The dream of every Muslim is to visit the holy land, Makkah and Madinah, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Undoubtedly, much as it is desired, with its accompanying huge financial demand, it is also a gracious call by Allah. If you are not called, no matter the financial might, it may not be possible. Examples abound of many with financial prowess and yet have not made the journey. Lucky are those who are called upon by Allah for this lifetime journey. Alhamdullilah for this grace upon me and those who facilitated it.
Madinah which is the first port of call for Pilgrims is located in Western Saudi Arabia. It has remained a destination for large numbers of Muslims on their annual pilgrimage after the first hijrah in 622 AD.
The feeling of spiritually fulfilment grew when we got to Madinah. No journalist will hold down his pen with the amazing and spectacular sight of Madinah, the birth place of the Seal of Prophets, Muhammad, (s.a.w); and of course magnificient scenes of buildings, markets, of people, worshipers; of values and culture.
To the people, beauty is part of divinity, to praise God spend huge time and money in erecting edifice with modern design especially places of worship; and they reveal it in most of their activities. The roads, the shopping malls, hotels, clinics, and mosques are quite befitting. The people are friendly and receptive just like their forebearers who welcomed Prophet Muhammad who was not an indegene giving him all the comfort at their disposal.
The nook and crany of the city still reverberate with the teachings of the Prophet after thousands of year. The market place explains some of the morms and culture of the people. They show honesty as required in by Allah in any deal, although there are a few others who are cheats and they take advantage of the pilgrims but the alibi is that the real indigenes of Madinah are not involved in such activities. In fact they rarely do strenous job. So, the illicit activities are perpetrated by the immigrants.
The great architecture and dramatic landscapes were incredible, they exude a mystifying and powerful spiritual force, truly capturing the absolute devotion and spirituality of a people.
Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) built the first ever mosque of Islam in Qubaa, as well as Masjid Al Nabawi in the city. After Holy Ka’aba in Makkah, the Masjid Al Nabawi is one of the most visited places of worship by Muslims.
The sacred mosque with its mind blowing marble columns, gold plated walls and exquisite fittings, accomodates over four million people at a time, with over 77 gates. It has massive underground places of convinience, ablution area and car parks for both men and women. The beautiful huge synthetic umbrellas opening when it is scorchingly hot and closing automatically when its not is one of the esthetic and new development of the Prophet mosque.
Cleaning is done every mininute with about 500 skilled men and 200 machines carrying out both inside and outside area sanitation.
Again, efforts were made to convey zam-zam water from Makkah to Madinah serving millions of people every minute.
The most revered grave (Rawdha) of the Noble Messenger of Allah is another compelling force which kindles the heart for love and immense attachment for the city of Prophet Muhammad. (s.a.w). Most of the pilgrims who went to see grave of the Prophet were moved to tears as they chant payers and supplication for the Noble messanger of Allah.
Madinatul Munawwarah, or ‘the City of Light’, is home to the all believers, a believer is a brother to the other inrespective of colour, tribe or language. After a few days in Madinah, many pilgrims attested to the fact that they have been impacted spiritually through the sactity of the environment. No doubt, the city of Madinah, just like Makkah is pure and sacred to such an extent that it has the ability to purify its inhabitants.
The dates of Madinatul Munawwarah are special. Inspite of being a dry land, the blessed soil grows a special and medicinal dates called Ajwa which according to some narrations contain great benefits.
The Prophet was reported to have said, “If somebody takes some Ajwa dates every morning, he will not be affected by poison or magic on that day till night.” (Another narrator said seven dates). [Bukhari]. In another narration, it was said that the sacredness of the Madinah is such that even its dust and soil are pure. These blessings sem from the Prophet prayer (s.a.w): “O Allah! Bestow on Madinah twice the blessings You bestowed on Makkah.” (Bukhari, Vol. 3, Book 30, Hadith no. 109) Another prayer of the Prophet goes thus: “O Allah, Ibrahim was Your servant, Your friend, and Your apostle; and I am Your servant and Your apostle. He (Ibrahim) made supplication to You for (the showering of blessings upon) Makkah, and I am making supplication to You for Madinah just as he made supplication to You for Makkah, and the like of it in addition.” (Muslim, Book 7, Hadith no. 3170). Allah answered the prayers and made to be eternally blessed just as He chose its ground as the final resting place for the Prophet (s.a.w).
No wonder this second holiest city for Muslims has been attracting millions of Muslims since the death of the Prophet, making it one of the most visited cities in the world. It is a place one will like to visit over and over again.