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Some Advices From The Discourses Of Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmed


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Some Advices Excerpted from The Discourses by Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmed (db)


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A Journey of Trial


Hajj is not a luxury tour or vacation, and Allahswt.gif has made hardship a necessary factor in Hajj. Those who depart with the mindset that Hajj is supposed to be easy get impatient and start complaining at the slightest inconvenience. Hence pilgrims need to begin their journey with the knowledge and intention that Hajj is a journey of trials and not one of luxury. We are lovers and not the beloved but yet we expect our every need to be catered to just like we were the beloved. This is a journey only for lovers, and whoever wants to travel as if he is the beloved will find that he will never get the opportunity for this grand journey.


Hadrat Ghulam Habib i used to say that he and the pilgrims would depart for Hajj by ship and reach Arabia after a grueling month’s journey. Once reaching Jeddah the ship would remain at port for three days while immigration and immunization status would be verified. Today this same process does not even take a full three hours let alone three days. Advances in technology such as the aircraft have nullified the trials and tribulations that existed in those times and made travel easy for us but people still complain. Today the luxury exists for us to complete the entire Hajj trip in twenty days or less. The pilgrim should not be desirous of hardship but nevertheless be steadfast and prepared for it.

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Correcting our Outlook


The lifestyle that we have become accustomed to has spoiled us and we except a limousine to be waiting at the airport to whisk us away and drop us right outside the Haram. There is a system to everything that we must realize and we must be prepared to allow it to run its own course. We need to realize that we are servants whom the Master is allowing to come visit His House and not the other way around.


Presidents and kings of this worthless and temporary world make their visitors wait for hours without explanation and we expect the Master of the universe to cater to our every need. To be allowed to come to Hajj is indeed a blessing for which we should be ready to bear double if not triple the usual burden.


Hajj is a journey and act of worship and there is always trial in worship no matter what form. If people desire luxury and comfort they are welcome to stay in their beds because no one is forcing them to go to Hajj. However, people must be prepared for hardship if they have already taken the first steps toward anything.

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Correcting our Intention


The above is a very poignant reason for keeping our complaining tongue in check for the few days that we are at Hajj. Wherever there is great benefit there will undoubtedly be shortcomings of many kinds because Hajj demands a monumental task of preparation in every field from transportation to sleeping arrangements for the pilgrims.


We need to keep focused on the purpose of this sacred journey and consider every shortcoming and trial as a blessing for us. Allahswt.gif is allowing filthy sinners like us to come to His House and so there is no need to make any comments about anything. There have been countless people much more pious than us who have not been fortunate enough to see Bait Ullah. This is a journey of trials and not the luxury that we have unfortunately become accustomed to.


For a sincere and pious worshipper these complaints are only for not seeing the House of Allahswt.gif and disappear immediately once he or she looks upon the Kaaba. The House of Allahswt.gif has such a brilliant magnetism and awe that one does not consider a hardship as a hardship anymore because a believer realizes true peace and security in the House of Allahswt.gif just as a child finds security and love in its mother’s arms. Furthermore, Hadrat Ashraf Ali Thanvi i writes that the righteous find peace upon seeing Bait Ullah just as the believers will find peace when they enter Paradise. Here they forget all past worries and trials.


Sincerity and Sacrifice


The next important thing that pilgrims need to evaluate is sincerity. Undoubtedly sincerity is an essential requirement of every act of worship, but this requirement is given more emphasis here for the auspicious worship of Hajj. The simple reasoning for this is that Hajj is an act that is required only once a lifetime. A worship such as prayer is observed five times a day so if one prayer was offered without sincerity the person can try harder for the next prayer, but Hajj is a special occasion that only comes once a lifetime for most. Hence people need to be extra careful about what might seem to be the smallest issues.


Disputes and arguments are a very normal part of life, which may intensify because Hajj is a long journey that people have to undertake together. Arguments may increase between friends or between family and relatives because unfortunately people do not want to listen but want to lead. We need to keep in mind that this journey is sacred and cannot easily be repeated and so there is no need for any kind of argument or dispute whatsoever.


We are Muslims and only temporary travelers in this life, so it is not always necessary that we absolutely have to have the best seat on the bus or the best room in the hotel. We should try and make sure that others in our party are more comfortable than we are rather than inconveniencing them so that we are more at ease. This is a journey of trials and we need to learn to compromise.

