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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dr. Ahmad Gumi on Umra

By Dr. Ahmad Gummi

Dr. Ahmad Gummi made the following brief comment in an internet forum regarding our misplaced obsession with Umrah and I feel compelled to bring it to the notice of my readers:
“Assalamu Alaikum, Brothers and Sisters.
“May Allah free us from His Chastisement and bless our efforts in this blessed month of Ramadan.

“In as much as there is a general excitement among the rich Muslims to go on Umra during the fasting period, we need to note that the extra virtue of Umrah in Ramadan is contestable among the scholars because the hadith in question was narrated to apply to specific people at a specific time (Ibn Kathir). Also, the practical sunnah of the Prophet and the salaf did not promote it.

"However, the ibadat whose extra virtues are not contestable are:

1. Feeding the poor (remember that Somalians are dying of hunger).

2. Treating the sick (remember that treatable communicable diseases are the number one killer diseases in Africa

3. Promoting education (remember that the number one malady of the Ummah is ignorance)
Calling to Islam (remember that the image of true Islam needs to be corrected)

4. Solving these issues requires money and spending generously on them is BETTER and more VIRTUOUS than to spend on umra in Ramadan or the voluntary hajj.

My Comment:

Despite the incessant calls for spending on the above issues in place of Umrah, Nigerian Muslim elites continue to undertake the Umrah annually. Just some few hours ago, the BBC announced that British citizens have raised $68million (N11 billion) for victims of famine in Somalia, coming second only to the US which raised a slightly higher amount. How much has the Muslim World raised, apart from the anticipated donation from Saudi Arabia? How can we Muslims claim a better moral pedestal than the West?

Where are the Muslim charity groups, including the Red Crescent? We only hear about Oxfam and other charities from the very West that al-Shabab is preventing from reaching the affected areas.

If it were only for our dismal effort, the affected populations in Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya and now Uganda would be wiped out. There is an ever ready alibi for our inaction: "It is God who caused the draught and the deaths. If he did not wish it, it would not have happened." Of what benefit would it be to God if He sees infants dying? There is something missing in us. The earlier we start looking for it the better. Can we ever wake up and believe in our capacity to improve on our condition without resorting to blaming God?
I have long ago reached the conclusion that the problem is in our brains. Consider this arithmetic:

If the umrah going Muslims among Nigerians would agree to spend the cost of their umrah on education, many schools would have been built across the country. Not less than N2billion is spent annually, which is enough to build 10 hospitals or 200 primary schools annually. That is 200 hospitals or 2,000 schools – modern or Qur’anic – across the nation in just ten years!
In our weird thinking, we feel spending these colossal amounts in quest for a reward on an act of worship whose virtue is even contestable among the scholars is better than using them to solve our social problems. Mhm.

Unless the Muslim World subscribes to rational thinking, it must abandon any hope of solving its problems of poverty, ignorance, disease and backwardness. However, it is not that we are incapable of rational thinking, we are afraid of it.

May God reward Dr. Ahmad Gummi for his nasiha.

2 August 2011


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

We are really a problem in some context. Not only to ourselves but to the world and this might be peculiar to Africans in some count. Even while saying this, it does not isolate my personal self from among the rest. The gene is everywhere hiya. But by working hard both spritually and physically we might record some progress.

Anonymous said...

Barka da shanruwa! Worst of it all, our level Governments are so involved in squandering the publik coffers to sponsor lots of innocent, the majority of whom are ignorant people, whose first priority is to feed the "bakin salati", to perform the Hajj or the Lesser Hajj (Omrah). The sponsors and the sponsored are yet to come to grip with the terms and conditions necessitating undertaking such journeys. And both are deluded by the notion they are committed to righteousness. Besides, much of what they profess is tantamount to shear "Riyah" and "Extravaganza (Mubazzar)" of other "peoples money". Allah ya shirye mu!

This may be the first "pill" to cure, therfore give us more!

Thanks alot.

GIM said...

