Don’ts of Makkah and Madinah
As pilgrims are now aware of these important honours and virtues of Makkah and Madinah; they must now be extra careful in the City of Makkah and Madinah particularly in the vicinity of Masjid Al Haram and Masjid Al Nabawi Sharif. If they do not take care in these sacred places, then they risk loosing the benefit of their good deeds and prospect the reward from Allah. The following principles of honourable behaviour should be followed by every Muslim at all times when in Makkah or Madinah.
Spitting: Pilgrims should not spit on the streets and pathways of Makkah and Madinah. If anyone needs to spit, they should spit in sinks or garbage containers (available everywhere). If they are unable to find a washroom or a garbage container, then they must keep tissue papers in their pockets and use them and later dispose of them in the garbage containers. Spitting on the streets of Makkah and Madinah is clearly a disrespectful act and insulting for the holy cities. Allah may destroy all the good deeds that the pilgrim has done, if the pilgrim spits on the streets of Makkah and Madinah knowingly that it is disrespectful and unhygienic and may spread diseases.
Cleaning up and disposing garbage: Some pilgrims after eating or drinking leave bottles, boxes, containers and plastic bags behind in the places where they ate their meals. They do not dispose off their garbage properly. This makes the street and the roads of Makkah and Madinah dirty. It creates environmental pollution in holy cities. It creates hazards for pedestrians and for vehicles. It causes inconvenience to the other pilgrims. Therefore, anyone who does not properly dispose off garbage in Makkah and Madinah will be subjected to the wrath of Allah for insulting and disrespecting Makkah and Madinah.
Prophet Muhammad Peace be upon him) said, “Cleanliness is half of Faith”. When someone destroys the cleanliness of the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah then this person may be loosing more than half of his / her faith.
Kissing the Hajre-Aswad: Kissing the Hajr-e-Aswad is a very desirable and honourable action. However, pushing, bullying, fighting and quarrelling with people in order to jump the line represent the worst actions a pilgrim can do in the Masjid Al Haram. Sometimes people in AHRAAM fight with other pilgrims, which destroys the spirit of their Umrah OR Hajj. In the state of AHRAAM, fighting, quarrelling, pushing, bullying, hurting people, yelling and screaming is HARAM (forbidden). How do people figure that their Umrah or Hajj will provide them with any benefit when they fight and use vulgar language while in the state of AHRAAM? In fact, this person is simply increases his stock of sins by fighting and yelling in the state of AHRAAM.
It is important to remember that Islam is about the essence of the act, not simply the act alone. One does not have to physically touch the stone in order to gain its benefits. Therefore, if a person is unable to reach the Hajr-e-Aswad due to the large crowds, then this person can symbolically kiss the Hajr-e-Aswad from a distance and his kiss will still be as good as someone really kisses the Haj-e-Aswad. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself did this symbolic kiss many times. He wanted other people to get the chance. Why do pilgrims not look to the Holy Prophet’s (peace be upon him) example? Remember, in Islam the reward of all actions is based upon the intention, not on the actual action. But when you know that you may cause unintentional harm to someone then stay away from that action. Allah will reward you, Insha-Allah, for being careful and being considerate of others.
A person who causes harm to himself or other pilgrims while trying to kiss Hajr-e-Aswad will gain no benefits from his/her kiss. Instead, the person will be committing a sin in Masjid Al Haram – the worst thing a pilgrim could do.
Similarly, standing in HATEEM OR near MULTAZAM is good but it must not be sought at the cost of causing harm or inconvenience to others. There is no reward from Allah for those who push and shove and make room for themselves at these honoured places. They are utterly selfish. People often excuse these actions saying they did not have the intention to harm or cause inconvenience for others but surely they must understand that their actions do cause harm and inconvenience for others. Therefore, they need to recognize that their apparent good deed may put them in trouble with Allah because of their intentional carelessness in recognizing the harm they cause to others.
Allah has ordered to pray at Maqam-e-Ibraheem, however, now the entire Masjid Al Haram is considered Maqam-e-Ibraheem. Therefore, if someone still insists on praying at the actual Maqam-e-Ibrahim and ignore the difficulty this causes for the pilgrims who trying to make Tawaf will gain no benefit from his / her prayer at Maqam-e-Ibrahim. Do these pilgrims truly hope for reward from Allah when they insist on creating a hazard for other pilgrims? Allah likes a prayer conducted with concentration and in a relaxed manner. A pilgrim praying anywhere else in Masjid al-Haram is more likely to perform such a prayer compared to a pilgrim who rushes his / her prayer and cannot concentrate because he is praying where people are making Tawaf.
Sa’ee in Safa and Marwa: Most of the pilgrims prefer to make Sa’ee on the ground level which overcrowds the area. Now Safa and Marwa hills have three floors. The reward for doing Sa’ee on any of the three floors is the same. Therefore, if the ground level gets crowded, pilgrims should go on to the above floors. Let us assume that someone started Sa’ee on the ground level and he / she completed two or three rounds of Safa and Marwa. As the more and more people join and the person realizes that it is getting very crowded on the ground level then this person should move to the upper level for Sa’ee and complete the remaining rounds on the upper levels. (There are stairs and escalators on the Marwa side for upper levels)
Raml during Tawaf: During the first three rounds of Ka’ba Muslim men perform what is known as RAML. Raml is to walk at a slightly increased pace with your chest “puffed up” as if you are flexing your chest muscles. Although, Raml is not a requirement but pilgrims follow it as a Sunnah of the Holy Prophet. However, some pilgrims misunderstand the idea of Raml and they start running and pushing people. This hurts women, children and the elderly. In the largest routine gathering of humans with limited space, it is inappropriate to run or walk fast during Tawaf. Raml does not mean that pilgrims have to run or push people. Raml means that the men should broaden their chests in order to express that they are healthy and strong. Therefore, those who try to run or push people during Tawaf, may be the recipients of Allah’s wrath. Sometimes people come in groups and they create a type of fort around themselves by holding hands or cloths causing great inconvenience to other individuals. This is completely inappropriate and should not be done in Masjid Al Haram..
