Connect with us

Inspiration and Spirituality

Reflections from Mecca (Makkah) and Madinah on my Umrah Trip

Avatar

Published

on

By Adnan Jalali

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 Madinah 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 Allah bring forth some memories to the forefront of your consciousness; those who have not, insha Allah 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 Madina), 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 Madinah and then ahhhhhhh; relief!!!  In Madinah, life is the complete opposite of Mecca; it is slow and laid back.  My schedule in Madinah 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 Madinah.  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 Madinah 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 Madinah.  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 Allah!  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.

Countless Blessings

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 Madinah 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 Madinah 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 Quran, praying extra prayers, etc.
  • The dua that you make while hanging on the multazim (the door of the Ka’ba) are accepted insha Allah
  • The dua that you make the first time you see the Ka’ba is accepted by Allah insha Allah
  • The reward of doing sa’i (walking between the hills of Safaa and Marwaa) is something that you can only get in Mecca
  • The dua that one makes before drinking Zam Zam will be accepted insha Allah

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 Allah invites me again to His House and his beloved cities of Mecca and Madinah.

I ask that Allah 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 Madinah 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.

Ameen.

44 Comments

44 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Abu Ibrahim

    April 22, 2010 at 12:39 AM

    Have just come back myself not to long ago (early Jan. of this year) I agree with you on EVERY single point akhi! SubhanAllah! I have this HUGE framed poster of the Masjid Al Nabawi in my room and every time I look at it I rmr the steps I took there and where i was inside and what i did etc.
    How i wish to go back ASAP!!! If i every get a chance to move there I dont think I would every leave for any reason! I have to say this post has brought back soo many beautiful memories and at the same time it has made me really sad, rmr the two blessed cities and how much I miss them both!

    • Adnan

      Adnan

      April 22, 2010 at 5:25 AM

      Barakallahufeek. Subhanallah the hearts just automatically become attached to these two blessed places.

  2. Avatar

    Joyhamza

    April 22, 2010 at 7:42 AM

    Seems like we were there at the same time. I went there at the 7th of this month and came back at the 16th. How did you feel when you were looking at the Kabah for one last time. For me it was the most emotional experience. I was only thinking perhaps this is the last time I am seeing the House of Allah.

    • Avatar

      amad

      April 22, 2010 at 7:55 AM

      nope… Adnan was there in the last week of March… I know because I met him there :)

      Was it your first time hamza? To be honest, even if it’s your hundredth time, you still get incredible goosebumps seeing it!

      May Allah return all of us quickly back to Makkah & Madinah

      • Avatar

        Joyhamza

        April 22, 2010 at 10:57 AM

        Yeah you guessed it right. My first time. Ameen to your dua.

        • Adnan

          Adnan

          April 22, 2010 at 2:37 PM

          Actually, I made a lot of dua asking Allah to bring me back often and I don’t know how to explain it, but something inside told me that it won’t be the last time I see it inshallah. Allah knows best as to what happens in the future, but inshallah I hope to be back there soon. It is one of the 4 main reasons I decided to move to the Middle East.

          So I definitely felt sad leaving, but at the same time felt like I’ll be back soon inshallah.

  3. Avatar

    Amatullah

    April 22, 2010 at 10:51 AM

    I remember my aunt telling me before I left for umrah that you will cry when you see the Ka’bah..I just nodded and didn’t think much of it.

    SubhanAllah, there we were walking to the haram from our hotel saying the talbiyah – with the anticipation increasing – we come to the ka’bah and you know when you cry you think “ok i’m going to cry now..” well that doesn’t happen when you see the House of Allah….You just cry, without realizing it. I looked around and all of us were in our own world making duaa to Allah, crying.

    Alhamdulillah we did our umrah during the last third of the night, it was so peaceful and tranquil – it was a great blessing from Allah to complete our umrah at this time.

    One of the blessings I think we don’t give enough reflection time is the Talbiyah. I remember the shaykh who was with us telling us that we will MISS saying this talbiyah and that we should stop our random side conversations and focus completely on this statement. He was so right. SubhanAllah, a beautiful thing to declare: labbayk Allahumma labbayk.

