I was sitting on my couch, staring at the wall the other day, and a feeling of great sadness overcame me; I realized that I was back in the dunya (worldly life). You see, I had spent the previous eleven days in Mecca and Madīnah and for those of you who have been to these blessed places, you know that it's as if you've temporary left the dunya and entered into a spiritual haven of serenity. What an amazing journey!
The following are simply some of my reflections/takeaways from my trip. For those of you who have been there before, these words will insha Allāh bring forth some memories to the forefront of your consciousness; those who have not, insha Allāh these words will serve as motivation for you to plan your first trip ASAP! One thing's for sure…this trip is unlike any other that you'll ever take in your life.
Why am I so attached to the dunya (the worldly life)?
Probably the most beautiful thing about the trip was the re-emphasis it gave me to focus my life on the akhira (the next life). As I was sitting there in the haram (name for the holy mosques in Mecca and Madīnah), staring at the Ka'ba I felt like I was getting a little piece of heaven. My mind, body and soul were completely at peace and I started to think why I sweat the dunya so much? Why was I allowing the little day to day affairs of my life consume my thoughts? Why had my goals become all dunya-based goals? Why was my ibadah (worship) slacking? Why hadn't I prayed Tahajjud (the prayer in the latter parts of the night) lately?
Basically, why was my heart attached to the dunya, when it neither gave me the peace or satisfaction that I desired? Sitting in Mecca staring at the Ka'bah reminded me of what my focus should be.
This is how life is supposed to be lived
Mecca as those of you who have been there know quite well, is a very busy place! Whether it's pacing between the hills of Safa and Marwa, walking around the Ka'ba during tawaf, changing into your oh-so comfortable ihram (can you sense the sarcasm), getting your haircut, playing human frogger through the Meccan traffic (only the old school Atari readers will get that one), or just standing up for long prayers; Mecca kept me busy!
But then I took that lovely bus ride through the desert to Madīnah and then ahhhhhhh; relief!!! In Madīnah, life is the complete opposite of Mecca; it is slow and laid back. My schedule in Madīnah was completely centered on the five daily prayers and any other acts of worship that I wanted to perform. And as I sat there in the Prophet's mosque, I thought to myself 'now this is how life is supposed to be lived.' Life is supposed to be focused first on worship and then matters of the world, but unfortunately most of the time it is the exact opposite.
In the footsteps of the Greatest
I was blessed to be able to spend a lot of time in the Prophet's mosque in Madīnah. In particular, I was especially blessed to spend a lot of time in the Rawdah (the area of the original mosque built by the Prophet peace be upon him and his companions). As you all know, praying in this area is equivalent to praying in heaven. Sitting in this blessed area, I was looking up and imagining how it must have looked at the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him). I imagined him standing on the minbar (pulpit) and giving his weekly sermon; and I imagined the sahabah (his companions) sitting there and listening. These thoughts brought so many tears of joy; knowing that I was literally sitting where the greatest generation of human beings once sat.
Of course, right next to the Rawdah is where the Prophet peace be upon him's original house once was and where he is now buried. An overwhelming sense of awe overcame me while walking by the grave of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the graves of Abu Bakr and Omar. I was standing about fifteen feet away from the greatest man that has ever walked the face of this earth and his beloved companions (may God be pleased with them). I said salam to them as I walked by and just prayed for God to allow me to be in their company in the hereafter.
The Legacy of the Ansaar lives on
I was blessed to be able to experience this trip with one of my oldest and dearest friends. My friend knew a family that lived in Madīnah and that family was kind enough to invite us to dinner one night. They lived in part of town that was not a wealthy area at all; and they lived in a house that many of us from the west would never consider living in. But as soon as I met Uncle Syed, I knew that he and his family were blessed in ways that transcend the material world.
The house was full of family, friends and love. They brought out the delicious home cooked food for us and placed it on the floor; and all of us sat on the floor and ate together. They did this on a nightly basis; the whole family gathered and ate on the floor together.
After our wonderful meal, Uncle Syed was not satisfied with our one visit. He asked us to come every single day for breakfast and dinner. He said that he would come and pick us up since we did not have a car, and take us to his house for the two meals each day until we left Madīnah. I thanked Uncle Syed for his generosity and he told me not to be thankful, because I was in the Prophet's city and it was his duty to take care of me until I left; however long that would be. Subhan Allāh! I'm sure the Ansaar (may God grant them peace) would be happy to know that their legacy lives on in Uncle Syed and others like him.
The rewards and the blessings that one receives while in these blessed cities are compounded immensely. Here are some of the rewards that can only be had in these two cities:
- The reward of one prayer in either the Haram in Mecca or the Prophet's mosque is Madīnah is equivalent to 1,000 prayers elsewhere.
- The reward for making Umrah (the minor pilgrimage) is to have all of your previous sins forgiven
- The reward for praying two rakah in masjid al-Quba in Madīnah is equal to the reward of making Umrah
- The reward of praying in the Rawdah in the Prophet's mosque is like praying in Junnah (heaven)
- The reward of tawaf can only be had in Mecca
- Any good that you do in the haramain (the two mosques) are multiplied i.e. reading Qurʾān, praying extra prayers, etc.
- The du‘ā’ that you make while hanging on the multazim (the door of the Ka'ba) are accepted insha Allāh
- The du‘ā’ that you make the first time you see the Ka'ba is accepted by Allāh insha Allāh
- The reward of doing sa'i (walking between the hills of Safaa and Marwaa) is something that you can only get in Mecca
- The du‘ā’ that one makes before drinking Zam Zam will be accepted insha Allāh
And the list goes on and on…
All in all, this was without a doubt the trip of a lifetime and I look forward to the day that Allāh invites me again to His House and his beloved cities of Mecca and Madīnah.
I ask that Allāh accepts from us all the good that we do in this life.
I ask that Al Kareem blesses us all to visit his House and Madīnah frequently.
I ask that Al Ghafaar forgives us of all our sins; and that Ar Raheem has mercy upon us on the day that we most need His Mercy.