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Friday, September 19, 2014

How To Make the Most Out of Hajj



Productive Muslim - Towards a Productive Ummah!

How To Make the Most Out of Hajj

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How To Make the Most Out of Hajj | ProductiveMuslimPhoto by Marwa Hamad
Most people who have been to Hajj can attest to the fact that it is one of the most memorable experiences of a lifetime! And provided that they have the means to perform Hajj again, they would undoubtedly do so.
If you are fortunate to be honored with the opportunity of performing Hajj, it is important to make the most out of this blessed experience. Here are some tips on how you can take your Hajj experience to the next level, In sha Allah.

1. 'Taqwa' is the most important thing to bring on your trip

If there is one thing you can bank on during your trip, it is that you will be tested, over and over. It doesn't matter if you have a 5-star package and access to amenities that most others don't, you cannot escape the tests that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will place before you.
You may experience long delays in getting from point A to point B. You may get ill. You may get stuck with a fellow Muslim in your group that annoys you. You may lose your luggage or your passport. You may get lost from your group. Something may happen that throws your whole Hajj in jeopardy. The bottom line is: you will face challenges along the way. This has always been the case, right from when Hajj was first instituted until now.
Our Master and Creator subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has provided us with some advice in the Qur'an on how we can respond to the tests that He will send.
"… And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is fear of Allah. And fear Me, O people of understanding" [Qur'an: Chapter 2, Verse 197].
Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) teaches us how we can prepare for those tests. It is taqwa that you should carry with you every step of the way because it will give you the strength to bear the tests that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will place upon you to test your faith and strengthen your imaan and maybe even, raise your status with Him subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).
Taqwa here means to have an elevated consciousness of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), to be constantly aware that He is watching over you at every moment. With this awareness comes a desire to please Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) even in moments of distress. When your buttons are pushed, you control your emotions and act rationally with patience.

2. Internalize your dua

Many people who plan on going for Hajj spend a lot of time focusing on what belongings they should take with them on the trip. They try to prepare themselves for the situations they expect to face.
What gets neglected often, however, is preparing for the moments in which you have the opportunity to make lots of dua and adhkar. There will be no shortage of these situations, because they will present themselves throughout the trip. For example, tawaf and sa'ee are times of making lots of dua and lots of dhikr of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). There will be idle moments you have in between the fardh (obligatory) prayers. Even while traveling between locations, sitting on a bus or waiting at the airport, there are idle times that can be utilized.
As part of your Hajj preparations, factor in these precious moments that you will have. Try to memorize as much of the dua you want to recite as possible and thoroughly understand its meaning. So, when you are in front of the Ka'bah doing tawaf, or performing sa'ee or even in your nawafil prayer, the dua will come from the heart. The words you recite will reflect the emotions in your heart. When you are calling upon your Master, your heart calls out too. You won't get this level of spiritual connection by reading from a book of adhkar that you don't know the meaning of. However, it's certainly recommended to repeat the supplications which the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) taught us.
Practice and rehearse your dua in the weeks leading up to your trip. So when it's time to perform on the big stage, you are able to maximize the opportunity In sha Allah.

3. Make a master dua list for the day of Arafat

Arafat is Hajj. This is the pinnacle of your pilgrimage. This is why you spent thousands of dollars on this trip and exhausted your vacation days for the year. This is the day in which you come to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) humbled in the simplest of dress, standing in a barren desert, disheveled, with your hands outstretched, pleading with all your emotions hanging out.
Between Dhuhr/Asr (because you will combine these prayers) and Maghrib, is time for you and Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Find your own comfortable spot, away from any distractions that might disrupt your dua. This is where you want to make dua for all the things you desire for yourself and your loved ones, both in this dunya and in the akhirah. This is the time where you want to make istighfar, like you've never done so before. And this is the time where you want to feel connected to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).
To make the most out of Arafat, start planning for it while you are making your other preparations for Hajj. Sit down and brainstorm an exhaustive master list of all the dua you want to make. If there are Prophetic duas or Qur'anic duas related to what you're asking for, include those on the list. Categorize and group your master list so that it flows following the etiquette of dua. Review and revise this list until you're satisfied.
If you can memorize all of these duas, all the better. If not, having a list to prompt and guide you will certainly be helpful in this situation.

