Righteous Deeds with the Same Reward as Hajj and ‘Umrah – I

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    There are several righteous deeds that may substitute for Hajj and ‘Umrah, for those who cannot afford to perform them. Some of these deeds are:

    1) Reciting Thikr after the five daily prayers:
    Abu Hurayrah narrated that a group of destitute people came to the Prophet and said, “O Messenger of Allah, the wealthy people will have higher grades and will have permanent enjoyment in high levels in Paradise. They pray like us and fast as we do, but they have more money by which they perform the Hajj, ‘Umrah, participate in Jihaad and give in charity.” The Prophet replied: “Shall I not tell you something upon which if you acted you would catch up with those who have surpassed you? Nobody would surpass you and you would be better than the people amongst whom you live except those who would do the same. Say ‘Subhaan-Allah’, ‘Al-Hamdulillaah’ and ‘Allahu Akbar’ thirty-three times each after every (compulsory) prayer.’” [Al-Bukhari]

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    Abu Ad-Dardaa’ also narrated that they (the group of poor Muslims) said, “O Messenger of Allah, the wealthy people will have higher grades and rewards. They (have money to) perform Hajj, but we cannot afford it, and they participate in Jihaad, but we cannot afford that either.” The Prophet replied: “Shall I not tell you about something, if you act upon it you would catch up with those who have surpassed you? Say ‘Subhaan-Allah’, ‘Al-Hamdulillaah’ and ‘Allahu Akbar’ thirty-three times each after every (compulsory) prayer.” [Ahmad and An-Nasaa’i]

    This means that reciting this Thikr (words of remembrance of Allah The Almighty) after each prayer substitutes for Hajj and ‘Umrah for Muslims who cannot perform these acts of worship with a legitimate excuse under Sharee‘ah. They can come closer to their Lord by performing this righteous deed, which is the remembrance of Allah The Almighty after the five daily prayers.

    2) Performing the ‘Ishaa’ and Fajr prayers in congregation:
    Abu Tharr narrated that a group of the Companions came to the Prophet and said, “O Messenger of Allah, the wealthy people will have higher grades and will have permanent enjoyment and they pray like us and fast as we do. They have more money, which they give in charity.” The Prophet replied: “Has Allah not rendered for you the ‘Ishaa’ prayer in congregation equal to Hajj, and the Fajr prayer in congregation equal to ‘Umrah?” [Muslim]

    Once, Abu Hurayrah said to a man, “Going to the mosque early (before the time of the obligatory prayer) is dearer to me than our participation in Jihaad with the Prophet .”
    Undeniably, performing the obligatory acts of worship is better than performing voluntary acts of worship such as voluntary Hajj and ‘Umrah. The slaves can never come closer to their Lord with righteous deeds better than carrying out the obligatory acts of worship. Many people find it difficult to purify themselves their earnings from ill-gotten gains, and doubtful acts that may be forbidden, yet they find it very easy to spend their money on performing Hajj and offering charity.

    Some of our righteous predecessors said, “Giving up a misdeed that Allah The Exalted abhors is dearer to me than performing Hajj 500 times.” This means that abandoning sins and prohibitions takes precedence over performing obligatory acts of worship. Abandoning ill-gotten gains and seeking lawfully earned sustenance are among the greatest deeds with which man can come closer to his Lord. Al-Fudhayl ibn ‘Iyaadh highlighted another act of worship that is better than performing voluntary Hajj. He said, “There is no Hajj or Jihaad harder than controlling one’s tongue. If man assigned greater attention to his tongue and what it utters, he would be in great distress [due to what he says]. Performing righteous deeds through the body is not what counts; what counts is the softness of the heart, its piety and purifying it from sins.”

    … To be continued

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