Unity between Muslims is considered as a crucial matter in Islam. Thus, the Quran compares discordance and disunity among Muslims to “a pit of the Fire”: "And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided...And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it." (3:103). Looking at the former nations, we find them honored and glorious when they were united, but disgraced and vulnerable when they fell apart . Hajj, as one of the obligatory rituals in Islam, is one of the ways which encourages unity among Muslim nations. Let’s see how.
There is no other ritual, social, or political program in Islam greater than Hajj, where every Muslim from any corner of the world finds the chance to approach others and communicate with them freely.
Besides, it provides the opportunity to strengthen the emotional, social, and religious bonds with other Muslims. Hajj is a social kind of worship that represents the glorious Islamic unity through its numerous participants of various nationalities, skin colors, languages, and sects who are like brothers (49:10). They have left behind the religious conflicts, and follow the same intention, perform the same actions, and wear the same outfit.
In Surah Ma’idah, it is stated that coming together around Ka’aba makes Muslims powerful (5:97). In other words, the aim of Hajj for Muslims is not just performing some physical actions. It is to bring Muslims of different races and origins together to get acquainted, communicate with each other, initiate political, economic and cultural relations, and find themselves closer to each other despite their many differences.
Besides, Islam calls “every” Muslim to Hajj, which means that everyone, regardless of origin and skin color, is invited to the land of Allah. It reminds us of what the Quran says; that there is no superiority except rightfulness and the most righteous, is the noblest in the sight of Allah (49:13). This is an important message, especially for the less powerful Islamic nations, causing them to feel more confident and encouraging them to communicate with other Muslims, which ultimately results in a more united Muslim society.
In a discourse that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) has given during one of his Hajj pilgrimages, he described Muslims as brothers, and like a single hand (a united community) when facing the enemies . Emphasizing brotherhood among Muslims during Hajj shows that this ritual was a good representation of unity. Thus, Muslims are expected to support each other and be close to each other as they are during Hajj.
During Hajj, Muslims can exchange ideas with Muslims of other sects. In the early years of Islam when non-Muslims also went to Mecca for their religious rituals, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) took this opportunity to introduce Islam to them and exchange ideas with them to spread his message and find followers in other cities, too. In Hajj, many misunderstandings and ideological conflicts can be discussed among Muslims, and the real beliefs of different sects about the others can be clarified. Hence, the wrong prejudgments and hostilities can be rectified. According to Imam Sadiq (AS), Hajj is a means to gather all Muslims from east to west to let them get acquainted with each other and achieve consensus .
Through the communications that Muslims have during Hajj, they find out the social achievements and national advances in other Muslim nations and might decide to follow their path. They also learn about the social problems and deficiencies of others and might find solutions by further cooperation. Moreover, they become aware of the real political situations of other Muslim countries, especially the difficulties that sometimes other countries impose on them. For instance, one of the goals of Hajj is to announce the support of Muslims for Palestinians and those oppressed in the world. This helps Muslims to become more united against common enemies of Islam.
To summarize, Hajj is a time that a Muslim finds him/herself in the accompaniment of millions of others who wear as simple as him/her and who repeat the same words as him/her as they move around Ka’aba. This is where “one” is transformed into the totality of ‘people’, establishing the universality of the Islamic community with the goal of approaching Allah.
- Imam Ali (AS), Nahj-ul Balaqa, Infallible 192
- M. B. Majlesi, "Bihar al-Anwar", vol. 21, p. 105.
- Shaikh al-Hur al-Aamili, “Wasa’il al-Shi’a”, vol. 11, p. 14
As a kind of solution for decreasing the financial problems of the Islamic society, especially those of underprivileged people, Islam has offered some ways that one of the most effective of which is Khums. In the literal sense, Khums in Islam means one-fifth of something and in the sharia of Islam is one of the most important financial mandatory rules and is generally defined as paying one-fifth of the remainder of your yearly income.
Generally speaking, Khums becomes obligatory in seven cases, but the one which is inscribed to income is considered as the most salient kind. In this case, one has to pay one-fifth of what has remained from his income after subtracting his own expenses on the exact date that he has paid Khums in the previous year; in other words, one should specify a date on which he would pay his Khums every year.
There are certain kinds of income that would make the payment of Khums obligatory: agricultural income, commercial and trading income, income earned through renting something (e.g., house, car, etc.), the income that one earns through working for someone else.
