O people! Fear Allah the Almighty and know that Haj is one of the finest acts of worship and the greatest in reward. It was related that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “(The performance of) ‘Umrah is an expiation for the sins committed (between it and the previous one). And the reward for Haj Mabroor (i.e., the one accepted by Allah) is nothing except Paradise. Whoever performs Haj to this House (i.e., the Ka’aba) and does not approach his wife (for sexual intercourse) nor commits sins (while performing Haj), will come out of it as sinless as a newly-born child.”
Haj is a physical devotion that every Muslim is required to physically fulfil, though a small part of it pertains to money - such as when one offers a sacrificial animal.
The Sunnah of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, has clarified that in the event of a person being genuinely unable to perform Haj, then it is permissible by proxy. It was related in Sahih Al-Bukhari on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him, that: “A woman asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah! My father is very old. There is the obligation of Haj upon him from Allah, but he is incapable of sitting on the back of a camel.’ Thereupon Allah’s Messenger, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “Perform Haj on his behalf.’” This happened on his Farewell Pilgrimage.
In another narration, a woman came to the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, and asked: “My mother had vowed to perform Haj but she died before performing it. May I perform Haj on her behalf?” The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, replied: “Perform Haj on her behalf. Had your mother been in debt, would you not have paid it off? Therefore pay (her debt to) Allah, as He has the most right to be paid.”
If a person has the ability to perform Haj in person, he is not permitted to authorise another person to make Haj on his behalf. Many people loosely resort to Haj by proxy in the case of supererogatory Haj, even though they are well capable of performing it. By doing this they deprive themselves of the immense reward attained from the fatigue of worship and all that it contains of remembrance, supplication, submissiveness to Allah, redoubling of reward, useful meetings, etc.
In one of the two narrations reported from Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal, may Allah have mercy upon him, he forbade proxy in supererogatory Haj for those who are capable of performing it in person. Thus, a Muslim should not be careless concerning the matter of Haj; he should either perform supererogatory Haj in person if he wishes, or provide pilgrims with money in order to share with them the reward of Haj.
O people! Haj is a type of worship which is performed by the servant as a means to please Allah and to attain reward in the Hereafter. A servant’s attention must not be diverted to attaining worldly gains during Haj. Unfortunately, many people who perform Haj on behalf of others do this solely for the sake of money, which is prohibited since worldly considerations should not spoil acts of worship.
Allah the Almighty says that which means: “Whoever desires the life of this world and its adornments – We fully repay them for their deeds therein, and they therein will not be deprived. Those are the ones for whom there is not in the Hereafter but the fire. And lost is what they did therein [i.e., during worldly life], and worthless is what they used to do.” (Hud: 15-16).
He also says that which means: “And when you have completed your rites, remember Allah like your [previous] remembrance of your fathers or with [much] greater remembrance. And among the people is he who says: ‘Our Lord! Give us in this world,’ and he will have in the Hereafter no share.” (Al Baqarah: 200).
Allah will reject any worship that is not done purely for His sake. The Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, prevented seeking worldly gains in places of worship when he said: “If you see a man indulging in a (financial) transaction in the mosque, say to him: ‘May Allah not render your trade profitable.’” If this strict attitude is taken against those who utilise places of worship for worldly gains, what about those who turn the worship itself into a means of attaining worldly gains? Indeed it is not rare for us to find those requested to make Haj on behalf of others bargain and ask for extra money, which is turning worship into a craft or profession.
For this reason the Hanbali jurists maintained that it is invalid to hire a man to perform Haj on behalf of another. Shaykh Al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah declared that whoever makes Haj only to attain hire will have no reward in the Hereafter. However, if proxy is made for a religious purpose, such as benefiting others with the reward of Haj or aiming to increase acts of obedience through supplication and remembrance of Allah during the rituals of Haj, then Haj by proxy will be valid and acceptable in this case.
