Thursday, July 14, 2005

Photos and women

Photo: The Shaykh meets with our Saudi guides before we proceed to visit Jannatul Baqi. © Fareena Alam. Please do not re-use without permission and proper credit.

Photo: Jannatul Baqi taken from outside where the women were briefed by a local guide. In the distance, see the Rihla men gathering around their guide. The green arrow points to the rock which notes where Hazrat Uthman Ibn Affan (ra) is thought to be buried. The specific locations of other graves are not know, we are told by our Saudi guide (who, being a well-meaning person, also felt the need to tell us that our primary obligation as women was to make our husbands happy but let's not get into that right now)

Take your cameras everywhere, said Sh Abdallah, except where it is not allowed. He wants us to pool all our photos together and create a photo essay together and create a photo essay at the end of this journey.

It turned out, there are very few places where cameras (and women, for that matter) aren't allowed because we are guests of the Governor of Madinah and special arrangements had been made. The exceptions so far, have been the Prophet's (صلي الله عليه و سلم) mosque, inside Jannatul Baqi and a part of the massive publishing company that prints all those free Qurans.

I for one, even take my massive tripod everywhere. The photograph taken at Masjid Quba (below) would not have been possible without a tripod and a remote control.

This Rihla has been dominated with field trips to historical sites, loads of free time to perform ibadah at the Prophet's (صلي الله عليه و سلم) mosque and the study of texts that nurture love and understanding of the Prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم). The organisers have what it takes to make radical decisions like calling off all fiqh classes so as to free up time for other actions more appropriate for short stays in Madinah.

The group is not lacking in capable teachers. We are walking amongst masters - Shaykh Hamza (Maliki fiqh), Shaykh Abdallah Al-Qadi (Shafi'i), Shaykh Jamal Dhahabi (Hanafi) and Shaykh Muhammad Yaqoubi (Hanafi). They have so far been accessible and approachable by those with specific fiqh questions (including, should we enter the hotel elevator if it means we will be alone with a member of the opposite sex? Answer: You may. The elevator isn't secure and doesn't really fulfill the conditions of khalwa. Besides, you're either going up or going down. [Laughter from the class] -- Fab. Now people can stop missing the jamaat at the masjid while waiting for single-sex elevators.)

It is decisions based on nuanced understanding of how a Rihla to Madinah should be like, that has made this stay so special so far. For example, a number of sisters missed the private time at the Rawdah last Friday because of menstruation. The whole lot of us are therefore, being invited to the Rawdah again tomorrow night (Friday).

90 more private minutes on a piece of Paradise. Allahu Akbar.



At Thursday, 14 July, 2005, Blogger Sohail Siddiqi said...

Asalamo Alaikum sister,

I'm Sohail from Birmingham UK. Dr Imran, a fellow classmate is amongst your blessed group.

I read your blog at work and i really struggle to hold back the tears. My eyes are filled with tears of joy that Allah SWT has given my brothers and sisters in islam a chance to be so close to the Prophet Mohammed SAW.

Please, Please sister convey my salutations to our Beloved Prophet SAW and make dua for me that inshallah one day I have a chance to be part of this beautiful paradisiacal experience.

Also if possible, please convey my salaam to Sheikh Hamza Yusuf and tell him that i have lost count of the times i cried with him listening to his lectures. if i was to even meet him i would cry like a little baby!

i often look at satellite pictures of the base Zaytuna institute and pray that one day Inshallah I can live near them or at least visit them once in my life.

I would love to see some more picture.

Look forward to your next blogg.

A'Salaam OAlaikum.

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


May Allah raise all your statuses and grant you the benefit of The Prophet's Physical Prescence. In the company of such noble and saintly people I don't doubt that every single last person will come away from this years Rihla transformed and vitalised.

Can I reserve copies of the 'pool pictures' please. I pray the way is made even easier for you all, but remember us poor ones.


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

Aslamua alaikum
So great to hear that all of you are reaping the benefits in wonderful surroundings with excellent scholars.
PLease make dua for me!!

Say my salams to the following people if you run into them please:
-Ayaz Hyder
-Ahmad Munawar
-Dr. Arif Syed

Hammad Din

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

Beautiful Pictures, Mashallah!

At Thursday, 14 July, 2005, Blogger Al-muslima said...

as-salamu alaykum

I have a dua, a request, which i wrote before you went for the rihla... :

Pray for the day, when I will be near the rawda
I am waiting for the day I will be a visitor of the noble lighten city
The day we will be able to say; Yâ Nabî (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) here we are,
here we are to send peace and blessings upon you
here we are, ready to die at every moment in Madina

Justly, we are nothing but clay, you are by Noor
-The lighten humanbeing, The Noor, surely we will not go astray,
as long as we obey Allah and Send Peace and blessings upon you

You are The Hafiz, you are the leader, you are beloved of Allah,
Star of Universe, The Unique Star, call upon us, O Leader of Madina
Mercy for mankind-you showed me the lighten way,

Our hearts are lighten when mentioning your name
Our mouths are sweetened by mentioning your praised name

Our hearts long for you, ya RasulAllâh
-every moment, we want to obtain your love

I have my heart in Madina, ya RasulAllah
and surely I shall not bring it back ever.
Let me be a visitor of your home, the blessed place which is higher than 'arsh

Our eyes are crying by looking at your Qubah (dome)
the view of Madina is fantastic and marvelous
lo! the shining star over the Masjid, praising you, the praising birds at fajr and maghrib sending peace and blessings upon you.

