The following article was written by Choudhary Maskeen sahib of Leeds 12 and it appeared in Daily Jang on 3rd May 2006.
Please click on the image below to view the full article.
The following article was written by Choudhary Maskeen sahib of Leeds 12 and it appeared in Daily Jang on 3rd May 2006.
Please click on the image below to view the full article.
It is three years since our Imam departed from this world in April 2005 to live in the ever-lasting world. Below is an article written by one of his students highlighting some aspects of Hafiz Sahib's life:
Shaykh Professor Hafiz Fateh Muhammad Sahib, affectionately called Hafiz Sahib by all those who knew him, (May Allah have mercy on his soul) was the great Imam of Madina Masjid from 1984 – 2005 and of Makkah Masjid from 2003 to 2005. He passed away suddenly on the evening of 25 April 2005 (17th Rabi ul-Awwal 1426) whilst reading a biography of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). His sudden departure from this world was a tragic loss to the Muslim community of Leeds which he had ardently and diligently served for over 20 years of his life.
All those who had the honour to meet him will testify that Hafiz Sahib radiated love for the Holy Quran and our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). He dedicated his life to gaining knowledge of Islam, living in accordance with its principles and encouraging others to do the same.
Hafiz Sahib was one of very few distinguished Ulemas who excelled in both worldly and religious knowledge and understanding. He first came to England from his native Pakistan in 1984 to undertake a Masters degree in English Language Teaching and Linguistics. He had previously held the esteemed post of head of the English Department at the International Islamic University at Islamabad. He returned to Pakistan for a short while, before permanently settling in England in 1988 and taking up the post of Imam and Khateeb of Madina Masjid and spiritual guide for the community he served.
Hafiz Sahib was not only a religious instructor but had also been a professor at one of the most prestigious Universities in the Muslim world. He was therefore passionate about ensuring that religion was accessible to second generation Muslims in the UK. He reminded Muslims that they had not come to the UK as Pakistanis, Indians etc, but as Muslims. He advised Muslims to leave aside cultural issues and concentrate singularly on the cause of living Islam as it was given to them by the Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Hafiz Sahib was always mindful of the numerous examples in the life of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) of living peacefully alongside those of other faiths, whilst not loosing one's own faith and identity, and he strived to follow these examples.
He emphasised that Muslims should earn their place in society and win the hearts and minds of the host community by showing that the values taught by Islam are the same values that all human beings hold dear. For this reason, a long before there was any wide-spread recognition of the fact that there was a danger of youngsters losing touch with their religious identities as a result of the fact that most religious sermons were being held in Urdu, Hafiz Sahib was preaching in both English and Urdu. He attached great importance to ensuring that youngsters had access to Islamic knowledge in their first language, English. Thus his professionalism enabled him to pursue and resolve intricate issues and challenges faced by the second generation with clarity and conviction, always preferring debate and discussion whilst observing the Islamic etiquette rather than just demanding that youngsters did as told.
Another issue close to Hafiz Sahib's heart was ensuring good relationships between people of different faiths. To this end, he was an active participant in the Leeds multi-faith forums, which saw him recite the Quran at inter-faith events and welcome those of other faiths into the Masjid.
Hafiz Sahib led a simple life which revolved around his role as Imam. His first love was the recitation of the Quran, which he did alongside whatever other task he was doing. Those who had the honour of hearing him recite the Quran know that his pronunciation was impeccable and his voice was melodious and full of emotion. The hearts of his listeners could not help but be moved, and through him his audience felt closer to Allah.
Hafiz Sahib was also passionate about ensuring that Muslims did not blindly follow what they were told, but had a real understanding of the principles of Islam. His aim was to fill the hearts of the Muslims in his community with a love for the Quran as immense as his own, and instill in them a desire to understand the Quran as he did. Over the last 10 years of his life, Hafiz Sahib held daily study circles after prayers. During these study circles, he provided detailed analysis and commentary on almost half of the Holy Quran in a combination of both English and Urdu. His daily classes were attended by both old and young.
Hafiz Sahib's distinguishing trait was his unpretentious appearance and remarkable simplicity. Despite being well-versed in religious and worldly matters, he never promoted himself or tried to seek fame. Instead, he followed the way of his predecessors who worked behind the scenes, displaying profound insight and solicitude for the Ummah andshowing exceptional acumen for resolving the challenges presented by modernity.