On the other hand, in some cases, paying Khums is not necessary anymore, including the inherited money, gifts, rewards, marriage portion (Mahrieh)[i], mortmain property (Waqf), borrowed money, money paid by the insurance company, money paid as a scholarship to university students, money the Khums of which has been paid once, etc[ii] .
Basically, Khums is divided into two parts, one is given to Imam – who is your Religious expert (Marja Taqlid) or other qualified religious experts - and the other part is for descendants of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) (Sadaat) who are poor, orphan or faced with difficulty on their journey.
Generally speaking, paying Khums brings about two kinds of effects, in two scales: first of all spiritual effects upon each and second, financial advantages upon the whole society.
As one of the forms of serving God, Khums should be paid with the intention of Allah’s satisfaction; accordingly firm belief and true faith guarantees performing this task. What’s more, engaging in this activity will arise a sense of generosity and philanthropy in the person, wipes away greediness and avarice from his soul and provides the necessary condition for benefiting from Allah’s spiritual and material blessings.
Furthermore, by paying a certain amount of money to the religious experts (Marja Taqlid), one feels involved in the practice of spreading the religion and Islamic ideology in the society and will always remain in the right side, helping the people who follow God’s commands against those who have transgressed from His way.
Another result of performing the holy task of Khums is that it will make the person more financially organized and dutiful, feeling responsible for underprivileged Muslims in the society and striving in the way of Allah and His Prophet (PBUH&HP).
As we already know, one of the main reasons for sending prophets was to provide the necessary grounds for establishing social justice through people themselves. So, they brought many rules that would pave their way to achieve this aim, one of the most important of which is paying Khums.
In fact, Khums acts as an equalizer of wealth within the Islamic community; Each individual with the intention of God’s satisfaction and true faith, donate a part of the remainder of his earnings to one of the most reliable, faithful and God-fearing people in the society - religious expert - in order for him to spend it for the purpose of improving the society.
Paying Khums provides the sufficient resources for the people who are engaged in preaching Islam in the world and in some way reinforce the Islamic government. This money will help religious experts to spend their time and energy in inviting people to religion, answering their doubts and clarifying Islamic rules and regulations for them.
Moreover, this holy task will simultaneously produce two effects in Islamic society: involving religious experts in people’s financial difficulties will result in a closer and stronger relationship between them on one hand, and being responsible to give certain amount of money away, on the other hand, will make people more attentive to one another’s problems, create a bond between different classes within the society and reduce the gap between them through fairly distributing the wealth.
[i]. A mandatory payment, in the form of money or possessions paid by the groom, or by the groom's father, to the bride at the time of marriage that legally becomes her property .
[ii]. It is noteworthy that the cases above are varied according to different religious experts.
- Ayatollah Khamenei, Resale Amuzeshi (didactic treatise), Khums rules and regulations
“…and when you feel secure, perform the [complete] prayers, for the prayer is indeed a timed prescription for the faithful.” (4:103)
It is obligatory to perform the following five prayers every day during the prescribed times:
Dawn prayer (Salat al-Fajr), which consists of two units (each unit of prayer is called a rak`ah)
Midday prayer (Salat al-Zuhr) consisting of four units,
Afternoon prayer (Salat al-`Asr): four units,
Dusk prayer (Salat al-Maghrib): three units,
Night prayer (Salat al-`Isha): four units.
Performing the daily prayers involves taking specific steps in order (Tartib) and in regular succession without undue delay between them (Muwalat).
Adhan is a set of phrases recited to announce the time of prayer. Lexically, Adhan means announcement or declaration. Iqama literally means to keep up or to make upright. Recited after Adhan which is the first declaration, Iqama is the second and last call which indicates the actual start of the prayer. Adhan is the call for gathering, and Iqama is for standing up and preparing for prayers in Islam .
Recital Transliteration Translation
*4 *2 Allāhu Akbar Allah is the greatest
*2 *2 Ash-hadu an-lā ilāha illā allāh I acknowledge that there is no God but Allah.
*2 *2 Ash-hadu anna Muhammadan-Rasul ullāh I acknowledge Muhammad (PBUH) is the Messenger of Allah.
