Umra before Hajj?
How many times can you do Umrah before you have to do Hajj?
In essence, the ruling for the two are different. Hajj is Fard (compulsory) upon every sane, mature Muslim when he/she has the financial means to make the journey. Umra is the Sunna of the Beloved Prophet, peace be upon him. Clearly, therefore, the emphasis should be on fulfilling the Fard as soon as possible.
A person may be in a situation where he may have to perform Umra before the Hajj. For example, a Muslim may not be able to get holidays off in the month of Zul Hajj from work, but still desires to visit the Holy Sanctuaries. For him, he can go Umra before completing the Hajj. We cannot perform Umra in the hope it will cancel out the obligation of Hajj, even if he does Umra a dozen times.
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Narrated by Abu Huraira The Prophet (p.b.u.h) said, “The best charity is that which is practiced by a wealthy person. And start giving first to your dependents.” (Sahih Bukhari Book 24, Hadith 507)
Second preference is relatives
Narrated by ‘Amr bin Al-Harith Zainab, the wife of ‘Abdullah said, “I was in the Mosque and saw the Prophet (p.b.u.h) saying, ‘O women ! Give alms even from your ornaments.’ ” Zainab used to provide for ‘Abdullah and those orphans who were under her protection. So she said to ‘Abdullah, “Will you ask Allah’s Apostle whether it will be sufficient for me to spend part of the Zakat on you and the orphans who are under my protection?” He replied “Will you yourself ask Allah’s Apostle ?” (Zainab added): So I went to the Prophet and I saw there an Ansari woman who was standing at the door (of the Prophet ) with a similar problem as mine. Bilal passed by us and we asked him, ‘Ask the Prophet whether it is permissible for me to spend (the Zakat) on my husband and the orphans under my protection.’ And we requested Bilal not to inform the Prophet about us. So Bilal went inside and asked the Prophet regarding our problem. The Prophet (p.b.u.h) asked, “Who are those two?” Bilal replied that she was Zainab. The Prophet said, “Which Zainab?” Bilal said, “The wife of ‘Adullah (bin Masud).” The Prophet said, “Yes, (it is sufficient for her) and she will receive a double rewards (for that): One for helping relatives, and the other for giving Zakat.” (Sahih Bukhari Book 24, Hadith 545)
Narrated by Abu Huraira Allah’s Apostle (p.b.u.h) said, “A man said that he would give something in charity. He went out with his object of charity and unknowingly gave it to a thief. Next morning the people said that he had given his object of charity to a thief. (On hearing that) he said, “O Allah! All the praises are for you. I will give alms again.” And so he again went out with his alms and (unknowingly) gave it to an adulteress. Next morning the people said that he had given his alms to an adulteress last night. The man said, “O Allah! All the praises are for you. (I gave my alms) to an adulteress. I will give alms again.” So he went out with his alms again and (unknowingly) gave it to a rich person. (The people) next morning said that he had given his alms to a wealthy person. He said, “O Allah! All the praises are for you. (I had given alms) to a thief, to an adulteress and to a wealthy man.” Then someone came and said to him, “The alms which you gave to the thief, might make him abstain from stealing, and that given to the adulteress might make her abstain from illegal sexual intercourse (adultery), and that given to the wealthy man might make him take a lesson from it and spend his wealth which Allah has given him, in Allah’s cause.” (Sahih Bukhari Book 24, Hadith 502)
But as a preference, you should start by giving to your dependents if they are in need of it, and if they would accept it.
The Book that Shaped the World
At a time when the world sank to its lowest, oppression and tyranny exceeded all limits, human beings were enslaved by arrogant kings and emperors, and women lost their human dignity on earth, a night in the month of Ramadan was destined to determine the course of human history from then on.