Despite being a great scholar and leading a very busy life, Hafiz Sahib never shied away from doing mundane tasks. He used to say that given the fact that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) assisted his wives with household jobs, it could not be a stain on one's status or masculinity to following his example. He was also proud to clean the mosque, saying that not everyone is given the honour of cleaning the house of the Lord.
The biggest aspect of Hafiz Sahib's legacy is without doubt Makkah Masjid, which was his vision and which only came into being as a result of his tireless efforts. For many years, Hafiz Sahib was deeply concerned that the converted terraced houses which formed Madina Masjid were not adequate to cater for the growing Muslim populations of Leeds 3, 4 and 6. His vision was that the community should have a Masjid of which it could be truly proud, which was not only aesthetically pleasing but which would also meet the practical needs of the Muslim community it would serve. He talked about a Masjid that would elevate the spirits of all who saw it and symbolise the beauty of the religion of Islam.
To this end, Hafiz Sahib worked assiduously firstly to help find the perfect location in which to build his dream Masjid, and then to raise the £1.8 million required to fund its construction. The passion with which he talked about the new Masjid encouraged the local communities to donate the staggering sums needed; very few individuals have the charisma and zeal to convince others to donate so generously. He reminded everyone that if they contributed towards building a house for Allah (swt) in this life, then, as is promised in the Holy Quran, Allah (swt) would build a house in Paradise for them in the hereafter.
Following years of hard work, Makkah Masjid opened its doors in June 2003. Without doubt, it would never have come into existence without Hafiz Sahib firstly having the vision of a magnificent Masjid located in Headingley, Leeds and secondly having the dedication to make his dream a reality.
Those who knew Hafiz Sahib as their Imam, their teacher and their spiritual guide are only too aware that he was a truly unique individual, who cannot be replaced. He was a very inspirational and dynamic person. He wanted to see the learned and professionals work together to advance the position of the Ummah, and reach mutual understanding and respect throughout the world. In a life span of 63 years, he will be remembered for, among other notable things, being a great scholar of Islam who practiced what he preached and instilled love for the religion in those who came into contact with him. His entire life was dedicated to steadfastly serving Islam and Muslims.
There are too many details about his life to cover in such a short article. However, to note a few, Hafiz Sahib emphasised greatly – and showed us practically in the way he lived – the following matters :
1. Love of the beloved Prophet and the Quran,
2. Love for seeking knowledge and displaying love for the people of knowledge;
3. Simplicity in our whole way of life
4. The importance of making an effort in one's life to improve one's status in the world and the hereafter.
We pray to Allah (swt) that He grants Hafiz Sahib the highestplace in Paradise, and makes the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and the Holy Quran his intercessors on the Day of Judgement. Ameen.
The following are some of the comments made about Professor Hafiz Qari Fateh Muhammad (May Allah shower mercy on his soul):
I first met Imam Professor Hafiz Fateh Muhammad sahib some 15 years ago. My first session with him completely changed my life! I was going through some difficult times in my life. Things were not "working out" at home. I had a very "good" job with a reasonably "good" salary but there was still some void in my life. I felt something was missing from my life. I had recently moved to Leeds for my job and did not know many people. I could easily make friends in the lifestyle that I was used to but I wanted to move away from that life-style.
Being born a Muslim, the obvious thing was to turn to Islam but I did not know much about Islam. I was afraid to learn about Islam because I felt that learning more about it would make me realise my own shortcomings and weaknesses. I did not want to feel more depressed. I wanted to meet someone who could unlock my mind and spirit, who could direct me to my Lord, who could hold my hand as I treaded on the path of Islam and got myself back on track. The experience that I have had of mosques did not fill me with confidence that I would find someone like that in a mosque. My first thought was that if I went to a mosque, I would be frowned upon, I would be told off, there would be no one to understand my condition, there would be a language barrier etc.
Then one of my clients told me of an Imam in a mosque nearby in Hyde Park and everything he told me about him was a great shock to me.
My client said that the Imam spoke English and had a lot of young people coming to his mosque. I found it surprising that he was an English Professor and an Imam at the same time. I could understand someone being a Professor of Arabic or Islamic Studies and an Imam but not an English Professor and an Imam.
My client told me that he was a humble man but dignified in his humility and that he always made time for common people and he cared about people – religious or irreligious. I could only remember people inside the mosque who assumed that they were better than others because they came to the mosque to pray.
My client also said that that Imam always has a huge welcoming smile on his shining face. Again, it was hard for me to imagine an Imam with a beautiful smile on his face. I could only remember these guardians of mosques being stern faced, feeling tense and angry with everything.
