Al-Hajj Al-Mabroor


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  • Al-Hajj Al-Mabroor


  •   Chapter One    

    Chapter One

    Here I am at Your Service, O Allah

    Each year by the advent of the Hajj season yearnings fill the hearts for visiting the Sacred House of Allah to perform the enjoined duty of Hajj and visit the grave of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), for the matchless spiritual joy it offers; feeling ever so close to Allah, and being wholeheartedly engaged with The Almighty; unmindful of all His other creatures, whether they are one’s family, relatives, folks or other kindred.

    The traveler to perform the enjoined duty of Hajj leaves everything behind and devotes himself to worshipping Allah. He leaves his family, his property, his friends and authority. He divests himself of his usual life to draw near Allah in Salah [offering Prayers], Tawâf [The devotional act of circumambulating (i.e., walking around) the Ka‘bah seven times while reciting prayers and supplications. Tawâf should begin and end at the Black Stone], uttering Talbiyah [A formula of answering Allah’s Call for Hajj by saying: Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik. Labbaik, La Shareek Laka, Labbaik. Innal Hamdah, Wan Nematah, Laka wal Mulk, La Shareek Laka Labbaik:  Here I am at Your service O Allah, here I am. Here I am at Your service, You have no partner, here I am. Yours alone is All Praise and All Bounty, and Yours alone is The Sovereignty. You have no partner], Dhikr [Remembrance of Allah through verbal or mental repetition of His Divine Attributes or various religious formulas, such as ‘Subhân Allah,’ meaning ‘All Glory be to Allah’] and by celebrating His Praises.

    He neither becomes tired nor bored, and he submits to Allah body and soul. His obedience to his Lord deepens day after day, whereby mercies are sent down upon the hearts, tears run down and man feels that the whole world and whatever in it has dwindled in front of drawing closer to The Almighty and winning His Good Pleasure.

    Hajj is the fifth of the five Pillars of Islam, which Allah has enjoined on the able one; who has sufficient means (i.e., can afford the expenses for one’s conveyance, provision and residence), health and power to perform it.

    “And Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Ka'bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allâh, those who can afford the expenses (for one's conveyance, provision and residence); and whoever disbelieves [i.e. denies Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah), then he is a disbeliever of Allâh], then Allâh stands not in need of any of the 'Alamîn (mankind and jinn).”  (Âl-'Imrân, 3: 97)

    Hajj, same as all the prerequisites of faith, is a bestowment of Godship not Lordship, for The Exalted and Ever-Majestic, blesses all His creatures with the provision that ensures their survival from food, water and shelter. But when it comes to faith The Almighty imposes duties only on those who believe in him, who pledged themselves to a faith commitment with Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, and said, ‘O Allah! I believe in You, the One and Only creating God, so please show me how to worship You. Just command and I obey and forbid so that I dare not approach what You have forbidden.’    

    The pilgrim starts his journey by pronouncing Talbiyah (Labbaik Allahuma Labbaik, Here I am at your service, O Allah, here I am at your service). The essence of Talbiyah is answering the call of your Summoner – His Majesty, Allah, all praise and glory be to Him – who enabled you to go on a pilgrimage to His House and helped you with the expenses and power to do it. With Talbiyah you announce traveling in submission to the Command of Allah, Who graced you with the highest and greatest blessing, going on a pilgrimage to His Ancient House (the Ka‘bah at Mecca).

    After assuming the state of Ihrâm [The sacred state of practicing great self-denial into which a Muslim must enter before performing Hajj or ‘Umrah, during which certain actions are forbidden (like having conjugal relations, shaving, cutting one’s nails, and several other actions) nor commit sin, nor dispute unjustly. In this sacred state the dress of Muslim pilgrims consists of two lengths of white cotton, one wrapped around the loins, the other thrown over the left shoulder. Ihrâm [clothes for women should fully cover the body except the face, hands and feet] for performing Hajj, the pilgrim says, ‘Labbaik Allahuma (Here I am at your service, O Allah),’ meaning, ‘Here I am at the service of He Who imposed on me this ritual.’ It conveys how far the soul welcomes the assigned duty and the serenity it now enjoys; a confession of cherishing and clinging to every duty enjoined by Allah.