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Invaluable Advice


Pilgrims must make sure that they are never verbally critical of anything on this sacred journey. Hadrat Ghulam Habib i once told a story about a pilgrim who was shopping in the market in Madinah for groceries. A vendor suggested that he also buy some yogurt but the man declined saying that the yogurt in Madinah is sour. He proceeded about his day and that night the Messengersws.gif of Allah appeared to him in a dream. The Prophetsws.gif was angry and said, “You say the yogurt in my town is sour? Get out of Madinah!”


This pilgrim woke up very distressed and approached the local scholars (ulama) as to what he might do. Some of the ulama advised him to go to the noble burial site of Hadrat Hamzardanhum.gif and pray to Allahswt.gif for mercy and a possible solution. This man did exactly this and presented himself at Hadrat Hamza’srdanhum.gif tomb where he cried and begged forgiveness for his reckless speech.


That night Hadrat Hamzardanhum.gif appeared in this pilgrim’s dream and acknowledged the latter’s profuse supplications but put them aside. Hadrat Hamzardanhum.gif said sternly, “Once the beloved of Allahswt.gif has told you to leave you no longer have permission to stay. Leave now or you will be in danger of losing your faith.” Hence this person had no avenue but to leave.

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Purity of Means


The most important thing that pilgrims need to be absolutely sure of is the purity of the finances that are spent for Hajj. There should be no doubt whatsoever that the money for every aspect of the journey from travel to lodging arrangements is legally permissible (halal), with not the slightest hint of being prohibited (haram). Hajj will only be accepted if the means used for it are halal.


A hadith in relation to this states that a man was crying to Allahswt.gif as he clutched the draperies of the Kaaba but his supplication was not accepted. This was because his earning was haram, which made his food and clothing haram. Supplication (dua) will never be accepted here because the very means used to come there are haram, and hence the finances used for Hajj need to be absolutely pure. Someone in doubt about the lawfulness of his earnings should discuss the issue with the local ulama in his city.


The great ulama of Islam have dedicated their whole lives to the Holy Quran and sunnah and therefore have the knowledge to solve every potential situation. For example in this case of doubt regarding earnings, they have said that such an individual is permitted to complete his Hajj with a loan. Hajj would thus be completed with halal finances and whatever means he uses to pay back the loan is another matter.


Points to Ponder


The Messengersws.gif of Allah said that among the signs of the Endtime would be that the wealthy among the Muslims will go to Hajj for vacation; the poor will go to beg; and the ulama will go to boast of their superiority over the other Muslims.


In light of this hadith the hujjaj (pilgrims) must make it a point to never boast of their Hajj to others. They not only risk having it invalidated but Allahswt.gif may never give them another chance because of their arrogance.


On the other hand others may try to justify not going or make the excuse of limited financial resources. These people should keep in mind that the Messengersws.gif of Allah said that Allahswt.gif increases the livelihood and economic means (rizq) of those who perform Hajj and Umra. Allahswt.gif will also increase His blessings for those who have little but save methodically with the sincere intentions and desire of performing Hajj.

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The Lover’s Destination


Every journey has a destination and the destination of Hajj is the pleasure of Allahswt.gif. There are two kinds of hujjaj: those who are fortunate to see (ziyarah) Bait Ullah and those still more fortunate who are able to see the Creator of Bait Ullah.

This is why the tawaf (circumambulation) that is performed after the gathering of Arafat is called Tawaf-e-Ziyarah. Those who have worked hard against their evil desires and lower self (nafs) are able to see the bounties of Allahswt.gif in all their glory, and those who have not obviously cannot partake in this experience. Thus it is essential to have a righteous alim or shaykh in one’s company so that he may guide at every point.


Hajj is a journey of love and desire, and upon close examination love is found to be the paramount force in every action within Hajj. As a general rule lovers whose purpose is a specific beloved pursue their quest single mindedly and ignore all else. They make no attempt to beautify themselves like a wife might do for a husband because the one purpose of getting to the beloved overpowers all other desires or concerns.


The rites and rituals of Hajj personify this intense desire of the lover. From the beginning of the journey the lover is told to shed all outer décor and don the ihram, two simple and unstitched sheets of white cloth. For the duration of the journey and Hajj itself this lover is not allowed to apply any sort of scent, nor is the lover allowed to trim the hair or nails.