My client carried on telling me about the knowledge that this Imam possessed and other characteristics that he had had but my mind was wondering off, trying to imagine the Imam in mind and burning with the desire to meet him.
After a few days, I pulled myself together to meet this great personality, with a mixed feeling of awe and yearning. As I approached his room inside the mosque, he was sat on the floor studying a book. As soon as he saw me, he welcomed me with a smile and started chatting to me, listening to me attentively. He was not only hearing me, he was also waiting for his turn to speak. Although it was the first time I had met him, I felt that I had always known him.
As I sat listening to the Imam discussing the intricacies of the Glorious Qur'an with references to modern intellectualism, my eyes grew wider and I distinctly remember thinking 'so that's what it means!'
I left that brief meeting with a very light heart, feeling good inside. I had a strange feeling inside me; I felt that I had done a good deed just meeting him and listening to his melodious voice. I still cannot describe that feeling.
From that day onward, whenever I got the chance to come and sit with him, I would do so. I would go to meet him during lunch time and he in his kindness would welcome me each time I went to meet him. I would always leave him with a heavy heart, wishing I could have extra time to stay with him. In his gatherings, he used to feel spiritually immersed in the light of the Qur'an.Â He was a walking encyclopedia/dictionary of the Glorious Qur'an.
I am sure that anyone who had the privilege of visiting the Imam and spending time with him felt uplifted and enriched by his humanity, his wisdom and his spirituality. He was positive and motivational. He always showed you the bright side of any situation that you were in. He used to make things perfectly clear by using simple language and examples. He would come down to peoplesâ€™ level, despite himself being an ocean of knowledge. For him lecturing or writing was not about scholastic manipulation of intellectual constructs but rather a means to connect people to Allah and the spiritual reality.Â He would de-mystify things so that people could understand the Word of God and the sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). He always reminded his students to use simple language with people in accordance with the prophetic saying: "Speak to people at their level". But at the same time his colourful talks were full of gushing flow, treasure of vocabulary and tremendous appealing.
I love him dearly because, through him I came closer to My Lord and gained an understanding of what a logical and balanced the religion of Islam is. It is through him that I have been able to tell people around me something about my faith. It is because of him that I am proud to call myself a Muslim. He wanted young British Muslims to be good and great. Work hard to unlock our potentials with the key of the Qur'an and Sunnah.
Unfortunately, after a few months of coming to stay in Leeds, I got transferred to another city and our enlightening and refreshing meetings came to end. At first I did continue to phone him and seek his advice on important matters in my life. Then with the passage of time, I got busy and the contact became less and less.
The memories that I have shall remain ingrained on my mind forever. He is always in my prayers. My Allah grant me his company under the banner of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
When I first became interested in Islam, I was overwhelmed by the information that I needed to learn. I had friends who were telling me all the things I needed to memorise; the Arabic terms and verses which I had to recite. There was an expectation on everyone's part that I should be better than them; I should practice more than them; I should know more than them. It was all too much for me. Information was being fed to me as to what I should wear or should not wear, what I should eat and should not eat. The whole issue was complicated by the fact that there was slight difference of opinion between the scholars and each friend of mine was at pains to drag me to their reasoning. In the midst of this, another revert brought me to Imam Hafiz Fateh Muhammad.
When I came to see Hafiz, he calmed my worries and reassured me that living under the shade of God's mercy, being a Muslim, was a process that required hard work and endurance. He reminded me of the saying of the Prophet that the religion is ease and that if you take one step to Allah, He comes ten steps towards you. He asked me to learn about my new faith step by step and not be overwhelmed by it all. As Allah had accepted me into his chosen faith, I could only come closer to Him by learning more about this faith. Since then whenever I had a particular dilemma, I came to Hafiz sahib for his spiritual and practical advice and sometimes I brought other reverts with me. He never made us feel intimidated by his knowledge
He was truly a man of people. He would often remind those close to him of the saying of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) 'the best amongst you is the one most beneficial to them'. He was sincerely interested in providing religious advice in a practical form. People of all backgrounds; Muslims, non-Muslims, young, old, men and women would come to him regarding private and personal matters of love and life, family and faith. Despite the fact that these meetings with people affected his routine of doing set remembrance of Allah and recitation of the Glorious Quran and his studies and writing, he always gave time to the people who came to him and listened to their heartache. Â He never judged people and would not talk behind their backs about their private and personal matters. Instead he guided with compassion and always tried to make the religion easy to practice.
