Allah God not Moon God

Allah God not Moon God

Do Muslims worship the Moon God? Some people claim that Muslims do worship a moon god in a black box in the desert, namely, the Ka`bah. Indeed, Muslims are forbidden in the Qur’an to worship the sun or the moon. They are ordained to worship Allah the Creator alone. Here, Sheikh Yusuf Estes uses logical as well as historical evidence to disprove these claims.

Join us in this interesting video to see how Sheikh Yusuf Estes refutes such false allegations and invalid claims.

 

 

 

 

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How to Make `Umrah

How to Make `Umrah

`Umrah is the lesser pilgrimage. It involves ihram, Tawaf (circumambulating the Ka`bah), Sa`i (walking between mounts of Safa and Marwah), and shaving or cutting the hair.

1. Ihram

The first steps in your `Umrah are to put on the clothing of ihram and to make the intention of `Umrah.

After making the intention of ihram, try to spend your time in remembering Allah, reading the Qur’an, and supplicating. It is recommended also to chant Talbiyah frequently. The words of Talbiyah are:

Labbayka Allahumma labbayk. Labbayka la shareeka laka labbayk. Inna al-hamda wa-n-ni`mata laka wal-mulk. La shareeka lak.

Here I am at Your service, O Lord, here I am. Here I am at Your service. You have no partners. Yours alone is all praise and all bounty, and Yours alone is sovereignty. You have no partners.

Male pilgrims are recommended to raise up their voices when repeating the words of Talbiyah. Males and females repeat Talbiyah until they start Tawaf.

2. Tawaf

The first ritual to perform after arriving in Makkah is Tawaf. There is no problem if you rest before going to Tawaf if you feel tired.

When you reach Makkah, leave your baggage in the hotel or in a safe place, and prepare yourself for Tawaf by performing ghusl (ritual bathing), if possible, or at least wudu’ (ablution). Scholars have two opinions regarding the necessity of purity for Tawaf. Some scholars hold that you must have wudu’ before Tawaf and others deem it unnecessary. The latter opinion is stronger since the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) did not ask people accompanying him in his pilgrimage to make wudu’ for Tawaf. According to this opinion, someone who loses wudu’ before or in the middle of Tawaf need not renew it; they can make Tawaf without wudu’. It is up to you to choose either of the opinions.

Menstruating women cannot do Tawaf until they are pure and have performed ghusl.

For men, it is recommended that you drape the upper piece of ihram over your left shoulder only, exposing the right one. This is called idtiba`. It was practiced by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and his Companions when they made `Umrah in AH 7. At the time, the polytheists claimed that the fever of Madinah weakened Muslims, so the Prophet ordered his Companions to uncover their right shoulders and to jog in the first three rounds to show the polytheists their strength.

On entering the Sacred Mosque (Al-Masjid Al-Haram), it is recommended to say the du`aa’ of entering mosques:

A`udhu bi-llahi al-`azheem, wa bi-wajhihi al-kareem, wa sultanihi al-qadeem, mina ash-shaitani ar-rajeem. Allahumma salli `ala Muhammad. Allahumma ighifirli dhunubi waftah li abwaba rahmatik.

I seek refuge with Allah the Supreme, I seek refuge with His honored face, with His everlasting authority, from the cursed Devil.

In the name of Allah. O Allah, Bless Muhammad! O Allah! Forgive my sins and open Your doors of mercy for me.

Now you are ready to start Tawaf. Tawaf involves walking around the Ka`bah seven times. Each round starts and ends with the Black Stone, with the Ka`bah being on your left side. If it is possible to reach the Black Stone, kiss it quietly; if it is not, you can touch it and kiss your hand or just face it and point at it saying “Bismillah, Allahu Akbar” (In the name of Allah, Allah is the Greatest). In the first three rounds, males are recommended to jog from the Black Stone to the Yemeni corner, the third of the Ka`bah’s corners and the one preceding the Black Stone.

While doing Tawaf, busy yourself with dhikr (remembrance of Allah) and supplication. You are in a very blessed time and a very blessed place, so do not miss the chance. Pray Allah to forgive your sins, to dispel your worries, to grant you the benefits of the world and the hereafter, and to give you whatever favors you would like. Show humbleness and genuine need to Allah, and ask Him the Almighty for you, your parents, your family, and the whole Muslim Ummah.

When you reach the Yemeni corner try to touch it if possible. If you can’t, you need not point at it or do anything. Supplicate Allah until you reach the Black Stone saying:

Rabbana a`tina fi ad-dunya hasanatan wa fi al-akhirati hasanatan wa qina `adhaba an-nar.

