Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Yousef al Khattab, Ex-Jew, USA

I was born to a Secular Jewish family, and at the age of 18 years old decided to look “deeper” into belief in God. Like most people, I looked at religion from a view point that was closer to me. Being that my family was Jewish and I was raised to attend Jewish schools I looked into Rabbinical “Orthodox Judaism”.

In the year 1988 I entered a Yeshiva and started my journey into the Orthodox Rabbinical racist cult. In 1991 I wed my 1st wife (then) Luna Mellul now Qamar al Khattab.

She was from the Moroccan town named Tetouan and was attending the racist Orthodox Jewish girl’s seminary known as Breuers or Sampson Raphael Hirsh Bet Yaakov aka Bais Yakov.

1992 bought us the birth of my 1st child Abdel Rahman (formally Rachamim Cohen).

Alhumdulilah[1] he was then as he is now my pride and joy. Upon the birth of Abdel Rahman we were living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in the Satmar Hasidic community. I used to see all the lying and cheating, government scams and money laundering using the Synagogue and Yeshiva bank accounts and the poor hygiene of these folk, and was nervous for my new born son not to grow up like these folk.

We tried broadening our horizons and moved to the Ocean Parkway area of Brooklyn, later that year.

1994 till 1998 bought us the birth of 3 more wonderful children alhumdulilah. Hesibeh, Abdel Aziz (formally Ezra), and Abdullah (formally Ovadia) during these years I tried to convince myself that Judaism was a true path and I just didn’t understand it because I never read the entire set of Talmud and it 3 different ways of understanding it including the “hidden level”. You see this is the trick in the rabbinical cult, you will not EVER finish learning all the rabbinic text thus u are subservient to the Rabbis (aka Elders of Zion) who will interpret Judaism for you. During this time frame the Rabbis saw that we doubted there beliefs thus constantly followed our family contacting all new friends and employers etc. The Rabbis MUST ALWAYS know where you move to and who are your friends. The Rabbis were starting to be a big nuisance as were the Rabbinical Jews, so seeking a better future elsewhere we loaded up the family and moved to Palestine. (then like most westerners we were brainwashed to refer to the Jew entity as Israel).

September, 1998 we now arrived in Ghaza [Gaza] , or what the Jewish squatters refer to as Gush Qatif. Quickly my wife was turned off by the lies of the folk there and my son Abdel Rahman came running home from school one day saying “Daddy, my teacher doesn’t cover her hair properly, her dress is to short, they don’t learn Torah here and all they do is play”!!

Maashaallah[2], my son was very correctl, so with no possessions or money we set off to find a home in the nearby Jew settlement of Netivot in occupied 1948 Palestine. Shas, a “religious political party” immediately helped us by providing a home and their private school system and my kids went from knowing NO Hebrew to being tops in there class alhumdulilah. During our stay in Netivot I met a Muslim from UAEm, and we had conversations for about two years where he would ask me questions about Jewish Aqeedah or Jewish creed, and then compare it to Tawheed al Elohiya a part of Islamic Monotheism. I would then go and ask major Rabbis questions about the Jewish creed and always got 60000 different answers. The Jews can’t even tell you where there God is based on text; rather they say God is everywhere! (authubilah[3]) One day I decided to go to the Arab souk and buy a translation of the meaning of the Holy Quran in the English language. Subhanallah[4]!!!!! I could not put it down!! Every problem I had with Jews and Judaism was being addressed by Allah the Most High, in the 1st three chapters of the Quran Allah answered most of my doubts about Judaism. The Quran is firm with the Jews and invites them to a just truth (Islam) to save them from the hellfire their ancestors are currently in.

When I finished reading the entire Quran, I could no longer associate with Jews any longer, thus I was obliged to tell my wife I am a Muslim. Alhumdulilah within 2 weeks my wife decided to read the Quran and became a Muslimah!!! Then the kids after her alhumdulilah. Soon after this we moved to the Palestinian Authority and East Jerusalem where we lived for almost 6 years.

Today 2006 alhumdulilah we live in Morocco

My kids’ alhumdulilah no longer remember Hebrew and their 1st language is Arabic. All are learning in Islamic Arabic schools alhumdulilah, and we thank Allah subahanahu wa tala [5] for blessing us with Islam.

Richard Leiman, Ex-Jew, USA

As a child, I always had access to a short-wave radio. I used to listen to the BBC World Service about the Middle East. I also loved the music from that part of the world, and I probably was listening to the Quran being recited, but did not know it at the time.

As I grew older, I continued to listen to the BBC World Service. Back then, they had a program called Words of Faith in which they had a five- to eight-minute talk given by a different religious speaker each day of the week representing all the major religions in the United Kingdom. Out of all the speakers, the Muslims were the ones I loved listening to most.

Every time the Muslim representative spoke, I wanted to find out more about Islam. My impression of the religion was that the person who practices Islam is a happy person, not like the mean people portrayed by the American media. I just refused to believe people that loved Allah so much could be like the people portrayed by the media. Because I come from a Jewish background, the thing that united me with Islam was the belief that Allah had no partners.

Work in the United Kingdom

An important time in my life came when I met a real Muslim, but did not know it yet. I was doing contracting computer programming work in New York State when I had a strong urge to visit the United Kingdom.

I visited London and loved it. During my visit, I went to several employment agencies without luck. One of the agencies gave me several trade magazines. When I arrived back in the States, I started to send more CV’s to companies and other agencies listed in the magazines. I returned to the United Kingdom because one of the companies wanted to interview me. Then I started to visit more companies and agencies until I landed a position even though I was on a visitor’s visa.

The company that hired me applied for a work permit for me and the Department of Employment told me that I had to leave the country in order for the paperwork to be processed. Again, I went back to the States. Another agency obtained a temporary work permit and employed me for a company called LogoTech, which, at that time, was located in Egham, Surrey.

Meeting a Real Muslim for the First Time

Some time after I started working at LogoTech, I found out that my supervisor, Anis Karim, was Muslim. I asked him if he knew how I could get a copy of the Quran. To my surprise, he obtained a copy of the Quran for me within a few days. He also asked me to pledge that I would have a bath before I read from the Quran and that I would never show it to anyone who might make blasphemous remarks about it.

The next day, I took my morning bath and made breakfast. Then, while eating breakfast, I started to read. Later I found out that “read” is what Allah had the Angel Gabriel instruct our beloved Prophet to do, even though he could not read or write!

Well, words can’t describe how I felt when I read just that small portion of the world’s most holy book. It took only 10 pages, when, at that point, I told myself that this religion was for me. This occurred around 1990. The more I read, the more I wanted to know, and I loved what I was reading.

At the time, I did not know anything about how to pray or any of the details of Islam. If Anis had invited me to go the masjid in London, I would have gone with him. The only thing I knew about praying to Allah was the prostration position. At the time, I knew that Muslims prayed several times a day, and so I started to do so at night before I went to bed and in the morning when I woke up.

Back to the States Again

When the work permit ran out, I had to return to the States and was unemployed for several years. I visited my father in Huntsville, Alabama, and created a database application for him. I saw that Huntsville was a high-tech cosmopolitan city and decided to try to land a programming position there. My father told me that if I did not get a position, I would have to go back to New Jersey to my mother, who had moved from New York to New Jersey. About a fortnight before I was going to go back to New Jersey, I landed a programming position at a company in Huntsville.

My First Trip to a Masjid

My sister and I were planning a trip to Indonesia because we had a pen pal on the Internet. My sister asked me if I could help her find Islamic jewelry as a gift. At that time I had no idea that there were Muslims in Huntsville.

Then Allah put things into place for me. I remembered that there was a shop called Crescent Imports, which I thought was run by Muslims. It was not. It was run by the group called Nation of Islam. Now here is the strange part that only Allah could have arranged. We spoke to the owner of the shop and told him that we wanted to find Islamic jewelry. He directed us to the Huntsville Islamic Center.

I do thank Allah for having them direct me to the masjid. We went to the building, but there was only one car parked there. I spoke to a man in the car, and he told us that we should speak to the imam about where to find the jewelry. I was still afraid to go into the building because for me, it was such a sacred place.

At the moment, I remembered one day when I saw a lady at work wearing a hijab. I told her about accepting Islam personally and she said, “Why don’t you visit the masjid in Huntsville?” I eventually went back to the masjid after I summed up enough courage to go into that sacred place.

I spoke to the imam, and he invited me to perform salah with the Muslim brothers. This was a turning point in my life. I loved it and started to visit the masjid once a week at night. Then I started to visit it several times a week at night. The urge to come more times was stronger and I now perform most of my prayers at the masjid, except `Asr and Maghrib prayers when I am at work.

I Officially Accepted Islam

In November of 1996, I publicly made Shahadah. At work, I pray Zhuhr and Asr by myself or with other Muslim brothers in a small mosque in my work place. I proudly carry my prayer rug in the hallways at my work in an attempt to get people to ask me what they are. When they do ask me about it, I tell them that I am Muslim and the mats are what I use to pray on. Also, my work area, including my computer, is decorated with Islamic artwork. My background on my computer is usually the Ka`bah or our masjid.

Now that I am a Muslim, there is no turning back to disbelief!

Thomas Webber, Ex-Christian, UK

Like most reverts to Islam my story is simple from the perspective of an outsider. Young man finds a religion that’s different to his family’s and eventually tells them and reverts.

However, like many things in life, it is the travelling of the journey and not the getting to the destination that seems most hard. Of course with Islam the journey will never be complete until it is ordained by Allah (subhanahu wa taala) but, instead we reach milestones along the way. So I shall tell the story of my life until now and my hopes and aspirations for the future.

I was born in the UK to a family of two loving parents and one brother (Colin), shortly to be followed by my twin sister (Linda) and later to my other two sisters Melissa (who died when I was very little) and my youngest sister Emily.

I was never baptised, as my father did not believe in putting a baby who could not object, through such a religious ceremony. However, my mother would send us to a Christian Sunday school to learn of Christianity.

Well, what can I say about that? Unfortunately for my mother my mind was relatively astute at a young age and as a result I could never understand why a loving and all powerful God could kill his son to forgive us of our sins.

This was surely not right when if he was so all powerful and all sins were against him he could just have forgiven us all. Surely this is not what a loving God would do.

As the years drew on I disregarded what I was taught about God. Religious holidays became all about presents and time off to relax. I was lost but I didn’t know it. After all, these religious people would never be able to prove their religions like the sciences we were taught at school. To me they were just weak-minded or stupid.

As time went on I would continue to be successful at school and get good grades pleasing my parents, and everything was fine. It wasn’t until sometime after my 13th birthday that I would start to become religious.

When I say religious I don’t mean in the sense of being a practicing Christian. This, I could never be. But I did begin to hope to some form of God that I would be successful and for all the things I needed. It was more a trust in something for the things I was unable to engineer for myself.

As I progressed through school I learnt of various religions and Buddhism sounded like a good one, for there was no God and it was all about being a good person, and after all that is basically what I had learnt from Christianity.

I began to think that religions were all about one thing and that was about making people become more moral. I continued to try and be a good person but couldn’t quite shake the thought that something was missing.

A year or so before I left Senior School my brother became a born-again Christian. Unfortunately for me this was a somewhat negative experience as he would keep trying convert me to his religion, and I still could not accept that Jesus (peace be upon him) was killed to forgive us of our sins.

So I withdrew any signs of religious thinking away from my family and friends to avoid further arguments and also being branded a weirdo, (which was just one of the cruel jibes I now heavily regret having landed upon my brother.)

