Friday, 30 September 2011

An Overview of Haj, Umrah and Ziarah

Haj, the Pilgrimage

Once in a lifetime, the affluent Muslim undertakes a pilgrimage to the Holy Ka'aba, the House of Allah, in Makkah, Saudi Arabia during the Haj season, as Far’d, an obligation fulfilled.

Optional (Naf’l) Haj can be performed any number of times by those who have the means by Allah’s grace.

The actual rites of the Haj last from Zul Haj 7th to Zul Haj 13th, in the twelfth month of the Hijri calendar which Muslims follow.

The travel and related expenses are to be met from lawfully earned income. Insha Allah, the expenses, however great, will bring us a thousand times more in rewards and blessings from Allah.

(If there is any doubt about the absolute legality, in Islami terms, of our funds, we may borrow for this Holy Journey from those Muslims whose income is above board).

The crowning glory of Haj is the Arafaath Day, the 9th of Zul Haj. The Rah’math (Compassion) of Allah is closest to the Hajis assembled  this day on the open ground of Arafaath, ten miles from Makkathul Mukarramah. 

Prayers offered here between noon and sunset, are most highly rated and are granted by Allah. 

The rewards extend into the night also. Any Muslim present at Arafaath during these hours (or, during that night even) has performed Haj. 

Every Muslim, whose Haj is accepted by Allah,
is endowed the greatest blessing from the Glorious Lord. 
All his/her sins are pardoned. 
The Haj pilgrim is rendered sinless like a newborn baby,
according to the Hadith.

Haj is obligatory only on a Muslim who can afford it for himself (and his family if they desire to be with him in this glorious pilgrimage).
Hajje Badal:   Haj on behalf of any of our elders who are no more, may be performed by us.  If we are unable to do this ourselves, we are  allowed to finance any  Muslim undertaking this mission at our behest.  The Niyyath must be appropriately worded by him/her. 

Insha Allah, the deceased will be awarded the sawaab of Haj. The person actually performing the Haj (on his/her behalf) is also rewarded equally.

In this context, a Muslim who is performing Haj for the first time in his life, either from his own resources or with the financial aid from another person, cannot perform Hajje Badal on behalf of any other Muslim.  The Prophet of Islam S.A.W.S. has made it clear to the Ummah that the sawaab of the first Haj belong entirely to the Haji who has peformed it for Allah.  This sawaab  cannot be donated by him/her to anyone. 

Those who finance a Hajje Badal and those who agree to perform it on anyone’s behalf, must bear this in mind and not deviate from the Hadith.

With the Haj performed and our highest aim in life realized we undertake next the journey of love and devotion we have yearned for all through life. We go to Madinathul Munawwarah to obtain, by Allah's grace, the Ziarath (audience) of our Beloved Prophet Syedina Muhammed S.A.W.S..