AIPL wishes Eid Mubarak!, to those who observe the Holy Month! This weekend marks the end of the Holy month of Ramadan for our Muslim brothers and sisters. VAIPL’s Board Chair, Aliya Farooq, has shared her reflection on completing Umrah, the non-mandatory pilgrimage made by Muslims to Makkah, Saudi Arabia.
“Here I am (at your service) O God, here I am. Here I am (at your service). You have no partners (other gods). To You alone is all praise and excellence, and to You is all sovereignty. There is no partner to You.” (labbayka -llāhumma labbayka, labbayka lā šarīka laka labbayka, ʾinna -l-ḥamda wa-n-niʿmata laka wa-l-mulka lā šarīka lak)
The words above are referred to as the Talbiya, which is a prayer said by pilgrims when they perform the Holy Pilgrimage of Hajj or Umrah. (Talbiyah: Labaik Allahumma Labbaik – IslamiCity)
My family and I recently had the opportunity to perform Umrah, the non-mandatory lesser pilgrimage made by Muslims to Makkah, Saudi Arabia. We had the pleasure of making this pilgrimage during the holy month of Ramadan, the most sacred of months in the Islamic Calendar. The Quran was revealed during this time, and fasting is prescribed throughout the month. During the daily fasts, Muslims abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk while increasing their worship, charity and all good deeds.
“And complete the Hajj and Umrah for Allah.” Quran chapter 2, verse 196
Muslims have 5 pillars or obligations which are core beliefs of Islam:
- Profession of Faith
- Pilgrimage (Hajj)
This was our third Umrah as a family, but our first opportunity to experience it in Ramadan. It was a truly unique and powerful experience. Performing Umrah during Ramadan is a privilege that only some are able to experience.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Umrah in Ramadan is equivalent to Hajj with me.” Hajj is the mandatory pilgrimage to Makkah, to visit the House of God (Kaaba) built by Prophet Abraham. This journey must be taken at least once in a lifetime by every physically and financially able Muslim. It can only be performed at a specific time during the year and lasts approximately a week. On the other hand, Umrah takes less than a day to perform (4-6 hours) and may be carried out at most times during the year.
The city of Makkah is the holiest place for Muslims around the world. We face the Kaaba five times a day during our daily prayers. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was born here and this is where the religion of Islam was founded…”