From 'Abdul 'Aziz ibn 'Abdullah ibn Baaz to whomever reads it among pilgrims and Muslims everywhere.

Dear pilgrims,

As-salamu 'alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh (May Allaah's Peace, Mercy, and Blessings be upon you.)

Welcome to the Sacred City of Allaah (Makkah) and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that is honored by Allaah with serving performers of Hajj and 'Umrah (lesser Hajj) and visitors of the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah, who come from different places all over the world. Allaah also grants the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia the blessing of serving the sacred places and securing them for those who are circumambulating the Ka'bah or staying (for worship in the Masjid), or bowing or prostrating themselves (there, in Prayer).

I ask Allaah (Glorified and Exalted be He) to enable you to perform your Hajj and visit the Prophet's Masjid (mosque) safely, faithfully, quietly, tranquilly, and easily. May Allaah accept your Hajj, give you the best reward for it, forgive you your sins, grant you out of His bounties, and make your return to your homes safe. Verily, Allaah is the Most Generous, the Most Bountiful.

Dear pilgrims:

Muslims remain in a good condition as long as they advise each other, recommend one another to the truth and patience, and help one another in righteousness and piety. Thus, I remind you of the fact that you are now witnessing virtuous days and blessed places. You have come from far places and encountered a lot of difficulties in responding to Allaah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) and intending to perform a great obligation and a lofty righteous deed that Allaah (Exalted be He) orders you to do by saying:

{And Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Ka'bah ) is a duty that mankind owes to Allâh, those who can afford the expenses (for one's conveyance, provision and residence); and whoever disbelieves [i.e. denies Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah), then he is a disbeliever of Allâh], then Allâh stands not in need of any of the 'Alamîn (mankind, jinn and all that exists).}

The foregoing facts necessitate that pilgrims have to keep and look after certain things to have their Hajj accepted, have their Sa'y (going between Safa and Marwah during Hajj and 'Umrah) rewarded, and have their sins forgiven through the guidance and help of Allaah. Verily, there is no reward for the accepted Hajj other than Jannah (Paradise).

The following are some of these things:

First:

Pilgrims have to make their intention sincere to Allaah (Exalted be He). This is very important for obtaining the reward of Hajj. Allaah (Exalted be He) says:

{And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allâh, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him), and perform As-Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât) and give Zakât, and that is the right religion.}

Allaah (Exalted be He) also says:

{So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.}

Second:

Pilgrims and Muslims generally should make sure that they draw closer to Allaah (Exalted be He) through acts that Allaah (Exalted be He) ordains for His servants. While performing different rituals of Hajj, pilgrims have to follow the example of their Prophet (peace be upon him) who said: "Take your (Hajj) rituals from me." (Related by Muslim, may Allaah be merciful with him).The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said: "Pray as you have seen me praying." (Related by Al-Bukhari,may Allaah be merciful with him).

On the other hand, Allaah (Exalted be He) says:

{Indeed in the Messenger of Allâh (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes for (the Meeting with) Allâh and the Last Day, and remembers Allâh much.}

Accordingly, whatever a person does sincerely for the sake of Allaah but not in conformity with the practice of the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) is rejected and not accepted by Allaah (Exalted be He). Proof of this is the Sahih (authentic) Hadith in which the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) said: "Whoever does any act not in compliance with our Deen (religion) will have it rejected." (Related by Muslim, (may Allaah be merciful with him)). Moreover, Allaah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says to His Messenger (peace be upon him):

{Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم to mankind): "If you (really) love Allâh then follow me (i.e. accept Islâmic Monotheism, follow the Qur'ân and the Sunnah), Allâh will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allâh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."}

Third:

Pilgrims and Muslims generally should be knowledgeable of the rulings of their Deen (religion). This enables them to perform the obligations of their Deen correctly in the same way that they were ordained. Allaah (Exalted be He) says to His Prophet (peace be upon him):

{Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم): "This is my way; I invite unto Allâh (i.e. to the Oneness of Allâh - Islâmic Monotheism) with sure knowledge, I and whosoever follows me (also must invite others to Allâh i.e. to the Oneness of Allâh - Islâmic Monotheism with sure knowledge). And Glorified and Exalted be Allâh (above all that they associate as partners with Him). And I am not of the Mushrikûn (polytheists, pagans, idolaters and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allâh; those who worship others along with Allâh or set up rivals or partners to Allâh)."}

In addition, Allaah (Exalted be He) commands us to ask people of knowledge about things of our Deen that we are not sure about. He (Glorified be He) says:

{So ask the people of the Reminder, if you do not know.}

Beyond what has been mentioned, there is reported in the two Sahih Books of Hadith (i.e. Al-Bukhari and Muslim) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) said: "When Allaah wants to do good to a person, He makes them comprehend the Deen."