    I never understood the emotional connection that people would describe to me after they came back from Hajj or Umrah ….until I went myself. SubhanAllah the love we have for these two cities is like the love you have for a best friend or family member, or even a greater love. May Allah azza wa jal accept our Hajj and Umrahs make us regular guests of His House. Truly the most blessed place on this earth.

    • Adnan

      Adnan

      April 22, 2010 at 2:39 PM

      Ameen to your dua.

  4. Avatar

    Sister

    April 22, 2010 at 1:05 PM

    One word. Goosebumps.

    • Adnan

      Adnan

      April 22, 2010 at 2:41 PM

      Yes!!! Definitely lots of goosebumps thinking about where you are and the significance of the places upon which you are standing.

  5. Adnan

    Adnan

    April 22, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    By the way, one of the things that I forgot to mention in the article was the super amazing tour that I took of Medina! It was the best tour that I’ve ever taken because the tour guide was actually a graduate from Medina University who started up this touring company post graduation. He not only showed us the amazing sights, but he was sharing his vast array of knowledge throughout the tour.

    Mashallah!!! Sometimes Allah blesses you by allowing you to meet individuals who help you to understand the world and life better; and he was one of these wonderful people. In the 4 hours I spent with him, I gained an understanding of the world that I never had before; and he shared a perspective on things with me that I have never heard from any of the well known shuyookh from the west that I’ve gotten to know over the years.

    I hope that you all get a chance to take his tour on your next visit to Medina inshallah.

    • Amad

      Amad

      April 22, 2010 at 3:14 PM

      You mean this guy :) : http://www.medinatouringservice.com (for the tour service)

      • Adnan

        Adnan

        April 22, 2010 at 3:54 PM

        Yes! That’s the one! Mashallah, really this brother Jameel is amazing! His manners, professionalism and knowledge of the deen helped to make that tour something special.

  6. Avatar

    Muslim Girl

    April 22, 2010 at 6:52 PM

    This was a great article, jazak’Allah for writing it. I have never been yet but it still brought tears to my eyes! Insha’Allah Allah (SWT) will give me and my parents the ability to go soon.

    • Adnan

      Adnan

      April 22, 2010 at 11:16 PM

      Barakallahufeek.
      A brother once told me that if you really make sincere dua from the heart and beg Allah to give you an opportunity to visit his house, that eventually the invitation comes. So just keep making sincere dua and Allah will do the rest :) He is al Kareem (the Generous) and al Jabbaar (The Compellor – in other words the One who can make things happen).

  7. Avatar

    Waseem

    April 23, 2010 at 7:52 AM

    It was truly a blessed journey. A journey of the heart and soul that no words can describe. it can only be felt. May Allah accept from us and allow us to visit his sacred house in Mecca Medina and Jeruselum ( ameen)

    • Adnan

      Adnan

      April 23, 2010 at 10:14 AM

      Hey bro…..good to see you on here. Ameen to your dua.

  8. Avatar

    Uthmaan

    April 23, 2010 at 8:53 AM

    SubhanAllah Akhi! Reading your post brought tears to my eyes. I was blessed to go for hajj in winter of 07 and reading your article has only amplified the calling to go again. may Allah grant me that opportunity soon. Ameen.

    • Avatar

      Uthmaan

      April 23, 2010 at 8:54 AM

      And may Allah accept your Umrah and allow you the opportunity for Hajj soon. And to all the muslims around the world who long to visit the haramain, may Allah grant it for them.

      • Adnan

        Adnan

        April 23, 2010 at 10:11 AM

        Ameen to all your duas akhi. Barakallahufeek.

  9. Avatar

    umtalhah

    April 23, 2010 at 4:35 PM

    as salamalaikum all,

    ameen to ya’ll’s du’aas and may Allah give the opportunities again and again and accept it each time and keep our love, attachment and enthusiasm always of going there and benefiting and getting the blessing. of course there is no place like home!

  10. Avatar

    Umm Haya

    April 24, 2010 at 4:48 AM

    Jazakallahu khair for the post.

    Could please give reference for the following statement.

    ” â– The dua that you make the first time you see the Ka’ba is accepted by Allah insha Allah.”

