Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A legless pilgrim richer than I

Photo: Rihla participants outside the Haram in Makkah. © Fareena Alam. Please do not re-use without permission and proper credit.

Today was our last day in Makkah. Zakia Aunty and I decided to go to the Masjid al-Haram to pray and to do some last minute shopping in the area. Once there, Zakia Aunty suggested that we do a farewell tawwaf (seven circumambulations) of the Kaaba. Now, it was burning hot and the last thing I wanted to do was stand outside in the glaring heat, smothered by the crowd. But I was ashamed to realise that here I was, ready to brave that same heat, for the sake of a few riyals worth of shopping, yet not to make tawwaf of the Kaaba... especially as there was no knowing whether I'd ever be able to come back to Makkah again. So I made du'a and started. Alhamdulillah (all praises are to Allah (swt), it was made easy for us...there was a cool, gentle breeze that would always greet us at the Station of Ismail (at a particular place near the Kaaba), sent, no doubt, by Allah (swt).

At first, my concentration was divided between making tawwaf and counting down the numbers so that I could get out of the heat, as well as trying to make dhikr. But Subhanallah, my attention was caught by a one legged man, making tawwaf on crutches. I thought, "Mashallah, good for you!" and smiled as I said salam to him. But then, later, I saw something that will stay with me forever - If I am lucky. There, on the ground was a legless man, slowly making tawwaf by using a block of wood to propel/lever himself forward around the Kaaba. He didn't look impatient, or hot or resentful; he looked happy and focused on what he was doing. This man loved Allah (swt) so much, was so sincere in his iman (faith), that the powerful heat, the suffocating crowds, and the lack of legs to walk on still couldn't stop him from making tawwaf.

Subhanallah, here I was, with two perfectly healthy, strong legs and yet I had come half-reluctantly... thinking that I had already done three umrahs and that that was quite enough. I have never been more ashamed of myself as I was in that moment. What must Allah (swt) have thought of me? And Subhanallah, what a difference there was in that man's faith and mine! Watching him struggle to make Tawwaf, I questioned whether I have ever struggled with that much passion for anything to please Allah (swt). For any form of worship? When did pleasing Allah (swt) and worshipping Him ever seem as important to me as making tawwaf was for this legless man?

I knew that I had a long, long way to go before I could come even a little bit close to being loved by Allah (swt). What I needed to do was perfectly obvious: I needed to ask Allah (swt) to allow me to have the type of iman possessed by that legless man in Mecca. He was dressed in rags, and I in a beautiful new outfit, but there was no doubt as to which one of us was richer.

Now, as I sit here on the plane back to Miami, I feel afraid of falling back into the same state that I was in before I left for Madinah. Insha'allah I pray that these two weeks will allow me to be a better person, a better Muslim, for the rest of my life.

Yesterday, as I was making Saee (part of the umrah where you must walk back and forth between Mount Safa and Mount Marwa, seven times), I was feeling tired because of the heavy bag I was carrying. Going back and forth between Safa and Marwa, I suddenly realized that this is similar to what I imagine it will be like for us in the Hereafter, crossing over the Bridge of Sirat. Some of us will cross it so fast; it will be like we flew faster, even, than the speed of light. While others will travel at different speeds, proportionate to the amount of sins weighing us down - just as my bag was, in that moment, weighing me down.

My friend Danya asked repeatedly to take a turn holding my bag but I refused and insisted on lugging it around myself. Because when I am on that Bridge, there won't be any way to ask someone else to carry my "baggage" for me... and I wanted to think about just how awful and tiring this earthly experience was in the hopes that the memory will stay with me, and make me remember the Bridge of Sirat - and, accordingly, "pack lightly". Insha'allah Ameen.

Allah (swt) has been so incredibly kind in allowing me to have these two blessed weeks. It makes me think of the strange parallel between my life and that of Rasoolallah's (صلي الله عليه و سلم), in this particular regard. When he (صلي الله عليه و سلم), was feeling disheartened and saddened, Allah (swt) blessed him (صلي الله عليه و سلم) with the Isra' and Mi'raj in order to heal his spirits and to comfort his soul. I wasn't given a chance to visit Allah (swt), but was brought by Him (swt) to visit His house instead; I wasn't blessed with the Mi'raj but was granted the blessing of Madinah instead. But the end result was exactly the same: a beautiful, soothing healing, and a sense of being comforted by the love and kindness of God.

Subhanallah, it is true what Allah (swt) says in the Qur'an: "Never will you be able to count the blessings of your Lord." Alhamdulillahi Rabbil 'Alameen. O my Lord, truly Thou art the most forgiving, the most kind.

Feiza Naqvi


At Friday, 29 July, 2005, Blogger Danya said...

Masha'Allah, your post made me cry.
Msy Allah grant us all complete iman.

At Friday, 05 August, 2005, Blogger eman said...

it brought tears to my eyes as well! jazzak Allahukhayrun for helping me relive our blessed experience.

At Monday, 05 September, 2005, Blogger qarii-na said...

ya rabbi...
your post left me in tears...

At Wednesday, 14 December, 2005, Blogger Liam Saiful Din said...

Brother, brother, brother...what a wonderful post. It brought tears to my eyes as well and makes me sad that I cannot afford to go there and experience my own joy and enlightenment. May Allah subhana wa ta'ala bless you in abundance for posting this and making those who read it think and reflect on how very blessed, not lucky, but blessed we truly are.

At Friday, 05 January, 2007, Blogger Rabia said...

i could go on and on in pursuit of trying to express how i feel in words to show you how your post has moved me but i think it is not necessary.
so the only words i am left with is
Thank You =]

May Allah grant you with happiness and make this journey in pursuit of finiding the way to heaven a safe and steady one for you and all your loved ones....Ameen

At Saturday, 06 January, 2007, Blogger fairy said...

MashAllah very well written..may Allah SWT help you, me and all the other muslims strengthen their imaan :) thankyou for the reminder :) JazakAllah


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