It is worth mentioning that you will find, by the help of Allaah, scholars that the country, may Allaah keep it, appointed in Makkah Al-Mukarramah, Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah, sacred monuments, and Tawaf Foundations in Makkah and Madinah. Those scholars are assigned by the country to answer the questions and inquiries of the pilgrims especially those relating to Hajj and 'Umrah. This is one of the things that Allaah makes easy for the pilgrims as one of His favors and then through the good turn of the government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd ibn 'Abdul 'Aziz, King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, may Allaah grant him success. Such scholars provide pilgrims with true and sound knowledge of things that they should or should not do.

Do not, dear pilgrims, hesitate to ask and benefit from those scholars so that you can be sure that you are acting correctly. Allaah (Exalted be He) says:

{Say: "Are those who know equal to those who know not?" It is only men of understanding who will remember (i.e. get a lesson from Allâh's Signs and Verses).}

Furthermore, the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) said: "Whoever travels on a road in search of knowledge, Allaah will make for them an easy way to Jannah." (Related by Muslim,may Allaah be merciful with him).

Fourth:

Pilgrims, and all other Muslims have to understand that all good deeds that Allaah ordains for His servants as well as the words and deeds that He declares as Halal (lawful) or Haram (prohibited) are meant to purify people's souls and set aright their societies. It is worth mentioning that the more a person is sincere to Allaah and obeys Him faithfully, the more he will avail of the foregoing advantages both in this world and in the hereafter. Verily, the reward of Allaah is better and more lasting. Allaah (Exalted be He) says:

{Indeed whosoever purifies himself (by avoiding polytheism and accepting Islâmic Monotheism) shall achieve success, And remembers (glorifies) the Name of his Lord (worships none but Allâh), and prays (five compulsory prayers and Nawâfil - additional prayers).}

Allaah (Exalted be He) also says:

{By Nafs (Adam or a person or a soul), and Him Who perfected him in proportion; Then He showed him what is wrong for him and what is right for him. Indeed he succeeds who purifies his ownself (i.e. obeys and performs all that Allâh ordered, by following the true Faith of Islâmic Monotheism and by doing righteous good deeds). And indeed he fails who corrupts his ownself (i.e. disobeys what Allâh has ordered by rejecting the true Faith of Islâmic Monotheism or by following polytheism or by doing every kind of evil wicked deeds).}

Allaah (Exalted be He) also says:

{Whoever works righteousness - whether male or female - while he (or she) is a true believer (of Islâmic Monotheism) verily, to him We will give a good life (in this world with respect, contentment and lawful provision), and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in the Hereafter).}

Dear pilgrims, Hajj is one of the greatest Faridahs (obligatory acts) through which Allaah purifies His servants' souls from enmity, hatred, stinginess, and the will to harm others. Hajj makes pilgrims long for the reward of Allaah. It reminds them of meeting with Allaah on the Day of Recompense as it involves exerting efforts, spending money, enduring hardships and difficulties, separating from families and homes, abandoning worldly deeds, dedicating one's time for obeying Allaah (Exalted be He) and worshipping Him, and meeting with fellow Muslims who come from different places all over the world. Allaah (Exalted be He) says:

{That they may witness things that are of benefit to them (i.e. reward of Hajj in the Hereafter, and also some worldly gain from trade), and mention the Name of Allâh on appointed days (i.e. 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th day of Dhul-Hijjah)}

Thus, pilgrims have to be keen to do all that pleases their Lord. They have to do a lot of Talbiyah (devotional expressions chanted at certain times during Hajj and 'Umrah), Dhikr (Remembrance of Allaah), and Du'a' (Supplication). They have to do their best to draw closer to Allaah by continuing to obey Him and abandoning bad deeds for it is reported in the authentic Hadith that the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) said: "Allaah the Almighty has said: Whoever shows enmity to a Waliy (righteous person) of Mine, I shall be at war with them. My servant does not draw near to Me with anything more loved to Me than the religious obligations that I have imposed upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory acts so that I shall love them." (A part of a Hadithrelated by Al-Bukhari,may Allaah be merciful with him).

