Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah is once again overflowing with seekers. A gentle calm permeates the throngs, the Hajj, the object of their journeying now in the past. Maybe hearts are turned to expectant reunions with loved ones, to inner reflection on all they have been through, to sharing experiences with others. But mainly the visit to this Chosen Sanctuary is to come close to Allah Ta’ala’s Habib SallAllahu alaihi wassalam, whispering the sweetest of greetings to the most gentle of mankind, SubhanAllah. Imploring the Master of the Highest Station SallAllahu alaihi wassalam with such hidden intimacies, and seeking his intercession, having arrived cleansed and forgiven after fulfilling the rites of the Pilgrimage.
The longing to be invited by the King of Kings to His House now transformed into an inevitable departure. The rehearsal of severing ties to face our Rabb, stripped of all attachments about to end. Decisions and planning having blossomed. Preparations for the enactment of the awesome Day of Reckoning now in the past. May we have learnt the parallels between this journey and that which awaits us to our Final Abode. Every step, every breath, every sigh, every tear, every utterance, every hardship, every encounter, every Du’a, cemented as a reminder of our final journey. Are our plans for this as diligent as they have been for this Hajj? Do our goodbyes truly reveal a total submission to The Almighty? Do the attachments of all that this world contains, claim too much of our attention? What provisions are we now concerned with? The dress we all will be wearing in our Qabr, the bier we will be transported on, the quality of the creatures destined to devour our flesh that is so concerned about what it consumes, the decorations on the walls of this temporary home of dirt?
A timely reminder; taken from the window of one of the newly completed hotels I had the opportunity to visit. Jabal Uhud in the background.
May the journey we have just completed make the eventual one to our everlasting abiding place, to which all things return, easier, with lessons learnt, purpose oriented, priorities etched, goals marked, determination strengthened, Iman renewed, steadfastness on the obedience to the Commands of Allah Ta’ala, and an unadulterated passion for implementing the Sunnah of our Noble Prophet SallAllahu alaihi wassalam. Ameen.
And for all who may not have been physically present in the roll call of this year, your participation in following the rites and rituals, and the inherent longing of every Muslim heart to fulfill this duty surely is witnessed and Insha’Allah rewarded. Now being the time to establish the firm intention to be called in the future. May we all waver between hope to be a guest, and fear not to be, and willingly be stripped of all might and power.
Imam Ghazzali says in his "Secrets of Hajj"
"As for longing [to perform the Pilgrimage]: this results from understanding and from the realization that the House belongs to God Most High, that it was established on the analogy of a royal palace such that whoever visits it is [in reality] visiting God Most High and whoever betakes himself to the House [while] in this life is worthy not to have his visit wasted, for the object of the visit, which is the vision of God Most High, will be granted to him in its fixed time in the Eternal Residence. For the finite and perishable eye is not prepared, while still in this life, to receive Light with which to see the Face of God Most High; it is not able to bear that Light, nor is it fit, because of its finiteness, to be adorned [with that Light]. But when it is granted immortality in the life to come and freed from the cause of change and mortality, it becomes ready for the vision and the Sight. And because of [its intention] to visit the House and to look at it, it deserves to meet the lord of the House by virtue of Gracious Promise. The longing to meet God Most High most surely makes one long for the means of that meeting. Besides, every lover is longing for everything that has any connection with his lovers, the house is connected to God Most High; therefore it is proper for [the pilgrim] to have a keen desire for it just because of this connection, quite apart from any desire to receive the great reward which has been promised to him."
May all be blessed with facing Him with the face of the heart as we face His House with the face of our exterior.
The Prophet SallAllahu alaihi wassalam said, "Allah most High has promised this House that six hundred thousand persons will make a pilgrimage to it every year; and if the pilgrims are short of that number Allah most High will complete their number with the angels. And He has promised that the Ka’bah will be surrounded by crowds, like a bride in procession, while all the pilgrims cling to its curtains and run about it until it enters Paradise with them along with it."
Standing in front of the Abode of Peace, a mellow afternoon sun’s warmth caressing the Soul of Peace. Fusing a bond, a celestial love. Energizing a conduit like connection. Such bliss to be "home". Alhumdulillah that Allah Ta’ala has blessed us with a heart that can contain this bliss from wherever we may be throughout His planet earth. And with the ability to conjure that notion of "home" from any corner of the globe, SubhanAllah!
My reverie broken with: "Hajjah" from beside me….a stout Turkish man requesting me to take his photo. Proudly standing as an army general in his grey uniform with red national flag sewn on the front, in front of the Green Dome. Such happiness beaming from his face. One in millions who have come to offer their Salam, and being the messenger for other distant lovers.
