MEEQATS FOR PERFORMING HAJJ OR UMRAH

Hajj

People (not resident of city Makkah) who wish to come to Makkah from far in order to perform Umrah, will have to wear Ihram from any one of the selected Meeqat (sacred places appointed by Shariah). There are five places (meeqats) at some distance from the City Makkah that pilgrims should not cross before they enters in the sacred state of Ihram if they intend to enter Masjid-al-Haram for performing Umrah or Hajj. These stations or points are called Meeqats. These are the boundaries that should not be cross without wearing Ihram if a person is intending to perform Umrah or Hajj. Stations of Meeqat are discussing below.

Dhu’l-Hulaifah: This meeqat is about 9 kilometres from city Madina and about 450 kilometres from city Makkah. Dhu’l-Hulaifah is the meeqat for those who people who lives in Madina and for those people who intend to approach city Makkah to perform Umrah from that direction. Nowadays it is well known as Abrar Ali; a person who wishes to perform Umrah or Hajj from this route should have to wear Ihram at this meeqat.

Qarn al-Manazil: This meeqat is a hilly place and mountainous spot about 90 kilometers to the east of Makkah. This is the miqat for the people of Nejd or for those coming from that direction.

Juhfah: This is meeqat that is about 190 kilometres to the northwest of city Makkah. This is the meeqat for those people who are coming from the direction of Syria, North Africa, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan.

Dhat Irq: This station of meeqat is approx 85 kilometres towards the northeast side of city Makkah. This is the meeqat for the native of Iran, Iraq and also for those peoples coming from the similar direction. This station of meeqat is usually used during the days of Hajj on the way from Holy Makkah to Kufa.

Yalamlam: This meeqat is a hilly or mountainous area about 50 kilometres to the southeast of city Makkah. This is the meeqat is selected for the people of Yemen and others coming from that route. It is the meeqat for also those pilgrims who are coming from China, Japan, India, and Pakistan by ship (sea route).

The area outside the Haram Shareef, the sacred land on which the City of Makkah located, is known as al-Hill. Muslims who enter the area of Haram on business or for any other purposes do not need the ihram before entering the City Makkah until and unless they have the intention (niyyat) to perform Umrah or Hajj. Muslims coming to city Makkah with the intention (niyyat) of performing Hajj or Umrah must not cross the station of Meeqat without entering into the sacred state of Ihram.

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ISLAM AND THE FESTIVALS OF EID

 

eid

Islam is a complete way of life. The righteous way that is chosen by ALLAH Almighty for Muslims to attain Jannah or Paradise. Being a selected way of life, ALLAH Almighty appointed and prescribed various festivals for Muslims to observe.

Man always wants and needs to socialize with other peoples in the society, and also observe communal gatherings that help bring back reminiscences of past events to help shape their future activities. Therefore, festivals, ceremonies and feasts have become an essential part of society and human life. Most of these ceremonies and festivals derive their origins from ancient practices, religious memorable events.

For Muslims, all religious ceremonies and festivals have their own special importance.  In fact, at the end of different modes of ibadah (worship) comes a peculiar type of festival instituted by religion Islam for its adherents. The Friday prayer (Namaz-e-Jummah) is the weekly occasion celebrating the five daily prayers of the week; the Holy Ramadan fast culminates into the festival Eid-ul-Fitr, while the Hajj rites and rituals culminate into the Eid-ul-Adha festival.

Viewing festivity as an opportunity to rejoice in the form of visiting to relatives, loved ones and friends, then we may say there are two main Muslim festivals as set down in law of Islamic: Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha. However, if it transcends to identifying with precedent events of divine and miraculous victories over enemies; such the victory of Hazrat Moosa (AS) over Pharaoh and his army, or weekly marking the end of an occasion like the Friday (jummah) celebration, then we can say that there are more than two occasions to celebrate in Islam.

First of all, let’s take a brief look at the stipulated permitted festivals in Islam.

Eid-ul-Fitr (the 1st day of month of Shawwal )                   

             The obligatory thirty day fast of the Holy month of Ramadan culminates into a great and huge celebration. This marks the end of Holy Ramadan, the blessed month of fasting, and is a festival of enormous celebration. In Islamic and Muslim countries public holiday is declared on Eid-ul-Fitr.

Everyone dresses and get ready in their best clothes. They go to the masjid (mosque) to pray eid namaz together. Extraordinary celebration meals are served up especially sweets. Muslims not only celebrate the end of fasting, but they also thank ALLAH for the strength and help that ALLAH gave them throughout the Holy month of Ramadan to help them in practicing self-control of abstinence from drink and food.

Eid-ul-Adha ( the 10th day of Dhul-Hijjah)

This is the other huge Islamic annual festival. It marks the end of the Hajj rituals or holy pilgrimage, Hajj is one of the basic 5 pillars of Islam, though it is celebrated by all the Muslims, not only those who are on the Hajj pilgrimage.

It is to memorize the time when Hazrat Ibraheem (AS) was ready to sacrifice his own son, Hazrat Ismaeel (AS) to prove obedience to ALLAH Almighty.