    • Adnan

      Adnan

      April 24, 2010 at 9:27 AM

      It is a hadith narrated by al-Tabarani and I am still searching for the classification of the hadith from various scholars. I will let you know as soon as I find out. Barakallahufeek

    • Adnan

      Adnan

      April 24, 2010 at 10:05 AM

      My apologies…I just realized that it is a weak hadith. I should not have mentioned it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

      • Amad

        Amad

        April 24, 2010 at 10:07 AM

        In some scholarly opinions, weak ahadith are okay in certain aspects, aren’t they? So not sure if it is entirely out of order :)

        • Avatar

          Umm Haya

          April 25, 2010 at 1:40 AM

          I am not sure if it is OK in this context as to mention something as a result of a certain act , a daleel is certainly required.
          Wallahu A’alam.
          Jazakallahu khairan

  11. Avatar

    Umm Ibrahim

    April 25, 2010 at 11:48 AM

    Assalaamu alaikum

    Masha’Allah. :)

    May Allah accept your umra, ameen.

    • Adnan

      Adnan

      May 1, 2010 at 5:38 PM

      Barakallahufeek

  12. Avatar

    Kashif

    April 26, 2010 at 5:06 AM

    Jazak’Allah for sharing your thoughts. Purpose of Umrah and Hajj to me, among other spiritual and physical blessings, is to get our batteries recharged that lift us above the materialistic world and takes us closer to the divine.

    I have performed Umrah last year and have written about it at http://tinyurl.com/lj7z88

  13. Avatar

    me

    April 27, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    jazak Allahu kul khayr for the reminder of being focused on the akhira

  14. Avatar

    tawhid Ar-Rahman

    April 28, 2010 at 3:50 PM

    First Deaf Umrah from UK

  15. Avatar

    tawhid Ar-Rahman

    May 5, 2010 at 6:05 PM

  16. Avatar

    ibn Abu Jamaal

    May 13, 2010 at 7:06 AM

    Assalamu Alaykum,

    I’m writing a creative writing piece on the emotional and spiritual transformation and the significance of the journey. I imagine myself in the Haram, seeing the all-embracing view of an ocean of white – humans from every colour and tongue.

    How do you suggest I put this best?

    Jazakumullahu Khaiyran.

    • Adnan

      Adnan

      May 20, 2010 at 7:43 PM

      I’m not quite sure what you mean by the question but I’ll take a stab at it. I would suggest you be as descriptive as possible. Try to appeal to the readers senses. Also, use analogies and metaphors to explain your feelings, thoughts etc. Hope that helps.

  17. Avatar

    Umm H

    July 15, 2016 at 10:29 PM

    I agree. After going to Umraa I cant imagine myself going on vacation anywhere else. Honestly there is no words to describe it’s beauty. No picture will ever do justice and surely no feeling will accurately articulate the calmness it’s land gives to the believer and the generosity of it’s people. I am forever in awe. #Mekkah #Medinah #Memories
    -O Allaah invite us to your house often.

  18. Avatar

    SakeenaJavaid

    August 1, 2016 at 5:06 AM

    Really nice article may Allah bless you I am also Planning for Umrah this year to take part in the most sacred journey of my life which has the power to make our soul more pure and the sins washed away

  19. Avatar

    Zaa

    August 14, 2016 at 5:25 PM

    A very touching article indeed. I am in shaa Allah going in November this year for the first time and I cannot wait to go back. May Allah grant us all the invitation to keep going back. It’s my biggest dream come true. Rmr me and my family in your duas.

  20. Avatar

    Shabana Anjum

    August 17, 2016 at 6:34 AM

    Umrah is a very blessed journey of Allah’s home I am also planning to go for Hajj this year INSHALLAH and this blog will really going to help me during my journey

  21. Avatar

    Nik

    September 7, 2016 at 3:05 PM

    Alhamdulillah blessed to Allah for granted me 2 very precious umrah invitation in 2012 and latest march 2016…nothing compares to these 2 holy places…if you’ve been to paris..london..rome…but once you able to be here…you’ll missed it the most….O Allah grant me your invitation to perform hajj ASAP!

