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Friday, 14 December 2007

Be a Mirror!

Be a Mirror!
Taken from qmt.org.au

It is the duty of a Muslim to keep an eye on the deeds and conduct of fellow Muslims and to try to help them to stay on the straight path. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) enumerated the conditions to be met in the task of advising others:

"Each one of you is like a mirror to the other. You should rectify the wrong you note in him." (Tirmidhi)

In another hadith the Prophet said: "Every Muslim serves as another Muslim's mirror. He safeguards his rights in his absence as well." (Abu Dawud) The following norms emerge in light of the above ahadith:

1. One should not look for the lapses and weaknesses of others. For a mirror does not seek defects. Only on coming face to face does a mirror reflect you.

2. One should not be criticised in one's absence. Once again the similitude of the mirror should be kept in mind; it does not reflect someone in absentia.

3. One should not exceed limits in criticising someone else. For a mirror does not magnify or diminish any feature.

4. Criticism should be forthright and free of any ulterior motive. For, once again, a mirror does not entertain any revenge or grudge.

5. One's criticism should be made with sincerity, genuine concern, pain and love. This removes any bitterness caused by criticism. Sincerity in this context signifies one's concern for the ultimate accountability in the Hereafter. One should help a fellow Muslim in order to avoid any punishment for him on the Day of Judgement. Nor should one entertain any superiority complex. Rather, one should take oneself as weaker than and inferior to the person criticised by him. Humility and not arrogance makes mutual care and advice effective.

Short temper

Short temper
Shakawa Wahulool - Problems and Solutions, English Translation
Book by Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

A person may complain: “I get very angry very quickly. If there is the slightest provocation, I quickly explode and start to break things, swear, curse and issue threats of divorce. This problem has caused me so much embarrassment, and has made most people hate me, even my wife and children and closest friends. What can I do to rid myself of this awful disease and extinguish this devilish fire?”

Anger is a tendency that comes from the Shaytaan. Only Allah knows how much evil and sin results from it. Hence Islam has a great deal to say about this negative characteristic and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) described remedies for ridding oneself of this problem and limiting its effects. These include the following:

(1) Seeking refuge with Allah from the Shaytaan. Sulaymaan ibn Sard said: “I was sitting with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and there were two men swearing at one another. One of them was red in the face and the veins of his neck were standing out. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘I know a word which, if only he would say it, this [anger] would leave him. If he said, “A’oodhu billaahi min al-shaytaan (I seek refuge with Allah from the Shaytaan),”, this [anger] would leave him.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 6/377).

He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) also said: “If a man gets angry and says ‘A’oodhu billaah (I seek refuge with Allah),’ his anger will cease.” (Saheeh al-Jaami’ al-Sagheer, no. 695).

(2) Keeping quiet. The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “If any one of you gets angry, let him keep quiet.” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad, al-Musnad, 1/239; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 693, 4027).

Anger usually makes a person lose control, often to the extent that he may utter words of kufr (Allah forbid), or curses, or the word of divorce (talaaq) which will destroy his family, or foul language that will earn him the enmity of others. Keeping quiet is the way to avoid all of these evils.

(3) Keeping still. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “If any one of you gets angry, let him sit down if he is standing. If his anger goes away, (that is good), otherwise let him lie down.”

The narrator of this hadeeth was Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him), who told the following story: he was watering his animals at a trough, when some other people came along. He said, “Who among you will help Abu Dharr to water his animals and ....?” A man said, “I will,” but he broke the trough. Abu Dharr was standing, so he sat down, then he lay down. Someone asked him, “O Abu Dharr, why did you sit down then lie down?” He said, “Because the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said … [and quoted the hadeeth].” (The hadeeth with the whole story is reported in Musnad Ahmad, 5/152. See also Saheeh al-Jaami’, no. 694).

According to another report, Abu Dharr was watering his animals at a trough when another man made him angry, so he sat down… (Fayd al-Qadeer al-Mannaawi, 1/408).

One of the benefits of this Prophetic teaching is that it prevents the angry person from doing something crazy and out of control. An angry person could inflict harm or even kill – as we shall see shortly – or he could destroy property and so on. Sitting down makes it less likely that he will explode in this fashion, and lying down makes it even less likely that he will do something reckless or harmful.

Al-‘Allaamah al-Khattaabi (may Allah have mercy on him) said in his commentary on Abu Dawood: “The one who is standing is ready to move and destroy things. The one who is sitting is less likely to do so, and the one who is lying is not able to do anything of the sort. It seems that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) commanded the angry person to sit down or lie down in order to prevent him from doing anything that he would later regret. And Allah knows best.” (Sunan Abi Dawood wa ma’ahu ma’aalim al-sunan, 5/141)

(4) Remembering the advice of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that a man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said: “Advise me.” He said: “Do not become angry.” The man repeated his request several times, and each time the response was, “Do not become angry.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath al-Baari, 10/465).

According to another report, the man said, “I thought about what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had said, and I realized that anger is the source of all evil.” (Musnad Ahmad, 5/373).

“Do not get angry, and Paradise will be yours.” (A saheeh hadeeth. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 7374. Ibn Hajar attributed it to al-Tabaraani. See al-Fath, 4/465).

(5) Remembering what Allah has promised to those who avoid the causes of anger and strive to control themselves is the best way to extinguish the flames of anger. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has told us about this great reward: “Whoever suppresses his anger at the time when he could express it openly, Allah will fill his heart with contentment on the Day of Resurrection.” (Reported by al-Tabaraani, 12/453; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 176).

Another immense reward is described in the hadeeth: “Whoever suppresses his anger when he is able to vent it, Allah will call him before all the people on the Day of Resurrection and let him choose whoever of the hoor al-‘iyn he wishes.” (Reported by Abu Dawood, 4777, and others. Classed as hasan in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 6518).

(6) Knowing the high rank and distinction that is bestowed upon the one who controls himself. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “The strong man is not the one who can wrestle another to the ground; the strong man is the one who can control himself when he is angry.” (Reported by Ahmad, 2/236. The hadeeth is agreed upon).

The more angry a person gets, the more highly valued is his self-control. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The real strong man is the one who gets intensely angry, so that his face reddens and his hair stands on end, but he suppresses his anger.” (Reported by Imaam Ahmad, 5/367; classed as hasan in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3859).

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used an incident that took place in front of his Sahaabah as an opportunity to reinforce this lesson. Anas reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) passed by some people who were wrestling, and asked, “What is this?” They told him, “So-and-so is a strong man. No one challenges him but he beats them at wrestling.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Shall I not tell you who is stronger than him? A man who is mistreated by another, but suppresses his anger, has defeated his own shaytaan and the shaytaan of the one who mistreated him.” (Reported by al-Bazzaar. Ibn Hajar said that its isnaad is hasan. Al-Fath, 10/519).

(7) Following the guidance of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) with regard to anger. He is our example, and his attitude towards anger is clearly demonstrated in many ahaadeeth, of which one of the most famous was reported by Anas (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: “I was walking with the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and he was wearing a Najraani cloak with a stiff collar. He was accosted by a Bedouin who pulled his cloak roughly. I looked at the Prophet’s neck and saw the marks left by the collar. The Bedouin said: ‘O Muhammad, give me some of the wealth of Allah that you have!’ The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) turned to him and smiled, and ordered that he should be given something.” (Reported by al-Bazzaar. Ibn Hajar said that its isnaad is hasan).

(8) Another way in which we may follow the example of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is by making our anger for the sake of Allah, when the limits set by Allah are violated. This is the worthy kind of anger. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) became angry when he was told about the imaam who was putting people off praying because his recitation was too long. He became angry when he saw a curtain decorated with pictures of animate creatures in ‘Aa’ishah’s house. He became angry when Usaamah spoke to him about the Makhzoomi woman who was guilty of theft, and said to him, “Are you interceding concerning one of the punishments prescribed by Allah?” He became angry when he was asked questions he disliked. His anger was only for the sake of Allah.

(9) Knowing that suppressing anger is one of the signs of taqwa (piety). Allah has praised certain people in His Book, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) highly commended them. There have been prepared for them Gardens as wide as the heavens and the earth.

One of their characteristics is that they “… spend (in Allah’s Cause) in prosperity and in adversity, [they] repress anger, and pardon men; verily, Allah loves al-muhsinoon (the good-doers)” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:134 – interpretation of the meaning]. These are the people whose good qualities Allah has mentioned, people whom others admire and want to catch up with. Another of their characteristics is that “when they are angry, they forgive” [al-Shoora 42:37 – interpretation of the meaning].

(10) Paying attention when one is reminded. Anger is something natural, with regard to which people differ. It may be very hard for a person not to get angry, but a sincere person, if he becomes angry and is reminded about Allah, will remember Him and will stay within the limits that He has prescribed. Some examples of this follow.

Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with them both) reported that a man asked permission to see ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), and permission was given. The man said, “O son of al-Khattaab, by Allah, you are not giving us much, and you are not ruling us fairly!” ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) became so angry that he was about to hit the man, but al-Hirr ibn Qays (who was among the people sitting with ‘Umar) said, “O Ameer al-Mu’mineen, Allah said to His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): ‘Show forgiveness, enjoin what isgood, and turn away from the foolish (i.e., don’t punish them)’ [al-A’raaf 7:199 – interpretation of the meaning], and this man is one of the foolish.” By Allah, ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) did not take the matter any further when this was recited to him. He adhered to the words of Allah, may He be glorified and exalted. (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 8/304).

