hajj authorities are gearing up to ensure the safe transportation of more than 1.3 million pilgrims expected this year.
      Between them, the pilgrims will make about 3.3 million trips to Makkah, Madinah and Jeddah and about 4.6 million trips to other holy sites.
      In order for the trips to and from the holy sites to run smoothly, the ministry has readied special buses for the comfort and safety of the pilgrims.
      It has also prepared a host of technical, operational and administrative equipment and fully-trained staff to see through the hajj season.

      The operational plan was implemented in mid-August. It plan covers Makkah, Madinah, Jeddah and the roads connecting these cities and the holy sites.
      According to the plan, Jeddah will receive and transport nearly 800,000 pilgrims from the Hajj terminal at King Abdul Aziz Airport to their accommodation in Makkah and Madinah.
      Saudi security forces on Thursday conducted a successful fire drill on a bus which can carry around 50 pilgrims from Madinah towards holy sites in Makkah.
      The fire drill tested the response of the emergency units in the case of a fire, examining how they would intervene to help protect the pilgrims.
      The Saudi Minister of Health Abdullah al-Rabeea said on Wednesday that his ministry has devised a thorough plan to ensure the safety of pilgrims during this year’s hajj season.
      “We expanded the presence of healthcare workers, a total of 22,000, at all facilities in Mecca, Medina and (other) holy sites in order to follow up on all cases that may (medically) pose a threat to pilgrims,” Rabeea told Al Arabiya.
      He also said that the ministry's preparations for this year's hajj season began at the end of last year's season, adding that the aim of early preparations is to detail all previous mistakes and thus avoid them during this year.
      “We seek to provide the best healthcare services to pilgrims. We do this through coordinating with the World Health Organization and [other] international health organizations to gather information about all the countries from which pilgrims come,” he said.
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      Egypt Politics Overshadows Hajj
      OnIslam & News Agencies
      Saturday, 05 October 2013 00:00

      http://www.onislam.net/english/news/africa/464794-egypt-politics-overshadows-hajj.html
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      What it means to assume a state of ‘Ihram’ during hajj
      Friday, 4 October 2013

      http://english.alarabiya.net/en/special-reports/hajj-2013/2013/10/04/What-it-means-to-assume-a-state-of-Ihram-during-hajj.html

      Each year millions of Muslims perform the hajj pilgrimage, convening in the holy city of Makkah, in modern day Saudi Arabia, to enact rites laid down in Islam’s holy book, the Quran.
      The first step for any pilgrim wishing to perform hajj is to enter a state of Ihram, believed to be a special state of spiritual purity.
      Men must don a distinctive outfit consisting of two pieces of white, unsown, cloth. One of the pieces is wrapped around his midriff to cover his lower body, while the other is draped around his shoulders to cover his upper body.
      Women must cover their bodies in a loose fitting outfit and cover their hair. However, they are not permitted to cover their faces.
      It is not just about being physically prepared; pilgrims must complete their Ihram by reciting an intention to perform hajj called the Talabiya.
      Once the pilgrim has entered the state of Ihram, the following, among other acts, is prohibited:
      1- Removing hair or cutting nails. However, if hair falls or is pulled out unintentionally, or if hair or nails are cut due to forgetfulness or ignorance of the prohibition, it is excused.
      2- Using perfume or scent on the body or clothing is also not permitted. What remains on the body from before assuming the state of Ihram is excused, but scent in clothing must be washed out.
      3- Also not allowed is hunting land animals or cooperating in that by chasing or pointing out game within the boundaries of the Grand Mosque.
      4- Cutting or uprooting trees or green plants within the boundaries of the Grand Mosque that were not planted by man is an act that is forbidden.
      5- Picking up anything dropped or lost in Makkah by anyone, unless to assist in finding the owner.
      6- Engaging in sexual relations with one’s spouse is also forbidden whilst in the state of Ihram.
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      Hajj Fraud Worries UK Muslims
      OnIslam & News Agencies
      Wednesday, 02 October 2013 00:00

      http://www.onislam.net/english/news/europe/464747-hajj-fraud-worries-uk-muslims.html

      LONDON – As thousands of British Muslims prepare for the life-time journey of hajj, British authorities have launched a new campaign to spread awareness about increasing number of fraudulent trips on sale to Makkah.

      “A devastating crime that every year is robbing Muslims of a once in a life-time opportunity to make the pilgrimage to Mecca,” Commander Steve Head described Hajj fraud in a statement published by the City of London Police and cited by Al-Arabiya.

      Concerned about the number of fraudulent packages on sale, the Council of British Hajjis (CBH) and the City of London police announced to launch the he “Hajj Fraud Awareness Campaign” this week.