Our Lord! Grant us good in this world and good in the hereafter, and save us from the punishment of the Fire.

After finishing Tawaf, pray two rak`ahs behind Maqam Ibrahim (the Station of Ibrahim) or a little bit away from it. Recite Surat Al-Kafirun (Surah 109) in the first rak`ah and Surat Al-Ikhlas (Surah 112) in the second rak`ah.

It is recommended that you drink Zamzam water after you have finished Tawaf and the two-rak`ah prayer.

Be careful of the following things:

  • Do not crowd to kiss the Black Stone or to touch the Yemeni corner.
  • Make sure that Hijr Isma`il (the Enclosure of Isma`il – the arch between the north and the west corners of the Ka`bah) is included in your Tawaf. This place is considered part of the Ka`bah and therefore your circumambulation should be outside it.
  • If you are unable to perform the two-rak`ah prayer after Tawaf at Maqam Ibrahim, you can perform it any place in the mosque. Some people insist on performing it at the Maqam, disturbing the smooth movement of the pilgrims; this is not a proper act.

Note also that what is obligatory in Tawaf is just making the seven rounds, starting and ending with the Black Stone and keeping the Ka`bah on your left side. The supplications mentioned above, kissing the Black Stone or pointing at it, touching the Yemeni corner, praying two rak`ahs after Tawaf, etc. are merely recommended. Your Tawaf is not damaged if you missed any of them.

3. Sa`i

The next step in your `Umrah is to make Sa`i between As-Safa and Al-Marwah mounts. If you feel tired after performing Tawaf, you can take a break before heading to As-Safa to start Sa`i. Wudu’ is not necessary for Sa`i. When you are ready, do the following steps:

a. Head to As-Safa. When you are about to reach it, recite the following verse:

Surely As-Safa and Al-Marwah are among the signs appointed by Allah(Al-Baqarah 2:158)

b. Then say “I start my Sa`i from the place which Allah mentioned first” (that is, As-Safa mentioned in the above verse).

c. Ascend As-Safa. It is easy nowadays to ascend both As-Safa and Al-Marwah; they are paved and covered with marble. In addition, the two mounts are not that high, and you need not climb to their top. You just have to walk back and forth the full distance between these two points. If any part of this distance is left untraversed, the Sa`i will remain incomplete. This requires ascending even a small part of both mounts, but it is recommended that you go up until you are able to see the Ka`bah.

d. Face the Ka`bah and say

La ilaha illa Allah, Allahu Akbar.

La ilaha illa Allah wahdahu la shareeka lah, lahu al-mulku wa lahu al-hamdu wa huwa `ala kulli shai’in qadir

La ilaha illa Allah wahdah, anjaz wa`dah, wa nasar `abdah, wa a`az jundah wa hazam al-ahzab wahdah.

There is no god but Allah, Allah is the Greatest.

There is no god but Allah. He has no partners. To Him belong the sovereignty and all praise. He has power over all things.

There is no god but Allah. He has fulfilled His promise, given victory to His servant, and He alone defeated the confederates.

e. Start performing the Sa`i by walking from As-Safa to Al-Marwah. The distance between the two mounts is about 420 meters. If you are a male, it is recommended that you hasten between the two green signs. On reaching Al-Marwah, ascend it, face the Ka`bah, and repeat what you said on As-Safa. You have now completed one of the seven parts of Sa`i.

f. Go back to As-Safa, walking easily. Again, if you are male, hasten on reaching the green sign.

g. Keep on remembering Allah and supplicating Him while going between As-Safa and Al-Marwah.

h. Repeat the same steps in each of the seven parts. Going from As-Safa to Al-Marwah is reckoned as one part, and the return to Al-Safa is another part. Sa`i, therefore, begins with Al-Safa and ends at Al-Marwah.

4. Shaving or Cutting the Hair

Just one step is remaining, that is shaving or cutting the hair on your head. If you are a male, you should have your hair either completely shaved or shortened. If you intend to make Hajj shortly after `Umrah (tamattu` mode), you are advised to shorten your hair because you are going to shave or shorten it as part of your Hajj. If you are a female, you should shorten your hair slightly.

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Taken from Onislam.net.

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Changing the Qiblah

Changing the Qiblah

Changing the Qiblah was intended as the abolition of the sanctity of space whatever it may be and the confirmation of the sanctity of God Alone wherever the Qiblah direction may be. Learn how…..