This is how the Muslim should be, not like the evil hypocrite who, when he got angry and was told about the hadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and was advised by one of the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to seek refuge with Allah from the Shaytaan, said, “Do you think there is something wrong with me? Do you think I am crazy? Go away!” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 1/465). We seek refuge with Allah from failure.

(11) Knowing the bad effects of anger. The bad effects of anger are many, harming both the self and others. A person may swear and utter obscenities, and may hit others, lashing out with no control. It may even lead to killing. The following story contains a lesson.

‘Alqamah ibn Waa’il reported that his father (may Allah be pleased with him) told him: “I was sitting with the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) when a man came along, leading another by a twisted rope. He said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, this man killed my brother.’ The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asked, ‘Did you kill him?’ He said, ‘Yes, I killed him.’ He asked, ‘How did you kill him?’ He said, ‘He and I were hitting trees to make the leaves fall (so we could use them for animal fodder). He swore at me, so I got angry and hit him on the side of the head with an axe, and I killed him.’…” (Reported by Muslim in al-Saheeh, 1307).

Even if anger does not go as far as this, there may still be broken bones and injuries. If the person with whom a man is angry runs away, he may turn his anger upon himself, tearing his clothes, slapping his cheeks, falling unconscious, or breaking dishes and furniture.

One of the worst things that result from anger and cause social ills and family breakdown is talaaq (divorce). Ask many of those who have divorced their wives how and when it happened, and they will tell you, “It was in a moment of anger.” Lives are shattered and children are lost as a result. Feelings of regret and failure haunt people’s minds, and life becomes bitter – all because of anger. If only they had remembered Allah and come back to their senses, restrained their anger and sought refuge with Allah from the Shaytaan, what happened would not have happened. Going against sharee’ah only ever results in loss.

The physical harm that results from anger is very serious, as the doctors describe, such as thrombosis, high blood pressure, fatal heart attacks, diabetes, etc. We ask Allah for good health.

(12) The angry person should think about himself at the time of anger. If the angry person could see himself in the mirror at the time of anger, he would despise himself and how he looks when his colour changes, he shakes uncontrollably, his face reddens, the veins of his neck stand out and he behaves like a crazy person. He would be put off by his own appearance, but it is well known that the ugliness that exists inside a person is even worse than any that may appear on the outside. How happy the Shaytaan must be when someone is in this state! We seek refuge with Allah from the Shaytaan and from failure.

(13) Du’aa’. This is the believer’s constant weapon. He asks his Lord to rid him of evils, problems and bad characteristics, and he seeks refuge with Allah from falling into the pit of kufr and wrongdoing caused by anger, because one of the three qualities which will save a person from Hellfire is being just and fair both at times of contentment and at times of anger. (Saheeh al-Jaami’, 3039).

One of the du’aa’s of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was:

“Allahumma bi ‘ilmika’l-ghaybi wa qudratika ‘ala’l-khalqi aheeni ma ‘alimta’l-hayaata khayran li, wa tawaffani idha ‘alimta’l-wafaata khayran li. Allahumma wa as’aluka khashyataka fi’l-ghaybi wa’l-shahaadah, wa as’aluka kalimat al-ikhlaasi fi’l-ridaa wa’l-ghadab, wa as’aluka’l-qasda fi’l-faqri wa’l-ghinaa, wa as’aluka na’eeman la yanfad, wa qurrata ‘aynin la tanqati’, wa as’aluka’l-ridaa bi’l-qadaa’, wa as’aluka bard al-‘aysh ba’d al-mawt, wa as’aluka ladhdhat al-nadhr ila wajhika wa’l-shawqa ilaa liqaa’ik, fi ghayri darraa’ mudirrah wa laa fitnati mudillah. Allahumma zayyinnaa bi zeenati’l-eemaan wa’j’alnaa hudaatan muhtadeen

(O Allah, by Your knowledge of the Unseen and Your power over all creation, keep me alive so long as You know life is good for me, and bring about my death when you know death is good for me. O Allah, I ask You to make me fear You in secret and in the open, I ask You to make me speak sincerely at times of contentment and at times of anger, I ask You to make me be moderate in poverty and in wealth, I ask You for a blessing that does not end, contentment that never ceases, and for acceptance of Your decree. I ask You for a good life after death, and I ask You for the joy of looking upon Your face and the longing to meet You, with no harmful adversity or misleading trial (fitnah). O Allah, adorn us with the beauty of faith, guide us and let us be a means of guidance for others).” (Reported by al-Nisaa’i in al-Sunan, 3/55; and by al-Haakim. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1301).

~* Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds *~

Waswaas (insinuating thoughts from Shaytaan)

Waswaas (insinuating thoughts from Shaytaan)
Shakawa Wahulool - Problems and Solutions, English Translation
Book by Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

A person may ask: “I am suffering from many insinuating thoughts (waswaas) about the nature of Allah, may He be glorified. There are thoughts going around in my mind that I cannot utter because they are not befitting to Allah, and they keep coming back to me, when I am praying and at other times. It is so bad that I doubt my faith, and wonder if I am even a Muslim or not. What is the cure for this problem?”

A number of ahaadeeth have been reported from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) which contain the answer to this problem, al-hamdu Lillah.

The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The Shaytaan may come to any one of you and say, ‘Who created Allah?’ If any one of you experiences this, let him say, ‘Aamantu billaahi wa rasoolih (I believe in Allah and His Messenger),’ and that will drive him away.” (Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1657).

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The Shaytaan may come to any one of you and ask, ‘Who created the heaven?’ and he will say, ‘Allah.’ The Shaytaan will say, ‘Who created the earth?’ and he will say, ‘Allah.’ Then the Shaytaan will say, ‘Who created Allah?’ If any one of you experiences this, let him say, ‘Aamantu billaahi wa rasoolih.’” (Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1656).

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever experiences anything of this waswaas, let him say three times, ‘‘Aamantu billaahi wa rasoolih,’ and that will drive (the Shaytaan) away.” (Saheeh al-Jaami’, 6587).

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The Shaytaan may come to any one of you, and say, ‘Who created such-and-such? Who created such-and-such?’ until he asks, ‘Who created your Lord?’ If this happens to anyone, let him seek refuge with Allah and let him stop these thoughts.” (Saheeh al-Jaami’, 7993).

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The people will nearly ask too many questions, so that one of them may say, ‘Allah created all of creation, but who created Allah?’ If they say this, then say: ‘Allah is the One, Allah is the Self-Sufficient Master. He begets not, nor was He begotten; and there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him’ [al-Ikhlaas 112:1-4, interpretation of the meaning], and spit (drily) to your left three times, and seek refuge with Allah from the Shaytaan.” (Saheeh al-Jaami’, 8182).

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Think about the signs of Allah, do not think about Allah (Himself).” (Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2975) The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Think about the creation of Allah, do not think about Allah (Himself).” (Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2976)

From these texts we may summarize the following six ways of overcoming these insinuating thoughts:

  • The person who is experiencing such ideas should say, “Aamantu billaahi wa rasoolih (I believe in Allah and His Messenger).”
  • He should seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Shaytaan, and say three times, “A’oodhu billaahi’l-Samee’ il-‘Aleem min al-Shaytaan il-rajeem, min hamzihi wa nafkhihi wa nafathih (I seek refuge with Allah, the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing, from the accursed Shaytaan, and from his slander and evil insinuations).”
  • He should spit (drily) to his left three times.
  • He should stop thinking about whatever it is that is on his mind, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Let him stop.” This is an important tactic, because continuing to allow the Shaytaan to influence one in this way can only make it worse. The Muslim must stop these thoughts, as much as he is able, and keep his mind busy with something useful and beneficial.
  • He should recite Soorat al-Ikhlaas (Qul huwa Allahu ahad), because it describes attributes of the Most Merciful and is considered to be equivalent to one-third of the Qur’aan. Reciting this great soorah will guarantee an end to these insinuating thoughts.
  • He should think about the creation and blessings of Allah, not about His nature, because his weak human mind can never comprehend the nature of Allah. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “… and they will never compass anything of His Knowledge” [Ta-Ha 20:110]

Further Reading:
Sources of waswaas and will the Muslim be punished for it? - islamqa.com

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Cleanliness is part of Imaan (Belief)

Cleanliness is part of Imaan (Belief)

Taken from iccuk.org
By Dr. Mozammel Haque

Today I will be discussing, Insha Allah, one of the most important practical aspects of Islam which is cleanliness. Islam is beautiful and that's why its followers are beautiful and clean. But when you move around the High Street of any European country and come across any dirty shop, you would be surprised to know that the owner of that shop is none other than a Muslim.

The Muslim whom Islam wants to stand out among people is very clean. He has high standards of personal hygiene, bathing frequently in accordance with the guidance of the Prophet (peace be upon him) who encouraged people to wash themselves completely and wear perfume, especially on Fridays: "Have a bath on Fridays and wash your heads, even if you are not in a state of Junabah (impurity, e.g. following marital relations), and wear perfume.” (Al-Bukhari).

