Prayer Time

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Allah has made the Ka‘bah an asylum of security for people, a repose for Muslims' hearts, an attraction to their eyes, an object of their affection and longing, and a qiblah (direction faced during prayer) for their present and future lives. In these days, eyes are eagerly looking; hearts are attracted; and the believing souls are longing for this blessed place, which Allah raised in esteem and ordered Muslims to visit. He offered double reward for those who do righteous deeds in that sacred place. He gave it preference to other places and made it a qiblah for Muslims from the world over.

 

Here, we see the convoy of pilgrims; and the guests of Allah setting off to the Holy Mosque. They come from every deep ravine. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims journeying from remote areas. Their destination: the Holy Mosque. They come from near and far, hundreds of thousands directing themselves towards this Holy Mosque, carrying their sown belts, and travelling through the low grounds.

 

They come by cars, ships and planes.  Airports are packed with them. They are motivated by their faith, and their hearts are full of longing and nostalgia for that place. They aim at obtaining Allah's forgiveness and pleasure.  They come to answer the call that Prophet Ibrahim (`alayhis-salam) made thousands of years ago, as Allah the Almighty says:

 

“And proclaim the Pilgrimage among men. They will come to thee on foot and (mounted) on every kind of camel, lean, on account of journeys through deep and distant mountain highways. That they may witness the benefits (provided) for them, and celebrate the name of Allah, through the Days appointed.­” [Chapter of Al-?ajj, 22:27-28]

 

Since this blessed call was made, hearts have been craving the Ancient House (i.e. the Ka‘bah), and pilgrims have been rushing to it every year. They come hastening to obey Allah, hoping for His reward, fearing His punishment, and making a covenant with Him that they will commit themselves to His religion and that they will avoid His disobedience.

 

They have discarded their worldly clothes and put on the i?ram (the clothing worn during the ritual state for ?ajj) as if they are shedding the clothes of disobedience and transgression. They proclaim their submission to Allah and make their sacrifice to show Allah's oneness, His obedience, and the sincere worship to Him. They resort to Allah by making Talbiyah (devotional expressions chanted at certain times during Hajj). They say, “O Allah! I am here. I am at Your service. Here I am. There is no partner with You. Here I am. Truly the praise and the provisions are Yours, and so is the dominion and sovereignty.”

 

This (sacred) House is a symbol of monotheism, an attraction for the monotheist pilgrims, those who perform`Umrah, those who circumambulate round it, stand up, bow, and prostrate themselves (therein in prayer). Allah made it a secure asylum for men by which their worldly and religious affairs would be settled, as Allah the Almighty says:

 

“Allah made the Ka‘bah, the sacred house, an asylum of security for men.[Chapter of Al-Ma’idah, 5:97].

 

Without the existence of this Sacred House on the earth—full of people who perform different kinds of worship—this world would have been ruined. That will be one of the signs of the Day of Judgment, i.e. that it will be ruined after having been established and full of pilgrims and worshippers. People will one day forsake it after they used to visit it. The reason is because both Hajj, ‘Umrah, and bowing down to Allah are built on monotheism, which is the basis of religion and Shari‘ah. If monotheism is forgotten, then the (sacred) House will be forsaken, as well as prayer and other forms of worship. 

 

This house was built on monotheism, as indicated by the inaugural proclamation annunciated by the one who performs ?ajj or ‘Umrah.  Pilgrims start the rites by raising their voices, declaring Allah's oneness. They declare their submission and response to Allah alone. Jabir b. ‘Abd Allah (ra?iyallahu anhu) reported, “When the Prophet (?allallahu `alayhi wa-sallam) made his ?ajj, he started with monotheism.” [Reported by Muslim]. Here monotheism means the Talbiyah because the one who makes it says, “Here I am at Your service O Allah, here I am.” This sentence uttered by the pilgrim means, “I do this in response to Your call, in submission to Your order, and in answering You. I commit myself to Your worship and to monotheism.” This commitment expands the breast and tranquilizes the soul. This is followed by attributing all praises to Allah and negating all kinds of polytheism that could be wrongly directed to other than Allah.