      The CBH urged pilgrims to report fraud cases regardless of the consequences to eliminate them.

      “The problem is people often don’t come forward and report it [fraud], out of embarrassment or repercussions from the tour operators themselves. People are frightened of the consequences of taking it further,” CBH CEO Rashid Mogradia said.

      “People know who these people are, and they often feel that it’s not worth taking it forward, so they suffer in silence,” he added.

      According to hajj operators, pilgrims’ silence over the fraud has lead to increasing the cost of hajj packages.

      “Fraudulent companies are charging similar amounts of money [to legitimate tour providers], you can’t distinguish by price,” said Juel Choudhury, director of British company Premier Hajj.

      “They’re not ripping them off with prices, they’re selling a package they can’t fulfil,” he added.

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

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

      CBH considers managing Hajj in 2013 a ‘challenging’ task after the Saudi authorities decided to reduce pilgrims number from abroad by 20%.

      The cuts aim to avoid stampedes during hajj and ensure the safety of the Muslim pilgrims.

      Saudi Arabia is currently working to expand the two holy mosques in Makkah to accommodate more pilgrims in the coming years.

      Shunning Fraud

      Guiding pilgrims how to avoid Hajj fraud, the Council of British Hajji CEO has offered a list of precious tips to would-be pilgrims.

      “Number one: check that the tour operator is signed up to an ATOL scheme,” Mogradia advised,” said Mogradia, director of Premier Hajj.

      “Number two: check that the company has the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Hajj accreditation.

      “Number three: that they’re a legitimate business in the UK, which can be checked by going to Companies House.

      “Number four: talk to family and friends for personal recommendations

      “Number five: visit the tour operator at their business address. We’ve had instances in the past where people have sent a payment online, and found that when they go to the alleged business address, there’s no business, it’s a boarded-up shop.”

      Pilgrims were also advised to make payments by credit card to avoid fraud.

      “That way there’s a money trail, and a paper trail as well,” Mogradia said.

      Although UK Hajj quote has been reduced from 25,000 to 20,000 pilgrims, CBH officials expect an increase in the level of crimes.

      “We expect the figure to be at least around the 1,000 mark, maybe a few thousand.” CBH CEO Rashid Mogradia told Al- Arabiya.

      Last year, UK police received 44 reports of hajj fraud, a much less percentage than actual figure, CBH said.

      Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority of nearly 2.7 million.

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

      Hajj consists of several ceremonies, 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.
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      Sierra Leone Hajj Team Arrives in Saudi Arabia
      By: Alhaji Jalloh - IA Saudi Arabia on October 3, 2013.

      http://www.sierraexpressmedia.com/archives/61324

      An advance team of members of the Sierra Leone Hajj Affairs 2013 has arrived this morning at the King Abdul Aziz International Airport, Jeddah.

      Speaking on the telephone line from his down town Jeddah Palace Hotel, head of the four-man advance team, Alhaji M.S. Kargbo, (in photo) Deputy Chairman for this year’s Sierra Leone Hajj team and Special Assistant to H.E the President on Political Affairs said his group serves as an advance supervisory team to ensure smooth pilgrimage for Sierra Leonean Muslims.

      Other members of the team include, Dr. Ahmed Ramadan Jalloh, Sheik Alie Kallay and Sheik Fouad Kargbo. An estimated 850 Sierra Leoneans are expected to arrive this weekend to take part in this year’s Muslim pilgrimage (Hajj). The five-day pilgrimage is one of the pillars of Islam and is expected of able-bodied Muslims at least one in their lifetime. The Hajj, expected to fall from 13- 18 October this year, combines piety and passion.

      The event sees pilgrims walk from Mecca to Mina to the Plain of Arafat to stand near the Mount of Mercy and ask the Almighty Allah for forgiveness. Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma has been hailed locally and internationally for the unflinching support he has been given to Sierra Leone pilgrims since he came to power in September 2007.
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      Meningitis jab plea for Hajj goers

      http://www.lep.co.uk/news/meningitis-jab-plea-for-hajj-goers-1-6094665

      Meningitis charity The Meningitis Research Foundation is reminding pilgrims heading to Hajj to check their meningitis vaccination is up to date before embarking on their trip to Mecca.

      Vaccination is a visa requirement for all travellers who must have a certificate showing that they have been vaccinated at least 10 days before leaving for Saudi Arabia, but no more than three years before arrival.

