Hajj and Umrah Pilgrimage- The Ultimate Journey and Ultimate Guide
And proclaim to mankind the Hajj. They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, they will come from every deep and distant valley. Qur’an 22:27
Ever wondered why you make pilgrimage to Makkah and Madina, why perform Umrah, why dress in white and circumambulate?
Before going, I felt this question was important to me. Aside from the blessings and sightseeing, what is the purpose of this journey? Why is Hajj fardh upon every Muslim?
My personal reflection was that, it is about proclaiming Allah’s name openly and proudly. Where we acknowledge Allah ﷻ as our creator and sustainer, our Lord. In many passages of the Qu’ran, Allah ﷻ talks about the many types of hypocrites and how in secret or among certain company they shy from Allah’s name. Allah ﷻ wants us to make visit to the holy Mosque and proclaim his name openly and loudly, without shame and fear. It’s why we say Labayk, we are telling our Lord that I am here, I am present, in your house and in your submission. I don’t submit to any other man, idol or medium, only you.
During the time of the Messenger ﷺ, pilgrimage to the holy sanctuary was recommended, but the hypocrites made excuses, thus making pilgrimage evidence of faith. To be able to leave your home, family and business and make way on an arduous trip displayed Love to Allah. How many of us work amongst non-Muslims? How many of us are shy of our religion? Shy of our Lord? This journey has taught me to be proud of being a Muslim; proud to believe in a God and proud to believe in Allah ﷻ.
Lo! The first sanctuary appointed for mankind was that at Bakka (Makkah), a blessed place, guidance to the people. Qur’an 3:96
Looking at pilgrimage from a distance, everyone is considered equal. No discrimination on the basis of race, sex, or social status is made. In accordance to the teachings of Islam. It is a ‘display of creation’, a ‘reminder of history’, an ‘illustration of unity’, a ‘show of the Islamic ideology’ and a ‘display of the Ummah.’ It is a symbolic demonstration of submission to Allah.
Are you ready to submit to your Lord?
With the passage of time and the influence of various forces of the social system which disregard human rights and duties, your character has been changed. The vicissitudes of life have affected you to the degree that you became alienated and neglectful. Originally, with Allah’s spirit in your heart, you were supposed to shoulder the responsibility of being Allah’s trustee on earth. You were granted time as a means for fulfilling this task but you failed because the gift was used carelessly!
By the declining day, Lo! Man is in a state of loss. Qur’an 103: 2-3
Oh trustee and vicegerent of Allah ﷻ on earth, you have turned to money, sex, greed, aggression, and dishonesty. You have regressed to the inferior status that you occupied before almighty Allah blew His spirit into you. Where is the spirit of Allah now? Oh man, rise out of this decadent situation! Divorce yourself from this gradual death.
Leave your surroundings and go to the pure land. There you may face Almighty Allah under the inspiring sky of Mashar. The estrangement which you have experienced will be overcome. At last, you will find yourself!
Regardless of whether you are a man or a woman, young or old, black or white, you are the main feature of this performance. You are the Abid, you play the role of Adam, Ibrahim and Hajra in the pilgrimage. You individually make this journey, and as we each perform these rituals, together as an Ummah we are in obedience.
Before departing to perform Umrah, all of your debts should be paid. Your hates and angers towards relatives or friends must disappear. A will must be drawn. All of these gestures are an exercise in the preparation for death (which will overtake everyone some day). These acts guarantee your personal and financial clearance. The last moments of farewell and the future of man are symbolised.
Entering Miqat and Becoming One
The journey begins at Miqat. At this point, man must change his clothes. Why? Because one’s attire covers the person as well as his character. Clothes symbolise pattern, preference, status, and distinction. They create superficial “borders” which cause “separation” between people. In most cases, “separation” between people, gives birth to “discrimination”. Furthermore the concept of “I” not “we” emerges! “I” is used in the context of my race, my class, my clan, my group, my position, my family, my values, and not “I” as a human being.
Perform ghusl, trim your hair and perfume your body, for you are about to meet your Lord.
Now take off your clothes. Leave them at Miqat. Wrap yourself in two pieces of cloth. One covers your shoulders and the other goes around your waist. No special style or material is used. It is made of very plain and simple fabric. Everyone is wearing the same outfit (Ihram chadar). No distinctions in appearance are visible. See the uniformity appear! Be a particle and join the mass; as a drop, enter the ocean. In the state of Ihram’, try to forget the things that remind you of your life. All travelling towards one direction.
Don’t be proud, you are not here for business or pleasure, but be humble. You will be seeing Allah ﷻ. Leave your past in Miqat and assume your original shape as ‘man’ – just one ‘Adam’.
Declaring your Intention (Niyyat)
At Miqat, which is the beginning of change and revolution, you must declare your intention. What does this encompass? It is the intention of a transferral from your house to the house of people, from life to love, from the self to Allah ﷻ, from slavery to freedom, from racial discrimination to equality, sincerity and truth, from being clothed to being naked, from a daily life to an eternal life and from selfishness and aimlessness to devotion and responsibility. In summary, it is a transferral into the state of ‘Ihram’.
Therefore, your intention must be strongly asserted.