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HAJJ AND ITS HISTORICAL VIEW

Hajj

The Hajj is based on a pilgrimage that was earliest even in the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the 7th Century. It is believed that Hazrat Ibraheem (AS) was ordered by ALLAH Almighty to leave His wife Bibi Hajra and His infant son Hazrat Ismaeel (AS) alone in the desert. Though he was gone, the infant became thirsty, and Bibi Hajra (AS) ran back and forth about seven times in searching of water for her son Hazrat Ismaeel (AS). The angel Hazrat Jibraeel (AS) digs his foot or the tip of his wing along the ground, and water amazingly sprang out. This source of water is well known as the Well of Zamzam.

The Hajj is the pilgrimage to Makkah, Saudi Arabia. It is the major pilgrimage in the whole world, and is the last and the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious responsibility that should be carried out at least once in a lifetime by each and every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to perform it. The Hajj is an expression of the unity of the Muslim, and their submission to ALLAH Almighty.

The pilgrimage starts from the 8th to 12th day of Zil-Hijjah, the 12th and very last month of the Islamic calendar. Ihram is the name of getting in to the special state that Muslims have to carry while on the pilgrimage.

Prior to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) era, every year tribes from all across the Arabian Peninsula would unite on Makkah, as part of the pilgrimage. The precise imaan (faith) of the tribes was not important at that period, and Christian Arabs were as expected to make the pilgrimage same as the pagans. Muslim historians refer to the period before Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as jahiliyyah, the “Days of Ignorance”, in which the Holy Kaaba contained hundreds of idols, totems of every of the tribes of the Arabian Peninsula, with many idols of pagan gods such as Hubal, al-Lat, Manat, Al-‘Uzzá, and also several representing Mary (Maryam) and Jesus (Isa).

 
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was known to often perform the Umrah, even before Prophet (PBUH) began receiving revelations. Traditionally, Muslims would meet at different meeting points in other big cities, and then carry on towards Makkah, in groups that might contain tens of thousands of pilgrims. Two of the most well-known meeting points were in Damascus and Cairo.

 
In 631 CE, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) led his followers from city Medina to Makkah, it was the initial Hajj that is to be performed by Muslims unaccompanied. Prophet (PBUH) cleansed the Holy Kaaba and destroyed all the idols and also re-ordained the structure as the house of ALLAH Almighty. Performing Hajj was a dangerous journey for early pilgrims; Ibn Jubair noted the skeletons of the pilgrims who had died and lost their lives because of thirst during the sacred journey.

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HAJJ AN ACT TO GATHER MUSLIMS ACCROSS THE NATIONS

Hajj

The pilgrimage to Makkah incorporates in Muslim tradition two pagan rites celebrated by the Arabs, one linked with the circumambulation of the Hajr-e-Aswad Black Stone of the Kaabah in Makkah, and the other the pilgrimage to the mount of ‘Arafāt outside the city. The rites and rituals are performed in the 12th lunar month and now generally include a visit to nearby Madinah. The pilgrimage HAJJ may be described as a restricted obligation; it is incumbent only on Muslims with the essential means and the physical ability to reach Holy Makkah. However, it has remained a very important element in Muslim life all through the centuries and, even in the most complicated and difficult periods of history, attracted many pilgrims. Today, with improved infrastructure, increased travel within the Muslim world, and safety in the pilgrimage area, it has taken on new scope of cultural and even political importance.

Sacred city Makkah has become a meeting place for Muslims from the whole world, and extremely deep impression is made on several pilgrims by the reaffirmation of their imaan (faith) in company with co believers of every colour and nationality. The yearly re-enactment of the ceremonies and occasions, with the pilgrims as active participants and not simple onlookers, gives them a particularly moving character.

The returning pilgrim, who is allowed to add the title HAJI to his name, is the object of congratulations and admiration, but more significant perhaps is the feeling on the part of those who have remained at the home of ALLAH Almighty The Holy Kaaba that he brings with him an atmosphere of religiousness which is shared by all. At all times the societal function of the pilgrimage HAJJ to the sacred places has been to serve as a sacred journey to a common hearth fire from which the pilgrims might carry back the restored and renewed flame of Imaan (faith) to their own communities. In this logic, the pilgrimage HAJJ may be looked on as the complement of the fast (roza), for while the fast (roza) solidifies the bonds that hold together every community by a general sacrifice, the pilgrimage allows the members of the elites of extensively different groups and regions to engage in a religious group which strengthens the strongly ties between the different communities of Islam.

In some Muslim states, though (e.g., Turkey and Tunisia), where the sacred law of shariah has been abolished, the secularist orientation of their patriotism has led the governments to give confidence fast breaking in the interest of general national economic imperatives or to consider it a matter of own conscience.

The state of being financially and physically able of performing the Hajj is known as istita’ah, and a Muslim who fulfils this form is called a mustati. The Hajj is a expression of the solidarity of the Muslim people, and their submission to ALLAH Almighty.

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