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Ten Things You Didn’t Know About The Kaaba

There is no place on Earth as venerated, as central or as holy to as many people as Makkah. By any objective standard, this valley in the Hijaz region of Arabia is the most celebrated place on Earth.

Thousands circle the sacred Kaaba at the centre of the Haram sanctuary 24 hours a day. Millions of homes are adorned with pictures of it and over a billion face it five times a day.

The Kaaba is the epicenter of Mecca.

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The cube shaped building is at the heart of the most well-known real estate in the history of mankind; it is shrouded in black and its fair share of mystery.

Here are just a few things that most people may not know about the Kaaba:

10. It has been reconstructed several times

The Kaaba that we see today is not exactly the same Kaaba that was constructed by Prophets Ibrahim ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and Ismail ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) From time to time, it has needed rebuilding after natural and man-made disasters.

Of course, we all know of the major reconstruction that took place during the life of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) before he became a Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). This is the occasion when the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) averted major bloodshed by his quick thinking on how to place the Black Stone using a cloth that every tribe could lift up.

Since then, there has been an average of one major reconstruction every few centuries. The last renovation took place in 1996 and was extremely thorough, leading to the replacement of many of the stones and re-strengthening the foundations and a new roof. This is likely to be the last reconstruction for many centuries (inshaAllah) as modern techniques mean that the building is more secure and stable than ever before.

9. It used to have two doors … and a window

The original Kaaba used to have a door for entrance and another for exit. For a considerable period of time it also had a window situated to one side. The current Kaaba only has one door and no window.

8. It used to be multi-coloured

We are so used to the Kaaba being covered in the trademark black Kiswah with gold banding that we can’t imagine it being any other colour. However, this tradition seems to have started at the time of the Abbasids (whose household colour was black) and before this the Kaaba was covered in multiple colours including green, red and even white.

7. The keys are in the hands of one family

At the time of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), each aspect to do with the rites of Hajj was in the hands of different sub-groups of the Quraish. Every one of these would eventually lose control of their guardianship of a particular rite except one. On the conquest of Makkah, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was given the keys to the Kaaba and instead of keeping it in his own possession; he returned them back to the Osman ibn Talha ® of the Bani Shaiba family. They had been the traditional key keepers of the Kaaba for centuries; and the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) confirmed them in that role till the end of time by these words

“Take it, O Bani Talha, eternally up to the Day of Resurrection, and it will not be taken from you unless by an unjust, oppressive tyrant.”

Whether Caliph, Sultan or King – the most powerful men in the world have all had to bow to the words of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and ask permission from this small Makkan family before they can enter the Kaaba.

6. It used to be open to everyone

Until recently, the Kaaba was opened twice a week for anyone to enter and pray. However, due to the rapid expansion in the number of pilgrims and other factors, the Kaaba is now opened only twice a year for dignitaries and exclusive guests only.

Watch the video attached here to witness the doors of the Kaaba being opened (at 50 seconds) – and the simultaneous gasps of a Million people as they cry out at this auspicious moment.

5. You used to be able to swim around it

One of the problems with having the Kaaba situated at the bottom of a valley is that when it rains – valleys tend to flood. This was not an uncommon occurrence in Makkah and the cause of a lot of trouble before the days of flood control systems and sewage. For days on end the Kaaba would be half submerged in water. Did that stop Muslims from performing the Tawaf? Of course not. As the picture below amply shows – Muslims just started swimming around the Kaaba.

Modern adjustments to the surrounding landscape and flood prevention techniques mean we may never see such sights again. Or will we? Check out this recent video.

4. The inside contains plaques commemorating the rulers who renovated it

For years many have wondered what it looks like inside the Kaaba. Relying on second or third hand accounts from those who were lucky enough to enter just wasn’t satisfying enough. Then one lucky person who went inside took his camera phone in with him and Millions have seen the shaky footage online.

The interior of the Kaaba is now lined with marble and a green cloth covering the upper walls. Fixed into the walls are plaques each commemorating the refurbishment or rebuilding of the House of Allah by the ruler of the day. Watch the video below of the only place on Earth that you can pray in any direction you want, the House of Allah, the first place of worship for mankind – the Kaaba.