Lovers maddened with love and desire usually not only speak of their love but publicize it loudly in chants or poetry. Hence when the lover of Allahswt.gif starts on this quest he is also commanded to raise his voice and shout that he is coming to his beloved: Labbaik Allahumma labbaik!

Our elders who have gone before us understood and practiced the meaning of this cry, and hundreds would receive guidance because of their efforts. Today we go physically but fail to effect any change within ourselves and return exactly as we were and return to our same heedless lives.


A lovesick boy stands outside the window or door of his beloved hoping for a sign of recognition. The lover of Allahswt.gif circles the House of Allahswt.gif with the same maddened desire like a moth circles a flame.

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Moths to A Flame


Tawaf is the only ritual within Islam that men and women are commanded to perform in the same vicinity, whereas there is separation in all other situations. Men and women are separated in prayer with a partition to cite just one example. This may seem strange because Islam is very strict in terms of male and female interaction but the ulama have written a fascinating explanation for this:


The lovers of Allahswt.gif journey tirelessly for the chance of worshipping at Bait Ullah, and once they reach this magnificent shrine men lose all sense of their masculinity and women likewise lose heed of their femininity, and in maddened desire they focus only on Bait Ullah. Allahswt.gif wanted to establish for all mankind that His lovers lose all sense of themselves and relinquish all other loves when coming to worship Him.


Allahswt.gif wanted to further establish the reality that His love is paramount and superior to all other loves that may exist. This is truly the case because even husbands and wives focus only on Allahswt.gif instead of themselves. It is the only occasion when men and women worship and cry in the same vicinity with no thought to one another.

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Recognizing the Enemy


The lover would hate anyone who tried to keep him away from his beloved or hindered his quest to attain nearness to the same. Satan tries to create a rift between mankind and Allahswt.gif and so the hujjaj stone the devil at the stone throwing ritual at the Jumurat.


Lovers always shower their beloved with gifts as an outpouring of their love and labor hard to be noticed. Likewise the pilgrims also present a sacrifice to Allahswt.gif at the conclusion of Hajj.

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Most Generous of Hosts


The hujjaj are guests of Allahswt.gif at Hajj, as He commanded Hadrat Ibrahim e to announce an open invitation to all to come worship at His House. Allahswt.gif is the Supreme Host, and takes great care of His guests even more than we honor someone who may come to our house.

The Messengersws.gif of Allah said that even the person who sits and looks upon Bait Ullah is a recipient of Allah’sswt.gif countless blessings. We are unfortunate in that we do not recognize His supreme hospitality, otherwise we would be in Paradise on Earth.


Being such an understanding and kind host, Allahswt.gif has not put any insurmountable difficulty in Hajj. Hajj is not a short prayer that old people would miss because they are slower in performing their ablution or slower to form ranks. Moreover, if this were the case the majority of ladies might miss out on this grand occasion, having spent hundreds to reach there and only to be in their menses and unable to pray at the assigned time.


This reasoning is why the only requirement for the pilgrim on the plain of Arafat between the Dhuhr and Isha prayers is just to stay focused and attentive to Allahswt.gif (wuquf). In wuquf the person may offer prayers or supplicate to Allahswt.gif for anything and for as long as he wants, for Allahswt.gif has placed no limitations on this wuquf. In this and countless other ways Allahswt.gif has made Hajj very easy upon the people by allowing for different circumstances and needs rather than restricting their worship to one or few specific acts.

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Mercy of Allahswt.gif


The Messengersws.gif of Allah said there is a special and blessed location between Rukn-e-Yamani and Hajr-e-Aswad where seventy thousand angels stay constantly attentive and say “Ameen” in unison to the supplications of the pilgrims performing tawaf. Such people are tremendously fortunate to have Allah’sswt.gif angels saying “ameen” to their desires and needs.


This is a journey of intense desire and love in which the beloved gives much more than the lover deserves, for this Beloved has infinite treasures. We might pay a worker in our home his earned wages and nothing more, but Allahswt.gif listens to our every need and desire and gives us even more than the wages that we may have earned. In this journey of love and desire the individual will receive what he had yearned and worked for. The devotee runs out of requests but the Beloved’s treasures never diminish for His treasures are infinite. This is a stream from which everyone can drink from because it never dries.