    Usually, duty weighs heavy on the soul because it confines the action of man by ordering him to do a certain act or forbid him from it, whether he accepts or dislikes the duty. Submission to the Command of Allah is a proof of the strength of faith, for the believer receives the duties enjoined by Allah with love, whether it is an order to do or a prohibition not to do.

    The pilgrim leaves everything he is acquainted with: leaves his home, his country, his family, his children, his property, even the clothes he loves and many other things that Allah has made lawful for him. During his journey he divests himself of many things and show respect to the whole universe: inanimate beings, plants, animals and the rest of creatures.

    He honors plants, never lays his hand on a tree to cut its branches. Birds he should not hunt any. The same with his fellow creatures, never to jeopardize his pilgrimage by disputing, as the noble Qur’anic verse instructs us:

    “The Hajj (pilgrimage) is (in) the well-known (lunar year) months (i.e. the 10th month, the 11th month and the first ten days of the 12th month of the Islâmic calendar, i.e. two months and ten days). So whosoever intends to perform Hajj therein by assuming Ihrâm), then he should not have sexual relations (with his wife), nor commit sin, nor dispute unjustly during the Hajj.” (Al-Baqarah; 2: 197)

      

    Hajj is well-known months

    Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, has restricted the free choice of man in the duties He enjoined, whether by time or place. There are acts of worship that Allah has not restricted either by time or place as the Shahâdah [The testimony of Faith: Lâ ilâh illâ Allah wanâ Muhammadan rasûl Allah, There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah], you swear once in your life and then repeat nighttime, daytime or in the forenoon, in your house, your work or on the road. It is unrestricted either by time or place.

    As-Salah (offering Prayers), for

    instance, is an act of worship that Allah has restricted only by time and not by place. You can offer Prayers in any Masjid, in a factory, a house or a field. You are free to choose the place, but Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, has bound it by time. Every Salah (offered Prayer) has an assigned time, which makes its performance invalid except at the arrival of its prescribed time.

    As for Saum (Fasting), Allah has prescribed its observance each year during the month of Ramadan but left a free choice of place. You can fast wherever you please and in any place on earth you choose.

    As for the Zakâh (obligatory charity), Allah has restricted its time and amount but has not restricted its place. For instance, Zakatul-Fitr [The Zakah of Fast-breaking, which is a certain amount of wheat, flour, fruits, barely or money to be paid to the poor at the end of Ramadan but before the Eid (Feast) Prayer] should be paid at the end of Ramadan, whereas the Zakâh upon crops and fruits should be paid at harvest time, when the crops are still in the field and have not yet been transmitted for storage as verified by the Qur’anic Statement of The Most Exalted, saying (what means):

    “And it is He Who produces gardens trellised and untrellised, and date­palms, and crops of different shape and taste (its fruits and its seeds) and olives, and pomegranates, similar (in kind) and different (in taste). Eat of their fruit when they ripen, but pay the due thereof (its Zakât, according to Allâh's Orders 1/10th or 1/20th) on the day of its harvest, and waste not by extravagance. Verily, He likes not Al-Musrifûn (those who waste by extravagance).” (Al-An‘âm, 6: 141)

    As for the Zakâh upon money, it should be paid upon the money that reached the Nisâb [Minimum amount of property liable to the payment of the Zakâh] from year-end to year-end, meaning after the passage of a whole year on its acquisition; besides other types of the Zakâh that are restricted by time but unrestricted by place, because you have to pay the Zakâh wherever you are, unconditioned by any land or country.

    As for Hajj, it differs from the rest of the acts of worship for being restricted by both time and place. You cannot perform Hajj while at home or in your country, but you have to go on a pilgrimage to the Sacred House of Allah in Mecca. Also, on the Day of ‘Arafah you cannot stand anywhere, but you have to go to ‘Arafah [The area that surrounds Mount Rahmah, southeast of Mecca] on the ninth of Dhu’l–Hijjah [The 12th month of the year in the Muslim calendar] and stand at the specified place for standing, not to overstep it.

    Further, you cannot perform the Hajj rituals at any month of the year but it must be on Dhu’l–Hijjah.