 

This is the reality of monotheism for which this House was built. Allah says: “Behold! We gave the site, to Abraham, of the (Sacred) House, (saying): "Associate not anything (in worship) with Me; and sanctify My House for those who compass it round, or stand up, or bow, or prostrate themselves therein in prayer, ” [Chapter of Al-?ajj, 22:26].

 

Thus, this House was erected for the sake of monotheism, based upon the dictum “Associate not anything (in worship) with Me.  It is Allah's House alone. It is the habitation of monotheistic believers who compass it round, stand up, bow, and prostrate themselves (therein in prayer). Hence, the House was established for these types of people, not those who take partners with Him or worship somebody other than Allah.

 

Accordingly, the plan was made for those who go for ?ajj that they should start their rite by making talbiyah and declaring monotheism until they are about to start their ?awaf (circumambulation around the Ka‘bah). Then, they will initiate their ?awaf with takbir (i.e. to say, “Allah is the Greatest!”), dhikr (i.e. mentioning the name of Allah), supplication, and declaring Allah's oneness. Once they finish their ?awaf, they pray two rak‘ahs (of ?awaf) behind the place where Prophet Abraham (`alayhis-salam) stood.  In these two rak‘ahs, they will read the chapters of Al-Fati?ah (chapter no.1), Al-Ikhla? (chapter no.112), and Al-Kafirun (chapter no. 109). Then, pilgrims will start making sai (the running between the mountains of As-?afa and Al-Marwah).  When they stand at these two mountains, they direct themselves towards the Qiblah and initiate their rite by showing oneness to Allah. They will exert all effort so that Allah accepts their supplications. Similarly, that is their description when they rush towards the mountain of ‘Arafat and stand on its pure soil facing the Qiblah. They make tahlil, takbir, and sincerely supplicate to Allah.  Later, they do the same thing when they pour down from the mountain of ‘Arafat and stand at the SacredMonument. That is their description when they go to the mountain of Mina, when they slaughter their sacrifice (hadi), when they throw the stones, and when they accomplish the holy rites and are about to return. The Prophet (?allallahu `alayhi wa-sallam) said, “Tawaf around the (sacred) House and between the mountains of As-?afa and Al-Marwah was prescribed to mention (the name of) Allah,” (Reported by A?mad, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi who said that it is an authentic ?adith).

 

Therefore, these rites were prescribed to emphasize Allah's oneness and to mention and glorify Him. They were not prescribed to mention anybody else even if he is a prophet, king, or wali (a friend of Allah). The Prophet (?allallahu `alayhi wa-sallam) said,  “The best du‘a (supplication) is the one on the day of ‘Arafah, and the best that I and the Prophets before me said is: “There is no god but Allah, He has no partner, to Him belongs dominion, to Him belongs praise, and He has Power over all things.“ (Reported by At-Tirmidhi and the ?adith is authentic).

 

Hence, the Prophet (?allallahu `alayhi wa-sallam) showed that the best supplication is the one done on that great day. He also explained that the best supplication that he and previous Prophets said is words of monotheism.  To remind people that pilgrimage is obligated to mention Allah and worship Him alone, He said:

 

Then when ye pour down from (Mount) Arafat, celebrate the praises of Allah at the SacredMonument, and celebrate His praises as He has directed you, even though, before this, ye went astray.  Then pass on at a quick pace from the place whence it is usual for the multitude so to do, and ask for Allah's forgiveness. For Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.  So when ye have accomplished your holy rites, celebrate the praises of Allah, as ye used to celebrate the praises of your fathers—yea, with far more heart and soul­,” [Chapter of Al-Baqarah, 2:198-200].

 

Accordingly, the whole of pilgrimage with its holy rites, rituals, and from its beginning to the end are meant to show monotheism, to praise, to do dhikr, to supplicate, and to show sincerity to Allah Almighty. So, the most important obligation that the one who performs ?ajj or ‘Umrah should do is to declare oneness of the Lord of the worlds, to offer a sincere worship free of polytheism, hypocrisy, and fame-seeking. 

