Hajj-The Journey of Lifetime Begins…

As the Hajj ritual begins and people start moving to Mina…let’s say a small dua for the hajis from every corner of the world:

May Allah Subhanataala Bless all the Hajis worldwide with Hajj Mabroor (accepted Hajj : Paradise) and make all the rituals easy for them and protect them from all evil. May they return home as a new born free of all sins – Aameen.

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The One Thing You MUST Leave Behind When Going to Hajj

If there is one thing that separates a Muslim or Muslimah from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) it is their ego! Whatever journey you are going on, ego always seems to want to travel with you. Here at Productive Muslim, as we reflect on Hajj, I aim to show you why you need to leave this kind of baggage at home.

Hajj is once more upon us and the checklist is out, as you decide what needs to be taken with you on the holiest of pilgrimages. You have gone through the useful Productive Muslim Tips for a Productive Hajj and what every Productive Muslim Should Pack articles. Twice, maybe. Qur’an, check. Travel prayer mat, check. Miswak, check. Ego, check. Uh-oh, that wasn’t supposed to be there! So you unpack everything and re-do your luggage again. Sunglasses, check. Perfume-free soap, check. Ego, check! It is that one piece of baggage we could do without! But it is still there and far from helpful when it comes to avoiding misconduct and arguments as instructed by Allahsubḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) in the Noble Quran, “And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is [God-consciousness/righteousness]…” [Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 197]

So what is Ego?

What Western thinkers refer to as “ego” we -in Islamic terms- refer to as an-nafs-ul-‘ammarah, mixed with a reasonable dose of kibr (arrogance or superiority over others; pride). Now, I am not saying that we Muslims purposefully strut around with our ego on the high street or on the plane to Mecca, but if there is one thing that separates a Muslim or Muslimah from God it is their ego. So, in other words, it is better to acknowledge the existence of ego, especially if you are anything like me, fervently denying that you have a problem, especially when compared to a whole host of Muslims and non-Muslims you could name!

I mean who hasn’t ever got angry, felt a little jealous, annoyed even, when someone else got promoted, got that bigger house, better school or university grades, or seemingly nicer husband? It is perfectly human to complain about such things, right? Well, there are somethings that I shouldn’t have to do, right? This has nothing to do with ego, right? Wrong! And if that’s what you have been saying since your friend or spouse emailed you this article to read, wave to your ego for me because he or she is sitting on your lap, which means you came face to face and lost the battle… again!

No wonder the fight against ego is the greatest struggle (Jihad al-Akbar) that a Muslim can endure. It is also why Hajj is a pillar of our faith and a testament to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) which demonstrates that we prefer Him over our egos.

Flattening an Inflated Ego with Every Hajj Step

In Hajj, we Muslims set out to enhance our Taqwa, to return to a purified state at one with our Creator, more aware of His Divine Nature and Presence. We are reminded on this pilgrimage of the trials of the great men and women of Islam who sacrificed their sense of self for a profound belief in God.

For evidence of this, take the re-enactment of Hajar’s exhausting and repeated run through the two hills, Al-Safa and Al-Marwah, in search for water for her baby Ismail, barefoot and alone in the desert. It is in performing the Sa’ee that we can come to appreciate how that it was only in the shedding of her ego that Hajar found her courage and faith, which led to the appearance of the Zamzam well. We are further reminded of ego’s power, human fragility and sinfulness when we shave or cut a lock of our hair on the final day of Hajj, following the completion of ramī al-jamarāt (the Stoning of the Devil).

Ego, like our hair, will grow back. To stop both from becoming unruly and tangled, they need a frequent trim and a daily brush or comb. Hajj is the ultimate conditioner. If applied right, it will make ego more manageable. It won’t, however, remove it completely. For that you need Tazkiah, specifically tazkiyatul -nafs or “purification of the self”.