Being extremely conscious, you must have faith in your heart. Enlighten your heart with the flame of love; shine and glorify your lord. Forget all about yourself! In the past, your life was characterised by ‘negligence’ and ‘ignorance’, You were helpless in all aspects of existence. Even in the realm of your job, you became a slave, working either as a habit or by force! Now, shed this pattern of life! Become genuinely conscious of Almighty Allah, the people and yourself!
In the Ihram attire perform the prayer of Ihram, presenting yourself to the Almighty. Know what you are saying, know that you are about to meet your Lord. Once you finish the two rak’ah optional prayer, make the Niyyah –
‘O Allah! I intend to perform Umrah. Please make it easy for me and accept it from me.’
Then, loudly proclaim the Talbiyyah –
‘Here I am at your service O Allah, here I am. Here I am at your service and you have no partners. Belongs to you alone, All Praise and All Bounty, and belongs to you alone, The Sovereignty. You have no partners.’
You are now in the state of ihram.
– Do not look in a mirror in order not to see your image. Therefore, forget the “self” temporarily. If you do, a penalty must be paid. Consult your scholar for specific information.
There are certain things which you are expected to avoid while in the state of Ihram. These include any sort of reminders of your business, position, social class, or race. In essence, all worldly matters belonging to the life before Miqat, are tabooed. The following is a list of specific actions which must not be undertaken:
– Do not use nor smell perfume in order not to recall the enjoyable times of the past. You are now in an environment of spirituality. Therefore, smell love!
– Do not give orders to anyone. Therefore, exercise a sense of brotherhood!
– Do not harm animals or insects. Therefore, for a few days live as Jesus!
– Do not break or uproot plants. Therefore, kill the tendencies of aggression by being peaceful toward nature!
– Do not hunt. Therefore, be merciful to others!
– Do not indulge in love making and intercourse, therefore, be inspired by real love!
– Do not marry or participate in marriage ceremonies.
– Do not use make up. Therefore, see yourself as you are!
– Do not be dishonest, argumentative, curseful, (i.e. swear), or arrogant.
– Do not sew your Ihram. Therefore, evade self – distinction!
– Do not stay in the shade (like kings).
– Do not cover your head (males).
– Do not cover your face (females).
– Do not wear shoes or socks. Wear simple sandals.
– Do not use ornaments.
– Do not cut your hair.
– Do not clip your nails.
– Do not use creams.
– Do not allow blood to flow (example cut yourself).
– Do not look in a mirror in order not to see your image. Therefore, forget the “self” temporarily.
If you do, a penalty must be paid. Consult your scholar for specific information.
Continue reciting Talbiyyah as you approach the haram. You are ever so close to your destination.
Upon entering the vicinity of the Haram (white tiles), the shouts of “Labayk” stop immediately. Silence prevails everywhere; it signifies your arrival. Here is the Host (Allah) and this is His house. Everyone is quiet but each person’s heart is ignited with love!
You will see a homogeneous crowd flooding downhill to the Masjid-ul-haram like a white river. Amidst all this, you will feel like a drop! The closer you get to Ka’bah, the more glories you experience. Upon descending down the hills (toward Ka’bah) you get closer to Allah ﷻ.
You are approaching the Ka’bah. You have your eyes lowered. The closer you get, the more excited you become. The weight of Allah’s presence seems to get heavier and heavier.
You finally reach the Ka’bah, You look up to see the beautiful Ka’bah, so surreal and magnificent, so full of mercy.
The whole atmosphere is full of spirit, you cannot restrain your tears. The glory of Allahﷻ is felt in your heart under your skin, in your mind, in your senses, in the face of each rock and particle of sand, in the valley, in the desert and in the vague horizon.
You see nobody but Allah! He is the only one who ‘exists’; others are like waves and foam. He is the only truth; all beside Him are unreal!
You proclaim Allah’s greatness and oneness.
Allah hu Akbar! Allah hu Akbar! Allah hu Akbar! La ila ha illalla!
Having decided to move towards eternity, you begin the Umrah. It is an eternal movement towards Allah ﷻ not towards the Ka’bah. The Ka’bah is the beginning and not the end – when no more can be done.
Like a roaring river circling around a stone, Ka’bah is surrounded by a crowd of highly excited people. It is like a sun in the centre while the people are like planets travelling in their orbit of the solar system. Centrally positioned, the people move around it in a circular pattern. The Ka’bah symbolises the constancy and eternity of Allah ﷻ, the moving circle represents the continuous activity and transition of His creatures.
It is an example of a system based on the idea of monotheism which encompasses the orientation of a particle (man). Allah ﷻ is the centre of existence; He is the focus of this ephemeral world. In contrast, you are a moving particle changing your position from what you are to what you ought to be. Yet in all positions and during all times, maintaining a constant distance with Ka’bah or with Allah!
You do not touch Ka’bah nor do your stop there. Everyone encircles Ka’bah collectively. The movement is as one unit, one group of people. There is no individual identification, that is, as being a man or woman, nor black or white! It is the transformation of one person into the totality of a people. All of the ‘I’s’ join and become a ‘We’, establishing the ‘Ummah’ with the aim of approaching Allah ﷻ.