This is very correct, Dr Tilde. This reminds me of an impressive thought on this issue by one young former Minister of State for Power and Steel. In 1998 we performed Hajj and happened to lodge with this man at the same house in Makkah. In a general discussion on this issue, he opined that rather spending about a million Naira (that time) on 'Umrah annually, he would look around for the poorest people in his immediate neighbours, and share same to 3 to 5 of them, even if is on soft loan basis. This would help them make a capital to start or move on with their business. I immediately felt within me that that’s what this young man was already doing. I was very impressed.

On the other hand, one can see, on close observation that most of those going to the 'Umrah on annual basis, actually are more of tourists and holiday-makers. The spiritual significance of the 'Umrah which Dr Gummi even highlighted to be contestable among Jurists, is further eroded by this very fact.

As for the Western world being at the fore front of assisting the drought victims, remember the saying of one commentator (cited in the first English Translation of Sahih al-Bukhari): West are Muslims without the Faith, while the East (referring to the Muslims world) are mere bearers of the Faith without being Muslims (in practice)!" Pathetic!

ahmad said...

you're right on our fear of rational thinking. but there is no alternative to rational thinking if the muslim world is going to survive the challenges of the 21st century. the islamic glory of the past was as a result of rational thinking.
unfortunately, the fundamentalists have lied to us, telling us our backwardness is because we are not islamic (read extreme) enough. there is no religion that is practiced as religiously as islam is in today's world. so in my opinion, our problem is not for lack of faith but lack of reason.

ibrahim sadia said...

May ALLAH(SA)have mercy on us so many many of us have moni to help our fellow muslims but we choose 2 go with the extravagant life,going to umrah and hajj every now and then.ya ALLAH make this world a better place for us and may ‎​U̶̲̥̅̊ direct the capable muslims to help the ones in need.amin

Anonymous said...

I certainly agree with your submission, but the problem is how to pass this message effectively to the people concerned and make them convinced. let find the way out!
Barr. Ja'afar Ibrahim

Abuabdurrahman said...

Allah's reward for both Dr Ahmad & Dr Tilde. Repeatedly Adamu Adamu wrote in Daily Trust on the need for Nig Muslim elites to divert excesses/surpluses spent on the yrly Umrah to more Islamically profitable ventures without heed.Like Imam Gazzali said in his Ihyau, because most of these monies are illgotten, they're deployed on selfish even if religious activities, i.e. they've no baraka. may Allah help us & bring good leaders who'll help us enforce these prioritised activities.
Abuabdurrahman AAOkene

Munirat said...

Salaam and thanks for this post. Its indeed very useful. Muslims in the West (for Britain) that I know are also raising money for this course. If you watch Islam channel or peace TV, you see actions going on. Having said the above, I suggest that our Muslim NGOs/charity organisations in Nigeria should borrow from the ideas of the Islamic organisations from Britain on fund raising for this course. The strategy may also sensitise our rich men and women in Nigeria to donate meaningfully to this course.Jazakalahu khairan. Munirat

Anonymous said...

It is our hope that with time our Muslim brothers will understand the importance of helping their fellow brothers that are in dire need of help. May Allah swt help us all. Ameen


I wont get tired of thanking you !!You did well by bringing this issue to public again,my suggestion is for us to take this to a wider fora,reason,not many of the muslim are on the net, only few of us, compared to the teaming number we have in the nation,what i mean is using radio station,it will reach a wider coverage,all the governament and private ones.
By doing that even few that can change their attitude,sooner we will reach the destination ,i knew is a harculien task !but not impossible !

Mohammed Iliyas said...

You forgot or are afraid to extend this to annual repetition to Hajj by the rich and suponsoring government's selected few( mainly top government officials and their relations) to perform Hajj from public funds. The Imams - who should advise better - are beneficiaries to this.

Your calculation would show the impact better if you had estimates how many children would be saved from street begging!

