REFLECTIONS

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Quarterly: Issue No 56

Shawwaal 1431

 

 

OBITUARY ( Mufti Illiasse Lalla from Madagascar )

 

We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing away of Mufti Illiasse Lalla from Madagascar. He was a man of great knowledge and outstanding character and of pleasant demeanor. Mufti Saheb rendered outstanding services to Islam through Darul Uloom Madania in Madagascar, played a significant role in creating a better understanding and tolerance amongst Muslims, and was associated with many Islamic Organizations throughout the world.   We make dua that Allah (SWT) grants him a lofty status in Jannah and grants his family and loved ones sabr (perseverance) in this moment of grief. Ameen!

 

Pilgrimage to Makkah Al-Mukarramah)

 

Every year, millions of Muslims from around the world make the journey to Makkah Al-Mukarramah, Saudi Arabia, for the annual pilgrimage (or Hajj). Dressed in the same simple white clothing to represent human equality, the pilgrims gather to perform rites dating back to the time of Prophet Ibraheem (Alayhis Salaam).

The Basics of Hajj

Hajj is one of the five "pillars" of Islam.  Muslims are required to make the pilgrimage once in a lifetime.

Is every Muslim required to make the pilgrimage to Makkah?

Performance of the Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) is required of every adult Muslim, male or female, if one is physically and financially able to undertake this journey. Many Muslims spend their entire lives saving and planning for this journey; some, with the Grace and Mercy of Allah, make the pilgrimage more than once, those whom Allah has given good health and Halaal wealth to undertake this journey.

Requirements for performing the Obligatory Hajj

1. Maturity and sound mind, in order to understand and experience the physical and spiritual significance of the Hajj

2. Physical capability to travel and perform the Hajj rites (manaasik)

3. Financial stability - free of debts - so that one is able to bear the Hajj expenses as well as provide for those dependents left at home during the period of his Hajj 

For those who meet the above criteria, performing the pilgrimage (Hajj) becomes obligatory.

Muslims from all over the world are preparing to take part in the largest gathering on Earth, the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Makkah. The Hajj is a religious obligation that every Muslim must fulfill, if financially and physically able to do so, only once in his or her lifetime.   During these blessed (mubaarak) days, white, brown and black people, rich and poor, kings and peasants, men and women, old and young all stand before Allah as brothers and sisters, at the holiest of all places in the centre of the Muslim world, where all will call upon Allah alone for their acceptance and forgiveness of their deeds.  These blessed days represent the zenith of every Muslim's lifetime. May Allah grant us all the tawfeeq to fulfill this great obligation.  Ameen!

 

Something that is better than optional Hajj

Abdullah ibn Al-Mubarak (rahmatullahi alayhi) was Shaykh Al-Islam, one of the most knowledgeable and pious persons during his time. He was a Haafiz (prominent scholar) of Hadith and used to set out regularly for Jihaad. He travelled far and wide in order to seek knowledge, perform Jihaad and conduct trade. He spent money abundantly for the sake of Allah Almighty by supporting his fellow Muslims and helping them perform Hajj with him.  He died in Ramadaan 181 A.H.  May Allah have mercy upon him and be pleased with him.

 

In one year, Abdullah ibn Al-Mubarak (rahmatullahi alayhi) set out to perform Hajj. While he was passing through a village, a bird that they had with them died; so Abdullah ibn Al-Mubarak ordered his companions to place it on a rubbish dump. When his fellow travellers moved forward before him and he was behind them, he noticed a girl who came out from a nearby house and ran to this rubbish dump. She took that dead bird, wrapped it and hastened to her home. Abdullah ibn Al-Mubarak followed her and asked her why she had taken the dead bird.  She said: “My brother and I have nothing but this sheet of cloth wrapped around our bodies, and have no food to eat but what is thrown in this rubbish dump.  Eating dead animals became permissible for us days ago.  Our father had money.   However, he was oppressed, was robbed of all his money and was killed.”

What did Abdullah Ibn Al-Mubarak, may Allah have mercy upon him, do in this tragic situation?