  22. Avatar

    Nelofer Zaheer

    November 10, 2016 at 3:02 AM

    Umrah is blessing no doubt I will also visit Makkah for Umrah

  23. Avatar

    Laiba

    June 20, 2017 at 8:43 AM

    Have just come back from makkah and madina and cant concentrate on anything at all…the first look of the holy kaaba has changed me as a person,i had so many prayers in my mind but i only wanted to praise Allah,everything else seemed so insignificant…but i am scared if this feeling is only temporary, i dont want to return to my old lifestyle ever,hope Allah gives me the courage to walk on His path and helps me get close to Him…

  24. Avatar

    Aftab

    August 8, 2018 at 3:06 PM

    A great description. SubhanAllah. Just a small correction plz. The Multazim is not the door of Ka’aba. Its the two metre (approximately) space between the door of Ka’aba and Hajr e Aswad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

#Current Affairs

Do You Know These Heroes of Eid?

Ramadan is a time of sacrifice, and the Eid honors and celebrates the fulfillment of that sacrifice. But for many the hardships do not end.

Avatar

Published

on

Rohingya children

Ramadan is a time of sacrifice, and the Eid honors and celebrates the fulfillment of that sacrifice. But for many the hardships do not end.

Between one million and three million Muslims are being detained in concentration camps in China, while masjids are being demolished and imams executed.

The Rohingya Muslims of Burma continue to suffer from terrible persecution. In one Rohingya refugee camp on the Burma / Bangladesh border there are half a million children. These children are banned by the Burmese authorities from attending school and are at risk of early marriage, child labor or being trafficked.

In the Central African Republic, the Muslim minority lives in daily fear of being killed, especially in the south.

The Palestinians continue to suffer after seventy years of occupation, with no end in sight.

Russian and Assad regime attacks on civilians continue in Syria, with the real possibility of an upcoming genocide in Idlib province.

Heroes Abound

In the midst of this all suffering, heroes abound. There’s Serikzhan Bilash of Kazakhstan, who has labored feverishly to document China’s internment of Muslims across the border. He urges those in his organization to continue their work, even as he himself has been arrested.

Those Rohingya children I mentioned in the refugee camp, banned from attending school? One 14-year-old Rohingya girl mentioned in the article has managed to enroll in school in Bangladesh. Her mother sold her food rations and borrowed money to create a fake Bangladeshi birth certificate, then paid a smuggler to take her daughter out of the camp. The girl herself says, “People hate the Rohingya here. I don’t tell people I am one… I have to lie about my identity to survive. Even though it’s a big struggle… I am able to study. There are hundreds of thousands of kids like me inside of the camps who are forced to marry off early…They have no opportunities.”

Also in that camp is 13-year-old Halim, who runs his own tutoring service, where he teaches more than 20 children. He says, “I am teaching them so they can do something for our nation. If they don’t learn anything, they can’t prosper in their life, as well as they can’t fight for the nation.”

Razan al-Najjar

Razan al-Najjar

In Palestine, let us not forget Razan al-Najjar, a 21-year-old volunteer paramedic from Gaza who was shot by an Israeli sniper on June 1, 2018, while tending to a tear gas victim. In her last Facebook post, the day before she was killed, she wrote, “Your conscience will be comforted as much as possible since God always knows your intention. #sleep_well Be good.”

In Syria, we have Dr. Omar Ibrahim, an Egyptian neurosurgeon who could probably be earning a hefty salary anywhere in the world, but instead labors under constant bombardment in the war-torn and half crushed city of Idlib. He’s been in Syria for five years and says, “I have no regrets about doing this work. Because I have passion for my work, and this work inspires me.”

A Religion of Heroes

Dr. Omar Ibrahim

Dr. Omar Ibrahim

Such stories are amazing, but they are not unique. There are countless heroes, and should that surprise us? Islam is a religion of heroes, and has always been so, going all the way back to its inception in Makkah, when the Prophet Muhammad (sws) drew around himself the weak and powerless, the slaves and foreigners. They were tortured, but did not surrender their new faith. Heroes.

Or, several years later, when the disbelievers of Arabia came in great numbers to wipe the Muslims off the face of the earth. The Muslims dug a great trench around Madinah, and held off the attackers under conditions of hunger and terrible cold, until – with Allah’s help – the siege was broken. Heroes.

