The following blog is written by former VOC reporter, Alia Limbada, now presently performing her first hajj.
MADINA ENTRY - Today was a heart-wrenching one as we visited mount Uhud and the burial-ground of the 70 martyrs who were killed in the battle of Uhud. I kept remembering how Hamza (RA), the lion of Allah, was brutally murdered and mutilated- the thought was more than overwhelming. I kept hoping that I too, my family and progeny can be of those who are the fighters of this deen. I kept asking Allah not to make us of those who disobey the khalifah/ruler, like those 50 archers who disobeyed our beloved Rasool (PBUH) and left their post to run for the booty of this world.
The drive to Masjidul Quba was equally emotional - I imagined the beloved Prophet and Abu Bakr (RA) riding into Quba, the very same ground that I was standing on, and the people of Medinah chanting: “Taala-al Badru Alayna…” SubhanAllah! I pictured the prophet carrying heavy bricks with his own hands to build this masjid. He was the leader of the Muslims, yet he worked like your regular Jack. What humility.
And thinking of that made me realise that coming to Medinah is not only about making 40 consecutive salaahs in Masjidun Nabawey, praying on the Rawdah and greeting the blessed kabr of the prophet (PBUH). It’s about emulating his (PBUH) lifestyle- and what a perfect time to do so, when there are thousands of Muslims to help, hundreds of thousands to greet, to speak to, to smile at and to share with.
I was especially pleased today, because I was touched so much by the history of Medinah that I managed to, for a day, polish my character. I shared my salaah mat with 2 Indonesians, I helped a Malaysian old woman with her cellphone, I was able to help a Turkish woman with her Quran and I gave some naseeghah to a fellow South African, alhamdullilah.
I also managed to converse with a young lady from Medinah - she is studying Computer Science and so can speak English. Upon parting we wished each other well and I said to her: “Ini Uhibuka Fillahi - I love you for the sake of Allah”...and I did, I really did. I love everyone here for that reason.
I think my favourite people so far are the Turks. I have this spot in the masjid and it is usually occupied by Turkish women. Even though we don’t understand a word of each other’s language, we manage to communicate some way or other and they always share their food with me - they always have food with them!
The air of Medinah has crept into my heart and I think a part of me will never cease to yearn to be here. But I doubt that I would be able to live here - the people are too beautiful. I think Allah reserves this place for special people; beautiful people. I may be too corrupted to be of those. My Sheik always says that Medinah will spit you out if you are evil, if you are not worthy. It cleanses itself in a sense.
One of the hardest things I have to endure though is being away from my husband most of the time. Many people said that I was lucky to be embarking on this journey with my husband; that we will grow in love and toward Allah, like a second honeymoon (well, in my case a first!) But I find that I am hardly with him.
Between every waqt I am rushing to get a place in the Masjid. The women’s section is far too small to accommodate all the women who frequent the masjid during the haj period. We have about 3 sections/doors earmarked for women, the rest are for men. Most of the time we sit outside on the mataaf (area just outside of the masjid).
Sometimes I get angry...Why can’t they open up another section for us? The men can leave their rooms while the athan is going and still get a place inside the masjid while we women have to leave an hour before the waqt or we will be outside. Then I remember that I am not in South Africa, particularly in Cape Town. We Cape Town women are spoilt when it comes to the masjid - we have our own places for worship, proper wudu facilities, places for studying and learning and places for halaqah and ‘itikaaf, alhamdullilah.
I suppose I just have to get acclimatised to the way of life here. I love Medinah, and would love to come to study and live here one day, insha Allah. The deen is so pure and pristine here - there is no difference of opinion, no bi’dah, no following of sheikhs and people, just the sunnah, in its perfect form.