By Ishola Balogun

Any time I read any of the quotes of Prophet Muhammad, the feeling of satisfaction of being a Muslim and having a great leader as Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) resonate in me. Islam through Quran and hadiths has every solution for man, for peaceful co_existence, development, and gaining the hereafter.

But the issue we always contend with daily is the ability of individual to adhere strictly to these ‘Guidance’ (Quran and Hadiths). Pondering on how we can be useful to ourselves in order to make the world a better place, I stumble again on this hadith: “No one of you shall become a true believer until he desires for his brother what he desires for himself.” (Bukhari)

Abu Hurairah said that the Prophet (s.a.w) said: “Beware of suspicion, for suspicion is the greatest falsehood. Do not try to find fault with each other, do not spy on one another, do not vie with one another, do not envy one another, do not be angry with one another, do not turn away from one another, and be servants of Allah, brothers to one another, as you have been enjoined.

A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim, he does him no wrong, nor does he let him down, nor does he despise him. Fear of God is here, fear of God is here, and he pointed to his chest. It is evil enough that a Muslim should look down on his brother. For every Muslim is sacred to one another: his blood, his honour, and his property. Allah does not look at your bodies or your forms, or your deeds, but He looks at your hearts”. (Bukhari, Muslim)

This is one of the most famous quotes of the Prophet (PBUH). Prophet Muhammad had thought the world would be a place full of envy, pride, jealousy, selfishness and backbiting and had attempted to proffer solution to it through his practice to his followers. He encouraged fellow Muslims to have a sense of fraternity amongst each other and to come to one common platform and help the overall growth of the Muslim world.

In order to achieve this unity and peace generally, the Prophet (s.a.w) gave us comprehensive direction on how to sustain fraternity. These are the six duties of a Muslim to another Muslim.

1) The salutation: “When you meet him, greet him; greet him with a warm smile, a friendly face and As Salaam Alaykum. The first duties that a Muslim has over another is saying As_Salaam Alaikum (May peace be with you) with a very good and friendly expression and being good to a brother even though you don’t know him. It also means that you answer the person with an equally good natured Wa_Laikaikum Assalam (May peace be with you too). Muslims should always say As Salaam Alaikum, even if you don’t know the person.

2) “When he invites you, respond to him” When a Muslim brother invites you to a function, you’re to participate in the joy of the host. It is not enough excuse to say I don’t know him. Once he is a Muslim, you don’t have to deny the invitation, rather, join him to rejoice with him.

3) “When he seeks counsel, give him good advice” This is very important in that a Muslim brother relies on the other even in kind. But caution must be exercise that you don’t give him the wrong advice. And if you don’t know, lead him to whoever will give him the good advice.

4) When a Muslim sneezes or even when he trips and he remembers to praise Allah, we must respond to him with a prayer for Allah to have mercy on him. “When he sneezes and praises Allah, say to him: `May Allah have mercy on you (Yarhamuk_Allah).

5) “When he is sick, visit him. Sometimes, physical presence at the bedside of a sick_Muslim could do wonders better than a dose of pain_relief tablets. But do not also forget to pray for him.

6) “When he dies, give him the last respect and follow to his funeral” One hadith even related that the Prophet stood up when the corpse of an unbeliever was being carried away for burial.

For a funeral of Muslim, attend his last rites. This is of utmost importance. Speaking well of him and seeking forgiveness for him will ease his condition in the grave. In turn, when you die, others will also feel for you and make du’a sincerely for your forgiveness.

If we can fulfil these basic duties of a Muslim to another, it is hoped that much of the problems of the society and the world at large will reduce drastically. That is one of the things Islam wants to achieve.

Hajj 2011: Med-View aircraft arrives, to airlift 15,000 pilgrims

By Jimoh Babatunde

One of the accredited airlines for this year’s hajj operation, Med-View Airline, weekend flew in one of the aircrafts for the 2011 hajj operation. The aircraft landed in the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, recently.