My soul searching would continue to be repressed and hidden even from me for the next year or so. And then came the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in America. At first when I was told about it I didn’t believe it could happen, but it had.

The news continued to report stories about it, but as it hadn’t affected me particularly I merely continued with my life. It wasn’t until reports of Islamic terrorists, reprisals against Muslims and the attack on Afghanistan and later on Iraq that I began to question my government and the US and move towards discovering the truth of Islam.

I simply couldn’t believe that Muslims could be terrorists capable only of hatred and murder. This was just strange. So I ignored this, but maybe this was when my mind became truly willing to learn about religion for the first time.

It wasn’t until I reached my first year of sixth-form College until I was to make friends with a Muslim. At first I would never believe she would be a friend as she said little until I got to know her. In this friend lay the clear and defined evidence that Muslims were not just crackpots and loonies and were in fact normal people.

Eventually, I began to explore Islam on the internet when nobody was around; as I was not prepared to let people know I would consider any religion, let alone Islam of all religions. I began to believe what I read but was still a little confused and my journey to understanding was slow.

Eventually, the summer vacations came and I was on the edge of belief in Islam. I wanted to believe it was true but how could I prove it. From my years of good grades and trying to be perfect in my parents’ eyes I hated being wrong.

As it was the summer I could not easily meet my Muslim friend but had so much I wanted to ask her. Occasionally she would call and I would talk to her for hours trying to build up the courage to tell her I needed her help.

Eventually I managed the courage to explain I was confused about religion but could never admit I wanted to be a Muslim, as I didn’t know for certain that this was no whim as I had so much fear in my mind. Well, eventually I managed to tell her and she had only good things to say.

So, I was now certain that I had to become a Muslim but how would I tell people and find out more. I knew I couldn’t tell my family yet as I remembered the cruelty I and my sisters had inflicted on my brother upon his becoming a Christian. I was afraid I would receive the same or worse.

After all he at least followed the religion of my country and that we had been raised in, this would be totally different. Wouldn’t it? My journey from this point on was the hardest part. How can you find out more if you couldn’t tell anyone for fear your family would find out? Well I’m glad to say eventually over a long period of time I slowly managed to confide in friends and family.

I decided to say Shahadah on my 20th birthday, knowing if I didn’t set a date I would never do it. So the weekend before I went to the Global Peace and Unity Conference in London which was truly amazing.

I went knowing that the following Monday but it wasn’t until the Saturday night spent at a friends place that I KNEW for certain I was going to say the Shahadah on the Monday.

For that night I lay trying to sleep and all I could here was the Adhan ringing through my head. It was the best thing ever.

The next day I saw people making their own Shahadah and longed for Monday to come. When the Monday finally did come and I finally did say the Shahadah it felt odd. Almost like I was me at last.

I know the best stories all have a beginning middle and an end but you’ll have to wait a little longer for the end, but this journey still hasn’t finished. I still have the Quran and hadiths to learn and so much more besides

Abdullah DeLancey, Ex-Christian, Canada

My name is Abdullah DeLancey. I am Canadian and I am employed as a Patient Service Worker at the local hospital. I have been married for almost 20 years and we have 3 wonderful children.

Alhamdulillah, I am now a Muslim. I wasn’t always a Muslim, though. Previously; I was a Protestant Christian for all of my life.

My family brought me up in the Pentecostal Church until I was an adult at which time I moved to a fundamental Independent Baptist Church.

As a faithful Christian I was very involved at Church, giving lectures for the Adult Sunday School and other duties. I was eventually elected as the Deacon of the Church. I really wanted to further my dedication to God and decided to pursue a career as a Minister.

I was awarded a scholarship to help me start taking a degree in Divinity. My goal was to be a Pastor of a Church or a Missionary. However, becoming a Minister would commit me and my whole family to the Church full time for life.

So just before attending Bible College, I thought it best to look at Christianity critically and ask some very serious questions about my faith. I questioned the Trinity, why God would need a son, and why the human sacrifice of Jesus, as stated in the Bible, was needed to provide me with forgiveness.

I questioned the Christian belief of how all the righteous people in the Old Testament were “saved” and in heaven if Jesus wasn’t even born yet. I pondered serious questions about Christianity that I had neglected to ask my whole life.

The answers I received from Christians on these theological issues “which are the basis of the faith in Christianity,” defied all reason and were absolutely beyond any logical thinking.

Why would God give us a wonderful brain and then expect us to temporarily stop using it? Because that is what Christianity is asking people to do when they say you just must have faith. That is blind faith.

Realizing that I had always accepted Christianity, with blind faith for my entire life and never had questioned it was perplexing to me. How could I have not realized this before?

I could not find the answers in the Bible. Once I realized that the Trinity was a myth and that God is powerful enough to “save” someone without the need for help from a son or anyone or anything else. Things changed. My entire faith in Christianity fell apart. I could no longer believe in Christianity or be a Christian.

I left the Church for good and my wife dutifully left with me, as she was having trouble accepting Christianity too. This was the start of my spiritual journey. I was now without a religion but believed in a God.

This was a very hard time for me and my family as Christianity was all we had ever known. I had to search for the truth. I began studying various religions and found them as false one after another. Until, I heard about Islam.

Islam!!! What was that? As far as I could remember, I had never known a Muslim and Islam was not heard or spoken of “as a faith” in my part of Canada. Unless, of course, it was news stories talking bad about Islam. For me at that time, Islam was not even a consideration. Not on my religious radar at all.

But then I started to read a little about Islam. Then, I kept reading a little more. Then, I read the Quran. This wonderful revelation of truth changed my life forever. I immediately started to study every piece of information pertaining to Islam I could get my hands on.

I discovered the nearest mosque was about 100 miles away from my city. So I promptly loaded the family van and drove my family to this mosque. On the way, I was very nervous but also very excited at the same time.. I asked myself, was I even allowed in the mosque because I wasn’t an Arab or a Muslim?

However, after arriving at the mosque, I quickly realized I had nothing to fear. I was greeted by the Imam and the Muslims with a most warm greeting. I found them very nice. Nothing like the bad things the news always said about Muslims.

They gave me a book by Ahmed Deedat and assured me I could be a Muslim. I studied all the material on Islam they gave me. I appreciated these books very much because our local library had only 4 books on Islam.

After studying I was in shock. How could I have been a Christian for so long and never heard the truth? I now believed in Islam. I knew it and I wanted to convert.

I was put in contact with the small Muslim community in my city. On March 24th 2006 I went to the Mosque. Just before Friday prayer started and with most of the local Muslim Community present as witness; I testified that” La illaha ill Allah, Muhammadur Rasul Allah”: “There is no God but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. I was now a Muslim. It was the best day of my life. I love Islam and have peace now.

Difficult times have come since I became a Muslim. When people started realizing I was now a Muslim they would shun me or laugh at me, most of our old Christian friends have never talked to us again. My parents have all but disowned me.

I love being a Muslim and it doesn’t matter if some of my fellow Canadians think of me as odd for becoming a Muslim. Why? The reason is that I alone, am the one that will have to answer to God after my death.

God is the giver of strength and Almighty God has helped me through all the rough times after my conversion to Islam. I have many, many Muslim Brothers now.

I have legally changed my first name to Abdullah, which I like very much. I am now the first and only Muslim Chaplain approved to work at the local hospital in my City. I am a Muslim and I am truly happy. All thanks be to God.

Josh Hasan, Ex-Jew, USA

I did not have to be a Muslim. Maybe. I could have been a Hindu, worshipping 14,321 gods and goddesses, such as a goddess for my neighbor’s dog, another for the moon, and yet another for Evander Holyfield’s lost ear. I would be worshiping all these counterfeit “gods,” and I would be sick. Sick in the heart and blind to the logic of obeying a pink elephant with six arms, which can be found on the walls of some Hindu-influenced, Indian restaurants. Yes, they worship elephants, which are habitually afraid of mice.

Or perhaps I could be a Christian, worshipping Jesus Christ. But why should I worship a prophet, indeed, who never called himself divine? Wouldn’t he know? He does know, and so do I. Jesus is not God and God is not Jesus.

I could have gone to Buddhism, but which sect is correct? Who knows? And would I have wanted to listen to the Dalai Lama telling me how to enjoy life-in his words, “taking three hookers and traveling to Las Vegas.”

I did not become any of the above, nor will I. I turned in the direction of Islam when I knew almost nothing of it. One year later, I took Shahada. I only wish I had taken it much earlier. This is my story of becoming a Muslim. It began when I was 10.

One God:
When I was 10, my parents enrolled me at the local Conservative Synagogue, in the densely Jewish town of Brookline, Massachusetts. I was sent there supposedly to learn Hebrew and be taught Judaism. I was adequately taught neither. The teachers were mainly Israeli. It is hard for me to remember now, but they actually taught [reformed] Judaism very well. At 10, I sincerely believed in God, read the stories from the Torah and Old Testament, and was more pious than my much older parents. I tried to pray and be steadfast, even though my family and friends, as I remember, did not think of it as even the least important. Why didn’t they care? Nevertheless, I kept up my inner Jew. During this time of Judaica, I took peeks at Christianity, wondering how so many of my friends followed this great man, whose name so many people used in vain when they dropped their papers or tripped. Shouldn’t Jesus Christ, I thought, be shown more respect? Moreover, could he be the son of God?

Then one day, still 10, as I went through my readings on the Jews and Israel, I came across a new religion. First, I saw a crescent and star; I read further. I was profoundly moved when I found out that another billion people in the world worshipped the same God as I did. As I think about it now, it was truly remarkable. These followers of Islam, of Allah (swt) [Editor’s note: (swt) is an abbreviation for Subhanahu wa Taala, used by Muslims, meaning Almighty], read the Qur’an, as it was spelled, and went on a pilgrimage. Interesting.

Unfortunately, further learning at that time was hindered by the affinity for Israel. I was brainwashed about the Muslim terrorists who blew up Jews like dynamite. The Jews were good; the Arabs were bad. That’s what my friends told me, that’s what my teachers seemed to imply, and I would seldom hear of Islam again until 1999.

Meanwhile, 1994 turned into 1995. My family switched synagogues, and sects. From conservative, we now called ourselves “reform Jews.” We became very liberal. Our “Rabbi” was not kosher. He was hardly what I consider a spiritual leader, a man who leads Jews as followers of God. One night, as we sat in the “congregation,” our Rabbi tried to keep us awake. He referred to his pleasure of looking lustfully at Boston College “coeds” from his nearby home. He incited only a handful of laughs. Today, as I look back, I remember how he spoke of the “haram” in front of his wife, before the Torah, and in the presence of God. My discontent with Judaism grew, and I knew that a religious move to the right wing was inevitable. Only it wouldn’t be Orthodox Judaism.

The Other People of the Book:
I was impressed at the time with the Christians’ spiritually because it seemed powerful. Judaism, I knew, was a corrupt religion, but I still believed in God. The Christians believe in God, do they not?

I went to mass, I spoke to priests, but I had the world’s most difficult time believing that Jesus could be divine. So I forced myself. I would pray to the “son,” and what a mess. I tried very hard, but I knew there was no answer. I didn’t understand, but I continued studying the Catechism and saying the Lord’s Prayer. I wasn’t baptized, so I wasn’t Catholic. In fact, to become Catholic, you needed to study for nine months. What if I died before I became a Catholic because the priests wouldn’t let me become Christian? Then what? I continued to notice flaws in Christian doctrine. The priests seemed to notice them, but they nevertheless continued preaching. I didn’t.