The Prophet (pbuh) placed such a great emphasis on cleanliness and bathing that some of the four Imams considered performing ghusl before Friday prayer to be obligatory (wajib). Abu Hurayrah (RA) said: "The Prophet said: ‘It is the duty of every Muslim to take a bath (at least) once every seven days, and to wash his head and his body.” (Agreed upon)

The true Muslim keeps his clothes and socks clean, checking them from time to time, to be sure that they have no unpleasant smell. He also wears perfume to help keep him clean. It is reported that ‘Omar (RA) used to say: "Whoever spends a third of his wealth on perfume is not being extravagant.”

The smart Muslim takes care of his mouth, for no one should ever have to smell an unpleasant odour coming from it. He does this by cleaning his teeth every day with a siwak, toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwashes. Aishah narrated that the prophet (pbuh) "never woke from sleeping at any time of day or night without cleaning his teeth with a siwak before performing wudu.”

The Prophet's concern for oral hygiene was so great that he said, "If it were not for the fact that I did not want to overburden my Ummah, I would have ordered them to use the siwak before every prayer.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim). Aishah (RA) was asked what the Prophet (pbuh) used to do first when he came home. She said: "Use siwak.” (Muslim).

Regrettably, some Muslims neglect these teachings that are at the heart of Islam, and do not pay heed to the cleanliness of their mouths, bodies and clothes. So you may see them going to the mosque or to other religious meetings and study circles, annoying their brothers with their unpleasant smell and offending the angels who surround these blessed gatherings. What is really strange is the fact that they themselves listen to and repeat the saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that whoever eats onions, garlic or leeks should not go to the mosque because his breath may disturb the angels and the people:

"Whoever eats onions, garlic or leeks should not approach our mosque, because whatever offends the sons of Adam may offend the angels.” (Muslim).

The Prophet (pbuh) banned those who had eaten these pungent vegetables from coming anywhere near the mosque, lest the people and the angels be offended by their bad breath, but these smells pale into insignificance beside the stench of dirty clothes, filthy socks, unwashed bodies and unclean mouths that emanates from some careless and unkempt individuals who offend others in any gathering.

Imam Ahmad and Imam al-Nisa'I narrate that Jabir (RA) said: "The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) came to visit us, and saw a man who was wearing dirty clothes. He said, ‘Could this person not find anything with which to wash his clothes?'”

The Prophet (pbuh) did not like a Muslim to appear before people wearing dirty clothes, if he had the means to clean them. He encouraged Muslims always to dress in clean clothes and to present a neat and attractive appearance. He used to say: "There is nothing wrong with keeping two garments for Friday, apart from one's workaday clothes.” (Reported by Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah.)

Islam frequently encourages its followers to be clean always, to perfume their clothes and to ensure that their bodies always smell fresh and clean. This is what the Prophet (pbuh) used to do, according to the report that Imam Muslim quotes from Anas ibn Malik, who said: "I have never smelt any ambergris or musk that had a better scent than the scent of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh).”

Many reports describe the cleanliness of the Prophet's clothes and body, and describe the sweet smell of his sweat. For example, if he shook hands with a man, his beautiful scent would remain on that man's hand for the rest of the day, and if he laid his hand on the head of a child, that child would stand out from others by virtue of his sweet smell.

How urgent is the Muslims' need to follow the guidance of this great Messenger in his command to take care of one's hair and keep it neat in accordance with the teachings of Islam. This is reported in the Hadith that Abu Dawud quotes from Abu Hurayrah (RA), who said: "The Prophet (pbuh) said: ‘Whoever has hair, let him look after it properly.'”

Looking after one's hair, according to Islamic teaching, involves keeping it clean, combing it, perfuming it and styling it nicely.

The true Muslim takes good care of his clothes, so you will see him presenting a pleasant appearance, without being extravagant. He is pleasant to look at and to meet, and does not annoy people with his careless, disheveled appearance. He always checks himself before he goes out to meet people, and he makes himself look good, in moderation, for the Prophet (pbuh) used to make himself look good in from his Companions, as well as in front of his family. In his commentary on the ayah (verse), "Say: Who has forbidden the beautiful (gifts) of Allah, which He has produced for His servants, and the things, clean and pure, (which He has provided) for sustenance?….” (al-A''raf 7:32)

Al-Qurtubi said: "Makhul reported from Aishah (RA): "A group of the Companions of the Prophet (pbuh) was waiting at the door for him, so he prepared to go out to meet them. There was a vessel of water in the house, and he peered into it, smoothing his beard and his hair.
(Aishah said:) I asked him, "O Messenger of Allah, even you do this?” He said, "Yes, when a man goes out to meet his brothers, let him prepare himself properly, for Allah is beautiful and loves beauty.””

The Muslim does all of this in accordance with the Islamic ideal of moderation, avoiding the extremes of either exaggeration or negligence.

First Published in The Muslim WorldKarachi, Pakistan

Friday, 30 November 2007

Some Hajj advice from Me!

This section does not deal with how to do Hajj but what to expect during Hajj and how to make it easier. I was privileged to do Hajj last year with my mother, my aunt, my cousin; his wife and their 3 year old daughter. Hajj was the most beautiful experience ever, and if you havn't done so I'd recommend you do it straight away.

Here are some general advices on Hajj. (I have also added some advice from fellow Hajjis from hajj.org.au and jannah.org - do check out these sites)

In brief:
· Choose a good travel agent/ Hajj group - ensure that your accommodation is very close to the Al-Masjid al-Harām in Makkah and the Prophets mosque in Madinah.
· Prepare yourself well in advance (i.e. the rituals and duas) – go to your local Imam, read books, watch DVDs etc.
· If possible do not look at pictures of the Kaaba before you go (from now until you see it with your own two eyes) It ruins the impact it has on your heart.
· Pack lightly if possible – but do prepare for the weather. Make sure you take comfortable clothes & comfortable pair of sandals & flip-flops rather than new ones that you are not used to.
· Make sure you are clean before you travel - trim finger and toe-nails, shave off hair from armpits and pubic hair and do proper gushal. You may want to trim your hair before you go to make it easier on the barbers during Hajj.
· Make sure you always wear the wrist band and identity tag provided to you.
· If your group is not lead by a Sheik or Imam, make sure there will be one with the group the whole way through the journey; and not just a guest Sheik that will give the occasional speech or lesson. The Sheik\Imam needs to be there to answer questions that may arise and to keep up your iman through the trip.
· Also you'll be able to spot individuals in your tent who are knowledgeable about Islam. Get close to them and seek clarifications about matters that are not clear to you.
· Do make multiple Umrahs. Remember you can also make umrah on behalf of another person, a dead relative or someone back home who could not make it.
· Make sure that the barbers use fresh blades when you instruct them to shave off your hair after you have completed Umrahs and Hajj. There is always chance of getting blood related diseases - so it is very important to check!
· Eat healthily; when eating out make sure food is cooked properly, avoid food poisoning whilst doing Hajj.
· Make a list of the people you want to make Dua for during Hajj (include people who have asked you to make Dua) – this list will be useful so you don’t forget. Make plenty of Dua for the Ummah (Islamic community throughout the world).
· Drink plenty of Zam-Zam water, always try and take a bottle of Zam Zam water with you everywhere. It is very important for drinking or emergency Wadu, or even wetting the hair before getting it shaved off by the barber (in case barber does not have water/ shaving lotion).
· If you are going to use private transport please agree price in advance and do be careful. Sometimes private car owners would offer taxi rides and leave pilgrims deserted – this happened to me and my fellow pilgrims.
· There are plenty of dry cleaning facilities in Makkah and Madinah but don’t expect the standard of cleaning to be high during your stay.
· Remember if you are taking females & elderly pilgrims with you that you have a larger responsibility to protect them. Don’t be selfish. Think about the best times and place to do acts of Ibadah during your Hajj trip.
· Remember to be considerate to others, be patient and be happy.
· Inshallah you will have a lovely experience.

In more detail:

Preparation on Picking Hajj travel agents
(1) Pick an agent that other Hajj pilgrims used in the past and have recommended, make sure that the agent is regulated. If in doubt pick an agent from the list of approved agents by the Saudi Embassy in your country. In the UK make sure that the agents are IATA and ATOL approved. In terms of direct flights from the UK to Riyadh – Last year (2006) it was Saudi Airlines and British Midlands offering this service.

(2) Try and get as much detail of the flight plan, accommodation - basically the Itinerary of the Hajj. Make sure that the hotel is close to the Masjid Al Haram and the prophets Mosque. Let them give you a map if possible) of the location of accommodation to the mosque. It must be noted that there are no online maps to distinguish between streets in Makkah. Ask them about the type of accommodation – ask to see pictures, ask if you will be staying alone or sharing with other pilgrims. Ask if they provide meals at the hotels as well as throughout the Hajj (at Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah). Ask them how many representatives they will be taking with them and the physical and spiritual assistance they will be providing throughout the Hajj.

(3) After you have chosen the travel agent, and paid them the monies and had been approved to go to Hajj by the Saudi authorities – get the details of their tour representatives that will be taking you there – e.g. mobile numbers, hotel telephone numbers etc. for here and Saudi Arabia.

Preparation before the journey
(1) For those who made intentions to do Hajj and praise to Allah (SWT) were granted visas to do Hajj, think yourself lucky as millions of people who also made the same intensions are not able to go. Thank Allah (SWT) that he has chosen you.

(2) Please prepare well in advance (i.e. months and months ahead of Hajj), correct your salat, memorise all the dua's for Hajj, go through all the rituals of Hajj.