      This also applies to seasonal workers in Hajj areas.
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      Hamas prevents 86 Palestinians from going on Hajj: Palestinian Authority
      By Jessica Chasmar-The Washington Times Wednesday, October 2, 2013

      http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/oct/2/hamas-prevents-86-palestinians-going-hajj-palestin/

      The Palestinian Authority condemned the Hamas government of the Gaza Strip for refusing to allow 86 Palestinians to visit Saudi Arabia to undertake the Hajj pilgrimage, the Palestinian Ma'an News Agency reported.
      Hamas officials reportedly harassed and confiscated the passports of 86 pilgrims at the Rafah crossing into Egypt, the report said. The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli military blockade since 2007, and the Rafah crossing into Egypt is one of the few ways in and out for many Palestinians there.
      ...
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      Chinese Pilgrims Start Holy Journey
      OnIslam & Newspapers
      Wednesday, 02 October 2013 00:00

      http://www.onislam.net/english/news/asia-pacific/464731-chinese-pilgrims-start-holy-journey.html

      JEDDAH- Flocking to Mekkah to join hundreds of thousands of forgiveness seekers, more than 11,000 Chinese pilgrims have arrived the holy land to perform hajj and fulfill one of Islam's main pillars.

      "Chinese pilgrims have now arrived in Makkah and Madinah. They are all in good health," Mustapha Young Jee Poo, chief of the Chinese Hajj mission was quoted by Arab News.

      The Chinese hajj mission announced that 11,800 Chinese pilgrims will perform hajj this year 9,300 pilgrims are in Mekkah and 2,500 in Madinah, he added.

      ”We commend and appreciate the efforts of the Saudi government for the service to the guests of God,” he added at an event to welcome the Hajj delegation of People’s Republic of China at the Chinese Consulate.

      “In particular, we commend the expansion projects being implemented in Makkah and Madinah."

      The expansion of the mataf (the circumambulation area in the Grand Mosque) greatly helps to accommodate the ever-increasing numbers of pilgrims, he added.

      Distributed among 37 flights, Chinese pilgrims benefited the direct flights of Chinese airlines from Beijing to Madinah, Poo explained.

      Muslims from around the world pour into Makkah every year to perform hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam, which is expected to draw more than 3 million Muslim this year.

      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.

      Most pilgrims come earlier to visit the holy mosques in Makkah and nearby Madinah, where Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) was buried over 1,400 years ago.

      More space

      Praising the Saudi's efforts to facilitate Chinese pilgrims journey to the holy sites, the chief of the Chinese hajj mission emphasized that Chinese pilgrims receive support from the very moment they arrive at the Kingdom until they leave.

      "Staff at the Ministry of Hajj, the Passports Department, officials at King Abdul Aziz Airport in Jeddah and Prince Muhammad International Airport in Madinah have been cooperative,” Young Jee Poo said.

      "Processing was smooth and we faced no difficulties.”

      However, officials at Chinese hajj mission expressed their wishes that Saudi authorities would offer 'more space' to accommodate the increasing numbers of pilgrims at the holy land.

      "I wish they install more camps. Chinese pilgrims find it difficult to find accommodation because there are not enough camps," Poo said.

      "I would recommend that Saudi authorities build two-story camps in order to accommodate as many pilgrims as possible. In addition, there are not enough WCs in the area."

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

      More than 2.25 million Hui live in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, accounting for more than one-third of the total population of the region.

      Smaller Muslim communities can also be found throughout interior China.

      Unofficially, Muslim groups say the number is even higher, stating that there are from 65-100 million Muslims in China — up to 7.5 percent of the population.
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      Short History of Hajj
      9/24/2013 - Religious - Article Ref: IC0301-1834
      Number of comments: 66
      By: Invitation to Islam
      IslamiCity*

      http://www.islamicity.com/articles/Articles.asp?ref=IC0301-1834

      Hajj literally means 'to set out for a place'. Islamically however it refers to the annual pilgrimage that Muslims make to Makkah with the intention of performing certain religious rites in accordance with the method prescribed by the Prophet Muhammad .

      Hajj and its rites were first ordained by Allah in the time of the Prophet lbrahim [Abraham] and he was the one who was entrusted by Allah to build the Kaba - the House of Allah - along with his son Ismail [Ishmael] at Makkah. Allah described the Kaba and its building as follows:

      "And remember when We showed Ibrahim the site of the [Sacred] House [saying]: Associate not anything [in worship with Me and purify My House for those who circumambulate it [i.e. perform tawaaf] and those who stand up for prayer and those who bow down and make prostration [in prayer etc.]."
      [Surah Al-Hajj 22:26]

      After building the Kaba, Prophet Ibrahim would come to Makkah to perform Hajj every year, and after his death, this practice was continued by his son. However, gradually with the passage of time, both the form and the goal of the Hajj rites were changed. As idolatry spread throughout Arabia, the Kaba lost its purity and idols were placed inside it. Its walls became covered with poems and paintings, including one of Jesus and his mother Maryam and eventually over 360 idols came to be placed around the Kaba.

