slip-sliding away…..

A little piece of heaven

Posted by Yacoob on October 5, 2011

I know I’d planned to not post anything while I’m away, but the opportunity came up, so I’d like to share some of the experience so far.

We’ve been in Madinah for about 24 hours now, and just this first day has made me feel like this is a piece of Jannah. Of course, quite literally, there is a piece of Jannah on the earth here – the rhodatul jannah – which is a piece of land, from this earth, that will be in Jannah.

But beyond that, there’s so much else that makes it feel like an other-worldly experience. People always talk about the calm, peace and tranquillity here, and I’ve definitely felt it – alhamdullilah. To be fair, we haven’t ventured far at all yet – just Masjid un-Nabawi (the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.’s mosque), the hotel, and a few streets around the area. But in this limited time and geographical range so far, what strikes me most is that this place in such an environment of Islam. The atmosphere is unlike anywhere I’ve been.

The radio station we heard in the bus, and the shops so far, contain no music. Just Quran and narrations of hadiths. It’s a contrast to other Arab countries, like Egypt, where the cultural influence means that music is just a normal part of life – be it Arab / eastern music, or other. It’s refreshing for me, because living in South Africa, and having been to other Western countries, music is ubiquitous. You can never escape it.

It seems like almost everyone here is geared towards worship – the visiting pilgrims, I mean; as well as the locals in the masjid. As I write this, it’s after maghrib in the masjid, and there are Quran classes going on for kids. Teachers and students sitting together in some places, with kids taking notes as the teacher teaches. Others are reading Quran. There are study circles – halaqahs – of adult men. Other people are making tasbeeh. Some make dua. Others are sleeping. Some are just talking to each other.

This is the ultimate environment of deen. It’s so perfect, and something that I think the heart yearns for. Like it’s so natural. Like this is home.

Since I’m in the male section, I can’t speak for the ladies section – so I don’t know what the experience is like there. But here, there are old men, young men, boys, and just a mix of all different ages. And different nationalities. It’s like the Ummah is here – so many different people. A lot of Turks; some Indians; many Malaysians and Indonesians. On the flight in, we had a large group from Thailand. And in the coming days, apparently, many more will be arriving.

It’s interesting to see how different nationalities identify themselves. The Turks all wear khakis. The Malaysian women – or some other country (not sure) – were wearing bright pink hjabs. Some Indonesians had bright markings on their clothing. And not a group of them are walking past – wearing what seems to be their traditional cultural clothing, which is very colourful.

I imagine Jannah is something like this. All different types of people in one place – all united by Islam – and all worshipping Allah in the various ways available. Alhamdullilah.

And the zam-zam water! It’s here – so abundantly. Anytime you want, you just go and get. It’s not only a thirst quencher, but also – as one of the sheikhs here said – ‘magic water’, in that it’s a cure for every sickness, and something that every person – each and every unique person – can drink with the intention of Allah using it to cure them of whatever they need cure from. As the hadith goes, it is what you intend it to be. Which is why it’s good to make specific  intentions / duas each time you drink. If you can get it back home, do so.

The other great thing is that you have to be early for salaah, or else you may not get a spot in the masjid. And coming so early is filled with blessings. Every moment in the masjid, while waiting for athaan, is an act of worship – even if you do nothing at all. There’s time to make extra salaahs, read Quran, make thikr, or just anything you want. And at salaah times, the imam takes his time to read – no rushing. And after salaah, the imam doesn’t make a congregational dua. You’re free to read whatever you want to – it’s not like home (and other places, probably), where the imam makes his thikr and dua over the speaker system, which means that you either follow along, or you go and do your own thing while still hearing him (which isn’t so easy if you need to concentrate). Here, you’re totally free to do whatever thikrs, or make whatever duas, you want.

Alhamdullilah – this has been an amazing journey so far – even without siteseeing, and even despite some difficulties of travel. It’s a journey that I wish for each and every person; and one that is possible for everyone – no matter what their circumstance; since Allah can grant it to whoever He wants.

May Allah take each and every one of us on this journey, and to this blessed city of Madinah – over and over again.

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6 Responses to “A little piece of heaven”

  1. fathima said

    Such is the beauty of Islam. The peace of submission. May your hajj and those of the hujjajs be blessed with ease and may it be accepted. IA.

  2. Sara said

    Assalaam Alaikum,

    SubhanAllah, this was absolutely beautiful to read, and experiencing it must have been difficult to put into words. Your entire post is making me yearn for Madinah; its beauty, tranquility, peace, the iman-filled environment. MashaAllah, you truly are blessed to have been able to go for Hajj this year.

    Ameen to the du’a above! May your hajj be accepted and may Allah make it easy for you, Insha’Allah. :)

  3. Azra said

    Ameen! So glad you’ve written this post, it’s like we’re all there with you. Glad you guys got there safely and that it’s been such a wonderful experience so far. Make dua for us! And may the rest of the trip be as joyous and blessed and may your Hajj be accepted, ameen.

  4. SoulSeek said

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    Words can’t describe how much I was smiling whilst I was reading your post. I spent 22 days there, so I like think I got to experience Medina quite well. It is everything you say and more. It takes a believer who has had to live in difficult times to really, really appreciate all the small and wonderful things. I remember making intention to come back not to visit but to stay some day.

    I can begin to describe the strength I felt when I was there. Fighting in this society does rough you up. And meeting and talking to locals makes you realise all those experiences you’ve had in the real world.. were to prepare you for greater things.

    Medina is that greater thing.

    Akhi please keep us in your duas, much love and blessings as always!

  5. Sofi said

    everything you describe in the male section is the same in the female. i could even hear the kids being taught! mostly i sat just outside the female section of the mosque. i enjoyed taking in the atmosphere outside, the beautiful sky especially during magrib; it was picture-esque. and not to mention the gentle breeze et al. ah, how i miss it all. sigh. i was on this trip for 4 weeks but it feels like i wasnt there for more than an hour.

    the turks, oh the turks. many stories to tell re turks!!!

  6. Dreamlife said

    heh… i think everyone has stories about the turks ;) but it’s important to see the good in the experiences, and for those where people upset you at times, look at reasons why they were that way. for example, i’ve heard for some of the turks from rural areas – as well as similar people from other countries where they form tight chains (in Makkah) and push over everyone else to maintain that chain – it’s because they’re so terrified of being separated from the group that they just won’t let go – even if others get pushed around…it helps so much to look at the other persective – because otherwise you’d just take it as people being rude, when in fact it’s a survival tactic.

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