Around January 26, 1999, I quit the confirmation class. I quit Christianity, although I was not even Christian. I was not “saved,” but I did not care. I pleased my parents immensely by leaving the Catholic Church. But, I still knew there was only one God. To this day, I am surprised at how instantly it happened. Not one week after I left the church for good, I was ready to learn about the final religion of God.

The Horrendous Procrastination:
My father was overjoyed to learn of my fading interest in Catholicism and he welcomed Islam with open arms. Unfortunately, he took me to the library. There, I was presented with Encyclopedia Britannica. I read about Muhammad, [may the mercy and blessing of God be upon him]. The article claimed he slaughtered all the Jewish men of their tribe. Having read this, I was deeply saddened, and I was angry and confused at the same time. I was indignant at having learned that this prophet from Islam had slaughtered Jews, and I was confused about what to do now. I thought I had ruled out Islam, but I still believed in God. Then what? Indeed, I could not go more than a couple of weeks before returning. I knew Judaism was corrupt, I knew Christianity was corrupt. Now I got it: Encyclopedia Britannica is also corrupt.

So began my search for a local Mosque. In fact, I found a nearby Mosque by accident. I looked on the Internet relentlessly. As soon as I saw the word Boston, I clicked the mouse, awaiting the information that would bring me to worship God in the right way. I waited, patient with a slow and unfeeling modem, and finally, the site had loaded.

At the tap of a mouse button, I was greeted with Assalamu Alaikum. I took down the address, and planned the journey. So special was it to have found a mosque in Boston; I was thrilled that I wouldn’t have to travel to Egypt or Jordan or Yemen.

It was around February 28, 1999. I walked down Prospect Street, and I saw the Mosque. I walked to the front, I reached to open the door, and noticed a sign: Women’s Entrance. Women’s entrance? I didn’t know what that meant, so I walked around the mosque, hoping they would let men in somewhere. Suddenly, I felt nervous as I found the men’s entrance. I had never met a religious Muslim, and I had no idea what the Muslims’ reaction would be upon meeting me. I wondered if I should hide my Jewish identity. I took a breath and entered the door.

“Excuse me,” I said to the first man I saw. “I am here to learn about Islam.” I waited for his reaction. I waited for an education or to be sent out. Would they really send me out? I had hung up my shoes. The man opened his mouth to speak: “Sorry, I don’t speak English,” and he went inside the main room. I followed him in. I wasn’t sure if he had left me to wander. I looked around, at the faithful prostrating in submission to Allah (swt). I was moved, but I wasn’t sure what to do next. Then, I noticed the man returned with what seemed like a horde of faithful others. I sat down. There was one of me and what seemed like 50 of them. They all spoke to me at the same time. It was overwhelming, but it felt great. It showed how important Islam was to Muslims then and there. I was given “A Brief Illustrated Guide to Islam,” and within minutes, I had the Shahada before my eyes. There it was: La Ilaha Illa Allah, Muhammadun Rassoolu Allah. I was ready to say it. Here and now. Nine months to become a Catholic, probably more to be a Jew. In a matter of moments, I could embrace Islam.

“Are you sure? You don’t have to do this,” came the advice of a friendly but cautious brother. I was surprised: was it such a big thing that I would have to think about it? Should I not become a Muslim now?

That day, I did not become a Muslim. But it was a wonderful Saturday. I met brothers from all over the world. And yet, as diverse as the people appeared, they all shared a common objective, which was clear: the utmost submission to Allah (swt).

It would be over a year before I would become a Muslim. During that year, I had been at the site of an alleged shooting in the Bronx, passing through in my family’s car. In fact, the bullet shattered the rear window, just a few feet away from my head. I survived without a scratch, and soon forgot about the whole incident.

On May 6, 2000, I took the same train I had always taken to the Masjid in Cambridge. This time, I brought with me a book on Arabic, as I thought it would be appropriate to learn the language. That was my philosophy back then. Study Islam comprehensively. By the time you take Shahada, you’ll be a genius. I ran into a Muslim I hadn’t seen in months. He asked me if I had become a Muslim yet. Then, we had a short conversation. He talked about how if I went out in the street and got in a car accident, I would die a non-Muslim. This very well could mean hellfire. He told me this exact story back in December 1999, but I had dismissed it, even in the wake of the Bronx shooting. This time, putting off Islam would not last.

At the Masjid that same afternoon, I sat down, and watched as the Muslims lined up for Dhuhr, the second prayer of the day. I stared as they prostrated, an act Shaitan had refused. And I couldn’t take it any longer. I wondered what it would be like to become a Muslim now, but my thoughts were all one-sided. I told the brother right after the prayer that I wanted to become a Muslim today. As I write this, three months later, I know that taking Shahada was the best thing I could ever have done. I only wish I could have done it earlier.

Yahya Schroder, Ex-Secularist, Germany

My name is Yahya Schroder. I am a “European” Muslim. I became Muslim 11 months ago when I was 17. I am living now in Potsdam, Germany and I want to share my experience with you as a Muslim in a non-Muslim state.

As a convert to Islam, I think it’s much easier to follow the deen (religion) than a born Muslim who is been raised up here. Almost all young born-Muslims I know want to become German. For them Islam is only a tradition and they think that they have to give up their tradition (Islam) to be accepted by the Germans, despite the fact that the Germans won’t accept them even if they gave up their religion.

I grew up in a little village. I lived with my mother and my stepfather in a huge house with a big garden and a big pool. And as a teenager I “lived a cool life;” I had some friends whom I used to hang around with, do stupid things and drink alcohol like every young German teen.

The life of a Muslim in Germany is quite difficult than one would think especially for me as a German Muslim because when someone asks a German what they know about Islam; they would tell you something about Arabs. For them it’s like mathematical operation, Islam = Arabs.

They still don’t know about our big nation. When I converted to Islam I had to leave my family and I moved to the community in Potsdam near Berlin. I left this huge house and all my material valuable stuff.

When I lived with my mother and my stepfather I had everything; a big house, my own money, TV, Play-station. I was never concerned about money, but I wasn’t happy. I was searching for something else.

When I turned 16 I met the Muslim community in Potsdam through my biological father who became Muslim in 2001. I used to visit my father once a month and we used to attend the meetings of the community which were held on Sundays.

At that time, I was interested in Islam, and my father noticed this and told me one day that he wouldn’t speak about Islam when we are together because he wanted me to learn from people of greater knowledge so that other people won’t say: “Oh he became Muslim just because he’s 17 and does everything his father does.”

I agreed and I started visiting the community every month and learned a lot about Islam but at that time something happened and changed my way of thinking. One Sunday, I went with the Muslim community swimming and I broke my back twice by jumping in the pool and I hit the ground with my head.

My father brought me to the hospital and the doctor told me:

“You have broken your back quite bad and if you did one wrong movement you’ll become handicapped.”

This didn’t help me much, but then just a few moments before they bought me to the operation room. One of my friends of the Muslims community, told me something. “Yahya, you are now in the hands of Allah (God), it’s like a rollercoaster. Now you are on the top enjoy the ride and just trust in God.” This really helped me.

The operation took five hours and I woke up after 3 days. I couldn’t move my right arm but I was feeling like the happiest person on this earth. I told the doctor that I don’t care about my right arm I’m so happy that God has let me survive.

The doctors had told me that I have to stay in the hospital for a few months. I stayed for only two weeks there, because I was training very hard. One day a doctor came and said: “today we will try to take one step on the staircase,” the exercise that I did on my own two days before the doctor told me.

Now, I can move my right arm again and I was just two weeks there Al-hamdu lillah (thanks God). This accident changed a lot in my personality.

I noticed when God wants something; the individual’s life can be turned over in one second. So, I took life more serious and started thinking more about my life and Islam, but I was still living in this little village.

My wish to become Muslim became so strong that I had to leave my family. I left my stepfather, my mother and the nice luxury lifestyle to go to Potsdam. I moved to my father’s apartment which is rather small and I had to stay in the kitchen but it was okay because I had nothing just a very few clothes, school books, and some CDs.

It must sound for you like I lost everything but I am very happy, I’m as happy as when I woke up in the hospital after the dreadful accident. The next day was the first day of Ramadan. The day after this was my first school day in my new school.

The day after my first day in school I said Shahadah (the testimony of becoming a Muslim), praise be to God. So, everything was new for me, new apartment, new school, and first time without my family. Like in my school when they first noticed that I am a Muslim they started to make jokes at me.

I think this is usual because of what they learned from the media. “A terrorist,” “Osama bin Laden is coming,” “Muslims are dirty,” some people thought I am just a crazy guy. And they even didn’t believe me that I am German.

But now after 10 months the situation changed. I made a lot of dawah (inviting to Islam) to my classmates and now I even have a praying room although I’m the only Muslim in my school.

My classmates changed from making jokes to asking serious question about Islam and they noticed that Islam is not a religion like the other religions. They noticed Islam is cool!

They see that we Muslims have Adab (good manners) in dealing with each other. They noticed that we are independent from all this peer pressure; we just keep it real we don’t need to be in a special group like in my school.

At my school there are three main groups: the hip hop guys; the punks; and the party people. Everybody tries to be a member of one group, so as to be accepted by others.

Except me! I can be friends with everybody. I don’t have to wear special clothes to be “cool.” So what happened is that they are always inviting me and my Muslim friends to their barbecue parties.

The special thing on this is that they respect me as a Muslim and even more, they get Halal (allowed) food especially for me and they have organized two barbecue grills one for them and one for us Muslims! The people here are very open for Islam.

William, Ex-Jew, USA

My name is William, and I live in a large Midwestern city in the United States. I am a typical American in many ways that are reflected in both my professional and personal lives. Professionally, I am a supervisor with a major police department, and I have been in the military, both active duty and in the reserves for the majority of my adult life. Personally, I live in the suburbs with my wife and child, drive a pickup truck and occasionally wear cowboy boots. I pay my bills, treat my neighbors well, and prior to my reversion/conversion to Islam, I followed my religion in the manner in which I had been instructed. As I said, my life was that of a typical American, with my main concerns being the little details of everyday life that everyone worries about. Little did I know that my religious beliefs would take me out of the “typical” life that I lead, and that they would instead become a major factor in my life, providing me with a sense of peace and completion that only a short time before I would not have thought possible.

My journey to Islam began with my association, and later friendship, with a man named Nasir. I met Nasir through work in the late 1980’s, and was impressed with his manners and the way that he treated me. I had met very few Muslims, and I was always a little uneasy around them as I was not sure how they would accept me. Besides having the appearance of a pickup-driving-shotgun-toting-redneck, I was also a Jew, and the combination often seemed to unsettle people. Nasir, however, took everything in stride, and as a result a friendship slowly bloomed. Through Nasir, I really formed my first impressions of Islam and its adherents.

Over the years I watched how Nasir dealt with different situations, and was constantly impressed with the wisdom and patience that he displayed when he was dealing with difficult people or situations. He always took the high road, even at times when I, if I had been in the same situation, would have been tempted to treat the persons differently. If I asked him why he did certain things, he would tell me a bit of wisdom which guided his actions. Most of these, (I realized later), were direct or indirect quotes from the Quran, which he told me not in a proselytizing way, but in a gentle manner as if he were teaching a child the proper way to conduct itself in the world. In fact, prior to reading the Quran, I often marveled at how one person could be so wise and knowledgeable! Little did I know that those guiding principles were written down where I or anyone else could read them. I realize now how blessed I am that I was exposed to Islam and Muslims in such a positive way.