The best preparation is to ask your local imam or someone who has done Hajj to help you - I am not talking about a one day session but something that could run for a couple of weeks/ months. Alternatively there are many books, videos/ DVD's and websites that you can utilise to assist you.

As stated earlier, prepare in advance because the last thing you would want is to rely on other people to assist as the Hajj emphasis is on you. But if you do need assistance ask any knowledgeable pilgrims or the guide that is assisting you with Hajj. Never be too shy or too proud to ask questions. The more we ask the more we learn and the better for us.

(3) Write down on a piece of paper contact details of the representatives taking you, your hotel details etc. These details might be important if you get lost/ or are involved in an accident in Saudi Arabia. Make copies of the details and make a photocopy of your passport. Keep one set behind with a relative in your country and take one set with you to Hajj.

(3) Materials that you should take with you. This section only deals with Men only. I will try and add at a later date (or maybe a sister can contribute) what ladies should take).

- Cotton Ihram (also spelt Ahram or Ehram) x 2 i.e. two sets (4 sheets in total). I would personally recommend the towel version. The towel version will keep you warm during the cold nights and cool under the hot weather during the day time. My main reason for towel is that it will keep you modesty in tact and absorb sweat from under the heat of the sun. I recommend two sets because when one set gets too dirty you can change it for the other one.

- 1 X Hajj waist belt (these look more like miniature versions of belts you see boxers displacing at a title fight rather than a simple bum bag). This is the belt where you should keep all your cash and other important paperwork. Try and get a white coloured one to it matches your ihram.

- Also consider getting a slightly larger bum bag (one that would fit over your neck/ around your shoulder. You can use this to keep small change of monies for everyday use - i.e. buying food/ or when giving charity monies to the poor. If possible choose a bag that might fit a pocket Qur’an.

- A pocket Qur'an. You will have plenty of spare time during Hajj that you can utilise by reading the holy book. Buy one from the country you reside in so that you are familiar with the style of print/ calligraphy. Buy one that you can read clearly i.e. print is not too small.

- A few carrier bags (any plastic shopping bag)/ canvass bag to put your sandals (flip flops). This is important so that you can distinguish your pair of sandals from other pilgrims. Many people have told me that some pilgrims take other pilgrims sandals by mistake or by intent but I believe it is caused by poor memory of placement of sandals.

- Toiletries: unscented soap, a roll of toilet paper/ kitchen towel, a miswak (instead of tooth brush & paste), small face towel, normal bath towel (make sure you don't take anything scented as it is forbidden). It is forbidden to use perfume/ Attr when in state of Ihram. You can buy perfume and wear them when not in state of Ihram or after you have completed Hajj.

- A first aid kit. This is important as a precaution for any accidents that may happen. Try and get a good kit that will include bandages, slings, a pair of scissors and safety pins)

- Ensure you take the meningitis injection as soon possible.

- Take your normal medication with you - consider also taking diarrhea tablets, allergy tablets, small tub of Vaseline, a packet of paracetamol, a small tub of Vicks.

- A roll of duct tape & small sellotape (always useful for emergency), a permanent marker pen (useful when writing name on ZamZam Water container - if you decide to bring some back). For me personally - all these had a lot of benefits.

- A nice sleeping bag. Get one that is comfortable (not too expensive). Make sure that the bag is able to unzip completely (possibly into two pieces) - You will need that in Mina & Muzdalifah. Remember that when sleeping it is important that you do not cover your head or feet - they must not be covered when in state of Ihram.

- A blow up (air) cushion. This is a must if you want to sleep comfortably. Don't substitute it for one of those neck/ flight cushion!

- In terms of clothes: two/ three pairs of underwear (note: you cannot wear underwear when under state of Ihram), 2 pairs of Shelwar Kamiz (Phajama & Phanjabee) or 2 sets of Dishdashas (also known as Jalabiyahs), a Chadoor (type of showl - make sure that it is not stitched).

- A prayer mat.

- In terms of the type of luggage to take I’d recommend getting a medium sized luggage that has wheels and a pulley handle. But it is really for you to decide.

Also buy a cheap small shoulder bag/ rucksack (size of a small flight bag). This is where you will keep your temporary clothes etc. Also consider getting a fold-away bag – useful for storing dirty laundry/ or used as an additional luggage piece.

In all - don't take too much luggage with you as you wont need them (or be able to fit into your luggage) and if required you can always buy clothes (and all the stuff mentioned above) whilst in Makkah/ or even at Jeddah airport (apart from first aid kit possibly).

- In terms of food/ snacks - take some sachets of soup and a few nutrition bars for emergency. There will be plenty of shops and diners in Makkah and Madinah to buy food but there will be times where you won't feel like going out for meals. Makkah is more commercial than you would expect, Madinah even more (there is even a KFC in Madinah! - but expect to pay UK/ US prices)

- and Lastly be happy that you are going to Hajj and thank Allah (SWT) for giving you the privilege.

Journey to Mecca - on the plane and at Jeddah airport
(1) I would recommend that you make your recommended Dua’s and wear your ihram before you leave your house to board the plane. Some people change into their ihram on board the plane (i.e. when the pilot tells everyone that they are near the airspace of the holy land).

(2) When you land at Jeddah airport, your patience will be tested. The whole airport is really a large tent! It could take 4-5 hours before you leave the airport because the Sauidi airport staff are very slow at clearing pilgrims. It is one of those "jobs for the boys", they tend to take their time peeling a sticker from a piece of paper and putting them into a page in your passport then he will pass it on to another staff who will do the same and so on. There is no computerised system. Everything is done on paper and at their leisure. Don't expect them to understand and speak English as they don't or won't. The process is important but slow - think of the millions of people they have to process, so be considerate of their duties!

One important paperwork is the numbered sticker number issued to people. If you are going as a group make sure that you have the same sticker number so that you are not separated. I think the sticker number 46 was issued to European/ American pilgrims – It might change year to year. Different numbers corresponds to different sections of residence in Mina, Arafat & Muzalifa. Buses are numbered accordingly. Whatever the case stay within your group and get the same number as your group members. Your tour guide might do this work for you.

(3) At the airport there will be bureau de change - place to change Pound Sterling/ Dollars to Saudi Rhiyals. Just exchange enough to get you by a day or two. There will be plenty of places to exchange money at Makkah/ Madinah. There will be shops (to purchase garments, air pillows, sleeping bags etc - but avoid these as they will be priced very high and you can buy the same stuff with more choices at Makkah. Also available are small eating places, small prayer areas and wadu/ toilet facilities. There will also be a mobile phone sim card operator - avoid these and get a sim card whilst in Mecca. Ask the hotel staff to recommend a good company - Usually they will have someone that sells them inside the hotel, he will also offer top-ups.

(4) The toilets at the airport as well as those in Mecca are the ones with a hole on the ground - with water hoses to clean ones-self. In a row of 15-20 toilets there will be at least two that are British toilets. Most of the Saudi toilets also operate as bathing areas for showers. I've been informed that this system is popular and is the Saudi way. I recommended taking a roll of toilet paper only to keep the toilet seat clean (if you use British type toilets) - otherwise they don't have much purpose other than to use as normal tissue paper. If you have never used these toilets before then I suggest you start practising the posture! Most large mosques in your home town should have these toilets if you really need to practice.

(5) When your Bus is ready then you will ready to go to Makkah. Again stick with your group. The numbers on the sticker corresponds to the number of the bus and the drop off points. The journey time is about 6 hours by Bus. Whilst on the Bus make sure that that you get up and stretch your legs. If you have long legs then sit on the aisles. The bus will make occasional stops for refuelling or will stop near mosques if it's close to prayer times. It will also stop to pick up breakfast (croissant, small carton of milk a carton of orange, some dates and small bottle of ZamZam water). Keep the bottle of Zam Zam water (don't throw it away) It will be very useful to use through your Hajj journey - you can refill it with Zam Zam water anytime whilst in the Mosque. Keep it in your hotel or take it with you.

(6) The bus will stop at a location in Makkah and hopefully your guide in Makkah will take you direct to the hotel.

Whilst in Mecca
(1) From the moment you enter your hotel - Have a quick rest and unpack. When you are ready you should go straight to the Kabba to start your Umrah. When you come back (trust me you will not want to come back too quickly) to your hotel, ask the staff to give you a timetable of salat. This will be useful to ensure that you make your way in time for Salat and this will get you organised. Write the times on a note pad and stick it on the door of your room. Try and buy a cheap alarm clock from any of the shops/ markets to help you get up in time particular for Fajr. You will notice that there will be a lot of people praying Salat at-Tahajjud (and so should you) so go extra early. Most entrances will be closed into the holy mosque by security staff during busy periods for safety reasons, so you might find yourself praying outside.

(2) You will notice that at Fajr time the city is cold. When you are NOT in a state of Ihram - take a pair of socks/ jumper or a thin summer jacket. You will notice that after Fajr the sun rises and it will get hot pretty quickly.

(3) At the mosque try and familiarise yourself – look for different entrances and exits, locations for Wadu, toilets, Zam Zam water drinking fountains, locations for easy access for wheelchair users etc. This is important and will save you time during your Hajj. Locate a place within or outside the mosque to go if you get lost so other group members can find you.