A Waliy of Allaah is anyone who believes in Allaah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) and keeps firm on following the Deen (religion) of Allaah by obeying its commands and avoiding its prohibitions. Thus, we read in the Qur'an:

{No doubt! Verily, the Auliyâ' of Allâh [i.e. those who believe in the Oneness of Allâh and fear Allâh much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which he has forbidden), and love Allâh much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)], no fear shall come upon them nor shall they grieve. Those who believed (in the Oneness of Allâh - Islâmic Monotheism), and used to fear Allâh much (by abstaining from evil deeds and sins and by doing righteous deeds).}

Among the most important things that pilgrims, as well as all other Muslims, have to adhere to is to offer obligatory Salahs (Prayers) in congregation at their exact times and in Masjids that Allaah has honored where His Name is mentioned especially in Al-Masjid Al-Haram and the Prophet's Dignified Masjid. Verily, the two previous Masjids have a great privilege over all other Masjids for Allaah (Exalted be He) multiplies the reward of the Salah (Prayer) that is performed in them. Proof of the foregoing is the Hadith in which Jabir (may Allaah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) said: "Performing one Salah in this Masjid of mine is better than performing one thousand Salah in any other Masjid except Al-Masjid Al-Haram. Moreover, performing one Salah in Al-Masjid Al-Haram is better than performing one hundred thousand Salah in any other Masjid." Related by Ahmad and Ibn Majah (may Allaah be merciful with them) with an authentic Sanad (chain of narrators). Imam Ahmad relates a Hadith similar to the foregoing on the authority of Ibn Al-Zubayr, which is declared as Sahih by Ibn Hibban and whose Sanad is Sahih as well.

This is a great reward and favor granted by Allaah and there should be diligent care to have it, as Allaah (Exalted be He) says:

{And march forth in the way (which leads to) forgiveness from your Lord, and for Paradise as wide as the heavens and the earth, prepared for Al-Muttaqûn (the pious - See V.2:2).}

Fifth:

Pilgrims and other Muslims should safeguard the sanctity of these sacred places. They must not even have the mere intention to commit any thing wrong while being there for Allaah threatens whoever does so with a painful torment. Allaah (Exalted be He) says:

{and whoever inclines to evil actions therein or to do wrong (i.e. practise polytheism and leave Islâmic Monotheism), him We shall cause to taste from a painful torment.}

It is narrated by 'Atiyyah Al-'Awfy from Ibn 'Abbas (may Allaah be pleased with them both) that "wrong" in the foregoing Ayah (Qur'anic verse) refers to regarding as Halal (lawful) things that which Allaah declares Haram (prohibited) while being in the Haram (the Sacred Mosque in Makkah) so that they abuse others or kill them unjustly. Whoever does so will be subjected to the painful torment which in mentioned in the Ayah. This comment of Ibn 'Abbas is mentioned by Ibn Kathir (may Allaah be merciful with him) in his Tafsir (exegesis) of the concerned Ayah.

Thus, believing men and women should not harm each other; neither in person nor in wealth or lineage. Rather, they have to help one another in righteousness and piety. They should advise one another and recommend one another to the truth and to be patient to keep firm on it. This is because the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "The Muslim is inviolable for his Muslim brother, as for his blood, wealth and honor, piety is right here (and he pointed to his heart). It is a great evil for a Muslim to despise his Muslim brother." (Related by Muslim (may Allaah be merciful with him) in his Sahih Book of Hadith).

It is noteworthy that Allaah (Exalted be He) prohibits all forms of harming believing men and women at all times and in all places. Thus, it is a great sin to harm them in this city of security (Makkah) during the sacred months at the time of performing the rituals of Hajj, or in Madinah where Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) lived. Surely, doing so is a more severe sin and a more serious crime. Allaah (Exalted be He) says:

{The Hajj (pilgrimage) is (in) the well-known (lunar year) months (i.e. the 10th month, the 11th month and the first ten days of the 12th month of the Islâmic calendar, i.e. two months and ten days). So whosoever intends to perform Hajj therein (by assuming Ihrâm), then he should not have sexual relations (with his wife), nor commit sin, nor dispute unjustly during the Hajj.}

Allaah (Exalted be He) also says:

{And those who annoy believing men and women undeservedly, they bear (on themselves) the crime of slander and plain sin.}

Thus, pilgrims should not harm themselves or other creatures including human beings, animals, birds, and plants. Verily, a Muslim is a person whose tongue and hands never hurt other Muslims and a believer is whoever people trust them with regard to their souls, wealth, and honor. The sanctity of Muslims is invaluable and wronging them is a huge sin. Undoubtedly, injustice always has a bad consequence. Allaah (Exalted be He) says:

{And whoever among you does wrong (i.e. sets up rivals to Allâh), We shall make him taste a great torment.}

Sixth:

Pilgrims and other Muslims should understand that calling to goodness, enjoining good and forbidding evil, and advising Muslims with wisdom and fair preaching are some of the most important obligations of Deen through which it is applied and safeguarded. Allaah (Exalted be He) says:

{Invite (mankind, O Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم) to the Way of your Lord (i.e. Islâm) with wisdom (i.e. with the Divine Revelation and the Qur'ân) and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better.}

Allaah (Exalted be He) also says:

{Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good (Islâm), enjoining Al-Ma'rûf (i.e. Islâmic Monotheism and all that Islâm orders one to do) and forbidding Al-Munkar (polytheism and disbelief and all that Islâm has forbidden). And it is they who are the successful.}

Allaah (Exalted be He) also says:

{The believers, men and women, are Auliyâ' (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another; they enjoin (on the people) Al-Ma'rûf (i.e. Islâmic Monotheism and all that Islâm orders one to do), and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (i.e. polytheism and disbelief of all kinds, and all that Islâm has forbidden); they perform As-Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât), and give the Zakât, and obey Allâh and His Messenger. Allâh will have His Mercy on them. Surely Allâh is All-Mighty, All-Wise.}

Moreover, Jarir ibn 'Abdullah (may Allaah be pleased with him) narrated: That he gave the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) Bay'ah (pledge of allegiance) to perform Salah, give Zakah (obligatory charity), and advise every Muslim. (Agreed upon by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

Every Muslim has to be concerned about that matter according to their ability and they have not to neglect it for the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Whoever, among you, sees something abominable should rectify it with their hand; and if they have not strength enough to do so, then they have to rectify it with their tongue; and if they have not strength enough to do so, (even) then they have to (abhor it) from their heart, and that is the least of Faith." (Related by Muslim,may Allaah be merciful with him).

Seventh:

Each Muslim, whether a pilgrim or not, has to take care of Muslims' affairs all over the world. They should work to benefit and defend them, and educate the ignorant among them according to the person's ability and knowledge. They have also to help the Mujahids (those fighting in the Cause of Allaah) among them who strive to raise the Word of Allaah and drive out the Kafirs (non-believers) and atheists from the Muslim lands and sacred places whether they are Jews or any other Kafirs. Indeed, such Mujahids seek to support the truth, defend its people, keep Muslim lands safe, and protect them against enemies.

The concerned help is to be provided by the tongue, wealth, the soul, or any other means. Allaah (Exalted be He) says:

{O you who believe! Shall I guide you to a trade that will save you from a painful torment? That you believe in Allâh and His Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) and that you strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allâh with your wealth and your lives: that will be better for you, if you but know!}

Besides, the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) said: "A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, so they have not to oppress them, nor have them to hand them over to an oppressor. Whoever fulfills the needs of their brother, Allaah will fulfill their needs." (Agreed upon by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).In addition, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Whoever equips a warrior in the way of Allaah (is like one who actually fights) and whoever looks after the family of a warrior in the way of Allaah in fact participates in the battle." (Agreed upon by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

It is thus impermissible for Muslims to hand their brothers over to their enemy or to hunger, nakedness, diseases, and the Fitnah (temptation) of Christian missionaries and atheists who exploit their needs and import out their poison and false beliefs to them. This is a thing that every Muslim has to care for greatly whenever they see that Muslims are weak. Assuredly, enemies of Islam are exactly as Allaah (Exalted be He) describes:

{Many of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) wish that if they could turn you away as disbelievers after you have believed, out of envy from their ownselves, even after the truth (that Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم is Allâh's Messenger) has become manifest unto them.}

I ask Allaah with His Most Beautiful Names and Supreme Attributes to guide us, all pilgrims, and Muslims all over the world to have the sound understanding of His Deen and keep us firm on acting upon it. May Allaah enable us all to carry out all that supports His Deen, set aright our condition, and keep our Muslim countries safe against the plots of our enemies! May Allaah make His Deen victorious, raise His Word, and guide all Muslim rulers and authorities to apply Shari'ah (Islamic law) and enjoin it on their peoples for doing so is the way to achieving happiness and salvation both in this world and in the hereafter. I ask Allaah to guide the rulers of this particular country to all that pleases Him and set aright the condition of Muslims, to increase such rulers in goodness, and to reward them for the help and facilities that they provide for Muslims generally and for pilgrims in particular. May Allaah help pilgrims to perform their rituals in the way that pleases Him so that their Hajj is accepted, their Sa'y (going between Safa and Marwah during Hajj and 'Umrah) is rewarded, and their sins are forgiven. May Allaah return them safely and successfully to their homes! Amen. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions!

[Source: Alifta.net]