    We thus learn that Hajj is the only enjoined duty restricted by both time and place. Therefore, its reward is the forgiveness of sins, for being one of the hardest enjoined duties on the believing soul. Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, says in His Noble Book (what means):

    “And Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Ka'bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allâh, those who can afford the expenses (for one's conveyance, provision and residence).” (Âl-‘Imrân, 3: 97)

    We shall Inshaallah (by the Will of Allah) discuss this topic in detail in the next chapters.

    Ibrâhîm proclaims the Hajj

    Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, asked the Prophet Ibrâhîm (Abraham, peace be upon him) to proclaim the Hajj to mankind. The Almighty says (what means):

    “And proclaim to mankind the Hajj (pilgrimage). They will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, they will come from every deep and distant (wide) mountain highway (to perform Hajj).” (Al-Hajj, 22: 27)

    Ibrâhîm (peace be upon him) stood amidst this barren wasteland, wherein there is neither water nor plant, and none to hear him; nevertheless he proclaimed the Hajj in obedience to Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, Who said to him, ‘Your duty is the proclamation and Ours is the conveyance.’

    By the Infinite Power of Allah this call reached the hearing of all those destined to perform that sublime duty, since the proclamation of Ibrâhîm till the Day of Resurrection arrives. They heard the call of our father Ibrâhîm (peace be upon him) while still in the loins of their forefathers and answered Him.

    Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, chose His Sacred House to be the Qiblah [Direction faced in Prayers] of the believers, which they face five times daily in each offered prayer. Thus, Allah willed that the believer’s heart remains engaged with the Sacred House, though away from it, until he performs the enjoined duty of Hajj, whereby the blessing of having belief in Allah is perfected.

    As though Allah psychologically prepares every Muslim to perform Hajj before doing it years ahead. Man may die without going on a pilgrimage but his heart keeps intimately attached to the Sacred House, turning to it five times a day.

    Hajj is an enjoined duty whose fulfillment depends on many aspects of life; it demands effort, energy and Help from Allah by giving us power, ability and health. It also necessitates action, because man must work more to earn what exceeds his livelihood to be able to save the Hajj expenses. If he worked as hard as needed to suffice his daily living only he would save nothing for the Hajj. Therefore, the believer begs Allah for a working power that will suffice him and his family and cover his Hajj expenses as well.

    All these arrangements related to health, work or energy, offer more than the actual need; all are certainly Blessings from Allah. When blessed by such grace, you should express gratitude to Allah by saying, ‘Here I am at your service, O Allah, here I am. Yours alone is All Praise and All Bounty, and Yours alone is The Sovereignty. You have no partner’. All Praise is due to You for providing me with the energy, the power and the means. Provided me with the money needed to cover my Hajj expenses and the maintenance of my family during my absence. All Praise is due to You for favoring me with all these blessings that I will never be fully able to pay You back for them in praises and thanks, no matter how endless thanks I give.

    We have to carefully observe the accuracy of expression in the chant of Hajj, the pilgrim says, ‘Here I am at your service, O Allah, here I am. Yours alone is All Praise and All Bounty, and Yours alone is The Sovereignty. You have no partner’. The context would have dictated saying, ‘Yours alone is All Bounty and All Praise’, for praises are only expressed for an offered bounty. But here the praise precedes the bounty, why? Because your thanksgiving is expressed for an already bestowed blessing, as Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, has graced you with all these blessings that enabled you to start your Hajj journey. So, you thank Allah for an already conferred blessing and for a coming one, that of belief, which made you fulfill that enjoined duty. Thus, blessings are continuously bestowed and gratitude is continuously expressed; we thank Allah for past and future blessings. Indeed, how endless and inexhaustible are the Blessings of Allah as substantiated by the noble Qur’anic verse saying (what means):

    “Whatever is with you, will be exhausted, and whatever with Allâh (of good deeds) will remain. And those who are patient, We will certainly pay them a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do.” (An-Nahl, 16: 96)

    When reciting ‘Talbiyah’, the pilgrim says, ‘Yours alone is All Praise and All Bounty, and Yours alone is The Sovereignty,’ and as long as the Dominion and Sovereignty belong only to Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, and will always be, man should fear nothing in this world.