To my mind, thee problem are mainly from three sources
1. Misconception of most Muslims on the meaning of Qaddara and Tawakkali especially with regards to ones effort, and what God decides on him.
2. Igonorance on how to best serve Islam by the elites and the rich within Muslim Umma
3. Selfishness and pride of the ignorant elites but they never realise the level of their ignorance.

Laubare said...

Jazakallah hairan,i would like to also draw the attention of Dr that Islamic Countries and their donor organisations don't reveal their donations as they consider it as riya while the west like top tell the world that this is what they are doing to simulate action base on what they will gain from it. About the issue of umra,wallahi some people even go ahead to sponsor child under age that don't really need to go for umra.

Anonymous said...

Good post I must admit, however, why did it not consider the numerous that travel to US and Europe (which obviously cost much higher than Umrah), and what if one has been contributing to such courses (fisabillilah) must s/he give up this oppurtunity?, what are we promoting here? Not all people that travel for Umrah as fun spree.

I will say lets encourage all Muslims to spend wisely and give out to those that deserve help irrespective of financial status. Not necessarily those in Somalia or else where, we have similar or worst than Somalian situation in Nigeria. I am not discouraging the call to help the Somalians, but letts open our eyes look inwards and extend helping hands to our numerous immediate neighbours first (as the Holy Prophet-SAW said).

Our mistake has always been the 'high expectations' from the rich class overlooking the teaming millions that can equally or even better contribute. A Muslim is a Muslim, rich or poor!

If the estimated 80million (or more)Nigerian Muslims could averagely contibute N5.00 a month it will amount to N4.8billion every year. Yes, how much could this achieve? Do we have a systemic structure to achieve it with out crisis?

Please let us be looking at these issues holistically not myopic. What efforts have Dr Gumi considered (say genuine account(s) or reliable persons we could donate through) to encourage and ease the process. Some issues are easier to raise than implement depending on the environment!

My point is we just flag-up sensitive discussions like this and allow it to die slowly for someone to recandle it at a later time.

Just some foods for thought (not an arguement, please!)


Anonymous said...


One of the problems facing the Muslim Umma in Nigeria is our Islamic scholars. they would rather promote Umra than the social needs of the poor. A minute group of them are willing to even discuss such issues. May Allah reward you and him with his Mercy. Amin

Anonymous said...

This requires mass action to create the awareness and educate ourselves. I suggest making this issue of Umrah the subject of Friday khutbah for several consecutive weeks in our masjids particularly this Ramadan.
We do need more muslim charity organisations.
May Allah make us bearers of the Faith as well as being Muslims in practice, amin. Habeebat.

Jazakallahu khairan.

Anonymous said...

Why are we going too far to Somalia, there is hunger around us in Nigeria.Go to our prisons. Muslim in mates are seriously in need of assistance/ aiids in terms of food and Tafsir.Pls check your neighborhood, poverty is there written even if in our extended families we do not have the needy.It is fast becoming a fashion now a days and travelling agencies are making a kill out of it.May Allah accept our ibadats ameen

KHT said...

Job well done, Dr. Agreed with ur discourse, May Allah help us to correct our selves, to continue living in peace n harmony, Ameen.

Hadiza said...

I do agree with the commentator who added that many of those who make Umrah an annual event got the wealth illegally. Corruption being ungodly makes the soul uneasy, and people think they can wash off such stain from sin by performing frequent extra religious actions (annual Umarah), not knowing that there is also strong evidence that their Umarh may not even be accepted in the first place. An authentic hadith from the prophet says whoever uses halal funds to go to Hajj, and did not commit sins and guarded his tongue from abuse and foul speech, will come out sinless like the day he was born. When he says Labbaik (here I come), Allah answers him. But when one uses corrupted funds (in any form) and say labbaik (here I come), an angel will reply him that you are not invited here. He says “la labbaika wa la sa’adaik.” Meaning Allah does not answer and the Angels reject his arrival; and commentators say literally the angels are saying Allah did not call the person, even as they say "here I am." Others go as far sa say 9quoting from a fatwa "Hajj performed with ill-gotten money is not accepted. There is in a Hadees that when the pilgrim who performs Hajj with the illegitimate earnings, says: "Labbaiek" an angel responds to him thus: neither your presence here is acceptable nor your service is acceptable and your Hajj curses you unless you return the unlawful wealth, property you are in possession of" I think the work is many fold. We are expecting from someone who 'wrongly' took from the weak and poor to feel remorse and give back. It may be wiser to put together a non-profit under the care of a reliable God fearing person, publisize it, and make it the sole collector and disburser of such charity from the nation as the need arises. It will allow and simplify for everyone (as the duty is on all)the process to begin contributing to such international causes.

