Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

SHAWWAL 1424 H
December 2003
Volume 16-12 No : 204
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Our Dialogue


Pilgrimage Under scheme
Pilgrimage for deceased parent
Jihad or Pilgrimage
Correct Way to wear Ihram
Advice given in Pilgrimage
Involuntary Discharge
Several Umrahs on the same journey

Pilgrimage Under scheme

Q.A relative of mine works for a company which provides incentives in the form of free holidays. Employees have recently been told that they may choose their place where they want to take their free holiday, including foreign travel. If an employee chooses to avail himself of this offer and do the pilgrimage or the Umrah under this scheme, is that acceptable? Is it acceptable for the obligatory pilgrimage?

By Adil Salahi

A. There is nothing wrong with benefiting by such an incentive to fulfill the duty of pilgrimage or Umrah. The company is obviously offering it for hard work, and if one deserves it, he or she has certainly earned it. If the paid travel and holiday cover all the expenses of the pilgrimage, that does not affect the validity of the pilgrimage. It counts as fulfillment of the obligatory pilgrimage if the person concerned is doing it for the first time. Otherwise it counts as a Sunnah. Even if a person is paying nothing of his pilgrimage expenses out of his own pocket, the pilgrimage is valid, whether it is the obligatory pilgrimage or a voluntary one. A person may be invited, or someone offers him a gift, or he may win a prize offered in a legitimate way. All that is acceptable.

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Pilgrimage for deceased parent

Q.1. Is it permissible for me to perform the pilgrimage on behalf of my father who died 30 years ago?
Q.2. Is it right or wrong to use the cloth we used in consecration, or ihraam, as wrappings before burial when one dies?

A.1. It is certainly an act of real dutifulness to offer the pilgrimage on behalf of your deceased father. Since he did not offer the pilgrimage in his own lifetime, that duty would be redeemed, and he would no longer be accountable for its omission. The only condition is that you should have performed the pilgrimage on your own behalf first. The pilgrimage is a duty we owe to God and should betreated as a debt which we settle when we offer it. Thus its repayment on behalf of one's parents is in the same way as repaying their unpaid debts. Thus when you offer the pilgrimage on behalf of your father, you settle his outstanding debt. If he had offered the pilgrimage himself, your offering it on his behalf counts as a voluntary pilgrimage for which you earn him great reward. Moreover, in either case, you earn rich reward from God for this dutiful action.
A.2. If one retains his ihraam garments in order to be wrapped in them when he dies, this is an innovation, or bid'at, and it is wrong. It is as if one is taking with him a proof that he offered the pilgrimage, as if God does not know who has done this or that particular duty. Besides, being wrapped in such garments does not absolve him of any subsequent sin he may have committed, unless it be a very simple offense which God forgives anyway. Much better than such wrapping is to turn to God in repentance and request Him to forgive us. Having said that, I should add that if being wrapped by the ihraam garments occurs naturally, without any deliberate suggestion that it should be the case, then that is appropriate.

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Jihad or Pilgrimage

Q. Scholars in our area differ as to which is more important: jihad against non-Muslim forces occupying our land and enforcing secular laws, or pilgrimage. Please advise.

A. This question should never be put in this way. Pilgrimage is a duty only on those who are able to undertake the journey. Ability includes being safe and leaving one's family in safety. In a situation where the Muslim community is not safe because of the oppression of an occupying force, no Muslim may leave his family without protection. Moreover, the safety of the whole community is at issue here. Hence, all resources should be put into the effort to liberate the Muslim community. Having said that, I may add that such efforts need notnecessarily mean fighting. Perhaps the community suffering such oppression needs to make its case known all over the world and pilgrimage provides a means of publicity, either through individual efforts or through a formal delegation undertaking the publicity efforts aiming at mobilizing international support. Thus, those who travel abroad for this purpose, whether to pilgrimage or to other places, share in the jihad of their community. If we put the question for a strict ruling of which of the two modes is preferable, we are liable to have an erroneous answer.

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Correct Way to wear Ihram

Q.4. What is the correct way of wearing ihraam garments during tawaf and prayer?

Ans. A. 4. A man who is in the state of consecration, or ihraam, must wear two garments which are untailored. He wraps one round his body from the waist down to well below his knees. The other he throws over his shoulders and brings it forward to cover the upper part of his body. People normally leave their right shoulders uncovered, but this is a mistake. Uncovering the right shoulder is recommended only during the first three rounds of the first tawaf, which is performed on arrival. In all other times, it is better to cover both shoulders.