3. There are two kaabas!

Directly above the Kaaba in heaven is an exact replica. This Kaaba was mentioned in the Quran and by the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said narrating about the journey of ‘Isra wal Miraaj

 

“Then I was shown Al-Bait-al-Ma’mur (i.e. Allah’s House). I asked Gabriel about it and he said, This is Al Bait-ul-Ma’mur where 70,000 angels perform prayers daily and when they leave they never return to it (but always a fresh batch comes into it daily).”

2. The Black Stone is broken

Ever wondered how the Black Stone came to be in the silver casing that surrounds it?

Some say it was broken by a stone fired by the Umayyad army laying siege to Makkah whilst it was under the control of Abdullah ibn Zubair ®.

However, most agree that it was most damaged in the middle ages by an extreme heretical Ismaili group from Bahrain called the Qarmatians who had declared that the Hajj was an act of superstition. They decided to make their point by killing tens of thousands of hujjaj and dumping their bodies in the well of Zamzam.

As if this act of treachery was not enough, these devils took the Black Stone to the East of Arabia and then Kufa in Iraq where they held it ransom until they were forced to return it by the Abassid Caliph. When they returned it, it was in pieces and the only way to keep them together was by encasing them in a silver casing. Some historians narrate that there are still some missing pieces of the stone floating around.

1. It’s not supposed to be a cube shape

Yes, ladies and gentleman… the most famous cube in the world actually started out shaped as a rectangle.

I’ll give you a moment to pick your jaws off the floor.

Right, where were we?

Oh yeah, the Kaaba was never meant to be a cube. The original dimensions of The House included the semi-circular area known as the Hijr Ismail.

When the Kaaba was rebuilt just a few years before the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) received his first revelation, the Quraish agreed to only use income from pure sources to complete the rebuild. That meant no money from gambling, looting, prostitution, interest etc. In the ultimate sign of how deeply mired in wrongdoing the Jahili Quraish were, there was not enough untainted money in this very wealthy trading city to rebuild the Kaaba to its original size and shape!

They settled for a smaller version of the Kaaba and put a mud brick wall (called “Hijr Ismail” although it has no connection to the Prophet Ismail (A) himself) to indicate the original dimensions. Towards the end of his life, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) intended to rebuild the Kaaba on its original foundations but passed away before he could fulfill his wish. Apart from a brief interlude of a few years during the reign of Caliph Abdullah ibn Zubair ®, the Kaaba has remained the same shape that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) saw it in.

 

The history of the Kaaba is not just an interesting story from our past. The Kaaba is a real and present symbol that connects all Muslims together wherever they may be. It also connects us to our glorious and not-so-glorious past so that we may derive lessons and feel that we are a part of an eternal mission. In a day and age where Muslims are increasingly disconnected from our history,as well as each other, the Kabaa reminds us of our shared heritage and bonds. It is a symbol of unity in an Ummah sorely in need of it.

 

You may be interested in the other articles in this series…

9 Things you didn’t know about the Prophet’s Mosque

8 Things you didn’t know about Masjid Al-Aqsa

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Dr. Muhammad Wajid Akhter - Doctor, Medical Tutor (Social Media, History & Medicine) - Islamic Historian - Founder of, and current board member to Charity Week for Orphans and needy children. www.charityweek.com - Council member, British Islamic Medical Association

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                                                                                                                        #Islam

                                                                                                                        Help! I Can’t Make Dua For More Than 30 Seconds On The Day Of ‘Arafah

                                                                                                                        Much emphasis has been given on the importance of fasting on the day of ‘Arafah, but don’t forget, this was a day the Prophet Muhammad (upon him be peace) “made du’a from the time of Dhur til the time of Maghrib on the day of ‘Arafah while STANDING.” (Sahih Muslim)

                                                                                                                        He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) also said, “The best du’a is that which is made on the day of ‘Arafah.” (Sahih Muslim)

                                                                                                                        If we can develop the capacity to binge watch on Netflix 5-6 for hours a day, we can develop the capacity to make du’a longer than 30 SECONDS on the day of ‘Arafah.

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                                                                                                                        I used to be a person who couldn’t make du’a longer than 2 minutes.

