If there is one thing that stands out in Medina, it is the short intermittent time between prayers.
Aside from the multicultural and multiracial identity of the pilgrims and the mad rush to seek His pleasure, the short intermittent times really struck out like a sore thumb.
Maybe I’m not used to it but darn is it exhausting.
No wonder they say that you’d need a lot of patience and rest whenever you can. But I guess it is nothing when you are here to seek God. To find solace in His presence and that of the Prophet SAW.
Aside from that, the place is beautiful. Medina is truly a gem. With wide open spaces and Masjid Nabawi standing there in all it’s glory, it is impossible to not be in awe. Another beautiful sight is the number of pilgrims that came in and went for every prayer. It is outstanding at the number of languages and races of people that are there. Despite the fact that a majority are Bengalis, Indonesians and some Africans, you can truly get a sense of the different cultures that are there. People from different backgrounds such as farmers, doctors, lawyers, fishermen and such all congregate in Masjid Nabawi to seek His pleasure.
Furthermore, the mad rush to greet the Prophet PBUH is insane as anyone who attempts to do it WILL be met with shoving, pushing and pulling. If one attempts to pick something up, I guess, it’s all over. Taman Ar-Raudah is Heaven on Earth. That is why people fought hard to have space there. This is to the point where they would disregard you praying and would very well shove you aside if you’re in the way. Sigh.
The morning of the stay in Medina is always met with a strong cold breeze that would give anyone the chills. One has to ensure that they’re properly covered. However, you wouldn’t get such weather in Singapore so I truly appreciate the change. Aside from that, the humidity, or lack thereof, is telling of the place Medina is located at, a desert. Your lips can quickly get chapped and your throat can easily feel like sandpaper. Adequate drinking of water is needed.
Even though Medina is located in Saudi Arabia, it is a city that is heavily dependent on a foreign workforce. The cleaners, bus drivers, hotel staff and shopkeepers are either Bengalis, Yemenis, Africans or someone in between. It is quite telling of the nature and attitudes of the Saudis. Furthermore, these cleaners even begged for money. This surprises me as it means that they are paid so low to the point that even having a job wouldn’t secure them a relatively comfortable life. It tells a lot about how the foreigners are treated in Saudi, even to the point where I would label them as second-class citizens.
It’s almost the last day in Medina and I will definitely miss Masjid Nabawi.
The final chapter,
We are finally in Makkah and from the beginning of my visit here and I think till the end of it, I cannot contain the number of things I have seen here. The countless times I’ve torn till the times that I struggled to hold my wudhu, furthermore, the experience of tawaf and saii…
Firstly, the view of the Kaabah is magnificent from any angle. To think that you are letting your eyes gaze upon that beautiful structure, the House of Allah SWT feels almost embarrassing. To think that we came here upon the land of the Muslims, where the Prophet SAW had received revelation, bringing our sins. How can we even have a moment to think that we are even worthy of it?
It’s such a scary thought that you are stepping into this clean land seeking for His forgiveness. It makes you think to tread lightly.
To also remember that great events such as the building of the house by Nabi Adam AS, the continuation of the building by Nabi Ibrahim AS, the story of Hagar and Nabi Ismail AS, the place of the Quraish and Nabi Muhammad SAW occurred there makes you wonder who are we even.
To think that we are stepping in the same land that the Prophet SAW had stepped on 1400+ years ago makes you wonder the impact he had on this Earth and the perfection of the revelation. There are times when I began to wonder if I am even worthy of this visit. To think that I have sinned countless times, how dare does I seek forgiveness. But I know that that is the devil talking.
I seek refuge from Him, I seek His forgiveness, I seek that He accepts my repentance for if He doesn’t, I’m doomed.
This comes the question as to how does one know if their prayers are counted? I fear that my prayers are not counted because sometimes I feel gassy but I am never sure if it counts as passing gas especially when I’m trying to keep my wudhu. I just hope the hadith is sound.
It was narrated from ‘Abbaad ibn Tameem that his paternal uncle asked the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) about a man who thought he felt something whilst praying. He said: “He should not stop praying unless he hears a sound or detects an odour.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 137 (this version was narrated by him); Muslim 362.
Whatever it is, I really hope that my prayers be accepted and my repentance be accepted. I fear His wrath. I really do.
For my birthday, I managed to celebrate it with the Prophet SAW when I went to Ar-Raudhah, a place where any supplications made will be accepted by Allah SWT.
It is only when we left Makkah and Madinah that I realised that it is actually quite hard to fend off the nafs incited by Syaitan. To do ibadah felt heavy and to spend more time to do ibadah felt like a chore.
May it become easier for us to seek God as we learn to cope with such influences. Amin.
What I hoped to take away from this umrah is a new sense of who is Allah and who is His messenger SAW. To better appreciate His merciful nature and the efforts His messenger SAW had put in to establish His religion on the land.
I had sought to cleanse my heart and have a renewed sense of self, a removal of any hypocrisy that I might have held.
I’m not sure if I had achieved that but insyaAllah, with due time, I would have changed for the better. The fear to not become who I was before still hangs about but I am determined to let go of the past and strive for Allah.
A new life begins. Bismillah.