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✰ My Hajj Journey in 2005: Visiting Madinah

My parents inform everyone that we need to get back to the Ka`bah for the last Tawaaf (circumambulation). We were tired, mentally empty but spiritually elated. It'sa that'a'way Yaaro!

But we need transportation... Aha! Camel-ride. To the Bait'Ullah!

On the road again... Services on the journey to Madinah include diners, gas stations and masajid (mosques). 

Standard digital Zikr billboards. 
I didn't realise in 2005 that Saudi was this loaded. 

Seeing a revelation: Jable Noor is called Mountain of Light in commemoration of the light of guidance and angelic presence when Jibreel spoke to Prophet Muhammad.

On the route to Madinah city, we caught our only glimpse of Jable Noor, the Mountain of Light. Here lies the origin the Qur'an revelations, a revelatory message from the Angel Jibreel to Prophet Muhammad, who at the time was seeking seclusion and closeness to Allah. Our only regret was that we were not able to climb this mountain and sit in the same beautiful cave. 

The white strokes flickering the mountaintop are Muslims dressed in the white Ihraam, making prayers and supplications. 

On the road again... And then...

Masjid An-Nabawi. The Prophet Muhammad's first Madini masjid. 

This is the main entrance and we stayed in a hotel not too far from this view. 

A side entrance for everyone to enter at specified time. As you can see, it was always full of searching souls. 

Story time:
Madina is a chill city. The people are descendants of the Ansaar, the helpers who welcome and protected Prophet Muhammad. They carry the same qualities and supportive nature. They gave out free food, books, hugged us, smiled at us, they were easy to trust and even though we didn't understand each other, our humanity was linked through belief in Allah. 

My Naani jaan [grandmother], Allah have mercy on her, came to perform Hajj with us. We met my paternal grandmother - Daadi jaan - in Makkah because she came from Pakistan to join us in this pilgrimage, Allah have mercy on her. It gives me heartache that I don't have both my grandmother's shadows in my life anymore but I am so happy they are with Allah. 

When we arrived in Madinah it was pretty late and we only saw the lights and minarets from the car park, then its shadows from our hotel window. 

When we finally visited, we used the main entrance, waited for allotted times to pray inside and sit within the prayer halls to read Qur'an and talk to others. For my Naani jaan, a heavyweight Hajjah, this wasn't enough. 

My Naani jaan would pull me out of bed every Fajr to sit in the breezes and light of this blessed building. She took me, bleary-eyed, face and arms still wet from finishing Wudu, in her hand and said, "We're going to see the Prophet!" We left everyone asleep and walked for what seemed like 2-3miles.

We circled around the minarets, bypassed the entrances, bystanders in awe. Suddenly, a warmth gradually phased into the air. A fragrance gently floated in the clustering wind and a breeze, as soft as my mother's hand, enveloped us like a liquid love. 

I have never smelt or tasted a perfume so exquisite, so pure, so refined. For a second I thought a man overdosed on Attar that morning, but this was different. It didn't sting, fade, or smell artificial.

My Naani jaan looked at me, smiled knowingly, and pushed on. 

We saw the magnificent, enigmatic green Dome, gave Salam, heard a Salam in reply and stood to cry.
We read Salawat
We wept. 
We returned home.

In the back of my mind, England felt like a persecution to return to. Yuck I thought (!) Props to Yorkshire, it's me land.

And that is how we came into the presence of this last Messenger, this mythical and human and illuminated being, RasoolAllah, Prophet Muhammad, salallahu `alayhi wa sallam. Allah send salutations and peace upon him. 

Like Masjid al-Haram, this Masjid An-Nabawi had several entrances, a geographical map for its vast space and columned structure and gold adorned everything. 

2005: An encounter with the Prophet of God.

To the left is the cemetery of revered souls- Jannat ul Baqi, the resting place of thousands, and I mean, thousands of Companions, family and noble Muslims that met and followed Prophet Muhammad. 

`Aisha, `Uthman, the Prophet's aunts, his foster mother Halimah, the migrants from Makkah called Muhajiroon, and the Madinah Ansaar, his wives, his baby Ibrahim, and so many more. 

After spending days basking in this realm, we eventually accepted our departure. A little gift-collecting of books, food and drinks to take back (customs was fun), we said farewell to the dust and clouds and leaves and people and land and mountains and sky and the Prophet. 

We hoped we took it all with us, but as is the nature of time, parts of the experience faded away and sixteen years on, our soul is imprinted with two resounding truths.

We believe and die for Allah. And we will return to Him. 

Jazakallah for reading :)

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