(4) When doing Tawaf (circulating around the Kabba) try and avoid getting mixed up with other larger groups. You will no doubt see large groups - pilgrims holding onto each others shoulder like a large chain, especially amongst pilgrims from Indonesia. I would suggest against forming such long chains as it makes it awkward and requires extra patience from other pilgrims for the chain to pass them. Also be patient if the back of your heels gets poked by toe-nails from other pilgrims. Make sure you cut your nails before you go to Hajj so that you do not cause distress to other pilgrims should you make any accidental contact. The nearer you circulate to the Kabba and get close to the Maqam Ibrahim the more likely you will get squashed – so try and avoid yourself from being crushed and hurting others in the process. Also when doing Tawaf try and pick any coloured gate for a meeting place if anyone within the group gets lost. Always be patient and courteous to other pilgrims.

(5) When going to pray inside the mosque, you will no doubt find places that most of the suitable prayer places have been taken up by other pilgrims and you will natirally try and pray wherever you can. You will no doubt be confronted by a security official telling you to move one (in the softest of voices) please do as they say and do not confront them or get into any argument. They are doing their jobs for the benefit for all the pilgrims; their job is to try to ensure no one is blocking any passages. Please avoid staking a place in the mosque for your own benefit and denying others a change to pray.

The same security officials may check you when entering the mosque – so only take the bare minimum with you as everything required is already provided.

(6) Watch out for pick-pockets. I have heard stories from people that their monies had been stolen; bags had been snatched by thieves without them knowing. The only advice I can give here is make sure your money belt is concealed. Prevention of being a victim of theft is the best method. Why not follow my example - have one bag on display containing small change that can be used for normal everyday use, whilst have another belt with all the Hajj budget deeply concealed.

(7) You will no doubt also come across beggars in the streets (and possibly inside the mosque). I cannot give much advice here other than do what your heart says. If you deeply feel they are genuine then help as much as possible. You may offer to buy them food or alternatives - this is a decision that you should choose yourself. One note of caution is to avoid taking too much money out at the same time. As there is a chance that money could be grabbed out of your hands - this happened to me but luckily it was loose change.

(8) Whilst in Mecca please try and refrain from doing any shopping/ buying gifts for relatives. You should really do this after you have completed Hajj. You may buy stuff that you need e.g. any essentials items to complete Hajj or something to eat during your Hajj like dates. For buying dates, the most popular are called Ajwa (they were favoured by the Prophet Muhammad - P.B.U.H), they are smaller than normal dates and they taste great as well - but are very expensive compared to other dates. I think they were 60 Riyals per KG. Other dates go between 10 to 20 Riyals per KG some dates even go as low as 5 Riyal. You can sample before you buy – but ask the vendor first!

If you decide to do shopping after Hajj then do consider the weight of your luggage and the amount your plane ticket allows otherwise you will be paying excess weight charges. Also try and look at price differences between shops before buying items.

Items most people buy/ take back with them:
Ajwa Dates (Buy them in Makkah or buy them direct from the Madinah factory if you go to Madinah)
Zamzam water
Tasbeeh Beads
Hijabs & Jilbabs
Prayer Rugs
Gold Jewellery
Metal work (tea sets etc)
Perfumes/ Attr
Qur’an and Islamic Books

(7) At you hotel - the hotel staff should provide Zam-Zam water for you to consume. If not use any empty water bottle or buy some containers and fill up at the mosque. If you want to take some Zam Zam water back to your country after Hajj make sure you get the container sealed and labelled. I think you are allowed 20 Litres each – but check with your travel agent/ Hajj representatives.

(8) Your tour guide/ hotel might also offer a tour of Makkah as well as all the other sites Mina, Muzalifa, Arafat etc. You may chose to visit these places before it gets packed during the actual Hajj or you may chose to simply continue praying in Makkah - Why not do multiple Umrah's?

Mina (a brief guide)
(1) Mina could be considered the tent city. There are thousands and thousands of large tents everywhere. You will be taken there from your hotel by a government coach. The tent is carpeted with sand underneath it. The tents have electric lights as well as a socket to plug in any electrical items.

Each tent is numbered. Remember your location, as you could easily get lost. Maps are placed within certain points in Mina. Study the maps carefully.

(2) Mina does get cold at night, so there is a chance that you catch cold due to change in weather. When sleeping try not to sleep nearer the exit as the draft is very cold and you will really notice it when pilgrims come and go into the tent.

(3) There are toilets/ shower facilities and Wadu facilities close to the tents. Depending on where you stay you may find that the facilities are mostly dirty. The toilets again are the low level toilets with a couple of British style toilets on the side. Again the shower is above the toilet. Toilet paper to clean the seats becomes useful If you decide to use the British style toilets. There will be queues for these toilets during busy times so make notes on when to avoid these queues. If you are going to do Wadu or have a Shower be prepared for cold water! Please also consider leaving it as clean as possible for other pilgrims to use.

(4) Each tent has a large Zam-Zam water container that gets filled regularly. I recommend you avoid drinking from it as I saw a maintenance staff refill the tanks from taps located close to the Wadu area – I believe that the same water is used for the shower/ toilet. I believe this water is not Zam-Zam water - I could be wrong and may Allah (SWT) forgive me. If in doubt there are always water fountains nearby to drink water. Also consider taking Zam Zam water in containers filled in Makkah to drink during your stay at Mina.

(5) There are also lots of food outlets as well as stalls selling clothes close to the road exiting Mina.

(6) Also nearby is the bank to pay for the Qurbani. Your Hajj guide should provide you with the details during the Hajj and may do the work for you.

(7) For those that would like to buy the animal physically and have it sacrificed in front of you eyes, there are farms and slaughter houses close to Mina. There are cows, camels, goats & sheep to choose from. You may use the slaughter house or if you have contacts in Makkah buy the animal and arrange for local person to slaughter it. This method does consume a lot of time and if you do decide this method, make sure you purchase a mask to cover your nose and mouth to prevent inhaling dust whilst choosing the animals. Always choose a healthy animal without any defects for the sacrifice. Again you will need to be good at haggling as the farmers/ operators know it's the season that they make the most money.

Arafat (a brief guide)
(1) Mountain of mercy – this is the place to spend your time making Dua – always make Dua facing Mecca.

(2) In terms of facilities there is not much there apart from large tents (again these are carpeted) constructed by the Saudi Government. Your tour guide will allocate a tent for you and should provide food for you. There are no real facilities to buy food. There might be one or two stalls but I did not notice any.

(3) There are toilet and Wadu facilities. There will be queues but they should be small.

(4) The bus drop off points and pick up points might be far from your tent so be prepared to walk. The buses are not regular and so you will need to be patient.

Muzalifa (a brief guide)
(1) This is the place where you will be sleeping under the sky. As almost everyone is sleeping under one area be careful that men and women are not sleeping close to one other. This almost happened to us where our families were sleeping in one area and noticed that another group of pilgrims (male) were being very careless and were sleeping close to the female members of our family – so we were quick to react and changed to more suitable positions. So be careful and be considerate to others when deciding where to sleep.

(2) There are no food stalls in Muzalifa, there might be one or two persons selling tea, hot water etc. but that will be it. You may want to take some snacks and Zam Zam water with you (but I did notice that the Saudi officials did provide Zam Zam water bottles).

(3) With regards to Toilet and Wadu facilities – you may wish to eat less and and avoid going to the toilet. If required go early as possible because during the night there will be queues lasting 45 minutes each. There will be at least 10 people in line for each cubicle!

(4) Muzalifa is also the place to collect the stones to throw at the shaytan. You will not need to look far as the whole area made of sand & little stones. The Saudi government has deliberately placed these stones in the area to make it easy for the pilgrims. So these stones will literally be under your feet. When you do collect the stones (ensure that they are not bigger than a chick pea) and make sure they are cleaned. You can simply put them in a bottle, fill it up with water and give it a few good shakes. This will clean the stones and at the same time dissolve any dirt that may look like stones.

(5) There will be sufficient lighting provided by the Saudi government and so there won’t be any real need to take a torch.

(6) When sleeping make sure you place a mat or one part of the sleeping bag on the floor, otherwise you will get dirty. Ensure you don’t cover your head and feet whilst sleeping.

(7) The bus services out of Muzalifa is poorly organised. Your tour leader might have to go out and find one. So please be patient.

Stoning the pillars of Satan (a brief guide)
(1) The original pillars had been surrounded by huge walls, making it easier and safer for large crowds to throw stones.

(2) The Saudi government had constructed three layers of roads (what could be described as flyovers). Most likely you will be on the top tier.

(3) It is a long walk from Mina and equally long walk to Makkah. Make sure your flip-flops/ Sandals are comfortable.

(4) It is best to go as close as possible to the wall to throw the stones - be patient as your turn will come inshallah. When you have finished get out of the area and let other pilgrims have their chance. I’ve seen pilgrims grow stones from a distance in trying to avoid the crowds. In most cases they would accidentally hit people in front of them. The stones are so small so they will be no real impact if you get hit but please be cautious (do protect your eyes when heading away from the wall).

(5) The throwing of the stones are symbolic, throw them one by one. - Never throw them all together or substitute them for larger rocks or other items thinking that this will hurt the shaytan the most.

(6) Again make sure to make dua towards Qibla.