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) emigrated from Mecca to Medina to survive disbelief, polytheism, and persecution and find a wider, vaster and more fertile environment, namely Medina.

It is Yathrib (Medina’s old name) which encompassed a pluralistic society which integrated the tribes of Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj known later as (Al-Ansar “Supporters”) with various Jewish tribes and clans.

Since this new homeland hosting Prophet Muhammad as well as his mission was a fertile soil for the message of Islam and the monotheistic cause and this message managed to attract most members of Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj, Prophet Muhammad wished for the Jews’ conversion to Islam so that Medina would be a purely Muslim society.

However, unfortunately, Prophet Muhammad’s wish was not fulfilled, nor did his earnest endeavors achieve the desired results. Instead, he was faced with the same disbelief and obstinacy as those expressed by the pagans of Mecca despite the rapprochement and bridge-building efforts he exerted.

Prophet Muhammad established the first religion-based state(1) which allowed for religious, cultural and ethnic pluralism and secured all rights and freedoms by drawing up the Charter of Medina which was considered a precociously unique, fair pluralistic constitution which has had no match until very recently, i.e. after many centuries of religious persecution, extremism and fanaticism.

Prophet Muhammad was under no obligation to draw up this charter simply because such tolerance was not popular at the time, where the logic of dialogue was not recognized and only the logic of power and domination was adopted.

In spite of the religious and worldly gains Jews got, they did not make any encouraging response to Prophet Muhammad’s call to Islam. They even misunderstood the clemency, leniency and tolerance shown by Prophet Muhammad as propitiation and appeasement. That is why they were very pleased with Muslims’ taking Jerusalem as a Qiblah (the direction towards which prayer is offered). They thought that this was a token of subordination to their faith and implicit recognition of the Jewish superiority on the part of Islam and Muslims. As a result, the Jews persisted in their haughtiness and arrogance.

Though Prophet Muhammad used to offer prayers while facing Jerusalem in Mecca, he would also face the Ka`bah in the same direction as Jerusalem. However, when he immigrated to Medina, he could no longer face the Ka`bah and Jerusalem at the same time, which aggravated Prophet Muhammad’s feelings of sadness, pain, and agony driven by homesickness and estrangement.

Therefore, Prophet Muhammad wished to face the Ka`bah while offering prayers and take it as a Qiblah as a sort of mitigation and alleviation and out of the desire to be distinguished from the Jews who only showed arrogance and obstinacy when Prophet Muhammad faced their Qiblah.

Thus, Prophet Muhammad was very willing to declare Islam’s independence and distinction from the Jews as a way for deterring them and causing them to feel misguided and beguiled.

In this regard, God says in the Qur’an:

We have certainly seen the turning of your face, (O Muhammad), toward the heaven, and We will surely turn you to a qiblah with which you will be pleased. So turn your face toward al-Masjid al-Haram. And wherever you (believers) are, turn your faces toward it [in prayer]. Indeed, those who have been given the Scripture well know that it is the truth from their Lord. And God is not unaware of what they do. (Al-Baqarah 2:144)

Thus, the Jews took the change of the Qiblah as a very strong slap which made them feel misguided and humiliated so much so that they asked Prophet Muhammad to face their Qiblah once again. Therefore, God warned him against that. He said:

And if you brought to those who were given the Scripture every sign, they would not follow your qiblah. Nor will you be a follower of their qiblah. Nor would they be followers of one another’s qiblah. So if you were to follow their desires after what has come to you of knowledge, indeed, you would then be among the wrongdoers. (Al-Baqarah 2:145)

Though the change of the Qiblah was not an easy or facile affair, given the ensuing skepticism and the apostasy of a small number of faithless Muslims, it involved paramount religious and mundane interests, which were blessings in disguise. In this respect, God says:

And We did not make the qiblah which you used to face except that We might make evident who would follow the Messenger from who would turn back on his heels. And indeed, it is difficult except for those whom God has guided. (Al-Baqarah 2:143)

The Muslim community was at a stage of building and creation and in dire need of several changes and serious provisional gradations which could not take place without such an effective vaccine which could give this nascent community strong immunity against shake and fluctuation, grant it a crystal clear purpose and, at the same time, distinguish the faithful from the faithless.

It is worth noting that the revelations sent down at Mecca were mostly restricted to the call to monotheism. The Islamic rulings were not established at Mecca. Early Muslims were not used to abrogation, change or alteration. Most of the Islamic injunctions were revealed in Medina. Gradation in legislation required the abrogation and replacement of some rulings with others.

