The Scented Breezes of Mecca and Madinah…

Posted on October 30, 2011


The scented breezes of Mecca and Madinah, accompanied by the Azan that sears the heart as it sears the sky, and the pulsating multitudes of the believers leaves an indelible mark on the heart. Indeed the Hajj is an uplifting as well as an excruciating experience. It is a trip of physical as well as spiritual exertion.

There are two facets to the entire experience of Hajj and the visit to Madinah. One is serene and beautiful and the other is violent and disturbing. The sight of the Kaaba carried upon the flood of its believers is enough to move any eye to tears. Those that weep with the love of Allah are of varied hues, ages and garbs. Yet their Labbayk comes from the heart and pours forth in the never ending Tawaf. Mecca still reflects in its essence a sense of struggle. While there, one seems to be continuously on the move; the desire to pray close to the Kaaba drives people to go earlier and earlier for the Salah. To pray Fajar in the Mataf you must find your place by three in the morning. The stream of believers pours down the streets of Mecca 24 hours of the day heading as if to the center of their souls in search of their Lord.

The great crowd of people drove us to the roof of the mosque. Nothing in the world compares to the experience of praying Fajar or Isha on that blessed roof. The wind blows gently as the muezzin’s call reaches the crevices of the mountains of Mecca. All of creation seems to hold its breath and the very air resonates with the love of its Lord. Blessed indeed have we been to have lived through it. The memory of Muhammad (s.a.), Abu Bakr, Umar, Bilal, Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with them all) flashes before the eyes. The recitation of Sudais is like a healing to the hearts. Something to carry with you when you return to the struggles of the outside world.

Medinah is like a balm to the soul. You are still going to the mosque five times, but the exertions of the Tawaf are taken away. The city still greets you as it greeted the Messenger of Allah (s.a.) and his companion—with open hearts. It encloses you in its breast and soothes the weary and succors the soul. The voices are muted here, the steps are softer and the people gentle and polite. The shutras (or gaurds) reflect this amazing distinction. They are petite and young, in contrast to the older more stern ladies of Mecca. You feel a special love for the city that sheltered the Messenger and its people still uphold the tradition dear and act like the Ansari of Rasullallah. Madinah is also the city of the multi-lingual shopkeeper. They all speak at least six to seven languages and can effectively communicate with almost anyone.

Our trip took us to Mecca, then Madinah and then back to Mina for the Hajj. Whatever spiritual capital you have collected in the preceding days is truly going to be put to use now. May Allah take everyone on this blessed journey and may He accept all our ibadah. But when you purchase your package remember that Allah has also selected a package for you and it may not be the five-star, special one you paid for. It is he who decides whose company you shall keep in these crucial days, exactly which bed you will sleep in and which bathrooms you will visit, how many hours will be in the bus and how many on foot. The stress will build to a crescendo of complaints, arguments, delays and illnesses and the very caliber of your soul will be tested. I strongly suggest you write down the following verse from the Quran, memorize it and repeat it continuously:


Hajj is [during] well-known months, so whoever has made Hajj obligatory upon himself therein [by entering the state of ihram], there is [to be for him] no sexual relations and no disobedience and no disputing during Hajj. And whatever good you do – Allah knows it. And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is fear of Allah . And fear Me, O you of understanding. (2:197)

It is sad indeed to watch people complete the physical acts of Hajj while bankrupting its soul. Before anyone leaves for this trip, they should receive training in maintaining and perfecting Sabr (patience). It is indeed the most essential item you can take with for the Hajj. I have watched with disbelief as Hajjis threaten to kill each other and women curse in a manner best left unsaid. May Allah be pleased with the Shaykh who came to our mosque to give a lecture on Hajj and spoke of nothing but Sabr for one and a half-hour.

The journey of Hajj never really ends—not with Arafat, not with the stoning of the Jamarat or the stay in Mina. Allah made the last fard act of the Hajj the Tawaf of the Kaaba. As one goes round the Kaabah it brings home the fact that this tawaf also never ends. We may be thousands of miles from this sacred house and our beloved Prophet, but our life should be an endless Tawaf made in the love of Allah and on the footsteps of the Sunnah of Rasulallah.

Posted in: Uncategorized