Approach the black stone or kiss it from a distance, this is the starting point. The stone carries much significance, it is from the heavens. As the Scholar, Dr Muhammad Hamidullah رحمة الله puts it,
“[T]he Prophet has named the (Black Stone) the “right hand of God” (yamin-Allah), and for purpose. In fact one poses there one’s hand to conclude the pact, and God obtains there our pact of allegiance and submission. In the qur’anic terminology, God is the king, and … in (his) realm there is a metropolis (Umm al-Qurra) and in the metropolis naturally a palace (Bait-Allah, home of God). If a subject wants to testify to his loyalty, he has to go to the royal palace and conclude personally the pact of allegiance. The right hand of the invisible God must be visible symbolically. And that is the al-Hajar al-Aswad, the Black Stone in the Ka’bah.”
During Tawaaf, you must be drawn into the roaring river of people who are circumambulating. This is the collective invitation to whoever wants to come to this house. What can be seen? Ka’bah is steadfast in the centre while the white, roaring river goes around it. Everyone is dressed in one colour and pattern. There is neither distinction nor personal promotion; true totality and universality is demonstrated. If you remain in the state of self-centeredness, you are not really a part of the Tawaaf circle. You will be like a visitor standing at the bank of a river, but not in it. Put your phone away! Those who are detached from themselves are alive and moving collectively. Those who are not separated from themselves are stagnant and dead. They are like wandering particles in the air of its systemic orbit.
Circumambulate seven times reciting the praises of your Lord.
By becoming departed from yourself, you have assumed a new form as a “particle” that is gradually melting and disappearing and becoming one larger particle, the Ummah, all in service of the Lord.
Hajar was an example for humanity. Allah ﷻ ordered for her to be left at the fearful valley of Mecca where no plant not even thistles ouldgrow. Out of love for Allah ﷻ, she understood and accepted this order. It seems strange – a lonely woman with her lonely child cast into the depth of this valley among such ugly and inactive volcanoes. Without water? Without shelter? Without anyone? But why?
All of this because Allah ﷻ wanted absolute reliance upon Him! This rationale is not comprehendible by our Wisdom nor does it appear logical. Water is necessary for existence, the baby needs milk a stroller from the baby-stroller reviews, a man needs friends, a woman needs supporters and a mother needs help. This is true, yet love can replace all of those needs! One can live with love if the spirit recognises it. O lonely maid, a helpless nursing mother, you and your child must rely upon Allah ﷻ. Feeling secure with love, rely upon Him!
Going around and around, you see no one but “Him”. You are a “nothing who feels His existence” and simultaneously an “existence who feels nothing”. As you circumambulate, you are like a particle in this circular movement which is an orbit, a motion, a Tawaf and a Hajj! Nevertheless, all of this is symbolic of Allah. Your position is that of “submission”.
Hatim/Hijr Ismaeel: Hatim is a semi-circular half-built portion which was originally a part of the Ka’bah but which could not be included in the main structure when the Ka’bah was rebuilt. It is obligatory to go around Hatim also while performing tawaf, as this place is considered to be part of the Ka’bah.
When you have complete tawaf, at Ibrahim’s position you must read two units of prayers. Where is this position? It is a piece of stone with Ibrahim’s foot prints on it. It was on this stone that he stood and laid the cornerstone of Kaaba, the Hajar-ul Aswad. He stood there to construct the Kaaba. Do you understand? Are you not shivering?
Being in Ibrahim’s position signifies standing in his place! Who? You! Where he constructed the Ka’bah, the symbol for unity, the reminder of Allah’s oneness.
Now you are in Ibrahim’s position! It is the highest point to which Ibrahim could ascend; it is the nearest point to Allah ﷻ. When Ibrahim reached this point, he had experienced a life full of struggle – fighting with Nimrod, the idols, facing the tortures, the heap of fire, Satan and the sacrifice of his son Ismail.
He was finally establishing tawhid.
It is not difficult to realise what Tawhid does to mankind. It may humiliate you to nothing, realising you are nothing without Allah ﷻ, and at other times it endows you with the highest degree of spirituality whereby you are alongside Allah – in His house, as His guest and on His path!
Approximately one hour ago, you were at the bank of this river standing, thinking of yourself, watching the people and not being one of them; you were a useless particle reprimanded by Allah ﷻ. You were “mud”, “clay” and “earth”, But now, you are flowing and moving. No longer are you stagnated nor putrefied. You are roaring, washing away the rocks, breaking the dams and finding your way to the gardens to grow heaven in the heart of the salty deserts! You irrigate the fields, the earth, flowers and plants. In turn you help the cultivation of thousands of seeds from which thousands of buds are impatient to germinate, to crack above the earth, exhibit their leaves and rise towards the sky. If you do not move, you will become like clay – hard and solid; and you will simultaneously bury and destroy all of these potentials.
Now make dua.
Take a break, drink from the well of ZamZam. Wash your hands, face and head with this blessed water, don’t be shy, it is blessed. Drink to your fill whist facing the Ka’bah in standing position saying Bismillah. Then supplicate to Allah-
O Allah! I implore Thee for beneficial knowledge, for vast provisions, and for cure from every disease.
