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22 Apr '16

Hajj - Facts and Books on Hajj

This page provides Facts and Books on Hajj. It also provides links on topics and websites such as Fiqh of Hajj for Women, ten Days of Dhul Hijjah, and how to perform the Rituals of Hajj and Umrah

Hajj - Introduction

One of the things on which there is scholarly consensus among all the Muslims, ancient and modern, past and present, is that Hajj or pilgrimage to the Sacred House of Allah is one of the five pillars of Islam, as proven in al-Saheehayn from the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both) and others. 

It is well known that Hajj, like other acts of worship, involves special actions, and each of these actions must be done in the prescribed manner, such as entering ihram from the meeqat, tawaf, sai between al-Safa and al-Marwah, standing in arafah, staying overnight in Muzdalifah, stoning the Jamarat, slaughtering the sacrifice, and the other well-known actions of Hajj. All of these actions should be done in accordance with the teachings of the Prophet(peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). There are very many ahadeeth which describe the Hajj of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him); these have been compiled by Imam Ibn al-Qayyim in Zad al-Maad and by al-Hafiz Ibn Katheer in his book al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah; these scholars have also explained the rulings derived from these ahadeeth. The Muslim should pay attention to learning these rulings and acting upon them. 

Then we should remember that the basic purpose of the actions of Hajj is to establish the remembrance of Allah, as Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):

 “Then when you leave arafat, remember Allah (by glorifying His Praises, i.e. prayers and invocations) at the Mashar-il-Haram. And remember Him (by invoking Allah for all good) as He has guided you, and verily, you were, before, of those who were astray.

Then depart from the place whence all the people depart and ask Allah for His forgiveness. Truly, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most-Merciful.

So when you have accomplished your Manasik [rituals of Hajj], remember Allah as you remember your forefathers or with a far more remembrance. But of mankind there are some who say: ‘Our Lord! Give us (Your Bounties) in this world!’ and for such there will be no portion in the Hereafter… 

 And remember Allah during the appointed Days. But whosoever hastens to leave in two days, there is no sin on him and whosoever stays on, there is no sin on him, if his aim is to do good and obey Allah (fear Him), and know that you will surely be gathered unto Him” [al-Baqarah 2:198-203] 

So the Muslim venerates the rituals of Hajj because Allah has commanded him to venerate them, as Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

 “Thus it is and whosoever honors the Symbols of Allah, then it is truly, from the piety of the hearts” [al-Hajj 22:32]  

Al-Bukhari narrated that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) kissed the Black Stone and said, “Were it not that I had seen the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) kissing you, I would not have kissed you.” 

By honoring the House and going there, and establishing a sanctuary (Haram) around it are acts of veneration. Arriving there unkempt and disheveled is like a slave turning to his Lord in humility and submission, and that is clear. A person feels at ease performing rituals that he understands, and that motivates him to do them, but to achieve full submission there are some rituals that a person may not understand, so he will not be at ease and will not comprehend them. In this case the only motive is to obey the commands of Allah. This is a greater form of humility and submission.” See Mutheer al-azm al-Sakin.

 1 – When was Hajj enjoined? When did Hajj begin? 

 Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“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 22:27] 

Ibn Katheer says in his commentary on this verse (3/221): 

This means: Proclaim (O Ibraheem) the Hajj to the people, calling them to come on pilgrimage to this House which We have commanded you to build. It was mentioned that he said, “O Lord, how can I proclaim it to the people when my voice does not reach them?” He said, “Call and We will convey it.” So he stood in his maqam (station) – or it was said, on the rock, or on al-Safa, or on Abu Qubays (a mountain) – and said: “O people, your Lord has taken a House, so come to it on pilgrimage.” And it was said that the mountains lowered themselves so that his voice could reach all parts of the earth and those who were still in the wombs or in men’s loins also heard, and everything that heard him, cities, nomad encampments and trees, and everyone whom Allah has decreed should perform Hajj until the Day of Resurrection responded, (saying) Labbayk Allahumma labbayk (Here I am, O Allah, here I am. This is the summary of what was narrated from Ibn abbas, Mujahid, ‘Ikrimah, Saeed ibn Jubayr and others among the salaf. And Allah knows best. 