Another key characteristic of Hafiz sahib's personality was his altruistic, selfless and self-sacrificing personality. He did not want people to praise him for how close he was to Allah or recognize how high his status was in terms of spirituality or how much insight/farasah of a believer he had, rather he wanted people to turn to Allah and develop those characteristics in themselves. He wanted to empower others rather than hold all the power to himself. That is the reason that with his practical advice, he would always ask people to either recite a particular surah or verse of the Noble Quran or some other zikr. It was his quality of serving His Lord by helping people that people not only from all over the UK but even from outside the UK would call him and discuss their matters with him. He knew a lot of people in Europe and the US who would invite him to visit their countries but he always declined saying that with the time that he had, he was even unable to serve people locally.
Most reverts to Islam are usually so disillusioned with the world and its attractions that they want to run away from the ordinary life and perhaps try to create a new world for themselves. However, Hafiz sahib always motivated reverts to not isolate themselves from the world. Muslims must live in the world but not let the world live in their hearts so much that they forget the Creator of the world. We often spoke about the challenges of our times and the difficulty of balancing student life, professional life with spiritual life. He once said that he went through the same emotions during the early days of him teaching English Literature in a College and in order to create emotions conducive for nurturing the soul, he increased his portion of daily recitation of the Holy Quran.
We are all familiar with the famous Prophetic saying <em>Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave</em>. Few people implemented this hadith into their everyday lives with as much dedication, ardour and passion as the late Shaykh Professor Hafiz Fateh Muhammad (may Allah have mercy on his soul and grant him the highest ranks of paradise).
I was fortunate enough to have known Hafiz Sahib (as he was fondly known by his students and congregation) practically my whole life. I was even more fortunate to have been taught to read and memorise surahs from the Holy Quran by him. Seldom did I enter Madina Masjid, where he was based before the construction of Makkah Masjid, to find him doing anything other than seeking knowledge, either reading a book on Islam or reading the book he loved above all other books, the Holy Quran.
When Hafiz Sahib read from the Holy Quran his love for the book that is the fountain of all wisdom and knowledge was apparent to all fortunate enough to witness him. The love emanated from his face, which glowed when he recited the words of God. The love resonated in his voice, which frequently trembled with emotion as he was reciting. It poured out of him and into the hearts of the listeners. Who could fail to be moved by the sight of this great man reciting Surah Ar-Rahman with tears streaming down his face as he read the verse: <em>Then which of the blessings of your Lord will you deny</em>Because you knew that Hafiz Sahib thanked his Lord for all the blessings he had been bestowed with every second of every day, and you knew that he himself was a blessing sent by Allah Almighty for the benefit and betterment of the community of Leeds.
Hafiz Sahib held education and knowledge in the highest esteem. Not only his own education and knowledge but also that of the community he served. That is why he held daily tafseer classes after prayers. Most importantly, Hafiz Sahib understood the importance of educating the Muslim youth long before his contemporaries had grasped the idea. As far back as the mid-eighties, when many of the first generation of Muslims who had migrated to this country from Pakistan, Bangladesh and India were still dreaming about returning to their home lands with their families after a few years of working in England, Hafiz Sahib was delivering his Friday sermons in a combination of his native language Urdu and the native language of the youngsters in his congregation, English. He understood that unless Islam was accessible to the youth in their mother tongue, it would become an alien concept to them that would ultimately get lost in translation.
Hafiz Sahib was acutely aware that in order to counterbalance the attractions and distractions modern day Britain posed for Muslim youngsters growing up in the country, the Muslim youth needed to be spoken to in their own language and at a level that was accessible to them. His door was always open to youngsters, and one of his most memorable characteristics was that youngsters flocked to him for advice and solace. He was a sympathetic ear and a source of practical guidance â€“ he was a mix between a loving parent, a concerned uncle, an understanding teacher and inspiration to everyone. He was seen as so much more than simply the Imam.
Hafiz Sahib used every opportunity to stress to the youth that it was incumbent upon them to make the most of the advantages of the British education system so that they could grow up to be professionals and Muslims could be represented in all walks and at all levels of British life. Unlike his contemporaries who did little other than stress the importance of seeking Islamic knowledge, he placed almost as much importance on secular knowledge as knowledge of the Sharia. He was himself a unique blend of a Professor of English and a Qurâ€™an Hafiz. He saw no reason why the two cold not go hand in hand, and he was keen to stress this to the youngsters in his congregation. His message was simple; lslam does not preclude its followers from seeking success in this life as well as in the life after death. While we must not ever take our eyes off the ultimate goal â€“ seeking Allahâ€™s pleasure and attaining paradise â€“ it is perfectly permissible to seek the fine things in this life also. And in order to attain these fine things, education is the key.