Around the winter of 2000, I began to have a serious interest in Islam. I read the Quran, but could not seem to fully understand it. Despite this difficulty, I continued to have a nagging feeling that I should continue, and so I studied other books about Islam. I learned a great deal, but in an academic and not in a spiritual way. Again I attempted to read and understand the Quran, and again I had difficulties. I finally resolved to ask Nasir for help, and then the 9-11 incident happened. Suddenly I had a host of new worries, and I put my questions on hold. During this time period, I had a great deal of exposure to Islam, however very little of it was put to me in a positive manner. As a police supervisor, I was constantly receiving warnings about perceived Islamic threats, and as an officer in the reserves I was around people who perceived Islam as a direct threat and Muslims as possible enemies. So, to my shame, I continued to wait and kept my studies on the Islamic world to those areas that directly influenced my professional life.

Then, in the late summer of 2004, that nagging feeling that had persisted suddenly intensified, and I finally asked Nasir for guidance. He told me about the tenets of his faith, and about the nature of the Quran. More importantly, he told me how crucial Islam was to his life, and how strongly he believed in it, not only as the word of God, but as the way in which man was meant to live. He and his brother Riyadh then provided me with booklets about Islam that had answers to many of the questions that I had. With this knowledge in hand, I again approached the Quran, and suddenly found that it was not only readable, but that it made sense! I can only think that either I was not mentally ‘ready’ before, or that I simply needed the extra input in order to properly understand and process the information. Either way, I read and re-read everything that I had been provided, and then double checked the facts that had been presented to me. The more I read, the more amazed I was.

I found that the information that was in the Quran would have been impossible for Mohammed, may the mercy and blessings of God by upon him, to have known had he not been a prophet. Not only would it have been impossible for a man of his background and geographic location to have known many of these things, it would have been impossible for anyone of his time-period to have known them. I double checked the dates of many of the modern “discoveries” that had been addressed in the Quran, and was astounded at what I found. Not only did the Quran contain information that was centuries ahead of its time, but it did so with details, many of which could not have been known until this century. I became convinced that Mohammed was indeed a prophet that had been inspired by Allah through his angel. Despite this, I still faced a dilemma. Although I now believed that Mohammed was a prophet, I still was confused about what to do. Everything that I had ever believed was suddenly turned upside down, and I was at a loss for an explanation.

That night I prayed for guidance and understanding. I only believed in one god, but I wanted to know the manner in which I should hold that belief. The prayer was simple, but heartfelt, and I went to sleep full of hope that I would receive an understanding of the situation. When I awoke, I did so with the feeling that I had experienced an epiphany. Everything was suddenly clear, and I understood how all the things that I had practiced before were simply observances that had been contrived by man in an attempt to follow religious principles that had changed over the millennia. I did not receive any new information or beliefs, but was instead capable of understanding that which I had already learned. I felt exhilarated, happy and at peace, and that morning I said the shahada.

I told Nasir, and he took me to a nearby mosque for the Friday prayers. At the mosque I was lead to the front by Nasir, and I told the assembled congregation about why I had come there. Then Nasir and the Iman helped me repeat the profession of faith in Arabic. Although I was a little nervous, the joy I felt upon doing this far outweighed any other feelings that I had. Afterwards, I was welcomed by the majority of the members in a manner that was so welcoming that I can hardly describe it. Most of the congregation shook my hand and welcomed me to Islam, and many of them offered to help me or to answer any questions that I might have. It was a wonderful experience which I will never forget.

In closing, let me say that the feeling of peace that came over me is still with me, and although I am still very early in the learning stages, I am happy and confident that I made the right decision. I am still a redneck-looking, pickup truck-driving, typical American. Only now I am a Muslim American, and with the continued guidance and assistance of people like Nasir and Riyadh, I hope to one day set as good an example for others and they have been for me.

La Bianca, Ex-Christian, Australia

This article is based on an interview with Sandra La Bianca, a Muslim revert who lives in Perth, Western Australia.

La Bianca is a country girl; she was brought up on a farm in Western Australia. When she was a child, she had a pet kangaroo and helped with taking care of the cows and sheep. She used to go hunting rabbits and foxes. There was not much religion in her upbringing, but she believed in God and she was taught traditional Italian morals. In an Italian household, girls are protected and quite sheltered.

She used to go to church with her family on Sundays, but it was superficial; she didn’t really understand anything. When she thought about Holy Communion, all she knew was that she would get a white dress and have to recite some words — it was all expected of her and she did it. As far as La Bianca was concerned, Jesus and Mary (peace be upon them) were just statues in the church. Still, she used to pray to God.

While she was growing up, she had no knowledge of Islam or Arabs; she did not even see a city until she was 16 years old! She acknowledges the fact that she was gullible and naïve. Of her own admission, the positive part of this is that it has made her more open and natural; she says that she wears her heart on her sleeve. She has found that city people are emotionally tougher and are often more stand-offish and critical, whereas country people tend to take people as they are.

In the country, men mostly stay on the farm and enjoy the country life. With its trucks, motorbikes, shooting, and horses, the country life is a man’s paradise! Young women usually look for the city life — pursuing fashion, being hip, getting excitement, and partying. La Bianca left the country when she was 16 years old looking for the bright city life. Having a big Italian family spread throughout Australia, La Bianca had no difficulty finding an aunt with whom she could stay in the city.

La Bianca got her first job working as a receptionist, and there she met a Muslim girl named Tasneem, a South African Muslim, albeit not a practicing one. Tasneem did not wear hijab or pray but always made sure that the meat she ate was according to Islamic dietary regulations. Even though she was not unchaste nor drank alcohol, Tasneem would still go clubbing, and she was allowed to by her parents as long as she came home early. The main thing La Bianca learned from Tasneem was fasting in Ramadan.

La Bianca reminisces that she always felt attracted to Muslims because the people she met were warm, friendly, and accepting with gentleness, directness, and a love of family. She enjoyed socializing with her Muslim friends and the atmosphere in the family reminded her of her country girl upbringing (good food and hospitality). She comments that she feels comfortable with people who are comfortable in their own skin. She further observes that people often pick on others a lot because they do not like themselves.

She especially likes African people because of their warmth and sociability. but finds European culture to be quite cold with a lot of barriers between people. She observes that when she was growing up she and her siblings loved the Aboriginal people more than the Europeans. Her father respected anyone who worked hard and did the right thing. He was not at all racist. However, La Bianca’s mother was racist and thought that Europeans were superior to others, and she easily criticized other people.

As La Bianca mixed with more and more Muslims, she learned that Muslims pray five times a day, but it was not until she met her husband that she really learned what Islam was all about.

La Bianca remembers that as soon as her husband met her, he took her home to meet his mother (his father had died some years before). Both he and La Bianca wanted a long-term commitment — the whole package; marriage and family. She started going to Islamic classes and changed the way she dressed. She donned long skirts and loose shirts. She observes that as she was learning about Almighty God, everything made sense; everything was beautiful and harmonious.

She comments that she liked the idea that there are consequences for what people do; that every one should try to do the right thing. This was unlike the Catholic religion whose teachings she was raised upon: People can do anything and that Jesus will cover for them.

Every one has a test, and La Bianca’s big test was wearing hijab. She reveals that it was changing her image that affected her most. At home, in the country, on the farm, or in the workplace, people would ask her why she was wearing “that.” Nevertheless, La Bianca wore long dresses and a scarf.

At first, her Dad felt she was not respecting his friends if she did not dress in a way that would please them. She admits that in the beginning, she felt guilty for making him feel disrespected, but her growing consciousness of Almighty God made her realize that she wanted to please God more than she wanted to please any human being.

She had told herself that she did not want to make any concessions, because she knew she was doing the right thing and she knew that if she started to make compromises, it would never stop and she would be left with no Islam at all! She certainly did not want that to happen.

Despite her initial difficulty in wearing it, hijab made so much sense to her. She found that after she started to cover up, she was not approached by men and she felt much more respected. It just felt right in her heart. La Bianca observes that she loves the idea that women are a treasure and that they should be protected and seen only by those who deserve to see them.

La Bianca pronounced the Shahadah (testimony of faith) in the company of a small group of friends. She felt that Islam was the truth, and she was hungry to learn more. Her husband and his family encouraged her to wear hijab, but it took some time for her to wear it properly because she had to wean herself from being defined by how she looks to the outside world.

When asked about the reaction of the Muslim community to her conversion, she said that at first she was “flavor of the month” simply because she was a new Muslim.

Angel, Ex-Christian, USA

Every Muslim has a story about their journey to Islam. Each one is interesting and curious to me. God truly guides who he wants and only who he wants. I feel so blessed to have been one of the chosen. Here is my story.

I always believed in one God. My entire life during hardship, I asked God for help even as a child. I remember crying on my knees in the kitchen, screaming and crying all around me. I was praying for God to make it stop. Religion on the other hand never did make sense. The older I got, the less it really made sense to me. People thinking they were the negotiator between you and God.

I felt the same about Jesus, [may the blessing and mercy of God be upon him]. How does it work that this man would save us all from our sins? Why do we have the right to sin just because of him? I refused the bible in all of its versions, believing something translated and rewritten so many times could not to be the real words of God. Around the age of fifteen I had given up on the idea of finding God.

Growing up, my family was the average American family. Everyone I knew had similar problems growing up. My dad was a hardworking blue collar alcoholic. As time progressed his condition worsened, and so did his perversion. Sexual abuse, physical abuse, and fear made an imprint on my childhood that would reflect the rest of my life. He passed away when I was in the sixth grade. My parents had divorced by then. I was the youngest of eight children. My mother would go to work to support us, and I was home alone a lot.

Here I was, one of those kids who pull from society, who scare people when they walk into a room. I began wearing black clothing and the dark makeup. I listened to the gothic music and fantasized about death. Death seemed to be less of fear and more of solution to this growing problem. I felt alone all time, even around friends. I tried to fill the gap with cigarettes, then alcohol, sex, drugs and then anything that would take me from my own thoughts. I tried to kill myself at least fifteen times. No matter what I tried this pain inside of me never seemed to subside.

I was in college when I became pregnant with my son, I feared for my son’s health and could not dream of giving him away. I worked endlessly to provide for my son. Squeezing all the pain and anger into my heart, I changed my life some. By this time, I trusted no one. Three years later, I started to date again. I got engaged. I truly wanted to have the something more. As with all of my past experiences, my world came crashing down. I was 25 and pregnant with my daughter and ended the relationship with my fiancé after he repeatedly cheated and physically hurt me. I had no idea what was next.

During this time I was working for a Pakistani guy who was Muslim. I never watched the news or even cared really what was going on. Being Muslim to me was no different than any other religion. As time moved on I became friends with several Muslim men. I began to notice something dramatically different. They had these unquestionable morals. A devotion to God in a way that required them to pray five times a day. Let alone the fact that they did not drink or do drugs. For my generation this was old school morals, maybe your grandparents might have followed.

When my daughter was born, you can’t imagine my surprise when one of these guys came in and brought gifts. I was shocked stupid he held her and spoke to her. I had never seen men behave this way over a baby. The kindness only increased with time over the next four months. I can’t express the love that was shown to us. Slowly my interest in their religion grew. I was curious as to what kind of religion could instill these kinds of values into people.

I was sharing a home with seven people when one night I decided to borrow my roommate’s computer. I was too afraid to offend my friends by asking them questions, so I turned to the internet. The first site I opened was . I was dumb founded. It was if a black cloth had been lifted from my body, and I swear to you that I had never felt so close to God. Within twenty-four hours, I took my Shahadah.

