Tuesday, July 12, 2005

No better place than Madinah

Photo: The minarets of the Prophet's mosque. © Fareena Alam. Please do not re-use without permission and proper credit.

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

There is no city better than Madinah for the Deen Intensive Rihla. I had been here just a day when I felt a softening of my heart, the dhikr easier on my tongue and the spiritual satiation overwhelming. Like previous Rihlas, we were in the company of our teachers, Shaykh Abdallah Al-Qadi, Shaykh Muhammad Yaqoubi, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and Shaykh Jamal Zhahabi but it's different this time.

Even if the schedule for the classes were to fall apart, it's no big loss. The participants are happy enough spending hours praying and engaging in dhikr at the Prophet's صلي الله عليه و سلم mosque. So far, the program has focussed on learning the Seerah, studying the Shamail and visiting places of significance.

May Allah bless Shaykh Abdallah Al-Qadi. We have been given special access and tours to some of Islam's holiest sites in Madinah (and Inshallah, Makkah between 21st-26th July). We have visited Masjid Quba, Masjid Qiblatayn and Mount Uhud. We have been given a full tour of the underground command centre that oversees the smooth running of the Prophet's صلي الله عليه و سلم Mosque. Did you know that the conditioned air that keep pilgrims cool in the masjid is piped from an air conditioning system 7 km away? Any closer, the noise from the system would be too loud to bear. We were shown how the sliding domes work, how many tonnes of zam zam are consumed everyday (3000), how many people tirelessly upkeep the masjid (it is spotless at any given time) and so on.

At every place of visit, we were thoroughly briefed by Shaykh Hamza who either spoke to us himself or eloquently translated from a local guide.

The highlight of the Rihla so far has been our visit to the Rawdah. We were given the opportunity to visit the Rawdah privately one evening after the mosque had been closed to the public. I can safely say people wait a lifetime for opportunities like this. We spent 90 min there... Most of us were awed... shocked actually... we said very little. We forgot anyone else was there as many of us wept quietly and uncontrolably. I missed the Prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم) so much that evening. I wept out of thankfulness. I was there because Allah and His Messenger had invited me. What an honour. I was not deserving of this gift but Allah gives from His infinite Mercy and Love for us, and not according to what we deserve. We were given time to pray on the beautiful green carpet that demarcates the area which is literally a piece of Jannah.

What has been consistent during this Rihla, and really, at most Rihlas is that the womenfolk are treated very well. The field trips, and the visit to the Rawdah are always well-managed so that the women don't feel left out. At the Rawdah, the women were given the first opportunity to pray on the left hand side - closest to the Prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم) and his companions, while the men were given the opportunity to pray on the right hand side, at the Prophet's Mihrab (صلي الله عليه و سلم) and where the palm tree (which wept when he stopped using it as his mimbar) was. Then we swapped. The women then prayed at the Mihrab and behind Aisha's (ra) pillar.

The two groups were also alternately taken to the front of the grave where we stood between the Prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم) and the Qibla and conveyed our salaams (we recited after a Shaykh who works for the Haram). This was unprecendented, of course. Women are never EVER allowed in that part of the mosque. We are ever so fortunate... the fruits of keeping the company of good people, no doubt.

I made dua for everyone I could think off once we returned to the green carpeted area for the last few moments. For my family, parents and ancesters to my friends, everyone who asked me to make dua for them, people who have been good to me, those who have been not-so-good to me. At moments like that, your heart is filled with such intense generosity and love for humanity, even those who have hurt you immensely. Allah's mercy is so vast, it is not too much to pray He forgive even the worst human beings. Who knows, I may be among them on the Day when I will have nothing more than my love for Him and His Messenger (صلي الله عليه و سلم).

More later. I actually love getting up for tahajjud prayers now but a girl needs her sleep.

- f -

10 Comments:

At Wednesday, 13 July, 2005, Blogger Lily said...

Assalamu alaikum my dear sister,

My name is Layla, I live in California, in the Zaytuna community and I am filled with (good) envy right now! :-)

May Allah reward you Q-Rihla and your fellow posters immensely for writing this blog! Thank you thank you thank you!!!

May Allah continue to bless you with a wonderful trip and a lasting opening of your heart and forgiveness and answering of your dua's and a safe journey home to share with your communities the light you receive along this amazing adventure of yours. Amin.

Please make du'a for me and my family.

Your sister,

Layla

Peace.

 
At Wednesday, 13 July, 2005, Blogger EXT_4411 said...

