By Haroon Balogun
Thousands of Nigerian Pilgrims joined their counterparts from other parts of the world to visit the the historical and archaeological sites in Madinah. The visitations which were organised in batches by the various states Pilgrims Boards exposed the pilgrims to various historical landmarks and importance of the sites.
Essentially, the rites are not significantly part of the hajj rites but it was recommended as it increases the knowledge of the religion, adds perspectives to some activities in Islam, and thus inspires confidence, steadfastness in the acts of worship. It also reminds pilgrims of every tiny detail of the life of our Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w), and the supreme sacrifices the early Muslims paid to propagate the religion.
From the burial place of Prophet Muhammad, (s.a.w) and the second-holiest city in Islam after Makkah, the radiant city of Madinah, Saudi Arabia, Vanguard Facing the Kaaba joined the pilgrims to see some of these historical sites.
Places such as Masjid Quba, (the first mosque in the history of Islam); Masjid Qiblatayn, (the mosque with the history of two Qibla); the Mount Uhud (where early Muslims were martyred among other palces were visited.
It also evokes the supreme sacrifice some of them had to pay for Islam to endure. They had the vision, great aims, and they never hesitated to sacrifice themselves for what today’s Muslims enjoy.
Even if the struggle continues in one way or the other, we have got to learn from their past and the struggles, the story of their lives and the price Hamza, Abubakar, Umar, Uthman, Ali, and others had to pay.
In essence, the sacrifices which Prophet Muhammad and his companions offered for Islam, remain unparalleled in history. Pilgrims going on ziyara in these places could be inspired by these exemplary and legendary service to humanity. It calls for courage and steadfastness only if we sincerely make the visitation a worthy exercise.
Quba is located on the outskirts of south Madinah where the Prophet (s.a.w), accompanied by Abu Bakr arrived and first stayed after emigrating from Makkah. Here, they built the first mosque and named it Masjid Quba. It is the first mosque and the second prestigious mosque in the city of Madinah after the Prophet’s Mosque, Al Masjid Nabawiyy.
Immediately he arrived Madinah, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) built the mosque which was named after the people of Quba. It was firs renovated by the third Caliph, Uthman ibn Affan while succeesive leaders made further renovations.
Every year, Hajj Pilgrims visit the mosque to offer two rakah prayer in line with hadiths of the prophet. “Whoever makes ablutions in this house and offers one prayer therein, will be rewarded the equivalent of one Umrah.”
Masjid al Qiblatayn
This Mosque is next in importance to the Masji Al-Quba and one of the earliest mosques too. It also derived its name from the fact that it recorded a two directions of prayer. Early worshippers were facing direction of Jerusalem when a revelation to turn to the Kaaba in Makkah changed the narrative.
Scholars said, the revelation that changed the direction of prayers from Jarusalem to the Kaaba came during one of the evening congregational prayers. In the midst of their prayers, the message was announed loudly and without hesitation, the imam who led the prayer changed his direction of prayers from Jerusalem to Makkah without breaking their prayer. Ever since, the name Qiblatayn which means two Qibla became the nomenclature. Besides the special event of change of direction of prayer, the mosque has no other religious importance above the major mosques in Jerusalem, Makkah or Madinah.
“We have certainly seen the turning of your face, [Od Muhammad], toward the heaven, and We will surely turn you to a qiblah with which you will be pleased. So turn your face toward al-Masjid al-Haram. And wherever you [believers] are, turn your faces toward it [in prayer]. Indeed, those who have been given the Scripture well know that it is the truth from their Lord. And Allah is not unaware of what they do. (Quran 2: 144)
Mount Uhud is one of the most frequently visited mountains by pilgrims. It is located about 4 kilometers away from the Prophet’s mosque, with a maximum height of about 1077 meters from sea level. It conjures the feeling of heroism and sacrifices of the Prophet’s companions. It brings to memory the throes and injuries the early Muslims sustained in the Battle of Uhud. Seventy of the famous Muslims who had memorised the quran were mytryed.
The Prophet (s.a.w) was reported to have said: “This mountain loves us and we love it.” (Muslim)
The legendary efforts of Hamza (may Allah be pleased with him), the Lion of Allah, always take prominent place in the story of the battle of Uhud.
According to history, Abu Sufyan, the leader of Quraish and his wife Hind had lost many dear ones in the Battle of Badr with over 1000 army. They vowed that there could be no peace of heart until the dead were avenged, particularly by Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib (r.a), uncle of our beloved Prophet (s.a.w), who was a remarkable brave fighter. Abu Sufyan and Hind were burning in the fire of revenge. Their slave, Wahshi bin Harb, an Abyssinian slave, displayed his amazing skills of javelin. Hind promised to set him free if he would kill Hamza (r.a). Hamza was killed in the same battle he had dominated by the javelin of Wahshi, who got his freedom from his master. Hamza and other martyred Muslims in that battle were buried beside the plains of Uhud. Muslims do not say any prayers here, they only go there to see the graves of their martyred leaders with the believe that they will also die and join them in aljanah. It is forbidden to observe any kind of prayer or supplication.