 

It was reported that the Prophet (?allallahu `alayhi wa-sallam) upon making ?ajj said, “O Allah! Make it a sincere pilgrimage that has no showing off or fame.“  [Reported by Ibn Majah, Al-Albani said that this  ?adith is authentic].

 

Actually, what makes us feel sorry is that some pilgrims—may Allah guide them and give them the right vision in their religion—unknowingly fall into major polytheism.  One can find them visiting dwellers of graves, calling the dead, asking them to fulfill their needs and relieve their hardships. It has no bearing whether those sought after people were prophets, good men, or others whose graves were taken as places to visit or sacred places that people go around in the same way that they do to the honored Ka‘bah. For the sake of blessings, some pilgrims kiss and touch the graves the same as they do to the Black Stone. People make vows (nudhur) as they make vows to Allah the Lord of the worlds. They also offer them (i.e. the graves) sacrifices and slaughtered animals. They swear by them in a way of reverence.  People believe that those places or persons have the ability to harm and benefit, grant and prevent, push and lift (calamities). Some people fear, hope, love, and glorify them. Their love, hope, and fear may be much greater than that of Allah. The best example here is that some people may falsely swear hundreds of times by the name of Allah; however, if they are asked to swear by the life of Al-?ussain, A?mad, Al-Badawi,, Al-‘Abbas, ‘Ali, Al-‘Aidouras, Al- Jilani, Ibn ‘Arabi, or Pir So-and-so, here, you would find them filled with fear.  Their faces change (because of that fear) and they refuse to swear. They justify that they fear those places and persons more than Allah because this person is extremely powerful and might bring their lives to an end.

 

Thus, to those people, Satan has made love for those graves—glorifying them, fearing and hoping for them—greater than love, glorification, hope, and fear of punishment and anger of Allah.  

 

Furthermore, some of them exceed the limit to the extent that when he stumbles in his walk or in the case of severe crowding during ?awaf or sai between the mountains of As-?afa and Al-Marwah Mina, Muzdalifah, or ‘Arafat, then his heart immediately resorts to those whom he glorifies from among the dwellers of those graveyards. Instead of asking Allah for help, he implores those graves by saying, “My lord so-and-so or my lady so-and-so!”  If anyone was in the court of one of the kings of this world and begged another one, the king at hand would consider this emasculating.  That king would despise the person and dismiss him from his court . So, how about the King of the kings (Glory Be To Him), to Him belongs the keys of the heavens and the earth.

 

What is surprising is that those people justify their polytheism and worship to the dead by saying , “We worship them only that they may bring us nearer to Allah.” Those are supposed intercessors to Allah. This is the logic employed during the early periods of ignorance.  This same claim was asserted by early polytheists. The difference between the two groups (i.e. the old and current ones) is that the early Arab polytheists worshiped idols that they made out of wood, pottery or dust. Today's polytheists worship the graveyards of some righteous men. On the top of these graves, they erect buildings and domes decorated with gold, silver, lights, and lanterns.

 

Another difference is that the early polytheists acknowledged their polytheism. During the times of ?ajj or ‘Umrah, they used to say, “Here I am at your service, O Lord! You have no partners except one for You. You own him but he owns You not.“ They refused to say, “There is no god but Allah.“ Rather, through their misguidance and denial, they used to say, "Has he made the gods (all) into one Allah? Truly this is a preposterous thing!"  This is because they did not know its meaning.

 

This denotes the necessity of sincere worship to Allah and the prohibition of being attracted to worshiping any other creation such as an idol, sun,  cow,  stone, prophet, angel, a living or a dead person.  None is worth worshiping except Allah! As for those people (i.e. modern day polytheists), they say, “There is no god but Allah,” But at the same time they worship others. They say that Prophet Mu?ammad (?allallahu `alayhi wa-sallam) is the Messenger of Allah, but they neither follow his guidance nor commit themselves to his Sunnah. They say: “Here I am at Your service, O Lord, here I am. Here I am at Your service, and You have no partners.”  Yet, in plain contradiction, we find them taking partners, making many kinds of worships to others, and asking others for help while they are going around His Holy House performing ?ajj or ‘Umrah.

