Umrah #23: Nobody Walks Away From This Place Empty-Handed

When your name gets called in the throne room, you know you’ve hit the jackpot! Ramadan of 1998 was my first trip for Umrah. A gift from my parents for graduating from the University of Michigan. I remember descending into the valley of Makkah like it was yesterday— moving closer to the object of desire.

THE WAITING

“Labbaiyk, Allahuma Labbaiyk. Labbaiyka, Lasharika Laka-Labbaiyk.”

“Here I am at your service O Allah, Here I am at your service”

We chanted louder and louder as we moved closer to the object of our desire. A response to an ancient call. An Abrahamic tradition inaugurated by the father of all things monotheistic. I remember my heart pounding fast, then faster and my eyes swelling up with tears. It was night time and the white marble on the ground was cool to the touch. “Labbaiyk”, I continued as I walked into the sanctuary, gaze lowered, moving through the corridor in a dream-like state, surrounded by thousands I continued until I finally stopped. I knew that I was in the presence of majesty. I slowly raised my head and my eyes beheld the single most awesome sight that I have ever witnessed. I’ve carried that feeling with me for almost two decades and twenty-three trips. Never have I been desensitized to that feeling and never have I taken for granted being a guest in the “Blessed House.”

Millions of people have been frequenting the Haramain (Sanctuaries) for centuries. People come from far and near to have their prayers heard. There’s not a tribe, city, state or country that isn’t represented in the holy lands. Different people with different skin colors eat different foods, speak different languages, wear different clothes and practice different customs, all gathered in one place to celebrate peace, brotherhood and unity. The beauty of it? As different as they all are, when the Muaddhin raises the call to prayer, every individual from every nation stops what they are doing and responds to his call, faces the Kaabah and engages in prayer.

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Makkah and Madinah both have their own flavors. The fast paced city feel of Makkah is rivaled by the laid back leisure of Madinah. Both cities embody a personality which you can feel in your bones and in the air. Both are complimentary to one another, each in perfect harmony, yet bear different fruits. Makkah will magnify your deeds 100,000 times, while Madinah connects you to the greatest being the world has ever known.

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Both make you feel safe, privileged, humbled and honored.

Life can be trying. It can weigh on a person through a series of negative experiences and trials that can prove to be challenging on the highest level. A visit to the Haramain can afford you the opportunity to reset, gain perspective, have a vision or find a path. All the worries of the world can be washed away with Zamzam or with a simple sajdah. A person can reach true euphoria, simply by sitting still and looking at the Kaabah or sending salutations upon the Prophet ﷺ .

Towards the end of the chapter titled: “ The Repentance” Allah, the Exalted reveals two verses in the Quran that are a perfect balance between the two cities and what they represent. In relations to His Prophet who is linked to Madinah:

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“There has certainly come to you a Messenger from amongst yourselves. Grievous to him is what you suffer; [He is] concerned over you and to the believers is kind and merciful”.

The Noble Quran,

 

Then to Makkah and the bounty of Allah:

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“But if they turn away, [O Muhammad], say “Sufficient for me is Allah; there is no deity except him. On him I have relied, and He is the Lord of the Great Throne.”

The Noble Quran, 9:129

There are tiny miracles occurring every step of the way. Within each moment, someone is forgiven, granted a child, given a raise, cured of illness, vested with peace, their status raised…

This is a place where nobody walks away empty-handed. This is a place where kindred souls meet and the impossible is shown to be made possible. This is a place where Tawaf (Circumambulation) is constant and sujood is the norm (Prostration). Ask for whatever you want, whatever your heart desires. Here, it is impolite not to ask and ask abundantly. What other host are so unconditionally Gracious? Recognize the favors of the Almighty.

Through the eyes of a Muaddhin, every time I look at the Kaabah, I can’t help but be reminded that there was a moment in time where a black man who was once a slave, who sat on the lowest rung of his society was honored and dignified above every elite soul gathered in front of the Haram in one of the greatest historical moments the world has ever known. It was during the conquest of Makkah, that my master Bilal ibn Rabah “Al Habashi” was commanded to ascend the Kaaba and publicly raise the adhan as an announcement that Islam had arrived.

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I remember that the Messenger of Allah stated in the simplest of words that “A white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over a white, except by piety and in good action”

Sayyidina Muhammad, Mustafaﷺ brought the promise of Islam and he was good on his words. The words of Allah, represented by his tradition manifested the very creed of social justice. It is imperative to connect that history with our current situation.

As much as a trip to the Haram is an opportunity to reset, gain clarity and find purpose, I believe it can and should also be a launching pad for executing great deeds and benefit to society at large. We must connect with our spiritual self and history and ask the Almighty to use us to enjoin good and spread light.

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This trip in Madinah, I met many personalities that are working hard for Islam in the west. Amongst the notable personalities were the Qalam Institute, Ustadh Wissam Sharieff, Imam Dawood Yasin, Imam Khalid Latif, Imam Omer Bajwa, Ustadh Jameel Besada. We met in the best of places in the best of times. We conferred with each other on matters of spirituality and activism while we ate the blessed dates of the city of the Prophetﷺ.

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Amazing things always happen on these trips. The most precious gift for me during this experience was being given the permission to raise the adhan in two masajid of the holy city: Darul Hadith and the famed Islamic University of Madinah. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would be possible. To sign and seal the deal, one of the scholars of Masjid-An-Nawabi, wrote me a letter confirming the two events, then said to me: “Go and present this parchment at the feet of your mother so that she may know that her son has made Madinah, the Radiant, his witness on the day of all days.”