When completing the tawaf prayer in Ibrahim’s position, you must go to “Masa” which is the space between the mountains of Safa and Marwa (it encompasses about 1/4 mile). Run between those two mountains seven times. Start at the top of Safa. Part of the path is at the level of Kaaba where you should do the “harwala”. Then you walk towards Marwa, and haste where Hajra hasted.
Sa’ey is a search. It is a movement with an aim. It is depicted by running and hurrying.
Sa’ey is physical work. It means exerting your efforts and running after water and bread in order to satisfy your thirst and feed your hungry children.
Sa’ey is the struggle and search for your needs out of the heart of nature; it is the attempt to get water out of the stone.
Here in Sa’y you are to play the role of Hajar. Hajar totally submitted to the will of Allah ﷻ; she left her child in this valley. This was the command of Allah ﷻ and the order of love! However, the model of submission (Hajar) did not sit quietly. Soon, she arose and all alone tried to run from one dry mountain to the other searching for water! Constantly searching, moving and struggling, she decided to rely on herself, her feet, her will and her mind.
Hajar was a responsible woman, a mother, in love, all alone, wandering, searching, enduring pain, disturbed, deprived of support, lacking shelter, homeless, isolated from her society, classless, race-less and hopeless; yet despite all these drawbacks, she was hopeful! She was far away from her town and country of a more privileged race. Wandering in this strange desert, she was like a prisoner in these mountains. All alone, she was restless but hopeful and determined in her search for water, going from one area to the other.
All alone … Running on her feet to the top of these mountains (not sitting and crying helplessly!) in search of water.
Think about it. She submits herself to His absolute will. Leaving her town and country, she brings her child far, far away and leaves him in this dry and lonely valley (Mecca). She relies absolutely on Allah ﷻ and His love. With the power of faith, she denies all the logics and rationales.
But, unlike many of the so-called righteous people or worshippers, she does not sit quietly beside her son. She does not wait for a miracle to occur or for an invisible hand to bring some fruits from heaven or to flow a river to quench their thirst. Nay! She leaves her son in the hands of “love” and immediately arises to run – having decided to search for water and try her best. And now in the uncivilized and dry mountains of Mecca, a woman – alone, thirsty, responsible, a stranger – wanders in a fruitless search for “water”! Oh Allah, are we talking of “Hajar” or “mankind”?
Hajar’s efforts return no yield, on her return, to her astonishment, the child who was left in a state of thirst and restlessness, has dug under the sands with his heels. At that moment of maximum desperation and from an unexpected place, suddenly there appears:
By miracle, by the power of needs and the mercy of Allah – a fountain of water.
It is Zam-Zam, a sweet and life-giving fountain of water flowing from stone! There is a lesson in this, though you cannot approach Him by working hard, you should try your best. Go about in the world, seek what you desire (from what is halal) and he will provide. Not because of your efforts, but simply because of his love.
Try seven times which is the same number of times you circumambulate during Tawaaf! Take this number as infinite, continue to strive in live, asking, seeking, requesting from your Lord.
Once complete, pray a further two nafil and supplicate.
Tawaaf: Love, worship, spirit, morality, beauty, goodness, holiness, values, truth, faith, righteousness, suffering, sacrifice, devotion, humility, slavery, perception, enlightenment, submission, Allah’s might and will, metaphysics, the unseen, for others, for the hereafter, and … for Allah! And … whatever the easterner’s spirit is motivated by and in love with. Sa’ey: Wisdom, logic, needs, living, facts, objectives, earth, material, nature, privileges, thinking, science, industry, policy, benefit, joy, economy, civilisation, body, freedom, will-power, mastery, in this world – for the self. And … whatever the westerners struggle for. Tawaf: Allah only! Sa’y: Mankind only! Tawaf: Soul and nothing else. Sa’y: Body alone. Tawaf: Pains of “being” and worrying about the “hereafter”. Sa’y: Joys of “living” and convenience of “this world”. Tawaf: Searching for “thirst”! Sa’y: Searching for “water”! Tawaf: The butterfly. Sa’y: The eagle. Hajj is the combination of Tawaaf and Sa’ey. It resolves the contradictions that have confused mankind throughout history:
Tawaaf: Absolute love! Sa’ey: Absolute wisdom! Tawaaf: All “Him”. Sa’ey: All “You”! Tawaaf: Almighty’s will only! Sa’ey: Your will only! Tawaaf: As a butterfly who encircles the candle until it burns; and its ashes are gone with the wind – disappearing in love and dying in light! Sa’ey: As an eagle who flies above these black mountains with the support of its strong wings to find its food and seize his bait in the midst of stones. It conquers both the earth and the sky. Tawaaf is: Mankind in love with the “truth”. Sa’ey is: Mankind self-supported by the “facts”. Tawaaf is: The exalted man. Sa’ey is: The powerful man.
Materialism or idealism? Rationalism or enlightenment? This world of the hereafter? Epicureanism or asceticism? The will of Allah ﷻ or the will of man? To rely on Him or the will of man? To rely on Him or rely on one’s self?