 

Allah gives a description of them by saying:

 

And most of them believe not in Allah without associating (other as partners) with Him,” [Chapter of Yusuf, 12:106].

 

They repeat the two Shahadahs (testimonies of faith), but they do not understand their meaning, or they understand the meaning but do not act accordingly. Their deeds contradict what their tongues say. They ascribe partners to Allah, thinking they are acquiring good by their deeds.

 

Polytheism is to worship others things beside Allah. From among the greatest and most beloved worships to Allah are supplication, seeking His help and begging His support. Thus, supplication, help, and support can only be sought from Allah.  Nobody else has the Ultimate Power to do things as Allah does.  He says in the Qur’an:

 

“You do we worship, and Your aid do we seek,” [Chapter Al-Fati?ah, 1:5].

 

 Namely, We worship none but Allah, we ask for help from none but Allah.  In the known ?adith narrated by  Ibn ‘Abbas, Prophet Muhammad (?allallahu `alayhi wa-sallam) said, “If you ask, ask Allah. If you seek help, seek help of Allah.” [Narrated by A?mad, At-Tirmidhi who said that it is a sound ?adith. In his book titled ?a?i? al-Jami‘,  Al-Albani said that it is a sound ?adith].

 

allah ordered His worshippers to supplicate to Him alone. He threatened those who are arrogant and do not supplicate to Him, saying:

 

“And your Lord says, ‘Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer).” But those who are too arrogant to serve Me will surely find themselves in Hell - in humiliation!"  [Chapter of Ghafir, 40: 60].

 

Notice how Allah Almighty made supplication a kind of worship!  He says, “Call on Me,” and then He says, “but those who are too arrogant to serve Me,” i.e. to supplicate to Allah “will surely find themselves in Hell.”  This indicates that supplication is the core and reality of worship.  Through supplication, the real meaning of love, glorification, fear, and hope can be achieved. This is the basis of worship. That is why the Prophet (?allallahu `alayhi wa-sallam) said, “Supplication is worship.” [Reported by Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, and Ibn Majah. Al-Albani graded the ?adith as authentic).   Allah, the Most Generous and the Most Giving, ordered us to supplicate to Him; and He has all the treasures of the heavens and the earth. From among His greatest favors and blessings is that he permitted us to supplicate to Him alone and directly, without the need for a mediator or intercessor.  He (Glory be to Him) says:

 

“When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them). I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me. Let them also, with a will, listen to My call, and believe in Me that they may walk in the right way”. [Chapter of Al-Baqarah, 2: 186].

 

Therefore, if Allah Almighty orders us to ask Him alone for anything we want, whenever we need it and whatever it is, why should we ask others? Why should we ask those poor creatures, the perished dead people who have no might, no power, no benefit, no harm, no life, and no resuscitation? Allah Almighty addresses the best of His creatures, the most generous one among His Prophets, the one who got the biggest share of Allah's favors, by saying:

 

“Say: ‘I tell you not that with me are the treasures of Allah, nor do I know what is hidden, nor do I tell you I am an angel.  I but follow what is revealed to me." [Chapter of Al-An‘am, 6:50].

 

That was during the Prophet's lifetime while he was receiving revelation. How about those pious friends of Allah, the dead who are buried under the ground? and all of them living or dead cannot be compared to the Prophet (?allallahu `alayhi wa-sallam). They have no control over this universe, no knowledge about the Unseen, and do not possess the least atom of Allah's treasures.

 

Thus, Allah threatened those who supplicate to other creatures beside Him, and He considered that to be an act of the disbelievers.  He says:

 

If anyone invokes, besides Allah, any other god, he has no authority therefore; and his reckoning will be only with his Lord! and verily the Unbelievers will fail to win through!” [Chapter of Al-Mu’minun, 23.117].