                                                                                                                        3 things changed

                                                                                                                        1. I started writing my personalized du’as on a mini-notebook

                                                                                                                        2. I started reading du’as using Hisnul Muslim (The Fortress of the Muslim)

                                                                                                                        3. I started following the etiquettes of making du’a.

                                                                                                                        As an Imam, I have numerous meetings with members of my community. Sometimes, at the end of my meetings, I asked the community member to end our meeting with a du’a. It is surprising that many of them do not know the etiquettes of making du’a. By following the above etiquettes of making du’a, you can make du’a longer than 2 minutes inshAllah!

                                                                                                                        Here are 16 etiquettes of making du’a from the Qur’an and Sunnah

                                                                                                                        1) Have 100% conviction that Allah will answer you

                                                                                                                        2) Find a way to praise Allah before making your request

                                                                                                                        3) Use the proper names of Allah

                                                                                                                        4) Send salutations upon Muhammad (upon him be peace)

                                                                                                                        5) Raise your hand like a beggar

                                                                                                                        6) Face the qibla

                                                                                                                        7) Be in a state of wudu

                                                                                                                        8) Cry

                                                                                                                        9) Be a lone wolf (Be alone)

                                                                                                                        10) Ensuring that your food is pure

                                                                                                                        11) Acknowledge your sins (Privately)

                                                                                                                        12) Repeat the du’a 3 times

                                                                                                                        13) Start the du’a by praying for yourself

                                                                                                                        14) Expand your heart, pray for everyone (in particular those Muslims in China who wish they could fast on the day of ‘Arafah, but they are prohibited from doing so.)

                                                                                                                        15) Say Amin after making du’a.

                                                                                                                        16) Make du’a during the “prime-times” (From Dhur till Maghrib on the day of Arafah is primetime!)

                                                                                                                        Bonus tip: If you’re like me, you may get stuck when making du’a. An excellent tip given by our master Muhammad (upon him be peace) is to use the “filler du’a”. This “filler du’a” was actually what Muhammad (upon him be peace) and all of the Prophets made on the day of Arafat!

                                                                                                                        He said, “The best invocation is that of the Day of Arafat, and the best that anyone can say is what I and the Prophets before me have said:

                                                                                                                        Lā ‘ilāha ‘illallāhu

                                                                                                                        wahdahu lā shareeka lahu,

                                                                                                                        lahul-mulku wa lahul-hamdu

                                                                                                                        wa Huwa ‘alā kulli shay’in qadeer.

                                                                                                                        Translation:

                                                                                                                        None has the right to be worshipped but Allah

                                                                                                                        Alone, Who has no partner.

                                                                                                                        His is the dominion and His is the praise,

                                                                                                                        and He is Able to do all things. (Al-Tirmidhi)

                                                                                                                        To recap, here are 5 action items you and your family can perform on the day of Arafah.

                                                                                                                        1. Go over the following hadith with your family members.

                                                                                                                        “Allah frees far more people from Hellfire on the Day of Arafah than on any other day, and Allah comes closer this day and proudly says to the angels, ‘What do these people want and seek?’” (Sunan an-Nasa’i)

                                                                                                                        2. Say to your family members or whoever you have influence over,

                                                                                                                        “The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) made du’a on the day of Arafah from Dhur till Maghreb. How long do you think we can make du’a for on this day?”

                                                                                                                        3. Go over the 16 etiquettes mentioned in this post.

                                                                                                                        4. Challenge your family members to make a 10 minute du’a.

                                                                                                                             Materials needed

                                                                                                                        • Whiteboard
                                                                                                                        • Markers
                                                                                                                        • A Creative mind
                                                                                                                        • Brainstorm with your family members what du’a you want to make and then write them on a whiteboard.

                                                                                                                        5. Whenever you get stuck and you can’t don’t know what du’a you want to make, make the “filler du’a” the Prophet (upon him be peace) made on the day of ‘Arafah.

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                                                                                                                        MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

                                                                                                                        The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

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                                                                                                                        #Islam

                                                                                                                        The Inner Dimensions of the Udhiyah

                                                                                                                        Apart from Ḥajj, the greatest action a Muslim can do in the blessed days of Dhū al-ijjah is to offer the udḥiyah (qurbāni/sacrifice).

