“A group of Angels travel throughout the earth to convey greetings of my Ummah to me.”
Such a blissful saying of the Noble Messenger of Allah SallAllahu alaihi wasallam. SubhanAllah, how merciful is our Rabb Subahahu wa Ta’ala in blessing us with such a magnificent gift! There is no geographical restrictions, no time restrictions, no cultural, no national, no social, no age, no status, no educational…..no restrictions. By saying one Durood as you read this, wherever you happen to be on the face of the earth, an Angel will immediately carry this to our Beloved Prophet SallAllahu alaihi wasallam as he rests under the splendid Dome of Felicity. Alhumdulillah!
And Alhumdulillah that there are thousands who currently have been invited to visit Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah these days, thousands who have just left, and thousands on their way, to be able to greet the best of creation, Al-Mustafa SallAllahu alaihi wasallam from within the confines of the city he brought enlightenment to. Brothers are given the opportunity to present themselves within meters of our Noble Nabi SallAllahu alaihi wasallam, anytime during the hours of Masjid Nabawi, while sisters are restricted in the area they may visit as well as the times. And we are taught to say Alhumdulillah for all circumstances, all conditions and all situations. Alhumdulillah!
This post is in response to Sister Shahida’s inquiry about the conditions of Ziyarah for sisters when visiting our Blessed Al-Mustafa SallAllahu alaihi wasallam in this Luminous City of Light and Radiance. Information is not only relevant for sisters but also for brothers to understand, as many visit with their female family members who need the basic information on where and when to go. Sisters often arrive at the wrong section assuming they can access the Rowdha Shareef from there, or some arrive towards the end of visiting times and are prevented from entering. In some cases some miss visiting altogether due to not knowing the routine.
Also, the conditions vary according to the time of the year, between the few months when there are no Umrah visa issued, the low and the peak Umrah seasons culminating in Ramadhan and Hajj.
There are only two prayer areas for sisters; the north western corner (orange line) accessed through doors 13-15, and the north eastern corner (pink line) through doors 25-28. In both sections the areas on the Qiblah side of the light blue lines are for sisters without children with a barrier separating the area for sisters with children. Security sisters are positioned at the openings of this barrier ensuring this rule is abided by. However during the busy times of Hajj and Ramadhan this division usually does not apply as the number of children at these times is far less. Access to Rowdha Shareef for sisters is ONLY through the eastern section, by following the blue path.
The sisters prayer area is separated from the men’s area by a tall finely decorated “mashrabiyah”, the traditional wooden Arabic screen, which allows air to still circulate, but limits visibility either way. The purple dotted line indicates where the huge doorways are for gaining entrance to the Rowdha Shareef. These are only opened during the Ziyarah times for sisters. The main session being after Ishraq until approximately 10.30am, but it is advisable to arrive by 10am the latest as the entry doors will be shut, even though sisters will still be inside the visiting area. During the crowded seasons it is best to remain in the Masjid from after Fajr Salat making your way to as near to the mashrabiyah (purple dots) as possible. The wait may be an hour or so as brothers need to be vacated from the area allocated for sisters and the white canvas fence to be erected. This demarcates the pathway to be followed to reach the visiting area and the greater men’s section of the Masjid, brothers are still able to access the Masjid and cross the sisters’ pathway during their visiting times. The actual position of this barrier tends to change, especially in and immediately around the Rowdha Shareef area, maybe according to the numbers, maybe trying various configurations, as the whole arrangement is far from satisfactory.
The second time for sisters’ ziyarah is after Salatul Zuhur. This session is only very short compared to the morning session so once again wait at the mashrabiyah soon after Salat has finished.
Now all this may sound straight forward…and for certain times during the year it is. However over the past couple of years the plan to bring more and more in for Umrah has increased the number of pilgrims. I read the other day, that just a few years ago, when we first came here, the Umrah figure over the space of a year was 1 million. Now it is 3.8 million, with the projected figure to be 10 million within the next few years!! I find this boggling on so many levels, the most pressing being the conditions sisters are subjected to in visiting Rasulullah SallAllahu alaihi wasallam. And I sense that this has been the least concern for all the “authorities”.
During these peak times they have tried to implement a one way system….the lime green line represents the exit pathway, which is a separate fenced area. Many do not realize this and leave their shoes in shelves on their way into the Rowdha Shareef, and then find they have to walk all the way back to the main sisters area to enter the way in again. Shoes and bags can be a hindrance in the crowds, and yet leaving them somewhere also can cause distress in locating them again, and the issue of “lost” shoes has also become rife! I always recommend you come with a shoe bag….one that has a strap that is across the chest so your hands are free.
