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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."