                                                                                                                        ‘Āisha raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) reports that Rasūlullah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “A human does no action from the actions of the Day of Naḥr [slaughtering; refers to the day of Eid al-Adḥā] more beloved to Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) than sacrificing the animal. On the Day of Judgement, it will appear with its horns, and hair, and hooves, and indeed the blood will be accepted by Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) before it even falls upon the ground, so let your heart delight in it.” [Tirmidhī]

                                                                                                                        Although we all know that this is an action that is traditionally performed on Eid al-Adā, a lack of understanding of its reality has led some to question the importance of doing it in the first place. In past years, and increasingly during the current pandemic, many have been asking, “Can I give ṣadaqah (charity) instead?”

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                                                                                                                        The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

                                                                                                                        To answer this, it is necessary to understand the following.1 Everything in this world is comprised of an outer form – an appearance and a desired outcome – a “soul.” These two are intertwined in such a way that separating them is impossible. One cannot survive without the other. The clearest example of this reality is in ourselves.

                                                                                                                        سَنُرِيهِمْ آيَاتِنَا فِي الْآفَاقِ وَفِي أَنفُسِهِمْ حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَهُمْ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ ۗ

                                                                                                                        “Soon we will show them Our Signs in the horizons [external] and in themselves [internal] until it becomes clear to them that it is the Truth.” [Surah Fussilat; 53]

                                                                                                                        We are made of a body, which is comprised of several parts, and a soul, which fills the entire body and allows each part to fulfill its unique function. Without a body, our soul cannot survive, and without a soul, our body cannot survive. Additionally, if any part is missing, the whole person will be considered to have some deficiency. Likewise, the same principle applies to our n. Our n has an outer form, which is comprised of the actions that we perform, and a soul as well. The fact of the matter is that our goal in life is to achieve a complete connection with Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). The Quran identifies this quality with the word taqwā. The soul that permeates our entire n and therefore, all our individual actions is taqwā. All these actions display a different aspect of taqwā and together form complete n in a person. If anything is missing, a person’s n will be deficient.

                                                                                                                        For example, the soul of ṣalāh is the portion of taqwā that relates to expressing humility in front of Allāh. The soul of fasting is the portion of taqwā that relates to suppressing one’s desires for Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). The soul of is adaqah is the portion of taqwā that relates to curing one’s love for wealth by donating in the path of Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

                                                                                                                        Each of these things is necessary, and although they are all types of taqwā, they are not interchangeable. To expand on this, imagine that a person had $100 in cash, $100 worth of food, and $100 worth of furniture.2 The values of all three would be the same, but the functions they perform are different. None is more important than the other but all are necessary.

                                                                                                                        Similarly, a person cannot discard the outer form (different forms of ibādāt) and say that the only thing that matters is the soul (taqwā). If this were the case, our entire religion could be discarded. Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says:

                                                                                                                        لَن يَنَالَ اللَّهَ لُحُومُهَا وَلَا دِمَاؤُهَا وَلَٰكِن يَنَالُهُ التَّقْوَىٰ مِنكُمْ ۚ

                                                                                                                        “Neither their flesh reaches Allāh nor their blood (the udḥiyah animal); it is your taqwā that reaches Him.” [Al Hajj; 37]

                                                                                                                        There goes udḥiyah. Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says:

                                                                                                                        يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

                                                                                                                        “Oh you who have believed, fasting has been prescribed on you as it has been prescribed upon those before you so that you may become people of taqwā.” [Surah Al-Baqarah; 183]

                                                                                                                        There goes fasting.

                                                                                                                         إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ تَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ ۗ

                                                                                                                        “Verily ṣalāh prevents indecency and sin” (in essence, taqwā) [Surah al-‘Ankabut; 45]

                                                                                                                        Ṣalāh can also be put to the side.

                                                                                                                        لَّيْسَ الْبِرَّ أَن تُوَلُّوا وُجُوهَكُمْ قِبَلَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَلَٰكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةِ وَالْكِتَابِ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ وَآتَى الْمَالَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِ ذَوِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَالسَّائِلِينَ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَى الزَّكَاةَ وَالْمُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِهِمْ إِذَا عَاهَدُوا ۖ وَالصَّابِرِينَ فِي الْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ وَحِينَ الْبَأْسِ ۗ أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا ۖ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُتَّقُونَ

                                                                                                                        “Virtue is that one sincerely believes in Allāh, the Last Day, the Angels, the Book and the Prophets and, out of His love, spend of one’s choice wealth for relatives and orphans, for the needy and the wayfarer, for beggars and for the ransom of slaves, and establish ṣalāh and give zakāh. And the virtuous are those who keep their pledges when they make them and show fortitude in hardships and adversity and in the struggle between the Truth and falsehood; such are the truthful people, and such are the people of taqwā.” [Surah Al-Baqarah; 77]

                                                                                                                        There goes our entire dīn.

