Islam: Hajj. Fasting and Almsgiving

Islam: Hajj. Fasting and Almsgiving

Research what costs and travel would be involved in making a Hajj from your town to Mecca. One of the five pillars of Islam is Hajj which is pilgrimage. Muslims believe the rites of the Hajj were designed by God and taught through Prophet Muhammad. Muslims believe that since the time of Adam, there have been thousands of prophets, including such well-known figures such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and David, and that Muhammad was the final prophet of God. The Hajj as well as the other pillars is an essential in the Islamic religion and every Muslim is to go on the Hajj at least once during his or her lifetime.

Followers of Islam who cannot go on a Hajj because of ill or lack of money are excused from the obligation. The hajj occurs during the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah (which means Lord of the Pilgrimage and it is the twelfth and final month in the Islamic Calendar) to the holy city of Mecca. The Hajj consists of several ceremonies, meant to symbolize the essential concepts of the Islamic faith, and to commemorate the trials of Prophet Abraham and his family. Muslims from all over the world, travel to Mecca.

Before arriving to the holy city, Muslims enter a state of consecration (dedication) known as ihram, by removing their worldly clothes and putting on the humble attire of pilgrims which are two seamless white sheets for men, and simple white dresses and scarves for women. The white garments are symbolic of human equality and unity before God, since all the pilgrims are dressed similarly, money and status no longer are a factor for the pilgrims – the equality of each person in the eyes of God becomes dominant. Upon arriving in Mecca, pilgrims perform the initial Tawaf, which is a circular, counter- clockwise procession around the Ka’bah.

All the while, they state “Labbayka Allahumma Labbayk,” which means “Here I am at your service, O God, Here I am! ” The tawaf is meant to awaken each Muslim’s consciousness that God is the centre of their reality and the source of all meaning in life, and that each person’s higher self-identity derives from being part of the community of Muslim believers, known as the ummah. Pilgrims also perform the Sa’i, which is hurrying seven times between the small hills named Safa and Marwah, re-enacting the Biblical and Qu’ranic story of Hajar’s (one of Abraham’s wives) desperate search for life-giving water and food.

Next, on the first official day of Hajj (8th of Dhul-Hijjah), the two million pilgrims travel a few miles to the plain of Mina and camp there. From Mina, pilgrims travel the following morning to the plain of Arafat where they spend the entire day in earnest supplication and devotion. That evening, the pilgrims move and camp at Muzdalifa, which is a site between Mina and Arafat. Muslims stay overnight and offer various prayers there. Then the pilgrims return to Mina on the 10th, and throw seven pebbles at a stone pillar that represents the devil.

This symbolizes Abraham’s throwing stones at Satan when he tried to dissuade Abraham from sacrificing his son. Then the pilgrims sacrifice a sheep, re-enacting the story of Abraham, who, in place of his son, sacrificed a sheep that God had provided as a substitute. The meat from the slaughtered sheep is distributed for consumption to family, friends, and poor and needy people in the community. After the sacrifice, the pilgrims return to Mecca to end the formal rites of Hajj by performing a final tawaf and Sa’i. The Hajj is designed to develop God consciousness and a sense of spiritual upliftment.

It is also believed to be an opportunity to seek forgiveness of sins accumulated throughout life. Prophet Muhammad had said that a person who performs Hajj properly “will return as a newly born baby [free of all sins]. ” The pilgrimage also enables Muslims from all around the world, of different colours, languages, races, and ethnicities, to come together in a spirit of universal brotherhood and sisterhood to worship the One God together. Air fares from Australia to Mecca • Spiritual and religious lectures and classes delivered by Maulana Abdul Qasim Rizvi. • Flight from Madina to Jeddah Return airfare to Jeddah • Accommodation in the Hilton Towers Hotel in Mecca, which is directly opposite to the Holy Haram • Accommodation in Hotel Ishraq in Madinah, four minutes walk from the Haram e Nabwi • Three days accommodation in Aziziya during Hajj • Breakfast provided daily. Ziarat of Holy sites in Mecca and Madina lead by Maulana Abdul Qasim Rizvi, with full explanation and historical relevance to each individual site • Transportation by air-conditioned coaches between Jeddah, Mecca, Madinah, Arafat, Muzdalifah and Mina • Air-conditioned tents in Mina Bedding provided in Mina (mattress, pillow and blanket). • Refreshments provided in Arafat and Mina. • Arrangement of the Qurbani (sacrifice) animal. Processing of the Hajj Visas and other necessary documentation. • Complimentary Duas and pebble pouch for use during Hajj. • Complimentary one set of Ihram and two travel bags for all pilgrims. • Complimentary ten litter bottle of Zam Zam water. • Flexibility in arranging side trips after Hajj. Traveling from Australia last year it was $7,000 per person. http://www. aussiemuslims. net/index. php? option=com_content=view=415

Essay 2 Fasting What is the longest time you have gone without food or water? What is the difference between fasting and anorexia? Could it be a good thing to have a period of self-denial built into your lifestyle? The fourth Pillar of Islam, the Fast of Ramadan, occurs once each year during the 9th lunar month, the month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar in which: “…the Quran was sent down as guidance for the people. ” (Quran 2:185) Fasting helps Muslims develop self-control; gain a better understanding of God’s gifts and greater compassion towards the deprived.