Everyone is uttering the blessed name of yours, i wish..
i wish i was a bird, and i could be a visitor of Madina at any time, without any responsibilites,
just praising you and obtaining your love.
As jalous I am on the remaining creation -surely they praise you at every moment

i wish i could climb into the past and see you at that time
-i do know i am not worth it, but do come in my dreams, yâ HabîbAllâh

Yâ Nabi, my ship is sinking, do help me, let me obtain your raised love
The love of yours is a large ocean, let me sail upon it

Ya Nabi don't let me sink let me be a visitor of your city and let my heart be refreshned
however my heart is at your place

thousands of visitors are going to Madina, ya Nabi
yâ Madani, do call upon me as well

Surely we aren't worth to mention your name -justly we do it, your name is attached in our hearts

Our heart were covered with darkness
until the day we began to love Allah and His Beloved

Our heart was covered with darkness
-and now it's filled with Noor by the name of Allah and Habib Allah

Let us follow the path of noor, and let us attempt to obtain it

O Allah increase our knowledge and our love for You, The Praiseworthy, The Merciful, The Compassionate, Lord of All the worlds.

At Thursday, 14 July, 2005, Blogger Noor Umm Bilal said...

Assalamu alaikum Warahmatuhllahi Wabarakatuhu,
Subhanallah what a treasured gift from Allah SWT for you all to be immersed in the Radiance of Glorious Madinah. May Allah SWT imbue your heart with this same Noor which you then share with all you meet upon your return. Continue to be blessed more and more as each day passes.
Fareena if time permits I would like to meet with some of you, Insha'Allah…I emailed before you left.

Wassalamu alaikum
Noor Umm Bilal

At Friday, 26 October, 2007, Blogger Riedel Communications said...

My dear is the nature of the Internet that photos and words can live on for a long from 2005 when you posted your messages until today...October 25, 2007 when I stumbled across your post doing a random search.

I don't understand all of the terms used in your post and the responses...but reading it, my heart breaks.

As you may know, here in the US we women can go and do as we please. There will never be a man still standing alive who ever told me where or what or how I should do a thing...(unless he were my boss and paying me a good wage).

When I was a girl (I am now 50) they made fun of "Women's Liberation." I didn't undertand any of that, all I knew was I was as smart, as fast and as strong as any boy my age and I knew I was as Good, as EQUAL. It never occurred to me to be anything else. I believe I was born with this spirit. I might have been way out of place had I been born this way 100 or so years earlier or perhaps I would have been a pioneer. I do not know, I only know this was the mind I was born mother certainly discouraged me at every turn.

It hurts my soul to see my sisters elsewhere in this world having to amend their comings and goings because they are women. We really are WOMEN first, and our individual nationalities or religious separations later.

And to have somebody tell me I can do or not do because I am having my period...well...that would have sent me into a murderous rage...and I am pretty sure the courts in my country would have upheld my indignation.

My Sisters...I read your endearing, sweet and sincere, accountings of your trip to Medina which you found so awesome. I find my heart filling with love for your heart.

And I don't know if you care what I think or find me vulger or think how I think or live is repulsive...but I do know to live in one's own control of one's own life is God's (Allah's, respectfully) greatest gift.

In our Bible there are two stories of creation...Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. In Genesis 1, the story goes that God created Man and Woman at the same time...simultaneously. In Genesis 2 the story goes that God created Adam and took woman from his rib. Guess which story I was told growing up? Genesis 2 of course because in my church (Protestant) they couldn't allow a woman to be equal to man! It wasn't until I was 34 that I learned the Genesis 1 story of same-time creation. Of course you could rightly say that was my fault for never reading the bible on my own in its entirity, but that's what I was told and I took that as Gospel!

Anyway...bless your hearts. I am praying that we all come together one day. And, I am praying hard for my sisters in various places that they gain equal rights and have the same rights and priviledges as men. No woman should ever feel she has to answer to any man.

BTW...I am married, I have two grown children. My husband and I are equal partners. I am quite happy in my marriage, and my children are well-adjusted happy human beings...So don't let them tell you your liberation will ruin
your marriages, make your kids insane, leave you a sterile old woman...that's what they used to tell us!!!

My Name? Bunnie Riedel
My Town? Columbia, Maryland
Any Questions? Bring 'Em On!
Want to Visit Me Live? write:
Otherwise: Shut-the-F-Up!


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