Ibn al-Jawzi, in his book Mutheer al-azm al-Sakin (1/354) narrated something similar, but more briefly, and he attributed it to the narrators of Seerah.  

This has to do with the history of the enjoining of Hajj before the sending of the Prophet(peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). With regard to the enjoining of Hajj in Islam, there is some scholarly difference of opinion concerning that. It was said that it was enjoined in 6 AH, or in 7 AH, or in 9 AH, or in 10 AH. Imam Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) was certain that it was enjoined in 9 or 10 AH. He (may Allah have mercy on him) said in Zad al-Maad:  

“There is no dispute that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not perform Hajj after he migrated to Madinah apart from one Hajj, which was the Farewell Pilgrimage. And there is no dispute that that occurred in 10 AH… When the command to perform Hajj was revealed, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) hastened to perform Hajj with no delay. Because the enjoining of Hajj came at a later stage, in 9 or 10 AH, one might say, How can you prove that the command to perform Hajj was delayed until 9 or 10 AH? We would say that the first part of Soorah Al ‘Imran was revealed in the year of delegations (am al-wufood), during which the delegation from Najran came to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and he made a treaty with them regarding their paying the jizyah, and the (ruling on) jizyah was revealed in the year of Tabook, 9 AH, when the first part of Soorat Al ‘Imran was revealed…” 

Al-Qurtubi said in his Tafseer (2/4/92): Hajj was known to the Arabs. When Islam came, they were told about something they already knew and what was enjoined upon them was something they were familiar with…” See also Ahkam al-Quran by Ibn al-arabi, 1/286.

2 – Tawaf around the House 

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“and We commanded Ibraheem (Abraham) and Ismaeel (Ishmael) that they should purify My House (the Kabah at Makkah) for those who are circumambulating it, or staying (I‘tikâf), or bowing or prostrating themselves (there, in prayer)” [al-Baqarah 2:125] 

This verse indicates that tawaf around the Kabah was known at the time of Ibraheem (peace be upon him). 

3 – Raml 

Raml means walking quickly with short steps. This is Sunnah for men but not for women during the tawaf of arrival (tawaf al-qudoom), which is the first tawaf performed when one arrives in Makkah. 

Al-Bukhari narrated in his Saheeh (2/469-470, 1602) and Muslim also narrated (2/991-992, 1262) that Ibn abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came with his companions and the mushrikoon said, “There have come to you people who have been weakened by the fever of Yathrib. So the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) commanded them to walk quickly (raml) in the first three circuits… According to another report, he said, “Walk quickly so that the mushrikeen will see that you are strong.” 

4 – The water of Zamzam and sai between al-Safa and al-Marwah. 

Al-Bukhari narrated in his Saheeh that Ibn abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said:  

Ibraheem brought Hajar and her son Ismaeel when she was still breastfeeding him, to a place near the Kabah under a tree on the spot of Zamzam, at the highest place in the mosque. During those days there was nobody in Makkah, nor was there any water. So he left them there and left with them a leather bag containing some dates, and a small water-skin containing some water, and set out homeward. Ismaeel’s mother followed him saying, “O Ibraheem! Where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is no person whose company we may enjoy, nor is there anything (to enjoy)?” She repeated that to him many times, but he did not look at her. Then she asked him, “Has Allah commanded you to do this?” He said, “Yes.” She said, “Then He will not forsake us,” and went back while Abraham proceeded onwards. When he reached al-Thaniyah where they could not see him, he turned to face the Kabah, and raising both hands, invoked Allah saying the following prayer:  