To this day the majority of my time is spent on research. For the first time in my life something had stopped the anger, and the pain. I truly felt the love and fear of God. God had replaced the pain inside of me with his light, and faith in him. Since my conversion, God has truly blessed me. God gave me the strength to quite smoking, drinking and have not used drugs in almost two years. I am married to a wonderful Muslim man. He has taken my children and made them ours. I have something that I always wanted - a family, [all praise is due to God].

Penomee (Dr. Kari Ann Owen), Ex-Jew, USA

There is no god but God, and Muhammad, may God praise him, is his messenger.”

These are the words of the Shahadah oath, I believe.

The Creator is known by many names. His wisdom is always recognizable, and his presence made manifest in the love, tolerance and compassion present in our community.

His profound ability to guide us from a war-like individualism so rampant in American society to a belief in the glory and dignity of the Creator’s human family, and our obligations to and membership within that family. This describes the maturation of a spiritual personality, and perhaps the most desirable maturation of the psychological self, also.

My road to Shahadah began when an admired director, Tony Richardson, died of AIDS. Mr. Richardson was already a brilliant and internationally recognized professional when I almost met him backstage at the play Luther at age 14.

Playwriting for me has always been a way of finding degrees of spiritual and emotional reconciliation, both within myself and between myself and a world I found rather brutal due to childhood circumstances. Instead of fighting with the world, I let my conflicts fight it out in my plays. Amazingly, some of us have even grown up together!

So, as I began accumulating stage credits (productions and staged readings), beginning at age 17, I always retained the hope that I would someday fulfill my childhood dream of studying and working with Mr. Richardson. When he followed his homosexuality to America (from England) and a promiscuous community, AIDS killed him, and with him went another portion of my sense of belonging to and within American society.

I began to look outside American and Western society to Islamic culture for moral guidance.

Why Islam and not somewhere else?

My birthmother’s ancestors were Spanish Jews who lived among Muslims until the Inquisition expelled the Jewish community in 1492. In my historical memory, which I feel at a deep level, the call of the muezzin is as deep as the lull of the ocean and the swaying of ships, the pounding of horses’ hooves across the desert, the assertion of love in the face of oppression.

I felt the birth of a story within me, and the drama took form as I began to learn of an Ottoman caliph’s humanity toward Jewish refugees at the time of my ancestors’ expulsions. God guided my learning, and I was taught about Islam by figures as diverse as Imam Siddiqi of the South Bay Islamic Association; Sister Hussein of Rahima; and my beloved adopted Sister, Maria Abdin, who is Native American, Muslim and a writer for the SBIA magazine, IQRA. My first research interview was in a halal [meat regarded as lawful in Islamic law] butcher shop in San Francisco’s Mission District, where my understanding of living Islam was profoundly affected by the first Muslim lady I had ever met: a customer who was in hijab, behaved with a sweet kindness and grace and also read, wrote and spoke four languages.

Her brilliance, coupled with her amazing (to me) freedom from arrogance, had a profound effect on the beginnings of my knowledge of how Islam can affect human behavior.

Little did I know then that not only would a play be born, but a new Muslim.

The course of my research introduced me to much more about Islam than a set of facts, for Islam is a living religion. I learned how Muslims conduct themselves with a dignity and kindness which lifts them above the American slave market of sexual competition and violence. I learned that Muslim men and women can actually be in each others’ presence without tearing each other to pieces, verbally and physically. And I learned that modest dress, perceived as a spiritual state, can uplift human behavior and grant to both men and women a sense of their own spiritual worth.

Why did this seem so astonishing, and so astonishingly new?

Like most American females, I grew up in a slave market, comprised not only of the sexual sicknesses of my family, but the constant negative judging of my appearance by peers beginning at ages younger than seven. I was taught from a very early age by American society that my human worth consisted solely of my attractiveness (or, in my case, lack of it) to others. Needless to say, in this atmosphere, boys and girls, men and women, often grew to resent each other very deeply, given the desperate desire for peer acceptance, which seemed almost if not totally dependent not on one’s kindness or compassion or even intelligence, but on looks and the perception of those looks by others.

While I do not expect or look for human perfection among Muslims, the social differences are profound, and almost unbelievable to someone like myself.

I do not pretend to have any answers to the conflicts of the Middle East, except what the prophets, beloved in Islam, have already expressed. My disabilities prevent me from fasting, and from praying in the same prayer postures as most [Muslims].

But I love and respect the Islam I have come to know through the behavior and words of the men and women I have come to know in AMILA (American Muslims Intent on Learning and Activism) and elsewhere, where I find a freedom from cruel emotional conflicts and a sense of imminent spirituality.

What else do I feel and believe about Islam?

I support and deeply admire Islam’s respect for same sex education; for the rights of women as well as men in society; for modest dress; and above all for sobriety and marriage, the two most profound foundations of my life, for I am 21 1/2 years sober and happily married. How wonderful to feel that one and half billion Muslims share my faith in the character development which marriage allows us, and also in my decision to remain drug- and alcohol-free.

What, then, is Islam’s greatest gift in a larger sense?

In a society which presents us with constant pressure to immolate ourselves on the altars of unbridled instinct without respect for consequences, Islam asks us to regard ourselves as human persons created by God with the capacity for responsibility in our relations with others. Through prayer, charity and a commitment to sobriety and education, if we follow the path of Islam, we stand a good chance of raising children who will be free from the violence and exploitation which is robbing parents and children of safe schools and neighborhoods, and often of their lives.

Monday, 21 November 2011

50 things to do in Hajj

By Muhammad Alshareef

[01] Smile in another Muslims face

[02] Say Salam to strangers .........
[03] Shake someone's hand and ask about their health

[04] Buy tea for someone

[05] Offer to get someone's groceries

[06] Sit with a Hajj group from another country and ask about Islam in their village

[07] Carry someone's bags for them

[08] Guide someone ill to the infirmary

[09] Shun vain talk

[10] Recite talbiyah loudly, encouraging others

[11] On the days of Eid, walk through the tents reciting talbiyah loudly reminding others

[12] Gather stones for people

[13] Offer to throw on behalf of unable Hajjis

[14] Guide people to the Jamarat

[15] Lower your gaze

[16] Remind people of the lives of the Sa7aabah

[17] Read Quraan with the Tafseer

[18] Do the authentic Zikr of the morning and evening

[19] Make du3a2 during your Sajdah

[20] Stand to the side of a gate and offer people water/tea as they leave

[21] Give major attention to shy people in your group

[22] Remind people of patience, why they came here, and the example of our 3ulumaa2 in Hajj

[23] Explain a Hajj Khutbah you may have heard to those around you

[24] Explain the importance of purifying ones actions for the sake of Allah

[25] Phone relatives (from Makkah) on Eid day

[26] Make dua for forgotten friends (and the author of this list) (and the person who forwarded it to you) [27] Don t allow Muslims to fight during Hajj

[28] Help people find a place to sleep

[29] Remember during the heat the unending torment of hellfire

[30] Say Laa ilaaha illa Allah, wa7dahu laa sharika lah, lahu al Mulk wa lahu al 7amd, wa Huwa 3ala kulli shay2in Qadeer 100 times

[31] Say the du3a2 of entering the market place when you go there

[32] Give charity to those who sell meager things (sandals/eggs)

[33] Attend the Halaqat that are given in Mina

[34] Stay for the 13th of Thul Hijjah

[35] Remind people to go home as better Muslims

[36] Forgive people that wrong you

[37] Talk to 10 different people from 10 different countries

[38] Compliment someone sincerely

[39] Visit the hospital and thank Allah for all that he has given you

[40] Take young Muslims and invite them to sit with the elders. Make them the center of attention.

[41] Give a tafseer class after Salah / ask someone knowledgeable

[42] (For men) On the days of Eid, offer perfume (misk) to those around you

[43] Ask about the health of senior women in your group. Make sure they are attended to.

[44] Focus hard on helping those immediately near you

[45] Take people to the slaughter house and help them / Or assist them in purchasing their slaughter coupons

[46] Remember specific blessings, which Allah has bestowed upon you and say Alhamdulillah

[47] Pray to Allah using his 99 most beautiful names (Al Asmaa2 Al 7usna)