    Allah says in the Sanctified Hadith:

    “O son of Adam! Fear not those vested with power as long as My Sovereignty and kingdom never ends. Fear not the expiration of provision as long as My treasures are full never to empty. I have created everything for you and I have created you for My Sake, so proceed in My Obedience to have everything submitting to you. You owe Me dutifulness in what I have enjoined upon you, and I owe you sustenance, but if you disobey me in what I have enjoined, I will not deny you your sustenance. If you are contended with what I have ordained for you, I will relieve your heart, but if you are discontented with what I have ordained for you, by My Might and Majesty, I will empower this world against you, wherein you will run as beasts in the wilderness and you will not have of it except what I have ordained for you and you will be disparaged in My Eyes.”

    In Talbiyah, the words ‘You have no partner’ settle in the heart of the believer the relief of knowing that Allah is the One and Only God. Allah wants to relieve and assure us that He is the One God with no other partner to oppose Him in His Will. This Oneness is a great blessing indeed for which we should heartily thank Allah. Surely, had there been a partner with Him, the earth would have been full of mischief and people’s needs would have been wasted between a god that wants and another that denies.

    The perfection of the Blessing of Allah

    We have to observe that the Hajj is the only ritual that confers on the believer a special title. You neither call the one who observes Salah (offering Prayers) ‘The prayer,’ nor the one who pays the Zakâh (obligatory charity), ‘The Zakâh-giver,’ but we call the one who performed Hajj to the Sacred House of Allah, ‘The hajji.’

    The Hajj is the declaration of the perfection of the Blessings bestowed by Allah on man. The perfection of Allah’s Blessings is in having the bestowments of Godship together with that of Lordship, because you did not perform the Hajj except by the power Allah has given you, through the blessings of Lordship. When people call out, ‘The hajji so and so,’ we learn that Allah has greatly graced him. The Almighty graced him with the blessing of belief in Him, which is the supreme blessing, and belief in the last of all the Prophets, Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). Since man decided to make a pilgrimage he must be observant of all the other duties enjoined on him: Salah (offering prayers), paying the Zakâh (obligatory charity) and observing Saum (Fasting). By performing the Hajj he wishes to fulfill the Five Pillars of Islam, to be among those to whom Allah has addressed this noble Qur’anic verse, revealed in the Farewell Hajj [The first and the last Hajj performed by the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace] saying (what means):

    “This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islâm as your religion.” (Al-Mâ‘idah, 5: 3)

    Meaning, I have perfected and fulfilled all the Pillars of Islam; fulfilled the Salah (offering Prayers) by visiting the Sacred House to perform prayers therein. Zakâh, for Hajj includes it, being an act of worship relying on both financial means and physical ability, where you spend your money for the Sake of Allah. Saum (Fasting), for Hajj includes a sort of fasting because you forbear from bodily desires while assuming the state of Ihrâm. First and foremost, the Hajj embraces the Shahâdah [The testimony of Faith: ‘Ashadu anâ Lâ ilâh illâ Allah wanâ Muhammad rasûl Allah’ I testify that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah].

    You come on a pilgrimage in servile compliance with the Command of Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, and out of showing obedience to Him, and you perform the Hajj rituals as the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) has taught us.

    The worship of Allah dictates avoidance of assuming superiority over one another. On going to the Masjid to offer prayers equality dictates that whoever arrives first sits first, regardless of his rank, wealth, poverty or his status in this world, as you may find the doorman in the first row and the building owner in the last row.

    Such equality in worshipping Allah, The Most Exalted, purges the soul from superiority and causes it to humble itself. It makes us all feel that we are standing in front of God, Who neither looks at our shapes nor appearances, but at our hearts; the criterion between a human and another whatever be our mentalities or living standards.

    In each Congregational Prayer performed in one of the Masjids of Allah, equality, submission and humility shown to Allah is done in a limited medium. But Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, willed that such equality and submission be shown not only in a limited medium but in a global one; in a universal environment gathering all the races of the earth; the strong and weak nations, people of power and wealth together with those owning nothing. Each should humble himself as becomes the solemnity of the Hajj.

    Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, wants to inculcate in us the rudiments of such a standing: that we all differ in our outfits, appearances and garments according to the living standards of each and our different tastes in choosing the fabrics we wear and their designs. In Hajj, Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, wants none to be distinguished, neither in appearance nor dress.