Anonymous said...

Always better not to judge a book by its cover. Allah is the only judge. Well pointed out fact that we need to help our fellow brothers and sisters in need. But who will you turn to help, as most are only their to robb you off (in terms of capital funding for business), most are career biggers (both youths and older people).

My point is that, there is no point of generalising and pointer fingers of those who perform ummrah regularly or yearly. I know quite a lot of those who have established schools all expenses comes out of their puckets, regularly help others, some ending up running away with the funds etc. the issues of government misuse of money for sponsoring others, that’s a good point and should be avoided and discouraged. But thinking that individuals who work hard to fulfil their commitments and visit the holly places yearly are doing something inappropriate is also not called for.

Most of us if we can work hard to be truthful to the help we received both from individuals and Allah, we should be able to maintain yourself. But the issue is that we all want things and wealth for free. I know of a family that, beggars are the once that turns up in their houses everyday in the morning, and the same people keeps coming for the past 10-15 years. Whatever if give someone for free most of the time it goes on nothing, but whatever you earn through your sweet, you value it more and Allah makes barakah on it.

Maybe Allah guide those individuals who visit the holly places years and accepted their deeds, may HE guide those in needs to weak up and find ways of helping themselves rather than relying on others.
If my comments offends anyone please forgive.

Sarkiyaki Mohammed said...

I would like to develop the idea brought by one anonymous who said: "My point is we just flag-up sensitive discussions like this and allow it to die slowly for someone to recandle it at a later time". Why can’t we consider building a system that can stand the test of time which could be used by the upcoming generations, instead of just considering helping others? The system if built with good intention could take care of all the issues we are talking about, such as tackling poverty in the Muslim Ummah.
I suggest that Dr who is a writer can take this responsibility of champion the need to establish a “team” that can meet and deliberate and come up with a vision first, for vision followed by action can change the world. Then we take it from there based on the outcome of their deliberations. The whole idea is to create a system that can handle education, social and wealth creation for the Ummah . Let someone develop this idea further please instead of apportioning blames which can never take us out the current quagmire. Allah knows best.

Basheer gobir said...

people are willing to donate but the fear that their hard earned money could be stolen constrained them from doing so. yes as someone pointed out lets fashion out a just and honest system to manage such donations in a pious manner. it may not be easy but consider asking each community to develop its own. there should be a bottom_up system that would allow rapid response to situations as they arise locally. basheer gobireir hard earned money could be stolen constrained them from doing so. yes as someone pointed out lets fashion out a just and honest system to manage such donations in a pious manner. it may not be easy but consider asking each community to develop its own. there should be a bottom_up system that would allow rapid response to situations as they arise locally. basheer gobir

Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde said...

I received this personal mail from someone. Since he event write it in the comment box, I didn't show his name:


Sometime when you write I want to laugh. Do you really think that people go for those Ummrah and lesser hajj for their virtue (even if contestable)? I don't think so. For the most part it is pure self aggrandizement kawai.