 

As it is not allowed for the Muslim to prostrate before anybody other than Allah, likewise he is not permitted to supplicate to any other creature other than Allah, ask them for help, make vows, or make sacrifice.  Similarly it is shirk to think they bring good or cause evil, reveal calamity, or to think that they can manage the affairs of the universe. To ascribe these things to anybody other than Allah is major polytheism and takes the person out of Islam; and that nullifies all his deeds. Allah forgives any sin except polytheism, as the one who commits this major crime will not be forgiven.  

 

Allah the Almighty says:

 

“Allah forgives not (the sin of) joining other gods with Him; but He forgives (anything less to) whom He pleases.” [Chapter of Al-Nisa’, 4"116].

 

Thus, the one who dies in the state of polytheism, after having been shown the proof, he will abide in Hell forever and he will be prohibited from smelling the fragrance of Paradise. Allah says:

 

“Whoever joins other gods with Allah - Allah will forbid him the garden, and the Fire will be his abode. There will for the wrong-doers be no one to help.”  [Chapter of Al-Ma’idah, 5: 72].

 

He also showed that polytheism will destroy the good deeds and will cause them to be rejected. Therefore, prayer, paying zakah, fasting, pilgrimage, or doing righteous deeds have no value in the presence of polytheism, as Allah says:

 

But it has already been revealed to thee, as it was to those before thee, ‘If thou wert to join (gods with Allah), truly fruitless will be thy work (in life), and thou wilt surely be in the ranks of those who lose (all spiritual good).’" [Chapter of Al-Zumur, 39:65].

 

Allah forbid! The Prophet (?allallahu `alayhi wa-sallam), the caller for the oneness of Allah and the Imam of all monotheists, can never commit polytheism. The verse just shows the gravity of this major sin, i.e. that even if this crime were to come form the Prophet (?allallahu `alayhi wa-sallam) (Allah forbid), all of his deeds would be spoiled and he would be among the losers.

 

Through many verses in the Qur‘an, Allah the Almighty has shown that those dead people do not have the least little atom in the heavens or on earth, regardless of their righteousness and steadfastness. Allah has demonstrated that nobody will be more lost and deviant than those who call upon another beside Him. He says:

 

“And who is more astray than one who invokes besides Allah, such as will not answer him to the Day of Judgment, and who (in fact) are unconscious of their call (to them).“ [Chapter of Al-A?qaf, 46:5].

 

In another verse, He also affirmed that those people who are worshipped beside Allah can never send calamity or take it away; nor could they change its direction or alleviate it. Allah says:

 

“Say, ‘Call on those besides Him whom ye fancy. They have neither the power to remove your troubles from you nor to change them.’“ [Chapter of Al-Isra’, 17:57].

 

Allah, the Almighty further says:

 

“And those whom ye invoke besides Him have not the least power. If ye invoke them, they will not listen to your call, and if they were to listen, they cannot answer your (prayer). On the Day of Judgment they will reject your Partnership. and none, (O man!) can tell thee (the Truth) like the One Who is acquainted with all things.  [Chapter of Fa?ir, 35:13-14]

 

They (i.e. the dead) do not hear those who call or resort to them; and if it was destined that they would hear them, they would not be able to help or respond. They cannot benefit them, even with something useless such as the thin layer that covers the date's stone.  If they can avail anybody, they would have availed themselves and would have arisen from their graves.  Therefore, they can neither avail nor hurt themselves or others. The worst matter and the weightiest issue is that, on the Day of Judgment, they will disassociate themselves from those who have taken them as partners beside Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an:

 

“And when mankind are gathered together (at the Resurrection), they will be hostile to them and reject their worship (altogether (![Chapter of Al-A?qaf, 46:6].

 

Contemplate how Allah depicts their situation in the hereafter as if we see them with our naked eyes. At that time they will repent, their hearts full of regret.  Yet this regret will be of no avail. Allah says:  

 

“Then would those who are followed clear themselves of those who follow (them). They would see the penalty, and all relations between them would be cut off. And those who followed would say, ‘If only We had one more chance, we would clear ourselves of them, as they have cleared themselves of us.’ Thus will Allah show them (The fruits of) their deeds as (nothing but) regrets. Nor will there be a way for them out of the Fire,” [Chapter of Al-Baqarah, 2:166-167].

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