Arab News reports that the government of Saudi Arabia is asking Muslims to postpone their performance of the Hajj this year, especially if they haveádone itábefore, in order to ease congestion amidst ongoing construction at the Masjid Al-Haram in Makkah.á In past years, nearly 3 million people have gathered for the Hajj. Saudi Arabia began the expansion project in 2011 to accommodate additional crowds in safety and comfort.á This year, with much of the mataf (space for tawaf) closed off for construction, the government has requested to reduce the number of domestic pilgrims by 50% and foreign pilgrims by 20%.á Anyone planning to travel for Hajj this year should be aware of the situation and anticipate restrictions.
With less than a month to go before Ramadan, procrastinators are now in a rush toámake up days.áDuring Ramadan, accommodations can be made when someone is unable to fast because of sickness or other health reasons. However, it is necessary to either make up the days later, if possible, or expiate in other ways. Generally one must strive to make up the days before the beginning of the next Ramadan... Read More
Muslims around the world recognize today as Isra' and Mi'raj, or the anniversary of the Night Journey and Ascension of the Prophet Muhammad.
During a very difficult year in his life, Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad had a very comforting experience. One night, he made a trip to the city of Jerusalem (isra'), visited the location of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and from there was raised up into heaven (mi'raj). The next day, he told his followers of his journey and the things he saw. Muhammad and his followers perceived this as a miraculous journey, and it gave them strength and hope that God was with them despite recent setbacks.
Even at the time, there were those who laughed that such an experience was absurd. They claimed that Muhammad merely had a vivid dream, or a hallucination. However, the details of the account proved to many that the experience was real, a miracle from God. Today, Muslims do not universally acknowledge this day, but many spend time reading the Qur'an and pondering the lessons to be learned from the experience.
Photo: Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem is a holy site for Muslims. (David Silverman / Getty Images)
To fully understand the nature of the Almighty, the Quran uses words such as "The Beneficent," "The Loving," and "The Merciful."á Other words come from Islamic tradition. Overall, there are several dozenánames to describe the nature or attributes of our Lord. Among them:
- The Most Gracious (Ar-Rahman)
- The Protector (Al-Muhaimin)
- The All-Knowing (Al-'Aleem)
- The Source of Peace (As-Salaam)
- The Generous (Al-Kareem)