*2 *2 Ash-hadu anna Alian Waliullah I acknowledge that Ali (AS) is the Chosen Guardian (Wali) of Allah
*2 *2 Hayya'alas-Salāt Hasten to prayer (Salat)
*2 *2 Hayya ʿalal-falāḥ Hasten to success
*2 *2 Hayya ʿala Khair-e-lamal Hasten to the best of deeds
*2 *2 Qad Qamat-e-Salat Verily the prayer (Salat) has begun
- *2 Allāhu Akbar Allah is the greatest
*2 *2 Lā ilāha illā-llāh There is no God but Allah
When Muslims hear the call to prayer (Adhan), they must first perform preliminary ablution (Wudu). The manner of performing Wudu and prayer (Salat) based on the Quran and the Prophet’s teachings (Sunnah of the Holy Prophet) is explained below:
“When you stand up for prayer, wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows, and wipe a part of your heads and your feet, up to the ankles” (5:6).
It is stated in a saying (Hadith) from the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) that Wudu if performed carefully, increases the presence of your heart when praying.
According to the verse of the Quran above, the act of Wudu consists of four steps and six parts of the body:
Washing the face
Washing the forearms
Wiping the head
Wiping the feet
Evoke your intention (Niyyah) at the beginning as, “I am performing Wudu for the satisfaction of Allah, and to seek closeness to Him.”
First, pour water over your face with your right hand and wipe it from the tip of your hairline to the bottom of your chin in such a way that the water reaches all parts horizontally within reach of the span of the hand from the middle-finger to the thumb.
With your left hand, pour water over the right arm and wipe it over both sides from the elbow to the finger-tips (not vice versa).
Repeat the very same step for your left arm using the right hand.
Note that washing your face and arms once as described is obligatory. Second such washing is recommended while subsequent washings are prohibited.
Then wipe a wet finger of the right hand from the crown of the head to the hair-line. Make sure your hand does not touch your forehead or else the wetness of your hand will get mixed with the water of the forehead which will make the whole act of Wudu invalid.
Finally, wipe your feet with the moisture that is still on your hands. Wipe your right foot with the right, and then your left foot with the left hand, starting from the tip of any toe up till your ankle joint. It is recommended to wash your hands after this last step.
Stand upright facing the direction of Mecca (Qiblah) and recite the Adhan and Iqama. Please note that all the recitations during the prayer must be in Arabic. Although approximate transliteration has been given below for each recitation, it is best to try and learn the Arabic script and pronunciations.
Intention (Niyyah): Form the following solemn intention in your mind: “I offer this ____ (name of a particular prayer) prayer, of ____ (number of units) Rak`ahs seeking closeness to God.”
Takbirat-ul-Ihram: Lift both hands up to the ears and say:
“Allah-u-Akbar (God is Greater)”
This sentence, the Takbir, will be repeated several times during the prayer.
The Standing (Qiyam): Remain in the standing position while performing the recitations in the next step, Qira’ah.
The Recitation (Qira'ah): Initially, recite the first chapter (Surah) of the Holy Qur’an, the chapter of (Surah) al-Fatiha:
“Bismillah- ir-rahmaan-ir-raheem (In the Name of Allah, the All-beneficent, the All-merciful)
Alhamd-u- lillah-i-Rabb-i-l'alameen (All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds)
Ar-rahmaan-ir-raheem (the All-beneficent, the All-merciful)
Malik-i-yawm-id-deen (Master of the Day of Retribution)
Iyyaak-a-na`bud-u-wa iyyaak-a- nasta`een (You [alone] do we worship, and to You [alone] do we turn for help)
Ihdina-s-siraat- al-mustaqeem (Guide us on the straight path)
Siraat- al-lazeen-a- an`amta `alayhim (the path of those whom You have blessed)
Qayr-il- maqzoob-i `alayhim (such as have not incurred Your wrath)
wa la-’zzaalleen (nor are astray)”
Secondly, recite another complete Chapter of the Holy Quran (we choose the short chapter number 112, Surah al-Ikhlas):
“Bismillah- ir-rahmaan-ir-raheem (In the Name of Allah, the All-beneficent, the All-merciful)
Qul huw-allah-u-ahad (Say," He is Allah, the One)
Allah-u-samad (Allah is the All-embracing)
Lam yalid wa lam yulad (He neither begat, nor was begotten)
Wa lam yakul-lahu kufuwan ahad (nor has He any equal)”
After completing the second Surah, the worshipper would say the Takbir (see above) and then bow down until the hands can be placed on the knees.