This is the Quran that:
transformed a nation that stooped in chaos
revolutionized them and elevated them to the peak of human perfection
changed people’s hearts
molded their characters
uprooted their ignorance
reconstructed their societies in a noble and divine fashion
Within 10 years, the tiny oasis of Yathrib, just named Madinah, became the blessed land where a comprehensive code of life evolved from nothing. Madinah became the centre of a divine civilisation, the center of inspiration for humanity. Those were the Arabs who were on the verge of self-destruction because of their lawlessness, vulgarity, stupidity, and, to use the Quranic terminology, jahiliyyah (ignorance). They were the people despised by the two super powers of the time, the Persians in the east and the Romans in the west, to the extent that neither of these two powers was even interested in taking over these barbaric and lawless territories.Yet, the Quran was revealed to them, which is a proof that Allah can easily change the fate of a nation if He wishes. But Allah’s sunnah (typical way or principle) is not simply to guide people without any reason; they have to acquire guidance with their own action and endeavour. Only then, Allah may confer his favour and help on them, as He, the Almighty, says in the Quran,
“Say, “O Allah, the Lord of Power (And Rule)! You give power to whomever You will, and You strip off power from whomever You will, and You endue with honor whomever You will, and You bring low whomever You will. In Your hand is all good. Verily, over all things You have power.” (3:26)
The heavenly revelation has been termed as:
bayyinah (clear sign of guidance)
furqan (criterion to discern the true from the false)
bayan (clear explanation)
Revealing some of these terms about the Quran, Allah, the Exalted, says,
“Ramadan is the month in which was sent down the Quran, as a guide to mankind, also clear (signs) for guidance and judgment between right and wrong.” (2:185)
He also says,
“This is a declaration for mankind, a guidance, and an admonition unto those who ward off evil.” (3:138)
Connecting the Heaven With the Earth
The hearts of the Arabs expanded to such an extent that those barbaric people grasped the true meaning of the message and learnt how to live as the best nation on earth.
It is dhikr (a reminder) and the kalam (word) of Allah. Allah showered His mercy on humanity in the form of a direct communication with His Messenger for 23 years in the barren Arab land. Within 10 years, the tiny oasis of Yathrib, just named Madinah, became the blessed land where a comprehensive code of life evolved from nothing. Madinah became the center of a divine civilisation, the center of inspiration for humanity.
This is because of the Quran’s miracle and the unique person that received and memorised it by heart, namely, the last Prophet, Muhammad (PBUH); the heart that received the full weight of divine love for humanity, leading it with the Quranic message.
It was the weight that no other creation would ever have dared to bear, as it was revealed in the Quran itself,
“Had We sent down this Qur’an on a mountain, you would certainly have seen it falling down, splitting asunder because of the fear of Allah.” (59:21)
The Quran’s Impact on Arabs
The Quran elevated the Arabs, who produced a miracle within only one generation. The hearts of the Arabs expanded to such an extent that those barbaric people grasped the true meaning of the message and learnt how to live as the best nation on earth. The fountain of love and universal brotherhood created the “best people” on earth. Praising the Muslim Ummah in the Quran, Allah, the Almighty, says,
“You are the best of the nations raised up for the benefit of men; you enjoin the right and forbid the wrong and believe in Allah.” (3:110)
This (best of the nations) was reformed by the Quran, as the Quran:
Created a world where a young woman could travel alone between two distant places of Arabia without any fear for her safety
Created minds that willingly surrendered to Allah to such an extent that a sinner would rush to the Prophet to be punished in this world rather than suffering from the Hellfire in the hereafter
Created compassionate hearts that cared for other living beings and the natural world
Promised prosperity and victory for those who abide by it
Created a Quran-oriented generation that left behind a legacy prevalent for more than one thousand years
The shining Quran is still alive and waiting for people who would adhere to it and change the fate of the whole world. It is rekindling the hearts of millions and demanding action from them.
What a marvel! While other heavenly books are either lost or corrupted, the Quran is still preserved in its pristine form, either as a mushaf (a book) or as a code of beliefs in Muslims’ hearts. That is because Allah promised to protect it; He, the Exalted, says,
“Surely We have revealed the Reminder and We will most surely be its guardian.” (15:9)
Whenever a Muslim recites the Quran, Allah is speaking to him. Allah reminds us to think, to reflect on and look for His signs around us and even inside ourselves, to learn from the past, to follow His guidance, to serve humanity, and to look after His creation. Do we understand Him, His call, and His message? And if we understand, do we respond? And if we respond, do we act wholeheartedly?
Are we prepared to take the challenge? “Surely Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition.” (13:11)
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