An enduring memory
Photo: Stallholder and her sons outside Masjid Nabawi. © Fareena Alam. Please do not re-use without permission and proper credit.
How do I describe what I feel when I hear “Medinah”? Or, what I feel knowing that I am unable to attend Shaykh Hamza’s lecture on “A Sacred Journey to the Radiant Medinah” in Brampton (Canada) and that there is nothing I can do to change that? Most of all, how do I explain how desperately I long to go for hajj this year and how I wish to pray one more prayer in the Mosque of our Nabi (صلي الله عليه و سلم)? Not a day passed in the last 5 months when Medinah was not on my mind. Sometimes in my thoughts, other times in my dreams. Some days, I had this sudden urge to write to my close friend (who I was fortunate enough to share the Rihla experience with) and recall our mutual experiences from our journeys through Medinah and Makkah. I often wonder if I will ever revisit. If Allah (swt) will deem me worthy enough to return. If I will walk on the blessed streets of Medinah again and speak to the beautiful, gentle people who neighbour our Master (صلي الله عليه و سلم). One of my last memories in Medinah, before our departure for Umrah, was at the money exchange, a few feet away from the gates of the Prophet’s Mosque. By that point in our trip, the local shop owners were aware of the lucky “American group” and recognized many of us by face. The elder gentleman behind the counter asked me to pray for him in Makkah. I asked him to pray for me, always. He had what I will probably never have – constant proximity to our Beloved (صلي الله عليه و سلم). As we embarked our bus and made our way to Makkah, and as we chanted “Labbayk”, tears streamed down our faces. We were preparing for our pilgrimage and were ready to be at Allah (swt)’s service, but we were also leaving our Prophet (صلي الله عليه و سلم). I miss him (صلي الله عليه و سلم) so much. I dread the idea of ever forgetting the images of Medinah and of ever becoming insensitive and numb to the memories of this vibrant city- a city that is as alive today as it was yesterday. If our deeds don’t weigh heavily enough on that Day, may our love for him (صلي الله عليه و سلم) and his city protect us and shield us.