Those who charge proxy in Haj should devote their intention to seeking the pleasure of Allah, aiming to exercise the rituals related to Allah’s House, remembering Him and supplicating to Him, in addition to the fulfilment of the needs of their fellow Muslims who authorised them to make Haj on their behalf. They should not divert their attention to gaining worldly benefits; for if this becomes their sole interest, they will not be permitted to charge proxy in Haj.
If one entertains a sound intention for proxy in Haj, all the money he gets from the authorising person will be his, unless the latter demands refunding the remaining amount after covering the costs of the Haj. The deputy should intend to perform Haj and ‘Umrah on behalf of the authorising person, unless the former allows him to perform ‘Umrah for his own benefit.
A person deputised to make Haj on behalf of another person cannot deputise a third party, unless he obtains the consent of the person who commissioned him to make Haj on his behalf. All the reward of acts related to rituals of Haj goes to the authorising person, but the redoubling of reward through offering supererogatory prayers and Tawaf, as well as extra types of worship that exceeds the rituals goes to the authorised person.
The representative in Haj should exert the best of his efforts to accomplish the verbal and practical acts related to the rituals, since this is a trust that he should fulfil duly. When pronouncing Talbiyah, he should say: ‘labbayka ‘an fulan’ (i.e., ‘O Allah I respond to Your call on behalf of so and so’.) If he forgets the name of the person he is performing Haj or ‘Umrah for, he may intend it with his heart, saying: ‘labbaika ‘amman anabani fi hathihil-‘Umrah, or fi hathal-Haj’ (i.e. ‘I respond to Your call on behalf of one who authorised me to make this ‘Umrah or this Haj.’)
O servants of Allah! Fear Allah and do not pay much attention to worldly gains; and don’t turn worship into a means of attaining material gains! - Khutbah by Shaykh Mohamed al-Uthaimeen (may Allah have mercy on him)
Why Muslims pray towards the Ka’aba
Question: I became a Muslim a couple of years ago. My family are finding it hard to accept my ibada (worship). But recently I have made a fuss about my salat and insisted I must pray. Alhamdulilah they have accepted it after seeing I became upset and depressed at living in a house where I was not allowed to practise my basic pillars of Islam. They are asking me questions, of which one of them is “Why do we face the Ka’aba if we are not worshipping it as we prostrate towards it?” I tried to explain that it is not the Ka’aba but Allah to whom we prostrate and the Ka’aba is for reasons of unity and that because it was the first house of Allah. I would be grateful if you could help me by explaining this further so I can understand it myself and explain this to my family and other non-Muslims. And also please can you make dua that they are guided on the right path
Answer: Praise be to Allah. Praise be to Allah Who has guided you to Islam; we ask Him to make you steadfast in it until you meet Him, for He is all Hearing, Ever Responsive. Praise be to Allah Who has made you keen to pray and to practise your religion openly. We ask Allah to guide your family and to grant you the joy of seeing them become Muslim... Ameen.
With regard to our facing the Ka’aba, you should note, may Allah bless you, that in this universe there is none other than Creator and created, worshippers and the One Who is worshipped. The Creator and the One Who is rightfully worshipped is Allah alone; everything other than Him is created and worships Him either willingly and by choice - which is the case with the believers - or by force, which is the case of the disbelievers and sinners, whose submission to Allah consists of their being subjugated to His control, for they do not have to power to either benefit or harm themselves.
Allah is the One Who has given them life, and when He wills He will cause them to die. If Allah wills, He can make them sick, and if He wills He can heal them. He can make them rich whenever He wants and make them poor whenever He wants. Glory and praise be to Him, there is no Lord besides Him and none worthy of worship except Him.
With regard to his believing slaves, they are tried and tested in this brief, transient world. If they succeed in remaining steadfast in worshipping their Lord and attaining the highest degree of submission to Him, He will compensate them for that, by His kindness and grace, with Paradise in which there is that which no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and it has not entered the heart of man. Among these tests is the fact that Allah commands them to do some things for which their minds cannot comprehend the wisdom behind them, they can only submit and obey.