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Advice given in Pilgrimage

Q. My relatives who came from abroad to perform Haj followed a book written as a guide to pilgrims by a scholar in their home country. In this book, readers are told to put out their left foot first when they leave home, because if they leave with their right foot first, all blessings will depart from the house with them. Is this right? Moreover, when they did their Umrah, as they intended their Haj in the tamattu' method, they offered their sacrifice in Makkah about 12 days before the day of pilgrimage itself. I inquired about this and I was told that it was wrong. They had to sacrifice again or to fast 10 days. They did neither. What is their position?

Ans. A. The first point about leaving home with the left foot first is absurd. If one is doing something good, it is always better to start with the right side, but this is merely a recommendation. If one starts with the left side, that is acceptable. If one does not pay attention, one's duty or action is perfectly correct. There is no truth to what your relatives have been told about all the blessings departing from the house if they put out the wrong foot first. God does not work in that way. If He wants to bless a person or his house, He showers those blessings on him without reckoning. As for the sacrifice, I realize that if he went to several scholars, he is likely to hear the same answer as he was given, which requires those pilgrims to repeat their sacrifice. However, this is an advice based on the knowledge the person concerned has. Most probably he is not taking a comprehensive view of the issue. According to the Shafie school of thought, a person doing the Haj in the tamattu' method may offer the sacrifice immediately after completing his Umrah, even though there may remain several weeks to the Haj itself. This view is based on the Qur'anic verse stating the tamattu' method. It says: "He who takes advantage of performing the Umrah before the pilgrimage shall make whatever offering he can easily afford." (2: 196) According to the Shafie school, the fact that he completed the Umrah and released himself from ihraam means that he has taken the advantage, which means, in pilgrimage terminology, tamattu'. Thus the sacrifice becomes due and it may be offered at any time after that. It must be offered in Makkah or Mina, and most of it should be given to the poor of the Haram area. Having said that, I should add that if one delays the sacrifice until the sacrifice day in Mina, then that is following the Prophet's example. In short, what your relatives did is acceptable, God willing. They do not have to do anything extra.

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Involuntary Discharge

Q. Due to weakness of bladder and stomach I experience involuntary discharge of urine and wind. This has caused me a great deal of mental distress. I would like to know whether I can pray, read the Qur'an, offer the Umrah and pilgrimage? Please advise.

Ans. I am sorry to hear of your distress, but I assure you that this is not an uncommon problem. It has been known for a very long time in history, and the great scholars have spoken about it. While medical treatment is the only advise one can give in respect ofovercoming it, the problem should not stop you from doing any worship. However, in order to maintain taharah, or purification for your prayers, you should do the following procedure. When you are preparing for prayer and before you perform your ablutions or wudhu, you make sure that your underwear is clean. Before you wear it, you put a small polythene bag with a piece of cotton or tissue paper inside it on your private part and tie it so that it is not loose. This gives you the benefit that any discharge is made in the polythene bag while your clothes remain clean, free of impurity. You then perform your ablutions and proceed to do your prayers immediately. Even if you feel a drop or two during prayer, you pay no attention to that, and continue your prayer without interruption. It is valid and acceptable, God willing. You may do this and go to the mosque to attend the congregational prayer without hesitation, as long as you have done this procedure for that particular prayer at its time. When it is time for the next prayer, you change the bag and the cotton or tissue paper and perform fresh ablutions, or wudhu. If you want to read the Qur'an you go ahead and read it. When you go for Umrah or pilgrimage, follow the same procedure for your prayers and your tawaf. The other rituals you can do even if you have not had ablutions. May God help you.

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Several Umrahs on the same journey

Q. How many Umrahs can one offer on the same journey? Is it possible to offer the Umrah on behalf of deceased parents and relatives? If so, where does one start his ihram? If one's parents are alive but he cannot afford to bring them from home, could he offer the Umrah on their behalf.

