السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ
It’s Sunday 17th May 2020. Let’s touch upon ‘Ramaḍān and al-Masjid al-‘Aqṣā’ today اِنْ شَاءَ الَّلهُ.
When I was young, we had a picture on display in our house. It was of a Masjid with a golden dome, and an inscription underneath it, in Arabic. Once, my respected teacher, Mawlānā Ayyūb Aḥmedjī, رَحْمَةُ الله عليه, who passed away very recently, came to my house, saw the poster and translated the inscription for us. It read, ‘It was conquered by ‘Umar, رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ, and liberated by Ṣalāhuddīn Ayyūbī, رَحْمَةُ الله عليه, who is there for it now?’.
That was my first introduction to al-Masjid al-‘Aqṣā, مَا شَآءَ الله. As I moved on in life, and learnt a lot more regarding al-Masjid al-ꜤAqṣā, the Dome of the Rock (Qubbat aṣ-Ṣakhrah), Jerusalem (Al-Quds), Palestine (Filasṭīn), Bethlehem (Bayt ul-Laḥm), etc., the passion, desire and zeal to visit this 3rd Holy Site was on the increase all the time. However, the word out there was, ‘It’s a dangerous place to visit. Tensions are always high in the region and violence could flare up at any time’.
In 2011, my dear friend Shaykh Rafīq Ṣūfī, of Blackburn, travelled to al-Masjid al-‘Aqṣā on his way to ‘Umrah. Upon his return, he related his journey which raised the passion of visiting at the earliest opportunity.
My first visit to al-Quds was in 2012, with all 9 colleagues of the MWI, making this a most memorable journey. We spent 2 days in Jordan, and 4 days in Palestine, during which I fell in love with al-Quds. It was such an emotional visit.
Upon return, the heart was yearning to go again, and by the Mercy of The Almighty, I went back the following year, in Ramaḍān 2013, spending the last 2 weeks of Ramaḍān and the 3 days of ‘Eid ul-Fiṭr there. Al-Masjid al-‘Aqṣā is a very special place, magnificent, and memorable, very spiritual, but at the same time, very sad. The 17 days spent there are amongst the best of my life. Our 2 families, comprising 7 people, made the most of it.
Four years later, in Ramaḍān 2017, I found myself in al-Masjid al-‘Aqṣā again, سُبْحَانَ الله. Our 2 families had set out for what must be ‘the journey of a lifetime’. Having spent one day in Istanbul, visiting the resting place of Ḥaḍrat Abū Ayyūb al-Anṣārī رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ, we moved on to Palestine for 3 days, before travelling on to Madīnah al-Munawwarah and Makkah al-Mukarramah.
On the 15th night of Ramaḍān, when the Imām recited Sūrah al-Isrā’ (first half of the 15th Juz), there was an electric atmosphere, and al-Masjid al-‘Aqṣā was buzzing, سُبْحَانَ الله.
There is a very special collection box at the front of the Masjid with a beautiful Ḥadīth inscribed on it.
A humble request to all, to act upon the Ḥadīth, and donate very generously to this cause. The best method is to send your donation with anyone who is travelling personally, requesting them to donate directly into that collection box.
Coming to the point, if Almighty Allāh has blessed you with wealth and you have performed your Farḍ Ḥajj, then let al-Quds be your next destination, اِنْ شَاءَ الَّلهُ, especially in Ramaḍān. You can do all 3 Ḥarams together quite conveniently, مَا شَآءَ الله. When one leaves al-Masjid al-‘Aqṣā, the heart bleeds, and the eyes fill with tears.
Yā Allāh, when will al-Masjid al-‘Aqṣā be liberated? For how long are our Palestinian brothers and sisters going to suffer occupation? The world awaits another Ṣalāhuddīn Ayyūbī, رَحْمَةُ الله عليه. Almighty Allāh liberate al-Masjid al-‘Aqṣā, and bless us all with a visit again and again, Āmeen.
My Marḥūm father-in-law, Qāri Ismā’īl Samniwālā, رَحْمَةُ الله عليه, used to pray 2 Rak’āt Ṣalāt ul-Hājah (Ṣalāh for fulfilling a need), every single day, for our Palestinian brothers and sisters, and for al-Masjid al-‘Aqṣā. That is the least we can all do.
جَزَاكَ اللَّهُ خَيْرًا
Request for Du’ās
وَالسَّلَامُ Hanif Dudhwala