Fasting in Islam involves abstaining from all bodily pleasures between dawn and sunset. Not only is food forbidden, but also any sexual activity. All things which are regarded as prohibited is even more so in this month, due to its sacredness.. Each and every moment during the fast, a person suppresses their passions and desires in loving obedience to God. This consciousness of duty and the spirit of patience helps in strengthening our faith. Fasting helps a person gain self-control. A person who abstains from permissible things like food and drink is likely to feel conscious of his sins.

A heightened sense of spirituality helps break the habits of lying, staring with lust at the opposite sex, gossiping, and wasting time. Staying hungry and thirsty for just a day’s portion makes one feel the misery of the 800 million who go hungry or the one in ten households in the US, for example, that are living with hunger or are at risk of hunger. The longest time I’ve been without food or water would be from 12 am till 12 pm because fasting in my religion only requires you to fast for that amount of time. The purpose of fasting is spiritual focus, self discipline, imitation of Christ, and performing penance.

But there are many other ways in which we can show God how sorry we are for our sins. Among them are the following: being generous with others, visiting the sick and lonely, feeding the poor, studying Scripture, making the Stations of the Cross, praying the rosary, practicing self-control, and many others which is very close to the Islamic Religion. Fasting is purifying the soul from all the sins that one has committed. It is abstaining the body from food in a certain amount of time and both Islam and Christianity state that if in cases such as: Children under the age of puberty and discretion. • Insane people who are unaccountable for their deeds • Men and women who are too old and feeble to undertake the obligation of fast and bear its hardships • Sick people whose health is likely to be severely affected by the observance of fast. • Travelers may break the fast temporarily during their travel only and make up for it in later days, a day for a day • Pregnant women and women breast-feeding their children • Women in the -period of menstruation

Because the people who come underneath those categories do not need to fast it does not harm them and only healthy people are permitted to fast so it does not affect their personal health. Anorexia is a sickness. It is depriving the body of any food what so ever until the body can sometimes not eat. Anorexic people tend to chew their food and spit it out and vomit a lot because the body can’t handle that much amount of food anymore but fasting allows you to eat at a certain time with out harming your body. Having a period of self-denial build into someone’s life style could be in a way positive.

Self-denial gives a person will power. It takes their mind away from technology and all the unnecessary foods and everything that manipulates a person and it helps the person think of all the great gifts that money cant buy but that God has provided and helps them appreciate what they have and be thankful for everything that is given to them. It also gives a person a new perspective on life and how people with no money or food have to live everyday and it makes them realize that they live a good life and it also makes a person closer to God by purifying their souls from all sin and in understanding right from wrong. ssay 3 Almsgiving Who are the major ‘almsgivers’ or philanthropists in our society? What sorts of organizations depend on generosity – individual or corporate – to do their work? Would it be better if the government took them over? Charity giving or ‘alms giving’ is an essential ritual in many religions. Almsgiving consists of giving money or some goods to people in need. Giving to charity is one of the five “pillars” of Islam. Muslims, who have wealth remaining over the year, after paying for their own basic needs, must pay a certain percentage to help others.

This almsgiving is called Zakat, from an Arabic word which means both “to purify” and “to grow. ” Zakat is at the root of Islam’s egalitarian principles, a constant reminder that ostentation is against God’s will Muslim believe that giving to others purifies their own wealth, increases its value, and causes one to recognize that everything we have is a trust from God. Paying Zakat is required of every adult Muslim man or woman who possesses wealth of a certain minimum amount. Additional, voluntary charity is called sadaqah, from an Arabic word meaning “truth” and “honesty. Sadaqah may be given at any time and in any amount. The Prophet Mohammed set a minimum charity tax (Zakat) of 2. 5 per cent on the moneys and possessions of those who had more than enough to meet their basic needs. ‘And be steadfast in prayer and regular in charity. And whatever good you send forth for your souls before you, you shall find it with Allah, for Allah sees well all that you do. (Sura 2:110)’ The Qur’an specifies eight categories of people to whom Zakat may be donated (in verse 9:60): • Poor people — who have few belongings • Destitute people — who have absolutely nothing Zakat collectors — for their work in collecting and distributing the Zakat • Muslim converts — who may be estranged from their families and in need of help • Slaves — to free them from slavery in times/places where slavery has existed • Debtors — to help free them from insurmountable debts • Those working in the path of Allah — soldiers fighting a just war to defend the Muslim community • Wayfarers — who are stranded during their travels Major Almsgivers or philanthropists in our society are the Philanthropy Australia organization (http://ppf. philanthropy. org. au/).

Philanthropy Australia consists of major Philanthropists such as Ian Darling who is Chairman of the Documentary Australia Foundation, a new philanthropic initiative for foundations, charitable organizations and documentary filmmakers and David Gonski who is currently Chancellor of the University of New South Wales, and his former roles have included chairman of the Australia Council for the Arts, councilor for the Australia Business Arts Foundation, member of the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership Tax Committee, President of the Art Gallery of New South Wales and a Director of ANZ Bank Ltd.

These people contribute greatly to our society they are each major philanthropist and give major amounts of their money to help other people. Charities such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army, St. Vincent De Paul all rely on the generosity of the community to help other people in need. They consist of volunteers who don’t get paid for their work in the community helping people.

Although these charities would work much better if the government took control over them I do not think that they should, because the community enjoy helping other people in need and enjoy volunteering it gives them the satisfaction of them helping other people, and the government might take interest in the donations and not give it all to the people that are in need of it. Almsgiving is an important part of Islam and is essential in keeping Charities that help the poor and in need working.