[48] Use a Miswak

[49] Fill your pockets with candies and give to the children that you meet

[50] Always intend reward from Allah for everything you go through during Hajj

Hajj - The Journey of Hearts

Written by : Muhammad AlShareef

Arafah – 10 Years After Hijrah

The man was standing with Rasul Allah – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – when he was thrown from his camel. The camel stomped and the man’s neck was snapped. Dead ..........
Bathe his body with water and Sidr and bury him with both garments,” said Allah’s Messenger. “Do not cover his head, nor touch him with Camphor ... for verily he will be returned (to Allah) on the day of resurrection in the state of Talbiyah! (Labbayk Allahaahumma labbayk)” – Al-Bukhari and Muslim ‘Amr ibn Al-‘Aas narrates, “When Islam entered my heart, I went to the Messenger of Allah and said, ‘Give me your hand so that I may pledge allegiance to you.’ The Prophet spread his hand, but I withdrew mine. He said, ‘What is wrong ‘Amr?’ I said, ‘I want to make a condition.’ ‘And what is that?’ he said. I said, ‘That Allah will forgive me.’ Then the Messenger of Allah said, ‘Did you not know that Islam wipes out what came before it, and that Hijrah wipes out what came before it and that Hajj wipes out what came before it!” - Sahih Muslim
The Ultimate Reward
Rasul Allah – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam - said, “And there is no reward for an accepted Hajj … except Jannah!” What is the first verse that you read in Surah Al-Hajj? It does not speak of Arafah, nor does it pronounce the pillars of Nahr day. It simply says ... [O Mankind! Fear your Lord, indeed the eruption of the (final) Hour is a horrific event. On that day that you shall see it, every nursing mother will be engrossed away from that (child) she was nursing, and every pregnant woman will abort her pregnancy, and you will see the people (appearing) intoxicated, while they are not intoxicated; rather it is the punishment of Allah, severe.]
Hajj is not a journey of the body such as one may take to a vacation spot or tourist attraction. It is a journey of the soul and heart. When one pays a careful eye to the verses speaking of Hajj, they will find that verse after verse concludes with a commandment of being conscious of Allah’s presence, or a reminder of Allah’s bounteous favor upon us, or a link between Hajj and the final day.
The Destination
In the not-so-far-away days of old, whenever a journey was to be undertaken proper provisions had to be prepared. The deserts were long, hot, and harsh. Unmerciful. There were no gas stations to fill up with chips and refreshments, or rest stops to slurp water from a fountain. In fact, there was not a human in sight for miles upon miles of barren sand dunes. Losing the way meant losing your life. Thus, you had to have the provision with you before you made the journey. Enough food, enough water, enough everything to carry you to your destination. From here, in the verses dealing of Hajj, when everyone shall have to make some sort of journey to reach the Ka’bah, Allah tuned the attention of His slaves to another journey, a journey every soul is traveling, whether they know it or care to just remain heedless. Allah turned their attention to the journey to the Hereafter, to Paradise or Hell. [And take sustenance (with you) for the journey; verily the best sustenance is Taqwa (piety and righteousness).] – Al Baqarah 2:197
On the day Buhaym Al-‘Ajlee set out with his companion for Hajj, he looked toward the endless desert awaiting them both and wept, his chest soaking from the tears. “This is something,” said Buhaym, “that has made me understand the most certain journey I must one day take to Allah!”
Hajj – The Journey Of Hearts
The Provider
There is debate over whether someone who performs Hajj should be called a Hajji. It is not something found in the Sunnah; rather it has an interesting backround in our cultural history. In antique days, when someone decided to perform the journey for Hajj, it was synonymous with bidding farewell to life on earth. This was due to the treacherous obstacles of traveling in the desert - trials such as sickness, starvation, and the struggles of the separate situations. An entire village might gather to bid those people farewell. When someone would go through such a remarkable journey and return alive, they would dedicate their lives to the worship and obedience of Allah. Gone was the cheating, or the lying, or the missed Salah. He was now a Hajji. Today, with the Jumbo jets and ocean liners and Mercedes busses, the facilitation of performing Hajj has taken away the luster of the title Hajji.
Some might complain that there are no queen-size mattress beds in Mina, or that the air conditioning motor is a tad too loud. But dear brothers and sisters, who is it that provided us with all the blessing that we are living in? It is the same Allah that has tested us here on the plains of Arafah. The slave of Allah can only truly understand the favor of Allah upon him when it is taken away. [There is no blame upon you for seeking bounty from your Lord (during Hajj). But when you depart from Arafat, remember Allah at AlMash’ar AlHaram. And remember Him as He has guided you, for indeed you were before that among those astray.] Alhamdulillaah.
Indeed the greatest blessing that Allah has favored us with is Islam, and it alone suffices as favor. Allah knows we are going to get dusty during Hajj, Allah knows it. So don’t be surprised when that dust blows, instead turn to Allah and hit back with patience and a whisper of gratitude to Allah. [Then let them end their untidiness, fufill their vows, and perform Tawaf around the ancient House.] – Surah Hajj 22/29
Ibn Al-Qayyim wrote a Qasidah about this journey of the hearts, here is only a glimpse of some of the Arabic verses:
[He says, My slaves have come to Me (for Hajj) out of love for Me
And I am merciful to them, bounteous and loving
Glad tidings O participants of that stand (on Arafah)
a moment when Allah forgives all sins and showers His mercy]
Abu Hurayrah narrates: I heard the Prophet say, “Whoever performs Hajj and does not commit any Rafath (obscenity) or Fusooq (transgression), he returns (free from sin) as the day his mother bore him” – Al-Bukhari
Getting The Heart In Shape
Many years ago, as the Hujjaj swept through the valley of Muzdalifah, a man remarked out loud, “My look at the number of Hujjaj!” The wise man replied, “Nay, the passengers are many, but the Hujjaj are few.” I once heard the story of a man who was blessed with the opportunity to join the caravan for Hajj regularly. However, his shortcoming was that he could never control his anger during the days of Hajj, and would snap cursing others. Well, one person had an idea for him. His inspiration: Instead of cursing Muslims during Hajj, write all your bad comments on a piece of paper - fold it - and then when you get mad at someone, just hand him the paper. On the top of the tiny envelope write, ‘Do not open until after Hajj’. The man agreed. As incident after incident assailed him, the man would simply smile, then frown and hand out the tiny envelopes to the provoking party. Everything was going smoothly until the day when he was walking to the Jamarat and someone stomped his toes. He lost all control. Teeth gritting, he snarled and took out his briefcase of envelopes and dumped it on that poor guys head.
In Hajj I have seen people who snatch for patience and the reward of Allah during those trying moments, like a man pan handles for gold. I asked myself, what is different from them and those who spend their breath in criticism and argumentation? It finally dawned that it was not the body of Zayd or ‘Amr that I was witnessing, but it was the hearts of Zayd and ‘Amr. Some people come to Hajj prepared financially. Others come with a prepared heart – that is what’s essential. Whether the grindstone grinds us to dust or polishes us up depends on what we are made of.
Now - How To Get That Heart In Shape For Hajj?
Firstly: Attend lectures and workshops dealing with Hajj Hajj is one of the pillars that Islam is built on. When someone intends to perform this rite it a must upon them that they learn it well. Rasul Allah – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – said, “Seeking knowledge is obligatory on every Muslim.” Imam Al-Bukhari writes in his Saheeh, ‘Chapter: knowledge comes before statements and actions.’ He then quoted the verse of Allah: [So Know, that there is no deity except Allah and ask forgiveness for your sin.] - Surah Muhammad, 47/19
Secondly: Establish Salah and Perform Qiyaam ul-Layl
When Rasul Allah – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – was preparing his heart for the mission of conveying this Deen, Allah ordered him to prepare using Qiyam ul-Layl. Allah ta’ala says: [O you who wraps himself / Arise (to pray) the night, except for a little] – Surah Muzzammil, 73/1,2
A student once slept over at Imam Ahmad’s house, rahimahullah. Imam Ahmad had left a vessel of water for him, and upon arriving at Fajr time, found the vessel still full of water. He was shocked and remarked, “How can a person be a Talib Al-‘Ilm (student of Islam) and not stand for Qiyam ul-Layl!” Some said to Ibn Mas`ood, may Allah be pleased with him, "We are unable to wake up to perform Qiyam ul-Layl." He told them, "You are distancing yourselves from it by your sins."
Thirdly: Repentance to Allah and Dua
It was during the days of Tashreeq when Jirbreel – alayhis salam – came to Rasul Allah – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam – with the words of Allah: [When the victory of Allah has come and the conquest / And you see the people entering into the religion of Allah in multitudes / Then exalt Him with praise of your Lord and ask forgiveness of Him. Indeed, He is ever Accepting of repentance.] Surah An-Nasr
This was the culmination of 23 years of Da’wah, Jihad, and work; here now was the farewell pilgrimage. What did it end with? [Then exalt Him with praise of your Lord (Tasbeeh) and ask forgiveness of Him]
Subhaanak Allaahumma wa bihamdika, Allahumma ighfir-lana / Glory be to you O Allah, and may You be praised. O Allah, forgive us!

Upon us now are the best ten days of the year

Upon us now are the best ten days of the year. There are no other days more rewarded than these ten. They are the first ten days of the Islamic month Dhul-Hijjah. Unfortunately many of us do not know and let them fly by ...
If there was some great sale advertising ridiculously low prices you will find many of us there waiting on long lines just to get such great deals. Well we should all hurry to catch this great sale that Allah is advertising. “It’s all come all served!”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “ No good deeds done on other days are superior to those done on these days.” His companions asked “ Not even Jihad in the way of Allah?” He said: “Not even jihad, except for the man who puts his life and wealth in danger and returns with neither.” (1)

Subhanallah, how merciful is our Lord. So what can we do? One could read Quran, read things to increase our Iman, help our Muslim neighbor, give charity (even a smile is charity), volunteer at our masjid, fast, dthikr (remembering Allah), etc…

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There are no days more loved to Allah for you to worship Him therein than the ten days of Dhul-Hijja. Fasting any day during it is equivalent to fasting one year and to offer salatul Tahajud (late night prayer) during one of its nights is like performing the late night prayer on (Lilatulqadr) the night of power” (2)

So if we can why not at least try to fast one day during these days so we would have one year fasting on our bank records towards the purchase of the next life.

Ibn Abbas said that the ayah: “Remember Allah during the well known days,”(2:203) refers to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijja.We should say Allahuakbar (Allah is great), Alhamdulillah (all praises is due to Allah), Laillhaillallah (there is no deity but Allah), etc. This is what the Prophet (peace be upon him) told us to do during these days. That’s not too much to ask from us and it is only for our own benefit. On the ninth day it will be the day of Arafat. We should all try to fast this day because the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “It is an expiation for the sins of the preceding year and the current year.” (3)

There for my dear brothers and sisters in Islam, please do not let these days go by without getting on line for this great bargain that Allah the most high is giving away to all that come. May Allah forgive us all and have mercy on us all.

A. Adly

Arafah and the First Ten Days of Dhul-Hijjah

In the Holy Qur’an, Allah the Exalted says (interpretation of the meaning)
{By the dawn. By the ten nights} [Al-Fajr 89:1-2]. Many scholars have said
that this refers to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, and the fact that
Allah swears by them means that they are indeed significant and worth the attention of every Muslim.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) says, “There are no days in which good deeds are more beloved to Allah than these days.” The Prophet was asked, “Not even jihad for the cause of Allah?” He replied: “Not even jihad for the
cause of Allah, except for a man who goes out (for jihad) with his money and
his own self then does not return with any of that.” [Bukhari]

Some of the recommended acts of worship during these days include:
· Fasting - We are told to do good deeds during these days and fasting is one of the best deeds as is stated in a hadith qudsi: ‘All the deeds of the son of Adam are for him, except for fasting, which is for Me and I am the One Who will reward him for it.’" (Bukhari).
Also The Messenger of Allah said: "No servant (of Allah, the Most High) fasts one day in the Path of Allah, except that Allah, the Most High, removes his face from the Fire because of it (the distance of travelling) seventy years."
· Qiyam al layl - (prayer at night)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said that fasting each of these days is equivalent to fasting a year, while qiyam during each night equals qiyam for a year. [Tirmidhi]
· Performing a lot of Tahleel (saying “La illaha illa Allah”), Takbeer (“Allahu Akbar”) and Tahmeed (“Alhamdu Lillah”)
Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him and his father) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "There are no days greater in the sight of Allaah and in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Him than these ten days, so during this time recite a great deal of Tahleel ("La ilaaha ill-Allaah"), Takbeer and Tahmeed." (Ahmad)
Men should say these out loudly and women should recite them quietly. Men should recite them loudly in the mosque, in the street, in the market, the street and in any place that its allowed to remember Allah.There is sound evidence that Ibn ‘Umar and Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with them) used to go out in the marketplace during the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah, reciting Takbeer, and the people would recite Takbeer when they heard them.
· Repentance (Tawbah) : Even though repentance is to be done at all times, people's hearts tend to turn towards worship during these special occasions, so it is important to ask for forgiveness during these times (as well as at all other times) and this repentance combined with the good deeds done during these days can insha'Allah lead a reformation in the Muslim to not repeat their sins and continue to good.
Arafah, which is the ninth day of the month of Dhul-Hijjah, is the greatest day of the entire year. Fasting that day (for those not performing Hajj) is strongly recommended, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) taught us that “Fasting the day of Arafah causes forgiveness of the sins of the previous year and coming year” [Muslim]. I remember reading the story of a lady who reverted to Islam a couple of years ago, and how eager she was to encounter the day on which fasting results in forgiving two whole years.
Another hadith tells us that forgiveness on Arafah is for those who take control of their hearing, sight and tongue. For this reason, it is good to perform i'tikaf (remaining in the mosque) on the day of Arafah. Arafah is also the best day of the year for reading Qur’an.
The tenth day of Dhul-Hijjah is Eid ul Adha on which fasting is forbidden.
All Muslims should take great care to make sure that they use their special opportunitiues given by Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) to us, and not miss them as once they are gone it will be regretted. When our life will end, only Allah knows so we should try to get as much rewards as possible, especially on the days when the reward is multiplied by many times. Never think you have done enough good, my brother and sisters, for never can you do enough good for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala.
I pray to Allah to guide us to the very best during these days. Ameen.