4. Relive the stories of Prophet Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him)

Performing Hajj and Umrah is a commemoration and remembrance of the great sacrifices made by Prophet Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) and his family. These sacrifices were so important, that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) chose to preserve them until the Day of Judgment through the Qur'an and through these rites of worship. When performing your Hajj and Umrah obligations, try to develop a deep connection to Prophet Ibrahim's story. It will give greater purpose to the ritual actions.
For example, when you are doing sa'ee, reflect upon when Prophet Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) left his wife Hajar and son Isma'il alone in a barren, uninhabited desert without sufficient food. Isma'il began crying out of hunger, forcing Hajar to seek out water in the desert. She ran frantically back and forth between Mount Safa and Marwa desperately in search of water. And then suddenly by the will of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), the water of the Zam Zam well sprouted out from the ground, and an abundance of water became available. Eventually, the city of Makkah was gradually established around this water source.
As you are performing sa'ee, try to recreate the desperation that Hajar had when she was moving between Safa and Marwa. Call out to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) with the sincerity, humility and desperation that Hajar showed.
When you are performing tawaf, remember the great efforts Ibrahim and his son Isma'il went through in raising the foundations and building the Ka'bah. When they had completed building this house of worship for Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), Prophet Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) didn't have any complacency. He turned and called out in dua:
"Oh my Lord, accept this effort from us. Most certainly, You Hear everything and You Know everything" [Qur'an: Chapter 2, Verse 127].
Just like Prophet Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) did, we should ask Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to accept the efforts we are putting in for our Hajj and Umrah.
During the days of Mina, ponder over the story of Prophet Ibrahim's 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) dream where Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) instructed him of the mighty task of slaughtering his son Isma'il as a sacrifice. Without any hesitation, he proceeded to honor the command of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). On his way, shaytan tried his utmost best to influence him to not carry out the command.
When you proceed to perform the stoning rituals during Hajj, reflect upon Prophet Ibrahim's 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) situation as he was about to slaughter his son, and how he fought off the influence of shaytan.
Reflecting upon these incidents and what it might have been like for Prophet Ibrahim 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) and his family during those times, will bring an added sweetness to performing these rituals.

5. Days of Tashreeq are days for remembrance

The days following Eid-ul Adha are known as the Days of Tashreeq (the 11th, 12th and 13th days of Dhul Hijjah).
Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says "And remember Allah during the [specific] numbered days" [Qur'an: Chapter 2, Verse 203].
According to many interpretations of this ayah, the days referenced here are the Days of Tashreeq. These are days designated for celebration and worship, days in which we can enjoy eating, drinking, and relaxing. However, don't lose sight of the instruction in the ayah: to remember Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).
When coming out of the state of ihram for Hajj, it is a joyous occasion. The preceding days were strenuous and tiring, so it's a relief to come out of the state of ihram and be in your comfortable clothes again. It's key to balance the time during your remaining days in Mina with the remembrance of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). The people around you may get caught up in a lot of relaxation and merriment. Remain patient and have taqwa of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) during these days, and try to dedicate long periods of the day for remembering Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).
May Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) bless your Hajj journey and may you have an accepted Hajj (Hajj Mabroor). Ameen!
Now please share with us your tips, reflections and/or your thoughts on the best way to prepare for the blessed hajj journey.

About the Author:
Nabeel is an active member of the Muslim community in Toronto. www.twitter.com/ilmaddict
P.S. Found this article useful? Share the khair! I'd suggest emailing this article How To Make the Most Out of Hajj to at least 1 person (relative, friend or colleague) who you think could benefit from it. Better yet, ask them to signup at http://ProductiveMuslim.com/Newsletter and get Abu Productive's exclusive newsletter (sent only via email) with a productivity tip of the week sent every blessed Friday. :)


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Lower Energy Consumption Leads to Better Ecological Conservation.

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Assalamu'alaikum Wa Rahmatullah e Wa Barakatuhu,


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We're Looking for Volunteers!