Tawaaf: Love, worship, spirit, morality, beauty, goodness, holiness, values, truth, faith, righteousness, suffering, sacrifice, devotion, humility, slavery, perception, enlightenment, submission, Allah’s might and will, metaphysics, the unseen, for others, for the hereafter, and … for Allah! And … whatever the easterner’s spirit is motivated by and in love with. Sa’ey: Wisdom, logic, needs, living, facts, objectives, earth, material, nature, privileges, thinking, science, industry, policy, benefit, joy, economy, civilisation, body, freedom, will-power, mastery, in this world – for the self. And … whatever the westerners struggle for.
Tawaf: Allah only! Sa’y: Mankind only! Tawaf: Soul and nothing else. Sa’y: Body alone. Tawaf: Pains of “being” and worrying about the “hereafter”. Sa’y: Joys of “living” and convenience of “this world”. Tawaf: Searching for “thirst”! Sa’y: Searching for “water”! Tawaf: The butterfly. Sa’y: The eagle.
Hajj is the combination of Tawaaf and Sa’ey. It resolves the contradictions that have confused mankind throughout history:
At the last point of your Sa’ey, at Marwa, shave your head, or cut it by an inch at least. Remove this adornment, sho your submission to Allah. Nothing matters any more, not your family, your business nor your adornments. Allah’s submission is primary.
The Umrah has come to an end, remove your Ihram garments and wear your regular clothes. Feel free!
Nafl Tawaaf – You may perform Umrah as often as you want according to the above procedure. And if you want to perform just a nafl Tawaaf, follow the same procedure, however, in a nafl Tawaaf there is no Ihram, no Ramal, no Iztaba and even no Sa’ey. Tawaaf is regarded as the highest nafl act in the haram.
You have now performed Umrah, spent time in the haram and continued to awe the beautiful Ka’bah. Now it’s time to turn to the Ka’bah’s Ka’bah. When the Muslims conquered Makkah, Bilal was instructed to call the Adhan so he climbed to the top of the Ka’bah. He said, O Messenger ﷺ, when I call the Adhan, I face the Ka’bah, but now I am on top of the Ka’bah, where do I face now? The Messenger replied, O Bilal, now you face me.
This is the epitome of creation, the most beloved to Allah, Muhammad Mustafa ﷺ.
How fiercely did the sun shine, and how intensely did the full-moon glitter, When the dazzling face was unveiled, none remained; neither this, nor the other!…Anon
O what a beautiful sight, the one who liberated us from Jahillyah, the one who extended the day of Qiyammah, the one who wept for each one of us. You are now about to make a special visit to the Final and most beloved of Prophet’s.
He is the one who will intercede for us, the one all the Prophets and their nations will turn to, he is the most beloved to Allah ﷻ. How can you love Allah, without loving what Allah loves? Love the Messenger! ﷺ.
Abu Huraira رضي الله عنه reported Allah’s Messenger ﷺ as saying: The people most loved by me from amongst my Ummah would be those who would come after me but everyone amongst them would have the keenest desire to catch a glimpse of me even at the cost of his family and wealth. [Muslim Book 40, No. 6791]
Have a look at these two videos, listen carefully, and immerse yourself with the love of Rasoolullah ﷺ, desire to meet him, yearn to be in his presence.
On your way to Madina, close your eyes and yearn to see the Messenger ﷺ. Recite Darood constantly. Recite 100 Darood Ibrahimi, understand what you are saying. Darood Sharif softens the heart, it creates love for the Messenger ﷺ Inshāʾallah. Love him like the companions loved him. Emulate his steps and ways. Know that he hears your Darood and Salaam.
70000 angels visit the rawdha in the day and 70000 in the night, there are so many angels in line to give Salaam, that none will get another chance till the day of judgement.
When you arrive in Madina. You’ll notice it’s a beautiful city and has a calm breeze. Look out for the Green Dome, look at its beauty, and fix your eyes on it as you travel to your hotel.
Go to your room, settle, take ghusl, wear fresh clothes and the kohl and perfume your body. Emulate the Nabi ﷺ in every way. Then go visit him.
From outside of the Mosque, find Gate 1, walk in to the courtyard whilst reciting Darood. Look up to see the Green Dome, immerse yourself. Then walk towards Bab us Salam. This will be towards your left. Enter it and walk through the doors. Recite Darood and when you pass the Rawdha, face the Messenger ﷺ and give Salaam.
Assalaamu Alayka Ya Rasoolullah
When you reach the Rawdha, give salaam.
Qadi `Iyad states in al-Shifa’, the consensus of the Muslims whereby the site of the Prophet’s grave ﷺ is the holiest site on earth. And Al-Bazzar and al-Daraqutni narrated on the authority of Ibn Umar that Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said “Whoever visits my grave, my intercession becomes guaranteed for him.”
It is also permissible to ask the Messenger ﷺ to intercede for you there and then. On al-`Utbi’s authority, and they admired what he said:
As I was sitting by the grave of the Prophet ﷺ, a Bedouin Arab came and said: “Peace be upon you, O Messenger of Allah! I have heard Allah saying: “If they had only, when they were unjust to themselves, come unto thee and asked Allah’s forgiveness, and the Messenger ﷺ had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah indeed Oft-returning, Most Merciful” (4:64), so I have come to you asking forgiveness for my sin, seeking your intercession with my Lord.” Then he began to recite poetry:
O best of those whose bones are buried in the deep earth,
And from whose fragrance the depth
and the height have become sweet,
May I be the ransom for a grave which thou inhabit,
And in which are found purity, bounty and munificence!