He asked the caravan to give him back his luggage and asked his trustee who held the money: “How much money do you have?” The trustee said: “One thousand dinars”. Abdullah Ibn Al-Mubarak said: “Take twenty dinars that would suffice us in our return journey to Marw (his home town) and give her the remaining amount. This would be better than our Hajj for this year.” Then, he returned to his homeland.

There are many Muslims like this girl living in a state of poverty, hunger and homelessness. All this happens in the presence of the huge number of wealthy Muslims whose Zakaah (obligatory charity) amounts to millions.  Today, it is estimated that the calculated Zakaah to be paid by Muslim businessmen in one year exceeds millions of dollars.  But this money needs noble souls like the soul of Abdullah ibn Al-Mubarak, may Allah have mercy upon him, filled with faith and elevated by piety, humbleness and generosity.

What does Hajj resemble?

The Hajj resembles the re-enactment of the experiences of the Prophet Ibraheem (AS), whose selfless sacrifice has no parallel in the history of humankind.  The Hajj symbolizes the lessons taught by the final Prophet Muhammad (SAW), who stood on the plain of Arafaat during his farewell pilgrimage, proclaimed the completion of his mission and announced the proclamation of Allah, the last verse of the Noble Quran to be reavealed: This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion ... (Quran 5:3).

This great annual convention of faith demonstrates the concept of equality of mankind, the most profound message of Islam, which allows no superiority on the basis of race, gender or social status. The only preference in the eyes of Allah is piety as stated in the Quran: Verily, the most honourable of you with Allâh is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa [i.e. one who is continuously conscious of Allah]. Verily, Allâh is All-Knowing, All-Aware. (Qur’an 49:13)

 

ISLAMIC NEW YEAR (1432)

 

Muslims do not traditionally “celebrate” the beginning of a new year, but we do acknowledge the passing of time, and take time to reflect on our own deeds for the past year, and make a pledge to Allah sincerely to be better Muslims in this new Islamic year.   Muslims measure the passage of time using the Islamic (Hijrah) calendar. This calendar has twelve lunar months, the beginnings and endings of which are determined by the sighting of the new moon crescent. Years are counted since the Hijrah, which is when Allah’s beloved Messenger Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) migrated from Makkah Al-Mukarramah to Madinah Al-Munawwarah (approximately in July 622 A.D.).

 

The Islamic calendar was first introduced by the close companion of the Prophet, Caliph Umar ibn Al-Khattab (radiyallahu anhu). During his leadership of the Muslim community, in approximately 638 A.D., he consulted with his advisors in order to come to a decision regarding the various dating systems used at that time. It was agreed that the most appropriate reference point for the Islamic calendar was the Hijrah, since it was an important turning point for the Muslim Ummah. After the emigration of our beloved Prophet from Makkah to Madinah (formerly known as Yathrib), the Muslims were able to organize and establish the first real Muslim State and community with social, political, and economic independence.  Life in Madinah Al-Munawwarah allowed the Muslim community to mature and strengthen, and the people developed an entire society based on true and pristine pure Islamic principles.

 

The Islamic calendar is the official calendar in many Muslim countries, especially Saudi Arabia. Other Muslim countries use the Gregorian calendar for civil purposes and only turn to the Islamic calendar for religious needs.  The Islamic year has twelve months that are based on a lunar cycle. Allah says in the Qur'an:

“Verily, the number of months with Allâh is twelve months (in a year), so was it ordained by Allâh on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are Sacred, (i.e. the 1st, the 7th, the 11th and the 12th months of the Islâmic calendar).(Quran 9:36).

The sacred months in which waging a war is prohibited are Muharram, Rajab, Dhul-Qa'dah and Dhul-Hijjah.

 

“It is He Who made the sun a shining thing and the moon as a light and measured out its (their) stages, that you might know the number of years and the reckoning. Allâh did not create this but in truth. He explains the Ayât (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) in detail for people who have knowledge.” (Quran 10:5).

  

Requesting your humble duas!

 

Abdul Haq Abdul Kadir

Umhlanga Rocks, KZN

South Africa