Become an active member of the ProductiveMuslim community and enrich it with your thoughts. Leave a comment on this article and with it, your presence. We look forward to reading your comments.
We're Looking for Volunteers! | ProductiveMuslimPhoto by Dawn Hudson: publicdomainpictures[dot]net/view-image.php?image=85761&picture=diverse-hands-painting
ProductiveMuslim started as a simple blog driven by Abu Productive's vision towards inspiring others to lead productive lives. Today, the blog has developed into an established platform on productivity — managed by a virtual team of more than 20 volunteers from around the globe. The website draws 80,000 unique visitors each month, and holds a strong social media presence with hundreds of thousands of followers across its various platforms.
For three years in a row (2011-2013), ProductiveMuslim.com has been voted as best blog and/or best group blog in the annual Brass Crescent awards. Productive Muslim has grown from being 'just a blog' to a training and consulting organization that also offers training — both online and offline — productivity tools and animations which have been featured on 10 channels worldwide including Al-Majd, Iqraa TV, Islam Channel UK and Al-Resala.
As we continue to grow and consistently seek to reach greater heights, we're in need of some more helping hands. We're currently looking for volunteers in the following roles:
  1. Graphic Designer
  2. Customer Support Assistant
  3. Content Publisher
Before we get into details about those roles…

What's in it for you?

  • Flexibility: You have the freedom to work how you want, where you want. We focus on results.
  • Personal and professional growth: As part of volunteering with Productive Muslim Ltd, you'll be part of a dynamic ever-growing, ever-learning productive, Muslim team. You'll gain insights into how decisions are made and some of the major challenges that companies such as ours face, and you'll be part of the ups and downs of running an online organization.
  • Training: As much as you're helping us, we want to help you! Our dream for each of our volunteers is that they come out from the experience with as much learning and skills that they can, to put to use for their future work and home life. Therefore, we commit to offer you free or subsidized access to relevant training programs that will improve and add to your current skill set and stand you in good stead for the future.
  • Reward: In this life of inspiring people and turning their lives around for the better and the reward in the next life for the hard work dedicated to Allah's subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) pleasure, In sha Allah.
We are also happy to provide you a reference upon successful completion of 6 months working with us.

Which role do you fit?

Graphic Designer/Doodler

Is designing your passion? Do you find yourself unconsciously doodling away at every chance you have an 'outlet' (pen/pencil/design software) at hand? Have you always wished you could indulge in it meaningfully? Without feeling like you're wasting your time?
This just may be your chance.
You'll be spending your time:
  • Supporting the organization in online/offline marketing campaigns by designing suitable posters, infographics/doodles, eBooks, avatars, etc.
  • Maintaining the branding of ProductiveMuslim in all our online/print material.
  • Providing design input/feedback for major website/app upgrades we conduct.
You'll be a great fit if:

  • You are passionate about doodling and designing – especially infographics
  • You exude creativity
  • Combined with the first two points, you're seeking to utilize your talent for a greater purpose: towards making the Ummah productive again
  • You have strong work ethic – sincerity, professionalism, and responsibility
  • Look forward to critical feedback on your designs
  • Have an existing portfolio of great designs
  • You have intermediate/advanced proficiency in Photoshop and Illustrator
  • Are ideally someone with a design studio/career or experience

  • Customer Support Assistant

    We're looking for a super-friendly, efficient volunteer who'd help us stay in touch with our customers/clients and partners and deal with their day-to-day queries. Your main responsibility is to ensure that our customers/clients and partners are happy with ProductiveMuslim Ltd and to show that we care about them and that we go the extra mile for them.
    You'll be spending your time:
    • Answering all types of queries within 24-48 hours from our audience who contact us via e-mail, the website, social media and any other platform. (Our audience includes students/customers, readers/fans, and partners/clients.)
    • Responding to readers/fans who reach out to us for advice or assistance in productivity-related areas
    • Impressing our audience with detailed, timely responses and excellent customer service skills.
    • Flagging e-mails that need a direct response from Abu Productive or other team members and follow up on responses.
    • Proactively developing and executing enchanting experiences for our customers and partners/clients via a dedicated budget setup for this purpose.
    • Attending online Skype meetings with team members when required
    You'll be a great fit if:

  • You love to go the extra mile to help others
  • You are proactive and have an extremely positive attitude
  • You have strong work ethic – sincerity, professionalism, and responsibility
  • You have excellent organizational and communication skills
  • You have the ability to tactfully and truthfully deal with complaints or disappointed customers
  • You are able to think of crazy, creative, cool ideas to impress our customers
  • You are computer-literate and fast with e-mails/social media
  • You have the ability to respond to e-mail/queries within 24 hours
  • You have experience in customer support
  • You share ProductiveMuslim's vision
  • You are a continuous learner

  • Content Publisher

    Do you love ProductiveMuslim's articles so much that you wish you could commit to reading every single one of them? Are you keen to bring ProductiveMuslim's content at the fingertips of everyone else (even those that may not intentionally be searching for them) so that they too can benefit?
    If so, with patience and persistence, you can achieve this as the Content Publisher at ProductiveMuslim, In sha Allah.
    You'll be spending your time:
    • Publishing all types of content for ProductiveMuslim.com on WordPress. This entails our weekly posts and any others that we would need to publish.
    • Formatting and optimizing the content (text and images) based on our internal guidelines
    • Optimizing articles in our archives
    You'll be a great fit if:
    • You are familiar with WordPress
    • You are keen on having ProductiveMuslim.com's articles appear among the top results when people run a search on search engines (e.g., Google)! (We'll be training you in the long run, in sha Allah, on how to do that. Read a bit on Search Engine Optimization to get a better idea. Note: You do not need to be techie person. :) )
    • You are proactive learner and have an extremely positive attitude
    • You have strong work ethic – sincerity, professionalism, and responsibility
    • You share ProductiveMuslim's vision

    How to Apply

    If you have the skills we're looking for and are motivated to work with our dynamic team of volunteers, please fill out the form below.
    Deadline for applications: 17th September, 2014



    What to Expect
    Sent in your application? Great! Our team will conduct a short-listing process after 17th September, 2014If your application has been shortlisted, you will be contacted for an online interview within a few days. Although we would love to respond personally to each and every proactive individual who applies, the large volume of applications we receive usually prevents us from doing so. We thank you for your patience and understanding.

    F.A.Q.

    Is this a paid position?
    No, the position is an unpaid, voluntary one. The ProductiveMuslim Team is a big team of dedicated volunteers :)
    How is the training conducted?
    The training will be held online by the team heads.
    Where are you located?
    ProductiveMuslim comprises a global team with members in countries including US, Canada, UK, UAE, France, Egypt, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, India and Saudi Arabia. All our work is conducted online, hence you can be anywhere in the world to apply for the positions above.
    How are teams structured?
    ProductiveMuslim is structured into four teams — Admin, IT, Marketing & Sales and Research & Content. Each team has a Head, who reports directly to the founder of ProductiveMuslim.
    I can't seem to fit any of the role descriptions above, but I still want to join the ProductiveMuslim Team. What do I do?
    Keep an eye on our website. As we're growing, alhamdulillah, we often have openings on the team.
    But I'd like to join ProductiveMuslim NOW!
    Send us an e-mail through the "Contact Us" page and tell us your skills and strengths. Better yet, send us your resume explaining exactly how you can help us.
    P.S. Found this article useful? Share the khair! I'd suggest emailing this article We're Looking for Volunteers! to at least 1 person (relative, friend or colleague) who you think could benefit from it. Better yet, ask them to signup at http://ProductiveMuslim.com/Newsletter and get Abu Productive's exclusive newsletter (sent only via email) with a productivity tip of the week sent every blessed Friday. :)


    Click here to visit the article and leave a comment

    Productive Muslim Ltd., Office 36, 88-90 Hatton Garden, Holborn, London EC1N 8PG, United Kingdom

    Jazak Allah Khair, Spread the word, Share the khair!



    --
     
    Allah Negehban,

    Irfan Aslam Shaikh | Masdar Intellectual | Inspiring Intelligence Igniting Innovation
    Lower Energy Consumption Leads to Better Ecological Conservation.