My dearest sisters and brothers,

Alhamdulillah I have some of the best news a Muslim is ever blessed to share – yours truly has been invited to make the Hajj. Alhamdulillah! This great news has kept me very busy, as you can imagine, there are several preparations and arrangements to make. My Muslims sisters and brothers will know what this means. For my dear non-Muslim readers, I wish I had time to write more about it. But I leave in the morning and at least I want to gather a few links here before I leave.

So here are a few choice links for both my Muslim and non-Muslim readers. For the former, a beautiful expounding on the internal and external dimensions of this great obligation the One who made us has placed upon us, by a dear teacher, and a well-known guide of this day and age – Sheikh Mokhtar Maghroui (his physics PhD background often comes out in his talks, and I particularly love that :))

And for my non-Muslim readers, a few selected documentaries made by reputable sources. They are not Muslim sources, so the material, though watered down, is God willing easier to understand. And as a scientist – I prefer to share for my non-Muslim readers, from non-Muslim sources – to eliminate ‘ascertainment bias’ as we say. Forgive me if this often means deeper meanings are not communicated. But this post gathers from all sources, so you are free to chose what to enjoy!

Sh. Mokhtar on inner and outer dimensions of Hajj. As a personal preference, I think the inner takes precedence over the outer (think about the Meccan period coming before the Medinan period in the lifetime of our beloved, sallalaahu alaihi wasallam…), though both are important. I will therefore link the inner dimensions first and then outer dimensions as good ‘adab’ (=etiquette). I am sorry I can’t translate the beautiful and exalted du’a (=supplications/prayers) Sh. Mokhtar starts and ends with. He does often translate the Arabic words he uses in-between.

And a series of lesser-known tastefully made documentaries on the Hajj

Finally my dear readers, I ask that you pray for me for an accepted Hajj (from my Muslim readers) and that you forgive me if there have been any errors on this blog in what I’ve written or communicated. May God accept from me and guide me!

Peace be with you all

striving to worship God as though we see Him

Assalamu alaikum (peace be with you)

This is a friday sermon (jumuah khutbah) delivered by one of our foremost scholars today. Sh. Mokhtar has an interesting background, having a PhD in engineering and physics in addition to his religious scholarly training. It is a beautiful sermon, relevant to everyone of us and so I am posting it here. For those who do not know, on Fridays (Muslims have no sabbat per se, but Friday is considered a small ‘eid’ = festival day. Friday is called ‘jumuah’ in arabic as it comes from the root ‘jama’ah’ meaning ‘gathering’ as it is the day we gather for the communal noon prayer) the noon prayer takes the form of a sermon and a shortened communal prayer. The noon prayer which usually consists of 4 ‘units’ or cycles of worship, is shortened to 2 cycles and the other 2 are replaced by the ‘khutbah’ or sermon, which can be delivered by anyone qualified. This means for instance in the hospital where I work, we take turns delivering the sermon as there is no ‘ordained priesthood’ in Islam. It is better of course to have a trained imam deliver it! Because of this replacing of the 2 raka’at with the sermon, the sermon is divided in to 2 segments and the speaker, the ‘khateeb’ takes a break in between.

If you cannot listen to the whole, please listen to a few minutes about the 25 min mark. MashaAllah (by God’s grace) very profound.

Alhamdulillah (all thanks and praise to God) now that I am learning arabic I can understand the gist of the supplication or ‘du’a’ made at the end. This is what most non-Muslims will call  a ‘prayer’ when the Imam leads the congregation in asking God for His blessings. It is also customary to begin the sermon with a short ‘du’a’ or words from the prophet (peace be upon him) always in Arabic. Unfortunately my Arabic is not good enough to translate it, but if any of you can email me a translation or post it below, I’d be very grateful.

Jazakum Allah khairan (God grant good upon you all)