“O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in an uncultivable valley by Your Sacred House (the Kabah at Makkah) in order, O our Lord, that they may perform As‑Salah (Iqamat‑as‑Salah). So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allah) provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks” [Ibraheem 14:37] 

Ismaeel’s mother went on breastfeeding Ismaeel and drinking from the water (she had). When the water in the water-skin had all been used up, she became thirsty and her child also became thirsty. She started looking at him (i.e. Ismaeel) tossing in agony. She left him, for she could not endure looking at him, and found that the mountain of al-Safa was the nearest mountain to her on that land. She stood on it and started looking at the valley keenly so that she might see somebody, but she could not see anybody. Then she descended from al-Safa and when she reached the valley, she tucked up her robe and ran in the valley like a person in distress and trouble, till she crossed the valley and reached al-Marwa where she stood and started looking, expecting to see somebody, but she could not see anybody. She repeated that (running between al-Safa and al-Marwa) seven times.  

Ibn abbas said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “This is the (origin of) the people’s sai (walking) between them between them (i.e. al-Safa and al-Marwa).” When she reached al-Marwa (for the last time) she heard a voice and she said to herself “Shh!” and listened attentively. She heard the voice again and said, “O, (whoever you may be)! You have made me hear your voice; have you got something to help me?” Then she saw an angel at the place of Zamzam, digging the earth with his heel (or his wing), until water appeared. She started to make something like a basin around it, using her hand in this way, and started filling her water-skin with water with her hands, and the water was flowing out after she had scooped some of it. 

Ibn abbas said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “May Allah have mercy on the mother of Ismaeel! Had she let Zamzam (flow without trying to control it) (or had she not scooped from that water) (to fill her water-skin), Zamzam would have been a stream flowing on the surface of the earth.” And he said: “The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid of being neglected, for this is the House of Allah which will be built by this boy and his father, and Allah never neglects His people’…” 

Ibn al-Jawzi said in his book Mutheer al-azm al-Sakin (2/47): “This hadeeth explains the reason why it is called Zamzam, because when the water flowed, Hajar tried to control it (zammat-ha). The linguist Ibn Faris said: Zamzam comes from the words zamamtu al-naqah(I reined in the camel). 

 5 – The standing at arafah 

Abu Dawood and al-Tirmidhi (883) narrated that Yazeed ibn Shayban said: We were standing in arafah in a place far from the mawqif [where the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) stood]. Ibn Mirba al-Ansari came to us and said, “I am the messenger of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), who says to you: ‘Stay where you are (for it is also the place of standing), for you are standing in the area where your father Ibraheem stood.’” Classed as saheeh by al-Albani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 1688. 

Many of the actions of Hajj stem from the time of Ibraheem (peace be upon him), but the mushrikeen introduced some innovations which were not prescribed. When the Prophet(peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was sent, he opposed them in that and explained what was prescribed for the actions of Hajj. 

 And Allah knows best.


22 Apr '16

The Culture of Morocco

Posted by Nosheen Z in Culture of Morocco

Morocco Cultural Overview

As an Islamic country, Morocco stands out distinctly for a significant reason. Due to the bold and strenuous efforts by King Mohammed VI, Islam in Morocco is rapidly turning out to be a tool to modernize and democratize the country. A revolutionary effort is on the way to reinvent the religion with a tolerant interpretation of the Koran. To aid this mission, the government has launched a website, a radio and a TV channel. Apart from this, religious dialogues are also held inviting the participation of elite public and religious heads. The recent efforts of the government strive to fuse Islam, modernization and civil rights.

Moroccon Languages

Morocco is a bilingual country with Arabic and French as official languages. Arabic is widely spoken by common masses while French is taught in schools. Therefore, French is extensively used in government, business and elite circles. In the city of Casablanca, English is well known and widely used. Spanish is quite popular in the north of Morocco. More than 40% of the Moroccans are of Berber origin. Though Berbers got converted to Islam eventually, their ethnic and linguistic affiliations have remained with them till this day. Therefore, Berber dialects such as Tachelhit, Tamazight and Tarifit are widely used in Morocco, even in journalism and mass media.