Q. How many Umrahs can one offer on the same journey? Is it possible to offer the Umrah on behalf of deceased parents and relatives? If so, where does one start his ihram? If one's parents are alive but he cannot afford to bring them from home, could he offer the Umrah on their behalf. A. When people come for pilgrimage or Umrah, we find them offering several Umrahs over a short period of time. They feel that they should not miss the chance that their presence in Makkah affords them to earn more reward from God. The practice is not the best they can do. It is better for them to offer one Umrah only. They should follow it with attending congregational prayers at the Haram as often as possible, and with doing the tawaf as frequently as they can. Tawaf is like prayers, with the only difference is that ordinary talk does not invalidate it. Hence, it is a good means of earning reward. All this applies to a person who is offering the extra Umrahs in his own behalf, like one who offers extra prayers, or rises up at night for worship. He should determine what earns him the best reward and do it. If he is doing the other Umrahs on behalf of other people, the case is different. In any way, the Umrah for a person who is in Makkah starts with ihram, which begins at the nearest point in the Hil area, such as Taneem. One does not need to go to another city for this purpose, unless he is going, say, to Jeddah or Taif for business, then he may start his ihram there. If one is offering the pilgrimage or Umrah on behalf of his parents who are alive, he should consider first of all whether they have the financial means to offer that duty themselves. If so, then they should come over and do it in their own time. He cannot do it on their behalf. If a person has the financial ability to cover the expenses of the journey, but is too ill to undertake it, he or she should appoint someone else to do the pilgrimage or the Umrah or both on their behalf, covering all the expenses of that person. If a person does not have the financial means, then that person is not required to do the pilgrimage or the Umrah. Ability is a condition for that duty to become applicable. A son or daughter who is able to cover the expenses of the pilgrimage or the Umrah of one or both of his parents should do so, because then that son or daughter will earn rich reward from God. If such a son cannot afford to do so and he finds himself in Saudi Arabia, he may decide to offer the pilgrimage or the Umrah on behalf of one of his parents. While it is not an incumbent duty on either, considering their poverty, he will be doing an act of dutifulness which earns his parents and himself good reward. Offering the Umrah on behalf of deceased relatives is perfectly appropriate. If those relatives are alive, then the whole thing does not apply. What does the Qur'an say about Haj? In the Qur'an, Islam's revealed text, God says: "Thus We settled Abraham at the site of the House (the Ka'abah) [saying]: 'Do not associate anything with Me, and purify My house for those who walk around it, and those who stand there (praying), and those who bow down on their knees in worship. Proclaim the pilgrimage among mankind: they will come to you on foot and on every lean (beast of burden); Let them come from every deep ravine, to bear witness to the advantages they have, and to mention God's name on appointed days..." Chapter 22, verses 26-28.

Is Haj an obligation for all Muslims?
Yes, but only for those who are physically and financially able to make the trip.
What are the most visually striking aspects of Haj?
All pilgrims must do tawaf, or circling the Ka'abah. This obligation creates a stunning scene as thousands of people circle the building at all times of the day and night. Also, the standing at Arafah on the 9th day of the Islamic month of Dhul-Hijjah presents a scene in which several million people all dressed alike and with the same intention to worship God, gather on a barren plain.
Q. Is it obligatory for a person working in Jeddah to do the tawaf of farewell every time he travels home on his annual leave?
Ans.A.1. To start with, the restriction on entry to Makkah and Madinah is not made by any political or human authority. Thus it cannot be questioned as though it is something that a government or a leader has put it in place. Nor can the argument of equal treatment be given here. Moreover, Muslims have not asked the authorities of any religious place to make that place open to them. They decide to invite visitors or prevent them. Suppose, for argument's sake, that the Vatican authorities decide to ban non-Catholic people from visiting their city. Will anyone have the right to question them? It is their city and they do in it what they like. Having said that, we may add that the prohibition gives a clear indication that God wants to keep Makkah a city for worship and security. As such it cannot be transformed into a tourist resort. That is totally unacceptable. The same applies to Madinah which has been restricted to non-Muslims by none other than the Prophet himself. When God and His Messenger decree something, the only thing open to us is to obey their decree.
A.2. No, that is not required. The tawaf of farewell is required at the end of the pilgrimage. So, if a resident of Jeddah offers the pilgrimage, he or she should do the tawaf of farewell at the end of their pilgrimage, like all pilgrims who come from outside Makkah. When a person leaves Jeddah to go home, he leaves it without having to visit Makkah. If he fears that he may not come back and wishes to make his final day in Jeddah one of worship, and he goes to Makkah for tawaf or Umrah, that is a highly rewarding action, but it is a matter of his own choice.

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