Experience Tazkiah and Be Transformed

Tazkiah is the conscious act of remembering one’s position compared to the greatness of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). This is by definition the surrendering of the self and removal of one’s ego. It is achieved by regular training and acting as if God was right there in front of you, observing your every move, knowing your every thought. In His Divine Presence there is no room for ego, only authenticity and God-driven change. So besides Hajj, how can you experience the transformative effects of minimising your ego?

  • Adherence to Salah – not when it is convenient to you but when Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) calls (yes, even when you are on holiday).
  • Dhikr either with the Qur’an, in the form of Tasbih (short recitation) or meditation, as this helps you remember/reflect on His glory and reduces self-centered thought patterns.
  • Fasting and zakat – by saying “no” to your body and its power over you, you are controlling your worldly desires and demonstrating to yourself that money and sex do not rule you. Investing money in other people, for their sake, and not yours, is also a good way of giving back to your community, which if done right will cut your ego down to size. Be careful however, not to do it for show!
  • Frequent voluntary work putting others before yourself and dedicating a regular slot to community work reminds us Muslims of our position and role in society. It can be a very humbling experience because it can teach us many things that we wouldn’t know or come into contact with otherwise. In giving up our time, or even in donating blood, we feel empathy, a strong sense of connection with other people and the world around us. Where there is empathy there can be no ego.
  • Admit you are wrong and apologise – so many people will never admit to the people they love the most that they are/were wrong. Fewer still apologise. Not only is that utter nonsense, it is a case of putting your ego before your spouse’s or children’s feelings. Not good and definitely not Islamic.
  • Investing in your healththis can be as simple as going to the gym instead of eating that second slice of cake. It could mean going to regular health check-ups with the dentist or doctor, who will often remind us of our physical weaknesses and why pride comes before a fall or a serious illness!
  • Personal development reading making time to read is a great investment and a sure fire way to win the ego war, precisely because it is in reading that we begin to realise just how little we actually know. Many people tell me they don’t like reading when actually don’t mind reading but don’t like what they read because it threatens their comfort zone! Here at Productive Muslim, we are all about helping you venture out of your comforts in the name of productivity gains! Hence…

…Our Book Club!

The One Thing You MUST Leave Behind When Going to Hajj | ProductiveMuslim

September 2016’s book is Ryan Holiday’s Ego is the Enemy and as you might have guessed, it will help you fight your ego, even if you are not going to Hajj this year. So if you are interested in answering the following questions and improving your connection with God, insha’Allah, then we invite you to join us in the Productive Muslim Academy Book Club in collaboration with QUAKE Books:

“What am I missing right now that a more humble person might see?”

“Why does perfecting your family life regularly lead to success in your professional career, but rarely the other way around?”

“Why do strong feelings of anger and hate fail to accomplish anything valuable?”

Source: http://productivemuslim.com

Hajj Series – Part 30

What must the Muslim avoid during these ten days if he wants to offer a sacrifice❓❓❓

 

🎐The Sunnah indicates that the one who wants to offer a sacrifice must stop🔴cutting his hair✂ and nails and removing anything from his skin, from the beginning of the ten days until after he has offered his sacrifice, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

 

🌙 “When you see the new moon of Dhu’l-Hijjah, if any one of you wants to offer a sacrifice, then he should stop cutting his hair and nails until he has offered his sacrifice.”

 

🔮However, if a person does any of these things deliberately, he must seek Allaah’s forgiveness but is not required to offer (an extra) sacrifice in expiation; his sacrifice will be acceptable. Whoever needs to remove some hair, nails, etc. because it is harming him, such as having a broken nail or a wound in a site where there is hair, should do so, and there is nothing wrong with that. The state of ihraam is so important that it is permitted to cut one’s hair if leaving it will cause harm. There is nothing wrong with men or women washing their heads🚿 during the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) only forbade cutting the hair, not washing it.