During my service year there was a Tiv girl that considered me like her brother since we were the only northerners. One day she came to borrow money from me just days after payment of "allowie" and payment of bonus by the Local Government. I queried her for over spending and she told me she sent money to her mother. Then I reminded her of the recent payment and she said what remained she had taken the 10% to the church. I said but the pastor does not even know of the bonus you could have kept that for your upkeep. She looked at me in surprise "yayana I thought you were more God conscious than that. In pastor bai sani ba Allah ma bai sani bane". I cried that day like I never did. That night I vowed to give certain % of my income to an Islamic cause. Alhamdu lillah over the years I have gone many times over that initial pledge. Now I decided to encourage my friends to donate likewise in the way of Allah. I was shocked. People with upper and middle 6 figure salary  could not spare just 1% for Allah. And don't forget they would have just finished bragging about their latest car, handset or any of such ephemera.

The same people will be advertising to you that su dai bana Allah Ya kirasu and they will be mock you about it cos u haven't gone. Yet the same people have never given out Zakah. I am not a scholar but I know Hajj is the last on the list of the big 5. They don't ever tell you bana Allah Ya hore masu zasu fitar da Zakah sai dai Ya kira su zuwa umara. Do u know why? Self aggrandizement!  Giving out Zakah bears no tittle. Amma in kaje Hajj ai an ce maka ALHAJI (ko Allaji as they prefer it). When they give in the mosque they hide their donation feigning takwa. But ka leka ka ga abinda suka saka. U will be shocked. Zaka ga Allaji da shareriyar mota amma a jehwa N10. Abin da ban takaici. Amma in aka kirashi appeal fund sai abinda hali yayi. Why? U think it is taqwa?

After the last Jos crisis masallatan Juma'a sun nemi gudumawar da za' kai ma victims din. Ka san nawa aka tara masallacinmu, where about 6000-10,000 pray Juma'a? Just Guess. N6300 after 2 juma'as! So on average we gave less than 50K each for the widows and ophans of our massacred brothers! On another occasion in a different city one of the largest Friday mosques was looking for replacement of it public address system. I was there on the 4th or 5th Juma'a of the announcement and the Imam almost in tears announced that a local hausa musician came to his house the previous juma'a that he was coming from one of his performances and he happened to pray juma'a with them and he heard the announcement and decided to donate the very one he was using for his trade. The imam prayed for the musician. Wow the hypocrites started hissing. By the following week Imam was at it again. He announced that last week some big Alhaji's felt insulted and met him at home insisting that he should return the gadget to the musician that they would provide better ones. The Imam asked them where were u when we announced for donation for 4 weeks. Ba za'a karba ba da ta mawakin za'a rika kiran sallah. Duk wanda yaji bai iyawa ya daina zuwa. So were is the taqwa we are talking about. Kaidai aita sha'aning self promotion kawai.  Kai Allah dai Ya sauwaka mamu. Abin dai da ban haushi.

Anonymous said...

Assalam alaykum brothers and sisters, we have all said the truth, when shall we all walk the truth. It takes on stone to create a ripple...

Anonymous said...

Assl alk.this s very true. We need to think well before we carry out some actions that may seem right to us. May Allah help us. Amin

Anonymous said...

Salam Alaikum.
May Allah reward Dr. Tilde and his likes for their write-ups, please Dr. propose a committee to treat these issues of poverty eradication,and the like, give it a trial and see what happens.Allah will help in the noble course.There are lots of Nigerians within and out side who are ready to cooperate with you in tackling these issues; we are good in design but poor on implementation. May Allah reward you ameen.
SM Batagarawa

Anonymous said...

Dr Tilde, there are Muslim charities providing aid to people in the horn of Africa. Muslim Aid, Islamic relief in collaboration with The Islam Channel. The Western charities have more access to the media and the media is more friendly to them that is why you only hear of them. May Allah continue to guide and bless us all. Ameen

Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde said...

Someone made thie following contribution regarding this post. I find it meaningful. Let's share it please:

I think, with all respects, both Dr. Gummi and Dr. Tilde are missing the point. The amount of charity extended to less privileged members of the society in Nigeria far outweigh those of UK and the US. While theirs is a structured society, ours is not, such that there is no credible statistics on charity in Nigeria by Nigerian Muslims.

