I am writing today from Madeenah, the City of the Prophet, sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam. Madeenah is beaming with pilgrims from all over the world who have come seeking Allah’s grace, forgiveness and countenance. Many Nigerians are here also despite the downturn in the industry and the country at large, thanks to the Saudi Arabian authorities for facilitating the Umrah process – no more biometric capture and travel agents like yours sincerely can now issue visas in the comfort of their offices. This has made life much easier for both pilgrims and tour operators. Now that the lever is under our control, pilgrims can book or be booked on tickets out of Nigeria without the trepidation of missing their flights.
If the intention for Umrah is for Allah and His Messenger, the reward will be from Allah, but if the purpose is to attain to some worldly benefit or “to be seen of men”, then such actors should seek their recompense from those they desire to impress; that is the extreme failure. They are lost indeed who will seek people’s attention and barter Allah’s forgiveness in the month of mercy and emancipation from Hell with riyaa by turning an act of ibaadah to an emblem of affluence and constancy in performing Umrah yearly.
Why will not every believer make their religion pure for Allah only in whatever they do of worship? Why will anyone waste the opportunity to have their sins forgiven them in a month full of pardon and Allah’s blessings? Why will Muslims not exert their utmost in feeding the indigent in Ramadan and having their reward twice over, rather than expend millions in profitless Umrah pilgrimages to seek people’s admiration and not Allah’s approval? Why will someone in their right senses witness Ramadan and allow it pass by without attaining liberation from Hell since Shayaateen (evil ones) are shackled, the doors Hell are closed, and those of Paradise are opened? Why?
Many Umrah pilgrims are, apparently devoted Allah’s bondsmen, Allah knows best what is their hearts, vying with millions in showing contrition for their iniquities, rehearsing the verses of Qur’an, performing Taraaweeh, and Tahajjud. There is a lot of positive changes now as against what I wrote on this page many years ago of Umrah pilgrims neglecting the purpose of their presence in the Holy Termites for shopping in mega shopping malls in Jeddah. Hardly will you see Nigerians leaving the Haram after the first ten Rak’ahs in Taraweeh.Many remain steadfast in Ruku’ and sujud until the end of the twenty Rak’ahs which will end with the Witrwhere a lengthy Du’aa marks the end of the day’s devotions.
What is lacking now among some Nigerians is basic knowledge of the teachings of Islam as well as an introductory Arabic course which will enable them to earn more reward during their sojourn in Saudia for Umrah. A Salaatul Janaazah, funeral prayer, follows almost every obligatory Sallah here. Many people, especially women, may not have ever witnessed the Salaatul Janaazah in Nigeria; the menfolk must have had, but the problem is in the difference of the sex of the body – male, female or child – and the number of the dead in every funeral prayer.
The intention and the supplication are not the same for all Salaatul Janaazah. That is why the Mu’azzinannounces the gender and number of the dead before the commencement of the prayer. The deceased could be a male, a female, a child or two males/females since the Arabic language has the dual (an inflexion referring to two people; something between singular and plural). The announcement is made in the Arabic language. Unless the worshipper has at least an elementary knowledge of Arabic, they will not be able to discern what kind of prayer is appropriate for a given Salaatul Janaazah.
Another critical area requiring basic Arabic is in answering aameen to the Du’aa in Taraaweeh, Tahajjud and the Khatmah (completion of the recitation of the entire ) Qur’an. Not all that the imam supplicates with is followed by aameen from the worshippers praying behind him. An imam may spend some time in a hymnic rendition of Allah’s praises. Answering aameen during such recitals means that the worshipper needs help in understanding what the imam is reciting. And you see such people weeping profusely, maybe as penance for sins committed, but certainly not because of an understanding of the import of the imam’s Du’aa. If such people comprehend the contents of these sublime supplications from the Haramayn there would be a flood of tears in the precincts of the Mosques.
Tomorrow Saturday, May 25th, 2019 heralds the commencement of the Ashrul Awaakhir, last ten days of Ramadan. It is in this period that Lailatul Qadr (The Night of Power) is likely to be according to the scholars, especially in the odd days of 21st, 23rd through 29th of the month. In that night was the Glorious Qur’an revealed to the Lauhul Mahfouz, (The Preserved Tablet) and from where it descended piecemeal to the Messenger of Allah, Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam through the Arc Angel Jibril in answer to multiple questions that came up from time to time or according to other reasons of revelation. Laulatul Qadr is better than a thousand months. The angels and the Spirit descend therein, by permission of their Lord, with all decree. (This night is) Peace until the rising of the dawn. (Qadr, 97:1-5)
Tomorrow the bulk of Umrah pilgrims will move to Makkah for the Ashrul Awaakhir, and some will spend the whole period of ten nights at the Haramayn in seclusion and ‘itikaaf, in Zikr (remembrance of Allah), and reading the Qur’an. The coin of the realm for this blessed days is saying laa ilaaha illallaah (There is no god but Allah), al-Hamdu lillaah (Praise be to Allah), Allaahu Akbar (Allah is most great) and subhaanallaah (How far is Allah from every imperfection). On the odd days we supplicate Allah who is ‘Afuw (Who relents) to relent toward us.
May Allah guide us, as we seek Lailatul Qadr, to include our country in prayers. Nigeria is in a dire need for Du’aa, and its leaders also, as well as its security forces. Let no effort be spared in supplicating Allah to make Nigeria secure, to fortify it against insurgents and kidnappers.
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