So if you thought such heroes were a thing of the past, remember Serikzhan Bilash, the Rohingya girl, Halim, Razan al-Najjar, Dr. Omar Ibrahim and the untold, uncounted heroes like them. You may even know a few heroes personally. I do.

There’s my friend Karim, who works for an organization that sponsors Muslim orphans. He’s overworked and underpaid, and struggles to support his family and two children. He’s highly experienced and could earn more somewhere else. But he sticks with it because he believes in Islamic work.

I think also of my daughter’s homeroom teacher, sister Sharmeen. She’s an enthusiastic teacher who pushes the children to read, write and understand the roots of language. She does more than is required and is not appreciated as she should be. But once again, her passion drives her.

Persistence of Dua’

Our local Imam recently gave a khutbah about the importance of dua’. He said that Allah loves the dua’ that is persistent. Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in al-Daa’ wa’l-Dawa’: “One of the most beneficial of remedies is persisting in dua’.”

So be persistent. Pray for our suffering Ummah, and pray for our heroes. And donate whatever you can spare to the organizations that work on their behalf.

My Ordinary Life

As for me, my life is ordinary. On the morning of Eid, I, my mother and my daughter Salma – who is twelve years old now – wake up early and put on our best clothes, inshaAllah. We get in the car and stop at Krispy Kreme donuts.  I buy a box of a dozen to share with others after Salat al-Eid, and a few extras in a bag for our family, so we don’t have to wait in a long line and elbow people to snatch a cruller.

I pick up my cousin’s son, who does not have a car. We go downtown to the Fresno convention center and sit among a thousand other Muslims. We recite the Takbeerat al-Eid, praising Allah’s greatness. The Eid salat begins, then I strain to hear the khutbah as so many people begin chattering right away. Especially, the sisters. Sorry ladies, but it’s true :-)

I know, it all sounds a bit silly, but I’m excited. It’s a wonderful day. I see brothers that I haven’t seen since last year. Everyone is wearing their best outfits.

But it’s not about the donuts or the nice clothes. It is this feeling of sharing a connection with every Muslim around the world; a feeling of being part of something great.

When we return home, my mother makes cookies, and we put some decorations on the walls. Salma opens her presents, which this year are a new Switch game, a dartboard and a pearl necklace. It’s the first piece of real jewelry I’ve ever bought her. Buying it left me with $18 in my bank account, which means I predict a lot of Uber driving (my side job) in my near future. So I hope she likes it.

On such days, I thank Allah that I am alive to see another sunrise. Another day to strive to be a better Muslim and a better human being.

The Spirit of the Prophets

I also talk to Salma, as I do every year, about our Muslim brothers and sisters who are struggling all over the world, fighting for their freedom and their very survival. They don’t have pizza and donuts on Eid or pearl necklaces. Some are starving. Most have lost someone: a parent, a child, a sibling or a friend. Some have been utterly devastated.

Yet they are resolute. They have a deep strength that, like the well of Zamzam, never runs dry, SubhanAllah. They will not give up their hopes, their dreams or their faith, Allah willing.

These are the real heroes of Eid. I feel small next to them. They are the ones living the spirit of the Prophets and the Sahabah. They have made the greatest sacrifices, and are still striving, undaunted. They are living the words of Allah:

Say: ‘Verily, my ṣalāh, my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are all for Allāh, the Lord of the ‘Alameen’ (6:162).

May Allah ease the hearts of all who are suffering, replace pain with comfort and joy, sickness with health, oppression with liberation, and tyranny with freedom. May Allah give them security, safety, comfort, victory, and Jannah.

Continue Reading

#Islam

Swallowing Your Pride For A Moment Is Harder Than Praying All Night | Imam Omar Suleiman

Imam Omar Suleiman

Published

on

Iblees was no ordinary worshipper. He worshipped Allah for thousands of years with thousands of prayers. He ascended the ranks until he accompanied the angels with his noteworthy worship. Performing good deeds was no issue for him. He thanked Allah with his prayers, and Allah rewarded him with a lofty station in Paradise. But when Adam was created and given the station that he was, suddenly Iblees was overcome by pride. He couldn’t bear to see this new creation occupy the place that he did. And as he was commanded to prostrate to him, his pride would overcome him and doom him for eternity. Alas, swallowing his pride for one prostration of respect to Adam was more difficult to him than thousands of prostrations of worship to Allah.

