I am going on a pilgrimage – the Umrah – next week Insha-Allah.
First, we will travel to Madina, the amazing city where even the angels tread humbly, where saints and sinners flock to express loyalty and love. The blessed city, the pure city and the protected city. Here I whet my appetite for the holy sanctuary and I hope it inspires us to spend time there. It’s not a holiday but holy days.
Madina is the Messenger’s (peace be upon him) sanctuary; it’s the abode of migration, a place of refuge. The Prophet (peace be upon him) predicted that Madina will be protected from earthquakes, plagues and the Dajjal. Anyone who comes to Madina will be purified, his sins forgiven, they will melt like the furnace removes rust off the iron.
When the Quraish forced the Messenger (peace be upon him) out of Makkah, he (peace be upon him) migrated to this wonderful city, 280 miles north of Makkah. He (peace be upon him) often praised his new home. The Majestic Quran called it ‘the gateway of truth’ (Al-Isra: 80). Rafi ibn Khadeej reported that the Messenger (peace be upon him) said “Ibrahim described the city of Makkah as a sanctuary and I have done the same for Madina.”
Visiting the blessed city has loftier goals than a mere holiday. The Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “anyone who comes to my mosque has come to a good place for a pleasing purpose, he comes either as a learner or a teacher, and will be like the one engaged in Jihad.” The Messenger (peace be upon him) said in another hadith “whenever anyone leaves home to go and pray in the mosque, for each step taken he will be awarded a merit and a sin forgiven”. In another version, he (peace be upon him) said “any one of you who comes to my mosque…” so, this becomes a virtuous Jihad and means of the atonement of sins.
“The place between my living quarters and the pulpit is a part of paradise.” The Messenger’s (peace be upon him) living quarters used to be the room next to the Masjid. Now it’s the place where he (peace be upon him) is buried, the holy tomb, regarded as the most sacred plot of earth where the holy body lies. Is this real paradise, a simile or a metaphor? As a metaphor, it means worship here will earn an enormous reward that will lead one to Paradise. If it is a simile then it means it’s the place where Allah’s blessings are pouring like the rain, but if we take this to be the real then it is truly a part of paradise.
There are several other Masajid from the time of the Messenger (peace be upon him). The Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “anyone who leaves his home to visit Masjid Quba will get the reward of performing an Umrah and anyone who leaves home to visit my Masjid will get the reward of performing a Hajj”. He used to visit Masjid Quba every Saturday, sometimes walking and sometimes mounted. This Masjid is important historically because the Messenger (peace be upon him) stayed ten days there as he was travelling to Madina. Other historical Masajid include, Masjid Al-Fath, Masjid Jumma, Masjid Qiblatain and Masjid Ghumama.
Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) the mother of believers, said the Messenger (peace be upon him) loved dates and praised them. He (peace be upon him) said, “the Ajwa dates of Madina have a healing power, particularly when eaten before breakfast or he said they are an antidote to poison”. Healing means it’s like medicine, a cure that halts or prevents disease or eases the symptoms of an illness. According to Saeed ibn Abi Waqas, the Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “anyone who eats seven dates before breakfast will not be harmed by poison or black magic.”
It’s interesting to note that he recommends eating dates before breakfast, meaning it should be the first thing eaten. Most scholars believe that this applies to all dates of Madina, not just Ajwa. The beloved Master (peace be upon him) loved dates, he (peace be upon him) ate them often, in significant quantities and it constituted a major portion of his diet. Once he (peace be upon him) said “A home that doesn’t have dates will remain hungry” which was repeated twice or thrice. No wonder he (peace be upon him) praised eating dates.
This pilgrimage is an opportunity to purify, gain closeness of the beloved Messenger (peace be upon him), fall in love with him and his city. It’s an amazing Jihad of learning and gaining spiritual insights. I want to thank the organisers Bab ul Rahmah – Hajj and Umrah Tours for giving me the opportunity to lead their group.