Delaying Hajj for no reason

Praise be to Allaah and blessings and peace be upon the Messenger of Allaah. Whoever is able to do Hajj and does not do the obligatory Hajj, delaying it for no reason, has committed a great evil and a major sin. What he has to do is to repent to Allaah from that and hasten to do Hajj, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Ka‘bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allaah, those who can afford the expenses (for one’s conveyance, provision and residence); and whoever disbelieves [i.e. denies Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah), then he is a disbeliever of Allaah], then Allaah stands not in need of any of the ‘Aalameen (mankind, jinn and all that exists)” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:97] And the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Islam is built on five (pillars): the testimony that there is no god except Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah; establishing regular prayer; paying zakaah; fasting Ramadaan, and performing Pilgrimage to the House (the Ka’bah).” (Saheeh – agreed upon. Al-Bukhaari, 8; Muslim, 16). And the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, when Jibreel (peace be upon him) asked him about Islam: “It means to testify that there is no god except Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah, to establish regular prayer, to pay zakaah, to fast Ramadaan, and to perform Pilgrimage to the House if you have the means to do so.” (Narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh, 8, from the hadeeth of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him)). And Allaah is the Source of strength.

Hajj is obligatory for women as it is for men

Hajj is fard ‘ayn (an individual obligation) which every Muslim who is accountable and is able to do it must do once in a lifetime. It is one of the pillars of Islam, an obligation which is proven to be so in the Qur’aan and Sunnah, and by scholarly consensus. 
1 – In the Qur’aan, Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 
“And Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Ka‘bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allaah, those who can afford the expenses (for one’s conveyance, provision and residence); and whoever disbelieves [i.e. denies Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah), then he is a disbeliever of Allaah], then Allaah stands not in need of any of the ‘Aalameen (mankind, jinn and all that exists)” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:97] 
This aayah clearly states that it is obligatory. When the Qur’aan says “a duty that mankind owes to Allaah” this implies that it is obligatory and compulsory. This is the evidence that it is fard. Indeed, we find that the Qur’aan emphatically states that it is obligatory, in the phrase “and whoever disbelieves [i.e. denies Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah), then he is a disbeliever of Allaah], then Allaah stands not in need of any of the ‘Aalameen (mankind, jinn and all that exists).” Allaah describes going against this obligation as kufr or disbelief. This context shows that failing to do Hajj is not the action of a Muslim, rather it is the action of a non-Muslim.
2 – In the Sunnah, there is the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) according to which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Islam is built on five (pillars): the testimony that there is no god except Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah; establishing regular prayer; paying zakaah; fasting Ramadaan; and Hajj.”  
The phrase “Islam is built…” indicates that Hajj is one of the pillars of Islam. Muslim narrated that Abu Hurayrah said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) gave a sermon and said to us: ‘O people, Allaah has enjoined Hajj upon you so perform Hajj.’ A man said, ‘Every year, O Messenger of Allaah?’ He did not answer until the man had asked it three times, then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘If I had said yes, it would have become obligatory and you are not able to do that.’” And there are so many ahaadeeth concerning that that it reaches the level of tawaatur which means that this obligation is something certain and definite.
 3 – With regard to ijmaa’ or scholarly consensus, the ummah is unanimously agreed that Hajj once in a lifetime is obligatory for the one who is able to do it. This is something which is well known and no Muslim has any excuse for not knowing it, and the one who denies it is a kaafir.  Al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fiqhiyyah, part 17, p. 23
 Al-Nawawi said: They are unanimously agreed that Hajj is obligatory upon a woman if she is able to do it. Sharh Saheeh Muslim.