 

🌀The wisdom behind this prohibition of the one who wants to offer a sacrifice from cutting his hair etc., is so that he may resemble those in ihraam in some aspects of the rituals performed, and so that he may draw closer to Allaah 💓by offering the sacrifice. So he leaves his hair and nails alone until the time when he has offered his sacrifice, in the hope that Allaah will save him in his entirety from the Fire. ☝And Allaah knows best.

 

✂If a person has cut his hair or nails during the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah because he was not planning to offer a sacrifice, then he decides later, during the ten days, to offer a sacrifice, then he must refrain from cutting his hair and nails from the moment he makes this decision.

 

✂Some women may delegate their brothers or sons to make the sacrifice on their behalf, then cut their hair during these ten days. This is not correct❌, because the ruling applies to the one who is offering the sacrifice, whether or not he (or she) delegates someone else to carry out the actual deed. The prohibition does not apply to the person delegated, only to the person who is making the sacrifice.❗❗❗

 

✅This prohibition appears to apply only to the one who is offering the sacrifice, not to his wife and children, unless any of them is offering a sacrifice in his or her own right, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to sacrifice “on behalf of the family of Muhammad,” but there are no reports that say he forbade them to cut their hair or nails at that time.If a person was planning to offer a sacrifice, then he decides to go and perform Hajj, he should not cut his hair or nails if he wants to enter ihraam, because the Sunnah is only to cut hair and nails when necessary. But if he is performingTamattu’ [whereby he performs ‘Umrah, comes out of ihraam and enters ihraam for Hajj], he should trim his hair at the end of his ‘Umrah because this is part of the ritual.The things that are described above as being prohibited for the person who is planning to offer a sacrifice are reported in the hadeeth quoted above; the person is not forbidden to wear perfume, have marital relations, wear sewn garments, etc.

 

🎁Concerning the types of worship to be performed during these ten days: one must understand that these days are a great blessing from Allaah to His slave, which is appreciated properly by the actively righteous. It is the Muslim’s duty to appreciate this blessing and make the most of the opportunity, by devoting these ten days to paying more attention to striving hard in worship.

Hajj Series – Part 29

Performing Hajj and ‘Umrah.

✔✔✔One of the best deeds that one can do during these ten days is to perform Hajj to the Sacred House of Allaah. The one whom Allaah helps to go on Hajj to His House and to perform all the rituals properly is included in the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him):

🏆 “An accepted Hajj brings no less a reward than Paradise.”

💖 Doing more good deeds in general, because good deeds are beloved by Allaah and will bring a great reward from Him. Whoever is not able to go to Hajj should occupy himself at this blessed time by worshipping Allaah, praying (salaat), reading Qur’an, remembering Allaah, making supplication (du’aa’), giving charity, honouring his parents, upholding the ties of kinship, enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil, and other good deeds and acts of worship.

4⃣ Sacrifice🐑🐄🐪🔪.

One of the good deeds that will bring a person closer to Allaah during these ten days is offering a sacrifice, by choosing a high-quality animal and fattening it, spending money for the sake of Allaah.

5⃣ Sincere repentance💯

One of the most important things to do during these ten days is to repent sincerely to Allaah and to give up all kinds of disobedience and sin. Repentance means coming back to Allaah and foregoing all the deeds, open and secret, that He dislikes, out of regret for what has passed, giving it up immediately and being determined never to return to it, but to adhere firmly to the Truth by doing what Allaah loves.If a Muslim commits a sin, he must hasten to repent at once, without delay, firstly because he does not know when he will die, and secondly because one evil deed leads to another.

Hajj Series – Part 28

Takbeer

It is Sunnah to say Takbeer(“Allaahu akbar”), Tahmeed (“Al-hamdu Lillaah”), Tahleel (“La ilaha ill-Allaah”) and Tasbeeh (“Subhaan Allaah”) during the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, and to say it loudly in the mosque, the home, the street and every place where it is permitted to remember Allaah and mention His name out loud, as an act of worship and as a proclamation of the greatness of Allaah, may He be exalted.