The change of the Qiblah was the first case of abrogation in the Islamic legislation and the Qur’an. It debunked the hypocrites and the deviants. Subsequent to it, the Muslim community became stronger, more immune and ready for the change, amendment or gradation which lied ahead.

Here is the Qiblah, which Muslims faced at least five times a day and whose direction was seen as the holiest ever in the sight of Muslims, undergoing change, alteration and replacement. Thus, abrogation, alteration and gradation became more acceptable and palatable among the Muslim masses.

This even paved the way for such graded rulings as those of usury, intoxicants etc. Such rulings could not have been passed smoothly without an effective vaccine like the change of the Qiblah which gave the Muslim community strong immunity against doubt, suspicion and shakiness.

Qur’anic verses were revealed, emphasizing that God does not care about the Qiblah direction, be it eastbound, westbound, northbound or southbound. All of those directions still lie within the dominion of God. The Qiblah direction does not affect prayer itself for the latter is a spiritual rather than physical act given the acceptance of the prayers of the first-generation Muslims who passed away before the change of the Qiblah. In this effect, God says:

The foolish among the people will say, “What has turned them away from their qiblah, which they used to face?” Say, “To God belongs the east and the west. He guides whom He wills to a straight path.” (Al-Baqarah 2:142)

He also says:

And never would God have caused you to lose your faith. Indeed God is, to the people, Kind and Merciful. (Al-Baqarah 2:143)

After all, the change of the Qiblah was intended as the abolition of the sanctity of space whatever it may be and the confirmation of the sanctity of God Alone wherever the Qiblah direction may be.

This is one of the exclusive characteristics of Islam and something which distinguishes Muslims from the followers of the previous divine messages. In Islam, sanctity is God’s Alone and whatever He may declare sanctified no matter how changing it may be. There is no sanctity for anyone other than God. A man cannot be sanctified or worshiped along with God, nor can a temple or synagogue be sanctified for itself. There is no sanctity that may tower above or be equal to that of God, the Most Holy One, hence came the moderateness of Islam. It is moderation between two notable extremes, namely the sanctification of man (as in Christianity) on the one hand and the sanctification of space (as in Judaism) on the other hand so that sanctity will exclusively remain God’s Alone. In the Qur’an, God says:

And to God belongs the east and the west. So wherever you [might] turn, there is the Face of God . Indeed, Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing. (Al-Baqarah 2:115)

(1) Note: The concept of the “Religion-based State” or even “Theocracy” is not always a negative concept as may be thought by many people. The reason for rejecting this concept is the failure of the Christian Western pattern as well as other contemporary patterns. Those patterns were mostly based on rejecting the other and imposing a certain religion, doctrine or lifestyle on them. However, this is not always the case. The religion-based state established at the dawn of Islam in Medina was a unique pattern of coexistence, justice and integration. Its slogan was: “Let there be no compulsion in the matters of religion.”

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Source: www.islamforchristians.com.

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The Fifth Pillar of Islam: Hajj

The Fifth Pillar of Islam: Hajj

 

The Hajj (Pilgrimage to Makkah) is the fifth of the fundamental Muslim practices and institutions known as the five pillars of Islam.  Pilgrimage is not undertaken in Islam to the shrines of saints, to monasteries for help from holy men, or to sights where miracles are supposed to have occurred, even though we may see many Muslims do this.

Pilgrimage is made to the Ka`bah, found in the sacred city of Makkah in Saudi ِArabia, the ‘House of God,’ whose sanctity rests in that the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) built it for the worship of God.  God rewarded him by attributing the House to himself, in essence honoring it, and by making it the devotional epicenter which all Muslims face when offering the prayers (salah).  The rites of pilgrimage are performed today exactly as did by Abraham, and after him by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Pilgrimage is viewed as a particularly meritorious activity.  Pilgrimage serves as a penance – the ultimate forgiveness for sins, devotion, and intense spirituality.  The pilgrimage to Mecca, the most sacred city in Islam, is required of all physically and financially able Muslims once in their life.

The pilgrimage rite begins a few months after Ramadan, on the 8th day of the last month of the Islamic year of Dhul-Hijjah, and ends on the 13th day.  Mecca is the center towards which the Muslims converge once a year, meet and refresh in themselves the faith that all Muslims are equal and deserve the love and sympathy of others, irrespective of their race or ethnic origin.  The racial harmony fostered by Hajj is perhaps best captured by Malcolm X on his historic pilgrimage:

‘Every one of the thousands at the airport, about to leave for Jidda, was dressed this way.  You could be a king or a peasant and no one would know.  Some powerful personages, who were discreetly pointed out to me, had on the same thing I had on.  Once thus dressed, we all had begun intermittently calling out “Labbayka! (Allahumma) Labbayka!” (At your service, O Lord!)