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Vast Knowledge of Our Elders


Hadrat Ghulam Habib i once related that at one Hajj he would read the Holy Quran and supplicate to Allahswt.gif at the completion of every verse depending on whether the verse inspired love or fear. He completed the entire Holy Quran in this fashion, having offered more than a hundred supplications. These people were indeed fortunate because they understood the realities of Allah’sswt.gif infinite bounties. It is obvious that we are the losers because we do not understand such things because we do not even know how to ask.


Acceptance of Dua


We may not know the exact times at which duas are accepted, but hadith has told us that there are seventeen key locations at Hajj where duas are accepted. Hujjaj should make a point of learning these key locations so they may be able to offer prayers here and beg from Allahswt.gif. No one knows the blessed moment when Allahswt.gif may accept a particular dua or prostration from his servant.


The difference between the Hajj of the righteous beings of Allahswt.gif and that of common people is that of night and day.

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Various Conveyances


Hadrat Ibrahim bin Adham i was on his way to Hajj on foot when someone asked him his destination. He answered that he was going to Hajj and so the man was surprised because on foot this would be an insurmountable journey and said, “But you need transportation for Hajj.” Hadrat Ibrahim bin Adham i replied that he not only had a means of transportation but also had many such means.


The man was perplexed by this reply because he could not see any such mode of transport and asked Hadrat to show him. Hadrat Ibrahim bin Adham i said:


“When in difficulty I will rely on patience as my transportation, and when I am blessed I will use gratitude as my transport. During sorrow I will rely on inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’oon to carry me, and on La hawla wa la quwatta illa billa to carry me whenever combating nafs and Satan. If I encounter any circumstances of sin I have the vehicle of tawba to see me through. If someone bigger confronts me I will use the vehicle of Allahu Akbar, and I shall complete my Hajj using these different means at every point.”

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Signs of the Acceptance of Hajj


The mashaikh have written that there are many signs that Allahswt.gif has accepted the pilgrim’s Hajj. Hadrat Ashraf Ali Thanvi i writes that the first of these signs is that upon leaving this sacred land the pilgrim has an intense desire in his heart to return for another Hajj. Such people are fortunate because Allahswt.gif accepts their deed and ignites a flame of desire in their hearts that will keep them yearning for Makkah.


In contrast there are those unfortunate wretches who leave with nothing but complaints and vow not to return because they had such a bad experience. Such people return empty handed because their Hajj is not accepted.


The Inner Self Revealed


Bait Ullah has such an incredible effect on people that a person’s true inner condition becomes exposed whenever he comes in front of it and sends his greetings upon Hajr-e-Aswad.


A person might be a habitual backbiter and slanderer. Hence when he appears before Bait Ullah his heart will burst open exposing his true nature for all to see. Thus such a person will become obsessed with slandering others despite being in the blessed House of Allahswt.gif. He will not be able to stop himself from slandering others even in this sacred location because the power of Bait Ullah will have exposed him for what he truly is.


Consequently the same applies to the righteous servants of Allahswt.gif whose condition is purified even more because they are righteous and grateful. Such people will tolerate all difficulties presented at Hajj for the sake of Allahswt.gif and count them as blessings.


This is the reason why some people return cleansed of their sins and rectified whereas others return worse than they were before. The difference is that the Hajj of the former party is accepted whilst the Hajj of the others is not, and so the latter continue down the path of wretchedness.


Acceptance of our Hajj is the biggest reason why we must cry and beg to Allahswt.gif on this sacred journey. We must cry so much that Allahswt.gif accepts us if only out of pity. Our righteous elders would weep and beg for years so Allahswt.gif would accept their Hajj and turn their lives around.


Acceptance through Humility


A righteous man had completed seventy Hajj, and was now leaving for his last Hajj together with his son. Both of them donned the ihram but when they proclaimed “Labbaik!” they heard a voice that said “La Labbaik!” meaning that their Labbaik was not accepted.


Hearing this voice the son said to his father, “What is the use of continuing if our Labbaik is not accepted? Take off the ihram.”


The father turned to his son and said, “My son, I heard the same voice when I performed my first Hajj and now am hearing it again on my seventieth Hajj. Tell me if there is anywhere else we can go or any other door where we can beg from other than that of Allahswt.gif? I have to come here again and again whether He accepts or not because there is no other door at which I can ask.”


Allahswt.gif accepted these words from his servant and inspired him thus: “We have accepted all your past Hajj because of your humility today.”

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