Imam Ghazzali continues: "As for the visit to Medina: when your eyes catch of its walls, remember that it is the town that was chosen by God Most High for His Prophet – the Blessing and Peace of God be upon him — and made the destination of his Flight (hijra); that it was his dwelling place, in which he promulgated the Laws of his Lord Most High and the Sunna, fought his enemy and proclaimed his religion, until the time when God Most High caused him to die; then God established in it a burial ground for him; and for his two ministers who maintained the truth after him – may God be pleased with them. Next, imagine to yourself the places where the feet of the Apostle of God — the Blessing and Peace of God be upon him – [have trodden] as he went about [the city], and [consider to yourself] that wherever your feet have trodden there too have his dear feet trodden; therefore take each step with tranquility and with awe. And remember his walking and traversing upon [the city’s] roads; picture to yourself his humility and tranquility while walking, despite what God Most High has entrusted to his heart, such as his great knowledge [about God], the exaltation of his name alongside the name of the Most High to the extent that [God] has joined him to the remembrance of Himself, and the rendering vain of the deeds of those who vilify him even by way of raising their voice higher than his. And remember the Grace that God Most High bestowed on those who enjoyed his companionship and were fortunate to have been with him and to have listened to his speech. Be exceeding by sorrowful over having been denied [the opportunity to be] his companion or the companion of his companions — may God be pleased with them. Remember that it has not been given to you to see him in this life, and that to see him in the life to come is to place yourself in jeopardy; for it may be that you will grieve when you see him, having been barred from him [after] he had blamed you for bad deeds, as he said — the Blessing and Peace of God be upon him — "God will bring before me [on the Day of Resurrection] some people [who will call on me] saying, ‘0 Muhammad! ‘0 Muhammad! Then I say, My Lord! They are my companions! And God will say, ‘You do not know what they have introduced after you [had died]. Then I say, ‘Go away." Therefore, if you neglect the sanctity of his law, even of a minute thing, you have no guarantee that you will not be barred from him because of you straying from his right way. Nevertheless, have great hope that you will not be barred from him, for you have been blessed by God Most High with faith and have been brought hither from your home country in order to visit him, [being motivated], not by any [concern with] commerce or worldly gain, but only by your love of him and your longing to see his traces and the wall of his tomb. Since, having not been [privileged to] see the Prophet [in this world], you have been prompted to travel by these considerations alone, you are most worthy to be looked upon by God Most High with [His] Gracious Eye.
When you reach the mosque [of the Prophet at Medina], remember that it is the place that has been chosen by God Most High for His Prophet — the Blessing and Peace of God be upon him — and for the first band of Moslems and the best of all, that the laws of God Most High were the first thing to be established in that place and that [this mosque] contained the best of all the creatures of God, living or dead. Increase your hope in God Most High, that He will forgive you for entering it. Enter with solemnity and reverence. How deserving it is [of solemnity and reverence it is] from the heart of every believer, as Abu Sulayman is reported to have said: "’Uways al-Qarni — may God be pleased with him — has performed Pilgrimage and entered Medina. When he stopped by the gate of the mosque, it was said to him,’ This is the grave of the Prophet — the Blessing and Peace of God be upon him’–Thereupon, he fainted. When he awoke, he said, "Let me go out, it is not proper for me to be in a town where Muhammad — the Blessing and Peace of God be upon him — is buried."
[the pilgrim] should keep his heart in [a state of] sadness, and fear; [it is proper that] he remain uncertain whether his Pilgrimage has been accepted, [in which case] he has been confirmed as belonging to the group of beloved ones, or not, [in which case] he has been included among the banished ones. Let him find this out through [the testimony of] his heart and his actions; if he finds that his heart is more disenchanted with the Abode of vanity [i.e. the World], and more inclined toward the Abode of Fellowship with God Most High to the Law, let him be certain that [he is] accepted; for God accepts only him whom He loves. And whomever He loves He helps, showing to him the effects of love; such a one he protects against the power of his enemy, ‘Iblis — God curse him. If this apparent [from the pilgrims piety and lawful behavior], then it is an indication of his acceptance. If the opposite is the case, then it is certain that toil and trouble will be the reward of his journey. We seek protection through God Most High from that."
Glory and praise belong to You, O my Lord, and I am unable to glorify You as You have glorified Yourself. You have blessed Your slaves from every corner of Your Earth, bringing them to the light of belief, to the Majesty of Your House, and the honour of Your Habib SallAllahu alaihi wassalam’s presence, allowing us to complete the rites of Pilgrimage. O Allah, send blessings, prayers and peace upon our Master Muhammad SallAllahu alaihi wassalam, the unlettered Prophet, the beloved of great worth and standing, and upon his family and Companions. Ameen.
All good is from Allah Ta’ala whereas mistakes are from this humble speck. May Allah Ta’ala Bless all readers, bringing you all closer to Him and His Rasul SallAllahu alaihi wasallam. Ameen.