In that is a cautionary lesson for us especially in moments of intense worship. When we exert ourselves in worship, we eventually start to enjoy it and seek peace in it. But sometimes we become deluded by that worship. We may define our religiosity exclusively in accordance with it, become self-righteous as a result of it, and abuse people we deem lesser in the name of it. The worst case scenario of this is what the Prophet (peace be upon him) said about one who comes on the day of judgment with all of their prayers, fasting, and charity only to have it all taken away because of an abusive tongue.

But what makes Iblees’s struggle so relevant to ours? The point of worship is to humble you to your Creator and set your affairs right with His creation in accordance with that humility. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said that whoever has an atom’s worth of pride in their heart would not enter paradise. The most obvious manifestation of that pride is rejecting the truth and belittling someone else. But other subtle manifestations of that pride include the refusal to leave off argumentation, abandon grudges, and humble yourself to the creation in pursuit of the pleasure of the Creator.

Yaqeen

Hence a person would rather spend several Ramadan’s observing the last 10 nights in intense prayer seeking forgiveness for their sins from Allah, rather then humble themselves for a moment to one of Allah’s servants by seeking forgiveness for their transgressions against him, even if they too have a claim.

Jumah is our weekly Eid, and Monday’s and Thursday’s are our weekly semblances of Ramadan as the Prophet (s) used to fast them since our deeds are presented to Allah on those days. He said about them, “The doors of Heaven are opened every Monday and Thursday, and Allah pardons in these days every individual servant who is not a polytheist, except those who have enmity between them; Allah Says: ‘Delay them until they reconcile with each other”

In Ramadan, the doors of Heaven are opened throughout the month and the deeds ascend to Allah. But imagine if every day as your fasting, Quran recitation, etc. is presented to Allah this month, He responds to the angels to delay your pardon until you reconcile with your brother. Ramadan is the best opportunity to write that email or text message to that lost family member or friend and say “it’s not worth it to lose Allah’s forgiveness over this” and “IM SORRY.”

Compare these two statements:

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “He who boycotts his brother for more than three days and dies during this period will be from the people of hellfire.”

He also said:

“I guarantee a house in the suburbs of Paradise for one who leaves arguments even if he is right.”

Swallowing your pride is bitter, while prayer is sweet. Your ego is more precious to you than your sleep. But above all, Allah’s pleasure is more precious than it all.

Continue Reading

#Life

Fall Apart: Be Weak to Find Strength in Allah

Hiba Masood

Published

on

Growing up in Jeddah, every evening in Ramadan, we would pile into our car and whiz off to the mosque for Taraweeh prayers to Shoaibi Mosque and spend a few spell-bound hours under the reassuring baritones of Sheikh Abdullah Basfar. His beautiful voice became the anthem of my childhood in many ways but more than his voice, it was the building of tradition and memory that became ingrained in my system. By doing the same thing, day in, day out, year in, year out, my parents gave us a sense of stability and predictability that set the tone for our entire adolescence.

How that rhythm seeped into the very bones of who I am is something I am still discovering well into adulthood.

Last night, standing in my grandmother’s garden in Karachi, I experienced my first Taraweeh Khatam-e-Quran since leaving my parents home in Jeddah so many years ago. It is also, incidentally, my first Ramadan without both my parents, who last year seemingly decided they would much rather be together in Jannah than spend more time in this rubbish world and in quick succession, returned to their Maker, leaving me understandably grieving, awash in memories, struggling to steer my ship.

And so it was, that by the time the imam reached Surah Qadr, I was chokey. By Surah Kawthar, I had tears streaming down my face. And by the time the last three surahs, the comforting Quls, began, I was openly sobbing. Probably more openly than what is considered socially appropriate…but honestly, I was restraining myself. Because what I actually felt like doing was throwing my head back and howling up at the sky. Thankfully, I was flanked by women who knew, who understood, who with tears in their own eyes, let me be with my heaving shoulders and a chest that felt it would crack open under the weight of my emotions.