    We may differ as we please in our own countries among our folk, but here and on arriving to the Sacred House of Allah we have to stand as equals before Him, as He created us, and as we shall stand before Him on the Day of Resurrection.

     

    He wants us servants of His, wearing the same dress none differing from the other. To divest ourselves of worldly comforts and give up our posts the time we reach the borders of the Sacred House, where all privileges melt into thin air. The seamless Ihrâm garments are worn and all abide by the same dress and fabric. With such abidance imposed by Allah vanishes the first sign of distinction and superiority in worn clothes and assumed posts.

    Reverence shown to the species of the universe

    As Almighty Allah has taken man away from his family, children and property he is attached to and the luxury and the lifestyle he is used to, and as He detached him from special clothes, He obliged him to honor all the species of the universe. With inanimate beings, he is to kiss Al-Hajarul-Aswad [‘The Black Stone’ is a stone from Paradise. It was set into one corner of the Ka‘bah in Mecca by Prophet Ibrâhîm (peace be upon him). The Black Stone was personally installed in the wall of the Ka`bah by the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) himself during its reconstruction following its destruction by a flash flood. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) also kissed it during his Farewell Hajj. Thus, touching and kissing Al-Hajarul-Aswad during `Umrah and Hajj is considered Sunnah and an act of obedience. Muslims do not worship the Black Stone. The only reason to kiss the Black Stone is that our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) kissed it] or point towards it; with plants, not to cut a tree; with animals, not to hunt any; and with humans, he neither quarrels nor disputes. Thus Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, teaches man to treat with deference all the species of the universe.

    During this blessed journey, man learns how to waive his pride and mastery in this universe before its humblest species – inanimate beings – and kisses it or jostles against the others to kiss it. None is great by selfhood but true greatness is achieved when making your free will harmonious, concordant and agreeing with the Will of Allah and His Set Law. 

    Through this ultimate Pillar of the Five Pillars of Islam Allah tells His servant to respect all the species of the universe, for mastery is not self-given to man but attained by virtue of the preference Allah gave him above others species.

    You must carefully consider what this ritual demands from you and to deeply muse upon it in order to know what Allah wants you to do. To grasp that the purport lies in Command, belief and submission, for Allah is the One Who commanded us to kiss that stone and to stone another! Neither in kissing or stoning is a preference for this or that stone, but it is an obedience shown to the Command of Allah. Therefore, it does not submit to the philosophies of the mind but rather to the obedience of Faith.

    As aforesaid, the Hajj journey starts with Talbiyah, which is a response to the call of the Prophet Ibrâhîm (peace be upon him) when he proclaimed the Hajj to mankind. After it you must divest yourself of pride. To take off your rich clothes and forsake the home specially prepared to give you comfort. Children, friends, relatives, power and property, you leave all behind and go to the Sacred House of Allah, practicing self-denial and assuming Ihrâm. Leaving the world behind you, just with a seamless piece of cloth on your body like the shroud you shall come out of this world wrapped in.

    Tears shed at the Sacred House

    When you enter the Sacred House of Allah and you circumambulate it tears fill your eyes, why?

    Many people do not know the reason, but crying before such a scene is an expression of waiving the pride that accompanied you for long. The more tears you shed, the more pride you rid yourself of. If crying is a sign of weakness and grief, in the Hajj it is not so.

    It is a sense of submission and servility, a sense that you gave up all and realized your true humble rank. You come to this sacred place hoping to express your regret for your misdeeds and supplicate Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, that He may forgive your past and future sins.

    Being so close to The Almighty and experiencing a sense of His Presence every second is what imparts to the shed tears a spirituality that surpasses joy. The joy of being purged from sins; the joy of winning the Good Pleasure of Allah deeply felt and realized; the joy of confessing sins, which means having the strength of will never to relapse again by holding fast to repentance.

    It is the power of faith that prompts man to abandon all wrongdoing and perversity that may taint his creed and behavior. Renouncing pride is a show of strength, and begging for mercy and forgiveness is also a show of strength.

    Everyone who experienced such overwhelming feelings knows well that his soul is relieved after crying. As though the tears that flowed from his eyes cleansed his heart. Everyone cries as bitterly as he transgressed against himself (by committing evil deeds and sins) and as bitterly as he disobeyed.