However there is no denying the fact that an average Nigerian Muslim gives out money on charity, minimum, every other day. I know in places like Lagos and Abuja, due to the policies of these cities on begger-repatriation, people will spend time looking for the right people to give charity. This discounts the multitude of 90% poor Nigerian Muslim that are catered for, directly or indirectly, by their more privileged relatives.

Nigerian Muslims, it seems, are more comfortable with giving out charity directly than channeling it through formal organizations whose credibility have, times without number, proved economical. I am yet to see that Nigerian Charity Institution that is 100% accountable and whose Executive members or some of them would not take undue advantage at the slightest opportunity.

Umrah typifies one of the rare privileges of choices given by Allah to the wealthy members of the society. For that, they shall continually be grateful to Allah. Within the basket of good deeds, it is natural to have the liberty, being human with remarkable limitations, to choose the ones that one thinks will ensure salvation. You do the ones you can and then leave the rest to Allah.    Consequently, it erroneous for  anyone to degenerate any person for exercising one charity rather than the other. In a fruit basket, one should not be condemned for eating banana instead of pineapple. It is trite that discretion, judiciously exercised, is never condemned in any civilized set up!

I have not seen any wealthy Nigerian Muslim that is not responsible for his immediate constituency, and due to the poverty level, it is pretty huge. If the assertion is true, then it is wise to spend a little 'for yourself' so that you cleanse yourself of sins in their entirety, show more love to our prophet, remember the strivings and fortitude of his companions, get an iron cast barrier against poverty and perform the tawaf, among many exclusive opportunities. For the love of the prophet, if I have the means, I will visit his mosque every week!!!!

Actions are judged according to intentions. For those that want to lead a life of lamentations, let them stay back to expect charity. But for those who see Umrah as catalyzing their spiritual, material and humanitarian well being, may Allah continue to give them the wherewithal to travel for the Umrah after giving charity according to their abilities. May Allah forgive all of us, guide us on the right path and distance us from any bit of riyah. Maassalam


Idris Kubau said...

Thanks to Dr. Ahmad Gumi and you Dr. Aliyu Tilde for this contribution. It is very important, but sadly enough, our rich people never took the Nasiha to help the needy. They think that to pay some one Umrah is better than to give him the money to do business or to buy house for him to completely leave renting. You will see a man who has nothing to eat for a month, but Umrah or Hajj paid to him. He went but nothing left to his family.

Anonymous said...

After reading the article and the lengthy comment on only N6300 raised for victims of disturbances I could not hold back tears coming from eyes. I kept on crying and asking for Allah's forgiveness and seeking his assistance in making us change our ways and priorities. This is because I have had of the need to make contributions to help displaced persons but have not made serious effort in getting my donations across.
It is not just enough for us to say we don't know where to channel our donations as someone tried to say, we have to make the extra effort to look for or come together and organize these things. Insha Allah I will not fail to make my contributions to the needy especially the ones that become victims of disasters and disturbances henceforth.
Jazakallaj for the exhortation.

Anonymous said...

jazakallahu khayran,Allah yasa mu gane!

Anonymous said...

Well the fatwah of Dr. GUmmi is nothing new. Adamu Adamu has written a better piece on the mispriority of Nigeria Muslims on Umrah during the month of Ramadan instead of using the same fund to address social ills, some years ago. Nobody talk about it since its first and last publication by daily trust cos Adamu opposes the interest of the parasitic Muslim elite and their collaborative Ulama who even justify Ribah (usury) and indirectly delayed the introduction of Interest free banking.
During the Pakistani flood last year,either the Socalled Muslim Leaders in Nigeria nor elite including the daily trust made any efforts to raise relief during the same Ramadan. All our efforts to convince daily trust to, in collaborative with pakistani Embassy in Abuja launch or call for assistance frm Nigerian Muslim failed. I doubt if such a society can claim to be superior than others in term of closeness to God.