Elderly: One has to be very careful with the elderly people. The elderly people must be protected by others. The elderly walk slowly and must not be pushed. If by mistake someone causes any inconvenience to anyone then that person should seek immediate forgiveness of that person. Many people do not care when they have elbowed someone and just continue on, which is against Islamic teachings and moral values. We must be extra courteous and kind to one another especially in the House of Allah; the merciful and the most kind.
Non Mahram: Although, it is logistically impossible to keep a reasonable distance among individuals but each individual, man or woman, must try his/her best to keep a reasonable distance between themselves and other non-Mahram people. The key is showing Allah a reasonable effort to avoid contact with non Mahram individuals if one is to safeguard their Hajj or Umrah.
Sleeping and resting in Masjid Al Haram and Masjid Al Nabawi: First of all people should not be sleeping in Masjid Al Haram and Masjid Al Nabawi except during the period of I’tikaf. They should have arrangements for their stay such as hotels, etc. However, people do get tired after Tawaf and Sa’ee and they want to sit and rest for few minutes. Many pilgrims treat Masjid Al Haram and Masjid Al Nabawi as casual places when they take their rest. Some men and even women lay down in any position they like and show no HAYA (modesty). This is certainly a greatly negligent act of the pilgrims in the holy mosques. Masjid Al Haram and Masjid Al Nabawi and their surroundings are always filled with millions of people. While people sleep among these great number of people walking around them at all times, they sometimes, accidentally and of course, unknowingly, have their AOWRAH (parts of body that must be covered in public) exposed to other people, especially for men in AHRAAM (its only two sheets). Therefore, it’s not a good idea to sleep in Masjid Al Haram or outside Masjid Al Haram on a side walk or pathways OR in Masjid Al Nabawi. If someone is in need of rest for a few minutes, then they must ensure that they are properly covered at all times.
Quarrelling, using inappropriate language in Makkah: Many pilgrims quarrel and use very inappropriate language with other Muslims. Sometimes they are in AHRAMM and they still fight with others OR use inappropriate language (vulgarity and vanity) when they speak. If a pilgrim quarrels or uses inappropriate language in AHRAAM, he/she must pay a penalty (KAFFARAH) by sacrificing an animal. Their Umrah or Hajj will not be accepted unless they offer the KAFFAARAH (penalty). If someone is not in the state of Ahraam but is still present in the city of Makkah, this person must still not fight or use inappropriate language with anyone. It is a sin against his soul and destroys his good deed.
Anger: No doubt, pilgrims are under enormous stress and greatly fatigued because performing Hajj or Umrah is not easy for everyone. Umrah and Hajj require physical work to a considerable extent. Hajj requires far more physical movements than Umrah. Therefore, people get tired and cranky and loose patience. In case of a dispute or disagreement, some pilgrims become very angry. This is what exactly Shaitan (Satan) looks for. Pilgrims go to Makkah to please Allah, which makes Shaitan unhappy. However, when a pilgrim gives himself up to anger and quarrels with another pilgrim, Shaitan is certainly pleased while Allah is surely displeased with this pilgrim’s act.
Parents and Children: Some parents when they get angry at their children they curse at them (BADDU’A). They forget that they are in Makkah where supplications and Du’a are accepted very fast. Therefore, parents should control themselves and never curse at their children in the city of Makkah and Madinah. They should be making du’a for their children. Similarly, children must obey their parents and serve them to their best, which will be rewarded by Allah.
Speaking Loud and listening or participating in useless talks: Some pilgrims talk very loudly inside Masjid Al Nabawi Sharif. This destroys all good deeds of a person. Some pilgrims laugh, make jokes and tell stories in Masjid Al Haram / Masjid Al Nabawi. I have seen so called scholars and those who claim that they love Allah and His Prophet (peace be upon him) more involved in jokes and worldly discussions in side both mosques than ordinary Muslims. This must be avoided inside both the Holy Mosques. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an;
“O ye who believe! Raise not your voices above the voice of the Prophet, nor speak loud to him in talk, as ye may speak aloud to one another, Lest your deeds become vain and ye perceive not. (Surah Al Hujurat (49): 2)
The respect and honour of Masjid Al Nabawi remains the same as exemplified by the companions’ behaviour in the presence of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Professional Beggars: For the past few years many professional beggars have started coming to Makkah and Madinah. They come to Makkah / Madinah in order to make money through begging. Some of them lie and fabricate stories. These liars and thieves lie and steal in the house of Allah and the city of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). They are subject to the severest punishment from Allah. There are individuals and companies in a few Muslim countries, who export beggars to Makkah and Madinah during Hajj and Umrah season and make tons of illegitimate money. These people are brought into Saudi Arabia on Umrah OR Hajj visa. Saudi government cannot do much. It is the duty of each pilgrim to identify such culprits. However, we must be careful because there are genuine, needy people who deserve our charity and help. But we must be vigilant about the professional beggars. There are also people who pick pockets and steal people’s wallets in and around Masjid Al Haram and Masjid Al Nabawi. These people will get the most severe punishment from Allah.