Speaker President Atif

Wed, Jan 31st 2024 at 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Atif told us about the Hajj and the Umrah (which is like a mini Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca). Speaker Finder Mike Clewes, Visitors Host, Grace & Banners John Waterhouse, Cash Desk & Sergeant at Arms Keith Brown

Atif said that the 5 main pillar of Islam were:-

1. One God

2. You should pray 5 times a day. He said that some younger people are starting to miss out on this.

3. You should fast during Ramadan as long as there was no medical condition preventing you.

4. Once in your lifetime you should undertake the Hajj as long as you could afford it and are medically fit.

5. You should distribute 2.5% of your surplus wealth (i.e. excluding House car and chattels) to poor relatives, needy neighbours, organisations of a charitable nature for needy in that order.

It is said that the first person to perform the Hajj was Adam when he walked to Mecca and built the first house. Later the Prophet Abraham built a symbolic house of Allah in Mecca (Kaaba). This is the location that Muslims must visit to perform the rituals.

Atif said that followers must wear only 2 unstitched white clothes pants and a top for men so that everybody is equal. At the peak of Hajj there are 2 to 3 million people visiting. Umrah which is a scaled back version of the Hajj sees more like 300,000 people attending. 

For both pilgrimages the worshippers must go to house of Allah and go 7 anticlockwise times around it. Then they should follow the prescribed prayers. This is followed by running between 2 mountains called Safa Marwah. This is undertaken whilst not wearing any shoes. It is possible to wear them in exceptional circumstances, The 2 mountains are not there anymore but worshippers still do it, this is because when Abraham was instructed by God to take his wife and child to Mecca, he was told to leave them in the desert. The child was dying of thirst, so the mother ran from one mountain to other to look for water 7 times. At the end the child was kicking the floor in frustration and a water fountain erupted. The mother shouted stop and now just normal spring is there. Having complete the rituals men cut their hair very short or even shave their head whilst women just take of a small snip. Then they pray having been spiritually cleansed. 

Extra for Haj is to do the above plus go to a place 4 mile away and pray all day. This is a tent city of more than 2 million. Here the people get pebbles and throw at a symbolic devil (sheitan) keeping a distance. They then perform a sacrifice an animal and the meat is then distributed to the needy.

From the UK it now costs about £15,000 to undertake the Hajj because of covid regulations. The cost from Pakistan around £3,500. Atif said that as he saw Kaaba he was overwhelmed with emotions and started to cry. Whilst there his heart was at peace. He said nobody tells you this but most people he spoke to feel the same thing. Thus people now going regularly to get the peace. 

Atif said he always wanted to go to Medina to see the grave of the prophet. This is about 300 to 400 mile away and is a more relaxing place without the constant rushing about and performing tasks and prayers. This makes you feel more grateful and therefore at peace. At the Hajj it always looks like there are more men than women because women can only go with their husband or father. Both Sunni and Shia go Mecca. Atif is Sunni Explaining the difference Atif said that after death of the prophet his son in law became in charge for around 23 years. Islam spread to Persia and when the son In law died the Persians wanted to mourn his death in their own way, As this was a bit different they became known as which was basically the love of Allah with new practices.

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