Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 3 Rabi' al-Awwal 1439
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What is the ruling on teaching the rites of ‘umra by making a model of the Ka’ba and circumambulating it?

What is the ruling on teaching the rites of ‘umra by making a model of the Ka’ba and circumambulating it?

Answer

The excellence of knowledge
God the Almighty raised the rank of scholars. He says: “Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know?” [39: 9]. He also commands scholars to teach His servants and says: “And remember Allah took a covenant from the people of the Book to make it known and clear to mankind” [3: 187]. God commands us to perform and complete hajj and 'umra by saying: “And complete the hajj and 'umra in the service of Allah” [2: 196].

Knowledge precedes action
In his Sahih, Imam Al-Bukhari devoted a chapter on knowledge entitled “Bab Al-'Ilm Qabl Al-Qawal wa Al-'Amal” [Knowledge comes before speech and actions] which he based on the primacy of knowledge as expressed in the words of God the Almighty: “Know, therefore, that there is no god but Allah” [47: 19].

God revealed knowledge to His Prophet through various means
The diverse methods through which God the Almighty revealed knowledge to His chosen Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is evident in a hadith in which Aisha (may God be pleased with her) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) asked: "O Messenger of God! How is Divine inspiration revealed to you?" The Messenger (peace and blessings be upon you) replied, "Sometimes it comes to me like the ringing of a bell which is hardest upon me. This state passes after I have grasped what was revealed to me. Sometimes Jibril comes to me in the form of a man; he speaks to me and I grasp whatever he says" [recorded by Bukhari and Muslim].

It was mentioned that God revealed matters of the unseen to His Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Anas Ibn Malik narrated that the Messenger of God said: "By He in Whose Hands is my life! Paradise and hell-fire were displayed before me across this garden while I was praying. I never saw good and evil such as I have seen today" [recorded by Bukhari and Muslim].

After the Prophet's Night journey to Bayt Al-Maqdis [Al-Aqsa Mosque], the disbelievers asked the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to describe it for them. Jabir (may God be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "When Quraysh did not believe me, I stood up in Al-Hijr and God displayed Bayt Al-Maqdis before me. So I began describing it to them while looking at it" [recorded by Bukhari and Muslim].

The Prophet's different methods of teaching

Illustrative diagrams
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used illustrative sketches and diagrams as in the hadith narrated by Ibn Mas'ud (may God be pleased with him) who said: "The Prophet drew a square with a line in its middle that extended to the outside. He then drew several small lines attached to the middle line and said, 'This is man and this is death surrounding him (or has surrounded him) from all sides. This line outside [the square] is his hope, and these small lines are the adverse conditions [which may befall him]. If one misses him, another overtakes him, and if the other misses him, a third overtakes him" [recorded by Bukhari]. In another hadith, Anas (may God be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) drew lines and said: "This is [man's] hope and this is death. While he is in this state [of hope], the nearer line [death] will overtake him" [recorded by Bukhari].

Body language
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) sometimes used body language to illustrate his words. This was mentioned in the hadith narrated by Abu Huraira about those who spoke while still in the cradle. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "…a woman from the people of Israel was nursing her child when a grand rider passed by her. She said, 'O God! Make my child like him.' At this, the child left her breast and, facing the rider, said, 'O God! Do not make me like him.' The child then resumed suckling." Abu Huraira said, "It is as if I am looking at the Prophet sucking his finger [by way of demonstration]" [recorded by Bukhari and Muslim. The hadith is in Bukhari's wording]. In another phrasing by Muslim, Abu Huraira said: "It is as if I am looking at the Messenger of God relating [the incident] and sucking his thumb [by way of demonstration]." Commenting on this hadith, Ibn Hajar, the hadith scholar, said: "This hadith employs exaggeration and practical demonstration for clarification."

Analogy
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) employed analogy to compare present and past entities. For instance, he compared the physical appearance of many prophets, Jibril and Al-Messih Ad-Dajjal [the false Messiah] to some of the Companions. He said: "As for [Prophet] Ibrahim, look at your Companion [referring to himself]…" [recorded by Bukhari and Muslim].

Practical demonstration
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon you) demonstrated some acts of worship with the aim of teaching the people. Sahl Ibn Sa'ad narrated that once after performing prayer on the pulpit, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) turned to the people and said: "O people! I have [only] done this so that you follow me and know the manner of my prayer" [recorded by Bukhari and Muslim].

Later examples
The Salaf [the first three generation of Muslims] adopted this teaching method. Abu Qilaba said: "Malik Ibn Al-Huwairith, one of the Companions, came to this mosque and said, 'I will lead you in prayer though I intend it as a voluntary prayer for me. I will pray as I have seen the Prophet pray' "[recorded by Bukhari. He authored a chapter in his Sahih which he entitled "Leading people in prayer only with the aim of teaching them the manner of the Prophet's prayer and his Sunnah"].

Shu'ba narrated from Mu'awaya Ibn Qurra through 'Abdullah Ibn Mughafal Al-Muzani who said: "I saw the Messenger of God on the day of the Conquest of Mecca riding his she-camel and reciting the chapter of Al-Fat-h or some verses from it in a pleasant voice." Shu'ba continued, "Mu'awaya then imitated Ibn Mughafal's recitation and said, 'Were I not afraid that the people may gather around you, I would recite in the same manner as 'Abdullah Ibn Mughafal,' i.e. imitating the Prophet's recitation. I asked Mu'awaya, 'How did he recite [the Quran]?' He replied, 'Like so … .' He repeated it three times" [recorded by Bukhari].

Observation leaves a stronger impression than mere hearsay as is evident from the following report: "Being informed of something is not like observing it firsthand. When God the Almighty informed Musa that his people had taken to worshipping a golden calf, he did not throw the tablets. But when he saw this with his own eyes, he threw down the tablets and they broke" [recorded by Ibn Hibban, Al-Hakim and Al-Tabarani in Al-Kabeer and Al-Awsat. The hadith is in the words of Ibn 'Abbas].

The ruling
Based on the above, there is not only no objection to teaching the rites of 'umra as described in the question but it may even be recommended. It becomes obligatory if the rites will not be understood except in this manner, though the sanctity of God’s rites must be preserved. This is because of the words of God Who says: “Such (in his state): and whoever holds in honor the rites of Allah, (In the sacrifice of animals), such (honor) should come truly from piety of heart” [22: 32].
We ask God the Almighty to grant us and Muslims success in seeking knowledge and in acting righteously upon it.
And God the Almighty knows best.
 

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