The following Invocation (Zikr) should be recited once in this position:
“Subhana rabbi-al-`azeem-i- wa bi-hamdih (Glory be to my Lord, the Great, and praise belongs to Him)”
Then, resume the standing position, and it is recommended to recite:
“Sami`Allah-u- liman hamidah (God hears the one who praises Him)”
Say Takbir, then go into Prostration (Sujud).
It means that one should place their forehead on earth in a special manner, with the intention of humility before God.
While performing the Sujud, it is obligatory to place the forehead, both the palms and the knees, and the tip of both big toes on the ground. The following Zikr should be recited in the Sujud once:
“Subhana rabbi-al-a`laa wa bi-hamdih (Glory be to my Exalted Lord, and praise belongs to Him)”
After first Sujud, raise the forehead and sit up in a kneeling position with the ankle of one foot on the sole of the other, with hands resting on the thighs and say Takbir, optionally followed by:
“Astaghfir-u-llaah-a- rabbi wa atubu ilayh (I ask forgiveness of God, my Lord, and I turn towards him)”
Followed by Takbir again. Repeat the Sujud again and then sit up in a kneeling position and say Takbir.
Sit up for a moment and then rise while (optionally) saying:
“Bihawl-i-llah-i- wa quwwatih-i aqumu wa aq`ud (With God’s help and through His power I stand and sit)”
After regaining the upright posture, recite Surah al-Fatiha and another Surah of the Holy Quran as in the first unit. Then say Takbir, and then do supplication (Qunut).
Keep your hands in front of your face, turning the palms facing upwards, and keeping both the hands and the fingers close together; it is recommended to recite the following:
“Rabbana aatina fi-’d-dunyaa hasanatan wa fi-’l-akhirat-i hasanatan wa qinaa `azab an-nar (2:201)
(O our Lord! Bestow upon us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and protect us from the torment of the fire)”
[Note: Qunut is an optional step]
Say Takbir, followed by the Ruku`, then the two Sujuds, both as described for the first unit.
After the second prostration resume the kneeling position and recite:
Ash’had-u al-laa ilaha illa-llah wahdah-u la shareeka lah, (I bear witness that there is no god apart from Allah, Who is unique and without partners.)
wa ash’had-u anna Muhammadan `abduh-u wa rasuluh (I also bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His Prophet)
Allahumm-a sall-i `ala Muhammadin wa Aale Muhammad (O God, bless Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad.)
If you are performing the Dawn (Fajr) prayer, please skip the rest and go to section entitled Completion.
If you are performing the Midday (Zuhr), Afternoon (`Asr), Dusk (Maghrib), or Night (`Isha) prayer, continue by standing up for the third unit while optionally reciting “Bihawl-i-llah-i….” as described at the end of the section First unit.
The Four Recitations (Tasbihat al-Arba`ah): after regaining the upright posture, either recite Surat al-Fatiha or recite Tasbihat al-Arba`ah (optionally three times), as follows:
“Subhan-a-llah-i wa-’l-hamd-u lillah-i wa laa ilaha ill-a-llah-u wa-llah-u akbar (Glory be to God, and praise be to God; there is no god but Allah, and Allah is Greater)”
Perform the Ruku`, stand up momentarily and then do the two sujuds. This is exactly as described under section First unit. If you are performing the Dusk (Maghrib) prayers, recite the testimonies (Tashahhud) next. Then skip the rest and go to Completion.
If you are performing the Midday (Zuhr), Afternoon (`Asr), or Night (`Isha) prayer, continue by standing up for the fourth unit while optionally reciting “Bihawl-i-llah-i….” as described at the end of the section First unit.
This is identical to the third unit.
After the second prostration resume the kneeling position and recite the Tashahhud.
After reciting the Tashahhud of the final unit, recite the Salutations (Taslim) which completes your prayer:
“Assalaamu `alayka ayyuhan nabiyyu wa rahmat-u-llah-i wa barakatuh (Peace be upon you, O Prophet, and God’s mercy and blessing.)*
Assalamu `alayna wa `ala `ibadillah-is- saliheen (Peace be upon us, and upon the righteous servants of God)*
Assalamu `alaykum wa rahmat-u-llah-i wa barakatuh (Peace be upon you [all], and God’s mercy and blessing.)”
Thereafter (optionally) say Takbir three times.