Islamic Clothing of Morocco

Costumes differ from town to town in Morocco being influenced by Spanish, Turkish, Balkan, Berber and French traditions. The Moroccan men wear djellaba, a long, loose, full sleeve garment with a hood. A red cap called tarbouche or Fez is worn on special occasions. Also, most Moraccan men and women wear soft, heelless, leather slippers called Baboosh, yellow in color. High-heeled sandals with silver or gold tinsel are also popular among women. The djellabas worn by women are dominated by bright colors and ornate patterns woven by hand, whereas those worn by men are plain in neutral colors. A hoodless type of djellaba called Kaftans is also popular. Despite the high costs of the traditional dress, Moroccans are strongly attached to their dress and purchase at least a new pair every year.

Moroccon Foods

Moroccan culinary traditions are predominantly based on a diet of meat and candies. A rich soup called harira; sweet empanada with meat of dove; cuscus made with semola, egg, chicken, lamb or vegetables; Tajine made with lamb or chicken; chicken stuffed with almonds, semola and raisins; the roasted meat of sheep called mchoui; and the candies of the kab-el-ghzal and almond are some of the delicious dishes of Morocco that would enthrall any visitor.

Moroccon Social Life

Principles of sound democracy are heralded in Morocco and are already on their way to modernize the country. The new family code adopted by the parliament in 2003 has conferred equal status to women in marriage, children and property. Fighting against religious fanaticism and striving to modernize Islam, Morocco is emerging as a model for democratic Islam. Ethnically and culturally, one can say that today’s Morocco is the least Arabic among Arab countries.

22 Apr '16

Arabic Newspapers

Posted by Nosheen Z in Arabic newspapers

Arabic Newspaper sources from various countries

This page includes listings of Arabic Newspaper sources that are published in various parts of the world. HilalPlaza does not endorse any of these newspaper listings. We simply list the newspapers without knowing content of these Arabic newspapers. 

22 Apr '16

Hilal Moon Sighting

Posted by Nosheen Z in Islamic culture

Discussion of various schools of thought

The controversy of marking the start of Ramadan / Eid, whether by moon sighting or other means has been the topic of discussion for many years. This controversy is even more so in western nations where various Muslim communities follow different  schools of thought to celebrate Ramadan and Eid. The controversy becomes even more heated as Muslims belonging to the same mosque hold to their own views of moon sighting and marking the beginning of Ramadan / Eid.  



The following provides sources of information that discuss various schools of thought on the subject of Hilal and moon sighting.

  1. The opinion of Sheikh Al-Munajjid from Saudi-Arabia is included later on this page
  2. At the end, visit a link posted by ISNA (Islamic Society of North America) the title of which is "The Astronomical Calculations: A Fiqhi Discussion"
  3. Hilal-Sighting.com provides hilal sighting information based on astronomical data.

Sheikh Muajjid's Opinion on Moon Sighting (Islam-Qa.com)

Question:  It is not possible to see the new moon with the naked eye before it is 30 hours old, and in addition to that, it is sometimes not possible to see it at all because of the weather conditions. On this basis, is it permissible to resort to using astronomical information to calculate the likely time for sighting the new moon and the start of Ramadaan, or do we have to actually sight the new moon before we start fasting the blessed month of Ramadaan?


Praise be to Allah.