                                                                                                                        The soul of udḥiyah is that portion of taqwā that expresses our total submission to Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). “O Allāh, my life is in your Hands. Do with it whatever you wish!” The actual command was to sacrifice the thing that is most dear to you – a life. And in Ibrahīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) case, the life of his only child. The life of the child who for decades, he prayed and hoped for. Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) commanded Ibrahīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) in a dream to sacrifice his beloved son, Ismā’īl 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). Ibrahīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) said, “My beloved son, I have seen that I was sacrificing you in dream. What do you think?” Without hesitation, Ismā’īl 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) responded, “O my beloved father, do as you have been commanded. Inshā Allāh, you will find me among the patient.” When Ibrahīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) tried to push the knife on his son’s neck, it became dull and “We called on to him, O Ibrahīm! You have surely fulfilled your dream. This is how we reward those of excellence. Indeed, this was a clear test. We ransomed him with a mighty sacrifice.” [As-Saffat; 100-107]. From that day until the end of time, Muslims have and will continue emulate this sacrifice of Ibrahīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) as a reminder of what true submission is.

                                                                                                                        When standing before Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), we will need to present all types of taqwā. If we were to have a surplus of one type, for example, ṣadaqah, we would be rewarded for it, but that would not change the fact that something else is missing. If we were to tell our child to make sure that their room is clean for Eid and, instead of doing that, they cooked a delicious meal, we would thank them for their gesture, but then say that there is a time and place for everything and this time is for cleaning your room.

                                                                                                                        The purpose of ṣadaqah is to cleanse our hearts from the love of wealth by giving it to the poor. Although it is recommended to give a portion of the sacrifice to the poor, it is not the purpose, nor is it a requirement for its validity. The purpose of udḥiyah is to follow the command of Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), in the way that He commanded it. In the past, and even now in some agrarian societies, the most beloved belonging to many people was their animals. This is because unlike other wealth, animals serve many purposes. They are a means of milk and clothing, a status symbol, a means of breeding, and also can be sold or eaten. To sacrifice an animal was truly a great sacrifice.

                                                                                                                        However, times have changed. Yet due to this very reason, udḥiyah is still a sacrifice, especially in America. We are used to the comforts of our home and would much rather donate money than take a day off from work and spend time, money, and energy in going to a farm and performing the udḥiyah. This is our sacrifice. We cannot abandon this great act.3,4

                                                                                                                        May Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) preserve our pristine religion in the manner it was practiced by Rasūlullah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and his companions.

                                                                                                                        قُلْ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

                                                                                                                        “Surely my prayer, my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allāh alone, the Sustainer of Universe. He has no partner. This is what I have been ordered, and I am the first to submit.” [Al-An’am; 162]

                                                                                                                        و ما توفيقي إلا باالله عليه توكلت و إليه أنيب

                                                                                                                        [1] The concept of actions having an outer form and inner soul were expanded upon in the Khutbāt of Hakīm al-Ummah Mawlāna Ashraf Alī Thanvī (throughout volume 16 – Barakāt e Ramaḍān) and Hakīm al-Islām Qāri Muḥammad Ṭayyib رحمهما الله تعالى رحمةً واسعةً . Qāri Ṭayyib specifically spoke about this concept in relation to the udḥiyah (Sunnat e Khalīl ‘Alayh al-Salām, volume 3, page 211). I benefited from these works immensely in the course of writing this article and hope the readers appreciate the depth and foresight of our pious predecessors’ foresight.

                                                                                                                        [2] This general idea – actions of being of the same value but different types – is proposed by ‘Allāma Ibn Taymiyyah and mentioned by Muftī Rashīd Aḥmad Ludhiyanvi رحمهما الله تعالى رحمةً واسعةً  in Aḥsan al-Fatāwā in relation to another topic, but the concept fits here as well.

