بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُم بِذِكْرِ اللّهِ أَلاَ بِذِكْرِ اللّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ
“Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah . Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured.”
[Al-Quran – Ar-Ra’d (The Thunder):28]
All praises and thanks are for Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) who gave us the opportunity to perform Umrah and visit the Holy Masaajid as a family in the summer of 2008.
Preparing for the Trip…
Before leaving for Umrah, I was unwell with morning sickness, vomiting and fatigue. During salaah (prayers) especially, I would feel lack of khushu (humility) and concentration.
To combat this, I began to focus on one particular tasbeeh during sajdah and ruku’: ‘Subboohun Quddoosun Rabbul Malaa’ikati Warrooh,’ which means: “Glory (to You), Most Holy (are You), Lord of the angels and the Spirit.” Reflecting on these words consciously gave me an inner strength that I needed so much at a time of physical weakness.
I reminded myself that Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) is The Nourisher and The Sustainer of the Malaa’ika (angels) and the Ruh (spirit). It means that He is the only Being who understands the spiritual and physical requirements of all His creatures, including me and my unborn child. He is the One Always All-Capable of providing for all our needs.
In the Qur’an, Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) says:
وَتَزَوَّدُواْ فَإِنَّ خَيْرَ الزَّادِ التَّقْوَى وَاتَّقُونِ يَا أُوْلِي الأَلْبَابِ
“And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is fear of Allah. And fear Me, O you of understanding.”
[Al-Qur’an – Surah Al-Baqarah (The Cow): 197]
With this thought being foremost in my mind, I began packing for our Umrah trip.
First of all, I bought Al Huda cards, booklets and cassettes for distribution. I intended to listen to them and then pass them on during the trip. As homework in our Qur’an classes at home, we had assigned students and staff to listen to the cassette ‘Jihaad, Jihaad, Jihaad’ by Dr. Farhat Hashmi so I carried that to listen to and also packed the set of cassettes on the topic ‘Uswatun Hasanah’.
During and after salaah I regularly began reading the following Dua of Traveling:
“Allahumma inna nas’aluka fi safarina hadh al-birra wat-taqwa, wa minal-’amali ma tarda. Allahumma hawwin ‘alaina safarana hadha, watwi ‘anna bu’dahu. Allahumma Antas-Sahibu fissafari, wal-Khalifatu fil-ahli. Allahumma inni a’udhu bika min wa’ta’is-safari, wa kaabatil-manzari, wa su’il-munqalabi fil-mali wal-ahli wal-waladi”
“O Allah, we ask You during this journey of ours for righteousness, piety and such deeds as are pleasing to You. O Allah, make easy for us this journey of ours and make the distance short for us. O Allah, You are our Companion during the journey and the Guardian of the family and the property in our absence. O Allah, I seek refuge in You from the hardships of travelling, unhappiness connected with ghastly scenes and evil turns in property and family.”
On the Way…
During the flight, I got a good opportunity to revise the ahadith and notes I had taken earlier in the book Kitab-ul-Hajj-wal-Umrah by Iqbal Kilani. During the bus ride from Jeddah to Makkah, I got the opportunity to listen to the cassette recordings of Kitab-ul-Hajj-wal-Umrah taught by Dr. Farhat Hashmi and this was a great source of spiritual preparation, Alhamdulillah.
We reached Makkah around midnight and left the hotel for our Umrah at 1 am. Of course, the first sight of the Ka’ba is indescribable and overwhelming every time.
It was wonderful to experience it collectively as a family. I am so grateful to Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) that we, especially my 5 year old son, Abdullah, got a chance to travel and perform Umrah with his grandparents. There is so much to quietly absorb, learn, and help with in the presence of elders.
We all did the tawaaf together and Abdullah began insisting that he wanted to touch the Hajr-e-Aswad (the black stone) and go inside the door of the Ka’ba. At that time, it was so crowded and they don’t allow children near that area, but we asked Abdullah to pray to Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) for it as we were His guests and nothing is impossible for Allah (سبحانه وتعالى). Alhamdulillah, before we left Makkah, Allah (سبحانه وتعالى ) gave Abdullah and us a great opportunity to touch and kiss the Hajr-e-Aswad after tawaaf very easily when the area was closed for cleaning.
Alhamdulillah, after Umrah was completed, the remaining days were spent doing tawaaf, performing five prayers at the Haram along with nawaafil (voluntary worship). We found the opportunities to read salaah inside the Hateem several times. Between Maghrib and ‘Isha prayers, Abdullah and I would attend the dars (lecture) held in Urdu by Maulan Makki near Baab-ul-Umrah in the Haram.
The topic for the few days we attended was the story about Ibrahim (عليهِ سلام)’s submission to Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) and willingness to sacrifice his son, Isma’il (عليهِ سلام). Abdullah would keep asking what was being said at the dars and before going to bed at night I would repeat the story in easy terms for him. When we went for the ziyaaraat (visita) to see the the mountain where the cave of Hira is located and the areas of Mina and Arafaat, Abdullah was very keen to narrate for everyone the stories and information associated with the different places. He recalled what we had discussed when we had visited these places just last year. This was enjoyable for all the children and adults, Alhamdulillah!
The profound message at the Jumu’a khutba (Friday sermon) in the Haram which really struck me was when a particular hadith was repeated several times. The gist of the hadith is that ihsaan (excellence) in worship means to worship Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) as if you can see Him and if you cannot do so than as if He can see you. This was such an important reminder! At weak moments in life we often crave for and try to attain the nearness of Allah (سبحانه وتعالى), but unfortunately we end up letting go of ihsaan at some level. No doubt, Allah’s promise is that His help is with the muhsineen (doers of utmost good)!