Assalamu alaikum Sister,

MashAllah what an moving account.

I'm sitting here behind my desk at work reading the account of your beautiful experience.

Just makes one want book his / her ticket and joy join.

May Allah (SWT) bless us all with such opportunities Ameen.

If you do get an opportunity please pray for me and the rest of the Ummah and please please offer my Salam to our beloved Prophet (SAW).

Wasalam,

Brother in Islam

Safraz

 
At Wednesday, 13 July, 2005, Blogger urzie said...

Assalam wa alaikum all,
reading this is making my heart ache to be there with you all..
May Allah accept your journey and your intentions and please keep us in your duas as well.
Inshallah I look forward to a day again when it will be my turn to join in such good company.
wasalams,
Urz

 
At Wednesday, 13 July, 2005, Blogger urzie said...

please keep the posts coming...this blog may just become my daily spiritual fix.

 
At Wednesday, 13 July, 2005, Blogger Umm Safiya said...

salaams,
please pray for the situation in england, and all our families, that Allah give us tawfiq in the exams of this life and the next, and that He give us the oppurtunity that you have been blessed with!
from a (would be jealous if we were allowed) sister,

manchester
uk

 
At Thursday, 14 July, 2005, Blogger Ahmed said...

Assalamo'alaykum,

My name is Ahmed Khan, from Toronto, Canada. I know there are a couple of ppl from Toronto at the Rihla.

oh boy, is my heart filled with envy or what?

Anyways, I pray that Allah SWT gives everyone the opportunity to visit the Rawda and Masjid Haram. Indeed it has to be the experience of a lifetime.

If possible, please convey my greetings, salaams, and salutations to Sheikh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi. I have never met him, but he is my Sheikh's Sheikh, and it would bring me great joy to know that someone greeted him on my behalf.

Please also convey my greetings, salaams, and salutations to all the
other shuyukh, and most of all
to the Beloved of Allah SWT, our most dear Master and Intercessor,
Muhammada al-Mustafa SAW.

Keep the posts going.

Wassalamoalaykum,

Ahmed Khan

 
At Friday, 15 July, 2005, Blogger Baraka said...

Masha-Allah, a beautiful account of an unforgettable trip. All of us here wish we were there, and all of you wouldn't trade places for the world!

Please pray for us while in such a blessed place & may Allah grant all of you peace, health, knowledge, & contentment, ameen.

 
At Tuesday, 19 July, 2005, Blogger wanderer said...

May Allah bless you for your account. Just reading it brought tears to my eyes. Please make duaa for all of us who weren't able to be there. I pray that you all have the most beneficial time there. Please keep us updated!

 
At Tuesday, 19 July, 2005, Blogger Ummati said...

Assalaamu Alaikum, Wa Rahmatullahi WA Barakatuh.

Firstly i would like to say Jazkamullah Khair to all those who have been continuosly posting on this blog and keeping us unfortunate people updated with the blessed events taking place and giving us a taste.

I was in tears whilst reading the whole article on how the women were blessed to go in places which are otherise forbidden. At this point in my life i yearn to be in Madinah and it hurts so much to be seperated from the Beloved.

Please please brother and sisters make dua for me in front of the Crown of the Universe, The Nur of the Worlds that He s.a.w calls me to His s.a.w door and to His Beoved City. Aslo make dua that i am able to attend the Rihla in Madinah next year Insha Allah Bi Iz nillah.
PLease convey my salaams to the beloved Shyookhs, Sheikh Yaqoubi and Sheikh Hamza how fortunate you are to sit at the feet of the shyookh and breathe the air that they breathe.
My beloved brother is there also iNsha Allah through his words, if not a first hand experience of you are experiencing then second hand Insha Allah.

Wassallaam your sister in deen Ruqaiyyah

 
At Thursday, 10 January, 2008, Blogger sarah said...

BismiAllah ArRahmanAraheem

AsalamuAlikum,

JazakAllah! Thank you so very much for this beautiful blog... I;m flooded with tears. I attended the RIS knowledge retreat with Shaykh Hamza, Imam Zaid, Ustah Rhodus, Dr. Jackson, and Abdullah Hamid Ali a few weeks ago... and have since been longing to go to the Rihla this year 2008 -- especially since it is in Madinah, Makkah & Taif. The blogs have only confirmed this longing. I pray Allah makes this possible. The thing is -- i don't read, write, speak nor understand arabic. Is there english translation? It would be very kind of you to let me know.

W/salam!
a sister in need of your prayers!

 

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