Continued from ꜤUmrah (Mar 2009) – Part 1
We departed from Makkah on Wednesday 8th April at 3pm with mixed feelings, the sadness of leaving Makkah, tinged with happiness as we were heading towards the Blessed City of Madīnah. As we drew nearer to our destination, our hearts were pining to quickly reach the final resting place of The Best of Creations, The Holy Prophet, Muḥammad, صَلَّىٰ ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ, and present our Ṣalāms.
En route to Madīnah, the Hijrah (migration) of our Beloved Prophet صَلَّىٰ ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم comes to mind, again and again. Today we were travelling in luxury and comfort in an air conditioned vehicle, so different from the time when this journey was undertaken on camels in the scorching heat of the desert.
It was late evening when we arrived in Madīnah- al-Munawwarah, The Illuminated City. The calm & peaceful atmosphere of Madīnah is just beyond imagination, for surely, this is the place the dwellers of which invited the Prophet of Allāh صَلَّىٰ ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ to be their guest, this is where Rasūlullāh (Messenger of Allāh) صَلَّىٰ ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلََّ spent the last 10 years of His Blessed Life, and this is the place where Khātam un-Nabīyyīn (Seal of the Prophets) صَلَّىٰ ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ will rest until the Day of Judgement.
Once again, as it had been a long day, we decided to rest and present ourselves to the resting place of our Holy Prophet صَلَّىٰ ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ nice & refreshed the following day.
It was a very emotional moment as we entered al-Masjid an-Nabawī صَلَّىٰ ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ (The Prophet’s Masjid), through door no. 1, Bāb us-Salām (the door of peace), in order to present our salutations to Ḥabībullāh (Beloved of Allāh) صَلَّىٰ ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ, and His two Companions, Ḥaḍrat Abū Bakr as-Ṣiddīq رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ and Ḥaḍrat ꜤUmar al-Fārūq رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ. We walked along the Ottoman prayer hall, with the hundreds of other devotees, and soon we were within sight of the blessed resting place of the Holy Prophet صَلَّىٰ ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ.
Words will do no justice to the feelings of that precise moment. Here we were, standing a few metres away from Imām ul-Ambiyā (The Imām of all the Prophets) صَلَّىٰ ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ, Sayyīd ul-Bashar (Leader of the whole of mankind) صَلَّىٰ ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ, the same Exalted Personality صَلَّىٰ ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ whose sacrifices had blessed us with this beautiful religion of Islām We humbly presented our Salāms, and the Salāms of our near & dear ones who had made special requests.
Moving along a few paces, we were standing facing the blessed resting place of the lifetime Companion of Rasūlullāh صَلَّىٰ ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ, Ḥaḍrat Abu Bakr رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ. Once again, the sacrifices made by this first Khalifāh of Islām comes to mind, and as he was always by the side of The Holy Prophet صَلَّىٰ ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ during his lifetime, The Almighty has blessed him with a resting place right next to Him.
After presenting our Salāms to as-Ṣiddīq (the trustworthy) رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ we moved a little further to face the blessed resting place of Ḥaḍrat ꜤUmar رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ, the same al-Fārūq (the distinguisher) رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ whose coming into the fold of Islam strengthened the Muslims and whose courage & valour saw Islām flourish within a very short period. After presenting our Salām to the 2nd Khalifāh, we left the Masjid through Bāb ul-BaqīꜤ, the door facing Jannat ul-BaqīꜤ.
Upon the arrival of The Holy Prophet صَلَّىٰ ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ to Madīnah over 1400 years ago, one of the first tasks to be completed was the construction of this Masjid. Over the centuries, many alterations and extensions have taken place, and today, the size is just unbelievable.
The most famous sign of al-Masjid an-Nabawī is the Green Dome, which has been erected directly above the chambers which house the Blessed Grave.
The segregation arrangements within the Masjid are remarkable. The ladies have been allocated totally separate entrances, and their own praying areas. The Masjid is now open 24 hours, and there are 3 specific timings (in the morning, afternoon & night) when sisters are given the opportunity to exclusively present their Salāms.
The Blessed Grave of The Holy Prophet صَلَّىٰ ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ is situated near the front of the Masjid. The section between the grave & the Mimbar (Pulpit) from where The Holy Prophet صَلَّىٰ ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ used to deliver His sermon is known as a ‘Garden from the Gardens of Paradise‘, or Riyādh ul-Jannah, and covered by a green carpet, different to the rest of the Masjid. This particular section is always very crowded.
There are a few blessed areas here, including the Mihrāb (place from where our Holy Prophet صَلَّىٰ ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ led the Ṣalāh), and specific spots, marked by pillars, where prayers & forgiveness are accepted. We were very fortunate to perform our Ṣalāh a number of times within this Garden of Paradise, experiencing amazing feelings of tranquillity & peace.
During 11 truly memorable days spent in Madīnah, we performed Ziyārats of many historical sites including Masjid Qubāʾ (the first Masjid to be constructed), Masjid al-Qiblatayn (where the Qiblah changed during Ṣalāh), Jannat ul-BaqīꜤ (The Blessed Graveyard of Madīnah al-Munawwarah), as well as paying our respects to the Shuhadā’ (martyrs) of the battle of Uḥud (at Mount Uḥud), of which the most prominent is the beloved uncle of Rasūlullāh صَلَّىٰ ٱللَّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ, Ḥaḍrat Ḥamzah رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ.
As with all things in this world, our stay in the Holy Lands came to an end. With a very heavy heart and teary eyes, we departed from Madīnah on Sunday 19th April, praying for a quick return.
En route to Jeddah, we requested the driver to take us through the plains of Badr, the location of the first battle of Islām, where we offered our Ẓuhr Ṣalāh, and after making a brief stop we continued on our journey to Jeddah airport, for an evening departure to Dubai and, from there, on to Birmingham.
We were blessed to have spent a total of 25 days in the Holy Lands, each and every moment of which will be cherished by all of us for a very long time to come. I would like to take this opportunity to request all readers to embark on this journey at the earliest opportunity, and make a humble request to remember us all in their DuꜤās during their visit.