This is in order to distinguish those who are sincere in their claims to be believers from those who are insincere. For Allah is the Creator of reason, and He is the One Who issues the command, so whoever responds and submits, and says, “I hear and obey, even though I do not understand the reason, because I admit my mortality, my weakness and my submission to Allah, for Allah cannot be questioned as to what He does” - such a one is a believer who, it is hoped, will prosper and succeed in this world and in the Hereafter.
This is how the Companions of the Prophet (sallallaah ‘alaihi wa sallam - peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) were, as al-Bukhari (1597) and Muslim (1270) narrated in their Sahihs that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allah be pleased with him) said of the Black Stone when he kissed it: “By Allah, I know that you are only a stone and you can neither bring benefit nor cause harm. Were it not that I had seen the Messenger of Allah kissing you I would not have kissed you.” So when we Muslims pray facing the direction of the Ka’aba, we do so because Allah has commanded us to do that. If he had commanded us to pray facing in any other direction, we would have had to do that.
The same applies to many other acts of worship, We pray Dhuhr with four rak’ahs and Maghrib with three and Fajr with two, because Allah has commanded us to do so. We perform Tawaaf seven times around the Ka’aba, and we stone the Jamaraat seven times, and we do not do more than that under any circumstances. All of that is because that is what Allah has commanded us to do.
So whoever bears this thought in mind whilst doing these acts of worship will undoubtedly increase in submission to Allah; this will increase his faith and bring him closer to his Lord. Thus he will find great joy and immense happiness and deep contentment in his heart, which will make him long for worship and love it, because when he does acts of worship he will feel that he is doing them for Allah, and were it not for Allah, he would not do them.
So every act of worship brings him closer to Allah and increases him in faith until he meets Allah and Allah will honour him as He honours His righteous slaves. But for the one who is stubborn and arrogant, and says, “I will not do it until I understand”, this is like Iblees who rebelled against Allah and said, as Allah tells us in the Qur’an (interpretation of the meaning): “Shall I prostrate myself to one whom You created from clay?” [al-Israa’ 17:61]
This is sufficient to demonstrate the seriousness of arguing against the Shariah on the basis of reason. Rather Allah has described one of the most unique characteristics of the pious believers as being belief in the Unseen. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “This is the Book (the Qur’an), whereof there is no doubt, a guidance to those who are Al-Muttaqoon [the pious believers of Islamic Monotheism who fear Allah much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden) and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)]. Who believe in the Ghayb (the unseen) and perform As-Salaah (Iqaamat-as-Salaah), and spend out of what we have provided for them” [al-Baqarah 2:2-3]
So the first characteristic by which the believers are distinguished from others is the fact that they believe in the unseen or that which they cannot grasp, whether that is in a literal, physical sense or in a metaphorical, intellectual sense.
What we should point out here is that our prayer facing the direction of the Ka’aba has nothing to do with the structure of the Ka’aba, rather it has to do with its location. If it were to be destroyed, we would still pray in that direction, not to that structure. Hence we find that nowadays Muslims pray on the second storey and on the roof of the Grand Mosque in the Sanctuary of Makkah, facing the direction of the Ka’aba even though it is not directly in front of them. This is what millions of Muslims do throughout the world, praying in the direction of the Ka’aba even though they cannot see it. This demonstrates the great difference between the laws of Islam and the actions of the mushrikeen (polytheists) whose worship of their idols, stones and trees ceases when these objects cease to exist. Therefore if the mushrik cannot see his object of worship or idol, he does not face the direction of that thing. We ask Allah to bestow upon us sincere faith, and to make us steadfast in it until we meet Him... Ameen.
This is Makkah, the sacred and secure city
Honourable Makkah, the Secure City; Allah has distinguished it from among all places and made it sacred from the day He created the heavens and the earth.
Allah commanded Prophet Ibraaheem, may Allah exalt his mention, to build the first House on earth for Allah to be worshipped in at this spot and sent down the Black Stone from Paradise as a manifest sign of the sanctity of His Sacred House.