Hafiz Sahib was truly a man who led by example. He led a simple life that seamlessly blended excellence in the religious and secular fields. He demonstrated to the youth that it was possible to strive for success in worldly affairs, and he was therefore seen as an accessible figurehead who many leaned on for support. His presence is to this day sincerely missed in the community of Leeds.
<em>Reflections of a female Student</em>
The late Professor Hafiz Fateh Muhammad Sahib was the founder of Deen Foundation. He spent his entire life gaining and imparting knowledge about Islam. He believed that knowledge is the foundation of the Deen of Islam and lies at the heart of success in this life and in the hereafter.
Professor Hafiz Fateh Muhammad Sahib was one of very few distinguished scholars who excelled in both secular and religious knowledge and understanding. In 1984, he undertook a Masters degree in English Language, Teaching and Linguistics at the University of York. He had previously held the esteemed post of head of the English Department at the International Islamic University at Islamabad, Pakistan. After settling in the UK, he taught the Holy Quran in mosques, colleges and universities, to the young and old alike. He gave lectures and translated and interpreted many surahs of the Holy Quran in English.
Professor Hafiz Fateh Muhammad Sahib was a professor of English, yet he was also a master of the Arabic language, Islamic history and contemporary affairs. He memorised the Holy Quran at a very young age and then spent the remainder of his life instilling the love of the Divine message and love for education (religious as well as secular) in the hearts of the people.
With his deep insight into the Quran and his understanding of the personality of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), he propounded the peaceful message of Islam his entire life. He believed that people could only come to obey their Lord and respect each other if they were knowledgeable about the rights of their Lord and rights of other human beings. He believed that it was due to lack of education that people were facing financial, social, economical, political and cultural difficulties.
The success of human beings is linked with learning and knowledge. The first message of the Quran encouraged human beings to learn. It was due to Professor Hafiz Fateh Muhammada's passion to spread education that he sponsored many students in various parts of the world throughout his life to gain education. His students currently hold positions such as lecturers, doctors, lawyers, politicians, engineers and Ulema in different parts of the world.
Professor Hafiz Fateh Muhammad was a God fearing person. He was a noble, compassionate, generous and honourable person, and like all truly great men, extremely humble and modest. He always strived to assist poor families to fulfil their obligations to arrange the marriages of their children, and provided financial assistance to those who struggled to meet the costs of medical treatment and other living expenses. Hence, these principles are amongst the main objectives of Deen Foundation.
Professor Hafiz Fateh Muhammad suddenly passed away while studying the biography of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) on 26th April 2005 (17th Rabi-al-Awwal 1426), at the age of 63. At the time of his passing away, he was the imam of Leeds Makkah Masjid (UK).
<em>Muhammad Irfan Chaudhary</em>
Shaykh Professor Hafiz Fateh Muhammad sahib (May Allah have mercy upon him)
During 1997 UK General Election with br.Mukhtar Hussain and Fabian Hamilton MP, Harold Best MP and others @ Woodsley Community Centre in Leeds – UK
Alhamdulillah, in 2015, I had the opportunity to perform haj.
Following are my thoughts and experiences of this life time journey. I am only putting these experiences in writing to prepare the future pilgrims to be physically and psychologically ready for this magnanimous experience.
Before you go on haj, start practicing more of your patience. You need it in plenty while you are on this journey. Haj journey in itself will be long, tiring and difficult. You need your supply of patience to complete this journey. Whole Haj journey requires us to be patient but it's very easy for Hujjaj to loose their patience. Fights can break out over food, queuing for toilets and even mobile charging. We want to keep our mobiles charged so we can keep in contact with the world. We love to keep in touch with the world instead of being with Allah even during the days of Haj. Not everything will go according to your plans. You will have complaints about your transport, hotel accommodation, food and your hajj colleagues. Keep a cool temper, and control your tongue. Remember, Shaitan wants to ruin your haj reward. Don't let him win.
I have realised that people come to Haj very unprepared. They are not aware of all the Haj rituals and the difficulty in performing them. When they get a taste of difficulty of performing Haj, they seem to be giving up on performing the rituals. For instance they were asking others to do rami on their behalf. They don't realise that they have to pay damm for missing rami themselves. People wanted to stay in the comfort of their hotels instead of staying in Mina according to Sunnah on 10, 11 &12 Dhul Haj. Haj operators make it worse for the Hujjaj by giving them incorrect Haj rulings and doing things what's in their best interest instead of making sure that Hujjaj can perform mistake free Haj. I have realised that Hujjaj do need a qualified scholar accompanying them who can guide them throughout this blessed journey.