                                                                                                                        [3] This article is not meant to say that having someone else perform your sacrifice by sending it overseas is invalid. Its purpose is to explain that the sacrifice itself is an important part of our dīn, and its full benefit will be realized when we perform the sacrifice by ourselves. It should also be noted that perhaps the reason that there is confusion over why the sacrifice cannot be substituted with ṣadaqah and thus, the distinction between the two is not clear.

                                                                                                                        [4] This article was started before the current pandemic. In a situation like this, if someone does not feel comfortable from a health perspective to perform the sacrifice on their own, they can appoint someone else to perform it for them, whether here or overseas. However, the current situation does not allow for ṣadaqah to be given in place of the sacrifice. Many ahadith (Bukhārī, Ahadith 968, 984, 985; ‘Ilā al-Sunan 17:212-217) indicate that the sacrifice is wājib. A wājib act cannot be substituted based simply on our thoughts or opinions. For more details on the obligation of the sacrifice, please read Muftī Abdullah Nana’s upcoming article about the fiqh of the udḥiyah.

                                                                                                                        * Two more points should be kept in mind. First, despite the pandemic, people have not stopped eating meat. In the current climate, if one is not able to perform the sacrifice by themselves, having it done in another country will also be a means of helping others. In fact, for many, Eid al-Adhā is the only time of the year that they able to eat meat. Second, we must broaden our thinking about charity. Our charity should not be restricted to only those things that are obligated upon us by Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) such as zakāh and udḥiyah. If Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has blessed us with the means,  we should strive to give ṣadaqah above and beyond these obligated act.

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                                                                                                                        30 Khawaatir in 30 Days- A Parent’s Guide | Day 17: Hajar and her Sa’i

                                                                                                                        Now that we have learnt about the best of you, let’s now talk about Hajar raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) and her sa’i.

                                                                                                                        Question: Can anyone tell me the common steps we have to take when we perform the Umrah or Hajj in Mecca? 

                                                                                                                        Yes! We have to make tawaaf around the Ka’bah, and walk/jog between the hills of Marwa and Safa, drink zam zam, and then shave or cut our hair. 

                                                                                                                        Question: Do you know who we’re emulating when we walk/jog between Marwa and Safa?

                                                                                                                        Hajar raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her)was a noble woman, who was also the wife of Prophet Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) and the mother of Prophet Isma’il 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him). One day, Prophet Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was instructed by Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to leave his wife and baby in the barren desert. There were no people there, no water, no animals; it was completely deserted. Hajar raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) asked Prophet Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him): “Did Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) command you to do this?”

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                                                                                                                        Prophet Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) replied “Yes,” to which she said: “Then certainly, He will not abandon us.”

                                                                                                                        After a while, Hajar’s raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) milk started to run out and so did her food. Baby Ismai’l 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was crying and crying out of thirst and hunger. Out of desperation, Hajar raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) then starts running between the hills of Marwa and Safa, climbing to the very top of each hill and looking to see if anyone is there to help her and her baby.

                                                                                                                        After Hajar raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) runss between the two hills seven times, the angel Jibril  appears and strikes the ground where baby Ismai’l 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) is crying, and out gushes zam zam water that is still quenching the thirst of and healing Muslims until today! 

                                                                                                                        Question: Do you know the Arabic word for what Hajar raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) was doing? 

                                                                                                                        It’s called sa’i (to pursue, endeavor, to strive). When we are putting in our utmost effort, sometimes, we won’t see the fruits of our labor directly. Hajar  raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) did not see the zam zam gush out on the hilltop. Rather, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) told Angel Jibril to strike the ground near Prophet Ismail’s 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) body. However, Hajar’s raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) effort is not lost with Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). She had firm faith that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) would not abandon them, and Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) rewarded and protected them. They were now in charge of the zam zam water; birds soon came to drink from it, and people soon followed. This once barren desert is now where millions of people go to perform Hajj and Umrah every single year. 

                                                                                                                        Question: I want you all to think of what your sa’i for the sake of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) looks like. Do you feel like you are striving to please Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)? When we look back at our family’s sa’i, will we be proud of it? 

                                                                                                                        Sometimes, we find ourselves only focusing on getting the zam zam, but we don’t want to put in the hard work that it takes to get there. So, every time you are struggling with a new idea, or doing a chore you don’t really want to do, or getting into the habit of learning how to read Qur’an and pray those extra prayers, remember that this is all a part of your sa’i and Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will actually thank you for it.  Can you believe it?

                                                                                                                         

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