It is permissible to use telescopes etc. to sight the moon, but it is not permissible to rely on astronomical data to confirm the beginning or end of the blessed month of Ramadaan, because Allah has not prescribed that for us in His Book or in the Sunnah of His Prophet (saws) (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). What He has prescribed for us is to confirm the beginning and end of Ramadaan bysighting the new moon of Ramadaan to start fasting, and the new moon of Shawwaal to end the fast and gather to offer the Eid prayers. Allah has made the new moons to mark fixed periods of time for mankind and for the Hajj, so it is not permissible for Muslims to use any other method to determine the times for acts of worship such as fasting, celebrating Eid, performing Hajj, fasting for two months as expiation (kafaarah) for killing someone by mistake or divorcing one’s wife by zihaar, and so on. Allah says (interpretation of the meanings):

“… So whoever among you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadaan), he must observe sawm (fast) that month…” [al-Baqarah 2:185]

“They ask you (O Muhammad) about the new moons. Say: these are signs to mark fixed periods of time for mankind and for the pilgrimage…” [al-Baqarah 2:189]

The Prophet (saws) (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Fast when you see it [the newmoon] and stop fasting when you see it, and if it is cloudy then complete the month with thirty days.” On this basis, the one who does not see the new moon from the time it rises on a clear or cloudy night must complete the month (of Sha’baan) with thirty days. (Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 10/100). This is the case if the sighting of the new moon is not confirmed in another country; if the moon is sighted according to the guidelines of Sharee’ah, then fasting is obligatory, according to the majority of scholars. And Allah knows best.
22 Apr '16

The Culture of Qatar

Posted by Nosheen Z in Culture of Qatar

Qatar Cultural Overview

About 80 percent of Qatar’s population lives in Doha, the capital city. Water resource at the coast provides opportunities for fishing, pearl diving, and sea trade, thereby encouraging permanent settlements. Village homes at the interior desert region are only used for weekend retreats. Though a predominantly Islamic Arab nation, Qatar is unique in several regards. The society of Qatar reports stratification based on the tribal affiliation and religious sect. For instance, Qataris of Arabic origin identify themselves with Bedouin cultural trends and observe Sunni Islam, while those originated from the northeastern gulf adhere to the Shi’a sect. Often, the social stratification is carried on to professions and occupations too, especially in case of freed slaves.

Arabic Language

Arabic is the official language of Qatar. Since Arabic has close association with Islam, it attests the Islamic identity of the nation. Khaleeji is one of the dialects of Arabic spoken by the people who have genealogical belonging to the six Gulf countries as different from the Arabs of African and Levantine origin. English, Farsi, and Urdu are also widely spoken in Qatar. Most Qataris speak more than one language.

Islamic Clothing of Qatar

The popular men wear of Qatar is called thobe, which is a long white shirt over loose pants. With this, they wear a loose headdress called gutra held with a black rope called agal. Qatari women cover their body with a long black dress called abayah. Women usually wear a black scarf called shayla to cover their head. Qataris preserve their national style of dress to this day with great regard. Though the dress code is flexible for foreigners, the attire cannot be revealing and is expected to cover shoulders and knees.

Middle Eastern Cuisine of Qatar

The culinary tradition of Qatar is greatly influenced by Iran and India. Seafood and native varieties of dates are central to Qatar’s cuisine. The richly spiced rice served with meat or seafood called machbous is very popular as a traditional dish. The main meal is served in the mid day. For most families, the meal after the prayers on Friday is the main gathering. During the month of Ramadan, elaborate meals are served at night after the day long fasting. Coffee made of roasted and sweetened bean and spiced with cardamom is highly popular in Qatar. Gahwa helw is another beverage with a vivid orange infusion of saffron in coffee. Due to the great inflow of foreign workers, cuisines from all parts of the globe have flooded the Qatari restaurants and wayside eateries.

Qatari Local and Muslim Culture

A majority of the Qataris strictly observe the trends and practices of the Sunni sect of Islam, which has characterized the greater part of the local culture. For instance, women are never brought to social gatherings and events, except in westernized circles and highly close circle of relatives. Boys and girls go to separate schools. Though men and women have employment opportunities, women are widely inducted only in government jobs. At Qatar, one does not find women occupying high-level positions. The children of foreigners have opportunity to education in native languages and foreigners can practice their religion publicly.