Then he left, and I dozed and saw the Prophet ﷺ in my sleep. He said to me: “O `Utbi, run after the Bedouin and give him glad tidings that Allah has forgiven him.”
After this give salaam to the Beloved of the Beloved, Sayyudinah Abu Bakr As-Siddiq and the one full of Taqwa, Sayyudinah Umar-e-Faruq رضي الله عنهم.
Once you have presented yourself, find a place in the Masjid to sit. After Riyadh ul Jannah and Ashaab Al-Suffa, many prefer to sit behind the Rawdha, so under the umbrellas, from here you can also see the Green Dome.
Riyadh ul Jannah
This is the original mosque, it has a green carpet and is said to be part of Jannah. Try to pray nafil here but give others a chance too.
This is where the companions used to sit and constantly do Dhikr. It’s a virtue to sit here, in their place, and also do Dhikr.
“The person who offers 40 prayers consecutively in my Mosque, without missing a prayer in between, will secure immunity from the fire of Hell and other torments and also from hypocrisy.” [Musnad Ahmad]. It is said, Men should offer forty prayers in the Prophet’s ﷺ Mosque, but it is not a requirement of any kind. It is only Mustahab, i.e., rewarding if done, but if not done there is no sin.
Mimbar and Mihrab e Rasool ﷺ
This is where the Prophet ﷺ led the prayer. The actual spot. Imagine standing there.
The Aashiq’s of the Prophet ﷺ have attempted to preserve significant places in the Mosque. Some of these are preserved using pillars.
1. Ustuwaanah Hannaanah
This pillar is located behind the Mihrab of the Prophet ﷺ, it is the blessed place of prayer. There used to be a tree here, on which the Prophet sat on whilst giving the sermon. But then the minbar was build, from which the Prophet ﷺ began delivering his sermon from there. When this happened, the sound of crying was heard from the tree and it could be heard around the whole masjid. The Prophet ﷺ then went to the tree, placed his hand on it and the crying stopped. He then said:
“The tree cries because the remembrance of Allah ﷻ was near it, and now that the minbar is built it has been deprived of this remembrance in its immediate vicinity. If I did not place my hand on it, it would have cried till the Day of Judgement.”
2. Ustuwaanah A’ishah (May Allah be pleased with her)
This is also called the Ustuwaanah Muhajireen because the Muhajireen (emigrants from Makkah to Medina) used to sit near this spot. The Prophet ﷺ used to offer his prayers at this place before he moved to the place at Ustuwaanah Hannanah. It is also called the Ustuwaanah Qur’ah. The reason for this is that A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
In this Masjid is one such spot that if people knew the true blessed nature thereof, they would flock towards it in such that to pray there they would cast lots (Qur’ah).
People asked her to point out the exact spot which she refused to do. Later on, after Abdullah Ibn Zubair (may Allah be pleased with him) persisted, she pointed to this spot. It is called Ustuwaanah A’ishah because the Hadeeth is reported by her and the exact spot was shown by her.
You’ll notice most people are not aware of this, so make the most of praying here.
3. Ustuwaanah Tawbah / Abu Lubabah
During the battle of Banu Quraydhah, after the enemies had been surrounded by the Muslims, the besieged tribe called on Abu Lubabah (may Allah be pleased with him) to tell them what the Muslims were planning to do with them. Abu Lubabah had previously had dealings with the Banu Quraydhah and after seeing their crying and wailing, he told them what the Muslims were planning to do.
He wasn’t suppose to reveal anything to the enemy and realising his mistake, he became grieved and proceeded to go to the Masjid. He came to a date tree and tied himself to it saying:
“As long as my repentance is not accepted by Allah ﷻ, I shall not untie myself from here. And the Prophet ﷺ himself must undo my bonds.”
When the Prophet ﷺ heard this, he said:
“If he had come to me I would have begged forgiveness on his behalf. Now he had acted on his own initiative, so how can I untie him until such a time that his repentance has been accepted.”
For many days he remained tied there without food and water, except for prayers and when he had to answer the call of nature. Then one morning, after a few days, he received the good news that his repentance (tawbah) had been accepted. The companions conveyed the news to him and wanted to untie him but he refused, saying:
“As long as the Prophet ﷺ does not untie me with his blessed hands, I shall not allow anyone else to do so.”
When the Prophet ﷺ entered for Fajr prayers, he untied him. The pillar is called Ustuwaanah Tawbah (repentance) or Abu Lubabah as it was this very spot in which Abu Lubabah tied himself seeking repentance.
4. Ustuwaanah Sareer
‘Sareer’ means sleeping place. It is reported that the Prophet ﷺ used to make i‘tikaaf here (seclude himself in the Masjid) and used to sleep here while in i‘tikaaf. A platform of wood used to be put here for him to sleep on.
5. Ustuwaanah Hars / ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him).
‘Hars’ means to watch or protect. This used to be the place where some of the companions (may Allah be pleased with them) used to sit when keeping watch or acting as gatekeepers. ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) used to be the one who would do this often due to which it is also known as Ustuwaanah Ali.
When the following verse was revealed, the Prophet ﷺ told his companions that he no longer needed people to keep watch as Allah had promised to protect him.
