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As a Muslim please clear my confusion regarding Haj. An IMAM during the last Muharram was extoling the virtues of the "pilgrimage" to Karbala but he was not mentoining any thing about MECCA & MEDINA.As Haj,being the 5th pillar of Islam,is binding upon people with means to undertake the journey;it sends the wrong message & a number of people,me including, get mis guided by such utterances. I hope you enlighten me on this may the Almighty Allah bless you with infinite reward. A Seeker of truth

Pilgrimage to Karbala

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His  forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol,  no person,  no grave, no prophet,  no imam,  no dai,  nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad(saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.

The literal meaning of the Arabic word ‘hajj’ means to make intention and actually strive and travel towards a place of destination.    And when the word ‘Hajj’ is taken in the Islamic context,  it means to travel to the Sacred House of Allah in Makkah during the appointed days of the year, and perform the specific rites  as taught by the Messenger of Allah (saws), for the pleasure of Allah Subhanah.

Allah has commanded every able believer with means, to at least perform this pilgrimage once in his lifetime.   This pilgrimage is so important,  that it is considered one of the pillars of  Islam.  The Prophet (saws) said in an authentic narration that if one performs this great pilgrimage with the right intentions and performs all the rites according to the Sunnah,  his reward will be Jannah,  Insha Allah.    That is how pleasing this act of visiting His Sacred House is to Allah.

The Prophet (saws) said in another narration that a believer is only allowed to travel (specifically) to three places of worship: The Sacred House in Makkah,  the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina,  and the Masjid al Aqsa in Jerusalem.   

Thus to specifically travel to any other place of worship is against the Sunnah of the Messenger (saws) and has nothing to do with Islam and its correct practice,  and thus one who truly believes in Allah and the Last Day must refrain from such activities.    But if one is visiting the place for any other reason,  like business or visiting relatives or friends,  there is no harm in visiting the graves of the martyrs of Karbala.   But to specifically travel to perform a pilgrimage to Karbala is against the teachings of the Messenger of Allah (saws).

There are only three holy places in Islam as mentioned in the narration of the Messenger of Allah (saws).    Believers must refrain from creating their own holy places,  and the ones who do will be accountable to Allah on the Day of Qiyaamah.

As far as supplicating Allah and making ‘dua’ for the noble martyrs of Karbala is concerned,   one can do that from where ever he resides.  

Allah says extremely clearly in Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verse 134: They were a people who passed away. They shall receive the reward of what they earned, and you shall have the reward of what you will earn. And you will not be questioned as to what they did.

Some sects have made a big business out of creating several holy places all over the world.   They make shrines and places of worship over the graves of their ancestors and pious holy men,  and celebrate specific days in their honor at their graves and shrines!    This practice is absolutely against the teachings of Islam,  and a believer who truly believes in Allah and the Last Day must avoid these kind of activities;  because instead of pleasing Allah,  he will actually incur the Wrath and Anger of Allah on him. 

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 18 Surah Kahf verses 103-106: Tell them (O Mohamed), “Should We tell you who are the most unsuccessful people and miserable failures in regard to their deeds?   They are those,  all whose edeavours in the worldly life,  had gone astray from the Right Way,  but all along they were under the delusion that everything they were doing,  was rightly directed!   Those are the people who rejected the Revelations of their Lord and did not believe that they would ever go before Him.   Therefore all their deeds were lost,  for We shall assign no weight to them on the Day of Reserruction.  Their recompense is Hell for the disbelief  they showed,  and for the mockery they adopted in regard to My Aayahs and My Messengers!”

Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me.  Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

Your brother & well-wisher in Islam,



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