(7) For those elderly, there might be a few wheelchair runners on the streets. They will probably charge up to 50 Rhiyals during the main Hajj. You might need to haggle to get it to that rate. If you do want to purchase a wheelchair in Makkah then the price is approximately 300 Rhiyals. Most hotels will have wheelchairs to give out (I think mostly left by Pilgrims that used that hotel in the past)

Madinah (a brief guide)
(1) If you go to Madinah before or after your Hajj, then you will notice that the Prophets Mosque is such as beautiful mosque. The people of Madinah are so friendly and more happier than those in Makkah or any other place. The whole place is kept pristine.

(2) Madinah is the place to do any shopping (after you had done your Hajj). The area is very commercial (as stated earlier there is even a KFC close to the mosque)

(3) The weather is very different to that of Makkah. You will notice the difference during your bus journey. If you are doing a night journey from Makkah – make sure you wear or have something warm to wear during the journey (even if it is very hot inside the bus).

(4) Whilst at the Prophets Mosque you will notice that the men and women have separate facilities. So again if you take family members make sure you have a meeting point to meet if you get lost or meet after prayers.

(5) There will be queues to visit the grave of the Prophet (PBUH) and his companions – so please be patient. There will be even more queues to pray salat at the area known as the “garden from paradise”. Please pray there and leave once you have finished. Please don’t camp yourself there preventing other to pray. Be patient for your turn and be considerate to others.

(6) Also in Madinah is the Baqee’ (graveyard of Madinah, where most of the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) are buried.

(7) Check with your tour guide/ Hotel if they will do tour of Madinah, i.e. visit Quba (The first mosque in Islam) and other mosques. Sometimes the tour will take you to the Madinah dates factory.

After Hajj
Hajj does not end when you leave Meccah. The scholars have said that one of the signs that Allah (SWT) has accepted your Hajj is that you will come back a better person than when you left.

If you have found any of this information useful please make Dua for myself and my family, and all those who contributed to this article, as well as those who contribute to this blogsite and the Ummah in general. I pray that your Hajj gets accepted by Allah (SWT) and you come back a better person - Ameen.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Bangladesh Cyclone Appeal!

Bangladesh Cyclone Appeal!

On 15 November 2007 Cyclone Sidr swept through the Bay of Bengal with winds of over 150mph triggering a five metre high tidal surge. Current reports have confirmed over 3,000 people dead and millions have been left homeless. The death toll could reach 10,000 and thousands are injured and missing. The best thing you can do is make Dua and donate money.

Most mosques if not all, had collection boxes today during Jummah, if you want a make a contribution please check to see if your local mosque is still collecting donations. If not you can donate online via various Islamic charity organisations e.g.

The Qur'an encourages the Muslim to donate their funds:
'the likeness of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah, is as the likeness of a grain that sprouts seven spikes. In every spike there are 100 grains, and Allah multiplies for whom He will' (2:261).

The Prophet said:
'Charity is a necessity for every Muslim. ' He was asked: 'What if a person has nothing?' The Prophet replied: 'He should work with his own hands for his benefit and then give something out of such earnings in charity.' The Companions asked: 'What if he is not able to work?' The Prophet said: 'He should help poor and needy persons.' The Companions further asked 'What if he cannot do even that?' The Prophet said 'He should urge others to do good.' The Companions said 'What if he lacks that also?' The Prophet said 'He should check himself from doing evil. That is also charity.'

Monday, 19 November 2007

Hajj & Umrah mentioned in the Qur'an

Taken from freewebs.com/hajjlessons. (The website is very useful and has a vast amount of information on Hajj)

The Noble Qur'an

Al-Baqarah - 2:128
"Our Lord! And make us submissive unto You and of our offspring a nation submissive unto You, and show us our Manasik (all the ceremonies of pilgrimage - hajj and 'Umrah, etc.), and accept our repentance. Truly, You are the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.

Al-Baqarah - 2:158
Verily! As-Safa and Al-Marwah (two mountains in Makkah) are of the Symbols of Allah. So it is not a sin on him who perform hajj or 'Umrah (pilgrimage) of the House (the Ka'bah at Makkah) to perform the going (Tawaf) between them (As-Safa and Al-Marwah). And whoever does good voluntarily, then verily, Allah is All-Recogniser, All-Knower.

Al-Baqarah - 2:196
And perform properly (i.e. all the ceremonies according to the ways of Prophet Muhammad ), the hajj and 'Umrah (i.e. the pilgrimage to Makkah) for Allah. But if you are prevented (from completing them), sacrifice a Hady (animal, i.e. a sheep, a cow, or a camel, etc.) such as you can afford, and do not shave your heads until the Hady reaches the place of sacrifice. And whosoever of you is ill or has an ailment in his scalp (necessitating shaving), he must pay a Fidyah (ransom) of either observing Saum (fasts) (three days) or giving Sadaqah (charity - feeding six poor persons) or offering sacrifice (one sheep). Then if you are in safety and whosoever performs the 'Umrah in the months of hajj, before (performing) the hajj, (i.e. hajj-at-Tamattu' and Al-Qiran), he must slaughter a Hady such as he can afford, but if he cannot afford it, he should observe Saum (fasts) three days during the hajj and seven days after his return (to his home), making ten days in all. This is for him whose family is not present at Al-Masjid-al-Harâm (i.e. non-resident of Makkah). And fear Allah much and know that Allah is Severe in punishment. (Al-Baqarah 2:196)

Al-Baqarah - 2:197
The hajj (pilgrimage) is (in) the well-known (lunar year) months (i.e. the 10th month, the 11th month and the first ten days of the 12th month of the Islâmic calendar, i.e. two months and ten days). So whosoever intends to perform hajj therein by assuming Ihram), then he should not have sexual relations (with his wife), nor commit sin, nor dispute unjustly during the hajj. And whatever good you do, (be sure) Allah knows it. And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best provision is At-Taqwa (piety, righteousness, etc.). So fear Me, O men of understanding!

Aali Imran - 3:97
In it are manifest signs (for example), the Maqam (place) of Ibrahim (Abraham); whosoever enters it, he attains security. And hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Ka'bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the expenses (for one's conveyance, provision and residence); and whoever disbelieves [i.e. denies hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah), then he is a disbeliever of Allah], then Allah stands not in need of any of the 'Alamin (mankind and jinns).

Al-Ma'idah - 5:1
O you who believe! Fulfill (your) obligations. Lawful to you (for food) are all the beasts of cattle except that which will be announced to you (herein), game (also) being unlawful when you assume Ihrâm for hajj or 'Umrah (pilgrimage). Verily, Allâh commands that which He wills.

Al-Ma'idah - 5:2
O you who believe! Violate not the sanctity of the Symbols of Allah, nor of the Sacred Month, nor of the animals brought for sacrifice, nor the garlanded people or animals, etc. [Marked by the garlands on their necks made from the outer part of the tree­stems (of Makkah) for their security], nor the people coming to the Sacred House (Makkah), seeking the bounty and good pleasure of their Lord. But when you finish the Ihram (of hajj or 'Umrah), you may hunt, and let not the hatred of some people in (once) stopping you from Al­Masjid­al­Haram (at Makkah) lead you to transgression (and hostility on your part). Help you one another in Al­Birr and At­Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Severe in punishment.

Al-Ma'idah - 5:95
O you who believe! Kill not game while you are in a state of Ihrâm for hajj or 'Umrah (pilgrimage), and whosoever of you kills it intentionally, the penalty is an offering, brought to the Ka'bah, of an eatable animal (i.e. sheep, goat, cow, etc.) equivalent to the one he killed, as adjudged by two just men among you; or, for expiation, he should feed Masakin (poor persons), or its equivalent in Saum (fasting), that he may taste the heaviness (punishment) of his deed. Allah has forgiven what is past, but whosoever commits it again, Allah will take retribution from him. And Allah is All­Mighty, All-Able of Retribution.

Al-Ma'idah - 5:96
Lawful to you is (the pursuit of) water­game and its use for food - for the benefit of yourselves and those who travel, but forbidden is (the pursuit of) land­game as long as you are in a state of Ihram (for hajj or 'Umrah). And fear Allah to Whom you shall be gathered back.

Al-Ma'idah - 5:97
Allah has made the Ka'bah, the Sacred House, an asylum of security and hajj and 'Umrah (pilgrimage) for mankind, and also the Sacred Month and the animals of offerings and the garlanded (people or animals, etc. marked with the garlands on their necks made from the outer part of the stem of the Makkah trees for their security), that you may know that Allah has knowledge of all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth, and that Allah is the All­Knower of each and everything.

Al-Hajj - 22:25
Verily! Those who disbelieve and hinder (men) from the Path of Allah, and from Al-Masjid-al-Haram (at Makkah) which We have made (open) to (all) men, the dweller in it and the visitor from the country are equal there [as regards its sanctity and pilgrimage (hajj and 'Umrah)]. And whoever inclines to evil actions therein or to do wrong (i.e. practise polytheism and leave Islamic Monotheism), him We shall cause to taste a painful torment.

Al-Hajj - 22:27
And proclaim to mankind the hajj (pilgrimage). They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, they will come from every deep and distant (wide) mountain highway (to perform hajj.

Al-Hajj - 22:28
That they may 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 Allâh on appointed days (i.e. 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th day of Dhul-Hijjah), over the beast of cattle that He has provided for them (for sacrifice) (at the time of their slaughtering by saying: Bismillah, Wallahu-Akbar, Allahumma Minka wa Ilaik). Then eat thereof and feed therewith the poor who have a very hard time. (Al-Hajj 22:28)

Al-Hajj - 22:29
Then let them complete the prescribed duties (Manasik of hajj) for them, and perform their vows, and circumambulate the Ancient House (the Ka'bah at Makkah).