🚹Men should recite these phrases out loud, and 🚺women should recite them quietly.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):”That they might witness things that are of benefit to them (i.e., reward of Hajj in the Hereafter, and also some worldly gain from trade, etc.), and mention the name of Allaah on appointed days✅, over the beast of cattle that He has provided for them  (for sacrifice)…”

📖 [al-Hajj 22:28]

🎓 The majority of scholars agree that the “appointed days” are the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, because of the words of Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him and his father):

“The ‘appointed days’ are the first ten days (of Dhu’l-Hijjah).”

📣The Takbeer may include the words “Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, la ilaaha ill-Allaah; wa Allaahu akbar wa Lillaahi’l-hamd(Allaah is Most Great, Allaah is Most Great, there is no god but Allaah; Allaah is Most Great and to Allaah be praise),” as well as other phrases.

🔷ThisTakbeer should be pronounced loudly, in order to revive the Sunnah and as a reminder to the negligent.

🔗There is sound evidence that Ibn ‘Umar and Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with them) used to go out in the marketplace during the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, reciting Takbeer, and the people would recite Takbeer when they heard them.

🌀 Reviving aspects of the Sunnah that have been virtually forgotten is a deed that will bring an immense reward, as is indicated by the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “Whoever revives an aspect of my Sunnah that is forgotten after my death, he will have a reward equivalent to that of the people who follow him, without it detracting in the least from their reward.”

📚 (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 7/443)

Hajj Series – Part 27

Among the good deeds which the Muslim should strive to do during the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah are:

1⃣Fasting ➡It is Sunnah to fast on the ninth day of Dhu’l-Hijjah, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) urged us to do good deeds during this time, and fasting is one of the best of deeds. Allaah has chosen fasting for Himself, as is stated in the hadeeth qudsi: “Allaah says:

🎁‘All the deeds of the son of Adam are for him, except for fasting, which is for Me and I am the One Who will reward him for it.’”

📚 (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 1805).

🎐The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to fast on the first nine days of Dhu’l-Hijjah. It was narrated from Hunaydah ibn Khaalid from his wife, that one of the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

🔴The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to fast on the first nine days of Dhu’l-Hijjah and the day of ‘Ashoora’, and three days each month, the first Monday of the month and two Thursdays.

📚 Narrated by al-Nasaa’i, 4/205 and by Abu Dawood; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 2/462.

Hajj Series – Part 26

The first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah has preferred over all the other days of the year.

♦ Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him and his father) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allaah than these ten days.” The people asked, “Not even jihaad for the sake of Allaah?” He said, “Not even jihaad for the sake of Allaah, except in the case of a man who went out to fight giving himself and his wealth up for the cause, and came back with nothing.”

📚 (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 2/457).

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “By the dawn; by the ten nights”

📖[al-Fajr 89:1-2].

♦Ibn ‘Abbaas, Ibn al-Zubayr, Mujaahid and others of the earlier and later generations said that this refers to the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah.

💖 The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded us to recite a lot of Tasbeeh (“Subhan-Allaah”), Tahmeed(“Al-hamdu Lillaah”) and Takbeer (“Allaahu akbar”) during this time.

♦‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him and his father) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“There are no days greater in the sight of Allaah and in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Him than these ten days, so during this time recite a great deal of Tahleel (“La ilaaha ill-Allaah”), Takbeer and Tahmeed.

📚(Reported by Ahmad, 7/224; Ahmad Shaakir stated that it is saheeh).

👉These ten days include Yawm ‘Arafaah (the Day of ‘Arafaah), on which Allaah perfected His Religion.

✔💯Fasting on this day will expiate for the sins of two years.

👉These days also include Yawm al-Nahar (the Day of Sacrifice), the greatest day of the entire year and the greatest day of Hajj, which combines acts of worship in a way unlike any other day.

👉These ten days include the days of sacrifice and of Hajj.