“..And Allah will protect you from the people..” Surah Al Ma’idah, Verse 67
6. Ustuwaanah Wufood
‘Wufood’ means delegations, whenever a delegation arrived to meet the Prophet ﷺ on behalf of their tribes, they would be met at this place where he used to meet them, converse with them and teach them about Islam.
7. Ustuwaanah Tahajjud
It is reported that this was the spot where late at night a carpet was spread for the Prophet ﷺ to perform tahajjud prayer after the people had left. There used to be a niche at this place to indicate the Prophet’s ﷺ place of performing Tahajjud but it has now been hidden with a bookcase as you can see above.
This historical photo shows what is hidden behind the bookcase:
8. Ustuwaanah Jibra’eel
This was the usual place where the angel Jibra’eel used to enter to visit the Prophet ﷺ. Today it cannot be seen as it lies inside the sacred room of the Prophet ﷺ.
These eight places are special but so is the entire Masjid and the city of Medina. You cannot take a step except imagine that the Prophet ﷺ or his companions must have tread on that exact space many years ago.
There are also pillars which indicate the boundary of the original Masjid, written on the top of each pillar is ‘this is the Masjid of the Prophet ﷺ’.
Here are a list of the Ziyaraat. If you come across any that I’ve not mentioned, please comment below so all can benefit. I’ve decided not to add pictures so you can experience the places first hand.
Here is an interesting video – Secrets of Makkah
Here is a list of notable people – Jannatul Maula Buried
As well as this, it is recommended to visit the well of Aris, which is located by the mosque of Quba’, and drink from its water and perform ablution with it. However this is now closed to the public.
“…Prophet ﷺ would go out towards the end of the night to al-Baqi and say: “Peace be upon you, abode of a people who are believers. What you were promised would come to you tomorrow, you receiving it after some delay; and God willing we shall join you. O Allah, grant forgiveness to the inhabitants of Baqi al-Gharqad.” [Muslim]
Here is a list of notable people – Jannatul Baqee
Once some people of Madinah came to the Prophet ﷺ and appealed about the shortage of rain and water and their sufferings due to it. So the Prophet summoned people and offered the nafil prayer. Some reports say that the Prophet ﷺ offered Eid Salah in this Masjid. Further, it is reported that at this place the Prophet ﷺ offered Janazah of Najashi, the king of Abyssinia. When he passed away there was no one who could lead his Janazah, so the Prophet ﷺ prayed his funeral prayers, the only time ever, in the absence of the actual body.
It is right near Masjid Nabi, if you take Gt 6, you’ll see it infront of you, however it is closed to the public now.
This Masjid always reminds us that Prophet ﷺ has always made supplications for the Ummah and their betterment. Also with that we should remember that all our Duas are not always at once answered or rewarded, but they are either stored for later or there is something in exchange for them that is far better is given to us.
Here is an interesting video – Secrets of Makkah
- Saudi Airlines have designated area to pray Salāh which is very convenient, you can probably get in 4 people, unless it’s some guy who likes to spread his arms and legs
- Salah at the Haram’s is always at the starting time. You usually have about 15 mins after azan for Sunna’s before jamaat commences.
- Azan is done for tahajjud approx. 1 hour before Fajr starting time.
- Climbing Mt Hira/Thawr is again best straight after fajr as its cool. I did it after Zuhr, harder and more rewarding if you ask me. But important to be safe. I did Hira in 20mins
- Pray every Salāh within the haram (Makkah) as each Salāh equates to 100,000 Salāh anywhere else in the world. Likewise Madina Sharif carries 50,000 Salāh rewards. Therefore reading your Salāh elsewhere would be a great loss.
- Not much difference time wise but the latter is classed as a Big Umrah (7x more Sawaab). Rasoolullah ﷺ did an Umrah from Masjid Gerrana, and it is said many Prophets of Allāh ﷻ are buried there.
- Tawaaf on Mezz, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd floors take about 2 hours. It’s about 6 miles. However Tawaaf around the Ka’bah takes 20 minutes. As there is construction going on, only those performing Umrah can go in, unless you’re a woman, which they don’t know
- Most superior Nafli Ibadat is Tawaf.
- Try to find out the current construction plans in the haram, I know a brother who went and the Kabah’ was fully boarded up for renovation. Don’t always trust your travel agent.
- Lower your gaze when going in for the first time. Till you reach the entrance for Tawaaf, then look up. Just follow the crowd and look down. Then recite Bismillah Allah hu Akbar. Make Dua. It’s a beautiful sight.
- When doing Tawaaf, it’s best to lower your gaze, your mind needs to be focussed on Allah ﷻ, and also the purpose of Tawaaf. Periodically look at the Kabba’, only your face, absorb the rahma.
- A Tawaaf includes 7 rounds of the Kaaba.
- Walk like a soldier during first 3 rounds, the Muslims did it to show the Kufaar they are not scared. When Umar noticed, there is no need to do it anymore, he still decided to carry it out since the Prophet ﷺ did it.
- Umrah/Tawaaf best after Fajr or 1hr after as most people are resting at that time therefore it is quite.