Al-Hajj - 22:30
That (Manasik prescribed duties of hajj is the obligation that mankind owes to Allah), and whoever honours the sacred things of Allah, then that is better for him with his Lord. The cattle are lawful to you, except those (that will be) mentioned to you (as exceptions). So shun the abomination (worshipping) of idol, and shun lying speech (false statements).

Al-Hajj - 22:67
For every nation We have ordained religious ceremonies [e.g. slaughtering of the beast of cattle during the three days of stay at Mîna (Makkah) during the hajj (pilgrimage)] which they must follow; so let them (pagans) not dispute with you on the matter (i.e. to eat of the cattle which you slaughter, and not to eat of cattle which Allâh kills by its natural death), but invite them to your Lord. Verily! You (O Muhammad SAW) indeed are on the (true) straight guidance. (i.e. the true religion of Islamic Monotheism). (Al-Hajj 22:67)

Ash-Shu'ara - 26:218
Who sees you (O Muhammad SAW) when you stand up (alone at night for Tahajjud prayers).

Al-Munafiqun - 63:10
And spend (in charity) of that with which We have provided you, before death comes to one of you and he says: "My Lord! If only You would give me respite for a little while (i.e. return to the worldly life), then I should give Sadaqah (i.e. Zakat) of my wealth, and be among the righteous [i.e. perform hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah)].

Al-Muzzammil - 73:6
Verily, the rising by night (for Tahajjud prayer) is very hard and most potent and good for governing (the soul), and most suitable for (understanding) the Word (of Allah).

Some Ahadeeth regarding Hajj and Umrah

Taken from Silsilah Ahadeeth As-Saheehah of Shaykh Al-Albaani (Rahimullah)

1- 1527 - On the authority of Zaid bin Khalid al-Juhanee, on the authority of the Messenger of Allaah -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam - who said:

‘Jibraeel came to me and said: O Muhammad! Order your Companions to raise their voices with the Talbeeyah (proclamation for Hajj or Umrah), since it is from the [characteristics- mark – sign – distinguishing features] of Hajj.’No. 830

2- 1528 - On the authority of Ibn Abbas in a narration ascribed to the Prophet: -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam:

‘Be continuous (in another narration: follow up) the Hajj and the Umrah since they negate poverty and sins, just as the furnace separates the slag from the iron.’No. 1185 & 1200

3- 1531 – On the authority of Ibn Abbas who said that the Messenger of Allaah - sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam said:

‘If you stone the Jamaar (pillars) it will be like light for you on the Day of Judgement.’ No. 2515

4- 1533 – On the authority of ‘Aeysha in a narration ascribed to the Prophet: -sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam:

‘When you have completed your Hajj then you should hasten your journey to your family, since it is greater in its reward.’No. 1379

5- 1536 – On the authority of Ibn Abbas: that the Quraish said: Indeed Muhammad and his Companions have been weakened by the fever of Yathrib (Madina). So when the Messenger of Allaah - sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam came in the year that he performed Umrah he said to his Companions: ‘Walk briskly around the House (Ka’ba) so the Mushrikeen can see your strength.’

So when they walked briskly, the Quraish said: They have not weakened.’No. 2573

6- 1537 – The Messenger - sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam said:

‘Stone the Jamarah with pebbles like that of chick peas.’No. 1437

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Powerpoint: Hajj presentation

Here are a few PowerPoint presentations I had managed to pick up from various websites ...

By far the BEST and most detailed Hajj PowerPoint presentation on the web was forwarded by brother Omar Bellal. It can be downloaded from the Islamic Society of East Bay website.

NOTE: The presentation is 50 MB, therefore please save it on your computer and then open the presentation and run as a slide show. Download will take approximately 6-8 minutes depending on the speed of your computer but it is WORTH the wait.

Other presentations...

(1) Here is a quick, simple introduction to Hajj on PowerPoint:

(Please copy and paste the above URL into your browser!)
Source: primaryresources.co.uk

(2) The following three presentations have been taken from Masjid E-Quba (Stamford Hill, London)

Hajj and Umrah Practical Guide Part 1.

Hajj and Umrah Practical Guide Part 2.

Visiting Madinah.

(3) A Guide to Hajj in English (Source: idauk.org)
Lectures on Hajj by Shaykh Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullah

Please visit http://idauk.org/dawah/hajj_english.html to licten/ download for your convenience.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Qur'an Stories : The Sacrificed

Qur'an Stories > The Sacrificed
Taken from al-islam.com

When Abraham (peace be upon him) left his people's land, he asked his Lord to bless him with a pious son. Therefore, Allah gave him glad tidings that he would be the father of a gentle son, Ishmael (peace be upon him).

Ishmael was born when Abraham, the Close One to Allah, was eighty-six years old. When Ishmael was old enough to walk, Abraham saw in a dream that he sacrificed his son. As prophets' dreams are revelations, Abraham's dream was a great trial with which Allah afflicted him.

The Qur'an says, "He [Abraham] said; 'O my dear son, I have seen in a dream that I must sacrifice you, so look, what do you think?'"

In reply, Ishmael said, "O my father! Do what you have been commanded. Allah willing, you shall find me of the steadfast."

Then, they were commanded to submit themselves to Allah's Will.

The Qur'an says, "When they had both submitted their wills (to Allah), and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice)." As Abraham and Ishmael submitted to Allah's Will and began to carry out His commandment, Allah sent angels with glad tidings.

The Qur'an says, "We called out to him, `O Abraham! Thou hast already fulfilled the vision!' Thus indeed We reward those who do right.

This was obviously a trial. And We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice. And We left (blessing) for him among generations (to come) in Later times.

Peace and salutation to Abraham! Thus indeed do We reward those who do right. For he was one of Our believing servants."

When Abraham and his son Ishmael passed the trial successfully, Allah redeemed Ishmael's life with a white ram that had sound eyes and horns which Abraham found tied to a tree near Thabir Mount. So he sacrificed it at Mina. Afterwards, this act has been perpetuated by the rituals of Hajj, especially the rite of sacrifice.

HAJJ - Useful Media Clips

Here's some nice clips of Hajj I've found from the Internet

1. Hajj Videos - Hajj-videos
This is a very good website with information on what to do and what to avoid during Hajj. Most of the videos are the same as (or maybe taken from?) al-islam.com step by step interactive web programme. It's worth a look. Make sure you have real-player installed!

2. Hajj - A Journey of the Heart (Source: Youtube jannah7)
This clip from Youtube has lots of pictures of the Hajj Pilgrimage.

3. The Pilgrimage (Hajj) to Makkah (Source: Youtube akakakakakah)
This is a clip of Hajj pilgrimage from new muslims from North America, which they explain their feelings about Hajj and their new life.

4. A Guide to Hajj in English (Source: idauk.org)
Lectures on Hajj by Shaykh Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullah

Please visit http://idauk.org/dawah/hajj_english.html to licten/ download for your convenience.

Note to readers:
If you find any interesting video's/ pictures of Hajj please let me know and I'll post them here.

When Hajj becomes Fard & The different types of Hajj

Taken from fisabilillah.org

Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam. It means pilgrimage, effort, and to set out for a place. It is an act of worship during the Hajj season. It is an obligation to be performed once in one’s life; more than that will be Nafl (supererogatory).


For Hajj to become Fard the following conditions have to be found in an individual:
1. To be a Muslim.
2.To be physically matured.
3.To be physically capable of travelling, and performing Hajj, or at least having the support to be able to do so.
4. To have sufficient expenses for travelling, food, medication, accommodation, and any other necessary requirements.
5. To have sufficient wealth for one's dependents (if they are left behind) while performing the Hajj.
6. A route available being secure, (i.e. not dangerous).
7. A woman must not be in `Iddah. (3 menstrual periods after a divorce or 4 months and 10 days after the death of her spouse).
8. A woman must be accompanied by her husband or a mahram (an adult male whom she is not permitted to marry due to being closely related).

Once all the conditions are met the Hajj should be performed at the earliest possible opportunity. Failure to do so will mean that one is accountable to Allah for neglecting His Command.

If someone else alleviates an obstacle (e.g. provides the money), then too the Fard becomes established.

click picture to enlarge

In regards to one’s own Hajj, there are three types that one can perform.

1. Qiran:
This is when a pilgrim enters Ihram with the intention of performing both `Umrah and Hajj together with one Ihram. The pilgrim, on arriving in Makkah, will first perform `Umrah followed by Hajj in the same Ihram; thus one remains in the same state of Ihram till the end of Hajj.

2. Tamattu`: The pilgrim dons the Ihram with the intention of both `Umrah and Hajj but with two separate states of Ihram. After `Umrah is completed the state of Ihram is lifted and one will have to re-enter Ihram before Hajj starts.

3. Ifrad:
The pilgrim, intends Hajj only. He enters the state of Ihram from the Miqat for Hajj, and stays in that state until Hajj.

Note: Whenever `Umrah, Ihram, Tawaf or Sa`y are referred to it is assumed that one has already read about them in the `Umrah section of this book, therefore their details will be omitted unless there are specific rules that apply for Hajj.

Note: Essentially the different types of Hajj are very similar. Besides the intention of the Ihram and the maintaining or shedding of it, there are very few differences. These will be pointed out in the following pages.