The aircraft B747_300 is configured to airlift 517 passengers while the carrier is to carry 15, 000 pilgrims throughout the duration of the exercise. Another B767 aircraft is being expected from Portugal by the carrier next week for the same exercise.

Information gathered indicated that the air carrier is expected to operate at four airports for the Hajj exercise. The airports include MMIA, Ilorin International Airport, Maiduguri International Airport and Port Harcourt International Airport.

Confirming the report, the General Manager, Med_View Airline, Mr. David Babatunde said that the carrier would commence operation on the 2nd October, 2011 with the two aircraft.

On the new security measures at the airports and the enlightenment of pilgrims, Babatunde explained that it is the duty of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria to enlighten the intended pilgrims, but said that as a carrier, they would ensure the safety and security of their aircraft wherever it may be.

He assured the pilgrims of effective performance by the air carrier and added that the aircraft are adequate for the expected 15, 000 pilgrims to be airlifted by the carrier.

He said, “Med_View is noted for good arrangement and performance. We have done it for a couple of years, we are tested and I want to say we are trusted. I want to assure our pilgrims that the only thing that will be different in this year’s edition is better performance. For Med_View, there is no anything like stranded passengers. We have all our plans mapped out.

“Actually, we are just a carrier, NAHCON that is the regulatory body with zonal offices in all the state has taken a lot of big priority in enlightening the pilgrims of the new security measures at the airports. As a carrier, ours is to secure our aircraft, which is an internal arrangement. Of course, with the two aircraft we have, we have more than enough capacities.”

Source close to NAHCON in Lagos had told our correspondent that the Federal Government approved the new date after consultations with various stakeholders including the air carriers that have been designated for the exercise, but could not ascertain why the date was shifted forward.

Islamic Etiquttes: How to prepare for hajj

By HarunA Razaq

THe importance of early and adequate preparation for Hajj cannot be over_emphasized. This is because hajj exercise involves a lot of money, time, and physical effort put into it. The purpose of the preparations is not only to minimize physical discomfort, decrease emotions or financial burden, but to enable pilgrim perform the exercise in accordance with the dictates of shariah.

Therefore, it is very important to be ready as early possible for this spiritual exercise. Arrangements must be started early enough so that an intending pilgrim need not rushed for time a few days before the journey commences. Getting information for hajj through the officials (i.e. Hajj Board or agents) and obtaining document, medical checks etc., consume a great deal of time. Four to five months ahead of the actual date of departure is not too much for starting to prepare for Hajj.

The following are some of the way through which an intending pilgrim can prepare for Hajj: _ Meeting the conditions of Hajj namely (1) must be a practice Muslim with sound ‘Aqidah (doctrine), must be a true Muslim and must not involve in acts which take man out of Islam (or act that nullifies Iman (belief).

Mocking the faith

The ten most common ones are (i) Associating partner with Allah, (ii) Setting up intermediary between oneself and Allah (iii) not considering Mushrikin to be unbelievers, (iv) believing that some guidance is better than what the prophet’s (SAW) came with, (v) hating something that the Messenger (SAW) came with, (vi) mocking something of the faith, (vii) practicing sorcery,(viii) Supporting the polytheists against the Muslims, (ix) believing that some people are permitted to deviate from the Shariah, (x) turning away from the religion of Allah, neither learning its precepts nor acting upon it.

So, faith is a conditions of the validity of the deeds and its approval; (2) Must have attained adulthood; (3) Must be of a sound state of mind and in full control of his mental faculties; (4) Ability: this include the following: _ Must be healthy and physically fit, to undergo the rigours of the journey and rites. Must be sure that the way to the holy land is safe and secure from any danger. Must be financially sound enough to be able to bear all of the expenses for Hajj, also to provide adequately for his dependants before leaving home.

An Intending pilgrim must be conscious and fear Allah in his actions speech and dealings. These are very important steps because Qur’an says the best preparation is taqwah llah (fear of Allah).

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