City of the Prophet: Ramadan in Madina
by: Owais Adam
Every time Ramadan comes around I remember the year that Allah blessed us with a visit to His most blessed city.
We entered Madinah Munawwara (City of Light) in the afternoon and settled down in our hotel. Once we were ready we went to the sacred mosque to prepare for iftar (meal at the end of fast). As soon as we stepped through the gates of the sacred mosque, children came running to us from all directions. One after another they attempted to take us home to break the fast with them and their families.
Soup with the Sheikh
After the sunset prayer, we went to visit a great sheikh of hadith, Sheikh Zakharia Bukhari, who sets aside a room in his house for serving soup to strangers and the poor during the nights of Ramadan. Sheikh Zakharia was now very old, and although he had stopped teaching, people liked to visit him to listen to Hadith and poetry about the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), and to ask for his dua.
We left Sheikh Zakharia's house and returned to the mosque for the beautiful taraweeh night prayer together with over one million people. The prayer was led by some of the best reciters of Qur'an in the world.
The Sacred Mosque is kept in good condition despite the huge number of worshippers. The authorities hire many cleaners and although their job is humble it is a highly sought after position. We heard stories of how people with successful careers would drop everything for the honour of becoming a cleaner of the Sacred Mosque.
Garden of Paradise
The heart of the Mosque is the Rawda, a garden from the gardens of Paradise. We made a habit of getting there early in the morning to wait for the morning prayer, and we soon got to know the 'Rawda regulars'. Among them were some beautiful Sudanese brothers with impeccable manners and gentility, dressed in white robes and white turbans. There were Arabs from various countries who would make long and beautiful duas, and Turkish and Pakistani brothers who were intense in their love for the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and shed many tears.
Some of the columns of the Rawda are the sites of significant events like the repentance of Abu Lubaba, the place where the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) would rest before 'itikaf, and the pillar of Aisha where no dua is rejected. These are marked with different colours and special markings to highlight the spot.
After the morning prayer, we would stand before our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and give him our greetings, before we headed towards the Baqi cemetery where many sahaba (companions of the Prophet) and ahl al-bayt (family of the Prophet) are buried.
One night we visited the mountain of Uhud where sayyiduna Hamza and the martyrs of Uhud are buried. According to a hadith, the mountain of Uhud is "A mountain which loves us, and which we love" (Bukhari, Muslim). We climbed halfway up the mountain and entered a cave which is said to have been used by the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) as a shelter during the battle of Uhud. Inside the cave we all caught the scent of the most fragrant musk we had ever smelt, which seemed to emanate from the very stones of the mountain. We hoped that this had something to do with the hadith of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) "I find the scent of Paradise beside the mountain of Uhud".
Eid Sweets And Songs
Finally, it was the day of Eid. It began around 3.00 in the morning for us! To get a place inside the Mosque on Eid you have to get there early, and even then we had to be content with a place in the new extension, rather than the older Ottoman part were we had hoped to be.
After the Eid prayer we went about the streets giving sweets to the children of Madinah, and we visited Sheikh Zakharia again. Later that night we also visited an Egyptian sheikh who entertained us with songs and poetry about the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).
Leaving this beautiful city after Eid was painful, but we were comforted by the words of a sheikh we met in the Rawda who told us, "We have come to visit the greatest blessing of Allah, the Holy Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), and we will not return home empty-handed". Madinah will always remain in my heart.
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