As the imam had recited surah after surah and the end of the Quran had approached, the ghosts of Ramadan Past had flooded into me and my body had remembered. It had remembered years and years of experiencing that same excitement, that same sense of weight as Sheikh Abdullah Basfar gently and methodically guided us over the course of the month through the Book of all books, that same uplifting, heartbreaking, momentous trepidation of offering something up to Him with the hope that He would bestow something shining in return.

Had this Book been revealed to a mountain, the mountain would have crumbled. You get a tiny glimpse of that weight when you complete a khatam. Here I am, Allah, here I am, in my little hole-y dinghy, with my itty bitty crumbs of ibaadah. Pliss to accept?

Back in Jeddah, after the khatam, we would pile back in the car and go for ice cream. Last night in Karachi, after the khatam, the Imam gave a short talk and in it he mentioned how we are encouraged to cry when conversing with Allah. We should beg and plead and insist and argue and tantrum with Him because He loves to be asked again and again. We live in a world of appropriateness, political correctness, carefully curated social media feeds and the necessity of putting our best, most polished face forwards at all times. How freeing then, that when we turn to our Lord, we are specifically instructed to abandon our sense of control. All the facades and the curtains are encouraged to be dropped away and we stand stripped to our souls in front of Him. In other words, He loves it when we fall apart. Which is exactly what I had just done. 

Last night, I found myself wondering what exactly had I cried so hard over. Which tears were for Him and the desperate desire for His mercy? Which were for the loveliness of the Quran, the steadying rhythm of it, not just verse to verse but also, cover to cover? Which tears were for the already achey yearning of yet another Ramadan gone past? Which were for my breaking heart that has to soon face my first Eid day and all the days of my life without my beloved Mumma and Baba? Which tears were of gratitude that I get to stand on an odd night of the best time of the year, alongside some of my dearest people, in the courtyard of a house full of childhood memories, under the vast, inky, starry sky and standing there, I get to fall apart, freely, wholly, soul-satisfyingly?

And which tears were of a searingly humbling recognition, that I am so wildly privileged to have this faith of mine – the faith that promises if we navigate the choppy dunya waters right, we will be reunited with our loved ones in a beautiful, eternal place, that if we purposely, and repeatedly crumble under the weight of our belief in Him and His plans, our future is bright?

Today, I’m convinced that it doesn’t matter why I cried. Because here is what I do know:

1. “If Allah knows good in your hearts, He will give you better than what was taken from you…” (8:70)


2. “If Allah intends good for someone, then he afflicts him with trials.” Prophet Muhammad

3. “Wondrous is the affair of the believer for there is good for him in every matter and this is not the case with anyone except the believer. If he is happy, then he thanks Allah and thus there is good for him. If he is harmed, then he shows patience and thus there is good for him.” Prophet Muhammad

In losing my parents, I have drawn closer to Allah. And though I miss them dizzyingly, I am so thankful that through the childhood they gave me, through the anchoring to the Quran they gifted me with, through their own tears that I witnessed during those long-ago khatams in the Shoaibi Mosque in Jeddah, they left me with the knowledge that if in losing them, I have gained even an atom’s worth more of His pleasure, then that’s a pretty great bargain.

 

As a parent of three young ones myself, I’ve spent my days teaching my children: be strong, be strong, be strong. Stand tall, stay firm, be sturdy in the face of the distracting, crashing waves of the world. But now I know something just as important to teach them: be weak, be weak, be weak.

Crumble in front of Him, fall apart, break open so that His Light may enter and be the only thing to fill you. It’s not easy but it will be essential for your survival in the face of any loss, grief, trial and despair this world throws your way. It will help you, finger to tongue, always know which way the wind is blowing and which way to steer your ship. Straight in to the sun, always. To Jannah. Because how wondrous are the affairs of us Muslims that when it comes to our sorrows and our hopes, out there on the horizon of Allah’s wise plans, it all shimmers as one – The grief of what is, the memory of what was and brighter than both, the glittering, iridescent promise of what will be.

Continue Reading

Trending