Note: If one enters the Miqat with the intention of either Ifrad or Qiran then one cannot change the intention to another type without giving Dam (Sacrifice). In the case of Tamattu` one can either give dam (sacrifice) or leave the Miqat and re-enter with another intention and Ihram.

(Recommended Reading):
1. Fisabilillah Publications Website:
Your complete guide to Hajj & Umrah (easy to read and understand)

2. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Da‘wah and Guidance: Guide to Hajj

3. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Da‘wah and Guidance: Hajj Illustrated - step by step (this is a bit complex to operate but very interactive)

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Rogue travel agents cheat British pilgrims to Mecca

Taken from The Independent Newspaper, UK, Published: 02 November 2007
By Arifa Akbar and Nadeem Badshah

A rising number of British Muslims who pay thousands of pounds to make the annual Haj to Mecca are being cheated by rogue travel companies.

Community leaders are warning travellers to the Haj next month to be vigilant after almost 1,000 British pilgrims were conned out of their savings by travel agents and tour operations last year, more than double the number of complaints in previous years, according to the Association of British Hujjaj UK (ABH).

An investigation by Eastern Eye newspaper found that travellers were sent forged airline tickets for non-existent flights, and some were forced to sleep on the floor of cramped rooms despite having paid for five-star hotels.

Khalid Pervez, the general secretary of ABH, said the problem had escalated as unlicensed tour operators sought to cash in. Mr Pervez has sent a petition with 5,000 signatures to the foreign and home offices, demanding action against rogue agents.

"Tour operators and travel agents want to make money through Haj trips. Normally it is a one-man show working from home, he is not licensed. The majority of people who travel are not very literate, people aged 70-plus, who are not fully aware of their rights. They are very easy targets for leaflets with false promises," he said.

Lord Ahmed, who hosted a Haj Awareness Event at the House of Lords this week focusing on rogue travel agents, highlighted the problem, saying that most of the scams were led by travel agents in the south of England.

"Last year was one of the worst because the demand was bigger than supply. Visas are given free by the Saudi authorities but agents are charging £500 to £700 per visa. When people complain, the agent says 'Haj means struggle. You shouldn't complain or your Haj will be void'.

That is complete nonsense. Haj means comfort, worship, being in touch with your creator. It is the minority [of agents]. Most of them are south-based. There must be a zero tolerance towards these illegal, unscrupulous agents. People must report them to the police and Trading Standards," he said.

Up to 25,000 British Muslims are estimated to go to Haj this year. More than 80 per cent of them are aged over 65, and many have saved for many years to meet the cost of the trip.

The Foreign Office has launched a website offering advice to British Muslims. Its guidelines include booking airline tickets through a company which holds an Air Travel Organiser's License (Atol), as well as using a tour operator who has been accredited by the Saudi embassy. The Foreign Office also advised that copies of passports and travel insurance policies should be left with family members in Britain, and receipts for airline tickets obtained from travel agents.

Naheed Kayani, who fell victim to a Haj scam, paid £9,000 to travel to Mecca with her mother and 22-year-old son with a tour operator approved by the Saudi embassy. She said the trip left her traumatised. "We were promised direct return flights to Jeddah, but a week before travel, we were told we have to pay £1,000 more. When we refused, we were sent by chartered plane to Medina and we had to make our own way to Mecca.

"[The agent] would not give us our plane tickets [to London]. We were stranded in Medina for 18 days. My son is a medical student and didn't get the results he expected because he missed 10 days of lectures," she said.

Qaisar Rizvi, 68, also had a bad experience after travelling with a group of 80 people last year.

"[The agent] said it was £2,000 if we wanted to go by British Airways and £1,800 with any other airline. We chose BA. My wife stressed that I am a diabetic, I have asthma, and had a heart bypass. When we got to the airport, it was some Italian airline with a small plane. We got to Jeddah airport. We didn't know where to go, where our luggage was. It was absolute chaos.

"We got to the hotel in Mecca and I haven't seen anywhere more dirty. According to [the agent] it would be a five-star hotel. There was waste all over the place. We used our suitcases as tables. The food was really awful."

Friday, 9 November 2007

Salatul Tasbih

Salatul Tasbih
Taken from islamicacademy.org

For forgiveness of All Sins

Benefits of Salat-Ul-Tasbih
Our Beloved Prophet Mohammed (Sallallaho Alihiwassallam) said to his uncle (father’s brother) Sayyiduna Abbass (may Allah be pleased with him) Oh uncle shall I not give you Shall I not grant you Shall I not award you Shall I not do mercy on you When you do 10 things Allah will forgive your sins: of the future and of the past; new and old; those you have forgotten and those you did knowingly; big and small; hidden and revealed. Then he (Sallallaho Alihiwassallam) explained the taught the way to pray Salatul Tasbih and then said if you can pray this salah once a day, if you can not pray once a day then every Friday, and even if this is not possible then once a month and even if this is not possible then once a year and even if this is not possible then at least once in a lifetime (Abu’Dawood & Tirimzi)

How to perform Salatul Tasbih?
This salaat (namaz) is offered in four rakat at a time and can be read in any part of the day and night besides Zawal and Sunrise and Sunset makrooh times, keeping in mind the forbidden times for performing Salat (namaaz). But is is preferred before Zuhr (Fatawa Alamgeeri)

The Tasbih to be read in Salaat-Ul-Tasbeeh:
" Subhaan Allahi Wal Hamdulillahi Wa Laa ilaha illal Laahu Wallahu Akbar "

Goal is to recite above Tasbih 300 times in Four Rakah with the following method.

In the first rakaat, after reading Sana "Subhaana Kallahumma...", read the above tasbih 15 times.

Now recite Aaoz "Aoozubillah...", Bismillah "Bismillah...", Then read sura Fatiha and a Surah or minimum of three small Ayayhs then read the tasbih 10 times again.

Go to ruku saying Takbeer (Allah Hoo Akbar), after reciting "Subhaana Rabbiyal Azeem" minimum of three times read the tasbih 10 times in Ruku.

Saying "Samee Allahu Liman Hamidah Rabbana Lakal Hamdh" get up from ruku to qiyam position.

Now read the tasbih 10 times.

Go to Sajdah saying Takbeer (Allah Hoo Akbar) and after reciting "Subhaana Rabbiyal A'la" minimum of three times read the tasbih 10 times in Sajdah.

Now go after first Sajdah go to Jalsa (sitting position) saying Takbeer (Allah Hoo Akbar).

Sitting in Jalsa read tasbih 10 times.

Go to sajda again saying Takbeer (Allah Hoo Akbar) and after reciting "Subhaana Rabbiyal A'la" minimum of three times read the tasbih 10 times in Sajdah again.

Get up to begin 2nd rakat saying Takbeer (Allah Hoo Akbar).

Do rakah #2 in same fashion, but before reading Bismillah "Bismillah...", and Surah Fatiha, read the tasbih 15 times. Follow the rest as you did in first Rakat.

After second Sajdah of Second Rakat sit in Qaidah Oola (first sitting) read Attahiyat, Durood and Dua then get up for 3rd rakaat without saying Salam.

Begin third Rakat, just like the first Rakat, with Sana "Subhaana Kallahumma...", read the above tasbih 15 times. Follow the rest as you did in first Rakat untill you sit for Qaidah Akihra (last sitting) after second sajdah of fourth Rakah.

In Qaidah Akihra Attahiyat, Durood, Dua finish Salah with Salam.

Special notes for Salat-Ul-Tasbih:
1) Do not count loudly. It will break Salah
2) Do not count on fingers or by holding a Bead Tasbih in hand. It is Makruh.
3) You may count by pressing the fingers as a reminder. For example if you are in Ruku. You me press pinky of your right hand first for the first count, then the finger next to it for second count, then the middle finger for third count, following this method untill you reach the pinky of left hand will give you an exact count of ten. Use the same method in Qayam, Sajdah and Jalsa.
4) If missed a count then make it up in the next posture. For example if forgot to recite Tasbih after Surah in Qayam. Then you may recite Tasbish 20 times instead of 10 in Rukuh after "Subhaana Rabbiyal Azeem". Missed Tasbih cannot be recited in Qayam after ruku and Jalsa between Sajdah. If you missed the Tasbih in Ruku then recite 20 in the first Sajdah instead of the Qayam after rukuh. Similarly if missed the Tasbih in first Sajdah then do not make it up in Jalsa. Instead recite missed tasbih in the second Sajdah. If Tasbih has been missed in last sajdah of second or fourth Rakah then you can recite the missed ones before Attahiyat in Qaidah.
5) If you miss a wajib in Salah and have to do Sajdah Sahaw. You dont have to recite Tasbih in Sajdah sahoo, since the 300 count has been estalished. But if you had missed Tasbih in any of the postures and remeber it now. Then you may recite the missed Tasbih in Sajdah Sahaw now.
6) It is preferable to recite after Surah Fatiha Sura Takathuur in the first raka’, Surah Wal A’sr in the second raka’, Surah Kaferoon (qul ya aiyuhal Kafiroon) in the third and Surah Akhlas (Qul hu Allah-hu ahd) in the fourth raka’. If one does not remember these surah they can recite the ones they prefer.

May Allah accept this dua’ (supplication) for the sake of the trustworthy PROPHET MOHAMMED (Allah’s Grace & Peace be upon him)