- Take leather soles as it helps with Tawaaf and preventing feet from getting sore when doing Nafil Tawaaf
- Observe some Nafl fast whilst performing Umrah
- Pray Salah Tul Tasbih in Haram Everyday
- Give Sadaqah at least once Everyday
- Pray Tahajjud
- Drink lots of Zam Zam water – the taps around the mosque are all zam zam. But the ones no attached are no. you’ll see many people filling gallons here, little do they know.
- The Prophet ﷺ used to carry Zamzam water in pitchers and water skins back to Madinah. He used to sprinkle it over the sick and make them drink it.
- Toilets are not very hygienic and pleasant.
- There is poor infrastructure and road network in Makkah. But Madina is beautiful.
- When at Ayesha, if you are alone, I recommend you finding people tjere and sharing a taxi, it’ll cost you 5 sar. There are plenty of beggars, some obviously fake, but sadaqa in the haram is reward some. 1SAR, which is 20p, is nothing.
- The Arab staff are arrogant, like camels. They even walk like camels. But I did meet a few lovely guys, just laid back and happy people.
- The ‘easy’ routes in to the masjid close about 15 mins before the Adhaan
- Every prayer in the haram is worth 100, 000 prayers so make sure every salah is in the haram. The haram is the actual mosque, it begins at the white tiling. If there is overflow, then the haram ends where the jamaat ends.
- Go through Abdul Aziz gate, there are stairs/escalators on the left and right as you enter, these goes down in to the Kaabah area.
- Access to here usually closes 30 mins before Salah
- To pray Jumuah in the haram, be there for 8am. Saudis have Thursday afternoon, Friday and Saturday off.
- Leave your smart phone at home
- A Quran is 20 SAR, get it stamped and leave in haram for sadqa jaariya.
- Bird food is 5SAR, it is said the pigeons are in constant zikr, so keeping them fed is sawab.
- Try to avoid malls, the Zam Zam and any other luxury. When I went in to the Zam Zam, It felt like I’ve lost half of my spirituality. It’s the opposite of humility and servitude. It’s about the dunya in these places, about buying, greed, fulfilling desires. I regretted going in.
- Look at the Ka’bah constantly.
- The purpose of the pilgrimage is to proclaim the name of Allah ﷻ. So plenty of tasbih.
- Madina is a beautiful city, love the people of Madina. Even if you don’t want to (due to attitude), remain patient.
- Madina is very cool and breezy.
- Most people find they have lots of time in Madina so plan well.
- Read lots of Qur’an
- Read lots of Darood
- Pray in the Ashaab al Suffa and Riyadh Ul Jannah but do not rush and push.
- Read Seerah, know your surroundings, history and significance.
- Read the Quran in Arabic daily; Mulk, last 20, Yasin, Waqiah, Rahman, Sajdah, Jumuah, Kahf
- In Madina, read the Qasidah and Dalail. Know that you are directly speaking to the Messenger ﷺ
- Give salaam once in the morning and once in the evening at the least. You don’t need to spend long, just a humble salam.
- Read Darood Ibrahimi 100x daily.
- Pray Tahajjud daily
- Pray Salatul Tasbih Daily
- 2 Rakah after fajr every day in Quba, esp on sat
- Fast on Thur and Fri
- Read Nafil prayers
(012) Jeddah, Makkah and Taif
(013) Abqaiq, Al-Khobar, Dammam, Dhahran, Hofuf, Jubail and Ras Tanurah
(014) Madinah, Tabuk and Yanbu
Get a taxi to Mt Thawr from Marwa side, 15SAR. Otherwise from Ibrahim Al Khali Rd its 30 SAR.
Adhan – Call to Prayer
Ameen – Accepting the dua for yourself
Bab us Salam – Door of Salam
Darood – Salutations
Dhikr – Remembrance (of God)
Fardh – Compulsory
Ghusl – Ritual washing
Hajar-e-Aswad – Black Stone
Hujjaj – People performing pilgrimage
Ihram – two piece garment
Inshāʾallah – If Allah wills
Istilam – To kiss the black stone
I‘tikaaf – Seclusion in prayer
Jibra’eel – Angel Gabriel
Kabbah – The House of Allah
Kafan – The shroud at the time of death
Madina – lit. means city, refers to City of the Prophet ﷺ
Makkah – also, Mecca, city here the Holy Kaaba is
Marwa – The hill of Marwa
Masjid-ul-haram – The holy Mosque, both are referred to this, depends on which city you are in.
Muhajireen – Migrators
Multazam – Area between the Black Stone and Door
Mushrikeen – Idolators
Mustafa – The chosen one
Mustahab – Recommended, but not essential
Nafil – Optional
Niyyah – Intention
Qibla – Direction of Prayer
Qiraat – Recitation (of Qur’an)
Rak’ah – Unit of prayer
Ramal – Marching
Rasoolullah – Messenger of Allah
Rawdha – Where the Prophet ﷺ rests
Sa’y – Ritual part of pilgrimage, to walk back and forth
Sunnah – Way of the Prophet ﷺ
Talbiyyah – Reciting Labayk Allah Huma Labbayk…
Tawaf – Circumambulate
Tawhid – Oneness of Allah
Ummah – Muslim Nation
Umrah – Lesser pilgrimage
Adhan – Call to Prayer