Hajj (2:196)

Hajj and `Umrah Pilgrimage*
[2:196] You shall observe the complete rites of Hajj and`Umrah for GOD. If you are prevented, you shall send an offering, and do not resume cutting your hair until your offering has reached its destination. If you are ill, or suffering a head injury (and you must cut your hair), you shall expiate by fasting, or giving to charity, or some other form of worship. During the normal Hajj, if you break the state of Ihraam (sanctity) between `Umrah and Hajj, you shall expiate by offering an animal sacrifice. If you cannot afford it, you shall fast three days during Hajj and seven when you return home – this completes ten – provided you do not live at the Sacred Masjid. You shall observe GOD, and know that GOD is strict in enforcing retribution. 

Discovery Channel Mecca:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzMl57M54KE

Hajj (start 2min 20sec)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7q_LcqbvKI

You should go to Hajj with good intentions as you are going to get ever closer to God.

Hajj puts believers in the the mood of giving to charity.

During Hajj a man insisted to give me prayer beads even though I was not poor, all beads that I bought in Hajj broke except for that one.

Best behavior when on Hajj, learned that I need a lot of work to always be appreciative. There is a lot to focus on for both positive and negative at Hajj realized that I have to choose where to put emphasis.

Need to be in a state of Ihram when you go to Hajj and this needs to become second nature.

Malcom Gladwell – Second Nature
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXGragWF00M

Messenger recommends waiting approximately ten years before going to Hajj.

Malcom Gladwell – 10,000 hour rule (2 min)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XS5EsTc_-2Q

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2:196 – 2:215

This week we read from 2:196 – 2:215. Some of the items that were discussed were the following

  • Hajj (2:196)
  • Sacred Months (2:197)
  • Weekly Activity – The Benefits of Commerce (2:198)
  • Commemorate GOD as you commemorate your own parents (2:200)
  • Delayed Gratification (2:201 – 2:202)
  • Disbelievers Ridicule the Believers (2:212)
  • The meaning of community (2:213)
  • Charity and Zakat – What to give and to whom? (2:215)

Weekly Activity: Lesson Regarding The Rules of War and Compassion (2:190 – 2:195)

Rules of War*
[2:190] You may fight in the cause of GOD against those who attack you, but do not aggress. GOD does not love the aggressors.

*2:190 All fighting is regulated by the basic rule in 60:8-9. Fighting is allowed strictly in self-defense, while aggression and oppression are strongly condemned throughout the Quran.

[2:191] You may kill those who wage war against you, and you may evict them whence they evicted you. Oppression is worse than murder. Do not fight them at the Sacred Masjid, unless they attack you therein. If they attack you, you may kill them. This is the just retribution for those disbelievers.
[2:192] If they refrain, then GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.
[2:193] You may also fight them to eliminate oppression, and to worship GOD freely. If they refrain, you shall not aggress; aggression is permitted only against the aggressors.
[2:194] During the Sacred Months, aggression may be met by an equivalent response. If they attack you, you may retaliate by inflicting an equitable retribution. You shall observe GOD and know that GOD is with the righteous.
[2:195] You shall spend in the cause of GOD; do not throw yourselves with your own hands into destruction. You shall be charitable; GOD loves the charitable.

Grossness of Murder
[5:32] Because of this, we decreed for the Children of Israel that anyone who murders any person who had not committed murder or horrendous crimes, it shall be as if he murdered all the people. And anyone who spares a life, it shall be as if he spared the lives of all the people. Our messengers went to them with clear proofs and revelations, but most of them, after all this, are still transgressing.

A Higher Call
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGzpENdbOg0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54gwls9E0Ug

Think about your family; your parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, great grandparents. How far and how wide can you go in your family tree? We all originate from the same mom and dad (7:189) and God made us into distinct people that we may recognize one another (29:13). We are all related in one way or another and we should never cease from holding out showing compassion to our family. When we spare a life, save a life, affect a life we are not only affecting that one life, but all the lives that will descend from that individual.

