|Old picture of the Kaba|
Bismillah ir Rahman ir Rahim,
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds and the peace and blessings be upon our Master Muhammad, our beloved messenger, the one to whom obedience to him is obedience to Allah, Ameen. Alhumduillah I just got back from Umrah! We went to Medina first, the city of our beloved prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. Masjid An Nabi is immensely beautiful. Before we even got there we drove hours from Doha, the Saudi landscape is so beautiful and diverse. Its filled with miles of fertile land, miles of rocks, smooth mountains, mountains that were piles of large rocks, animals -we saw camels, goats and monkeys. Also in driving you get to see some of the remnants of old houses -its amazing how little people took for themselves in the past. Outside of the Prophet's Masjid you do get the feeling that your in a very old place. The many small shops and people selling their merchandise on the floors of Medina. The light of the city is Masjid An Nabi. It is enormous, Alhumduillah I walk around the courtyard a few times. The courtyard is so well kept that most of the time I walked without shoes on. The entire masjid and courtyard is bigger then the Medina of our prophet, may Allah grant him peace and blessings, so you really get to remind yourself of the emigrants and helpers who once filled the community.
I went in the Masjid to greet Rasoolulah, peace and blessings be upon him, twice. The first time was completely overwhelming. There are two times for women -After Fajr and after Isha. I went twice after Isha. The first day I was pretty early, Alhumduillah, in front of me was a crowd but behind me was a sea of women. Once we got in its a pretty long walk inside the Masjid to the Rawdah and to the prophet, upon him be peace and blessings. Alhumduillah I got to get as close as possible. Saudi Authorities are under the strange belief that women cannot visit graves, so there is a plastic wall between us and Rasoolulah, peace and blessing be upon him. Allah bless the people of Saudi and revive the religion of Rasoolulah, peace and blessings upon him, in their hearts and actions. The first day I was a bit confused and dissapointed but nevertheless the spirit of being in the prophet's presence physically is very powerful. When I went to visit Al Baaqi the women were again turned away. This was the next day after I first went to greet Rasoolulah, peace upon him, I have to tell you I felt so distraught and overcome with sadness -to be so close to the grave of our Mother Ayesha, the very one who related to us the importance of visiting the graves, and not be able to greet her. Subhanallah we tried to argue with them a bit but there was no use. I don't think I've every felt so overwhemeld with sadness.
Later on I went to give my farewell salams to the prophet, peace upon him. This time it was a little less orderly so the crowd felt even bigger. Alhumduillah I got to make my dua, dhikr, and salams being physically nearer to the prophet, upon him be peace, then I'd ever been. There is a beautiful breeze that comes over Medina at night, I spent time in the courtyard making dhikr, writing, and taking in the beautiful diversity of the Muslim community.
Next Mecca! Its a blessing to remembe rthe prophet's victory journey over Mecca. Driving you realize how long of a trek it is and how much faith it takes to leave your home to settle in another so far away. The terrain is rocky! In the mountains you can see remnants of old houses. The lights of Masjid Al Haram are always on! No matter what time of day you can always go to the masjid. You can't see the kaba from the ouside only once you walk through the Masjid can you see the kaba. When I first got sight of it I had a minor melt down. Every where we go we look for the kibla to pray, for it to be right in front of you.... Subhanallah. And then to remember the trials of Hagar and Ibrahim and of course of Rasoolulah, upon them be peace. The kaba is just as perfect as you would imagine it to be. I didn't know how large it was. As a structure alone it has a commanding prosence that I could imagine was even stronger before the many tall building that surround it. I made tawaf and saee twice, The first time with my sister and niece the second by myself. It was great to be in a sea of muslims circling the kaba. Alhumduillah both times Allah provided me an opening to touch the the Kaba. My sister and her husband were able to kiss the black stone on days when they went by themselves. Next we went to maqam Ibrahim, when we tried to pray behind it we were pushed away by a particularly angry guard -becuase were women and should be praying in the back. Honestly if you attempted to find the "back" behind all the men you would be wasting alot of time. We moved back away from the maqam and prayed still "too close" but we were left alone the second time when I went by melf I just prayed as close as I could, Masha Allah. Saee! Running (and walking) between Safa and Marwa brings home the experience of Hagar. The immense faith, trust and hope that she had in Allah.The walk between the two mountains is not a short distance, Subhannallah, may Allah bless our mother. We prayed on Marwa and drank zam zam after our seventh run.
I feel immensely blessed to be brought by Allah to the two sacred cities. I pray to Allah that you are able to go. The minor hardships we had are nothing compared to those of our predecessors. I'll be honest when I was turned away from visiting the grave of Rasoolulah, peace upon him, and Al Baaqi my first response was that I wanted to get out of this country immediately. But after reminding myself what a blessing it is just to be here and to remind myself that the prophet, peace upon him was also turned away I realized that this is to great a journey to not have its trials. Insha Allah please pray for Saudi and make dua that they remember the mother of the city -Hagar, and that traditional islam is revived in there hearts and practice and in our in every aspects.
Peace and blessings to our beloved prophet.