The other “feature” employed when the crowds are great is the marshalling into groups according to nationality. Various “security” guards are given placards on sticks with the name of the main different countries on them…they stand in certain places on a chair waving these placards for the sisters to assemble around them. They are given a lecture on the Adab of Ziarah and can be “held” in these holding areas for ages. I have seen physical fights with this arrangement, and there are many cases of broken bones and sisters taken to hospital! Another aspect of trying to organize the crowds is the use of megaphones! Yes….megaphones in the Masjid, as well as under the umbrella area, so close to our Beloved Rasulullah SallAllahu alaihi wasallam! And then there is the moving canvas tactic! Two “security” guard sisters hold a piece of canvas about one meter wide and five long…they “wrap” this around a group of sisters….and “pull” them into place! And during Ramadhan and Hajj , this holding place is literally a fenced in area positioned in front of one of the doors of the mashrabiyah. Once it is full it is shut. Sisters have to wait in these pens until space is made available under the umbrella area.
If all this sounds like a disgrace it is because it is! It is a shambles. The emotions are high. Thousands of sisters have come to pay their respects, to give their Salam, some having waited decades for this opportunity. Many just sit and cry, Many are too weak or incapacitated to sustain this treatment. Hundreds resign themselves to never making it to the Rowdha area and convey their Salam from the back of the Masjid, or from the other sisters prayer area where it is calm and quiet.
This is a detail of the visiting area. The smaller green section is the green carpet area of Rowdha Shareef available for the sisters. The darker green lines represent the fence that is erected prior to our visiting times. The blue arrows indicate the direction one is to follow, the central green line is the fence separating the going in area to the exit area. It is almost impossible to offer two Raka’ts now, the crowds being too dense, and the "security" guards are on high stools yelling directions, and madly gesturing the whole time. At no time are sisters in the area where the Mihrab or the Minbar are, and as can be seen the closest we can be to our Beloved Prophet SallAllahu alaihi wasallam is at the far end of what was the house of our Lady Aishah RadhiAllahu anha.
The line of purple dots indicate where the barrier is erected when it is high season, which is the majority of the year now, other times sisters can enter into this larger green area to be near the place of Tahujjud, to have access to the raised platform, which some narrations say was the Suffah, others as written on this diagram. The narrow area is most sought after to offer Salam as it it as the Mubarak feet of our Beloved Prophet SallAllahu alaihi wasallam and those of his blessed companions, Abu Bakr and Umar RadhiAllahu alahi wasallam. The red lines represent what are like wooden counters, reaching about waist high that are placed there during the sisters visits, the "security" guard ladies walk up and down this narrow area looking for "bida’h" and soon pounce on any one they feel is facing the "wrong" way or reading the "wrong" book of Du’a.
From this area you can look ahead to the corner of Bab Baqi, and the Qiblah wall….the pink dot indicates where we have been told, is one of the places where Jibreel Alaihis Sallam would come when visiting Rasulullah SallAllahu alaihi wasallam. Brothers can see this as a small wire grill with a beautiful flower design on it, and sisters fortunate enough to be here during the off season can see this, as well as use Bab Jibreel and Bab An-Nissa’. It is not that long ago when sisters could enter and exit from this side of the Masjid for Ziyarah, but for some reason we no longer can access this side. It makes it a very long walk for those staying, or living on the southern side, as you have to walk to the back of the Masjid and then all the way to the front again to be in the visiting area.
“A group of Angels travel throughout the earth to convey greetings of my Ummah to me.”
How blessed we are that these Angels are not confined to only those who are blessed to be in the immediate vicinity of our blessed Prophet SallAllahu alaihi wasallam. Alhumdulillah.
By saying one Durood as you read this, wherever you happen to be on the face of the earth, an Angel will immediately carry this to our Beloved Prophet SallAllahu alaihi wasallam as he rests under the splendid Dome of Felicity. Alhumdulillah!
And this is for everyday….EXCEPT Yaumul Juma’ah….when, wherever you are Al-Mustafa SallAllahu alaihi wasallam hears your greetings himself! SubhanAllah!
JUMA’AH MUBARAK! to all I see across the globe clicking on this page…..Insha’Allah make your connection to our Blessed and Noble Nabi SallAllahu alaihi wasallam more so on this Mubarak day, knowing that he hears you and he responds wherver you are!
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. May He accept our humble efforts and grant us the capacity to be good and do good. Ameen.