    What arouses wonder is that after your soul obtained relief you yearn again to return to what draws your tears. You come back to the Hajj for a second and a third time, but never would you cry as you did the first time. In the first time, you shed bitter violent tears, but less in the second, and lesser in the third, why?

    Because in every time you grow more serene and more upright in the adopted course of your life; the moment you enter the Sacred Masjid and see the Ka‘bah you become preoccupied with yourself alone, forgetting about anything else. Preoccupied with how you will offer Prayers, perform Tawâf and Sa‘y [The devotional act of walking seven times between the knolls of As-Safâ and Al-Marwah which are located some distance from the Ka‘bah inside Al-Masjidul-Haram; starting at As-Safâ and ending at Al-Marwa]. What will you beg for and what invocations will you utter. You are totally taken by Allah from whatever surrounds you and as long as you are preoccupied with The Creator, Whose Majesty reigns supreme, there will be no room in your heart for anything else besides Him. Even your children will not cross your mind except at the end of the rituals, which arouses people’s wonder, though there is nothing to wonder about.

    Glorification of the Ka‘bah 

    Some people say that Islam has forbidden intermingling between men and women, so why is not it forbidden in Tawâf? We see men and women performing Tawâf where hardly anyone passes without exerting a tremendous effort, due to the overcrowding. To those people we say that every circumambulator (performer of Tawâf) is preoccupied with what he/she is deeply in.

    There, desires retreat and evil insinuations (whispered by the devil) vanish; each is no longer aware of those around him, each is preoccupied with Allah, preoccupied with worshipping Him, preoccupied with himself.

    When offering prayers in the Sacred House of Allah, you find that all the directions faced in Salah have mixed, how? When offering Prayers in the Masjids located in our countries some of us may turn eastward, others westward, northward or southward governed by our position from the Ka‘bah. But on arriving at the Sacred House of Allah we no longer abide by these directions.

    Is it permissible for me, inside a Masjid in Egypt, to offer Prayers while facing the Yamani Corner [The southern corner of the Ka‘bah]? Do I observe that when I go to the Ka‘bah, to look for the Yamani Corner and offer prayers facing it? No, I can offer Prayers while facing any of the corners of the Ka‘bah and bear in my mind the Qur’anic verse saying (what means):

    “And to Allâh belong the east and the west, so wherever you turn yourselves or your faces there is the Face of Allâh (and He is High above, over His Throne).” (Al-Baqarah, 2: 115)

    That is the magnificence of worship.

    While in the Sacred House of Allah, you have the entire Ka‘bah before you, and you must glorify every place in it and every part of it, which will not be done except by circumambulating it.

    An opinion says that it is enough to perform Tawâf once to fulfill that purpose, but the Ka‘bah is parable to Al-Baitul-Ma‘mûr (The Oft-frequented House) [The house in the seventh firmament directly above the Ka‘bah at Mecca; everyday it is visited by seventy thousands angels, who never revisit it until the Day of Judgment]. If you keep ascending the sky of the Ka‘bah you will end at Al-Baitul-Ma‘mûr.

    Those offering prayers at the third floor in the Meccan Sanctuary are higher than the altitude of the Ka‘bah itself but they face its atmosphere. The air expanse above the Ka‘bah represents the Ka‘bah up to Al-Baitul-Ma‘mûr in the seventh heaven.

    If you are boarding a plane heading for the Ka‘bah you will offer Prayer in it while having your face turned to the sky of the Ka‘bah. The heavens are seven, and to those who believe that by circumambulating the Ka‘bah once you glorify all its parts we say: Follow the example of Al-Mi‘râj (Ascension) [The miraculous ascension of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, from Jerusalem up to the Heavens to meet his Lord]. If you complete seven ashwaat [One complete circuit around the Ka‘bah constitutes a shawt (pl. ashwaat), and seven ashwaat complete one Tawâf] around the Ka‘bah, as though you have ascended the seven heavens provided that serenity and light fill your heart.

    That is the Grace of Allah, He bestows on whom He wills. Indeed, endless is the Grace of Allah, The Bestower, Whose Blessings cover all creatures.

       
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