      During the Hajj period itself, the atmosphere around the sacred precincts of the Kaba was like a circus. Men and women would go round the Kaba naked, arguing that they should present themselves before Allah in the same condition they were born. Their prayer became devoid of all sincere remembrance of Allah and was instead reduced to a series of hand clapping, whistling and the blowing of horns. Even the talbiah [1] was distorted by them with the following additions: 'No one is Your partner except one who is permitted by you. You are his Master and the Master of what he possesses'.

      Sacrifices were also made in the name of God. However, the blood of the sacrificed animals was poured onto the walls of the Kaba and the flesh was hung from pillars around the Kaba, in the belief that Allah demanded the flesh and blood of these animals.

      Singing, drinking, adultery and other acts of immorality was rife amongst the pilgrims and the poetry competitions, which were held, were a major part of the whole Hajj event. In these competitions, poets would praise the bravery and splendor of their own tribesmen and tell exaggerated tales of the cowardice and miserliness of other tribes. Competitions in generosity were also staged where the chief of each tribe would set up huge cauldrons and feed the pilgrims, only so that they could become well-known for their extreme generosity.

      Thus the people had totally abandoned the teachings of their forefather and leader Prophet Ibrahim. The House that he had made pure for the worship of Allah alone, had been totally desecrated by the pagans and the rites which he had established were completely distorted by them. This sad state of affairs continued for nearly two and a half thousand years. But then after this long period, the time came for the supplication of Prophet Ibrahim to be answered:

      "Our Lord! Send amongst them a Messenger of their own, who shall recite unto them your aayaat (verses) and instruct them in the book and the Wisdom and sanctify them. Verily you are the 'Azeezul-Hakeem [the All-Mighty, the All-Wise]."
      [Surah Al-Baqarah 2:129]

      Sure enough, a man by the name of Muhammad ibn 'Abdullaah was born in the very city that Prophet Ibrahim had made this supplication centuries earlier. For twenty-three years, Prophet Muhammad spread the message of Tawheed [true monotheism] - the same message that Prophet Ibrahim and all the other Prophets came with - and established the law of Allah upon the land. He expended every effort into making the word of Allah supreme and his victory over falsehood culminated in the smashing of the idols inside the Kaba which once again became the universal center for the worshippers of the one True God.

      Not only did the Prophet rid the Kaba of all its impurities, but he also reinstated all the rites of Hajj which were established by Allah's Permission, in the time of Prophet Ibrahim. Specific injunctions in the Quran were revealed in order to eliminate all the false rites which had become rampant in the pre-Islamic period. All indecent and shameful acts were strictly banned in Allah's statement:

      "There is to be no lewdness nor wrangles during Hajj."



      [Surah al-Baqarah 2:197]

      Competitions among poets in the exaltations of their forefathers and their tribesmen's achievements were all stopped. Instead, Allah told them:

      "And when you have completed your rites [of Hajj] then remember Allah as you remember your forefathers; nay with a more vigorous remembrance."
      [Surah al-Baqarah 2:200]

      Competitions in generosity were also prohibited. Of course, the feeding of the poor pilgrims was still encouraged as this was done during the time of Prophet Ibrahim but Allah commanded that the slaughtering of the animals which was done for this purpose should be done seeking the pleasure of Allah rather than fame and the praise of the people. He said:

      "So mention the name of Allah over these animals when they are drawn up in lines. Then, when they are drawn on their sides [after the slaughter], eat thereof and feed the beggar who does not ask, and the beggar who asks."
      [Surah al-Hajj 22:36]

      As for the deplorable practice of spattering blood of the sacrificed animals on the walls of the Kaba and hanging their flesh on alters, then Allah clearly informed them that:

      "It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is Taqwaa (piety) from you that reaches Him."
      [Surah al-Hajj 22:37]

      The Prophet also put a stop to the practice of circling the Kaba in a state of nudity and the argument that the pagans put forward to justify this ritual was sharply rebutted in Allah's question:

      "Say: Who has forbidden the adornment [i.e. clothes] given by Allah which He has produced for His Slaves?"
      [Surah al-A'raaf 7:32]

      Another custom which was prohibited through the Quran was that of setting off for Hajj without taking any provisions for the journey. In the pre-Islamic period, some people who claimed to be mutawakkiloon (those having complete trust in Allah) would travel to perform Hajj begging for food through the whole journey. They considered this form of behavior a sign of piety and an indication of how much faith they had in Allah. However Allah told mankind that to have sufficient provisions for the journey was one of the preconditions for making Hajj. He said:

      "And take a provision [with you] for the journey, but the best provision is at-Taqwaa (piety)."
      [Surah al-Baqarah 2:197]

      In this way, all the pre-Islamic practices, which were based on ignorance, were abolished and Hajj was once more made a model of piety, fear of Allah, purity, simplicity and austerity. Now, when the pilgrims reach the Kaba, they no longer find the carnivals and the frolic and frivolity that had once occupied the minds of the pilgrims there before. Now, there is the remembrance of Allah at every step and every action and every sacrifice was devoted to Him alone. It was this kind of Hajj that was worthy of the reward of paradise, as the Prophet said: "The reward for an accepted Hajj is nothing less than paradise."

      May Allah grant us all the ability to visit His House and perform the Hajj in the manner of the Prophet Muhammad . Aameen.

      Footnotes

      1 Labbaik Allahumma labbaik... (Here I am present, O' God, I am present...) This is the chant which the pilgrims say when they are traveling for pilgrimage.

      Source: Invitation to Islam, Issue 1, May 1997
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      Hajj and the Animal Sacrifice
      9/24/2013 - Religious - Article Ref: IC0811-3731
      Number of comments: 5
      By: Michel Jansen
      IslamiCity*

      http://www.islamicity.com/articles/Articles.asp?ref=IC0811-3731

      I have deep roots in America. Some of my father's forbears migrated to the Virginia Colony in 1609, and on my mother's side are ancestors who fought with Washington and Lincoln and a great grandfather who was a Pony Express rider. Until I was sixteen, I myself had had an upbringing generally regarded as typically American, Midwestern, middle class and Protestant. I grew up in Bay City, Michigan, belonged to the Episcopal Church, went to Sunday School and sang in the church choir.

      At sixteen however, I discovered the Qur'an. These words (of the first chapter), simple, and direct, so impressed me that I immediately set out to memorize them. Indeed they drew me into Islam, an example perhaps of Prophet Muhammad's assertion that everyone is born a Muslim and made a Jew or a Christian by his parents.

      From that time forward I charted my life on the direction of Mecca...

      Before I had embarked on the Pilgrimage, its rituals seemed to me just so many curious exercises. But as I participated in the event of the Pilgrimage, the meaning of these rites unfolded, my understanding of Islam was deepened and I learned more fully what it meant to be a Muslim. Indeed, this is why God had commanded Muhammad to issue the call for the pilgrimage: 'That they (the pilgrims) may witness things that are of benefit to them...' (The Qur'an, 22:28) -

      (For example, towards the end of the Hajj when the time of making the Sacrifice came), I began to feel uneasy. Since I have not completely outgrown the tender-heartedness I had known as a child, I had balked at the idea of the Sacrifice long before being confronted with it and now the time had come to do it. What was I to do? As a girl I had cared for lost dogs or stray cats, adopting any fledgling that had fallen its nest, splinting a bird's broken leg with matchstick and feeding injured butterflies on sugar syrup. But a companion had been adamant. 'You must do the Sacrifice'.

      Back at our building in Mina I turned to the Qur'an. I found that the Sacrifice has many meaning: it commemorates Abraham's offering of his son's life and God's rejection of this sacrifice in exchange for Abraham's submission to God's will; it marks the end of idolatry among Arabs; it is an offering of thanksgiving to the God of Creation Who has been so benevolent to mankind; and it teaches the well-to-do to share their blessings to 'eat thereof (the Sacrifice) and feed the beggar and the suppliant'. (Qur'an 22:36)

      As I pondered what I had read, a great weight was lifted from my conscience. I suddenly saw that the Sacrifice upholds the sacredness of life, that it, in fact, constitutes a pledge by the pilgrim that he will slay for sustenance only. And where I had felt reluctance before, I know felt eagerness to fulfill all the requirements of my pilgrimage.

      (From Aramco world Magazine, Nov-Dec 1974)

      As printed in "Islam the natural way" by AbdulWahid Hamid
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      Hajj: Reaching Toward Allah
      9/28/2013 - Religious - Article Ref: IC0612-3177
      Number of comments: 13
      By: Dr. Ali Shariati
      IslamiCity*

      http://www.islamicity.com/articles/Articles.asp?ref=IC0612-3177
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      Hajj - Shaking the Soul
      10/4/2013 - Religious - Article Ref: IC0612-3194
      Number of comments: 2
      By: Ahmad Kamal
      IslamiCity*

      http://www.islamicity.com/articles/Articles.asp?ref=IC0612-3194
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