Packed in the plane were white, black, brown, red, and yellow people, blue eyes and blond hair, and my kinky red hair – all together, brothers!  All honoring the same God, all in turn giving equal honor to each other . . .

That is when I first began to reappraise the ‘white man’. It was when I first began to perceive that ‘white man’, as commonly used, means complexion only secondarily; primarily it described attitudes and actions.  In America, ‘white man’ meant specific attitudes and actions toward the black man, and toward all other non-white men.  But in the Muslim world, I had seen that men with white complexions were more genuinely brotherly than anyone else had ever been.  That morning was the start of a radical alteration in my whole outlook about ‘white’ men.

There were tens of thousands of pilgrims, from all over the world.  They were of all colors, from blue-eyed blonds to black-skinned Africans. But we were all participating in the same ritual displaying a spirit of unity and brotherhood that my experiences in America had led me to believe never could exist between the white and the non-white.  America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem.

Throughout my travels in the Muslim world, I have met, talked to, and even eaten with people who in America would have been considered white – but the ‘white’ attitude was removed from their minds by the religion of Islam.  I have never before seen sincere and true brotherhood practiced by all colors together, irrespective of their color.”

Thus the pilgrimage unites the Muslims of the world into one international fraternity.  More than two million persons perform the Hajj each year, and the rite serves as a unifying force in Islam by bringing followers of diverse backgrounds together in worship.  In some Muslim societies, once a believer has made the pilgrimage, he is often labeled with the title ‘hajji’ ; this, however, is a cultural, rather than religious custom.

Finally, the Hajj is a manifestation of the belief in the unity of God – all the pilgrims worship and obey the commands of the One God.

At certain stations on the caravan routes to Makkah, or when the pilgrim passes the point nearest to those stations, the pilgrim enters the state of purity known as ihram. In this state, the certain ‘normal’ actions of the day and night become impermissible for the pilgrims, such as covering the head, clipping the fingernails, and wearing normal clothing in regards to men. Males remove their clothing and don the garments specific to this state of ihram,  two white seamless sheets that are wrapped around the body.

All this increases the reverence and sanctity of the pilgrimage, the city of Makkah, and month of Dhul-Hijjah. There are 5 stations, one on the coastal plains northwest of Mecca towards Egypt and one south towards Yemen, while three lie north or eastwards towards Medina, Iraq and al-Najd.  The simple garb signifies the equality of all humanity in God’s sight, and the removal of all worldly affections.

After entering the state of ihram, the pilgrim proceeds to Makkah and awaits the start of the Hajj.  On the 7th of Dhu al-Hijjah the pilgrim is reminded of his duties, and at the commence of the ritual, which takes place between the 8th and the 12th days of the month, the pilgrim visits the holy places outside Makkah – `Arafah, Muzdalifah, and Mina – and sacrifices an animal in commemoration of Abraham’s sacrifice.

The pilgrim then shortens or shaves their head, and, after throwing seven stones at specific pillars at Mina on three or four successive days, and heads for the central mosque where he walks seven times around the sacred sanctuary, or Ka`bah, in the Great Mosque, and ambulates, walking and running, seven times between the two small hills of Mt. Safaa and Mt. Marwah.  Discussing the historical or spiritual significance of each rite is beyond the scope of this introductory article.

Apart from Hajj, the “minor pilgrimage” or `Umrah is undertaken by Muslims during the rest of the year.  Performing the `Umrah does not fulfill the obligation of Hajj.  It is similar to the major and obligatory Islamic Pilgrimage (Hajj), and pilgrims have the choice of performing the `Umrah separately or in combination with the Hajj.

As in the Hajj, the pilgrim begins the `Umrah by assuming the state of ihram.  They enter Mecca and circle the sacred shrine of the Kaaba seven times.  He may then touch the Black Stone, if he can, pray behind the Maqam Ibrahim, drink the holy water of the Zamzam spring.  The ambulation between the hills of Safa and Marwah seven times and the shortening or shaving of the head complete the `Umrah.

 

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The Rituals of Hajj by E-Da`wah Committee

The Rituals of Hajj by E-Da`wah Committee

Hajj is the journey of life-time. If conducted properly, it will erase all sins of the pilgrim. So, every Muslim intending to undertake this journey should first learn well its rituals and how to perform them correctly. Watch this video for detailed information on all aspects of Hajj.

 

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