In Makkah springs the finest water on the surface of the earth, the water of Zamzam, which is food that suffices the hungry and a cure for the sick. It is the water with which the chest and heart of the chosen Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, was cleansed in order to prepare him for his mission.
Allah has made Makkah eternally sacred and secure; He says (what means): “Have they not seen that We made [Makkah] a safe sanctuary, while people are being taken away (i.e. killed and taken captive) all around them?” [Qur’an 29:67]
Allah has sent down blessings and mercy upon Makkah, the likes of which have not been bestowed upon any other place or person on earth.
In order to make the matter clear, lest people confuse what is virtuous with what is not and what is sacred with what is not, the Lord sent down the angel Jibreel (Gabriel), may Allah exalt his mention, to point out the boundaries of the Sacred City, and Prophet Ibraaheem, may Allah exalt his mention, placed signs marking its boundaries. Furthermore, Allah commanded His messenger, Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, to rebuild the structure of the House. This, indeed, is a clear sign and evidence manifesting the sanctity and holiness of this Secure City.
It was with the command of Allah that Prophet Ibraaheem, may Allah exalt his mention, proclaimed to the people the Haj (pilgrimage) and Allah took it upon Himself to convey the sound of the call all around the world. Thereafter, the caravan of the honourable prophets, the righteous and those who followed them began to respond and come forth to the Sacred City. Prophet Moosaa (Moses), may Allah exalt his mention, the one who was honoured by the miracle of Allah speaking to him, came forth, as came Prophet Yoonus (Jonah), may Allah exalt his mention, the one who was swallowed by the whale, as well as a multitude of other prophets.
Makkah is the land where the Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, was born and where his prophethood began. It is where he first received revelation; on the peak of one of its lofty mountains lies the famous Cave Hiraa’ in which the Qur’an was revealed to him.
The honouring and sanctity of Makkah continued with the prophethood of Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, and he conveyed to us that the Ka’aba was to be the direction which the Muslims should face during their prayers, and that a single prayer in the Sacred Mosque was to be equivalent to a hundred thousand in any other mosque.
He, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, guided the people to know that shedding blood (i.e., killing) in Makkah is prohibited as is felling trees and hunting, and that picking up lost items from its streets is prohibited, unless certain strict conditions are fulfilled.
The last and final Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, openly announced his love of Makkah and its lofty status in the sight of Allah when he said, addressing it: “I swear by Allah! You are the best of the lands of Allah and you are the most beloved land to Allah.” [At-Tirmithi and Ahmad]
How could we not glorify Makkah when it is a land that Allah Almighty has designated and singled out with the qualities of sanctity and of being glorified magnificently? How could we not glorify it when Allah has made it sacred, magnified the reward of performing good deeds in it, and has made its mention eternal by mentioning it in the Qur’an? Allah says: (what means): “That [has been commanded], and whoever honours the sacred ordinances of Allah — it is best for him in the sight of his Lord” [Qur’an 22:30]
Allah also says (what means): “That [is so]. And whoever honours the symbols [i.e. rites] of Allah - indeed, it is from the piety of hearts” [Qur’an 22: 32]
The sacred ordinances and symbols (rites) of Allah refers to the Sacred City, the Sacred House of Allah, and sacred places within them, and it is due to their special qualities that Allah has distinguished them from all other cities and lands.
Honouring and glorifying the rites of Allah is accomplished by respecting this city, by realising its status and virtues, and by continually expressing gratitude upon seeing it, as well as by holding the matter of worshipping Allah within it in high esteem. This is so because the first House of worship ever to be built was in Makkah, and it is towards it that the hearts of the Muslims are directed from all places on earth. How can worship in it not then have such a high status and value?
Allah made the reward of performing acts of worship in it multiples of that performed elsewhere and made the reward of a single prayer in the sacred mosque equivalent to a hundred thousand prayers in any other mosque. Additionally, fasting, spending in charity and all other acts of virtue in Makkah have a much higher reward than anywhere else in the world, higher than any other act of worship could reach in value.
Article source: http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/
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