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As I sat there looking at that piece of paper I held between my two hands in the courtyard of the sanctuary, I thought to myself, truly, nobody walks away from this place empty handed.

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38 responses to “Umrah #23: Nobody Walks Away From This Place Empty-Handed”

  1. Haadiya says:

    Its true, nobody walks away from these places empty handed. Dua is the most powerful weapon of a beleiver. For the miracles of Duas read Blossoms an inspiring monthly online magazine.
    http://www.blossomsmag.com

  2. ukkir says:

    Allahu Akbar, Labaik Allahumma Labaik, Islam forever

  3. Kumi says:

    Assalamu alaikum,

    Jazakallahu khairan and thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts on the Umrah and the experiences you’ve made.
    I really miss these blessed places and I hope that I can visit them again soon, inshaAllah.
    Alhamdulillah for the blessing of Islam!

  4. Iram Hetavkar says:

    I was there recently and relived it whilst reading your article…جزاك الله خيرا

  5. bilal says:

    Jazak Allah for sharing your trip for Ummrah with us such a beautiful place of every Muslims’s life. Kindly pray for me as i wish to go there and see so beautiful places there… O, Almighty Allah shower on us your blessings. Aameen.

  6. Kristy says:

    “When your name gets called in the thrown room”
    Did you really mean “thrown room” or “throne room”?

    I noticed you are a grad of the University of Michigan. Hope you understand the potentially embarrassing difference between “throne and thrown”.

    • Jameel Syed says:

      Kristy,

      LOL! You are absolutely correct. This “Michigan grad/CEO” and did make not just this blunder, but a series of other grammatical mistakes as well, that I/we would not have caught if you didn’t point this out. I’m always in a rush, traveling, writing, speaking, family, traveling… Yes, even Wolverines make mistakes. Truly, thank you for your input and for visiting.

  7. Arulnath says:

    Your blog is awesome..You have clearly explained …Its very useful for me to know about new things..Keep on blogging.

    • Jameel Syed says:

      Thank you so much for your compliment. After putting in so much effort, its uplifting to receive positive feedback that reflects people who are benefitting. I’ll keep blogging, if you’ll keep reading :-)

  8. Omer Riaz says:

    MashAllah!! May Allah give us all the chance to perform Umrah. .Ameen.
    Mecca and Madinah are the Most Beautiful and Peaceful place on earth. Thanks for sharing

  9. Javed Aslam says:

    Thanks you for sharing beautiful thoughts on Umrah.

  10. Ameen says:

    The most beautiful thing I’ve ever read on MM. JazakAllah khair for your reflection and may Allah grant us all as much opportunity possible to visit His Haramain. Ameen.

    • Jameel Syed says:

      ASA Ameen,

      I do not know if I am worthy of that accolade as there are plenty more gifted writers and thoughtful subjects than mine, but I am flattered and honored to have benefitted you. I felt that I simply operated on the principal of our tradition:

      “Indeed Allah SWT is beautiful and He loves that which is beautiful”. I’d love for you to check out my new ebook and hear your thoughts on the visual landscape I created from the past Umrah.

      http://www.blurb.com/ebooks/578928-a-journey-with-the-muaddhin-umrah-23

  11. Umm Ayesha says:

    MashaAllah besutifully written. I don’t know whether you know Urdu or not, but the caption of your article brought tears in my eyes and this to my mind:
    حضور(ص) میں نے سنا ہے کہ آپ کے در پر
    سوال رد نہیں ہوتا کسی سوالی کا

  12. thoriq says:

    just say Allahu Akbar

  13. zuhrihasyim says:

    I always pray that I could go to Mecca and I hope Allah answere my prayers soon.
    Labbaik Allahumma Labaik…

  14. MSD says:

    https://sorceryinreligion.wordpress.com/blog/ for some unheard, unseen jinns news.

  15. Assalamualaikum, Labbaik Allahumma Labaik…

  16. Mecca is a holy city to be the desire of every Muslim to visit .
    I hope that I can soon visit there . Ameen , Labaik Allahumma Labaik ..

  17. rudy says:

    Umrah during Ramadan is the most beautiful and makes me want to immediately return to Mecca to perform the Umrah and Hajj. pray for me huh … labbaika allahuma labaik

  18. Umroh says:

    nice article ….. labbaika allahuma labaik …. and i hope, i can pray in baitullah

  19. fitri says:

    nice article labaik allahuma labaik

  20. I realy feel that condition, especially when I Go Umrah in ramadhan, very very crowded , and it’s right that almst no empety place for every body.. Allahu Akbar

  21. wisata umroh says:

    I always pray that I could go to Mecca and I hope Allah answere my prayers soon.
    Labbaik Allahumma Labaika…

  22. zuhrihasyim says:

    May Allah answered my prayers to be able to immediately implement the Umrah . Aamiin.

  23. imas says:

    Labbaik Allohumma Labbaik…Allohu Akbar

  24. Alam Khan says:

    Good to be here and to gather this deligtful stuff which i need to know more and more. I was so wondered and amazed to see Mecca and Madina’s photo.

  25. Ami Mulyadi says:

    The trip to the holy land for every Muslim is the most beautiful experience that always wanted to be repeated

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