As I listened to the cassette ‘Jihad, Jihad, Jihad’ during our stay in Makkah, many of my duas during tawaaf revolved around the important message given in the explanation of these ayaat (verses). May Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) give us the capacity to give Him the due Haqq (right) and live our entire lives in accordance with His pleasure. Ameen.
Then came the latter part of our trip and this was the trip to Masjid-e-Nabawi in Medina. Alhamdulillah, there were many great chances to learn and teach others over there. I was very keen to meet Umme Aisha who is one of the female teachers working in the Masjid-e-Nabawi. She is so motivational and helpful, Masha’ Allah. I was also very keen to find a Tajweed teacher and regularly attend a halaqa (group learning session). Alhamdulillah, I got a chance to do both.
It was wonderful to be able to help Umme Aisha to take the Pakistani group to Riyadh-ul-Jannah twice. Each time she told me to stay near her and would direct many ladies with various concerns to me during the time we waited. This gave me a chance to tell many about Al Huda’s educational, welfare and mass communication activities. While we were waiting for out turn to go into the Riyadh-ul-Jannah area, Pakistani ladies would wander or go towards the wrong side. Whenever this happened, Umme Aisha would call out loudly to me and say “Al Huda…in ko bulaye, ye kahan ja rahe hain?” (Al Huda, please call them, where are they going?)
Alhamdulillah, this was such a positive publicity and honor for our Al Huda because most of these ladies then came to me at different times to ask more about Al Huda and get contact information. I had with me the flyers of Hajj and Umrah training sessions in Karachi, which came in handy for addresses and phone numbers. I wished I had kept more such information handy because I was truly overwhelmed by the response and wanted to give them anything I could to help, Alhamdulillah!
Alhamdulillah, also between Dhu’hr and Asr’ prayers Pakistani ladies would gather at the Maktab Nisaia (an area within the masjid) to ask questions. I was able to attend this also and help out Umme Aisha. I was surprised to see that many ladies were asking about black abaya and hijab as they couldn’t afford them but wanted to wear them. Alhamdulillah, this gave me a chance to give from what I had with me and took help from ladies of the family too. Again at this point too I wished I had more that I could give and share!
Now I pray for the istiqamah (steadfastness) of all those ladies whom Allah showed a way towards guidance in such a wonderful place.
The Tajweed teacher was warm and cooperative. She was from Sudan and her name was Kauther. She was so encouraging and gave me extra time after ‘Isha prayers daily. She spoke in English so it was easier for me to understand what she explained to me. Alhamdulillah, she gave me very good feedback of my Tajweed and encouraged me to teach and learn more. She was very happy to hear that at Al Huda we teach the entire Qur’an recitation from Qari Hudheifi’s cassettes and also encouraged me to try listening to Qari Akhdar for my own improvement. During our sessions, we revised various surahs from the 30th Juz. Her emphasis was on reciting with a clear understanding from the heart of the message that is being conveyed through the words of the Qur’an. I learnt a lot about the important role of a teacher from her warmth, acceptance and encouragement.
In another one of the halaqas in the masjid, a teacher was explaining makharij (articulation points of letters) to beginners through diagrams and definitions from the book Muqaddamut-ul-Jizriya. Also they have sessions in which they practiced articulation of letters from the Qaida Noorania.
I also attended a dars in Urdu on Tauheed given in a maktab (office) for ladies within the masjid. I also got a chance to complete listening to the cassettes on the topic ‘Uswatun Hasana’ by Dr. Farhat Hashmi and this was also a great reminder and made me feel more love and respect for Rasul Allah (صلي اللهُ عليهِ وسلم). Alhamdulillah, May Allah give us all the ability to act upon what we learn of beneficial knowledge. Ameen.
Towards the end of our trip as I was heading back towards the hotel after having spent the day at Masjid-e-Nabawi and was reading the dua of exiting the masjid, an enveloping feeling of love and close association with Rasul Allah (صلي اللهُ عليهِ وسلم) brought tears to my eyes. I thought, “How much he (صلي اللهُ عليهِ وسلم) did for us, through all the roles that Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) chose him for, through the various sacrifices he made in the process and how selflessly he fulfilled all his responsibilities!”
I marveled at the fact that throughout many generations, Allah has preserved this pure knowledge of Qur’an and Sunnah that Rasul Allah (صلي اللهُ عليهِ وسلم) imparted and the Sahabas (رضى اللهُ عنهم) propagated in order for us to learn how to attain peace in this world and the next!
This thought then made me realize what a great responsibility it is upon his followers then to also to carry forth the same mission. It is incumbent on us all to fulfill our responsibility and do whatever is in our means to help propagate the message of the Qur’an and Sunnah and to do so selflessly and with ihsaan till our last breath Insha’Allah!
Alhamdulillah, I thank Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) once again for such a fulfilling trip with nourishment for the soul as well as nourishment for the body which only our true Rabb can provide.
May Allah (سبحانه وتعالى ) reward my parents-in-law for making the trip possible and so comfortable for us. May we all be Sadqah-e-Jaaria for our parents and all our teachers. May Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) accept all our deeds, our duas and forgive our shortcomings. May Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) choose us to spread the light of His deen with sincere intentions in the best possible ways and may we all strive collectively towards attaining Jannat-ul-Firdaus. Ameen.