Monday, July 18, 2005

No praise is high enough

Photo: Worshippers leaving the Prophet's mosque after Asr prayer. © Fareena Alam. Please do not re-use without permission and proper credit.

I didn't do as much as I wanted to prepare for my visit to Madinah, other than increase my salawat and re-read the Seerah. Alot of it was about mental preparation for me.

We were so fortunate to have had the private time at the Rawdah. Women don't usually get proper access to the Rawdah. Our hosts managed to arrange this for us, not once, not twice but inshallah, thrice (this coming Wednesday evening before we leave Madinah).

Once in the Rawdah, I kept asking myself, who am I to be here? Most of us were completely overcome with emotion but after all that crying, a sense of peace overcomes you. It is almost as if the Prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم) is comforting you and assuring you that he will keep his promise to intercede for you on the Last Day, Inshallah.

I was at both the 2002 and the 2003 Rihlas in New Mexico. Such programs are always very spiritually uplifting but this one is different. We don't have the same class-heavy schedule. Our purpose here is to focus on ibadah - not just personal but collective. It is almost as if you cannot help but increase your level of ibadah here. Even the classes we do have, have a different tone to them, compared to the other Rihlas.

When we sing Qasidas here, the sense of joy, love and connection with the Prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم) is very heightened. This is the land where people who loved the Prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم) sang Tala Al Badru to welcome him. I feel inadequate in praising him. How can my praises for the Prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم) be adequate when Allah Most High praised him?

I don't think I'll have any trouble convincing my friends back home that they should come to Madinah...if not for the next Rihla then just on their own. Muslims know the significance of this city. My only advice is that people spend longer periods in Madinah, than the usual 3-4 days. Our souls time to recharge and re-nourish. Come for 8-10 days.

It was an honour to be invited. The application process for this program was tough - all those forms and so on but those were nothing compared to the realisation that I would not be here unless Allah's most beloved hadn't invited me.



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