Family Tree Explained
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PM79Epw_cp8

Being Straight Forward (2:189)

Do Not Beat Around the Bush
[2:189] They ask you about the phases of the moon! Say, “They provide a timing device for the people, and determine the time of Hajj.” It is not righteous to beat around the bush;* righteousness is attained by upholding the commandments and by being straightforward. You shall observe GOD, that you may succeed.

*2:189 The literal Quranic idiom says: “Do not enter the homes through the back doors.” The question about the phases of the moon is an example of beating around the bush; there were bad ulterior motives behind this question.

Righteousness is being straightforward. We need to formulate the thought and often times people think how they can win a point by making it have a double meaning so they can’t be wrong. It is powerful to be straightforward. What we formulate in our thoughts should be clear.

Forest Gump is an amazing movie where he lived a simple life and didn’t have a complex way of thinking. His candidness caused people to believe in him and start following him. When he decided to run everyone followed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWzbCk18wTw

[3:7] He sent down to you this scripture, containing straightforward verses – which constitute the essence of the scripture – as well as multiple-meaning or allegorical verses. Those who harbor doubts in their hearts will pursue the multiple-meaning verses to create confusion, and to extricate a certain meaning. None knows the true meaning thereof except GOD and those well founded in knowledge. They say, “We believe in this – all of it comes from our Lord.” Only those who possess intelligence will take heed.

Corruption (2:188)

Bribery, Corruption Condemned
[2:188] You shall not take each others’ money illicitly, nor shall you bribe the officials to deprive others of some of their rights illicitly, while you know.

What are illicit earnings?

Illicit earnings are any earnings that one gains through sinful activity i.e. taking advantage of others, pay day loans, usury, gambling, stealing, fear mongering (insurance), etc.

Transparency International
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNf2tv_aXNQ

Praying to God (2:186)

God Answers the Prayers of “His Servants”
[2:186] When My servants ask you about Me, I am always near. I answer their prayers when they pray to Me. The people shall respond to Me and believe in Me, in order to be guided.

Does this verse (2:186) only apply for when our wants correspond to God’s wishes?

God always answers our prayers, and sometimes the answer is “no”. This means if we don’t get what we ask for it may be because God does not want us to have it for our own good.

[17:11] The human being often prays for something that may hurt him, thinking that he is praying for something good. The human being is impatient.

2:186 verse shows the Compassion of God. That we can trust God and pray to Him.

Supplication: A Form of Worship*
[40:60] Your Lord says, “Implore Me, and I will respond to you. Surely, those who are too arrogant to worship Me will enter Gehenna, forcibly.” 

Supplication

If we are asking God for anything we are acknowledging God’s Omnipotence. There is no prayer too small or too big for God. To God everything is easy. We are never bothering God by asking God for anything no matter how trivial it may seem. God is the one who answers all prayers.

2:186 is in the index under “Night of Destiny”

Fasting (2:183)

Fasting Emphasized and Modified*
[2:183] O you who believe, fasting is decreed for you, as it was decreed for those before you, that you may attain salvation.

*2:183-187 Like all duties in Submission, fasting was decreed through Abraham (22:78, Appendices 9 & 15). Prior to revelation of the Quran, sexual intercourse was prohibited throughout the fasting period. This rule is modified in 2:187 to allow intercourse during the nights of Ramadan.

[2:184] Specific days (are designated for fasting); if one is ill or traveling, an equal number of other days may be substituted. Those who can fast, but with great difficulty, may substitute feeding one poor person for each day of breaking the fast. If one volunteers (more righteous works), it is better. But fasting is the best for you, if you only knew.
[2:185] Ramadan is the month during which the Quran was revealed, providing guidance for the people, clear teachings, and the statute book. Those of you who witness this month shall fast therein. Those who are ill or traveling may substitute the same number of other days. GOD wishes for you convenience, not hardship, that you may fulfill your obligations, and to glorify GOD for guiding you, and to express your appreciation.

Intermittent fasting is scientifically considered one of the best ways to improve one’s physical health and reduce the affects of aging.

Intermittent Fasting – BBC
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGHDBIaibok

Benefits of Fasting
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbj7TGEqvE0