Monday, 10 September 2012

Madinah Part 1: Arrival in Madinah Al-Munawwarah

Invitation to the Holy Cities
To be invited to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah is indeed a blessing from Allah SWT. It did not appear to me that I would be stepping my foot on the soil once stepped on by Prophet Muhammad SAW. From thousands or perhaps millions of Muslims all around the world, it was beyond my imagination that I would be that fortunate to be called by Allah to be here in the name of faith.

For the past hours I have been sitting in front of my Macbook, typing and deleting paragraphs, trying to write down all the physical and spiritual moments, but I could not find the perfect way to describe my wholesome journey, almost a year ago. And the saddest part, I have lost all determination I have made when I was in Makkah and Madinah. And I prayed to Allah, that I would be given the same opportunity once again.

Here, I would like to share some of my experiences when I was there. If Allah permits, your time will come soon too. Amin...

Arrival in King Abdul Aziz International Airport (14 June 2011)
After a long flight journey, the plane descended down at the King Abdul Aziz International Airport, Jeddah at 4:30 pm. Deserted land and a hot temperature formed a climate that was totally alien to me (as this was my first time leaving my own equatorial country).

One of the immigration officers at the counter greeted me with his version of Selamat Datang (which means welcome). He smiled at me while scribbling something on his desk. Well, contrary to what have been narrated by some of the people I have met, the Arabs were not rude after all.

Such perception remained… for not that long.

Until two or three other Arab officers started yelling and scolding some of us to get out of the terminal quickly. But I honestly believe they did not mean anything harm. Maybe it was just their way of doing things. And who are we to demand nice treatment? So we were herded out of the terminal, like some ethnic cleansing victims.

Few hundreds meters away, a bus was waiting for us, as arranged by our tour company, Fayrooz Travel. As the sun was setting in the west, we left for Madinah, a journey that would take about six hours.

Journey to Madinah
We were greeted by the tour agent, named Ustaz Zul. As he briefly explained on our two-week itinerary, I looked outside of the window. While he occasionally recited some hadiths, my imagination of the Muslims community centuries ago came into mind. No matter how rapid the developing civilization is, in the end, we return to Allah.

It was a six hour journey. I prayed to Allah, my bladder control would be able to handle this.

After two hours of journey, we stopped at a nearby restaurant for prayer, dinner and (for me) bladder. We had dinner together, Arab-made rice, served on a large tray, for five persons. For that half an hour break I had the opportunity to know each of the guys – a doctor, a bank officer, a businessman, and retirees.

And for that one hour an half too, I lost my ray ban, the one I bought on credit card. I searched for it everywhere. I asked people all around. My dear mother, instead of nagging me with her philosophy of “taking care of your stuff”, said: “Be patience. This is Allah’s test on you. Be thankful that you lost your ray ban, instead of your iman (faith).” Her words of wisdom went straight into my heart.  

In the end we return to Allah.

And the bus set off for another four hour journey.

Arrival in Madinah Al-Munawwarah
I could not describe into words of my emotion the moment we entered into the city of Madinah. From far, Masjid Nabawi was shining so brightly. I could see the minarets, almost touching the sky. I felt I was close, yet so far away. I could see bits and pieces but not everything.

Upon arrival at the hotel, we unloaded our luggage to our respective rooms. It was 12 am. I tossed and turned but I could not sleep as I was too excited. Subuh will arrive at 3:45 am and I could not wait.

My First Subuh Prayer in Masjid Nabawi
My hotel was a walking distance away from Masjid Nabawi. An hour before Subuh prayer we prepared ourselves and walked together to Masjid Nabawi. There were hundreds of Madinah residents walking hastily towards the masjid. Then I heard the azan, loud and clear.

As I entered the masjid’s compound, I could not believe I was there – in Masjid Nabawi. It was beautiful beyond description that no words can do justice to what I have actually witnessed. There I was, in the city, where Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once walked.

I could only express my joy and happiness through the tears that was rolling down on my face. I am not ashamed of it, for many were shedding tears of joy the moment they entered the masjid. I stood, I performed rukuk and sujud, in the masjid once gathered the Companions, the heroes and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). I cried for there were so many things that made me realise that I am not worthy of this, and that there were so many people in this world that deserve to be here, and I felt like I was carrying filth of sins before Allah the Almighty.

And there I was. Giving salam to the angels and ending my prayer with doa. I was not at the front row. But I had never felt so close to Allah.

Hairi Tahir

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6 Nukilan:

R.a.W | Ramble and Wander said...

About a year ago I attempted to write about my own journey to Madinah from Jeddah but couldn't quite come up with perfect descriptions of the feelings that I felt throughout the journey. It's a spiritual journey after all, I consoled myself. In the end, I gave up and simply put up some photos from the trip on my blog. You on the other hand however have managed to write about it so eloquently one could feel how the experience has touched your heart. So congrats, and thank you for sharing the story with the rest of us.

Insha Allah we would have the opportunity to go on that spiritual journey again soon. Amen.

Hairi Tahir said...

Each and every single one of us had their own stories in the Holy Cities. I never thought I would be able to express my feelings and experiences to be shared, and most important of all for me to remember as much as I can. Our writing about the Holy Cities will never be perfect, and we will never be satisfied, for no words can truly describe the feelings and emotions. Thanks for reading.

Only those who have been there can truly relate to what I've felt when I was there.

Ermayum said...

if given opportunity these are places that I wanted to go on a yearly basis- because it gives that magical feeling- because it renews that feeling - keazaman untuk menjadi lebih baik

Hairi Tahir said...

InsyaAllah. Let's pray. One day kita dapat jejak kaki ke sana.

Fatt said...

beautifully described. please continue. im glued =)

Hairi Tahir said...

Ok I will continue. You also. Kalau tak u terjun tingkap.

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