I was amazed by the government's arrangements in Mina. There was plenty of food and drinks available in the tents. Air conditioning made it easier to spend the time in the tents. There is plenty of food and drinks for everyone to indulge in. However, a lot of it goes to waste too. All the food is provided by the Saudi Moallam in Mina and Arafat. It goes without saying that if it was up to the Haj operators to provide food and specially drinks then we would see half of it. Specially drinks would be rationed out. So Alhamdulillah it has been delegated to the Hajj Moallam to provide them and it has been provided for abundantly (at least thats the case in European camps) Because food and drinks are provided freely, pilgrims over consume them, specially fizzy drinks. Almost everyone was coughing in our tent. The only time you will have to arrange for your own food and drink is when you are staying in Muzdalifah or travelling to Makkah or Mina from Muzdalifah.
The stay in Arafat is in open tents without air conditioning. Some tents do have air conditioning. People must have paid more for that luxury. The day of Arafat will the most difficult day due to the hot weather.
Everyone we spoke to was not happy with his Haj operator. They are regarded as ripping people off. There are also shortcomings on behalf of the British Hujjaj. They have no patience. They want everything to be perfect and without delay. Little they realise that they are on a journey. Every journey requires patience. Haj journey requires even more patience because you are on the way to house of Allah and Shaitan will do his best to divert your attention from Allah to other petty things. The whole journey is full of reward and exhibiting patience is rewarded with paradise. If there are mistakes by the Haj operator they must be identified and corrected but you must not loose your temper and ruin your own Haj. May Allah accept all of ours Haj and forgive our major and minor sins. Aameen
Hot weather plus affordability would push you to consume a lot of fizzy drinks. Please avoid them as much as you can. Fizzy drinks are not good for your health anyhow and specially at crucial time such as haj, you want to make sure that you remain in good health all the time. With cold fizzy drinks you could get cold, flue, sore throat and chest infection. Falling ill just before or during hajj will ruin your hajj experience. Look after your heath with good care. The best drink is zamzam. Even zamzam can be quite cold. Mix it with non-cold zamzam. In the Haram, non-cold zamzam drums are marked with blue "Not cold" writing on the top. Unfortunately I saw so many pilgrims in hajj ihram suffering from chest infection but still consuming cold fizzy drinks. What was worst for some was that their condition was so severe that they had to wear face mask during their hajj ihram. Under normal circumstances wearing face mask violates the condition of ihram, unless allowed for severe exceptions. Why put our hajj at risk if you can take some time to look your health during these crucial days.
Once the Hajj days are over, our eyes long to see the majestic light shinning over the Green Dome and to be present in the city of the Holy Prophet. However, in between there is another worry covering the mind of the pilgrim: SHOPPING. Larger the family, bigger the problem. Specially when you are in Madina, most of your time would be spent on buying gifts for your loved ones back home. Of course, you don't want to disappoint anyone and of course, its sunnah and good manners to give gifts to your family members, relatives, and friends but it must not be at the expense of your ibadat – your worship. Its a life time opportunity to be in Makkah and Madina. Lets makes use of this time and spending more time in the masjid than in shopping malls.
Lets face it. Most of the items that people get from Saudia are from China and readily available in other countries. Lets not carry so much weight from Saudia. The best gifts you can bring from Hajj are Zamzam, dates and attar (perfumes). These are lightweight and blessed items. People over-buy the items and run over their luggage limits. During the last days in Madina overarching worry is how to take their shopping back to their country. They will ask their fellow Hujjaj if they have any space left in their luggage and receive the answer in negative. The person being asked the question will be in similar situation to the questioner. Some pilgrims also cargo their shopping back to their country. All this situation reminds a Mu'min (believer) of the scenes of the day of judgement when we will be carrying our load of sinful activities and we would be looking for someone to share our burden. A day when our parents, children, friends and all our wealth would abandon us and only good actions, charity, righteous company and intercession of holy prophet would come to our rescue. May Allah Almighty protect us from any calamity on the day of resurrection and grant us the company of righteousness. Relatives back home can also play their part by frequently reminding the Hujjaj that they do not expect nor want any gift on their return except duas, zamzam and dates. Relatives can also remind the Hujjaj that their primarily role of going to Hajj is to please Allah and His holy Prophet Muhammad.
May Allah accept our Hajj. Aameen.