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All About Hajj and Umrah!

Have you ever wondered how people made hajj in the past? What did the ka’abah look like? What was Mina and Al-Jamarat like? How difficult was it back in 1953 to make Hajj and Umrah?

These pictures shed some light on your curiosity and may even help you appreciate your hajj experience more.

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  • Days before my Hajj journey in 1996, I was warned about the dangers of the Stone Throwing, Rami Al-Jaamarat ritual. Told that it would be the most arduous and life-threatening experience of the rituals performed, I really hadn’t the faintest clue of what to expect. I was advised to pay off all of my debts and say goodbye to everyone, asking forgiveness from anyone whom I might have wronged in life. In a strange way it was a subtle reminder of death, of the possibility that I was giving my final goodbyes. I was on my way to be cleansed, or so I hoped that Allah the Almighty would accept my attempt. I was blessed to have an opportunity to make the pilgrimage and was pleased with an amazing trip! The House of Allah was an amazing Beauty. The cubic structure was much more massive than I expected and the pilgrims circumambulated around it while the structure stood absolutely still. It was a contrast that gave me a feeling of its greatness. Following instructions and going through the rites of circumambulation tawaf and sa’i were refreshing and though the area was densely populated, I felt a sort of ease and spiritual comfort getting through them.

    Jamarat at Mina - Hajj 2006

    Recently, the system for pebble throwing has become very organized, however, during the time I visited Makkah for Hajj, it was very dangerous. Many who entered the stone throwing area were never to return home. Over time, the pebble-throwing rite had gained the worst reputation. Out of fear, people hastily entered and attempted to complete the throwing of the stones, fearing for their lives. It was very cluttered and many visitors to the Holy area were not aware of how to keep themselves safe as well as others.

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  • Hajj Resolutions

    Many Muslims will set off for hajj this year with the desire to come back a changed person. The journey to the Ka’baa will offer them an outlet for self-reflection and growth, but how can one commit to staying away from temptation once they’ve left the Holy Land? Studies show that writing goals help one to stay focused, organized and motivated. Outline your expectations of hajj and what you hope to achieve from it by using these 5 helpful tips to create your Hajj Resolutions.

    1. Focus on Your Goals: What do you want from Allah? Dedicate one list to short term goals and another for long term goals. Be specific about your goals and realistic about the time frame in which you plan to achieve them. Remember to pace yourself so that you don’t burn out. If you know someone who has accomplished your goal, ask them about the methods they’ve used.
    2. Identify Your Weaknesses: This takes brash honesty and a real desire to change. What are some of your typical excuses to get out of work? Once you’ve identified your excuses, you’ll be able to work against them.
    3. Weigh Your Deeds: If you’ve been able to keep up with your goals, reward yourself with something special. However, if you’ve fallen behind, work to rectify your actions. A good way to monitor your behavior is by keeping a journal or schedule of your progress.
    4. Have a Support System: Establish a spiritual connection with Allah by making continuous du’a for strength to reach your goals. Keep in mind that it’s only through Allah’s will and mercy that you will be able to accomplish anything. Secondly, research suggests that it is also important to tell a confidant about your goals so that they can help keep you motivated and encouraged.
    5. Be Optimistic: When you feel like you’ve hit a wall or that you have too much work left to do, look back at all the work you’ve accomplished to re-motivate yourself.

    Remember, a sign of an accepted hajj is whether that individual has returned in a better state than when he arrived

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  • As someone born and raised in Iowa as a Muslim but who had never been to the Muslim world, I visited Mecca for the first time in August and September. I went to study with the scholars and, more importantly, to perform the minor pilgrimage in Islam known as “umrah.” The umrah is like the Hajj — the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca and one of the five pillars of Islam — but is shorter in rites duration and can be done any time of the year.

    For Muslims, Mecca is the most revered and holy city in the world. The city is mentioned in the Bible as “Becca.” It is the birthplace of Prophet Muhammad (d. 632 C.E.), peace be upon him, who Muslims believe was the last messenger of God for all time and humanity. Muslims do not believe the message he came with was new but was the same basic message revealed to previous prophets such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Moses and Jesus, son of Mary, may peace be upon them all. The basic message being that there is nothing worthy of worship except God alone, without partners or associates.

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  • Check out these very beautiful picture that were taken during the Hajj 2006/2007. Mashallah!

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    I hope you have enjoyed these picture.
    I want to send a special thanks to the brother and his wife that took these amazing pictures, and for sharing with the rest of us.

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  • I came a cross this footage on YouTube, and I wanted to share it with everyone. The big flood in Mina, in 2005, was caused by the excessive rain, and the fact that Mina is a valley surrounded by mountains. This was a great trial for those who made Hajj that year. Some people even lost their lives. We ask Allah to forgive their sins and to bless them with the highest level of Jannah.

    Download Title: Hajj 2005 Flooding

    I invite anyone who made Hajj that year to share some of their thoughts/experiance about the flood on this blog, by replying to this post.

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  • Visiting Mina

    Mina is a desert valley located 5-6 km east of Makkah. It stands between Makkah and the hill of Arafat. Mina provides temporary accommodations to all the pilgrims, where they stay in tents. The valley also has the Jamarat bridge where the stoning ritual takes place. Make sure you check out the satellite/map view of Mina, by clicking on the “Map View” button below.

    The Tents at Mina

    The first time you need to spend in Mina is on the 8th of Dhul-Hijjah, until the sunrise of 9th day (Day of Arafat). The second time you need to spend in Mina is on the 10th, 11th, and 12th of Dhul-Hijjah. If you plan not to stay for the third day (12th of Dhul-Hijjah) you must leave Mina before Maghrib on the 11th day.

    Things to remember while your there:

    1. Mina is the place of Takbeer. So take advantage of every minute.
    2. Try to get as much knowledge as possible. There are scholars everywhere you go. So do your best to seek them out.
    3. Shorten your 4 rakat prayers to 2 rakat, but do not combine prayers together.

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  • Muzdalifa is one of the obligatory duties of Hajj. On the 9th day of Dhul Hijja, the pilgrim will leave Arafat to reach the valley of Muzdalifa. It is recommended to leave Arafah quietly and in a dignified manner. The distance between the two areas is about 8-9 kilometers. At Muzdalifa, the pilgrim spends the night in the open valley and the following Fajr, the 10th of Dhul Hijja, will leave for Mina to perform stoning ceremony.

    The Prophet at Muzdalifa

    It was reported by Jabir, may Allah be pleased with him, “When the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, reached Muzdalifa, he offered both Maghrib and ‘Isha’ prayers, then he lay down to sleep. He slept until dawn, then he got up and offered Fajr prayer, and mounted his she-camel, Al-Qaswa. When he reached Al-Ma’shar Al-Haram he stopped there until there was light all around, then before sunrise, he left the place” (Muslim, 2803). When you reach Al-Ma’shar Al Haram, make dua until the brightness of daylight is widespread before the actual sun rises.

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  • Coming Soon.

    In the mean time click on the “Map View” button below to see the location of Makkah (Mecca) on the map.

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  • Coming Soon.

    In the mean time click on the “Map View” button below to see the location of Al-Madinah on the map.

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