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No annual event on the face of the globe, religious or non-religious, compares to hajj in terms of the sheer number of participants, duration of the event and the breadth of agenda. In spite of this fact, it has always remained equally fascinating and mysterious to not only non-Muslims, who are not allowed to enter the area, but also to millions of Muslims, who had not performed Hajj.

What then is Hajj? In essence, hajj is man's evolution toward Allah; his return to Him. It is a symbolic demonstration of the philosophy of creation of Adam  , the first man. To further illustrate this, it may be stated that the performance of Hajj is a simultaneous show or exhibit of many things. It is a show of creation. It is a show about history. It is a show of unity. It is a show of Islamic ideology. It is a show of Ummah, the community of Muslims. That is why it is said in the Quran: "And proclaim unto mankind the Hajj. ... That they may witness things that are of benefit to them." (Quran 22:27-8)

Just as in any other good show or movie or theatre-play, the following conditions prevail in Hajj. Allah is the Stage Manager. The theme portrayed is the actions of these main characters - Adam, Haw'a (Eve), Ibrahim, Hajera, Isma'il  , and Shaytan. The main scenes are - Masjid al-Haram, 'Arafat, Mas'a (space between the mountains - Safa and Marwa), Mash'ar (area between 'Arafat and Mina) and Mina. Important symbols are - Kaba, Safa, Marwa, day, night, sunshine, sunset, idols and rituals of sacrifice. The dress and make-up are - 'Ihram, halq, and taqseer (part of ceremonies of hajj involving cutting of hair and nails, afterward). Lastly, the player in the show is - YOU - the Hajji. You are the main feature of the performance. The role of Adam, Ibrahim, Isma'il and Hajera in a confrontation between Allah and Satan is all played by you. As a result, you are the hero of the show!

Hajj is a duty unto Allah for mankind, for him or her who can find a way or means to get there (Quran 3:97). It is not a tax on your wealth, but a duty. Thus, to qualify, you must be sane and wise to understand what you are getting into, and able-bodied to go through this task, and lastly, have the means or resources to perform Hajj.  READ MORE

 Local writers explain Islamic observances 

What does your name mean to you? 

Muslim Women's Association of Pittsburgh

                                                                                                                   IQRA
I just finished reading “Journey Through Ten Thousand Veils” by Sheikha Maryam Kabeer Faye.   
It was one of those few books that compel you to read it till the end, mark certain paragraphs, reflect on sentences and take notes. To read a good book, internalize it’s message and take notes, that is the “ Sufi” way. 
I  never thought of “Sufism” as an exercise in reading with a purpose and a presence. 
When I first heard Sheikh  Nuh Keller verbalizes the art of reading as an exercise in spiritual excellence, I was struck by its simplicity and truthfulness. 
Simple and easy to remember. Implementation is a different matter. 
Reading a good book is the way we should conduct our daily lives.  Reflect on every word, term, and sentence, their meanings before we move on to the next paragraph. Keep an open mind and never judge a book by its cover. 
Reflect on our actions and even our thoughts.  Audit ourselves before we are judged by the Creator.
Take notes and review the material.  Self-quiz every few pages and always strive to improve understanding.  It is a process, a beautiful journey that is full of wonderful friendships, opportunities, and wonders.  Keep reading. One day, we will turn the last page.  

No wonder the first revealed word: IQRA (READ). 
Journey Through Ten Thousand Veils - is out of print.  One copy is available at the store for in-store use only. 
Malak Bokhari 

MWAP Eid Al-Adha Literary Pick:  

Reflections and Recollections of the Fifth Pillar 

In 2001 a group of 12 Muslims from Pittsburgh embarked on a Journey to Saudi Arabis. This journey is required once in a life time if the Muslim is able to make it. The group included Muslims form all walks of life including an electrician, a psychologist, an Imam, two bus drivers, a school administrator, a student, a receptionist and others. This group was the largest group of African American Muslims form Pittsburgh to make the journey as a group. This group included 3 sisters would remain together through out the pilgrimage. One of this threesome penned her journey in a self published book "Reflections and Recollections of the Fifth Pillar." The book examines the various aspects of Hajj in narratives that inform, educate and entertain the reader. It will will be part of MWAP's literary suggestions leading up to Eid Al-Adha.  

The book can be picked up at the Few of a Kind store, 2031/2 N. Craig Street, Pittsburgh,  Pa. 15232; for the modest price of $10.00. There will be an extra $3.00d fee for it to be mailed. The proceeds from this book go will towards the Muslim Women's Shelter, The Guest House, project.  

 

Request for mailed copies should be made to MWAP Treasurer, Mary Martin. Checks or money orders should be made out to Muslim Women's Associations of Pittsburgh, in the memo section please indicate if it is for The Guest House. 

 

Book discussions can be arranged if enough request it. 

Don't delay, get your copy today! 

 

-Intisar Ismaeli