Description of Hajj

Hajj is one of the best acts of worship. It is one of the pillars of Islam with which Allaah sent Muhammad and without which a person’s religious commitment is incomplete. 
Worship cannot bring a person closer to Allaah and cannot be accepted unless it meets two conditions: 
1 – Sincerity towards Allaah alone, i.e., it is done to seek the Countenance of Allaah and the Hereafter, and is not done to show off, to enhance one’s reputation or for worldly gain. 
2 – Following the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in word and deed. Following the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) can only be achieving by knowing his Sunnah. 
Hence the one who wants to worship Allaah by doing any act of worship – Hajj or anything else – has to learn the teachings of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) concerning it, so that his actions will be in accordance with the Sunnah. 
We will sum up in these few lines the description of Hajj as narrated in the Sunnah. 
In the answer to question no. 31819 we have already described ‘Umrah – please refer to that question also. 
Types of Hajj 
There are three types of Hajj: Tamattu’, Ifraad and Qiraan. 
Tamattu’ means entering ihraam for ‘Umrah only during the months of Hajj (the months of Hajj are Shawwaal, Dhu’l-Qi’dah and Dhu’l-Hijjah; see al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 7/62). When the pilgrim reaches Makkah he performs tawaaf and saa’i for ‘Umrah, and shaves his head or cuts his hair, and exits ihraam. Then when the day of al-Tarwiyah, which is the 8th of Dhu’l-Hijjah, comes, he enters ihraam for Hajj only, and does all the actions of Hajj. So Tamattu’ involves a complete ‘Umrah and a complete Hajj.
Ifraad means entering ihraam for Hajj only. When the pilgrim reaches Makkah he performs tawaaf al-qudoom (tawaaf of arrival) and saa’i for Hajj, but he does not shave or cut his hair and does not exit ihraam, rather he remains in ihraam until he exits ihraam after stoning Jamarat al-‘Aqabah on the day of Eid.  If he delays the saa’i of Hajj until after the tawaaf of Hajj, there is nothing wrong with that. 
Qiraan means entering ihraam for ‘Umrah and Hajj both together. Or entering ihraam for ‘Umrah first then including Hajj in that before starting the tawaaf of Hajj. That is done by intending that his tawaaf and saa’i will be for both Hajj and ‘Umrah.  
The actions done in Qiraan are the same as those done in Ifraad, except that the pilgrim doing Qiraan has to offer a hadiy (sacrifice) whereas the pilgrim doing Ifraad does not. 
The best of these three types of Hajj is Tamattu’. This is what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) enjoined upon his companions and urged them to do. Even if a person enters ihraam for Qiraan or Ifraad, then it is strongly recommended for him to change his intention to ‘Umrah, then complete ‘Umrah and exit ihraam, so that he will then be doing Tamattu’. He may do that after doing tawaaf al-qudoom and saa’i  – because when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did tawaaf and saa’i during his Farewell Pilgrimage, and his companions were with him, he told everyone who did not have a sacrificial animal (hadiy) to change his intention and make his ihraam for ‘Umrah and to cut his hair and exit ihraam, and he said, “Were it not that I have brought the hadiy with me, I would do what I have commanded you to do.” 
The pilgrim should observe the Sunnahs of ihraam which are mentioned in the question referred to above, namely doing ghusl, applying perfume and praying. Then he should enter ihraam after he finishes the prayer or after boarding his means of transportation. 
Then if he is doing Tamattu’, he should say, “Labbayk Allaahumma bi ‘Umrah (Here I am, O Allaah, for ‘Umrah).” 
If he is doing Qiraam, he should say, “Labbayk Allaahumma bi Hijjah wa ‘Umrah (Here I am, O Allaah, for Hajj and ‘Umrah).” 
If he is doing Ifraad, he should say, “Labbayk Allaahumma Hajjan (Here I am, O Allaah, for Hajj).” 
Then he should say, “Allaahumma haadhihi hijjah laa riyaa’a fiha wa la sum’ah (O Allaah, this is a pilgrimage in which there is no showing off or seeking reputation).”  
Then he should recite the Talbiyah as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did: “Labbayka Allaahumma labbayk, labbayka laa shareeka laka labbayk. Inna al-hamd wa’l-ni’mata laka wa’l-mulk, laa shareeka lak  (Here I am, O Allaah, here I am. Here I am, You have no partner, here I am. Verily all praise and blessings are Yours, and all sovereignty, You have no partner).” 
The Talbiyah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) also included the words, “Labbayka ilaah al-haqq (Here I am, O God of Truth).” 
Ibn ‘Umar used to add to the Talbiyah the words, “Labbaayk wa sa’dayka, wa’l-khayr bi yadayka, wa’l-raghba’ ilayka wa’l-‘aml (Here I am and blessed by You, and all good is in Your hands, and desire and action are directed towards You).” 
Men should raise their voices when saying this, but a woman should recite in such a manner that those who are beside her can hear it, unless there is a man beside her who is not one of her mahrams, in which case she should recite it silently. 
If the person who is entering ihraam fears some obstacle that may prevent him from completing his pilgrimage (such as sickness, an enemy, being stopped from proceeding any further, etc), then he should stipulate a condition when entering ihraam by saying, “If I am prevented then my exiting ihraam is where I am prevented” – i.e., if something prevents me from completing my pilgrimage such as sickness or delay etc, then I will exit my ihraam. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded Dubaa’ah bint al-Zubayr, when she wanted to enter ihraam but she was sick, to stipulate such a condition, and he said, “Your condition is valid with your Lord.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5089) and Muslim (1207). 
If he stipulates this condition and something happens to prevent him from completing his pilgrimage, then he exits his ihraam and does not have to do anything (i.e., offer a sacrifice in compensation). 
But the one who does not fear that some obstacle may prevent him from completing his pilgrimage does not have to stipulate any conditions, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not stipulate conditions nor did he command everyone to do so. Rather he told Dubaa’ah bint al-Zubayr to do that because she was sick. 
The muhrim (person who has entered ihraam) should recite the Talbiyah a great deal, especially when circumstances and times change, such as when going up to a high place or going down to a low place, or when night or day begin. After that he should ask Allaah for His good pleasure and for Paradise, and seek refuge in His Mercy from the Fire. 
The Talbiyah is prescribed in ‘Umrah from the moment one enters ihraam until one starts Tawaaf. In Hajj it is prescribed from the moment one enters ihraam until one stones Jamarat al-‘Aqabah on the day of Eid. 
Ghusl when entering Makkah 
When the pilgrim approaches Makkah, he should do ghusl before entering, if possible, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did ghusl before entering Makkah. Narrated by Muslim, 1259. 
Then when he enters al-Masjid al-Haraam he should do so with his right foot first, and say, “Bismillaah wa’l-salaatu wa’l-salaam ‘ala Rasool-Allaah. Allaahumma ighfir li dhunoobi waftah li abwaab rahmatika. A’oodhu Billaah il-‘Azeem wa bi wajhih il-kareem wa bi sultaanih il-‘qadeem min al-Shaytaan il-rajeem (In the name of Allaah, and blessings and peace be upon the Messenger of Allaah. O Allaah, forgive me my sins and open to me the gates of Your mercy. I seek refuge with Allaah the Almighty and in His noble Countenance and His eternal power from the accursed Satan).” Then he should go to the Black Stone in order to start tawaaf… The description of Tawaaf is given in Question no. 31819
Then after he has done tawaaf and prayed two rak’ahs, he should go to the Mas’a (place for doing saa’i) and perform saa’i between al-Safa and al-Marwah. The description of saa’i is given in question no. 31819
The pilgrim who is doing Tamattu’ should do saa’i for ‘Umrah; those who are doing Ifraad and Qiraan should do saa’i for Hajj, and they may delay it until after Tawaaf al-Ifaadah. 
Shaving the head or cutting the hair 
When the pilgrim who is doing Tamattu’ has completed seven circuits of saa’i, he should shave his head if he is a man, or cut his hair. If he shaves his head he must shave his entire head, and if he cuts his hair he must cut from all over his head. Shaving is better than cutting because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) made du’aa’ three times for those who shaved their heads and once for those who cut their hair. Narrated by Muslim, 1303. 
But if the time of Hajj is so close that there will be no time for the hair to grow back, then it is better to cut one’s hair at this point, so that there will be some hair left to shave during Hajj. The evidence for that is the fact that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded his companions, during the Farewell Pilgrimage, to cut their hair during ‘Umrah, because they arrived on the morning of the 4th of Dhu’l-Hijjah. 
Women should cut the length of a fingertip from their hair. 
With these actions, the ‘Umrah of the one who is doing Tamattu’ is concluded, after which he should exit ihraam completely and do everything that those who are not in ihraam do, such as wearing regular clothes, wearing perfume, having intercourse with their wives, etc. 
Those who are doing Ifraad or Qiraan should not shave their heads or cut their hair, or exit ihraam, rather they should remain in ihraam until they exit ihraam on the day of Eid, after stoning Jamarat al-‘Aqabah and shaving their heads or cutting their hair. 
Then when the day of al-Tarwiyah comes, which is the 8th day of Dhu’l-Hijjah, the one who is doing Tamattu’ should enter ihraam for Hajj in the morning from the place where he is in Makkah. It is mustahabb for him to do the same when entering ihraam for Hajj as he did when entering ihraam for ‘Umrah, namely doing ghusl, putting on perfume and praying. He should form the intention of entering ihraam for Hajj and recite the Talbiyah, and say, “Labbayk Allaahumma Hajjan (Here I am, O Allaah, for Hajj).” 
If he fears some obstacle that may prevent him from completing his Hajj, he should stipulate a condition by saying, “If I am prevented then my exiting ihraam is where I am prevented.” If he does not fear any such obstacle then he should not make any such condition. It is mustahabb to recite the Talbiyah out loud until he starts to stone Jamarat al-‘Aqabah on the day of Eid. 
Going to Mina 
Then the pilgrim should go out to Mina and pray Zuhr, ‘Asr, Maghrib, ‘Isha’ and Fajr there, shortening the prayers but not joining them, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to shorten his prayers in Mina but he did not join them. Shortening the prayers means making the four-rak’ah prayers two raka’ahs. The people of Makkah and others should shorten their prayers in Mina, ‘Arafah and Muzdalifah because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to lead the people in prayer during the Farewell Pilgrimage and there were people from Makkah with him, but he did not tell them to offer their prayers in full. If it had been obligatory for them to do so, he would have told them to do so as he did on the day of the Conquest of Makkah. But since the city has spread and incorporated Mina so that it is like one of the quarters of Makkah, then the people of Makkah should not shorten their prayers there.  
Going to ‘Arafah 
When the sun rises on the day of ‘Arafah, the pilgrim travels from Mina to ‘Arafah and stops in Namirah until the time of Zuhr (Namirah is a place just before ‘Arafah), if he can do so. If he cannot do it, it does not matter because staying in Namirah is Sunnah but it is not obligatory. When the sun passes its zenith (i.e., when the time for Zuhr prayer begins), he should pray Zuhr and ‘Asr, two rak’ahs each, and join them together at the time of Zuhr, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did, so as to leave a lot of time for standing and making du’aa’. 
Then after the prayer he should devote his time to making dhikr and du’aa’ and beseeching Allaah, and praying as he likes, raising his hands and facing the qiblah even if the mountain of ‘Arafah is behind him, because the Sunnah is to face the qiblah, not the mountain. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stood by the mountain and said, “I am standing here, but all of ‘Arafah is the place of standing.” 
Most of the Prophet’s du’aa’ in that great place of standing was: “Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah wahdahu laa shareeka lah, lahu’l-mulk, wa lahu’l-hamd, wa huwa ‘ala kulli shay’in qadeer (There is no god but Allaah alone, with no partner or associate; His is the Dominion, all praise is due to Him, and He is able to do all things).” 
If the pilgrim gets tired and wants to have a break by talking to his companions about useful things or by reading from some useful books, especially things that have to do with the generosity and great bounty of Allaah, in order to increase his hopes on that day, this is good.  Then he can go back to beseeching Allaah and praying to Him. He should strive to make the most of the end of the day by making du’aa’. The best of du’aa’ is du’aa’ made on the day of ‘Arafah. 
Going to Muzdalifah 
When the sun sets, the pilgrim should go to Muzdalifah. When he reaches there, he should pray Maghrib and ‘Isha’ with one adhaan and two iqaamahs. If he fears that he will not reach Muzdalifah before midnight, he should pray on the way, because it is not permissible to delay ‘Isha’ prayer until after midnight. 
He should stay overnight in Muzdalifah, then when dawn comes he should pray Fajr early, with the adhaan and iqaamah, and then head for al-Mash’ar al-Haraam (which is the site of the mosque in Muzdalifah) and proclaim the oneness and greatness of Allaah (by saying Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah and Allaahu akbar), and making du’aa’ as he likes, until it has become very light (i.e., when the light of day appears before the sun has actually risen). If it is not easy for him to go to al-Mash’ar al-Haraam, he should make du’aa’ where he is, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stood there and all of Muzdalifah is the place of standing. When he is reciting dhikr and making du’aa’ he should face the qiblah and raise his hands. 
Going to Mina 
When it has become very light, before the sun rises, he should go to Mina and hasten through Wadi Mahsar (which is a valley between Muzdalifah and Mina). When he reaches Mina he should stone Jamarat al-‘Aqabah, which is the last one that is closest to Makkah, throwing seven pebbles one after another, each of which should be approximately the size of a fava bean, saying “Allaahu akbar” with each throw. (The Sunnah when stoning Jamarat al-‘Aqabah is to face the Jamarah with Makkah to one's left and Mina to one one’s right). When he has finished this stoning, he should slaughter his sacrificial animal, then shave his head or cut his hair if he is male; women should cut the length of a fingertip from their hair. This is the first stage of exiting ihraam, in which it becomes permissible to do everything except have intercourse with one's wife. Then the pilgrim should go back to Makkah and do tawaaf and saa’i for Hajj. Then comes the second stage of exiting ihraam, after which everything becomes permissible which was forbidden whilst in ihraam. 
The Sunnah is to put on perfume when one wants to go to Makkah to do tawaaf after stoning the jamarat and shaving one’s head, because ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “I used to apply perfume to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) before he entered ihraam and when he exited ihraam, before he circumambulated the House.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1539; Muslim, 1189. 
Then after tawaaf and saa’i, he should go back to Mina and stay there for two night, the 11th and 12th of Dhu’l-Hijjah, and stone the three jamarats during those two days, when the sun has passed its zenith. It is better for him to go to the jamarats walking, but if he rides that is acceptable. He should stone the first jamarah, which is the one that is furthest away from Makkah and next to Masjid al-Kheef, with seven pebbles, one after another, and say “Allaahu akbar” after each throw. Then he should go forward a little and say a lengthy du’aa’, saying whatever he likes. If it is too difficult for him to stand for a long time and make du’aa’, he should say whatever is easy for him, even if it is only a little, so that he will have done the Sunnah. 
Then he should stone the middle jamarah with seven pebbles, one after another, saying “Allaahu akbar” with every throw. Then he should move to his left and stand facing the qiblah, raising his hands, and offer a lengthy du’aa’ if he can. Otherwise he should stand for as long as he can. He should not omit to stand and make du’aa’ because it is Sunnah. Many people neglect that because of ignorance or because they take the matter lightly. The more the Sunnah is neglected the more important it becomes to do it and spread it among the people, lest it be abandoned and die out. 
Then he should stone Jamarat al-‘Aqabah with seven pebbles, one after another, saying “Allaahu akbar” with each throw, then he should go away and not offer a du’aa’ after that. 
When he has completed the stoning of the Jamaraat on the 12th day of Dhu’l-Hijjah, if he wants he may hasten and leave Mina, and if he wants he may delay his departure and stay there for another night, the night of the 13th, and stone the three Jamaraat after noon as he did before. It is better to delay, but it is not obligatory unless the sun has set on the 12th and he is still in Mina, in which case it is obligatory to stay until one has stoned the three Jamaraat after noon on the following day. But if the sun sets on the 12th and he is still in Mina but not by choice, such as if he had already started out and boarded his means of transportation, but got delayed because of crowded conditions and traffic jams etc., then he is not obliged to stay there, because the delay until sunset was not by his choice. 
When the pilgrim wants to leave Makkah and go back to his country, he should not leave until he has performed the farewell tawaaf (tawaaf al-wadaa’), because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No one should leave until the last thing that he does is (tawaaf) around the House.” Narrated by Muslim, 1327). According to another version, he told the people that the last thing they should do was (tawaaf) around the house, but he made an exception for women who were menstruating. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1755; Muslim, 1328. 
Women who are menstruating or bleeding following childbirth do not have to do the farewell tawaaf; neither should they stand by the door of al-Masjid al-Haraam to bid farewell, because that was not narrated from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). 
The last thing the pilgrim should do when he wants to leave is to circumambulate the House. If after the farewell tawaaf he stays and waits for his companions or to load his luggage or to buy something he needs on the way, there is nothing wrong with that, and he does not have to repeat the tawaaf, unless he intends to delay his journey, such as if he intended to travel at the beginning of the day and he did the farewell tawaaf, then he delays his travelling until the end of the day, for example; in this case he has to repeat the tawaaf so that it will be the last thing he does in Makkah. 
The pilgrim who enters ihraam for Hajj or ‘Umrah has to do the following: 
1-     He has to adhere to that which Allaah has enjoined of religious laws, such as praying on time in congregation.
2-     He has to avoid all that Allaah has forbidden of obscene and immoral speech and sin, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“So whosoever intends to perform Hajj therein (by assuming Ihraam), then he should not have sexual relations (with his wife), nor commit sin, nor dispute unjustly during the Hajj”
[al-Baqarah 2:197]
3-     He should avoid annoying the Muslims with his words or actions, at the holy sites and elsewhere.
4-     He should avoid all things that are forbidden when in ihraam:
a.      So he should not cut anything from his hair or nails, but removing thorns and the like is fine, even if that results in some bleeding.
b.     He should not apply perfume after entering ihraam, either to his body, his clothes, his food or his drink. He should not wash with perfumed soap either. But if any traces of perfume remain from that which he put on before entering ihraam, that does not matter.
c.     He should not hunt.
d.     He should not have intercourse with his wife.
e.      He should not touch her with desire or kiss her etc.
f.       He should not enter into a marriage contract for himself or arrange a marriage for anyone else, or propose marriage to a woman for himself or on behalf of another.
g.     He should not wear gloves, but wrapping one’s hands with a piece of cloth does not matter.  
These seven prohibitions apply equally to men and women. 
The following apply only to men: 
-         Men should not cover their heads with something that stays on the head. Shading their heads with umbrellas, car roofs and tents, and carrying mats etc. (on one’s head, when moving them from one place to another), is acceptable.
-         They should not wear shirts, turbans, burnouses, pants or leather slippers, unless someone cannot find an izar (waist wrapper), in which case he may wear pants; and if he cannot find sandals he may wear shoes.
-         They should not wear anything that is akin to the above, such as abayas, cloaks, hats, t-shirts and the like.
-         It is permissible for men to wear sandals, rings, eyeglasses and hearing aids, and to wear wristwatches, or to put watches on strings around their necks, and to wear money belts.
-         It is permissible for them to wash with unperfumed soaps, and to scratch their heads and bodies, and if any hairs fall unintentionally as a result, there is no sin on them. 
Women should not wear niqaab, which is what they use to cover their faces, with holes cut for the eyes. They should not wear the burqa’ either. 
The Sunnah is for them to uncover their faces unless non-mahram men can see them, in which case they should cover their faces whilst in ihraam and at other times. 
See Manaasik al-Hajj wa’l-‘Umrah by al-Albaani [available in English as The Rites of Hajj and ‘Umrah, published by International Islamic Publishing House, Riyadh]; Sifat al-Hajj wa’l-‘Umrah and al-Manhaj li Mureed al-‘Umrah wa’l-Hajj by Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on them all).