MEEQATS FOR PERFORMING HAJJ OR UMRAH

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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

 

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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 IS A SACRED JOURNEY TO MAKKAH

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Generally pilgrims either follow or precede the hajj, “the greater pilgrimage,” with the umrah, “the minor or the lesser pilgrimage,” which is certified by the Holy Quran and was also performed by the Prophet (PBUH). The Umrah, unlike the hajj, takes place just in Makkah itself and umrah can be performed at any time throughout the year. The ihram, talbiyah and the limitations or restrictions required by the state of sanctification are equally necessary in the umrah, which also shares three other main rituals with the hajj: the tawaaf (circumambulation), saaee and shaving or clipping the head hair. The performance of the umrah by pilgrims and visitors symbolizes ibadah (worship) for the unique sacredness of Makkah.

Before or after going to Holy Makkah, pilgrims avail the opportunity provided by the umrah or the hajj to visit the Prophet’s Mosque (Masjid-e-Nabwi) in Madina, the second holiest city in the history of Islam. Here. The visit to city Madina is not mandatory or obligatory, as it is not part of the umrah or hajj, but it is the city, which welcomed Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) when He migrated there from city Makkah, is rich in visiting memories and historical sites.

In this city, loved by Muslims for many centuries, people yet feel the effect of the Prophet (PBUH) life.  While making their tawaaf or circumambulation pilgrims may touch or kiss the Hajr-e-Aswad (Black Stone). This stone, first mounted in a silver frame back in the seventh century, has an extraordinary place in the hearts of all Muslims as, but perhaps the single most significant reason for kissing the hajr-e-Aswad is that the it is a Sunnah.

As pilgrims of diverse tongues and races return back to their homes, they carry with them cherished and exquisite memories of Hazrat Ibraheem (AS),Hazrat Ismaeel (AS), Bibi Hajra, and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). They return with a sense of serenity and awe: awe or fear for their experience at Arafaat, when they felt closest to ALLAH Almighty as they stood on the place where the Prophet (PBUH) delivered his last sermon during his first and final pilgrimage; serenity for having drop their sins on that plain, and being therefore relieved of a heavy burden.

They also return back with a better understanding of the situation of their brothers in the religion of peace, Islam.  Therefore is born a spirit of caring and kindness for others and an understanding of their own rich inheritance that will last all through their lives.

The pilgrims go back happy with joy and hope, for they have fulfilled ALLAH’S earliest injunction to all humanity to undertake the pilgrimage Hajj or umrah.  Above all, they return back to their homes with a prayer on their lips and in hearts.

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HAJJ AN ACT TO GATHER MUSLIMS ACCROSS THE NATIONS

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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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